famicom party

Planning a Platformer

When I first started this project, my goal was to create a practical, useful guide to learning development for the NES. Along the way, I realized that I would need some kind of "capstone" project to tie the whole thing together. Since the NES was famous for its platformers, making a platformer was a logical choice.

A platformer needs, well, platforms. I'm not much of an artist myself, so I spent some time looking for a public-domain tileset that would work well on the NES. Purely by chance, I stumbled upon Adam Saltsman's work at itch.io. Any of Adam's tilesets would be a great fit for an NES project, but I was particularly drawn to his "Caves of Gallet" tiles.

"Caves of Gallet" (https://adamatomic.itch.io/caves-of-gallet)

The backgrounds handled, I next started thinking about what kind of character the player would play as (and who, or what, the enemies and obstacles would be). I haven't created sprites yet, but I'm leaning toward a frog character for the player. I'm thinking of using the "cute" style from the Kirby series for enemy designs.

So, the plan for the book is to create the graphics while exploring how the PPU works, then layer in additional concepts as needed - level design, collision mapping, player physics, etc. I've been taking a lot of inspiration from how Contra handles these, thanks to Alan Blomquist's Retro Game Internals series. I've been working on the PPU overview chapter and I hope to have it up soon. Once the graphics system chapters are done, we'll move on to input and audio.

Thanks for coming along on this journey with me. I'm excited to show you more of what the NES can do!