Making a homebrew (Genesis?) hockey game...


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Has there ever been any talk or buzz about this?

I'm slightly familiar with homebrew games like 'Pier Solar' on the Genesis. It was, I think, though I've never played it, a really polished game made by an oufit that really knew what it was doing, and was sold as a physical copy with professional-type packaging and everything. I know similar projects have gone on for the Neo-Geo, and the DreamCast, and probably several other systems. As far as I undersand it, the homebrew games that are any good, are usually (always?) 'business' type projects. Like, it takes a group of really skilled people, and it takes a lot of time, so there has to be some kind of monetary reward/compensation in the end.

At least, that's what I understand about it. I'm not a programmer, or involved in anything like this, and I'm not knowledgable even in something like rom hacking.

So having said all that, do I understand things correctly when it comes to the size and scope of making a homebrew 16-bit game? I mean, obviously, back when official Genesis or SNES games were being released, it took...what...maybe a dozen or so really skilled people to make a game? And it probably took them a year or two?

Would it still be like that today? Like, has there been any technological advancements that would make making a 16-bit game today, any easier?

In the case of a hockey game, could portions of any of the early EA Hockey games be "copy/pasted" into a 'new' game? Or, for that to happen, woud it be required to have the source code for one of those games? Would any of the amassed knowledge about how to hack the roms be of any use?

It occurs to me, that the hardest thing about making a new hockey video game, would be the AI for the computer controlled players. Is that true do you think?

I'm very familar with a game called 'Streets of Rage Remake', which is a sort of tribute to the orginal Genesis games. It's fantastic, and as far as I know, was made entirely "from scratch". It took the people that made it, a very long time though. Like seven or eight years. And it was released for free, probably making it a pretty unique project in the realm of homebrew games.

I just think it would be so cool to have a new game that played just like NHL 92-94 (or even better) but with a ton of new features.

Anyway, curious to hear any insights about any of this.

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I think you're basically right. It would take ages for a random collection of NHL'94 fans to make a new Sega hockey game in their spare time.

NHL'94 was written in an 'assembly language' which is basically a human-readable language that translates directly to machine language (the infamous 1s and 0s of a computer program). So the game ROM is basically a list of CPU instructions for moving data around between the ROM, CPU, RAM, Video RAM... plus also areas of data (graphics, player attributes, text to display, music..).

You can open up the ROM in a program called IDA Pro (

) and it will try its best to convert the ROM to the assembly language code (it doesn't really have a way of telling data and code apart).

So in a way, we sooort of have the source code.

But the problem is, when you write a program in assembly language, you can assign names to data locations, but once the game is compiled into the 1s and 0s, all the names are stripped out and replaced with addresses. So if you look at a random section of code in the ROM, you have no idea what it is doing in terms of the actual game. All you know is it's doing something like, take the number from address 0x43451 and multiply it by 4. Store the result in address 0x456811. etc etc.

It's possible to learn what some of the data locations and code does by running the game through a debugging emulator. You sort of run experiments and see what happens with the data in RAM and ROM. E.g., the value at address 0x78945 increases when the puck moves up the ice... so that address must hold the position of the puck on the ice, and any instructions touching that address must be involved with moving the puck or doing something with the position of the puck (drawing it to screen perhaps, or detecting an offside, etc etc), and you can try to figure out the real-world logic that the code is doing (maybe you discover a friction routine that slows the puck down... and you find a friction constant in the ROM, and if you edit it, now the puck slows down faster or slower or even accelerates instead of slowing down)

But doing that for the whole game takes a lot of time (although I suppose that the more you have figured out, the easier it becomes to figure more out).

But in theory, we could do that, and then when we have mapped out most of the game code, we could start re-writing bits to work differently (for example, I rewrote the 3-stars routine, the checking success/failure calculation, and the player attributes so they have a finer gradularity (16 levels instead of just 7). It would just take a long time, and few people have the combination of time, background, experience, and dedication to do it. If tried to make my background and experience available through the "HelpMeHack" threads, but I've been having trouble with the dedication part to updating those.

You are right that AI is complicated, but a lot of the hard work is just the time-consuming stuff like making good animations and so on.

> Like, has there been any technological advancements that would make making a 16-bit game today, any easier?

I would say no, it's probably roughly the same as before. There are probably better code-writing tools now (I wrote code for the Sega CPU in university in some modern editor, it's actually a very common CPU, they still make variations of it today https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_68000),but on the other hand probably a lot of the Sega utility software is gone (they probably had stuff that made doing graphics and sound easier...)

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The majority of the Megadrive Hacking and Homebrew scene is rather massive in what it does for presenting how to set the console to its limits.

All of the major titles that we have viewed up to now have presented to us the qualities that both the Genesis and Megadrive are able to offer, and it is kind of a shame that a good amount of them go unnoticed or put on a very slow development schedule or even a permanent hiatus until somebody comes to pick up the pieces.

Two of my most favoured Megadrive Homebrew works that are out there right now are Project MD by SiktheHedgehog and Oerg866, and The Chaos Layer by Markey Jester and a good amount of the folks over in the Sonic Hacking scene.

These titles are the best that I have viewed from our side of the scene, and to be truthful, I consider them to be what I would expect out of modern MD Platformers, they allow us to view how fluidly beautiful the graphics are capable of becoming, and the music in them is superb, especially knowing what we are now able to do using the YM26I2, the PSG, and modern DAC audio sampling; you may view footage from both games below.

~ Project MD (20I2 Version), footage taken from my main channel:

~ The Chaos Layer, footage from Razor & Zenon; will be replaced with my commentary of it when I release it on my channel:

As for a Hockey Homebrew title, the bugfixes and redesigns of the NHL titles that you view on here, while they are indeed a portion of the NHL Hacking scene, they are simultaneously rendered as Homebrew, as reconstruction of any video game that was not done by the official teams that made them is considered a Homebrew work (for an early example, think of Missile Command's mod known as Super Missile Attack, or when Midway's version of Pac~Man had become modded to become Crazy Otto, which later on went to become Midway's version of Ms. Pac~Man, or Pac~Woman, as it was called four days before its official release.

In the case of making an entirely new game out of the NHL series, we cannot do much outside of their Assemblies to make a full~on original Homebrew work without knowing everything that the ROM image has to offer, such an action would be able to be done easier with a Disassembly, and to be truthful, at this time, only a disassembly of either NHL Hockey '94 or NHL '98 would be best for this, as they are the most complex to work with in their current incarnations, those being the Thirty Team ROM of '94 with all of the patches, and the original '98.

As I have stated a few times before, my project, MIAA Women's Hockey 20I5, will eventually become a game of its own once I make The Definitive Experience incarnation of it for the Super 032X, which will not necessarily be requiring reliance on far too much of the systems and mechanics that are present in NHL '94; instead, the game will have its own original and new features and systems, while still having parts of '94 present as the basis for what will come of it.

Registers such as where and when to trigger Audio Cues and specific screens (or arena angles, if you are using a 03D arena with the Super 032X's Software Rendering) can be a bit tricky if you do not know exactly where in the new game's code to set it in, the same also goes for player actions and what they are able to do on the ice; in my scenario, whenever I do end up finally being able to begin working on the Super 032X version of MIAA 20I5, that will have a very active array of sounds and sprites going on at once, as every set of sprites will have fluid animation thanks to added sprites and the audio will score an original soundtrack and Play by Play Commentary that will take up the add~on's PWM, leaving the DAC and YM26I2 open for other things than simply Organ Music and the Menu tracks; now, if I were to do that all from '94's original code from the Thirty Team ROM, this would mean that I would have an ample lot of rewriting and study of the sprites and audio's data size, which again, is easier to understand while working with a Disassembly when compared to its Assembly based counterpart, which is why this particular title will take about a decade or two to have a fully optimal version of in the way that the NHL Hacking scene currently progresses.

In order to make a new Ice Hockey game from scratch, you would have to already know what you're doing when coding the game, and at the same time, you will have to be strongly aware of what works and what doesn't, I think that is simple enough to understand for any developer.

The process, however, could take plentiful years, it all depends solely on how much you are putting into the game and whether or not you are setting the console to its limits, as well as the amount of people and dedication that are being put into the project as well; your amount of resources is also a rough patch as well if you do not have everything that you require, that is another factor that must be touched upon when you go into this full force.

At the moment though, Homebrew Hockey titles that are not ROM hacks of NHL titles on the Genesis and Megadrive will probably take a long while to create, but I am positive that they would succeed at an extremely high to optimal level.

Absolute maximum quality and performance with this will only truly be obtained when you are able to utilize the Sega CD/Mega~CD and Super 032X's features with this game, which is what I am aiming for, doing that will be able to give you the boost that you require to have the greatest probable outcome with any project, the primary key for this though is patience and the proper team for it, such a project cannot be perfected without both of those at all points in time.

Edited by Royameadow
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A ton of great info there, smozoma and royameadow. Thanks for taking the time to write it out. I feel like I've got a decent grasp on things.

Smozoma: That's really interesting about Sega probably having development utilities they used back in the day for certain aspects, and how useful those would be. I wonder if that "Snake" guy who made the Kega emulator knows about them because he was a Sega employee (as a coder?) at some point?

Your explanation about assembly language and Roms and mapping things out really made sense for me. I feel smarter now.

Royameadow: Thanks for clarifying the definition of "Homebrew" for me. I wondered about that.

That's so cool that you've got plans for 32X and all those features. That part about audio cues got my mind working on all the possibilites that that would bring. When playing the Sega CD version of 94, it was surprising to me how big of difference different audio/sfx makes. It's not something I had considered previously.

A question for you: I'm curious about your decision to focus your project, roster-wise, on Massachusetts College Women's hockey. It's just...so specific. Can I ask what the inspiration for that was?

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and are you going to continue to replace letters and other symbols in your typing until your text is fully un~readable?

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Smozoma: That's really interesting about Sega probably having development utilities they used back in the day for certain aspects, and how useful those would be. I wonder if that "Snake" guy who made the Kega emulator knows about them because he was a Sega employee (as a coder?) at some point?

I didn't know he used to work there! Cool.

I'm just guessing about the dev utilities. I assume they had an SDK (software development kit). A particular compiler for building for their particular ROM format, etc.

When it comes down to it, if you're going to make an upgraded NHL'94 mostly from scratch, I think you're best off making it in a modern language, on modern operating systems, incorporating modern networking techniques, instead of dealing with the overhead and limitations of working on an archaic, obsolete platform. The game will be better and take less time.

If you've got spare time, you could play around with the Python language and it's game development module, PyGame (http://www.pygame.org/hifi.html). It will seem daunting at first, but once you dive in, you'll find that once you start making progress, it becomes really addictive!

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I didn't know he used to work there! Cool.

I'm just guessing about the dev utilities. I assume they had an SDK (software development kit). A particular compiler for building for their particular ROM format, etc.

When it comes down to it, if you're going to make an upgraded NHL'94 mostly from scratch, I think you're best off making it in a modern language, on modern operating systems, incorporating modern networking techniques, instead of dealing with the overhead and limitations of working on an archaic, obsolete platform. The game will be better and take less time.

If you've got spare time, you could play around with the Python language and it's game development module, PyGame (http://www.pygame.org/hifi.html). It will seem daunting at first, but once you dive in, you'll find that once you start making progress, it becomes really addictive!

Decided to look up Snake to make sure I was remembering this right. His linkedin profile has all the stuff he's worked on:

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-snake/8/60/3a9

That makes sense about a project like this being done with modern languages/tools/software/hardware etc.

That Pygame thing looks interesting. I'm curious to look into what's possible with it. LIke, finished projects. Gonna look into that.

Just thinking out loud here, but has anyone even ever made a indie/homebrew sports game? It seems like a lot what gets made are RPG's, shmups, and then little quirky/creative things.

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Just thinking out loud here, but has anyone even ever made a indie/homebrew sports game? It seems like a lot what gets made are RPG's, shmups, and then little quirky/creative things.

You mean like for PC?

There's this weird game called 'hockey?' http://crypticsea.blogspot.ca/2011/06/hockey.html

plus probably many others

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You mean like for PC?

There's this weird game called 'hockey?' http://crypticsea.blogspot.ca/2011/06/hockey.html

plus probably many others

Well for anything really.

That blog says that game was made in a week. I wonder how it plays.

I was thinking of something more fleshed out. Like a pro-sports "simulation" (if that's the right word) in the vein of the NHL series, or Madden, or whatever the current name for the big NBA and MLB series' are.

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A question for you: I'm curious about your decision to focus your project, roster-wise, on Massachusetts College Women's hockey. It's just...so specific. Can I ask what the inspiration for that was?

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Association is not College Women's Hockey, it's actually Varsity Women's Hockey for that of the Senior High Schools, a good amount of those from the North Shore of Massachusetts being personal friends of mine locally.

The project had begun at the beginning of March, I had found NOSE on ROMHacking.net, and since I already had the concept on making a Women's Hockey title on me for the past two years prior to that, I was already set; all that I had required was the league and rosters; the reason for selecting the MIAA was because the NHL Hacking scene, to my knowledge, did not have a Women's Hockey title, and since the MIAA's Ice Hockey league is ever so massive (086 teams, and that is before you add in the Bonus Teams into the game!), I knew that this would be my selling point, Women's Ice Hockey truly needed to come to the light, and my native state was the best place to begin this project with.

Now, that is where the star of the Tewksbury/Methuen Red Rangers for the past three years, Amanda Conway, comes into play, she was my true primary influence for the creation of MIAA 20I5 up to now, and she still will be for the entirety of the project and subsequent Women's Hockey Homebrew titles and ROM hacks.

Her run in the upcoming season with the Boston Shamrocks in the Junior Women's Hockey League (the JWHL) will also be the influence for making an annual series on here after I am done with development of The Super 08 at TD Banknorth Garden; the JWHL is only a small amount of teams (less than that of Nippon Professional Baseball, actually; used to be twelve in the JWHL, but now it's ten due to licensing matters and other things), so I would be able to recycle the same ROM image for the next build, and the logos rarely (if ever) change, so I will rarely have to modify the game more than I already have, give or take the Player Cards for every title once I reach that point.

Since I knew that MIAA 20I5 would become a title that would become a major part of the face of modern NHL ROM Hacking in some probable form, I had to take extensive time studying this forum and developing an understanding of the patches, bugfixes, palletes, music, and graphics; as a result, using what I have mastered here over the past six months and change, the game has become the utmost complex both visually and audibly when compared to the other titles that I have viewed on here up to now, something that I would love to view more of outside of simply my works on here.

I am not attempting to sound narcissistic about this by any means probable, but NHL '94 bears a massive lot of potential in its current form; there is a lot that we could do with the game that most developers have go unnoticed in current ROM hacks, and that truly needs to change for the better of the scene at some point; setting the Assembly to its limits is what we must aim to do both now and in Future~Time, as we take the scene forward, the game deserves to become optimal for all of us.

Once the site comes up later this week or this month, I intend to have the utmost recent builds of MIAA 20I5 as an entry within the first annual Sega Homebrew Competition, that will be able to present to others what can be done with NHL '94 and NHLPA Hockey '93 (I am entering the Tournament Edition of MIAA 20I5, which is a ROM hack of '93, into the competition as well), and it will be able to allow the forum to get some extra well needed attention as well, consider it to be my Thank You gift to the forum for their worthwhile information and support that I have obtained here since March.

I do not expect it to come home with an award, but hey, it will do good for everybody who will be involved with the contest, us especially included, and it might and/or will bring more in to actually learn about the series and make more ROM hacks for the forum and for the fans of the games; that would make me smile, getting this scene to the next level is my ambition, and if I have learned anything from here up to now, it be that our quality and performance is key to obtaining the enhancements and upgrades for the scene in full; I would not ever desire that in any other probable form than the utmost positive, that would explain how I feel about this project and what it means for our future progression. (:

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Royameadow:

My mistake re: the college thing. It's high school. I think I understand now. Thanks for explaining it to me.

All the best in that competition! I didn't know such things existed.

Not being at all knowledgable about rom hacking, I'll have to take your word on all that other stuff. I'm just glad there are people like you and smozoma and others, that have the know-how and desire to do this stuff.

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My mistake re: the college thing. It's high school. I think I understand now. Thanks for explaining it to me.

You are welcome, I am glad to explain this.

There are three other MIAA leagues in the nation, all being outside of Massachusetts: There is the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and the Mid~America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, respectively; Michigan's MIAA handles the NCAA's Division III in that area, whereas, Mid~America's handles the NCAA's Division II teams for their region.

Maryland's MIAA is for 029 Baltimore Metro area Senior High Schools, but only uses 028 of them for Ice Hockey.

The Women's incarnation of Maryland's MIAA, the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM, for short), only handles Field Hockey, but still makes use of a Thirty Team Cap; who knows, I might also make IAAM Women's Hockey titles at some point too, it more than likely might be probable. (:

All the best in that competition! I didn't know such things existed.

Thank you, the encouragement is well appreciated.

The Sega Homebrew Competition debuts in Late October, at the time of this post; it is running in conjunction with Sonic Hacking Contest XIII this year to help expand the availability of content and developers out there; you will be able to view it from this website once Hapisan/Cinossu gets it up and fully running for us to register and submit our entries: http://shc.sonicresearch.org

Not being at all knowledgable about rom hacking, I'll have to take your word on all that other stuff. I'm just glad there are people like you and smozoma and others, that have the know-how and desire to do this stuff.

Absolutely, we take the NHL Hacking scene very seriously and we are very glad to talk about this at any point in time with you and anybody else who wishes to know more about the series and doing both engineering and reverse engineering of the titles in any probable form.

Where Smozoma is a master in the coding and bugfixing of the NHL titles (among other fields), I specialize best in modifying the artwork and palettes, all of us are masters at something here; others such as Wboy, CoachMac, Slapshot67, Hackmaster Mack, and evengood folks such as Tru, SWOS, Kingraph, and Clockwise, among the plentiful others that are here, all have delivered something major towards the progression of the scene, and if it is more than able to assist good folks such as yourself at any point with your work on here and in other ROM Hacking groups, then I know that all of us are doing an astoundingly good job with what we do, I speak on behalf of the entire forum that what you will learn from all of us will be able to aide you strongly if you ever are to work on any projects for here or anywhere else. (:

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When it comes down to it, if you're going to make an upgraded NHL'94 mostly from scratch, I think you're best off making it in a modern language, on modern operating systems, incorporating modern networking techniques, instead of dealing with the overhead and limitations of working on an archaic, obsolete platform. The game will be better and take less time.

This is the way to go, IMO. It would be so cool to use NHL'94 as the "goal", but programmed in a modern language for a PC or a modern console. My dream would be to have it still look pixelated, but with the exact same feel and physics of the Genesis version. Once you have that basis, build on that by adding more bells and whistles. (Eliminating bugs, adding drop passes, etc.)

There should be a kickstarter for this! I bet a lot of people would throw in some $$$ to get this going!

It would also be amazing if there could be a contest to make a prototype, that just showed one skater doing a shootout with a goalie, with the top down view that we know and love. If a bunch of people entered the contest, with a reward of like $5000 plus a contract to design the full game, we'd be able to get rid of the pretenders. I think with just a prototype that had skating, shooting and goalie control you'd be able to determine if the programmer/s could recreate the "magic".

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This is the way to go, IMO. It would be so cool to use NHL'94 as the "goal", but programmed in a modern language for a PC or a modern console. My dream would be to have it still look pixelated, but with the exact same feel and physics of the Genesis version. Once you have that basis, build on that by adding more bells and whistles. (Eliminating bugs, adding drop passes, etc.)

There should be a kickstarter for this! I bet a lot of people would throw in some $$$ to get this going!

It would also be amazing if there could be a contest to make a prototype, that just showed one skater doing a shootout with a goalie, with the top down view that we know and love. If a bunch of people entered the contest, with a reward of like $5000 plus a contract to design the full game, we'd be able to get rid of the pretenders. I think with just a prototype that had skating, shooting and goalie control you'd be able to determine if the programmer/s could recreate the "magic".

I can't help but have the sense that there's massive, massive potential here, if this was pulled off. Maybe it's just the circles I travel in, but aren't people always complaining about the direction EA has taken the series? Like, not just here (obviously), but everywhere?

And it's like, part of that disatisfaction is in the fact that EA has completely cornered the market. Like, EA's "NHL" series is to video game hockey, what "Kleenex" is to facial tissues. It's the only game game in town, and the brand name has become synonymous with the product.

But anyway, talking about the physics...the 'feel': Imagine if someone, or some group, could figure that out, and nail it down, and have it be like an "engine" that could just be reused over and over. Year after year. EA couldn't do anything about it, I don't think(?). You can't copyright a "feel", can you? And at the end of the day, it's all still hockey anyway.

It's so intriguing to me because what we're talking about is so simple. We're talking about the ways in which ten sprites move along a 2-D surface. It's so basic. Well, in concept, at least.

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Clockwise has some interesting thoughts on this subject, and he may even be going down this path. I don't know enough to say anything useful, but something like this is definitely possible. Kickstarting a '94 remake under a modern gaming platform like Steam. You can likely circumvent the player licenses by allowing users to create their own players/teams....so users would re-create the '94 teams, rosters and ratings.

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You can likely circumvent the player licenses by allowing users to create their own players/teams....so users would re-create the '94 teams, rosters and ratings.

Yeah, that is what I was thinking, too. You could have the game have 3o "blank" teams, with so-and-so many "blank" players on each, and then let people customize them, and export the data files they create. The beauty would be allowing users to download and share these data files. You could have every imagneable scenario (historic rosters, present day teams and rosters, Olympic squads, etc.) without worrying about intellectual property. I think.

Edited by aqualizard
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Would it still be like that today? Like, has there been any technological advancements that would make making a 16-bit game today, any easier?

All great answers so far, but I think should stress that making a game with a "16-bit" look and feel, would be a lot easier than trying to code something that could run on an actual 16-bit console. The vast majority of the current games with retro styled graphics or pixel art, would not have been coded in assembler.

If you've got spare time, you could play around with the Python language and it's game development module, PyGame (http://www.pygame.org/hifi.html). It will seem daunting at first, but once you dive in, you'll find that once you start making progress, it becomes really addictive!

A cool thing about PyGame is that you can look at the code for other projects, which might give you some ideas. Unfortunately, their website is atrocious and next to impossible to navigate and find stuff. You might find it easier to just use google to find other projects. Eg.

site:http://www.pygame.org/ hockey

I was able to find a few sports games this way:

http://www.pygame.org/tags/sports

If you want to try out making a game in Python, there are a couple of free books that might help you out here:

https://inventwithpython.com/

Also, one piece of advice is to start small! The majority of projects end up being a lot more work than first expected, and don't end up being finished. A better approach is to start with something very simple and slowly adding pieces to it.

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But anyway, talking about the physics...the 'feel': Imagine if someone, or some group, could figure that out, and nail it down, and have it be like an "engine" that could just be reused over and over. Year after year.

That is exactly right. You could use the engine or really the whole game year after year, with minor tweak/improvements. That is in fact what EA did from 1991 until 1994 with the game we know and love, and possibly longer..

EDIT: Grrrr... multiquote did not work.

Edited by aqualizard
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Yeah, that is what I was thinking, too. You could have the game have 3o "blank" teams, with so-and-so many "blank" players on each, and then let people customize them, and export the data files they create. The beauty would be allowing users to download and share these data files. You could have every imagneable scenario (historic rosters, present day teams and rosters, Olympic squads, etc.) without worrying about intellectual property. I think.

Uh huh. By having it as a built in feature, and not something that has to be hacked-in, imagine the possibilities. Thousands of teams, colors, configurations, etc. all instantly swappable.

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I suck at multiquote too...

All great answers so far, but I think should stress that making a game with a "16-bit" look and feel, would be a lot easier than trying to code something that could run on an actual 16-bit console. The vast majority of the current games with retro styled graphics or pixel art, would not have been coded in assembler.

A cool thing about PyGame is that you can look at the code for other projects, which might give you some ideas. Unfortunately, their website is atrocious and next to impossible to navigate and find stuff. You might find it easier to just use google to find other projects. Eg.

site:http://www.pygame.org/ hockey

I was able to find a few sports games this way:

http://www.pygame.org/tags/sports

If you want to try out making a game in Python, there are a couple of free books that might help you out here:

https://inventwithpython.com/

Also, one piece of advice is to start small! The majority of projects end up being a lot more work than first expected, and don't end up being finished. A better approach is to start with something very simple and slowly adding pieces to it.

Thanks for this. I'm learning so much.

I tried finding sports games on that pygame site too. It was confusing. Anyway, a couple of those soccer games look really intriguing.

Edited by hnfoo
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I found this reddit post/thread. I haven't read the whole thread, but the OP's post is great. The subject of the post/thread is exactly what we're talking about here. He's thinking just like us, and has some good insights I think. Def. worth a read.:

https://www.reddit.com/r/wiiu/comments/2hdgcp/any_demand_for_an_nhl94style_hockey_game_with/

Something else...

I mentioned the Streets of Rage Remake game/project earlier, and I think it's worth expanding on that a bit.

The people that made it, managed to recreate, exactly, the 'feel' of the original games. Seriously. It feels like it was made by the original creators. Even the graphics are replicated perfectly. And, it was all from scratch, using modern tools (It's a Windows/PC game,btw).

From SOR Online:

The game is programmed from scratch in Fenix programming language (which was developed specifically for 2D games development). It does not use reverse engineering nor a single line of code from the original games. It's all based on visual interpretation, and also sports a whole host of special features and upgrades which bring the SOR gameplay experience into the 21st century, without compromising the classic 'feel' of the originals. The game has 18 playable characters, including a fully recreated Adam in SOR2/3 style, new characters 'Rudra' and 'Elle' (Electra) and a host of awesome new music remixes! Mr. X and the Syndicate are back (again!), more powerful than ever! It's time to once again walk the Streets of Rage!

http://www.soronline.net/sorr_info.htm

Edited by hnfoo
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I tried finding sports games on that pygame site too. It was confusing. Anyway, a couple of those soccer games look really intriguing.

Yeah, it's a real shame, because pygame seems like a pretty good introduction for new game programmers. It seems like the owners of the website aren't getting along with the rest of the community, and haven't kept up with the site.

While Python is a great way to learn programming (it was the first language taught to computer science students when I was in college), the number of resources available for game development are limited. Another idea would just be to go with one of the more powerful lower level languages. A lot of new programmers end up going this route, so it's definitely doable. C++ is probably what most games are written in, but it is known to have a reasonably large learning curve. If you go this route, I'd recommend trying out C#. It would be more than powerful enough for this type of game, and would be a gentler introduction to programming. Also, there are a ton of resources available for learning it, including those aimed specifically at game development. A good number of commercial games have been written in it, so it would still be a good skill to have if you want to pursue other projects.

All that aside, whether you choose Pygame, C#, commodore basic,.., etc., the biggest thing is to simply start coding! If you get something started, be sure to let us know. I can't commit to making a game from scratch, but I'd love to help out a bit.

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C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do it blows your whole leg off.

-- Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of the C++ programming language.
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But anyway, talking about the physics...the 'feel': Imagine if someone, or some group, could figure that out, and nail it down, and have it be like an "engine" that could just be reused over and over. Year after year. EA couldn't do anything about it, I don't think(?). You can't copyright a "feel", can you? And at the end of the day, it's all still hockey anyway.

EA themselves couldn't figure out the damn "feel". That crappy '94 mode they did a few years ago stunk.

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Yeah, it's a real shame, because pygame seems like a pretty good introduction for new game programmers. It seems like the owners of the website aren't getting along with the rest of the community, and haven't kept up with the site.

While Python is a great way to learn programming (it was the first language taught to computer science students when I was in college), the number of resources available for game development are limited. Another idea would just be to go with one of the more powerful lower level languages. A lot of new programmers end up going this route, so it's definitely doable. C++ is probably what most games are written in, but it is known to have a reasonably large learning curve. If you go this route, I'd recommend trying out C#. It would be more than powerful enough for this type of game, and would be a gentler introduction to programming. Also, there are a ton of resources available for learning it, including those aimed specifically at game development. A good number of commercial games have been written in it, so it would still be a good skill to have if you want to pursue other projects.

All that aside, whether you choose Pygame, C#, commodore basic,.., etc., the biggest thing is to simply start coding! If you get something started, be sure to let us know. I can't commit to making a game from scratch, but I'd love to help out a bit.

Thanks for the addtional info, Skeletor.

For the sake of clarity, I don't envision myself personally taking on this project, for the main reason that I know truly F-all about coding, and don't think I have the aptitude for it. I'd love to be involved in a potential project, in some way, though. Not sure how, though.

EA themselves couldn't figure out the damn "feel". That crappy '94 mode they did a few years ago stunk.

Yeah, remember there was that press release from someone at EA - or interview or something, around that time? The EA person seemed to have the wrong idea about why it is that 94' maintains it's sort of cult status. IIRC, there was no mention of the physics. They saw it as a "simplicity" in the gameplay thing (which is no doubt partly true), and also, that people's desire to play the 94 style again, was more of a novelty thing. Like, they'll fire it up every so often for a quick game, but really, they prefer playing the recent iterations.

I think they underestimate both the size of the demographic to which that is definetely NOT the case; and also, I think they lack the vision to see what a game, with the 92-94 'feel', would be like, if it was expanded/built-upon and improved further, and what the audience for such a game would be. I think it would be much larger than just the diehards like us.

It's so obvious. When 92-94 came out, people who didn't know anything about hockey, still loved the game. That's what made it a huge hit! It sold well in England FFS.

It's comparable to something like "EA presents: Cricket 2016" becoming a hit in the US. If that happened, you'd know you had a hit on your hands, and that it had little to do with people caring about Cricket.

Edited by hnfoo
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excellent points. EA can't hear us through all the money, though. so we've got that going for us, which is nice. Nintendo, on the other hand, is cracking down on the likes of us, probably mostly to keep Mario Maker aloft as much as popsicle.

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Just for fun and to keep this thread rolling...

Let's say the 94 engine was re-created, from scratch, perfectly. Do you stop there? Or, do you try to improve it? Maybe you do both. Why limit yourself?

Maybe you have an "original mode", and "new mode".

For the new mode, what would you try to do?

One, probably simple thing, I would do, would be to make it slightly easier to score with a slap shot. Like, on a PP, with a slapper from the point. In 94', rarely, if ever, are there goals like these. In 93', this happens a little more frequently. Sometimes, it was because the goalie was way out of position (which happens a lot in 93'), but also, sometimes not. Sometimes, the goalie just doesn't make the save.

This brings about a much deeper gameplay question/subject, which is:

In the early EA games, there are a handful of sure-fire ways to score. We all know them. Once you know what they are, and how to execute them, they can be pulled off pretty much at will (provided you have the right player).

Is this good or bad, do you think?

On the one hand, it rewards skill, and that is crucial. If everything was random, and the likelihood of scoring was based on say...how many shots you had accumulated up until that point, I don't think that would be good. You'd wind up with too many lame-ass goals that required no skill on the part of the player - and too many skillful, adept attempts, being stopped. No good (imo).

On the other hand, having certain moves/scoring techniques succeeding at, or near, a rate of 100%, has obvious drawbacks. Mainly, it makes playing the computer fairly predictable and boring.

A simple solution I think, would be to just add a little more variation in the abilities of the AI goalies. Using the "forehand dunk" (video here) as an example: it's a move which is easy to learn and pull-off, dexterity wise (i.e. it's not like doing Zangief's spinning pile-driver in SF II), and it can be successfully executed even with in-game players of fairly low skill ratings. With a Roenick or Yzerman, it's beyond easy. You will always score.

Conceptually, on paper, it would be very easy to eliminate the automatic success rate of this move, by making it so that the goalie, occasionally, "stands on his head". Say, have even the lowest rated goalie in the game, stop Roenick (as an example) 2 or 3 times out of ten (for example). Maybe even have this tied-in to the current game context/situation (near the end of a close game, OT, an early blowout, etc.) and maybe in turn, tie that in with a "clutch" rating, and a "choke" rating. At this point it occurs to me that newer 'NHL' games might have something like this?

But, it would be important that this new increase in the unpredictability of the A.I., be kept visually and otherwise, in the "realm" of the AI. Like, if you did a forehand dunk, and the AI determined that in this instance, it was NOT going to be successful, the feedback to the player, both visually, and through the controller, would have to be same as on a goal. Like, it couldn't be that the puck comes off the stick differently, or the player (on-screen) moved differently, or wasn't as responsive, in those split seconds. It would have to be that the goalie just moved quicker. This all seems kind of obvious, but there are some fighting games where I think the AI cheats in this way. Like when you crank up the difficulty setting, and suddenly your character seems to not react as quickly. Though, there's a good chance I'm completely wrong about all this. I don't know anything about AI.

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Is it alright if I just keep posting relevant/related s**t in this thread? Make it like a sort of one-stop-shop for this subject? If not, someone tell me. Moving on...

Here's a recent thread, with someone working on a game? If you go to the github page that he links, there's a bunch of hockey sounding stuff on it.

http://forum.nhl94.com/index.php/topic/16706-looking-for-a-sprite-sheet-for-a-nhl94-like-hockey-game

Edited by hnfoo
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