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How long would it take a beginning programmer to recreate a NES game?

#11EGMRULZPosted 2/23/2014 2:43:38 PM
Assuming all the texture work and sounds are done? Or are you really saying from "scratch" meaning without having those things?
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#12JKatarnPosted 2/23/2014 4:51:23 PM
SuperSmashKart posted...
Creating NES game with an engine, it should take about a day... it's not really aides...

Creating an engine will take quite sometime...

If you want tips or feedback, use this board
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/210-game-design-and-programming


If you know what you're doing in GameMaker/Unity, yeah, you could wing out say a Breakout or Asteroids calibre game in a single day, but something more complex like a Mario or Zelda? No way, you have to design the levels, bugtest the levels/NPC/powerup etc. behavior etc. Just because a game is easy to pick up and play doesn't mean anybody can throw said game together in a day.
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#13SullyTheStrangePosted 2/23/2014 5:16:26 PM
JKatarn posted...
If you know what you're doing in GameMaker/Unity, yeah, you could wing out say a Breakout or Asteroids calibre game in a single day, but something more complex like a Mario or Zelda? No way, you have to design the levels, bugtest the levels/NPC/powerup etc. behavior etc. Just because a game is easy to pick up and play doesn't mean anybody can throw said game together in a day.

Being very experienced in Unity and knowing Super Mario Bros. like the back of my hand, I'm confident I could make it in a day. It'd be a long day, sure, but it seems doable. Can't say the same for Zelda though.
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#14ElDudorinoPosted 2/23/2014 6:42:00 PM
Learning to put together something like the first Super Mario Bros. game is fairly simple even if you have zero programming experience. You can follow a guide to put together the skeleton of your game engine or just familiarize yourself with enough of the basics to figure out how to make sprites, detect collisions, etc. Then you can kinda just mess with the numbers a bit here and there to figure out how much acceleration you want when you move (or if you want acceleration-free movement, as many games do, which makes controlling the character effortless), how high you can jump and how far you glide at the apex of your jump, things like that. Maybe give enemies a health value so you have to jump on them more than once or hit them with more than one fireball, that kind of thing. I strongly suggest following a tutorial, and if you do then even as somebody who had never programmed anything before you could learn and execute all that in one day with some dedication.

Depending on how complex you want your game to be, though, you could be looking at a lot of headaches and a lot more research time. Super Mario Bros. is a pretty basic tile-based platformer but if you look at Super Mario Bros. 3, for example, the game is still tile-based but now has slopes to take into account. Slopes can get very tricky and may even require you to re-think your collision detection. Or let's say you want your game world to be a number of inter-connected screens instead of just being "levels" with a distinct beginning and end. Now you need a smooth and logical way for the player to transition from one screen to the next without putting them in the wrong place or otherwise breaking up the gameplay. You can avoid this if you connect every game screen with a door or something but otherwise you've just added a new level of complexity. Or let's say you want an inventory system... that's something new to manage. There are some reasonably complex NES-era games that would be a major challenge for a beginning programmer to reproduce, but some of the best-loved ones are not necessarily the most complex.

Graphics, sound effects, music and levels would make up the bulk of the work for most games, though. Putting together your basic engine might not take that long, and then as you add new features like a new boss with new AI you'd just kinda add the code as you go, but you can spend a really long time getting together those resources that actually tie everything together and take you from having a game engine to having a game.
#15MrMonkhouse(Topic Creator)Posted 2/24/2014 2:20:30 AM
SullyTheStrange posted...
JKatarn posted...
If you know what you're doing in GameMaker/Unity, yeah, you could wing out say a Breakout or Asteroids calibre game in a single day, but something more complex like a Mario or Zelda? No way, you have to design the levels, bugtest the levels/NPC/powerup etc. behavior etc. Just because a game is easy to pick up and play doesn't mean anybody can throw said game together in a day.

Being very experienced in Unity and knowing Super Mario Bros. like the back of my hand, I'm confident I could make it in a day. It'd be a long day, sure, but it seems doable. Can't say the same for Zelda though.


Yeah but you have experience. I'm talking about how long it would take someone to get there from 0 xp.
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#16SullyTheStrangePosted 2/24/2014 2:31:54 AM
MrMonkhouse posted...
Yeah but you have experience. I'm talking about how long it would take someone to get there from 0 xp.

Yeah I know, I was just answering that other guy who said Mario couldn't be done in a day even with experience.

Starting from absolutely nothing is a totally different story... But assuming you'd use Gamemaker / Unity, it wouldn't be crazy long. My first foray into game programming was with a Gamemaker-like program called Construct, and I taught myself how to use it by recreating Super Mario World. I didn't do the whole game but after about two months of on-and-off work I had the core gameplay down, plus my own new power-ups. Construct doesn't use code, though, so if I also needed to wrap my head around the syntax of a programming language it might've taken a bit longer.
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There's a lot of places in the world with C4 and yogurt.
#17ElDudorinoPosted 2/24/2014 10:05:58 AM
There's a book that I really can't recommend highly enough called "XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example," written by Kurt Jaegers. The book comes in two editions: the standard one written for the C# programming language, and "Visual Basic Edition." This book is a series of line-by-line tutorials on how to create a simple Pipe Dream-esque game, a vertically-scrolling shooter, a twin-stick shooter and a platformer with its own simple level editor, with each game you make growing slightly in complexity. Every time it tells you to write some code, it tells you why you did it and what the code does or represents. You can power through it in a matter of hours and you'll end up with four simple but fully playable games and you'll be completely capable of improving them or starting over with a new one if you paid attention, even if you'd never programmed anything previously.

If you're asking for yourself and not just for general knowledge, I think you can't really go wrong with this resource.
#18MeatballsoupPosted 2/24/2014 10:11:06 AM
Sounds like yet another beginner programmer setting himself up to learn to hate programing.

Start with the simple stuff first, work with an API. Doing things from scratch the first time around is a mistake and you will be overwhelmed with how much work is required. You learn high level to low. Not the other way around.
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#19cancerstormPosted 2/24/2014 10:25:00 AM
if you actually want to draw all the sprites and textures yourself, it would be insanely stupid, a waste of time, and also not very relevant to learning how to code

taking advantage of existing code and libraries isn't cheating. most places will show you the code for certain public libraries so if you want to see how they work, it's there
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