Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)

Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#218880)
I feel like I'm missing on some great homebrew games simply because they usually don't get the attention they deserve. When a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound? The point is clear.

So I was thinking, is there any idea for a repository of free/paid homebrew games, possibly with reviews/scores? I'm talking about something user friendly with many screenshots for different games with categories being displayed at once on the page instead of a simple huge text list. I understand there's a difficulty in managing these things, but I feel like having users being able to submit entries and other users rating the games would naturally help keep things organized. And so much effort goes into making these homebrews, that it is a shame that only a handful of people get to actually even know they exist.

Also, I know RHDN has a homebrews section, but it seems that it is under used. Should we just get to submitting existing homebrews there? It isn't really ideal for this because you don't get a nice list of games with screenshots, it's just a text list though...
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#218884)
PDRoms tries to keep tabs on what exists -- they have a news section with announcements, and a files sections with lists of games (each with a screenshot and description). But it's missing some of the features you're talking about, and there's so much content that it's a little overwhelming.

In particular, without some sort of rating system, it's hard to find good high quality games that are buried in the noise.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#218887)
How often is the projects section of the wiki updated?
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#218888)
I have a list of homebrews on my website. The problem with it, I am unable to play EVERY game, and uninterested in rating games.

I mostly rely on YouTube reviews, but they seem to be hit or miss, and incomplete. Like, Haunted Halloween 86 has been out for a long time, and I've yet to see a video of anyone beating it. I'd call that incomplete.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#218889)
Best of: http://www.nesworld.com/article.php?sys ... rew_bestof
Absolutely everything: http://www.nesworld.com/article.php?sys ... eshomebrew
For the absolutely everything list, it's missing screenshots (or screenshots need a click to see), but it's still very complete.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#218890)
dougeff wrote:
Haunted Halloween 86 has been out for a long time, and I've yet to see a video of anyone beating it.

I recently got around to figuring out how to stream stuff, so I thought I'd give this one a live shot sometime soon. Maybe Black Box Challenge as well.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#218911)
@dougeff: I had seen your page. Pretty good selection and it has reviews and screenshots! Very helpful to find some good homebrew games.
@kasumi: I had seen that page in the past, and it seems to be only missing the screenshots and ratings, but wow it sure does have a really great amount of games. I hadn't seen the "best of" version of it though, but taste can be arbitrary and it seems to me that one person judges what is best and what isn't. A good format (and I'm glad the page exists), but not ideal.

Haunted Halloween 86 is an example of a game I don't know much about. So it's worth playing? See, that's why it'd be great to have a better way to find games.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#218919)
I've been musing on the need for a Retro STEAM. A store that has only "actual on hardware" titles, blurbs, new releases screenshots, movies, early warning radar, following this platform/publisher/developer yadda yadda. A key aspect would be having it install things for the right platform. So if you have a NES title, and you are on the Retro Pi version it will download the ROM put it in the right place, add the screenshot, text etc for the carousel, if you have an everdrive it will know that Mapper of the ROM is and it will be able to say if it is Everdrive/other flash cart compatible or not, and when you install it, you connect to the cart via USB and it will program the flash for them, if its SD based it copies the file with or without header as the device needs etc. So the great unwashed can use it. If you're on a PC it will launch your preferred emulator with the right boot config to run the game ( probably not a big issue for the NES )
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#218927)
Some publishers do not share ROMs. I think such a ROM-downloader would be begging for piracy.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#218934)
It must have some sort of moderation, of course. Not only for pirates but for other things. And it having community feedback there could be a "claim ownership" (which would be reviewed) and "flag as innapropriate" checkboxes. Yeah, it's work.

I tried to implement a quick test of this on a new page on my website but I have zero experience with web coding so it didn't go anywhere.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219509)
Kasumi wrote:
Best of: http://www.nesworld.com/article.php?sys ... rew_bestof
Absolutely everything: http://www.nesworld.com/article.php?sys ... eshomebrew
For the absolutely everything list, it's missing screenshots (or screenshots need a click to see), but it's still very complete.


Who owns that? I'd like to have my game removed. Well, at least the old version of it, the A53 release build is better in every way.

edit: didn't realize how old the last post was. Sorry for bumping the thread.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219510)
There's an email link near the top of the page. He's a bit slow to respond, but I'm sure he'll listen to your request.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219554)
At Super Mario World Central its a SMW site which has a database that pretty much covers all SMW hacks minus maybe some Japanese hacks.

It would be really nice if there were an up to date centralized site for NES homebrew or homebrews for every console.

Users or devs could release the entire rom if they choose or they could release a demo. It could be a great way to search for new stuff. With the NESmaker tools being released soon there will be tons more NES content so yeah, someone make a database.

Make a database where the users can upload their roms or demo roms of their homebrew games.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219583)
Erockbrox wrote:
Make a database where the users can upload their roms or demo roms of their homebrew games.
We could make a page on the wiki...?
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219600)
It should be a site where you can actually download the roms or demos too. I don't know if wiki allows downloading.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219611)
I think it'd be more important to have users be able to upload it themselves and rate/comment on hacks. Otherwise it's just going to be the same thing as the list that has already been posted in this thread. This one http://www.nesworld.com/article.php?sys ... eshomebrew
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219622)
Isn't that what RHDN is already?
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219642)
True, but as I've already mentioned, RHDN lacks in browsing the homebrews, as it is a text list with no screenshots and no sorting by category or rating. The whole idea is a place where you can find the homebrews that you would like, and no place has a proper way to do that without having to download and play EVERY homebrew, which is kind of impossible.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219644)
They have screenshots.

Oh you mean on the search page? Oh well.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219646)
Yeah, ideally it would be something like steam or apple store or googleplay, but that isn't feasible. I just wish there was a middle ground instead of a crude list in alphabetical order.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219664)
The problem with making it as attractive as Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Steam, or the console app stores is that this sort of visually attractive layout requires a lot of art resources to be associated with each app. I'm guessing at least these will be required: an icon, 2-5 screenshots, possibly a video or two, and a manual. Given how programmer-heavy this scene is, I'm not entirely sure all homebrew developers would have the resources to create high-quality art to promote a downloadable game, particularly one not quite as ambitious as Nova the Squirrel. And if they do, it's the sort of game that gets a cartridge release rather than a downloadable one.

Creating the video in particular would require us to figure out what emulators that run on Windows, macOS, and X11/Linux can output video of acceptable quality. Wine isn't a quick answer because many emulators' video output feature works in Windows but fails in Wine.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219673)
Yeah, no need to go that far. Get a middle ground. A single gameplay screenshot is enough, no need to make art designed specifically for the website and no need to have several pages, etc. Just a browsing page and an entry page (for the game).
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219674)
tepples wrote:
Creating the video in particular would require us to figure out what emulators that run on Windows, macOS, and X11/Linux can output video of acceptable quality.
FYI, Mesen's AVI recording is platform agnostic and works on both - it only supports a couple of (lossless) codecs, though (but it's simple enough to re-encode to anything else w/ ffmpeg)

If I wasn't busy w/ Mesen already, making a minimalist website that could be used to enter/edit the data and rate them wouldn't be all that hard... and then I could export the data and show that in Mesen, too :p
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219680)
There is this page on the wiki:
http://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/Projects

There could easily be a page dedicated to homebrew games, I suppose. The list right now is only as long as the interest level of people who maintain it.

As for uploading files, you can upload things to the wiki, though you can also upload to a forum thread and link directly to the thread download too.

You shouldn't be uploading other people's ROMs to the forum or wiki without permission though. Just because something is demo that's made available for free does not constitute permission to redistribute it however you want. Though probably a lot of people wouldn't mind, you should absolutely ask first.

The approach I favour here is usually to link to the forum post where the author has attached it, giving that author the ability to edit and re-upload as needed, and a place to provide an introduction or commentary (directly linking to the ROM does not give any of these advantages).
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219759)
When I think of a site of homebrews I think of a site that tries to support the actual people making the games.

For example, you go to the site and you start browsing around. You see a game you like then you download the demo. Then you want to buy it either in digital form or cartridge form. So on the game page there is a link to the authors website with details on how to buy the game. It's all about bringing business to the developers.

Releasing a demo is perfectly fine and I honestly like to play it a little before I take the plunge with my wallet. There doesn't have to be promotional art or a manual to show off if the author doesn't want to. All you need are some screenshots. A youtube video would be nice and even if the author doesn't know how to make a youtube video they can always provide a link to someone else who did some gameplay and maybe a good review.

I think this website should be for all homebrew not just NES, but all systems. It would be really nice to be able to find whatever you want all on one site.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219760)
Erockbrox wrote:
When I think of a site of homebrews I think of a site that tries to support the actual people making the games.

For example, you go to the site and you start browsing around. You see a game you like then you download the demo. Then you want to buy it either in digital form or cartridge form. So on the game page there is a link to the authors website with details on how to buy the game. It's all about bringing business to the developers.

Releasing a demo is perfectly fine and I honestly like to play it a little before I take the plunge with my wallet. There doesn't have to be promotional art or a manual to show off if the author doesn't want to. All you need are some screenshots. A youtube video would be nice and even if the author doesn't know how to make a youtube video they can always provide a link to someone else who did some gameplay and maybe a good review.

I think this website should be for all homebrew not just NES, but all systems. It would be really nice to be able to find whatever you want all on one site.

This seems to describe itch.io quite well:
https://itch.io/
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219763)
http://www.homebrewlegends.com/

Seems to be new on the scene, but what they're trying to do is in line with a lot of what I've seen mentioned in this thread.
It relies on authors to submit an entry for their own games: http://www.homebrewlegends.com/submit/
…and I've been meaning to get around to getting the images together to do so for the games I've worked on.

itch.io is very good. I wish they had NES/FC as a platform to choose from though, as I'd like to be able to just view the NES homebrew on there, and searching "NES" results in having to manually filter through a bunch of faux-NES-style PC games.
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219831)
rainwarrior wrote:
There is this page on the wiki:
http://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/Projects

There could easily be a page dedicated to homebrew games, I suppose. The list right now is only as long as the interest level of people who maintain it.

As for uploading files, you can upload things to the wiki, though you can also upload to a forum thread and link directly to the thread download too.

You shouldn't be uploading other people's ROMs to the forum or wiki without permission though. Just because something is demo that's made available for free does not constitute permission to redistribute it however you want. Though probably a lot of people wouldn't mind, you should absolutely ask first.

The approach I favour here is usually to link to the forum post where the author has attached it, giving that author the ability to edit and re-upload as needed, and a place to provide an introduction or commentary (directly linking to the ROM does not give any of these advantages).


The one place where a dedicated site could shine over the wiki is searching/tagging. Lets say I want to go find finished multiplayer coop games. Something like a wiki wouldn't provide as many search/filtering capabilities as a dedicated site that was designed for that sort of thing.

Sour wrote:
and then I could export the data and show that in Mesen, too


That would be pretty neat to have access to it directly from the emulator, which is another advantage of a site with a structured data back-end. You're tempting me to take on yet another side project, here....
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219834)
gauauu wrote:
The one place where a dedicated site could shine over the wiki is searching/tagging. Lets say I want to go find finished multiplayer coop games. Something like a wiki wouldn't provide as many search/filtering capabilities as a dedicated site that was designed for that sort of thing.

Well, wikis do have a tagging feature called "categories", but it's on a per-article basis, and searching by multiple tags remains obtuse. ;) You could probably get pretty close with sortable tables though, if you really wanted to.

I was more just responding to people that were saying "maybe we should have a page on the wiki..." to show that we already have a partial implementation there, but the problem isn't so much a lack of a more feature-packed database environment as it is just a lack of people dedicated to the cause of documenting and categorizing these things. We have many wiki articles about various homebrews too, but it's very sparse and inconsistent.

Database features are cool, but they're not useful until you have maintainers who will put data into them. ;P
Re: Homebrew central (catalog, etc?)
by on (#219838)
rainwarrior wrote:
Database features are cool, but they're not useful until you have maintainers who will put data into them. ;P


Yeah, it's a chicken-and-egg problem. Until you reach a certain size, people won't show up and maintain data. But you need those people to get to that size.