NES Puzzle Maker (Make puzzle games on your NES!)

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NES Puzzle Maker (Make puzzle games on your NES!)
by on (#231281)
Happy New Year!

I've been working on a little toy that I suspect some folks here might enjoy. It's a little puzzle game maker that runs on the NES. Created games can be downloaded as their own separate roms, as well!


The site linked above provides a javascript emulator that can run the game maker, as well as hosting for any games you create! The website integrates with the emulator to let you directly export your games.

If you prefer make your game on an emulator or a real console, the game will create QR codes you can upload to the site and get a full rom! You can also save them to the cartridge for future play. (Note: QR code pictures may not work from CRT tvs.)

Give it a try!

(ps: No, this is not a replacement for nes-starter-kit! That project continues, and in fact I built this with it!)


You guys might also enjoy some of the trickery I used to make this possible. Some random fun facts:
  • There's only one rom generated using cc65/ca65/etc. Everything else is done by strategically patching the final ROM.
  • Level data is included at the beginning of a bank (roughly) and thus always lives at the same spot in the ROM
  • Each game is exactly 256 bytes. (Some of which are now unused...) Each QR code contains 128 bytes.
  • The emulator's SRAM is readable via our web emulator, so we just read the raw bytes to show all the information on the website
  • The single game ROM actually works off of modifying a single byte at a defined position - the rom's code checks this byte and skips the title when it is set to a known value.
  • The same tactic is used to hide the "Export" button in the emulator copy of the ROM
  • The QR code generation was heavily modified from an existing C library. (And still needs a lot of help, hence being so slow!)
Re: NES Puzzle Maker (Make puzzle games on your NES!)
by on (#231336)
This is amazing! I am kinda lost though, I guess it takes some time to get used to the website.
Re: NES Puzzle Maker (Make puzzle games on your NES!)
by on (#231380)
That looks interesting. I will see if I can try it soon.
Re: NES Puzzle Maker (Make puzzle games on your NES!)
by on (#231556)
This is really cool! The presentation is nice too.
Re: NES Puzzle Maker (Make puzzle games on your NES!)
by on (#231605)
I was able to try it today.

I'm not a big fan of puzzle games but the idea is interesting. I tried both games but didn't try to make a level yet.

Good work :D
Re: NES Puzzle Maker (Make puzzle games on your NES!)
by on (#232209)
I made a couple small tweaks to the site today - they should make it easier to download a ROM without having to share to the site. (In retrospect, this should have been something people would obviously want. Hindsight's 20/20 and all that...)

I'd welcome some input on how to make the editor more intuitive. I know enough to know it's still a little confusing to start using, but I'm struggling to find ways to improve.

I'm also debating trimming this down/stripping out the editor, and seeing if I can't make a puzzle game collection for Category 2 (the non-contest). I'd be able to fit at least 8 games in pretty easily, if anyone manages to make something interesting with this!
Re: NES Puzzle Maker (Make puzzle games on your NES!)
by on (#232675)
Ummmmmm soooooooo I just so happen to be really into making puzzle games.

I haven't checked out the resources 100% yet, but are you saying that with your tools that I can make my own puzzle levels with them and then export to a NES rom?

Because, it would be something that I think I might just fall in love with.

I got NESmaker, but I don't like creating all of the assets. I just want to have pre-made assets and do creative stuff with them.

What I want however, is to make the puzzle rooms and be able to make it like my own game and change the graphics.
Re: NES Puzzle Maker (Make puzzle games on your NES!)
by on (#232785)

The tool itself can do everything except change the graphics right now; your understanding is correct! The only thing is that I do not give a good way to replace the built-in graphics. (Though that could be a fun extension some day)

If you have graphics that you are willing to let others use, I'd be happy to add them to the tool! Otherwise we would have to do something slightly custom.

If you want to get started yourself, you could use something like Shiru's NES Screen Tool to replace the existing game tiles and sprites. (Use the import menu to pull in the NES file, and choose the "bank" matching what you want to replace, then use the export menu to save the new graphics to that same rom) The one challenge after that is that the credits screen would show the wrong information about the sprites. I don't have a quick fix for that problem.

I saw your pm as well; will be replying shortly.