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Thread: Why haven't homebrew devs done a Beat 'em up yet?

  1. #26
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    Yeah a new beat em up would be a nice addition to the Neo geo line up. I think shoot em ups and run and gun games are more popular so perhaps that plays a role in what genre they make.

    I hope ngdev team still makes new Neo Geo games in the future.
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    You know, perhaps that's mostly because of the Neo's "lack" of belt scrollers, paradoxically enough. This is ultimately a hobby and people will want to make games THEY want to see on the Neo-Geo, and on the Neo itself because of a reverence to the machine. They loved Metal Slug so they made Metal Slug, they loved Pulstar so they made some Pulstars. There's not enough Neo devs around to luck out with one that loves Robo Army that also wants to make another Robo Army.

    Perhaps they also find the number of great belt scrollers sufficient in other platforms, and since the Neo isn't really the place to go for them there's not much point to make one on it. Which also explains why no one is in a rush to port Street Fighter II or whatever smash hit that appeared in the arcades under different hardware, under similar ideas.

    Dunno, that idea certainly has its holes, but I'm just throwing some thoughts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burning Fight!! View Post
    You know, perhaps that's mostly because of the Neo's "lack" of belt scrollers, paradoxically enough. This is ultimately a hobby and people will want to make games THEY want to see on the Neo-Geo, and on the Neo itself because of a reverence to the machine. They loved Metal Slug so they made Metal Slug, they loved Pulstar so they made some Pulstars. There's not enough Neo devs around to luck out with one that loves Robo Army that also wants to make another Robo Army.

    Perhaps they also find the number of great belt scrollers sufficient in other platforms, and since the Neo isn't really the place to go for them there's not much point to make one on it. Which also explains why no one is in a rush to port Street Fighter II or whatever smash hit that appeared in the arcades under different hardware, under similar ideas.

    Dunno, that idea certainly has its holes, but I'm just throwing some thoughts.
    I really don't get the obsession with making homebrew games for old consoles. By their very nature, they're not "authentic" or belong to the time period, so they're inherently contemporary. You can just connect a PC to an arcade monitor or CRT and write a PC game that has far more interesting potential than anything you can do on any of the old machines. I'm sure you'll see people talk about the "challenge" of making games for old hardware or psychopaths pretending that the Neo Geo is made out of pixie dust and unicorn farts and is somehow magical and unique, but it's ultimately just masturbatory bullshit. Anyone who actually cares about games and making them as good as they can be would just make a PC game.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulbousbeard View Post
    I really don't get the obsession with making homebrew games for old consoles. By their very nature, they're not "authentic" or belong to the time period, so they're inherently contemporary. You can just connect a PC to an arcade monitor or CRT and write a PC game that has far more interesting potential than anything you can do on any of the old machines.
    You called it, it's an obsession, so by its very nature something one can't grasp, unless you'll catch one, too ;). You also put quotation marks around authentic, so you're aware how ambiguous the meaning of this word can be. In my opinion, a perfect copy is always possible, audio-visuals and content could be made 1990s or whatever, just a matter of good skills and research. Granted, you can't change the year you live in, but once you start to play, and the game is good, you won't notice the time around you. What is "real", right? Signals interpreted by your brain, which can be tricked.

    Of course, I completely agree with you, a PC has far more interesting potential than any of the old machines, but it's them that got the potential to create an obsession, for example, to make this perfect copy I mentioned. An obsession is a great motivator. Another advantage of those old-timers are their limitations. A PC has unlimited possibilities: you'd have to create the rules yourself, define what you want, make a lot of decisions... exhausting. An oldie does that for you, discards a lot of difficult choices before you even start, helping you to define what you'll do, by telling you what you actually can't do.

    I could imagine that an old console is a better start into serious programming, once you learned your lesson, though, the ultimate goal should be the PC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bulbousbeard View Post
    I really don't get the obsession with making homebrew games for old consoles. By their very nature, they're not "authentic" or belong to the time period, so they're inherently contemporary. You can just connect a PC to an arcade monitor or CRT and write a PC game that has far more interesting potential than anything you can do on any of the old machines. I'm sure you'll see people talk about the "challenge" of making games for old hardware or psychopaths pretending that the Neo Geo is made out of pixie dust and unicorn farts and is somehow magical and unique, but it's ultimately just masturbatory bullshit. Anyone who actually cares about games and making them as good as they can be would just make a PC game.
    The odds of financial success are stacked against you, even if you have a low development cost (not even taking your time into account). If you're only going sell a few titles, you may as well make as much money as possible. Plus, you'll even sell more because people will buy your game for x console even if they wouldn't have if it were the same game on PC. Fewer competitors, too.

    Playtesting and post-sale customer service (no need to distribute updates) may be easier as well. It's interesting to see games on Steam get low scores years later because they no longer run properly on current machines. . . not really the game's fault. It's as good or bad as it ever was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bulbousbeard View Post
    I really don't get the obsession with making homebrew games for old consoles. By their very nature, they're not "authentic" or belong to the time period, so they're inherently contemporary.
    It’s because the Neo geo only had like a 150 or so games released (even less if you only have an AES). So when a new quality game is released it’s a really good thing for the Neo community. That way if your tired of the old games you’ve been playing for 20 years then you have something new to play.

    P.s. we want robo army 2 damnit!
    Last edited by MetalSlugVet; 07-04-2020 at 07:10 AM.
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalSlugVet View Post
    It’s because the Neo geo only had like a 150 or so games released (even less if you only have an AES). So when a new quality game is released it’s a really good thing for the Neo community. That way if your tired of the old games you’ve been playing for 20 years then you have something new to play.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulbousbeard View Post
    I really don't get the obsession with making homebrew games for old consoles. By their very nature, they're not "authentic" or belong to the time period, so they're inherently contemporary. You can just connect a PC to an arcade monitor or CRT and write a PC game that has far more interesting potential than anything you can do on any of the old machines. I'm sure you'll see people talk about the "challenge" of making games for old hardware or psychopaths pretending that the Neo Geo is made out of pixie dust and unicorn farts and is somehow magical and unique, but it's ultimately just masturbatory bullshit. Anyone who actually cares about games and making them as good as they can be would just make a PC game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverSublime View Post
    The odds of financial success are stacked against you, even if you have a low development cost (not even taking your time into account). If you're only going sell a few titles, you may as well make as much money as possible. Plus, you'll even sell more because people will buy your game for x console even if they wouldn't have if it were the same game on PC. Fewer competitors, too.
    Yeah it's a passion project for sure, but some homebrew/modern releases for past consoles have made it onto Steam packaged with emulators and that's the way to go. Rikki and Vikki is a fucking fantastic Atari 7800 game but few people own that system.

    To retread what others have said on the topic it has to be the sheer volume of art assets needed to produce a beat-em-up. Cranking out distinct frames of animation for dozens of characters is a lot of work, let alone getting it to look good in low resolution. That's why Streets of Rage 4 is all hand drawn.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulbousbeard View Post
    I really don't get the obsession with making homebrew games for old consoles. By their very nature, they're not "authentic" or belong to the time period, so they're inherently contemporary. You can just connect a PC to an arcade monitor or CRT and write a PC game that has far more interesting potential than anything you can do on any of the old machines. I'm sure you'll see people talk about the "challenge" of making games for old hardware or psychopaths pretending that the Neo Geo is made out of pixie dust and unicorn farts and is somehow magical and unique, but it's ultimately just masturbatory bullshit. Anyone who actually cares about games and making them as good as they can be would just make a PC game.
    the running trend now is to put it on PC with an emulator too. Sell the ROM digitally for people to use with an emulator or flash drive of choice. It's about putting a game on a platform YOU wanted.

    I mean, with your logic - why bother with any console ever? Why not just make everything for PC now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XxHennersXx View Post
    the running trend now is to put it on PC with an emulator too. Sell the ROM digitally for people to use with an emulator or flash drive of choice. It's about putting a game on a platform YOU wanted.

    I mean, with your logic - why bother with any console ever? Why not just make everything for PC now.
    Contemporary consoles ARE just PCs now. It is more or less write once run everywhere. People develop against engines now--not hardware.

    Unless you're some first or second party dev with a platform holder's dick up your butt, you're not writing games for specific consoles anymore.

    As you probably know, arcade machines are just PCs with security dongles now, too. So yes, that IS what's happening. Everyone's just making everything for the PC now, and it makes a lot of sense.

  12. #37
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    There's very few great beat-em-ups.

    They all seem to fall into 2 traps

    1. Lack of moves so the player gets bored
    2. Lack of variety so the player gets even more bored

    I don't get why it's so hard to design a great one.

    As for homebrew games - beat em ups have a huge amount of graphical data and it's harder to design human-characters who look good. Most homebrews feature space-ships or robots or guys in helmets. Kraut Buster got a lot of criticism from people who didn't like it's 'look'

    Quote Originally Posted by bulbousbeard View Post
    They're more computationally expensive. Beat 'em ups like Final Fight are basically 3D games with 2D graphics. You have to handle X, Y, Z positioning, there are a lot more collisions/physics calculations involved if you want to allow for objects standing on top of each other, and there are more entities to handle than a 1 on 1 fighter. Fighting games have two real objects to handle at any given time. You can have 10-12 entities to handle in a beat 'em up, and the computer controlled ones will be wasting cycles on their AI.
    That is very true. Does anyone remember how slow the original arcade version of Double Dragon got? Great game, but that was coded so badly. I read an interview where the creator said the arcade board wasn't powerful enough to handle it but it was obviously just badly programmed!

    The Neo Geo had issues with sprite priority so that makes it a bit harder. You have to copy a whole sprite to another sprite to change sprite order. I think that hinders Outrun/Space Harrier style games too but it's not much of an obstacle really

    HPMan did a great Neo Geo example engine here (lots of debug info still on screen)

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    Last edited by Missile; Yesterday at 09:42 AM.

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    * As mentioned, Paprium really soured the scene.
    * Beats of Rage - there are some really good mods, and also some really shitty ones.
    * if you don't get the feel of the controls just right, then you end up with a mediocre and forgotten game. - See all Neo Geo beat em ups.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSneth View Post
    * As mentioned, Paprium really soured the scene.
    * Beats of Rage - there are some really good mods, and also some really shitty ones.
    * if you don't get the feel of the controls just right, then you end up with a mediocre and forgotten game. - See all Neo Geo beat em ups.
    It goes far beyond the controls with the SNK Neo beat 'em ups. The sprites play a huge role in how these games feel. If you look at the normals in games like Mutation Nation and Burning Fight, they're just terrible. There's almost no limb extension on the punches. The range is off.

    Guy and Haggar's normal attack sprites are works of art. Even if you just made silhouettes of them, their shapes are perfect. They have just the right extension that allow you to do hitboxes that are both accurate and feel like the range is right.

    Even though Capcom is almost universally considered the king of that genre, they were so far ahead of everyone else that I still think their dominance there is understated. They were simply that much better at making that type of game.

    Sengoku 2 was probably the closest SNK proper came to making one that didn't blow. There was weight to the attacks and good feedback. It still had crap shapes/silhouettes on the animations that made the range of attacks feel terrible compared to Capcom games. It's such a weird game though. With its enemy patterns and emphasis on one hit kills it almost feels like a beat 'em up mixed with Galaga.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Missile View Post
    There's very few great beat-em-ups.

    They all seem to fall into 2 traps

    1. Lack of moves so the player gets bored
    2. Lack of variety so the player gets even more bored

    I don't get why it's so hard to design a great one.

    EDIT: This sounds like a skin deep (maybe gimmick centric?) assessment of the genre.

    There are many elements (some subtle) that I don't think you're taking into account.

    IMO, what makes a "beat 'em up good" is dependent on the type or types of strategy required to progress in the game (strategy doesn't equate to "number of moves")

    If the implementation of the strategy is fun to the player, then I think a game can be considered "good" no matter how basic or stripped down the game may appear. Sometimes a game can afford a wide variety of strategies (like AvP for example, maybe that's what makes a game "great", not sure what your criteria is), many times not so much.

    But what truly constitutes as a lack of variety? If a game has for example only 3 enemy types in total, how many screens are going to function exactly the same as far as enemy placement, timing etc. Probably not as many as one would think.

    A game could consist of nothing but a three hit "auto combo", a jump attack and a throw. But you'll still need to have a grasp on spacing, enemy placement, timing and the requirement of making the quick decision of which tool to use out of your measly three.

    If someone is looking to just button mash with a friend and go "lol" then none of this stuff matters...but a lot of people claim many beat 'em ups are boring because thats exactly how they play them.
    Last edited by andsuchisdeath; Yesterday at 01:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burning Fight!! View Post
    Ever heard of the word 'hobby'?
    You could fill the warehouse at the end of Raiders with all the points this guy has missed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by andsuchisdeath View Post
    EDIT: This sounds like a skin deep (maybe gimmick centric?) assessment of the genre.

    There are many elements (some subtle) that I don't think you're taking into account.

    IMO, what makes a "beat 'em up good" is dependent on the type or types of strategy required to progress in the game (strategy doesn't equate to "number of moves")

    If the implementation of the strategy is fun to the player, then I think a game can be considered "good" no matter how basic or stripped down the game may appear. Sometimes a game can afford a wide variety of strategies (like AvP for example, maybe that's what makes a game "great", not sure what your criteria is), many times not so much.

    But what truly constitutes as a lack of variety? If a game has for example only 3 enemy types in total, how many screens are going to function exactly the same as far as enemy placement, timing etc. Probably not as many as one would think.

    A game could consist of nothing but a three hit "auto combo", a jump attack and a throw. But you'll still need to have a grasp on spacing, enemy placement, timing and the requirement of making the quick decision of which tool to use out of your measly three.

    If someone is looking to just button mash with a friend and go "lol" then none of this stuff matters...but a lot of people claim many beat 'em ups are boring because thats exactly how they play them.
    Well it was basically a 2 line critique so it was never going to be deep. I think it was based on all the bad beat-em-ups I have played and what the first obvious things are that could be done to improve them. A lot of those already have good graphics and solid systems in place but then they waste them by making the player do the same thing using the same few moves over and over again.

    A good example is Sengoku 3. Great graphics and I know some people like the combo system but to everyone else it is boring as hell. Why not just make it a fun game before you even get to grips with the combo system. You fight the same types of enemy and have to hit them a billion times. I mean this is basic stuff they could have fixed straight away.

    Another basic thing - is Double Dragon - maybe the first proper beat-em-up. It had 2 height levels on many levels (you can climb stairs). you can throw enemies off ledges and onto conveyor belts (to get killed). But so many beat-em-ups after this remove all the background interaction and all that extra complexity and fun. Why?

    I know I keep going on about it - but Undercover Cops (Arcade not SNES) takes a lot of that and amps it up and also add huge stone columns you can pick up and whack your enemies with. All you need is a child's imagination. Why not let your main character turn into a werewolf? or a creature that flies for part of the level. Just make it fun and over-the-top, rather than the same thing level after level.

    Quote Originally Posted by andsuchisdeath View Post
    A game could consist of nothing but a three hit "auto combo", a jump attack and a throw. But you'll still need to have a grasp on spacing, enemy placement, timing and the requirement of making the quick decision of which tool to use out of your measly three.
    Well you could do the same with a decent versus-fighter but why? the more moves you give the player to express themselves the better. If you want to use 3 moves you still can. If i get into a good position to headbutt the enemy - I want that option. If I want to kick an enemy in the balls - give me that option. If I get an enemy with his back to a cliff-edge. Let me throw him off it. Have you ever played Godhand? Surely a good beat-em-up is also a power-fantasy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Missile View Post
    Well it was basically a 2 line critique so it was never going to be deep. I think it was based on all the bad beat-em-ups I have played and what the first obvious things are that could be done to improve them. A lot of those already have good graphics and solid systems in place but then they waste them by making the player do the same thing using the same few moves over and over again.

    A good example is Sengoku 3. Great graphics and I know some people like the combo system but to everyone else it is boring as hell. Why not just make it a fun game before you even get to grips with the combo system. You fight the same types of enemy and have to hit them a billion times. I mean this is basic stuff they could have fixed straight away.

    Another basic thing - is Double Dragon - maybe the first proper beat-em-up. It had 2 height levels on many levels (you can climb stairs). you can throw enemies off ledges and onto conveyor belts (to get killed). But so many beat-em-ups after this remove all the background interaction and all that extra complexity and fun. Why?

    I know I keep going on about it - but Undercover Cops (Arcade not SNES) takes a lot of that and amps it up and also add huge stone columns you can pick up and whack your enemies with. All you need is a child's imagination. Why not let your main character turn into a werewolf? or a creature that flies for part of the level. Just make it fun and over-the-top, rather than the same thing level after level.



    Well you could do the same with a decent versus-fighter but why? the more moves you give the player to express themselves the better. If you want to use 3 moves you still can. If i get into a good position to headbutt the enemy - I want that option. If I want to kick an enemy in the balls - give me that option. If I get an enemy with his back to a cliff-edge. Let me throw him off it. Have you ever played Godhand? Surely a good beat-em-up is also a power-fantasy?
    I agree about the controls.

    The controls for a beat em up make it or break it in my opinion.
    Sure theres lots of other things to consider but assuming you do everything right great GFX, animation, enemy AI etc.
    If the controls suck I wont play it for more than 1 or 2 rounds.

    For me SOR2 nailed the control scheme.
    You played the game with 3 buttons, And for the most part you only use 2.
    But depending on your situation the combination of those buttons combines with directional input made for a vast move set!

    That then opens up strategy in how you utilise those moves and the ability to have different enemies that are resistant to certain moves.
    That really adds depth to a game imo.

    SOR 3 built upon that idea and from a move set POV was brilliant.
    Just a shame that the rest of the game sucked unless you were playing the jap version.

    Beat em ups work best when they are kept simple (as evidenced by all the shit 3D ones...) But having a variable simplified move set really shows some class imo.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missile View Post
    Well it was basically a 2 line critique so it was never going to be deep. I think it was based on all the bad beat-em-ups I have played and what the first obvious things are that could be done to improve them. A lot of those already have good graphics and solid systems in place but then they waste them by making the player do the same thing using the same few moves over and over again.

    A good example is Sengoku 3. Great graphics and I know some people like the combo system but to everyone else it is boring as hell. Why not just make it a fun game before you even get to grips with the combo system. You fight the same types of enemy and have to hit them a billion times. I mean this is basic stuff they could have fixed straight away.

    Another basic thing - is Double Dragon - maybe the first proper beat-em-up. It had 2 height levels on many levels (you can climb stairs). you can throw enemies off ledges and onto conveyor belts (to get killed). But so many beat-em-ups after this remove all the background interaction and all that extra complexity and fun. Why?

    I know I keep going on about it - but Undercover Cops (Arcade not SNES) takes a lot of that and amps it up and also add huge stone columns you can pick up and whack your enemies with. All you need is a child's imagination. Why not let your main character turn into a werewolf? or a creature that flies for part of the level. Just make it fun and over-the-top, rather than the same thing level after level.



    Well you could do the same with a decent versus-fighter but why? the more moves you give the player to express themselves the better. If you want to use 3 moves you still can. If i get into a good position to headbutt the enemy - I want that option. If I want to kick an enemy in the balls - give me that option. If I get an enemy with his back to a cliff-edge. Let me throw him off it. Have you ever played Godhand? Surely a good beat-em-up is also a power-fantasy?
    It's obvious that we both have very different perspectives but to me it sounds like you're just not into the fundamentals of what makes the genre what it is and you'd prefer to see more gimmicks.

    If you're truly paying attention to what you're doing you'll understand how applying those "same moves over and over" is the essence of the game. It's not everyone's cup of tea. I don't think diluting the genre by changing it's essence creates any more "depth" or true "variety", but I understand how a more casual base would prefer this to happen.

    As far as Sengoku 3 goes, I guess the game offered an extreme incarnation of what only a handful games provided/flirtted with previously (big combos). So that was something "different" for sure. Yes, it's very execution heavy, and the damage seems a bit lower than it should be. I'm not pointing my finger at you here, but I think players should be adept enough at performing these long combos before they can claim that they're boring.

    With the Double Dragon example, I wouldn't call the scenery stuff "complexity". If think they're novelties, which is maybe why many developers didn't continue to implement them.

    The Undercover Cops example, the stone pillar thing is again, a cool gimmick. Are you familiar with the scoring system of Undercover Cops (I believe it's called "Finess trick")? Certain moves yield more stars (which is necessary to score high enough, which will lead to extends). So you're rewarded by pretty much using the same move over and over as much as possible.

    I also disagree with your take on needing "imagination".

    Maybe you need a different medium if you're seeking "self expression"?
    Last edited by andsuchisdeath; Yesterday at 05:47 PM.

  20. #45
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    Missile, if you like Beat em Ups and environmental interaction, check out other Technos' offerings beyond Double Dragon, such as Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki Dayo Zen'in Shuugou (Famicom), Kakatou Densetsu (Famicom), Shadow Force (Arcade) or The Combatribes (Arcade).

    Relevant videos for what has been discussed the past few posts.





    Personally, I'm a big fan of The Karate Tournament which boasts a relatively limited moveset (and only 1 character), and also has some of the simple design elements discussed in the videos (do nothing to block, segmented health bar). Different topic, perhaps, but there's something to be said that you can take genres which are typically complex and simplify them to create intense, meaningful, games. There's no reason you need to be a human or beating up humanoids. There's no reason you need to script AI when you could have human controlled opponents. You could rip out a lot of things typical to a genre and still make an enjoyable game.

    But why not? Maybe we're too busy imitating what we know. There's a saying, "First you imitate, then you create". But we're trying to imitate finished products too soon - games that had years of experience building related simpler problems on their backs. We're not good at judging scope and difficulty, and so there probably are a lot of homebrew beatemups. . . unfinished.

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    If you think about it, basically every game is doing the same fairly limited things over and over again. Gameplay loops tend to be short and repetitive.

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