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Cuphead - New SMS Game
Post Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:46 pm
Hello SMS Power guys and gals,

Chad from StudioMDHR here. We are working on Cuphead for Xbox One and PC...but we have a dream in the future to create a brand new Cuphead game for the SMS.

Just wanted to see what you guys thought about this idea and it's viability. (If this was to ever happen, it wouldn't start until late late 2015).

Thanks!
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:25 pm
I split this to a new topic.

To be honest, the Master System can't do much of what I see in the videos. You don't have layers so the classic animation effects will be hard to do much or at all. Sprite limits mean you'll have to have smaller sprites and fewer bullets on the go. The colour palette is much reduced so the awesome backgrounds will have to be pared back. In general, look at something like Castle of Illusion for a pretty good classic cartoon game adaptation; while it is possible to shoehorn graphics into the system, it might end up looking bad if you don't play to the system's capabilities.

Getting it onto real cartridges is currently pretty hard, although projects are in development to make that a bit more feasible.

You should expect to sell fewer than 1000 of them unless you're quite lucky. This is not going to make you money unless your time is free.

I hope you like assembly code. C is possible but the libraries are not very good and performance suffers.

But...

It's an awesome dream and writing Master System games is the best hobby in the world!
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:46 pm
Thanks for splitting it out to a new topic.

We know the visuals will have to suffer, but that is part of the Master System charm. We are only going to do this out of love and not trying to make money.

If this project was ever a go - we'd definitely like to hire people who are already homebrew wizards, or know what they are doing. Assembly code is for people who are "playing with power" - we don't have that kind of smarts. haha
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:12 am
Congratulations on your game.
I'm crazy to play it since I watched the first trailers months ago.

Call me overly optimistic but I think it can be done on Sega Master System. A 16-bit version (for Mega Drive or SNES) would be more appropriate and faithtul to your original game - but it would be a hell of a fun task to edit and adapt such a visual extravaganza like 'Cuphead' to a simple hardware like Sega Master System.
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:54 am
I think some screen mockups and gameplay descriptions would be a good start. You'll want a good pixel artist for that. In this day and age, you can also go for quite a lot of frames of animation on the main sprite, so it might be nice to mock that up too.
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:58 am
A gameplay video? I seem to only find teasers/trailers... :|
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:33 am
It's a run-and-gun platformer, but looking like a 1930s cartoon, so you can pull those bits out of the videos.
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:02 pm
yes, for Master System would be a totally different version - i'd consider analyzing games like Sonic (Master System version), Felix the Cat (NES/Famicom version), Titus the Fox (other platforms) - games from Mojón Twins might provide clues about the limitations and features 8bit consoles has in the porting process
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:43 pm
macbee wrote
Congratulations on your game.
I'm crazy to play it since I watched the first trailers months ago.

Call me overly optimistic but I think it can be done on Sega Master System. A 16-bit version (for Mega Drive or SNES) would be more appropriate and faithtul to your original game - but it would be a hell of a fun task to edit and adapt such a visual extravaganza like 'Cuphead' to a simple hardware like Sega Master System.


This is what we think too! A 16-bit version would be closer, but we actually want the look of the Sega Master System. We (brother and I) grew up and really got into games solely because of SMS - so this super-scaled down port would be really fun to do.

There is a guy working on a chip that removes some of the bottleneck between the SMS cartridge and Power Base. Supposedly it would allow near half the MegaDrive in terms of visual power (of course, resolution and palettes aren't going to change). There is a good chance this SMSDMA chip would be ready by late next year, and if so - how cool would that be? It's the same sort of idea that made Mario 3 awesome.

This idea is still up in the air of course, as we have lots to finish on our current game, but our hope is that Cuphead is successful enough so we that can hire SMS enthusiasts and make a scaled down port into a reality.
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:27 pm
studiomdhr wrote

This is what we think too! A 16-bit version would be closer, but we actually want the look of the Sega Master System. We (brother and I) grew up and really got into games solely because of SMS - so this super-scaled down port would be really fun to do.

I couldn't agree more on your choice. Majority of people loves 16-bit consoles but (IMHO) 8-bit games (both Sega and Ni****do) will always be the real deal.

studiomdhr wrote
There is a guy working on a chip that removes some of the bottleneck between the SMS cartridge and Power Base. Supposedly it would allow near half the MegaDrive in terms of visual power (of course, resolution and palettes aren't going to change). There is a good chance this SMSDMA chip would be ready by late next year, and if so - how cool would that be? It's the same sort of idea that made Mario 3 awesome.

It's amazing to read this. You want to make a SMS game but also want to go beyond people's expectations - just like it should be. Could you give more info on this chip?

With all respect to other users but I don't think you should research existing Sega platformers to see how 'Cuphead' should look into SMS.
Here in Brazil (where SMS was tremendously popular) we have all sort of discussions on how SMS was underused. I mean if even the 8-bit NES (a weaker console) brought 'Batman: Return of the Joker' and 'Battletoads' to us, I'm pretty sure that Master System also could have jaw-dropping games that we never expected to see running on it.

The usual first reaction to 'Cuphead' is "Whoa, this is so cool and different".
So even if it's an 8-bit game please make people still say "Whoa, this is so cool and different" to the graphics and presentation of the SMS version.

studiomdhr wrote
This idea is still up in the air of course, as we have lots to finish on our current game, but our hope is that Cuphead is successful enough so we that can hire SMS enthusiasts and make a scaled down port into a reality.

I'm wishing all the best for your projects. And count on me to buy a version on Steam as soon as it's released!
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:05 pm
studiomdhr wrote
There is a guy working on a chip that removes some of the bottleneck between the SMS cartridge and Power Base.


Is it for RAM/VRAM direct access? A chip into the Cart? Where can I read more regarding this?
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:24 pm
This refers to TmEE's custom cart hardware which takes over the bus during VBlank and writes to the VDP much faster than the CPU can. It hasn't been finished yet. There's a few mentions of it on these forums, for example http://www.smspower.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=73268#73268
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:43 pm
It would allow impressive animations for background and sprites, but would not help with the sprite limits, which I find is the bigger problem.
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:26 pm
Even with the sprite limits, I think it's still possible to get something that looks and plays well - and when there is a need for flicker, then flicker there will be! Something like Power Strike 2 is pretty wonderful, but maybe Compile was filled with developers from another planet at the time?

And if Cuphead had to be stripped way down to make it playable (certain bosses with no background, etc.), we'd still love it!
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:11 pm
Last edited by Martin on Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
For Power Strike 2 it helps that it scrolls vertically. Horizontal shooters tend to have more flickering. Power Strike 2 on SMS always amazed me, it looks to me like they put tons of effort into it.

Big bosses would have no background, unless they stand still. Smooth movement of the bosses is only possible in X direction because SMS/GG can't change Y scrolling during the frame to display a ground to walk on. I have smooth y movement for bosses in GGT, but the ground is very simple and I don't know if the SMS can do it like that. Edit: I don't see why not and am wondering if any SMS game does it.

Well, I guess we can agree it has to be designed from the ground up. I see you already have an understanding of the technical limits, that's a good start :)
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:15 pm
Power Strike 2 was great talent + end of the generation (knowing the hardware well). It would be ambitious to aim for that. On one end, the availability of tools and the internet makes development magnitude easier and faster than it was back in the day, on another end, the experience and skill sets are hard to come by nowadays.

If you were to aim for (and afford) that kind of top quality I could put you in contact with the M2 guys. Quite a few Compile people there (I think the guy who coded Power Strike 2 is there), their first project was Gunstar Heroes on Game Gear and they are very much into retro games up to this day and they love working on that type of project, e.g. they made Fantasy Zone II DX for System-16 hardware.

Otherwise, the way to start I would say would be to make mockup following system specs, we can probably help you with that.

You can browse our Homebrew section to get a feel of what members have done in the past in their spare time:
http://www.smspower.org/Homebrew/Index?q=$:Type=Game
The notable polished projects are BOoM, DARC, Gekioko PunPun, GG Turrican, Gravity Beam, Lost Raider, Picross (Maxim did a lot of small but fairly polished stuff), Tower of Sokoban, dare I say my KunKun & KokoKun series. Bruce Lee shows promise but isn't much of a game yet.
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:24 pm
You can do smooth tilemap boss scrolling using raster FX for the ground (and maybe even wall effects, e.g. a brick pattern or a gradient). I think that's what Martin is alluding to above?

You could go really hardcore and design it to be played on a TV rotated to portrait, but I think that's going to limit the appeal...

I think the greatest possibility (even without the SMSDMA cartridge) is the idea of "free" ROM space, letting you go nuts with the animation and graphics. You might need to be clever to swap between assets at runtime without too much slowdown, which few games do; the DMA would help there. The purist in me thinks that's not a "true" SMS game, though, a bit like the SVP chip makes VR not a "true" MD game.
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Post Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:59 pm
Bock wrote

If you were to aim for (and afford) that kind of top quality I could put you in contact with the M2 guys. Quite a few Compile people there (I think the guy who coded Power Strike 2 is there), their first project was Gunstar Heroes on Game Gear and they are very much into retro games up to this day and they love working on that type of project, e.g. they made Fantasy Zone II DX for System-16 hardware.

You can browse our Homebrew section to get a feel of what members have done in the past in their spare time:
http://www.smspower.org/Homebrew/Index?q=$:Type=Game
The notable polished projects are BOoM, DARC, Gekioko PunPun, GG Turrican, Gravity Beam, Lost Raider, Picross (Maxim did a lot of small but fairly polished stuff), Tower of Sokoban, dare I say my KunKun & KokoKun series. Bruce Lee shows promise but isn't much of a game yet.


Wow - If we could ever get M2 to help, I think we would both be at peace and go live inside a mountain for the rest of our lives! ha. I just wanted to put out the feelers to see what the community thought - and it's all been positive...so we will get back to finishing our current game and see where it leads us next year.

The homebrew projects are amazing - it's actually the reason we had this Cupead SMS port idea in the first place. When we first played DARC we had both our minds blown.

Maxim wrote
The purist in me thinks that's not a "true" SMS game, though, a bit like the SVP chip makes VR not a "true" MD game.


I know it wouldn't be a true vanilla SMS game, but Mario 3 would have never existed without the extra chip, and there isn't one person who thinks "Mario 3 is only OK, but it isn't faithful to vanilla NES cartridges" :) Embrace it! hahha
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:41 am
Go for it, Cuphead developers!

I'll buy your game for any machine I have available!



Cuphead on Master System = The best 2010's video game on the best console of all times!
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:27 am
I´m supporting you guys too, whenever the game goes on it´s development and final release!
PS: Don´t forget the amazing look of the first Sonic game for the Master System =)
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Post Posted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:53 am
mateusbond wrote
Go for it, Cuphead developers!

I'll buy your game for any machine I have available!

Cuphead on Master System = The best 2010's video game on the best console of all times!


Thanks and thanks! Both of us have a deep desire to one day make a Master System version (especially Jared), so here's hoping all goes well and we can follow through!
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:02 pm
Today I saw a trailer for the XBOX One version, and then came back to this thread to see if there was any news on the SMS version. Will it happen?
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:42 pm
TinchoDJ wrote
Today I saw a trailer for the XBOX One version, and then came back to this thread to see if there was any news on the SMS version. Will it happen?


I really hope so. It depends from the success of the XOne version, so we´ll have to wait a bit longer. One of the developers is a huge Master System fan, so only the future can bring us clarification ^,^
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:39 am
I'd be happy to support such a project in any possible way :)
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:50 am
me also!
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:11 pm
Well, they seem to have been angling for developers, similarly the XBone game has a dev team.
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:42 pm
It would be awesome to see an official Cuphead on the SMS! Here's hoping it'll actually happen!
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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:31 pm
womething like this :)
CupheadSMS.gif (30.95 KB)
CupheadSMS.gif

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Post Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:25 am
I imagine it's something doable even with devkitSMS... :)
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:54 pm
Cuphead for PC and XBOX One is coming....It'll be nice to see the SMS version done :-p

A pity that @studiomdhr hasn't come back to the forums lately...
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:47 pm
kusfo wrote
Cuphead for PC and XBOX One is coming....It'll be nice to see the SMS version done :-p

A pity that @studiomdhr hasn't come back to the forums lately...


Well... releasing a game means they are probably working 70 hours a week on Cuphead now and they probably don't have to add more work in their plate (cup?) at the moment.
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:35 pm
I know, I know, they're actually quite late on "Cuphead", but I hope that they'll have luck with their release!
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:23 pm
Hope dies last! ;)
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:08 pm
Excited to try any version of the game. and so cool to see some SMS love from new developers :D
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:16 am
Just bought and beat the PC version in one 7-hour sitting. As an old school gamer and animator, I'm in love with this game.

I think it would be really neat if the SMS version (or even just a demo) ended up being made (that said, I'm kind of sad that a Mega Drive version hasn't been considered =P).
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:52 am
I'm also playing Cuphead (on Xbox One in my case). I think that a game in the line of Castle of Illusion is definitelly worth the effort :-p
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