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Gameboy Advance Development

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Hello! I am planning to hopefully make a GBA game starting sometime in late October so meanwhile I''m trying to learn as much as I can about GBA development. I was wondering, how do you distribute a GBA game? It seems that for indie games, the only way to go is to distribute it over the net as ROMs. If I wanted to get on a cartridge, that means I would have to find a willing publisher of GBA games to publish it? And in that case does it require some sort of license? I''ve programmed a lot in C++ for Windows games, but I haven''t done any GBA games before so does anyone have a rough idea of how tough it would be to learn to program with GBA? From what I''ve heard, it uses C and I saw some code and it didn''t look too scary so far. Thanks a ton! Raj

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Well, I haven''t developed for GBA, but if you are serious about publishing your game on a cartridge, I would suggest you either contact a publisher of GBA games, or Nintendo itself and ask them the questions you need answered.

I have a feeling that Nintendo has very strick licencing when it comes to using the SDK or whatever they licence out to develop for their platforms. Perhaps someone here has the facts, if not, contact the source

Cheers
D

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Actually, how were you planning on developing it? Because if you were going to use dev kit advance, I doubt you could find a publisher to publish it as is, you will (or they will) have to sink the money for a lincesned dev suite from the big N most likely. As far as how hard it is to program? Its got some pitfalls but nothing to bad (the hardest thing is sound and game link I think because they are the least documented). A friend of mine wrote up a nice 70 page tutorial on programming your first GBA program...its a good tutorial and that in word doc format...if I can get his permission and your email addy, i can send it to you...in fact i wouldnt of doubted it if he posted it somewhere already..but I should double check with him for his permission.

Good Luck,
Shane
p.s. I personally find programming for the GBA fun but havent done it much because I dont want to get too serious on it unless I can get a GBA flash linker from lik-sang and do things right and on the hardware as opposed to running it just in emulation...just doesnt feel as cool that way

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Umm - you''d have much better luck going to a publisher/development house rather than going to Nintendo. Nintendo will only license and sell SDKs to established publishers. Believe me, the big N is a very haughty company - it''s tough to even get permission to use a screenshot of one of their games.

It''s actually easy to find a publisher to go through on selling/publishing a game. Check out indie games like Power Puff Girls - Mojo a Go Go (or something like that). A lot of places will accept portfolios if you are able to program the GBA - it doesn''t matter what dev system you used at the time, they only care about the end result. Of course, after getting the deal, you would probably have to change the dev. kit they use/licensed. I know a lot of companies use the freely available tools themselves, as well as advance linkers.


Jim Adams
home.att.net/~rpgbook
Author, Programming Role-Playing Games with DirectX
and Focus On: Advanced Animation with DirectX

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Thanks for the tips, Jim! (Wow that's cool that you wrote those books by the way, sounds like some stuff I'd definitely want to buy!)

I will try to look around for a publisher then. What's the best way to do it though, should I look for a publisher right now, or only after the game is 100% done? Right now all we have is a few drawings so I guess that's not much but maybe once we have a small prototype or demo, would that be a good time to seek a publisher?

It would be really cool if we could convince someone to publish our game! Do you have any tips on how to "impress" a publisher? So far the main thing we have going is the awesome art that Kenneth Fejer drew for the game. He just posted it on pixelation (a pixel art forum) and his post got 40 replies and everyone saying how cool it was and they couldn't wait til it became a real game. But I'm sure publishers would want something more substantial than a few good looking drawings.

Oh yeah, also you mentioned we might have to switch the dev. kit. Is this really a problem though? I mean, let's say I made the whole game using one kit, then at the last minute I had to change to another. The code is still the same and everything (right?) so what's bad about changing the kit?

Thank you very much for your help! =)

Sincerely,
Raj

[edited by - Rajansky on September 11, 2002 1:32:17 PM]

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Rajan the book you mentioned: Programming RPGs with Direct X, is more than worth the investment. The first few chapters on structure, storytelling and design docs apply to any platform. And if you''re just getting started, the chapters on 2d/3d theory and tile usage will give you an excellent idea of what you will be working with in the (optimistically) very near future.

Good Luck

" If you can figure out what the world wants, you''''ll make money. If you can figure out what the world needs, you''''ll be rich. Figure wrong, and you''''ll lose." -JTC

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When to look? I would take a look whenever you have a least a stable alpha to show off. Don''t wait for 100%, as a lot of publishers will want to provide quality feedback and feature requests during development. If you do sell something so early, however, make sure you can make the deadlines.

I would prepare a packet to send the company that includes a small informational sheet regarding the game project, some hardcopies of screenshots, and maybe a disc of the game for an emulator. After making contact, I would offer to send a flash card (use a small one) to interested companies.

As for the code, as long as you keep it ANSI, you shouldn''t have any problem porting to any dev system. Same with the asm, if that''s what you are using. The intructions are all the same, very little changes from dev kit to dev kit.

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Yep, I'd just like to second the above. If you don't have a track record of published console titles which did well at retail, then Nintendo (same goes for Sony & MS too) are unlikely to give you registered developer status and let you buy devkits & related tools.

Check out what Nintendo themselves say about it on the NOA developer site: www.warioworld.com/apply/agb.html



--
Simon O'Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd
www.creative-asylum.com

[edited by - S1CA on September 13, 2002 1:59:28 PM]

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Sure, just pay the $59.95 entry fee and I''ll make sure you win I don''t have any copies of my own to give out - I need to order more. As of right now, I haven''t been able to set up any contests, yet I would like to eventually.

Jim Adams

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