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MatthewDiaz

Game Duplication

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Anyone ever tried duplicating a game exactly as it is for learning purposes? I have always been interested in trying to let's say duplicate the first level of the original Super Mario Bros. There are websites with ripped sprites from retro games making it pretty easy to at least get the cosmetics of the game onto your computer screen. The physics and gameplay would be the challenging part. I imagine without any prior knowledge of how the math for Mario's jumping is done, it would take a lot of trial and error to get it right.

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I did exactly that once, as a proof-of-concept for a console-like graphics library that I wrote (The capabilities and interface were similar to a cross between the NES and SMS graphics chips). Since it was more of a demonstration of that than a complete game, I didn't bother with enemies, block-breaking or matching the jumping exactly correctly, but you still find out all kinds of interesting things -- for example, if you look closely at sprites on an NES, you'll notice that they start to disappear as soon as they touch the left edge of the screen, because on the NES sprite coordinates couldn't be negative. On a TV you'd almost never notice this due to overscan, but you can see it in emulators.

To do it accurately would be fairly illustrative. The gravity effect during a jump isn't really complicated, but would take experimentation to get just right; or, someone has probably already annotated a dis-assembly of the game's ROM, and you could reverse-engineer the exact behavior from the assembly listing.

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This is a very interesting topic.
I actually enjoy porting some known games or otherwise open source games to my game engine to see how it would implement its features.
That said, some times i start trying to duplicate a game, but i get easily distracted and end up creating something else :x.

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I did a fun 3D worms and juiced it up a bit. I did it because I couldn't get a game design in my head, so used that as a basis.

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Anyone ever tried duplicating a game exactly as it is for learning purposes?
Yes, fiddling with the exact numbers for enemy hp, hit damage, rate of fire etc always drove me crazy.

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I have done a single-stage Mario World “game” and an mIRC online Tetris game script (exactly ripped from Super Nintendo Entertainment System as far as art goes).

Both very profitable in terms of experience gained, and the Tetris clone was fully functional and very fun to boot.

It is a great way to explore game-making since you have the art assets already, know how they are to be rendered (how the animations play etc.) and you can focus on exactly what you want to explore while at the same time the art assets you use motivate you because they are from your favorite game and they look professional.
You also have a real-world example off which to base your results, so you know if something is wrong and may discover that their implementation of something was not really as simple as you had expected.


L. Spiro

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