Jump to content

Episode 26: Alwa's Awakening


Scrobins

179 views

 Share

A Homebrew Draws Near!

A blog series by @Scrobins

Episode 26: Alwa’s Awakening

image.png.e90673c364954240c3885891a5839705.png

Introduction:

The deep catalog of 8-bit inspired games has fired up enthusiasm for retro content, leading to the development of similar new games, hunger for the old games that served as the catalyst for this new appetite, and adding momentum to the homebrew games that bridge the gap between them. Some of the most popular of these retro/modern hybrids hew so closely to the limits of the hardware that defined those bygone eras which inspired their work that they could play on those very consoles with a little tweaking. And once in a while, someone decides to make those tweaks, adapting a game so it may cross the bridge from 8-bit inspired to truly 8-bit. Not different enough to be demakes, these adaptations make you question whether there is any difference between the game on modern or older platforms, so smooth and seamless was the work.

For this entry, I’m covering Alwa’s Awakening, an action platformer developed by Elden Pixels for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and brought to the NES by Brad Smith (of Lizard fame). As of the time of this writing, Alwa’s Awakening is sold out in its physical and digical iterations, but is still available digitally on Steam here.

 

Development Team:

Mikael Forslind: game design

Robert Kreese: music

Kevin Andersson: programming

Alexander Berggren: pixel art

Brad Smith: NES port lead programmer

image.png.88b2389006cb1ec1ffc466414318432b.png

Full physical glory

Game Evolution:

Alwa’s Awakening first dawned on its creators in 2014. The crew at Elden Pixels worked tirelessly on the game so it could be released in 2017 for the PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. In response to the praise Alwa received, Elden Pixels released the soundtrack on a functioning NES cartridge in 2018, which included a guest track by Prof. Sakamoto, and a limited edition 50 cartridge run published by Mega Cat Studios.

News of an actual 8-bit port of the original game began with Paul “Infinite NES Lives” Molloy livestreaming a series of development sessions in which he worked on a faithful fan port of Alwa’s Awakening. The first session was held on January 17, 2019, continuing for a total of 49 livestreams that concluded on January 30, 2020.

image.png.228cb6450a59c604579e2118fb8cd472.png

Screenshot from one of Paul Molloy’s dev streams

As Paul pivoted to focus on other projects, Elden Pixels officially tapped Brad Smith to port the game. Elden Pixels didn't snooze on their development updates as teasers poured in from Twitter, stirring fans when pre-orders opened on September 14, 2021, through publishers Retro-Bit Publishing and Limited Run Games. Two major options were on offer: a special physical release with a CIB and frosted clear cartridge, an exclusive slipcover, a booklet with developer interview, a mini level poster, an animated lenticular card, and a certificate of authenticity; also available was a hybrid “digical” tier with an 8 GB USB of Zoe containing the game, manual, developer interview, and digital wallpapers with exclusive artwork, and a displayable package for the Zoe drive. The new port advertised new areas and songs allowing players of the original game some new content to enjoy. Over the course of the summer of 2022, fans would rise and shine, finding their copies waiting in their mailbox, while this iteration of the game was released on Steam on July 1, 2022.

image.png.8d2ff79fbf6643ec59bad84f7e1ae9a1.png

The digical edition

 

Gameplay:

Alwa’s Awakening describes itself as an adventure game inspired by forebears such as Battle of Olympus and Solstice. You play as Zoe, a gamer girl who dozed off while playing her favorite game only to wake up in the game itself. Finding herself in the land of Alwa, Zoe is called to answer the people’s pleas for help. She must find and defeat the four Protectors, collecting their items in order to open the path to a final challenge. The people you meet and the items you collect along the way will help you navigate Alwa in your quest to defeat Vicar.

Gameplay includes you moving from one screen to the next, using your skills to get to the next area (or recognizing which areas are inaccessible for now until you acquire a vital tool). The controls are straightforward: the D-pad moves Zoe, the A button allows her to jump, the B button unleashes an attack or action, the Start button switches to view your map and inventory, and the Select button toggles through your magic. Along the way you will acquire the means & magics to go farther and fight harder.

image.png.aa057bfe8a8ec074d280bd8715611a45.png

Screenshot from Alwa’s Awakening

 

Review:

Alwa’s Awakening is an enveloping adventure, the kind that mesmerizes players so well they won’t realize they have been playing all day. I often note that a game would have fit in well alongside the games it emulates, but in truth, Alwa would have dominated the market back then. A stunning, well-balanced game that had it been released in the 80s or 90s might well have pushed out the games it draws inspiration from. In all likelihood a licensed-era 8-bit Alwa would have launched a franchise that would have changed gaming history and probably led future developers to call their games an Alwa-like. Once again, we have an example of the quality that homebrew can bring, when a labor of love can develop independent of profit-minded corporate timetables.

Gameplay is at its core straightforward for an adventure game, but Alwa pulls its modern game sensibilities into the 8-bit realm. The map details your progress trekking through this fantastical world, helping you find important locations such as checkpoints, warps, and the Protector bosses, and thus identify your path. Upgrades to your magic likewise open more of the world to your exploration, such as the power to break blocks, create blocks, or float on bubbles; abilities which remind me as much of Battle Kid and The Mad Wizard as Zelda II and Battle of Olympus. The world is full of secrets and there is a completion percentage à la Kirby’s Adventure that will delight (and frustrate) completionists. Challenging without being overly hard, you share Zoe’s wonder at this new land and feel a sense of envy for a character living your childhood dream.

image.png.3c44e688aabc573071f4e0a3a5018961.png

Screenshot from one of Brad Smith’s dev videos

Graphically Alwa’s Awakening seems like it must somehow be breaking the NES’ color palette limits, such is the stunning beauty of its sprites and backgrounds. Not only do players enjoy a wide range of color spanning the world’s many screens and environments, but the scenery seems deeper and richer than what we’ve seen before. Alwa is such a wonderfully crafted world, that even after you turn off the game, you might imagine the lore surrounding the land, writing a prequel tale in your head as you anticipate playing more later. The soundtrack moves in tandem with the graphics, offering adventurous tunes that prod you along and bolster your sense of epic purpose without feeling monotonous. Long before pre-orders for this 8-bit edition opened, I managed to track down a copy of the soundtrack’s chiptune cart and let me say that I popped that cart in one evening and happily sat back to listen to the entire playlist. The music alone was that enjoyable.

 

Interviews:

For the juicy stories about how this game came to be and then was reborn on the NES, I interviewed two prominent members of the development team about their backgrounds and inspiration…

 

image.png.de635ee412e531a3737cfd44501ceed7.png

Mikael Forslind

@MikaelForslind

-Before we dive into Alwa’s Awakening, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to become a game designer and producer? What is your origin story and the story behind Elden Pixels?

Well, I've told this story a few times but I've always been interested in creating digital stuff. I made my first "game" back in the late eighties when I created this maze-like Zelda clone where Link was this giant green block and you walked around on this map. The computer I used was so old so there was no way of saving anything so I remember spending a whole day creating the game and then being sad when I had to turn the power off and the game was deleted.

But fast-forward to 2014 and I got my first job in the gaming industry as a marketing manager at then indie studio Image & Form (makers of the SteamWorld games and now merged into Thunderful) and although I did feel I knew quite a lot about marketing and the art of video games I didn't know how to make them myself. I felt I wanted to learn that skill too so I got a group of friends together and during the span of about two years we created Alwa's Awakening and released it on Steam early 2017. We made the entire game ourselves on nights and weekends and the plan was to release it and leave it at that but the game became quite popular for a small indie title so we knew it had more potential. During the development I kept my regular job as a marketing manager and about four years ago, I decided to go full-time with Elden Pixels so I quit my normal day job and me and two of the original members of the team started full-time and we began working with the sequel Alwa's Legacy.

image.png.31dd639f82da8ff193fd209f10328bab.png

Screenshot from Alwa’s Legacy

 

-In addition to being a game designer, you have a background in business and marketing from such companies as Image & Form and Zoink. In what ways has your past experience informed the work you do at Elden Pixels?

I worked as a marketing manager for about four years before I started Elden Pixels so I learned a lot being there. I learned different things from the two companies I worked at and one was the importance of brand consistency. We keep making pixel art platformers because that’s what we know how to make and our community enjoys. It wouldn’t make sense for us to delve into something completely different like a mobile city builder game or something like that. Unless we find a large pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, in the foreseeable future we’ll keep on making these types of games. Another nice thing about working in the business a few years before venturing into your own is the friends you make. There’s a bunch of people from Image & Form and Zoink that worked with us on our Alwa games.

 

-Which do you find more invigorating, level & game design or marketing?

That’s an interesting question because I don’t really know. A big problem we have is the fact that I’m both producer, CEO, Game & Level Designer and I also run our social media. It worked well when we only had one game to work on (Alwa’s Awakening) but now we have two games we made ourselves, one we published called Cathedral and also the NES version of Alwa’s Awakening. It’s a lot of overhead just making sure all the gears in this company spins in the right direction. Hypothetically if we found a million dollars somewhere and could have more freedom I think I’d hire a biz/producer person and I’d take on a more creative director role. I like creating stuff and I draw a lot of inspiration from movies I love. For example this Summer during vacation I wrote a script for our new game and put together an ending for it and the other day I pitched it to the team and they were all really excited! Stuff like that makes me really happy!

 

-Who are your influences? And whose work are you watching closely now?

We went full-time with Elden Pixels in 2018 and the year after that I became a parent for the first time so there has been a lot of life changing things occur the last couple of years, meaning I find no time to play video games or to do really anything else except take care of my family and my company. Sure, I check Twitter every now and then and I see other cool developers doing stuff but I’m so out of the loop these days. I even took a week’s vacation to play Elden Ring but the same week we moved into a new apartment so the game is still in its plastic wrap. When it comes to influences I take almost all my inspiration from the world of cinema. The game we’re currently working on draws a lot of inspiration from movies like They Live, Jacob’s Ladder, Leave No Trace and The Girl With All The Gifts. If you look closely, almost every name, achievement etc. in our previous games are references to movies.

image.png.fa4702f241810e49d7fe58ee9c163605.png

Perfect, it’s been awhile since I woke up screaming in the night

 

-What tools do you use for your level design work?

We use Tiled Map Editor to make all our levels and we've had it ever since we started making games in 2014. It's such a great tool and I just love working with it. Throughout the years we've also implemented a few middleware tools between Tiled and our game engine that really makes the process of creating a level very quick. The programmer of Tiled is also very kind and he even helped us add a few things we needed for our current game.

 

-What to you, make for a well-designed and fun level?

I love playing metroidvanias and I love exploring in video games so a good game with a nice map and something fun to explore is all I need. And also what I want to create myself. I think a lot of the games today are too big so a nice shorter experience in the region of 6-10 hours is great I think, so shorter levels that are fun to explore is my kind of thing!

 

-What are some underappreciated strategies to marketing a game effectively?

As I mentioned earlier we’re quite understaffed when it comes to marketing since I never find the time to do anything really, I really don’t know. But what I found in my eight years or so in the industry is that it really helps being a nice guy and to treat everyone with respect and kindness and always help out as much as possible. I remember sending review keys to this guy years ago when the site he worked on had little to no traffic and one time we bumped into each other and had a talk, and now years later he works at IGN.

 

-Where did the initial idea for Alwa’s Awakening come from?

I was over at a friend’s house playing video games and we played two games that stood out. One was Battle Kid, which is a NES homebrew where you go through room by room fighting enemies but what’s really cool about that game is that each room is almost like a puzzle and you have to know exactly what to do and do it precisely in the correct order to get to the next room. And the other game we played was Trine 2, which we played from start to finish in one sitting. An idea popped into my head of making a NES game that takes the quick action gameplay from Battle Kid but instead of a robot we have this cute but capable magician that explores the world like in Zelda II or The Battle Of The Olympus.

image.png.975154da8d5c969c1cb550873576217d.png

An underrated gem in the series

 

-What is the working dynamic like across the whole team at Elden Pixels generally? What was the working dynamic like in the development of bringing Alwa’s Awakening to the NES? How did you first connect with everyone?

When we made the first Alwa’s Awakening for PC in 2016 it started with me writing a game design document and then looking for a team. I knew Kreese who made the music from a gaming convention we used to run together so he was on board right away. BG (Alexander) the artist actually had made some artwork for the same convention so I knew he was skilled with pixel art so I just sent him a message and he was also on board! Finding a programmer was a bit more challenging but I found Kevin who was actually a level designer but he learned to program for Alwa’s Awakening, which is really impressive! For the NES game we hired Brad Smith, who’s a skilled NES programmer and we remade the game from scratch so it would work on NES. It was a fun project!

 

-Alwa’s Awakening was first released in 2017. What is the story behind the game’s evolution from a modern game to an NES game?

The original game idea was to make a NES game but we quite quickly realized it would be one heck of a challenge so we decided to go with Unity, which is a modern game engine. And we made and released the game, but throughout development we made sure to keep the NES limitations as much as possible because who knows, maybe one day we’ll port it to NES? Well, the years passed and in 2019, a guy called Paul started to make a fan-made NES port and he came really far with the game. Since he live streamed the entire thing it caught the eye of a publisher and they reached out to us asking if we’d be interested in releasing it commercially. We were but Paul wasn’t able to commit to such a task so we put out a job ad and we messaged Brad Smith, which we knew from his previous game Lizard and after going back and forth for a while we signed a contract and he was on board! The rest is history.

 

-With the NES iteration of Alwa’s Awakening, you’re working on a game for decades-old hardware. How does producing a game for the NES compare to your experiences producing games for more modern hardware?

From my perspective as a level designer it wasn’t that different. We still used Tiled as our level editor and quite quickly when we first started working with the game we were able to just have all the original levels loaded into the game and we were able to move around. Brad wrote this really cool script that basically took everything we had in terms of levels, art and dialogue and just put it into the game and it gave a warning it it wasn’t compatible with NES so the first time we loaded everything up we had like a thousand warnings and day by day, week by week we remade the levels, edited artwork, reduced colors, edited strings until one day it had zero warnings, it was the best day!

 

-What new challenges or surprises surfaced in developing Alwa’s Awakening (both initially and for the NES) as opposed to previous projects? What lessons did you learn that you would like to share with the people who aspire to follow in your footsteps?

Well, you’re not going to get rich making NES games. It was such a cool game to work on but if we cared more about money it would probably have been a better idea to work on something else. And with everything going on with the world right now with the pandemic, lockdowns, war in Ukraine and environmental crisis manufacturing and shipping this game around the world has cost an insane amount of money. I have to think long and carefully about doing another physical game.

 

-There has been a lot of support and enthusiasm for Alwa’s Awakening, from the original game, to the announcement that the game would be ported to the NES, to the game’s ultimate release. How does it feel to see so many people excited for this game?

It feels both great and “business as usual”. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when someone likes our games but I’m coming up on soon ten years in the business and I think almost every title I worked on has become a physical release, so you almost get used to it. But what makes me really proud and happy though, is the fact that Elden Pixels now employs three people full time. We made a lot of games that make people happy, we’ve given money to charity and can continue making quality single player video games in a gaming industry that’s evolving more and more into subscriptions, DLCs and shitty business models. The fact that we can survive and make games makes me really happy and we have our community to thank for that.

 

-What aspects of Alwa’s Awakening are you most proud of?

When we developed the original game for Steam a few years back we were really keen on making it very accurate to the NES hardware and we succeeded in that. When it came out most people were really positive but there's always a few that would comment that it "would never work on NES" and "looked too modern". But then years later we were basically able to make a 1:1 port on the NES and it worked exactly like we hoped.

 

-Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon? Any dream projects? Are there any plans to bring Alwa’s Legacy to the NES, or at least another soundtrack cartridge?

Right now there are no plans to release anything more Alwa related, we’re finishing up the Alwa’s Awakening Evercade release but after that we’re planning to focus entirely on our new game, which is a platformer adventure game of sorts with a killer soundtrack. We have posted a few pics online but we’re hoping to officially announce it next year, can’t wait to hear what people think of it!

 

-Are there any homebrew games in development that you are excited to play?

I got a chance to play a cyberpunk NES adventure game called Courier, which I really enjoyed. The art looked great and the hour or so I got to play was really cool, really looking forward to seeing it released! There’s also a fan-made Battle Kid game being played, which I can’t wait to get my hands on. I tried the demo and it was very well-made.

image.png.f4a6e98988acfeac77d8b2fca5dd9c41.png

SOON

 

-I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and share your experiences. Is there anything else you would like to tell readers and fans?

No worries, thanks for allowing me to rant about our games. I’ve got nothing more to add really. Be kind to yourself and people around you. Thanks to everyone who enables us to keep doing what we’re doing.

 

 

image.png.efaa58c5efa454943c13f97acbb09dc5.png

Brad Smith

@bbbradsmith

-Before we dive into Alwa’s Awakening, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to become a game developer and musician? What is your origin story?

My family's first computer was an Atari ST. I loved a lot of games on it, especially Bubble Bobble, which I played a lot with my dad. At a young age I found at the library a series of books by Usborne on BASIC programming for kids. That's where I got started with programming. I decided I wanted to make video games then, and it's been a lifelong pursuit.

Music has been my other major interest. My parents encouraged me to take piano lessons early on, but what I really wanted to do was compose music. I especially liked making music with my computer, because I didn't need to deal with instruments or performers, I could just put sounds together. It also tied in with the video games thing. I really loved game music as much as other kinds, and seemed natural to try and make music like that at the computer.

The Usborne books are now available for free online, in case you're curious or want to link them: https://usborne.com/ca_en/books/computer-and-coding-books

 

-In terms of both game development and music, who are your influences? And whose work are you watching closely now?

Some early game experiences that really influenced me: Bubble Bobble, for its unique concept and cutesy style. The original Prince of Persia, for the quiet way it lets you explore space, and its immaculate sense of presentation. Final Fantasy IV, for introducing me to the longer-form storytelling and character development of JRPGs.

I try to play a variety of games, and maybe more of them are old than new. I don't know if I'm into a specific genre; I think mostly I just try to play something different than the last thing I played. Old games often have strange design decisions that are unpopular in recent games, and they give me a lot of ideas to think about. Recently I've played through Ys I, Blaster Master, and Death Stranding. Currently I'm deep into Yakuza 0 on my PS4, and slowly getting through a strange Amiga sci-fi maze game called Enemy: Tempest of Violence.

I feel similarly about music. I listen to old and new things, and music is much older than video games so "old" goes back a lot farther. I liked a lot of game music, but maybe "Secret of Mana" was the most inspiring of all for me. It really made me want to write music. I heard "Switched on Bach" as a kid, and the sound of synthesizers being applied Bach was an instant hit for me. Later I found another album by Wendy Carlos called "Beauty in the Beast" which had an incredibly unique exploration of tuning systems and sounds... it gave me completely new ideas about what music could be, and it's a shame to say that it's been out of print for many years. Nine Inch Nails is another artist that meant a lot to me, especially since I knew it was mostly one guy with a computer, it encouraged me to do the same. More recently I've really enjoyed the game soundtracks of Machinarium, and CrossCode.

image.png.7fc325efb38c728c8823e261a01e2665.png

Screenshot from Machinarium

 

-How would you describe your design aesthetic, what to you are the hallmarks of a game made by you?

So, I can't take any credit for the aesthetic of Alwa's Awakening. My work on that game was to make someone else's design into something the NES could run. I probably did have some influence on the design of the NES version, but it's more subtle.

For my own NES game Lizard, I think the one thing I usually tell people is that they will get lost. I wanted to make a game that doesn't tell you where to go, so that you go explore on your own, lose your way, and then can (hopefully) have the joy of finding it. I don't think everyone likes this feature, but it's a kind of game I felt I hadn't experienced in a while.

So, maybe the question of what the hallmarks of my games are is something that will have to wait many years, for me to finish several other games that we can look back on and compare. For now I'd say I want to explore game ideas that I feel are under-served. I look at old games a lot because I think there are a lot of cool concepts, and weird ideas, that are worth exploring some more in a new context. I'm interested in a lot of different game genres... but maybe I'm just mostly interested in variety. I want to make a game that I'd like, that someone else isn't going to. What that means will probably change a lot for each game, if I manage to make more.

 

-What tools do you use to code and compose for your games? What is your creative process?

For code, I use a variety of languages for different purposes. Assembly code to run on the NES. Python script or other languages for tools used in making the game. C++ for stuff on the PC that needs to run efficiently. There are differences between programming languages, but I just try to find a specific one seems good for the situation at hand. There are a lot of different assemblers, or C compilers, and there are many ways to accomplish the same task. If I need to find a different language or tool, I just try to learn whatever that is and get comfortable with it.

For music, I probably do the broad level composition at a piano or guitar, or in my head, or on paper. When I have a few ideas, eventually I start to put them together in some form more specific to the end goal. For NES music I mostly use a free tool called FamiTracker. After I get the main ideas in, I need to work on the finer details, and FamiTracker has an excellent simulation of the NES sound that lets me get it right before I go to the real machine to test it out.

 

-The list of projects you’ve worked on spans decades. Have you noticed any changes/evolutions in your style or game development preferences over the years?

I started professional game development in 2006 after I graduated from university, though the projects of my own that I learned from go back many more years. At this point I really only have one major finished game that is my own, which is Lizard. The rest which has been published is work done for others.

The things I wanted to make as a kid are pretty different than what I want now. As a kid, I wanted to make a game that simulated my own life, the daily activities of a young schoolboy. As a teenager, I wanted to make a JRPG, and I dreamed of working for the short-lived SquareSoft USA. In university I wanted to make a rhythm/music shoot-em-up. There were projects for each of these that got to various stages of development, but the only games I finished were small things, like pong or bowling. It took me a very long time to learn how to commit to a big project and finish it, which in a lot of ways is its own separate skill, different from other things I had to learn to be able to make a video game.

 

-How did you come into the role of working on Alwa’s Awakening as lead programmer? What was the working dynamic like in the game’s development?

The people at Elden Pixels had played Lizard, so they had seen some of my work. They approached me when they were looking to start this project, and I guess they liked the plan I laid out for them.

I worked from my home in Canada, and we talked continually as development progressed. In the early part of the project, I focused on getting tools ready for the other team members to make content and be able to test it on the NES. The first major thing was a tool that built the game maps and could view them on the NES. As they were working on building the world map, I could focus on the next thing, like making sprites and animations possible. Later in the project I think the others were working a lot on testing and tweaking things, while I was trying to get all the remaining small features in, or fix problems as they came up.

As with any project we sometimes had worries and disagreements, but I very much enjoyed working with them, and I'd like to do it again if another opportunity comes up.

image.png.f135a9e28c5841100dc17e737b3b8e64.png

If you made a world as stunning as this, who wouldn’t hire you?

 

-Did you have a different attitude toward developing Alwa’s Awakening compared to developing your own games, such as Lizard? Is the experience of developing them different? Does making a port of an existing game impose limits on what you can do with it? Was the experience analogous to your work on MOON8 in which you brought Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to the NES?

With Lizard, I could spend as much or as little time as I thought any part of the game needed. The decision was always mine. With Alwa's Awakening, I had to continually estimate various things that could be done, and let my employer decide what was important. So... it's a lot different in that way. I'm not free to explore tangents the way I would on my own project.

I wouldn't say MOON8 was very much like either of those projects. Mostly it began as listening to the music and transcribing it into FamiTracker. I did a lot of music transcriptions over the years, either so I could play something myself on the piano or guitar, or if a band I was in wanted to play some covers. I like rearranging music like this, transforming it into a different sound for different instruments.

So for MOON8, it was all about exploring how different it would sound if it had to be played through the NES as an instrument. With Alwa's Awakening, instead my main goal was just to make it as close to the original PC version as the NES could manage. Instead of exploring the difference, I was trying to create a meticulous facsimile. We did of course have to make some adaptations for the NES, but we still wanted it to feel like the "same" game. A lot of the more significant ways it had to be adapted, e.g. simplifying the sprite colours, or rebuilding the world for the 4:3 aspect ratio of the screen, were creative decisions made by other members of the team.

A link to one of my first solo guitar transcriptions, the underwater music from Super Mario Bros.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV7C2wDs9B8

 

-There has been a lot of support and enthusiasm for Alwa’s Awakening, from the initial announcement that the game would be ported to the NES, to the news you were taking over as lead programmer, to the game’s ultimate release. How does it feel to see so many people excited for this game and your work on it?

It's been a huge relief to see people finally get their hands on it. The physical release took a lot longer than expected, and though my work was long finished, the wait for a release still weighed on me a lot. I felt we had done great work with it, and I was really looking forward to seeing how people felt about it.

 

-What aspects of Alwa’s Awakening are you most proud of?

I was really surprised how I felt about the game as it was coming together. I'd figured by now the novelty of getting something to run on the NES would have worn off on me... but as it became more and more complete, and I could sit down and just play it. There's still magic there. Something special about having it run on the real machine.

I'm very happy with how it turned out. I think we captured everything essential about the original. Maybe I'm most proud of the animation system, which let us keep the entire animation set of the main character. I don't think we had to sacrifice even a single pixel on her.

 

-Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon, NES or otherwise? Any dream projects? Collaborations?

I don't have any concrete things that I can talk about right now, but I am working on things. In the past months I've been spending a lot of time getting to know the Apple II, and the Super NES. You can expect stuff from me on both those platforms in the future. I'm not quite sure what they will be yet. For now I've released a few small demos, experiments, and ROM hacks for SNES.

 

-Will there be a cartridge release of Famicompo Pico 2 like there was for its predecessor?

Probably not. I made the ROM for it, but the physical release isn't my project. Given how many years have passed now, I don't know if Famicompo Pico has a current custodian who would make a cartridge happen.

I'd like to make a ROM for Famicompo Pico 3, at least, which has been in my plans for a very long time, but I will need to set aside some time for it.

image.png.3ee849ab94637b77ebd22e5ac1d5b335.png

The Famicompo Pico 2014 ALBUM by the bitpuritans, still available at InfiniteNESLives

 

-Are there any homebrew games in development that you are excited to play?

A few months ago I really enjoyed playing through Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl with a friend. I thought it played very well, and it was longer than I expected. Really fantastic game.

Another recent one I liked a lot was Witch n' Wiz, which is a very pleasant puzzle game, and it had some great attention to style and detail.

As for stuff that's currently in development... I think I try not to get my hopes up about games that aren't already out. I've seen a lot of great ideas get started, and then disappear. I don't consider it a fault, and my own life has been littered with unfinished projects, so I definitely understand, but I've developed a bit of a callous toward it. I sometimes test in-progress things for friends, and I try to help and encourage people that are working on stuff, but I don't have any expectation that any particular game will make it to release. This applies to big budget games too: I've seen firsthand how frequently these get cancelled well into development.

 

-I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and share your experiences. Is there anything else you would like to tell readers and fans?

Thanks for being interested enough to ask. I don't have anything to add right now, but I guess anyone wondering what else I have to say might go to my website, or maybe look me up on twitter.

https://rainwarrior.ca/

 

Conclusion:

Thanks for tuning in to this latest episode of the series that explores the new and exciting goings on in the homebrew community. What are your thoughts on Alwa’s Awakening and its developers? What homebrews are you eagerly looking forward to? Perhaps you’ll see it here soon when…A Homebrew Draws Near! Command?

 

image.png.25372eedf9f7b06835a27586eaf62f03.png

 Share

0 Comments


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...