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Project Borscht - a slow cooked gothic romance/horror platformer for the NES


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So i thought i should make this project a bit more public/official - there has been a lot of questions lately if these graphics are for a game, and yes it is. 

It's been going reaaally slow all the way since 2016 when i had no idea what i was doing. I might still work on it in 2026, but hopefully not,
now that i know the ropes a bit and what i want. In any case, it's a slow burner. I've only recently had a fit of inspiration to work on new tilesets for it, but it comes and goes. 

I'm going to give it a proper name probably last of all, but for now let's call it Project Borscht. It is my favourite soup and has a fitting colour.

It's going to be a spiritual successor to classic CV trilogy. CV3 was my first own game (along with barker bill's trick shooting but who remembers that game) and i've been drawing inspired levels since that day... well, with pause in the teens and early 20s when it was more interesting to waste time 😉

Vampire fiction stuck with me throughout all my life. So this is sort of a personal exploration of what could have been for the nes, but never were. I also want it to be mostly free of the compromises that commercial game studios struggle with. I don't mind it taking forever to complete. As long as creative decisions don't get compromised. There is a story written out, but i keep making changes to it. 

I'm trying to do everything myself. We'll see how that goes. 

Some music, prior final mixing:
https://frankengraphics.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/frankengraphics_secrettitle_16.mp3
https://frankengraphics.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/frankengfx-track27.mp3
https://frankengraphics.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/frankengfx-rat-smell.mp3
https://frankengraphics.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/frankengfx-horn-and-hoof.mp3


Downhill edge-of-forest level:
forest3_300.png
50% done graveyard scene - just got the outlines for the mausoleum done. The black and blue tiles help me figure out where clouds and other far structures will go. 
filtered-8.png

And the old stuff which you've problably seen 1000 times:
castle_x2_3_2.gif
I think this scene tileset needs to be updated to match a little bit better. but there's very little tilespace left to do it in. I mean this works but i have half a mind to update the foreground especially. If you look closely, you see that most of the tiles are just recycled from the bald mountain.. which is sort of jarring in the style castlevania 3 graphics can be jarring, in retrospective. I'm thinking, though.. i need to use mmc3 or something similar to pull this off anyway. So i might as well swap out the tile bank at the scroll split to bring in something new. That should probably work. 

towerscroll.gif
Prisoners' tower from the same area. This is easier to update, because there's a fair bit of vacant tile space left in this set. 
I think there will be stairs, where stairs make sense. 


Before i thought i could do a proper platformer, i sort of experimented with all kinds of styles in the same theme and background story. For fun, here's some old screens that might make it into something eventually, but not quite this project. Maybe a spinoff sometime

topdown.gif
most likely (not too likely given time) to become something on its own.
iso02j.png
Isometry is super hard on the NES. Not least because of the attribute clashes. 
test3-256x240.png
maybe something from this scene gets recycled, but i think i've grown a lot since 2016 and can do better now. 

 

Edited by FrankenGraphics
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So i thought i should make this project a bit more public/official - there has been a lot of questions lately if these graphics are for a game, and yes it is.  It's been going reaaally slow all the

A quick nighttime forest study from last night. Might as well end up in this game too. 🌕

Thanks, guys! ❤️ Finished this tonight! 

I just want to take a moment and say that this is really really good! When you actually look at the 50 total colors that you can have on the NES, its hard to turn those colors into something neat and interesting to look at. Excellent work!

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Thanks, everybody. ❤️

This was just supposed to be an exercise with the goal of having something like it in this and maybe other games too, eventually.. but i'm pretty happy with how it turned out, so it might go into this game more or less as is.

3-colour cycling + interleaved screenflipping between two similar nametables to be able to create a 6-frame background animation cycle. 4-screen mode means it can still scroll on one axis for this scene. NT banking would make it possible to scroll in all 4 even while a waterfall is present.. but i'm leaning towards a mapper that doesn't have that. 

waterfall3.gif

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13 hours ago, FrankenGraphics said:

Thanks, everybody. ❤️

This was just supposed to be an exercise with the goal of having something like it in this and maybe other games too, eventually.. but i'm pretty happy with how it turned out, so it might go into this game more or less as is.

3-colour cycling + interleaved screenflipping between two similar nametables to be able to create a 6-frame background animation cycle. 4-screen mode means it can still scroll on one axis for this scene. NT banking would make it possible to scroll in all 4 even while a waterfall is present.. but i'm leaning towards a mapper that doesn't have that. 

waterfall3.gif

I would like to see corpses and skeletons stewn around for a darker atmosphere could you implement that? Kind of like Splatterhouse arcade did.

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1 hour ago, JamesRobot said:

Mad skills.  Thank you for sharing all of this.  I enjoy seeing the process. 

Sooo, we'll plan the Kickstarter for next weekend and a release by Halloween?  Great!

Thanks! Haha, well, i don't think this will be KS ready in quite a while. The roadmap for the next couple of years of my spare time is something like this: 
-Finish getting Project Blue out
then (likely this year):
-Get Halcyon (with gauauu) kickstarter ready. this is most urgent. 
-make a ltd edition music cartridge. 
-finishing up some other loose ends on mini projects.
then (probably next year.😞)
-Get a Project Blue sequel... sidequel? kickstarter ready
then (another year?):
-After all that, this might be ready for KS.. if that's even the best platform around by then haha

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29 minutes ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Help Ferris in there under mini-projects?   😬

oh yeah! that's on my mind. and then some tutorials/infographics)sorry i haven't been in touch forever. still interested? i'd consider that the most significant small project. the others are things like making tools for myself and finishing a tutorial with infographics.

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46 minutes ago, FrankenGraphics said:

oh yeah! that's on my mind. and then some tutorials/infographics)sorry i haven't been in touch forever. still interested? i'd consider that the most significant small project. the others are things like making tools for myself and finishing a tutorial with infographics.

I sent an email with an update on the project. 

Let me not derail your thread and say congrats on all the projects. Everything above looks amazing. Sequels sound amazing. You rock!

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Just another Borscht song i managed to finish in time for the bonus album that will go with the digital download for project blue - along with some more project borscht songs, halcyon songs, and freestanding songs.

https://frankengraphics.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/frankengraphics-project-borscht-jaded-courtiers-in-the-gallery.mp3

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