Inspired by several retro, chiptune game series, Rowdymon seeks to emulate the classic monster-training genre with an on-theme twist! Like most children who came of age during the early 21st century, we've always has a soft spot for this archetype and wanted to create something reminiscent of some of our fondest memories. We hope you're impressed by what Rowdymon has to offer, and that you have as much fun playing as we did creating it!
What it does
Rowdymon is a ROM built for the Nintendo Game Boy®, which can also be enjoyed using an emulator or our HTML5 port. A top-down RPG trainer, Rowdymon comes equipped with original sprites and backgrounds, as well as a full OST! This game allows you to capture, train, and battle your very own Rowdymon, complete with the ability to save and continue your file. Compete to become the absolute best, like none has been before!
The player can encounter wild Rowdymon or play with trainers (there's even a final boss at the end)! There is random chance to encounter a certain type of Rowdymon (there are 6 kinds; each opponent AI comes with special sets of moves!) The player can navigate to their inventory and check the kinds of Rowdymon they have captured. The player can also save their game at any time through the menu!
How we built it
We used GBStudio, an indie-made development software, to design, compile, and port the game as a fully functional cartridge ROM. To conform our resources fully to the Game Boy hardware, we created our assets using the following software: Soundtrack: MilkyTracker (a chiptune audio workshop which generates compact .mod files) Backgrounds: Tiled (an image designer built for 16-bit gaming devices) Sprites: GNU Image Manipulation Program
Challenges we ran into
Creating a game built for a 16-bit operating system and hardware means we had to do a bit of backwards time-traveling, which foreseeably came with a great deal of bugs and limitations! We encountered many software errors when compiling our soundtrack and had to implement several workarounds to properly format our music for the GB sound card. Despite all of this, for some unknown reason we still couldn't get the music to play within the ROM. :( We put in too much work to leave this out, though, so you can find our soundtrack in the Github repository! GBStudio is also still in it's beta release, meaning we had to develop several algorithms to work around some functional limitations, such as the inability to define an object class. The battle system was especially tough to implement.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Learning to work with several new development software, as well as entirely new hardware!
- Overcoming technical difficulties, as always, with every program!
- Generating our artistic assets originally (with the exception of some publicly-released icons), including our own chiptune soundtrack!
What we learned
- How to design and export pixel art with a limited color pallette
- Designing .mod files and sound generation with a 16-bit tracker
- Game-building with GBStudio and Tiled
What's next for RowdyMon
Expanding the map, adding a leveling feature, and implementing item storage are all some great ideas we're considering for Rowdymon. We'd love to add cross-device trading and learn how to work with the Game Boy link cable (another exciting hardware hack)!