MSXdev'20 kicks off!

MSXdev'20 kicks off!

by MSXdev Team on 22-11-2019, 01:56
Topic: Challenges
Languages:

Finally, the wait is over. The show that's been running for some serious time rears its next iteration. Here's the official announcement for the start of the latest edition of the international MSX development contest, MSXdev’20.

From hardcore MSX fans to mildly interested passersby, this annual event ain't no stranger. It has been running steadily since 2003 and dropped many fresh works of video gaming right into the worldwide MSX scene. And all of them are free to download. There's no excuse not to enjoy them right away.

Now, for the 2020 edition, specifically two important changes have been made to the contest:

  • First of all, the "Freestyle" category has been honorably discharged, due to the organizational burden not weighing up against the net results.
  • Also, the public poll was dropped for the same reasons.

A slightly more thorough explanation for these decisions can be found on the official MSXdev blog.

Some dates to consider, concerning this year's edition:

  • 22 November 2019 - Contest kicks off!
  • 30 July 2020 - Deadline for entries
  • 1 August 2020 - Jury deliberation commences
  • 31 August 2020 - Deadline for jury reports
  • 7 September 2020 - Final results made public

The MSXdev Team hopes you are as just as excited as they are about what joyful and fascinating new software this challenge will bring! Every year it's just a treat. Homebrew software for the win, for sure!

Are you working on an MSX game, or even have one finished? Please consider to submit your work to this legendary MSX contest and have the guarantee of a world-wide audience, gain the attention of potential cartridge producers, and even be in the condition to win some prizes. It's a contest after all!

Let the games begin.

Relevant link: MSXdev'20

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Comments (71)

By santiontanon

Paladin (846)

santiontanon's picture

22-11-2019, 07:53

Wohoo!! One more year! Looking forward to seeing what type of new games people come up with!! Big smile

By tfh

Paragon (1842)

tfh's picture

22-11-2019, 08:25

Yes! I was eagerly waiting for an announcement like this!
MSXDev has supplied the MSX community with some great software over the years. I am looking forward to the 2020 entries!

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6276)

ARTRAG's picture

22-11-2019, 09:13

what about adding precise specs ?
Wink

By ducasp

Master (163)

ducasp's picture

22-11-2019, 12:47

It is a shame that instead of working on ways to encourage more MSX2 developments, they are going the other route instead... So, if I've read correctly, only MSX 1 games are acceptable. Sad... Regrettable... oO

By tfh

Paragon (1842)

tfh's picture

22-11-2019, 12:58

ducasp wrote:

It is a shame that instead of working on ways to encourage more MSX2 developments, they are going the other route instead... So, if I've read correctly, only MSX 1 games are acceptable. Sad... Regrettable... oO

I understand what you mean, but I also understand the MSXDev teams decision. I personally would like to see more MSX2 (and up) releases as well.
It could be a consideration to create a separate contest for such games and to let MSXDev focus on the original MSX standard.

By ducasp

Master (163)

ducasp's picture

22-11-2019, 13:08

Why restrain? Just make it a single class MSX/MSX2 /2+ contest. It is all MSX and if someone takes extra time/effort making something for MSX2 and win, cool... It is not unfair, in my humble opinion, as anyone can work on MSX2 today.

By Manel46

Champion (459)

Manel46's picture

22-11-2019, 13:12

ducasp wrote:

It is a shame that instead of working on ways to encourage more MSX2 developments, they are going the other route instead... So, if I've read correctly, only MSX 1 games are acceptable. Sad... Regrettable... oO

Yes.

By Manel46

Champion (459)

Manel46's picture

22-11-2019, 13:16

This is a pity. We had a game ready to present in the contest.
It works on MSX1, but it is for V9990. Smile

By ren

Paragon (1285)

ren's picture

22-11-2019, 15:27

Some of my thoughts:

Of course that public voting mechanism was bound to fail. Solution: you've got a community right here (you do use this platform for promotion and announcements anyway..) and setting up a poll is easy, chances for abuse are a lot less. Instead of simply declaring void, you still had the chance to do it here right?

'Yeah, but not everyone has an account here, etc.': doesn't really matter, a lot of (involved) people do and technically speaking I think the result of the vote will be representative, and that's what matters in the end. AFAIC voting could also take place in a forum thread, visible, where only active, known users can vote.

Regarding the scoring: I think it makes sense and would be nifty to add the (important) factor 'originality' and/or 'ingenuity'. ATM I believe you sort of reward this using (the vague) 'extra' categories?

Anyway, cool there's a new edition. I would still reward people doing extra stuff like MSX2 support/features etc.

I do think it's a shame that a production like Shoulder Blade Overdrive wouldn't qualify / couldn't compete anymore.

It's an option to simply throw all restrictions overboard, or say it must at least run on MSX or MSX2, and just score the entries properly, taking into account what platform an entry is targeted at etc. A good, well playing MSX1 game can still win from a good looking MSX2 game. Apart form the platform's graphics capabilities (and score accordingly), you could have 'gameplay' outweigh 'graphics' (and other factors).

Kinda feels like holding on to old restrictions (for the sake of 'tradition' or something). Yeah, those do define some nice/handy boundaries, OTOH you seem to be limiting yourself, and disqualify some developers who might have some cool ideas, but can't or don't want to develop those within those imposed limits.
(2020, a new era right? Wink)

Seeing this is the only alive MSX compo in existence, I think something to consider. I think trying to attract, and be open to as many developers as possible should be the main focus, and the most interesting to the community as a whole? Cheers :-)

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9774)

wolf_'s picture

22-11-2019, 15:17

The difference between TMS and P1@V9990 is not that much; it's all tiles 'n sprites. So, make your TMS-game, import - somehow - these tiles in a G9k editor, enhance them a bit, et voila! Adjust the sprites, make 'm multi-colour, et voila!

TMS-fans can then play the TMS-version. G9k-fans can then play the G9k-version.

By Manel46

Champion (459)

Manel46's picture

22-11-2019, 15:40

It is not P1. Our rom is B3 BD16. 512x424 16bits / pixel.
We will publish it in MRC, immediately.

By Grauw

Ascended (8508)

Grauw's picture

22-11-2019, 18:00

Awesome to see a new MSXDev for the new year! Many thanks for organising it again and looking forward to the entries! And now the year number matches up with the year of the deadline so that's nice Smile.

A bit of a shame to see the freestyle category go, as my heart really lies with the next gen. But that shouldn't stop people from making those games outside the competition I'd think. I do think the basic MSX1 spec does encourage participants to keep a small scope for their game so it probably increases the number of succesful submissions, so that's a benefit.

By santiontanon

Paladin (846)

santiontanon's picture

22-11-2019, 18:07

I understand the MSX2 complaints, but I also understand the competition organizers in their decision. First, there are very few MSX2 games submitted to the competition every year. Second, comparing games that compete with very different specs is very hard, and can be very unfair when using the type of rating system used today. So, the "open category" is complicated. The same problem will happen if doing a single unrestricted category encompassing MSX/MSX2/etc. But in any case, I was also surprised to see that category go! Oh well...

From what I see, the MSXDev competition organizers have tried different formats over the past few years, and whatever format, there is always a small percent of MSX users that are dissatisfied. So, I don't think it's an easy task to design a competition that everyone would be happy with Smile

In other social medial channels people was proposing as a possible solution to also define a "restricted MSX2" category with some predefined basic specs, which would facilitate comparison. Other people were suggesting to have the MSX2 competition happen only every 2 years, as MSX2 games invite the devs to attempt larger projects that take more development time (and maybe that's why we see many less MSX2 entries than MSX1 entries).

In any case, I for one don't really care much about the rules. As long as there is a competition and it spurs new games, that's all that matters to me. We could argue back and forth about the details of the rules. But bottom line: there is a competition, and that's good! Not sure if I'll have the time this year, but I definitively have an idea for a game already, so, who knows Smile

By PingPong

Prophet (3459)

PingPong's picture

22-11-2019, 18:43

Every year the same story:
The contest is MSX1 oriented with a lot of people asking for MSX2 at least. And every year we insist to the only MSX1 only sw.
It is not understandable how who dictate the rules insists in this stupid way.
The easily predictable result would be the end in the middle-long term of such contest.

By PingPong

Prophet (3459)

PingPong's picture

22-11-2019, 18:47

wolf_ wrote:

The difference between TMS and P1@V9990 is not that much; it's all tiles 'n sprites. So, make your TMS-game, import - somehow - these tiles in a G9k editor, enhance them a bit, et voila! Adjust the sprites, make 'm multi-colour, et voila!

TMS-fans can then play the TMS-version. G9k-fans can then play the G9k-version.

My god!. defining the difference not that much is somewhat restrictive:
TMS: 15 colour clashed colors, slow vram access, very limited hw sprite support in color and number. No scroll support
V9990: > 32 colors, no color clash, high speed vram access, blitter, good sprites.....

Pratically the only thing that V9990 and TMS have in common is the pattern mode and the ability to display sprites.
But is like to compare a Porche 911 with a Trabant saying that there is no much difference because both cars have wheels and tires....!

By Manel46

Champion (459)

Manel46's picture

22-11-2019, 19:10

P1 allows 4 palettes of 16 colors. One for each layer, and two more in the two possible sprite groups.
I understand the reasoning and I'm sure the contest will be a success.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9774)

wolf_'s picture

22-11-2019, 19:32

Yeah yeah, you obviously didn't get the point of my remark. I didn't intend to say that there is barely any difference between TMS and P1, of course there is. My point was like 'make an MSX1 game'. Then convert the tiles and sprites to P1, improve them (and change a few bits of code by much easier G9k code), and you have a game again, for G9k. That's a better upgrade than the MSX2 route, where you only choose between similar fast tiles or better looking yet slower tiles...

By Uninteresting

Expert (102)

Uninteresting's picture

22-11-2019, 21:13

Glad to see a new MSXdev be organized. I can't say I'll be participating for sure, but if not, I can at least donate some money for the prizes.

By PingPong

Prophet (3459)

PingPong's picture

22-11-2019, 23:14

wolf_ wrote:

Yeah yeah, you obviously didn't get the point of my remark. I didn't intend to say that there is barely any difference between TMS and P1, of course there is. My point was like 'make an MSX1 game'. Then convert the tiles and sprites to P1, improve them (and change a few bits of code by much easier G9k code), and you have a game again, for G9k. That's a better upgrade than the MSX2 route, where you only choose between similar fast tiles or better looking yet slower tiles...

On msx2 you do not have to change tiles.
And how you can imagine that one can convert msx1 tiles into p1 if people are so lazy that when doing msx1/2 games the maximum effort they take is to change the palette on msx2? Sprites are most of the times left untouched.
And as usual the devil is in the details: for example have you thought that v9990 has 16 bit name table? And not 1/3, 2/3,3/3 division like on tms? If you do scrolling games this does matter.
And obviously you need to drop any v9990 feature like multilayer.

By santiontanon

Paladin (846)

santiontanon's picture

22-11-2019, 23:40

Bury your hatchets guys. Let's use this page to just discuss about what the news story is about Smile

Also, let's try to be respectful and not call anyone "stupid" please, the organizers have made the decision that they thought is best. By organizing the competition, they are having the courage and putting the effort to do something and put it out there. It is going to be subject to criticism for sure. But let's give them the credit they deserve, and not call them names...

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3092)

sd_snatcher's picture

23-11-2019, 04:51

I'm glad MSXdev is back, and I'm very thankful to its team for all their effort.

At the same time, I must admit I'm a bit sad that the other MSX generations (*1) won't be represented. But I also fully agree with santiontanon that it doesn't make any sense to get aggressive and call people this or that. Only someone who get their work done know how much effort and sacrifice is necessary to finish any project like this context.

Yes, I still think that the fun-factor way more important than the machine capabilities. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here on MSX.org after ~30 years. We would just be playing any generic/lifeless FPS on a modern console.

So, IMHO it doesn't matter if it's MSX1/MSX2/MSX2+/TR. Comparing any of them to today's computers is like to compare any car from the 1920's/1930's to current cars. Yes, cars from 1930's were better than those from 1920's, but they're all very similar when compared to modern cars, right? ;)

*1: V9990/OPL4 not included in the discussion to simplify things, but only the official generations

By gdx

Prophet (3083)

gdx's picture

23-11-2019, 09:12

santiontanon wrote:

comparing games that compete with very different specs is very hard, and can be very unfair when using the type of rating system used today. So, the "open category" is complicated. The same problem will happen if doing a single unrestricted category encompassing MSX/MSX2/etc.

I don't thing it's hard if points are given according the supported hardware for each game.

For example, we must not compare the graphics of a game MSX1 with that of an MSX2 but only compare the given points according the supported hardware. The same method must be applied to compare music, etc. A PSG music that gets 60 points wins compared to an SCC music that gets 55 points even though SCC music makes it better to the ear. Only a few categories like the originality and Gameplay can be noted overall.

In short, it is enough to make categories and to indicate to the judges the method to be followed to note. Then there are just the points to add up to know the winners.

Thus MSX1 games are as likely to win as those for other generations and whatever the hardware used.

By PingPong

Prophet (3459)

PingPong's picture

23-11-2019, 10:42

santiontanon wrote:

Also, let's try to be respectful and not call anyone "stupid" please, the organizers have made the decision that they thought is best.

I do not think it is a best decision. Best decision would be to "listen" to those comments about MSX2 / 2+ /TurboR and act in consideration of those comments, instead of crystallize on the same and always the only way: 'only MSX1' by taking measures to disallow even some kind of improvements when using more powerful hw.
It is not the only year that i see comments asking to open the competition on MSX2 and better computers.

Honestly if i am a Car manufacturer and sell, say my favorite model with a 3 doors body then i heard a lot of interest and people asking me to make a 5 doors version i would answer by making this model a reality.

Opening the contest to newer msx generations would not damage anyone:
if i am a msx1 fan i do not care about msx turboR or MSX2 .
However if i plan to make a kind of game that can be done only on MSX2+ the restriction is more than enough to convince me to drop all.

So, opening the competition would only increase the number of titles published.

Or the organizers are so terrified that a more open competions would lead to a dramatic decrease on MSX1 only titles?

By hamlet

Scribe (2620)

hamlet's picture

23-11-2019, 10:41

Well, the name is MSXdev, not MSX2dev, innit?
Somebody's gonna make the rules, and that's a good thing. They will surely have good reasons and in this case also the experience to arrange this in this way. I'm very happy there is a competition at all. Thanks to the makers.

By PingPong

Prophet (3459)

PingPong's picture

23-11-2019, 10:43

hamlet wrote:

Well, the name is MSXdev, not MSX2dev, innit?
Somebody's gonna make the rules, and that's a good thing. They will surely have good reasons and in this case also the experience to arrange this in this way. I'm very happy there is a competition at all. Thanks to the makers.

In this case i think it should be renamed to MSX1OnlyDEV OK?

By Latok

msx guru (3694)

Latok's picture

23-11-2019, 10:54

It's their devcompo so they set the rules. And a big thumbs up for organizing!

I keep believing limiting specs is wrong. All MSX computers are from the same family. And even turboR is 30 years old now. We can all emulate every MSX configuration needed.

The MSX1+V9990 combo has proven to be an interesting configuration. Supported games would make great msxdev entries.

By reidrac

Expert (68)

reidrac's picture

23-11-2019, 11:01

Everybody can release an MSX2 game any time. Given that there aren't many titles, you'll have a lot of attention. Don't let the MSXDev stop you Wink

Also: if you don't like the contest, you can always organise your own. An MSX2 only competition? Ask around to see how many people would be likely to submit an entry and go for it.

Or you can keep moaning because the people that are doing things don't do them they way you'd like.

My two cents Wink

By gdx

Prophet (3083)

gdx's picture

23-11-2019, 11:32

reidrac wrote:

if you don't like the contest, you can always organise your own. An MSX2 only competition? Ask around to see how many people would be likely to submit an entry and go for it.

I think there is nobody who does not like this contest. Only people who forget that we can give our opinion but not ask them to do what they do not like to do.

By PingPong

Prophet (3459)

PingPong's picture

23-11-2019, 12:16

reidrac wrote:

Also: if you don't like the contest, you can always organise your own. An MSX2 only competition? Ask around to see how many people would be likely to submit an entry and go for it.
My two cents Wink

the problem in creating a new contest is the absence of people that judge for it. that's because no one had already created a parallel contest. Otherwise things, i can bet , will be a lot different.

About that every body can release titles for msx2 it's true, but a single release lack the competition.
And fortunately there are still some people that despite the efforts made to contrast them release msx titles for newer msx generations.

It's incredible that a lot of people complain about the fact that the V9990 is underused when there are some restrictions on a MSXDEV (that IS MSX, (meaning MSX1, MSX2, MSX2+, TurboR) not MSX1!).

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3092)

sd_snatcher's picture

23-11-2019, 12:29

@gdx

Agreed. Most of the time, people forget to thank others for the whole part what they like, but get really vocal (and sometimes even rude) on the feedback about some few specific details that they don't like.

This might pass a bad impression that nobody is liking the {contest, game, demo, utility}, or that there are only a bunch of naggers around here. This tend to demotivate anyone, and sooner or later they'll end up looking for other more fun hobbies with their family/friends.

So, to everyone on the MSXdev team: keep up the good work! Big smile

I only mentioned the other MSX generations because I feel that having different contests might fragment the scarce developers. But well, maybe this helps the MSX community to become less insular participate in the big multi-platform dev parties. I once contacted the organisers of the Demosplash and Outline parties, and they got very interested on having MSX2/2+/TR entries. They should announce their upcoming parties here too.

By Thom

Hero (591)

Thom's picture

23-11-2019, 13:12

Latok wrote:

It's their devcompo so they set the rules. And a big thumbs up for organizing!

I keep believing limiting specs is wrong.

I kind of like seeing what people can do with low specs. To be honest, I feel that V9990, OPL4 and such don't suit a humble 8 bitter.

By ren

Paragon (1285)

ren's picture

23-11-2019, 14:25

Just thinking along some more...

Say everything is excepted, then MSX1 + V9990 could be penalized due to the 'compatibility' score (taking into account a rough estimate how many of the MSX users actually have a V9990 expansion). The entry could still end high in the rankings, due to other factors.

Although it's perhaps a challenge / a fine line to score entries properly (when accepting everything), I certainly think it's doable Smile

Another discussion could be that the scores are pretty synthetic (anyway), playing a game (or utilizing an app - although MSXDev is game only) you feel/experience how engrossing it is (or not), and that still should be the main factor to score on (the 'x-factor' perhaps.. but, next to gameplay, the originality/ingenuity scoring categories might help as well here)

The main focus of MSXDev has always been the 100% MSX1 compatibility, must run on the most modest MSX configuration. Although this is simply self-imposed and I doubt if there's any (serious) MSX fan who doesn't own a MSX2 or greater system. Of course, for various reason you can still opt to make/keep it MSX1 only, e.g. the low-specs challenge and/or low barrier/threshold arguments.

There once was the no restrictions #msxdev compo of course.. Wasn't there some incentive at some point to merge the two compos?

Anyway, the developers who actually create stuff and are thinking about entering the compo should have the greatest say here. Santi's opinion is clear Smile Perhaps it would be an interesting idea to actually ask developers what their opinion/view is upon this matter? How do they feel about a/the traditional MSX1 vs a more loose/free compo.

While I'm not an MSX developer, utilizing MSX2 doesn't necessarily have to mean bigger productions right? There are some examples of games (and demos) that feel (kinda) like MSX1, but do use some MSX2 features (and these productions I've got in mind here are pretty cool Smile) Giving the developers more freedom might result in more (and possibly more interesting & varied) entries. Again: considering this is the only MSX compo alive, kinda feels (to me) like a missed opportunity to not loosen up the restrictions. Perhaps some restrictions should still apply though, to maintain that feeling of challenge (I do e.g. feel Thom's arguments). I also think it could be interesting to open up to application/utility entries Smile

Anyway, it's up to the organizer(s), just throwing some ideas here, again I think it's cool anyway there's a new edition, and every edition has rendered some very cool productions so far Smile

By Grauw

Ascended (8508)

Grauw's picture

23-11-2019, 15:26

ren wrote:

Utilizing MSX2 doesn’t necessarily have to mean bigger productions right?

It doesn’t have to, but it easily leads to. Though I think really the ROM size restriction is what drives the productions to be small in scope. But if you’re only permitted 32K ROM, a single uncompressed MSX2 screen 5 image already takes up 27K of that.

Btw I kinda liked the previous suggestion of having the freestyle category every other year.

Actually, what are the exact requirements? I’m assuming 32K ROM for MSX with 16K RAM, but I couldn’t find the specifics…

By Latok

msx guru (3694)

Latok's picture

23-11-2019, 16:46

Thom wrote:
Latok wrote:

It's their devcompo so they set the rules. And a big thumbs up for organizing!

I keep believing limiting specs is wrong.

I kind of like seeing what people can do with low specs. To be honest, I feel that V9990, OPL4 and such don't suit a humble 8 bitter.

I agree on OPL4, that should never have happened. But V9990 is perfect for MSX.

By ren

Paragon (1285)

ren's picture

23-11-2019, 17:39

*accepted .. Yes, thank you Smile

Grauw wrote:

Btw I kinda liked the previous suggestion of having the freestyle category every other year.

Hmm.. yes, that's an interesting one Smile

NB @Grauw: I didn't really have storage size/requirements in mind there, but more the scope of the project Smile But yeah, that does easily pose a problem when you're limited to a 48 KB ROM I suppose.

The 2018 rules.

By Juan Luis

Expert (71)

Juan Luis's picture

23-11-2019, 17:31

I liked MSX Freestyle category. I'll miss it.

One thing I saw in MSXdev 18 was the prize were the same for MSX Classic and MSX Freestyle. The quantity of money given in each category should be proportional to the number of entries. The total number of games was 15 and the number MSX Classic games were 12 and 3 games for MSX Freestyle. The total quantity of money was 110 + 66 + 44 = 220 euros for MSX Classic and 110 + 66 = 176 euros for Freestyle. Total 220 + 176 = 396 euros for both categories.

The quantity of money for MSX Classic should be 12/15 of 396 euros = 316,80 euros and 3/15 of 396 euros = 79,20 euros for MSX Freestyle. XRacing, the winner, fought against other 11 games meanwhile Dreampuzzle fought against 2 games.

It's just a thought.

By PingPong

Prophet (3459)

PingPong's picture

23-11-2019, 18:03

however, with a simple msx1 the situation is only a bit better, a full screen 2 image takes 12K of the 32K mentioned. Better but anyway not so light.
IMHO the ROM size restriction is even more 'stupid' that the MSX1 only restriction. Even in the '80 there where ROM bigger than that, and were more justified by the costs.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6276)

ARTRAG's picture

23-11-2019, 19:46

Actually, I cannot see real reasons for castrating the specs in such a drastic way. Why not allowing a rom mappers at least...
You will waste more time looking for something that can fit in 48KB than coding interesting contents...

By Uninteresting

Expert (102)

Uninteresting's picture

23-11-2019, 19:23

(I have only a semibroken SVI738 and I've never had a joystick/gamepad that MSX would recognize to have two buttons, but then again, I agree I'm not a serious MSX fan.)

Some thoughts... 1) MSXdev may be the sole MSX-only contest, but what indeed about ones that accept different 8-bit platforms? (Of course, this could be seen as "pushing away" MSX2 devs.) There was at least 8bitannualdev this year.
2) Maybe I'm just too impatient, but I wouldn't be very interested in sitting on a finished game for the next contest to come around next year.
3) I don't know how much more easier it is to write effectively the same game on MSX2 as it is on MSX1, but would there be more effort needed to make a better MSX2 version? (Graphics, music, code?) (Especially if the ROM size had similar space limits.)

FWIW, I am very glad that Shoulder Blade was made and released, I am very glad there will be a new MSXdev. I would still limit myself just to MSX1 and 32KB though, because I am more interested in the challenge than winning anything.

By reidrac

Expert (68)

reidrac's picture

23-11-2019, 19:40

Check the rules (2020). ROMS up to 48K are allowed, the game should work on any MSX with 16K of RAM (16K of VRAM); and MSX 1 only.

I'm an MSX newbie here, but if you ask me... with all these restrictions, no mention of PAL/NTSC? :P

By Juan Luis

Expert (71)

Juan Luis's picture

23-11-2019, 21:59

Reidrac, are you going to participate with Uchüsen Gamma?

By reidrac

Expert (68)

reidrac's picture

23-11-2019, 22:06

Juan Luis wrote:

Reidrac, are you going to participate with Uchüsen Gamma?

Nope. The game will be released next Friday and I don't even know if that would be possible but, to be honest, I didn't make the game to submit it to a contest.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9774)

wolf_'s picture

23-11-2019, 23:03

I think I've mentioned this before in previous MSXdev editions, just like everyone's repeating the same drill every year anyway.

ROM size limits the number of game concepts, and how nice they look/sound. and how vast the game is (map size etc.).

RAM size limits the number of game concepts, and less RAM makes code/design actually harder. Which is odd, as the contest wishes to focus on small system in order to get games finished.

By PAC

Guardian (5314)

PAC's picture

24-11-2019, 11:12

Agree, anyway I encourage people to explore the possibility of developing small games for MSX2, it's better than nothing. We already did it with Mr. Balloon back in 2014, a 32KB ROM and without any data compression. The ROM consist of:

  • Code 8.08 KB
  • Graphics 14 KB
  • Music 5.40 KB
  • Drivers 1.76 KB
  • Fx 0.72 KB
  • Maps 2.03 KB

Although being remakes, another games that come to my mind are Knight Lore (48KB) or Alien 8 (32KB). I agree that a 32KB ROM is quite small for a MSX2 game, forcing you to repeat graphics, music or whatever but in my opinion it worth. Maybe 48KB-64KB is a better starting point, working with reduced sizes is a nice experience and favors ingenuity. On the other hand we could enjoy more colorful games. :)

By KdL

Paragon (1236)

KdL's picture

24-11-2019, 11:21

I think those who want to produce a game for MSX2/2+/tR will do it anyway, so let there be limitations.
After all two separate roms can be made, one inside the competition and the other outside. Wink

By Manel46

Champion (459)

Manel46's picture

24-11-2019, 13:31

Mr. Baloon, is based on the same graphics with different palettes. This is a great advantage.

By ren

Paragon (1285)

ren's picture

24-11-2019, 14:12

Not to be nagging or pedantic or something, but isn't there a kind of double standard here? :

Quote: "RAM: 16 KB (non memory-mapped)"

Also quote: "About the ROM size, any size will be accepted as long as it does not require a ROM mapper. In other words, the acceptable ROM file sizes are 8 KB, 16 KB, 24 KB, 32 KB, 40 KB and 48 KB. The reason for this size limit is that we would like to load the games in regular MSX systems without additional hardware."

To load a > 8 KB ROM into a 16 KB MSX implies the use of extra hardware (RAM expansion/Mega RAM/flash cart) right? I.e. the organization is implicitly saying that a regular MSX system is a 64K MSX system (which doesn't add up to the 16K RAM restriction)?

Some small remarks regarding the MSXdev website: a link color other than black might help (it's e.g. easy to look over the link to the rules..) Regarding the text: the line-height is huge, and makes it (for me) hard/unpleasant to read/follow, makes the paragraphs hard to discern as well. Cheers

Btw @mod: perhaps a good thing to open a MSXdev'20 discussion thread? These news discussions become unwieldy pretty quickly..

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3092)

sd_snatcher's picture

24-11-2019, 14:36

ren wrote:

To load a > 8 KB ROM into a 16 KB MSX implies the use of extra hardware (RAM expansion/Mega RAM/flash cart) right? I.e. the organization is implicitly saying that a regular MSX system is a 64K MSX system (which doesn't add up to the 16K RAM restriction)?

Remember: ROMs were originally intended to be used as (hardware) cartridges. Loading .ROM files in RAM is a trick that we all use, but it's still a trick (*1). Even to boot them we have to simulate the MSX boot process, and if not enough care is taken by the loader utility, routines like hook setup will fail.

*1: The wonders of a highly standardised and flexible system makes it so trivial that we forget that on most other systems this would be a nightmare. Wink

By thegeps

Champion (278)

thegeps's picture

24-11-2019, 15:51

Sad
I can't compete... I'm coding a MSX1 game, it can run on a 16K MSX1, but is a megarom (16kb ascii mapper).
In a 32K ROM It can have only 1 level Sad

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9774)

wolf_'s picture

24-11-2019, 17:03

PAC wrote:

Agree, anyway I encourage people to explore the possibility of developing small games for MSX2, it's better than nothing.

Question is: what makes a small game?

Is it the game concept like "guess the number"? Or is it the fact that little media is used (graphics, maps and music)?

As for the latter: I'll state that these are rarely ever the bottleneck of game. Ask an experienced composer, and each few days a tune can be had. Ask an experienced designer, and each week you can get a new level, with new shapes and colours. On a development trajectory of even half a year, that's peanuts. That's not the bottleneck of a game. It's usually the code that's most of the work, and little details in user interaction.

So, the irony of it all is that contest specs are kept low by the organisers in order to make sure that games get finished, while 1) media is not the bottleneck of the development, and 2) low specs actually make a game harder to code. I mean, there may be people who want to use C to make their game, resulting in somewhat bigger code already, an argument I've seen being used by ARTRAG in the past.

So, even if you stick to 16kb RAM (admittedly, the Konami ROMS usually work with 8kb RAM), I'd say: don't put restrictions on ROM size. The argument that you can run a 48KB ROM in DOS is clear, but how many people do so? I just drag a ROM in openMSX and be happy with it. And then there are many people who have hardware to load ROM-files into their real MSX.

The point is: everyone wants good looking and good sounding games. That's going to cost precious space, so give 'm that space! Can you imagine that Konami would be one of the contestants by entering with Nemesis 3, only to be disqualified for using a 2-megaROM worth o' data?

By PAC

Guardian (5314)

PAC's picture

24-11-2019, 18:52

In my opinion smalls games are those in which you invest a reasonable period of time and consequently game size tend to be reduced as well, it is not related to the game size only. Okay, this is not an exact science, it depens on your dedication, goals and motivation among other things but obviously this implies that your game will usually be reduced and limited in some areas graphics, music, etc. I personally prefer to avoid any kind of limitation btw, if you are in time perfect, if not next year.

By MSXdev Team

Expert (95)

MSXdev Team's picture

24-11-2019, 19:43

Hi MSX friends and fans!
Important update :
Any ROM size now allowed.
https://www.msxdev.org/2019/11/22/msxdev20-a-new-era/

By santiontanon

Paladin (846)

santiontanon's picture

24-11-2019, 21:27

Thanks for the update!!! I will still stick to 32kb (and maybe 48kb if necessary, but I'll try to avoid it). But I hope others find this ROM restriction lifting helpful!!! Big smile

By santiontanon

Paladin (846)

santiontanon's picture

24-11-2019, 21:29

@ren why do you need extra hardware to run, say, a 32KB card on a 16KB MSX? you just plug the cartridge, and the ROM uses (usually) the second and third page, and RAM is in the fourth page. That's it, no need for extra hardware.

By ren

Paragon (1285)

ren's picture

25-11-2019, 10:50

@santi I was talking about loading/launching a binary rom file into/from a 16K MSX

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6276)

ARTRAG's picture

25-11-2019, 14:28

Now another request: can we use the SCC chip and its rom mapper ?

By gdx

Prophet (3083)

gdx's picture

25-11-2019, 14:39

This is an update for Fusion-C users, I presume.

By Timmy

Expert (114)

Timmy's picture

25-11-2019, 15:18

Perhaps this time we can see some really, really large games for the MSX1! Big smile

By ren

Paragon (1285)

ren's picture

25-11-2019, 16:17

The rules have actually been more strict, and loose throughout the years..

At least the rules of MSXdev'11 (and around that year) were quite free: 64K RAM & ROM mappers (up to 128K) allowed (konami without SCC, konami with SCC, ASCII 8KB and ASCII 16KB).

Also on Twitter some people were asking for 64K rom size, so probably a good thing that limit is gone Smile

I do have somewhat mixed feelings: the art/challenge for developers of squeezing as much stuff as possible into small storage space vs. a more relaxed setting, allowing bigger productions, but also more friendly to non (100%) ASM stuff etc, but potentially inviting to be more 'sloppy'? Tongue Smile

Perhaps somehow 'optimization' can be rewarded? ('ingenuity'? Wink)

I think bonus points should be given for having both decent PSG music & an enhanced SCC (or OPLL) version.

If the contest would accept MSX2 I was thinking for MSX2 entries 64K RAM would apply, max 128K or 256K ROM, and for MSX1 entries max 64K Rom? But perhaps that doesn't make sense, dunno Smile

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9774)

wolf_'s picture

25-11-2019, 16:32

I'd urge developers to include lots of graphics and music, even if the game concept is small. You know, people like eye candy and ear candy. Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By MSXdev Team

Expert (95)

MSXdev Team's picture

25-11-2019, 18:21

ARTRAG wrote:

Now another request: can we use the SCC chip and its rom mapper ?

No problem, mister ARTRAG.

By Timmy

Expert (114)

Timmy's picture

25-11-2019, 18:31

ARTRAG wrote:

Now another request: can we use the SCC chip and its rom mapper ?

Yes, congratulations! Now you have to compete with everyone else who use the SCC chips and their rom mappers! Wink

By shram86

Expert (95)

shram86's picture

26-11-2019, 16:07

I'll stick to 32kB, but I'm excited to see some of these games that use a konami size cart. Seems overkill for anything short of Knightmare III. Why so hueg??? Big smile

By Manuel

Ascended (15815)

Manuel's picture

26-11-2019, 19:05

Perhaps it would be good if there was a specific requirement for the ROM mappers that are allowed. Like in 2011, as ren mentioned.

By Uninteresting

Expert (102)

Uninteresting's picture

26-11-2019, 19:06

@shram86
I'm "working" on something of a greatly stripped-down version of the MacVentures' NES port engine. Having a 14x14-character drawing for each location is going to take a fair bit of memory (especially if I want to do it in colour). Maybe not 128K worth, though.

But if I submit something to MSXdev, I'll do my best to keep it under 32K.

By MSXdev Team

Expert (95)

MSXdev Team's picture

27-11-2019, 00:07

There are no restrictions on ROM mappers for this edition.

Concerning support for functionalities of MSX2 and higher, sound/graphic expansions, etcetera;
The jury team is expected to primarily rate each game (and its aspects) as it appears on the most basic MSX configuration, but extra features can and will ofcourse be rewarded with bonus points.

By Grauw

Ascended (8508)

Grauw's picture

27-11-2019, 00:24

Interesting development!

That should appeal to some people and makes an interesting diversion from previous editions.

ren wrote:

Perhaps somehow 'optimization' can be rewarded? ('ingenuity'? Wink)

Mh, but what benefit is size optimisation to us, the players, to have a few kB smaller ROMs, when developers could invest that time into gameplay features? I mean other than street cred Smile.

By shram86

Expert (95)

shram86's picture

27-11-2019, 15:53

Uninteresting wrote:

@shram86
I'm "working" on something of a greatly stripped-down version of the MacVentures' NES port engine. Having a 14x14-character drawing for each location is going to take a fair bit of memory (especially if I want to do it in colour). Maybe not 128K worth, though.

But if I submit something to MSXdev, I'll do my best to keep it under 32K.

This sounds awesome, I would like to see this Tongue
Have you played around with compression? I have been the last few days and you'd be surprised how much of a difference even a few kilobytes make.
I wrote a compressor (and z80 decompression routine):
https://github.com/bferguson3/PyRLE
that might be of some use!

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3092)

sd_snatcher's picture

27-11-2019, 16:51

wolf_ wrote:

I'd urge developers to include lots of graphics and music, even if the game concept is small. You know, people like eye candy and ear candy. Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

Yesss! Chiptunes and beautiful Pixel Art screens are always welcome! Big smile

By ren

Paragon (1285)

ren's picture

27-11-2019, 17:34

I've been so free to open a discussion thread ➡️ MSXdev'20 discussion

@OP/mod: is it an idea to also use the tag MSXdev'20 (/competitions/msxdev20) for this edition's news posts?

@Grauw: all about street cred man... ;-)

By santiontanon

Paladin (846)

santiontanon's picture

28-11-2019, 19:00

haha, street cred and also "fun". I find it an interesting challenge to try to figure out wways to pack as much as possible into small ROMs Smile