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Why do so many homebrew games don't have roms?

Question Homebrew Rom

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#1 Pixel Toad OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:54 AM

Recently I was looking for homebrew games and noticed that many (not all) don't have a rom or I just didn't find them.   And if there are no roms of These how does Atari age get their footage fot the YouTube channel?

Why do many homebrew games don't have roms, and when they have where can I find them?



#2 ColecoJoe OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:51 AM

Not all homebrews are free



#3 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:13 AM

Some of us game developers self publish titles.  Sales go to pretty much zero when you release a ROM.  So, unless you intended it to be a freebie from the start, there's not much incentive.

 

Bigger indie publishers also have to work within the constraints of a licensing deal.  The contract wording might not include giving away the game for free as a ROM.  The more popular / active a brand is the less likely a freeware ROM is.

 

Especially if AtariAge is the publisher they'll have permission to showcase the games on a real 2600 or otherwise.  It's pretty much a badge of honor :)

 

So, physical releases will never always be freebies afterwards.  I have some pay what you want here:

https://theloon.itch.io/

 

PDRoms has an Atari 2600 section:

https://pdroms.de/files/atari2600



#4 Impaler_26 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:17 AM

Sales go to zero when you release a ROM.

 

Really? I'm just wondering because the ROMs for many homebrews in the AA store are available and they seem to be selling fine. And i thought small runs of around 20 - 50 copies seem to sell pretty quick?

I'm just curious and i'm probably totally wrong.  ;) 



#5 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:25 AM

 

Really? I'm just wondering because the ROMs for many homebrews in the AA store are available and they seem to be selling fine. And i thought small runs of around 20 - 50 copies seem to sell pretty quick?

I'm just curious and i'm probably totally wrong.  ;)

 

I forgot to mention some of my titles aren't very flashy or well known.  Some don't even play well :)  I think once the quality and visibility goes up there's some leeway.  But, then you run into licensing and contracts and the possibility of a free ROM goes down again.

 

I guess the real reason comes down to the game makers original intention.  Some are ROMs because flickering and other techniques make them look pretty bad on real hardware.  Some are free because they were just always made for digital distribution.  Going from one distribution mode to another can get problematic.



#6 Lord Thag OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:59 PM

Some of it has to do with unlicensed repros as well. You see a LOT of unlicensed games being sold on cart at retrogaming shows. Some people want to retain control over their hard work. 



#7 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:24 PM

Some of it has to do with unlicensed repros as well. You see a LOT of unlicensed games being sold on cart at retrogaming shows. Some people want to retain control over their hard work. 


But if they arent going to release the rom then they should make carts and manual reprints available to buy for new members rather than this 25 or 50 and they're gone business.



#8 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:27 PM

But if they arent going to release the rom then they should make carts and manual reprints available to buy for new members rather than this 25 or 50 and their gone business.

 

Like I said: you have to take into account we're all enthusiasts on a budget.  Try paying rent, doctors bills and have a family AND pay for a run of 2 dozen carts up front.  Demand can be fickle and you might not sell through your next batch either.



#9 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:02 PM

 

Like I said: you have to take into account we're all enthusiasts on a budget.  Try paying rent, doctors bills and have a family AND pay for a run of 2 dozen carts up front.  Demand can be fickle and you might not sell through your next batch either.

AA does it with dozens of carts. They don't want Al making their ROM into a cart?



#10 John Stamos Mullet ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:19 PM

All the years I've been into this hobby, no matter how great a homebrew game turns out, they never seem to sell more than 200 maybe 250 carts, and that's only the really good ones. I would think that after a game has sold through its first few batches and the sales pretty much stop releasing a rom at that point isn't going to hurt sales anymore, and might actually encourage a few more.

#11 hizzy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:29 PM

There's a rom for almost everything in the AA store. They are all easily available with a forum search.



#12 Video OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:11 PM

What games? I have roms to everything that looked interesting (to me) they aren't always on aa through its rom thing, but most the time the creater puts the Rom here to promote sales. You may have to search the forums to find it. Al's cool though and unless the writer says it at some point, I doubt he posts the roms, even though to make the carts, he'll definitely have access to it.

#13 Coolcrab OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:59 AM

I would feel bad for asking money for my games after all the help that I got creating them here on AA. I doubt that anyone is in for the money but I guess that letting the ROM exist online does make it vulnerable for pirating. (I would personally not be happy if people started to sell me games behind my back. Feel free to make you own cart for own use, but don't profit from it.)

 

I would even go as far as to argue that sharing the source code is a good thing to do, as it allows others to learn and improve their skills. 



#14 SIO2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:23 AM

I used to share my source code.  I only asked that people comment to let me know what they found useful and to share back their changes.  None ever did.

 

Recently I came across one of my games (on another site - not Atari Age) that been converted from 5200 to 8 bit with the title and byline changed.  I don't mind that so much since I let the source out and didn't intend to distribute the game but it would have been nice to get a heads up from that person to let me know it was put to use somewhere.



#15 Coolcrab OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:47 AM

Yea that sucks! With Atari I'd hope that the community is small enough for people to notice

#16 ColecoJoe OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:02 PM

But if they arent going to release the rom then they should make carts and manual reprints available to buy for new members rather than this 25 or 50 and they're gone business.

It costs money and time. You do realize most of these boxed homebrews are assembled by hand?



#17 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:47 PM

It costs money and time. You do realize most of these boxed homebrews are assembled by hand?

Notice I didn't say box. Probably wouldn't really need a manual reprint for any either, but it is sometime helpful.



#18 ColecoJoe OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:50 PM

Notice I didn't say box. Probably wouldn't really need a manual reprint for any either, but it is sometime helpful.

PCB's have to be populated into cases, labels have to be placed. It's all work that somebody has to do and sometimes it's not worth the hassle.



#19 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:53 PM

PCB's have to be populated into cases, labels have to be placed. It's all work that somebody has to do and sometimes it's not worth the hassle.

Some games have been in the AA store for years. They are made to order, cart only. You'd have to ask Al if he minds making all the carts to order that he offers.



#20 Torr OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:10 PM

PCB's have to be populated into cases, labels have to be placed. It's all work that somebody has to do and sometimes it's not worth the hassle.

 

If it's "not worth the hassle"... then it's a poor business venture isn't it? and if you have realized it's a poor business venture, then why not just release your work for free so that other Atari fans can play and appreciate your hard work?



#21 ColecoJoe OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:33 PM

 

If it's "not worth the hassle"... then it's a poor business venture isn't it? and if you have realized it's a poor business venture, then why not just release your work for free so that other Atari fans can play and appreciate your hard work?

 

 

Who said this was a business venture? I see a bunch of very passionate programmers releasing a run of cartridges for the love of it. I doubt they expected to make a profit. And then I see a bunch of johnny come lately's wondering why the programmers  hard work isn't available for free =)  If your boss said, hey man you do great work, can you work for free today? Would you do it?



#22 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:23 PM

AtariAge has ROMs for the homebrew games for sale in the AtariAge store, which are used to make the cartridges and the videos for the YouTube channel, but it's up to the individual programmers to decide whether or not the ROM is available for download. If you can't find a ROM in the rarity guide, search for a development thread in the forums and you'll find something for probably 99% of homebrew games.

 

As for the whole limited cartridge availability thing, keep in mind that not all game designers have the resources to make cartridges, and not every game submitted makes it into the AtariAge store (or the Pack Rat store, or the Good Deal Games store). This means the programmers need to pay someone else up front to make carts they can sell on their own through the forums. If that ends up being the case, they'll have what they can afford or what they feel comfortable they can sell made, and that's it. There's no point in having 25 extra copies of a game made in hopes that 5 years down the line someone new to the scene will want to buy it.

 

If there's a game you really want that isn't available in the store, try getting in touch with the creator and see if they're OK with you getting a cart made and then use the Custom Cartridge option in the AtariAge store.



#23 Torr OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:27 PM

Depends on the "work".

 

I consider these home brew games art. And art is created to be experienced by others. If you have no way of distributing your art profitably, why would you want to hoard your art so no one can ever see it?

I know if I was say a painter, and created something I was very proud of, but could find no way to monetize it, I would still distribute it so people can still see and experience what I sunk so much time and effort into. I wasn't going to make any money of it anyway apparently, so I might as well at least get it out there so others can see the fruits of my labor.

At that point even a "Good Job Buddy!" from someone would be payment enough. I've already realized that I'm not gonna make money, so a compliment and knowing someone appreciated my work is definitely better than nothing!

 

But again, I say this is art by artists, so I can agree with the opposite point of view. It's completely up to the artist as to what happens to their art!



#24 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:49 PM

Guys, this is a collector forum. Whether game A has a rom release or not, some people like to hold the physical games in their hands. Numerous times I've given feedback on public betas and then bought the game in the store.

Sometimes the rom isn't available (boulderdash). Sometimes the public Rom is an early beta (Chetiry_GB), and sometimes it's identical to the store release.

Whether you are running roms on harmony, stella, or carts on original hardware, the games are a labor of love and the author retains all rights to it. Except in rare circumstances where a third party license is involved, usually it is the developer's choice of release format, be it cart (AA store, third party vendor, or private release), rom, or modern hardware. Carts can be limited or open edition, again personal choice of the developer and/or cartridge builder.

It is unethical and a violation of copyright to dump a homebrew game and redistribute the rom in physical or digital form without the author's consent. Likewise it is unethical and a violation of copyright to create unlicensed carts of a publicly available rom without the author's consent.

Many games get cart release and rom release simultaneously. Many games get cart release first and rom release months or years later. Some games get rom release first and cart release months or years later. Some roms do not have physical cart release, or it is limited edition. Some carts never get rom release.

OP needs to conduct due diligence and search Atariage using google. Oftentimes there are freely available roms in varying stages of development buried in a thread somewhere. Albert is not going to put "if you do not want to purchase as cart, you can download rom for free here," on the product page. No vendor would be this stupid.

Soon roms for select games may be available for downloadable drm free purchase in the store pending a future update. It would be a nice gesture of goodwill if discount vouchers would be awarded toward future cart purchases of said game title, and free rom download for prior cart purchasers. Hopefully honest buyers will pay for the rom and not redistribute them or download for free. Rom downloads could also be serialized by embedding a watermark in unused portions of the game code, and bans issued to the first guy who leaks it. Watermarks are not the same as drm as they don't prevent access, but do provide some level of security against would-be leakers by identifying the culprit.

Until store downloads are a thing, it may require a bit of google-fu to locate old posts containing the roms, or you could pm the author and ask. Please be respectful however when contacting developers. Anyone sending a PM worded like "Can I plz have ROMz?" is just being a douche and has no idea the effort required in producing a game.

#25 Video OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:35 PM

Personally, anyone getting into rom making for Atari knows there isn't any money going to be made, ever. Most well into the dozens, and a few lucky ones get into the hundreds. Has a homebrew hit a thousand legitimately sold yet? By that I mean sold through approved distribution like Al, not counting seedy bootleggers.

Personally, if I was doing it, it would be for the love of it, and sold or not, I'd want it available to as many people as possible, so I would release the rom. I may or may not wait for some sales, but I'd likely have some minor irrelevant change to the Rom as opposed to the cart. Something that would not affect the game, but let people know who buy the game that theirs is legit and not a copy or bootleg. Maybe a slightly different font on the title screen, or it literally saying copy, rather than copyright.

The watermark is an interesting idea, but a k of data is only a thousand characters, most games are pretty packed and I doubt they have that much space available, for something tens of thousands of people likely download, I just don't see it working.

It makes more sense for distributors, like al would have one, and others would have different ones. It would let you find the leakers of the roms (though tbh I don't think al is doing that)

Edited by Video, Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:41 PM.






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