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Pixel Toad

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

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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.

If cartridges are made to order, why not sell rom files as a choice for the buyer.

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Watermarks are easily implemented on the 2600 without adding extra bytes to the cart, by changing certain bits of code without modifying the function. But watermarks are pointless unless you're going to take some sort of action against the perpetrator. I'm not willing to do so, for my hobby. Heck, I've seen foreign sales for my stuff and did nothing.

 

The whole "they should do it for the art" thing is where I start too. But once you've personally experienced month after month of technical grind while you polish your game, test-playing it so many times that you're sick of it, you can appreciate that other homebrewers might not want to give it all away.

 

My own take on that is to make certain differences between a cart release and the rom release. At a minimum I somehow display the distributor (which also helps identify bootleg carts), but I've also put easter eggs in carts that weren't in the public rom. I have no problem with giving cart purchasers a little bonus, after giving the whole game away for free.

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Some creators may be doing their work to develop and hone their programming skills, and don't want their earlier works to be released to the general public, only to come back to haunt them as become more competent. Other artists (yes, I see game developers as artists) often do this.

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There's also the continued sales factor. If a developer gives away their work after the initial run of carts, people may not buy their next cart and wait for the ROM to be given away.

 

Another factor is the 'value' factor. By giving away the efforts of their hard work, they're devaluing their worth. Imagine you're a game developer trying to get into a game software company and your resume has ten games that had 1,000 downloads each, but were free and your competitor has five games that they sold 500 of for $50 each. In the eyes of the development company, who has the greater "value" and potential to create a game that people would be willing to buy?

Edited by lingyi

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Interesting thread, with many good points being made on both sides of the discussion. And mind you, Im not a big fan of homebrew games, so Ive never really cared if the rom for any particular game is released. But most of them have been readily available at one point or another in the past and/or can be found online if you search hard enough. And even for the few that have not, if your desperate enough, you can always track down a physical cartridge & extrapolate it from there.

 

(people can hack into the computers of billion dollar corporations & government agencys, so there is no way in hell that they cant eventually hack Melody)

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Guys, this is a collector forum.

I sure hope not, because I am mainly here to get my games played. That's why I release my ROMs. Sales are not even secondary (except for being another positive feedback). If I would be here for the money, I would not be here. :)

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Watermarks are easily implemented on the 2600 without adding extra bytes to the cart, by changing certain bits of code without modifying the function. But watermarks are pointless unless you're going to take some sort of action against the perpetrator. I'm not willing to do so, for my hobby. Heck, I've seen foreign sales for my stuff and did nothing.

Yup, watermarks are dead easy. There are enough unused bits in any game to mark each ROM individually with great robustness against any attempts to remove them.

 

It is the second point, which currently makes them useless. As of now, the damage resulting from pirating is limited, so nobody will invest the time required for preventing and pursue pirating on a regular basis.

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I sure hope not, because I am mainly here to get my games played. That's why I release my ROMs. Sales are not even secondary (except for being another positive feedback). If I would be here for the money, I would not be here. :)

 

I enjoyed watching this guy play homebrew games and thought I would share the video here. There are a couple of my games in the video. The guy downloaded free WIP roms and made a video then posted it on Youtube with ads in it. Some people could pick a bone about that but, making videos is work too and I know the guy isn't making tons off the video and I enjoy seeing it.

 

I wonder how the other authors feel about it.

 

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For homebrew authors who don't self-publish, there is also the consideration of how releasing a ROM will affect their publisher and the investment they will have made in their game.

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I enjoyed watching this guy play homebrew games and thought I would share the video here. There are a couple of my games in the video. The guy downloaded free WIP roms and made a video then posted it on Youtube with ads in it. Some people could pick a bone about that but, making videos is work too and I know the guy isn't making tons off the video and I enjoy seeing it.

 

I wonder how the other authors feel about it.

 

As for me, I would be pleased to see videos featuring my game, and I don't think it would be my concern whether or not they profit from the video, since I will have had no part in making it.

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Screw the ROM's, I want to know where all the missing money is, that belongs in the right pockets. Wallets should be open source, no?

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Watermarks are easily implemented on the 2600 without adding extra bytes to the cart, by changing certain bits of code without modifying the function. But watermarks are pointless unless you're going to take some sort of action against the perpetrator. I'm not willing to do so, for my hobby. Heck, I've seen foreign sales for my stuff and did nothing.The whole "they should do it for the art" thing is where I start too. But once you've personally experienced month after month of technical grind while you polish your game, test-playing it so many times that you're sick of it, you can appreciate that other homebrewers might not want to give it all away.My own take on that is to make certain differences between a cart release and the rom release. At a minimum I somehow display the distributor (which also helps identify bootleg carts), but I've also put easter eggs in carts that weren't in the public rom. I have no problem with giving cart purchasers a little bonus, after giving the whole game away for free.

A lot of LE NES homebrews have the serial number embedded on the title screen, which pretty much guarantees the dumper will be identified if leaked. It would also be trivial to hex edit the title to display something invalid like #00 (but if id data were buried elsewhere in the rom, they might not get away with it).

 

Displaying a unique cart id would be trickier to do for an Atari game, however the game only needs two bytes of free data somewhere within the ROM (pregerably not at the end) which can be modified and serialized. This provides 10000 unique keys for binary encoded decimal and 65536 unique keys for hexadecimal encoding. The exact location of these bytes is kept secret except to the developer and distributor. If the dumper does not know the location of the serial bytes, it would require him/her to buy two copies and compare the ROM to search for changes in data.

 

This watermark system could also be apllied to paid rom downloads, using a script to record the serial in the rom somewhere. If the rom gets shared online, the perpetrator gets banned from the marketplace and shamed publicly in the forum. No excuses!

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Screw the ROM's, I want to know where all the missing money is, that belongs in the right pockets. Wallets should be open source, no?

Best to carry only what you need, keep the rest locked in a bank. If you open your wallet, do so at your own risk.

 

What if all bank accounts were open for anyone to add/remove funds as they pleased, like that "take a penny / leave a penny" box at the convenience store? I think the safe manufacturers would be very happy! :ahoy:

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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?

So, which ones are you looking for Pixel? With the invention of my "List", I've tried to make it easier for gamers to find the downloads and I'd say about 85% of them are available somewhere on the net. And even in my books, I list where you can find them.

 

Of course, if you are looking for the newest (and unreleased) games, those would not be available online this soon.

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Yeah I could see someone wanting sales # as a job thing for a few years, but 5 ,10, 15+?

 

If they want sales, instead of offering it on just Aa and other retro sites, how about something like amazon? AA is great and all, but relatively speaking not that public.

 

Then there's the production of carts, which not all homebrewers can do, so they run limited numbers and then sit on it. How about partnering with someone that has the means, then it doesn't have to be limited.

 

I know a few games have been killed due to intended limitation. I'm going to make x carts only and not release the rom. Remember Fu Kung? Yeah, me neither. Though to be fair, assuming that person had the programming capability, the tech wasn't there yet. I seem to recall them asking for help (sprite design and such) but why would I want to help if exposure is going to be artificially limited?

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A thought came to me.

 

What about game preservation and copyright? Are the homebrew ROMs stored somewhere (other than the developer's PC) for preservation? I know the buyers of the carts can dump the ROMs, but how are they being preserved? Does Albert or someone else have all the homebrew ROMs saved somewhere for the future?

 

As for copyright, what happens if the ROMs were never released into the public domain. The current US Copyright law is 70 years after the author's death, which means many homebrew ROMs wouldn't be legally available until the next century.

Edited by lingyi

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Does Albert or someone else have all the homebrew ROMs saved somewhere for the future?

yes and yes

 

Last month alone, I've helped two programmers recover their artwork and manuals to their games.

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As a small independent publisher of little projects, all of the games I have been involved with have been done by hand. A large majority of the games that I helped publish were for charity, with a few projects done with various programmers on the side(Game Panic 2600). All the programmers own their own games and do as they wish with them. These side projects are made by hand in very small batches. Every cart I sell gives a royalty to the programmer. These projects even on a small level take time and a small amount of money, not to mention usually donor carts.

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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.

 

 

I just wanted to point out that this very much depends on the terms of the copyright. My two homebrew titles (Ratcatcher and the upcoming RealSports Curling) are both GPL3 licensed and fully open-source. The copyright explicitly permits dumping, redistribution, and even modification.

 

It isn't the least bit unethical to do these things with my games, at least, and it certainly isn't a violation of copyright as long as the license and access to the source code are preserved.

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After reading all comments I think I agree. It's up to the creator what happens to their art but I still think it's dumb that only around 200 copies are printed.

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After reading all comments I think I agree. It's up to the creator what happens to their art but I still think it's dumb that only around 200 copies are printed.

 

Again, you try publishing 200 carts in boxes on a low income budget.

 

I'd put effort into finding ROMs that the developer intended to be free ROMs. I gave you links for those exact type of ROMs. There's no justification for complaining about commercial games not being free for you. I don't mean that in an angry way. It just doesn't make sense.

 

UPDATE: If you ever need more intentionally freeware ROMs I can provide more links. :)

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Thank you

 

I can't answer for AtariAge the second part of your question about game demo videos for YouTube. I can say how I do it: for games that I have permission for I have a digital copy and play it back via Stella or a flash cart on real hardware. Either I whip out a camera or video capture device. Honestly, taking an emulator like Stella and OBS for the recording is a much cleaner option.

https://obsproject.com/

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A lot of LE NES homebrews have the serial number embedded on the title screen, which pretty much guarantees the dumper will be identified if leaked.

 

Similar to my D2K homebrew from Carl Mueller.

post-53348-0-66546100-1537806239.png

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Especially graphics can be removed without much knowledge. Watermarks are spread all over the ROM, so it is very hard to remove them sufficiently.

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