Isometry on the NES – again!

Antoine of Broke Studio (makers of Twin Dragons) asked me to experiment with how well i could hide the 16×16 attribute grid in an isometric view, for the NES. This worked out pretty well. The question is whether to come up with a mapper that does 8×8 attributing (a feature mmc5 cartridges had via exRAM), which would allow for more dynamic placement of map objects. This worked out pretty well even at 16×16 though, however, the idea of making 8×8 technically available again is enticing.

To make it a bit more colourful, i borrowed in an old technique from one of my very first attempts at making NES graphics (talk about getting in the deep end – isometry doesn’t come easy on this console, especially when colour count and attribute clash avoidance competing design ends) – putting a forced perspective silhouette in the far background:

And here is the result:

On one hand, this becomes a bit more boardgamey – it becomes evident that the theatre of of the game is just props. On the other, it helps bring a sense of the surrounding theme to life. There are other technical considerations, like HUD method, scrolling, map size and such – all of which are features with strict requirements and conditions on the NES.

This one ”cheats” a little – by using aforementioned 8×8 attribute grid to smooth out a few details. That’s a maybe, if 8×8 gridding can actually come back into existence. MMC5 is not a readily available mapper any longer, but it is possible to have the same scheme on another PCB:

The 8×8 attributing It is probably underused here considering i started working on this assuming 16×16, but i expect the turnout to be in the details either way. Most of all, it might help make general map building easier as you can plan the layout more freely, which might be beneficial to the play experience. Way too early to tell, though!



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