SN Systems N64 game development kit

Discussion in 'Nintendo Game Development' started by Lightmare, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Lightmare

    Lightmare Active Member

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    Hello, Ive recently come across an SN Systems n64 dev kit, and I have been looking for one of these for quite a long time, and I am very relieved to have found one. But before I purchase it, I have some questions for you guys since the seller wasnt quite sure. Does the dev kit come with all the software I need to develop my own n64 games? Also is there any kind of 3d graphics software package that comes included for making/modeling 3d characters, and envirnments.


    thank you
     
  2. joe19

    joe19 Rapidly Rising Member

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    It should include a CD with the debugger and compiler, but it will not contain 3D modeling software. Modeling for any N64 development setup is done using external modeling software.
     
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  3. kennypecheur

    kennypecheur Site Supporter 2016

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    There is one on ebay right now.

    If I remember correctly, Joe19 is right ;)
     
  4. Lightmare

    Lightmare Active Member

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    yea thats the one im looking at. But is it possible to do any 3d game development with the kit and not have the modeling software, because finding older 3d modeling software from that time is harder then finding a needle in a haystack
     
  5. Kyoto

    Kyoto Active Member

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    Developing anything for the N64 would be tricky even with the original dev. hardware. How far are you willing to go?
     
  6. Lightmare

    Lightmare Active Member

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    As long as I have what I need to develop an n64 game then Ill do what it takes.
     
  7. Kyoto

    Kyoto Active Member

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    Keep asking people who have done the same in the past, there are more than likely some members here. Good luck!
     
  8. joe19

    joe19 Rapidly Rising Member

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    Actually, even if you do have some 3D modeling software (e.g. SoftImage, PowerAnimator, LightWave etc. - not as hard to find as you think), you still need to get your N64 program to interpret the data. 3D animation software had plugins available for purchase (sold separately from the base software - hard to find) that could be used to export the models in a format that is better suited to the N64, but it is still very low level and you've got to program an engine to interpret that data. Without those plugins, you might as well use something modern like Blender.

    I can't remember the name, but I think someone made a Zelda model exporter a while ago. You could create models in modern animation software (like SketchUp or Blender) and it would convert the models to native N64 graphics data that can be used in a game. But like I said, the hard part is writing a program (N64 game) to interpret that data and display it on the screen correctly.

    If you don't want to use modeling software at all, then you can still program a "game", but it's going to suck. You'll need to place vertices manually - making anything other than the simplest of shapes that way would be insanely tedious.
     
  9. Lightmare

    Lightmare Active Member

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    The only modeling software I have is Maya 6.0, and I dont think that will be compatible with the N64, since it came out after the N64 stopped making games. Also, Do you think that Metaseqioa would work for converting as well?

    As for the programming aspect, thats the part I worry about as well.
     
  10. cmonkey

    cmonkey Rising Member

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    You can use any modern 3D rendering software, as long as it has a Wavefront OBJ exporter plug-in and then use Obj2N64 to convert the .obj to an N64 display list in C.

    https://source.ece.iastate.edu/scm/viewvc.php/trunk/n64/util/obj2n64/?root=sdmay1214&pathrev=23

    I seem to recall that if you're using 32-bit RGBA textures (8888 format) then the texture can be no bigger than 32x32 pixels, although it's a few years now since I did some N64 dev work so my memory is a little rusty.
     
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  11. Zoinkity

    Zoinkity Site Supporter 2015

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    That's the largest image that will fit entirely into tmem, but a very simple workaround is to map a portion of a larger image to an individual tri. Backgrounds of course can just be written directly to the framebuffer(s). Source images for many N64 games are larger than what would fit in tmem.
     
  12. Jack.

    Jack. RISC Master Race

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    If you want to set up an era-coherent environment, you should consider getting an old SGI workstation with its original 3D modelling software. You should find plenty of them in the US. In Europe they pop up randomly, but are much more rare.
    By the way, the original N64 devkit from Nintendo was an SGI Indy with a Nintendo daughterboard.
     
  13. Lightmare

    Lightmare Active Member

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    Ive looked into the SGI workstation before, and I was considering getting one, but I didnt do to uncertainty. Is it common to find with the modeling software? and can you still use it to develop for the n64 without the nintendo daughterboard?
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  14. Jack.

    Jack. RISC Master Race

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    Well, I don't know about the software, but I'm sure you can get at least IRIX online, maybe try to ask around nekochan.net. Without the daughterboard, you loose the ability to run code on-the-go and debug it, even if the only thing you really need to develop is a way to transfer your code to the N64. Theorically you could develop even with an Everdrive64 or an emulator. The real problem is, you don't get any debug capabilities (from the Everdrive, maybe you do on the emulators?). If you want to develop with that SN Sys devkit, you need to get an old system that has ISA bus (if i'm not mistaken by the eBay photos), so you can't go further than Pentium 3 boards.
    Either way, you need some expertise in old computer. Feel free to ask me anything about them!
     
  15. Lightmare

    Lightmare Active Member

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    Just out of curiosity have you ever seen the Nacho 64 demo? it was a homebrew game trailer made for the n64 back in 1999. Do you think you might know what they used to develop it? and what methods?
     
  16. Jack.

    Jack. RISC Master Race

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    I have no clue... If you could find the source, it could lead you to a devenv.
     
  17. Lightmare

    Lightmare Active Member

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    Alright, so would you say that using that the SN systems N64 Dev kit along with the sgi indy/indy2 would work for developing games?
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  18. Jack.

    Jack. RISC Master Race

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    No, you'd also need a system with ISA bus where you can run the SN System drivers on. Make sure you get the drivers before buying the SN Systems devkit! I think your best option is to get a dual-processor PIII/Xeon motherboard with ISA slot (and AGP) and build a Frankenstein retro gaming machine & N64 dev system on the same Win2k box (i guess W2k is fine, download Advanced Server or Workstation edition and you are good to go).
     
  19. cmonkey

    cmonkey Rising Member

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    You don't need to use the ISA SCSI card that comes with the SN64. I've also got an SN64 dev kit, I used a PCI SCSI card with mine and it worked just fine for communicating with the SN64 cartridge emulator under Win98 and Win2K. If you do end up buying the SN64 that's for sale on eBay then I can let you have the make and model number of my PCI SCSI card so that you can't hunt one down, should you wish to do so. Just be aware that the IDE and debugger that come with the SN64 dev kit are both pretty buggy and crash often, making debugging software on the N64 quiet a challenge. I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that the debugger on the host PC probably crashed more often than the target N64 when I doing my dev work.

    Personally I think you're better off spending the money on a 64drive or Everdrive with USB connection. You'll lose the ability to do source level debugging but there is limited communication available between host PC and 64drive/Everdrive to dump some debug info. It'll also work out a lot cheaper than the SN64 kit and you'll find that your dev/deploy/test/limited debug cycle will be considerably quicker than the SN64 kit, thereby speeding up your development cycle. As well as owing an SN64 dev kit I also own an Everdrive with USB connection and much preferred developing with the latter when I was doing some N64 work a few years ago. I'd recommend against developing using an purely an emulator as your target as you'll likely find that when you do eventually deploy your code to hardware it doesn't perform as good as it did in the emulator. That's what I found when I used mupen64 as a target before deploying to N64, YMMV.

    I guess it really comes down to whether you really want to dev with, as Jack has said earlier, an era-coherent environment or not and also how serious you are about building something more than a simple demo or two with the dev kit. If you're hell bent on developing a demo as polished as Nacho 64 then you'll really need a full blown dev kit like a Partner 64 or maybe even the SN64 (if you can live with the constant debugger crashes!) but if you simply want to see a few texture mapped polygons flying around the screen then a 64drive/Everdrive would make more sense IMHO.

    Good luck in whatever you choose, there's not many more things satisfying than seeing your own code running on an N64. :)
     
  20. Lightmare

    Lightmare Active Member

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    Basically what I want to do is to create small gameplay demos with 64 bit graphics. I spoke to the creator of the 64Drive a little over a year ago, and he told me that it wasnt bult for that kind of stuff. But at the same time this guy has created some very imprssive demos himself. Also even if I had the SN64 how would I model the characters, and envirnemnts if I dont have the right software? If I could use an SgI indigo that would be fine since they arent too hard to find, but I dont know if its compatible with the SN64.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015

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