Over Obj

Started by Ghegs, June 08, 2022, 09:57:37 am

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Little Sound, the Famicom homebrew dev who made the quite excellent F-Theta, is working on another game, this time a shmup. https://twitter.com/ls_create/status/1529465711709790208

(Not entirely sure about the name, could be just "Over Ob"?)

Looks great from a technical standpoint, there's very little flicker or slowdown even when there are lots of enemies on screen. But the gameplay looks to be on the simple side, hopefully that's not all there's to it. There's a solid engine underneath, it'd be a real shame to see it go underutilized.


Wow, that's really impressive.  A shame it's so hard to get their games outside of Japan.

Quote from: Ghegs on June 08, 2022, 09:57:37 amhopefully that's not all there's to it

I'm sure he's saving ROM space for lewd anime girls ;D


Oh thanks for sharing! ;D It looks really good! I thought first it wasn't a Famicom game but there is a Famicom right there and it looks Famicom. Little Sound is really a master of manipulating graphics on the Famicom! Check out that warning sign when the boss appears, the smooth stretching and shrinking effect is something you don't normally see on the Famicom. Bank-switched CHR-ROM perhaps?

The title looks like it says "Over Obj" to me, sounds like a bit of a technical joke referring to the large number of sprites on the screen. Who said that a danmaku isn't possible on the Famicom?
"OBJ" and "object" is what Nintendo calls hardware sprites on all their systems in the development manuals.
"OBJ Over" usually refers to when you happen to have more sprites on a scanline than the system has time to draw, which is 8 sprites/scanline on the Famicom, and the video hardware skips drawing sprite #9 and up for the rest of that scanline.
This results in certain sprites becoming invisible if there are too many of them lined up horizontally. Most games juggles the sprite numbers so that all sprites takes turn being sprite #9 or higher every frame, and the result of that is that the sprites that are supposed to go invisible are only invisible every other frame and appears to flicker instead.

This technique is called sprite multiplexing and is very important in shooting games since you don't want projectiles to become invisible.
Gradius for MSX1 (which can only draw a meager 4 sprites/scanline) doesn't do it so you keep dying from invisible enemies and projectiles all the time. Pretty irritating!
I know some SFC games (like Assault Suits Valken) also doesn't do it, but the SFC can fill the screen with sprites without any becoming invisible so it is a much less of a problem on this system. In Valken it's mostly an aesthetical problem.


Quote from: UglyJoe on June 08, 2022, 11:52:04 amI'm sure he's saving ROM space for lewd anime girls ;D

I was hoping for a more involved scoring system, pick-ups, power-ups, different weapon types, etc. but I suppose lewds will work just as well :D But even the enemy waves in that video are pretty simplistic.

Quote from: P on June 08, 2022, 04:32:51 pmThe title looks like it says "Over Obj" to me, sounds like a bit of a technical joke referring to the large number of sprites on the screen.

Ah, that'd certainly make sense.

Quote from: P on June 08, 2022, 04:32:51 pmWho said that a danmaku isn't possible on the Famicom?

Anybody who has played, or even seen, Recca's Zanki mode shouldn't be saying that.


New tweets say the game's name is indeed Over Obj, and it will be released on cartridge by the end of the year. Also, rough art for the box.

I noticed the earlier tweet says "The game itself is 90% complete, and the rest is the replacement of pictures and music." so I guess the game mechanics are set in stone.


Looks really good! "OBJ" in the title seems to be pronounced "Obje" according to the furigana so it's definitely an abbreviation of "object" indeed.


New video. Feels like this boss puts even more bullets on screen?


More bullets, but a little bit of slow-down, too :-[

Some great sprite-work on that boss!


So, I got my hands on OverObj and have played it a little while.

It is pretty impressive technically. Tons of bullets on-screen, and while they do flicker, it's still pretty easy to keep track of them. The game apparently uses some technique to draw sprites that isn't commonly used in FC games, which can make the game not work entirely correctly on some systems (related Twitter post from the dev here). But it is supposed to work perfectly an all official Famicoms (Twin Famicom might be an exception), and on my Analogue NT Mini it works great. The dev has implemented a test screen (from here: before turning the console on, hold down A, then turn the power on) that can help in checking if the system is handling the game correctly. And if you pause the game, hold down A and press Select, the game switches to some other mode where this special technique isn't used as much (again, Twitter post here).

The music reminds me of Hector '87 for reason. The music isn't bad, but it sort of feels like it belongs to a different game.

I was worried the game would be more of a tech demo and not a solid game in its own right, and while calling it merely a tech demo would be definitely be an injustice, it is a little bit light on the gameplay side. There's only one shot type, no power-ups, no changing speeds, the levels are all in space against a black background with some stars-as-pixels in there to give the impression the player is zooming ahead...in a way, the game leans so far into pushing the Famicom to its sprite-handling limits that there just wasn't room for much else. Comparisons to Recca are obvious, and that has different weapons, sub-weapons, and some backgrounds that aren't just stars in a void. I do think Recca's bullets do flicker a bit more. And on the gameplay side, Recca has several different gameplay modes which offer longevity and replay value. Back when I got Recca (the first Famicom game I purchased, in fact) I played the Score Attack mode A LOT. OverObj has none of that, though to be fair it has a bit of high-score chasing value as destroying enemies gives you more points the closer you are to them.

That said, the game is still fun to play even as it is. And it's pretty difficult too. I'm not a great bullethell shmup player, I've only made it to Stage 3 (out of 6) on a credit so far. The game rewards aggressive playing - it's best if you can kill enemies before they can get any shots off so the screen isn't filled with bullets, and there's the aforementioned "be near enemies when killing them for more points" -factor, which helps you rack up the points and 1Ups. You seem to be getting a 1Up every 100k points.

The game has a secret options menu (revealed here). At title screen, hold down B and press Right x 9, Up x 2, Left x 2, Down x 9 (it's the same code as used in Xevious' FC port). This adds "Debug Option" to the main menu, under which you can enable Stage Select, invincibility, set the amount of lives (or just have them be infinite), and listen to BGM and sound effects. Great options for practicing the game's later stages.

The dev has tweeted that a NES release might be happening, so if you can't get your hands on the Famicom version, that could be an option. But he has also said that the Famicom version will be produced for about a year, so it won't be impossible to acquire even a bit later on. Even F-Theta can still be purchased from the Japanese stores that handle this sort of merch, and that's well over a year old now.