Grand Theftendo is a new homebrew game for the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It is a tribute to Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto III running on the 8 bit, 256x240 resolution, 2 bit colour x 2 bit palette, 1.79 Mhz system, written entirely in 6502 Assembly Language!
Purely a project of my spare time, it has progressed very nicely. I had kept the development of it quiet until the very end of October 2004, in which GTA: San Andreas, and more importantly, GTA: Advance were released. After the release of GTA: Advance, a top down take on Liberty City, I decided there was no better time to show the world my efforts. It will still be a while before it's finished, but enough is done that it has something to show for itself.
Here you will find information on the game, it's history, and how it is being developed. From the paper to the PC, to the NES, it's come a long way since it began. Read further for all of the details!
Not only will the game be available as a free download when it is complete, but as will the be the development tools. If you have the programming skills and dedication, you will be able to make your own NES games as well!
All of the code, graphics, etc. are done from scratch by me. When it's released, the dialogue will be all original, and the character's names have been changed. I did not reverse engineer anything to create it, trace any graphics, convert any audio, it's all original. Grand Theftendo is simply a spare time, fan project for fun, to pay tribute to Rockstar Games and Grand Theft Auto.
[2005-11-02 03:20] Game News
It's been quite some time since the last update. I've just been too busy at work. I've still been working on GTN on a regular basis a little bit at a time, though as I've said before, it's still going to be a while before it's finished. I kind of regret announcing the game so long before it will actually be completed, as now you all have been waiting for over a year with still no release, but let me explain.
Many of you have emailed me regarding my initial announcement last year, in which I anticipated the game being complete a few months down the road from then. This was due to the fact that at the time, I was a software programmer, which gave me much more free time. Now that I'm in the game industry, I've made good friends with a little thing called "The Crunch" :). Working full time, and often much more than that, the time for hobby projects sometimes gets compressed to a minimal.
As they say though, slow and steady wins the race, and GTN stays under continuous development. It's progressed quite a bit since the original announcement, but it still has quite a ways to go. I purposely stopped hyping the game with updates to this site a while ago, because knowing it would be so long before it was finished, they would only make the wait feel longer. Just keep yourselves busy, and one day I will surprise you all with an update and release date!
The assembler is packed with features, macros, functions and header files to make development quick and easy. It does the job, and has made my development on the game Grand Theftendo much easier. However, there is still room for an endless amount of features, tweaks and additions. That's where you come in! Anyone interested in joining the project and contributing is more than welcome! It's written in standard C and should compile and work on any platform with little or no modification. So whatever platform is your choice for development, you can help out!
I had planned to release it after Grand Theftendo, but because I have been so busy with work, I have much less time to work on this software than I used to. I have made it open source with the hope that everyone with the interest will join in and help bring NESHLA to it's full potential!
Grand Theftendo has been developed entirely by myself, Brian Provinciano. As a long time GTA fan, I had always planned on creating my own version as a spare time hobby project. I really enjoy low level programming, and love tapping into the power of systems in ways no one else has done before. And if I was going to make a GTA, why not do it on a new system... well maybe not new, but a system which hasn't had a GTA before.
In late 2002 I whipped up some simple graphics and wrote a very basic engine to make sure the NES could pull off a GTA style game. It was very simple and contained very little of an actual game, but laid things out. At the time, other projects had to take priority, but in mid 2003, the actual development of GTN as it is now began.
I began by drawing a number of small sections of the map in 2D NES style art, measuring, adjusting, and scaling accordingly. Once I made sure the scale would work with my chosen sprite resolution, I used my measurements to draw the entire city on an 8.5x11" sheet of paper. I drew a second refined version, then pasted four sheets together and drew a version on 17x22" of paper. I then drew more portions of the map, each to scale on 8.5x11" sheets of paper as an additional test. Following the drawing by hand, I began drawing the entire map into my PC as a large bitmap. Each building would begin as lines, be filled in with two shades of gray to give them a 3D effect, then I would add shadows, then the details. Once the majority of the map's base was down in the PC, I wrote the graphic tools to convert it for the NES, and began developing the engine, as well as my own NES assembler.
My NES assembler was completed at the end of December 2003, although it is constantly evolving as I need new features. That's the beauty of writing your own compilers! Along with the assembler, I built a standard code library with functions for dealing with the NES registers, math, memory, 16 bit integers, and other generic code. Using that base, I began to build the engine as well as many other tools for graphics, text, and other game resources.
No release date is set, although I am putting more time into the project now than ever before!
Grand Theftendo takes place in a city based off of GTA3's Portland, the first of the three cities in Liberty City. Since I've been working on the entire game myself, it would take far too much time to draw all three cities (let alone code all of the missions!). You wouldn't believe how long it is taking to draw the entire city in 2D for the NES! As well though, because it only has one city, I am focusing on packing as much as possible into it, so it will contain a fully interactive and detailed city, rather than three bland ones.
I started playing GTA back in the original days of it's top down gameplay (GTA1 & 2 for the PC), and still love to play them every so often. The 8-bit roots of GTA began with them, when they were ported to the Game Boy(Color) in 1999/2000. They were produced with a completely flat 2D perspective, and it worked nicely. However, I didn't feel GTA3 could be pulled off as well with the flat 2D perspective as was done on them, since it was initially a third person 3D game and not simply a top down 3D one. I decided to give it a top-down-front view to create more of a 3D feel. Each car needs more animations, the game needs more memory, but it's definitely worth it. Pure top down versus front angled top down might seem minor to some, but I know it makes a huge difference to most! The ability to see the walls of buildings and front of characters really adds to the game experience!
Developed for the fans by a fan, I've taken the time to make it as comfortable as possible. I believe that a pure 2D GTA can be pulled off well on an 8-bit system! I have put in a lot of effort to make sure the driving is tight, and movement smooth.
For more information on the development process, have a look at the development information pages: