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Tips for Buying EarthBound

October 1st, 2013 | Fan Games, MOTHER 3

When I was in high school, one of the unexpected highlights was that I had to get a fancy calculator for some of my classes. I used to make little games of my own on it, and eventually people figured out how to put fancier games on them.

Since then, calculators have become a haven for game programming hobbyists. One cool example is this project by Eiyeron to put together a MOTHER 3-like engine on a TI calculator:

Demo Hinawa

Man, at first I was expecting just a simple system like what I had made as a kid, but this has working menus, rolling HP/PP meters, variable number of party members, enemies, background animations, and more! Very impressive work so far!

If you’re interested, you can find more pics and details here, and even some downloadable demos! Man, this makes me wish I still had my old calculators…


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18 Comments to MOTHER 3, Calculator Edition

KingOfSwords said on Oct. 1, 2013

Haha, I thought I was so cool for making a little text-only RPG game on my calculator. Looks like I have lots to learn.

Mill said on Oct. 1, 2013

And it has grayscale, too. Not something you find on many TI-83+ games…

Steven Clauson said on Oct. 1, 2013

If you have Android, you can get Andie Graph, which provides perfect emulation of several TI graphing calculators (83+/84 included).

Chewy said on Oct. 1, 2013


Mac said on Oct. 2, 2013

I have a ti 89 will it work on there?

delectabit said on Oct. 2, 2013

My best friend in high school loved programming games for TI calculators. I’m super impressed by this one!

Chivi-chivik said on Oct. 2, 2013

Somebody knows if there’s a version for CASIO calculators? XDDDDD

Espyo said on Oct. 2, 2013

This is epic! …It even puts PK Rhythm to shame!

Stan said on Oct. 2, 2013

I dug my old TI-85 out of storage a few years ago and the batteries were dead so I lost all the games I had on it. I wanted to put more on but since I didn’t have another calculator to transfer the games from, I think it was infrared, I had to opt for a serial cable that I could not find for huge amounts of cash. Do Ti calculators use USB yet? When I was in High School it was not really ready yet but now they all should.

Game Ender said on Oct. 2, 2013

The amusing bit is that you can run the real Mother 3 on a TI-Nspire CX CAS with the GBA emulator for it.

Eiyeron said on Oct. 3, 2013

Hi everyone! I’m the coder of what you can see now! 🙂

(Disclaimer : I’m French, my english is not perfect)

I’m the coder of Hinawa Battle Engine, for the moment, only the battle engine is planned. It’ll be open source once I think it deserves it. Anyone will be able to use it! And yes, If HBE comes to a *finished*, Casio port could be planned (due to screen technical limitation and bad CPU timers, I can’t think I’ll be able to use grayscale on it), in C. It should be easy to use that C port on computers, and so on.

For the RPG itself, I got some scenario ideas, but nothing real for the moment. Without spoilers I would like to make a prelude to M3.

I really loved Mother 3, and I wanted to work on that battle engine. This game has been for me a powerful and tear-jerker experience. I loved the history, the characters’ personality and the battle engine. I loved how rolling hp/pp added a stressful yet useful decisive factor in many battles.

For more technical precisions, I’m using Axe Parser, a compiled language directly programmable on-calc. It’s pretty powerful and flexible. I’ll try anything to make it correctly run on 83+, but I worry of the lack of CPU power (83+ have 6MHz cpu, 84+(SE)/83+SE can boost up to 15 MHz).

I want to work on a modulable system. If I work on it correclty, using this BE will be very simple: just pointing to data sections, and it should (PSI) rock!

Well, it’s surprising to be under your spotlights! I’ve never guessed it would be already shown here! 😀
Thanks for your support, I’ll be sure you’ll can enjoy bashing at some Mr Batty soon!
See you soon!

Replies Time:

@Game Ender: won’t be playing on nSpire awfully slow? I remember playing SMW with an awful frameskip up to 4, even more.

@Stan yes. The 84+ have usb, and the newer 83+ have USB ports and are even standard USB compliant. You don’t have to keep your Silvercable, a simple USB works too.

@Mac Sorry, but I’m working on a 84+, 89 is way too different to make it work for now, but C port is planned (so the 89+ can enjoy a port).

@KingOfSwords Haha! If your text-based RPGs are actually nice, you don’t have that much to learn! DJ Omnimaga’s Illusiat series are text-based, but each one of them are very great!

KingOfSwords said on Oct. 4, 2013

I’ve seen some of Illusiat before. There’s no way anything I’ve made could possibly compare with it. It’s just too good.

The Great Morgil said on Oct. 4, 2013

I remember toying around with some EB-based programs on my calculator back in high school. They were text only, though, cuz i didn’t know how to program graphics.

Game Ender said on Oct. 4, 2013

Most GBA games run fine on it. It helps the fact that it doesn’t need to emulate sound. Also needs a bios and that brings the system requirements down for GBA emulators because doesn’t have to use time emulating the bios.

KingMike said on Oct. 5, 2013

@ Chivi-chivik

I had one of those when I was in high-school, but a TI-83 was practically required because that’s all it seemed the teachers were it trained to use. 🙁

Eiyeron said on Oct. 6, 2013

@KingMike TI is really very used in US. But where I come from, France, calc’s model doesn’t really change anything: any explication are written for both.

@Game Ender, now I have to try. I’m sure that the background animation abuse of the vblank interruption. That could be a good thing to dig the algorithm.

@Morgil Graphics-based is a lot harder: the extra computation from drawing all these eye-Rock Candies is very tough for the processor and you have to manage a *bit* more data (i.e. you have 20KB free ram in 83+, and your amazing yet heavy Mr Batty cost me more than 800 bytes.).

I’m more trying to find hacks to speed up some routines. If the speed gain is enough, I’ll upscale the grayscale to 4 grays, like on Game Boy (the Mr Batty was planned for 4, but it still rock on 3). I need the extra speed for input and drawing a second time the UI to have it black and not gray (technical calc programming, we have to switch between two frame buffers fast enough to give a grayscale illusion).

Input performance is still too bad to be reactive for now, until I overclock. But I planned to add shortcut (i.e. Press F1 in Lucas : instant PK Love Omega).

Should I open a topic in your forum?

Eiyeron said on Oct. 24, 2013

Hi. I’m here today for a couple of hours. I never saw how much attention was given the whole set. I’m still designing a lot of the engine, but I think I found a way to unknot the big “How-do-I-do-this” problem. It’s a problem I have for years: I imagine a lot of things, but I don’t how to make them! ^^

I started taking notes in a little handbook. I found some director axes I could use for a potential game. If I’m making a game, it won’t bear the Mother brand. I just can’t mix well the funny and the sad sides of the series (like Moonside weirdness, Mr Saturn’s sillyness, or [REDACTED] creepyness. It’s me, or I’m seeing Ness everywhere?). I will certainly do something more “straight” (didn’t a better word), but I’ll make sure it will be emotionful.

I’m seeing a growing evil…

Technically speaking for the game mechanisms, I found some ideas for making the engine more flexible, like usings “hooks” to make the engine react as you want on some conditions, for instance the Porky in-battle speech, where the dialog box is never used anywhere else, the DCMC Burst-In with the change of music and background, and so on… A hook is a routine that’s triggered in certains conditions, like a Territorial Oak could trigger a death hook on its side to make his explosion and hurt where a normal ennemy would just disappear.

I thought too to make IA routines for certain monsters (certainly as hooks), for predetermined action chain (like Genettor recharge). Random based IA is definitly not interresting…

I fixed a little the code, I cannot code at the moment (programming contest and studies), but zriting on the Mother HandBook actually helps me a lot to improve design.

If you want to make a game, the more you make notes, the better result you’ll be likely to have ! 😉

I started playing Earthbound. It aged quite nice, but the only bad side I see is the music that’s quite different than Mother 3 (don’t look at the bad side, Earthbound only had ~3 MB IIRC when Mother 3 had 32…)

Next thing I should do is starting puting some ennemy datas, to start programming the attacks!

Eiyeron said on Jan. 17, 2014

Hello and Happy new Year, I’m bringing some good news: I’m finally implementing the attack system. Currently, each turn thenennemy chose a random opponent and deal it 20-24 HP. Beware, it’s to test the turn flow. I’ve yet to add the popup routines and I’ll implement a better routine, based really on the stats and the misc stuff that make a battle engine done!

May 2014 brings us a full-fledged Mother3-esaue battle engine!


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