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Rob's EarthBound Fangame Project
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Planet Earth. Not a bad spot.
I can see my house from here.

What is EarthBound?

General Info
Concept Art
Art of the Moment
Production Diary
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EARTHBOUND: In the Year 199X +1...
(a fangame, title pending)

(Aug. 15th, 2004)


This page will serve as a sort of informal developer's diary, so that anyone who might care out there can get an idea of what I've been up to and how I'm coming along. How often I'll bother updating and how much I'll have worked on the game or not, I'm not sure, but I'll try to give people the heads up when I see fit.

NOTE: If this whole journal looks very atypical of what you'd expect or it looks unprofessional, it's because it's the first video game I've ever made, and I don't care about how it looks. So there. =P

-Story/ Plot: 75%
-Graphics: 5%
-Puzzles: 5%
-Music: 5%
-Programming: 5%

"EarthBound Fangame"
(tentative project title that WILL be changing, obviously)

Aug. 15th, 2004

Well, it's not been a very busy summer for me otherwise, so I've spent a lot of time working on the game when I get the chance. Not to say that I've got a whole lot done (at least it doesn't feel that way), but I've been chipping away at it nevertheless. Most of what's been accomplished has been in terms of art and plot. Art wise, I think I've come up with a style that I'm pretty happy with in terms of character sprites, so I'll likely be sticking with that. In terms of plot, I think I've made some major strides, though I still do need to put a lot of finishing touches on things to make the overall product a lot more cohesive. I do pretty much have the first chapter down, though, and I'm fairly happy with how it should flow overall, such that I think old players and new alike will be able to hop right in and get a feel for things. Hopefully people will be pleased with what they'll be seeing.

Some of the sprites I've worked on in the last little while can be seen in the "Art of the Moment" section. Enjoy!

Feb. 21st, 2004

Work has been very busy in the past month, so I've not had a lot of time to work on the game as a result. Since last update, I've mostly been working on making music, as I found it to be one of the more relaxing aspects of making the game so far. Expect to see some more music in the Downloads section in the near future (though probably not any final cuts yet).

I also discovered that the EarthBound ("Orange Kid") font that I have isn't EXACTLY perfect -- some of the letters simply aren't exact copies of the ones from EarthBound. If anyone knows of a better EarthBound font, please let me know. Otherwise, I'll just be editing them as best as I can in some sort of font editing program.

Jan. 18th, 2004 (afternoon)

While I was sleeping, I figured out an easy way to get the graphical user interface (menus) to work and look right within the contect of a point-and-click adventure (I'd went to bed around 8 am, and it's now around 1 pm, in case you were wondering about the double date stamp). THAT'S just how dedicated I am to you people: I'm even at work when I'm sleeping. =)

Jan. 18th, 2004

Though it's coming along a lot better than before, I've not yet finished a demo I'm happy with. These things take time, I guess. It'll still mostly be consisting of the first scene in Ness's family's new place, in case you hadn't been following along.

Though things have been delayed, I can report that I've still made a lot of headway in a number of areas. First of all, I've been looking more and more at the Adventure Game Studio interface, and have been getting more and more familiar with just what it can do.

As such, I've been doing things like working out a graphical user interface (pop-up menus and such) for the game that will look similar to the SNES's EarthBound. Something I'm wondering how you feel about, however, is whether or not inventory items should simply be presented verbally (as in the original Nintendo games) or as actual graphical icons. Simple text would be a lot easier and quicker to do, of course, and it might help preserve the nostalgic look of the menus, too. Then again, you might prefer to see graphics. Please, let me know what you think.

I think I may also be on the verge of figuring out how to allow the player to name some of the main characters what they want. Furthermore, if I've figured that out, it means that I can probably include a monetary system in the game, and that I can probably also include HP and PP, for that matter, should I chose to do so. I'm still not too sure about whether or not I'll be including any of these elements in the game yet, but at least I'm feeling that I should be ABLE to include them if I decide to. Of course, as always, your feedback on all of this would be appreciated.

Besides working with the game's engine, I've been busy with something that's pretty new to me: making music. To be quite honest, the most experience I've had with putting music together before I started working on it recently, was when I'd been mucking around with Mario Paint for the SNES. I was, um, pointed toward this nifty little music-making program a little while back, though, and have been having a lot of fun with it on and off ever since. It's not EXACTLY what I was hoping for in terms of music-making software, but it's pretty snazzy for what it is nonetheless. What's important is that slowly but surely, I've actually been managing to put together what I feel is some pretty alright original music for the game. Some of the tracks I've been working on feel more "EarthBoundy" than others, but I hope that you'll find them alright DESPITE my sorry lack of musical ability. There aren't too many tracks that I've fully completed yet, but I DO hope to get some samples of what I've been working on up in the Downloads section in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

As if all of that wasn't enough, I've also made some good leaps ahead in the art department, having drawn up a number of backgrounds from two different areas, and having made some character drawings for some of the people and critters that'll be populating those areas. And I've been pretty happy with how they've been turning out, too.

You're right, 'cause that's not all! Yes siree, I've also been putting a lot more thought into some of the game's puzzles and just how they'll work out. As a matter o' fact, if I told you just how many pages of writing I've done just since the last update, you'd never believe me anyway. Seriously.

In other news, I may eventually try to revive my EB Halloween project. As a result of digging around in AGS a bit, I've sort of figured out how to move the main charcater around with the keypad, meaning that there would be less problems with super slowdown for pathfinding. Though the game still wouldn't have a chance of running all that well as I envision it, I think it could still someday see the light of day. However, unless I ever manage to get a lot of work done on it, this will be the last you hear of it for a good while to come. For now, consider it very much on the backburner so that I can work on my main EB project.

And to cap this update off, I'd like to say that I had a great holiday season, and hope you did too. All the best to you in 2004... and wish me luck too (at least when it come to this project, anyway). 

Oct. 29th, 2003

It's not nearly done yet, but I am hoping to have a demo out in late November or early December. I'll not likely have it consisting of very much -- probably Ness's new house, mostly. Hopefully it'll be enough to whet your apetite a little. I'd hoped to have something like this done sooner, but I got sidetracked with another EB game project which I was going to enter in the Halloween Funfest... HOWEVER, it seems that AGS has trouble dealing with maps that are very large, unless you employ some tricks that I was unwilling to employ (it's an issue with the program calculating your path through a complicated path, and it slows the game WAY down)... 

Anyway, the point is that there WILL NOT be an EB Halloween game coming from me, unfortunately. Oh well. It was going to be a piece of crap anyway. Still, it saddens me to have encountered this program limitation.

Sept. 1st, 2003

As I was struggling with an element of AGS (as a result of having somehow skipped over a key piece of information in the game manual), I'd been continuing drawing out various characters and coloring them. Finally, though, I nailed down what I was doing wrong, and I now feel much more confident about importing graphics into the AGS editor. With this leap, I figure that I'll be able to have a short demo of Ness's house up and running fairly soon, if I put a bit of work into it.

At the same time, I soon have to get my butt in gear when it comes to figuring out what I'll be doing around this time NEXT year, and THAT means that I have to start looking for a school to attend. And THAT means that I have to fill out applications, get references and jump through a bunch of buraucratic hoops in order to get things done.

So I don't know when I'll have a demo out. I'm shooting for sometime in November, hopefully, and very probably before the end of the year.

Once I have the demo of Ness's place complete, I figure that I'll soldier ahead and make a skeleton of the game, using mostly uncolored, non-animated sketches. At this point, I'll be focusing more on things like getting rooms and puzzles to work properly, as well as on writing out all the dialogue. Though it won't be pretty to look at, I'm thinking that once I'm finished with a bare bones version of the game, that I'll be looking around for people to test the game out to see what they think, and to report problems to me. Hopefully all that'll go as smoothly as I hope it should. I must say that for what I feel I want to do so far (that is, keep everything as basic as possible), that I don't see any real problems coming up yet. I think I have a good handle on all of the functions that I'll be needing within AGS, at least for the first chapter of the game. I figure that the first chapter will very intentionally be the most basic, and that hopefully, I'll learn as I go and work my way up from there, figuring out more complex scripting stuff to incorporate into later chapters of the game.

Aug. 20th, 2003

Made a section tonight that I've tentatively called "EarthBound Art of the Moment"! Right now, the "Photo Guy" is in there, so check him out! Feast your eyes, darn you! Feast!

The art that appaears in that section may be used in the game, or it may not. Either way, there's a solid chance that it won't look the same in the final version of the game... at least not exactly.

Aug. 18th, 2003

Got the website up and running (to some degree) today, so I hope to be adding content to it gradually over the next while. I figure that I'll have a maybe a screenshot and some of the original art up sometime in the next couple of weeks, and at that point I'll submit the site to to be included in their links section or something.

I've been doing a LOT more drawing recently. A lot of it is based on the EarthBound clay models (that you may have seen in the official Player's Guide), some of it is based on the sprites from the EarthBound game, and some is altogether new. I'm not sure how much of this sketch art will eventually be actually USED, but if nothing else, all this drawing has, I feel, given me a better sense of the "style" that I'm striving toward.

August 8th, 2003

I'm back from the big SARS concert in Toronto and I had a blast. It was great fun, and all went pretty well (a little sunstroke never really hurt anyone, I say). Though all of the bands, including the Stones put on a great show, AC/DC was ESPECIALLY awesome. All is well on the SARS front, too. So far I don't seem to be showing any symptoms of having contracted the disease at all. As the T-Shirt I bought proclaims" "I came, I SARS, I conquered". So there.

Well, the essay I submitted for the contest didn't win me a Mother 1+2 cartridge, but I did share an hounourable mention for "Essay Most Likely to be Re-Submitted as a College Thesis" with Sephy, a fairly prominent and respected member of the Starmen community, from what I can gather. Yay! I am so smart. S-M-R-T.

Did a lot more drawing of locations, objects and characters lately. Some alright stuff, even. Also got some new markers that I feel are even closer to the width that I want in a line. Hopefully I have all the drawing tools I'll need at this point.

Though I won't get all of the work on them done tonight (without all of the areas layed out yet and all), I am going to be implementing a number of items and characters into the game tonight, at least in their preliminary stages (characters especially). 

July 19th, 2003

Nothing to report, really. I'll be leaving on the 21st and back on the 1st. Should be fun.

July 12th, 2003

I've spent the last little bit tweaking some of the background art, and I feel a lot better about how it's looking now as opposed to how it used to. I think that it's looking a lot cleaner and a lot less dark.

I put a lot of thought into it, and I decided that, at least in the early stages of the game, that there won't be a lot of travelling back to the locations that we've become familar with in EarthBound. You'll return to SOME of them, maybe, but most definitely not all. It's just that the more I think about it, the less I see reason to have a lot of the old locations in this game -- for the mostpart, I just feel that the "stories" left in them are too few to really re-invent them in this game, if y'know what I'm sayin'.

Darn. I just read one of the new comic series at that's being put together, and I wish I hadn't. Unfortunately, at least one piece of the plotline is way too similar to what I'm doing with this. UGH! This is why I never took a serious look at the fanfics (I don't want to be accused of swiping other people's ideas, and as much as possible, I don't want to be influenced by them)... Oh well -- I'm sure that there'll be plenty of differences in that artist's vision of things and mine, anyway, so things are still going to move ahead according to plan. Still, I will be taking a peek back at that comic on occasion to see what s/he's up to with it (to be sure that there aren't TOO many coincidental parallels and all).

I've decided that as this project gets bigger and its fanbase hopefully increases, that I'll be trying to poll you people to figure out what YOU want to see in an EarthBound game. Right now, I'm working in a sort of envelope of secrecy because I don't want to leak too much of the game out to people who'll be playing it down the road. I'm hoping that I can eventually get to a point where I have a few faithful followers who respect what I'm doing and whose opinions I respect, so I can bounce some ideas off of them and we can do a little bit of brainstorming together on the finer elements of the game. Of course, I doubt much of that'll happen before the first chapter of the game is released.

Don't know why or how it happend or how to fix it, but as I was walking Ness across his livingroom, he "teleported" from one spot on the screen to another. Weird. Hopefully it never happens again. =/

Things are going to be going on hold with this project for a little while in the near future, because I'm taking a road trip to Ottawa to visit my brother and sister-in-law, and AFTER that, I'm headed to Toronto to see some friends and take in the big "Rolling Stones and Friends", SARS concert. It seems like the summer has been pointed in this general direction for me in a number of ways, so it should be a great time. More than anything, it should be very, very cool to finally see AC/DC in concert, but some of the other names there, like Sam Roberts, the Flaming Lips and The Guess Who should be great to see, too. At some point during the trip, I'll also be headed to Niagra Falls, so that should be pretty crazycool, too. I'll be leaving sometime around the 20th of July and I'll be back sometime around the 1st of August, so if there's a big gap in updating, you'll know why. If you never DO see another update, then hopefully I wasn't killed in Toronto and/ or than I didn't contract SARS.

July 4th, 2003 (Happy Independance Day, for residents of the 'States)

Not that it was much in the way of progress, but I figured out how to have one character in the game follow another tonight, and I implemented it in a test run in the game. It worked swimmingly.

I'm not sure, but I may soon be deciding to re-do (actually, more than likely, re-trace on paper) some of the background art I'd been working on. Although the look is okay, I'm finding that the thickness and roughness of the lines is just leading to a darker feel than I would like. I picked up a new marker tonight that should have a bit of a thinner tip, so hopefully that'll do the trick to get the desired effect. Otherwise, I'll just have to do a fair bit more digital editing or come up with another solution.

July 1st, 2003 (Happy Canada Day!)

Not sure why, but something hit me tonight in terms of a great plot to make this game very much worth playing (yeah, yeah... I know that it's what I should have STARTED with really, but more than anything, everything I've done up to this point was leading up to knowing what the story ought to be about). Though I've not read a LOT of fanfics, I hope that the general idea(s) behind what I'll be trying to do where are pretty original. I'm not exactly how sure this great idea came to me, but when you get far enough into the game to start appreciating it, I really do hope that you like what you see.

I don't want to tell you anything TOO much as to spoil things for you, but I don't think it should ruin too much to at least say that it will follow on the heals of EarthBound/ Mother 2, though some time will have elapsed when you start this game (probably about a year). Ness WILL be the main controllable character. I think it's fair to say that a number of familiar characters (and enemies) will also be making an appearance in the game.

JUNE 22nd, 2003

Last night (well, early this morning), I finished up some letter art that will eventually be sent to Nintendo as a part of the NP Seige III campaign. It's my first official fan drawing, EarthBound or otherwise, and I feel it turned out pretty alright. The drawing was largely based on the infamous clay figures that Nintendo showed off in the Player's Guide that was originally released with the SNES version of EarthBound in North America. Anyway, I'm pretty proud of this little endevour for various reasons, so don't be particularly surprized if the art from this thing appears, in some form or another, in this game I'm making. It's probably not a real great indication of the art quality that'll appear in playable parts of the game, though, since I'm having trouble making things look right at higher resolutions. Graphic-wise, this game isn't going to be blowing your computer away or anything, that's for sure. Emphasis will very much be on gameplay and story.

JUNE 21, 2003

This is my first entry, though I started with pre-production/ planning months ago, and have been building things bit by bit as I've had time and as thoughts have entered my head.

I think I'm finally happy with how the preliminary art style is turning out. I've drawn out Ness's room in the new house as well as the new living room, and I'm happy with how I'm making them look appropriately cartoony, while having them to mimic the original EarthBound (Mother 2) version's of Ness's room and the living room. I figure that outside the semi-nostalgic initial location (i.e., Ness's family's new house), that I'll be using locations that look much less like they're directly pulled out of EarthBound. I hope to maintain a cartoony style, though. While I was at it, I also drew up the new house from the outside, from the front. I think it looks pretty okay. Hopefully, the makeover I'll be giving the game will be seen by players as an improvement.

STORY, etc.
Aside from art, I've been trying to flesh out the story of the game. I have some idea of what direction I'd like to take, but I'm not altogether sure how to tie togther the parts of the game that I've envisioned so far. Nevertheless, things on the story front are looking alright so far. I don't want to reveal TOO much about the story, but it will involve Ness and his family having moved into a new house. That's all I want to let out of the bag for now. =)

What most of my work has entailed up to this point has been simple brainstorming. I have pages and pages of ideas that have a chance of making it into the game, from puzzle problems, puzzle solutions, items to come across, friendly characters (or as the case may be, some not-so-friendly ones), enemies, locations, "special effects", etc. I'm hoping that what I'm coming up with will help the game have a richness that is comparable to the original EarthBound.

Of course, this EarthBound game will include some major differences to the one(s) that fans of the game will be familiar with.

Hopefully I haven't scared you off yet, so I'll say this:


(more on that later)

I will be creating this game using the free Adventure Game Studio (AGS) engine that was designed by Chris Jones (in case you're wondering, I picked it, among other reasons, because using it seemed to be the easiest game creating tool I could find that would allow me to achieve most of what I wanted to do). As such, this will look and play a lot more like a traditional, third-person, "point-and-click" adventure game than a traditional RPG.

Hopefully this won't turn away TOO many potential players.

While it *IS* possible, in theory, to get a game to look and play something like a traditional RPG, to be honest, I'm not sure I want to go down that road. I *WANT* to make an EarthBound game, but I don't want to get bogged down in statistics and worry about balancing and tweaking them to make the game more playable. With a point-and-click kind of adventure, I get to focus on what makes a game great more often than not (at least in my mind): good story, good setting, good characters, good challenge and good gameplay. I figure I'll have my hands full enough with those without having to fiddle with a bunch of numbers. Maybe if I find a really easy-to-use piece of code that I can throw into the game to at least give it some very light stats to appease the hardcore roleplayers a little, I will, but for the moment, it's doubtful. Still, I'd like to hear your thoughts  on this or anything else you read on these page.

For those of you who are still reading, thanks. You might be wondering about combat. Since fighting played such a large, and arguably important part in EarthBound, I knew that it was something I had to keep in the game... at least in some form. Now, I'm not going to try to pretend that combat will be the same as what you'd become used to in EarthBound, because it won't be. It MIGHT resemble it a bit, at least cosmetically, but it will NOT be the same. The combat system in this game will revolve largely around puzzle-based solutions. For those that played EarthBound, think more along the lines of handing fly honey over to Belch in order to take him out, as opposed to repeatedly bashing a spiteful crow with a bat, and you might see where I'm headed (that, of course is just an example).

This will definitely yield a different gaming experience than EarthBound did/ does. I'm hoping though, that I can carry over enough of the atmosphere and charm of EarthBound to make this a worthy fan-made game. The game will rely largely on numerous puzzles, from inventory puzzles, to environment puzzles, to character interation/ conversational puzzles to logic puzzles (any of these, or any combination of these could come into play fro any given battle). I'm NOT positive of how much I'll be implementing, but provided that everything goes according to plan, at least some puzzles WILL have multiple solutions, to make the game ever so slightly more open-ended.

Even though I've done nothing in terms of music so far, I thought I'd include a word or two on music. So far, I'm a bit torn on the issue. I know the music that came with EarthBound was adored and admired by many of its fans. However, I've not yet started on anything musical in the game for two reasons. First off, I'm not exactly what you'd call "musically inclined". As a matter o' fact, whatever the opposite of that is, that's pretty much me. Second off, I'm having sound issues with the computer I'm using when it runs AGS, so even if I wanted to start implementing music already, I'd not yet be able to test it. Hopefully I'll be able to resolve this issue sooner than later.

I can't imagine putting the game out WITHOUT music, though, so rest assured that one way or another, music will be included in the game. Whether or not that music will be original is also still up in the air.

MUSIC (UPDATE, Jan. 2004)
As of January 2004, I have started writing some original music that I feel is appropriate for the game. Chances are that I'll be including some of the old music in there, too, mind you. Also note that I've worked out some of the sound issues I was having.

Since I've seen SO many amateur games get started and never get anywhere NEAR completed, I figure that what I'll be doing to try to keep things on track is release the game in a number of "chapters". Now, these chapters, on their own, won't provide anywhere NEAR the amount of play time that most commercial games can. I do hope, though, that by breaking my workload down into chunks, that I'll be able to get the game out in pieces that are manageable enough to keep me working on them.

(If/ when the game's final chapter is released, I might pack them all together into a single cohesive game, depending on how hard that is to do. If it's too much, or it's just impossible, it won't happen.)

I've also been considering my audience. Obviously, this project largely has the fans of EarthBound in mind. I'm hoping though, that by providing some background information and working in new locations and story elements, that this game will really be for anyone, be they previous fans of the EarthBound games or not.

I have no plans to release the source code for my game anytime soon. If there seems to be demand for it, though, I might do so once I've completed the game's final chapter (hopefully by then I'll have ironed most of the bugs out, anyway). In the event that I eventually retire the project, I'd also release the source code then, so that someone could either pick up where I left off or make something else from what they're left with.

In case anyone wonders or cares, I live in the province of New Brunswick in the Eastern part of Canada. The first computer I ever got the chance to play with a bit was our old Commodore Vic 20, followed by the Commodore 64 (which I feel was probably THE best machine, game wise, ever created). I played EarthBound on the SNES when it came out, and loved it (and I played it again a few summers back, which made me want to make an EarthBound game of my own). I'm still of the opinion that it was one of the best games ever released. I played the game again for the first time in years in the summer of 2001, and fell in love with it all over again. Since no sequel had ever been made for the game, I thought I'd take it upon myself to make an unofficial one, provided I could figure out whether or not other people cared about this game. After a short while, I found and a number of other fansites for EarthBound, showing me that many people still had a special place in their heart this old SNES game. Thus, I started planning.

Can't think of much anything else to really report at this stage of the game, save that coming updates will likely cover less ground, so there should be less reading involved. A lot of what was said here will likley be moved/ re-written into some sort of FAQ section at some point in the future, I guess. Until then, keep checking in every once in a while. Feel free to mail me game suggestions, questions and whatever by clicking here... or by going to the feedback section. 

For more information, click on the links on the left side of the page.

Thanks for stopping by.
(Maybe next time there'll be more to see...)

EarthBound is a copyright of Nintendo, Shigesato Itoi, HAL Labratories and APE Studios.
I have nothing to do with any of those. Please don't sue the pants off me. I have no money. And I need my pants.

No financial compensation shall be made from this fangame.

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