Here comes Bilou
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|Bilou and Bouli, 2006 mini-comic.|
From this era, we have paper-pixels, some monsters and level design documents. And of course, the on-going development in QuickBasic for MS-DOS, where Bilou is a 16x16 pixels character trying to find his way in 4 woods-themed levels.
These are the releases featuring Bilou, created as Nintendo DS homebrew. A homebrew is a piece of software that is designed to run on some mass-market device but that has been produced without the help of the official SDK and that isn't produced by an authorized source for the device. It is at best silently tolerated by the people selling the hardware. In the case of Nintendo handhelds, it is the only way a single person can produce content running on his device.
To play a homebrew game -- including those below, you can either use an emulator (You're suggested to use desmume and set the "GBA slot image" as being the .nds file itself through "Config > gba slot") or use a linker device that can play homebrew files. The linker looks like an official NDS card, but has a slot to host a micro-SD media card where you will drop the .NDS file and a menu system to select which game you will play.
Here they are, newest first:
School Rush (ongoing 'fox'): Pendatz try to flood the school zone with ink to eliminate opponents of their commander Square Root. Bilou will have to run, ride Spongebops and use Dumbladors to get rid of stronger foes, including pendatz themselves.
Pendatz may release artefacts that will grant Bilou the temporary power to float or to punch hard what could get in his way. You have 3 lives to clear 4 levels, with 3 available difficulty levels.
[download latest version] -- [development thread]
- (A) button makes you use your feet (jump/bounce/float) and (B) button makes you use your hands (grab, throw, punch).
- The Punch Power-up allows you to stun most ennemies, including the pendats, without having to carry dumbladors around. When you got it, you'll need to use "DOWN + B" to pick up objects.
- The Float Power-up allow you to defy gravity. Press (A) twice mid-air quickly to trigger it and then hold A to float to the next location.
- Up/Down let you look at what's around you.
- R shoulder makes you run. You can also use Kirby's double-tap on a direction button to run if you prefer.
Anniversary Level (0.10.26) : enjoy a revival of Bilou's Adventure "School Zone, level 1" with revamped graphics and animation. Many of the "plain keys/locks" or "plain switches" on Piet's original design has been replaced by organic locks or challenges.
There is only one level, and your goal is to complete it while collecting as much as the letters as possibles. Your completion rank will bring you back in time by showing up one of the 10 archive pictures embedded in the game.
[download latest version] -- [development thread]
Apple Assault "Berry Bat Things" : Clear the levels of all those angry applemen before they wake up the berry bats.
The game has some roots in Bubble Bobble and Mario Bros. arcade games: you need to punch applemen to dispatch them out of the level, but first you need to stomp them to increase your punch power.
It also has some pacman aspect: once you cleared the four areas around your ship, you turn back to the first one, but the number and speed of the applemen has increased.
[download the latest version] -- [development thread]
- (A) button makes you jump, (B) button makes you poke/punch/throw shurikens depending on your "punch power" level.
- Pressing (A) again when you stomp a baddie makes you bounce higher and doubles the amount of punch power you get for stomping them.
- To get high scores, try chaining stomps without touching the ground before you dispatch the apples. But beware: if you wait for too long without dispatching any apple, a BerryBat will come to bug you.
Green Zone Demo: This is just a sandbox with all the characters and background elements of Bilou's adventure "green zone" waiting for you to discover them. As a demo, there is no real goal, and no structured gameplay.
[download the homebrew]
And the complete adventure ?
Between 1999 and 2005, I played a number of games prototypes, some intending to be SNES-sized platformers, and none of them, even those that were technically very mature, was appealing to the point I would have played them again after discovering them once: they offered nothing more than repetitive button smashing and exhaustive exploration to collect all the pellets. Other
On the other hand, I found some much less amibitious games that were calling me back at night to beat just one more level. I realized some features that work well in SNES-sized adventure just fell flat when you lack content -- such as hunting for extra lives or secret worlds. I decided to postpone the building of a Mario World-sized adventure and to offer smaller episodes, each in a single environment, each with a dedicated goal that could be expressed in a few words. I also committed myself not to start pixel art on a new environment before the current one has been used in one game.