LRG’s Carbon Engine

Limited Run Games just posted the first episode of a podcast about their “Carbon Engine” – A software development tool that aims to port classic games to modern platforms.  The podcast is named Carbon cast and this first episode really gives an insight to the team’s goals, as well as the challenges they face.  They also announced a Game Boy game called “Trip World” was not only ported via Carbon, but the game’s original creator Yuichi Ueda created a colorized “DX” version that uses the exact color palette he originally had in mind for it.  The game will be available to pre-order this month on most modern platforms.  Check out the video above for all the info you’ll need, plus I added some thoughts below the link:

LRG’s Carbon Engine:

I’d like to start by simply saying I think this is an excellent idea and I LOVE that the goal is to make the most accurate, low-latency ports possible within a reasonable budget.  I also love the attitude of the team – Multiple times they talked about recognizing where they need help and finding the right people for the job.  And they did.

Dimitris aka Modern Vintage Gamer is a veteran in the scene and has years of experience porting games.  He’s one of the first people I’d have called if I were in their position.  I also strongly think hiring Audi Sørlie was a smart move, as he has a long history of working with multiple teams worldwide and offer a ton of experience.  And, of course, Randy Linden is a creator of Bleem, which was a massive milestone in emulation.

One thing that surprised me is Josh’s statement that the total cost to port a retro game to modern platforms (including licensing fees) is about three hundred fifty thousand dollars.  While that certainly explains why we don’t see as many classic games ported as probably should be, it also casts a pretty dark cloud over some of the terrible emulation ports.  I imagine the high cost cuts the development budget pretty low and makes it easier to understand how sometime you’ll see broken, laggy emulation released – The money to make it correctly just isn’t there.

I truly hope their Carbon engine will help teams present the games the way they’re meant to be played.  And I honestly think if they continue down this path, they’ll be able to pull it off.  And if they do, everyone will benefit – Classic gamers, new people just discovering them and everyone who develops in the scene.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on these releases and will post both when they become available and when they’re reviewed and analyzed.

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