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Indie Watch: Goldfinger 64 - The Nintendo 64 gains a reimagined classic.

Redneckerz

Those long posts don't cover that red neck boy
Jun 25, 2018
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Stuck in 1Q84.
Disclaimer: This thread is a rework of an earlier ERA post. I felt this game needs more recognition, if not for the amazing achievement on display here, essentially a new standalone game for the N64 when used with an EverDrive.




Okay, What kind of Oddjob is Goldfinger 64?

Its a standalone mod on the Goldeneye 007 engine, based of the movie Goldfinger. Its amazing what the team has achieved in the 6 or so years this was built. For instance, they created their own editor to create the levels. They even looked at the Diddy Kong Racing engine, because you have playable vehicles. What? yeah, thats right, its there.

There are 20 completely new levels and huge (emphasis on huge) areas. One of the levels is placed in the jungle and has earned the nickname Far Cry 64 among the crowds. The area's are so large, the team effectively ran into several hard limits with the Goldeneye tech they weren't even aware about. Its obvious that this requires the Expansion Pak. There is also a patch to improve resolution (i think to 640x480, i believe) but the framerate suffers because of it.

You can play this on your own N64 with a blank EverDrive Cartridge. What's more, you can even make it more official by printing out the official boxart. Goldfinger 64 is by all means a game anyone should play, a true tour de force of what homebrew can do. And ofcourse, a great excercise to get your N64 sweaty :)

Note: Download link is not provided as you will need the actual GoldenEye ROM to convert it over to GoldFinger 64. It can be played as a standalone title on a N64 though, so essentially, when you have the original game you can basically create a whole new game out of the existing ROM, to be

Boxarts:




More info/Background information on the development of the game:
After two long decades, British secret agent James Bond makes his triumphant return to the Nintendo 64! His mission; to gather intelligence on a wealthy entrepeneur named Auric Goldfinger. The investigation will take 007 around the globe and back again, in twenty brand new levels that faithfully recreate the film, as well as previous entries into the series as bonus material. Tour the famous Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, drive through the Alps in a classic Aston Martin, sneak inside a shady export company compound in Mexico, and shoot your way into the gold rich vaults of Fort Knox using a vast arsenal of weaponry. Mow down the enemy like a true gangster with the Thompson machine gun, use stealth at a distance with the AR-7 sniper rifle, or ramp up the fire power with a devastating RPG launcher. And once you've foiled Goldfinger's plans to dominate the world's bullion market, sharpen your skills against friends (or foes!) in multiplayer mode. With eleven maps to compete in, a wide range of weapon loadouts, and a comprehensive character roster to choose from, you'll soon be finding yourself crammed back on the couch again in split-screen fever. A completely original musical score accompanies every stage, and due to the inclusion of the Expansion Pak, are lengthier than previously possible. This memory expanding device allows Goldfinger 64 to go farther than the original game it was built upon. A greater amount of image textures can be loaded into a level at one time, mission setups filled with even more content, and maps larger than ever before. This fan-made sequel to GoldenEye 007 aims to bring players an exciting experience, while representing perhaps the most beloved Bond film of all time with much due respect. So if you think you're up to the task of putting an end to Operation Grand Slam, grab your controller and pull up a chair. It's about time Bond was back on the job.

By
Lead: SubDrag
Assistant Leads: Trevor, Sogun
Team Members: Zoinkity, Wreck, Dragonsbrethren, MRKane, 00action, Cyberen, Monkeyface, Kyle, Sean Ryan, Garabuyo, Comet, Stolen Textures, Spinout, ShiftClick


The Goldfinger 64 project was the brainchild of Monkeyface, and was conceived of, believe it or not, in the year 2009. Yep, that far back. He had recruited a small team of people to help at the time, but was doing the majority of the work himself. Wow, I said. It's amazing that someone is making this mod using my GoldenEye Setup Editor, and I can sit back and watch glorious updates every week. I (naively) imagine that I'd just need to make some minor editor improvements when necessary to support, but stay out of the project. Goldfinger was my favorite Bond movie (or at least...it flip-flops with GoldeEye as the best movie). Unfortunately, at some point in 2011, Monkeyface's priorities changed, not too far into development, and he decided not work anymore on the project. At some point after, I thought hard, and asked him if I could take over the project, and if he could send me everything he had worked on. He agreed. My reason? Primarily, I assumed by heading the project, it would really push the GoldenEye Setup Editor to new levels, and allow me to add new many new features to the editor as development went on. I massively underestimated the entire undertaking...and fortunately or not, I had no idea the scope of what it would to make an entirely new game from an existing one, replacing...everything. I also, had never modeled anything up until that point, but I thought I could mainly work on the GoldenEye Editor end, while the rest of the eager team worked on the actual modeling.

As a little time went on, I tried to get the old team energized and moving, but sadly most of the original Goldfinger 64 abandoned the project (though a little of the team did help early or come back for a bit later). And in the end, other than a couple ideas and a scant few models, nearly all of the original work was not received, never completed, or had to be discarded. Luckily though, in the ashes of the original project, a new, very strong new team emerged of dedicated and extremely talented people. But we basically started over, with mostly our own ideas, and a gigantic drive to bring our shared dream to life. So I really consider the project actually starting in 2011, not 2009.

Originally the project was going to very open, so everyone could monitor the progress of the game. All the props, levels, ideas would be posted to the Goldfinger web site. The movie pictures would only be available to team members, for modeling purposes, but as the GoldenEye portions were completed, people would be able to see them completed. Some people may remember that page, as it did exist for a time (and in fact, still does exist, but it is locked down to only team members). At least, that was the original plan. At some point, it turned from, let's just make a fun game and not worry about making it perfect, to, lets make this game at a near professional level, trying to polish, make amazing visuals, etc. That, extended the development time significantly as well as the difficulty, but made the product much higher quality. Along those same lines, it became clear that due to the extraordinary amount of work it was taking to make the game, it seemed better to make this like a real game, not let the public see our progress. We'd only release promo shots occasionally, make all data confidential, and release this only as a full game, that was like a new N64 game, a sequel to GoldenEye. That way, it would feel like a completely new release, and not something people had seen over time and were very familiar with. We wanted the levels to be unique, the struggles and learning to beat them, etc, to be completely new. The other advantage, was we could work in isolation, and do things at our own pace, redo things, improve, etc, without constant feedback from other users.

After I took over, the most important thing, was designing and creating the 18 solo level backgrounds, and completing all the planned models for these levels. The bonus missions we did not plan from the start and would sort out later in development. We watched the movie many (incredible amount) times, thought up a set of levels, and then had to extend that amount of levels to 18, by making up plausible levels in between. Some small details in missions from the movie were changed, extended, or enlarged to make the missions more fun and get a level out of it. The Goldfinger book helped for a separate perspective, though I don't think anything ended up coming from that. Although a couple missions are made up, they remain faithful to the movie (and thus game) plot, as things that could have happened. In the end, the levels were all figured out (other than bonus levels), very early on. Every level just about had a basic set of objectives and plot planned from the beginning, and rough sketches for the level idea. On the movie levels, the background was created, and the objectives designed for the mission fit into that (it didn't always work out perfectly, as our key goal was modeling accurately, then the setup was done at the end). In some cases, the movie section was watched hundreds of times, and in slow motion, to be able to create the level geometry and match the movie as perfectly as we could. Wherever possible, the original actors faces, costumes and likenesses were used or textures recreated. Everything should match the movie as closely as possible, from props to levels to guards. Most of the team has also added their faces to the game, which should appear on random guards. The bonus levels were thought up much later.

As the project grew, the game went from simple to monstrous. Instead of basic levels, extreme amounts of time were spent watching the movie, finding research material and modeling as precisely as possible from every material available. No longer could levels just be flat shaded, but instead they had to be lit so they looked spectacular. Levels sometimes were imported 100 times or more to get them perfect. And some levels took 30 minutes for the conversion process at the time. As mentioned before, a big part of tackling the project, was to improve the editor. This import speed got better over time. As was realized, with gigantic levels, manual shading wasn't feasible...not to mention how hard it was when your level has 30k+ triangles. An entirely new and incredibly powerful light mode had to be created, and it delivered. A UV editor in the editor itself helped to make minor fixes once the level was imported. Replacing textures, and moving geometry never had been easier.

The project hinged on the 7 meg patch Zoinkity was working on. For over half the project, we had no idea if he would succeed...the entire project was contingent on that very difficult patch. With some of our levels we had created and finished, that were huge, lit, and beautiful, literally the setup file couldn't host more than a couple guards or it crashed. Without the 7 meg patch, Goldfinger 64 would simply not be possible, and I don't know what would've had to happen. Zoinkity sure came through. Note that he created for the project the 7 meg patch (and not an 8 meg), in order to reserve the last 1 meg for other expansions - sound, number of guards, number of props, 600+ objects...etc. Don't worry, that last meg is used. In fact, we didn't even know a lot of the limits in the game existed, until doing this patch (who knew 200 portals was the limit! That was something we didn't end up extending, though it did force changes to all our big levels unfortunately, once we found it out.) Same for the 600 object limit, none of our levels had even come close to that point before, so we had no idea there was a limit and what it was. Though that one got pushed far past 600, to 1800 or something like that. Music didn't fit for a long time, and when you went to the watch, the watch theme would mix into the main level theme. We never knew if it was possible to fix that either, for quite a bit of development, and we thought we might have to somehow cut the midis down; in the end, it worked out and we pushed the limits yet again. We tried hard to enhance many things from the original game, especially due to the 7 meg patch. More guards, more objects and more variety per level. Cut-scenes attempted to be a bit longer (in some cases) than the original game, for a cinematic feel at the beginning or end of level especially. Backgrounds could push hard, on transparency and environment mapping. At some point, we rearranged the guns via assembly code modifications, to make them in the order we wanted. We pushed as hard as we could to take the engine to new heights.

Console compatibility was top priority for us. If it didn't work on console, we weren't releasing it. That had to work. There is something special about playing on that console, that is not the same on emulator. The team spent many hours diagnosing extremely difficult crashing bugs on console. Emulators are way too forgiving, and in just about all cases...emulator worked, console didn't. Those are tough!

The project took so long, that technological advantages really helped. Everdrive 64 and 64drive came out. Now we could test our ROMs on console in a much faster manner, and the whole team was armed with Everydrive 64s. Also, the GoldenEye editor significantly improved over time, got much more stable, and was able to support the extreme levels in Goldfinger 64.

Not all objects made it. There are probably quite a bit of beta leftovers in the ROM, or quite a bit, and some stuff that wasn't used and isn't in there. Some might make it into a future version of Goldfinger 64.

So what did we do right on this project? The team, of course, was the top reason. Dedicated and very talented, and people did commit to and actually finish what they are working on. Another thing we did, that I would advise on all projects - save off just about every change to a new ROM with a text file detailed what changed, numbered, for troubleshooting purposes or rollback purposes (not many great alternatives for Configuration Management). There were so many times, when a nasty bug cropped up, and we are able to isolate it fast, with finding the build where it broke and the notes on what changed in it. Otherwise, some of the bugs would've taken ages to figure out, as everything would've been possible. We pushed boundaries and didn't settle for simple ideas, when something better was possible.

So what did we do wrong? We should've had more testing throughout, by a dedicated test team not part of the development process. Testing your own levels, you miss everything, and also we spent nearly all our time on new functions and not testing what was there. Also, our testing was too emulator focused because it was easy. Console everything has to be perfect, things like decals and crashes only had issues on console. We also probably did make some levels too big, when a smaller level would've worked fine.

Despite the extraordinary challenges and time commitments, I wanted to mention how much work this game was, but also how much fun it was to work on, and the huge amount of new skills I learned. I would never tackle anything remotely this giant again (at least not as the lead), but I am so proud of what our team accomplished and I do not regret taking over the project. And remember, no one got paid for this game, we all did this 100% for the love the game. We all love GoldenEye, and the dream of Goldfinger 64 is our passion.

That all said, bear in mind, we didn't have a QA team, and this essentially is a beta release, though we tested it for weeks and weeks as best we could. The game should be playable from start to end. There was extensive and massive testing up until release, but we are definitely going to miss things. There were a bunch of really nasty crashes we found in the last couple weeks, which thankfully are fixed. Multiplayer didn't even work due to too low allocations close to release! If there are issues more than minor nits, we'll try and have minor patch releases out as soon as possible. A few levels were rushed to completion, and are prototypes. There are 3 solos and 1 multi that were not finished to satisfaction of creator, but done enough to support this release. There should be a follow-up one day with those completed properly and improvements to all the other levels. It is possible there will be crashes, though we did our best to avoid them. There are also may be minor glitches here and there. There might be some minor collision detection issues. Try to not let it detract from the game. Some levels may have a bit of lag, don't let this detract you either. It's a completely new game, and there's no strategy guide for this game, at least not yet! Some levels do have long load times, up to 30 seconds; for an N64, who knew that was possible. But they will load. Enjoy learning and playing the new levels as you go - some of the levels may require multiple tries and exploration. Please provide as detailed information as possible if you find a bug, such as videos, screenshots, and detailed descriptions of what was going on before the issue occurred. If you can recreate it, please help us with information on the best way to recreate it reliably.

So many GoldenEye Setup Editor features over the years owe its thanks to Goldfinger 64. The stable, extremely feature-rich editor owes much to Goldfinger 64. Things like Lighting Sources, UV Editor, Fast Multi-Creation, 7 Meg Patch, Larger Supported ROMs, Animation and Comprehensive Model Editing, Advanced Displaylists, Texture Imports of All Types, Hide and Show Triangles, Lower Editor Memory Profile, Box Select.....and so much more.

Many, many, many, many, unlimited thanks to the entire team. Also, to the Rare team who made the original game. I have had the pleasure of speaking to some of them, and they all have been very helpful, generous, and remember key tiny minutiae of how the game works from a technical perspective, from a 20 year old game. The engine they made was so well written and spectacular, it's what made Goldfinger 64 possible.

We hope you enjoy the hard work that 6+ years can bring. It took a lot longer than expected, but it's finally here. We have finally brought this fantastic Bond movie to life in a sequel to GoldenEye 007 on Nintendo 64. What are you waiting for? Get playing!

This is a fan-made mod of GoldenEye 007 freely available, and should never be sold in any fashion.
EDIT: Changed video link for a long gameplay stream. :)
 
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Nymphae

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Jun 3, 2013
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That is so awesome. How has no one thought of this before, the movie even came out in '64.
 

v1oz

Member
Apr 11, 2010
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This is an awesome idea.

Is it still in beta? Looks rough in places.
 
Nov 1, 2017
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This looks absolutely brilliant. Thanks for brining this to my attention OP (y). I'll definitely be diving into this once I get an Ultra HDMI mod installed on the mighty N64. The N64 is easily in my top three favourite consoles of all time.
 
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Redneckerz

Those long posts don't cover that red neck boy
Jun 25, 2018
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695
Stuck in 1Q84.
This is an awesome idea.

Is it still in beta? Looks rough in places.
It is released, but they are still releasing new builds.

What parts do you think look rough? The hill scenes?
This looks absolutely brilliant. Thanks for brining this to my attention OP (y). I'll definitely be diving into this once I get an Ultra HDMI mod installed on the mighty N64. The N64 is easily in my top three favourite consoles of all time.
Do note that this game does not yet support a Hi-Res 480p patch. There is some talk of it, but given how the current game already pushes the consoles, it might take a while before such becomes available.
 

DadEggs

Member
May 26, 2011
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thats really neat - wish i would go out of my way to experience it but oh well.
 

prag16

Banned
Jul 12, 2012
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Man, did the original GE look this rough? I've played some N64 games on the original hardware somewhat recently, but not GE. Regardless, that's a hell of a cool project. I'll check it out via emulator. Ain't gonna shell out for one of those $200 modded SD card cartridges..