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JULY 2020 – We are hard at work on a second tech demo. This post has been updated with some additional info about the project.


MAIDEN is an action game currently being developed for the Virtual Boy. Originally we had ambitions to create something a bit more like Starfox, but research on the hardware took us in new exciting directions that we couldn’t ignore.

Through a rendering method that’s somewhere in-between Donkey Kong Country and Resident Evil 2 we are able to have densely detailed 3D graphics.


As it stands, we don’t know when the game is coming out. This post stands as the most up to date official info. We try to get this kind of info out as soon as possible.


Our latest tech demo will showcase our 50fps 3D graphics pipeline, showing off some of our color tricks to get the 4 color palette of the Virtual Boy into many, many more. Our compression technology is a work in progress, but this demo will fit on a standard Flashboy, Flashboy+, or Hyperflash32 flash cart.

Our 3D graphics are partially pre-rendered in our custom Unreal Engine 4 build which has features like ray tracing and volumetric shadows. Tech demo 2 is a display of the true hidden power of the Virtual Boy hardware, and we can’t wait to share it with you. As a tiny teaser, here’s one of the first images we got working on an actual Virtual Boy with our new VUEngine-powered project!

  • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by trailboss.
  • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by trailboss.
  • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by trailboss.
  • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by trailboss.
39 Replies

Really cool, thanks for sharing! Always nice to see new games for this awesome system. Can’t wait for the kickstarter!

I am definitely excited as I like Rail Shooters, 90% of my favorite games on the Wii (back when it was popular, because it’s perfect for them) were Rail Shooters.

I’ve been peeking at the work you shared on Discord. This looks great! I can’t wait for the kickstarter!

I’m very excited about this too. I’ll be right there to sign up for the KS when it launches. Good luck!

Hello. If you plan to do a KS campaign to fund the creation of the software tools (game dev was not mentioned in your post) you need to complete this game, does that mean you plan to give the FB+ compatible ROM away separate from this campaign?

Part of the campaign is for the actual game itself, but most of the time is going to be me building the tools so that’s what I meant by that.

There will be a $1 tier on the Kickstarter as an “official” way to obtain the ROM, and all tiers above that will include the ROM. I expect it to be leaked pretty quickly and I don’t really have a problem with that.

As for a Flashboy+ compatible ROM, I don’t know if it’s going to fit or not. (I have my suspicions) At the very least I know the demo and beta builds will fit on a Flashboy. I’m currently making efforts to make sure the full game can be played on a Virtual Boy via cartridge and will update the thread when I have more details on what that looks like.

Thank you for that clarification.

If the ROM is larger than 2MB you’ll instantly alienate a lot of those interested in backing a ROM only project. Currently, the FB and FB+ are all that we have. Keven Mellot has plans for a new Flash Kit (later this year?) that should support larger ROMs. As of yet, no one owns one…

All of the homebrew/reproduction carts for sale on Uncle Tusk’s site and eBay were partially constructed from donor carts. Donors are not being pulled from an unlimited supply. I honestly feel like physical releases on a KS level are still a ways off. Kevin Mellott has been making great strides with shell reproductions, but last I read there is still no real solution for the connectors.

Shell reproduction thread: https://www.planetvb.com/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=6801&forum=1

I often find this site is difficult to search through, so please forgive me if this is incorrect, but I do recall Kevin mentioning that he has a re-flashable board that can handle a larger ROM. You can contact him here for more complete answers: https://www.planetvb.com/modules/usercenter/index.php?section=profile&uid=14261

Just a thought, wouldn’t a Patreon be more suited for crowdfunding of a ROM only release or do you have more elaborate tier plans?

While I haven’t played the demo yet, I think at a $1 for the ROM you’re selling yourself short. The whole point of a campaign is to raise money. Something a campaign manager/campaign writer will remind you of throughout the entire process. LOL

So Adafruit sells these GPIO pin headers that could be repurposed into Virtual Boy edge connectors, a solution?


Also aliexpress has 2×30 pin, which I believe is the correct amount of pins?

Actually Aliexpress has basically any number of pins available.

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by Super Bros..
  • This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by Super Bros..

Will this game have music? What quality will it be at? Will it even push the VSU to it’s limits? And how do you make music for this console if there’s no dedicated VB music tracker available to the public at the moment?

Also, the VB’s soundchip kinda reminds me of the Sega Master System’s chip, because you can’t play anything below D#2 in the wave channels, kinda like the SMS being unable to play anything below A-2 in its square wave channels. However, the noise channel can use one of it’s shorter noise sequence settings to get bass notes lower, kinda like the pulse wave thing from the SN76489 noise channel. This is somewhat a bass limitation thing for some percent of chiptune songs.

Apart from VB music quality, the affine floor in the screenshots above reminds me of Space Harrier.

KR155E, you need to put this game up on the Planet Virtual Boy news.

but didnt mellot invent over 2mb rom cababilities? so you can design and make you game bigger and still put it on a real cartridge?

Thanks for the posts guys. Again I don’t want to alienate those who want to play on a flashboy, but my hunch is that between map/graphics data there will not be a lot of room left over. I am working on sorting out the cartridge situation, so just be patient while I figure out what that’s going to look like.

Regarding music and what I’m trying to do on that front, I’d really like to create something similar to what GEMS for the Genesis was purposed for. Something where you could write/edit on your PC and listen to it via hardware (or emulation). I don’t know if that’s in the scope of this project yet but I do have some experience in the area. If this is something people really want I might include this as a part of the crowdfunding, just judging off the samples included with VBDE I know that music production has been pretty difficult/limited in the past and there’s a lot of improvement to be had.

Very interested to see where this goes and hope to help back it ASAP!

Here’s development update #1! I’d like to remove any doubt about my credentials for developing games, as I know lots of people tend to start neat projects then leave them to fizzle out over time. We’re working with multiple partners to make sure that people can play MAIDEN on Steam, Virtual Boy, and maybe even 3DS. MAIDEN is being published by Triverske who will oversee the release on both Steam and Virtual Boy.

Today I’d like to talk about the underlying tech of MAIDEN, as we tested a couple different ideas before we reached the current engine. We tested wireframes and voxel-based renderer but we found that drawing directly to the framebuffer was a bit slower than we were hoping for. At that point we looked to the VIP’s object worlds to help with graphics processing. When we tested this it was much more performant and in-line with the experience we wanted. Although it’s pretty impressive I ended up making the decision to go with something a bit more visually appealing and a bit less technically appealing.

I thought that the tech was a bit too cool to just give up so I’ve prepared a little tech demo to mess around with. (it works really well in 3D) This isn’t the game demo, so please don’t confuse it with that, merely a bit of engine that probably won’t get a lot of use. Enjoy!

Ahh, this is the thing being teased on Discord! Been looking pretty cool so far, glad to see it’s becoming a game! Totally looking forward to the Kickstarter when that launches.

trailboss wrote:
Regarding music and what I’m trying to do on that front(…)

oooh..!! That sounds pretty neat too. [size=x-small](I wonder if you’d go as far on that GEMS parallel as to add stuff like the letterbox feature it had; would be neat for making dynamic music, heh)
Better music tools would be much appreciated, for sure. I’d totally like to pitch in something with the KS for that as well.

(edit) oh heck, a demo got posted right when I did heh
Was real neat to see this in those discord previews, but it’s cool to get to control it for myself.

Oh wow! Thank you for sharing this demo!

For anyone using real hardware, use the number 3 padding option to fill with duplicates.

This is a very interesting way to render a landscape! Is this a form of voxel engine?

Devlopment update #2! I have good news and even better news.

Let’s start with the good news: You’ll be able to order a MAIDEN cart, regardless if the game ends up over/under 16Mbit. This of course is a bit of a luxury item, as I’ve come to learn that the making of these cartridges is quite the process.

While learning about how these carts get made, it left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. The choice to be made was between super expensive and often inferior 3D printed parts or ripping parts from actual Virtual Boy games and re-purposing them.

Which brings me to the better news, the effort to fund mellott124’s cartridge molds is now part of MAIDEN’s crowdfunding campaign. We hope to bring an end to the era of pulling parts from games whose prices have risen several times over the past decade or so. These new carts will be more affordable than the alternatives (past the initial cost of course) and also will be able to come in a variety of colors. Mellott124 and I both see a pretty healthy homebrew community in the Virtual Boy’s future and we hope to make it easier to play games on actual hardware.

More info coming soon, but this was important enough to announce now!

I think the cart should be red, as that would be really really cool. Also what sort of price are you considering selling a copy at? I don’t want a box or manual, honestly.

This is all sounding really awesome!

I really like the addition to the campaign! That is an amazing step towards a great direction.


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