Gamers with a taste for the retro will probably want to keep their eyes on the upcoming "demake" of Left 4 Dead, a project that's turning Valve's multiplayer zombie shooter into an NES-style 8-bit game.
Eric Ruth, a 28-year-old indie game developer, has done a few "retro style" games in the past, but the Left 4 Dead demake is his first attempt to bring a hit title from the current generation to the classic 8-bit era. He plans to eventually produce a series of demade 8-bit games under the Pixel Force name, which will feature other contemporary games "re-envisioned" in the NES style.
Interestingly, he says the hardest part of creating the new version wasn't the code or the art: It was the music. "All of the tunes in the original game are composed with heavy string sections, some dabs of brass and an array of effects and digital choruses," he explained. "I had to try and accurately recreate those songs with 4 channels of sound: 2 square waves, a triangle wave and a noise channel, just like the NES had. In the video, you can hear these recreations on the title screen, mission screen, and the safehouse/checkpoint screen. Those songs are all recreates of Valve's original audio work."
Some aspects of the original game were removed or modified to better reflect the limited capabilities of the NES, including Versus and Survival modes and weapons like the hunting rifle, Molotov cocktail and pipe bomb, and the zombie AI was also "dumbed-down." "I did keep in a lot, but of course, changes and sacrifices needed to be made for the final product to 'work' as an NES game," Ruth said.
The Left 4 Dead demake will be released as a free download for the PC on January 4, although whether it actually makes it all the way to Steam is another matter entirely; Ruth said any decision about that would be entirely in Valve's hands. Valve apparently hasn't been in contact with him yet but according to Joystiq, the studio is aware of the project and thinks the idea is "hilarious."
Source: Big Download