Setting up a N64 development environment
In this section I’ll list items that you will need to develop for the N64. I’m going to assume that you’re working on Windows 7 or newer. Note that this is going to be a fairly long list and will be added to as I learn more about the SDK and which files need what editing.
Windows XP 32-Bit
I find that a 32-Bit Windows XP is the best place to develop for the Nintendo 64. It’s still compatible with a lot of 1999-2000 software as well as more modern tools so it provides a good middle ground.
In order to do this, you need:
- Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate with Windows XP Mode
- A virtual machine such as VMware
- CD/ISO of Windows XP
Installing the Windows XP virtual machine
If you want to use Windows XP Mode, follow these instructions.
Otherwise, you can do as follows to install using VMware:
- Download and install virtual machine software. I use VMware.
- Create a new virtual machine using your Windows XP CD/ISO.
If you’re using VMware, I recommend that you install VMware Tools by going to VM > install VMware Tools, which will make the virtual machine a whole lot easier to use. This will allow drag and drop file copying, as well as the ability to click out of the window without ctrl + alt.
From now on, perform all tasks on your virtual Windows XP unless stated otherwise!
Getting N64SDK and N64dev
These are folders that contain functions, samples and some programs that will be used for Nintendo 64 development. N64SDK is more essential, but N64dev has
- Get a file decompression program like WinRAR. This decompresses .zip, .7z and more compressed file types so it’s awesome.
- Download the N64SDK and N64dev and extract them into your root C:\ drive
Installing GNU on windows
In order to run some Linux commands on a windows PC like ‘make’ and have your C code compile correctly, you’re going to need to install Minimalist GNU for Windows or ‘MinGW’.
- Download MinGW.
- Install MinGW with the standard configurations.
Install the devkit programs
There is also a set of programs that are used for the Nintendo 64 development that came on a CD. These will help you manipulate files that will be included in your ROM, as well as convert files from your creative suite into a more N64-readable format.
- Install Daemon Tools Lite
- Download the ISO for the tools.
- Mount the ISO using DTL.
- Autorun the CD from your ‘My computer’
- Install the standard installation
These are programs that while not essential, are more modern and will help you build your projects a lot more easily.
Since Dropbox will be dropping its support for Windows XP, I recommend that you install Sync.com to automatically share files with your host computer if you’re using a virtual machine with ease.
You need an emulator to test out your games. If you use an Everdrive or 64drive, that’s fine but using an emulator will allow you to test whether your ROM works without that extra transfer step.
My preference for emulation is Project 64, but note that on a powerful computer the speed of the game will be very fast so take the output with a pinch of salt.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program is a free image editor that you can use that will allow you to edit and export .rgb and .rgba files, which is what the N64 dev kit uses to import files.
This program allows you to easily manipulate the C code that runs your games. You could use notepad if you wanted to, but Code::Blocks makes things a whole lot clearer.