Update [Fri 14th Jul, 2023 17:00 BST]: Yesterday, @GabrielPyron revealed an updated look at the Windjammers port he is working on (alongside Format_C, Lunoka, and Luke444K) and it is shaping up to be seriously impressive
The latest video shows off a new character select screen and jungle stage, and also features a comparison between the Mega Drive and the Neo Geo version, to put things into perspective. You can even download the latest build now from itch.io to try it out for yourself. Enjoy!
Original Story [Mon 26th Sep, 2022 12:30 BST]:
When you think about Windjammers, the pong-meets-volleyball arcade game from Data East, the first thing that will likely come to mind is its colorful arcade graphics and fluid gameplay.
As a result, the idea of squeezing that experience onto a 16-bit system like the Sega Mega Drive might seem like a bit of a doomed experiment, but that hasn't stopped two fans, Format_C and @GabrielPyron, from having a good old-fashioned go of it. And from what we can see so far, the results are pretty interesting.
We first heard about the port after Pyron, a modder who is also working on ports of Sunset Riders and Strider, tweeted about his involvement with the project online. And from there, we stumbled across Format_C's YouTube channel where they seem to be demonstrating their progress.
As Pyron explains on Twitter,
"The hundreds of colors of the original were reduced to 16, + HUD that I also use in the BG, the rest go to the characters."
Regardless of this change, we think it looks fairly encouraging, minus the lack of music and the obvious flickering beneath the characters, which is an artifact of the game not running at 60FPS according to Pyron.
The project like so many other Mega Drive and Genesis ports is being developed in SGDK - a free and open development kit for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis. And right now, you can test out some of the features by downloading builds from the descriptions of Format_C's videos to play in an emulator.
As for a full release, as is the case with so many of these titles, that all depends on whether they can get a sign-off from the proper rights holders to sell cartridges or if the developers can stay motivated enough to develop it entirely free of charge.
As we mentioned above, Data East was the company that originally released Windjammers on the Neo Geo arcade system back in 1994. In the years since, DotEmu has taken over the series, porting it to the PS4, PSVita, and Nintendo Switch between 2017-2018, before following this up with a sequel Windjammers 2 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One