First off, why would you want to use a custom engine?
Two reasons come to mind :
- Ease of customizing the game.
- Programming beyond the scope of Cave Story.
If the existing hacks, and tools available for the original engine already suit your needs; then sticking with the original is probably the best idea. However, if you have something particular in mind; but have no hacking experience/or it would be difficult to hack; then a custom engine is probably for you.
Agora’s Legends … by JTE
If possible I would like to use JTE’s Agora’s Legends for Cloud Story.
Why? …It has one huge feature I’d love to add to the mod. The option for multiplayer.
It was unforgettable blazing through hell with Curly, with her back strapped to yours even for just a few areas. Now imagine a mod made for two to work together. There will still be single-player of course, but unless I come up with an impressive AI; the battles won’t be the same as working with another player.
There is … one big catch. Agora’s Legends is still a work in progress. It has suffered many setbacks and been in development a long time. But, JTE just doesn’t quit!
It is a very promising engine and if you think you’d like to see Cave Story multiplayer (or if you liked the Cave Dance), then please, by all means go and give her a shout of encouragement 😀
NXEngine … by nxdream
This engine was a surprise find. I didn’t find much information on it; except that it is complete and Open Source (with GNU license).
Since it already is complete, work can begin on it right away. Programming whatever you want. I have not looked at it in detail, or tried to compile the source yet; but the tools are all available. This is a great choice for immediate results.
There are a few issues I’ve noticed with the engine… First I don’t think it supports 2x graphics without programming it to. And, it isn’t a perfect emulation; there are small issues here and there I’ve run into like Balrog getting stuck giving Quote free reign. But these issues can probably be fixed by a little troubleshooting.
There was one major thing that bothered me; the sound emulation in this one cuts out on some sounds early. So, that’d be a major issue I’d like to fix, should I choose to use it.
Noxid’s Engine … by … Noxid
This engine is a work in progress…
Good news, Noxid’s behind it! Bad news, it probably won’t be available for other people’s mods.
The engine already is looking good for King’s Story mod with no 2 pixel skipping and 2x graphics + wav sound and music…
Make sure to keep an eye on King’s Story!
And Pixel’s engine
We all know this one. There are many hacks and a ton of info on it. Tools and editors too. So, if it can do what you want, then stick with it! [Especially if you apply for the 2x res hack!]
Even if you plan to use another engine; it might be wise to create the maps using the tools created for Cave Story, then port it over to the other engine.