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Post by Erockbrox on Fri 3 Apr 2015 - 2:51

I see that Parallel Universes is nearing completion. This is a great accomplishment by many individuals and a great deal of hacking work. Releasing major rom hacks of Zelda 3 is a  special occurrence since it is very rare of them actually coming to full completion.

When I got inspired to create my own Zelda 3 rom hack back in 2008 the only hack that I saw in development that interested me was the Quest for Calatia hack by Gamemakr24. I liked the idea of a more traditional Zelda game that took place in the natural time period of Zelda. It seemed as if Zack (Gamemakr24) really had the game planned out and since he had put so much effort into it I felt confident in being part of his team.

Since I really didn’t have any ASM, snes music or pixel art skills I just tried to make interesting things by just using Hyrule Magic the Zelda 3 editor. Little did I know that 7 years later that I would still be making things with this editor for this Zelda 3 hack! The positive thing about a long development time is that you actually have time to make a real masterpiece. There is no boss yelling at you to finish the game by a certain deadline. So you actually can make the “perfect” game that you really desire.

Over the years of designing for this game I worked as if I were in the process of creating one of the greatest Zelda 3 hacks of all time, that was my mindset and mission. I have put more passion and work into my designs then probably anything else I’ve ever done game wise. In fact, some of my designs I consider some of the greatest rom hacking work that I’ve ever accomplished to date. In other words, it’s my best work.

However, the progress on the Quest for Calatia hack has slowed down tremendously while Zack raises and supports his family. While I’m sure Zack still plans on finishing the game there are several problems regarding the hack. Even though I finally got Zack to register here at Zeldix, he has had little activity. He also seems to want to complete the whole game pretty much by himself, which is a daunting task.  Combined with a family this creates a situation in which game development can take a very long time. I think most people are aware that the Calatia hack has been around long long time.

I just recently talked with Zack and here are his words:

Zack wrote: Hi, Erock!  Long time!  Things are going great here, but the kids keep me way busier than I'd ever thought possible.

I haven't looked at the project in forever.  The last time I did, I was working with Sean on redesigning Epoch Tower to better support gameplay for that area (and to look a lot better, too).  It got really complicated to allocated everything in both its forms.  I need to rise past that challenge so I can get on with the rest of the game!

I was just thinking about the project the other day; it's like you read my mind.  The game won't develop itself; I've gotta get back on it!

It almost saddens me to know that the project will still take many more years to complete. I have put 7 years into this game. Who knows how many more years it will take to finish? Most people would never sign up for such a thing especially since this is fan based and not a commissioned work, but why did I continue to work on it for so many years? It was all because of a dream. I would have made a Zelda 3 hack all on my own, but it requires lots of knowledge and understanding of the game that I simply don’t have. I am not an ASM wizard nor know much about the deep underlying code so it only seemed reasonable to team up with a project, which I did with Calatia.

But projects are only as good as the people leading them. If there is no leader or no progress then the hack goes nowhere fast.

I actually remember following Parallel Universes back when Seph had a blog on some site. I wonder if he still updates that one? When I saw the fighter jet plane, star wars references and countless other crazy elements in the game I personally highly criticized it. I would say “you can’t put a jet plane in a Zelda game, that doesn’t work” and “Zelda takes place in the time where bows and arrows exist, NOT light sabers!”.  After seeing more and more of the game though, I can see that it’s definitely unique. Also since it has so many pop cultural references I can see many fans and players enjoying the experience. Since its so apart from the ordinary traditional Zelda hack it has its own special appeal.

I have been hesitant in working on the Parallel Universes hack for several reasons. The major reason was due to the negative reception with Parallel Worlds. As we all know Parallel Worlds received much negative criticism. Puzzledude, even wanted to delete the rom off the face of the internet if I remember correctly LOL.

I remember playing Parallel Worlds myself and being so excited at the beginning with such high hopes to yet only become so frustrated after a few hours by not even getting the sword at the start of the game.

So I want to make a statement about this right away. If you spend 6 years making a game then it wouldn’t hurt to spend a few months beta testing the game out with regular players an order to gain feedback on the game so that the game can be adjusted so that people will then in turn enjoy your game. It makes the 6 years in development worth very little if the result is not enjoyed when released.

But enough about the negative reception of Parallel Worlds since I’m sure we are all aware of the situation.

So I’m sure many of you have noticed that I’ve been posting pretty much all of my work regarding Zelda 3 in the Calatia threads. I decided to do this because I wanted to gain hype up for that particular hack and hopefully motivate others to get interested in the project as well. Also prior to Zeldix there was no place to post such things. While I believe that Quest for Calatia will one day still be a great hack, the future of the hack is in Zack’s hands and hopefully he will consider teaming up with the various talented people here to actually finish the game. But as of right now the hack as far as I know doesn’t even have a completed over-world and I don’t think he has worked on the dungeons that much.

Since Zack hasn’t really gotten to know the community here he has missed out on major advancements in Zelda 3 hacking such as the new MSU1 music as well as the many additions Conn and others have made. These advancements are real game changers for Zelda 3 hacks and it is unfortunate that he has not taken the steps to be a part of this.

Recently Seph PM’ed me asking me about usage of my work and designs for Parallel Universes and I have taken some time to seriously think about this.

All of my work was originally designed for the Calatia hack and that’s what I had my heart set out on. After reading all of the diary threads from Zack I really believed in the project and wanted to be a part of it, which I still am and will always be. However due to the slowed down progress and many more years of work that still needs to be done to it, it is very hard for anyone to solely stick with something that long.

So as a result of this situation I am willing to offer a possible partnership with Parallel Universes.

It would include lending all of my designs, ideas and resources to the Parallel Universes hack, but it comes with several conditions that should be met. What are these conditions you say? Don’t worry they are nothing bad, but in short it will be pushing for higher standers of quality for the Parallel Universes hack overall.

For example, none of the mistakes which took place in Parallel Worlds should happen in Parallel Universes. This would mean properly having Parallel Universe beta tested by a small general audience of players and taking their feedback seriously. This group would involve regular average video game players and not just us rom hackers. If most people can’t figure something out or get stuck at a dead end then adjustments need to be made in the game.

Although we are die hard Zelda fans here and sometimes feel like making everything a challenge we have to remember that an average general player should be able to beat the game pretty much on their own. This is so the game appeals to the widest audience possible.  If they have to look at some walk-throughs for a few times then that should be acceptable, but for the most part they should be able to beat it on their own. This means that things are straight forward and clear or at least as much as they can be.

The final game should be on the same level of quality of an officially licensed commercially produced game. This means no crazy glitches like that one in Parallel Worlds where the screen scrolls endlessly in the snow over-word if you exit that one particular screen. It means checking the game for difficulty balance and making sure playing the game feels natural and nothing is too awkward for the player.  I remember some trees in PW that looked like you could walk around/in-between them, but you actually could not. This was because the graphic tiles misrepresented the “open” space when really the tiles were sold and closed.

All too often I play hacks of games which are of poorer quality than commercially produced games and for a hack as big as Parallel Universes with so much potential this simply isn’t allowed. The game needs to be outstanding and people need to love playing it. That is the goal since either this game is going to go down in history as a legendary hack or people will bash it again with negative reception and then Puzzledude will have to make a re-model version of this hack too. (kidding) But seriously we don’t want to disappoint everyone who will be playing this as well as disappointing ourselves if it doesn’t work out well.

When designing all of my work I honestly viewed being able to make my own version of Zelda 3 as an honor! It was one of my all-time favorite games as a kid. In fact, I remember seeing the game for the first time when I was young at my friend’s house. My friend hit the pause button and I saw all of those items on the screen. I sat there wondering, what do all of those do? It seemed at the time that it was the biggest adventure game that I had ever come across and when I got home I asked my parents for THAT game and got it soon afterward!

So designing for this game was a big deal to me. It represents a game that I grew up with and that I loved. I even consider it one of the best games of all time still to this day and this motivated me to then spending 7 years of my life designing things for a hack of this game.  So quality is important to me.

If you look at the original Zelda 3 you might say that the game is too easy and I admit that it’s not too hard, but look at the replay value. I have played that game from start to finish probably around 100 times and it’s because the game is just that good! So like the original, Parallel Universes should be on par with that in the sense that people would want to re-play the game over and over again because the game is so good. Did you know that I never even finished Parallel Worlds? You want people to be able to finish your game and feel as if they accomplished something while having a good time. That’s the goal.

When I was beta testing Parallel Universes for the first time, I actually decided to film myself playing though the game blindly on purpose simply for quality assurance. I wanted to see where I got stuck and where I got lost because most likely others may have a similar experience. I would also like everyone here to also watch those videos because they give important feedback on the game.

The link thread can be found here.

https://www.zeldix.net/t560-erock-s-beta-test-videos

There were some parts where I got stuck and had a hard time with where it might be for the greater good to adjust them so that others don’t get stuck as well. Also it shows that even someone who has been watching the project for years can even forget things too. In one of my videos I totally forgot about the worn out glove and tried to use it over and over again to lift rocks to no prevail. I forgot about how it worked and I even remember when Conn was coding the darn thing. If I got confused then others might as well and so a message or something else would need to be displayed for explaining that.

There were several suggestions that I made after the beta test that I wrote down in a suggestion thread (will have to look for it) and I hope those suggestions are looked into. Like when walking out of some doorways in the resident evil dungeon you can easily get stuck behind a wall. It should be made such that it forces the player naturally to the door while walking behind it so that the player doesn’t get stuck.

Thread here: Page 2

https://www.zeldix.net/t538p20-report-bugs-in-here

There are several other things that I’ve seen too, which I would like to eventually talk about. But my basic goal is just to boost the quality of the hack for the greater good. I want the hack to be good and the final result needs to be good and this should be a main priority.

With all of the enhancements such as the MSU1 this hack has a lot of potential I just don’t want to see it go to waste.

The partnership includes being able to freely use any of my work in the game even taking things exactly as they are. In fact many of the designs depend on this for them to work properly.

I don’t want to come across as a harsh Zelda Nazi, but rather I’m just concerned about the final product. I will still allow Zack to also use any of my resources and will help out for the Calatia hack when needed, but due to the current situation with Zack it seems only reasonable to offer my assistance on the Parallel Universes. Plus it will be many more years until the Calatia hack is released and I don’t think I have the patients to last that long before my work bears any fruit, so to speak.

It took a lot of passion developing these ideas and so an equal amount of passion should go into executing them into the game where desired. I have always imagined having puzzles sprinkled all about the hack like sprinkles on a cake so that they are spread out evenly throughout the game and not all bunched up in like the last 10 rooms. You don’t want to have them awkwardly placed either so that they look out of place, but rather they should be woven into the game so that they appear naturally and feel right.

I know that Seph is interested in using my work and so this is why I made such a post. I would also like to know what everyone thinks about the possible partnership so please post your opinions.
Erockbrox
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Post by Euclid on Fri 3 Apr 2015 - 4:29

It's been 8 years. In a way I am disappointed, I wished people could look at Parallel Worlds and say "I could do better" - I wished that Quest of Calatia or Dark Prophecy could have taken that role - Because I know they can do it better than PW.

We all want the Conker's to play well, but in the end I like to say this is SePH's hack - we have no say in what the final product would play like.

The only point I don't agree with is Beta Testers:

Given how big of a hack (pun intended) Parallel Worlds is, I'm sure nobody has even noticed how relatively bug-free it is. There are only a handful of "game-breaking" bugs I know of:
- Two of the teleport portals in Impa's (sorry, my fault)
- Dark World church exit overworld area had a little of where you can walk off to the side.

Back in 2006 - I on purposely did not do beta testing from players - and tested the entire game myself - day and night, first quest and second quest. I knew it was a risk but I had reasons to keep quiet about the hack till the end.

The first reason - I had a tight deadline - I start a full time job in January 2007 (which I still work at now). IF - and IF - I made a beta release. I would be sabotaging myself in completing the game. Why? It's simple - I needed to avoid people's opinions to make it. Not that i don't like them in a bad way but they diverge you from your goal. People give opinions which turns into ideas which turns into more things to improve on the game. I needed that to stop - I already had to deal with that from SePH changing overworlds on me every few weeks (no offence seph  Very Happy  )

The second reason - I knew it would happen to someone but it was in 2009. Crimson Echos - I'm sure we all heard what happened to them, so much was announced, so much was demonstrated, so much hype, so much greatness - all thrown away.

The third reason - our friendly competition Dark Prophecy. While I don't want to accuse anyone but the possibility of them taking my HUD work was there as a risk I don't want to take (Though it wouldn't surprise me if Seph gave them a copy anyway) - Probably a bit childish but hey we were all young back then.

So in conclusion, as long as SePH doesn't have "exactly" how he wants the game to play from start to end - beta testing will only make this project go on for even longer. How about just reading some of the threads in the closed beta? Every time someone mentions something - SePH needs to consider whether it's a good idea, and if it happens to be one, spends time to implement. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if the inclusion of this new "zelda like area" along with "second quest" originated from the beta testing.

Extra: Parallel Worlds having negative reception:
Why it's rather famous these days - even have illegal carts (which I don't endorse btw) and also it's own line in wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_link_to_the_past and an entry on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fangame alongside top notch hacks such as Second Reality Project. Even got some funny fan-art and a Let's Play on it.
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Post by Puzzledude on Fri 3 Apr 2015 - 6:21

That was a record long post Erock.

It almost saddens me to know that the project will still take many more years to complete.
I personally don't believe the Calatia project will ever be a finished game to play. And if it by somesort of a miracle will be, it will surely be after at least 10 or more years. By that time we'll probably all be retired and would quit video games in general.

If not even the light overworld is done in a period of 10 years, the author should seriously consider to either quit or drastically shorten his project.

But this is logical: if you have a job and are a father like Game Makr it means 5 days a week of work, and when you get home you can bearly finish your meal, do some things and go to sleep before starting again in the morning. The weekends are reserved for some other things (visits, cleaning etc). So I totally understand Game Makr. If I was him (I probably will be in 5 or 7 years), I would quit long ago (and maybe leave the project to someone else), or shorten the project severely.

So maybe you joined the wrong project and all the people working on the game might never see their work ever being released. Game Makr approached the project very professionally, but he is his own setback. He doesn't want to take GFX from any other hacks, he wants to fill-in all overworld areas and all the indoor rooms. And he was pretty clear: he wants to do both (overworlds and dungeons) on his own. I'm not sure how other people can fit into this.

Creating puzzles such as you did is nice, but it is very difficult to fit them into a dungeon. You will see making a complete dungeon is a lot different, specially if it needs to be a part of a globa litem-gaining sequence.

In the time of 7 years you could do a game of your own, with actual dungeons, rather than room concepts.

I have been hesitant in working on the Parallel Universes hack for several reasons. The major reason was due to the negative reception with Parallel Worlds. As we all know Parallel Worlds received much negative criticism. Puzzledude, even wanted to delete the rom off the face of the internet if I remember correctly LOL.
Not really. This was for the Remodel only. Note: no matter how good the game is, someone will hate it. I just wanted to point out the negative effects of the unnecessary illogical critiques.


So as a result of this situation I am willing to offer a possible partnership with Parallel Universes.
If only you would do this sooner, since all dungeons are pretty much done now. Parallel Universes should be the correct project for you to join, rather that Calatia. That's why I joined PU, because I know that SePH "delivers" and then retires (despite the fact that his concept of bringing Zelda into the future and the "changed wall perspective" seemed radical). The beta Conker game is proof, that this can work.

(By the way Game Makr made it clear that he will release no betas of his game. Another strange move, since this means he wants to beta test himself?). He also has a special custom made overworld editor (and this apperently is also not for anyone else to have).


The final game should be on the same level of quality of an officially licensed commercially produced game.
That's not really possible. You can see some of the debugging done in Parallel Remodel, where I wanted to debug the main glitches that I knew of. Same thing for GoW (lots and lots of debugging, but some minor things remain and they were immediately brought up by the players). Nothing is perfect. You should read the Murphie's law on this.

To make a game bug free as commercial games would probably mean +1 more year of testing and debugging.

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Post by Conn on Fri 3 Apr 2015 - 8:14

Erock, if you have some extra time left, please finish the old man records (I just sent you a pm about it Wink ). We are nearly done and the current results with Kira Buckland as Zelda and TheRetromancer as Narrator are Georgious:

You can watch the Video in msu already here:
1: dl the Rom:
http://bszelda.zeldalegends.net/zips/pbszelda.zip
2: apply the msu patch:
http://bszelda.zeldalegends.net/zips/m1_msu.zip
3: dl the Video intro msu and pcm:
https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=454622a8f870030e&id=454622A8F870030E%21848&ithint=folder,rar&authkey=!ALIAknANFtzGgOs
download the "bs Zelda intro voicacting 02-april-15.rar"

Play that game in bsnes and enjoy the voice acted intro video; it's going to get fantastic ^^
Unfortunately, you have with the old man a key role and all the further Project is depending on you... But: you will not Need to wait 7 years as Scratcher can continue as soon he has your records Wink

-----------------------------------

PW is, and I can only repeat myself, a beautiful game. All the Details on the graphics were revolutionary. The bad criticism (e.g., too hard, etc. we all know well) I think this will get much better in PU.
What I find a bit disappointing is that this game was a flagship of what is possible in Zelda Hacking. It caused a Hype and many People tried themselves on "doing better". But they didn't. In 8 years after the release there's still no Zelda hack possible to compete with PW (except maybe gow which I never played so I cannot say anything here).

Conker's PU is a somewhat funny Zelda3 hack and unique in ist way. Though I initially was rather sceptic and would have preferred a more classic way I am in the meanwhile fan of this nasty Little squirrel Razz
I think this game will become the next Standard flagship on what is possible in Zelda3 hacking.
As for seeing a more classical style Zelda with all the latest improvement (fastrom, msu, items... etc) I rely on Puzz's GoT and PoC. I actually gave up on QoC to be ever released but you never know.

As for Chrimseon Echoes... Red asked me for doing asm for this game 1-2 years ago. Some People are continuing the work of the original authors but I think this Project is stalled again. But ask Red, he surely can tell more.


Last edited by Conn on Fri 3 Apr 2015 - 18:03; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Puzzledude on Fri 3 Apr 2015 - 10:54

In 8 years after the release there's still no Zelda hack possible to compete with PW (except maybe GoW which I never played so I cannot say anything here).
I still consider PW to be number-1 and GoW as a solid number-2. Mainly because PW has lots more new Gfx and all overworlds and indoor rooms used, GoW does not.

Conker's PU is a somewhat funny Zelda3 hack and unique in ist way.
In a technical sense this surely will be next number-1, but of course this is not a standard Zelda hack, since it goes into the future and is also a spoof.

I rely on Puzz's GoT and PoC.
When I made the first changes in GoT, I thought to make the best Z3 hack possible, due to rom being very clean and all overworld areas used, new and unique. I also set indoor editing very high and made new overworld gfx with flawless drawing. Of course PoC indoor editing brings it even higher. This game tends to be one of the best as well.

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Post by Erockbrox on Sat 4 Apr 2015 - 1:59

Thank You Seph!!! Smile
Erockbrox
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Post by Conn on Sun 5 Apr 2015 - 6:26

That's awesome Erock and TheRetromancer!!! Wink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diowlUh8-Pk&feature=youtu.be
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