Randomising the Legend of Zelda for NES

I’m old. I love playing games from when I was a wee lad. I especially love playing a certain familiar game and having most of the items, all the dungeon rooms, enemies, and junk moved around in random places. It really screws with your brain.

Wizzrobes in the first dungeon… fun stuff. But hey, I found a red ring somewhere. 😉

I’ve made a random game of Zelda for the NES based on the randomised tournament runs and it’s been really fun. You can download the .nes file here to play on an emulator (I use OpenEmu).

That custom rom is actually pretty fun. I ended up finding the red ring early from somewhere and since there are red and blue Wizzrobes everywhere, it helps a bit.

To get the Zelda Randomizer application for Windows so you can make your own Zelda-related nightmare, you can visit the site. (Keep in mind that you will need a Zelda rom which I do not provide here.)

Why the Games I’ve Developed Never Have a Chance

Ah, the title is advice I should be giving myself on a daily basis. I’m definitely one of those people who start projects only later to tell myself that it’s shit and I shouldn’t bother with it. It’s exactly why I say that I’m starting stuff here, and then post a little bit about it and then you never hear anything about it later. It drives me crazy because this literally affects just about everything I do.

I would never want to be responsible for something that even remotely resembles this abortion of a game.

In case you didn’t know, I am an university-educated and qualified game programmer. I’m just really terrible at the artwork. In my opinion, I’m not such a good pen and pencil artist. I can model things in 3D, but I feel like to do that, someone would have to be standing behind me with a razor blade on a toothbrush. I always have a half-assed general idea of how I want a character to look. What I focus more on is the story behind the character. What’s his or her motivation? What do they like or hate doing? How clear is their thinking? Are they in it for themselves, no one, or someone else? What is their relationship with others? Are they inclined to pick and eat mysterious forest fruit while they look for cemeteries?

I’ve been pretty proud of myself when it comes to my character designs and game development designs in general. I’m just really bad with the graphics and well, that’s enough to kill my motivation to keep working on it. The ideas are always there, but when it comes to the detailed character design, I’m hopeless. It keeps me from moving forward with the game in general.

In my spare time, I’ve been coding games where the character, in my opinion, is soulless. They don’t have a back story. He doesn’t have any motivation. The main character runs around and shoots things. He jumps over holes in the ground. He’s like a male version of Samus Aran with no motivation except to kill meat-hungry plants and animals. It’s not something I’m proud of because I feel like you must have that connection to the guy/girl/thing you’re controlling. Without it, I feel like games are useless. If there’s not a moment where you feel sorry for or you’re proud of your character, then it’s a total waste. If I made something and made it publicly available and the character or characters were shit, I’d be incredibly ashamed.

I feel like these are some of the things I need to work on but since game development (or IT work) is no longer something I do full-time, I just fit it into the very little free time I have. I don’t even know if anything will come out of it and right now, I don’t feel like this thing will ever see the light of day outside my office space.

I’ve thought about getting a group of people together to work on a fully developed story of mine, but I need a lot more money to make it happen and I’m not a huge fan of e-begging for money. I don’t want to waste my time, but I do believe in my ideas. I just need more people onboard, which I know how to initiate, but I just need to believe in myself a little more.


Video Game Thoughts: Diablo 3

Don’t laugh at me. When I’ve had spare time this week, I’ve been playing Diablo 3 (Ultimate Evil Edition). I started playing the first one when I was a teenager and it was really fun. Then, years later, I played the second one and I’ll admit that there are times that I was addicted to it so bad, I’d play it for about 16 hours a day. So how does this third one stack up?

Instead of playing it on a computer, I bought the XBox One version so the gameplay mechanics have changed a bit. Instead of clicking my mouse 14.4 million times, I get to press the buttons on my controller 14.4 million times (not really, some of the buttons you can just hold down and your player will keep doing the same thing over and over again, which is nice. Unfortunately, this means I can just hold the A button and have a conversation with someone at the same time.)

I’ve made 3 different characters: a crusader (who I’m in Act 2 with), a necromancer (who I’m almost finished Act 1 with), and a witch doctor (who I haven’t started playing with, but played this character in the demo). Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel that different from one character to another. I can skip all the dialogue after I’ve played with one character because nothing really ever changes. From what I’ve noticed, a lot of maps don’t even randomly generate like they used to in first two. I basically know where I’m going and exactly what to do. In other words, if I’ve played one character, I feel like I’ve played with them all. I haven’t played as all the characters, so it’s possible that I might get some different kind of experience with them all.

The game play is simple. I haven’t died at all with any character. I’ve had to heal up about twice with the crusader. With the necromancer, I feel like it’s way overpowered. I haven’t had to heal up at all, and the skeletal mage summons kill everything really, really fast. So basically, I play this character facing the monsters and by holding the A button.

I don’t notice any of the music which is not good because I expect the music to set the mood. It doesn’t. I hear about 5 seconds of the Tristram theme every so often, and that’s it. Unremarkable, honestly. The sound is about as good as you expect. Sometimes you can hear a treasure goblin nearby.

As far as the graphics go, they’re pretty neat I think. The environments are really nice, and you can use them to kill your enemies (for example, falling logs, falling walls, etc). It does bother me how all the corpses look the same when you play as a necromancer though. The little monsters leave the same corpse as a gigantic monster. The corpse looks like a human torso, so it’s kind of weird to see a spider leaving behind a human corpse that was twice its size. The corpse explosion spell is pretty awesome though. I’ve never had any problem with the lighting in some places which is good.

My verdict is that it’s a fun game. It’s not addictive and I don’t think the replay ability is on par with its predecessors. I don’t really expect to play it again for a long time after I finish it once. Right now, I feel like if you’ve played as one character, you’ve played them all. I’m not sure if that’s entirely true because I’ve only played around 25% of the whole game (but that didn’t take me very long either). I think that playing it on a console works well. I think I’d much rather play it with a controller than a mouse.

Even after writing this, it’s not enough to get me to want to get up and play which is sad. I will eventually, but I don’t know how long it will take me to want to do something else. I guess the lack of addition is a good thing, or maybe my brain has changed so much from back then to now. Maybe I’m just adulting way too much now. That’s kind of sad.

Edit: Well, I finished the game plus its expansion with the necromancer in just a few hours of gameplay. I got to the end and said to myself “Oh my God, that was easy!”. It was really easy. Looking back, I can’t really remember any character I actually liked except the scoundrel follower and the guy you go and see when you need gems combined. I also liked the angel Auriel too for some reason. I will have to say that I really liked the last act more than the rest. It was quite fun. Now, I just have to finish the game with another character or try the harder level. (There are 5 different difficulty levels. Normal is the easiest.)

Now, I want to see another expansion!!! 🙂

This isn’t a full review. 😉