Saturday, April 5, 2014

Zelda Starring Zelda 2: Download

UPDATE: I'm getting LOTS of reports of bugs and patching issues. There's for sure a "buffer overrun" error because of my dialogue changes. Oops. Please keep reporting your difficulties to me. I'll be doing the first update soon.

The moment you've all been waiting for.

Image of Zelda with the Master Sword by Eran Fowler. I really need to turn this into a proper promotional image. That pile of skulls is just the right amount of space for "SAVE HYRULE" in really gritty lettering.

Now, you probably all know the drill by now, but let me refresh you. I can't release the complete game for download. Why? Because we're in legal gray area. To stay on the safe side, I release a "patch", that you apply that "patch", to your own "Zelda - a Link to the Past" ROM.

You can patch your ROM with Lunar IPS in Windows. Some emulators will auto-patch your ROM for you, so check your emulator's read-me if you're not using Windows. 

Some tips: Make sure your "Zelda - a Link to the Past" ROM is for the SNES (not Game Boy Advance) and use one with a .smc file type.

If you're not satisfied with my version and you want to edit your own version of "Zelda - a Link to the Past", you should use the following software, because they are amazing. If there was such a thing as "industry standard" in Zelda ROM editing, it would be these pieces of software.

  • Z-Compress -- Zelda - a Link to the Past uses "compressed" graphics. You won't be able to edit the sprite tiles unless you decompress them, and you can't play-test the game without compressing the graphics again. Z Compress will do that, but it's a bit scary to use because it must be run through command prompt box, but don't worry, you won't screw anything up.
Fun Fact: Super Mario World also uses compressed graphics and you can use this same program to decompress them, though I have a feeling you might need to change the memory location number.

  • YY-CHR -- Incredibly powerful sprite editor. It can read and edit just about any ROM with pixel art. It can't edit the palettes but it can load the palettes from save-state files, so you know exactly which colors you're working with. You can also copy-paste tiles, even tiles from different YY-CHR windows. I know, right?

  • Hyrule Magic -- The description is "a Zelda 3 editor" but it should probably be called "the most comprehensive Zelda 3 editor ever built by humans". Seriously, you can do almost anything with this program. Its designed as a level editor, mostly to move around existing sprites, so I would still edit sprites in YY-CHR, but this is where I changed palettes and changed the script. Without using any code. Apparently, it can absolutely destroy your ROM though, so be careful and save often.

As part of my quest to locate Zelda's original sprite palette, I used Orochimaru's Perfect Guide to Hyrule Magic. It didn't quite have the information I needed, but I could see how it would be useful to someone who was a die-hard dungeon editor. Zelda's original palette, by the by, is the first 8 colors of World Colors 2, Pal 0 in HMagic. It's a "shared" palette, so be aware that you're also changing the colors for other sprites. Hat tip to for that one.

And of course, no modding project is complete without at least one (or forty) trips to I go there all the time, but I still have no idea how to upload my files there. Their uploader doesn't like google drive. But they're always the best resource for rom editing projects. Even if you're not into editing, it's worth a trip over there to see what projects other people have done. People do the craziest stuff in their free time. ...Not me, of course. This is all perfectly normal.

Oh, and if you were wondering, I use the iBuffalo usb gamepad. Totally worth the money.

Big thank you to all of the people that created the resources above, and to all of the fans of the first project. I couldn't have edited all of those sprites without all of you.

If you spot any overlooked pronouns or mislaid sprites in Zelda Starring Zelda 2, leave me a comment. I expect I'll have to do an update here and there. Now, go storm the castle!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Zelda Starring Zelda 2: Dev Blog 3


If y'all checked my blog recently, you probably saw that I've extended my deadline for myself till this weekend. I really need to get it done this weekend because there's a group of Indie Game Developers I'm trying to impress and they have their monthly meeting this weekend. But never fear. I'm still chugging along. You will get your Zelda.

Here's where I'm at with the sprites. I've got 30 left. I have no earthly idea where they go. There is a very real possibility that some are unused in the game, the others are probably one-offs that only used in one or two scenes. I've got enough of a "feel" for Zelda that I'm going to just paint over them without checking the animation, but it makes me feel like I'm flying blind.

Ah well. Here's the complete sprite list for Zelda as it is right now, without the Link/Lords sprites that I've cooked up.

Hardcore fans will notice that the bunny is now a naked bunny instead of a bunny in a tunic.
This is because Zelda wears a cape and the bunny tail looks weird in the cape.

Yes, "Lords". I promised you some final story decisions. I'm really not changing much. I want to preserve the original feel of the game, so most things are not changing. Zelda is still a princess, Gannon must be defeated, and Hyrule is still kinda worthless at defending itself, despite the wide-spread availability of weapons, magic, and bombs.
The decedents of the Seven Sages are still being captured. You still gotta go fetch them. The biggest change is that all of the decedents are now "Lords" instead of "Maidens". I'd love to make them a mix of Lords and Maidens, but the problem is that Nintendo only made one "Maiden" sprite for the SNES version of Link to the Past. Each "Maiden" is just the same sprite in different colors. I can't change this with the tools I have.

This sprite, actually. In the crystal. "Walking" Zelda originally has her own sprite set,
but her "lying down" sprite is shared with the other Maidens. If you look closely,
the Maiden's right arm is on her dress and the left arm is hidden. This is because
this sprite is also the Maiden's "walking" sprite. So the lords/maidens must look uniform.
Nintendo's sprite decisions continue to boggle me. O_o

But it makes sense. The Seven Sages are all dudes (again, only one sprite) so it makes sense to have the Sage's power follow the male line. It's one of those Fantasy Genere trope things and I feel comfortable conforming to it. 

The other thing that's sorta changing is that Zelda is Link's sister. This isn't a change, really. It's sorta hinted at in the beginning. The text in the screen shot is unedited.

Zelda is my what? WHAT, Uncle? SPEAK TO ME!!! NOOOOOO!!

And then he dies. Like you do.

Zelda-is-Link's-Sister is a fan theory that makes the rounds sometimes. It all stems from Link's Uncle's unfinished death bed confession (seen above). The two most likely options are "destiny" or "sister" and I've always sided on "sister". Remember, the guy that's talking is Link's uncle. Not his dad. Link's parentage is unclear.

Also the original pre-game cut scene says "the time of destiny for Princess Zelda is drawing near", so we can probably eliminate "destiny" from this really, really, really important death bed confession. Sister makes more sense.

The conversation above will be the only time I'll put "brother" into the script. This is the only time that the game hints at a deeper relationship between Link and Zelda (aside from their telepathic connection) so I won't make a big deal about it.

"Save your brother... Link is the ... ..."

And that'll be it. This is just to quickly explain why Zelda is still Princess Zelda, and not Farm-Hand-Gone-Wild Zelda.

So to sum up: Lord Link is your brother. That's all. The other changes will just be cosmetic pronoun changes. I'll rely on you guys to alert me to any pronouns that I miss and I will probably have to release at least one update.

I also realize that not everyone will be 100% on-board with my storyline decisions, so I'll also provide links to the various editing tools to use to change the story in a way that suits you best.

Next post will be the release.