I agree too that having the in-game character more closely resemble the official art is better. But I think a compromise has to be made, because changing the shirt style may introduce some readability problems. It's pretty funcional as it is because having a separate color for the hand, arm and torso is a clear way to define shapes and separate these important sections of the character without having to resort to the use of outlines. This is something of which importance becomes most apparent during animations. Having clear "points of interest" in the image helps the brain to more rapidly identify what has moved where between frames. This is one point where the original game has flaws in. The canteen in Harry's belt sometimes gets in the way of keeping the hand animation clear to the eye because it looks like his hand in some frames.
That being said, I will explore more and see if the advantages in improving his concept overshadow the animation problems.
By the way, I have decided to release only two patches: the bugfixes and the complete hack. It really is better like this.
I will not address the following issues because they are out of my skillset, but it would be great if someone could
- buggy d-pad controls: when harry is ducking, if you spin the d-pad around he will not get up even if you are no longer pressing "down". He will only get up if no directions are pressed for at least one frame. To solve this, he should only ever be ducking if only "down" is being pressed. If any other direction is being pressed, that other direction should have priority. The same goes for when you're walking and "right + up" is pressed ("left + up" does not cause a problem for some reason). He will stop walking but this should not be the case as "right" and "left" should always have priority over "up" and "down".
- buggy sprite system. I think that the game reuses too many RAM addresses for everything and that generates artifacts. It would be good if someone could clean this up.
- unnecessarily processor intensive sound routines. I believe the game adds extra useless delays just to wait for the sound to come out. I have changed this amount of loops for testing and as I lower it, more channels are muted or get their sounds cropped. Maybe this artificial waiting can be skipped without affecting the sounds. The game runs A LOT smoother when I set the loop to $01 instead of its original $2F.
- repetitive main theme song.
Good news though, I've managed to understand a bit more of the crystal balls routine and have finally made the last piece of missing hidden items always visible! Now I can have all items remain visible in the entire game, which I intend to do for the full hack. I have also tested patching my hack with the mmc3 hack and it does not seem to have caused any side effects.
Also, current and new look: