Glad the work continues without me. To answer again in some sort of semblance of order:
I have no idea how the 'Chaos in another dimension' thing is going to affect the overall story, and you might not want to tell in order to keep an air of mystery until its release, but I was thinking about the original story and have come to the conclusion that thinking about time loops is not good for one's sanity.
I spend a lot of time alone at work, and my mind wandered toward trying to make some logical sense of the story (just going on what's said in the game itself.)
Near as I can tell, after the initial conflict a nearly dead Garland was found by the Fiends and sent back 2000 years. But to go from puny Garland to badass Chaos, he must have been given additional powers by the Fiends from the elemental orbs they drained. However the Fiends would have no reason to do this unless it benefitted them, so perhaps Chaos' job was to spend his time in the past working on weakening the 4 elements so when the Fiends arrived in the future, they would have an easier time draining the power from the orbs. Perhaps the Fiends were even responsible for pulling some strings and causing Garland's fall from grace, thus ensuring his own involvement.
But Garland/Chaos was not content with his role, and his power had grown beyond what the Fiends had intended... but if he betrayed the Fiends he would never have received his powers in the first place.
When the Light Warriors restored the orbs and slayed the Fiends in the past, Chaos was presented with an opportunity. The orbs from the future had shown up at his doorstep and if he could kill the Light Warriors and take the full power of all 4 orbs, and then add that to the power he could take from the orbs in the past, the combined effect of all that craziness would either allow him to break free and exist outside of time as a god, or maybe just screw up the fabric of time beyond repair and destroy all of existence...
Did any of that make sense?
I actually figured it out. I'm not going to discuss any more of the story or ending because I found a way to tie EVERYTHING together that doesn't involve time loops, but will make sense that everything goes back to the way it was prior to the adventure now. I actually almost started weeping when I figured it out (got goosebumps now). Like I said, it ties in EVERYTHING, and NOT just this game either. I am going to have to lose the 5 Leifen warriors probably, but IMO they are kind of throw-away (a lot like the sages at Crescent Lake, although their dialogue changes) Instead, there will be NPC's throughout the game that use their dialogue to basically tell the "true" story in-game.
As for my new music composers, welcome to the journey. And to clarify, I realized from the jump that I wouldn't be able to put the songs that I wanted within the original concept, but I was going to basically cut down to a loop-able part that was recognizable. Now that we've got the new sound engine to work with, I'm sure that we'll have no problems doing everything that I had hoped that we could. I have the Famitracker files for a number of the songs that I wanted to include, and although Disch has told me that this won't be compatible with what he's doing, I would think this would still give you basically "sheet music" to work from. I'll have to speak directly to NARFNra and Chpexo independently about what songs I definitely want to include and what they can flex their creative juices on.
As for my own work (now that my head has stopped throbbing from being sick and learning ASM, jk. So far not as bad as I expected)
I had an idea before for the Mirage Tower that I didn't end up using. Well, I decided to turn the Castle of Ordeals into another "Temple" structure" like the TOF Present. I did kind of what I had discussed earlier in the thread and turned it into a "dark side cave" type of thing like from Empire Strikes back. Namely, the guardian is going to tell the player that they will discover things upon this journey, and some truth will be learned by it as well. I did this for two reasons, 1: I wanted it to be different than just go through this teleport to that teleport, 2: I freed up some teleports for use other places, and 3: I got to be really creative and allow the player to re-visit some of the early maps (although in a VERY limited fashion, and for a specific purpose).
The major thing that this allowed me to do is.... ALMOST ALL OF THE LOCKED DOORS GO SOMEWHERE. Meaning, there are actual rooms that you go to rather than just going through the door and entering a treasure room that you can see normally from the main map. I gave Elfheim a simple opening door because the Elves discuss how Astos attacked and raided their treasury, so why would there be anything left in their treasury? I've still got I think 4 or 5 more available teleport spots now, so I might make the Queen and Prince's rooms into rooms and that gives me either 2 or 3 teleports that can be used to add additional levels to my extra dungeons so they're not just 1 room areas. I also actually cleared out the Castle of Ordeals 3rd floor too, although I don't know if I'll put anything back there (although I believe that I have 1 more entry point left on the over-world map, and I might turn it into another town that sells the "hard to find" equipment, haven't decided yet.
3 negatives that I just can't figure out how to fix:
1: the save sound for tents/cottages/etc. is pointed to the wrong place I think. If I pull out of the menu too quickly, the sound gets killed when the save music finishes. I think I read somewhere that there were 2 locations for that sound, and somehow I think it got pointed at the wrong one.
2: I've F'd up the dialogue I believe by changing a few things. Even though I went back and restored all the dialogue to the way that the hack already had it, I have still lost X-Zone and Death as available level 8 black magic spells. I can't figure out what I did to get rid of them, so either I'll have to find a way to fix those, or figure out a work-around.
3: The Original Titan's tunnel E exit that I messed up early on is just a dead teleport at this point. I wanted to use it for the Northwest Castle teleport, but it won't point right. I thought I'd figured it out, but that exit is just jacked up for some reason and wants to drop me off in Coneria town now, although the warp point to leave Coneria just pushed you back to wherever you came from. So, there is still 1 locked door treasury in the NW Castle.
I'm glad to see that I've got a good crew to work with, and anything that you do, please just message me in case I don't see the response in-thread. Thank you everyone for your help and I'm sure that this will be something wonderful when its done. Have a great evening.