...I didn't find all the Iowa pieces yet. I think I have 7 left to go (under the assumption of 16 life being the final total.)
Bingo! And once you've found them all, you can seek out...
...absolutely nothing of interest.
I am enjoying the hack a lot, and very impressed with a lot of the little tricks you did that I've seen thus far. I liked that you took creative remix of the mechanics farther than Zelda Challenge Outlands did.
Thank you for noticing! Yeah, I had a whole list of mechanics-related questions to evaluate back in 2009. Stuff like "Can I push a block into lava?, "Can I push a block while laddering over
lava?", "What if the block is perpendicular to my line of motion?", etc.
So you say this was supposed to be released in 2009? What caused the delay?
I began studying 6502 ASM in December 2008, about halfway through the original LOI production timeline. I figured I could learn just enough to make small tweaks in areas where my ideas were 95% feasible within the original confines, "earn" that extra 5% so to speak. To wit, the very first code snippets I studied were those pertaining to the Overworld Raft: I figured out how to (a) change the screens it's active on, (b) change the X/Y "tripwires" that activate it, and (c) prevent the game from automatically triggering an upward scroll when Link/Bob sails northward.
My first attempt/success at introducing new ASM code came in the first weekend of February 2009, when I added a "selective repeat" functionality to the Pulse-1 and Pulse-2 music channels. Since the soundtrack was going to be dance/rave/techno, and such songs are by nature highly-repetitive, it would be both time- and space-saving to have a special way of putting "Play this next bit X times in a row!" flags in the music data. The original game only had such an option for the Triangle channel, and I studied it fervently in order to design functional adaptations for the others.
I anticipated eventual success, but what I didn't anticipate was the sudden sensation of raw power. I had/have no other programming experience; I can sort of make Excel spreadsheets work if I swear at them long enough. And here I'd bumbled my way through enough 6502 ASM to (1) alter a major game routine and (2) introduce new routines based upon an existing one. This begged the challenge: could I create a functional routine of my very own design? The rest of 2009 was basically me doing just that. Beyond the 00's, most of the delays were due to endless IRL drama. I did take an official break from LOI to help out with Donner Party
when one of the principals went M.I.A. (It was one of those occasions where the stars had all aligned properly to allow for such a thing to be feasible, and I didn't want the other hackers' efforts to be for naught. Plus, I'd just quit my job and had a cool idea for the Level in question; in a situation like that, one doesn't second-guess the heavens.)
I'm the type of person that, when I see a hack this extensive, I want to know as much as possible about it. Would you consider writing a "director's notes" section of the readme? Things like the why, the how, etc. Is it possible you were inspired by the "God Hates You!" hack of Spiritual Warfare by Jomb, for the Genesis?
That "Director's Commentary" is an interesting idea, and I'm quite inclined to do it. As for the why/how, the general concept has its roots in 2005 when Meth Panic™ was the Dragon du Jour among Midwestern white people. Iowa was one of the first states to enact those ridiculous Sudafed™ registries, and it was a clear case of people letting their panic get the best of them (and politicians wasting absolutely no time in legislating a retarded Knight to slay the nonexistent Dragon). In war-gaming just all the different ways it could go wrong, I came up with the general plotline of LOI. "G-d Hates You!" didn't come out for another year or two (although I was in contact with Jomb at that point and got to be a beta-tester).
On a more technical note, do you happen to have the notes on how and why you expanded the ROM, and how much data / program code you added? I would assume the rom expansion to be to allow for more data space for screen flags, dungeon rooms, etc. and of course for more routines.
I've got literal piles of notes, manila folders full of more notes, and piles of boxes and crates containing archaic notes from 7+ years ago! The ROM expansion was incidental; initially I just wanted to switch from CHR-RAM to CHR-ROM, as I hated all the shifting required to properly view the tiles in Tile Layer Pro. SNROM only allows for 8kB of CHR-ROM, which simply isn't enough for a game like Zelda
. I went with SKROM because it had the most CHR-ROM support available, plus battery-backed SRAM. And since SKROM also supports 256kB of PRG-ROM, I said, "Sure, why not?"
Surprisingly, most of the stuff I did with all the extra routines, screen flags and dungeon rooms is within the confines of the original eight banks! The supplemental eight are mostly used for Overworld stuff: row-specific macro and block definitions, screen-specific attribute layouts, screen-specific BG/Sprite palettes, etc. The screen-specific Dungeon attribute layouts are all stored in the new Bank 7, with the general handling routine in Bank 5. I'll document the layer-flags in a subsequent post.
With regards to that sanity check, I think the details of that would greatly interest TCRF.net, as that would be a great addition to the article on there regarding Zelda 1.
And to think, the only reason I stumbled upon THAT twisted mess is because I opted to retask the Death Counter with keeping track of Iowa Pieces!
Did you see / play The Legend of Link by infidelity? What did you think?
The morning after I played it, I woke up thinking, "Phew, it was just a dream!" And then I remembered that it wasn't!
Psychoanalyst-bait aside, I have a lot of respect for that hack. Naturally, I had fears of being upstaged at the last minute by another full-fledged hack of Zelda 1
, but having played it I can't really say that there's much room for professional jealousy. The two hacks (LoL & LoI) aren't even attempting to do the same things, so there's not a lot of ground for them to compete upon. Infidelity gets points for introducing a lot of later franchise elements into the NES format. I get points for saying "What franchise?" I do think either hack is worthy of claiming the "Best Z1 Hack Evar!!!" mantle from Outlands
(which after fifteen years is still one of the best hacks out there).
I offered to share my method of converting the Fairy into an achiral 16x16 sprite, which is something I know Infidelity wanted to do. Alas, he seems to have quit the scene which I think is unfortunate.