Small update, here. I'm still struggling with an Overworld overhaul I'm working on, and I may be biting off more than I can chew. I'm on my third rewrite right now, and I can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. If it reveals too daunting, I'll have to abandon that part and go on with something else. My ideal goal for the Overworld is three parts:
- On-the-fly tile modification to make the Overworld less blocky and monotone.
- New tiles (as many as 40 more) by exploiting the fact that some tiles are always used alone (Grotto, Town, Palace, etc.) and never use the RLE repetition.
- Overworld map, called by the player if he has the corresponding item(s).
It's possible that these three things may conflict with each other, either by making the code really complex or unreliable, or because of a lack of graphics space. If I can pull it off, the Overworld will be beautiful and varied and will hopefully blow your mind. For the second point, I have already made a relatively silent demo some time ago, and I managed to lay down a 17th tile. It's feasible.
Spooniest, your idea of having invisible Demons on the Overworld is interesting, and worth a try. A few variations on this comes to mind. Having Demons visible, but with very small sprites, like a few dots, so that they are harder to distinguish. Also, it could be that Demons become invisible later in the game, or only in specific regions. Or, it could be set according to the difficulty level, which is a feature I intend to include in the hack. Removing the drawing part of the Demons in the code is quite trivial.
IcePenguin, to answer your various comments on Game Overs and such, the mechanics will be quite different in various ways. I want to make save/load points, so it's possible that restarting at a palace become irrelevant. But, it's not definitive, either. I'm almost sure I will ditch the lives system, and put in place a bunch of other features that will make up for it. As for the Pause Panel, I think spells are a bit weird and cramped like that, but it's the only way to make place for other things. The drawing of the pane may reveal difficult. With this layout, there's potential for 6 item spots, including their own digit spot. Heart and Magic Containers are already there, with their respective 1/4 parts counter. There will be a spot for a Sword, maybe a Fairy. The little counters for enemies to kill are cool, and may occupy a spot. However, I thought about another variation on that, so, we'll see. Experience penalty on death seems like an interesting idea.
8.bit.fan, about difficulty, I plan to make different difficulty levels integrated in the game itself. Ideally, there would be four, with the first two available right at the beginning, as a choice to the player. The two others would be unlocked, most likely by beating the game. The first difficulty level will be a bit easier than the original, and the second level will be a bit harder. I have also another thing in my plans about difficulty, but I'll keep it a secret for now.
Revility, thanks for the offer, any help is welcome, especially for graphics. I will probably aim for a mix of old enemies, with very few modifications, except for palettes, and new ones, either a more dangerous "upgrade" of the same enemy seen further in the game, or totally new sprites and behavior. As for secondary weapons, I did not decide anything on that, but I will probably be conservative on that point, because of the amount of coding necessary. I'm not putting the idea aside completely, either. As for the Shield/Reflect combo, it could be an upgrade for either spell, however I intend to use the Reflect mechanism in a few ways, so it still to be determined. Also, there may not be a Death Mountain in this hack, although it could be an equivalent.
Thanks for your ideas and comment, guys, and again, I'm sorry I can't show much in the visual department. Stay tuned for more news and concepts.