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Liquid Metal Slime
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Heart of the OHR Contest 2018 
 PostMon Apr 30, 2018 11:04 pm
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Heart of the OHR Contest

2018 Edition

Here we go again...

...for the fifth time!

For those familiar with Heart of the OHR, feel free to skip down to the rules for a reminder of what was, and a taste of what will be. For those who are uninitiated, please read the following history lesson. Or don't. Your choice.

A Brief History as Written in 2010:

HotOHR 2010 Thread wrote:
It seems that as times change, interests start moving in new directions, and the things that first captured our hearts and attention about indie-RPG design had since faded into obscurity.

Toward the end of the '90s and the early part of this decade [2000s], RPGs were king, and were, incidentally, the only thing the OHR was capable of making. And then, as the decade continued, RPGs became less common, less desired, and soon the rate of releases made on the engine went from a sprint to a crawl.

Then, in about 2006 or 2007, the limits of the OHR began to change, and new life formed. Side-scrollers were now not only possible, but easier to make. Puzzle games, menu-based games, and even street fighting games were beginning to surface in droves throughout the course of three years. And during this time, the course of the OHR RPG began to fall. RPGs were released on occasion, but the presence of one became rare, and almost surprising. And even then, the likelihood of it being a joke game was high. No, the integrity of the epic vacation gave way to a cheap day-trip, and by 2009, the nature of the RPG had become nearly absent.

[In June 2010], Surlaw and I were discussing the disappointment of creating huge games, which translates to many, many hours of development time (read: three years or more for some games), that people refuse to play because it requires them to fight random battles (that aren't titillating 100% of the time), or read text (of any length), or spend more than a few hours of game time in order to finish it. Authors who put the level of time and attention that goes into a quality game, just to have it go unplayed because of an unwillingness to read (for example), are highly disheartened, and certain OHR gems have gone unfinished because the author experiences What's-the-Point? Syndrome.

This, of course, has contributed to the huge decline of RPGs--and especially in the quality RPGs--in our opinion, and that should be shocking when one considers we're a community focused on an RPG making engine.

Even James Paige once expressed a slight disappointment in the gradual reduction of games that actually use the default features to, you know, make an RPG.

That is what the OHRRPGCE was made for.

Now, this isn't to knock the surge in alternative gaming styles. I loved Slimes. The games released for the 2009 8-Bit Contest were brilliant. But look at how many good RPGs came out in 2009. Okedoke, and, um....

It's hard to say whether the modern RPG is dying or just in a slump, but we'd like to see this giant of yesteryear make at least one more stand in the community. So, I am proposing the "Heart of the OHR Contest," which is a contest, quite simply, about making the best RPGs we can make with the engine that brought us here in the first place.


-Must be an RPG. This is a zero rule. What categorizes as an RPG can be left open for debate, but at the end of the day it must be an RPG. In 2010, we saw one game stretch the limit of what we considered acceptable (Do You Want to Be a Hero?), and I would argue Silhouette from 2012 pushed the boundaries, as well. In 2014, we basically bent the rule as far as possible with T4R4D1DDL3. In 2016, our winner, Surfasaurus was hotly contested for its interpretation as an RPG. In the end, I ruled in its favor. What you consider an RPG may differ from what someone else considers an RPG, so if you're not sure, then defend your case for it! You might beat the naysayers. For a complete list of the games that made the cut in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016, consult the following link:

-NonRPGs not permitted (See Above).

-Joke games not permitted (though funny ones are okay).

-Special scripting is okay (as long as it doesn't turn the RPG into a nonRPG).

-Games must have at least 30 minutes of playtime with a good chunk of that devoted to story (in other words, 30 minutes without level grinding).

-Updates to previous RPGs permitted and even encouraged.

-Updates to previous RPGs need at least 30 minutes of new content to be eligible. Changing a textbox to an old two-hour game and re-releasing it doesn't make it eligible. Same goes for graphics overhauls. New playable content, people!

-If you are posting a rereleased game for the contest, you must provide either a readme (or some document) discussing where the new content starts (if it's a continuation) or what the new content is (if it's integrated into earlier previously released sections), or you must supply a save file that begins the game just before the new content kicks in. If you fail to do this, your game will not be entered into the contest.

Note: I prefer the former since it's clearer what's new and discourages players from beginning your game halfway into the story.

Important Note: Historically, players are really bad about investigating new content and often replay the old stuff and vote on that without ever seeing the new content. This really skews the results at the end of the contest. This is especially true of long games. If you are submitting a rerelease and you care about doing well, please, please, please be abundantly clear about what's new and give your players every possible incentive to play to the new stuff. This means improving the first 30 minutes of the game if necessary. This means making the whole game as fun and amazing as possible. Don't turn your players off early or they may never get to the new content. Remember, just because you provide a save point or obvious information about where the new stuff begins and ends doesn't mean your players will use it. If they end up just voting on the same stuff they played five years ago, your points may not count. Think about the whole game.

-Fan games and parodies discouraged, but not forbidden. Original stories preferred.

-As the only exception to the must-be-an-RPG rule, you may alternatively release a game that's "in the spirit of 1999" and still be eligible for entry. This means that you may emulate the kind of game that was made for the OHR between 1998 and 2000. This rule was made possible by T4R4D1DDL3, so consult that game to see this rule in action.

New Rule for 2018: I'm accepting almost any RPG type you can think of this year. This includes rogue-likes, walking simulators (with stat progression and level-ups), Zelda II clones, 3D mazes, etc. If the OHR can make it, and it still has classic level and stat progression, and there's still a story attached, it should qualify. Use your slice collections and stat displays! Use your fancy animations! Use your procedurally generated maps with seeds! Just make it great! And make the most of it because I'm taking the Heart of the OHR back to the beginning in 2020 where most of these fancy exceptions will go away.

New Rule for 2018: With platforms like Steam making it possible for indie game designers to put their games up for sale, we are beginning to see an uptick in OHR users designing their games for commercial use, including those that involve licensed characters like Kaiju Big Battel and Axe Cop. Any game released for commercial purposes can still participate in the Heart of the OHR, but either a key, or a demo, or some alternative agreement should be provided to players if it's to enter the voting stage. Keep it accessible!

RPG Release Categories:

In 2010, every entry was lumped into the same category and judged under the same conditions regardless of originality versus the rereleased. In 2012, they were divided into three categories: Original, Rereleased, and OHR Legends. In 2014, they were separate categories, but shared the same vote. We continued this trend in 2016. We will be continuing this trend in 2018.

Original and Rereleased Games:

Original games are the games that have never been publicly released prior to May 1, 2018. These are the easiest to judge since the ground is fresh. We had eight original entries in 2010, including the Game of the Year winner, Motrya, 13 in 2012, nine in 2014, and 11 in 2016.

Note: These games just need to come with a Coke and a smile.

Rereleased games have been unleashed on the community before May 1, 2018, and are making a second-life appearance in the Heart of the OHR Contest. Any original game that was released for the 2010, 2012, 2014, or 2016 contests will automatically default to this category if reentered for 2018. In 2010, we had four rereleased games. In 2012, we had three. In 2014, we had one. All games were original in 2016.

Note: These games must include documents or save files that inform the player where the new content can be found. See the rules above for more information.

OHR Legends:

This special category is reserved for the games that have been submitted as rereleases in previous Heart of the OHR contests and resubmitted this year as "legendary" contestants. There are nine games eligible for Level 1 Legend status and two (Vikings of Midgard and Okedoke) eligible for Level 2 Legend status. In addition to a potential win, these games also get a "level badge."

Release Dates:

Unlike traditional contests, "Heart of the OHR" will not require a start time or an end time per se. Rather, this will adopt the "release window" technique made popular with Game-a-thon, in that any RPG released within the window is eligible (provided it meets the above standards).

Window begins May 1st and ends December 15th, with a one-day grace period for special cases and accounts for time zone differences.

Traditionally, I end the contest in November and allow a two-week grace period for bug-fixing (Note: this grace period is not reserved for adding new content, unless that new content is required to fix a bug or to tie a loose thread). This year, I'm including the bugfix period as part of the deadline, so try to have your games done by November 30th and bugfixed by December 15th. Entries must be ready for voting by 6am EST, December 17th.


Voting will run from December 17, 2018 - January 27, 2019. That gives you a whole six weeks to play these games! Make it count.

Note that I will not close voting until I have a minimum of 10 votes, so if the deadline comes and goes and I have fewer than ten, voting will remain open until the minimum is met. I want all contestants to have a fair playthrough and comment/critique/score for their games.

The way we handle votes will be the same as in the 2014 and 2016 contests.

For full details on how it was before 2014, consult the following post:

How Voting Works-

Five-point Average: Any game that falls short of the peak vote target range will receive however many fives it takes to reach the two-thirds margin.

Peak Vote Target Range: Identifies the game with the most number of votes and uses its vote count as the determinate for the contest average.

Two-thirds Vote System: Caps the required voting minimum at two-thirds the value of the peak target. Any game meeting this minimum cap will not receive additional fives to pad its average.

EDIT (12/29/2018): Voting will actually last until February 3, 2018, as we got started about a week late. For complete information on how you should approach your scoring protocol, please consult this post for details.


Note: New Prizes for 2018.

Because RPGs are harder to come by these days (especially in contests), I thought it's only fair to combat the odds with prizes that don't suck. Therefore, various members of the community have agreed to give special bonuses to entrants and the winner.*

Anyone out there can add to the prize pot if he or she has something to offer, so feel free to help make this into a treasure trove of winnings if you want to, and if you have the resources for it.

Specifically I'd like to see:

-cash prizes
-fan art
-theme song about the winning game(s)
-gifted games

You may view talked about prizes or add to the prize pot discussion here (beginning on Page 3):

I'll update the prize list here as new prizes are offered. New prizes can be added until the end of the contest.

Potential community-offered prizes include:

(Service Prizes)

-Satisfy a big feature request or bugfix, for winner only. (James)

-HeartBugs for every entrant, in the tradition of the old Heart of the OHR bugfix incentive. See this post for details, rules, and exclusions. (TMC)

-Video playthrough of all completed games. (Kylekrack)

-Video playthrough of all games (up to the first 30 minutes), and full playthrough of the top three winners, to be posted on my YouTube channel.** (Pepsi Ranger)

-Catchable monster to be used in Puckamon, based on creature (or some other element) from winning game. NPC may refer to last place game in some way. (FnrrfYgmSchnish)

-Short saga of character by winner's design, to be included in the religious lore of the game Starfire. (Morpheus­Kitami)

(Food Prizes)

-Gift card for a hamburger place of the winner's choice.*** (Wobbler)

-Home-baked chocolate chip cookies mailed to winner. (James)

(Stuff Prizes)

-Random box of stuff for the winner. (Spoonweaver)

-Free copies of any e-book with my name on it (my actual name) to all entrants. (Pepsi Ranger)

(Game Prizes)

-Steam game ($5-$10 value) for 2nd and 3rd place winners. (Gaplan)

-Pepsi Ranger's Steam Favorites for the winner.**** (Pepsi Ranger)

(Cash Prizes)

-Amazon gift cards of some unknown amount.***** (Foxley)

Note: This list will remain open to new prize additions from now until December 17th. I will update this list as I get new volunteers.

Special Prize for OHR Legends releases:

Any game categorized as an OHR Legends release will receive a special trophy classifying it as such. This is strictly a prestige award, but it will remind future players of the game's longevity. This trophy will receive "levels" each time it's awarded to a specific game. OHR Legends releases should still meet the 30 minutes of additional game time rule to be eligible for the trophy.

Note: Until I get someone to draw the trophy and Mogri to provide a location for it on the game's dedicated page, this trophy will be in spirit only. I know, lame. We're working on it, eight years later! (Full disclosure: No one's really working on this.)

So, as you can see, it would be crazy not to join and make something for the Heart of the OHR Contest, so take the chance.

*Because prizes are awarded by members of the community, and because community members come and go like the wind, all prizes are subject to change.

**I reserve the right not to record a game or post it to YouTube if I think the content is unsuitable for my channel. This will include games with excessive cursing, any sexual content above a PG-13 level, excessive gore, offensive themes (or anything I think will anger people, which could be anything these days, so I'll use discretion), demonic themes (this is a personal choice, as I do not want this theme on my channel), or games with unlicensed content (commercial music, characters, etc. used without permission).

***Value will be determined by the prize holder, Wobbler. Contact him for details.

****Prize is conditional on my financial status as of February 2019 and may be satisfied over the course of two or three months rather than immediately. This prize is based on my running favorites on Steam, and will include Kenshi (currently $20 value, but may go up after it hits 1.0) plus your choice of either Factorio ($30), or RimWorld ($30), or Prison Architect ($30), or Stardew Valley and Terraria combined ($25 value). I may include more than one of the secondary games if the prize is satisfied during a sale and these games qualify for it (Factorio has a no sale policy, so that will not be paired with a third game). In the event that the winner already owns these games, I will make a substitution of equal or lesser value. (Note: I haven't actually played RimWorld yet, but I'm sure I'll really like it.)

*****Value of Amazon card determined by the prize holder, Foxley. Contact him for details.


Release the best game you're capable of making. The community doesn't want to see or play throwaway titles anymore. Do your best to make a quality game. While you shouldn't be intimidated by this, you still need to be aware that games like Wandering Hamster and Motrya are just as capable of making an appearance during the contest window as any game, so make it your best if you want the winning prizes.

Have fun. Please use this thread to announce your RPG releases starting on May 1st. And I'd appreciate it if this thread were stickied until the end of the year. Thanks.

I will update this thread periodically as new information comes. Good luck, everyone.

EDIT (12/29/2018):

I should've amended this thread earlier. Here is the official list of games for 2018.

The Games:

Arc Wars
Note: This game may not be safe for work.

Note: Uses more than the standard keyboard controls to play. Read the instructions before playing. Official entry as of 1/4/2019.

Bale - Chapter 1
Note: This is a rerelease with new content.

Note: Now official (list updated 12/25 -- please download and play if you haven't already)

Dark Planet
Note: This is a rerelease with new content.


Drydocks - A Merchant RPG
Note: This is a rerelease with new content.

False Skies

Hero: Adventure in Animal Kingdom

Hinterlands: Pilgrimage

Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy
The Wobbler
Note: This is the official demo version. The complete version is available for purchase on Steam and You may vote on either version. It will all count toward the same score. Hint: I recommend the commercial version if you can afford it. It's on sale right now at 20% off its retail price.

Masks: 15 pages.
Note: Comes with a mature subject matter warning.

My Little Pony: Trixie's Adventure on the Rock Farm

One Pirate: Adventure in the Crystal Cave
Note: Not sure if this is the first or second One Pirate game, or if it matters which one we play first. Information needed.

One Pirate: Adventure in Summer Island

Note: Official entry as of 1/4/2019.

really hard game
Note: Confirmed addition as of 12/29/2018.

Rolling, Radical Revolution
Note: This game is in German. This should not affect your score. That said, I will be allowing the author to submit a translation any time during the voting period to count toward his final score if needed.
Update (12/29/2018): The author will not have any new translations in place before the voting period ends, so vote according to what you play today.

Nathan Karr

You Need a Hero
Note: This is a rerelease with new content.

Zalag: Glustu

And that covers our list of official entries. If your game is not on this list, but you think it should be, please let me know as soon as possible and I'll see about amending it.

Also note that there are several other games not on this list that may qualify, but the authors have informed me that they either don't think their game(s) match(es) (the common response is that the games are too short), or they don't think it's the right time to submit. These authors are always welcome to change their minds, and if they do, I will amend the list. I also have a few outstanding contacts I'm waiting to hear from. If they get back to me during the voting period with an interest in entering, I'll amend the list.

I want to remind all authors that I will forgo the 30-minute rule if the game is complete. In fiction, we have a category called "flash fiction" that usually refers to stories that are completed with fewer than 1000 words. They're still valid stories. Any game that could be considered the "flash fiction" entry of the Heart of the OHR can still compete in this contest. To those authors who are worried their games are too short, I'd ask that you consider entering anyway (unless the game is also very unfinished).

Be aware that two games originally meant for the Heart of the OHR contest, Restoration of the K'ab and Hanu in Hell, have been pulled or disqualified from the contest due to having very little gameplay and a lack of closure to the sections that are open. These games should not be included in your scoring, even if they have the Heart of the OHR tag in their game descriptions.

Final Thoughts at Contest's End::

Be civil and constructive in your comments. Reviews are nice but not required. I had something else I wanted to say, but now I've forgotten. Anyway, have fun and good luck to all of the contestants.
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Metal King Slime
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 PostWed May 02, 2018 1:59 am
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Whoo! Generous prizes this year.
(Note: the "Short saga of character by winner's design, to be included in the religious lore of the game Starfire" is being offered by Morpheus­Kitami)

So now that you've had some months to think about it, who's actually entering?

There's still a good chance that I'll attempt to release a major update to Carcere Vicis, depending on what I'm doing later this year.

I updated the wiki article.
Also note that there's a channel dedicated to HotOHR on the SS Discord server, and already has been all year.

Also, I found the vote scoring rules incomprehensible. To explain them:
-People should score each game they've played from 1-10, considering mainly the new content if it's a re-release
-Take the maximum number of votes received by any game, call it N. Any game which received less than N*2/3 votes gets topped up to N*2/3 votes by adding 5's.
-Games are ranked by average score
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostWed May 02, 2018 4:52 am
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Oh, I knew I'd overlooked something. Good catch on the prize credit. Thanks. I fixed it.

Regarding the scoring, it's the same process I've been using the last few contests. I'll worry about the compiling and the mechanics that come with it. I just want to make sure people play and vote on as many games as possible, as NOT playing a game could affect its rank slightly. Basically, rate games on a 1 to 10 scale. I'll do the rest.

I'd also like this thread stickied.

Yeah, guys, talk about your games. The time is right for that. Type the hype!
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Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostWed May 02, 2018 9:03 pm
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I started a design doc for my hopeful project.

I'm probably going to be looking for an external artist (maybe more than one?). If anyone is interested in doing art for a game, I will provide more details on what the visual aesthetic of the game is planned to be. There will also be specifications on what tilesets will need to have, how many walkabout sprites, backgrounds, etc. I can also put up some mood boards to further aid in understanding where the game is going.

For anyone else interested in collaboration, I'm open to it! It's hard to make a game all on your own. That's why I'm trying to get help.
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Metal Slime
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 PostWed May 02, 2018 11:13 pm
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Never tried 3-frame walking in the OHRRPGCE before, but after stumbling across the script on the wiki earlier today I whipped this up for one of those game ideas that's been bouncing around in my head for a while but didn't have any real work done on it before now, unless you count random drawings and text files with some plans.

This guy's name is Buck. And he's probably going to get hungry pretty soon if he keeps wandering around aimlessly like that. Fortunately, he always carries a big ol' bag of candy as a backup food source... but it's not wise to rely on it too much, you'll get sick if you eat nothing but candy for too long!
FYS:AHS -- Swapping out some step-on NPCs for zones + each step script
Puckamon -- Not until the reserve party is expanded.[/size]
Slime Knight
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 PostThu May 03, 2018 6:35 am
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Dark Planet will be entered again, and it will not be the unplayable stub it was in '16.
Metal Slime
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 PostThu May 03, 2018 6:41 am
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I'll do... a finished Snowshoe Forest. Or something. Yay!
Metal King Slime
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 PostThu May 03, 2018 10:29 am
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Kylekrack: that game sounds really intriguing. I like that the aesthetic goals are top-most. So, the game is driven more by rebuilding the city rather than quests/a story? Or is that achieved through a series of quests?
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostThu May 03, 2018 6:21 pm
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Yes! My idea is that gameplay-wise, the end of the game will come through rebuilding the community, which includes doing side-quest like tasks for people and giving them resources you get from battles. The 'win' condition is that you've helped lift the economy and production up to a point where it's climbing, rather than deteriorating. As it stands, the town is too poor and weak to be efficient or even defend from the periodic attacks from monsters. As the player, your purpose is essentially to protect them long enough until they can protect themselves.

Aside from walking around town, about half of gameplay will be exploring the desolation or wastelands. I'm not sure exactly how I want this to go. Perhaps it'll be randomly generated terrain somehow with random encounters. I want it to be blanketed in fog and slightly disorienting. There will be landmarks and important objects, but I don't want exploring the outside to feel the same way it does in something like Final Fantasy. Instead, the outside is where the player goes to find treasure and money and other things to bring back to town. The intent is that the outside will feel separate from the main part of the game, which is the town.

That being said, I was thinking of having story elements out in the desolation, like a final boss somewhere. It may or may not be optional. Like, doing so would give you a better ending to the game, but it's not required to reach the win condition.
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Slime Knight
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 PostFri May 04, 2018 5:26 pm
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I have started on an RPG with the working title “Hinterlands: Pilgrimage.”

Whichever game wins will have its lore referenced in my next game.
...spake The Lord Thy God.
Metal King Slime
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 PostSat May 05, 2018 5:09 am
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kylekrack wrote:
That being said, I was thinking of having story elements out in the desolation, like a final boss somewhere. It may or may not be optional. Like, doing so would give you a better ending to the game, but it's not required to reach the win condition.

Sounds like exploration of the desolation could add a lot to the game. You don't necessarily need quests to make exploration interesting, but a few scattered things would help to form a setting and backstory would add a lot. I'm thinking of Act 1 from Diablo 2 (which was too thin story-wise, really, but I still found it quite immersive).
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostSat May 05, 2018 8:09 am
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@tmc: That's the goal. I'll need to get a lot of feedback to get it right. A lot of polish as well. I'm leaning towards making it sort of like a Lost Woods, where it's broken into maps, and each exit leads to a random area within the desolation. Then, I was thinking adding teleportation to key landmarks (so you don't have to randomly stumble upon them again) like ruins or bosses or special resources.
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Ps. I love my wife
Metal King Slime
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 PostSat May 05, 2018 10:59 pm
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Hadn't heard of Lost Woods, but a random starting point seems like a half-decent way to reduce the drudgery of visiting the same area repeatedly, without random generation, provided the desolation is large enough that you're likely to land somewhere totally new ... except, how do you get back to town?
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostSat May 05, 2018 11:18 pm
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To clarify, I meant the Lost Woods in Zelda 1. Should have specified, my bad. Getting back to town would probably be teleportation, or something to that regard. And yeah, adding lots of variation to how the rooms/areas are composed would be the goal. Maybe individual types of areas that aren't landmarks could have random elements about them. For example, you exit town, you enter a "Crossroads" map, that has multiple NPC definitions, and a script randomly determines what types of NPCs appear (enemies, treasure, etc.). That way I wouldn't have to delve into map generation, but could still add variation to the world as you explore it.
My pronouns are they/them
Ps. I love my wife
Liquid Metal King Slime
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 PostTue May 15, 2018 3:55 pm
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I think I remember reading over where either TMC or James said they were doing 1 feature request for the winner. And to post them sooner rather than later.

I request portability to Switch.
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