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Metal Slime
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Ridiculous Games Contest 2020 - The 1998 one 
 PostThu Feb 20, 2020 5:29 am
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Over 2 decades ago...
Before resizable sprites, before slices, before portraits, before *sound effects*, before **non-DOS support**...
Lie the Nameless Versions.

And if you go back further in time, as far back as you possibly can, and what do you find?
None other than the 4-map version of the OHR.

It has been said many times that restrictions breed creativity, and the oldest versions of the OHR offer some fierce restrictions indeed.

The challenge here is simple: make a game in either a pre-2000 version of the OHRRPGCE, or adhere to its restrictions in a more modern version of the engine. Whether or not you make a game that feels like it's an amateur game from 2000 is up to you, although I do recommend it.

To make things easier for those who don't want to/are unable to fiddle around with DOSBox, there are two categories you can enter your game into:

The Spirit of 1998
- Make a game within the confines of 4 maps, without plotscripting*.
- To the best of your ability, avoid features that weren't around in 1998, and keep to the numerical restrictions on things that were there. Look in whatsnew.txt and search from the bottom up if you're unsure.
- Use the Old Classic OHRRPGCE Palette that's in the import folder.
- For reasons of palatability/not enticing crashes, feel free to use non-MIDI/BAM music.

The Core of 1998

-Using a version of CUSTOM from before 2000 here, make a game. Preferably, use the earliest version that actually runs in DOSBox.
-Follow the above rules, the capacity of what these versions of the engine can do.
-Be nice and include a copy of GAME.exe alongside your download. We may be using the 1998 version of the OHR, but it isn't 1998.

______

Voting

Given the circumstances of this contest, using one scale to rank these games on will probably not be ideal. Therefore, there will be two:

1. Rank the games from best to worst. The usual.
2. Rank the games based on how much they feel like an OHR game released from 1998-2002.

What game you use as your measuring stick is up to you, but make sure to reference which one you're using. Wandering Hamster isn't FUABMv3 isn't 1st Year, after all, and those are all games that roughly fit in this time period.
_______

Ideally, you should only start making things on March 1st, but I won't hold you to that.
Submissions are due March 31st. Good luck!

-----
NOTES:
- You still have tags, text boxes, and a fair amount of battle stuff to work with. You don't even need to make an RPG - though things outside that are going to be harder to pull off.
- You can fake having more than 4 maps by making large maps and dividing them up into smaller areas. Note that you'll run hard into NPC limits if you're not careful doing this.
For that authentic early aughts feel, find a Top 30 list from 2000 or 2001. If you're lucky, the pictures will still be there.
- For those using a modern version of the OHR for this, here's some limits to be aware of:
-999 text boxes
-500 tags
-254 items?
-500 enemy definitions
-200 attack definitions
-1000 enemy formations
-15 tilesets [unlikely to be relevant]
-255 shops
-4q heroes, and 4q pictures for them
-150 small enemy graphics
-80 medium enemy graphics
-30 large enemy graphics
-120 walkabout graphics
-150 weapon graphics
-100 attack graphics
-90 100 palettes
-4 maps
-36 NPCs per map
-tileset animations are restricted to two tiles in the bottom-right corner alternating.
-no attack descriptions
-no vehicles
-no portraits
-no layers
no items
fox only
final destination
[there's a lot more, but in the interest of not making this list of restrictions 90% of this post, read the thread]

Other notes:
-For attacks, generally use stuff that's in the first few options. Status effects weren't implemented until the new millennium.
-Items can't call text boxes
-Stealing things isn't allowed [the attack bitset, that is - it's not a proper early 2000s amateur RPG if you're not poaching FF4 MIDIs from VGmusic]
-If you're unsure of something, search it up in whatsnew.txt - if it's referred to as a new feature anywhere in there, leave it out!

*If there's a feature of 1998-2000 OHR you're dying to put in that doesn't appear in modern versions, feel free to plotscript that in. Nothing more, though!

And for those gunning for the core:
- The attack and enemy editors have several aspirational features that are unimplemented [as of the 1999 version of the OHR in the archive, at least]. 'Bounceable', the various status effect-sounding bitsets, and enemy counterattacks aren't a thing.
- Using external graphics editors and importing via Tiletool and Ohrgfx is probably in your best interest. I'm not stopping you from drawing things in-engine to better enable the particular look of old OHR games across, though.
- Editing wallmaps in versions from before 2019 2000 is probably not desirable if you have some form of epilepsy.
- Oh yeah, you'll need to use DOSBox to even attempt this. Have fun!

e [2/27]: Added some more specific restrictions on things.

FINAL LIST OF GAMES
https://twitter.com/ffeenixcks
Slime Knight
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 PostFri Feb 21, 2020 10:46 am
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Get a Windows 98 machine from the scrapyard. I'll make a short game about exactly that. By the way, does Dosbox really run well on new systems?
Metal King Slime
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 PostSat Feb 22, 2020 11:18 am
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This is unique excuse to return to the past, with a much older version of the OHRRPGCE than I ever actually used, so I'm definitely entering! Going for the fake-scripting angle (I'm hoping 'use door' textbox conditionals existed) rather than making a newbie game.

I'll be starting a week late, because I'm taking part in 7DRL for the first week of March. (That'll be my second time. Not using the OHRRPGCE for it.) And don't be surprised if I take a break after crunching on that for a week.

Here are the graphics limits. There are all 1 less than the actual limit, since they tell the max possible ID.
gen(genMaxHeroPic) = 40
gen(genMaxEnemy1Pic) = 149
gen(genMaxEnemy2Pic) = 79
gen(genMaxEnemy3Pic) = 29
gen(genMaxNPCPic) = 119 (Walkabouts)
gen(genMaxWeaponPic) = 149
gen(genMaxAttackPic) = 99
gen(genMaxTile) = 14
Also the limit seems to be 100 palettes, not 90.

I'm going to investigate running CUSTOM.EXE in emulators other than DOSBox, or even real hardware, since DOSBox isn't totally working for me.
Metal Slime
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 PostSun Feb 23, 2020 10:47 pm
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4map0006.png
So I've got an idea, and it's pretty corny. Specifically I never made a "The game's author and their friends go on an adventure" that everyone seems to have made at some point. Well it's not EXACTLY that, but it wouldn't feel out of place in 1999 or 2000. I promise to try not to break the immersion TOO much.
To friends long gone, and those I've yet to meet - thank you.
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostSun Feb 23, 2020 11:51 pm
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I'll have better luck trying to implement the old limitations in the new version of the engine; I've never been able to get DOSbox to function in any capacity.

And most of these limits aren't things I come close to hitting anyway. Not importing SFX and having a master palette of more than 16 colors will actually be the most difficult parts for me, most likely.
In the past, I apologized when I was in the right because I was afraid of peer pressure. For this, I apologize.

I must be cruel, but to be kind; that bad may begin, and worse be left behind.
-Prince Hamlet of Denmark
Slime Knight
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 PostMon Feb 24, 2020 12:41 am
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zero.png
How most of my Serial Experiments OHR ended
I got the dos ohr sort of working, but midi2bam crashes spectacularly. So, I'm going to use the normal ohr instead, because its not ohr without some low quality FF6 midis.

I absolutely love what you've got so far Fen, can't wait to play it!
Do you make love with the same urgency you make games?
Metal Slime
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 PostMon Feb 24, 2020 2:12 am
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19980000.png
Bok is ready to party like it's 1999
After starting (and then quickly ditching) three other ideas, I realized that this is the "make a game that could've existed on the 1998 4-map version" contest and went with the obvious choice: make a game based on a story I wrote way back in elementary school.

If I'm remembering right, the original story was finished sometime in 1997... meaning that "RPG version of this story" is literally a game I could've made in 1998.

Considering the 4-map limitation (and some parts of the old story being just too dumb to include in anything I'd make now -- my old abandoned character Dark Blubber, for example), this will probably end up only loosely based on the old story... but then again, '90s video game adaptations were almost always like that anyway, so that works!
Bok's Expedition -- Starting on the ending sequence now
Puckamon -- Not until the reserve party is expanded
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostMon Feb 24, 2020 3:13 am
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A Quest0002.png
Three of the four main characters.
I'm going full ham retro on this, evoking the kind of visual messes I made when I first started using the OHR in late 2002. Dirk (that beefy gladiator) is a much technically better sprite than I was capable of back then while Eric (the hero) is just a cape and different weapon choice away from being the hero of my actual newbie game.

I made sure to click the old level-up bug bitset and will fully accept any horrible game-breaking this causes.
In the past, I apologized when I was in the right because I was afraid of peer pressure. For this, I apologize.

I must be cruel, but to be kind; that bad may begin, and worse be left behind.
-Prince Hamlet of Denmark
Metal King Slime
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 PostMon Feb 24, 2020 2:40 pm
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Idontknow wrote:
I got the dos ohr sort of working, but midi2bam crashes spectacularly. So, I'm going to use the normal ohr instead, because its not ohr without some low quality FF6 midis.


MIDI2BAM crashed because you tried to enter a filename longer than 8 characters! It works fine for me as long as I don't do that or try to browse directories while loading a MIDI.
BTW, I notice that bam2midi.exe in the 1998-07-27 and Hasta-la-qb releases are identical.

Was hoping to see more people use a 1998 version of CUSTOM, since it seems like half the challenge is in getting by without all the things we've come to rely on, like page up/down keys! It's remarkable howmuch some things hav changed and how little others have.
Well, though be surprised if I nitpick all the limitations you forgot about. Like lack of harmtiles or map names.

I assume the "If tag # = ON/OFF then stop" textbox conditional does nothing? I wonder whether that was intended to trigger a 'game over'.

Feenicks wrote:
-Stealing things isn't allowed [the attack bitset, that is


Are you saying that the Steal Item bitset did nothing in 1998?

I also notice that the 1998-07-27 version had *no* enemy bitsets, and very few attack bitsets (Cure, Spread damage, Bounceable, Unreversible picture, Steal Item, elemental damage, bonus vs (enemytype), and a *single* General Preference bit: wait vs active battle menus.

Actually, I have a problem. A lot of settings don't let me switch to certain values, e.g I can't select NPC movespeed 5 or 10 because it imediately changes to something else. In a twist of fate, I reported the same problem in 2006 (bug 197), on three different Win XP machines. But noone else reported being able to reproduce it, it was just me. Why am I so unlucky?
Liquid Metal King Slime
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 PostMon Feb 24, 2020 4:44 pm
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I am pretty sure that I added the "Steal" bitset aspirationally long before I had thought about how to implement it :D
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostMon Feb 24, 2020 6:07 pm
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A Quest0004.png
A friendly fairy. Don't attack her!
A Quest0006.png
A monkey enemy, fought on the overworld.
A Quest0007.png
An Underground Monkey, fought in the dark lord's castle.
I absolutely would be editing this game in the 1998 version if I could get it to run. Would be easier than trying to memorize which features are and aren't available.

Making a game with no buffs or status ailments is an interesting design space - even the first Dragon Warrior had more than that to its combat. It's definitely a fun time so far for me.

Going from level 0 to level 1 is probably going to be brutal to a lot of players. I've got to keep tweaking the enemy formations that appear before the player can recruit allies to make it easier...but once you get a level or two under your belt, thanks to the Old Level-Up Bug your stats can get insanely cheesy - so just like most classic OHR games it can be a bit difficult for that early grind and then it's smooth sailing up to (and possibly through) the final boss.

So far I'm using exactly three elements: Fire, Ice, and Good. I have something like seven healing spells, three elemental fire spells, three ice spells, two Good attack spells, one Fire/Ice dual element spell, three non-elemental physical strike techniques, and three elemental strikes.
In the past, I apologized when I was in the right because I was afraid of peer pressure. For this, I apologize.

I must be cruel, but to be kind; that bad may begin, and worse be left behind.
-Prince Hamlet of Denmark
Metal Slime
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 PostMon Feb 24, 2020 8:54 pm
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4map0010.gif
TMC wrote:
Are you saying that the Steal Item bitset did nothing in 1998?


I am fairly sure that the Steal bitset did SOMETHING, at least as far back as 1999, but that it wasn't really clear if it worked at all? I recall that most games that did have a steal attack only had about half the monsters carrying around basic potions, and the rest had nothing because the game creators didn't want to bother. That or the success chance was defaulted to 0.

Did poison exist? My brain seems to think that it did, but only in the form of attacks that chained back to themselves, which would effectively lock whoever used it out of being able to do anything else. I also seem to remember that attacks could target stats aside from HP/MP, but the options for those were somewhat limited in scope. Also the math for "element" damage was something like 200% for weakness, but enemy type was 180%.
To friends long gone, and those I've yet to meet - thank you.
Metal Slime
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 PostMon Feb 24, 2020 9:33 pm
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So I just downloaded DOSBox and the oldest existing OHRRPGCE version and... wow. On one hand, it's neat to look back at all the old wacky stuff (pages upon pages of never implemented status-effect bitsets!) On the other hand... I'm really glad some things like wallmapping and scrolling through menus (it's hard to believe Page Up/Down didn't work back then!) are the way they are now rather than staying the same.

Here's a few things I noticed from that version, figured I'd post them here since they're relevant to the current contest...

    * Attacks don't have captions or descriptions yet.
    * "Dead allies" target class doesn't exist -- there's only "Ally (Including dead)"
    * Attack damage can only be based on Attack, Magic, HP, Lost HP, Random (I'm assuming this is the 1-999 random we have now?), or 100
    * Chaining does exist!... just not with any options besides chain percentage.
    * A few attack bitsets do exist -- cure, divide spread damage, unreversable picture, usable outside battle, damage MP.
    * A few enemy bitsets do exist -- harmed by cure, MP idiot, boss, unescapable, die without boss, flee instead of die, untargetable by enemes/heroes
    * Hero base levels can only be 0-99, not party average
    * Textboxes don't have "swap in/out hero" options, only add and remove
    * Can't edit font
    * Only strings that can be edited are the elemental/enemy-type names, armor types, and money
    * Maps only have music, tileset, minimap and save options
    * No harmtiles or vehicles


Quote:
Also the math for "element" damage was something like 200% for weakness, but enemy type was 180%.


Yep -- it was 200% for elemental weaknesses, 180% for "bonus vs. enemy type," and then resistance was something wacky like 12%.
Bok's Expedition -- Starting on the ending sequence now
Puckamon -- Not until the reserve party is expanded
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostTue Feb 25, 2020 12:13 am
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FnrrfYgmSchnish wrote:

Yep -- it was 200% for elemental weaknesses, 180% for "bonus vs. enemy type," and then resistance was something wacky like 12%.


I tested the elements extensively in 2003/2004 with characters who did flat 100 damage and Do Not Randomize bitset. Weak To was 200%, Strong To was 18%, Weak To + Strong To was 36%, and of course Absorbs would invert the damage into healing.

I remember learning later that type-slayer weaknesses were x1.8 instead of x2. I didn't experiment with those much because I didn't find it very useful to have "fail if enemy is [type]" compared to nowadays where I can have "fail if enemy isn't weak to [type slayer] minimum 101%"
In the past, I apologized when I was in the right because I was afraid of peer pressure. For this, I apologize.

I must be cruel, but to be kind; that bad may begin, and worse be left behind.
-Prince Hamlet of Denmark
Slime Knight
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 PostTue Feb 25, 2020 2:21 am
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TMC wrote:
MIDI2BAM crashed because you tried to enter a filename longer than 8 characters


Wut, how on earth am I supposed to know that. Forget that, I'm going to use the present day ohr for sure.

I'm still going to use it to note limitations. Like Nathan said, making a game without buffs, ailments and debuffs is interesting. Then again old ohr games were never really remembered for their riveting combat. I'm sure I'll find ways to dress things up.
Do you make love with the same urgency you make games?
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