I dedicated today to trying to improve my map editor and speed up the drawing process. Using the advice of many friends, I was able to accomplish this. Yesterday it took 15 to 20 minutes for the program to initialize/redraw the entire world map of my game. Thanks to lower-level pointer voodoo magic, it can now refresh the entire thing in about 5 to 10 seconds!
I still wish I could get it even faster, but I’m not sure how. There’s also a teensy bit of lag if I try to place lots of tiles at once in broad mouse strokes, but it’s bearable and not something I’d normally be doing anyway. I still wish I knew how to speed it up even more, though.
It was getting late and I didn’t want to work on the editor anymore, so I decided to try it out by making a small mini-dungeon consisting of a handful of screens. The goal being to reach the old man at the end of it. I actually learned a lot about the map-making rules that come with a design like this – for example, if you place an obstacle tile on the edge of the screen, you NEED to put one on the next screen too, so you don’t accidentally walk on top of it moving from one screen to another.
That rule leads to certain design styles that I now recognize in Zelda 1, and now I see why Zelda 3 felt so different – they took that design style and used it in a more “open” way. It’s hard to explain, but it’s nice to be able to see and appreciate new things in these old games!
Anyway, the video above is the current build, but if you want to try it out for yourself you can get it here!
I really need to continue to improve the map editor, so I’ll probably be stuck on that for the next many days. I look forward to being able to go back to the game. I was reminded how easy it would be to make something like this in a pre-existing game builder, so I want to ponder that for a while and try to come up with something that might help it stand apart from that sort of thing. I think some of my ideas already sort of do that, like the achievement system I put in, an enemy logbook system I want to implement, etc. but I should think about it some more just the same.
What’s most important to me is that I build my skills and make something that I personally enjoy, though, so that’ll continue to be the driving theme of this project.