In honor of 2.5 being completed, and the end of a long and arduous development cycle, the Zelda Classic developers would like to start the Official 5th Quest Contest. The idea is simple: To create a fitting quest in the style of the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th quests, and quite possibly the final Master quest that ends the series of official Nth quests. This quest, if determined to be the winner, will be packaged as an "official" quest with the next release version of Zelda Classic (Either in an incremental update to 2.5, or 2.6, whichever coincides closest to the end of this contest), playable after completion of the 4th quest or via the use of a password on the save select screen.
Because jman has said this so eloquently, I am simply going to take this direct quote him from the 4th contest (slightly updated):
Well, the idea of this contest is return to that period of time and to return to what made Zelda Classic so alluring in the first place. The idea of taking one of the most beloved games of all time on one of the most beloved game platforms of all time, and being able to put your own spin on it. However, it would be disingenuous to look fondly on the past without looking towards the present and future. Zelda Classic has evolved, and so have the tools to let Zelda fans express themselves in more ways than previously possible. The rules of this contest were developed with these thoughts in mind, allowing one to go back to simpler times while allowing one to draw upon what ZC offers currently.
The goal, simply stated, is to create a quest that accomplishes the same purpose as the 2nd quest in the original Legend of Zelda. However, unlike the 2nd quest, you don't have to strictly adhere to the conventions established for it. Regardless of what you do though, remember that faithfulness to the design philosophy of the original game is a big component on whether your quest is eventually chosen. Anyone can enter.
Although some of the rules may have changed, these past ideals have remained like lingering memories, never changing. Now, let's see a quest fitting for the 5th and final quest! (Because it just might be the last one, so make us proud!)
5th Quest Contest Rules
1) By entering this contest you agree that, if your entry is determined to be the winner, the Zelda Classic development team retains the right to package the quest with all future versions of Zelda Classic, to use the quest and any materials therein for promotional purposes, and to take over bug and error fixing in the quest, now and in the future.
2) The quest may be built with any future-compatible version of Zelda Classic from 2.5 upwards. (This currently includes 2.5, and 2.5.1.)
3) These rules may be subject to change at any time during the course of this contest if deemed necessary.
The following rules may be turned on or off at the quest designers discretion:
"Fast Dungeon Scrolling", "Smooth Vertical Scrolling", "FFC Are Visible While Screen Is Scrolling", "Use Warp Return Points Only", "Invincible Link flickers", "Warps Ignore Arrival X/Y Position When Setting Continue Screen", "Can't push blocks into unwalkable combos", "Push blocks don't move when blocked", "Damage Combos Work On Layers", "Combo cycling on layers", "Scrolling warps don't set the continue point", "Rings affect damage combos", "Multi-directional traps", "Fast Heart refill".
The following rules must be ENABLED: "Items Disappear during hold-up".
All other quest rules must be DISABLED.
The original NES Zelda graphical style must remain intact. What this means is that you must use the Classic NES tileset, and are allowed
to create new graphics as long as the changes are minor (judges discretion) and said changes maintain the aesthetic style of the original
game (also judge's discretion).
You can edit the Shop Types, but shops can't sell "+Max" items (heart containers), Triforce fragments, the big Triforce, the Dust Pile, the Rupee items (?!), Arrow Ammunition or Magic Jars (because the True Arrows / Magic rules are off), and Misc items.
* The same restrictions apply to "Take Only One" Room Types, but they can have "+Max" items in them.
* The same restrictions also apply to Item Drop Sets. Also, Item Drop Sets can't contain items with the "Equipment Item" flag checked.
New enemies ARE allowed, and are in fact, mandatory. At least three new enemy types must be introduced. (In the same spirit as 2nd quest which introduced Sword-Stalfos, and Blue/Red Bubbles.) New enemies introduced from the 4th quest are not to be considered "new" and will not count towards this total, or otherwise detract from your own customized creations as well. (You've played the 4th quest, right?)
However, blatant overuse (or otherwise obvious misuse) of the Enemy Editor will likely result in rejection. The goal is to extend the first four quests, not create something completely new. Adding in unedited Death Knights and Octoroks on Crack is probably not a good idea.
Specific Enemy Rules
* No Summoners that can summon bosses, where "bosses" includes the standard bosses, Moldorm, Lanmola and Patra (but not Digdogger Kid). Also, no enemies that split into bosses, and no enemies that grow into bosses.
* Custom bosses (defined as enemies that are not created via the enemy editor) are not allowed.
New items are also allowed provided they are used sparingly and only for good reason. Adding a variant to an existing item is likely okay provided it is in line with NES mechanics. Adding the spin attack, Din's Fire, or a scripted Flamethrower is not okay. Replacing existing items with another item type is not allowed.
Specific Item Rules
* No editing the "Dust Pile" item or the "Big Triforce" item.
* No Bomb Bags. Use the "More Bombs" Room Type exclusively. The only exception is the Magic Bomb Bag which provides endless bombs, which functions like the Magic Key and is allowed.
* Weapons cannot slash, nor produce sparkles.
In maintaining consistency with the first four quests, the overworld must remain almost entirely identical to those quests. There may be subtle aesthetic differences (such as changing the entrance of a dungeon to the entrance of a cave) but aside that must be the same.
Note that you are free to rearrange secret entrances, item locations, and cave types to your liking, but any entrances that are NOT secrets must remain in the same place, though of course they don't have to LEAD to the same place. You can change a dungeon entrance into a fairy pool or a whistle->stairs pool, and vice versa. And, of course, you can change First Quest's existing whistle->stairs pool into a fairy pool or an ordinary pool.
Specific Overworld Rules
* One DMap for the overworld. The following DMap flags must be enabled, with all others disabled: "Use Caves...",
"Allow 3-Stair Warp Rooms", "Allow Whistle Whirlwinds", "Special Rooms and Guys are in Caves Only".
* One 3-Stair Warp Ring per quest.
* One Whistle Warp Ring per quest.
Dungeons may be made as large or small as one wants and with any room configuration one wants, but the design of any particular room must be consistent with the first four quests. This means one wall on each side, one door of any type at most situated on a wall. The contents of a particular room are left to the designs of the quest maker, but as with the graphics and added items/enemies, faithfulness to the NES design is paramount. Conveyors may be okay. Large superstructures that require the use of several items to destroy may not.
Specific Dungeon Rules
* One DMap per dungeon level! And all DMap Flags must be disabled for dungeon DMaps.
* The Continue screen must be the dungeon's inner entrance screen.
* The Compass Marker screen must be the Triforce Fragment's screen.
* The Triforce Fragment's screen must warp Link to the dungeon's entrance in the overworld. (This is done by setting Side Warp A, by the way.)
* The statue combos in the dungeon's inner entrance screen and the Triforce Fragment's screen cannot shoot fireballs.
* No "Fall From Ceiling" enemy patterns.
* All dungeon DMaps must be "NES Dungeon". So no Interiors with persistent secrets and non-functioning doors.
* Don't use the "Treat as Interior Room" flag to bypass various limitations of the "NES Dungeon" DMap type, either.
* There must be exactly 9 levels; no more, no less. Each level must have a map and a compass. Each of the first 8 levels must contain at least one preprogrammed boss, one triforce piece, and at least one collectable item. The ninth level must only be accessible by collecting all eight triforce pieces. The boss of level 9 must be Ganon, and the
final goal of level 9, and the quest, is to save Zelda.
* You may use boss keys and boss doors if you like, and it should be noted that usage of these will not detract points from being "NES inconsistent". The 4th had introduced these after all.
* Levels must use one of the NES dungeon palettes, and two or more levels can't use the same palette. Level 9 must use "White/Red".
* One Ganon per quest, and one Zelda per quest.
* A "Level 9 Entrance" screen must appear somewhere in Level 9 between the dungeon entrance and Ganon's screen, and can only be used once.
FFCs and Scripts
FFCs and scripts ARE also allowed (Heck even the first quest uses a script to simulate a bug found in the NES version!) with the following exceptions:
* Scripts may not be used to bypass or otherwise ignore any other contest rules.
* Scripts should be used sparringly.
What is permissible script usage you say? Well, for starters, scripting a giant man-eating plant or a wall that shoots streams of fireballs will not be acceptable. Scripting a door that spawns enemies will likely not be allowed. Adding a script to simulate a puzzle found in 2nd quest where you can only go to the nearest three of four immediate rooms without requiring to fill the room with push blocks might be okay. (honestly, I don't know!)
* Scripts must be available with the quest as a single file, or stored in the internal buffer, and cannot import other script files or headers, the exception to this rule being std.zh. There will also be a file size and line limit that applies to scripts, and must be formatted in a sane manner and not obfuscated in any way. Therefore using any large framework, like ghost.zh for example, is not allowed.
* Link can only use NES-style movement and cannot use any of the 2.5 specific modifications (16x16 Link, big link, etc).
* Sound Effects cannot be changed.
* New music is allowed, provided it is in the general style of the NES, and is either an original composition or an arrangement of an existing Zelda tune and meets the previous criteria.
* The Sub-screen may be edited to accommodate new items but must retain the general structure of the original.
* No string control codes, and no lowercase characters in strings. No DMap Intro strings, and no DMap-specific custom minimaps. And no DMap item disabling!
* The first round of judging will be performed by judges, entrants, and the community, ideally eliminating all but the top three or four candidates. Picking a winner from the finalists will be handled much in the same way except with much more diligence. Anyone voting for the final quest should have played every entry in it's entirety. Public votes will be tallied and weighed as appropriately by any official judges and developers, and a winner will be decided. Finally, everyone can have a vote!
(Disclaimer: Some possible issues from this method may arise when a very strong 5th candidate does not make the first cut due to being underplayed or unpopular for any unknown or unforeseeable reason. Therefore, in order to maintain complete fairness for all entrants, no entry will be able to lose simply from lack of votes (lack of vote does not also imply non-vote), and judges reserve the right to un-eliminate any quest deemed worthy.)
Other misc. criteria for rejection
* The biggest changes here is obviously the fact that scripting is allowed. I cannot stress enough that you don't want to "over-script" or alter landmark LOZ mechanics in any way, in which case it will be rejected.
* If your quest is too easy it will be rejected.
* If your quest is too hard it will be rejected. (Although I have to note that the hardest entry to date was AlphaDawg's entry... and that won!)
* Note - Rejected quests are not disqualified. If your quest is rejected for one of possible various reasons (also reserved for judges discretion) that doesn't break any obvious rules stated above, you will have an opportunity to fix any problems and resubmit the quest, no questions asked.
For reference of the original NES palette limitations. (Please note that nowhere in the rules does it specifically state that these must be strictly adhered to. This is merely here for reference, and good taste in choosing a level's color palette)
Also, old beta 18 ZC version with the proposed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quests can be found here: http://www.shardstor...226-windows.zip (These are unpassworded)
Quick-Start Rules Overview
The rules are merely manditory guidelines" (heh, I couldn't resist) to maintain an NES aesthetic quest. Because ZC has become incredibly more flexible over the years in what can be modified from the original Legend of Zelda, so too have the guidelines for how not to over modify it. Essentially what you can do is start with any one of the existing proposed or example 1st, 2nd, or 3rd quests, alter a few quest rules to your liking and then just start building, using that as your base, in the style of the previous quests. Overworld layouts should not be altered, and dungeons should be NES styled and themed. Remember, it's not a "custom" quest contest, it's a 5th quest contest! Use common sense and consult the rules when in doubt.
All entries must be submitted by November "5th" 2013 at Midnight (PST, EST, doesn't matter) in qst or zip form and may be passworded at the quest maker's discretion.
And that should be all of it. Good Luck!