Vintage Dreams Tileset
by Shane and Lunaria
The Vintage Dreams tileset is a new tileset that aims to offer a more refine GB Zelda working environment.
EZGBZ has been the long running goto GB style tileset and it has done a pretty fine job, however certain parts of it have left some quest authors more frustrated than they should. This tileset aims to offer practical solutions to some of those problems while also offering additional options. However this sounds like mumbo jumbo, so I'll just break down the main aims of the tileset:
- Provide better accuracy when replicating GB Zeldas.
- Provide a more efficient base tileset.
- Providing the means to create a contemporary quest for designers.
But what does this actually mean? Well for a practical example: GB treetops is a staple in more quests than you can count, it's also often common practice to draw these on any layer higher than 1 (and possibly let the player walk behind them). The Game Boy only has one layer outside of sprites, so given that it's not feasible to draw sprites for all the trees... well, you get my drift. The VD tileset does in base provide (and advocate) solid tree tops on layer 0 in contrast to the weirdly configured transparent ones in EZGBZ. This is more accurate but I can already see some people shake their heads, don't worry, we offer transparent tree tops too!
In regards to efficiency... all tile data and combo data have been re-configured (from scratch in regards to combos) to have better organization. EZGBZ likes to map almost all tiles as combos, this is seldom practical to given quest author who'll only use a fraction. Do you need five bridge designs? What about four mountain types? Sure, there are quests that does use all these assets, but for most it's simply more than is needed. No tile data has been removed, but the combo pages are way more compact focusing more on a wide selection of assets, rather than all different versions of said assets. Only two mountain types are mapped for combos, for example, but you could easily replace which one you want to use by copy pasting the tilepage of your prefered one over the already mapped one. (Or insert and map new combos!)
Furthermore, EZGBZ palette configuration is one I could not describe as anything other than a mess. As such it has been thrown out for a new one (all tile assets re-coloured to work) that has, in my opinion, a bit more thought put into it. Main palettes has only one highlight colour and then several colour ramps followed by black and white at the end. Level palettes follow the same structure, except one ramp is replaced with a new highlight colour (for the last two ramps) as well as generic shade of gray. Duplicate colours have been cut down en-mass except for where it's not possible (CSet 6, mainly). All of this should make it much easier to know what tiles, items, or enemies are affected by what palette changes, and setting up new palettes should be much easier.
Now, for the the forward thinking one you might realize that, "hey, that means I can use main palettes for screens and level palettes for items", and yes, that is indeed true. But as per usual, it's recommended that quest authors keep best practices and don't do that.
And finally, providing the means to make a contemporary quest. That might sound vague or complex, but it's actually quite simple: The Vintage Dream tileset is not JUST a tileset. In fact, a better way to describe it would be a Quest Starter Pack. Not everyone can script, in fact just getting scripts into a quest is a hassle for many. This tileset therefore comes pre-packed with a lot of practical ones. Most of them are aimed at replicating GB features, but some insert custom things or ports from other Zelda titles. Stuff like pits you can jump over, NPCs to talk to, and enemies a plenty are really common features in quests these days. Therefore the aim is to make the entry level to use these features be lowered.
But it doesn't really stop at scripts either, everything has (or will be) looked over for refinement. The Palette rips offered in EZGBZ are accurate, but they don't work very well on backlit computer screens. If you can't do palettes though, then you're stuck with them. We decided to throw those out and instead offer a wide array of new palettes to choose from. From one thing to another, all the ZC added enemies have been looked over and modified. A Bat Wizzrobe or a splitting Darknuts might have their fans, but few players get excited about fighting a Mirrorobe or a Death Knight. Therefore these and a few other ones have had tweaks to make them a bit more interesting and engaging (No default Zelda 1 enemies have been modified). Furthermore, to fit some holes in the enemy tier list a few new enemy editor enemies have also been created to make it easier for new people (Don't worry, they are listed!).
Of course, having all these features here is one thing, knowing how to use them is another. The tileset will offer a wide variety of example screens that new quest authors can play around until they get the hang of it (Or put to use their project, we don't judge!). For the purists out there that wants to start at a blank slate it'll be easy enough to delete the example DMaps and Maps, so don't break a sweat!
Lastly, but not least, the tileset comes with extensive documentation. The main script file is fully commented about what does what as well as what scripts are assigned to what assets (what combo type ID is used for what script, etc). Which enemies were changed from base is also listed, included what the changes were.
So oh boy are you excited to give the tileset a spin and wonder when you can get your hands on it!?! Me too! The official release date is: When it's done™. A lot of things are done (and you could in theory make a quest in it just fine right now), but there is still quite a bit left to do. Production has been going really fast currently, but you never know when motivation goes away! But hey, at least we are two!