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Zodiac: The Guardian Story

Started by C-Dawg, January 14, 2015, 09:27:24 AM

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Did you enjoy the old-school NES platform/adventure games?  Blaster Master?  Legacy of the Wizard? The Guardian Legend?  If so, then you'll enjoy this project as well.

============ WHAT IS THIS? ===================

I am coming here to let you guys know about a project I am working on: "Zodiac: The Guardian Story."  It is a game drawn in NES-style sprites, where the action usually takes place in a huge side-scrolling labyrinth divided into coordinates, like Metroid without scrolling, but occasionally puts the player into shoot-em-up levels, or "Corridors" to complete the game.  The action is brutal, old-school platformer and NES shoot-em-up quality.  Be quick or be dead.

The playable portions of the game are complete, and there is something like 30 hours of gameplay there.  I have a bit of work left to do on the ending credits -- and so, so many bug fixes.  Here's a link to the project:


Now, warning: this game is being built in Zelda Classic, a very peculiar but fun engine that was designed to make Zelda games.  It's not ideal, but it is what I was familiar with so many years ago when I started working on the project.  That said, the engine has a scripting feature that allows you to add your own features using a C+ -like code, so I've been hard at work modifying the engine.  At this point, it is not easily recognizable as a game that started life as a Zelda 1 clone.

============ WHY DO I CARE? ===================

I'm reaching out beyond the ZClassic community to see if people are interested in giving it a whirl and reporting the bugs. Within the ZClassic, the capabilities I'm adding to the engine are impressive enough that the game may get a "pass" on some quirks that would annoy most end users.  Or, players might accept those quirks as necessary parts of that engine and move on.  I'd like to see how someone who is not familiar with ZClassic feels about it. If anyone here is interested in giving it a shot, that could generate some feedback from someone coming at the game with nothing other than fond memories of the NES games that inspire it. Feedback like that will be very valuable as I move into the bug-stomping, balancing, and polishing of the game.

This is not an attempt to profit or sell anything.  The game is free, and it's being done strictly for my own amusement.  However, I still want to make a product that will appeal broadly.

============ WHATS UP WITH THE MUSIC? ===================

Placeholders.  VGMusic mixes of various older games are being used at the moment to set the mood.  I'm working at getting some original MIDIs mixed up for this game, but since that's beyond my expertise, I'm left asking for help from friends or looking at artists from the website-formerly-known-as-8-bit-collective.  If anyone here is a MIDI artist, I'd love to know you better.

============ HOW DO I PLAY THIS .QST FILE NONSENSE? ===================

Just this file:


You should probably configure your controls and sound, too.  I like to play with SFX at one-half the volume of the music, and configure a 4-button controller in the style of the original SNES, but your tastes may vary.

============ WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW? ===================

Just about everything else you need to know is recorded in the current draft of the game manual.  You can read it here:


The one thing that it does not cover, and may not be obvious to people playing Zelda Classic for the first time, is how you save.  The save option appears after you die.  If you don't want to die, you can press F6 to end the game and bring up the save screen.  If you simply quit the application without doing this, you will not save and that sucks.


It is not a platform based? Doesn't look like top view, but maybe a position of hero confuse and make it look like platformer.

Ah and how to run ZodiacGS (01-12-15).qst?


It's a platformer.  Basically, you have the Corridors that are shoot-em-up flying levels, and the labyrinth between them is a tile-based side-scroller like the love child of the original Metroid and Legacy of the Wizard. 

Unlike each of those games, though, there's at least an attempt at a coherent plot moving the player along.

EDIT: I was wondering if I should post instructions about how to run it.  Because the game uses the Zelda Classic engine, you have to download that program.  Zelda Classic uses ".qst" files to store the data.  So, you need to download the exe file from here:


And then you download the .qst file and put it wherever.  When you boot up ZClassic (not ZQuest, that's the editor tool), you will be greeted with a boot up screen like the original Zelda.  Make a new save file, then press the button assigned to "A" inside ZClassic (not necessarily "A" on your keyboard, mind) and then you will get the option to browse to the .qst file you want to associate with that save file.  Once you've loaded it up correctly, the save file icon will change from Link to the Guardian, and from there you just press start to play.


how to run that ZodiacGS (01-12-15).qst?


Quote from: arseniy on January 14, 2015, 09:59:53 AM
how to run that ZodiacGS (01-12-15).qst?

Hah, we're playing with each other's edits.  I put some instructions above when I noticed your post edit.


I don't know what is A button and where to change controls


Quote from: arseniy on January 14, 2015, 10:13:31 AM
I don't know what is A button and where to change controls

I believe you can see the control assignments in the option menu.  Press "ESC" to bring up the menu.

Also, if I recall correctly, A is mapped to either CNTRL or ALT by default.  I have long-since remapped the buttons to a controller, so I do not remember.

Along those lines, please also make sure that A, B, L, and R are mapped in the following pattern:

A  B
L  R

Sort of like a SNES controller.  This is because A and B are your item slots, L is jumping, and R is used for dashing later on.


I think you should add some clear instructions. I found how to run the game but trust me, most of people are not able to solve such things like this.


Quote from: arseniy on January 14, 2015, 10:16:44 AM
I think you should add some clear instructions. I found how to run the game but trust me, most of people are not able to solve such things like this.

Absolutely.  The idea, when it is complete, is to draw up a manual in the style of the old NES games in a PDF that will come with the quest file explaining how to run it.  For purposes of this thread, hopefully, the discussion between us will ensure people see exactly how to run it! 

Thanks for the help!


I've beaten the boss but nothing happens. The background keep scrolling.


Do you know what you were doing when that happened?  I've had some reports of that happening, but I've been totally unable to replicate the bug on my end.  I can't tell whats going on with the code, but it's an intermittent problem and most people find it works if they try again.

They shouldn't have to, but hey, like I said, it's still a work in progress.


As for the first level I'd say it has nothing common with TGL and reminds me of gameplay from other project posted here Rikerok Saga. Unfortunatelly stopped. I don't play SHMUPs, so I don't know where you two took this inspiration. Or maybe it only seems similar because I don't play/like SHMUPs much usually. And TGL is only SHMUP I really liked a lot.

Also the boss didn't had explosions. Don't know if there should. Also previous thing like miniboss just dissapeared after a while and big ship appeared suddenly. I thought it was because just a demo.


Quote from: arseniy on January 14, 2015, 10:48:10 AM
As for the first level I'd say it has nothing common with TGL and reminds me of gameplay from other project posted here Rikerok Saga.

I'll check out that demo; sounds good!  I agree that I didn't really set out to copy the mechanics of TGL exactly; I'm not concerned about the technical details of how the ship moves and how many hit points the enemies have, that kind of thing.  It's more of a game that takes some inspiration for how TGL added zest and excitement to a dungeon crawler by interspersing it with Corridors and lots of intermediate bosses and minibosses.

Once its done, though, the idea is that if you liked TGL you will probably like Zodiac, too.


He didn't post his progress unfortunatelly. He posted some early demo, then worked some more with it but did not posted any updates since then :'(


Well, I can't promise much in the way of competing with his project as a direct sequel to TGL, but I can promise that my project will actually be completed. :)

Just for reference, I just finished coding up the final boss for the game.  All that remains to be done to make the game proper playable from start to end is to do some of the ending bits -- fleeing the exploding asteroid after the final Corridor, some dialogue before the final boss, dialogue and events right after the final boss, and then the end.  We're essentially done.

From there, it's mostly just going to be months of fine tuning and tweaks to bugs or game mechanic annoyances.

My beta testers are currently taking about a week of solid playing to get from the beginning of the game up to the end areas, so there's tons of gameplay here.