I've played all the way through A Link to the Past and quite enjoyed it. I'm even considering writing up a review or something. In any case, it did give me a lot of perspective regarding my current struggle to develop my silly little game.
I'm currently playing through The Minish Cap, and I'm linking it a lot too, although with some reservations (yes, the written review idea might be worth it). Still, it really is helping me shape up some ideas.
Funny fact, I originally used Link's Minish Cap sprites as a basis for the design of my own sprites!
As for the original Legend of Zelda, I got it too (classics series for the GBA) but... There's something about it that just doesn't engage me, and after wandering around for a bit I tend to lose interest.
Additionally, I also played through Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, which, despite being an RPG, has a level design pretty much exactly as I intend my game's design to be, and I got to experience the confusion such layout generates first hand.
TL;DR -- Limiting myself to shareware content --
It's been a while since I last posted, and you don't really care why, so let's jump straight into the thick of it.
I need constraints. If I'm let loose on a project, I just start adding cool features or endlessly debating over tiny details. Debating with myself. Yes, it's as silly as you'd expect.
So, I found myself a neat constraint. It's not a new idea, mind you, but it hit me hard again with the latest kerfuffle regarding content-id on Youtube and how trigger happy some corporations are regarding their IP, which was compounded by the imminent arrival of the new DooM game.
My idea is to work exclusively with "open" content, which has lead me to limit the contents of my DooM fangame to just the contents of the Shareware versions of the original.
This means that only maps, monsters and items present in the Shareware versions will be reflected in the game which spans only the Knee-Deep in Dead episode of the first game.
This is still a lot of content, to be honest, so I've also decided to cut back on "nifty" gameplay ideas, and keep it simple.
Now, I don't know if, from a legal standpoint, this offers any protection at all from a cease and desist order, but I guess it won't be seen as harmful as using content not freely available.
In any case, using less non-original content means it'll be easier to replace it if I ever get in trouble about it.
Onward to doing some work and posting some screenshots!
My plan now is to build a feature complete release, that is, an implementation of the game that contains most, if not all, of the planned gameplay features, leaving content generation for a latter phase.
What this means is having the game boot directly into a game map with a few items, baddies and the like scattered around, and not to worry about how the game's story is structured.
Right now I'm making a list of the essential gameplay elements that I need to hit for this feature release. Once those are decided, I'll spend time creating the needed assets (a complete tileset for the map, all the required sprites for just this release, a few items), and then I'll focus on just programming the functionality, forgetting all about content generation until I have hit the functionality-complete release milestone.
I also need to get back to the weekly blog update, if only to keep myself thinking about my projects.