Zelda Randomizer + Infinite Hyrule

If you’ve followed the speedrunning scene for a while, you’re probably familiar with fcoughlin‘s Zelda Randomizer. It’s a program that can take a rom file of The Legend of Zelda and “scramble” it, in ways that the user can specify, in order to make it playable afresh, even for people who have played through it dozens of times already. It can move dungeon entrances, dungeon layouts, item locations, enemy placements and much more. And its changes can be encapsulated into a seed value so multiple people can be guaranteed of playing the same version of the game.

But for everything Zelda Randomizer can do, one thing it cannot do is change the game’s overworld. All of the familiar Zelda landmarks, the Central Lake, the Lost Woods, Spectacle Rock, and the rest, will be present and in the same places. That is where Infinite Hyrule (forum post, BitBucket) comes in. It’s a program whose purpose is to randomly create new overworlds for The Legend of Zelda, and to insert those into a rom file.

Gah, Lynels! Nice waterfall though.

I should take a moment to impress upon you how difficult that job is. There’s a good reason fcoughlin never built an overworld randomizer himself. The Legend of Zelda doesn’t store its game world in an obvious format. To get around this, Infinite Hyrule actually expands the rom file, so it can avoid the original game’s convoluted system, which stores each overworld screen as a set of links to vertical sets of tiles.

This partially explains the unusual structure of Zelda’s landscape, and why a number of structures, like the round boulders of Spectacle Rock and the dungeon entrances, are reused in multiple places: there is only room for so many vertical strips of surface tiles in the game’s ROM chips. To create a program capable of generating new overworld, a programmer must not only keep this limitation in mind, and work within its stricture, but must also follow the usual checks to ensure the game is still winnable.

Note that tree in the bottom-left

But it’s not even necessary to combine the two tools into one, for Infinite Hyrule can work work with Zelda Randomizer! You just have to make sure you use Zelda Randomizer first, and that you restrict yourself to only using certain flags. I personally find the flag string cHBRDMIhioEeNCb14OPhBo useful for mixing things up acceptably.

In addition to mixing up the overworld and maintaining the unique feel of The Legend of Zelda‘s map, it implements a few new kinds of screens, including a village with houses, and can produce a map of the generated world too. That should keep you going for quite a while. And, if you’re not 14 any more, it can even be set to reveal LoZ‘s infamous secret caves with graphical tells of their location. That’s such a nice feature if you want to explore a map in a reasonable time frame, instead of resorting to the original game’s technique of testing every square. Since, after all, none of us are 14 anymore.

Showing off the new village biome

If for some reason you want a similar treatment for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, you sadist, there is no need. The randomizer for that game can generate new overworlds without need of a separate utility. I’ve played quite a bit of that, and will tell you, if you thought the original game was hard, the randomized version can be ludicrous.

Sundry Sunday: Lore Sjöberg Rates Legend of Zelda Weapons

It’s Sunday! Time to slide another bead on the survival abacus over from the left side to the right. You don’t have a survival abacus? How do you know how many weeks you’ve lived?

As a reward for making it this far in life, I present a fourteen-year-old comedy video from internet funnyperson Lore Sjöberg, one of the two founders of earlyweb gigglesite Brunching Shuttlecocks and sole maintainer of currentday chuckleplace Bad Gods, in which he rates elfyhero actionguy Link’s various weapons in videogame adventurething The Legend of Zelda. Being 14 years old, the specific game in question is The Wind Waker, that one with the cartoon art style that most of us love now but hated back then, because most of us are bad.

This was during a short period after Brunching closed up, back in that ancient year 2008, during which he wrote and made occasional videos for WIRED Magazine, which is as surprised as anyone that it still exists.

Having to do with an old The Legend of Zelda game this fits easily within the site’s sphere of subject matter, but the secret reason I post this is I’ve been a great fan of Lore since Brunching Shuttlecocks, and more people need to see the things he’s done. Certainly a whole lot of my own allegedly-humorous writing style can be directly traced back to him.

Link Roundup 5/10/2022

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

Greetings, humans! Here is the gaming news I could glean from decrypting your internet broadcasts from my flying saucer floating above your atmosphere!

Jordan Devore, Destructoid: Rogue Legacy 2 Drops Vertigo From Its Traits List. You see, each character you play in that game is part of a lineage of characters, and they have semi-random traits. One of those traits flipped the screen upside-down during play. Or it did. Now it’s not in the game anymore!

Oisin Kunhke, Gamebyte tells us about a word-in-progress Breath of the Wild Randomizer mod!

Brad Linder of Liliputing notes of a new version of a three-key keyboard made by Stack Overflow.

Wololo (?) of Wololo (??) tells us that homebrew fans are reviving Playstation Home!

Andrew Cunningham at Ars Technica lets us know that Nvidia is facing scrutiny from the FCC for inaccurately representing how cryptocurrency mining boosted the sales of their graphics hardware.

Sam Medley of NotebookCheck tells of AltStore, a sneaky way around Apple’s App Store for distributing software they’d rather you not use. I hesitate to speculate on how long this loophole will last, but I’m no fan of hardware lockouts and use limitations, so it’s nice while it lasts!

More news from the orchard. MacRumors talks with Feral about porting games to Apple’s new M1 hardware and the difficulties it has faced with their graphics.

Always awesome Kyle Orland at Ars Technica has an article with a headline too fun to paraphrase: Eve Online fans literally cheer Microsoft Excel features at annual Fanfest.

Ian Evenden at Tom’s Hardware talks about HoloISO, a port of SteamOS 3 that fans have gotten to run on devices other than the Steam Deck. Valve hasn’t released it officially for other hardware yet!

Jay Fingas at Engadget tells us about an auction for a gold-played Wii originally intended for the Queen of England. Seems she was denied the shiny unit due to rules against gifts.

Trent Cannon of Nintendo Life reviews Prinny Presents: NIS Classics Volume 2 for Switch.

Alex Donaldson at VG247 warns us that Sonic Origins probably won’t have Sonic 3‘s original soundtrack, due to rights issues related to Michael Jackson’s involvement with the project. Sega has been hampered with music rights across several games, including the soundtrack for some ports of Crazy Taxi.

More from Ars Technica, Sam Machkovech tells us about Rifftrax: The Game!

Zoey Handley at Destructoid on Famicom Wars, the game of which the upcoming Advance Wars Reboot Camp is a distant sequel!

Rebecca Stone at Twinfinite tells us about the 10 highest-priced used Gamecube games going! Sadly none of those I still own are up there, drebnar, not even Kirby Air Ride!

Mike Wilson writing at Bloody Disgusting celebrates the 30th anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D!

Back around to Engadget, J. Trew tells us about the lengths to which players are pushing NES Tetris.

And Zoe Sottile at CNN (swanky!) notes that Ms. Pac-Man and The Legend of Zelda are being inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame.