Video Ad for Chase Bliss Audio

We are proud to announce that a video advertisement was made with (almost only) Solarus. It’s an ad that parodies Zelda, and promotes Dark World, the new guitar pedal by Chase Bliss Audio. The pedal was released on November 19th, 2018.

The video

Credits:

The context

Joel Korte, Chase Bliss Audio creator was looking for someone who could create a Zelda theme trailer for their new guitar pedal, Dark World, named in honour to the second world map of our beloved game A Link to the Past, the best SNES game by a huge margin, and maybe the best video game ever made too (at least for us at Solarus, but if you follow us, you may have noticed we really like this game more than anything, right ?).

Gil Assayas, who made the beautiful trailer music, contacted us first. Since I was free at the moment, I agreed to work on the project. We began to talk about this at the end of September. I was busy at the time, so I told Joel and Gil that I would begin to work on the video at the end of October. This would have given me 2 to 3 weeks, which would have been rather comfortable. However, the other projects I work on took me more time than planned, and eventually I had only 6-7 days to make to entire video! Very short, indeed. We lowered our ambitions without diluting the initial concept, and in the end I had just enough time to finish before the trailer release date!

The execution

Since the time frame was very short, the quickest way to startup the project was duplicating our current project, A Link to the Dream, the incoming Solarus-made Link’s Awakening remake. The Solarus engine is well advanced and already allows you to create Action-RPG à la A Link to the Past, also called Zelda-like, almost out of the box. So, with a complete and functional engine entirely dedicated to making Zelda-like games, all I had to do was making assets for a game, and record me playing it in a video. I used the development version of Solarus, which was 1.6 at the time, and not publicly available yet.

Gil Assayas had already made a beautiful rendition of the famous Dark World music theme from A Link to the Past. His music was used as the breadcrumb trail to build the scenes of the video. I began with the beginning of the video, then the end, then filled up until no more time was left.

What I had to do:

  1. Fork the project in Git
  2. Drawing pixel art for logos, the pedal, custom entities (Aseprite)
  3. Drawing Joel’s character animated sprite (Aseprite)
  4. Scripting in Lua (code) the logo, title screen and other non-playable scenes (Solarus)
  5. Making maps (Solarus)
  6. Record everything into videos (OBS)
  7. Cut and edit (Adobe After Effects)

The Gitlab project

I simply forked our current Zelda project into my own repository. This is accessible on GitLab at the address https://gitlab.com/oclero/darkworld, for those interested. The project already contains much code and assets. It was solid foundations to build upon. I only modified what was necessary. The game is playable. Just open it with Solarus.

 

Yes, the game is playable. Try it yourself if you want.

Logos

I began with Chase Bliss Audio, and coded an animation a bit like the old Game Boy startup screen. It was quite easy to make.

Chase Bliss logo in pixel art.

Next, I made the ending screen, with the Dark World logo, and a pixel art rendition of the guitar pedal. Drawing the pedal was rather hard and long: one day. Animating everything with Lua code is easier and quicker.

The pedal’s sprite in pixel art.

Dark World logo in pixel art.

Next is the recreation of A Link to the Past famous title screen. I looked for the original pictures of the background, and changed the colours to fit the Dark World colours. I was working at the time of a basic recreation of the ALTTP logo with Solarus to add it to our ALTTP resource pack, so it was the perfect time to finish the work. The animation of the water was made with a shader, a new feature in Solarus 1.6.

Title screen.

Sprites

Joel wanted to avoid to use Link’s sprite because, of course, copyright issues. So he sent me pictures of himself as a basis to create a little character that looks like him. Sprites in ALTTP are 24*24 pixels. Making a few pixels look like him was hard but I am quite proud of the result, very Nintendo-esque and cartoony.

Link’s sprite has dozen of animation cycles (walking, swimming, fighting, etc.) so to save time, I only drew the necessary ones:

  • Walking (left, top, right, bottom directions)
  • Stopped (when the character is not moving)
  • Brandishing (when the character brandishes the item he gets at the end)

Joel’s walking animation.

Maps

Solarus Quest Editor makes this an easy task, though quite long. Placing tiles is very simple and intuitive with or map editor. However, getting a nice looking map is harder since it has to look ‘natural’: i.e. no symmetries, no horizontal or vertical lines of trees, etc. It must not feel artificial. I created some custom tiles for the dungeon entrance: statues with guitars, guitar heads, amp stacks. Initially, I planned to made a more detailed entrance but time was running out.

Dungeon entrance full map.

Forest map, without the fog effect (added with Solarus).

Recording screen

Simple: I just recorded myself playing the game. The game’s resolution is the HD resolution (1920*1080 pixels) divided by 4, so I recorded only the game window, in the highest quality available. I could have written a script to make the hero automatically move, but it would have been longer to directly record myself. I made a few attempts to get the perfect take though.

Editing

There is almost no editing since everything is done with Solarus: transitions, scenes, etc. I just used the video and enlarged it to HD and added Gil’s marvellous music on it. A simpler app than After Effects would have been equivalent in this process, since no VFX are added.

Conclusion

And that’s all! Actually it is a full week of word, from 9am to 12pm, non-stop, to be in time. It was nice to work with people who share love for The Legend of Zelda series.

Solarus on Snap Store and Ubuntu Software Center

Solarus is finally available on Snap Store and Ubuntu Software Center. Installing Solarus has never been easier! Thanks to Alex Gleason.

On Ubuntu

Search for Solarus in the Software Center and install it from here.

Click on Install.

 

On other Linux distros

Get it from the Snap Store

First, ensure you have snapd installed. If not, install it with your package manager. It should be something like:

sudo apt install snapd

Then, install Solarus.

sudo snap install solarus

Solarus has moved to Gitlab

With the recent purchase of Github by Microsoft, the Solarus Team has decided to leave Github. We choose its alternative Gitlab, which we already know because we used it to secretly develop our last mini-game Mercuris Chess, in April last year.

All the projects are still on Github for the moment, but in a read-only state. If you want to contribute, the code is now here on Gitlab : https://gitlab.com/solarus-games.

Be sure nothing will change, since Gitlab is almost identical. Development will work exactly as before.

See you soon!

English release for Zelda XD2: Mercuris Chess

Who said it was too late? It’s never too late!

Exactly one year after the original release of the sequel to our first parodic game, we are proud to finally offer an to the English speakers the opportunity to play our game in an all-English version. The translation wasn’t easy : the original French release contains multiple references to French-speaking culture (Comic groups Les Nuls, Les Inconnus, cult movies like Cité de la peur and OSS 117 à Rio, and of course the beloved cult TV show Kaamelott).

As a direct sequel (the story begins only months after the first episode), the overworld is expanded, the story is extended and the funny tone is kept, if not bettered!

Click here to download the game

The game is longer than the first episode: it has 2 dungeons, and lots of side-quests and secrets everywhere, and also features silly PNJs all around the overworld. Be sure to speak to every one to not miss a joke! The estimated game duration is 7-12h of playing.

We hope that you will enjoy our little game. Have fun!

Solarus Press Kit

As you may have noticed, Solarus recently got some spotlight thanks to several websites. PC Gamer made a interview of Christopho and talked about Solarus in a really good article.

Since several websites may want to talk about Solarus, we made a press kit so it’s easy for them to gather logos, Editor screenshots and more. It’s here.

Situation Review for Solarus projects

This summer, the Solarus Team has been working hard on multiple projects in parallel. On the French website, The Legend of Zelda: Mercuris’ Chest is the one we talk the most, although screenshots are rarer these days. However, this is not the only project that makes progess currently. It is now the time to unravel what we want to achieve in the near future. You might follow Chris on his Twitter account or Youtube streamings. If so, you already know some news.

The Legend of Zelda: Mercuris’ Chest

This is Solarus Team’s flagship. It is an ambitious project, with a deep story, a huge overworld and lots of dungeons. The story is written, the mapping is progressing. Newlink created a lot of new sprites and tiles for this project, including a custom Link. Here is a screenshot of a very important village in the game, but we can’t tell you more!

The Legend of Zelda: Oni-Link Begins Solarus Edition

Following Return of the Hylian Solarus Edition, this is the remake of Vincent Jouillat’s second game. Lately, we have progressed a lot on this remake, during live-streaming nights. We can estimate that 40% is done. Although all the enemy sprites, NPC sprites, and Oni-Link sprites are done, there is still a lot of mapping to do. We had the secret hope of releasing it on August 12th (Vincent’s games birthdays) but we choose to not rush it and take time, without giving up the other projects.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – A Link to the Dream

It is a remake of Link’s Awakening in A Link to the Past graphical style. This project was stopped a few years ago, but since a few weeks a born again from its ashes. It looks very promising.

This is Binbin’s project (Zeldaforce webmaster). He is almost a member of the Solarus Team, actually he is the author of our French speaking website, so we can say he’s in the team! The Solarus Team is helping him to get this project done as soon as possible.

You will find more information (French-speaking) on his website.

Children of Solarus

For once, let’s take a break from The Legend of Zelda series, and let’s take a look at what is our security belt against obvious copyright issues. As you may know, using A Link to the Past assets is not allowed, neither making and distributing your own The Legend of Zelda game. So Diarandor works hard to create 100% free assets (Creative Commons): graphics and sound/music, without any reference to The Legend of Zelda series. The result is Children of Solarus, a 100% free and open-source version of Mystery of Solarus DX.

This screenshot is not from the game, but from a test project used by Diarandor to develop graphics and scripts. The game will have several changes and enhancements from Mystery of Solarus DX. Diarandor is currently working on the outside overworld tileset. As soon as this is ready for mapping, Chris will begin making the maps and will live-stream it.

Solarus Quest Editor

Solarus Quest Editor Logo

If you see more and more projects using Solarus, that is because each Solarus iteration brings a lot of new features, and Solarus Quest Editor becomes easier and easier to use. We are working on the next Solarus version (Solarus 1.6), whose main new feature will be a functionality that mappers dream of: autotiles! This functionality enabled automatic generation of walls around a room, for example. RPG Maker users should already know this feature well.

The goal is to make dungeon creation very easy: just draw the ground, and corresponding borders and walls are automatically added.

A new Solarus website and tutorial

As you might have seen, this current website is a bit bulky and old. Moreover, the written tutorials (originally made by Renkineko) are also old and sometimes deprecated. We want to give Solarus a more professional looking website. The wiki will be dropped, in favor of a Grav-like tutorial, made with Grav, just like the new website. The benefit of using Grav over WordPress is easy versioning of pages, because it is based on a markdown file-system instead of a database.

English translation for XD 2: Mercuris Chess

On April 1st, we released the sequel to MoS XD. However, it is still only available in French. In order to translate it to other languages, we need English first. It’ll be a tough task because a lot of jokes are references to French pop culture (cult movies for instance). There are lots of dialogs by funny NPCs all around the overworld. If you can help us, don’t hesitate! Come over chat with us on Gitter.

 

And… that’s all for today!

Zelda Mercuris Chess is out !

The incredible just happened.

Today we are able to offer you, and waaaaaay before the announced release date of 2023, the final version of our new Zelda game: Mercuris Chess !

This is not without some emotion and proudness that we give you the opportunity to download our creation from now.

 

 

Download Zelda Mercuris Chess (full game)

Caution:
French only, Windows only (for the moment)

This ultimate version was made with long development nights, intense mapping, lots of coffee and Schoko-bons. We hope that you will enjoy this new 2D adventure which will make you travel through marvelous lands, wander complex dungeons and perhaps evoke some memories.

Some of you may have guessed that a release was close, since Christopho published regularly screenshots of the game on his Twitter account since the begining of the year. Tell us, if you were right !

Don’t hesitate to give us your appreciation in the comments or on the forum about this new adventure that closes years and years of work and passion.

Last but not least, we have to pay hommage to the whole Solarus Team who worked relentlessly on this crazy project. We can be proud of what we accomplished, guys ! Thank you all for the Game Jam memories, and congratulations for finishing this project.

See you and have fun !

Solarus official Gitter

We created an official Gitter chat for things about Solarus. For the moment, there is only one room, the default one. Gitter is a popular chat whose benefit is being tighly linked to Github, and where you can write directly in markdown. If necessary, we will create more rooms for each projects.

Solarus official Gitter

Git repositories ownership change

https://github.com/solarus-games

Previously, the Git repositories were owned by christopho, our team leader. Please note that now, they have been transfered to solarus-games official Github account. Update your links according to the new adresse if needed.