When Jeremy (Phantom Menace) and Jarrod (War Lord) started working on Zelda Classic 13 years ago, I'm sure they had no idea how much it would take off -- that it would become the most popular Allegro project of all time, that it would be featured on TechTV and Home of the Underdogs, or that its fans would create hundreds of custom quests, many rivaling the official 2D Zelda games in quality. To help distribute and publicize their game, they and some of their friends created the Armageddon Games "company" and started this forum; the ZC splash screen has featured the AGN logo since.
However in recent years War Lord, much like most of the original members of AGN, has become very busy in real life; in a recent discussion with ctrl-alt-delete, he indicated that he no longer has the time to remain Zelda Classic's official custodian, and has asked us to take two steps to ensure that ZC continues to develop and thrive: open the ZC source, and revamp zeldaclassic.com to serve as an official home for continued ZC development.
What follows is our plan for implementing these wishes. Before I get into the details, I want to acknowledge that the proposed changes will be somewhat controversial. However, we've shared this plan with both the current developers and Phantom Menace, and recently with the forum staff as well, and hope we've addressed the most serious concerns. While the precise impact these changes will have is impossible to predict, I honestly believe they are in the best interests of the project in the long term, and will breathe new life into ZC and its community; I am therefore excited to announce that the ZC 2.50 release will be accompanied by the release of (most of) its source code under the GPL, accompanied by a switch to open development, and that we are launching a revamp of zeldaclassic.com to get it ready to be the hub of this development.
Let me be more specific about what this means, and what it does not:
- Development of ZC 2.50 will not be affected. All of the changes I'm discussing here will take effect when 2.50 is released.
- Your old password-protected quests will remain protected, to the extent they are now. The opened version of 2.50 will have its quest decryption keys stripped out; what this means is that old quests, and new quests built with the "official" zquest binary, will play only on the "official" zc player. Quests saved in the open zquest will play on both the open and "official" player.
- Dark Nation and his chosen minions will remain the developers of the "official" Zelda Classic, and will have final say over what changes get committed to the official code repository.
- You will be free to browse the source code, compile it, and if you so desire, submit patches to the developers for inclusion in newer versions of ZC.
- You will be free to make a new version (fork) of ZC, provided that you publicly release the source code to your new version. Of course, we would hope that you would instead contribute to official development, rather than splintering off your own version.
- You are free, and encouraged, to port ZC to new platforms, such as the PSP, Android, etc.
We hope to turn zeldaclassic.com into the hub for ZC's future, open development. We want to add to the site the official repository; the scripts and wiki currently hosted on shardstorm; a professional bug-tracker like Bugzilla; an improved QDB that is more easy to search and upload files to; and a modernized layout. To do all of this we will need your help! If you have a vision for what the site should look like or what features it should have, please let us know! If you're a web developer, designer, or artist and would like to help us build or maintain a worthy new home for Zelda Classic, we could definitely use your skills! And as always, feel free to reply here with any questions, thoughts, or suggestions.