Randomizing Maniac Mansion??

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Randomizing Maniac Mansion??

Post by Torvik_Zith »

So, Maniac Mansion is, hands down, my favourite game of the 8-bit era.

The other day I thought it'd be fun to play a randomized version of the game.

Then I shook my head and said that the dependancies for something like that would be a nightmare.

Then I got in the shower and thought about it some more.

Then I realized it wouldn't actually be as impossible as I thought.

Then I remembered that I don't know the first thing about coding.

Then I went to romhacking.com and asked how hard that idea would be. (They said the dependancies would be a nightmare. Then I spent an hour and listed out all the various dependancies that would need to be accounted for and included potential workarounds. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I first thought.)

Then they said start with ScummVM since they really know about that kind of stuff.

Then I came here.

And now here I am.

So, like, am I coo-coo? Is this a ridiculous task? What would be the steps in making something like that possible?

(God, I love the idea of opening the mailbox and finding the Meteor in there. Then running around the mansion trying to find the yellow key so you can get rid of the thing.)

Thanks for your thoughts and consideration!

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Re: Randomizing Maniac Mansion??

Post by OmerMor »

Can't help much, but I'm interested in seeing your dependency list.
Can you share it?

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Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:09 pm

Re: Randomizing Maniac Mansion??

Post by Torvik_Zith »

Sure thing. Let me copy/paste some of my original posts...

I was actually thinking about it in the shower today. Like, if the front door key was inside the house... Game over. (And, I'd agree: no fun.)
But if there was a zone labelled "Front of house" that covered, the opening 2 screens, and the parameters were Front Door Key had to be in "Front of House" then problem solved. ("Damn, it was in the bush this time. But the hamster was under the door mat!").
Then expand that out to the next set of locks (Pool door / Lab door / Green Tentacle landing) and all the ingredients for those doors were within "First floor" zone.
Then the last few items would just have to be negatives:
  • Glass jar cannot be in observatory
  • Can of Pepsi can't be in observatory
  • Small red key can't be inside an arcade game
  • Silver key can't be in pool area or garage
  • Wax Fruit and Fruit drinks can't be past Landing or in pool or garage
  • Anything to open the security door (tools, flashlight, radio, glowing key) can't be beyond the security door
  • Do you think the radioactive zaps from the Meteor are tied to its sprite or location? If location, then you could find him in the mailbox outside, and spend the whole game running around with him, looking for the yellow key
  • You'd have to be careful to make sure that an essential item isn't tied to giving Ed his package. If the package was in the lab (I think the radioactive suit is the only pick-up in the lab), then whatever is in the film canister's place wouldn't show up until the end of the game
  • If Book Contract was swapped for an essential item, and you weren't playing with Wendy, you'd be hooped. Contracts and developed plans would have to stay the same. (Unless there was a way to swap out one character for another. That'd be nuts.)
  • This would have to apply to just items placed in the game. If you put the manuscript in the typewriter and have Wendy work on it, you can't have it produce Canned Goods, right? Totally, because there would be no sprite for Improved Manuscript, because it doesn't get placed in the game.
  • "Ding dong". That must be my package. Nope, it's a slimy, murderous meteor with some uncanceled hamster stuck to it. (Like, what triggers Ed to pick-up the package? "If package.location = front.house then remove package"? In which case, if the postman dropped off batteries instead, Ed wouldn't pick them up, right?)
  • Since the bottle of developer fluid isn't an actual item, how would that work? It would still be on the shelf, but when you pick it up, then a dime appears under the house, which you can pick up normally. BUT in the desk drawer, there would be a puddle of developer fluid that you would need the sponge to pick-up. the sponge would turn to developer fluid like normal after picking it up.
  • Waters wouldn't change, because again, it's not a placed item. It just alters the glass jar when interacted with it.
  • Batteries would stay in the radio because they aren't placed in game; just in inventory. Quarter would stay in the envelope.
  • Make sure the paint remover wasn't in the attic. Which is easy, since there isn't an item pick-up in the attic anyways. Just the broken wires.
  • Ohhh, I always wanted to know if there was something in the locker in Fred's office (game says it's locked). I'm sure there isn't, but you'd have to make sure it's still not wired up as an item location since it's not openable.
  • For all intents and purposes, Edna's safe would be in the same zone as the observatory. Don't place anything in there needed to grow the plant, or any dimes.
  • Maybe essential items stay put. That would eliminate a pick-up happening in the lab, I believe, since the suit would be in that locker. (Although, I've never tried using the quarter on the pepsi machine. Does it produce an inventory item to be picked up?)
  • I wonder if the key card is physically under the hamster the whole time, or does it only show up after you pick it up? I bet the former.
  • Hamster guts is a placed item with its own sprite. How crazy would it be if you had to put the hamster in the mircrowave in order to get a different item?? It's like a Kinder Surprise Egg. You'll never know what's inside until you open it up! Hmmm, how many kids cannot nuke the hamster? That could cause a problem.
  • I just love the idea of the Meteor popping up in random places around the house. Behind the loose panel. On Edna's nightstand. On the dining room table.
Using the cut-scene glitch, you can by-pass Purple Tentacle. So the only REALLY essential items are:
  • the Front Door Key
  • wax fruit
  • fruit drinks
  • silver key
  • Yellow Key
  • Glowing Key
  • Key Card
  • Radioactive Suit
Would need to spend 6 minutes to rewatch that speedrun to double check that. If memory serves:
1. Get past Green (Wax fruit and fruit drinks)
2. Use hunk-o-matic (top floor)
3. Get Silver key (furnace room)
4. Get Yellow Key (Green's room)
5. Drain pool (use hunk-o-matic)
6. Get glowing key (use silver key)
7. Get key card (Ed's room)
8. Go to dungeon
9. Use Glowing Key
10. type in 0000
11. Stand just inside Purple's room
12. ring door bell to trigger cut scene
13. Walk past Purple
14. Finish game using the car (use yellow key)

Don't know if he did that all in 6 minutes, but it's a possible route, if not the shortest route.

- There's a text glitch that occurs when you open the envelope the first time. It says that it ripped and is unusable. I think in a previous build of the game, you would get that message if you tried to open it AFTER you sealed it. I believe that option had been subsequently removed, but the line of text remains and is applied the first time you open it. It'd be so gratifying to fix that. (For a number of years I would stress over not being able to mail in the demo tape because the envelope always ripped when I tried to get the quarter out. Never understood how to get around that or why it didn't affect the gameplay. Now I understand better.)

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