(Carol's Super Duper Christmas Championship Extravaganza)
In honor of WispFollower's
He has earned the coveted prize.
Now it's time to inspire envy
amongst his peers.
A Grand Ole Prize
When AtariAge user Chris "WispFollower" Dean beat all other participants to the crown on the Christmas Carol vs. The World! Championship, he won more than bragging rights. He won a truly unique, bespoke edition of the Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents game, with alterations designed by himself!
All Things Considered
During our design session, I was keenly aware that Chris' ideas were not random thoughts or spontaneous notions brought up in conversation—he had clearly spent time carefully considering the form of his special game edition. The contest grand prize's pitch called for a single customization, which had to be implemented in a few short weeks. Therefore, it made perfect sense for him to provide multiple options from which we could pick the most workable one.
- Well I had just a couple ideas, and I thought I would run them by you
- If it is too much to ask, I understand. Just wanted to see what you thought
- No problem, go for it.
One Rank To Rule Them All
One thing I learned during my conversations with Chris is that he is a gamer. He loves a great challenge, and will actively seek one. Not satisfied with merely reaching the highest ranking in Christmas Carol, he worked hard to achieve the Perfect Christmas bonus, and harder still to roll over the score display. Such is his competitive streak.
It should then come as no surprise that the first modification he requested for his special game edition was a mode in which the entire game is played at the highest difficulty. At the press of a button, he asked, the game should start at Stage #1, while squarely engaged in the Master Elf rank. He called this the Elf-Knight Master mode.
- I also had an idea if it wasn't too much trouble.. Maybe there could be an "Elf-Knight Master" mode.
- It could start from level one at master level.
- If you haven't guessed already, I love challenging games
- Yes I can see that!
New Level, Old Tricks
Not sure of the technical feasibility of his request, Chris asked alternatively for a new level maze. This would be no ordinary level, it would have to provide enough challenge for his gaming skills, yet still be fun and interesting. For inspiration, he suggested the name Elf-Knight Arena, which evoked wide open spaces where Carol the Elf-Knight and the Evil Snowman could battle for survival.
- I was interested in one of the examples such as an extra maze level
- I'm not sure how much trouble it is to do this, but if we can include the extra level, I was hoping for this setup: The startup menu could allow you to choose classic carol, classic carol + extra level included, Elf-Knight Master Mode, and Elf-Knight Master Mode + extra level.
- I don't want you to think I am asking too much, I just wanted to run my ideas by you
- No, no no... That's all fine. I welcome all these ideas.
- Here's the thing, it may not be feasible to have 9 mazes. If this were the case, would it be OK to have one of the normal ones replaced by a custom one? I mean, you would have: classic carol, classic carol with one changed level, Elf-Knight Master Mode, and Elf-Knight Master Mode with one changed level?
- Oh defintely!
- OK. Like I said before, I'll look into adding the ninth level, but fall back on just modifying one if not.
- Sounds good.
- If we had to, which level would you want to have replaced?
- I think Candy Cove
A World Of Color
Another alternative that Chris suggested was that of changing the colors of the sprites. He thought it would be fun, and true to the whimsical nature of the game, to have each character's avatar changed to fit a custom palette of his design. That way, it would be obvious to anybody watching him play that this was no off-the-shelf Christmas Carol edition, but a personalized one, in which the colors were hand-selected by Chris.
- The only other idea I could want to implement is perhaps different color ghosts, snowmen, and carols in each mode
- But again, if it is too much to ask, I understand
- Changing the colours should be simple.
- I'll tell you what: I'll do some quick colour tests this week and send you some screenshots for you to check. It may be that the colours are not appropriate.
- Sounds good
What's In A Game?
So which, if any, of Chris' requests made it into his final customized copy of Christmas Carol? They all sounded like terrific ideas, and none of them posed any significant technical challenges to implement. Of course, after discussing with him some minor limitations, disclaimers, and potential technical pitfalls, it was ultimately up to me as the game designer to make a final decision.
Well, you can imagine Chris' excitement when I agreed to all of his requests! Now christened the Elf-Knight Edition, this special version of the game would contain the new Elf-Knight Master mode, an additional maze and stage dubbed the Elf-Knight Arena, and some custom color changes throughout the game.
And the special customizations did not stop there. Throughout implementation, I came up with additional features to enhance Chris' experience while playing his game. Among these are an extended arrangement of the title/credit sequence, a new introduction sequence for the new stage, and an alternate end-game sequence where Carol gets knighted for saving Christmas by Santa Claus himself!
In all, the Elf-Knight Edition is more than a collection of customizations, but truly an alternate edition of the adventure, where Carol not only gets to explore an exciting new cavern, but is awarded the special crown of the Elf-Knight Master as she is knighted for her hard and difficult trek.
Chris Dean, Grand Master Elf of The Elite Elf Squad