Well, for all those who thought I couldn't get stuff done this year, I have one thing to say... "HA!"
Originally posted by Hack's Description
The 9th Annual Vanilla Level Design Contest Collab Hack of 2016 features 108 contest submissions, along with various staff, judge, and post-game levels. There are a total of 152 exits spread across 117 levels.
While the levels themselves remain vanilla, we included various other ASM features such as score displays with reset functions, as the point of this collab is showing off the individual levels, and not to be restricted by the switch palaces one has already pressed.
The overworld also features ASM shenanigans en masse, creating an experience you are sure to have never had before in a Super Mario World ROM hack.
Taking all of these aspects into consideration, this is now the largest SMW hack ever made (more than 96 levels that would not fit into a regular 4MB ROM!).
On a more personal note from my side. It has now been one year since discussion started on how to do the judging, what the base ROM should look like and whatnot, so it is fair to say that I've worked on this project for an entire year now and I can tell you. I don't ever wanna do this again
It is incredibly exhausting to say the least, and I now fully understand what S.N.N. went through doing these twice in a row. That said, while I skipped out on the whole judging thing, I on the other hand had to write a TON of ASM for this.
The most important part, of course, being the patch to allow more than than the default 96 levels accessible from the OW. After the contest itself was over and I had to start putting all the levels into the ROM, I quickly realized, I'd go nuts if I do this by hand, so I ended up writing a program for that too, for which I had to figure out the entire format of the mwl files. I think when inserting everything manually I got like 10 levels done the first week. So doing it this way was A) More fun for me. B) Actually faster in the long run.
And if that wasn't bad enough, given how over the top the overworld ended up, I actually had to recode some of our more essential patches, as they no longer worked on that OW which uses layer 3, windowing and ALL THE SPRITES.
But enough of me, I wanna take this chance to thank some people who helped A LOT during all this:
He's a guy who just doesn't know when to quit. Supposedly, the previous VLDC collab was enough to make even our beloved admin quit "for good". But sure enough, he came back with a vengeance and for once participated himself in the contest.
That aside, he was always there to help me when I had question about putting together the collab or custom music related stuffs (not to mention most of the remixes used are made by him anyway).
Especially in the final stretch of the development he was always around to give his input and thoughts on the matter.
Now Medic helped out BIG TIMES with everything ASM related. As part of the group that made the overworld he was one of the people I could talk to whenever something went wrong. Not only did he write a lot of other stuff after that for the collab, such as the event for the transition to the secret world as well as part of the effects that happen there, but he also helped me debug most of the more serious problems that would arise on the final stretch too.
The other ASM dude who was part of the team responsible for the overworld. He was also the one who wrote the code that allowed us to have the secret world on top of one of the existing submaps (7 in total now) and also helped a lot with ASM related to that, so he was the person to go to when in came to implementing the actual world.
After a long and futile search for anyone to do the graphics for the secret world, I finally got him to take the job and the graphics he delivered are just downright amazing. I don't know what I'd have done or whom I could have asked if he hadn't accepted, so thanks a lot.
You just can't find a good artist these days. With Dr. Tapeworm already being busy with the graphics for the secret world itself, I still needed someone to draw the graphics for the transition event. Unfortunately, p4plus2 quit the project so a large portion of the graphics that Skewer spend much time and effort on ended up unused. Thankfully, Medic was able to at least reuse some of them. So even if the final contribution from his side ended up being cut off a little (much), I wanted to take the chance to express my thanks for the time spend on this here if nothing else.
As one of the judges, he was basically always there to help me with certain problems and questions of what to do. He also volunteered as a beta tester, somehow... agreeing to play though ALL of these levels AGAIN. He brought in many suggestions and found tons of bugs so thank you too for your time spend here.
For sponsoring the (9). Much appreciated.
FrozenQuills and ft029
As the other 2 beta testers, who also finished this insanely large hack in record time, helped find god knows how many bugs. Plus of course managing to keep secret about all of it ;)
Magi and Dax
For the Banner... it's kinda amazing in case you couldn't tell.
So what are you even waiting for? Go ahead and download it already. I'm just waiting for something to break that none of the testers saw somehow.
~DOWNLOAD THE HACK~
~DOWNLOAD THE SPCS/TXTS~
Secret Exit and Switch Palace Guide (WIP) - spoilers ahead
In the room with the midway, climb the ledges and jump up in the middle of them to hit a block with a Yoshi. Get the Yoshi, take it further into the level past the fish. You'll hit some yellow switch blocks - just to the left of that in the water is a pipe, which you may or may not be able to see depending on your emulator. Take that to the secret exit room.
Use the Banzai Bill to get up on to the first pair of sloped platforms. Grab the springboard, then carry it a few screens to the right until you see a large upside-down piece of ground with a green bottom. Use the springboard to get up there, and grab the key. Take it back to the left (where you got the springboard), and enter the pipe. Ride the platform to the keyhole.
Shortly before the midpoint, you'll see a blue pipe covered with brown blocks, and shortly before -that-, you'll find a turn block with a P-Switch in it. Use the switch to clear the blocks and enter the pipe, which leads to a skull raft area with the key + keyhole.
Enter the first white pipe in the level. Grab the P-Switch from the turn blocks, and carry it to the end of the cave and back outside. Go left until the bullet launcher, and use a bullet as a boost to get up to the rope platform with the purple triangles. Hit the switch here, and then cross the bridge to the right to get the secret exit.
"Wood N Blocks":
Get a feather, and fly up to the pipe near the end of the level. Enter it, grab a P-Switch, and bring it back to the only white block in the level (you can walk behind it, a la SMB3). Hit the P-Switch here, and a door will appear. Enter it for the secret exit.
Enter the green pipe right after the midpoint by using the brown rotating platform. Follow the button prompts to climb the vertical sublevel, and the secret exit is at the top.
Get Yoshi partway through the first area, then use him to bounce up to the small door near the midpoint. Enter the door, hit the P-Switch, and use the Magikoopa to break the ? blocks to spawn yellow Koopas. Eat them with the baby Yoshi, then grab the key with Yoshi's tongue (note that you'll have to stomp on the yellow Koopas so you can eat the coin, shell, and shelless Koopa in order to do this fast enough before the P-Switch timer ends).
"Grove of Seclusion":
Self-explanatory: you'll come to split in the road at a stone structure. The left door is one exit, the right door is the other.
Partway through the level, you'll see a pipe blocked by six cement blocks. Use the Chucks from the ledge above to break through them, and enter the pipe to find the secret exit.
At the end of the level, carry the word "NO" to the left of the word "YES" and touch the ellipses with it.
"Green Switch Palace:"
1. Grab the baby Yoshi and eat the star.
2. Build a bridge by jumping off of Yoshi so that the shelless Koopa can cross the gap, and have him kick the green shell from the ? block into the little hole.
3. Eat the green shell and spit it through the cement blocks under the red shell.
4. Eat the red shell, and use the yellow Yoshi's stomp effect to stomp the now-moving green shell up into the turn block. This will spawn a P-Switch.
5. Grab the P-Switch with Yoshi's tongue, hit it, and jump off of Yoshi over the tall ledge and to the exit.
Ride the floating ? block near the start to the left and past the Muncher to find the key and keyhole.
At the start, fall down the first portal and go left along the coin trail. Jump up and to the left to enter a pipe that leads to the secret exit route.
"Red Switch Palace":
1. Hit an invisible note block underneath the red shell.
2. Hit the blue P-Switch so that the shell falls on the note block (or if you didn't hit the note block, you can L scroll the screen and grab the shell).
3. Throw the shell up through the Grinder so that it lands next to the shelless Koopa. Be careful that you don't kill the Koopa. He will kick it at a turn block holding a springboard.
4. Grab the springboard, carry it back to the silver P-Switch, and hit that.
5. Finally, use the springboard to go through the now-coined Munchers.
"Blue Switch Palace":
1. Grab the springboard, and use it to get the blue Yoshi down from the turn block.
2. Throw the blue Yoshi up to the ledge under the note block to spawn a mushroom (note: if the blue Yoshi eats this mushroom, you'll have to restart the puzzle).
3. Grab the mushroom, and spin jump on the block covering the blue P-Switch.
4. Carry it to the right along with the springboard, then throw the springboard up so that it slides along the sprite-only blocks. Hit the P-Switch, then bounce along the moving springboard, and break the turn block.
NOTE: This level is also used to access World X once all exits have been obtained.
"Vanilla Secret 1.5":
Enter the first orange pipe near the end of the first skull raft. Go through this area - the key is on a ledge near the end. Bring it through the pipe and keep progressing through the level. The keyhole is right at the midpoint (spin jump through the block).
1. Guide the star at the start up as high as you can without touching it. Whenever it gets blocked by a turn block, use nearby throw blocks to clear the way.
2. It should reach a point with a Chuck and a message box. Grab it, jump through the one-tile gap to kill the Chuck, then fall down the large pit and go into the pipe.
3. In the cave area: as soon as you hit the switch, the baby Yoshi on the right will fall and start eating bullets. To complete this puzzle, it can only eat a max of one bullet. L-scroll the screen, then hit the switch. Clear out both the left and right blockades, then go up the middle and hit the ? blocks but do NOT get the coins. This will form a bridge.
4. Once the P-Switch runs out, quickly grab the baby Yoshi (again, one bullet max can be eaten) and go to the left. Throw it up through the rocks until it reaches the top, fully grown. Eat the star on the left, and fall down the gap on to the bridge from before.
5. Continue along until you need to Yoshi-jump up to a tall ledge. Hit the turn blocks here, and quickly carry the springboard to the left, drop it down, mount Yoshi, and spring back up with Yoshi.
6. Grab the springboard from the right with Yoshi's tongue (the one in the wall), spit it out, and spring to the top left ledge. Eat the rock above the Goomba, then knock the Goomba up to the top. Dismount Yoshi, grab the Goomba, and throw it up at the topmost ? block to get a star.
7. Grab the star and go down the hole below, killing the Chuck. Eat the key out of the wall, and spit it through the left one-tile wide wall. Yoshi-jump over the ledge, grab the key, and take it to the keyhole.
Use the Chuck near the beginning as a boost to climb up the turn blocks. Enter the pipe and go through the linear sublevel to the key/keyhole.
At the start of the room right after the midway, you'll see dotted outline blocks to climb up the clouds when the lightning flashes. Enter the door at the top to find the key and keyhole.
In the room past the midpoint (with the black circle layer 3 effect), the keyhole is in plain sight at the end of the room. The key is above the nearby pipe - go to the right past the coins and grab it, as it is obscured by the layer 3 effect).
this level also has a devilishly-hidden Dragon Coin in the room with the midpoint. There is an arrow pointing at the wall - you can pass through this to get the coin.
When you get to the bottom of the "endless pit of death", grab the springboard but do not enter the pipe. Instead, go to the left and cross the spikes, then fall even further. Enter the door above the ON switch to shut the lights off, then progress through the level until you find the secret exit path (you'll need to solve a small P-Switch puzzle, but the route is very linear at this point).
Enter the door, and immediately drop down to the left. Pass through the skull block to enter the secret exit route, which is a throwback to VLDC7's "Hostel".
"Yellow Switch Palace":
1. Kill as few enemies as possible, and move through the level until you can obtain a shell.
2. Take the shell to the start and throw it up to get the baby Yoshi.
3. Feed the Yoshi any five enemies in the level, but be sure to leave a shell.
4. Grab the shell, and stomp the winged Goomba near the pipe to get a P-Switch. Press it to open the pipe.
The keyhole is in the narrow gap above the second dragon coin. The key is later in the level above the cloud platforms - grab it, and swim back through the level to the keyhole.
Go to the right after the midpoint and go through the pipe to the red area. Go up the platform next to you, grab the P-Switch, and go back through the pipe to the ice area. Take it back to the midpoint and press it, then go up the marked path and over the ceiling. Enter the pipe and do a short linear section to "unmelt" the key and keyhole.
"Ice Block Cavern":
Shortly after the second pipe in the level (yellow), you'll see a ? block at the bottom of the screen. Throw a throw block into the crevice to the right (towards the kicking Koopa), and it will kick it back and hit this ?, revealing the key. Take it to the beginning of the level where the keyhole is.
Since the Koopas can have a bit of trouble kicking the blue throw blocks, you can also just beat the normal exit, which spawns a silver P-Switch at the start of the level. Use this to clear out them Munchers and hit the ? block with the key.
"Sky at the Weird":
NOTE: The green switch must be pressed to get this exit.
When you reach the first rotating brown platform in the level, ride it to the bottom right of its revolution, then jump off towards the lone coin. Grab the P-Switch and go through the pipe, then go to the right and you'll see a door-shaped coin pattern. Hit the P-Switch here and enter the door. After a short underwater section, you'll be at the key and keyhole.
This secret exit is in the first area. The keyhole is located to the right of the horizontal vine near the start of the level, but you need to bring the P-Switch from further in back to build a bridge to reach it. The key is located just before the set of 4-5 turn block bridges - jump on the cement block at the top of the vine and jump over the wall to the left to reach it. You'll have to juggle a key and a P-Switch back through the level - good luck! This is likely the most frustrating secret exit in the hack, so there is an orb door at the start if you want to bypass it.
Bring the first shell in the level a few screens past where you get it and hit the ? block next to the Diggin' Chuck to get a Yoshi. Bring the Yoshi with you to get a key that is trapped inside of some cement blocks, then carry the key through the level a bit longer until you see a floating blue door above some cement blocks. Bounce up there on Yoshi and spit the key below the door to enter it. You'll find a midpoint - complete the autoscrolling room after this to reach the secret exit.
"Stadium of Plants:"
Just to the right of the midpoint are two green bars. Jump in the middle of them to find a hidden cape. Take this to the right until you reach a bunch of decorative doors with objects behind them. One of the topmost turn blocks here has a P-Switch - grab it, then fly up to the high ledge above with the green double doors, and hit it. Enter the doors, and get to the end of the autoscroll area to find the secret exit.
"Brown Block Basement":
In the room before the midpoint, there is a lone Ball 'n' Chain that is not attached to a wall. Go around the cement block it's attached to counter-clockwise to get a hidden 1-UP. This is hinted at the end of the level's normal exit. Then go to the room past the midway. If you collected the hidden 1-UP, there should be a new path over the lava to the right. Go down that way.
In this room, you'll find a P-Switch, but DON'T PRESS IT. L/R scroll the screen to get around the blocks, then bounce up to the pipe above while carrying the P-Switch. Press the P-Switch in the next room to find a new path under the rising Brown Block floor. Complete the room to get the secret exit.
"Eternal Space (TM)":
When you reach the midway, grab the Springboard floating on stars. Take it to a turn block all the way to the right, then bounce on the Springboard to hit the Turn Block which will reveal a P-Switch. Press it to reveal a third hidden door. Complete the obstacle course room to get the secret exit.