Tip: Don't overwrite the status bar colors (right half of palette 0 and 1).
Tip: Remember that level 104 (Yoshi's House) will be used during the ending.
Tip: Don't use secret exits in a vertical level.
Tip: A good time limit is the average time it takes [b]you[/b] to complete your level + 100.
Tip: Avoid putting more than a single 1-UP in a level.
Tip: You can draw more event tiles under the default Layer 2 Event tiles on the overworld for custom use!
Tip: Make sure that ALL exit-enabled pipes, doors, etc. lead somewhere, or else they'll take you to level 0 (the glitchy bonus room).
Tip: When making your overworld, mix the terrain up! Angled land and multiple colors looks much more interesting than square land and plain colors.
Tip: When using custom music, do not set the music bypass to 00 in a level with a switch/star; it will endlessly loop.
Tip: Remember to remove the original SMW events when making a new overworld.
Tip: Only use a few different kinds of enemies per level. Overdoing it can make your level feel disjointed and clunky.
Tip: Don't place Yoshi coins near a goal post because they keep glowing when a level fades out.
Tip: Bad things to do in the title demo: Enter a door or a pipe, get a star or an item in your box, press a switch, and of course, die.
Tip: Don't use savestates when testing your own levels.
Tip: Don't use too many sprites on the same screen. This will cause slowdown and frustration to the player.
Tip: Don't use glitched graphics. No excuses.
Tip: Add decorations to the overworld. Don't leave large empty grass or sea regions.
Tip: Don't make levels perfectly linear; add bonus areas or make multiple paths.
Tip: Layer 3 backgrounds disappear when you hit a message box, so plan around that.
Tip: Press Ctrl+Del before making a new level.
Tip: Don't just modify the original SMW overworld; start from scratch.
Tip: Make a backup of your hack before using any external tools on it.
Tip: Read Lunar Magic's help file and SMW Central FAQ, as they cover most of the basics of hacking.
Tip: Ask the author for permission before ripping graphics from their hack.
Tip: Try not to use the exact same background more than once or twice in a row.
Tip: Don't put levels in overworlds that don't match (like a snowy level in a desert).
Tip: Create a fair "difficulty curve" - that is, start off easy and then get gradually more difficult as the hack progresses.
Tip: Unique level names aren't necessary, but they're a plus.
Tip: Even though good graphics may make people interested in your hack, what really counts is how fun it is to play.
Tip: Try to make a hack that is both hard enough to be challenging and easy enough to be fun.
Tip: There's a fine line between difficult and unfair. Avoid the latter.
Tip: Press F2 on the level editor to see sub-screen boundaries. This will help you avoid glitching Dragon Coins by putting them on the sub-screen boundaries.
Tip: Don't put carryable tileset-specific sprites near pipes; the player can bring them down, and they will be permenantly stunned and possibly have glitched graphics.
Tip: Test your levels as all forms of Mario (Small, Big, Cape, Fire).
Tip: Palettes 0-3 do not work correctly on the overworld unless you use LM's option to disable the event reveal animation.
Tip: Try running your hack on various SNES emulators to see if anything is incompatible.
Tip: Verify that your hack's IPS patch is functioning correctly before submitting it.
Tip: Don't remake levels from other Mario games, especially popular ones. (SMB1/3 1-1, for example)
Tip: Read all of the tips by looking here.
Tip: Proofread your message boxes for spelling and grammar mistakes.
Tip: Keep your graphics within a specific style. Don't mix cartoony sprites with detailed and realistic back/foregrounds!
Tip: The first column of the palettes list is the transparency. Don't change it.
Tip: Take advantage of easy to implement ASM hacks that can be found in the ROM map.
Tip: Make reasonable bonus rooms. Do NOT put 10 moons in a row.
Tip: Fix any errors you see before any demos; "I'll fix it later" isn't a good excuse.
Tip: A power-up is most useful to a player shortly after the midway point.
Tip: Coins and Dragon Coins guide your player through the level and mark progress. Don't forget to place them!
Tip: Don't put a coin over a question block. It will create an invisible solid block above the ? block if the block is hit first.
Tip: Use palettes that don't burn the eyes. A blazing bright yellow and a night-black are not pleasant.
Tip: Don't make Mario die after cutting the goal tape. Fake exits are not cool.
Tip: Don't replace the first two Map 16 FG Pages with ExGFX.
Tip: Avoid blind jumps. If the player has to jump down a random hole to proceed with no indication at all that they can go down there, you've done something wrong!
Tip: If you give the player a cape, be sure they can't cheat and fly over the level with it!
Tip: The lowest row of 16x16 tiles in a level do not appear. Avoid having a low platform that looks like a bottomless pit.
Tip: Take advantage of easy to install Patches in your hack. The Fade Fix patch should be considered if you use custom palettes for your BG.
Tip: Take advantage of easy to install Patches in your hack. Both of the Classic Pirahna Plant Fix patches should be considered if you are going to use Classic Pirahna Plants in your hack.
Tip: If you disable the Spin Jump, do not put Yoshi into your hack. The only way to dismount Yoshi, aside from getting hit, is to spin jump.
Tip: Try sketching out ideas for overworlds and levels. Even if they don't manage to fit into Lunar Magic completely, at least you have a base to work from, instead of doing it all from scratch.
Tip: Keep in mind that the maximum size for an ExAnimation ExGFX file is 16 by 13 tiles, rather than 16 by 8 tiles like you would expect.
Tip: The "No More Sprite Tile Limits" patch does NOT increase the limit for the amount of sprites onscreen at once.
Tip: Keep track of ALL patches and hex edits in case you need to transfer your data to a new ROM. It's definitely worth the trouble.
Tip: It's recommended to use this when ripping GFX.
Tip: Don't test your hack and then make a patch. Make a patch first, patch it to a clean ROM, and then test that. This way, you are testing both the hack AND the patch.
Tip: If you edit level 0, make sure you also edit level 100 to look the same. Both of them are used for the bonus game.
Tip: Before asking for help on the forums, make sure you've tried to figure out the problem on your own first.
Tip: Always check for updated files in the database by sorting them by "Date" in the various sections.
Tip: Don't edit the 8x8 tile of the upper right hand corner of the sideways walking Koopa Troopa in GFX01 (unless you want your coin sparkles to glitch out).
Tip: Try making new backgrounds using SMW's existing graphics. For example, if you have a hilly BG, rearrange it to make it look more unique.
Tip: Check for glitched graphics in all frames of an object or sprite (i.e., the ON/OFF block changing, etc...).
Tip: Never put a Hammer Brothers Sprite near lava. After being killed, it will still throw hammers until it sinks or goes off-screen.
Tip: Make secret exits hard to find.
Tip: Avoid making large, flat, boring stretches of land. Vary up the architecture and spritework in your levels.
Tip: If you use custom music, make sure your ROM has been expanded to at least 1MB.
Tip: ExAnimation also works on sprites!
Tip: You can edit the properties of the original sprites using Tweaker.
Tip: Make sure you can beat your own levels without savestates, slowdown, or rewinding.
Tip: Don't put a Goal Tape in a vertical level. It won't work.
Tip: Create a thread for your hack in the Works in Progress once you have enough screenshots/videos to show.
Tip: ALWAYS test anything that you've made before submitting it to SMW Central.
Tip: Read the F.A.Q before/after registering.
Tip: You can use the File Bin to upload screenshots, videos, etc. of your hack.
Tip: Check the Documents Section. Tutorials and other useful information can be found there.
Tip: Check this thread to find extremely useful diagrams and data.
Tip: Check this thread for a list of SMW sound effects.
Tip: This thread contains data you might find helpful when coding.
Tip: If you're using the wall-running purple triangles in your hack, remember to put tile 1EB underneath it or it will glitch.
Tip: Avoid "item babysitting". Do not force the player to drag P-Switches or springboards all around the level. This is not fun, nor does it make for interesting "puzzles".
Tip: If you plan on making long levels, be sure to include multiple midway points. A patch for this can be found in the Patches section.
Tip: Use BlockTool Super Deluxe to insert custom blocks into your hack.
Tip: Use SpriteTool to insert custom sprites into your hack.
Tip: You can use the SMW Customizer to edit tons of misc. features in SMW, including the speed of Bullet Bills, how many points a 3-UP moon gives you, and more!
Tip: Use the Iggy/Larry Battle Tools to edit Iggy/Larry's platform.
Tip: Check out the Current Contests & Events forum to participate in any hacking contests that may be going on.
Tip: You can insert custom sprites on the overworld by using Overworld SpriteTool.
Tip: Verify your ROM is unedited by using ROMclean.
Tip: You can use Terra Stripe to edit the layer 3 images in SMW (such as the windows, rocks, or fish). You can even import your own layer 3 images with it!
Tip: Do you want to create custom blocks, but have little to no experience with ASM? Use Kipernal's Blockreator!
Tip: Stay up-to-date with new tool and resource releases on the SMW hacking scene by viewing this forum.