This is the story of a boy who seeks adventure and fun.
Why do kids seek adventure and fun? Part of it is that kids are just naturally wired to do that. But, another part of it is contrast; the grass is always greener somewhere else. If life appears to suck, it is a natural instinct to dream of a place where it doesn't, and to want to go and find it. Even if it isn't real.
For this boy, life could be better. This is not the first time noises from his parents' bedroom have roused him awake.
It used to be that, at times, weird noises came from their room, but this noise is a lot more familiar and relatable, and his first thought is that he's glad they are shouting at each other, because that meant that, if he stayed out of the way, neither of them would shout at him. That's just how it was these days, and it just kept getting worse and worse. Now, he couldn't even take a nap and get away from it.
So, maybe, the boy thinks, he really ought to get away from it.
Before he has time to stop himself, he's already out and into the pouring rain. He doesn't have anywhere in mind, and it really doesn't matter, does it? He could go wherever he wanted, and no one would miss him. What's more, he wouldn't miss them, either. And so, he wandered, in search of nothing, until finally, the rain ceases and so do his wanderings.
He has made his way to the edge of the sea, and it makes him think of the painting above his bed, with its bad ass sailor holding his own in a hurricane against the worst Mother Nature had to throw at him. The boat docked nearby makes it almost seem like fate and Mother Nature appeared to not be in a fighting mood at the moment. And so, it was in no general direction that the boy sailed.
For a brief time, the clouds clear and reveal a dazzling night sky, full of stars and constellations. Miles from anywhere and going who knows where, such a sight could only be witnessed by an adventurous seafarer such as himself. He enjoys it as long as he can.
And that is not very long. Because, without warning, the storm reignites all around the boy and his boat. Thunder stomps the seas into churning chaos as the squall blows in every direction at once. The boat is tossed, turned, and tumbled before a bolt of lightning strikes, smashing it to a great many smithereens.
When he awakens, many hours have passed, and it is the blinding stare of the sun into which he opens his eyes. He doesn't know where he is, or how, exactly, he survived to ponder the question. Maybe it doesn't matter. What matters is that he's here, apparently to stay.
A silhouette looms in the distance, which he recognizes as a lighthouse. It is tall and old, and looks like it has not been used in a long time. It is there he decides to go first. How cool it would be to live in a lighthouse! It's the adventure he was seeking, in any case.
But the funny thing about adventure is that adventure is dangerous. No going to the fridge for a drink, no stopping in the convenience store for a hot dog. No warm bed to snuggle in at night, no fan to keep you cool. Living like a kid is one way to learn some adult lessons. It seems certain that, by the time he makes it to the lighthouse, he will be relieved to finally find safety and maybe he will be wondering if this wasn't a big mistake after all.
Several truly righteous dudes here have been instrumental in the success of this hack and directly helping me realize my vision. They are as follows:
Full credits list for ASM and music can be found in the hack itself.
I'm thinking I might touch up some of the earlier levels and put up a patch, because I'd really love for people to play it and get some feedback. I'm dedicated to finishing one way or another.
Funny thing is, I'm not really very experienced with hacking, and what I did took me a couple of years to figure out. I haven't even attempted to alter the world map (other than change the level names) both because I care a lot more about level design, and because it seems a lot harder to do. The bulk of my experience comes from designing Mario levels on pen and paper starting when I was in elementary school.
I think my biggest accomplishments yet lie ahead of me. I have a novel (about a chief of police who has a past as a pedophile) to finish writing, a hack to complete, and I'm currently doing my homework in regards to opening a restaurant in three or four years, after the family and I move to Washington state.
I've been lurking here for a couple of years and dabbled in hacking, off and on, for much of the time. I am, at present, working on a hack called Thoughtful Mario World, which will eventually be a full game's worth of re-designed levels and is currently complete up through Forest of Illusion 4. Having occurred to me that I had enough of a product to actually show it off, I thought it was time I quit lurking.
I'm here to play, and (hopefully) be played.
I also write for pleasure and for business, read books, enjoy perfecting my homemade pizzas, do a little digital art here and there, engage in politics, smoke the 420 and enjoy life.
This is the only time I've encountered something that I want to do, and have not found a way to do using Lunar Magic alone. I know absolutely nothing about even things like adding blocks. I haven't seen the need to, yet. That being said, I'm pretty ignorant about that kind of stuff at the moment.
What I would like to do is make it so that coins add to the timer, the way that green Yoshi berries add 20 seconds. Ideally, collecting a coin would extend time by one second. I would also like, if possible, to make it so that coins collected from blocks gave two seconds each, since it takes a bit more effort to collect them this way. This would be a way of making coins more meaningful to get, and to add a strategic component to coin placement. Collecting coins would pay off in bigger scores at the end of easier levels, and could also be a way of keeping a tight timer at bay in harder levels. It could also be used for the player to "buy" time to explore larger levels at greater leisure.
It doesn't seem like it would be a very complicated thing to do, but I have no idea where to even start. Any help would be very appreciated.
My thanks for the sentiments are late but no less appreciated for it. I promise! I'm really glad you guys like it so far.
So, I'm a bit behind my stated schedule. I have been hard at work on this, in between everything else (I'm getting married tomorrow). Being that I want to release this for public consumption, I wanted to go over my earlier levels and tune them up, fix little broken things and so on.
Here's a handful more. It won't be long now until it's playable. I promise! Again!
I want to thank K3fka for his/her help in writing a script for me that adds a second onto the timer for each coin collected.
The level once known as Vanilla Secret 1. I think I mistakenly identified another level as that. Anyway, it's a haunted mine level. I virtually entirely redesigned it recently because I hated how it originally looked.
I'm not much of a planner, usually. I sometimes start a level with a specific idea, but in general, I'm far more of a spitballer. I might sometimes just toss a few random objects and arrange them in different ways, just to see what I get. Most of the levels I make happen this way. I usually end up liking what I get.
I don't make my hacks super hard, and I try to use powerups and other rewards as an incentive to go different places.
I agree with others, that a game like this is traditionally pretty linear. I try to make sure that (most of) my levels can be played this way, if that's what the player prefers. However, exploration can be fun. Certainly, I like to go through levels and see everything, once I've beaten them a time or two, and honestly, anybody who aspires to make a hack should want to do this. If you never read, you'll never be much of a writer.
I do have a few rules that I try to follow:
1. Try, as much as possible, to minimize making the player stop moving.
2. Make exploration optional most of the time, but offer good incentives for players who wish to look around.
2. Try to make it fair. I hate blind jumps and I hate it when a player has options closed to them right away because of something they had to do beforehand, that they didn't know they had to do. If a part of the level requires flight, even if it's an optional part, there will be a feather somewhere in the level (but you might have to look for it).
3. I work on levels in segments first. I set up a set of obstacles and I test it to make sure that the set is both playable and interesting. Then, once I have a level full of segments, I test the entire level to make sure that the segments flow together well.
4. Testing is very important. Play your levels thoroughly. I end up testing each of mine probably a couple of dozen times each.
I really like what I see. Both the level design and the creative use of graphics are very impressive. A lot of times, hackers will have a lot going on in their levels, but I don't see random placement. I see thought put into the placement of enemies and obstacles.
Okay, seriously and for real: I am about to make it go live. All of the levels are done (at least, all of the levels that will appear in the first part). I just have a little bit of tweaking and testing to do. It should be just another day or two.
Since it is just one part of two (the second will have every level replaced), it will end after Roy's castle. Worlds 6 and 7, and the Special Star World levels will not yet be playable. However, there will be rewards awaiting those who make it all the way to these points in the game.
I'm really excited at the prospect of other people playing, and hopefully enjoying, this hack.
Thanks. The palettes are all I've changed on the overworld, actually. I find the overworld editor a great deal less intuitive than the level editor, and I've never gotten comfortable with it. Every time I've tried to toy with the overworld, I've ended up wrecking it. I want to do another hack one day, and devote the time to learning how to edit the overworld and toy with ASM (another aspect of hacking that has confounded me), but for this one, I've just worried about making levels.
This looks simply stunning, like it's beyond the capabilities of the hardware it's actually made to run on. I don't usually care much for graphics, but these are really special. And, it looks fun to play.
I'm happy to present Thoughtful Mario World, my first semi-finished project. It is a hack that doesn't stray very far from choconilla, though there are a handful of mostly bugfix hacks.
This hack has no real story to it (I mean, there are really only so many plausible ways to spin the "save Princess MacGuffin" angle), and my approach has mostly to create a "Lost Levels" sort of experience. It plays very much like the original, with a few wrinkles. There are no special blocks or enemies or power-ups. The only new element is that collecting coins extends the timer, so I've made coin collection more important than it otherwise is. I've tried to apply what I think of as sound level design philosophy, keeping true to the style of classic Mario games. I think that a good Mario level is like a big playground, and that's what I've tried to make.
There are 65 exits currently. I didn't really do anything to the overworld map, so basically, worlds 1-5 and the Star World levels are complete, and there are rewards for finding these temporary choke points. I'm going to take a break before I continue, but I do intend to finish the entire game at some relatively near future time.
A big thanks to K3fka and Vitor Vilela for their invaluable assistance here.
Here are some screens of levels from the first two worlds. You can see many more by going to my WIP thread here.
I've been tinkering off and on for a couple of years, and I have two previous hacks that I abandoned after significant progress. It wasn't until a couple of months ago that I thought I might be making something decent and made an effort to really improve.
When I make aquatic levels, I always make it so that a significant portion of the level is not underwater. I do actually enjoy making a swimming level, and I don't mind them when they're made well, but even so, shorter is better.
Thanks for the feedback! I can't wait to see your walkthrough, that's very exciting.
I did know about the palette issues in the intro levels, and I agree that it is not attractive. I didn't know what to do about it, honestly, though I have an idea for a workaround I can do in the final release that I didn't have before.
I should note that there is at least one mistake I did not catch in my testing: in the Bombardier Traverse level (which replaces Vanilla Secret 2) I accidentally have the midway entrance spawn you right in the middle of an enemy. This isn't gamebreaking, but certainly annoying. I did all the playtesting myself, and I was pretty thorough, but there are undoubtedly a handful of other little things like that I didn't catch. I would appreciate it if those who give it a try let me know of any other areas of concern you encounter.