It's me again with my baby! Thank you so much for clicking on this link. Now that I've got your attention, I hope that I can hold it for awhile, because I have stories to tell you, and a HUGE game for you to play. Click on the first link below and take a trip to an island full of things and such. I've been saying for years that this hack was enormous, with dozens of large and complex levels. Now you can see, for yourself, that I don't boast. You can navigate through the entire map and play any of those dozens of levels. This is a full game, if not entirely polished or completed. This is simply a snapshot of where it has progressed to this point. You can spend hours, and days, exploring everything there is to see.
On that note, fair warning: C3 is a narrow window, and I had to spend over a month, working daily, to get the last demo in a release shape. This sampler is not release shape. You may encounter wonky palettes, glitched graphics, or other things you would not find acceptable in an actual release. There is some music, but most of the levels do not have any. There should not be many such imperfections, but they are there and I just don't have the time to fix everything. You are likelier to encounter this, the further you get from the beginning of the game. That said, you should be able to play, and complete, just about every level that you can access.
Ganymede is my baby, I've poured tens of thousands of hours into this hack, with who knows how many more to come. I hope most sincerely that you find joy in these efforts. That's at least half the point of me doing this.
Wake up, go to work, pay the bills. Feed the dog. Do what you're told, so that you may steal a few moments throughout the day to do what you want. Cope. Deal. Speak to people who can't stop talking. Buy. Sell. Watch. Be angry, be happy, be sad, pass judgment, when prompted to do so. Wash, rinse, sleep, repeat.
It started off with nothing left to desire. It was just one day, exactly like any other. Another turn around the hamster wheel, another day married to routine. It was a day not dissimilar to thousands the man had already seen come and go, except for the fact that this was the day he decided he would be the one to go. Enough is enough, already. Clean break.
A thunderous squall appears on the horizon and rolls, barrel-like, over the water. Gentle waves grow into shark's teeth. And the man and his boat are all there is for them to chew upon.
The same raging sea which put the man to sleep becomes, some time later, the same gently foaming caress which brings him back to consciousness. Land ho, it appears. The coast stretches into seeming infinity in either direction. Not far away, a broken hull rests upon a rock. Splintered remains, carried by the tide, lie in the sand. He must have swam, but there wasn't much to remember in the dark and chaos. His only evidence is himself, standing here on a coast.
Leaving the wreck behind, the man sets off in search of, well, anything. It is, he reflects, a life much simplified. It is, he reflects, a life with needs fewer in number but much more demanding. A stomach needs filling. Thirst needs quenching. So, there's plenty to do. For having brushed up against death so closely, so recently, it is no small wonder that the man feels so much more vividly alive than he can remember being in a long time.
He had a map. It was just part of the process, you brought a map along with you when you got on a boat. It had been some time since he had needed to use it, but you just never know. And that was the funny thing, was that there was not any coast. Not according to the map, at least. Not for a couple of thousand nautical miles, for sure.
He felt urged to amend, there was not supposed to be any coast. But it was what it was. And since it too was where he was, might this not actually be the place? Could this be the home he left home for?
Far off in the distance, massive cliffs tower over even the red hills before which he stands. It is in that direction the man takes his first steps, in search of nothing in particular, and in no sense ready for what he is going to find.
HERE ARE THE BENEFITS YOU WILL ENJOY BY INVESTING TODAY IN GANYMEDE
THE LEVELS * denotes multiple exits
Part I: First Night a Free Man
1: Where It All Began
2: Red Steps
3: The Dying Light
4: The Stellar Reach *
5: Dunke's Wetworks
6: Back of My Eyelids
Part II: Such a Heavy Place to Be
7: The Unexamined Life
8: A Step Off the Edge
9: Now I'm Torn in Two *
(The game hereafter is split into two paths,
comprising the bulk of the game. Each of these
paths is exclusive and once you are set on either
path, you cannot return for quite a long time).
Part III: Cold As a Witch's Tit
10: Westerly Windbridge
11: Bombardier Traverse
12: No Will to Break
13: Stabbing Swords
14: Cold Shoulder
15: The Glass Knives *
16: Recidivist Ridge
17: Now the Fuse is Lit
18: Hyperborea *
19: I'm Sad, Boo Hoo
20: The Lunar Prison
Part IV: The Saga of the Low Down Let Down
21: Race a Rat or Two
22: The Sentinels *
23: Entanglement Temple
24: Brasswood Monster *
25: The Ephemeral Eaves *
26: Dance on a Pinpoint *
27: Into the Buzzsaw
28: Oppose and Destroy
29: Easterly Windbridge
30: The Soakpuddles
31: Shouting As I Go *
32: The Dreams Are Bad
Part V: The Piss-Yellow Stench of Fear
33: The Arboropolis
34: Fear For the Worst
35: A Monument to Rot
36: Sweating Skeletons
37: The Bloodvault *
38: Malicious Wounding *
39: Fairyfire Abyss
40: House of Many Teeth
41: The Rustflats *
Part VI: Compelled to Hate
42: By a Fingertip
43: The Nimbleknobs
44: Thaumaturge's Lab
45: Burn, Bleed, Break *
46: Rage and Love
47: In Need of a Savior *
Part VII: As Doomed As Everyone Else
48: A Bust in the Chops
49: Same As It Ever Was *
50: No Progress Here
51: Drink With The Fish
52: No Man is an Island
53: Do Not Fear
54: Threadbare Notch
Part VIII: All My Dreams Show What Will Come of Me
55: Halls of Scission
56: There's No God Here *
57: Eternal Tears *
58: Curvilinear Canyon *
59: Thunderstomp *
60: Many Ways to Fail
61: Chasing Clouds *
62: To Scrape a Sky
63: Chewed Up, Spit Out
64: Object Thru Object *
66: To Say The Truth
Total exits: 87
This lineup subject to change.
All levels are fully playable with the exception of "Into the Buzzsaw"
☺ 60+- complex and attractive levels loaded with secrets, hidden areas and multiple paths. Each level is meticulously crafted over the course of weeks and months, each one is huge, complex, and designed so that different play styles produce different experiences. Each level uses unique graphics and themes.
☺ A story told in images and words, with three different endings that can be earned.
☺ A beautiful world map with divergent paths and many secrets. Finding everything will require you to go everywhere.
☺ Quality gameplay. If you're not engaged, I'm wasting my time. If you are not rewarded, you are wasting your time. It will be familiar in some ways, but it should hopefully not be too familiar in any way.
☺ Extensive, and considered, use of ASM, some of which was made at my request, all of which was made by very helpful members. This wouldn't be possible without you.
Like everyone here, I'm just a person hacking an old ass game (though unlike a lot of people here, I am old enough that I was already a Mario veteran by the time Super Mario World was released. I've always been a huge fan of good 2D platformers and it has been my dream, since I was a kid, to make one of my own. Lunar Magic and SMW Central have helped me live a dream and I am forever grateful to those who have helped out in whatever way they have helped out.
I started this hack in early 2013. Though I had dabbled around with LM a few times over a few years previous, I had not made anything of note and I wasn't planning to here. I just liked turning the levels into something different and play the results. Well, after about a year, I had about 50 vanilla levels and a few pretensions about my level design ability. So, I came on here and showed off what I called Thoughtful Mario World. I released a playable demo in October 2014, and a few weeks later attempted to release it as a full hack, called Thoughtful Mario World, Part 1 (Part 2 was to be the remainder of the game). This was rejected, with advice I still refer to often, more than three years later.
I continued to work on TMW, learning how to do ExGFX and stuff, gradually improving a game I thought was mostly done. I had no real story in mind even after all this time, not even an excuse plot. And I am a storyteller at heart, so it bothered me that I had nothing to give in that regard.
Around this time, I got to hear an album by some band I hadn't heard of, and it turned out that the album is really amazing and I connected deeply with it on a personal level. It told the story of a man who became fed up with the people and the bullshit in his life and escapes it all to live in peace, far away. Having dealt with depression much of my life, and having also had experience having run away from everything I once knew, the seeds were planted. It was once I realized that the new world map I was making, had a wrecked ship at the starting area. It was a pretty big no duh moment for me, the moment when TMW became Ganymede, and Mario became the man on the boat.
Since then, I've had a clear goal in mind, and it's just a matter of doing the work necessary to produce the game I want to make. I aspire to make a hack unlike any other out there, one which is aesthetically pleasant, engaging to play, and maybe even makes you think a little when you're done playing. I want to make one of the greatest hacks this site has ever seen, and I'm patient and motivated. So buckle up, I guess.
Several people here have been instrumental in the success of this hack and directly helping me realize my vision. They are as follows:
Created a piece of ASM which increases the timer by one second for each coin collected. MarioFanGamer/MFG/Manuel/Not "Mario"
Created a fantastic patch implementing an HP system using lives as HP. Thomas
Helped alter the 100 Coin Roulette patch to include a 1UP. chinesesmw
Created additional code for the above patch so that it correctly displays the 1UP sprite. JackTheSpades
Crafted a nifty little ASM which expanded player character palette options. Ladida
Patched together a superior goal sphere
So today, I'm going to talk about some of the gameplay elements in Ganymede. It is a Super Mario World hack and the gameplay still goes in the same direction. I have not added new power ups. A lot of SMW pieces are still in there, but in different forms and for different reasons. Some elements are still yet to be implemented.
Since I am working on new graphics for the status bar, let's take a look, left to right:
There are no lives in Ganymede. You are probably going to get burned, beaten or stabbed to death quite a few times. It is a hard hack that requires skill (though it never strays into Kaizo territory). The only penalty for losing is that you have to try again.
Designed by MarioFanGamer, Ganymede has a unique and simple health system. To start, the man on the boat has a maximum HP of 5 and a starting HP of 3. In all adult forms, any damage taken reduces his HP by 2. In child form, he loses 3 HP when harmed. When he is hit while riding his stuffed friend who once was Yoshi, he will take 1 HP damage regardless of his current form.
You can regain health by finding clovers most often. A roulette wheel clover restores 2 HP. Special, usually hidden, objects restore 3 HP. There are also rare golden clovers which heal you by 5.
Ganymede has no bosses to fight, but it has four levels which are a major objective in the game and are among the most challenging the game has to offer. Also, they are all hidden and off the beaten path. Among the rewards you get for completing these gauntlet challenges is that each one raises your maximum HP by one, for a total of 9.
Your current health will influence how effective your jump attack is. Assuming you can harm an enemy with a normal jump, there is a chance that you will harmlessly bounce off instead (as if you have spun jumped off a Spiny). For each HP you have below 5 (the starting maximum) there is a 20% chance the attack will fail, all the way up to 80% at 1 HP.
The very first ASM patch Ganymede received involved the timer. Back in the day, Ganymede was still a vanilla-flavored hack called Thoughtful Mario World and I ran into my first really frustrating problem: coins are pretty pointless in Super Mario World. Why would a player bother collecting them when all you get is a useless extra life? So I thought about what could make them valuable. I decided that it would be useful if you could use them to increase the timer. So that was my first chocolate sprinkle. It makes new gameplay options open up. Not only does it make coins a collectible with a purpose, it makes coins a deadly obstacle if the timer is set to zero. Touching a coin in that state gives you one second and turns the timer on. Some levels make you have to avoid gaining time. Others make you have to turn the timer on and then it is a frantic struggle to keep it from running out. A bonus level is a full recreation of the first world of Super Mario Bros. in which you have to beat all four levels in a single go and both conditions above apply in it. I think this is more fun than forced scrolling.
The timer is going to become a more complex gameplay element still. My idea is to make it so that the timer only runs when the man is performing physical actions (walking, running, jumping, attacking, swinging or flying) and stops when he is still, falling, or riding on his friend. This will make the timer function as a stamina meter. I think this will make possible a gameplay experience unlike any other hack.
As noted above, coins are a mechanic that serve little purpose to an experienced player of vanilla SMW. One of the early goals I had was to find ways to change that, so that I could have coins in my hack and actually give the player a reason to go after them. In addition to extending the timer, collecting 100 clocks (because they look like little clocks) triggers a roulette which gives you one of five rewards.
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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.