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Tip: Remember to remove the original SMW events, both layer 2 and layer 1, when making a new overworld.Not logged in.
Posts by NewPointless
NewPointless' Profile - Posts by NewPointless
Pages: « 1 2 »
Yo I just started making a hack. You might know me from Twitch as NewPointless or from Mario Maker as NewPoint. Maybe not so much Mario Maker lol

Peace!

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NewPointless
Another problem that has been brought up is cross-genre hacks like My Little Puzzles. This is a puzzle hack with kaizo obstacles that is intended to be played with tools. It had to be submitted as kaizo: light and beaten without tools as is customary.

I myself am creating a hack with both standard and kaizo levels. I want to create what I'm passionate about, but I don't want to burden moderators with content outside their expertise.

I think the solution is tags, like others have said. I can check #Kaizo and #Standard. If anyone checks every tag to get their level at the top of search lists, that is something that can be dealt with in moderation. My Little Puzzles can check #Puzzle and #Kaizo maybe even #Tools.

Tags can also apply to the difficulty curve. We can have #Easy, #Normal, #Hard, #VeryHard, etc. Or the 6-star ranking that Dode uses. We can choose multiple difficulty tags to represent a difficulty curve or special world.

Finally, the current system can be applied to the tag system without any loss of knowledge or remoderation. A very hard hack can automatically gain the #VeryHard tag. If it deserves other tags, then remoderation can be done on it, but the issue is no more urgent than it is now.

This will also deal with the explicit segregation of the community into camps like troll (even though many non-troll hacks have trolls) and kaizo (even though many kaizo players love JUMP and recommend it highly and say it's one of the best hacks ever made).

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NewPointless
So just to clear some things up about my suggestion, I agree with gbreeze that the type field should be separate from difficulty and general tags. But to make things easier to code, and account for hybrid hacks, AND hacks with difficulty curves, we should use the tags system for each field. Just copy the tags system over to type and difficulty and change the options for each field.

What qualifies as a hack that deserves a "kaizo" or "troll" or "puzzle" type tag can be a dialogue between the community, but I suggest it deserves a tag if it's required content to complete the main game and is significant enough in length and difficulty to potentially deter players.

Edit: And this isn't about just My Little Puzzles and other fringe examples. Puzzle is a hot new meta, and trolls are no longer something that can be taken for granted in a kaizo hack. Allowing taggable types would allow creators to use this variety and still connect with players.

So some examples:

My Little Puzzles:
Type: Kaizo, Puzzle

Easy hack with a marathon final level:
Difficulty: Easy, Very Hard (or 1, 6)

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NewPointless
Make something that you would enjoy if you are the player. Be considerate of other players, but you know yourself and what you like better than anyone else. You can't please everyone, but if you make something truly enjoyable, people will I'll be attracted to that.

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NewPointless
I removed the course clear fade, text, and drum roll by doing hex edits at the following addresses:

$05CC85, $05CD79, $05CDD8, $00AF35, $00B091

The values and descriptions are in the SMW memory map.

When I applied the "Remove Status Bar" (Nuke Status Bar), I started getting a glitch where it plays a 1-up sound and flashes the "course clear" text for a short period, maybe a frame. I think these two might be related, but I'm not 100% sure.

Also, the address $00FADF seems like it might be related. Maybe this is a potential fix?

Originally posted by SMW Memory Map
Table of the various sprites Mario receives for carrying different items past the goal tape.

The table itself is divided into four 7-byte sections: P-switches and springboards will use the second section, keys will use the third, baby Yoshi will use the fourth, and anything else will use the first.
Each section is then indexed by Mario's current state, in the order: small, big, cape, fire, with star power, on Yoshi, and unused. The star power index is essentially unused, however, because the counter always gets cleared before the table gets loaded from.

If the value returned is E0-EF, Mario will receive the sprite written at $00FB50 (1-up by default). If it's F0-FF, he'll receive the sprite at $00FB54 (...also a 1-up by default). In both cases, it'll also store the lower four bits to $1594, which for a 1up, will affect the number of lives it gives (0 = 1 life, 1 = 2 lives, 2 = 3 lives, 3 = 5 lives). It's 0 in every obtainable case, though, so the feature is effectively unused.

Additionally, $00FB40 is the sprite to spawn if Mario already has the sprite in his item box (again, 1-up by default).

Lastly, you can re-enable factoring star power into the table by changing $01C0FE to EA EA EA.


I'm not good at all with ASM, so I'm not sure how to fiddle with the various values on this table using basic hex edits, so maybe someone can shine some light on this?

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NewPointless
Standard players, let me hear your voice!

Super Nothing World

Exits: 25

The hack is split into 3 worlds:
World 1: Traditional Trail, standard: hard levels
World 2: Platforming Paradise, this is sort of in between kaizo and non-kaizo
World 3: Kaizo Killing Fields, kaizo but on the easier side

Each world is OPTIONAL from the start, so kaizo players don't have to play non-kaizo, and standard players don't have to play kaizo. I have lots of kaizo players that are interested in playing the hack 100%, but I am searching for players that specialize in non-kaizo hacks that are interested in playtesting some or all of my hack.

Get ready for the razzle dazzle!





Specific feedback desired:
+Too ugly: graphics errors
+Not intuitive: weird tech
+Too blind: oops I died
+Tedious: unnecessary precision
+Too hard: bad difficulty curve
+Unclear: what is kaizo and what is non-kaizo
+Compatibility: hardlock bad
+All constructive feedback is welcome

Anyone that gives helpful feedback will be featured in the credits as a playtester. #smrpg{:D} WOW #smrpg{gasp} Above all, have fun!

Patch: https://bin.smwcentral.net/u/35216/SuperNothingWorld01.bps

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NewPointless
I added a sound effect to wiiqwertyuiop's "water level blocks" that only plays if it changes the water level state.





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NewPointless
Thanks for the amazing and detailed feedback. Only the last 2 of your screenshots are showing for me, though. I'm on Google Chrome. Perhaps your sharing settings aren't enabled?

Also if you don't mind, what console or emulator are you using, for my notes.

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NewPointless
I'm using AddMusicK 1.0.6, and I'm trying to prevent a lot of the sfx from cutting off, because of being condensed onto 2 channels instead of 3. The most likely ones seem to be entering a door and time is running out on a P switch.

So I thought to move these sfx to bank $1DF9 and move the swim sound to $1DFC. I know that this is possible because Kipernal remaps the jump and grinder sounds to different banks. Also he talks about remapping the spin jump sound in another thread, but I can't find any documentation on the ROM addresses to hex edit. I can't find anything in the disassembly, but I could be wrong.

Originally posted by Kipernal
Sort of. You can move the jump sound effect to $1DF9 if you want, which will let you play the jump sound effect and the coin sound effect at the same time. Edit the two remaps in asm/SNES/tweaks.asm under "Remap the jump SFX to $1DFC" to use whatever sound effect in whichever bank you want. You could move the spin jump sound effect too if you want, while you're at it. Change $00D64A to be the SFX number, change $00D64C to be $F9.


Also, there are some cracks and pops when changing to certain songs. Is there a fix?

Thanks

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NewPointless
Just got 5 downloads on this in the last few hours, but I just submitted this. The latest version is in the waiting files section. Thanks to everyone that supported me!

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NewPointless
Kaizo Level Design for Beginners

I've noticed a demand recently for guides on kaizo level design. So I will take a shot at this, but this is not an objective guide on the technical aspects of level design. You can find copious guides elsewhere from creators that are much more knowledgeable than me. Also, don't take any of this as rules that are set in stone. It is meant to provoke thought on subjective issues that can come up in the process of designing, testing, and releasing a hack.

Deciding on these things can save you a lot of time and headache in the long run.

KAIZO ELEMENTS
First, a short introduction on what constitutes kaizo is in order. Kaizo is a style of level design where there is one intended way to reach the goal. Often this "way" is extremely specific, down to the interactions with each sprite or platform. It is the lack of freedom that makes a level kaizo.

Some hallmarks of kaizo levels are:
+All power-ups are essential to progress (or in some cases, must be avoided to progress)
+The path to each exit is linear.
+Enemies are usually "dealt with" in a specific way.

PATCHES
Many hacks fail or go through frequent release cycles because of a lack of familiarity with common patches. A simple hex edit can change a problematic level to a great one. Please consider these patches, but also understand thoroughly what they do. Research them to see if there are issues with compatibility.

+Block Duplication Fix
+Double Spinjump Antifail
+Flight Spin Fix
+Frame Rule Patch
Code
; Checks for sprite interaction every single frame (as opposed to every other frame)
org $02A0B2    ; fireball-sprite
    db $00

org $01A7EF    ; mario-sprite
    db $00

+Free Vertical Scroll
Code
;UberASM
init:
main:
	LDA #$80
	STA $7E1406
	RTL

+Goodbye Football RNG
+Infinite Lives
Code
org $00D0D8 : NOP #3

+Instant Retry
+Level Constrain v3.0
+No Screen Scroll
+ON/OFF Double Hit fix
+Rope Fix
+Slope Pass Glitch Fix
+Spinjump Carry fix
+Sprite Ceiling Fix
+Time Up Fix
+Walljump/Note Block Glitch Fix
+Yoshi Springboard Fix


Above: Bolop is running over a room in the daunting world 8 gauntlet of Hyper 6. The underrated "Level Constrain" patch will prevent players from going over or under a level that is blocked off with impassable tiles. (Note that Hyper 6 isn't kaizo)

CHEESE
A level that can be cheesed can potentially bypass all of the intended gameplay for a level. Thoroughly playtest a level in the following ways, and don't count on other people to go over your levels with a fine tooth comb.

+Go as fast and slow as possible
+Go as far right and left as possible on every obstacle, to see if it affects spawning or camera movement
+Try to stall on sprites or layer 2 platforms to see if it breaks anything
+Try to skip every jump or platform
+Look for possibilities with every item and for carrying to different translevels
+Try to go backwards to see if it can respawn enemies that can break the intended movement through a level
+Power-ups. When you include power-ups or Yoshi, make sure they can't be kept past an intended point or used in unintended ways to bypass obstacles
+Softlocks, enable start-select in every level just in case.


Above: A player is about to eat a disco shell with a yoshi that shouldn't be in the level. The famous cheese in "Heaven" of "Kaizo 3" could have been easily avoided if yoshi and counter break were readily available. They now come packaged with instant retry.

CREATIVITY
Many designers struggle with "writer's block" and don't know how to be creative. Here are some techniques to jumpstart your creative process.

+Get an inspiration. It's a common myth that a creator that has any similarity to another creator has failed. No one can create something out of nothing. So find an influence or inspiration, but don't copy anything outright. Because why wouldn't players just play the original?

+Limit yourself. Having infinite resources doesn't expand your creativity. It impairs it. While SMW is already a very limited game, if you're struggling to be different, you can impose additional limitations. Examples would be a level that can be played normally or with P-speed, a level that only uses 1 enemy sprite, etc.

+Don't go to extremes. Creation isn't a contest to be the most creative. Creativity is a process that happens between the creator and the game, and so no gameplay or fun is actually involved. It should be a tool that is used to create something new and interesting for the player. Sacrificing gameplay for uniqueness will lead to an unsatisfying experience.

DESIGN PROCESS
Literally everyone has a different design process, but here are some things that help me:

+If you begin a level by setting out all the objects and sprites that you want to or might use, it makes it easier to create a custom palette. Once everything is spread out in a level, and you try to edit the palette, you are going to change the colors of things that are offscreen, making it very difficult to make colors that don't clash.

+Work within the limitations you have created. For me, this is mostly looking at the list of sprites in the sprite header I used, and thinking about what they do. Remember that choosing a sprite header, sprite memory setting, and working within the confines of the SMW engine are already very limiting.


Above: Foreground tiles for a grassland level are in a grid for easy palette comparison.

AUDIENCE
A well-received hack is created by someone that knows their target audience. The SMW community is made up of different audiences that have different expectations for level design. Kaizo players, in particular, will expect that certain tiles act in the same way that they do in ROM Hack Races levels or popular hacks. You can't totally control a player's expectations, but you can know the conventions of kaizo level design, like popular 1F0 tiles, death blocks, castle placement, indicators, etc.

Nevertheless, a creator that is absorbed with what someone else thinks and makes something they themselves would hate, is doomed to fail. While concessions have to be made sometimes, being authentic is usually the best policy in level design. If you create something that you think you would genuinely enjoy, if you were to play it blind, then someone will enjoy it.


Above: A snippet of some of the conventions that come with the ROM Hack Races base ROM. Some conventions are more common than others.

FUN
Fun will always be subjective. For example, some people like precision, and some people don't. However, there is one thing that we can say about fun that will help us clarify what our intentions are for a level: Fun is an interaction between the player and the game.

So there are some things we can list that have a diminished potential for fun:

+An elaborate setup that is mostly the level interacting with itself. If the player has no input, there is less potential for fun.

+Obscure, especially non-vanilla tech, that requires knowledge outside of your hack. This requires you to know your audience and what kind of tech can be expected. For example, most kaizo players can shell jump, but including required tech that is outside the scope of most players will detract from the fun. For example, double jumps don't work when falling off of a wall run when using the standard airjump.asm. Avoid setups that might lead to confusion on issues like this.

Since fun is an interaction between the player and the game, we can break this generalization down into categories.
+Gameplay, especially the inputs required to progress through a level
+Aesthetics, appreciation for graphics and music
+Puzzles, deciphering setups or using game objects in unconventional ways to progress

Other undefinable qualities that intersect with fun:
+Variety, doing the same thing over and over is tedious
+Difficulty balance, if a section is too long, or it has one trick that is way tougher than all other tricks, then players will just be going through the motions and won't have fun
+Consistency, if the player has to start over because of something outside their control, they are basically removed from the gameplay
+Blindness, if the player doesn't have any reasonable chance to clutch something out, then they are removed from the gameplay then, as well. This is expected to an extent in most kaizo hacks, but remember that a creator can't play their own hack blind. So it's best to err on the side of caution here.
+Flow, waiting is not gameplay. Level flow should be consistent, never too slow, and every wait longer than ~1 second should be optional
+Intuitiveness, if the player can't progress and they don't know why, they will get frustrated.
+Satisfaction, don't just end a level
+Interactability, use coins, animations, or sprites to respond to a player's choices


Above: A long fall between spikes is shown from the side beforehand. I also included indicator coins because I like the responsiveness and interactability of coins.

INDICATION AND GEOMETRY
Indicators are coins, on-screen text, arrows, or other graphical indicators for the player to execute a certain trick. These kinds of indicators are usually begrudgingly accepted by kaizo players. On the one hand, they prevent unfair deaths. On the other hand, they are sort of like the "Navi" of kaizo. Remember that Navi is the annoying but helpful fairy in Ocarina of Time. Some players consider indicators ugly, inconsistent, or lazy.

Far better is to telegraph a trick with level geometry. Use a low ceiling to "indicate" that a regrab is coming up. Make the player pass over a wall and spin onto a spiny on the other side instead of putting the spiny at the end of a huge, blind jump with a blue spin coin at the beginning.


Above: An annoying character from a great game. Use purely informational game elements with caution, but do not spare them when they are necessary.


Above: A regrab is forced with level geometry. Do not underestimate the importance of ceiling and walls to make movement through a level obvious.

SIMPLE AND SOLID
With so many SMW hacks out there, it's scary to think that something that took hundreds of hours will be lost to obscurity forever. In response, many creators try to set themselves apart by making something that is the "most", like the most creative, most difficult, etc.

I respect creators that do this. Without designers doing this, we wouldn't have Morsel, Worldpeace, or other mavericks in the community. However, know the risks.

+People will probably attack you as a creator if they don't understand what you are doing.
+It will be way more time-consuming to reinvent the wheel than to focus on simple platforming or standard gameplay experience.

Keep in mind that everyone playing this 30 year-old game is attracted to the core elements on SMW game design: running, jumping, and other basics of gameplay. The more you stray from these, the more unintuitive and uninviting your game becomes. IMO most hacks fail because they try to become infamous rather than respecting the player's experience.


Above: A room in Hyper 6 includes free-flying Mega Man platforms that have their timer extended with coins. Changes in physics can be refreshing, but they should be used with caution because they risk alienating the core audience. (Note that Hyper 6 isn't kaizo)

Playtesting
First, playtest your own levels. If your overworld is broken, if a level can't be completed, or the difficulty is way out of scale, then no one will play and enjoy your hack. If you don't enjoy playing your own hack, don't expect anyone else to.

Like I said above, a creator can't play their own hack blind. It's therefore important to get other opinions on level design. However, respect playtesters' time and don't expect them to grind out all of the minutiae with decheesing a level or designing fun obstacles.

Aesthetics
Some words on aesthetics. While graphics and music are, of course, subjective, there are some guidelines that need to be kept in mind when making these choices.

First, graphics:
+The background should be easily distinguishable from the foreground. Choose different tiles for the layers. Also, darkening and decreasing the saturation on the background can help with differentiation.
+When using custom graphics, the function of a tile should be obvious. For example, semisolids and passable tiles should not look similar.
+Avoid too much saturation, because of the strain on people's eyes. I prefer saturation levels of 100-140, personally.
+Balance light and dark, warm and cool. A level that is all dark or all red is not visually impressive and is harder to parse.
+Avoid overly detailed graphics. While they are very impressive at first glance, they often clash with other layers or look bad when moving.

Now, music:
+Try and match the song to the level. Some things to keep in mind are level theme like cave and grassland, as well as the speed and relative difficulty of the level.
+Retro soundtracks are known for very high-pitched sounds. Use of the noise channel, shrieking electric guitars, and piercing bells can be harsh on the ears of listeners. Note that this effect can be pronounced on certain speakers or in listeners with more sensitive high-frequency hearing.
+Don't use a short port for a long level, because it eventually gets annoying.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Well, fledgeling designers, I hope that helps. Above all, have fun! Even though designing is a big grind sometimes, it should be fun as well. A creation that was made by someone having fun shines through.

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NewPointless
Originally posted by Atari2.0
Yes, I'm here again, I'm not sure if someone still cares but...
Things are going a bit slow here for a couple reasons.
Mainly because this quarantine has been hitting me really hard lately. There's stuff going on in my life that I choose not to disclose here but that has left me pretty demotivated to do stuff, both moderation, generale site work (such as this), and other non-site related stuff. Last 2/3 weeks have been pretty rough.
I'm really sorry again for the delay. Hopefully I can get this done but this time I'm not giving any ETA because I genuinely don't know when my moon will give me a break to work on this with the right amount of willpower and attention that it deserves.


Yeah I was actually wondering what the progress was a few days ago, but take all the time you need for personal things.

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NewPointless
Yo Heraga, great job. I was stressed you might time out #smw{>_>}

The levels look beautiful.

The ports are mixed really well, have a wide sense of space, are balanced, and the tone changes on the sax part in the water level are fantastic.

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NewPointless
Spoilers for my upcoming hack:



Currently there are 76/100 rooms drafted. I hope to have a beta test ready this month. I have a certain beta tester lined up that has supported me in this project, but it will be an open beta after that. Look for the beta release on the "Hack Testing" forum and in various Discord channels.

Here's a drafted description for the hack listing:

"This is a precision hack. It's 100 screens long, and there is a checkpoint after every screen. Sections are short, but the obstacles are precise and at times extremely technical.

"I did not shy away from mechanics that are unpopular, but I did eliminate jank as thoroughly as I could. For almost every room, there are opportunities to stop and choose your own pace."

Enjoy the show. Comments are welcome. ( ^_^)

Music: Thanks to Redngreen for his Cursed Cathedral composition.

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NewPointless
Title screen letters looking HOT

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NewPointless
Those SMB2 sprites are next level

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NewPointless
I've told you before but this is going to be epic

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NewPointless
I love the old school vibes. As someone with a Super Game Boy, I don't find the palettes odd at all. It has a Super Mario Land 2 feel.

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NewPointless
Originally posted by KiloMinimo
Seems cool by what I've seen! Hope I can playtest this one too! aka be able to play lmao #smrpg{y}


I was hoping you would play test again, Kilo. It will be harder than Super Nothing World, though.

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NewPointless
Blue yoshis taking over #tb{O_O}

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NewPointless
Pages: « 1 2 »
NewPointless' Profile - Posts by NewPointless

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