Tip: You can use Lunar Magic's Overworld Layer 3 Editing system to edit or create your own layer 3 images (castle bricks, fish, rocks) and apply unique effects per level via the Layer 3 Bypass in the main editor.
For a bit of context, I started in the hacking scene in 2008, but I lost interest mid 2011, because of my lack of experience with things like blocks and sprites. So, after all that time has passed, and after having played some great hacks (in this period that I was inactive), I tried to mess up around with the Lunar Magic. And thus, this hack was born.
There are some hacks that I played while I was inactive: Brutal Mario, The Second Reality Project series, Keytasthrope (Remake), Super Wakana Land, Sicari Remastered, Luigi Misadventures 2 and few other hacks I don't remember very well.
Yeah, I didn't play too much mario hacks, but I played a lot of platforming games like Shovel Knight, Castlevania, Ganbare Goemon, Super Mario All Stars, Sonic (I still have to play Mania); Sparkster, Gargoyle's Quest, Actraiser, Mega Man classic and X, Magical'n Pop, DoReMi Fantasy, Earthworm Jim, Wario Land, Donkey Kong Country, Kirby, Kid Dracula, Getsu Fuuma Den, Aladdin (SNES/MD), Magical Quest (Mickey), Metroid (and IGAvanias too) and a few others. My point here is that I LOVE platformers, but I never risked to do a SMW hack, that is, until this year...
A lot of things that I learned don't come only from the hacks that I played, but from kaizos that I saw other people streaming like Invictus, Not Dracula Castle, Grand Poo World 2 (I even watched it being played at Games Done Quick), Quickie World, Ryu World, Super DGR World. So while I came back recently, I also watched a lot of stuff related to SMW Hacking. It's amazing how the resources, hacksand tools have evolved with the passing of time.
My objective with this hack is to create a challenging game, not kaizo-like, but still rewarding. I want to pay homage to these platforms game that I played. Since this is my first hack (that I'm giving my all), I'm very open to suggestions and constructive critics.
ABOUT THE HACK
Like I said, this is my first real attempt to make a fun challenging very hard hack. But before I talk about the hack and stuff about the level design, I would like to introduce my original characters:
This is Aeron, a goofy mage knight that is very powerful and well-intentioned, but also lazy, sassy and reckless. He loses his magic (also, his grimoire too) when is sent to a strange dimension,. He's attached to details and kinda methodic.
This is Natsumi, a serious hot-blooded shinobi. She always has to deal with all the mess that Aeron does. Act like a older sister figure to him. Carries a dagger that can freeze its enemies.
The story is very simple: Aeron and Natsumi are sent to a strange dimension and now must find a way to return back to their home, Windovastia. I'm not a great storytelling, so I'll be focusing on a more humorous and light narrative.
THE CURVE OF DIFFICULTY AND LEVEL DESIGN
This is the second level of my hack. Football Wastelands. Or at least, half of it. I wanted to create a level that is very "busy" and that player doesn't want to stop too much. My ideia of difficult is to make a very hard. Compared to other hacks there won't be "worlds" or anything like that, but each stage will have its own gimmick or theme.
I combined four different graphics to create this stage: Bubble Crab background + parallax, Mario Maker 2 Desert (SMW), Mr.Pixelator Desert Tileset and Super Mario World stars. While I don't know how the level holds up, I think I did a nice job with the aesthetics of it.
This background I ripped straight from Castlevania : Dracula X. It's the Clock Tower, where you can face Death or Carmilla, depending if Richter saved Anette or not. Since this is a very specific rip, I don't plan to post this on SMWCentral, at least for now. I plan to make my own Clock Tower level for this hack.
MAIN OVERWORLD AND SUBMAPS
An adventure won't be complete with a nice looking map, right? Here is the current overworld of my hack.
MAIN MAP: ARCHIPELAGO OF CONFUSION
This mysterious archipelago will make the protagonist confused, since he will have to turn around and try to find his way in this place. With a lot of icebergs in his way, it's very hard to traverse the ocean.
Stage 0 : Seaside Resort - It's a tutorial level. I will expand it very soon, it'll have all the new mechanics that I'll put in the levels.
Stage 1: Moody Blues - A mountainous level where you need to descend. My first attempt in making a level focused on exploration and puzzles.
Stage 2: Football Wastelands - A desert / wasteland filled with evil soccer and foot balls, also, a lot of chucks will try to stop our protagonist progress. In the second half, Aeron will traverse some deadly ruins.
Stage 3: Midnight Glacier - An ice level with cute penguins, saws and fuzzies trying to kill the player. The second half is an athletic cave level.
Stage 4: The Magic Library - A magical place where the laws of space and time are kinda distorted.
Stage 11: Limbo Lakeside - A lake level.
Stage 12: Atlantic Fortress - A ruined subterranean aquatic fortress.
Stage 13: Black Muncher Docks - A subterranean port where the pirates hide. It also contains a portal that lead to the Underworld.
Stage 18: The Giant Bridge - A bridge level that indicates that the adventure is near to a end.
Stage 19: Palace of Vortex - A castle / switch palace level that will open a new path to the player.
Submap 1 : Mt. Mutsu
An oriental submap mixed with snow theme.
Stage 5: Haunted Fields - A spooky bamboo field level.
Stage 6: Log Bridge Road - A feudal field level.
Stage 7: The Mystical Garden - A sakura garden, forest-like level.
Stage 8: Road of Mt. Mutsu - A snow level filled with danger.
Stage 9: Gorgeous My Stage - A threatre-like castle protected by a Ninji Clan.
Stage 10: Freezefrozen Woods - An icy forest.
Submap 2: The Underworld
A mysterious place with evil energy lurking from it.
Stage 14: Crysta Blue - A mysterious city in the underground. The second half is a place filled with a lot of crystals.
Stage 15: Decadent Courtyard - Ruins of a castle that is filled with pure evil.
Stage 16: The Cursed Clock Tower - A devious mechanical level with a lot of mechanical traps and nasty enemies.
Stage 17: Underworld Forest - A hostile place with lava and a mysterious forest.
Submap 3: ?????
Stage 20: Magician's Tower. It's the final level.
Here's some extra screenshots from the levels that I made and other things, as well:
Yes, yes, I know. I didn't draw the player sprites (it will use 32 x 32 player patch), but that will take some time. For now, I will focus on the level design itself. So I guess that's it for now.
DEMO 1: -coming soon-
OBS: Sorry about the bad grammar, English is not my first language.
So, I finished a new boss for the hack. This will be the boss that will be waiting in the end of my Magic Library level. And speaking of the lore of my hack, this will be like a trial, where the main character needs to pass, so he can obtain a powerful artifact.
Inspired by Final Fantasy IV and V. The page numbers and the background itself makes a reference to the Ancient Library location from FFV. There the players must traverse a library filled with magic monsters. Those beasts have page number as names.
The theme of each room and the music are reference to the Four Archfiends. Earth, for example, represents Scarmiglione, and since the boss itself is an undead, I put some dry bones to represent that. Water and Wind are self-explanatory. Fire starts with Mario being healed in reference of Cagnazzo, since he heals the party before fighting the heroes from FFIV.
Around 20 levels. Each level will have a gimmick and a different theme. I will also make homage to some of my favorite games in some of them. Currently, I'm still writing the story / lore / cutscenes and drawing the player sprites, but very soon, I'll make the first playable demo. My aim is to make a very hard hack with a good amount of challenge and platforming.
Well, thanks for the feedback, Koopster. Sorry for the late response, I was very busy that I even forgot to reply in the thread.
Here's a small update. I changed the palette and background of the Seaside Resort. And I started the creation of the first level of the hack : Moody Blues. Will be a more calm level with a bit of exploration and puzzle-solving. I was testing more the tileset of Demon's Crest with the background, so the level design in the final version may change drastically.
Well, that's it for now. I'm too busy with C3 stuff and studying hard in EAD, so I'll have to freeze the hack for now.
Interesting, your hack is pretty unique, it's impressive how you used many GFX on Football Wasteland, what an unfortunate you can't work on your hack for now, really want to see the final result and play it, great work
-------------------- hello 🙂
Anorakun SMW Graphics Moderator Mr. Game and Watch
Sorry for not posting too much about my hack, I was very busy with a lot of stuff, and that includes moderating stuff, but believe me, the Graphics Section now is good, so I can focus better in my hack.
Here's a sneak peak of my character Aeron, drawn by my friend Crywolfe. He does some amazing pixel art, so if you can, be sure to follow him on twitter. So far, he made five frames : small Mario walking, idle and two running frames. Colors are not final.
Good taste in tilesets and I like the improvement you made to the Seaside Resort. Much more atmospheric. Those submaps are also mighty fine. The boss battle is a great homage to one of the more overlooked Final Fantasies.
Now, I am always glad for OCs in SMW hacks. I don't believe I have seen a colored version of your concept art, but looking at the details on the sprite, the mask looks perfect in large form. The hat does deviate a bit from the source in that it is larger, but looks great regardless; suiting of a magician. The emblem on his hat can probably be done in 4 pixels: if it appears chunky, making one row or both rows "redder" than they appear to be in the concept image will soften it considerably and leave it seeming round. As minor of a detail as it is, I feel that the hat is probably as important for defining your mascot as his face (or in this case, mask.) I do think the mantle should appear more relaxed and just drape down in the standing pose, but form like that is good for running.
I do not like the body, because it is solid blue and does not carry over any characteristics of his costume such as the striped pants (with a light shade, probably one stripe per leg can neatly fit in) and as small as the boots are, it still should be possible to create a buckle-like strap with a few dark, perhaps anti-aliased pixels. The shape of big Mario is a fine base, but the torso is not going to be expressed in many frames with his arms up. (Admitably, it is not my favorite idle posture, but I digress.) I feel the small Mario base doesn't work at all for Aeron since it's legless. What is fortunate is that this character is so early in the art stages that if it is desired to further detail the body, it is still possible and convenient to detail a frame that is intended as a base or reference for the rest of them to come out easier.
This is a ton of work and your friend is doing a wonderful favor. He has a great portfolio, though I assume these forced size constraints are a new sort of challenge for him. He does pretty well with limited colors so I think he can pull this off!
Just look above you... If it's something that can be stopped, then just try to stop it!
Anorakun SMW Graphics Moderator Mr. Game and Watch
Thanks for the feedback, Counterfeit. I was very busy lately, so I didn't made any level progress or something like that. But your suggestions about the player sprite were sent to my friend. I already talked with him, but he's a tad busy right now. But yeah, I'll talk for him to add a bit more of details to the Big Mario sprites. As for the small Mario one, I prefer it to stay SMW-like. I'll define the colors once all the poses are finished. Thanks for the compliments and critiques,really appreciated.