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Uses for coins in hacks without lives
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rip 100 threads

I decided to replace lives by a death counter in my hack, as lives aren't that interesting of a mechanic if you think hard about it. However, that leaves coins without a purpose. In levels, coins are great not only as rewards, but as movement indicators and such, and I'm sure everyone's used to design Mario levels with them in mind and everyone who plays hacks is very used to encountering them as well.
My hack has a 4-digit coin counter, which allows them to be used as currency. That opens up a lot of possibilities, a lot of which maybe haven't been explored by the mainstream hacking niche.

What do you think are interesting ways to use coins in a hack without lives? To start, I'll share some of the ideas I have for my own project. Of course, my ideas are limited to their usage as currency; there are other ways to use them (off the top of my head I can quickly think of this one).

-Purchasing game upgrades in general in store-like levels, much like JUMP did with dragon coins. One I imagined that's not in the JUMP games is a "drone", which allows you to scroll the camera in the main map and have a peek on the areas you haven't explored yet.
-Purchasing powerups, but not in stores - you know, you can always go in a level, get a powerup and leave, right? Those may be more useful if they're placed in taunting spots in the middle of hard levels.
You can use coins for a "x coins to pass" block barrier. I saw that in a lot of hacks. Not interesting, I know.
I just took a quick look at the blocks section and there are far better ways than just farming lives; special coins, shop blocks, and so forth. It's just to deviate from the old, boring and nonchalant Mario way.
There are also shell-collectible coins you can utilize and merge with the dragon coin system JUMP had.
Brutal Mario's later demos had the idea of aping Donkey Kong Country 2's hint system and Super Princess Peach's upgrade system, even if the Vivian's Shop system was never fully complete (Level Ups only raise the level counter iirc). It's more complex to code due to requiring patches and whatnot, but I feel like that direction would be a good idea. JUMP and JUMP 1/2 also handle the upgrade system far better than Brutal, much like how you described (Brutal's upgrades are mostly LR scrolling, flight, invincibility in every level...) but use Dragon Coins instead of regular coins and score/EXP.

Shop blocks always felt very lazy to me due to being able to go in and out of levels easily. I'd either remove the ability to Start-Select to farm powerups (somehow making it so your powerup status in the OW is only updated by level clear or death) or just use shop blocks for special powerups like the powerup patch gizmos, a la SMB3's Toad Houses, maybe find a way to combine it with overworld UberASM to make Toad Houses that update every few levels beaten? Something that would make for a mix of rationing your supplies and coins whilst also not making it too unfair for newcomers, kinda like SMB3?

Adding some extra coins to incentivize exploration would be nice too, Red Coins that add 5 to the total, Blue Coins that add 10. Simple stuff to code and carol did make Dragon Coins add 5 coins a piece in the 1-1 demo. You could also punish players by making it so that you lose coins with death, much like in Odyssey, this would add an element of risk to the coin stockpiling method.


im gay and a lion. I AM VERY POOR PROGRAMMER !!!
pixel art no hoper. transcriptions on a hot tin ear.
There are some shop type of patch/block

Super Mario Pants World
Luigi's Lost Levels
New Super Mario Pants World
Some just don't bother and use coins for decorations, guides and p-switches.

However, if you still to give coins a use then you like want either a 3 Digit or 4-6 Digit Coin Counter.

Now the implementation diverges as the sky is the limit. Here is a list of a possible uses:
  • Sonic / SM64 styled: Unlike Mario, Sonic can collect more than 100 rings per level but loses them after a death or beating the level (and getting hit, of course, but that doesn't need to be implemented here). In fact, the idea isn't totally new to the Mario series as the 3D Marios up to including SMG2 also keep track of your coins for the current level only and you can get more than 100 of them. While rings / coins still give you lives in these games, they also keep track of your coin count when you finish the level so you can use for a high score hunt.
    SMG/2 expand this idea with the inclusion of Gourmet Luma in which you pay them star bits (both games) or even coins in SMG2 (with an added challenge that you can't die) for some Gourmet Luma which either leads you to an alternate path (outside of Good Egg Galaxy, star 2 in which it's the main path) or a shop with either a 1up or a live shroom (6 HP instead of 3).
  • Odyssey styled: This one requires at least four digits: Coins are used for shops (e.g. global powerups à la JUMP but shopping for an inventory like SMB3 / NSMBW also might work) but each death penalises you by the loss of some coins. You can also use them to unlock more levels, see below.
  • A combination also works: SADX/2B and SMG/2 collect all your rings / star bits / coins from the beaten level into a "bank" aka the global ring / star bits / coin count which then can be used in a shop (Chao Garden black marked in SADX/2B) but also use them (in this case, star bits) to pay a (sometimes hefty) sum for a bonus level (both games) or alternate path (SMG2 only).

Edit: Some improvements.

Okay, my layout looks ugly.
Figuring out how to raise the value of coins has been one of my foundational goals as a hack maker. The three NES games did a better job of giving the player a reason to collect coins not specifically in the player's path. SMW is an easier and simpler game than its predecessor, in my opinion, and coins are pretty much worthless to someone with even mediocre skills.

I'm also a fan of gameplay - story integration, and I'm making a hack involving a survival situation. So, without going into a ton of detail, I have made the timer a much bigger passive element. Some levels require you to take your time a bit more and explore in a not entirely linear way. Others emphasize fast action and speed. Coins are the currency used to give the player a way to increase the timer for these purposes, and thus, the player will (especially as the game progresses) come to naturally value coins and more actively seek them out. In my hack, you can press a button combo to 'spend' the coins on increasing the timer, but you have to be careful, because you will lose all your coins if you take damage or die. Also, sprinting (not running) and swimming make the timer deplete more quickly.

So, naturally, you will want to consume them as soon as possible, right?

Well, actually, you might not want to do that, because not only do coins literally buy you time, they also serve as a consumable resource. Spin jumping (which, in my hack, is higher than a regular jump), fireballs and cape spinning all consume 1 or 2 coins each. So the player will sometimes have to decide between having more time, more maneuvering/offensive capability, all the while facing the possibility of taking a hit and losing both options.

tl;dr with the use of a few scripts, rather than being a useless distraction with little benefit to the player, coins can become a seriously vital gameplay element that makes both the player and the hack designer have to value their presence and be more thoughtful about how to use them.
SMWC members who have helped make Ganymede the hack I want it to be
random idea: make coin increase timer by one, and put initial time limit low, idk, 200?. Another one is using coins to heal HP if you use any sort of HP system.


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