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An Untitled First Hack Showcase
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - C3 Museum - Summer 2020 - An Untitled First Hack Showcase
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Hey, everyone! So this is the first I've really posted about it on this forum, but I'd like to showcase just a little of what I've been working on as my first tiny step into hacking!

The hack's currently untitled, but I'm working with the working title 'Fleetfall' based on an earlier concept. The base idea of the hack is a main route with standard platforming levels, with an alternate/optional route unlockable in the game that leads to some entry-level Kaizo:Light levels. I wanted to make a hack that branches the interests of my friends from the Kaizo community with the interests of my friends from broader gaming, and perhaps even draw them into the hack scene with it as a breadcrumb.

So far I've completed 13 exits. Most levels are in a fairly traditional style so far, with a couple optional levels attempting to strike a balance between standard and kaizo philosophies and difficulties. I've been holding off on doing any of the full kaizo level design until I'm done with the standard, so I can properly switch fully into that style of design when I reach it.
Unfortunately, that means I can only show you screenshots from traditional levels. Sorry to the kaizo fans out there! You'll have to wait just a little longer- but I've got some real fun ideas for you to play with.

Anyways, here's some of the aesthetics and concepts I've got established so far (screenshots taken in Lunar Magic to give a little larger perspective in places):
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When it comes down to my own philosophy with the hack, all I want to do is make sure the game is fun to play from start to end. I don't care about making something hard, punishing, something people can 'prove themselves' with (though I'd be fine with it if the final Kaizo level has some level of that, so long as it's real fun to play). As such, I'm going to be going through some fairly rigorous playtesting before even coming close to submission - I don't want to fall into the same mistakes as a lot of first-time hack makers.

I'm hoping you all pick it up and have fun with it when it comes out! I certainly intend to do more after this hack, probably leaning further genre-wise into whichever route is more strongly received. I've got no release date sadly, but the main route is nearing completion!

Have a lovely day and thank you for reading this far. <3

EDIT: Fixed an inconsistency in my description!
There seems to be a lot going for this hack so far. I like your philosophy. It's the way I go with my projects. If it isn't fun, then what's the point of playing it, in my opinion. For a first step, it's definitely more competent than a lot of first starters I've seen. Keep it up! :)

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Click here to enter the world of mediocre!
Thanks so much! Yeah, I'm making an active effort to do my best at dodging all the usual first-hack misteps that I see in a lot of stuff that comes through the moderator streams. Only time will tell if I actually succeed at that, but hey, points for trying, right? :P
This looks pretty cool for a first step into SMW hacking! One thing I will say though is that some of the palettes have very high contrast colors next to one another (levels that use the underground tiles tend to suffer from this) and the ExGFX might stick out like a sore thumb when compared to the mostly vanilla levels its surrounded by. But you're still learning so by all means keep experimenting and having fun with this hack!
Originally posted by Samantha
This looks pretty cool for a first step into SMW hacking! One thing I will say though is that some of the palettes have very high contrast colors next to one another (levels that use the underground tiles tend to suffer from this) and the ExGFX might stick out like a sore thumb when compared to the mostly vanilla levels its surrounded by. But you're still learning so by all means keep experimenting and having fun with this hack!


Is this referencing the cityscape level particularly? That's a fair point- I spent a lotta time trying to figure out how to make the cityscape exGFX as seamless with the vanilla GFX as I could, but it feels like SMW's vanilla graphics have such a specific style. Would you suggest working on the city's palette as a solution?
Is it even a First Hack Thread if there isn't minor Table Stretching due to the images? #smrpg{haha}

Anyways I quite like some of the setups that I can see in the screenshots. I enjoy Skull Ride levels a lot if they manage to keep the player busy when they are not standing on them.
I wish you the best of luck with your project and I hope you'll have more to showcase soon. #smrpg{y}
It didn't occur to me that this is your first hack. It looks quite varied in the level design department. But aside from the very high contrast on palettes, I'd also point out spots such as the one in the underwater level that would require tanking a hit. I feel the difficulty is also a bit inconsistent - it goes from a flat, SMB1-styled level to suddenly nearing the kaizo lite area, though I guess that's what you're intending after all.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out in the end. Good luck, and yeah, be sure to get some testers!
Looks Nice Keep it Up :D

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My Youtube Channel
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Thanks for the kind words folks! #smrpg{<3} This has been something I've been putting a fair bit of thought into, since I want my first outing to be at least worth playing and enjoying.

Originally posted by Katerpie
I'd also point out spots such as the one in the underwater level that would require tanking a hit. I feel the difficulty is also a bit inconsistent - it goes from a flat, SMB1-styled level to suddenly nearing the kaizo lite area, though I guess that's what you're intending after all.


There's no required hits in that water level, I'm not sure what you're referring to?
Otherwise, yeah, what your seeing in that set of screenshots is a mix of the main route's levels and some of the optional levels (the kaizo lite ones) that lead to the kaizo-proper route in the hack. The kaizo part of the hack is fairly hidden though, it's going to take some legitimate effort and searching to reach it, so nobody's going to accidentally stumble on levels beyond their skillset/difficulty tastes.

That said, in the main route, there's a lil bit of a curve to the difficulty in the platforming (one of the major things I'm hoping that testing will help keep smooth), but I'm avoiding any crazy kaizo-esque setups and tricks. That first screenshot is quite literally the first level, and intentionally has very sensible basic SMB1-esque platforming for the most part, since I want it to be a nice little intro/warmup to the game for friends and family who've not played a Mario game in years.

Overall, one of my main desires with the hack is to use it as a breadcrumb to get my non-SMW friends interested in this great community by showing them just a little of what we have to offer at a level that they might find approachable ^^



EDIT:
I thought I'd take the opportunity to share the overworld for World 1! I'm keeping with using the vanilla GFX for this, though

I'd love to talk about replacing that Ghost House with a fancier-lookin' one (its effectively the castle of the first world) if someone were willing to help me out with that. I know the area around the lake is a bit blocky, and I'm planning to possibly polish that up to make it look just a tad more natural, but yeah! This is all still baby steps for me, effectively just a playground to try things out at this stage, before I polish it into something for public play.
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There's no required hits in that water level, I'm not sure what you're referring to?

I meant more in the sense of how it's mandatory for you to squeeze through the tight corridor above to get to the P-switch, which is something big Mario cannot do. No clue how generous you are with powerups, though.

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The kaizo part of the hack is fairly hidden though, it's going to take some legitimate effort and searching to reach it, so nobody's going to accidentally stumble on levels beyond their skillset/difficulty tastes.

That sounds fair enough.
Man you certainly got that VIP-like palette style going on there. I dig it!

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Originally posted by Katerpie

I meant more in the sense of how it's mandatory for you to squeeze through the tight corridor above to get to the P-switch, which is something big Mario cannot do. No clue how generous you are with powerups, though.


Ah! Right, yes- there is a single opportunity to get a powerup significantly earlier in the level (there's no powerup retention between levels since this is built on the RHR baseROM), so a required hit may certainly be a possibility there in the current design. Perhaps I should add an alternate P-switch that requires big Mario #wario{._.}

Originally posted by Daizo Dee Von
Man you certainly got that VIP-like palette style going on there. I dig it!


Thanks!! I'm not sure how to take peoples' mixed thoughts on palette here, honestly, and what I should do to remedy them ^^'
The only thing in these screenshots that I find unapeeling is some of the palettes of the cave levels. Some of those colors are a bit too bright, and make a bad contast on darker shades of the same hue.
But thats an easy fix and opinions is kinda subjective. Overall, seems like a decent hack, which most first hacks aren't. Good luck!


PS: I personaly think contrast is only bad between the same hue, as in, a big diference in brightness within the same color. The city level is fine. And this is just my opinion.
I think the city and underwater level palettes are ok, but in other situations, I would make use of Lunar Magic's ability to generate a gradient over a range of colors in order to set a more appealing palette to the stuff that looks off. It should say right in the palette editor how to perform this trick. The palettes used in the foreground will fade dark (left) to light (right) between colors 2-7 with the exception of grass: 2-4 are used for dirt and 5 and 6 are used for grass. I'd strongly recommend not leaving the lava purple if layer 1 and 2's ground is all purple and blue. Try a fierce orange to yellow fade.

The castles, caves, and city level designs look fine to me, and I'm on the fence about the grassland (latter half where the slope meets the ground bugs me for interaction-related reasons.) I do have a concern about the beach: it has a "small Mario bias" (meaning you can only get in there small) and you only have one chance to get the P-switch. The cleanest way to remedy this would be both to increase the height of the way to the P-switch (add another turn block too) and you could add several more turn blocks or insert Sonikku's new item capsule with a shell, shown in his C3 thread, to have infinite chances to get in. With limited chances, though, giving the player another way around the sealed route is ideal, or you could add some sort of reset to the puzzle by reentering the level.

Just look above you...
If it's something that can be stopped, then just try to stop it!
I will say that the palette in the various purple/blue caves is intentionally a little higher contrast, but if that's an objectively bad decision, I can definitely look into making some changes to soften things up.

EDIT: Currently updating that Layer 2 cave level to try what was suggested by Counterfeit, will post in this message when I finish it

EDIT 2:

Do people reckon this fixes the issues with the caves?
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Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - C3 Museum - Summer 2020 - An Untitled First Hack Showcase

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