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Super Mario: Star Seeker
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - C3 Museum - Winter 2021 - Super Mario: Star Seeker
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This isn't the first 2D Collect a Thon (the flash game Super Mario 63 comes to my mind) but this is the first SMW hack which is a proper implementation of a Collect a Thon (Tahi's CLDC level doesn't count). That being said, I'm not really a fan of the mission styled gameplay (even though I played SM64DS and Vexx in my childhood) and would have prefered a more Banjo Kazooie / Super Mario Odyssey styled progression. Nonetheless, nice demo!

Something what I wonder is whether you will incoorperate multiple sublevels for the levels. I know there is the sand castle but it's a linear challenge and not an extension to the outside part.

Originally posted by Mariotag1
Really neat idea!
I've kinda wanted to see something akin to a metroidvania Mario for a while now. But this is gonna be great too!
(Also, sorry if I'm coming off as a bit too light or something. I've been tired lately.)

K3fka already mentioned that this is a Collect a Thon and not a Metroidvania as Metroidvanias have got an ability based progress but Collect a Thons have got a progress through collectables. They might incoorperate some elements (e.g. the !-switches in SM64, though they were lifted from SMW) and some are even real Metroidvanias (such as Banjo Tooie where you not only need to find abilities to get into the next level but also return to old levels to get remaining Jiggies as well as the levels are connected to each other) but Star Seeker lacks all of it (as for now).

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Okay, my layout looks ugly.
Yeah, was probably a misspeak on my part.
I was more expressing my interest in metroidvania style, while at the same time, I'm not sure what to call this game style.
Also, you said you played Vexx? It's one of those games I've wondered about for a while tbh.

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Please pardon the eye.
This is more like a SNES version of Super Mario 64, except it has different levels and is 2D.

Can't wait for the finished product!
Reporting for you for this year’s E3. Catch it on 6:00 PM PHT.
And so the Courier who had cheated death in the cemetery outside Goodsprings cheated death once again, and the Mojave wasteland was forever changed.
“Even if you personally are so dissatisfied with life that you want the world to end, surely the cruel reality is that it will continue on, unchanging. All the better for someone perfectly content, like me.”
Aya Shameimaru, Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery
Yo, what the heck? I love this! Didn't expect to see this kind of gameplay implemented so well as an SMW Hack. Looking forward to see more levels in the future!

If I may make a small suggestion: once you collect a star, it would be great to get some option for what you want to do. Being forced to leave the level isn't always ideal, since you might lose progress on a task already started. I think ideally, it could bring up a text box, something like:

What do you want to do?
-Stay here
-Teleport to start
-Exit level

Where the first two options would make you stay inside the level and not reset anything. That would allow you to, for example, collect two sea shells, then collect the star in the fortress, and finally return to collect the two remaining sea shells.

Anyways, this is a nice one!

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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
Originally posted by kyasarintsu
The underwater area felt a bit sparsely decorated and it made areas feel a bit samey. Maybe having some more coin trails would help players get around, as it would make it more obvious where they have and haven't been. I struggled finding the eight red coins because I couldn't get a feel for the layout.
That's my only real complaint with this. It was a fun little romp, even if it was short.

Thanks for the feedback. I'll see what I can do to make the red coin section a bit more streamlined. Things like this are difficult for me to judge since I already know where everything is, haha.


Originally posted by MORC
Wow, this was really impressive! Indie-tier quality!

I'm also surprised on how the 2D level design worked so well in a non-linear, collect-a-thon game!

I always had ideas for an SM64-like hack, but never had the ASM skills to do it.

#smrpg{<3}


Originally posted by MarioFanGamer
Something what I wonder is whether you will incoorperate multiple sublevels for the levels. I know there is the sand castle but it's a linear challenge and not an extension to the outside part.

Definitely something that you'll see happen. I just have to be careful not to make the levels too big to the point of causing too much confusion on where you are.


Originally posted by RPG Hacker
If I may make a small suggestion: once you collect a star, it would be great to get some option for what you want to do. Being forced to leave the level isn't always ideal, since you might lose progress on a task already started. I think ideally, it could bring up a text box, something like:

What do you want to do?
-Stay here
-Teleport to start
-Exit level

Where the first two options would make you stay inside the level and not reset anything. That would allow you to, for example, collect two sea shells, then collect the star in the fortress, and finally return to collect the two remaining sea shells.

It's a possibility. Something worth noting is that the way my system is set up now, it's possible for the stars to take you to different versions of the level, so I could have certain stars only obtainable when you choose the mission for them. I actively decided not to do this for the first level, and I'm a bit unsure on whether or not I want to do this for other levels. I'd also have to adjust the design of things like the boss fight, which currently would leave you trapped in the room should you choose to remain in place.
aaaaahhhhh there are too many hacks to try but i have to study and watch gdq #smrpg{:D}#smrpg{:D}#smrpg{:D}

allow shy guy emojis in post footers you cowards!
Yoshiatom's Post
Originally posted by K3fka
It's a possibility. Something worth noting is that the way my system is set up now, it's possible for the stars to take you to different versions of the level, so I could have certain stars only obtainable when you choose the mission for them. I actively decided not to do this for the first level, and I'm a bit unsure on whether or not I want to do this for other levels. I'd also have to adjust the design of things like the boss fight, which currently would leave you trapped in the room should you choose to remain in place.


I think the best way handling it would be to only have spesific stars have the option to continue from where you got them; so stars like the seashell collection and the red coins would have it, but stars like the jellyfish one and the boss star only give you the option to go back to the start of the stage or exit back to the hub. (maybe also have the "go back to start" option bring up the star selection again?)

I played through all 5 stars and enjoyed it! There's a couple of small bugs I want to point out though:
-Sometimes when I jumped on the boss Mario got thrown in the wrong direction, effectivly locking him to the wall until the arc wore off. Also I think at least once the boss tried to charge in the wrong direction but IDK how to replicate it.
-Dying to a pit doesn't play any music and doesn't remove any coins
-Pressing Start+Select to exit a level feels a bit finicky? Not sure if this because of the game or my controller BSNES+.

I've always kind of wanted to see a collectathon-type hack and this seems to be doing a good job of it. The level in this demo feels a bit small but I imagine later worlds will be more sublevel-heavy. Looking forward to see where this goes!

Layout by Koopster!

<DeputyBS> I knew it
<DeputyBS> alcarobot is taking over the world through his truck dealership franchise
This SM64-esque hack looks great! While I have always liked traditional linear Mario levels, I have a soft spot for well-designed non-linear explorative levels. I'll have to play the demo when I get the chance; this thread has gotten me excited. Keep up the good work!
Originally posted by yoshiatom
I played through all 5 stars and enjoyed it! There's a couple of small bugs I want to point out though:
-Sometimes when I jumped on the boss Mario got thrown in the wrong direction, effectivly locking him to the wall until the arc wore off. Also I think at least once the boss tried to charge in the wrong direction but IDK how to replicate it.
-Dying to a pit doesn't play any music and doesn't remove any coins
-Pressing Start+Select to exit a level feels a bit finicky? Not sure if this because of the game or my controller BSNES+.


1. I'll have to check that out. The locking after jumping on him was an effort to prevent cheesing the fight by continuously bouncing on him

2. Probably just slipped through because you can't fall into a pit in the main level, and the preview level wasn't tested nearly as much.

3. I just hijacked the default Start+Select behavior, so it shouldn't be any different from normal.
This is certainly one of the prettiest little hacks I've played.
I really like the star collecting system. The names give good hints on what to do and despite being challenging but fair all the time, it also brings some nice variation to the level despite you have to play it 5 times.
I really hope we'll see more of this and that you kepp up with the great quality! #smrpg{<3}

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I've always dabbled in the idea of a more Exploration Based Hack.
I know its been done before but everything in this showcase was really well put together and felt quite refined.

I'll be looking quite forward to seeing more of what you make as I've been a fan of your past works from many years ago. #smrpg{y}
cool and amazing, it's worth playing this hack#smw{:TUP:}
It has been a while since a Super Mario 64 themed SMW hack has been announced. Definetely going to give a try to this demo. Great job. #smrpg{:3}

Can't wait for the finished version. Looks very promising.
Again, thank you for the kind words, everyone. I'd like to say that I have taken the feedback regarding the red coin star to heart, and I am working on significantly simplifying the underwater area. By making it a bit less sprawling, hopefully players will have an easier time being guided along to the next red coin without too much confusion about where to go. Essentially I'm turning it into more of a focused challenge of grabbing the red coins around moving enemies, rather than hunting for their locations.

I probably won't be updating the currently submitted demo, but future demos will contain these changes. Also expect a proper thread in the WIP forum after C3, where I will update everyone on progress semi-regularly (hopefully).

Also, I may as well ask, are there any features or themes you all would like to see in this hack?
I almost missed seeing this, but this has definitely grabbed my attention. I love the idea of making an SMW hack but with exploration-based level design akin to SM64--something I'd wanted to try making myself at one point actually, but didn't ever get anything off the ground.

I hope to see more of this in the future for sure--haven't had the time to try the demo yet, but just from what I've seen in this thread I'm looking forward to seeing more.
Layout by Mirann <3
I initially posted my thoughts in the reviews section, but I realized that it would be far more likely to be seen and responded to if I posted them here instead.

As impressive as this demo's tech is, I'm even more impressed by the way it captures the essence of SM64's level design. The free-roaming format allows the player to engage with the level at their own pace; any interest the player may take in it is wholly organic. Yet it is almost impossible to avoid being drawn into one of the level's various challenges thanks to an abundance of elements designed to pique the player's interest. Unlike a certain other high-profile recent release which also draws inspiration from SM64, however, the tasks are engaging and fulfilling to complete, and even the simpler ones demand some effort.

I know that ROMhack projects are highly prone to abandonment due to the fact that they demand similar labor-input to paid game development but yield no financial compensation and little, if any, career advancement, and I do not begrudge you the right to dispense of your labor and expertise as you see fit. However, I want to emphasize to you that--in my humble opinion--this project really is something special and any progress you make on it is worthwhile.

I do have a few criticisms, but it's important to bear in mind that this short demo is some of the very best Super Mario World I've played.
- The second star is probably my favorite of the bunch, but I found the maverick thwomp section to be unintuitive, even if it wasn't particularly difficult. Maybe if I had observed them for a second or two I would have figured out their behavior and how to systematically avoid them, but even then the standard for Mario games is that obstacles should either be instantly readable or methodically introduced so the player understands their finer nuances by the time they become relevant. For what it's worth, I've seen my fair share of SMW mavericks (most of which presumably use the same custom sprite you used) and I don't think I've ever really gotten a solid handle on their behavior.
- The outdoor environment is a bit repetitive and lacks outstanding points of interest. This makes the level less engaging to explore and less intuitive to navigate, especially when probing every last nook and cranny for a red coin.
- I am almost absolutely certain that one red coin did not successfully load into the level the first time I attempted to collect them all. If it's relevant, this was the coin at the top of the vertical shaft with horizontally moving urchins which opens downwards (as opposed to the other similar shaft with urchins and a red coin at the bottom).
- The jellyfish/torpedo ted generator often produced a very large number of jellyfish at once without warning, multiple times to the point of preventing escape entirely.

I would also like to suggest that you remove the mission select sequence entirely and replace it with a system where the player can view star names and the hint cutscenes in exchange for coins. This would achieve a few things that I think would elevate the experience even further. First, it would encourage the player to take initiative in engaging with the world and further enhance the "natural" quality of the exploration. Provided that your subsequent levels are as well designed as this one, I don't think players will have much trouble figuring out most objectives on their own. Second, it would provide a real incentive to collect coins in a hack where the life system is absent and a general gaming environment where the life system is considered antiquated and burdensome.

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Erstwhile TheCowDestroyer / TheIncredibleCowDestroyer.
Quote
The second star is probably my favorite of the bunch, but I found the maverick thwomp section to be unintuitive, even if it wasn't particularly difficult. Maybe if I had observed them for a second or two I would have figured out their behavior and how to systematically avoid them, but even then the standard for Mario games is that obstacles should either be instantly readable or methodically introduced so the player understands their finer nuances by the time they become relevant. For what it's worth, I've seen my fair share of SMW mavericks (most of which presumably use the same custom sprite you used) and I don't think I've ever really gotten a solid handle on their behavior.

I can see how this would be a problem. I will change up this section a bit.

Quote
The outdoor environment is a bit repetitive and lacks outstanding points of interest. This makes the level less engaging to explore and less intuitive to navigate, especially when probing every last nook and cranny for a red coin.

I am working on redesigning the underwater section to be a bit less confusing by removing several junctions so you feel more guided to the next red coin. This changes the objective to be less of a hunt, more of a challenge in avoiding the underwater enemies. I'm also trying to add some more decorations, although palette space is proving to be an issue. There are only a few more unused colors left, so I'll see what I can do.



Quote
I am almost absolutely certain that one red coin did not successfully load into the level the first time I attempted to collect them all. If it's relevant, this was the coin at the top of the vertical shaft with horizontally moving urchins which opens downwards (as opposed to the other similar shaft with urchins and a red coin at the bottom).

The only thing I can think of is that item memory from another coin or coin block interfered. Did you die at all during that attempt? Item memory is completely reset when you return to the hub level, so it would have to be from the same "run" of sorts.

Quote
The jellyfish/torpedo ted generator often produced a very large number of jellyfish at once without warning, multiple times to the point of preventing escape entirely.

They're actually reskinned Fishbones ;)
Anyway, I can definitely tone down the spawn rate a bit.


Quote
I would also like to suggest that you remove the mission select sequence entirely and replace it with a system where the player can view star names and the hint cutscenes in exchange for coins. This would achieve a few things that I think would elevate the experience even further. First, it would encourage the player to take initiative in engaging with the world and further enhance the "natural" quality of the exploration. Provided that your subsequent levels are as well designed as this one, I don't think players will have much trouble figuring out most objectives on their own. Second, it would provide a real incentive to collect coins in a hack where the life system is absent and a general gaming environment where the life system is considered antiquated and burdensome.

This one is a much bigger change. I'm a bit unsure about this, and it could be technically challenging given how the star intros currently work (they are separate sublevels with custom autoscroll). Also, I do have a planned purpose for coins, but it's not yet implemented in this demo.
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Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - C3 Museum - Winter 2021 - Super Mario: Star Seeker

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