Tip: When using custom palettes, remember that certain colors
in palettes 0 and 1 will also affect the status bar.
Tip: If you're using the original SMW ending, remember that
(Yoshi's House) will appear during it.
Tip: When determining a time limit, remember that players won't be as familiar with the level as you are. If you normally complete the level with around 100s left on the timer, others might run out of time on their first try.
Tip: You can draw more event tiles under the default Layer 2 Event tiles on the overworld for custom use!
Tip: Make sure that ALL exit-enabled pipes, doors, etc. have a screen exit defined, or they'll take you to
, the "endless" bonus game. Unless Start+Select is enabled, the only way out of it is to reset the game.
Tip: Glitch abuse is encouraged. Check the SMW Glitch List by clicking here
Tip: When making your overworld, mix the terrain up! Angled land and multiple colors looks much more interesting than square land and plain colors.
Tip: If your level contains elements that temporarily change the music to a global song (such as a P-Switch or a Star), said music will not stop playing after the intended end time if the music bypass setting is set to
Tip: Don't place dragon coins near a goal post because they keep glowing when a level fades out.
Tip: Entering a door or pipe, activating a P-Switch or grabbing a star, completing the level, hitting a message block, and dying will cause issues on the title screen, such as causing musical glitches, or trapping the player in an endlessly-looping level.
Tip: Don't use savestates when testing your own levels.
Tip: If you place too many sprites on the same screen, it will slow the game down. You can use the SA-1 Pack
to reduce this slowdown, allowing more sprites on screen if required.
Tip: Add decorations to the overworld. Don't leave large empty grass or sea regions.
Tip: Layer 3 backgrounds and tides disappear when you hit a message box, so unless you apply this fix
, plan your level around that. For example, you can add a sublevel without layer 3 at the start/midpoint, and include your message there.
Tip: Pressing Ctrl + Del
in Lunar Magic will delete all objects, sprites, and screen exits from the current level.
Tip: Don't just modify the original SMW overworld; start from scratch.
Tip: Make a backup of your hack before using any external tools on it so you can revert to a previous version should anything go wrong.
Tip: Read Lunar Magic's help file and SMW Central's F.A.Q.
, as they cover most of the basics of SMW hacking.
Tip: Ask the author for permission before extracting any resources, such as graphics, music, or ASM from a hack or other non-public source (such as SPC files).
Tip: Make sure your overworld's aesthetic, and the levels within, are coherent.
Tip: There's a fine line between difficult and unfair. Avoid the latter.
Tip: Unlike for traditional hacks and Kaizo: Light hacks, usage of tools such as savestates and rewinds is encouraged, if not necessary.
Tip: Press F2
on the level editor to see subscreen boundaries. This will help you avoid glitching dragon coins by putting them on the subscreen boundaries.
Tip: If it's possible to carry a tileset-specific sprite (such as a Buzzy Beetle or Bob-omb) through a pipe, make sure it has the correct graphics and sprite palette on the other side!
Tip: Test your levels as all forms of Mario that can access it (such as different powerups in your hack, or Yoshi).
Tip: Palettes 0-3 do not work correctly on the overworld unless you use LM's option to disable the event reveal animation.
Tip: Try running your hack on various SNES emulators to see if anything is incompatible.
Tip: Verify that your hack's BPS patch is functioning correctly before submitting it.
Tip: Remaking levels from other Mario games is strongly discouraged, especially popular ones (World 1-1 from SMB or SMB3, for example), as their over-presence in Mario games, official or not, often makes them uninteresting to play.
Tip: Read all of the tips by looking here
Tip: Proofread your message boxes for spelling and grammar mistakes.
Tip: Make sure there is no stylistic clash between the graphics you choose.
Tip: Be conservative with item usage. Unnecessary throw blocks/powerups/Yoshi may leave room for unintended breaks in your level.
Tip: The first column of the palettes list is the transparency. Don't edit it, as it won't do anything.
Tip: Fix any errors you see before releasing any demos; "I'll fix it later" isn't a good excuse.
Tip: A power-up is most useful to a player shortly after the midway point.
Tip: Don't put a coin over a question block unless you apply this hex edit
. It will create an invisible solid block above the ? Block if the block is hit first.
Tip: Use palettes that aren't difficult to look at. Clashing, overly-bright, or overly-dim colours may make your level difficult to play.
Tip: Don't make Mario die after cutting the goal tape.
Tip: Don't replace the first two Map16 FG pages unless you explicitly know what you're doing, or objects may act strangely.
Tip: Avoid blind jumps. Make sure that the player has some indication of a jump being safe if the ground below cannot be seen.
Tip: Keep in mind that capes often allow players to break or skip levels, such as by flying over them!
Tip: The lowest row of 16x16 tiles in a level do not appear, unless the "Allow viewing full bottom row of tiles" box is checked in the
menu. Be mindful of this when designing levels!
Tip: Take advantage of easy to install Patches
in your hack. The No More Sprite Tile Limits
patches should be considered if you're encountering glitches where Mario and/or sprites are turning invisible.
Tip: Using the retry system
in your Kaizo: Light hack is recommended.
Tip: Take advantage of easy to install Patches
in your hack. The classic piranha plant fix patch
should be considered if you are planning to insert classic piranha plants in your hack.
Tip: Try sketching out ideas for overworlds and levels. Even if they don't manage to fit into Lunar Magic completely, at least you have a base to work from, instead of doing it all from scratch.
Tip: Keep in mind that the maximum size for an ExAnimation ExGFX file is 16 by 13 tiles, rather than 16 by 8 tiles like you would expect.
Tip: The No More Sprite Tile Limits
patch does NOT increase the limit for the amount of sprites onscreen at once. The SA-1 Pack
Tip: Keep track of ALL patches and hex edits in case you need to transfer your data to a new ROM. It's definitely worth the trouble.
Tip: It's recommended to use these tools
when ripping graphics.
Tip: When you're about to release your hack, make a patch first, patch it to a clean ROM, and then test that
. This way, you are testing both the hack AND the patch.
Tip: Apply the Counterbreak UberASM form
to reset your powerup/Yoshi status in order to avoid bringing them over from previous levels.
Tip: If you edit
, make sure you also edit
. Both of them are used for the bonus game depending on the level you're in.
Tip: Yoshi wings take you to
. If you're on
and beyond, you get sent to
, while if you're on
and beyond, you get sent to
Tip: Before asking for help on the forums, make sure you've tried to figure out the problem on your own first.
Tip: Use this patch
to fix the bug where editing the upper right 8x8 tile of the sideways walking Koopa Troopa in GFX01 makes the coin sparkles look glitchy.
Tip: Check for glitched graphics in all frames of an object or sprite (e.g., the ON/OFF block changing, etc.).
Tip: Never put
(Amazing Flying Hammer Brother) above lava. After being killed, it will still throw hammers until it sinks or goes off-screen.
Tip: Avoid making large, flat, boring stretches of land. Vary up the architecture and spritework in your levels.
also works on sprites!
Tip: You can edit the properties of the original sprites using Tweaker
Tip: Unless you've disabled the bonus game, don't use a goal tape in a vertical level. The bonus game won't appear if a player happens to reach 100 bonus stars there.
Tip: You can use your My Files
section to upload screenshots, videos, etc. of your hack.
Tip: Check the Documents section
. Tutorials and other useful information can be found there.
Tip: Check this thread
to find extremely useful diagrams and data.
Tip: Check this thread
for a list of SMW sound effects.
Tip: This thread
contains data you might find helpful when coding.
Tip: If you're using the wall-running purple triangles in your hack, remember to add
(or a tile that acts like
) underneath it. Extended object 44/45 will include this tile for you.
Tip: Avoid "item babysitting". Do not force the player to drag P-Switches or springboards all around the level. This is not fun, nor does it make for interesting "puzzles".
Tip: If you place a moon, midpoint, or dragon coin through Map16, it will always respawn whenever you reenter that sublevel. It will not respawn if you add it through the Add Objects
Tip: If you set the upper tile of the door to act like the lower tile, two-tile-high doors can be entered even while riding Yoshi.
Tip: The music in SMW's default castle/ghost house intros and boss battles can be changed by hex editing. See
in the ROM map.
Tip: Switch palace switches normally disappear if you replay the level. However, if you insert them as direct Map16 and use the hex edit at
in the ROM map, you can replay the level without a problem.
Tip: If you give a Muncher tile custom graphics, it will still act like a coin when a silver P-switch is active, whether it looks like a coin or not. ExAnimation
solves this problem.
Tip: If you plan on making long levels, be sure to include multiple midway points
Tip: Use Gopher Popcorn Stew
to insert custom blocks into your hack.
Tip: Use PIXI
to insert custom sprites into your hack.
Tip: You can use the SMW Customizer
to edit tons of misc. features in SMW, including the speed of Bullet Bills, how many points a 3-UP moon gives you, and more!
Tip: Use the Iggy/Larry Battle Tools
to edit Iggy/Larry's platform.
Tip: Use Kipernal's Blockreator
if you want to code custom blocks but you have little to no experience with ASM.
Tip: You can create fancy HDMA effects with Effect Tool
if you have zero ASM knowledge.
Tip: Stay up-to-date with new tool and resource releases on the SMW hacking scene by viewing this forum
Tip: After editing your overworld, make sure to use an EMPTY save file, as save files with progress may load Mario's position based on previous versions of the overworld.
Tip: Doors and pipes act strange near screen boundaries. See this
to avoid strange issues.