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The Crater ReTold : Progress Update (Some GIFS)

Super Mario WorldStandardWork in ProgressScreenshots


Hello everybody, and thanks for coming by to check out this thread on my magnum opus. Those of you who are familiar with this project and those of you who aren't, this is a remake of the original Devious Four Chronicles #3: The Crater. For a long time now, the original Crater has been the intended introduction into the SMW Hack Series known as the Devious Four Chronicles, but it is also plagued with bugs, glitches and worst of them: confusion. ReTold aims to not only fix all of these issues, but also looks to expand and yet constrict the lore of this world.

This hack is rebuilt from the ground up, and lots of changes have been made along the way. One year ago, I made a C3 thread which detailed a good bit on the changes made to the first half of the hack; in retrospect, this year's thread will detail the changes made in the later half of the hack, starting after Scorpion's Iceberg and Hunter's Focur which was defined by many as the midpoint of this hack.

So, what all is different? Well, let's start off with Crystal Mountain.

Crystal Mountain is no longer a monotonous, uninspired mess of random ideas and executions. No, this place is alive, and it is dangerous. Taking inspiration from Metroid Fusion, you'll find quite a few not too aggressive, but hardy enemies like the flame spewing Sovas and Yards. Near undefeatable, but slow and the projectiles they fire are laughably as slow. But don't let the slow speed fool you, slow and steady is just as difficult as fast and furious. These levels will test your mettle.
So, Crystal Mountain is back, that means boss level Disturbing Evil is back too? Yes, and no. Disturbing Evil has been completely retooled as part of the new content this remake is adding. While it does provide a bit of a lore dump in regards to future entries, it is also the turning point of this entire adventure.
This temple is filled with the evil spirits you've been fighting past the whole of the Crystal Mountain...




But evil spirits are also the least of your concerns. Introducing the absolute biggest change this hack has, and what is possibly its crowning acheivement:



The main villains, Hunter and Scorpion, do not remain background objects that are all talk and no bite. No no no... Hunter and Scorpion's words are completely laced with venom, and they have the fire power ingame to back up their claims. They aren't just here in the cutscenes to talk you down anymore, they are an active threat, so be sure to always keep a look out. In the interest of keeping encounters a surprise, I will not be showing any more screenshots of the two of them in action than necessary. You'll have to play the game to actually figure out how to engage with these two.Though if you're curious, a bit of sifting in my Youtube Channel will yield an early video of their AI's in a beta state... just keep in mind they've been optimized heavily since then.

The Turning Point


What is the Progress?


Glad you asked, so what is next in this show off? Well, I don't want to show off too much, but I also don't want to hide everything either. So what all is done exactly? Anybody here familiar with the place called "The Tower?" For those who don't, it is the final set of levels in the original hack. So what does that mean? It means that I'm pretty much almost done with all the level design in the hack, which basically means... the hack is almost finished being designed gameplay wise. Now that does not mean unfortunately that it is finished. Close, but close is not done. -_- There's still quite a good bit of polishing that needs to be done, like adding multiple midway points and fixing the occasional bug here and there. Putting that aside, this hack started out as a remaster, but I always had plans to make big changes, especially in the late game. And boy, does the late game have the most changes, it barely resembles a remaster anymore as 50% of it or more is just brand new stuff! But that's basically it for the progress report. Have some screenies and changes!
The Titular Crater World
Now known as "The Crater Worksite"


The Crater, the area, not the hack used to be heavily uninspired and had only one biome. In short, it was nothing pretty to look at. Cool, but it got old after two levels. Despite being the titular area of the hack, it was not as noteworthy or memorable as Hunter's Focur or Scorpion's Iceberg... Now, the Crater Worksite is beautiful, full of life, new challenges and from this point, you'll find stuff that can't be experienced anywhere else (until somebody else makes it. #tb{:p})



I felt it was very important to not just have this place be a barren wasteland filled with machines, no, that's not pleasant to look at. The place is filled with life but also filled with industrial machinery that highlights the fact this place is in fact, an important base of operations for the main villains. As you explore you'll find a plethora of secrets, and maybe health expansions along the way???

Such secrets would also include these wire filled areas. Scorpion's super weapon requires a lot of machinery to run and the only way he's doing that is expanding and building big! He thinks he owns this world just by him being present, and given what kind of fire power he brings, he may as well! O_O But the disadvantage of having to build such a large machine is that, there are always holes to sneak around. Not every place is filled with their machines, these areas can lead you to secrets or just downright lead to brand new areas, places Scorpion nor Hunter want you to be...


Speaking of Scorpion's Super Weapon, getting into the Furnace is not going to be an easy task, this isn't just a place you can clear level after level and eventually reach, no no no. Scorpion is much smarter than that, so you're going to have to think outside the box if you want to stop these two.


Hunter's Capitallarium
Now Hunter's Research


The location that probably sees the biggest changes is the place called Hunter's Capitallarium. No longer a floating palace in the sky, it is a detailed and running laboratory that is host to experiments on the animal life on Vita. You didn't think Scorpion was the only one who was doing things yes? Hunter's Research apparently doesn't just exist for nothing, it is actually doing something. Where as Scorpion is known for building weapons to wipe out worlds in one go, Hunter is a lot more personal. Those of you that are familiar with Hunter know how twisted an individual this mad man is, and this place certainly shows it. Be prepared for what you might find in his closet, these skeletons are literal.

As with all their important locales, the gates are closed off, maybe there's another way in close by???



The Furnace
...no name change here...

The Furnace likewise has seen quite an upgrade, as it too, in the original, was uninspired and mostly filler. Though it did have some unique designs, it didn't change it was quite a slog. Now the Furnace is a proper heated weapon! Prepare for some amazing encounters here.


So, I suppose that's it. No, I will not hide progress.
Scorpion's Synth
The final world is mostly finished, the place we all know as Scorpion's Synth, where the conclusion can had to this one of a kind experience. Scorpion's Synth used to be a place that was just filled with machines and hostile plants. Well, that's also been changed. The Synth has many mysteries to it, what it is, and what exactly goes on in it. Well, that's not your character's concern as of right now, the only thing that matters... is finishing this whole thing. The Synth is filled with hostile machines of many kinds not seen elsewhere, blood grown plants, and the newest addition... Monster Girls.



That's it for progress


Those last screenshots are actually from a level I just finished designing. I sorely wished I could have had The Crater ReTold ready by this C3, but alas I couldn't make that window. In any case, I won't be relegating the release of this hack to a C3. I will release this hack when it is ready, and I certainly do hope that people are excited to play this. It's quite a departure from what most people usually expect out of a standard Super Mario World hack, but I do hope that those of you who are looking forward to this can be patient for just a wee bit longer. I want to do my best to provide an enjoyable experience for all those who are fans of the Devious Four Chronicles. This hack is a celebration of all things Devious Four, and I hope that you all have a good C3! Happy trails!

Also, for those who wish to relive a bit of the userbar days on SMWC, here's a userbar if you want to show your support, or just want something to throw into your layout. Again, thanks for stopping by!

Just put this code in your signature with the appropriate IMG tags:
Code
https://bin.smwcentral.net/u/1055/UserBarThinner.png

Before I go, I want to give a huge shout out to the people that have helped me a ton along the way:
 imamelia Who has always been a help in the ASM department, giving me advise and tips for things, lots of things, I don't really understand.
 Mellonpizza who provided the asm base that I am using now to develop most of the enemies and bosses for this hack. Though it was several years ago now, I am still heavily thankful for all of his work which has laid the foundation of the rest of this series. You're awesome.
 Ahrion who is basically the MVP in the audio department. Any time I've needed something audio related done, either SFX or music, you have been there for me. A true friend, and I can't be any more thankful.
lx5 who provided the Player Graphics Kit and customizing it heavily to fit my needs in regards to the customization of the player's animations.
SF - The Dark Warrior for the constant testing and feedback whenever asked for. You've always been a pal for the Devious Four Chronicles, and it can't be understated. You guys are great.
Hey. I looked at everything you've shown. Those screens do have their own interesting design. This does make many people pay attention. I'm interested. I suppose everything is hand-drawn. I did see few exceptions, like the Crystal Snail BG from Mega Man 2. I'm guessing that 'shut down' health bar is ASM code-based.
Many screens do look very nice. The 4th screen with the spotlight does gave some flashback from the Halloween entry posted a few years ago.
In the later screens, are the enemies Hunter and Scorpion clones? Whatever the case, those screend do look interesting.
For 'The Crater Worksite', the screens are very nice. I do like the usage of fog and transparent lava?... I suppose Super Metroid had transparent lava, so okay. Fog is from DKC2.
The Furnace especially has itw own design. You showed a screen. I'm guessing it's from this part.
Very nice progress you have, Skewer!
Everything about this is going above and beyond what I usually see out of ROM-hacking projects. I love how you are putting in the time and effort to make this hack the best it can be that speaks to your vision.
Modern Redrawn Mario Bros. 1.5 (last update - February 14, 2023, some new bonus frames, tons of minor touchups to various poses)

On Pixel Art Requests: Depends on what it is and if I have the time for it. If its complex and I don't have the time, don't expect me to accept it.

Projects I support:


The C3 stuff... GOD!!! Is amazing!!!

Desafortunately, I can't participate to show at least My projects... (But leaving it a side)

Skewer This work looks amazing, maybe you don't know, but I REALLY have enjoy playing TD4C series Hacks!

Is very good that you've decide to remake this one... This was one of my favorite chapters...

Awesome #smrpg{<3}
Your project always reminds me of my earlier days hacking as I always recall you creating custom graphics for the stories you wanted to tell in SMW. ( that an the userbar you have here! )
Everything you've shown looks fantastic and it's got such a distinct vibe compared to other SMW hacks.

It truly stands out. Can't wait till its fully completed Skewer!
I haven't played the TD4 hacks in a long time, but wow, I am just blown away from the screenshots!

I remember playing through the Crater back in 2018 and enjoying the hell out of it. It's nice to see this being remade and also now being the first entry rather than it being the third which did confuse me a bit back then. lol

While I do kind of miss having the Mario cast be involved, I do like that Neptune and Noire (Aka, best girl! ^_^) are playable here. (Despite me losing all interest in Neptunia.)

Overall, looks really good! Keep it up!

Heavily inspired by Lazy's thread, I decided to post some gifs!
Prepare your eye parts!


Please do forgive the poor skill, 1080p monitor + 224p + bad eyesight = equals not the best time. #tb{^V^}
So, I'm finally looking through all the threads! First of all, thank you so much for your kind words!

Graphically, this is probably the most impressive thing I've seen so far in terms of SMW hacks. I hardly play Standard and I'm relatively new to the SMW hacking scene compared to others, so I haven't known your hacks for that long. I will definitely play your hacks when everything is ready. I would just need to know in which order, haha.

I really enjoyed helping you with your project and I hope your projects get the attention they deserve!
Originally posted by Ahrion
I will definitely play your hacks when everything is ready. I would just need to know in which order, haha.
That is often the running joke with the original, hopefully ReTold will fix that issue. In a TLDR kind of way, this project was started to get the series away from Mario, and feature characters that more fit the setting; likewise it would hopefully provide a clear roadmap on where to start the series proper.</div></div>

This thing about "getting away from Mario" being said, I do have a soft spot for the Mario/Densetsu/Sonic/RKS crossover-cast that is seen in the original TD4C, so if enough support for a mario-verse cross-verse version of this version of the hack is asked for, I'm liable to do so. One thing about the original series is how it doesn't entirely respect the original lores of series it pulls from enough which I would obviously fix with a retell. The RKS cast in particular working with Mario and Sonic is just a guilty pleasure. I suppose I have my 16 year old self which I haven't quite forgotten to thank for that, but boy was that version of me such a very bad writer...

Originally posted by Ahrion
I really enjoyed helping you with your project and I hope your projects get the attention they deserve!
And your kind words are an inspiration to me as well. The Devious Four hacks are not made for everybody, as it is a really niche project, a project I've always developed simply because I want to tell a story and have fun doing so. I believe that projects like this that go their own direction and do their own thing, not following any kind of meta or standards except for being, hopefully, high quality, will always stand out on their own, and standing out, not blending in, is something I aim for.
Wow! Those gifs look amazing! The design looks great and seems to always keep you on your toes!

Originally posted by Skewer
This thing about "getting away from Mario" being said, I do have a soft spot for the Mario/Densetsu/Sonic/RKS crossover-cast that is seen in the original TD4C, so if enough support for a mario-verse cross-verse version of this version of the hack is asked for, I'm liable to do so.


If you've got some time to spare, then yeah, I wouldn't mind a Mario version of it.

Originally posted by Skewer

That is often the running joke with the original, hopefully ReTold will fix that issue. In a TLDR kind of way, this project was started to get the series away from Mario, and feature characters that more fit the setting; likewise it would hopefully provide a clear roadmap on where to start the series proper.
This thing about "getting away from Mario" being said, I do have a soft spot for the Mario/Densetsu/Sonic/RKS crossover-cast that is seen in the original TD4C, so if enough support for a mario-verse cross-verse version of this version of the hack is asked for, I'm liable to do so. One thing about the original series is how it doesn't entirely respect the original lores of series it pulls from enough which I would obviously fix with a retell. The RKS cast in particular working with Mario and Sonic is just a guilty pleasure. I suppose I have my 16 year old self which I haven't quite forgotten to thank for that, but boy was that version of me such a very bad writer...


Not respecting the established characterization and lore of the source IP comes with the territory of making fanfiction, be it in the form of a post or fangame, because we are not bound by whatever standards the original IP owners have on how their IP is supposed to be portrayed by virtue of our work being unofficial and unsanctioned by such. We are free to experiment and take whatever creative liberties we want out of the IP and execute it on our own terms, unlike official and officially-licensed works. That is why I don't really view fanfiction that strays from the source IP as being necessarily indicative of bad writing, as bad writing can be bad writing based on more objective metrics such as a lack of a proper buildup and payoff, lacking internal consistency in the work, plot holes, etc. That said, if you want to make your own take be more in line with how it is officially characterized, then that is your choice to put your work under such standard and be judged as such.

I do agree however, that the quality of the writing that you have nowadays is of a higher standard than it was all those years ago. Practicing writing for years and evaluating the flaws of your older works one makes helps with that. While I also wouldn't mind seeing the OG D4C being given updates under your current standards, I think is better to work on a work that is reflectant of your current standards that you want to take your series forward, which is ReTold. Ultimately, you decide what you want to do with the OG D4C.
 
Originally posted by Skewer

And your kind words are an inspiration to me as well. The Devious Four hacks are not made for everybody, as it is a really niche project, a project I've always developed simply because I want to tell a story and have fun doing so. I believe that projects like this that go their own direction and do their own thing, not following any kind of meta or standards except for being, hopefully, high quality, will always stand out on their own, and standing out, not blending in, is something I aim for.


No piece of artwork is going to be made for any or everyone, nor should be, and that is what makes them valuable. I agree that hacks shouldn't be made to follow any meta, it should be made because you have the passion to make what you want for yourself. That's advice I should also take for myself.

Anyways, I really like the .gifs and how it shows the baddies unique to your hack in action.
Modern Redrawn Mario Bros. 1.5 (last update - February 14, 2023, some new bonus frames, tons of minor touchups to various poses)

On Pixel Art Requests: Depends on what it is and if I have the time for it. If its complex and I don't have the time, don't expect me to accept it.

Projects I support:


feels nostalgic to see Hunter and Scorpion at it again, I remember playing the original "The Crater"
and I must say, you guys are doing a fantastic job there, I can't wait to give it a go whenever it's available to play. #smw{:TUP:}
I remember The Crater from years ago, it's looking totally different now, you've defnitely come a long way! I especially like how detailed all the character models are this time around, they are very well animated. Hope it all goes well, keep it up!
I can't wait to play this :)
I've been silently peeking you from your Youtube videos. Your hacks were some of my favourites back then (I played a lot of Hunter's Bet, and The Crater), along with many other popular legacy hack.
You really came a long way. The screens and the gifs look stunning GFX-wise, and the design seems overall very interesting, with a lot of custom things, from sprites, to gimmicks.

I really wish you all the best for the development of your hacks. Keep going! #smrpg{<3}
That's some really gorgeous aesthetics and attention to detail. I'm not familiar with your series, in general, but I plan to give a chance to it when you release The Crater ReTold. I've been looking for it from afar, for a while, and I'm looking forward to play. Keep up the magnific work, Skewer. #smrpg{<3}


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