Congratulations to this month's MOTM, Azure
, and this month's SOTM, FirePhoenix
Here are their interviews.
[SNN] When did you first find out about hacking, and what really got you into it?
[Azure] Well, how I found out is actually kind of boring. I found a bad Kaizo Mario video on Youtube a while back, and just followed the links from there to SMWC. For a while I just lurked around and played with LM, and eventually made World of Illusion (though I re-did all the early levels I made for obvious reasons). Then I realized that people weren't doing everything with hacking that they could, which drove me to make something completely and entirely different. It was around that time that I got back into Panel de Pon and noticed the tiny pink thing in the corner of the Moon Stage, and thought it was really cute and deserved its own game. Then I combined those two things into what turned into Azure Chaotic.
[SNN] How long did it take you to finish World of Illusion, and comparing it with Azure Chaotic, are you personally pleased with how far you have come? Or do you feel you can still do even more?
[Azure] It didn't take all that long to finish World of Illusion, but I can't remember the exact dates of start and end. By the end of it I was already gathering ideas for my next hack, so the last few levels and details were kind of rushed, though. And yes, I'm pleased at how far I've come. A lot of the new things I've done in Azure Chaotic I haven't even shown anybody, but I know that everyone said those kinds of things were impossible. I might show a few of them with C3 coming, but I still want to keep most of it a surprise.
[SNN] After you complete Azure Chaotic, do you have any other plans for SMW Hacking?
[Azure] I've had a few ideas for what to do afterwards, but I'm not sure. I can say for certain that there won't be a sequel to Azure Chaotic, but if I do another hack, it will share the same goals - to make something completely new, not just as a hack, but as a standalone game as well.
[SNN] Yes, you've definitely done that with Azure Chaotic .. despite the periodic complaints about the physics, many people were extremely impressed with what you brought to the table. Out of what you have shown/are willing to show so far, do you have a personal favorite "feature" or something of the likes within your hack?
[Azure] If I had to pick one I've shown so far, it's difficult... I'd probably just say the badge/item system as a whole. Going to new stages is more interesting if you know there's a good chance you'll find a completely new powerup in it, or a new combination of existing ones. There's one other feature I've recently added that adds a whole other layer to the gameplay, but I haven't shown anyone yet. I was planning to keep it a secret, but I probably won't be able to last that long without showing anyone. I'll probably reveal it pretty soon, especially with C3 not so far away.
[SNN] Aside from your own, do you have a favorite hack?
[Azure] I don't know if I can say I have any favorites, but it seems that the more it strays from normal Super Mario World gameplay, the better it is to me. Even if the level design or overall gameplay isn't perfect, I'll enjoy anything as long as it feels new in some way.
[SNN] While you're not as active as some members at SMWC, do you have a favorite memory from your time at the site?
[Azure] There's no specific actions or site events that stand out to me as memories, but I've met some of my absolute closest friends here.
The general population seems to be nice, which is very unusual for a big site like this. I'm very glad it is, though.
[SNN] The final topic would be music. From what I've seen, you seem to be very interested in music porting and such. What got you interested in it, and do you have a favorite creation that you'd like to show off?
[Azure] I've always been interested in music, so music porting came pretty naturally to me. Hearing what everyone else could do with the limited instruments and effects was always interesting, as well. I started off simple and wasn't intending to get too deep into it, but I was having too much fun to really stop. I've lost count of how many songs I've made so far, but my favorite would have to be Knight Man. Link.
[SNN] When did you first find out about hacking, and what really got you into it?
[FirePhoenix] I think I found out about hacking after downloading an SMW archive and it had tons and tons of old hacks from 01-04. After playing a few, I think I looked around and found Lunar Magic
(though this might be incorrect). Whatever the case, I didn't do anything with it. Later, I was reading Metroid Third Derivative back when it was still being done, when I saw one of the comics was the guy saying something along the lines of "some days, things are more important than comic making. This day, it's a Super Metroid romhack",
and it showed a screenshot of Redesign. I was intrigued since Metroid is my favorite series ever, so I looked around and eventually found Redesign, played it, beat it, loved it. Naturally, I did what most do when they discover the world of romhacks; I tried my hand at it. I started with SMILE, but that failed REALLY fast. I blew up multiple rooms and roms alike, so I gave up. Later I discovered (or rediscovered depending on how my memory is cooperating) Lunar Magic
and started slowly with that. At about that time, I joined Acmlm's Board in it's 3rd incarnation after remembering it when i was trying to find Redesign help. I started posting stuff about my game there, and eventually found my way to SMWCentral back when it was first started. From there I joined, hacked SMW more, and then promptly lost most interest in it that summer. Eventually I "released" my hack on Christmas 07.
[SNN] I know you're more a Super Metroid hacker than an SMW hacker, and I'll get to that later, but tell me about your SMW hacks, and how you felt about them then and today.
[FirePhoenix] Back then, I thought I was doing great I was never much of a person for custom stuff (still am not today!) ... at least when it comes to adding it to my hacks, I mean. I'm a lazy hacker I guess. I wound up having a mostly vanilla hack. The smaller "prologue" was made over the summer when I was in France as sort of a random idea I had that got released soon after and actually contains some of my better design I think. The full game, "The Forever Mystery" was released Christmas 07 after I'd sort of lumped everything together. By this point I'd lost most interest in hacking, but I wanted to get it out anyway. So I threw things together, fixed a couple things, broke some others and threw it out the door and onto the site. As for how I feel about them, I think they're pretty awful. For the most part
my level design is way too convoluted, cramped, and my ideas, while decent were never fully realized in the hacks. If I had the inspiration to do anything with SMW anymore I'd probably go back and redo half the game or hell, for that I'd just make a new one. I've tried getting back into SMW multiple times. Hell, just the other day I had LM open thinking about doing something. That got nowhere. I just no longer find interest in it and whenever I try to make a level, I have the hardest time doing so. It's a shame, really.
[SNN] What is it that draws you so much to Super Metroid rather than SMW? From what you've told me, the editor is a nightmare to work with.
[FirePhoenix] I wouldn't call it so much a nightmare as much as it's a challenge. I think most can relate when I say that although SMW Hacking is great fun because we're able to make our own Mario levels, the most fun would probably come from being able to hack your favorite games. Unfortunately, for many, this isn't possible because either no editors exist, or the games are too current gen. In Super Metroid's case though, it's one of my absolute favorites and there is an editor. It just calls to me more than Mario ever did. I made Metroid maps back in 8th grade which took up 4 sheets of paper front and back drawing them. Still got them too. For me, hacking Super Metroid is a dream come true. Sure, it's hard and hates you sometimes,
but it's sort of like being in a good relationship. There will be the hard times in the relationship, but the rewards are just so big that it's all worth it in the end. So while SM is hard to hack, I just find it so much more fun and rewarding. That said, it's a lonely road. We're obviously not as big a community as SMWC. If you hack SM, you'd better be prepared to do things by yourself 90% of the time, and figure out most of the stuff on your own. I wish we had a community like SMWC ... or hell, just more people taking an interest in it. But I guess the difficulty of the editor plus other factors drive people away, and with LM being so accessible, there's immediately more interest. But i guess it's not all bad, because when you do release a hack, it doesn't get lost in the multitudes of other hacks, and that's a nice feeling.
[SNN] So tell me about Volta .. it's your current Super Metroid hack, as far as I know. When did you start it, how far along are you with it, and when do you think you'll finish it?
[FirePhoenix] Volta, ah yes. Volta is just ... I feel like I hate trying to work with it and love it at the same time, because we've been through so much together. Volta started originally under a different title with a different everything about two years ago back then it was called Super Metroid Aspiration. I worked on that for a while and lost interest after having a major crash and loss of work.
From that, Volta started as me just wanted to hack a few rooms again and try to get interest back. As I went, I found that I enjoyed what I was designing more and more than I did with Aspiration. The very first Aspiration backup dates from December 1 2007 - almost two years ago. Volta was created in late March 2008, so I've been hacking this damn thing for 1 1/2 years. It'll never leave me, will it? As for progress, I'm at a standstill once more. I'm in desperate need of graphical help because I can't do squat regarding that, so my progress is stuck around 25%. I would love to get it out around Christmas 2010, but that'll only happen if I get the help I need soon
and really start devoting more time to the hack. I love the hack, I'm just a lazy bastard when it comes to actually hacking.
[SNN] If you DO finish Volta by the time 2010 rolls around, is there anything else in the future of hacking for you, or would this be your "final" project?
[FirePhoenix] Who knows honestly? I'm assuming it would be, but there's been talk for over a year now among a few of us better SM hackers. We'd love to do a collab hack together. Everyone take a world and design away. But for the time being, that's a pipe dream.
It'd be fun to try and accomplish though.
[SNN] I guess my final question would be this: what draws you to SMW Central despite being a huge fan of SM hacking and not so much SMW hacking?
[FirePhoenix] Honestly, I have no clue. There's something about the prospect of leaving a community that I grew up with that I just can't deal with, so I figure that as long as I can't bring myself to leave, I might as well ban a few idiots, trash them threads, make fun of you, and enjoy the site. Hmm, I sounded like Kate there, didn't I?
[SNN] Yes, there is nothing like a good dose of SNN hate to fill everyone's day
[FirePhoenix] You said it. It's very theraputic.
That's all for this month.