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Member of the Month: January
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Display Case - Interview Archive - Member of the Month: January
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Happy new year everybody!

The MOTM and SOTM for January 2013 are Masterlink and Dotsarecool respectively. Masterlink is a very talented member of our community with great skills in several areas of SMW hacking, especially in music porting, but unnoticed by the most part. Dotsarecool was a staff member here a long time ago, now he just came back to the staff and has shown a lot of work and compromise since then.

Enjoy the interviews.

Originally posted by Masterlink's interview
1. How did you find about SMW Central?

In April 2009, a friend showed me a hack of Zelda A Link to the Past (Parallel Worlds) saying it was a "new" Zelda game for the SNES, I played it and was amazing but REALLY hard. Two months later I talked with him because I've just finished the hack, he was impressed because I managed to beat it (he was stuck on the parallel world) so he gave me another challenge, a "new" Mario game, that game was Brutal Mario, since back then I had no idea that you can edit SMW levels or even insert new bosses from other games, I found it the best Mario game that I've ever played, and of course, I knew that SMW was used as a base for the music and sprite graphics and because it was an SNES ROM.

Later in vacations (July) I started looking for something to use SMW as a base to do the same thing as carol (insert new bosses, graphics and whatnot) and the first thing that showed up was a forum (I think it's dead now) with a guy that was asking the same thing as me, the first reply was telling him that there is a program called "Lunar Magic" that lets you edit SMW at your own likings, he also says that you can download it at When I saw that I was "Oh, cool, I'll probably download it later" and that "later" was almost one year because I completely forgot about it.

In March 28 2010 I saw another video of Brutal Mario showing a secret level that I've never reached because I was bad looking for secret exits (it was the Kirby's Spaceship level), when the video finished I remembered about Lunar Magic and SMW Central! I found a link to Brutal Mario's hack page in another video so I went ahead to download Lunar Magic (I didn't knew if it was, .org or .whatever so I used that link to access the site). I was thinking you needed to register in order to download something so that's what I did, I registered under the name of "Masterlink" because I'm a big fan of the Zelda series and my friend considers me as a "master" of all those games for beating Parallel Worlds.

And... that's about it, I downloaded the latest version of Lunar Magic (it was 1.71 I think) and all this started.

2. Your profile states you've made 5 hacks since you joined here. Can you tell us a bit about them?

Yes, I don't see why not.

The first hack was the generic Lunar Magic test, full with cutoffs, blatant edits and unfitting music (you can see an image of the first level here.) As a typical newbie, I was proud of that so I showed it to my friends, they said it was great because they had no knowledge on the hacking scene. This hack was canceled one month later because I realized how bad it was.

The second hack was made months later, it wasn't as bad as the first one but it wasn't that good either, however, the levels were made with effort. I still have a video of some levels (description and info boxes in Spanish). This one was canceled after my motivation loss.

My third hack was "A Choconilla Hack", an improvement of my other hacking attempts. Is not hosted here anymore because it was bad actually and I didn't feel proud of it anymore but you can watch some LPs that people made on YouTube. This was canceled because of a "bug" which was actually a level setting, you may know that level 9 didn't scroll at all because of the auto-scroll sprite, I was thinking that my ROM got corrupted and since there wasn't any backups, I just dropped it.

My fourth hack was a completely new one but had the same name as my second hack because I started making a remake but then I found myself doing a completely different thing and again, it was another improvement. You can see some levels here, here, here and here. This hack was hosted here under the name of "Another unnamed SMW hack", it was also deleted from the hacks section for the same reason of the Choconilla hack. This one was canceled after seeing that many people disliked Zsnes, and it was only compatible with that emulator because I was using Romi's Addmusic. Again, I didn't have backups and the hack had many patches so I didn't know the exact ones to port it to a new ROM so I just gave up, I was sad that probably nobody will play it because of the compatibility (my motivation also counted). The hack was canceled one year ago and there is a demo but I don't feel like giving it away.

My fifth hack it's SMW The Eternal Night, you can see screenshots and videos here. This one started as a side hack because I was doing "Mario's New Quest Revival", but then I started spending more time and effort with this one because I love night themed levels. The hack is currently frozen.

3. When did you decide to specialize in music porting, and why?

It was in September of the last year. To be honest, the reason of why I started porting it's... stupid. I started because I saw a member of Fortaleza Reznor (a Spanish forum) porting and then I said "Hmm... I can do it better than him..." so that's where it started, I downloaded Tinymm and MML Editing Tool, my first port was this one.

Later, I ported many stuff (I don't have the SPCs anymore) and they were really bad, but I improved faster with the time, my first "good" port was Into the Castle from King of the Dragons (I can't find the txt and the spc, I guess the test ROM was deleted time ago).

I always found porting very fun so I started learning advanced stuff like ADSR and other hex commands.

Later, I wrote an extensive tutorial of porting music with my method which, in my opinion, it's the easiest to start with.

Sorry if this one is short, I just don't know what more to say about the porting scene, it's just the generic "learning more of what I like a lot".

4. You also seem to have skills in GFX ripping, can you tell us about your experience with GFX?

This one was before I started porting, if I'm correct, I started in November 2010.

The first thing I did was ripping a BG from Super Adventure Island following instructions of a friend. Later I ripped an FG of Congo's Caper that I still have in my file bin.

After months of ripping stuff I finally decided to draw my own graphics because why not, the first thing I draw was a grassland tileset with pillow shading (?), bad and simple. Then I tried again and again to make something better but I got the same result.

I stick to ripping for a while because drawing my own was really hard to me (and still is) specially with a mouse but when I tried doing something original I was impressed with the result (link). Even though I liked the graphics, I didn't make more because I find it boring for the massive amount of time that takes making just one tile (at least one day... and yes, that's a lot, at least to me).

People from Fortaleza Reznor (specially anonimato (same nick as here)) were mad at me because I said I was bad at drawing them and making graphics were boring and really hard to me so I ended up drawing this to make them shut up because I was pissed off with that topic, I mean, what if I consider my graphics bad? It's really a reason to bug me when a graphics topic is mentioned?

And, because of that, my experience with graphics it's not as good as porting, sadly.

5. Even though you may be kind of a reclusive member, you do seem to pay attention to the community. What are your thoughts in general about SMW Central and its userbase?

Most of people from here are very kind and friendly persons, even when I don't know everyone I can say that I like the most part of the userbase, though, sometimes it's hard to tell if they're joking or talking seriously (that's some sort of a problem... or maybe is just me).

But anyway, overall the community is nice and friendly, specially with the new people, that's something you don't see everywhere and it's also a reason of why I'm still here, even if I didn't bother on making an introduction thread (because of my damn shyness...), I felt welcomed here when I started posting outside the Spanish forum and people helped me despite my obvious grammar errors.

And yes... I know about how I reacted for feeling ignored but still, only there my posts were ignored, when I was asking questions of hacking, the answers were faster and useful in most cases.

What I don't like, however, is how gradually they're forcing us to change Zsnes to Bsnes and some users, when hears that X user likes Zsnes, they start saying "Oh you use Zsnes? you suck then! Use Bsnes, it's better!!!". Can't we just leave the users choose what they like more instead of forcing them to use what others want? For example, most people (like me) chooses an emulator that consumes less RAM so the instant choose it's Zsnes, even of its "accuracy", why forcing other people to change its emulator to something that's more accurate but that eats a hell lot of ram? What if their computer can't handle it? Sure, Snes9x might be an alternative but personally, I don't like it for its dull interface and the default bad quality sound, not to mention the lack of rewinds that are useful sometimes when you didn't make a savestate before.

Sorry if that was rude, I just needed to mention it; While I like this site and its userbase for the most part, not everything is good and I generally don't like being quiet for many time. This probably won't change anything but it's something I wanted to say because I feel bad of how some people treat Zsnes users...

I guess that's all I have to say, again, sorry if the last part was a bit rude or hurts anyone, it wasn't my intention and it's just my opinion.

Originally posted by Dotsarecool's interview
1. What got you into SMW hacking?

When I was younger, like many other kids, I thought it would be really cool to make my own video games. After some magical Google searching, I found FuSoYa's Niche and Lunar Magic (this was back in 2004ish). It took me a good year and a half to find out what a ROM was and how they worked, so I didn't actually start hacking Super Mario World until around 2006. After a year or so of fiddling with the program, I registered at SMWC to ask about graphics editing. I started my first full-fledged hack at around this time.

2. Can you tell us about the hacking projects you've worked on?

Hrm... other than the one-world hack demo I made, The Rebuilding of the Star Palace (don't play it, it's awful), I haven't really started a new project. This hack was in production while I was still learning new things, so its level design feels very unbalanced. I've always been bad at starting new projects, plus the fact that I am a generally non-creative person, so inspiration is not something I just have lying around, haha.

I may or may not have something planned for the upcoming C3.

3. After leaving a year and coming back, what impressions do you have about the community as it is right now compared to how it was before?

Honestly, the place seems less active now than a year ago. I don't know if that's because I returned during school days or what.
Another thing that hit me when I returned was the sheer amount of people. There are so many people that are here now that either weren't here before or were generally inactive.
Finally, I think the overall atmosphere of SMWC now is very similar to what it was when I left.

4. Back in 2010, you used to run the SMW Central news with Kristian. Please describe your experience while running this event.

The SMWCNews was so much work for what little came out of it, which is mostly why we only did like three episodes or something. I guess I can quickly go over the production of a single segment.
First Kris and I would write the script of that days episode. After brainstorming topics for a while, we would create an EtherPad page and type the script together. This took on average 2-3 hours.
Second, we would get in a Skype call together and rehearse. This usually meant proofreading the script and looking up pronunciations of usernames. This could take up to a couple hours depending on the script.
After that, we'd get our cameras, c00lshades, and record the episode. Sometimes things would go perfectly and the recording would be done in 30 minutes, but I do remember one segment took a couple hours to do as well. Fun Fact: We wore our c00lshades so we could look at the script while keeping our faces pointed at the camera.
Next, Kris would sent me his portion of the recording, and I would mix each video clip together in Adobe Premiere. Depending on how well we recorded, this could take from 1-3 hours.
Finally, I would render the video, write the closed captioning for non-English speakers, prepare the video description with external links, and upload the video to YouTube. With my old computer and Internet connection, all this took about 4-6 hours.

So yeah, it was not a get-it-done-in-one-setting thing, which is why it sadly ended up being canceled. Kristian seemed to always have Tennis or Hockey to do, which contributed to the cancellation as well.
And no, I am not willing to start it up again, sorry!

5. As a hack moderator and active staff member, how do you perceive your role in the site?

I've always seen myself as a friendly helper guy that doesn't dread his job. I enjoy moderating hacks and I've volunteered to work with the F.A.Q. that needs updating. From the three separate times I've been on the staff team, I see myself as the most involved currently even if I've only been here for a month so far.
I've obviously done something right this time if I received Staff Member of the Month! :D
1st reply.

Great job both of you, though I haven't seen either of you much around the forums!
Masterlink as MOTM? That seems quite unexpected, but cool at the same time. Congrats to him and to Dotsarecool!

Same reaction, Masterlink was a surprise. He completely deserves it though. Also dots is cool, how could he not get SOTM?

Nice work you guys!
LINKS Twitter | YouTube | SoundCloud | Fortaleza Reznor
to hear birds and see none.
Great job to Masterlink and Dotsarecool for been the members of the mouth.
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Congratulations on being {M/S}OTM, Dotsarecool and Masterlink!

It is nice to see you recognized as such. #ab{:)}

Masterlink?, that one was unexpected but well deserved as he's one of the best porters of the site.

As for dots... I remember him from a lot of time ago, he was a nice one so... why not.
I do pixels sometimes
Congratulations, Masterlink. It's about time someone gave you some much-deserved attention.

Dots, I remember you (slightly) from when I was a lurker obsessed over SMWCP. Good job getting SMOTM!

Check out my music!
I've seen Masterlink helping out alot over the hacking forums, it's cool he finally got recognised for his hard work. As well as Dots.

Congrats to both! :D

Congratulations Masterlink, finally You're MOTM, You deserve it so much :3
Originally posted by Masterlink
It was in September of the last year. To be honest, the reason of why I started porting it's... stupid. I started because I saw a member of Fortaleza Reznor (a Spanish forum) porting and then I said "Hmm... I can do it better than him..."

LOL I want believe that Im this user
So, congratulations Dotsarecool's and masterlink :)
I kind of find it hilarious that Masterlink is Member of the Month now (but in a good way!) I remember in the Winter 2010 Mosts I voted him as "Most Reclusive" because I'd always see him online, but he had never made a single post.

Congratulations Masterlink <3.
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