Tip: Take advantage of easy to install Patches in your hack. The No More Sprite Tile Limits or SA-1 patches should be considered if you're encountering glitches where Mario and/or sprites are turning invisible.
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Ganymede - Land of No Shame (content and updates!)
New Update up yonder. Demo coming soon. And by soon I mean I wanted it ready for C3, so please do not literally hold your breath. Instead, you might feel moved to leave feedback on what you can see here.
I finally had some extra time so I played through the May 15th Demo.
I gotta say the hack reminds me a lot of a hack called Massimo which was pretty unique in the fact the atmosphere was quite somber and dark.
I think that Ganymede is a hack that actual manages to create that kind of atmosphere with its distinct enemies/sprite swaps that make it feel less like Mario and more like... well Ganymede.
I will say that the some uses of the vanilla GFX are sometimes used in ways that are hard to tell what is solid or not such as the mushrooms in that one early level.
Not the worst thing but I did miss some jumps by thinking they were solid.
I do like that small bonus game that pops up now and then. I cant recall what ASM is it is or when I saw it used last but I really like it. (What is it called?)
But yeah I'll be looking forwarding the playing the next updated version whenever you drop it. Keep up the good work
Thanks, glad you enjoyed yourself. The demo will be significantly different from what you played in a few ways, with an HP system based on 1UPs and revamped graphics among them. That issue with the uncertain platforms is no longer so; I'm slowly purging most of the vanilla graphics in the game.
I wish I could say when the demo will be ready, but my perfectionist streak will not allow me to release it until I'm satisfied.
Also, I think the minigame you're referring to is the 100 Coin Roulette patch. Definitely one of my favorite patches out there.
Let's take a look at the levels that will appear in the demo. Shall we?
1. Red Steps.
You'll have seen quite a bit of this one above. It is my level 105, after all. This brisk, autumnal landscape takes our man on the boat through his baby steps. After all, there are mechanics and rules that even veterans might not be used to, or ready for, but someone who has never played Super Mario World shouldn't be locked out of enjoying things either.
Nice and easy to start with. In fact, this entire demo 'world' (air quotes here, because while the map is clearly divided into distinct areas, the player has considerable agency in determining how they progress through the game) is action-packed, but not excessive in its difficulty. Ganymede is among the longest hacks you'll ever play, so the curve of difficulty is pretty gradual.
The small, mask-wearing assholes getting knocked around are called Sad Sacks. They are cowardly pricks who don't mind hurting you if they can, but aren't particularly eager to approach. You'll notice they wear different colored masks. You can probably figure out that these are not much different from unshelled Koopas. Each of the colors represents a different sort of emotion.
Though all of the Sad Sacks are sad, little cowards regardless of their color and you should feel no regret kicking the shit out of them at every opportunity. Because being cowardly doesn't mean they aren't a threat.
Clocks function like coins but are a lot more important to collect. Each clock you collect extends the timer by one second. As a gameplay element, this does not factor heavily in the demo. Some later, more difficult levels have tight time limits and collecting clocks becomes a lot more important. And there is at least one level where you don't want to collect any at all. Collecting 100 clocks brings up a roulette that rewards the player with one of five items. It can save your marooned ass, so it's a good idea to not pass them up.
The clocks you see in the last image are broken. Collect one of these and it will reduce the number of clocks you have collected. Bad news! Thankfully, it will not remove time from your timer. Try to avoid them anyway.
The man on the boat sees evening approach, but this is not much of an obstacle. Is it? If not, there are plenty of other things which will serve the role.
If Red Steps acts as the player's baby steps, this level might be thought of as training wheels on a first bicycle. In this second stage, the player is introduced to challenges (and design philosophies) which are emblematic of what is found throughout the bulk of Ganymede's roughly 80 main levels. You will also be introduced to new enemies, like the bumbling little Peepers.
This is the first level where, in terms of design, I break away from SMW tradition a bit more. I have studied level design for much of my life, as a hobby and interest, and Shadows Taking Over is the first of many levels that have multiple paths towards a single exit. If you have played 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games, you will understand. It is largely up to the player to go whichever way they want, to explore as they desire (or not), and discover one of the many cadences each level presents. I am a perfectionist and obsessive over making levels that are fun and have a flow. The player should always be doing something, always moving, looking, seeking, fighting. And I want the player to take initiative, but not force them to see everything in one go. It is my sincere desire that you play through the levels I make and go, "hey, this is good shit. I wouldn't mind playing it again." Every one of my levels are large (though not terribly long), and full of stuff to find and do. Multiple playthroughs will, I hope, reward you multiple times with rich and enjoyable experiences.
The first time you collect a food item, such as the watermelon slice, you'll probably notice, savvy SMW vet that you likely are, that you've just collected a Dragon Coin. Like the clocks, food takes the concept and expands upon it. The man on the boat will have a much better time on his journey if he keeps his stomach full. To reflect this, a food item adds 20 seconds to your timer, with a corresponding 20 units added to your roulette ticker. And this is one example where I deliberately disobey the written rules of SMW level design for good cause. This level, and quite a few others, may not have exactly five food items to find. Sometimes, you feast, and sometimes you starve. This helps tie into the health system, which I will explain in the next post.
Well now, guess what? I like making Ganymede more than I like writing about it. So it's been a whole monthish since I felt like doing it. No wonder it gets such little attention. So allow me to rectify.
Now we are at level three. Twilight has settled in over the island. Perhaps the man on the boat is starting to feel the first signs of fatigue. After all, he has already traversed so much in just one afternoon. It is too bad for him, because he's got a lot to do before he is allowed to sleep.
In the last post, I mentioned food and the health system. Developed by MarioFanGamer, Ganymede's health system is unique and (in my biased opinion) elegant. As you may have noticed, the man on the boat can take on a few different forms, one of which is himself, as a child. In Ganymede, there are no 'lives'. Instead, the man on the boat can take damage and will melt and die if he takes too much (or falls, of course). If in his weak, child form, being hit by any enemy or damaging obstacle removes 3 health points. His more rugged forms will take 2 health points, and when he has the benefit of friendship, being damaged will remove just one. He starts off with a maximum of 5 health, and in the process of discovering himself (and the many reasons why he is really here), he can increase this to a maximum of 9.
My mission statement with Ganymede is to take mechanics and ideas from Super Mario World and, rather than just make them look different, I want to subvert your expectations. It has the same basic powerups you know, and not really all that different on the surface of it. But the way they all work entirely changes how you approach the game tactically. Clovers and first aid kits add health, but having powerups (and especially your friend) act as a sort of armor. Having a backup powerup may be as useful as having extra health. Having the ability to ventilate your fiery rage will prove exceptionally useful when time is short. Making sure you keep your friend around may make all the difference when traversing an area with many damaging hazards, as his presence helps you absorb more punishment.
In the next post, I will explain level design philosophy and why it is so important to what I'm trying to make. There are two more levels after this in the demo. Which will happen one of these days. I don't update much, but I work hard every single day, trying to make the best Super Mario World hack you'll ever play. Thanks for stopping by.
Of course, this hack doesn't get very much attention. Maybe that's because a lot of people have nothing to say about this hack or don't have any flaws with it. This one sounds very promising, its mechanics are interesting and the level design is very good! I can't wait for this!I have a Discord server as well!
This one has been a favorite of mine for a long time and I had to delay talking about it because I wanted to go in a different direction, visually.
What if you cried a reservoir?
In this old, decrepit construct, the man on the boat finds the going a bit more rough with the appearance of the Bullies. Though they appear as early as the second level, as the sun set, with full dark now upon the island, the Bullies are out in force. The rare Stone Bully is uniquely dangerous. You can't hurt him, except by tossing another bully's helmet at him. Anything else you do is likely to take you to a new realm of hurt.
The Wetworks is a vast level with a lot to do. It is, in fact, among the largest in the whole game. It really showcases my habit of hiding things everywhere. What's the point of complexity if you can't interact with it? Such a journey is bound to exhaust our erstwhile castaway. Which is good, because after this, it's bedtime... and the final level of the upcoming demo.
Since I really enjoy pixel art, I want Ganymede to, eventually, sport 100% original graphics. Red Steps was the last level of the five to use ripped BG graphics.
Now, it has 95% original graphics (I decided to keep the clouds from the rip. For now.)
So what's left? And why am I taking soooo long?
The demo area will be contained within a single subscreen, but it needs a bit of work and I just haven't gotten to it yet. I need to select appropriate music (I've been seriously negligent about this). There are a handful of gameplay tweaks I want to try.
In addition to the five primary levels of the demo, I am going to showcase several others as bonuses. So it will be a beefy and substantial experience.
I am shooting for Christmas as a last resort release date for this demo, but it may very well be before that. The primary levels, which I've showcased in this thread over the last month, are all essentially release ready now.
I had the same thought at first, but when in motion, I feel it does not present difficulties. It's a very easy level in any case. I would love to see your recording when and if that time comes. That would be awesome!
I really had fun making this. The Player Tilemap Editor tool is awesome, and allows for entirely unique mapping for the 'cape' form, separate from the mapping used for Super/Fire form (which are shared). So I got to make the Sword of Soaring, a great way to see the beauty of the sky. It is a razor sharp sword which transforms into majestic wings when the man is falling, and also allows him to fly. And hit things.
This is the first video I have ever constructed in my life. Recording it took almost a week and close to 100 playthroughs of the level, figuring out how to sync the music, and trying to squeeze the best video quality I could out of this nearly decade-old machine I am forced to rely upon at present, and finally having to accept that I have to not be such a ridiculous perfectionist about this because I might grow old and die before I have a game for you to play.
With all that in mind, I submit for your approval the first trailer of Ganymede, marrying the game I have worked so hard on with the music that inspires me to work on it every single day.