Hello adoring fans!
So, it's been about five months since I updated this thread. That may make you think I've let it go and it's just another dead hack. In actuality, it's alive and better than ever. I'm just really terrible about updating (let's be honest, WIP threads never get much traffic anyway).
So, here's the current situation: I tend to really go all-out in anticipation of C3 events, to where I spend six hours or more a day for the whole month doing a hundred kinds of things I need to do before I feel comfortable sharing my game with the rest of you. Standards are high, and standing out means putting in effort. I got great responses this year and that makes it all worthwhile. After C3, however, I feel burned out and need to step away from the project and gain perspective, do other things, and just let it pupate for awhile until it's time to come back and get moving again.
The one major aspect of Ganymede that has eluded me since it first became a serious project was how to tell the story to the player. I've had it in my head, in outline, since 2016, and little by little, details form, connections form, and it all starts to form organically. But I had not yet figured out how I could actually tell that story using Super Mario World as a game engine.
So, during my little sojourn, I set my mind to thinking about this really central problem, and I think I've figured it out. Ganymede is a story about feelings and emotions, and this part has always been so. Then I came across the wheel of emotions (there are several varieties, this is the one I chose):
I have enough levels to dedicate one to each of these secondary emotions. At first, I was going to make it an indirect account of the man's life and past, with each level themed around a specific event, tied to a specific emotion. But, it seemed really daunting to tell an entire tale around just this guy, who for all his present predicaments, was still just a normal guy.
What I decided on was to, instead, make his personal story the basis for a series of fables. Each level is going to tell a story of its own. Each level has a totally unique look and aesthetic (I have 382 ExGfx files on the rom at present) and will explore each of the emotions on the wheel, not necessarily in order.
You will still be able to learn more about the man and how he got to this island, as well. I love hiding secrets in my levels, every level has them, and finding these secrets will tell you more about who the man is. This is a question which requires making acquaintance with all the people who were left behind when the man sailed away. I've got a whole backstory and am building the characters who will represent parents, siblings, friends, bosses, lovers and all the faces you only ever see once. I'm so excited to bring it all into reality.
Ganymede is about not knowing what the right answers are and making the best choices you can in the moment. Taking a boat and going to sea on a whim is not usually a good choice, so it hopefully gets better from there.
Going this route, and using the wheel of emotions as a basis, means that the time has come for major changes to come to the world maps and the overall order of the levels. It will be a challenge to find the perfect arrangement since there are so many secret exits now available for use. Oh yeah, I've also taken advantage of the new features of Lunar Magic 3 and am in the process of revising levels found in the demos to take advantage of the new vertical dimensions made available. So, if you've played any of the demos, you'll have a new experience the next time I drop one.
Here's some new stuff to look at:
The first new character is Grover. He meets you soon after arriving, because he had a dream in which The Man in Charge told him to wait on the beach, because you were going to wash up there. Grover can hold a conversation, and although he doesn't seem to have many answers to the shipwrecked sailor's many questions, he does have a working set of wings and helps set you on your initial path.
This is The Man in Charge. He walks through dreams and, it would seem, has some talent for predicting what is to come and being correct about it. His motives are unclear, but that is a smile you can't help but trust.
There was a point at which I came to understand that this little project I did in my free time could, one day, become something I might feel proud to show off. At this point, I had been replacing each level of SMW in sequence, making whole new levels, all following the same trajectory as the vanilla map. Originally Forest of Illusion 4, this level became The Brasswood Monster, and by the time I was done, I felt like I had a knack for doing this and sure that I wanted to take it all the way. By 2019, the level had become pretty out of date and so it was time to begin its transformation into what it will be.
Of all the level styles SMW has to offer, ghost houses have always been my favorites to re-make. The concept of ghost houses no longer exists in Ganymede, but I still have some waiting to be transformed into whatever they're going to become, and the House of Many Teeth was (in the original Thoughtful Mario World) the last and most challenging of them.
This is the first room of one of the game's final levels, and it's one that I designed to be really difficult for myself. The Halls of Scission is a level you can only access after you've overcome most of the challenges and gained the necessary wisdom. It's a grueling marathon with four parts. Enlightenment requires a little suffering.
Finally, if you haven't played the game yet and would like to, the Winter 2019 C3 Demo can be found here. It is the most up-to-date public demo. Brasswood Monster and The House of Many Teeth are not playable in this demo, but there are others I did not mention. Hope you have fun, and I'm always really happy when someone has something to say about it. So don't be shy!