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Ganymede - the end of the ROM hack?


Originally posted by Deeke
Maarfy truly makes the dream work. Cheers for letting our weird indie hacks come to life! The hack itself seems like it's coming along quite well, especially with that very snazzy HUD layout you designed. But a few notes:

• At around 0:51, is that a message block? I'm guessing you blocked out the entire area simply to obfuscate the layer 3 weirdness that happens when you activate one of those?

It is, I didn't show it because it does not display a relevant message at this point.
• Since water is a coin analogue and Blockreator has a section for coin behavior, would you/have you considered a variety of water "amounts" that vary on size? Or possibly a pool of water that fills the canteen all the way instead of just collecting an entire screen's worth of droplets?

Water will come in all kinds of forms. The idea of a pool will be found as springs that you can discover hidden around the map, where you can fill up before entering a stage. There are times you'll need it.

• As good as the HUD is, it does have one problem: one half of the numbers are harder to see than the others. 3s look like 8s in particular.

I'll tinker with it some more.

• Did you not like the original jump sound? You've replaced a lot of sounds with SMAS styled ones, but the lack of a jump sound is quite noticeable.

I wanted to get rid of the more obnoxious and cartoony SFX, and I have no jump sound because I just don't like any of the sounds in that role. When I tried replacing the SFX with others, they tended to glitch the music.

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
Level 02: Serenity Steps

This has been a really productive week so far, and I feel very confident I'll have a demo done by July 1.

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame

Two more levels to go. One is basically finished, I just did not polish it up all the way in time. The other, final level of Chapter 1 is going to be a real doozy. It's the first level which gives you powerups (you are just a helpless little kid until then), and it will introduce each one in style. It will be a long, engaging stage which will, I hope, leave you wanting more... because all this is not even 10% of the whole hack.

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
One of these days, I will make the change and get that oddity fixed. Making changes to sounds in the top half of AMK tends to create issues with echo buffers, and I have been putting off working around that.

Until then, this is why I've been putting it off. It's definitely something to cry over. Watch out for bad water!


Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
I've updated the original post, which was severely out of date. So, go ahead and check that out for lots of new media and info. Demo is still on track for C3.

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
Originally posted by Maarfy
Do I assume correctly that the main WATER value has a hard cap that has to be played around? I imagine it'd have to, otherwise the flask is little more than "water you can lose by getting hit," meaning the optimal strategy is to drink the flask as soon as possible whenever possible. Or have I misunderstood?

I've given it a lot of thought, because as it was, you were right. There was really only one incentive to hold onto water, which was that you can carry it to another level.

Then, after some searching, I decided that a good way to make you think twice about drinking right away is to use water as ammo for certain moves. You gave me a hand with the spin jumping, which takes two water to execute, and it will cost one water to use either the shout or the sword moves.

It's a survival situation, but even though there's little penalty for 'dying', getting hit has immediate consequences. This also means that each form the player takes has unique advantages (and disadvantages).

The Kid (aka Lil' Nugget) is the only form you get through most of the first chapter. He has a high, floaty jump that makes him easy to control and navigate most kinds of environments. Unfortunately, he's also physically fragile, and will lose three HP when damaged. The Man, when damaged, will feel overcome with fear and become the Kid again. He can break bricks by hitting them from below.

The Man (on the Boat) is a mature grown up. His jump is noticeably weaker than the Boy's, he has no special offensive capabilities, and cannot break bricks. This stormy soul is, however, more durable and loses only two HP when damaged. Also, when he collects water in this form, his flask fills 3x as fast.

The Burning Rage shares the moveset of the Man, with the same jump, and thus, the same limitations of movement. This very angry man is able to shout profanities at a rate as rapid as you can jam the Y button (though it requires 1 water in your flask to shout each projectile). Using the X button, he can unleash a powerful triple fire attack lit and fueled by resentment and contempt. Most enemies defeated by his ire spawn deep blue somethings that give you 5 water... if you can grab it in time. He can blast bricks with this power.

The Sword of Soaring is presently not much different an experience to an experienced SMW player. This weird sword carries the man towards his highest aspirations. Its serrated edge is actually a pair of wings. He can hold it aloft when falling, and they will flap open and slow his descent. The feathers are as sharp as razors, and the sword will cut a path of destruction through almost any enemy. He will also cut a path of destruction through bricks.

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
Still working on that demo. But, until then, take a look at this thing I made. It's a gif which shows 82 different iterations of Level 106, from 09/11/2013 to today. This is just to show how much time and effort I've put into this so far... it being just one level and all.

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
oh shoot!
Now I remember, I did some playest of Thoughtful Mario World and PM you some comments back in 2015-16. Your previous username was Ten, wasn't it? Ohh I've even posted some comments on the thread already.
I'm just seeing now the 2016 post where you explain Ganymeded origins with this album (I like it too, sound very good). It's even more amazing you take your inspiration from a nice album. For some time I've been meaning to imagine a romhack revolving around Boards of Canada, but to no avail.

Way to go. I'm following this thread (again) with interest, although I stay rather silent.

I remember how you described thoughtful Mario World as something subtly cooked in order to have the most optimal player experience, and how you were drawing your levels on paper and the like. It is super cool to put this level of effort into level design, and this universe you have created is pleasant. See you soon!
After seven years, I have finally told (the first part of) a story.

Chapter One - New Home's Coast (download)

Don't expect it to be like a Mario game, and try to have a good time. Let me know your thoughts. Does the story make sense? Does it leave you wanting more? Do you feel the gameplay and story integrate well? How many dreams did you have before you got to the end?

Also let me know if you come across anything broken, or out of place. I think I got everything, but I'm also a little paranoid about it.

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
Originally posted by Ondore's Lies
After seven years, I have finally told (the first part of) a story.


cough, i decided to give this a chance since i stumbled upon it now, only things i've seen of it so far are some gifs you shared when i was in the discord server.

Benny Harvey RIP, miss you big man.

Thank you so much, both for playing and for the detailed feedback.


Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
You're welcome! i was nervous a bit about my feedback so i'm glad i didn't screw it up lol

Oh, so it's like an emotion rollercoaster hack, the story was being subtle about that so i completely missed it lol. And i'm glad to hear the rest of the hack is mostly complete!

Benny Harvey RIP, miss you big man.


Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
Originally posted by BootaNoBijuu
Hi Mr. "Ondore's Lies"!
I’ve recently been following your Hack (since your hack has an very deply story) and I finnaly take a courage to review it.
Since that "Anime Retro" made his review (wich I will probably not read because of my laziness head) so sorry that if I will repeat most of everything of what he said.

Thank you for taking the time to play and to offer your impressions! I will consider all advice, all of which is good, and respond to specific areas where a response makes sense. You definitely found things I did not notice when looking for errors.


Serenity Steps: I think that you forget to put the five "food" here, because I can't found it.

I was not able to implement the food system fully at this point, but it is entirely intentional that you will find more, or fewer, than 5 food in a single level. I want to make a system out of it where, the amount of food you have eaten affects things such as your success rate at damaging enemies when you jump on them, and it will go down over time.

Also, the color of the "Spoiled Water" will be like this? It seems more like a Wrong color (in my point of view).

It was intentional, if not the most attractive choice. There are other instances where I've used so much of the palette that I have to really pull something out of my butt to make a new object integrate with it.

I hope that I have helped you and Good Luck with your Project. I'm Loving it #w{<3}!

Thank you very much, I'm so happy you had a good time!

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
So, I'm back from another few weeks of letting Ganymede simmer on the back burner. Having completed chapter 1, the task now is to go beyond to the real meat of the story. And, this starts with more overworld map improvements.

You enter the map from the base of the black tower, set on one of two paths, upon which you are committed for a while. The left path will take you through some very hungry woods and the Cold Shoulders, a frigid mountaintop haunted by a very sad ghost.

The right path will take you through the surreal and confusing City of the Spineless, and if you make it through, you are rewarded with a hot trip through the volcano and its boiling blood.

I missed C3 this summer, but I'll be here for Winter C3, and I think you'll like what I'm bringing.

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
Your painterly style of making these maps is honestly very stunning and one of a kind. Only WYE's art can compare.

Is it a deliberate design decision to make one path focused on submaps and the other on overworld tiles? Balance might've been nicer to have, but it seems a bit late to overhaul the map as it is.

The City's map appears really level-heavy; is that just to let you move around in nodes and not real levels? Which are which?

There's also the segment where the woods and the summit maps are linked, but there are no levels between them. May I suggest an optional level here as a diversion (like maybe an abandoned lodge) to put some purpose on that path? It might as well connect directly otherwise to make overworld navigation a little smoother.

Other Submissions of mine!
Originally posted by Deeke
Your painterly style of making these maps is honestly very stunning and one of a kind. Only WYE's art can compare.

Thanks! :) Very high praise!

Is it a deliberate design decision to make one path focused on submaps and the other on overworld tiles? Balance might've been nicer to have, but it seems a bit late to overhaul the map as it is.

The left and right paths are intentionally contrasting in several ways. Going left will, largely, take you out of the overworld almost entirely, which keeps that big eye from being able to see you. At least, that's the hope... The right path constantly puts you back into view, and it also has a lot more to do with why there is an eye.

The right path has a few more levels than the left, the left has more levels with multiple exits. Overall, each path has about the same number of exits (42 left, 41 right).

lol but honestly, I never really planned any of this, it evolves along with my understanding of the story I'm trying to tell.

The City's map appears really level-heavy; is that just to let you move around in nodes and not real levels? Which are which?

The top and bottom portions are entirely disconnected. The top portion is a (relatively short) segment of the SE portion of the overworld map. The bottom portion is a hub to let you travel the map faster. That whole map is likely to be trashed, and redesigned.

There's also the segment where the woods and the summit maps are linked, but there are no levels between them. May I suggest an optional level here as a diversion (like maybe an abandoned lodge) to put some purpose on that path? It might as well connect directly otherwise to make overworld navigation a little smoother.

I've wanted to for a long time and finally did.

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame
Hello, and welcome to GANYMEDE.

The Trailer!:

Full gameplay walkthrough (it's gonna spoil ya):

Current Feature (satisfaction guaranteed or your money back):
YouTube Channel:
Ondore's Lies
Original Trailer:
Back of My Eyelids (2017)
A tour of Ganymede:
Chapter One Sightseeing (spoilers)

Five Six Seven Eight (!) years in the making! Much more still to come. Chapter one is complete and ready for your enjoyment. Download it now! Play it immediately thereafter! This is the demo I showed off at Winter C3 2021, and is the fourteenth (!!) public release of Ganymede since Oct. 16, 2014.

This is the story of a boy who seeks adventure and fun.

Why do kids seek adventure and fun? Part of it is that kids are just naturally wired to do that. But, another part of it is contrast; the grass is always greener somewhere else. If life appears to suck, it is a natural instinct to dream of a place where it doesn't, and to want to go and find it. Even if it isn't real.

For this boy, life could be better. This is not the first time noises from his parents' bedroom have roused him awake.

It used to be that, at times, weird noises came from their room, but this noise is a lot more familiar and relatable, and his first thought is that he's glad they are shouting at each other, because that meant that, if he stayed out of the way, neither of them would shout at him. That's just how it was these days, and it just kept getting worse and worse. Now, he couldn't even take a nap and get away from it.

So, maybe, the boy thinks, he really ought to get away from it.

Before he has time to stop himself, he's already out and into the pouring rain. He doesn't have anywhere in mind, and it really doesn't matter, does it? He could go wherever he wanted, and no one would miss him. What's more, he wouldn't miss them, either. And so, he wandered, in search of nothing, until finally, the rain ceases and so do his wanderings.

He has made his way to the edge of the sea, and it makes him think of the painting above his bed, with its bad ass sailor holding his own in a hurricane against the worst Mother Nature had to throw at him. The boat docked nearby makes it almost seem like fate and Mother Nature appeared to not be in a fighting mood at the moment. And so, it was in no general direction that the boy sailed.

For a brief time, the clouds clear and reveal a dazzling night sky, full of stars and constellations. Miles from anywhere and going who knows where, such a sight could only be witnessed by an adventurous seafarer such as himself. He enjoys it as long as he can.

And that is not very long. Because, without warning, the storm reignites all around the boy and his boat. Thunder stomps the seas into churning chaos as the squall blows in every direction at once. The boat is tossed, turned, and tumbled before a bolt of lightning strikes, smashing it to a great many smithereens.

When he awakens, many hours have passed, and it is the blinding stare of the sun into which he opens his eyes. He doesn't know where he is, or how, exactly, he survived to ponder the question. Maybe it doesn't matter. What matters is that he's here, apparently to stay.

A silhouette looms in the distance, which he recognizes as a lighthouse. It is tall and old, and looks like it has not been used in a long time. It is there he decides to go first. How cool it would be to live in a lighthouse! It's the adventure he was seeking, in any case.

But the funny thing about adventure is that adventure is dangerous. No going to the fridge for a drink, no stopping in the convenience store for a hot dog. No warm bed to snuggle in at night, no fan to keep you cool. Living like a kid is one way to learn some adult lessons. It seems certain that, by the time he makes it to the lighthouse, he will be relieved to finally find safety and maybe he will be wondering if this wasn't a big mistake after all.

The real-life story of GANYMEDE:

The year was 2013. My wife was then my fiancé, and we had just moved in together. A concurrent change in careers left me with a lot more free time (or, more to the point, I made my money tied to my desk now). This was a job that frequently left me with downtime. So, I decided to start hackin'. I had no plan or ambition, it was just cool that Lunar Magic let me make levels in a Mario game, because this was something I dreamt of doing since there was a Super Mario World. So, I made a bunch, pretty quickly, and had fun doing it. I thought I lost this first hack (eventually, I rediscovered it), so I just started a new one, armed with a greater skillset and more experience. As before, this was nothing but something to do, when I had nothing else to do. Within a few months, it sported about three dozen levels, some of which I was pretty proud of. And so, it finally occurred to me that this could be an actual hack people might enjoy.

This is when I began to lurk here, getting a feel for what the expectations were, and going through the first of many, many editing binges. I finally joined in August of 2014 and showed off some screens. Two months later, I released Thoughtful Mario World (Part I). It was Part I because I already knew I wanted there to be more. Even at this early point, it was already as big as some of the biggest hacks on this site. My ambition, at this point, was to make a hack that rated well, but it was still, pretty much, a vanilla hack. It still used the vanilla world map, music, and most of the graphics. I submitted this as a full hack, though this was a premature move. It turned out to be rougher and less polished than I assumed, and the hack was rejected. I took it as a lesson and got back to work, with the goal of adding the remaining levels and making it look and play better. Over the next year, I began experimenting with ExGFX for the first time, constructing my own world map for the first time, and installing patches, and little by little, Thoughtful Mario World drifted further into what the kids call 'choconilla' territory. Still a Mario game, but starting to be something a little bit different.

It was around this time that I was introduced to a band I've since come to call my favorite. They are The Shills, and one of their albums was an album with a story, my favorite kind. And this one really touched me. It was about a man who runs away, and leaves his entire world behind, sick of humanity and all the bullshit. He gets caught in a storm and wrecks on an island. As the album progresses, his feelings about his situation progress from satisfaction and happiness to the realization that the real problem was himself, and nowhere you could run would be far enough to get away from it. It turned out that I related to this story in a deep and profound way, and rather entirely by coincidence, I thought, wouldn't it be fun to adapt this story to my hack? I have always wanted to make a videogame, but even more, I have always wanted to tell a great story. I redesigned Mario into the Man on the Boat, and it's been a process in the years since to transform Thoughtful Mario World into Ganymede.

So, originally, Ganymede was going to be, simply an adaptation, telling (roughly) the same story as the album, with a lot of extra detail in between the major plot points that existed as songs. But, then, a newer and bigger idea began to take hold. Instead of my Ganymede being a story about a man who runs away, it would be about a boy who runs away, not from the big bad world and its stupid people, but from the people who ought to love him and care for him most, because, instead, they are really screwed up, toxic people, so caught up in their own problems that they are unaware of how much it hurts their kid. This is Chapter One, as it now exists, and it ends on a cliffhanger as the kid finds himself trapped on an island with his regrets and no apparent way back home. The next several chapters will tell of what happens as the boy grows into a man, and comes to grips with the events of the night he ran away, all to culminate in a pair of climaxes: how the boy survived and made it back home, and how (or, if?!) the man comes to grips with his traumas and challenges afterwards. I say "if", because whether or not he actually does make it back and gains the wisdom he needs to finally be at peace, is entirely up to you.


1. The Departure (1:36)
2. The Storm (2:16)
3. Segue I (0:16)
4: The Island (3:26)
5: Segue II (0:47)
6. To Stay (3:53)
7. Janus (4:01)
8: Further (3:44)
9: Maybe I'll Stay Around (3:28)
10: The Nightmare (1:56)
11: Segue III (0:47)
12: To Leave (4:24)
13: Segue IV (0:49)
14: The Fire (1:43)
15: Realization (2:57)

Thoughtful Mario World ver. 1 (2014/10/16)
Thoughtful Mario World ver. 2 (2015/06/18)
Thoughtful Mario World ver. 3 (2015/08/28)
Thoughtful Mario World ver. 4 (2015/11/01)
Ganymede ver. 1 - Summer C3 2016 (2016/07/10)
Ganymede ver. 2 (2016/12/31)
Ganymede ver. 3 (2017/05/15)
Ganymede ver. 4 (2017/12/20)
Ganymede ver. 5 - Summer C3 2018 (2018/07/08)
Ganymede ver. 6 - Winter C3 2019 (2019/01/04)
Ganymede ver. 7 (2020/08/18)
Ganymede ver. 8 - Winter C3 2021 (2021/01/09) *new*


Several truly righteous dudes here have been instrumental in the success of this hack and directly helping me realize my vision. They are as follows:
Vitor Vilela

Full credits list for ASM and music can be found in the hack itself.

Chapter Two: Land of No Shame