I'm happy to present Thoughtful Mario World, my first semi-finished project. It is a hack that doesn't stray very far from choconilla, though there are a handful of mostly bugfix hacks.
This hack has no real story to it (I mean, there are really only so many plausible ways to spin the "save Princess MacGuffin" angle), and my approach has mostly to create a "Lost Levels" sort of experience. It plays very much like the original, with a few wrinkles. There are no special blocks or enemies or power-ups. The only new element is that collecting coins extends the timer, so I've made coin collection more important than it otherwise is. I've tried to apply what I think of as sound level design philosophy, keeping true to the style of classic Mario games. I think that a good Mario level is like a big playground, and that's what I've tried to make.
There are 65 exits currently. I didn't really do anything to the overworld map, so basically, worlds 1-5 and the Star World levels are complete, and there are rewards for finding these temporary choke points. I'm going to take a break before I continue, but I do intend to finish the entire game at some relatively near future time.
A big thanks to K3fka and Vitor Vilela for their invaluable assistance here.
Here are some screens of levels from the first two worlds. You can see many more by going to my WIP thread here.
Seriously, this was very good, but it had it's ups and downs. It has got great level design and nice ideas, but it has got weird palette issues, (especially the castle/ghost house cutscene), sprite memory issues. If you fix them, this hack will be pretty much perfect. Not finished it yet, I got to the main overworld. Also, gonna make a walkthrough of it (no, not let's play. i would like to, but i don't want you guys to hear my voice + i cant spell shit)
Thanks for the feedback! I can't wait to see your walkthrough, that's very exciting.
I did know about the palette issues in the intro levels, and I agree that it is not attractive. I didn't know what to do about it, honestly, though I have an idea for a workaround I can do in the final release that I didn't have before.
I should note that there is at least one mistake I did not catch in my testing: in the Bombardier Traverse level (which replaces Vanilla Secret 2) I accidentally have the midway entrance spawn you right in the middle of an enemy. This isn't gamebreaking, but certainly annoying. I did all the playtesting myself, and I was pretty thorough, but there are undoubtedly a handful of other little things like that I didn't catch. I would appreciate it if those who give it a try let me know of any other areas of concern you encounter.
Was kinda weird to open a thread and see my name mentioned in the post, but then I remembered posting that code.
Anyway, I really have to agree with what SRH said; the levels have good ideas and designs, but there are a few issues with palettes and sprite memory. To fix the sprite memory issues, apply this patch, and then in each level, open the sprite memory settings (the Lakitu head icon), and set the header to 10. This should fix parts of sprites disappearing.
Also, I've only made it out of Yoshi's Island, but the first castle had an extremely easy-to-get 3UP moon, so I'd probably remove that or make it much more difficult to get.
I will find a way to fix these issues. And, watching someone else play the game was educational. There are a couple of changes to Trouble Up Top I'll need to make, and I would like to get rid of that weird thing with the sprites, where segments disappear.
Regarding the moon, and its ease: I didn't make it hard to gain extra lives. Almost all of my maps have several extra lives. Since the score is more or less meaningless, I treat the lives counter in this hack as a more relevant method of scoring one's skill at the game. It challenges your ability to obtain a high score by finding ways to earn 1ups, and it also reflects your skill at the game. A player who is skilled at exploring the levels and surviving its challenges will have a lot of lives. One feature I would like to implement in the final product is to find a way to store lives to the SRAM.
By the way, if in the course of playing, you come across any design choices that you don't care for, or parts that you think are broken or unfair or confusing or just not very much fun, I would love to know about it, because that's what really matters to me. When I release the full, completed hack, I want to make sure it's just about pixel perfect, so I'll take every piece of feedback into consideration, positive or negative.
I also want to say that I appreciate every single download very much. This has been a labor of love and I'm doing it primarily for my own entertainment, but seeing people even showing interest in this makes me happy.