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[POLLS] Dark Star Dance (clearing up gaming backlog b4 getting back to work)
Forum Index - SMW Hacking - Works in Progress - [POLLS] Dark Star Dance (clearing up gaming backlog b4 getting back to work)
Pages: « 1 2 » Link
For the poll, see the last post.

State of affairs: SA-1 GPS was released and I should be ready to resume progress on this hack. However, it turns out the Minimalistic Status Bar is too hard for me to convert to SA-1, so I'll have to code my own from scratch.

I talked about some special 2-players features in my last post, but now it's pretty well fleshed-out and it will affect both 1 and 2-players modes.

Before resuming my work, however, I want to clear up my gaming backlog. While waiting for stuff, I discovered quite a few games that I'm interested in, and I don't want to wait much longer. I also have a job now, which lowers my gaming/hacking time drastically.

I'll get there eventually, guys. I'm itching to release a demo for this thing.

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Latest post

To-Do List:
Green = In Progress

- [GFX/ASM] Finish intro stuff;
- [ASM] Code World 1 boss;
- [ASM] Code World 2 boss;
- [ASM] Code World 1 sub-boss;
- [ASM] Code World 2 sub-boss;
- [LVL] Make levels;
- [GOAL] Release 2-worlds demo.

Heeeello people, welcome to my... 7th(?) hack's thread! Introductions will be brief, but a lot more is actually ready to show!

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The story takes place in an alternate timeline where BiS never happened.

At the Annual Archeology Event of the Mushroom Kingdom, Peach and Mario are having a good time. Peach tells Mario of a tragic event that happened at the festival a long time ago, where they discovered an evil star called the Dark Star. It was sealed deep under Toad Town by the Star Spirits. The day is ending and Peach promises to show the Dark Star to Mario the next day if he comes to the castle.

(She actually gives you the exact same speach as in BiS.)

The next day, he goes to the castle, Bowser invades, Mario is thrown in a cell in the sewers under the castle and he escapes. Then, he ends up where the Dark Star is sealed, but the Dark Star isn't there anymore. In its stead lies Peach. She says the only way to break the seal is to gather the 4 pieces of the Celesteel Star, an artifact that was found near the Dark Star at the archeology event and that is said to be able to absorb a limitless amount of power.

For this story to make sense, you must accept the following facts, which aren't canon but do not contradict the canon either:

- Peach cannot deactivate the seal from the inside;
- There's a huge red button in the room to reactivate the seal once it's disactivated;
- Since BiS never happened, Bowser does not have any reason to hate the Dark Star and might even be attracted by its power.

----------------

So, now that this is out of the way, let there be screenshots!


The title screen, still a WIP. I still need to remove the "Super Mario RPG" part. The rest is pretty much a placeholder.


The main Overworld. The graphics for the Snowman and the Desert temple are outdated, I redrew them with cool new designs (and better shading, ewrgh).

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Length: 30 levels.

Worlds are numbered by length/difficulty, not by order; you can complete them in nearly any order:

World 0: Mushroom Kingdom (first level, castle, bridge) (3 levels)
World 1: Desert World (5 levels)
World 2: Forest World (5 levels)
World 3: Sea World (7 levels)
World 4: Snow World (7 levels)
Final World: Spoilers... (3 levels)

I tend to use a lot of indoors level themes (Ghost Houses, Fortresses, etc.) so there are only 1 or 2 levels per world that actually follow the theme to a T.

----------------



The beggining of the first level. I didn't take more screenshots because the layout is mostly unchanged from the previous version (aside from the castle-sinking part, that's obviously removed).

----------------

Mario or Luigi can be selected when loading a save file (it replaces the 2-players function). Physics-wise, they are identical. However:

- Fire Luigi can have up to 3 fireballs on-screen at once;
- Fire Mario has the regular 2, but each fireball can pierce 1 enemy (like Meteor Shots from Terraria, although they still bounce normally);
- Both can shoot fireballs in an upwards arc by pressing UP;
- Mario becomes Cape Mario when he touches a Feather;
- Luigi becomes Raccoon Luigi when he touches a Feather;
- Neither of them can fly; the only difference is that Luigi has to tap the button and Mario just holds it.

----------------

I plan to release a 2-worlds demo sometimes around the end of the year; The technical intro stuff is almost done, and graphics are mostly done, so all I need to do now are levels and bosses. If everything goes well, expect an early January release.
Looks good so far! Those screens sure look appealing. Maybe the FG "decoration" makes the screens feel a bit too crowded, I'd suggest to remove some of it; if possible making more decorations to make your level more varied. Other than that, pretty nice!
I also agree on swapping Mario and Luigi's fire abilities, even if honestly I'd be okay with the current setting too.
Keep up the good work~
Originally posted by Wakana
Looks good so far! Those screens sure look appealing. Maybe the FG "decoration" makes the screens feel a bit too crowded, I'd suggest to remove some of it; if possible making more decorations to make your level more varied. Other than that, pretty nice!
I also agree on swapping Mario and Luigi's fire abilities, even if honestly I'd be okay with the current setting too.
Keep up the good work~


Yeah. I'm curious about this hack. #smw{:|}

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7 years using Smwcentral.net... I think that's not enough.

-ForthRightMC
New screenshots time! (also new layout!)



What you see might be the only forest level in the hack, depending on what I decide for another Forest World level. It revolves around hollow trunks that you need to navigate in order to complete the level.

I put special care in making sure every enemy you might encounter inside the trunks can be plainly seen entering the trunk, so the challenge revolves around exiting or entering a trunk at the right moment/spot. Still a World 2 level, it isn't too hard if you don't barge in head first.

All horizontal trunks are hollow, but the vertical ones aren't.

Green Spinies are exactly like Red ones, except that they stay on ledges. Let's say that they are fully-matured Spinies that are smart enough to avoid falling.

----------------

@Wakana I'm planning to add regular "hills with eyes" and flowers along with the over-the-top bushes (but keep them the main focus decoration-wise); I might also make the black outline around them fade a bit better with the background. Same thing with the decorative trunks in the screenshots I just posted.

I'll also remove some bushes, as you suggested, but for another reason; I simply can't keep using that amount of decorations if I want to finish the hack someday, and I really like consistency, so it'd be weird to have the 1st level overly-decorated and have the rest look dull in comparison. However, since I can't draw to save my life, the only tools I have to make levels look decent are the landscape and the decorations.

----------------

Next post will be what might be the only fully-water level in the hack... and it's not in the Sea World. I gotta explain something about that world: Most seemingly-disconnected paths on the OW are part of the Sea World. That world is all about alternating between a cavern and the surface via pipes and whirpools (and a quicksand patch). I name it the Sea World because the first and last levels are around water... that's all. There might be more water than usual in that world, though.

Anyway, stay tuned (or rather... spam the F5 key all day) for more!
I'm having trouble seeing what's in the background and what's in the foreground. I think you may want to rework the background palette to be a bit more distinct compared to the foreground.

Also maybe some vertical scroll would be nice? Most of the screenshots have you way up there by the tree canopy so it may be worth while to add some vertical scrolling.


I darkened the background palette and changed the solid and non-solid logs' palettes so that non-solid ones aren't the brightest. That was kinda stupid, I'll admit that.

For vertical scroll though... I actually agree that it looks a bit weird in some parts. The real problem, however, is that a lot of jumps (like the one in the screenshot) become blind ones when I activate VS. The level was designed completely around not having it.

I tried activating it, and even modified the canopy so that the screen doesn't become a green void whenever the screen scrolls. But the blind jumps issue is too severe and I'd have to completely scrap the level because of that. I'm looking into finding a way to fix that, either by:

- Lowering the level overall (so no need for VS)
- Remove every jump-landing hazards (still looks weird and confusing)
- Add autoscroll that goes up and down (requiring some heavy tweaking so that the level isn't unfair, and scrap lots of ideas)

The first option seems like the only plausible one... but I already did that to some extent. I can lower most sections by a single tile, but it doesn't make much of a difference.

I'm trying to find a solution, pals. I really do. But I think we'll have to tolerate the "player-near-the-top-of-screen" problem.

On another note, some screenshots are ready, but I'll keep them for the next time someone posts here. I do not really want to put screenshot dumps and troubleshooting in the same post, nor do I want to double-post. That's one of my rules. #thp{>:)}

EDIT: Also thinking about changing the horizontal logs' graphics so that they we see the inside - it would make for a greater graphical variety, would make distinguishing vertical and horizontal logs easier, and would remove the "getting-hit-by-invisible-enemy" shit. I already took precautions so that the player sees enemies entre the log, but if he isn't paying attention (or isn't the autor), he gets hit and it's frustrating. Yep, definitely gonna change that.
Looks pretty good so far! The levels look bright and colorful, and seem like they would be fun to play. Nice job!
I agree with the previous posters on the aesthetics as they are quite nice. I'm assuming you drew the custom graphics yourself, and if so, you're a pretty sweet GFX artist. I'm also loving how detailed that Overworld is. My only complaint is that, although I understand your reason for using it, Super Mario RPG may be a bit of a misnomer since this is a platformer. Maybe you could call it Super Mario Adventure or something?

--------------------
Quintesson Judge: Silence, or you will be held in contempt of this court!
Hot Rod: I have nothing but contempt for this court!
- Transformers the Movie (1986)
Originally posted by OmegaYoshi
Looks pretty good so far! The levels look bright and colorful, and seem like they would be fun to play. Nice job!

Originally posted by Gamma V
I agree with the previous posters on the aesthetics as they are quite nice.

Happy to see more people like it!

Originally posted by Gamma V
I'm assuming you drew the custom graphics yourself, and if so, you're a pretty sweet GFX artist.

I cannot claim these graphics as my own, although I did put work into it. A lot of general GFX elements (blocks, powerups, etc. are completely by DeeY or whatever he's called nowadays. The grass part of the ground was ripped from some spritesheet and added to my own "filler ground" graphics, with some added shadowing. From the way it shapes up, this is going to be the pattern for most tilesets in the hack.

The only things I drew are the "filler ground", the wood-based stuff, the magic bushes and Peach's Castle, and I retouched Mario and Luigi's graphics. But still, thanks!

Originally posted by Gamma V
My only complaint is that, although I understand your reason for using it, Super Mario RPG may be a bit of a misnomer since this is a platformer. Maybe you could call it Super Mario Adventure or something?

Somehow, I knew that was going to be brought up...

I often wonder what should be the title instead. Maybe simply calling it "Dark Star Dance" could work?

----------------

Okay, the long-promised screenshots are here! (WIP)


To do: decorations and darken BG a bit, but not as much as the forest one. Also, fix a nasty bug with the "brick piece" minor extended sprite spawned by throw blocks.

Most of the level doesn't have vertical scroll, but at some point the level goes up (screenshot 4) and it becomes enabled. The section then leads Mario back to the bottom of the level and vertical scroll is once again disabled.

I do that because my filler ground can be very eye-searing if 3/5 of the screen is filled with it, which happens constantly when vertical scroll is enabled without the level using the whole level's height. Same thing with the forest and the canopy.

...Not much to say otherwise. Discuss. Now. Or not. But mostly do. Please. #thp{;)}

Oh, and next time, I'll probably show stuff related to the intro. Probably.
Welp, that's about the best underwater BG I've ever seen. HDMA waves or riot

I think you should just call the hack Dark Star Dance. People call their SMW hacks all sorts of weird things. It seems I haven't commented here yet, despite having seen the thread, so I'll say right now that the OW looks preeeetty good. The forest is pretty meh. I'm guessing the logs are hollow but they don't really look enterable, if that makes any sense. I think you should try to give them a more 3-dimensional feel, probably by showing the opening a bit. That might be a bit tricky give how priority works, but would probably end up being worth it.

allow shy guy emojis in post footers you cowards!
Originally posted by Von Fahrenheit
The forest is pretty meh. I'm guessing the logs are hollow but they don't really look enterable, if that makes any sense.

Originally posted by aCrowned (aka me), a few posts ago
EDIT: Also thinking about changing the horizontal logs' graphics so that they we see the inside - it would make for a greater graphical variety, would make distinguishing vertical and horizontal logs easier, and would remove the "getting-hit-by-invisible-enemy" shit. I already took precautions so that the player sees enemies entre the log, but if he isn't paying attention (or isn't the autor), he gets hit and it's frustrating. Yep, definitely gonna change that.

Already thought about that! :P Priority won't be a problem at all, nor will it obstruct the player's view anymore...
Only the horizontal ones are enterable so it makes sense to make them look different, even if enemies already demonstrate it for you before you can touch any log. It's still on my to-do list though, I hate drawing...

BG is this with the Cheep-Cheeps removed. There isn't going to be any HDMA wavey shenanigans here, sadly. HDMA as a whole is far, FAR out of my league. Maybe later I'll revisit it and add waves, if I ever end up being able to do such things. Same situation with Layer 3 shenanigans.

Oh, and since I can't see any objections to the name change, I guess I'll apply it now. "Super Mario RPG" is a mouthful anyway, "Dark Star Dance" rolls off the tongue nicely. At least, it does when you have a weird accent like mine. #thp{:s2}

EDIT: About the overworld, what parts do you like, and what parts could use some more work? This overworld was started a few years ago, and when I picked it back up a few months ago, only the bottom was done. The bottom looks flatter than the top, as a result. I added a bunch of details and decorations, but the two halves still look like they were made by different people. Or maybe it only does because I'm aware of what happened and I can't unsee?
Yoshiatom's Post
Originally posted by absentCrowned
HDMA as a whole is far, FAR out of my league.

May I nudge you towards Effect tool? it's dead easy to use, has sevral effects (including waves) and the code can be just copy pasted in uberASM (it even gives you clear inscrutions on how to do so.)

...now that I've finished advertising for JackTheSpades, dem graphics look grate, and the level itself looks enjoyable.

Layout by Koopster!

<DeputyBS> I knew it
<DeputyBS> alcarobot is taking over the world through his truck dealership franchise
I listened to your suggestions and improved the visuals a bit.



Now the logs are much more intuitive to navigate (and a bit better-looking).

The flowers are animated and dance like... everything in SMB3 maps.
Birds are also animated and alternate between pecking on the ground repeatedly and flapping their wings (which raises them by a pixel), they're kinda cute.

I've been mainly working on the story/script lately because I noticed a huge cotradiction and I also completely misremembered Peach's story about the Dark Star's origins.

The story now takes place in an alternate timeline where BiS never happened. The Dark Star also regains its liberty in this timeline, so shit will hit the fan just like in BiS, but from a completely different angle.

After the intro, the story doesn't become relevant again until you collect all the McGuffins. Kinda like M&L games, really; SS, BiS and DT all have a part of their stories, late in the game, where you need to get McGuffins, and the plot doesn't advance until you get them all. Except here it's the whole game before the final world.

I'm gonna rewrite the story in OP, but I'll try to be more vague this time.

EDIT: Done, and I did a lot of stuff in my to-do list; only 4 remain. I'm also designing a level on the side, it should be ready soon. Afterwards, I should be able to focus much more on designing levels, which means I'll be a bit more active in this thread.

I'll also look into making userbars... if someone wants it, that is.
NEW LEVEL WOO!!!

0-2: (s)Football Bridge
(all levels with a secret exit will have the "(s)" prefix in this thread.)


The level focuses on Puntin' and Clappin' Chucks.

I still need to improve visuals (add decoration, fix the platforms' palette) and touch up the last few screens (like filling up the ground in screenshot #4). Otherwise, it's finished.

----------------

Story-wise, the hack won't change after all. If you weren't following, here was the problem, explained better:

- In BiS, Fawful frees the Dark Star by blasting the seal around it. However, he needed to pump some "Princess Peach juice" in the Dark Star to "wake it up".

- In my story, Peach simply needs to touch the seal to deactivate it, and the Dark Star is perfectly woken up.

I can ignore this contradiction: Princess Peach deactivating the seal is the real, intended method. However, nothing prevents someone (Fawful) from destroying the seal, but in that case, the seal's power transfers inside the Dark Star and it is paralysed until Peach is used, like in BiS.

Peach cannot deactivate the seal from the inside, and destroying the seal would either force her in an eternal coma or simply free her, as it is unknown how the seal would react while inside Peach. Plus, destroying the seal means it can't be reactivated to reseal the Dark Star afterwards.

I'm not going to explain any of this in-game because the characters themselves won't see any contradiction, since BiS never happened. You are not required to have even played BiS before playing this hack. I'm not going to add any more confusing layers of explanations and story. This wall of text exists solely to assure you that I thought everything through and nothing really contradicts the canon facts.

----------------

I'll update the To-Do List to the November version.

If anyone want a userbar, just tell me so.

Have a nice day!
This looks great man. Don't fucking give up on this one, please.
Originally posted by Mindevous
This looks great man. Don't fucking give up on this one, please.

Thanks pal, I'm glad to hear more people like it!

Oh hell I don't intend to drop this one. I'm finally making the hack I always wanted to do, but wouldn't because of my lack of skills in some field or another, or my lack in confidence towards the skills I do have.

However, I recently decided to drop the Volcano World. There are multiple reasons for this:

- Since the Celesteel Star-fetching part of the game is a huge break in the storytelling, I decided to shorten it a bit to avoid losing all of the player's focus towards the story;

- I don't want this hack to fall in development hell or burn me out to the point where I'll be tired of hacking. [puns totally intended];

- I had quite a few ideas for the Volcano World, but very few for the Sea World; I'm going to merge the two concepts together. The Sea World, as you can't see on the map, partly takes place underground. The Overworld in the OP has a bunch of disconnected levels that are all part of the Sea World, too, through pipes and whirpools. It's kinda frustrating to traverse, so I'll change it so most of the Sea World takes place in the underground submap. Then, I'll add lava to this submap, so it'll be some kind of Water/Lava Cave World. That should fix my shortage of water-related ideas. The castle to this world will still be the tower south of Mario's starting point, though;

- I might add a level or two to the final world to compensate. The final -spoilers- World is gonna be much cooler than a generic volcano anyway;

- I'll be able to get rid of the ugly wall of brown and black in the upper-leftmost part of the OW.

Otherwise, I made a lot of progress in the "Sealed Peach" cutscene: The writing is all done and patched into the game.



I kept the "default" 3 lines height of the patch even though more lines would've been useful because I want all textboxes to be consistent and it looks great that way. It was a pain to shorten my usually long sentences to fit in, though, because I don't want them to be split in multiple textboxes.

What's missing: Peach, the nodes and the barrier themselves, a background, decorative Luigi/Mario depending on who you're playing as (both should be in the room), music.

Oh, I'll throw in a few screenshots of the intro too, even though I'm not satisfied with the palette work and I'm gonna redo it (and add stars):


inb4 peachs arms look weird af

I don't plan on having any more dialogues until the moment you get all Celesteel Star Pieces, except for maybe a line or two from some bosses and the "Celesteel Star GET" messages.

As always, I'll be updating my To-Do List in the OP as I make progress, so feel free to have a look whenever you wonder what I'm doing for the hack at any moment.

EDIT: More screens of the OW graphical overhaul:



...I really, really like the snowman. The spiky desert thing is okay too.

EDIT: I'm having a problem with my ROM, and it seems like the problem has been there for a long time: Whenever Mario jumps, he gets in his "falling" state immediately (hat raising slightly, hands at belly height). For most jumps, this is only a visual bug, but when jumping at full X speed, his speed is cut.

I tried porting to a new ROM, but depending on the order I insert/patch stuff, I either corrupt the ROM or get everything working correctly... and the bug is fixed. Can I assume that my current ROM has a slight, coincidental corruption that weirdly only affects Mario's jump without crashing anything?

Anyway, I'm gonna do a full port, it shouldn't be too hard.

While I'm doing it, I might try to fix this, too. I'm having the same problems as SuperMariaSis, but some of my problems weren't fixed in that thread and/or require to redraw some stuff, which I can't do either. I'm considering the possibility of using LX5's Custom Powerups to replace it, but I'm not sure how stable it is... after all, it's not in the Patches section.

Gah, it's complicated. I can't port my ROM before I know what to do.
This hack is not dead.

While waiting, I thought of quite a few concepts and ideas I'd like to implement once work on the hack resumes. I also designed most bosses (graphically and gameplay-wise), but as always it's subject to change since they might not be as good in practice as they are in my simulation. At least I have plenty to work with once I resume.

The world themes received a slight buff in interestingness, I think. The desert world will have some mechanical undertones (not simple ancient defence mechanisms from a long lost civilization). The snow world will be haunted, too. Water world becomes water/lava, as I previously stated. Forest remains generic because the levels are already made. However, even this may change, if I scrap levels from other worlds and replace current forest levels with them (scraping the weaker ones in the process).

I also remade the title screen logo:



Expect a small rethinking of the powerups system soon. Also, special features for 2-player mode!

(do not expect co-op, this will never happen)
How's it doing, guys? Still have nothing to show, I'm waiting for all the powerups of the Powerups Pack to be coded. I have an idea for a new powerup, but it will involve stealing some code from Raccoon Mario, and that one isn't available yet.

This aside, I've thought some things over and ended up ditching a few bosses I didn't like. I now have to replace them, and this is where YOU can help. I think the hack is lacking some SMRPG references, so...

Which SMRPG villain would you want to see make a comeback?

Any villain is welcome, except for Smithy, because it'd be weird for him to be anywhere other than the final battle.

0 - Mack
0 - Belome
0 - Bowyer
0 - Punchinello
1 - Booster
0 - Yaridovich
0 - Valentina/Dodo
1 - Axem Rangers

A second, PM-focused poll is also in effect.


I don't consider minor bosses like Zsar Dragon or the weird cake to be "villains". Johnny and Culex aren't villains either. Exor is also too big of a deal, in every way possible. If there are other bosses I'm forgetting, feel free to point it out.

Oh, and Croco isn't in the list because he's already planned to be in the game. ;P
I haven't played SMRPG, so this post won't be very helpful, but I just wanted to say that this hack looks awesome. Keep up the good work!
Originally posted by Undertaker
I haven't played SMRPG, so this post won't be very helpful, but I just wanted to say that this hack looks awesome. Keep up the good work!


Thanks a ton for the compliment, however, "keeping up the good work" would be more like "resume the good work", since I haven't worked on it in a while. I had a slight ROM corruption and now I'm waiting for some stuff to be released before I start the port. I already have a new folder with everything ready.

In the meantime, I thought some things over and I ended up changing a bunch of stuff in my plans. The screenshots are still pretty up to date, though. I'm also making a lot of headway in my gaming backlog, but I expect to resume work very soon, since there are not many games left in it.

I want to talk about that new powerup I mentionned, too. It is Armadillo Mario, a suit that lets him whack enemies with his tail or roll into a ball to become invincible. While in ball form, you can only move at walking speed and cannot jump. Also, when you get hurt, you go back to Big Mario rather than Small Mario. This powerup is perfect for bosses, since you get an extra hit AND can avoid attacks as long as you don't try to hit the boss yourself. However, it is not as useful in levels, since you cannot jump in ball form and the tail doesn't make you float.

Waiting for more inputs about returning bosses. You can vote for multiple characters at once, and it is not a true contest or anything. I'm only trying to find out what would make people happy in general. I might make another poll later for Paper Mario characters, if I end up needing one.
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Forum Index - SMW Hacking - Works in Progress - [POLLS] Dark Star Dance (clearing up gaming backlog b4 getting back to work)

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