It's finally here! After almost a year and a half, COLORS 2 is finally complete!
[!] TRAILER [!]
[!] DOWNLOAD PAGE [!]
Be sure to post your death count at the end!
Since today is my six year anniversary on SMWC, I've written up somewhat of a personal reflection about my career as a ROM hacker. It contains a brief history of all the hacks I've done and goes into detail about the production of COLORS 2. I hope it gives you a bit of insight into my progression as a SMW hacker. For those of you who are new to the trade, I hope my reflection helps you in some way. Without further ado, here it is:
Six years ago, I joined SMW Central. I'd recently discovered the practice of Super Mario World ROM hacking, and I wanted to learn how to make my very own hacks. I made a lot of hacks, or at least I attempted to. There was my very first attempt at a hack, Super J Word [sic] on my ancient computer. As with most first hacks, it sucked. Not much else to say about it.
Then there was the somewhat infamous Jared World is Super. I had a lot of ambitious ideas when I made it, but as it was only my second hack, I didn't really have the know-how to bring my ambitions to life. It had a lot of problems, but I was persistent about fixing them and eventually getting it into the hack section. I believe I submitted it 6 times, and it was rejected every time (Is that a record?).
Then I started to get serious. I started making hacks with direction - Mario in Iggy Land, Mario in Morton Desert, and Mario in Lemmy Sea. I planned to make an entire series out of it. Mario in Iggy Land was a vanilla hack, and each one was to be more complex than the last. I think only Mario in Morton Desert was accepted, and eventually I asked for its removal from the hack section. I also made a hack called Easy and Hard around this time as well. My goal was to make a hack in less than 24 hours. It wasn't horrible
, but I dropped it after it was rejected for the first time.
Then came Mario's Epic Adventure, my first attempt at an actual, good, full-length hack. I actually made a lot of progress with this one (4 worlds I think), but the further I got into development, the more complex I wanted it to be, and eventually I stopped working on it for...
Yoshi's Mission. As I worked on my previous hack, I began envisioning a trilogy of hacks. The first, chronologically would be Yoshi's Mission, in which you'd play as Yoshi. The second would be Mario's Epic Adventure, which I would resume later. And the third would be a hack where you played as Bowser, which I never even started. For a while, I actually tried drawing my own graphics, because most of the things I wanted in this hack couldn't have been done with graphics from SMW or from the graphics section on the site. They were... bad. So I enlisted the help from a fellow user who wanted to draw graphics for me. I was excited, because the graphics he gave me were outstanding. I thought that for once I'd finally be able to have a good hack accepted to the site. Nevertheless, waiting for someone to draw graphics without giving them any real incentive isn't exactly a good plan if you want things done in a timely manner. So eventually Yoshi's Mission faded away.
But before it did, I started working on a hack called Game Boy. The idea was to make a simple hack in which each level would be based on an old Game Boy game. The reception I got for this project was actually very good. I didn't plan on it being a very long hack, but I lost motivation to work on it after only two levels, and that marked the beginning of a long hiatus from SMW hacking.
In the summer of 2012, I started working on a hack called COLORS. The idea was simple: create a hack with no graphics - only colored shapes, with each color having different properties. My goal was to make a hack that was like an Atari game, with simple graphics and a high difficulty. My friend at the time, Katrina, agreed to do ASM for the project, allowing me to design levels around several interesting gimmicks. He even coded a final boss so that the hack could have some sense of finality to it. COLORS was completed in a relatively short time, and I was pretty proud of myself after its release, which was a little over three years ago at the time of writing this. It had a lot of flaws, but it was generally received pretty well by the community. I wanted to see how much more I could do.
I attempted a number of projects after COLORS. My first attempt was a spiritual sequel called WORLDS, in which all of the graphics would be drawn by me in MS Paint and each level would have a completely different, and from a community standpoint, unusual world theme. Drawing graphics for everything
, even in MS Paint, proved to be a difficult endeavor, so WORLDS never made it very far.
Then, I attempted a hack called ABZ. Well, that was its codename at least. I didn't know what to call it. Development never really even started because I never decided where exactly I wanted to go with it. The idea in my mind was really edgy and "mature." But hey, we were all 14 once, right?
Finally, I attempted to go back to what I was good at and just make COLORS 2. My idea was initially very different from the original COLORS. The graphical style would still be the same, but my plan was to make a more complex hack, in which the player would unlock the ability to change the color of their character, and in doing so, give their character abilities related to that color for a finite period of time. However, that would've required a lot of ASM to do, and Katrina wasn't exactly thrilled about the idea of doing ASM for me anymore, so the project quickly died.
It was a while before I attempted another hack. In the summer of 2013, I had another idea for a COLORS sequel: SECONDARY COLORS. It wasn't nearly as ambitious as any of my other attempted sequels. Initially, I was just going to make a hack like the original COLORS, but with Cyan, Yellow, and Pink blocks instead of Red, Green, and Blue. However, making a hack with the difficulty of the original with only those secondary colors was impossible, so I decided to add in the original primary colors as well. I only made one level, but a friend of mine from our very own Caffie Minecraft server (I believe he went by Jalequo. He's LemmyKoopa here.) composed 4 songs for the project. I released SECONDARY COLORS as a one-level demo for the C3 of summer 2013, and that was pretty much the end of it.
Finally, in July 2014, I began working on this
version of COLORS 2. After endless experimentation, I finally knew what I wanted to do: a real, no-doubt-about-it, true sequel to COLORS. It was going to have new colors, new and
improved gimmicks, more levels, a higher difficulty, and it would be free of COLORS 1's most fatal problems. And to pull it off, I decided I wouldn't depend on anyone. So I started learning ASM and got to work. My ASM work was a little shoddy at first, but over time, as I learned the ropes, I was able to do more and more interesting things.
Things weren't all good, though. 2014 was a rough year for me. I won't go into specifics. If you've read my Reality Corner thread from last year, you'll know why, but the main thing is that in October, I began sinking deeper and deeper into depression. The pressures of school only made matters worse, but I was still determined to finish COLORS 2. That winter was long, lonely, and depressing. I took no pleasure in anything. The only thing that really pushed me to keep living was the thought of working on COLORS 2. See, as I learned ASM, I actually found that it was incredibly rewarding. I spent nearly every day in school looking forward to doing ASM all weekend, and pushing this project closer to completion. With ASM, I'd finally found something I was good at and that I liked doing, and I'm incredibly thankful for the experience this hack has provided me in that regard.
I finished COLORS 2 a little before June 2015. My plan was to release it during C3, but there was a problem. Shortly after I announced the project, Torchkas asked me if he could compose the music for it. When he showed me what he was capable of, I was excited. I didn't really know what I was going to do about the music. I could always use the Synthesis tracks created by ThinkOneMoreTime that I used in the original COLORS, and the tracks that Jalequo produced for SECONDARY COLORS, but they didn't really all mesh together well, and once I heard what Torchkas could produce, I just didn't think they were that great. So I accepted Torchkas's offer and... that was kind of the end of it for a while. It wasn't until nearly the end of the project that Torch started to get serious about the soundtrack. But by then it was too late. He couldn't produce an entire hack soundtrack before C3, so I had to push the release back. Admittedly, not much has happened since C3. The biggest reason for the delay is because I gave him so much time, and partially because I'd sort of lost interest over time once I'd finished everything else. Only recently did I decide that enough was enough. I love the tracks Torch composed, but I couldn't wait any longer. I filled the rest of the hack with songs by ThinkOneMoreTime and Jalequo and fixed up any remaining bugs, which brings us to today.
To me, COLORS 2 is a personal statement. This hack is my way of showing the world what I'm capable of. However, as development progressed, I realized that I was doing this for myself more than anyone else. Above all else, the reason I brought COLORS 2 to completion was to remind myself of just how strong, determined, and persevering I am. When I feel apathetic towards everything and feel like there's no reason to go on living, I'll remember the long days I spent in solitude learning about and tinkering with ASM. I'll remember the immense satisfaction I felt when I finally got something to work exactly as I planned. I'll remember how, even through my ceaseless feelings of emptiness and futility, I clung onto the small smidgen of hope I had that one day this project would be completed and released. COLORS 2 serves to remind me that, so long as I act of my own free will and refuse to succumb to despair, I have the power to create my own future.
So, what's next? I don't know. I think I'm done with ROM hacking. I don't know how long. Maybe forever. After six years of doing it, I think now is a good time to stop. And if it means I never do anything with this
then so be it. I don't think I'm going to outright leave SMWC, but I've been losing interest in it lately anyway. Maybe I'll still be active. Who knows.
As college approaches closer and closer, I've been forced to reflect on what I want to do with my life. I think I'm headed down the path of game design. I guess in my mind I've always known this, but now that I know what I'm capable of, it finally seems realistic.
I have to thank you guys for sticking with me through all of this. I never would've finished COLORS 2 if I hadn't had your support. Thank you.