(I thought posting this here was better than making a new thread for it somewhere.)
Now, I know this will also probably go unreplied to. I don't know of anyone who really cared about my JTTMK games. But that's fine, it happens to a lot of people's projects, sometimes they just don't really resonate with anyone. Anyways -
To get to the point, I am officially cancelling JTTMK 4 - The Lundamu Islands
. I have more than a few reasons for this. I'll delve into them deeply, and even if nobody cares, I don't mind, and I still want to, actually, because I just want to let it all out somewhere. Can't keep bottling stuff up, you know? Gotta let it out eventually.
So, the JTTMK (Journey to the Mushroom Kingdom) "saga" started in maybe mid 2012, unofficially. I was in a Skype call with my best friend at the time, and we were both messing around in Lunar Magic. I was making an overworld test map, to test events specifically, since I had never tried to do that stuff before. I made a basic submap then started making events and realized, hey, this isn't so hard. And I figured it out, and then I finished. Then in very early 2013, I suddenly got reminded of that map I made. And I still had the ROM. And basically, without thinking, I decided I'd turn it into a full project, and I went to work. Won't go over every detail, no need to, but more or less it was a fun project that took little 12-year-old me a little under a year to finish.
A few months after finishing that hack, JTTMK (1), I, also on a whim, decided to make a sequel. But this time, I wanted to do a bit more. I wanted the story to be a little more in your face and not non-existent. So I came up with a basic plot: King Boo is the main villain, more or less taking Bowser's spot, and after his defeat in JTTMK1, he managed to return and now Mario has to stop him. Simple enough. And work on everything else, levels and overworlds, began. Early on, though, I recruited my friend at the time MercuryPenny to the project and make it a two-person collab of sorts. He did some levels, I did some levels, rinse and repeat. We shared ideas, and had a lot of back and forth on various parts of the game. It was fun. I thought it was really nice to be working with someone on the same game, with all the back and forths, idea sharing and whatnot. Fast forward about 9 or 10 months I believe, and JTTMK 2 - King Boo's Revenge was finished. That's not the whole story of how I made JTTMK2, but I'll get back to that later. Anyways, you know what I did, barely two days later?
I started work on JTTMK 3. Yeah, I was god damn insane. Not even SMWCP2 was started so soon after SMWCP1 - at least that gap was 2 weeks and not 2 days!
What did I intend to do with JTTMK 3? Put a lot of focus into the story, that's what. My plan was starting to get a wee bit big. Original characters, a big emphasis on King Boo and his plans, giving Mario actual character development, all that. The biggest addition - was a new main character! An original creation entirely. She was a little girl named Moonlight, with her sprites graciously being done by my good friend, and admin here Eevee. So, with JTTMK 3, I did start it with MercuryPenny early on, but (understandably!) he left very shortly after, with the only thing he did for the game being the first room of the world 1 castle. So I worked on the rest of the game... slowly. Things just kind of came to a halt. I finished the first... two and a half worlds then I literally just ran out of ideas. I just lost that spark. What I did from that point was just sort of work on half of a level every few... weeks or so. Yeah, it was pretty bad. And then, suddenly it was 2016, and 6 months left in the year. I started to panic, I didn't want the game's production to spill over into 2017. So I fast-tracked everything. And I mean everything that wasn't done. I made the last two overworld maps, I hastily made the rest of the levels, and I wrote out the rest of the story.
It was pretty, uh... I don't know. Lame. I felt bad about rushing the end of the game. Any player going through the hack would have fun in the first two worlds, but the quality would immediately take a gigantic nosedive at the beginning of world 3. Yet I just didn't want to let the game sit around and fester unfinished for any longer. So, finally after a few months of work, I released JTTMK 3 - Mario and Moonlight's Quest in September 2016. Reception was lukewarm. Exactly what I expected, but I'm the only one to blame and I basically dug my own grave. It was pretty bittersweet, but the work was done. Time to move on from JTTMK, right?
Well, not really. In late November the same year, again I started coming up with ideas for JTTMK 4. I actually had preliminary plans that I came up with during JTTMK 3. And I began work on the intro cutscenes and the first few levels. The basic idea was to make the game focused as much on story as the previous one, but be lighthearted, have more comedy, and a cool overarching gimmick - There was going to be three main characters. Moonlight, Sicari (the protagonist of Eevee's hacks; a young female assassin), and Demo from the Talkhaus community. Demo was an oddball. I got permission from Raocow himself to use her in what I think he said, a few levels and that's it. I used that in JTTMK2, where she was playable in one level, and there was a cutscene showing Demo teleporting back to Mario's world later on. But later I realized, that wouldn't fly, not only being so long since I got the permission but also because it would seem too shoehorned. As for Sicari, I left her in a cliffhanger at the end of JTTMK 3, where she teleported from her land of Paradia to the Mushroom Kingdom, searching for some MacGuffin called The Infinity Block. And so the story of JTTMK 4 was going to be Moonlight and Sicari joining forces to find the Infinity Block, all the while a mysterious being known as Monituens tries to find it first, as the Infinity Block is said to give its wielder power over time and space. Pretty epic, eh? (And no, I did not rip off the Infinity Gauntlet - I only got into Marvel stuff last year, actually, and was shocked that my "Infinity Thing" idea was already taken by something way way way bigger!)
But alas, it wasn't meant to be. To put it bluntly, the project was too ambitious. The way the story was going, I would need to put a ton of time into that alone, try and get together custom bosses to fit the story, the final boss Lord Monituens, and so on. The project stagnated. But this time, I refuse to rush through it. It's pointless. I'm not going to force myself to work on it anymore. I put a lot of work into graphics, story segments, story ideas, and a lot of funny moments but they won't see the light of day, at least not in this project. Unfortunately, the tale of Moonlight and Sicari's journey to find the Infinity Block will likely never happen. But honestly, I'm kind of okay with it. It was never going anywhere in the first place, and like I said it was too ambitious for its own good. Way too much of it would've required fancy ASM that I am in no way able to create without tons of help. The most I ever showed of the project publicly was a cryptic trailer
Rest in peace, JTTMK 4. 2016-2019, yup. A disappointing end to a story I did want to see through the end, but there's other ideas I can pursue.
At the bottom of this thread is a list of ideas and half-implemented features and whatnot I had in store for JTTMK 4, if you're curious to know what they were.
But first... I want to apologize, actually. This has been eating me up a good bit for a few years now and needs to be addressed.
JTTMK 2. Specifically (This only happened with JTTMK 2). JTTMK 2 has... a good bit of stolen content. Graphics, most if not all of it. I was extremely lazy. I had a lot of ideas I, well, lazily took from other SMW hacks that I wanted to do to. And what was the best way to be just like them? Literally just rip those levels' ExGFX, use them in mine, copy the same gimmicks and call it a day! What a shitty thing to do. I can obviously admit that now. I can't really play past the first world of JTTMK 2 anymore because every few levels beyond that has some stolen graphics from other hacks, which were meant only for those hacks and were never published for public use anywhere, for a reason. Here, I'll list every author I stole content from and specifically which of their games-
- FPI (TSRPR)
- VIPPER/2chan (VIP 4)
- Author of SMW YEAH!! (SMW YEAH!!)
- carol (Kitiku Mario)
- Ice Man (Toad's World)
Only one of these authors is active on SMWC at the time of this post (Ice Man), but my message is the same to everyone - I deeply apologize. It might just be pixels on a mod of a 240p Super Nintendo game, but stolen work is stolen work, it does not matter what it's on. 13 year old me was a lazy, uninspired shit and I'm sorry for going through the projects you worked so hard on and just shamelessly steal from them. I will say that JTTMK 3 didn't repeat this, but I shall make this clear, better late than never, that I will never stoop that low in SMW hacking, or anywhere game-design related, ever again. Blatant stealing and plagiarism is something I am harshly against today, yet I've been such a hypocrite since I did exactly those things
when working on JTTMK 2 back in 2014. For all of this, again, I apologize. I'm better than that now and I'm sorry.
Well. It felt really good to type that out, finally. All that's left in the post here is the above-mentioned scrapped stuff for JTTMK 4, if you're interested. If not, thanks for reading this post. Whether you even knew these hacks existed or not, I appreciate it.
Random Scrapped JTTMK 4 Stuff
- So, Monituens was the main baddie. The game would've been split up into 6 chapters, each about 8 to 10 levels in length. Every chapter would have had a "meanwhile, at the bad guy meeting" intermission, in the same vein as Bravely Default or Super Paper Mario. Monituens would be discussing his plans, and his attempts to destroy Moonlight and Sicari, to his minions.
- Mario is completely absent. The game was strictly Moonlight and Sicari's story.
- While finding the Infinity Block and stopping Monituens were the story's goals, the journey was going to be more about Moonlight and Sicari sparking a friendship that initially goes from a cheerful girl (Moonlight) working with a "just here to do my job and frickin' leave" kind of girl (Sicari), to Sicari starting to genuinely care for Moonlight. I remember thinking of ways to make their relationship as friends seem as genuine as possible. It's kinda hard to do that well.
- There was a cutscene where Sicari tried out eating waffles for the first time. Yes.
- Moonlight's previously-mentioned "dark history" would turn out to just be that her parents abandoned her when she was 5 because they were both alcoholics, which in itself is dark but the twist was that her first instinct was to run to her kindergarten and literally ask her teacher if she could live with her, and that's how Moonlight grew up from then on, more or less a normal life with better parents. ....maybe I should have rewrote that.
- eXcavator was going to have a cameo in a level, as an NPC asking you to do a fetch quest for him.
- The game's "big good" mentor character was Professor Koahsa, a Toad that I wrote with an English accent in mind. His name is an anagram of Ahsoka, my favorite Star Wars character.
- In JTTMK 1 and 2, some cutscenes imply quite literally or outright state that official Nintendo games like Super Mario Sunshine and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon are canon. This was going to be written off as Moonlight recalling that "...Mario dreamed up a lot of dumb ideas on how he could turn past encounters with King Boo into best-selling novels. He gave them really stupid names and even gave his brother his own one, too. He's not much of a novelist, though..."
- Moonlight was aged up from 9 to 10, and later instead to 14 because her age in JTTMK 3 was ridiculous considering what she did in that story.
- Moonlight was going to be a speed-type character, with faster walking speed but no spin jump, and Sicari was going to be a powerful type, with average movement speed but two different attack options.
- The Lundamu Islands subtitle comes from my idea to have the Infinity Block ultimately located on the Lundamu Islands, a location that the characters know about but dismissed as an unimportant, tiny island of no significance. There was going to be a funny cutscene where they discover the Block was there the entire time and it was literally a short boat ride from Koahsa's lab. Moonlight is not impressed. Sicari is pissed.
- Simplamo, King Boo's personal robot assistant, was going to appear every now and then in levels to offer the player optional cutscenes that would have just been some funny character building moments.
- Moonlight mentions that "Mario always talked about this guy named Bowser that he uncerimoniusly defeated before the end of his first adventure, who he never saw again. Then like... he lost me. I think he mentioned that guy's SON coming out of nowhere and turning out to be the mastermind of King Boo's first escape? Or something?" As well as a fourth-wall breaking joke that was just "who's writing my dialogue? this is silly!"
- Monituens would've had a redemption at the end, but I never came up with a good one for him. Couldn't think of any.
Whew. That's everything. Well guys, that's indeed everything. If you're wondering why I made this post so long in the first place, well... silly as it might seem, the JTTMK saga has meant a lot to me. Rocky though it certainly is, they were not only SMW hacking learning experiences, but they connected a lot of people with me, through my dumb ASM questions and people who I asked for story and level suggestions and a lot more.... The Journey to the Mushroom Kingdom saga is over, and JTTMK 3's ending wraps it up well enough as is. But- that doesn't mean everything is going to waste!! I have big plans for my girl Moonlight! She won't go to waste is all I'll say. She deserves better, anyways
Thanks to my friends who helped me with the hacks. Especially big thanks to Eevee - I can't thank him enough for the spritework he's done for Moonlight. I'm so grateful for him! And MercuryPenny - we might not talk anymore, but I enjoyed working with you on JTTMK 2. Thanks for that.
Anyhoo, thanks for reading, and I'll see y'all on the next journey.