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Staff Spotlight ~ March 2018 ~ more ASM featuring kaizoman aka Thomas
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Display Case - Interview Archive - Staff Spotlight ~ March 2018 ~ more ASM featuring kaizoman aka Thomas
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after a month he's here... the spotlight of the staffs. staves? look i dont know

Erik: For this month's staff spotlight we have Thomas as a guest! Known for his work in the Super Mario World Randomizer, he's an ASM and former kaizo hack moderator, and has also contributed with some cool resources to our ASM sections. How are you feeling today?
Thomas: Pretty good. I'm actually just finishing up with spring break so I'll be heading back to college later, so not sure how I feel once I deal with the traffic there, but for now it's good!
Erik: Yeah I don't want to imagine how traffic get in bigger cities.

Erik: Anyway. Into the nerd stuff: ASM. You were hired (again!) to help in those sections. But first things first. What got you started into ASM?
Thomas: I was honestly really inspired by Brutal Mario back when I started. It's not super amazing outside of the bosses, but the fact that you could do those things in SMW really amazed me, and I wanted to try doing some of it too. Of course, most of our tools back then were pretty underdeveloped (looking at you, Blocktool) so it was pretty hard example codes to look at. Eventually we had the ASM workshop, though, and that was what really kicked it into motion. I still actually reference its thread every so often.
Thomas: That said, for the most part, I just small codes for friends at first. I never really did any "major" projects up until the randomizer, which required a lot of background work to achieve the same functionality LM gives.
Erik: i bet all asmers are secretly inspired by brutal mario.
Erik: What's your favorite kind of resource to create? y'know, blocks, sprites, etc.
Thomas: Probably UberASM, since it's easy to code and you can do a whole lot with it. Followed by blocks for similar reasons, then normal patches. Sprites are at the bottom of the list, 100% guaranteed.
Thomas: All the other ones are like, 90% of the time is coding actual functionality and the remaining 10% is visual stuff. Sprites are like 50% visual stuff and it's gets pretty tedious to work with, especially for complicated animations.
Erik: Wow we're polar opposites regarding that! sprites4lyfe
Erik: What advice and tips would you give to a starting ASMer?
Thomas: Definitely read other people's code, either in the disassembly or in the blocks/sprites/patches hosted on the site. Assembly is a language where the basic building blocks aren't very complicated, but because of that, you have to come up with some weird methods to do complex things. Seeing the tricks other people have come up with will help a lot with that.

Erik: Alright, let's move on a bit more to the hacking side. More specifically, kaizo hacking, being a pretty known figure in the kaizo community and even ex-moderator of these and all that. What got you into the world of kaizo?
Thomas: To be honest, it was Protonjon's old Let's Play series (specifically the infamous Kaizo special stage videos). The old TASes by PangaeaPanga, Dainegai, and Moltov also got me interested in designing those kinds of "hard" hacks. Of course, I never actually finished making my own, though I had started several.
Thomas: I really started getting actively involved in it though when I started doing TASes, where I did runs of a number of Kaizo hacks. Motivation to spend time doing those has kinda died down now though, haha.
Erik: demotivation sucks.
Erik: Of the TASes you got to make, what is the one you're the proudest of?
Thomas: I think two of my most recent ones, of Super Dram World 1 and 2, were my favorites to work on. I also did one of the Cool or Cruel levels a long while back that I think just looks really cool visually.
Thomas: Overall though, I'm honestly really proud of a lot of the ones I've made, even the ones that really weren't that great. I think just having that feeling of "this is something I really made" is good.
Erik: It's good to see you like all of them. If you got a sudden rush of motivation, what hack would you try and TAS?
Thomas: There's a few upcoming hacks that seem like they'd be fun, like NaroGugul's Claustrophobia (although I'm not sure how different at one would be from a normal playthough). Korosu World is also one that looks good. I haven't had a lot of time to look at many recent hacks though, which also happens to be the reason I dropped out of being a hack moderator.
Erik: A bit back you mentioned that you started several kaizo hacks that never came to fruition. Can you tell me a bit about them?
Thomas: The main thing that I've always wanted to do was make a hack that requires using every (actually usable) glitch in the game, sort of a demonstration of all the stuff you can do. Of course, with the game's glitch list currently sitting at over 600 unique bugs right now, it's been kinda a challenge to actually design that; when I've tried in the past, I'd finish a couple of rooms at then run out of any sort of cohesive design. It's something I (and several other people involved in the game's glitch community) still want to do, though.
Thomas: I did do one hack for the Kaizo level design contest a few years back, as well as two non-Kaizo hacks for secret Santa events. Though since they're short single levels, I don't really consider them "hacks".
Thomas: I also had one, uh, not-so-great hack back when I was first starting out. The kind of hack people who grew up with Protonjon made for the sole purpose of watching a Let's Player try it and cry. But let's pretend that one doesn't exist.
Erik: Good to see you're still planning one. It'd be amazing to play something with over 600 glitches.
Erik: Have you ever given a shot to a non-kaizo full scale hack? If not, would you ever want to create one?
Thomas: Man, if I can barely finish a single level, a full hack would kill me, haha.
Thomas: I have thought about doing a gimmick-based hack similar to the, well, Hack series. Where it's not super long and each level has it's own specific challenge. But whether I actually ever get around to starting that remains to be seen.
Erik: Ha, yeah it'd be hard to even gather the motivation to start a big project for me.

Erik: I want to move to a topic that's a bit of both ASM and hacks. I'm talking VLDC! for i've heard u're helping with vldcx is that true?
Thomas: Yep, I'm in charge of a menu system for traveling between levels and seeing the judge's scores and comments directly within the hack.
Erik: Do you have any progress you can show on those, for those who don't believe this is still a thing? (i-i swear i believe you)
Thomas: Sure, I've got a short demonstration video here showing its current state. Obviously it's still a work in progress, but it's functional and works pretty well.
Thomas: Detailed scores and comments still need to be implemented, but hopefully that shouldn't be too hard. The main list is practically done (functionally, at least) with only a bit of additional information needing to be added.
Erik: That's amazing! How hard do you feel it was to implement it?
Thomas: Honestly, this wasn't too bad since there's not too much going on at a given time. I did have to debug a lot of issues with background work (e.g. "why are all my sprites breaking so badly") but once the framework got worked out, building the menu is pretty easy.
Thomas: I do have some thing I want to do that may be a bit harder to implement (e.g. exiting the menu returns you right back to the game where you left off) but I'm not entirely sure how well that will work yet.
Erik: Thet's good to hear. Good luck with it!

Erik: I think that's enough with hacking for now, so I'll move to questions regarding the site. How did you find out about SMW Central?
Thomas: That one kinda came naturally when I got interested in SMW hacks from YouTube and looked up more information. I don't think I actually registered until a year or so later, though.
Thomas: Funny enough, my first post ever was asking "where do I learn ASM?"
Erik: Ha. Wouldn't see myself tackling on ASM back when I joined.
Erik: Being a member of the community for so long, what are your thoughts on it and how it has been changing?
Thomas: A lot of the people I've met through it have been genuinely amazing people, and that hasn't changed even after so many years. And with all the developments in tools and tutorials, it's become a lot easier to introduce people to it than it was back then. It's still not a perfect community, of course; there are a few things (and people) that could be improved, but it's definitely one of the more inviting ones I've been part of.

Erik: okay I can't think of any other "normal" questions, so... are you ready for the random questions?
Thomas: Heck yeah
Erik:
Erik: What's your favorite TV show?
Thomas: Stranger Things, probably. In animeland, Houseki no Kuni.
Erik: Being the skeleton extraordinaire, could you tell the public some facts about them?
Erik:
Thomas: A lot of people think they have a spooky skeleton hiding inside of them. But really, since "you" are your brain, you're inside the spooky skeleton.
Erik: Deep...
Erik: Of the kaizos you've TASed, which one would you describe as the worst to TAS? Shouldn't necessarily be the hardest!
Thomas: It's not exactly a kaizo hack, but Hyper VI. There's no Yoshi's anywhere in the entire hack.
Thomas: For actual Kaizo hacks though, I'd say the actual Kaizo 2, which was mainly a pain because we had to compare against an existing (pretty well-optimized) TAS at the same time.
Erik: that's because yoshi sucks
Erik: If you could add any feature to Lunar Magic, what would it be?
Thomas: Custom object display, definitely. Fusoya, please, I beg you, my children are dying
Erik: dang
Erik: last one. favorite school subject/course?
Thomas: Pretty much anything related to computer science, I really enjoy programming. That said, I'm actually a math major, but not really by choice (though math ain't bad either).
Erik:
Erik: Any last words you want to add?
Thomas: Nope, think that's everything.
Thomas: Oh, don't use zsnes, kids.
Erik: nice
congrats!

Congrats
Seriously neat!

:P I share in the motivation from Protonjon's videos.

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Please pardon the eye.
still using zsnes tho

Good interview, SMW glitch encyclopedia!
Layout made by MaxodeX
2021 TRENO vibe check thread
Congrats, Thomas! [slowly claps]
Not sure where to put here... or is it? (Also: Yay! Old layout!)
Help us raise funds for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. #ДопомагаємоРазом / #HelpTogether
“Even if you personally are so dissatisfied with life that you want the world to end, surely the cruel reality is that it will continue on, unchanging. All the better for someone perfectly content, like me.”
Aya Shameimaru, Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery
Absolutely deserved. He´s very friendly and helpful and also talented as a TASer and ASMer.

Congrats Thomas #smw{:TUP:}

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#smw{:TUP:} #smw{:peace:} GGWP
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Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Display Case - Interview Archive - Staff Spotlight ~ March 2018 ~ more ASM featuring kaizoman aka Thomas

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