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Staff Spotlight ~ January '19 ~ Fierce Deity Interviewed OW Hacker
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Display Case - Interview Archive - Staff Spotlight ~ January '19 ~ Fierce Deity Interviewed OW Hacker
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Our first spotlight to start the year off! I sat down with SMW hacking veteran and ASM moderator Majorflare for this one.
Erik: It's staff spotlight time, everybody! Good day. Today we've got Majorflare or, as you might know him, Fierce Deity Manuz OW Hacker. He might have just recently received his promotion to a moderator, but he's not new to the SMW Hacking scene, being around since its early years. How are you today?
Major Flare: I'm fine, thanks for asking.
Erik: Great to hear.

Erik: Let's begin with your origins. When did you found out about SMW Hacking, and how were things around that time in the scene?
Major Flare: Well, for starters, it was back in 2004-2005. I was navigating through the internet when I found some interesting images depicting modified SMW levels; also, it was the time I was getting acquainted with Snes9x. Some time before I found some hacks to play... I stumbled on FuSoYa's site and Lunar Magic, 1.63 if I'm not mistaken.
Major Flare: In those times, our resources were pretty much limited: LM 1.63 gave us a few Map16 to work, restricted number of ExGFX you could put in a level, among other things I'll not remember now. Also, custom blocks and sprites were pretty rare; we had the old BT, which glitched up our ROMs, the old mikeyk's spritetool, using TRASM as an assembler (the same with BT)... the patches were almost all IPS, so we couldn't patch more than one thing without potential bugs appearing. Last and not least, custom music was a rare, rare thing.
Major Flare: My SMW Hacking career took off in 2007-2008, with some, I'll admit, lame hacks. I had known about SMWC since 2007, and entered in 2008. That lead me to the actual days, with me being another member of this lovely community
Erik: Damn. Those days sound pretty limited.
Erik: How did you go around getting the limited amount of resources in those agea, too? I'd think in those days there wasn't any site solely dedicated to SMW hacking - or maybe I'm wrong.
Major Flare: well, before I met with SMWCentral, all I did was our good, old-school levels, nothing more. I couldn't use the OW Editor to save my life (imagine that?) After 2007, when I discovered SMWC, I could use custom blocks and sprites to an extent; my flaw was over-using them, as I was an enthusiast. Music was a no-no for me, the same with patches, sadly. But the main idea of SMW Hacking, which was having fun modifying the game, was the same back then, in its essence.
Erik: Yikes. The OW Hacker with no power within the ow editor. Sounds like scary times.
Erik: Anyway, keeping on with the SMW hacking. What got you nicknamed the Overworld hacker?
Major Flare: well, when I learned to design OWs, I kinda got my skills better in a fast pace (you can see my OW museum thread in the latest C3); after some time, people started to like the OWs I made, to the point when I started to do OW requests (early 2009-2010); this inspired me to put "OW Hacker" in my nickname, and it stayed until some months ago. No one contested the validity of the name, so... got it in that way.
Erik: Hm, I see.
Erik: Any tips you can give to aspiring overworld designers?
Major Flare: Well, the main philosophy is: follow your instincts. I know people has some standards concerning OW design in general, but the main source of a good OW is the designer itself; second, a good OW designer is a person that makes an effort to imagine, to create interesting landscapes that instigate the player to explore, to discover.
Major Flare: Some things are debatable, though: The presence/absence of cliff lines (I tend to forget them) is necessarily a bad thing? How we can see the difference between a 'ramp-esque' landscape and a perspective error? These kind of questions, however, should not hinder you when designing; the main focus still is the exploration side of the map.
Major Flare: A final tip: it is good to use all the resources you've got; a right 6x6 event chain would be a pleasant surprise, since relying only in 2x2 events could pass the idea of only revealing paths, nothing more; isn't interesting, for example, to modify an entire landscape when a level is beaten? SMW does this well (see Yoshi's Island 1, Donut Ghost House, Choco Island 1, #4 Ludwig's Castle, Sunken Ghost Ship...)
Major Flare: Take note that I did not say anything about colors, because they're subjective too. Of course, eye-searing, confusing palettes are a no-no; otherwise, it's part of the imaginary of the designers themselves. Some people would complain if you use only the vanilla palettes but... I still thing you can make really good OWs out of them, depending on their physical and exploration aspects.
Major Flare: Of course, it is a good idea to design non-vanilla OWs too; your creativity and ideas are the limit.
Erik: I'm sure those tips will come in handy to anyone getting initiated in the OW arts.

Erik: Getting to the ASM sections. How did you get started with coding?
Major Flare: I started in 2008. I always had interest in coding blocks and sprites, because I wanted new things to may hacks. It was a gruesome task; I was 13-14 back, with no programming knowledge, and assembly languages are, by nature, difficult languages (all of them). I started with simple blocks, LDA : STA things. Then, I'd improve a bit... but no sprites. Then, in 2009-2010, my skills, like OW design, rose sharply; I could write sprites, albeit simple, and some patches here and there, mainly focused on the status bar and item-related things, such as collectibles. Then, I had a period of cool down, when I started my graduation; I had to learn C, so my attention was diverted. But then, around 2014, I had to learn other 2 assemblys, MIPS and x86; since then, I've trying shenanigans with our dear ASM every time I get some ideas; with Mario's Enigmatic Tales came what I consider my pinnacle in my ASM skills: boss coding; I coded 6, 7 bosses since then, heightening my skills. That sums it up.
Erik: Ha, so like me you started when young.
Erik: Having the variety of resources that can be coded for SMW, which one do you prefer coding and why?
Major Flare: Well, that's a pretty hard question.
Major Flare: First and foremost, by a really small margin... sprites. I love to design new enemies in order to improve my levels. Some of my patches even derive from this aspect; take the Bomba Magikoopa, for example, which made me to code a patch expanding the whole "Magikoopa appear" routine to include custom sprites. The sprites I love the most to code? Bosses, when I'm in the mood.
Major Flare: Second, patches. I love hacking certain aspects of the game; however, I code only a few of them, mostly on the fly to help other users.
Erik: Yeah, sprites rule.
Erik: Want to give any tips on coding and ASM?
Major Flare: Well, I have one that I think 90% of the aspirants forget: the actual programming skills
Major Flare: you see, ASM is not about just knowing all the opcodes and what they do. Some understanding on how a program works, how you translate algorithms and code is needed, after all.
Major Flare: Recently, to give you an idea, I was writing an extensive ASM tutorial for Portuguese readers; however, it was more complete than, say, Ersanio's one, in the sense I actually explained, more than the opcodes, how you use them in your program/code. I give, in my tutorial, examples, parting from the high-level idea until you get to the actual ASM.
Major Flare: Another tip: try. Try. And try some more. The adage of programming that I consider the most is: practice makes perfect. Not only for assembly, though; for all computer-related things, and, of course, about everything important in life. You aren't being able to code some particular resource? Do not give up. Try. Ask someone for help. Read the tutorials is the syntax is confusing. And try, of course.
Major Flare: Last I can remember: you've got a nice resource with your coding skills? Do not be afraid to, at least, show them in order to receive feedbacks. In my part, whenever I moderate some thing, I tend to, regardless of my decision, give some commentary or tips, in case of rejections, mainly. I like to call it my teacher mode. See my removal logs, at least some of them; I tend to give some advice on how to improve the resources, along some encouraging, so the user does not give up and keep trying.
Erik: I agree with those.

Erik: Now coming a bit back to SMWCentral. You mentioned you already hacked way before its birth, but. how did you find out about the site in itself?
Major Flare: By chance, actually. I was reading, in a BR blog, back then, how to put custom blocks and sprites in your hack. I was baffled because I couldn't find BT and Spritetool (yeah, I was like 12, with a slow internet). One day, though... I stumbled on this nice site with a Layer3 Castle background with all the resources I needed. The title? "SMW Central". The magic had happened in my hacking life then.
Erik: Great coincidence.
Erik: It was through the sprites and patch remoderations that you formed your way into staff. That said though, what motivated you to participate in them?
Major Flare: Well, my desire to help. Sprite and Patch moderations were low at the time, and I found it a good way to improve not only my ASM, but my ability to test things. You see, I was a kind of... deputy teacher at the university, dealing mainly with grading program stuff. The remoderations were kinda my work back then, but oriented to SMWC. Needless to say I got some nice experience and fun out of them.
Erik: Wow, kinda amazed to see you applying the skills you acquired in university in this website.
Erik: Having been here on this site since its origins, what are your thoughts in its evolution of the site and its community?
Major Flare: Well, I love the fact our SMW Hacking base grew considerably over the years, what with fresh users with nice ideas, new breathtaking resources (see Lunar Magic 3.01, for example) and other bits and pieces, such as support for YI and SM64 hackers. Of course, SMWC got some bleak times in all these years (once, SMWC almost died in favor of a site called Nightfall - 2008-09, I guess?). I think that, while the active userbase is composed of a tad few people (could be more), these few people are giving their all (let's be optimistic here) to contribute. You can see some nice results with all the events we provide: C3, VLDC, KLDC, etc. Our future promises more interesting things, I can feel and predict it.

Erik: Anything you want to add to the interview before wrapping up?
Major Flare: Well, in my part, I'm always open to questions, being a new staff and all. I'd like to say that, while being prone to mistakes, as everyone does, everything I'm doing and will do for SMWC are done with the best of my intentions and to the best of my knowledge, as I've already stated in my Staff Bio. While being fairly old (older than 20), I don't usually take age in consideration when I'm helping someone, so do not be afraid to contact me, I don't bite :D.
Major Flare: That's all I can remember. Now, time to moderate stuff
Erik: Well keep on with that moderation grind And to the audience, see you on the next interview!
Congrats, Good Ol' Major Flare! Keep it up!!
Come see the progress of my VLDC11 level, Cloudcracker Ruins.
Something that you SHOULD even try: Thin Tofu Brownies.
Next thing ya know, they'll be saying I've gone soft. Morph, knock it off.
Ha ha ha! Would you like to make any other comments about my place being in the kitchen?
Merecido #smw{:peace:}


Originally posted by Katerpie
Merecido #smw{:peace:}

Obrigado.

Originally posted by kamekku14
Congrats, Good Ol' Major Flare! Keep it up!!

I'll try, I'll keep up, for our community's sake.

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


LadiesMan is a ladies' man,
Eevee is cute;
Noivern can shatter eardrums,
and beware, Major Flare blinds you.


That was an interesting read. You've been here a long time.

I would have never thought to learn a bit of high level languages to help understand assembly code.

Would you create a ROM hacking tool of your own?


Originally posted by Conal
That was an interesting read. You've been here a long time.

I would have never thought to learn a bit of high level languages to help understand assembly code.

Would you create a ROM hacking tool of your own?


That's a rather interesting question you've got; I would, if there wasn't a strong lack of motivation. The most I did was improve Blockreator, while learning something about C# in the process.

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


LadiesMan is a ladies' man,
Eevee is cute;
Noivern can shatter eardrums,
and beware, Major Flare blinds you.


Good interview, you should take your old name back though!
Gratz over here, mate.

I was pretty sure you'd get there soon, and here you are.
voce e legal

Interesting interview, and congrats!
Layout made by MaxodeX


Originally posted by Shiny Ninetales
voce e legal

Interesting interview, and congrats!


Thank you, Ninetales. Also your Portuguese is starting to shine xD

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


LadiesMan is a ladies' man,
Eevee is cute;
Noivern can shatter eardrums,
and beware, Major Flare blinds you.


congratulations! keep up the great work.
forever & always
Ah, yeah. Manuz, the great OW architect!

I remember the first time we spoke to each other. Despite both of us being brazilian, we kept talking in english for some reason...

Good times~

--------------------
New Technology Interactive Productions - The Overworld Hacker
--------------NTI Productions-------------
----------The OW/SMW Hacker----------


Originally posted by idol
congratulations! keep up the great work.


Thanks, idol, and of course I'll do my best to keep it up #smw{:peace:}

Originally posted by NTI Productions
Ah, yeah. Manuz, the great OW architect!

I remember the first time we spoke to each other. Despite both of us being brazilian, we kept talking in english for some reason...

Good times~

Good times, indeed. Several years ago, in fact. Whenever you want a talk, I'll be in Discord, dude; maybe we can give each other some nice tips and ideas for hacks and whatnot...

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


LadiesMan is a ladies' man,
Eevee is cute;
Noivern can shatter eardrums,
and beware, Major Flare blinds you.


Pages: « 1 » Thread Closed
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Display Case - Interview Archive - Staff Spotlight ~ January '19 ~ Fierce Deity Interviewed OW Hacker

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