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Author Topic: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!  (Read 8276 times)

DurfarC

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Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« on: July 06, 2017, 08:33:52 pm »
Edit: After almost 7 years, this ROM hack is finally released! Download it here: http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=18010177398436181707. Also look further down this thread for updated screens and a video.

Project page is waiting for submission and coming soon.

Original post:

Hello everyone,

Some of you may recognize me, most of you probably don't. I've been into ROM hacking for almost 14 years, starting out with some basic level editing in 2003. Over the years, I've released three Mega Man ROM hacks, all of them changing not much more than level layouts. However, I'm not far from releasing my 4th hack, and as you shall see, this one changes quite a lot more than that:

Mega Man 4 Voyage is a ROM hack of Mega Man 4 (really?) that I started working on in 2012. Now, 5 years later, it's finally nearing completion. When it's done, it'll include the following:

- Brand new levels, with graphics imported from other NES games as well as Mega Man 9 and 10
- New enemies, mini bosses and stage gimmicks, mostly from other Mega Man games but also a few original ones
- Totally different boss AIs for the 8 robot masters, and new Skull Castle bosses (unlike the robot masters, most of these are different from vanilla MM4)
- Altered weapons and new adaptor items with new uses
- All new music composed specifically for this hack by 5 different chiptune composers. Those are: Golden Shades, RRThiel, CosmicGem, Jir-0 and myself (see below for more info).
- A new storyline, partly with different cutscene graphics.
- Many improvements to the game engine (at least in my opinion), such as less lagging, faster screen transitions, weapon switch with the select button, the larger charge shot from Mega Man 5, more sound effects etc. (special thanks go to Puresabe for many of these improvements).

Of this, only half of the bosses are still left to be made; everything else is pretty much complete, though minor adjustments are being made to the existing stuff all the time. While no guarantees can be made, the hack will probably be completed and released by the end of this year, hopefully sooner.

First of all, let me present some screens:



Then, there's also this relatively new preview video you can watch (some of the graphics have been changed or improved since it was made though). If you'd like to see more, there are also some older previews on my YouTube channel, though quite a lot of things have been changed since these were made.

Video preview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sreVaTKQH0

So, in what ways does this hack stand out? The fact is that for the last few years, quite a lot of things have happened in the Mega Man fanbase community: Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, MM Unlimited, MM Rock Force, MM Super Fighting Robots, "Make a good Mega Man level contest" and some other fanworks I probably forgot about, with more to come in the near future. My programming skills are nowhere near as good as Puresabe's, my imagination can't match that of many fangame authors, and I have no talents when it comes to creating graphics and sprites whatsoever. Knowing that I can't be good at everything, I have selected three aspects that this hack will hopefully be remembered for: Memorable music, good level design and a commitment to the "run, jump and shoot" formula of the original NES games. I'll explain the latter two a bit more:

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love all the fanworks mentioned above; no words can explain how thrilled I was when I played through them the first time. However, it's no secret that some of them, as well as many hacks in general, are plagued with extreme difficulty. A lot of ROM hacks (including my old ones) require you to do multiple pixel perfect jumps in a row, and to some, Mega Man Unlimited is notorious for its unlimited (no pun intended) amount of spikes and death traps in each level. To avoid this, I've had five playtesters helping me out during development, ensuring that difficulty is fair and not too frustrating: Listening to other people's feedback has proven to be really valuable, as there are many things I would never think of or discover myself. So yeah, the hack will obviously be a bit harder than the original game, but not as hard as most other fanworks, including almost all existing MM hacks. Hopefully it will not only be enjoyable to die hard Mega Man fans, but also more casual players.

As for the mentioned "run, jump and shoot" formula, I feel that some recent fan games are missing this fundamental trademark of the original Mega Man games. For example, while MM Rock Force is incredibly awesome in almost every way, I think that the last four fusion robot master stages (the ones added some time after the initial release) went a bit overboard with their stage gimmicks, making this part of the game feel like a puzzle game rather than a 2D platformer. While there are certainly stage gimmicks in my own hack as well, the bottom line is still "run through the stage and kill enemies along the way".

With that said, I'd still like to have some opinions on a few things, just in case everyone is leaning in one direction and I'm doing it wrong according to that. I might have more questions later, but for now:
   1. Stage length - how to people feel about this? I always felt many of the stages in MM1-6 were a bit too short. In MM9-10 they were a bit longer, and in MM Unlimited, even more so. In my hack, level length falls between that of MM9-10 and that of Unlimited. Is that fine to most people, or is it too long? Perhaps it is fine only if I can keep my promise with levels not being too frustrating? I'd really love to hear what people think about this. Adding more than the standard two checkpoints is unfortunately not an option, as it'd require extensive reprogramming of the ROM I might not be able to do, and besides I like to stick to the rules of the original games. I did at least make sure to have the most frustrating sections right after checkpoints, so that you don't have to play through 49% of the stage every time you die at the exact same spot.
   2. Robot master weapons - is it fine that they don't work on absolutely every enemy (such as Metal Blade not working on the Sniper Joe walking machine in MM2), or is this something people perceive as annoying? In my hack, a few rooms would in my opinion be too easy if f.ex. Rain Flush worked on the enemies there, but maybe that's an option you should have in order to pass specific challenges you don't like?

Last, but not least, here's a playlist of some of the music in the hack. It contains all robot master stage themes and a few other songs. The rest of the songs won't be put up before the hack is done. Please pay attention to the uploader of each video, as the uploader is also the author of that particular song!

MM4 Voyage Music playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8y0kJX7Ft5Fyc01xtdX1pmimgQcEoi1I

Phew! With all that text out of the way, all that's left for me to say for now is thanks for your precious time!
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 10:28:12 pm by DurfarC »

DavidtheIdeaMan

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack)
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2017, 11:00:16 pm »
Im looking forward to this mod alot,good luck in finishing the rest of it and the eventual release. :)

Zynk

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack)
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 01:02:05 am »
Quote
1. Stage length - how to people feel about this?
If there are mini-bosses, a checkpoint after defeating it is sensible. The duration of clearing a stage should take the player at least 3-5 minutes.

Quote
2. Robot master weapons - is it fine that they don't work on absolutely every enemy (such as Metal Blade not working on the Sniper Joe walking machine in MM2), or is this something people perceive as annoying?
Yes. But there should be a weapon that you can use logically on certain enemies, like huge enemies are mostly weak against Drill Bomb, tiny swarm of enemies are mostly weak against Rain Flush, or quick enemies can always be frozen with Time Stopper, etc. Still, make the default buster kill most enemies, of course.

On another note,
Quote
- Totally different boss AIs for the 8 robot masters, and new Skull Castle bosses (unlike the robot masters, most of these are different from vanilla MM4)
This is screaming NEEDS NEW ROBOT MASTERS. Sorry if I keep pushing for this hehehe.  :crazy:

But as you may have mentioned, this will consume more time that the hack's release would get delayed. So nvm.

kuja killer

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack)
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 04:38:49 am »
Lucky you, i admire your effort and work put into it. I wish i could say the same about megaman odyssey. Not 1% "anywhere" done compared to yours.

I've spent a few months programming 4 of the 8 robot masters on my game...but my partner just wont "ever" help with making graphics for the robot masters... or to finish them rather ...when promised many years ago...so i feel like all my time of countless days/weeks/months of pure programming enemies/bosses with no graphics, is all for nothing.

all i can say relevant to your topic is.. it's okay to make weapons be blocked on certain enemies. like years ago after i got pyro weapon made on my game which is fire-type ..i made all the enemies in pyro Man repel pyro cause..well...there fire type enemies. ya know, it makes sense.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 10:42:26 am by kuja killer »

Googie

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack)
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 07:50:26 pm »
After seeing this video now I feel like going back to my MM4 hack, I love the changes you did, they're awesome! :)

Ness

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack)
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2017, 01:33:12 pm »
   1. Stage length - how to people feel about this? I always felt many of the stages in MM1-6 were a bit too short. In MM9-10 they were a bit longer, and in MM Unlimited, even more so. In my hack, level length falls between that of MM9-10 and that of Unlimited. Is that fine to most people, or is it too long?

It's fine.

Quote
   2. Robot master weapons - is it fine that they don't work on absolutely every enemy (such as Metal Blade not working on the Sniper Joe walking machine in MM2), or is this something people perceive as annoying? In my hack, a few rooms would in my opinion be too easy if f.ex. Rain Flush worked on the enemies there, but maybe that's an option you should have in order to pass specific challenges you don't like?

It all depends on the weapon and enemy of course, but in a case like Rain Flush, then yeah it is important that it works on most things. That is the point of the weapon, with heavy energy use as a drawback. In fact, it's pretty much the point of the entire classic MM gameplay: you CAN use weapons to help you, some will work perfectly in some situations, weaknesses for every enemy and bosses, etc and it's up to the player to find out when to use which weapon, to balance his weapon use, or to decide if he wants to use the weapons at all, basically the player decides how much challenge he wants. If Rain Flush doesn't work in situations where it's needed the most, and where it makes sense to use it, than that sucks and it renders the weapon almost pointless, and if you ask me it goes against the "Mega Man logic".

Plus, if there is nothing, no visual, for the player to guess that Rain Flush might not work in that particular situation, it will come off as unfair or glitchy, and then every time he'll want to use Rain Flush he'll wonder if it works.
Of course, if there is a visual cue of some kind it should be fine; like let's say Rain Flush doesn't work on enemies with umbrellas (or who are umbrellas).

This makes me think of Gravity Hold in MM5. Gravity Hold, like other things, doesn't work on shielded enemies, or enemies which are in "shield state". However, there is no visual cue, or even a sound, to tell it doesn't work. I've seen many players get confused by that, some even thinking the weapon doesn't work at all on some enemies and on bosses, and I'm talking players who know the game very well.



Good job with his hack, it looks really good. The only thing I don't like the underwater screenshot, something about the colours don't fit right to me. If it was me, I'd go with a more yellow-ish sand, light blue water, and make the spikes grey like the rock.

Edit : btw I see you're mentionning glitch fixes and lag reduction. Are you aware of thise guy's hacks ?
 http://www.geocities.jp/borokobo/neo/download.html

There is an "optimization" patch that gets rid of any lag. There are two versions of it, one which adds other things as well like switching weapons with select.
He also has a hack that allows jumping during a slide when underwater.
These are for Rockman 4 and not Mega Man 4 but I'm sure you'll be able to connect the dots.

Also one thing I'd like to see fixed is the glitch that allows you to remain fully charged for a charge shot even after switching weapons as long as you're holding B when getting back to the buster. If MM4 works anything like MM5 (and I do know for a fact that they are close) I'm sure it's just a matter of setting the charge counter to 0 when switching weapon and/or opening the menu.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 02:27:25 pm by Ness »

retroverse

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack)
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2017, 04:22:02 pm »
This looks like great work - both visually and on the soundtrack you've assembled - and I like the dedication to keeping the game close to the originals in terms of difficulty and spirit.  (Much as I like innovative hacks adding new gameplay elements, sometimes you just want one more sequel than your childhood provided!) The attention to detail in the subtle additions/bugfixes is also impressive.  Anyway, onto the opinions you asked for (and one you didn't, admittedly):

Stage Length: For me, MM9/10 length or a little more is fine, though I haven't played MM Unlimited so I'm not sure how that compares.  I think the steps you've mentioned to keep potential frustrations to a minimum - from unfair level design or checkpoints forcing repetition - are more important than the number of screens the level covers, though.
Master Weapon Effectiveness: Having some Master Weapons be ineffective against certain enemy types serves as a useful balancing tool (like energy efficiency), so I have nothing against it.  The Metal Blade is versatile, powerful and drains virtually no energy, so having it deflect off certain enemy types helps keep it from being too overpowered.  On the other hand, Rain Flush hits everything on screen but has quite a weak blow, so further weakening through enemy immunity is less necessary.  It's important that any ineffectiveness has some internal logic to it though - like the visual cues mentioned above, or an obvious reasoning to underpin it.  (An ice weapon melting harmlessly off a fire-based enemy, etc.) 
MM4 Robot Masters: I'd agree with Zynk's point about new Robot Masters - you've put a huge amount of work into new AI and new levels, and adding some new 'personalities' would enhance that.  Even if you replaced four of the less memorable Robot Masters with new ones that fit the existing power/level, it would freshen up the lineup.  (Much like the GB games used Robot Masters from two different NES games?)  I understand that's easier to say than do though, and you've worked long and hard already!

DurfarC

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack)
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2017, 04:08:22 pm »
Thanks for all the replies, each and everyone of you, it means a lot to me! I have read each of your posts carefully, though I'm a bit lazy on multiquoting so I'll just quote a few lines and write a general response:

So, it seems like the mentioned stage lengths are mostly okay then, which I'm happy to hear! As for the weapons, I'll make sure to do as you guys say then and let them all work on most enemies, and only let them deflect when it makes sense (for example, I made Dust Crusher not work on the Junk Golems and their trash cubes). The original MM4 enemies will mostly have the same weapon weaknesses as they did in the original game anyway, but I'll redo the random weakness charts for the new enemies I made so that they make more sense. I'll make sure to let Rain Flush work on everything, so that it has that use of skipping annoying sections, like you guys implied.

As for new robot masters, I actually thought of that long ago, even coming up with some new names, but I scrapped the idea because I'm horrible at making original graphics and sprites. Actually, I had some other extensive ideas for the hack too, such as a few extra levels, an endless mode and some other small things, but ultimately, I decided to limit my ambitions, as otherwise I'll never ever get done with this project (and there's no guarantee my programming skills would be good enough anyway). As harsh as it might sound, overambition is what halts many fangame projects; it delayed my own hack multiple times, because of small, unimportant things I added, and as I soon turn 30 and have to find a job when my studies are done in November, I know I won't have much time left to finish this before I'll have to grow up and not sit on the computer 10 hours a day. Hopefully, the hack will be enjoyable anyway! It won't be as groundbreaking as RM4MI, but save for that one it's probably going to be the most extensive Mega Man hack to be 100% completed.

Good job with his hack, it looks really good. The only thing I don't like the underwater screenshot, something about the colours don't fit right to me. If it was me, I'd go with a more yellow-ish sand, light blue water, and make the spikes grey like the rock.
Hmmm, I kinda agree with that. How's this? It's as yellow as it can be with the NES colors, I guess. As for the water, there's already an outside area with a sky that has that brighter blue, and I want the area to have a deep sea feel. As for the spikes, I long ago came to the conclusion that the spikes must have the same color as the sand because of the whale miniboss, which uses the rest of the colors. I will definitely check this again though and see if that's really the case, I agree that spikes should have a different color in any level so that they stand out. Thanks for the input!



Edit : btw I see you're mentionning glitch fixes and lag reduction. Are you aware of thise guy's hacks ?
 http://www.geocities.jp/borokobo/neo/download.html

There is an "optimization" patch that gets rid of any lag. There are two versions of it, one which adds other things as well like switching weapons with select.
He also has a hack that allows jumping during a slide when underwater.
These are for Rockman 4 and not Mega Man 4 but I'm sure you'll be able to connect the dots.

Also one thing I'd like to see fixed is the glitch that allows you to remain fully charged for a charge shot even after switching weapons as long as you're holding B when getting back to the buster. If MM4 works anything like MM5 (and I do know for a fact that they are close) I'm sure it's just a matter of setting the charge counter to 0 when switching weapon and/or opening the menu.
Yes, his optimization patch is implemented (and credited of course). It really, really helps a lot in making the game run smoother, not only fixing a lot of lag but also providing faster screen transitions and faster health/weapon refilling. I also implemented his underwater sliding patch. And yes, I also made the  charge shot counter reset when switcing weapons, in the way you said!  :) I also did a lot of other subtle fixes, for example the boss introductions not showing up if you re-enter a stage you already cleared, and quite a lot of other things I can't remember anymore.

Ness

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack)
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2017, 08:59:06 am »
I long ago came to the conclusion that the spikes must have the same color as the sand because of the whale miniboss, which uses the rest of the colors.

Hmm, can you not have a background palette switch for the whale ?
Or maybe you can't because there are spikes in the whale screen? In this case, what about having that pal switch but also have a 2nd spike graphic that's exactly the same but which uses another pal slot, just for the whale screen.
Just some random thoughts, it's hard to picture the whole thing without looking at game itself.

Glad to know my theory on the charge counter is correct lol

DurfarC

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2018, 11:58:34 am »
Hey everyone! Sorry for being a bit sluggish with maintaining this thread. But after almost 7 years in the making, this ROM hack is finally released! Download link below. Project page is awaiting submission and coming soon.

In the end, what started as a one man-project ended up as a collaboration with MartsINY, who programmed most of the bosses, and chiptune composers Golden Shades, RRThiel, Cosmic Gem and MarkTherence, who helped me with the soundtrack. Big thanks to them!

DOWNLOAD: http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=18010177398436181707



There's also a release video, which you can take a look at here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azc7Wbh7aWE

I want to thank everyone in the community who came to me with their suggestions and ideas, they're deeply appreciated! With that, please enjoy the hack!
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 10:28:27 pm by DurfarC »

DavidtheIdeaMan

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2018, 12:04:45 pm »
Im loving this hack,geez it's tough but not TOO tough plus the Robot Master weapons are better & choosing the right ones will help clear some stages but I gotta explore the stages for any hidden stuff before tackling Wily,thank you ever so much in creating this Durfar! :D

Also I'll keep my eyes peeled for the rest of the soundtrack to be uploaded. :)

Googie

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2018, 01:32:16 pm »
Thanks for the release, I'm gonna give it a spin this weekend.  :thumbsup: :cookie:

gadesx

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2018, 05:14:47 pm »
Please add info about the CRC, there's nothing in the readme, there's 2 version U, atleast these came from sets, an uncorrect rom can produces glitches from start, or maybe at one point because data corruption.

Megaman IV (U) (PRG0) [!] CRC ADBD4E48 (goodset)
Mega Man 4 (USA) CRC ADBD4E48 (no-intro)

Megaman IV (U) (PRG1) [!] CRC 9ED9D3AF (goodset)
Mega Man 4 (USA) (Rev A) CRC 9ED9D3AF  (no intro)


DurfarC

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2018, 05:18:24 pm »
Ah, sorry about that, didn't think of it until I submitted it to RHDN. Here is what I got from ROM Hasher:

No-Intro Name: Mega Man 4 (USA)
(No-Intro version  20130731-235630)
File SHA-1: 2AE9A049DAFC8C7577584B4B9256F7EF8932B29C
ROM SHA-1: 673A888C468ABE33FB0B3F063C6837DD21D5D32B

I do think all these should work though, will have to check it more closely.

gadesx

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2018, 05:32:38 pm »
Thanks, its the first version,
I usually check the files only opening the zips with winrar (Only show CRC)
File CRC32    ADBD4E48


vhr2121

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2018, 12:29:08 pm »
Good to see your hack is complete and released! I gave this hack a shot and I am amazed. I believe this is a hack that feels (and plays) like an original Mega Man game released for the NES, with just the right difficulty settings for the robot masters (as of this post I haven't tackled the Fortress stages yet).

This might be my next video project. Again, good job to you and your team!

DavidtheIdeaMan

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2018, 01:00:41 pm »
Well Durfar,what will you do now since you have finished your project? :)

Thanatos-Zero

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2018, 02:13:26 pm »
I wonder DurfarC, if you could lend us a hand for Megaman Odyssey. Luckily we got now new members to help things moving forward, but after all those years, it would be great to finally bring this game to a conclusion.

Reading Kuja's 1 year old comment however fills me with dread.

DavidtheIdeaMan

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2018, 02:14:38 pm »
Hey that could be a great idea! :)

arciks11

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Re: Mega Man 4 Voyage (MM4 hack) - Update: Released!
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2018, 04:41:10 pm »
I ran into a bug during Alien fight. I think what happened was that at same time as I got hit I killed that phase and game got suspended (it happened during sweeping downwards laser part). I then proceeded to walk off the stage(the wall was gone) and died.

Other than that I've been enjoying this hack.