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Romhacking => Personal Projects => Topic started by: frantik on April 14, 2018, 02:12:13 am

Title: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on April 14, 2018, 02:12:13 am
Been a long while since I did some rom hacking, but lately I've been back into playing NES on my Powerpak and I noticed that Super Mario Unlimited doesn't look that great using the actual hardware.  All of the color choices were made using FCEUX default palette, which is way off from the hardware. So the colors need to be updated.. and while I'm at it, might as well fix a few other little things which have bugged me since I released the game

Planned changes so far:

1. Update colors and graphics to look best on real hardware
2. Change hidden power up blocks (which are unlocked by collecting mario coins) to be visible instead of hidden.  This way it will be more obvious what the point of collecting the mario coins is
3. Add an attempts counter/death counter
4. Change the 100 coin invincibility (star man) to just invulnerability (like when you get hit).. this way when you collect the 100th coin in midair, you will still be able to stomp and jump off enemies
5. Maybe make a few of the mario coins easier to collect.. there's as least once which is super tricky

If you've played the original hack and have any other suggestions for changes, please feel free to mention them.  It's still supposed to be the same game so I'm not going to make any major changes, just want to give it a little more polish

(https://i.imgur.com/6DSwC7t.png)

Stay tuned!
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: zacmario on April 14, 2018, 10:14:01 am
whoa, never thought I would see you hacking again. Welcome back!
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: Eden.GT on April 15, 2018, 09:50:38 pm
Damn, such a rare sight to see a SMB hacker who was inactive for so long to be risen again!
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on April 24, 2018, 09:51:25 am
Replaced the score with an "attempt counter".. basically the same thing as a death counter but a little less morose.   :P  I'm gonna also get the mario coin count in the HUD instead of showing the count at the end of every castle as well.  Speaking of which, I found a bug in the SMU code related to showing the coin count in the castle.. I'm surprised that the bug doesn't cause more problems but every once in a while it causes the game to hang at the end of a world

(https://i.imgur.com/iJYrN3W.png)
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: altoiddealer on April 24, 2018, 10:53:07 am
I absolutely loved SMB Unlimited, until I got to (if memory serves me right) 8-3.

I just couldn't solve the puzzle, even after a few dozen attempts :banghead:

You told me the solution awhile back, but I never found the motivation to pick the hack back up and finish it.
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on April 25, 2018, 12:18:54 am
I absolutely loved SMB Unlimited, until I got to (if memory serves me right) 8-3.

I just couldn't solve the puzzle, even after a few dozen attempts :banghead:

You told me the solution awhile back, but I never found the motivation to pick the hack back up and finish it.

Well maybe the new version will give you a good reason to try again.  And yeah the final "puzzle" is a bit hard to figure out; I should have maybe done something earlier in the game like that to maybe give a clue what you're supposed to do.  That has been one of the biggest sources of complaints/criticism about the hack.
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: w7n on April 25, 2018, 04:04:18 am
Kudos for that.
And btw, in case your PM inbox is full (some earlier post indicate that but probably not anymore) and can't receive my msg, please tell me.
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: Eden.GT on April 25, 2018, 06:55:17 am
Some minor things I noticed in the original version of Super Mario Unlimited, that could be fixed in the Deluxe version:

- After pausing the game and resuming, entire music and sound effects are muted up to several game seconds. Not as short like in the original SMB.
- In 8-5, if you're not reaching to the scroll stop object at the Bowser fight, even when five fireballs are shot, Bowser would not faint. I hardly think this is intended.
- "Powerup obtained" sound effect is slightly distorded due to different music tone colours in the hack.

A user playing the hack on a PowerPak might be unable to complete all levels due to the unexpected, fiendish difficulty the hack vigorously progresses soon afterwards. I once tried playing through the whole hack warpless, savestateless, etc. and I can say that I spent roughly somewhere around two hours on it, especially the last world, where it gets even more difficult than SMB2J, harder than the levels look themselves (mind you, I was forced to use Big Mario's underwater duck glitch at the last level). A good suggestion is to tone down the difficulty a bit for the sake of enjoying the hack over frustrating it for most players (only if you want to), coming from a top-tier player here.

Replaced the score with an "attempt counter"..
Even if you were to keep this decision, be sure to remove the score point sprites.
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on April 25, 2018, 09:11:39 am
Kudos for that.
And btw, in case your PM inbox is full (some earlier post indicate that but probably not anymore) and can't receive my msg, please tell me.

I got your message, what you're working on looks insane! 

April 25, 2018, 09:34:14 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)

- In 8-5, if you're not reaching to the scroll stop object at the Bowser fight, even when five fireballs are shot, Bowser would not faint. I hardly think this is intended.


this is intended, because otherwise the scroll stop will trigger after you beat bowser.  Plus it's too easy to hit bowser from a distance.  But maybe some kind of indication showing he is vulnerable would be good, i'm not sure though

And I hear you about the difficulty, I'm not planning on changing levels around much though.  Just having the hidden power ups visible makes it a little easier, if you're collecting all the mario coins at least
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on May 04, 2018, 07:46:53 am
added the Mario Coin counter in the status bar area, and also added a little star to indicate that you have collected the current level's Mario Coin, which will be added to the tally once you complete the level.  I'm not totally happy with the star graphic but I can't think of anything else to obviously indicate that you have collected the coin.

I also changed the star power so you can still stomp enemies while you have star power.  It's a little weird since you can't just mindlessly run and jump through enemies since you will bounce off of them, but it's better than switching the star man for simple immunity.

(https://i.imgur.com/ezZkdRe.png)
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: vhr2121 on May 04, 2018, 05:58:29 pm
Yo frantik! I played your original hack and I liked it. I'm looking forward to your Deluxe edition. I'm a bit curious of how that star power thing will work. And I kinda like the little star on the Mario coin counter. But maybe if you change its color, it might work out? I dunno...
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on May 04, 2018, 11:35:16 pm
But maybe if you change its color, it might work out? I dunno...

Yeah I would like it to be a different color but my options are white, black or blue (and the blue is sometimes red depending on the palette).   White without a border doesn't contrast enough with the sky and if I want to add a border then I have to make the star smaller and I don't like the way it looks.

I could move it over one tile and then I could make it any of the background colors, but I like it next to the number.  I can't move the coin counters to the right or else the coin graphics won't be the right color.. you can only color the tiles in groups of 2x2.  The other option is make the indicator a sprite but I dunno about that.  No really good options yet, the blue star is the best so far

Quote
I'm a bit curious of how that star power thing will work.

It's just like normal star power except you can still stomp enemies (and kick shells too).  I'm not 100% on using it yet but I probably will. 
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: dACE on May 05, 2018, 09:23:31 am
added the Mario Coin counter in the status bar area, and also added a little star to indicate that you have collected the current level's Mario Coin, which will be added to the tally once you complete the level.

Why not simply (assumably) change the palette of the counter - so it will appear in blue (instead of white) when you have collected the coin?

/dACE
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on May 05, 2018, 03:11:17 pm
Why not simply (assumably) change the palette of the counter - so it will appear in blue (instead of white) when you have collected the coin?

/dACE

I can't change the mario coin counter color without also changing the regular coin counter color unfortunately
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: Panzer88 on May 21, 2018, 11:09:00 pm
is this going to be mapperless, Disk System, MMC1, MMC3 ?
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on June 16, 2018, 03:25:45 am
is this going to be mapperless, Disk System, MMC1, MMC3 ?

It will be MMC1 just like the original SMU

I changed the star graphic to a different one.. you can't see the outline in this pic but it's there lol.. plus I also made the hidden power ups a little more obvious with the dotted outline

have a handful of other changes I still want to do but am happy with the progress.. just having the attempt counter and the mario coin counter make the game a lot more fun

(https://i.imgur.com/31wQHuO.png)
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on June 23, 2018, 06:08:33 pm
Quite a bit of progress has been made.. full list of changes so far

* Updated and expanded use of color; colors selected to look best on real NES hardware vs emulator.  This includes some major reworking to move the brick blocks to the same palette as question blocks
* Mario coin count displayed in status bar area (along with indicator showing if you have collected the coin in current level)
* Attempt counter in status bar area
* Hidden power up blocks are now "semi-hidden" with dotted lines showing where they are
* You can now stomp on enemies while star power is enabled (this is good when you collect 100 coins but need to make jump off an enemy)
* Hidden power ups now disabled after using warp zone
* Point system removed (no floating numbers)
* improved title screen
* move title screen data out of CHR to expand title screen size and give more usable tiles
* hint text given at the end of each world if enough mario coins collected (instead of but our princess is in another castle...)
* fire flower will always give fire power even if small
* use the lakitu spiny throwing code which was in the original game but not enabled in the original (more info (https://tcrf.net/Super_Mario_Bros.#Unused_Spiny_Egg_Behavior))
* minor bug fixes and changes

Changes still in the works
* Expand 6-5 to be a complete level
* Expand/change 8-5 (including automatic scroll once bowser is on the screen to ensure mario hits the scroll stop, which allows bowser to take damage)
* Make some of the later levels slightly easier/more fun

New title screen
(https://i.imgur.com/6uZW7wV.gif)

Here's a few BEFORE/AFTER shots to get an idea of how things have changed colorwise

Overworld before.. the blue background appears slightly purple on some TVs, plus the brown blocks are too dark.. switched to lighter colors for sky and blocks
(https://i.imgur.com/oT9l5eC.png)

Overworld after
(https://i.imgur.com/m2iU0mD.png)

Desert Before.. sky was a greenish yellow color, too much brown and black
(https://i.imgur.com/5eLjr6p.png)

Desert After
(https://i.imgur.com/LVa6JtD.png)

Desert Before
(https://i.imgur.com/s4m5kto.png)

Desert After
(https://i.imgur.com/0V3hsIN.png)


Castle before.. I really don't like the green background.. on NTSC Composite it looks green but many emus this is a brown color.. I switched it to black for the Deluxe Edition because I couldn't find a suitable background color, but I would like to have one since the background brick tiles have more detail when using a non-black background
(https://i.imgur.com/gJoCPoh.png)

Castle after
(https://i.imgur.com/2n2IeHi.png)


And the end of world message if you don't collect enough mario coins for a hint

(https://i.imgur.com/4xcRS2E.png)


- After pausing the game and resuming, entire music and sound effects are muted up to several game seconds. Not as short like in the original SMB

This I think has to do with the music being longer.. I'm not 100% sure but I think after you pause it waits to load the next section of the song.. I will have to look into this, unfortunately the music engine was Dr. Floppy's domain.  For some tracks it's not too bad but for others the silence is like 10 seconds long

Edit: fixed the audio pause issue.. I noticed the sound engine was still running, it just wasn't outputting sound, so I found a place where the sound register was disabled and i NOPed that, and now it works like you would expect!  I kinda think it might have been a bug in the original smb code which wasn't really noticed because of the way they stored the song data
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: Teeporage777 on June 30, 2018, 10:39:41 pm
 Wow! i was extremely fond of the original Mario Unlimited. It looks like i will be trying this out. Good to see you back.
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on July 13, 2018, 11:41:34 pm
Did some more minor tweaks like fixing original engine bugs.. if you pick up a fire flower while small you will get fire power now, shells kills piranha plants, and if you get hit near a whirlpool, you won't get sucked down during the damage animation.

Also worked on the colors for 1-3.. I wanted to use the other yellow background color but it's the same color as the koopa wings which makes them kind of disappear, so I need to use blue instead, this lighter blue looks nice though

before/after
(https://i.imgur.com/msaFczK.png)
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: Mister Xiado on July 14, 2018, 04:44:41 am
Possible reason for the odd original colors... They look fine if f.lux is warming your display colors at night. As it's a popular program, I wonder if it's the reason for the purple and green skies. When I open up PSP7, which I have set to disable f.lux to keep from wrecking the colors, the new colors look much better.
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on July 14, 2018, 09:44:19 am
Possible reason for the odd original colors...

It's because I based my original decisions on the regular FCEUX palette and also the SMB Utility palette to some degree.. neither of which are accurate palettes.  Super Mario Unlimited looks best on FCEUX with the default palette.  Since I first started working SMU, emulators have gotten more accurate and I also personally want to make it look best on real hardware instead of one random emulator, because that's how I play NES these days, and if you're gonna pick one representation, it might as well be the original system.  So now I've been basing my decisions on NTSC emulation modes using more accurate palettes as well as my LCD screen hooked up to my real NES running a PowerPak.  I have been planning to get a real CRT tv to double check the color choices before I release this version too. 

Some of these levels also look better because I've done even more work to control the colors exactly how I want them; level options which would change only one color In the original SMU will change a whole bunch of colors in the deluxe version. Or like in World 1-3, it used to use a castle palette with a custom background color, now it uses its own totally custom palette.
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on August 05, 2018, 06:42:49 pm
Been continuing to tweak minor things in the original engine.. finally tracked down where the code to slow down shells as they were falling was.. I don't know why this is included in the original game but it can cause mario to run into a shell as it slows down, so I fixed it.    I also want to fix the music engine so it doesn't reset the music every time you go in a pipe.. for levels which are pipe mazes this is especially important.

I also finally picked up a CRT and now I'm not so sure about some of my color choices.. I had been using a real NES hooked up to an LCD TV via composite and also an LCD monitor with emulators in NTSC emulation mode to check my colors, and both of them look different from the CRT..  :crazy: Some of the colors which look bad on my LCD TV look great on my CRT TV.. trying to choose the "best" colors is almost impossible with so many different representations!
Title: Re: Super Mario Unlimited - DELUXE Edition.. in progress
Post by: frantik on October 20, 2019, 06:42:30 pm
Been a minute since I worked on this project but I recently picked it back up.  I finally got to work expanding 6-5 into a full level instead of cheaping out and using a hidden warp zone to make the pipe take you to world 7

a little preview..
(https://i.imgur.com/AGCkZR2.jpg)

and I also think I'm going to just go with Super Mario Unlimited Deluxe with no "edition" cause the tiny text is really hard to read on small screen CRTs, especially with the rotating colors.. it causes a lot of weird artifacts

(https://i.imgur.com/q44JrPR.jpg)

I think the main thing I want to do now is figure out how to make sure at the final bowser fight that you have to get close enough to trigger the scroll stop which allows bowser to take damage.. otherwise you can shoot at him all day and he doesn't get hurt. I might also expand 8-5 like i did with 6-5 instead making you run the course twice.  I don't think i will alter other levels much though.. these two levels both were cut short due to running out of space so I don't mind adding onto them

Anyways yeah just an update, hopefully I will finish this up soon. 

BTW it's funny to see the original SMU has made it onto Chinese multicart roms (https://youtu.be/g3KGH1urH7Y?t=14m22s).. I guess that's a compliment