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Messages - The Man on the Boat

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Personal Projects / Re: Ganymede (Super Mario World hack)
« on: October 23, 2021, 11:13:52 pm »
Thanks, friend!

So, a short origin story of how a romhack took over my life:

When I was a wee young'un, I loved Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World. I used to draw levels on these reams and reams of dot matrix printer paper that my parents would bring home. I'd draw little enemies and cut them out, trace paths through the levels, and so on. Lunar Magic was like a dream come true.

In early 2013, I was working my first, last and only desk job. I was ahead of the game and working from home, at my own desk, and though there was a lot of downtime, the desk and I were almost always together. During some of that downtime, I started editing Super Mario World levels. Before I knew it, I was spending a lot of free time doing this, building level after level. I'd build, I'd play, edit, play, edit, play, and the only goal I had in mind was to make something I had fun playing. The desk job came to an end in 2016, by which point, I'd built over 80 unique levels and called it Thoughtful Mario World. It was mostly vanilla, but once I learned how to insert exGFX, I started drawing my own graphics, and replaced everything. I learn as I go, I practice, and I start building a story. There are incredible story games, I'm challenging myself to see how close I can get to making one myself. To really knock someone dead with a well-told, fun quality game, would be a real triumph. So that's the goal.

Personal Projects / Re: Ganymede (Super Mario World hack)
« on: October 23, 2021, 12:06:09 pm »
Hello, it's been a minute. Which is cool, because that means I have a lot to share.

First of all, the project has never stopped. If anything, 2021 has been the most productive year yet for Ganymede. Changes have been many, and additions extensive. If you have played the demo linked in the OP, the upcoming release of Chapter Two: Land of No Shame in January, 2022, will hopefully feel like a fresh, new experience all the way through. Chapter Two will have about twice as many levels, but huge parts of the game have been either significantly touched up or redrawn completely. Story scenes have been totally renovated, and Chapter One's levels have been polished to a better shine than ever. Large parts of the script have been retooled, edited and re-written. My skills at pixel art and writing have gotten a little better. The narrative superstructure takes shape. Chapter One ends at the top of a lighthouse. What happens next? Only I know... for now.

First, here's some of the intro scenes.
New dev card and title screen:

The boy's bedroom:

The boy's house:

Click on the spoiler to see more intro scenes

And here is some actual game content (level intros/outros and gameplay):

Click on the spoiler to see a few more gameplay gifs:

Finally, I've got a big, random assortment of art/assets, some a bit unfinished:


Whew! That's a lot, right? Well, it actually barely scratches the surface of this hack. So, I made an album which shows every single level in the game which I have changed from the base rom, and it turns out that it's almost all of them. Ganymede currently contains more than 200 levels. The big majority of them are full-size levels which rival anything SMW has. Some are way bigger. Some of them are small, interstitial levels. In any case, I would put Ganymede up against any other SMW romhack out there in terms of sheer size alone. There is, probably, no other hack out there as thoroughly worked over as this one. And, I hope, the end result justifies the almost nine years and tens of thousands of hours it has taken to make, so far.

Gaming Discussion / Re: Games that seem like they belonged to the next gen?
« on: September 04, 2020, 10:34:27 pm »
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin / Minotaur, Intellivision (1982)

A second generation game which could almost pass for NES. There really wasn't anything like it at the time.

It is a pseudo - 3D dungeon crawler game in first person, already pretty nuts on such ancient hardware, but it was also way ahead of its time in its gameplay complexity.

You roam a dungeon, armed with a bow, some arrows and food. As you explore, you find new weapons, armor, items of all kinds, and of course, monsters. The inventory and stats system is very advanced for a console RPG of any era, there are dozens of weapons both magical and melee, multiple armor types and classes. The monsters you face also come in a big variety, with different methods of attacks and tiers of power. The game has a final boss, as well as probably the first superbosses in video games ever.

The cool thing is, the dungeons are randomized. Each floor of the dungeon is a 10x10 grid composed of four 5x5 quadrants. There are 16(?) quadrant variations, so you'll never see exactly the same level twice, ever. In addition, all items, weapons, enemies, etc., are also randomly scattered throughout each floor. All these elements increase in power (or danger) as you progress down. You can defeat the final boss and end the game by collecting the titular treasure... or just keep going. And going. 256 levels down, hours and hours of gameplay.

It definitely has the visual and audio aesthetics of a Gen 2 console game, but it plays like it was made way later.

Personal Projects / Re: Ganymede (Super Mario World hack)
« on: September 03, 2020, 09:42:55 pm »
Just finished playing through it. This is an incredible use of the SMW engine. I would rank it among the best undergound indie games in general (Yume Nikki, Ib) if it weren't a ROM hack.

That is really serious praise. I'm glad you liked it. Thank you so much for playing!

My only qualm is at the end of the chapter where

the boy dreams of suicide after deciding that God is on vacation if He exists. I'm hoping that the boy comes to faith and redemption and that this doesn't turn into something pessimistic/nihilistic like so many other horror hacks do.

I can't say too much without ruining what will come next, but I can promise that the story has more than one possible conclusion. Diligence may lead to honesty, honesty may lead to understanding, and understanding may lead anywhere.

Newcomer's Board / Re: Introduction Topic
« on: August 25, 2020, 11:01:18 pm »
Salutations. I'm the man on the boat, and I'm making a Super Mario World hack called Ganymede. I'm not really a hacker, strictly speaking, I'm an artist/writer/designer, and Ganymede is a passion project I've spent thousands of hours making since 2013.

Personal Projects / Re: Ganymede (Super Mario World hack)
« on: August 24, 2020, 08:20:09 pm »
I'm overwhelmed by all your positive responses! There is a link at the top to the file (hosted on, it's not a complete game, and won't be for a while, but anyone who wants to give it a try can do so.

tbh, I had intended to post about it a long time ago, but I ended up deciding to wait until I could come up with something that would properly represent how it will look when it is complete.

I am presently hard at work on Chapter 2, "First Night a Free Man".

Personal Projects / Ganymede (Super Mario World hack)
« on: August 20, 2020, 06:10:40 pm »
Hello, and welcome to GANYMEDE.

Currently playable (satisfaction guaranteed or your money back):
A tour of Ganymede:
Chapter One Sightseeing (spoilers)
YouTube Channel:
Ondore's Lies
Original Trailer:
Back of My Eyelids (2017)

Seven years in the making. Much more still to come. Chapter one is complete and ready for your enjoyment. Download it now!

This is the story of a boy who seeks adventure and fun.

Why do kids seek adventure and fun? Part of it is that kids are just naturally wired to do that. But, another part of it is contrast; the grass is always greener somewhere else. If life appears to suck, it is a natural instinct to dream of a place where it doesn't, and to want to go and find it. Even if it isn't real.

For this boy, life could be better. This is not the first time noises from his parents' bedroom have roused him awake.

It used to be that, at times, weird noises came from their room, but this noise is a lot more familiar and relatable, and his first thought is that he's glad they are shouting at each other, because that meant that, if he stayed out of the way, neither of them would shout at him. That's just how it was these days, and it just kept getting worse and worse. Now, he couldn't even take a nap and get away from it.

So, maybe, the boy thinks, he really ought to get away from it.

Before he has time to stop himself, he's already out and into the pouring rain. He doesn't have anywhere in mind, and it really doesn't matter, does it? He could go wherever he wanted, and no one would miss him. What's more, he wouldn't miss them, either. And so, he wandered, in search of nothing, until finally, the rain ceases and so do his wanderings.

He has made his way to the edge of the sea, and it makes him think of the painting above his bed, with its bad ass sailor holding his own in a hurricane against the worst Mother Nature had to throw at him. The boat docked nearby makes it almost seem like fate and Mother Nature appeared to not be in a fighting mood at the moment. And so, it was in no general direction that the boy sailed.

For a brief time, the clouds clear and reveal a dazzling night sky, full of stars and constellations. Miles from anywhere and going who knows where, such a sight could only be witnessed by an adventurous seafarer such as himself. He enjoys it as long as he can.

And that is not very long. Because, without warning, the storm reignites all around the boy and his boat. Thunder stomps the seas into churning chaos as the squall blows in every direction at once. The boat is tossed, turned, and tumbled before a bolt of lightning strikes, smashing it to a great many smithereens.

When he awakens, many hours have passed, and it is the blinding stare of the sun into which he opens his eyes. He doesn't know where he is, or how, exactly, he survived to ponder the question. Maybe it doesn't matter. What matters is that he's here, apparently to stay.

A silhouette looms in the distance, which he recognizes as a lighthouse. It is tall and old, and looks like it has not been used in a long time. It is there he decides to go first. How cool it would be to live in a lighthouse! It's the adventure he was seeking, in any case.

But the funny thing about adventure is that adventure is dangerous. No going to the fridge for a drink, no stopping in the convenience store for a hot dog. No warm bed to snuggle in at night, no fan to keep you cool. Living like a kid is one way to learn some adult lessons. It seems certain that, by the time he makes it to the lighthouse, he will be relieved to finally find safety and maybe he will be wondering if this wasn't a big mistake after all.

THE ALBUM (which inspired the game)

1. The Departure (1:36)
2. The Storm (2:16)
3. Segue I (0:16)
4: The Island (3:26)
5: Segue II (0:47)
6. To Stay (3:53)
7. Janus (4:01)
8: Further (3:44)
9: Maybe I'll Stay Around (3:28)
10: The Nightmare (1:56)
11: Segue III (0:47)
12: To Leave (4:24)
13: Segue IV (0:49)
14: The Fire (1:43)
15: Realization (2:57)

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