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The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

wanna make a game, or anything else? seminal bloom!
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SMCslevelengine
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The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by SMCslevelengine »

Colossus 2

Hey there, levelengine here, with the official work in progress thread for the next bombshell of an SMW hack I've been building on and off since 2020. As of 2021, I've confirmed there was going to be a sequel to the romhack Colossus (https://www.smwcentral.net/?a=details&i ... &p=section), released all the way back in 2015. Since then, there was motivation for me to try something of a scale about as large as the first Colossus again, because I grew dissatisfied with a few of the design choices made for the first one, mainly being the shortage of checkpoints for even the toughest levels, and even in some cases the overall difficulty being too high for the wrong reasons. Although Colossus 2 is much more likely to be my priority, a remaster of the first Colossus is also potentially on the table.

As for the general difficulty this time around, there will be multiple midpoints for the megalevels this time around and on the harder + longer levels, also worldpeace's retry patch (which conveniently also sorted out the multiple midpoints, which I already wanted anyways).

The next question that also came to mind when trying to balance the difficulty was how lives would be handled. I do plan to have the standard hack start with 5 lives and force you to redo an entire level (or multiple maybe?) if you run out, though in that case I'd add more opportunities to get 1-UPs, especially later on where dying a lot would be expected. One of the things I was thinking of having added was blue coins based off of the ones in Super Mario 64 that are each worth 5 coins, if not just extra hidden rooms scattered throughout the hack to both top up on lives and also reward exploration and curiosity. Even still, there will very likely be another patch of the game that will have infinite lives for those who want a slightly easier (and less frustrating if their opinion believes the loss of already earned progress is in fact frustrating) experience.

Since Colossus 2's inception, I've made tons of levels that will be in it, some of which are pictured below, though again, the contents of these screenshots can always change before the official final release.

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I also made this teaser from various projects I worked on back in 2020, this being from before the reveal there would be a second Colossus (the Colossus 2 levels start showing up at 1:43).



Until just this week, I was mostly worrying about building levels/trying to flesh out ideas for gimmicks and therefore didn't have a solid plan for the overworld, or much progress to show on it. As I had basically no internet for 6 days, I didn't have much else to do besides work on the hack, and got to solidify some overworld maps making them basically ready once all the overworld events are also added in. The last one's actually my submap just to test all the levels, which is there to show the scale of the hack.

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I was originally looking at a plan for the hack to be large enough that it was going to need a further expanded overworld or to have it be split into 2 ROM files (which would have been its own can of worms). It's still large enough that one of my ideas for a world was scrapped, bringing the total world count down to 12 so that after applying Medic's Submap Split patch (https://bin.smwcentral.net/u/2318/SubmapSplit.asm) to basically give us 12 submaps at the cost of the standard main overworld, 1 for each world. While most of those overworld maps already did exist beforehand, just this week I finally fleshed them out and made them presentable.

So as for gimmicks, there'll be lots of additions that weren't there in the original SMW such as blocks being solid depending on the direction currently being faced, screen wrapping in a few levels, flipping gravity, and switching between standard/water level, just to name a few.

Anything else worth sharing I'll just put in future posts, must have been here for well over 40 minutes writing this by now.
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Re: The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by SMCslevelengine »

This world 4 fortress level is pretty much done, just now need to give it a proper background and move 1 dragon coin off a subscreen boundary.

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13 second video to show the gimmick off:

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Re: The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by AndyanaJonseph »

Level design's looking amazing! Overworld's looking great, although I feel the mushrooms could be more "3D"
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Re: The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by SMCslevelengine »

before showing off some stuff from the jungle (world 6), I did pick out some graphics to put the BG together for About Face:

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and then sometime after that, created the jungle world map that should be almost finalized minus the events

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and still more to show off, I've brought over one of the dinos from Adventure Island III into C2 (suing Sonikku's old Squawks sprite with swapped out graphics) and started one of the levels where it'll first appear, specifically the pterodactyl


AndyanaJonseph wrote:Overworld's looking great, although I feel the mushrooms could be more "3D"
also, which submap? pretty sure I have different kinds of mushrooms spread across 2 of them
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Re: The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by SMCslevelengine »

I never stopped working on C2, just progress had been slow these past months with work taking priority, but as of late I've had more spare time to sort out what world 4's "castle" level will look and play like:

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It's the inside of a giant mushroom, where so far I have only built the climb up the stem of the mushroom, and then once you have gone up high enough, within the latter screens mario will reach top running speed immediately upon beginning to run (and just jump substantially farther in general), and I later plan to also add water that reverses your left/right controls while swimming in it

So until even more progress is made on the world 4 "castle" levelengine is signing out, peace
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Re: The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by SMCslevelengine »

Almost done with the world 4 castle (and to be honest the biggest hurdle will be coming up with a bossfight) and in the meantime set up for another level, this one being on a secret path in world 6 (the jungle).



I plan to have about 4 sections for the whole level, and within all of them having to keep the ball from touching the ground, as if it does, you just get warped back to the start of the current screen, and without carrying it to the other end of the screen you can't progress. And for now levelengine is out, peace
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Re: The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by SMCslevelengine »

finally got around to doing one more overworld to have designs for all of the first 7 world maps, and recently also had events implemented for the first three

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and for the level design, I did also decide on a concept for the blue switch palace (and this will be featured again in a much much longer level):



Additionally, almost every level within the first 7 worlds is already playable, with the exception of some bosses either missing or just having the potential to look/function much better than they currently do. Eventually for most of these levels I would like to add extra miscellaneous features such as visual changes, more secrets to search out, lore (such as the history behind the giant mushroom castle and how making a base inside it to research the mushroom's special properties was a very bad idea), and maybe bring in even more custom elements to further change up the gameplay a bit more.

It may be at this point that I may push for an early release where the first 7 worlds will be made playable if enough people are interested, even without a bunch of the extra content such as storytelling/worldbuilding. Ultimately I still need at come up with something that's at least decent for 3 more bosses (and would also like to elaborate on the "warlock" further and his motivations just before, and even after you fight him in world 7 but that could wait), before being ready to confidently release anything

and with that I'll be going to bed
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Re: The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by SMCslevelengine »

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About 5 days ago I ran into this problem when trying to save the overworld. Since I don't have SA-1 installed, and may need to convert every custom asset I have gathered over the course of almost 4 years to be SA-1 compatible, I have since needed to get more freespace back as without SA-1 an SMW rom can't be expanded past 4 MB.

The first thing I was able to find that was an easy save on space was to change the LZ compression type for graphics (found under "Compression Options for this ROM"), to LC_LZ3, though I don't remember exactly how much freespace it was (maybe about 10000 bytes in hexadecimal?)

Then for the past 5 days, most of what was done was getting the object count in levels down, with each object placed in the rom taking up 4 bytes of space. For the most part, this involved using standard objects when possible as these are typically easier to resize while still being only 1 object, and better use of Map16, mainly through recognising commonly reoccurring patterns in how tiles are placed and grabbing multiple Map16 tiles at a time to create an object rather than placing each Map16 tile separately.

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One example of this is that instead of grabbing a top, middle, and bottom tile for solid ground separately, all 3 can be selected at once and pasted as 1 object, which can also be dragged on either end horizontally to expand it. Similarly, if a ledge is 3 tiles long, it will need 1 left edge, middle piece, and right edge, and since those 3 tiles were already next to each other in the Map16 by being arranged horizontally, those could also be grabbed all at once to make only 1 object (Or even better yet, if wanting a 3x3 block of ground, just select the entire 3x3 area in Map16 all at once then right click where in the level you want to place it!)

Of course, these are only a few examples, and saving 4 bytes per object doesn't sound like much at first but applying these optimization tricks over almost 4 years' worth of levels is going to quickly add up. Also, this is not even going into any custom assets such as music/sprites/blocks/other ASM code that can also be inspected for anything unoptimized.
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Re: The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by SMCslevelengine »

It's been awhile since the last update, and as for new content that I managed to add, it wasn't too much as I was also going back and improving the aesthetics on some levels (mainly ones in worlds 5 and 7), and even then I still have even more levels planned for renovation.

- Swapped out the background for this one in Bullets and Moles 2 (left) and added more features to both BG+FG in Chalk Quarry (right):

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- Added some more ground decoration for Cold Moon (left) and added more features to BG+FG in Arctic Plunge (right):

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- Also, redesigned the 2nd half of another world 5 level:

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- And have also revamped the background in the world 6 "castle" level Antu Temple (before that it was just one tile stretched across the entire screen, specifically the dark red ones the bottom of the screen):

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But as levels were being revamped, not many new ones were actually built, as there were still boss fights for worlds 4 and 6 that needed to be designed and implemented, and world 7 (plus every world beyond that) is still completely missing a boss fight. Even then, both the world 4 and 6 boss are not yet finalized for both looks and how the fights play out but both now have a clear concept defined for them: a wizard whose mind was taken over by mushrooms for world 4 and an Aztec-themed feathered serpent for world 6, but more notably, both boss fights are in a playable state.

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Other smaller additions made as of late also include secret tunnels hidden in some levels that unlock paths to go several worlds back (essentially opening up shortcuts that save a lot of walking if for some reason you want to go back and play some of the earlier levels), and also a few more bonus rooms scattered throughout a few levels, mainly just for increasing the lives count.

And lastly, more optimization work was done: now also removing unused graphics and music that's not planned to be used at any point, and removing parts of the background for levels where the camera will never scroll to be able to see it (for example, a lot of levels still have no vertical scrolling at all, so those are perfect candidates to just remove the top half of the background since the camera can never scroll up there). As of now I still have just over 64000 bytes (in hex) of freespace (though at one point this was well over 70000), easily leaving enough room to complete 7 worlds for my 1st major milestone, and maybe even enough to finish the entire 12 worlds that were planned, especially considering there's still probably a lot of junk that got hidden away in the now almost 4 year old romhack which can be removed.

also it's getting really late right now, so I'm off to bed
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Re: The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by SMCslevelengine »

just a quick update: an early open beta of the first 7 worlds for C2 might be out soon. There are still a few things I want to implement beforehand, that being:

- a title screen
- an intro message
- choosing custom music for the 2 levels that don't yet have it
- the second phase for warlock (the world 7 boss)
- adding some bits of story to certain levels
- a resprite for the world 2 boss
- adding a few patches here and there (such as to edit/remove the course clear messages when you beat a level, anti-double spinjump fail, etc.)

In the meantime, I finally got around to making the world 7 boss and completed phase 1 of the fight (which I have a screenshot of here), which consists of simply jumping on the boss enough times until you beat him with more and more projectiles being spawned into the arena the lower his health dips, and with him jumping every so often as well to counter your jumps:

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Hoping to be ready to host an open beta of Colossus 2 sometime in February at this rate.
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Re: The Colossus Killer (also known as Colossus 2)

Post by SMCslevelengine »

I'm gonna be honest; the reason it took about 5 months to come back with an update was that I was dreading trying to code the phase 2 of the world 7 boss (that being warlock). However, within the past week I was able to successfully put together my idea for the phase 2 boss, where he splits into two separate bodies after being "defeated" in phase 1. For now, there is still no cutscenes for any part of the boss fight, just the boss fight itself in a playable state.



While I'm also bringing up cutscenes, I have recently finalized a layout where (and method of how) cutscenes will be handled, and a sample of what these can eventually look like in game. It'll be a simple layout with an illustration (or character portraits) that goes inside the cyan border on top of the screen with text on the bottom. While on once of these screens press A to advance the text, and eventually, I'll add a button that just skips it entirely. While not necessarily something I'll do in Colossus 2, I'd love to try to adapt this idea to bind multiple options, or choices to the 4 directional pad buttons.

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This wasn't even all that happened; most of the to-do list from earlier has been finished, including having found some additional bugs and finally getting around to fixing them.

Hopefully next weekend also won't be too busy, because in that case I could get a release of the first 7 worlds in next weekend. I still do want to do one full example of a cutscene in the rest area (which you'd access by interacting with the bookshelf inside the house).
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