The 'Shroom:Issue 115/Palette Swap
Hello, everyone! Hopefully this issue isn't 2spoopy4u! (I'm so sorry)
As always, we are accepting new applications for sections! Please send any finished applications to Henry Tucayo Clay and any questions you may have to me, and we'll begin the application process! If you want to write a guest section for one issue, that's fine, too!
Now, onto our fabulous sections!
Section of the Month
Thanks so much for voting, everyone! Keep it up, it really means a lot to us!
What's on the Box?
Waddup, my dudes. That's the trendy thing to say, right? No? Never mind. Welcome to this month's issue of What's on the Box, where today we'll look at yet another box by Yoshistar. They make really good quality artworks like these, so check out some more of their work here! I believe that I've covered the Paper Mario series before, but I'd like to revisit it again, to check out a fan game for the Wii named Paper Mario 3. Interesting how they label that as the third PM game, despite the fact that there were four games at the time, which should make it Paper Mario 5. Now, I'm fully aware of the probable reason behind this desicion to call it the third entry, but I'll get to that.
Assuming that this game replaces Super Paper Mario as the Wii's obligatory Paper Mario entry, the first thing that I noticed is the inclusion of Dimentio as a villain at the bottom of the front cover. What makes this intriguing is that regarding his motives in his debut game, for him to presumably team up with Bowser- seen next to him below the title- would imply that Bowser is a little less focused on pinching the Princess.
The other characters in the box include Mario, Toad, a Goomba, a Boo, a Luma, Bowser Jr., a Chain Chomp partner, a Shy Guy partner... and Geno, a character only really seen in an old RPG released decades ago. You may be wondering, "TPG, Geno isn't a Paper Mario character; in fact, the Lumas shouldn't be there either! Let those characters frolic in their own franchise, and leave spots for the original cast we knew and loved!"
Well if you were thinking that exact thought, give me a medal and call me a physic. If you just wondered why the RPGs are merging characters, then prepare your wondering mind for this next stunning revelation- the Shroobs also make their paper debut. So what's up with that? Well, I believe that this particular game has a theme of Outer Space. The inclusion of Lumas, Star Spirits, alien Shroobs and the dimension hopping Dimentio all point towards this. I believe Geno also had ties with space too, but I can't be too sure.
The plot is also space themed; the Star Spirits have suffered an attack of vandalism on their Star Portal, and it's up to Mario to solve the mystery and rescue the Princess. He'll also meet a Shy Guy with a blue bandanna, no mouth and a cracked mask. From what I can gather from the screenshots, his story is that he must reach a mythical scroll before his enemy, Ninguy, vanguishes it. Judging by his "Move or die" line, he seems to be extremely devoted to this task. We don't get much on the Chain Chomp, but we do see it in a battle.
Speaking of which, it has returned to the formula seen in the original two games, with a stage, HP and the multi-use attacks. But this time, I can infer that there is a life system, indicated by a symbol of Mario's face in the corner of the battle screenshot.
Now enough talking about the game, let's talk about the looks. The game seems to ditch the line based sprites that have appeared in every other game in favor of a new style, with no outlines, smooth shading and a less flat feel to it. The box still keeps the paper aesthetic with a papercraft design, tear marks scattered around and a paper airplane in the foreground. It still has the visual charm of a papercraft game, I think. And I'd love to give this game a try out If it existed, because I know that a game with Shroobs, Geno and Dimentio is bound to be interesting. For a score, I'll give it a 8/10. While the design is great and the game looks amazing, I couldn't help but notice that a lot of the artworks are traced over existing sprites and official artworks.
I mentioned that I would explain why it was called Number 3 in the series, and I intend to deliver. Either the game would be released before Super Paper Mario and Sticker Star, or the artist refuses to regard those two as "proper" Paper Mario games. But you can come up with your own theory if you wish. I won't stop you, but I'll see you next month!
Ready for some thrills? It is spooky zombie fun month October. When going out trick-or-treating, remember this: this year's Halloween will be a new moon, so that means you can't really brew your witchery substances in a cauldron if it calls for a full moon, or any moon at all. That being said, ghosts and zombies will love moonless nights, as it is nights at their darkest, and therefore, spookiest! Bring a flashlight if you intend to not let zombies go after you!
Anyway, I'll be talking about a zombie game this month, my favorite (and only) zombie game, Left 4 Dead 2. Originally developed by Turtle Rock Studios, the first Left 4 Dead was the reason the Valve corporation is behind the second game, now with the IP owning to them. If you don't know what Left 4 Dead 2 is all about, basically, it's a co-op first person shooter with a heavy, heavy emphasis on the co-op, and your job is to survive a zombie apocalypse, with a bunch of so much zombies (called the Infected) attacking your team of four. You have to survive the waves and make it to safe rooms to continue on levels to eventually get rescued. Alongside the waves are groups of zombies called the Special Infected, where their job is to make your encounters harder, and they really put the emphasis on the co-op here. Take for example, the Hunter. If he pounces on a survivor, your survivor cannot move anywhere unless a teammate knocks him off or kills him. The Smoker sticks out his long tongue to lasso survivors at a distance which also keeps the survivor from performing any actions until the survivor is freed.
The beauty of all of that is of course in the modding potential of the game. Much has been written about what you can do, as the game, like Garry's Mod is built on the one and only Source engine. This time around, we use an application called Crowbar to decompile and compile mods for the game as well as using GCFScape to view the .vpk files the mods for Left 4 Dead 2 get compiled in. You can obtain add-ons from multiple sites, but the sites I use the most are the Steam Workshop and GameMaps, where they both house very interesting add-ons to spice things up from the way you usually enjoy your Left 4 Dead 2 experience.
There are lots of interesting mods to go over. But today, I'll focus on two of the many mods available, both which are created by me. Predictably, they're Baby Mario Bros.-related: it's Baby Mario over Francis and Baby Luigi over Nick.
A fairly new feature that this mod has, if you seen the beginning thumbnail noted at the beginning of this section, is the ability for characters to make facial expressions. Facial expressions use morphs in a .vta format to move vertices in a certain direction without the use of a bone, making facial animation more refined than having to keep track of multiple bones on a skeleton. The format used in the facial expression morphing is called the Facial Action Coding System where there are certain numbers and coding assigned to different facial features. If I want Baby Luigi's jaw to drop, name the polygon of the facial drop animation "AU26", exactly how it's coded in the original .vta file. Following the coding there to a T lets Baby Mario and Baby Luigi appear to articulate "damn" and "Boomer" properly, and it's a bit amusing to see them say words inappropriate for their age and their games they came from. Their neutral facial mouth expression however, is tough as nails to animate (it's a circle like in the manner of Kirby) so my facial animation utility is a bit limited. Also, it's a bit hard to see their faces as they're really short and require to have them stare at the ceiling at another player to see their faces. Little details, however, are always nice things to have so that's why I added it in anyway.
Some little problems to take note of include various animations where Baby Mario and Baby Luigi stick through the ground, if they get stunned by a particular Charger or if they get incapacitated. This is the result of the proportion size trick, and unless I am able to fix the z coordinates for the root bone for that particular animation, there's nothing much I can do. As for Baby Mario over Francis, he comes with problems in online play: he sticks through the floor and T-poses through it, creating a particularly nasty animation bug. This is mostly due to online play not recognizing the animations that is coded in the .qci file when I scaled it, but in local play, his animations work flawlessly, which is the sole reason I didn't catch it before releasing the mod. Speaking of online play, the animation mod does not resize hitboxes in online play but it does resize hitboxes in local play, so if you plan to use it online, be wary of not friendly-firing your friends who may use my mod! One more thing, voice replacement is a gargantuan task to undertake, as each character has well over 2,000 voice clips, and it's not practical nor helpful, as characters say useful things during play such as "Smoker here" or "ammo" or "Watch out!". It will also screw up with facial animation, as well. There's next to no benefit replacing voices, and not to mention that I really like hearing Nick and Francis's voices.
On the last note, here's a video of what my Baby Luigi mod looks like in action (warning there's a lot of Patrick Star Boomers in it, they're a bit noisy) as well as an older Baby Mario video of the mod in action.
If you have Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam, be sure to check out the workshop for mods. There might be plenty of nice stuff to oogle at! Aside from the Mario-themed mods, my recommended mods to get are Rayman's Mutation Mod which adds plenty of new mutations to play with, Admin System which gives you more commands than you could with the command window, and the L4D2 Modified Talker, which gives Survivors more and unused lines to say! Not to mention, new maps to tinker around in such as those found in GameMaps.
That's all I have to say for this month, happy Halloween, be safe while Trick-or-Treating in the moonless night, and deliver plenty of scares.
Ongoing Fan Projects
A little over eight years ago, I decided to get into game designing. I spent my free time between school drawing out several games around many of Nintendo's franchises, including Mario, Zelda, Fire Emblem, and Pokemon. Around two years later, I realized I was never going to get far with Nintendo's name, so I decided to make my own.
Enter Power Master 1: A Strange Journey. The game spent about six years in development, first being developed using GameMaker, then Unity, and then finally RPG Maker VX Ace. The game was finally released on March 18th, 2016.
You pick a character to start off with (between two boys and two girls), then you enter the game. One prologue later, and you have the option of going wherever you want. Between the 26(!) areas in the game, you can go to 23 in any order you want. Your objective: Recover the magical Gems before the final boss, Exitilus, does. Each area has a Gem to recover, usually by defeating the boss at the end of the level.
It's a pretty simple RPG, using the main core aspects given by the RPG Maker engine. But it's my first game and I like how it turned out, though I admit, it needs some improvement (which is why I'm remaking it for the new RPG Maker MV engine :D ). I have received mostly positive reviews and comments for the game and got a ton of support for it. At the time of this writing (9/19/16), it has been downloaded over 130 times! Life goal pretty much achieved!
I am currently working on the aforementioned remaster as well as the sequel to the game, both on the MV engine. If you want to try the game out for yourself, you can click here! And tell me what you think if you want, any criticism or complements are helpful! If you want to see how you can help with the next games, you can check out my forum boards for more info on voice acting, music, and ideas needed. (It says the period ended, but it has been extended)
HI, everyone! I'm your discreet Statistics Manager, Tucayo, here with another installment of Take Cover!. If you have any covers to suggest, just drop a line on my talk page! Now, let's get right into the music.
Ever since I started the section I have been in a dilemma: is it a cover if it's the original artist singing a DJ's remix of their song? After much deliberation I decided it probably is not, so I won't properly feature this song and I will instead just link it to you as a bonus song. Here's A-ha performing Kygo's version of their classic, Take On Me. Enjoy.