ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

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ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Zha Hong Lang » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:00 am

I thought it'd be neat to give a detailed account of the fangame Super Mario Bros. X, so that others can understand where it came from and understand some of the lesser-known details about the community's history with the game specifically.

Note that most of this comes from my personal experience, so details may be off and I might be speaking a little much from my own perspective. However, some of it is just because it's been such a long time; the first part draws history from as distant as 8 years ago. I tried to be as objective and factual as I could, using wayback machine where details were fuzzy, though some context to the game is inherently subjective and wayback machine doesn't have everything.

Part 1: The First Forum
Spoiler: show
Our story starts in 2009. Mario flash games were all the rage, and many sites tried their hardest to provide as many flash games as they could. One of such sites was supermariobrothers.org, a site that not only provided mario flash games, but also various other media such as music, videos, wallpapers, and even downloads to a few popular mario fangames at the time, such as Mario Forever and Super Mario War.

In July, this humble state of the site changed with the introduction of its own fangame, Super Mario Bros. X. Where flash games inhabited the top of the front page before, now Super Mario Bros. X stood proudly in their place. In addition, a new forum was created simultaneous to the fangame's release, where notable users joined such as Quill (creator of Apocalypse of Foroze, judge of MaGLX2) and Zephyr (creator of The Great Castle Adventure, SMB: A New Beginning, Mario Classic, and head director of Return to Yoshi's Island). I myself also joined this forum around September 2009.

The game was first released with very few features in comparison to what we have today. There were no lua capabilities, there were no NPC TXT customizations, there was no slopes, water, quicksand, or ice, there were no custom graphics, and the array of NPCs was vastly limited. Mario and Luigi were the only playable characters, and Luigi played exactly the same as Mario. The Fire flower and Tanooki leaf were the only powerups in the game. Spinjump didn't even exist yet. Cheats didn't exist yet. You can see what designing under these restrictions was like if you play The Invasion, SMBX's first official episode.

Nevertheless, as the forum grew and suggestions were made, so the game grew. Version 1.1 featured the alternative types of yoshis from Super Mario World, as well as the pink, purple and black yoshis. Cheats were also added around this time. Spinjump was added in 1.1.2.

During the development of 1.1.3 (which would later stall into the release of 1.2), Kyasarin and Luminous joined the forum. Unlike most members of the forum, who were childish and immature, these two were civilized, but easily agitated teenagers. They quickly created tension on the forums with their blunt attitudes, and began a period of distress in what was previously a peaceful environment. Redigit, the administrator of the website and sole developer of Super Mario Bros. X, was unsure of how to moderate the forums properly, and out of sheer necessity for mature staff he promoted Kyasarin and Luminous to moderator position, and later they became administrators.

As staff of the forums, Kyasarin and Luminous ruled with an iron fist. Users were held up to strict expectations, and falling out of line meant instant warnings, and bans for repeated offenses. At one point, users could be permabanned with as little as three warnings beforehand, and there were considerations on bringing it down to two.

A beta for version 1.2 was released in December, featuring elements such as custom graphics and slopes. (shortly thereafter, Redigit realized his forum was not COPPA-compliant, and thus a good half of the userbase was banned) Two more betas quickly followed, the latter of which introduced the metroid content in the game, as well as sliding functionality on slopes. Beta 4 was released in April 2010, featuring moving layers and water. Version 1.2 was released, featuring new NPCs, a weak form of multiplayer in the editor, and an updated version of The Invasion designed around all the new features. Versions following the 1.2 release introduced the playable characters Peach, Toad, and Link.

Eventually, the harshness of the administration heavily backfired on the well-being of the community, and around the end of July Redigit decided to retire the forums. The progress of Super Mario Bros. X halted at version 1.2.2; for a few months, nothing was heard from SMBX development. Members gathered on other forums made by former users of supermariobrothers.org, and the beta was leaked for the upcoming version of SMBX, which could read NPC txt files. However, this beta had been given to beta testers who were on the official forum previously, and was not a sign of new development.


An Aside to Part 1, about Kyasarin and Luminous:
Spoiler: show
Fun fact: The excessive (and often meaningless) use of the word "clash" used in the SMBX community nowadays stems from a misinterpretation of Kyasarin and Luminous' strictness on aesthetic design.

Despite the negative image I've painted of Kyasarin and Luminous, I want to make it clear that they're not bad people. They had acted harshly as users on the forum and later as staff, but they both realize their mistakes from back then and are perfectly fine nowadays.



Part 3: The attempted Revivals of SMBX
Spoiler: show
After Redigit abandoned Super Mario Bros. X in April 2011, there have been many attempts to revive the development of the game. A few were successful, but many were... not.

The earliest attempts involved decompiling the game in hopes of receiving source code that could be recompiled afterward. here is one of such attempts. It is a single file containing more than 94,000 lines of code, which was decompiled sometime before September 2011. Some people were less clever, and only managed to get binary or hexadecimal outputs that they couldn't understand in the slightest. Bear in mind that each and every person observing the code at this time were amateurs, and none had the experience with debugging to even remotely achieve the results they desired.

Where some people tried to hack the game, others tried to build the game from the ground up. There were numerous attempts to do this, so I'll try to list each, and use their logo if applicable.




Super Mario Limitless

One of the earliest attempts was Super Mario Limitless, a mario engine made in C#/XNA developed primarily by The Secret Exit, and in part by Joeyfireflower (now known as Shadow Yoshi on the SMBX forums). Though Limitless made progress in establishing a base engine, development was very slow and the project generally received poor reception with each update. The last I remember hearing of it was in April 2012, though the project is technically still alive, as can be seen in this github project. Despite being in development for more than 6 years, it has not progressed much beyond the base engine.



New Super Mario Bros. X

Image

New Super Mario Bros. X was an engine made in C++ by YoshisIsland (now known as GreenNekoHaunt, though he's inactive as far as I can tell). The engine began development shortly after the death of SMBX, in late spring or early summer 2011. As with Super Mario Limitless, development was very slow and updates were too infrequent to gather much attention. There were no other programmers coding for NSMBX besides YoshisIsland, and the game was eventually cancelled in late 2012 / early 2013 when a critical bug could not be fixed.



New Super Mario Bros. X / Super Mario Bros. Remastered

Image Image


Not to be confused with the previous project, a user named Mr Game and Watch 14 made his own project called New Super Mario Bros. X, in the Summer of 2011. Rather than an actual engine, it was a tech demo made in Construct Classic with the main feature of importance being rotating blocks. The project quickly gained popularity because of its flashy features, and two developers joined the team, supermarioman and Rexx (who changed his name to XerX during development). Supermarioman soon became the leader of the team, and he started nsmbx.prophpbb.com for the sake of the project's development. Testers were hired, most of whom were former testers for SMBX, such as qig and Namyrr.

Since YoshisIsland had started his own project before Mr Game and Watch 14 did, NSMBX was eventually renamed to Super Mario Bros. Remastered. However, while everything else about the project was renamed, the URL of the forum couldn't be changed.

Super Mario Bros. Remastered's development was unfocused for a while. There was a split between whether to improve the tech demo, to use visual basic and borrow from the SMBX "source code", or to start over with a different, more powerful framework. During this time, XerX created a template in Visual Basic resembling the old SMBX editor, with some additional buttons for planned features. Supermarioman encouraged him to post screenshots of it publically on the forums, and XerX did, which tricked the fanbase into thinking that they had already taken off from where SMBX left off and were developing new features from the program. This was certainly not what they intended to communicate, but lack of proper presentation allowed this to happen.

Still unfocused as for what to do, XerX started building off of the old tech demo made in Construct Classic, and made a public update showcasing snow. When it was revealed that it took him three weeks just to add snow particles, the forum began questioning the competence of the development team. One of their testers, qig, leaked the current build they had received, which did not have any noticeable improvements in gameplay beyond the tech demo. While the fans bickered amongst themselves about the true state of Remastered, one of the primary suggestions given to supermarioman and XerX was to quit their secrecy and make the project open source. After hesitating for a few weeks, the source code for the Visual Basic template and the files for the construct classic build were released. The forum was later repurposed to talking about SMBX in general, and no progress has been made on Super Mario Bros. Remastered since.



Visual Super Mario Bros. X


Visual Super Mario Bros. X was an open source engine created in VB.Net by GhostHawk. Like Super Mario Bros Remastered, the project aimed to replicate SMBX's editor and features, but did so only by borrowing the editor layout and graphic resources; no attempt was made to use assembly from SMBX. The project had a functional editor, and was in the process of adding gameplay elements when an update to VB.Net required heavily re-writing its code. GhostHawk ceased development after this event, and no progress on VSMBX has been made by anyone else since.


To do:

- add missing information to part 1
- create part 2: Trekweb's Forum, and the Fall of SMBX
- create part 4: The Revivals Which Actually Succeeded
- create part 5: Development up to Present Time
Last edited by Zha Hong Lang on Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby xDestroy » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:14 am

Why is this on the art fourm?
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby MarioRPGExpert93 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:21 am

xDestroy wrote:Why is this on the art fourm?

I'm not sure why... But I believed that writing is allowed in the art forums.
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Zha Hong Lang » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:00 am

This writing can be considered artwork despite not being closely tied to art itself, though really I just want to avoid attention while it's still unfinished.
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Snessy the duck » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:45 am

Wasn't Knux planning to make a comprehensive history of SMBX and the forums at one point? This could definetly be useful for that.
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Cedur » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:11 am

I priorly saw a post from Pseudo with a long summary of 2009-2013, but this obviously contains further info and impressions.

I think this could be fit in Sandbox, while it's telling history mainly from the OP's perspective, I still wouldn't consider it a "personal" thread.
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<Ethereality> Why Ethereality is banned? I noticed last post is better grammar. I don’t think because is important. Most informative posts. I’ll ask Shadow Yoshi to unban at never and work a new project. Don’t spam in SMBX.org, is respectful!

<StickGuyGamez> BRING ME BACK TO PENIS

<Noodle> Danny is a crapposter. (I was in school when I typed this)

<thehelmetguy1> you know you failed the smbx community ... when you have a username

<Sanct> SYKE I'M THE SHERIFF VOTE ZELDAMASTER

<Zeldamaster12> I need that fucking consort dead already

<MarioRPGExpert93> Holy shit guys, can we just discuss ONLY speed running SMBX levels and short episodes? GOSH

<ZipZap> it's for the memes and the irony you dip

<Noodle> https://www.supermariobrosx.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=19400#p291557

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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Knux » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:44 am

While this is certainly a good start, 8 paragraphs do not cover enough detail and just gives a little basic runthrough.

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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Zha Hong Lang » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:00 pm

Knux wrote:While this is certainly a good start, 8 paragraphs do not cover enough detail and just gives a little basic runthrough.

My intention with this series is to focus as much on the fangame as possible, and not get wrapped up in the lore of the community. That said, I know that there's bits of information missing here and there, and I'd like to get that fixed eventually.

You can suggest whatever you'd like, I'll try to add it into the first part. I'll need much more help with the second part, though, since it's the one place I have zero personal experience with.
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Zha Hong Lang » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:22 am

I can't really bring together anything worthwhile for part 2 without relying on vague accounts, so I'm going to work on part 3 today instead.
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Zha Hong Lang » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:44 pm

Finished part 3. If anyone familiar with the trekweb time period would like to help me write part 2, please let me know.
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Mable » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:10 pm

I agree about kyasarin and luminous not being bad after all. Everyone of us is not perfect and did something bad in their past which they regret.
I just think people were thinking bad about them cause all they heard was that they banned a lot of people and had been really strict.
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Ace » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:35 pm

I remember making the logo for remastered lol

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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby XerX » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:34 pm

Not my finest moment in history.

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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby xDestroy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:21 am

OMG I REMEMBER NSMBX THE NOSTALGIA IS COMING BACK!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0rQf4V2Jqc
i remember watching this in 2012
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Knux » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:01 pm

xDestroy wrote:OMG I REMEMBER NSMBX THE NOSTALGIA IS COMING BACK!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0rQf4V2Jqc
i remember watching this in 2012


everything about NSMBX and its forum was an utter embarrassment and quite frankly would be better off forgotten about

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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby Zha Hong Lang » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:31 pm

I know you never liked it, Knux, but for many people (myself included) post-SMB:R NSMBX forums were very enjoyable. Kyo aside, the staff were all wonderful people, and the forum was generally a nice place to be. There were mistakes made by lots of people, but overall I really enjoyed being there and wouldn't mind being part of a forum like it again.
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Re: ZHL's history of Super Mario Bros. X

Postby XerX » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:20 am

Knux wrote:
xDestroy wrote:OMG I REMEMBER NSMBX THE NOSTALGIA IS COMING BACK!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0rQf4V2Jqc
i remember watching this in 2012


everything about NSMBX and its forum was an utter embarrassment and quite frankly would be better off forgotten about


Yeah, you're right. I think the most embarrassing part was me thinking I could make a level editor and/or game with visual studio, lying to the community about it, and then just sweeping it under the rug like it was no big deal. Sure the community afterword was chill, but it kinda defeated the purpose the forum existing after the truth came out.

I was not a smart child.


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