Mega Maker lets players design and develop their own Mega Man stages, drawing from many classic enemies, stages, powers, and songs to allow players the creative freedom to create some challenging stages for Blue Bomber fans to try out.
Siliconera spoke with WreckingPrograms, the person who developer Mega Maker (available free on the game’s site), to learn more about what elements they felt went into letting players get creative, what thoughts go into making a good Mega Man level, and some of their favorite stages that have been made using the game.
What sparked the idea for Mega Maker? Why let players create stages for the Blue Bomber?
WreckingPrograms, developer of Mega Maker – The idea was inspired by both Super Mario Maker and Mega Man: Powered Up; the former revolutionized level creators by providing an easy-to-use, yet flexible and powerful tool to create your own stages, and the latter showed that creating your own Mega Man levels was certainly possible, but rather unexplored. With Mega Maker, I aimed to take Powered Up’s base concept and apply Super Mario Maker’s intuitive design and features to it.
Another reason I started work on Mega Maker is that level creator games require a lot of programming (my favorite part of game development) and allow you to re-use official assets, which means you don’t have to worry about custom graphics and music as much as you would if you created a different type of game.
What different things do you need to consider when creating a tool for players to create their own stages?
Of course, the most important requirement is that it’s easy to use. A level creator isn’t very useful if it’s too difficult or complex to be realistically used. Additionally, the tool needs to be flexible enough to allow a big variety of level designs; while I couldn’t account for every single scenario, I tried to make the objects interact intuitively to accomplish this.
Another thing to consider is that the gameplay itself needs to be accurate to the original games. This makes the game a lot easier to get into and makes sure that level design that worked in the original games works here. Mega Maker uses the Mega Engine, a Mega Man engine for Game Maker that I created last year. During its development, I spent a lot of time fine-tuning the physics and controls to make it play like the original games, and according to feedback I got that seems to have paid off.
What elements were important for you to have in the game? What favorite places/enemies/etc just had to be in it for you?
I wanted to have a varied selection of enemies and objects to allow for unique level layouts. For example, there are enemies that shoot at you from a distance (like cannons), ones that chase you around (like Tellies) and ones that require precise timing to hit (like Sniper Joes). The same idea applies to level objects, weapons and more.
For weapons specifically, we also wanted to allow weapons that were outshined in the original games to become useful in their own right. Because of this, we decided to buff several weapons; Plant Barrier heals you if it hits an enemy projectile, Charge Kick allows you to slide in the air, you can bounce on enemies’ heads with Top Spin… the list goes on.
How has the response been?
Feedback has been mostly positive, with several people stating the level builder is easy to use and the gameplay being accurate to the original games. Of course, we still got feedback on things to improve. Most notably, because of the nature of a level creator, people stated they’d like to see more objects added. We’re working on adding new content through updates, so you can definitely look forward to that. Either way, the game became a lot more popular than we anticipated, but we’re glad people are enjoying it.
What elements do you feel make for a really good Mega Man stage? Do you have any suggestions for players looking to make their own stages?
Introduce new enemies or gimmicks in a safe environment before challenging the player with them. I’ve seen several levels throw these elements at you from the get-go and expect the player to know their way around them immediately, resulting in unfair deaths. Also, good enemy placement is very important; make sure it’s possible to deal with the enemy without taking damage, and if possible, provide multiple ways of killing them. For example, you can take out a Sniper Joe with your regular buster, but if you have a weapon that penetrates shields you have a faster way of dealing with them.
But most importantly, make sure the level is fun to play. If it’s a chore to go through, change your level to fix it. Having other people playtest your level can be useful here as well.
Do you have some personal favorites from among the stages players have made so far?
My favorite levels are the example levels that came with the game, most notably Chamber of Trials. I definitely recommend checking these out if you’re curious what Mega Maker can do, or if you simply want to play some fun levels.
Additionally, here are a few of my favorite online levels:
· Does not castle by Mors (ID: 72)
· Vinny Vinesauce gets stuck in a maze by DAge XVIII (ID: 49641)
· City of Lasers by SnoruntPyro (ID: 9253)
· Nitroglycerin Tower by SnoruntPyro (ID: 21094)
· It’s a meme you dip by PKWeegee (ID: 5)
Impressively, someone also recreated the entire Super Mario Bros. warp zone route, and it’s a pretty fun level. It’s called Super Mario Bros – Full warp route by Rocketnia (ID: 49181). It’s a pretty interesting level and I highly recommend at least giving it a try.
What difficulties have you faced in letting players share levels with each other? What work into creating that feature, and why was it important to you?
Setting up the system was quite difficult, as I had no prior experience with in-game online. Luckily Alex (our server programmer) was willing to create a server API for the game, saving me a lot of trouble, but getting Game Maker and this API to communicate was quite a task. A lot of trial-and-error was involved, but we got everything working in the end.
The reason in-game online is so important is that it’s just convenient. Imagine having to go through a two-minute process just to play a stage someone else has made. It may not seem like a lot, but considering most stages are only a few minutes long, a lot of your time would go into downloading these stages. Additionally, there would be no way to easily find levels or rate them, so it would be a lot more difficult and less convenient.
What new features can Mega Maker’s fans look forward to in the future?
We won’t reveal all of our plans, but more editor content, an improved builder interface and new online features are some of the things to look forward to.