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Voyage - A Sorceress' Vacation (AKiMW Total Conversion, formerly know as Ma Kai Quest)Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:20 am
Last edited by badsector on Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:13 am; edited 2 times in total
After almost 4 years we think we are done with what started out as "Ma Kai Quest". 17 levels, a bunch of different level styles, more than a dozen music tracks and even more sound effects, many new features and a few surprises is what we put into this hack.
Since we are also planning for a cartridge release we might update the game for that again with bug fixes or even some kind of director's cut.
We tested the game countless times ourselves or got help from Gordman and other testers to polish it as much as we could. Please comment to this thread if you find something you think shouldn't be in the game.
Have a lot of fun!
level design and additional assets: badsector
pixel art: thelowestdefinition
music and sfx: Mandulin
KiddEd, custom hacks and support: Calindro
RHDN Release Page: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4873/
||Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:57 am|
|Congratulations ! Screenshots are amazing.|
||Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:51 pm|
|How did you pull off the clouds moving in the background?|
||Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:18 am|
|They are sprites moving behind tiles put into "foreground mode". Same for the stars and the moon in the forest levels. You just have to carefully design the levels around this, because this restricts what you can put on some parts of the screen.|
||Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:00 am|
|It looks amazing!|
||Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:40 am|
|Yeah, you did it! ^.^ It was a pleasure to test Voyage from time to time. It plays well and gives you loads of fun hours. Congrats guys =)|
||Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:37 am|
|Congratulations! Great work :)|
||Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:31 pm|
|Great inspiring work dudes. I have to play this this christmas!!#|
||Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:13 pm|
|Thank you for the lovely comments! :) Have a great Christmas!|
||Posted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:31 am|
|Looks incredible. Have to try it later today|
||Posted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:34 pm|
Beautiful palette work, clever use of the AKMW engine, charming music, a feel of its own with nice restrained level design - well done.
I'll be looking forward to trying to finish this for sure.
||Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:45 am|
It looks and sounds fantastic. I really dig your unique style.
I enjoyed the earlier demo version very much, so I’m looking forward to playing this over the upcoming holidays.
||Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:13 am|
|Thanks for all your kind words :3 Did anybody manage to finish the game during the holidays? Just curious who might be the first here ^^|
||Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:07 am|
|I finished the game first try (without the real end of course), didn't try since that.|
||Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:42 am|
This is fantastic. I'm really digging the art style. I made a code for infinite lives because I kept dying like a noob. It uses Game Genie Guy.
Also random, but this plays great on the DS using the S8DS emulator. It looks awesome because the SMS and DS resolution match.
||Posted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:50 pm|
So I saw this game on romhacking.net and had to give it a go. I played through it and would like to give some feedback (and a little bug report) which I hope the developers will see if I post it here.
I enjoyed the game a lot! Before I go a bit more into detail, let me preface that I'm hardly familiar with the Master System and that I haven't even played Alex Kidd. So I can't compare the two games and don't know how much was changed and is new.
The graphics are beautiful! Great art style and colours!
I'm also fond of the sorceress as a protagonist! Nice character design and animations! A neat detail is that if you turn left it's not just the sprite mirrored but a distinct graphic, the sorceress always keeps her staff in the left hand.
The controls are very responsive, and the physics impressive. The levels are clearly very thoughtfully designed, with varied challenges and scenery. The game is not easy and if often requires careful planning, but with a few exceptions the difficulty is not too exaggerated. Powerups are a bit scarce though, especially since you lose the ability to shoot after dying (and some parts such as the boss battles are very tough without projectiles).
The songs are generally very short, too short for my liking. I don't know if this is due to hardware or engine limitations. The more upbeat songs like the one in the first levels are not my cup of tea. Some other tunes I quite liked, my favorite song is the one in the rainy level. The music in the forest levels is also lovely and fits the level very well!
The forest levels are my favorite (followed by the snow level). Beautiful atmosphere! As I mentioned the music works very well here and the night sky with the scintillating stars is a very pretty sight. I also love the snow level's atmosphere.
There are two bugs which I encountered in the game. I played the game on a GBA using the SMSAdvance emulator (which worked very nicely). I cannot rule out that the bugs are emulator issues but I would rather suspect that's not the case.
A minor bug occurs with the sound effects of the green potion. The sound ends when you attack while floating. On the other hand the sound stays even after the potion's effect has expired until you jump, attack or move to a different screen.
The other bug is a bit more serious. It can happen in levels with ladders (so the cave level with the boss and the factory level). There are several ladders which you can climb up to reach a new screen. But in some cases you can also reach the top of the screen by jumping which causes glitches. I had two different things happen. The first one happens in the cave level. Here's how to get the glitch: leave the first screen to the right, then to the top (you should now be on a screen with a bat, a rat and one of these green one-eyed things). If you go to the ladder that leads up and jump to the top of the screen, you change screens and then immediately die. Afterwards you keep dying repeatedly until all lives are depleted. The other thing that can happen can be seen in the very first screen of the same level. Float to the platform with the ladder and again jump to the top of the screen. You will get teleported all over the place, and the game glitches out. This doesn't seem to happen every time for some reason but with a few tries you should be able to trigger it.
And lastly, while it's not a bug, here's another minor complaint. In some locations (for example the snow level) the projectiles are barely visible as the colour is almost the same as that of the background. It's a nice colour though.
Thanks to the developers for making this amazing game!
||Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 4:13 pm|
Hello Iszy! Yes you are in the right place since this forum is the home of this game/hack. We really appreciate that you just signed up here to leave us a message and we all loved reading some extended feedback and review, especially since we didn't get very much of this as of now. Your input will be used for our next projects for sure!
Regarding you never having played Alex Kidd and you don't know what exactly is new in this hack: We really tried to change everything we could but the player physics (even though we tried to make them 'more tight'), enemy behavior, shop system and items and how the text boxes are drawn still will remind you of Alex Kidd a lot when you compare both games. The moving clouds, stars/moon background, (dis-)appearing platforms, mushroom springs and a lot of small other things as well as all graphics, font, sounds, music, levels are completely new though.
If you liked the game and start to find the Master System interesting you should try out the following platformers:
- Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
- Astérix (the first one without any subtitle)
- Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
I bet you will really like them!
Yes, your are right! I think this bug was already in the original game, but we are looking into it and might put a fix into the upcoming updated release.
A really bad oversight, thanks a lot for finding this! Ladders consist of two parts and the upmost part shouldn't be the first object on the bottom of the screen when you are able to jump into the screen from the room below. The engine seems to handle this part of the ladder like a solid object and you when you are inside it, you just die over and over because you spawn again and again inside of the then solid upper part of the ladder. After seeing this I checked all the ladders in the game again and found another room in the factory level where this could happen. We fixed the level design in both rooms and you shouldn't be able to die there now.
After trying like 50 times I still couldn't trigger it. I tried just like you said, reaching the platform on the upper right in the first room in level 9 (the third cave level, the one with ladders) and then jump up into the room above but nothing happened. We even fixed a bug in the engine regarding this because there is a problem with the engine when jumping into rooms above after jumping off a ladder before (if I remember correctly). Maybe your glitch is a specific problem with the emulator you use. If we can reproduce it we will try to fix this and release another update.
Depending on the screen and settings it really might be hard to see the blue projectile against mostly blue backgrounds so we just added some white to the projectile graphics which should it make easier to spot in every level.
All you findings are very important to have a better version for the physical release that we have planned for later this year. Everything found and fixed so far will already be released as version 1.02 in a few days.
Thanks again for reaching out and giving such detailed reports, feedback and also thanks for playing <3
Oh, one last thing: could you please add the review part of your post as a review to romhacking release page, please? There is already a detailed one there and if we have them all in one place that would be great :3
||Posted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:23 pm|
I'm glad if my comments can be of use!
First of all, thank you for the information about the differences in comparison to the original game. I have to say I'm impressed with the controls and physics considering the game was released in 1986!
Also thank you for the recommendations! I will definitely check them out. There are probably many great games in the Master System and Game Gear libraries which I have been missing out on. I certainly need to explore them at some point.
And I'm happy to hear that there might be future projects. I'd certainly be down for another adventure of the sorceress (or whatever you have planned)!
Ok, I've wanted to make sure that this is not an emulator issue, so I rushed through the game on my PC in Genesis Plus GX. With enough savestate abuse it didn't take too long to reach the cave level. The bug also happens in this emulator, and I've now figured out how to trigger it. What you need to do is first climb up the ladder (just a bit is enough, you don't need to go to the next screen), then climb down again, then jump to the upper screen. Then strange things happen.
While trying this out I also found another ladder-related bug. Maybe they're variants of the same bug, I don't know. I tried this at the same ladder but this one might actually work at every ladder in the game (I haven't tried it yet) since it doesn't require jumping to another screen. At the moment I'm not sure how to trigger it exactly. But sometimes after you start climbing the ladder, get back on the ground and then jump, the sorceress gets pushed into the floor and is killed immediately. Afterwards respawning doesn't seem to work and the game continues without a protagonist. I'll try and see if I can figure out how exactly to trigger it. At the moment I could at least take a screenshot of it which I will attach (you can see part of the death animation at the bottom of the ladder in it).
After playing the game on my computer I can now confirm that the projectiles are MUCH better visible there compared to the GBA screen.
I don't have an account on romhacking.net actually, but it won't be a problem to create one, of course, to post a review there. I'll do it later, I might have to redact the text a little bit.
||Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:49 pm|
So it turns out I had an account on romhacking.net after all, only never did anything with it. Anyway, I revised the review a bit and submitted it. Hopefully it will be up soon.
Besides, I figured out how to trigger the glitch that I mentioned in the previous post. It seems to work on every ladder onto which you can jump in the right way. What you need to do is first stand in front of the ladder, then jump and press up while in the air so you start climbing. However it is important that the jump is high enough, it won't work with very small jumps for some reason. Then climb back to the ground again. Now if you jump the sorceress gets pushed into the floor and dies. If you climb up a ladder or walk (not jump) off a platform you can jump normally again.
I experimented a bit with this. I wondered what would happen if you would first do everything to prepare the glitch so that the next jump would usually push you down and kill you but then jump off a platform. It is possible to do this, and usually it results in the sorceress dying on impact. However, in the second room of the cave level I managed to do this without dying which resulted in the sorceress being stuck in the floor (see the attached screenshot). I don't know why you can survive this jump but I think you need to land at exactly the right location. You can't move once your inside the floor, you can only duck which will cause the sorceress to stay in ducking position forever.
I wrote in my previous post when you die inside the floor that this bug prevents respawning from working but that isn't true actually. It was only the case because I did it in the first room of the level in which you shouldn't be able to die so I guess no position for respawning is set initially. Respawning works if you leave and reenter the screen.
||Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:11 pm|
Hello Iszy, thanks a lot for posting the review on romhacking.org and thanks again for your detailed bug reports. I think we fixed everything now and found some other issues in the process that we also fixed.
The updates are uploaded to smspower, romhacking and archive.org but it might take a few hours to be live on the latter two.
- minor text changes
- fixed grass in cave levels and rain level "growing out of nowhere"
- made some of the snow level jumps a little easier
- removed remaining black pixels in cave level floor graphics
- minor level layout changes in some of the levels
- fixed bugs with sound of green potion
- fixed a nasty freeze in falling spikes room of level 09
- fixed various engine bugs involving ladders that could lead to softlocks
- added white color to projectiles to make it more visible on blue backgrounds
- fixed a bug where music from level 03 might start playing after respawning in level 0E
||Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:40 pm|
Brilliant, the bugs all appear to be fixed now!
I did play some more, this time with the intention to break the game.
There are quite a lot of bugs I discovered. As far as I can tell, most of them are bugs from the Alex Kidd in Miracle World engine (although some can have more severe consequences in Voyage than in the original game). I haven't tested everything in AKiMW though admittedly. Maybe I should have done some research first, I now realize that quite a bit of what I have "discovered" is already known. I will write everything down anyway. I think many bugs don't even need fixing but they might be of interest nevertheless.
All testing was done using the Genesis Plus GX emulator.
I'll start with a rather obvious bug that seems to be newly introduced in version 1.02. If you use a yellow potion you don't actually use it up! Well, it disappears from the menu at first, but when you reenter the menu it's back!
There are still two things I found with the ladders. Firstly, when you climb up a ladder, you can't jump as soon as you reach the top, you first need to move left, right or down a bit. This can actually be annoying in places where enemies are on top of ladders.
The other issue is very trivial. If there is a ladder leading up to a new screen and you jump to the new screen and press up at the correct time (shortly before the screen transition I think) the sorceress stays in the jumping animation. However only until you move, so it's hardly noticeable and not harmful anyway.
In the snow level when you run and then duck you slide only as far as you would on a normal non-slippery surface.
If you pause the game at exactly the point a text is supposed to appear, you can skip it. I found out in the meantime that this is apparently a known bug which is used in AKiMW speedruns. In the original game as far as I can tell the bug is not gamebreaking, but in Voyage it potentially could be (although it's very unlikely). If you pause the game at the exact time you are reaching the exit of a level, the sorceress won't leave and will become stuck in the level since the exit becomes inactive.
It's unlikely that this will happen to anyone by accident.
Another variant is pausing the game the exact moment you die. One of two things can happen, either way the game is over. Either the screen turns black and will stay that way, or you enter the pause menu and cannot leave it any longer.
Here is another one that I enjoyed a lot (which works in AKiMW as well): stand in front of a shop entrance and press up to enter. Then repeatedly quickly pause and unpause the game (sometimes you can leave the game unpaused for a bit longer to let the sorceress take a few more steps, sometimes not... I'm not sure how exactly it works). The sorceress will keep walking left, regardless of obstacles and in defiance of gravity!
She will only stop at the left side of the screen (except in the factory level, I will get to this later). After you keep the game unpaused for a while the sorceress will go to the shop you were entering in the first place. After leaving it she will return to the position she was in when entering, so if she was inside a solid object or wall she will die after exiting the shop.
As I wrote, in the factory level the bug behaves a bit differently. The sorceress will NOT stop at the left border of the screen but instead walk through the wall and teleport all over the place (in the same manner as with the now fixed ladder glitch that I described in an earlier post).
There is really no way anyone will trigger this by accident though, so you might as well leave it in for people to enjoy :-D
Also, if the shop door is close to the left border of the screen (even when still fully visible) you cannot enter the shop.
Similarly, some objects no longer work when they are partially (I think more than half) offscreen, for example coins cannot be collected this way and switches no longer work.
In the last cave level it is possible to die and still finish the level if you keep a rat alive and run into the rat and exit at the same time (you don't lose a life sadly, otherwise maybe this could be used for an underflow? :-D).
In the level before the factory, there is a little graphics error here.
It seems to happen only in this exact spot which makes me wonder what's going on.
Also, in any level (I think) you cannot attack if you are very close to the top of the screen. This is however not an issue since there never are enemies up there anyway.
If you hit one of those blocks that stun you and then drink a green potion you can move but scrolling is disabled. So you can get to the right edge of the screen.
It's easy to fix though, just move a bit to the left and everything will be back to normal. Instead of floating to the right you can however also leave the screen on the left side. This will turn the sorceress invisible.
The sound issue with the green potion is now fixed! But I found way to mess it up a bit :-D In the forest levels, use the green potion and then float on a bouncing mushroom. This will cancel the potion but the sound effect and the sprite flickering still remain for a while.
When you float after drinking a green potion you cannot move left or right when too close to a ceiling, and cannot float up or down when too close to a left-facing wall. But you can still move up and down next to a right-facing wall interestingly.
Also, another thing about the mushrooms. You are probably aware of this, but you can stand at the very edge without bouncing. It's a bit unexpected but it's certainly not a problem.
If you time the jump right it's also possible to get stuck in a disappering block instead of dying.
It's also not an issue since you're free as soon as it disappears obviously.
That's about it I think!
There are a few more things that I would like to mention though. First, I find a bit annoying that the music resets when you pause the game.
And there are two parts where I have small suggestions regarding the level design.
The first one is in the waterfall level.
There are three crates close to each other (two are already broken in the picture) one of which contains a blue potion. However apparently the engine only allows two objects from crates to be on the screen at the same time. So if you break all three crates before collecting any of the items one of them will disappear. Losing a coin isn't a big deal but it hurts when a potion just disappears. Maybe rearrange the crates a bit?
Lastly, the first room of the factory has two exits. One is only reachable by drinking a green potion, and the player might be tempted to do so since in the last cave level there was a similar situation where using the green potion led to rewards. Only in this case it turns out to be a one-way path on the next screen. Maybe make it a one-way path on BOTH screens so players don't waste their potion there? Unless maybe that was your intention.
It was fun messing around, but I think I'm done with bug testing now!
||Posted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:02 am|
Hello Iszy! Thanks for testing a lot more. I will try to answer all of your findings but you are right with your assumption that most of them are remaining AKiMW engine bugs that I don't think we will fix. This naturally excludes bugs in the engine that we have already fixed. I think it was more than 5 already but they were more severe than the ones you found this time.
Good finding. Already fixed it by internally using "capsule B" item now for the yellow potion.
This is also in AKiMW but we are looking into fixing this.
AKiMW bug. We don't think it needs fixing.
This is intentional. First the player was slippery in every state (so also crouching and death state) but this introduced a bunch of game breaking issues, so we took it out and I don't really think it is missing.
For all your findings that involve pressing pause at a specific time to break something: We will not fix this as it was already introduced in AKiMW (as you correctly stated) and it might be useful to potential speedrunners.
I guess it is because there wouldn't be enough room to enter the shop. Also in AKiMW, won't fix.
Similar to the shop door, object/entity not available anymore, also in AKiMW, won't fix.
I don't think this bad and might be a funny find for other players.
Very good find. Silly oversight on my side. I put the complete metatile there on priority (foreground) so that the moving clouds would move behind objects (look ground tiles and grass) on top of the screen. Fixed it by just putting the lower part of the metatile on priority so the cyan line in the upper part is in the background again.
I know, and sometimes it might be very surprising but since it does not hinder you in any serious way and it is also in AKiMW we won't fix this one.
Too specific to find out on accident, not bad at all, also in AKiMW.
Also too specific, will not fix this one either. But good find :D
Also in AKiMW and not important enough to fix.
Yes, I was already aware of this but I never found it problematic enough. We might look into this one but the priority isn't very high on our list. Good find though.
We are also aware of this, but it doesn't have any negative implications so we will just keep it this way.
We see two options for the pause screen: either the way it is now with starting the loop again or with keeping the track playing but with a short break/hang in the music. I guess the latter would look like a bug to some people so we will keep it like it is I guess. Third possiblity would be playing no sound on the pause screen. We will discuss this.
I don't really know if anybody would open crates in this order, but since you never know I rearranged a little, since it might be unfair to have such a situation in one of the first levels. In the later levels it doesn't matter, since we expect the player to have learnt how the engine works.
This is intentional. Everybody that found the secret passage will understand. And since there is a shop a few screens later the loss of a quite cheap item is tolerable (for us ^^).
That must have taken you a lot of time man. Thanks a lot for the findings. Even though we won't fix most of them since they are AKiMW bugs and/or really not that bad and will probably never be found by anybody other than by accident you also found some things are fixed now and some that might be changed. We will post the changelog here as soon as we got 1.03 ready.
||Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:33 pm|
|Can't wait for a physical release, this looks great! Kudos!|
||Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:03 pm|
Thank you Scrobins! The physical release is a little pushed back again because there are still no shells available.
In the meantime we put together the next (and probably last) patch:
- minor level design changes
- yellow potion now vanishes from pause menu after usage
- music continues playing now when entering and exiting the pause screen
||Posted: Wed May 06, 2020 12:37 pm|
|A while ago st1ka interviewed us and recently made this into a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIH8qCACTVQ|
||Posted: Wed May 06, 2020 2:14 pm|
|nice interview! :) and of course congratulations for the game :)|
||Posted: Sun May 17, 2020 3:40 am|
|This looks great. I have been wondering for years where all the new SMS titles with cart releases have been hiding. I assume you guys are going to do it proper with all new boards and shells and not cannibalizing original games? If so, I will more then gladly throw cash at this.|
||Posted: Tue May 26, 2020 11:36 am|
|Thanks! Yes, we want to release the cart with completely new parts. No news regarding this at the moment though.|