SMBX2 Beta 4 Release & How To Update

SMBX2b4 is the newest stable release of SMBX2, including all the features from the preview builds MAGLX3 and PAL, with new fixes and features on top.

The specifications of the software can be found in the slightly-updated handbook included in the download. You can download SMBX2b4 here. An elaborate list of updates can be found here. Please report any bugs you find either on the SMBX forums topic or directly in the codehaus discord server. Thank you!

Below you will find a brief overview over how to handle various potentially critical changes (highlighted in yellow on the changelog).

HOW TO UPDATE

If you have been making levels on the previous preview build and find inconsistencies, here is what you can do in various situations:

All my NPC packs broke because of what you did to Extra Settings!!!

Sorry! Won’t happen again. We dealt with some weaknesses of the extra settings system and now they’re in a good spot. Making ID-agnostic extra settings required us to change the structure to avoid conflicts with variable names. While previously the settings were all put into npc.data._basegame despite not being _basegame variables, you can now find them in npc.data._settings for the ID-specific settings, and npc.data._settings._global for cross-id settings. Also! No extra settings value will ever be nil anymore, so the default value of your extra settings file now matters more than ever!

Overview of changes to the extra settings system

If you’re not a developer of NPC packs and all this talk went right over your head, please request the makers of the packs you’re using to update their packs to the new system. Implementing the change, although unfortunately a hassle we couldn’t avoid, ought to take no more than a couple of minutes. For more information see the previous blog post.

I have previously loaded scripts from the scripts/npcs/ and scripts/blocks/ directories.

Due to the move to the npc-n and block-n system, a lot of NPC and Block files were either moved or removed. This change in structure is one-time and we have now completed the move to the new system! Regardless, you will have to rewrite at least some of your code. You are likely to find what you need in the scripts/npcs/ai directory or scripts/blocks/ai directory, where all common behaviours are now located. If you cannot find what you need, take a closer look at the npc-n/block-n file of a basegame entity sharing the behaviour you were emulating. You can copy that file over and edit values where necessary to achieve the same result your code had before.

I have previously relied on newblocks.lua.

Now that newblocks no longer exists and blocks use the same system as NPCs, please look into rewriting your block code in accordance with the block-n system. Chances are, you will see a performance boost after doing so, too. Especially if it relied on onCollideBlock!

The new isheavy flag is breaking setups in one of my levels.

The isheavy config flag can be disabled on a per-id basis by putting “isheavy=false” (without the quotes) into a npc-n.txt file, where n is the ID of the NPC that’s causing trouble.

Springs no longer bounce essential noblockcollision NPCs!

You can add NPC IDs to the spring whitelists by loading springs.lua and calling the springs.whitelist(id, type) function, where “id” is the ID to whitelist and “type” is the type of spring to whitelist from. If you leave this empty, it whitelists for all springs. The default types are “UP” and “SIDE”.

Why does the NPC passthrough block no longer work in multiplayer?

Previously, there was a bug where NPC passthrough blocks would react weirdly to all thrown NPCs. While fixing that bug, we unfortunately had to temporarily break multiplayer support on that block. Multiplayer support will return in a future update, when we make sure all characters and obstacles work with multiplayer (which is currently not yet possible). Please keep an eye out! I hope the current behaviour of the block ends up being more benefitial than harmful to your levels.

For further issues, please take a look at the highlighted sections in the patch notes. There are some things highlighted that are self-explanatory in how they can be resolved, so I didn’t touch upon them here.

VERSIONING CHANGES

Due to the confusing names of preview builds, with this release we are trying out a new, consistent version numbering system. With the new system, beta versions will be prefixed with a b (e.g. 2.0.0.b3 for Beta 3), and preview versions with a p (e.g. 2.0.0.b4.p2 for PAL). Patches and hotfix releases will also have their own version number, and it will be possible to check your version number in Lua. Hopefully this should help make things a bit less confusing, since everything will use a consistent numbering scheme.

As of the new system, this version is 2.0.0.b4, and the next major release will be 2.0.0. That’s right: the full release of the engine. There will be no Beta 5.

We have also rewritten the launcher update check code a little so you can decide what severity of updates you would like to receive notifications for – If you’re happy developing your episode for 2.0.0 you’re probably not interested in half-working shenanigans from the 2.0.1p preview builds.

I hope you enjoy what we have made for you today! Thank you for reading and have a great time.

~Enjl

Changes coming to NPC Packs in Beta 4

Hey, today I want to share with you some changes coming in Beta 4 that can break compatibility with NPC packs made on the PAL and MAGLX3 builds. If you have developed some of those packs (like I have), please pay attention!

The changes are all related to the editor “extra settings” framework, with which NPCs can be customized on a per-entity basis. You might’ve seen it on Boo Circles, or the Fire Snake.

Feel the power of extra settings!

So, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we have expanded the extra settings framework further to be even more useful. Most importantly, we added a way to create cross-ID extra settings, which is insanely useful for episodes that wanna have settings to be able to give any NPC imaginable a mustache. Yes, even the bloopers! With just one extra settings file! The bad news is that in order to do this we had to adjust the way the variables are stored in lua. Here’s a brief overview over what’s changed:

Looks like a chemical reaction.

So, let me explain. Instead of npc.data._basegame, you will now have to use npc.data._settings to access the extra settings variables. Simple enough! There is a second change, though. It’s a little more subtle: Previously, if someone didn’t adjust the extra settings value in the editor, the field would not be saved to the file and the value would be nil. This can no longer be the case. The middle fire snake actually has a length of 4 according to the save file. If you relied on extra settings being nil anywhere, this needs to change. One example of NPCs relying on nil would be for cases where an extra settings field overwrote a NPC config default variable. Some basegame NPCs that did this now use a checkbox to toggle a boolean that controls whether the fields below should do anything in the code, or if the defaults should be used instead.

Unless the checkbox is checked, modifying the values below does nothing. Here‘s the source code for that file, if you wanna see how it was made!

If you would like to be prepared for the update when it comes out later this month, take a couple minutes out of your day to upload an alternative version of your NPC packs that have this change implemented to your NPC pack threads on the forums. It’s a quick adjustment that ensures your NPC packs will stay compatible forever, hooray!

Thanks for reading. I hope you’re looking forward to Beta 4!

~Enjl

I also have some ceral as an apology for breaking your packs!

I was so happy about the improved block collision performance I added a very special kind of tileset!

SMBX2 Beta 4 Release Date!

Wow it’s been a long time since SMBX2 Beta 3, and while SMBX2mx3 and SMBX2 PAL have since been released, it’s about time we got a proper version, right?

Right!

We recently announced that SMBX2 b4 will be released in January 2020! We’ve also released a trailer to show off some (but far from all) of the new stuff!

So what’s changed since SMBX2 PAL?

First up, a lot of bugfixes have been made, meaning that SMBX2 b4 will be suitable for releasing episodes again! On top of that, there are a few new blocks, and a lot more stuff is accessible in the editor now. You can now make dark sections, level timers, visual effects, weather, all without a single line of Lua!

We’ve also completely overhauled the launcher, and added a bunch of new tools and settings. We’ll have a full changelog published alongside the release, so be sure to take a look yourself!

So when is this being released?

As we said, the release is scheduled for January, so it’ll be some time within the next month! You’ll have to wait and see for the exact date, but I hope you’ll look forward to it nonetheless!


Hoeloe’s Cereal

SMBX2pal Update Announcement & Patch Notes

SMBX2pal is a preview build of SMBX2b4, with a mostly complete feature-set, that’s a little rough around the edges. Wait… the SMBX2mx3 build was already that, so what changed?

The SMBX2 MAGLX3 PAL release addresses various issues found within the basic MAGLX3 build. It’s also the version that will be used by the judges for judging the levels of the contest. If you are a participant and worry that your level has become unbeatable in the process: Don’t worry! We took care of that ahead of time. All the levels work as intended!

The specifications of the software can be found in the slightly-updated handbook included in the download. You can download SMBX2pal here. An elaborate list of updates can be found here. Please report any bugs you find either on the SMBX forums topic or directly in the codehaus discord server. Thank you and please enjoy!

The Things Remaining: SMBX2b4

HELLO!

Some of the curious bugs among you must’ve noticed a little bit of a revamp happening to our To-Do list last week. As we move closer to release we decided to clearly distinguish between what’s necessary and what would be nice to have for the release, so that we can make decisions about what we might have to cut. It’s still a beta, so there will always be more opportunities, after all! But before I go into detail about those, I want to give a small update on the things happening.

The images in this post are largely unrelated to the texts below, I just figured it would be nice to have a couple things to look at in addition to words to read. They’re from various testing sessions, showcasing some fun interactions.

WOULDN’T IT BE COOL IF REZNOR WORKED?

Over the past months, the main topic of the Imperfections and Interactions post was being worked on – checking the imperfections of all newly added elements and making sure they work. The vast majority of this work is now completed, meaning that when the update releases, you won’t run into a game-breaking error when trying to use a large number of new additions! Hooray!

The exception right now are interactions between new npcs and other new npcs which, while not game-breaking, are awaiting a piece of new tech which will likely not be ready for release (and would delay release by a couple more months). It’s something to be wary of, but nothing to be staying away from new npcs for.

WOULDN’T IT BE COOL IF REZNOR CHASED YOU?

Another feature that will likely not be quite ready for release is easy NPC editing. In the future, all new basegame NPCs will be loaded through “npc-id.lua” files, where “id” is the ID of the NPC. Changing the name of the file will be enough to create a duplicate of the NPC’s behaviour for local use! No more “unloading” shenanigans like with Beta 3! In addition to this, having a local copy of, say, npc-301.lua (Thwimp) will cause both the basegame file as well as the local file to apply their code in parallel! This means that you can mod the Thwimp without copying all of its code over by just making a file with the correct name.

I’m trying port as many NPCs to this system as possible for release, but there is a high chance it won’t be ready for all of them yet.

THE NPC THINGS REMAINING

While most NPCs are ready, there are a few which still need some bugs ironed out. In particular, lineguided NPCs are the last NPC-related hurdle and are being worked on in parallel to all remaining issues.

THE PERFORMANCE THINGS REMAINING

A few things need a bit of a restructure in order to be more performant overall. You might have noticed in SMBX2b3 that new blocks in particular were very prone to slowdown when used in bulk. Stuff like that is something we will need to address sooner or later, and we want to take care of it sooner so that it doesn’t become a bottleneck that makes designing with these new tools unfun.

THE LITTLE THINGS REMAINING

Beyond the biggest hurdle of “performance”, there are a couple minor errors remaining in included episodes, editor preferences or factual errors in our documents which we’re working on to resolve. Little stuff that shouldn’t take long to resolve but is still important to sort out.

RELEASE DATE?

We’re not yet confident that development can continue at a steady speed until release, so we don’t wanna pin anything down just yet. The moment we’re ready to share a release date, though, it will be immediately announced alongside a trailer and a new blog post. It’ll be impossible to miss!

~Enjl

Imperfections and Interactions

Hello! It’s been a while.

While there hasn’t been a blog post in a while, that doesn’t mean we’ve just been dormant! A lot of work in areas outlined in the last post has happened, and we’re just not at the next big milestone yet. I figured I’d provide an update anyway to showcase some of the stuff that’s happened in more detail.

The largest bulk of progress that happened was in areas outlined in the last post – going through every element we added and making sure it works well and doesn’t suddenly break when someone tries to use it in unconventional ways. Not much more to describe about it, so I’ll shut my mouth now and let the gifs speak for themselves. These are only a couple of the ways in which new elements can be used in Beta 4:

Some NPCs expose a couple of configurations about them to the editor, letting you change their settings per-instance. An example is the fire snake shown above, which can have its length adjusted. Other examples are the SMW minigame cloud which lets you configure how many coins it throws, and the SMW Bowser statue which has a configurable volley of fireballs. The latter is included in another gif below. These settings will only be available in .lvlx level files, which will be the standard starting with Beta 4. Don’t worry, all .lvl files will still be perfectly functional.

Very common checks we are doing are against the reserve item box, generators, held and thrown state, as well as interactions of NPCs with other NPCs and blocks. The goal is to make all of them possible for all NPCs included. I hope you will check them all out and find cool things you can do with them!

We’re also beefing up some older elements. The new blocks of Beta 3 didn’t always support contained NPCs, for example. There was some room for improvement which we’ve now used. That isn’t to say the old elements were weak. See it more as a Power-Up for Beta 3 elements.

The above gif is from my own testing and tweaking of these elements. The others are compilation of some of these results.

(debugging of Stretches)

The goal is that people don’t have to worry about any crashes when using SMBX in creative ways, and I hope you understand the long development time that comes as a result of this.

That’s all for today. See you next time!

~Enjl

Bringing The Project Into Peak Condition

Long time no see!

I think it’s about time we show what’s going on behind the scenes and state how we’re gonna swing back around to a release from where we are. It’s nothing to be worried about, just something that isn’t a trivial task.

WHAT’S LEFT?

Currently, we have implemented or done great progress on just about every new end-user feature we want in the beta 4 update. The big hurdle ahead of us is ironing out all bugs that exist within that content. We’re working on a massive checklist for NPCs which represents the biggest bulk of remaining work, which with just about 200 NPCs to check is going to take a bit of time.

There are a few more features which aren’t quite ripe yet, such as effect.txt files and a new comprehensive documentation, but most of the tasks on our Todo-list are either of relatively small scope, or tie into the NPC checklist in one way or another.

Make sure to keep an eye out for these lists if you wanna see where we’re at. For now, though, let me fill you in on a few things that happened since I last posted gifs here:

NEW NEAT THINGS

The job of making everything compatible with everything spawns some really exciting interactions. Grrrols and the Veggie Buster NPC shown in the video at the beginning have to be my personal favourite NPCs right now, purely because of how ridiculously fun they are to use. You can hold Grrrols in front of you like sawblades, and become unstoppable! Unless a bigger Grrrol comes along…

One thing you might notice in the gif above is that Grrrols and Monty Moles have their death effects! Some of you noticed in previous posts that death effects for certain NPCs weren’t looking right or were outright missing. Well, we fixed that! New NPCs actually already support effect.txt files, too!

In addition to the powerup blocks from Beta 3, we now have powerup filter blocks! These blocks immediately set your powerup, and there are also variants to filter your mount or held item. If you don’t want players carrying something further than intended, these are a great choice.

As you can see, the star blocks from Beta 3 can now also contain enemies! We have corrected the spacial anomalies which prevented this from happening previously. And yes, Wigglers now wear their pretty flowers, too.

The Beta 3 ice block now has a hot counterpart. Instead of being slippery, it’s harmful unless carefully approached with an ice flower. And it can be destroyed by various cold things, just like the ice block can be destroyed by hot things.

I might share more cool interactions and mechanics we create in a later blog post, but that’s it for now. Make sure to join the codehaus discord if you want to talk to us or want to see developer discussion directly.

See ya!

~Enjl

 

….

ENJL’S CEREAL

Bumps, Boings and Boundless Blocks

Hey all! How’s it going?

One thing we value while making new content for SMBX2 is to create new ways for designers to build their levels and new ways for players to play these levels. Having things that interact with the environment in the same way the player does is something we always wanted more of in SMBX, so let’s take a look at some that are coming in SMBX2 Beta 4!


BUMPERS

Of course, front and center in this post are the bumpers from Super Mario Maker. Though we’ve added some of our own flavour! The blue variant also bounces NPCs around, while the little ones have less power in their bump.


MUTANT VINES

For the Bramble Blast lovers out there we now have complex vines which even come with a thorned variant! The purple heads use a redirector BGO that’s only visible in the editor for steering, while the orange one is controlled through player movement. Another BGO toggles the thorned state, though the thorned and regular vine pieces can also be placed directly in the editor. And don’t be mistaken! Mario can still hold onto the thorned vines! If he survives, that is…


SPRINGS

I’ve already shown these a bit but figured I’d showcase them here again due to how much utility they provide when coming up with obstacles. Watching stuff bounce back and forth is incredibly satisfying and I’m excited to see what crazy contraptions people come up with once the update is ready.


CLEAR PIPES

These really need no introduction. I’ve already had a ton of gifs on them in an earlier blog post:

https://codehaus.wohlsoft.ru/blog/2017/08/02/%f0%9f%8e%b8-extreme-plumbing-%f0%9f%8e%b8/

But I wanted to draw more attention to some elements which have been added since: The one-way pipes and cannons! Also, yes. The fact that these are featured again means they’re definitely coming as a basegame feature, since we’ve now breached the block limit.


SWITCH PALACES

Another thing previously showcased that benefits from having new block slots. We felt it would make sense to seperate level-specific and global switch blocks from one another, since level-specific ones are regularly used for challenges within levels and having a second set for global switch blocks would allow these challenges to coexist with switch palace blocks.


THWOMPS

Speaking of switches, you might’ve seen a small blue one in the video above. That’s only the beginning of the madness that is Thwomps pressing various switches! I should mention that POW blocks are sturdy enough to only be hit by Thwomps that destroy turn blocks.


LAST,  BUT NOT LEAST

We have added a pretty peculiar red square NPC. This NPC acts exactly like the SMB1 axe NPC, but is only visible in the editor and is not affected by gravity by default! This should make event-triggering contraptions a lot more accessible and less prone to someone forgetting the custom graphics and NPC code for the invisible axes.


That’s all for today! I hope you are excited for all these new features. We’re doing our best to get them delivered to you as soon as possible.

Aesthetics 2.0

Howdy!

Last week marked the introduction of a long-awaited feature, which people on the team were hoping for ever since we got access to more NPC IDs. Namely: The same for background objects! Yes, in SMBX2b4 you will not only be able to resize and change the frame count of background objects at will, but also add as many as you like! Just like with NPCs we are reserving the range of IDs from 751 to 1000 for personal use, meaning that all 250 of these IDs can be used on a per-level or per-episode basis. That’s far more than the amount of BGOs currently in the game!

As you can see in the video above, we quickly started filling up some of the slots we got access to. In addition to the big topic of lineguides, made by Sambo, I have added the arrows from Mario Maker and Monty Moles as a new NPC, as well as their dirt as a BGO.

The new lineguide set comes with 22.5°, 45° and 67.5° slopes, small and big quarter circles and the usual horizontal and vertical straight line. And unlike with the old lineguide system, here NPCs aren’t going to fall off once they meet a sharp turn! Various NPCs come in three different speeds per default for extra variety and you can even attach non-standard IDs to lineguides with just a bit of lua (we will probably be able to remove the need for coding in the future).

Another thing showcased in the video is the breaking turn block, which is a breaking bridge in Beta 3. In Beta 3, this block didn’t account for its contents. However, with the new update you will be able to hide any NPC in it for a little surprise, or just a friendly set of coins.

The last thing worth mentioning are the red springboards which, after a recent overhaul, work well with a wide range of NPCs, both old and new! Ever wanted to make the player face a horde of bouncing goombas? When this update lands, you will be able to!

Okay I lied. There’s one more thing I want to touch on. It’s also noticable in the gif, but still work in progress: Progress has been made towards making effect.txt files a thing. More about this in a future post, though.


Apologies for the sparse amount of images this time. I hope the video made up for it. Before I sign off, here’s some breakfast:

Hoeloe’s Full English Breakfast

Preparing Yourself For Updates

Hey!

Continuing the stream of polish posts I want to address some inconsistencies that we’ll have to bring upon you to improve the overall SMBX2 experience. These changes aren’t going to break anything, but it’s best to be aware of them and take measures to consider them early on.


FINISHING WHAT 1.3.0.1 STARTED

The 1.3.0.1 update brought a few changes to basegame graphics. Most notable were the changes to various sizeables, as well as changing tilesets to use the AllStars colours, rather than the Advance colours. In Beta 4, we’re bringing two big changes to vanilla tiles:

The SMB3 cave tileset has, honestly, never even been using the SMB3’s pattern. We weren’t able to figure out how the current tileset was constructed, but we figured we should update it to properly resemble the source game.

The other change involves various sizeables in the game which we’ve changed for one reason or another. Most of these have their bottom segment changed to prevent cutoff, allowing them to be placed in midair or as part of a ceiling. Others had their bottom segment adjusted to better fit with the style of similar tiles (SMW sizeables). The airship block in the bottom right has been reverted to its SMBX 1.3 appearance, as that appearance suited its intended environment better.

The important takeaway from these updates is: Some of these blocks’ masks are changing! This is important in cases where you (or someone else) make a custom .gif graphic for a block and decide to not copy its mask over, since it matches the basegame mask (we’ve seen this with switch blocks in beta 3). Furthermore, we encourage you start sticking your sizeables one tile deep into the ground if you want them to stay grounded:

Don’t worry, due to how SMBX sorts its blocks you won’t run into layering issues with this!


TWEAKING BETA 3 CONTENT

You might’ve noticed that, on the Claims Sheet we have marked the NPCs from Beta 3 as “Pipelined”, rather than “Already Included”. This is because they’ve all seen rewrites or tweaks which change their behaviour in one way or another. These inconsistencies are minor, so it’s unlikely that anything will suddenly stop working on your end, but here are a few things to be aware of:

  • Maverick Thwomp’s detection radius has been overhauled. Its range is slightly shorter and its movement is slightly move gradual. It will now no longer immediately charge at you when it spawns.
  • Boo Circle now uses NPC 469 for the boos in its circle, rather than relying on just a lua hitbox. This means that it is possible to change the individual boo’s NPC code or run code over it in lua!
    • The entire new_npcs folder within the graphics folder no longer exists, since all other NPCs also have their files from there now integrated into their default sprites.

NERFING DRESS-UP

Beta 3 had a lot of costumes for every character. Looking forward, it’s going to be impossible for us to keep up with all of these, especially when new powerups get added in the future. We’re not throwing all costumes out, just the ones which are unlikely to ever see use anyway. In addition to this, Megaman’s default spritesheet has now changed from his 8-Bit design to his 16-bit Wily Wars design. The 8-Bit design was moved to a costume, in light of the 16-Bit one meshing better with the usual SMBX level. Our characters are subject to bigger changes, but most of these will come with Beta 5. Here’s a video of Megaman in action:


That’s all for today! Make sure to check your levels if anything from this is going to affect them. I’m gonna leave you with a video of Mario picking up ghosts from a boo circle: