A few days ago, an interesting Mega Man fan game known as Mega Maker was announced. Designed as a Super Mario Maker style level editor for the series, it was intended to let players create their own levels and share them with friends online. Complete with themes based on all manner of levels from Mega Man 1 to 6!
It was the fan game Mega Man fans have wanted for years.
And dear god, did the internet let the creators know that. Why? Because in a just few days, the game went from being virtually unknown to front page news on Kotaku and GameSpot! It’s become the next AM2R or Pokémon Uranium!
But the sites never covered much about the authors of the game in question. So what’s where we come in.
Because this time on Gaming Reinvented, we’re interviewing Mega Maker creating Wrecking Programs about their game and personal life.
So if you’re interested in learning more about the title (and those who made it), keep reading!
Well, you know the drill here. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you when you’re not making fan games?
I’m a student from the Netherlands. I’ve just finished high school and plan to attend university later this year, studying Computer Science. Aside from developing games, I enjoy playing somewhat competitive Super Smash Bros in my free time (mostly Brawl, but I play some Melee too) and I like to play 2D platformers, of course.
And what’s your experience with video games anyway? How did you first start playing them?
My first experience with video games was through the Sega Genesis (called the Mega Drive over here) my parents owned. This introduced me to the Sonic series and platformers in general. I later bought a Nintendo DS, which introduced me to the Mario franchise (and Super Mario 64 DS is still my favourite Mario game to this day). I wasn’t introduced to Mega Man until much later; 2014 if I recall correctly.
What’s your favourite game?
My favourite game is Super Smash Bros Brawl, which I also play competitively as described earlier.
Okay, so where did your username come from? What was the ‘wrecking’ part inspired by?
The ‘wrecking’ part came to be years ago, back in 2012 I believe. I really liked the Skylanders series back then, and my favourite character there was Wrecking Ball, which I based my username on (back then it was WreckingGoomba, so a combination of my favourite characters). I outgrew the series shortly after, but decided to keep the ‘wrecking’ part anyway. Then I changed it to WreckingPrograms about three years ago.
Onto game development now. How did you first get started making games?
I’ve wanted to make games ever since I first encountered them on the Genesis, and after some brief searching I came across Game Maker 8.0 in 2010. I was initially somewhat scared by its focus on programming, but the Drag & Drop system helped me get used to it relatively quickly, and I’ve stayed with the program since (though I’m using a newer version called Game Maker Studio nowadays).
Before you made Mega Maker, you also created a few Mario fan games like Super Mario & the Elemental Orbs. What inspired that series?
As I stated before, I hadn’t discovered Mega Man until 2014, and before that my favourite franchise was Mario. There’s no specific inspiration aside from that. My first few fangames were really bad, naturally, but they became better over time, although I still don’t consider Super Mario & the Elemental Orbs on par with my current standards.
Heck, what’s the status of it anyway? Is the series over now?
Super Mario & the Elemental Orbs is still in development, but progress is slow. It definitely became more of a side project, but I hope to finish it this year.
So Mega Maker stuff now. What made you decide to create a Mega Man fan game?
I wanted to make a Mega Man-esque game as soon as I discovered the series. It quickly grew on me, and initially I decided to create a Mega Man-inspired indie game called Environ. It’s unfortunately cancelled, but you can still watch and play the demo here:
I cancelled the game because I found out indie gaming wasn’t for me, which I discovered while developing the Mega Engine, a Mega Man engine for Game Maker that I created last year that also served as the base engine for Mega Maker. This was initially a side project, but it made me remember how much more fun fan game development was, so I decided to leave the indie scene and focus on fan gaming instead. Of course, the next step was to create a Mega Man fan game, which became Mega Maker.
What about a Mega Man version of Super Mario Maker? That’s an unusual idea for a Mega Man fan game…
The reason I created the Mega Engine was to give the community a more accessible way to create their own Mega Man games, which served as the main inspiration for creating Mega Maker. Additionally, the Make a Good Mega Man Level contest (a contest where people could submit their own Mega Man levels to create a community-based game) served as inspiration as well, on top of Mega Man Powered Up’s level creator.
However, the most important reason I started Mega Maker was the fact that level makers involve a lot of programming (my favourite part of game development) and it allowed me to re-use several official assets, which allowed me to not worry too much about custom sprites, music and more. Part of the reason I left the indie scene is that you have to create basically everything yourself (unless you work in a team, but these are hard to establish for indie games). Mega Maker allowed me to focus on my favourite aspects of game development, while not having to worry too much about most other parts.
And how did you choose what themes to include? Are they all based on the most popular Mega Man series levels? Or just ones you thought had neat differences and gimmicks?
We included as many background and tilesets as we could. Some levels (like Cut Man’s stage) lacked a background and some tilesets (such as Flash Man’s) were not compatible with our autotiler, but aside from that, all Robot Master themes from Mega Man 1 through 6 are in the game.
It seems to be mostly eight bit styled here, unlike Super Mario Maker. Is your intention to only include stuff from the first 6 Mega Man games and Mega Man 9 and 10?
The first release will only have content from Mega Man 1 through 6, but we plan on releasing content from Mega Man 7 onwards through updates. We will of course have to recreate the Mega Man 7 and 8 assets to be 8-bit, so we’ll have to see how that goes.
Regardless of that, do you think any Wily stage themes or objects will be included? What ones?
We hope to add Wily stage content through updates, but we’re not sure which stages exactly would be covered.
How about bosses? The trailer says 12 of them are included, so what ones are they? Why did you choose those specific ones?
Sorry, I can’t reveal that yet. You’ll have to find out once the game launches 😛
In the trailer, you say how a few weapons and abilities have been altered or made a bit stronger/more interesting. Has the same also happened to enemies? Because Mario Maker gave enemies new abilities if they were underwater or what not…
Again, we can’t reveal that yet, sorry.
And how much customisation is available there? Can enemies meant for certain levels (like Quickman Lasers) be used in other themes?
Yes, you will be able to use any enemies, objects or other assets in any stage theme. You can even combine different tilesets and backgrounds to create your own theme.
What about other customisation options? Are there any extra graphical flourishes in the tilesets and what not? Like in Mario Maker?
Aside from backgrounds, there is no scenery, as 8-bit Mega Man did not have these. However, these are definitely not necessary to create beautiful levels, as seen in screenshots on our website:
Mega Maker supposedly also has various extras too. Can you tell us a bit more about these?
Notable extras include two all-new weapons, several buffed weapons (such as Top Spin and Plant Barrier) and an interactive tutorial to learn the basics of the level editor. We unfortunately cannot reveal extras, though, so there will be some more to be discovered at launch.
Okay, online level sharing is a big part here. What kind of features does this aspect have associated with it?
You can, of course, upload your own levels and share them with others. You can also browse for levels created by others with several ways to sort them, such as sorting by best rating, sorting by most played or even sorting randomly. Additionally, you can also search for a specific level you want, you can enter the level ID to play that level and you can let the game pick a level randomly. On top of that, you can like or dislike levels you’ve played.
Are there any filters or options there? Like Easy, Normal, Expert and Super Expert modes?
Sorry, we can’t reveal that yet.
How do you share these levels with others then? Will levels have codes you can share?
Each level will have its own ID, which is just a number. Players can enter this number to play your level.
I also hear the game won’t be open source at the moment. Is that planned at some point? To allow mods to be made and what not?
We’re considering it, but at the moment it doesn’t look like the game will be open source, sorry.
In recent times, we’ve seen a fair few fan games shut down. Do you ever worry Capcom could do the same thing?
Capcom is very lenient with fan games. They have never taken down a Mega Man fan game unless they tried making a profit or contained NSFW, neither of which applies to Mega Maker (all Patreon donations will go directly to server fees). On top of that, a notable Capcom employee has even stated they wouldn’t take down fan works unless these conditions are met, on the Capcom Unity forums no less. I don’t think we have to worry about a Cease & Desist from them.
If they do, will this title be reimagined as an original IP or cancelled altogether?
We haven’t thought about that as we don’t expect a Cease & Desist (see earlier), so unfortunately we don’t know.
Then again, Capcom is pretty nice to fan games. Do you think there’s a chance they’ll make this official? Like Street Fighter X Mega Man?
With Mega Man’s 30th anniversary coming up, they could always decide to do the same thing they did five years ago, which is making a fan game official. The chances of that are very low though, and we definitely do not expect them to make Mega Maker official.
Regardless of what Capcom thinks, it seems the internet loves the game. Did you expect all this hype over it?
I expected some popularity, but not nearly as much as we ended up getting. I wouldn’t consider this a bad thing or anything, and it’s definitely great to see so many people excited about the game, but I do hope the server won’t overload on launch day. We’ll have to see about that.
What about the articles on sites like Kotaku?
I was really surprised to see so many sites cover the game, especially ones like IGN and Kotaku. Most of these articles said the same thing though: the game looks cool, but Capcom may take it down. While I understand their concern, the chances of that happening are low, as explained earlier. Kotaku’s article in particular contained quite some unfortunate mistakes though. For example, it claimed CosmicGem is the only musician working on the project, it stated the soundtrack was chiptune-inspired while it’s real chiptune (it could even play on an actual NES) and it said our maximum Patreon goal is $15, while it is $50 in reality. A lot of sites seem to have used Kotaku as their source, which is a shame considering these mistakes, but I appreciate the coverage nonetheless.
Assuming it does make release day, will the game get regular updates with new content and features?
Yes! Aside from bug patches, we plan on adding content from Mega Man 7 onwards, as well as new features.
What about future plans? Do you have any plans for Mega Man fan games after this one?
Not really. We still plan on updating this game regularly as stated before, so we’ll have quite some work on this project before we’ll move on to a different project, and it’s too early to decide on what this new project would be.
Finally, what advice would you give anyone going into video game development?
Start small. It’s easy to imagine a huge and exciting game with tons of content, but newcomers that decide to create these games always end up cancelling then early on. It’s a much better idea to start small and work your way up; if Mega Maker were my first project, for example, it definitely wouldn’t have seen a launch day. But most importantly, have fun! If you are not enjoying game development, there’s no point in doing it, and if you only enjoy a specific aspect of it (like programming, graphics or music) consider joining another project’s team. You’d be surprised how many teams are looking for people like you!
And you know what we think?
That’s great advice right there. Yes, I know you’ve probably got a million ideas for the game of your dreams. Everyone has. It’s why so many game development forums are filled with newbies posting topics about overambitious, likely to fail ideas.
Why so many indies and fan game creators try and create their MMORPG and fail miserably.
So don’t start with an ambitious project. Start small and make your way up to larger projects as your level of skill improves. That’s how to succeed in the game development scene. Not the ‘I’m going to create a new Mushroom Kingdom Fusion after one day of messing with Game Maker’ route.
But hey, what do you think of the interview? Did you find it interesting? Were the answers provided by WreckingPrograms what you expected to see?
Or do you feel we’ve missed out on a few key question ideas?