I came up with the name “Project Base” because the earliest version was intended to be a simple base hack that others could re-hack, which changed the palettes & physics of the original Super Metroid, and nothing more. It was squishy_ichigo's Vanilla++ hack that gave me the initial idea for PB because it only changed stuff like color palettes and physics (and removed walljumping, lol). The earliest sloppy releases of PB were well-received, so I kept adding more features, and updates started taking longer and longer to release. PB still resembles the original Super Metroid enough to be used as a base hack.
I kept speedrunners in mind from the very beginning while making some of PB's earliest changes, and I still like to gather feedback and opinions from experienced Super Metroid players when I can. Many edits were made just for the sake of making them. Because PB mostly used Super Metroid's original map, it seemed appropriate to change everything else besides the map that I could, and then undo or adjust the edits that don't seem well-received over time. As of PB version 0.7, I started making edits to the map, but only to add new content and shortcuts to what was already there. The final version will have much more significant map changes (it'll be awesome and still flow perfectly, don't worry).
As more and more feedback came in, I realized that custom builds are a good extension of the Project Base idea. Some people have asked me to make versions for them that modified or removed some small thing that they didn't like, because it was a glaring flaw in something that they otherwise loved. I try to make these for people if it's a really quick and easy request (mostly they are), and if someone asks for something that would take a bit longer to do, I write it down so I can make it some other time. Someday there will be more patches that allow things from different PB versions to be mixed, and custom build requests will be easier to do.
PB grew from a little quick thing I worked on by myself, to something that tons of people have contributed to. It's a full-on community hack at this point.
01. How is PB different from Super Metroid?
Project Base keeps Super Metroid's map, area layout, and visual style, and instead focuses on carefully adding new content and abilities on top of that. Some enemies and bosses behave a little differently. All of the game's colors have been changed. Elevators, doors and other things move faster. Skilled players and speedrunners have more technical movement options. PB can also be played without the new colors or the gameplay behavior changes. It's not meant to replace Super Metroid, or to subvert the technical gameplay that Super Metroid has become known for. The “MORE INFO” section is a really just a giant answer to this question.
02. Is there a release date?
I don't do deadlines or release dates, because I don't work at a steady pace, and I'm not trying to make working on PB into a chore. I work on it when I feel inspired and motivated, and sometimes there are long gaps between that. My quality standards for PB have gotten really high, so it's gonna be awhile. The best way to track progress is to hang out in the Discord server.
03. Why is development so slow?
I don't really have a good excuse. I could say that it is due to me being only one person, or that I'm choosing to take it slow so that more mistakes can be found, or that all of this extra time allows me to think of ideas and refine them. That's part of it, but mostly I am just lazy, distracted and depressed often. Progress usually happens in huge bursts where I will aggressively work on it all day for weeks or months at a time.
04. What's planned for PB in the future?
More new rooms, room mergers, items, events, graphic/tileset edits, enemy AI edits, and a lot of other smaller changes. After all of that is finished, there are more alternate versions and configuration patches that I really want to make for it as well, including a hard mode that I've already gathered a nice list of ideas for.
I think it would be cool to have a some kind of PB ROM generator that could be used to create an ideal version/build of the hack for players who dislike certain things about it. Every edit made to PB would be listed in the program, which could be checked or unchecked. Afterwards, clicking a “CREATE” button would produce a .SMC ROM file that only has the edits that were checked. Maybe it could even have a seed system that would let players easily share their builds with others without needing to pass ROMs around.
Even after its final release, PB will surely still get performance updates whenever new optimizations are made by the SM hacking community, which would be anything that makes the game run more smoothly with no unwanted side-effects. I don't know if I'll ever be able to call it absolutely finished to the extent that I could declare that I'm never touching it again, though.
05. What are “alternate versions” and “configuration patches”?
Bonus content! Alternate versions toggle major elements about the game, and configuration patches toggle minor elements. Some of them can even be combined with each other. The main idea for these is to add more replay value, and to possibly give players who don't like the full version of PB a way to still enjoy the game. Not everybody likes the new mechanics or the new colors, so it made sense to give people the option to play without those things. If a ROM generator for PB builds ever gets made, alt/configs won't be needed anymore at all.
06. How do the different versions affect speedrunning rules?
Most people will probably run the main/default version of PB like they already do, and any popular tweaked versions could be given their own leaderboard. Some people speedrun the “Vanilla Palettes” version, which is fine in my opinion since color edits don't seem to affect gameplay. These distinctions are ultimately up to the speedrunning community.
07. What tools/programs was Project Base made with?
SMILE RF, SMILE 2.5, Notepad++, xkas assembler 0.6, Lunar Address, Tile Layer Pro, FaTILEty, HxD, Geiger's Snes9X debugger 1.43
08. Can I use Project Base for my own hack?
Yeah, use anything you want from it. Project Base and all of its original assets are free for anyone to use. For now, you'll have to rip them yourself. If you're editing the Project Base ROM, be aware that there are a lot of temporarily destroyed and disused rooms that it will take some basic Super Metroid hacking experience to edit/use (don't worry, you won't see any broken rooms if you're just playing the game). I haven't released any asset packs yet because anything may change between each new version. After Project Base is totally finished, I can organize and release graphics, assembly, documentation, etc.
09. Can you help (or collaborate) with my hack?
I might answer some questions or give opinions/advice, but in general, probably not. I work slowly enough on my own stuff, so committing to any collaboration would be a mistake. I spent a year writing SMMM to put most of what I know into one place. Anything else related to Super Metroid hacking that I learn and write about in the future will be added to SMMM, or linked from its resources section.
10. Why the SNES? Why not use modern languages/hardware?
I might be into this if somebody else wants to create a perfect and open-sourced port of Super Metroid, along with all of the tools needed to edit it fully (Boot Engine looks really promising). I'm otherwise gonna stick with what I know.
11. Why Super Metroid? Why not work on an original game?
I'm definitely open to this idea, but only if I'm specifically wanted for it by the developers (I can do sound design, music, level design, concept art, ideas, beta testing). You can stream or download all of my music for free.
12. So, about that death animation...
I painted a naked death animation for Samus because it makes more sense to me than swimsuits, latex, or buttshorts. If you are sensitive to this particular change, then there is a configuration patch that will restore the original graphics. The reactions to this have been much stronger and more negative compared to anything else that people have disliked about PB, so future versions will go back to using a censored death animation.
13. Why 104%?
I added four new missile expansions to the game, and then didn't bother with seeking a patch that correctly adjusts the ending percentage. Future versions will be fixed so that 100% is again the maximum.
14. I found a glitchy green area in Crocomire's room!
What you found is the Green Chozo Room. It is an Easter egg that I put into the game as a homage to this prank video that Kejardon made, which was an April Fool's joke that faked the confirmation of an old Super Metroid rumor. Future versions of PB will not have the Green Chozo Easter egg in it anymore. It was too easy to find, and people who didn't know about the rumor kept reporting it as a bug, which was awesome of them to do, but also a waste of their time. Sorry about that.
15. Something broke! / I'm permastuck!
Uh oh, what happened? Email a bug report (be as detailed as you can in the description!), or post it on the Metroid Construction forum's PB topic, or tweet me. It might be an important bug that I don't already know about.
16. I'm lost or stuck and need a hint on where to go!
Someday an actual walkthrough / player's guide might be written, but for now, you can check out the PB map by gponys, or watch people play it on YouTube, or ask for help in the PB thread or Discord server.
17. Project Base is too easy!
Anybody who has played a lot of Super Metroid will probably feel that PB is too easy. That is because I am also making this hack for people who have never played Metroid, or only played Super Metroid some when they were younger. You don't need walljumps to navigate, or knowledge of the original game's quirks. There are also younger players who might find it more accessible this way. Someday I will make a hard-mode version of PB that definitely will satisfy the Super Metroid vets who want that spicy difficulty in their hacks.
18. Project Base is too fast / caters too much to speedrunners!
I don't really see a problem with this. When I can, I choose to speed up certain things if it doesn't detract from the atmosphere or tone. Elevators and doors move faster, some bosses have less of a wait time before the fight starts, and some of the level design changes are such that a well-aimed shinespark can fly through it -- again, this complaint is mostly among those who have played Super Metroid to death and can do shinesparks in their sleep, and so they may see PB as just a way of casualizing or dumbing down the original game for less skilled speedrunners and making it easier for them. PB is faster and Samus has more movement options, but it is no less technical than the original game.
19. Will there ever be a PB randomizer?
As of March 1st 2017, Project Base 0.7.2 has an item randomizer! You can download it from github. A PB door randomizer is also possible.
20. Can Project Base be combined with other hacks?
Mostly no, but sometimes yes. The “Gameplay Only” and “Moves Only” patches can be used on most Super Metroid hacks. A working version of PB + Control Freak is also available, called “Super Metroid: GBA Style”.
21. Will you make me a version that modifies _____?
I can probably do this for you if it's some kind of simpler adjustment. Most of PB's edits are documented and known at this point.
22. Will Project Base use JAM's Spazer+Plasma combo?
Probably not. If not, then there could always be a configuration patch made that does it. The Spazer+Plasma patch itself is not 100% finished yet, which is why I'm hesitant to include it. If the patch gets finished before I finish PB, then I'll give it more serious consideration. Implementing it fully and successfully would be a huge task.
23. What bugs will be fixed?
I generally leave bugs as they are, unless it has a chance of permanently trapping the player and forcing a reset, or crashing the game. Also, if the bug has absolutely no effect on gameplay and is purely just an ugly looking glitch, then I will try to remove it. Bugs that can be exploited for faster speedrun times are left alone.
24. Is there a full changelog for Project Base?
Not yet, but someday I will be able to provide an exact list of every little thing that has been changed.
25. What is “Alt Zebes”?
A Super Metroid half hack that I sometimes work on as a side project, separate from Project Base. Alt Zebes is probably about 70% complete (work remaining: all of Maridia, Tourian, and some of lower Norfair). After Alt Zebes is finished, I plan to make a sequel for it, a full hack named “New Zebes”. The two hacks will ONLY edit Super Metroid's level design, and nothing else. Alt Zebes will only change the content of Super Metroid's rooms, while leaving the map/layout as it is. New Zebes will have a totally new map/layout.
Since both are level design-only hacks that will have the same atmosphere and aesthetic as vanilla Super Metroid, they will also be compatible with most of PB's gameplay changes. An item randomizer for both hacks would also be possible.
26. What's next after Project Base & Alt/New Zebes?
Documentation, site maintenance, working more often on music, whatever else. Probably dabble with learning ASM so I can make patches and write better guides. It would be cool to pick up programming so I could make tools/editors for other SNES games that have none. I can't imagine ever being totally done with ROM hacking.
27. How frequently have these questions actually been asked???
Some of them many times, many of them only once, some of them... never.
28. Is begrimed color blind?!
Nope! I'm just sometimes bad at choosing new colors. Things will look better in the future.
29. Is there a Project Base chat/IRC?
There's the Discord server, and for IRC, there is #metconst on EsperNet. I'm usually on either of those under the screenname “begrimed”.
30. Who exactly did what in the Project Base credits?
31. What are some other good Super Metroid hacks?