Interview with LucasMegaStriker, creator of the domenyX Romhacks
[Here you can read the german translation / Deutsche Übersetzung hier]
LucasMegaStriker is the creator many SNES Romhacks. Some of them have already been tested by me. Among them are domenyX VS Coronavirus and Fall Guys World. But this enthusiastic retro gamer has produced much more and really has a lot up his sleeve.
If you haven’t heard of him yet, don’t worry, that’s unfortunately often the case with people from the modder, homebrew or romhack scenes. They are lurking in the underground and produce grandiose games without funding, at the expense of their own time. Here now LucasMegaStriker, a romhacker and game designer from whom we will hear a lot more.
So LucasMegaStriker, where are you from and what do you do besides creating games?
Hello, first of all, thanks for calling me to do this interview. I’m from Brazil, state of Minas Gerais. I got my degree in game design in March of this year, so now there’s a lot of free time for me to start developing some projects that were shelved, but sometimes I like to compose tracks, and make 2D/3D pixel art.
In the past, I was a Minecraft content creator, especially maps. One of my best known works for the Minecraft community is the Mega Dropper series, with an edition also released on the official Minecraft Marketplace.
Can you tell me the titles of all your games, including the system? It’s not easy to find everything. Here is everything I could find so far:
- domenyX VS Coronavirus
- domenyX: Trouble in Paradise
- Fall Guys World
- domenyX Generations
- domenyX Christmas
- Zap & Lena Adventures
- Super domenyX World
- Mario Boom
Other game hacks:
- Goof Troop ST: Space Treasure (GOOF TROOP – SNES)
- Mega Kart Retro (SUPER MARIO KART – SNES)
Personal projects & homebrews by LucasMegaStriker:
- Bartolomeu Odyssey (For the Nintendo Gameboy)
- Keys of Lunacy (PC)
- Impact Squad (PC)
- Metro Time (PC, Android)
- School Evasion (PC)
- Stranger Planet (PC)
- Diverse Minecraft Content (Including the Mega Dropper series, the one most people remember as my best work on Minecraft community)
Who is domenyX and why do you make so many games about him (or with him)?
Domenyx is a brazilian streamer, and a close friend. I always admired his work and funny content, like Kaizo Mario, SMW romhacks and especially the hacks dedicated to him and the „Tropa domenyX“ as he likes to call his viewers.
He sometimes tells hilarious stories from his personal life during the broadcast, and some of them I try to turn into romhacks full of personal references to domenyX and his viewers, like the „BORA“ meme that a page follower drew during a Gartic match.
Your SNES Romhacks are bursting with quality. How much time do you invest in a hack on average?
My first works, like „Super domenyX World“ and „Mario Boom“ took a long time (like 2 years) but I didn’t really put a lot of effort into it, so the result was a total mess, that’s why it isn’t included on SMWCentral. After I joined a local community of brazilian SMW hackers called Mario Hacks, I started to really learn about level design and other basic/intermediate stuff about SMW hacking.
So I implemented my new skills on the upcoming projects, and not taking a lot of time to do it at all, around one to three months. For me, doing hacks this fast, as I mentioned, cost me a few failed attempts and time to learn from experienced people.
Will you create more content for other systems? You have already published a game for the Game Boy.
For now, I have only plans to keep releasing short-time projects on Windows, Linux, Android and HTML5. (most of my itch.io titles can be played on browser), plus some homebrew games like Bartolomeu Odyssey for Gameboy DMG & Color I released last month.
Is (or was) the Super Nintendo popular in Brazil? I usually only hear about Sega in connection with Brazil.
Brazil has a strong connection with SEGA since the 80s/90s thanks to the company TecToy that represents SEGA in the country, so Brazilians have always had a natural connection with the Master System & Mega Drive. The Super Nintendo, however, did not go unnoticed.
There are a lot of people who love the SNES, especially for the titles „Top Gear“ that had an amazing soundtrack composed by Barry Leitch, and the game „International Superstar Soccer“ for the countless romhacks created by brazilians, as we like to call „Campeonato Brasileiro“.
What are the biggest challenges for you in creating a SNES game?
For me, it’s to find a source to inspire me to create levels, which could fit the aesthetics I desire. Most of my works have some kind of abstract vibe, like space or retrowave themed levels. When I start to get out of ideas, I just start playing random games, like older Windows titles or listen vaporwave songs.
Your hacks usually have a fair level of difficulty. What do you think of Kaizo SMW hacks? And why didn’t you create any?
I actually tried to create a kaizo hack in the past. I mentioned „Mario Boom“ as a not successful project, for a good reason: it’s way too unfair, even for kaizo standards. But this mistake didn’t necessarily push me away from creating kaizo hacks. I still wanna create a kaizo hack someday, but seeing all these new mechanics and awesome ASM that creators start to put into their works, really makes me think about it, since I don’t have the best ASM knowledge to realize the fancier stuff.
Are there more Mario Kart hacks coming? I can’t get enough of these things.
Definitely! I’ve just started developing a possible sequel to Mega Kart Retro, but I’m still deciding whether to keep the custom characters or go back to the original SMK characters and turn the project into another identity. (Mega Mario Kart, something like that).
How did LucasMegaStriker learn to use Lunar Magic?
Most of what I know comes from the brazilian romhacking community „Mario Hacks“ who always answered my questions and gave me great feedback to keep investing in crazy themes and level design. But I started to tinker with Lunar Magic like a decade ago.
What don’t you like about other SMW hacks? Or romhacks in general?
That’s a curious question, not sure if you noticed, but all my SMW hacks don’t include Mario himself as a playable character. Not sure why I have the habit to exchange him with every opportunity, and the only time I was planning to keep him was on an older project called „Mario Megamix“ that I cancelled after some strange issues with the source ROM. Do I not like him? No, but I just feel like adding new characters brings a new identity to the projects, and opens new possibilities of world themes.
I see most of SMW hacks with Mario as a main character have very similar world themes, like desert, sky, grassland, and then the final world is fire/lava stuff. So, what I don’t like is to keep an identity too similar to what people are already used to in the game.
What would you have liked to do with Lunar Magic that was not possible?
My knowledge of ASM is very basic and superficial, and that doesn’t give me a lot of room to create my own boss battles, and most of the time I use custom bosses that are used in a lot in romhacks, and sometimes with modified textures to give a little less „more of the same“.
So your next Romhack will be about a crazy Polish game tester from Germany 😀 ?
Haha, who knows… Super Tester Land in Polishland confirmed? XD
What do you recommend to anyone who would like to create their own romhacks? What is the best way to go about it?
I would recommend to try to get creative with new world themes. If your creation is going to be something out of the box, you need to think about new types of worlds. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel for this. You can start by mixing known themes into a single one like fire and ice, or bring themes together that are rarely used in romhacks like carnival, eastern Japan theme, wild west canyons with crazy cowboys, and what I always love to use: complete abstract-retrowave worlds with random digits in the ground and neon everywhere.
Have you ever thought about how meaningful Romhacks are for gamers who played SNES back then?
Yeah, it’s always good to see games you beloved so much in childhood getting attention from people skilled enough to bring new content, levels & entire new games into an existing one. It’s a way to express art and a true nostalgia bomb.
Why are you so into retro? Why don’t you make Unity games like pretty much everyone else?
A factor that possibly led me to have this passion for the retro style in practically all my works, is the fact that I grew up playing Super Nintendo while my friends were already enjoying the wonders of the Playstation. And when I started using computers, I never did well in games with more modern themes and visuals like multiplayer FPS (I suck so much at Counter Strike). So I played games with aesthetics closer to the arcade, with simpler gameplay, a pattern that Nintendo adopts in most of its own titles.
Nowadays, I tend to play a little of everything. In the games industry, a developer who wants to get work either for freelance or to join a studio, he must be used to a little bit of everything and especially to have the knowledge base on the most widely used platforms on the market, such as Unity and Unreal Engine. But for now, my focus is Godot as a great open source engine with a great community.
Who are Zap and Lena? (It’s not so easy to find out in German or English)
Zap and Lena are streamers, like domenyX. They are a couple who live in the same province as I do. Lena plays retro games and indie titles and Zap plays FPS, RPG and sandbox games. Both are very good people, always entertained me while I was working on several projects.
So, I decided to create a special project, just for them called „Zap Lena Adventures“, where they have to venture inside a computer and survive the challenges of the „hacker“.
Will we see LucasMegaStriker kickstarter projects?
It’s very possible that I’m going to do a kickstarter for my bigger projects when the time is right. For now, I’ll probably start a ko-fi or something like that for people who wanna support my work as a gamedev.
What are LucasMegaStrikers favourite games and which ones do you like best for the SNES? Which ones for other systems?
The best games for the SNES? To me, my top 5 games are Super Bomberman 3, Top Gear, Goof Troop, Super Mario Kart and Super Mario World. But I also like a very obscure game for the SNES called Claymates.
For other systems, I like Sonic 2 for Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Jazz Jackrabbit for MS-DOS and Simpsons Hit & Run for PC.
How did you come up with the weird character roster for Mega Kart Retro?
All the characters have a connection with my closer friends, some of them already mentioned on previous questions, like domenyX & Lena. The Hulk character was a reference to Zap mascot (a Hulk head he got from a capsule vending machine for toys).
Did you hear about the SNES Dev Game Jam last year? Would you participate in a SNES Dev Game Jam 2022 or 2023?
A jam for SNES games? Actually, no. Maybe I would participate if I had better knowledge about the SNES hardware to create an entire homebrew. If a tool like GB Studio was created for easier SNES game development, that would make it much easier.
If you had the opportunity to create an official sequel, for any SNES game you like, which game would it be and why?
A new Goof Troop game with similar gameplay like the SNES title, but with modern treats like Dotemu did with Streets of Rage and TMNT would be so cool!
I technically did an unofficial sequel as a romhack called „Goof Troop Space Treasure“, and got the privilege to be the first to do a full level modification for Goof Troop. All previous hack entries of this game have made very small changes.
Can you tell us something about the gaming scene or gaming industry in Brazil? (I have zero idea about Brazil)
Game industry in Brazil is ascending more than ever. I think Aquiris Game Studio was one of the strongest influences from Brazil, creators from the amazing „Horizon Chase“ that had the music composer from the SNES game Top Gear: Barry Leitch.
On a national scale, the amount of studios opening up in big cities seems to be increasing, but for me, it’s kinda hard to focus on developing games where I live. Minas Gerais has hundreds of small towns across the province, and pretty much like the rest of the country, the infrastructure doesn’t help too much, there’s not a lot of investment from the government for cultural and entertainment sectors, and the taxes for electronics and stuff are kinda rediculous, just as inflation that rises dramatically.
So we depend especially to get people really interested into this market to build studios with good ideas to put out of paper and obviously resources from ourselves to put it all together. But developer’s dreams can’t be stopped, so more and more people are achieving their objectives to get works spreaded around the world and nationally recognized by local influencers and sites.
Do you already know what you’re going to release next for the Super Nintendo?
I should release a couple of projects for the SNES this year, such as a possible sequel to Mega Kart Retro (as I mentioned previously) and maybe a new hack for Goof Troop (not confirmed yet).
Thanks to LucasMegaStriker
Dear LucasMegaStriker, thank you very much for the interview and your time. There are still some Romhacks from your hand that I have in front of me and I’m currently especially looking forward to the new SMK hack.
The SNES world needs ambitious and creative minds like him, because we SNES fans should not run out of games. I wish him all the best, also for all projects for other systems and I am confident that LucasMegaStriker will bring us many more hours of fun on the Super Nintendo.
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