Mega Maker strives to give Mega Man fans a level editor as easy to use as the games are hard
And they're only going to get harder given the average amateur level designer's idea of a good time.
Make a Good Mega Man Level 2, the collaborative Mega Man fan game I wrote about back in May, is still in the process of making its way to the public. Although the participants' contributions have been locked in for a while, the folks in charge of putting them all together are now predicting a release sometime in August. In the meantime, though, another hard-working team within the same community will be dropping a big release on Mega Man fans worldwide: Mega Maker, an all-in-one construction kit for creating and sharing your own Mega Man stages.
Headed by one WreckingPrograms, who engineered "Mega Engine," a GameMaker module that combines ease of use with authenticity to the NES Mega Man games—down to the precise physics and those classic screen transitions—Mega Maker promises an even more user-friendly experience in the form of an all-in-one standalone application. While Mega Engine made Make a Good Mega Man Level 2 an unprecedentedly accessible fan project, Mega Maker is reaching beyond the borders of the fan game community entirely, welcoming Mega Man fans of all stripes to share in the joy of subjecting others to retracting platforms, spike-rimmed corridors, and those death beams from Quick Man's stage.
Using Mega Maker's simple interface, you'll be able to edit your own palette of stage-building tools—backgrounds, objects, enemies, and music, all neatly sorted by their game of origin. Every weapon from the NES games is included, as are a couple of new ones, including a shield that reflects enemy fire and what appears to be a riff on the Tornado ability from Kirby's Adventure, which deals close-range damage while yanking the Blue Bomber out of pits. In the original games, some weapons were notoriously difficult to use to your advantage, while other types were largely recycled from game to game without changing much (think the rotating shields that cropped up nearly every game after Mega Man 2). Since every weapon from every game will now be placed side-by-side with the rest, Mega Maker will be bringing these stragglers up to speed. As shown in the trailer, Mega Man 4's Skull Barrier now makes instant-death spikes safe to touch; Mega Man 5's Charge Kick can be performed in the air, serving as an impromptu air dash; and Mega Man 6's Plant Barrier converts blocked projectiles into HP reocvery. Here, the Mega Maker team are looking even beyond authenticity and fixing what was broken, increasing the number of truly viable weapon options in a way that also introduces new possibilities for level designers.
Mega Maker will also feature an interactive tutorial, a set of built-in example stages, online sharing capabilities, and a number of filters to help find stages that are up your alley, including a rating system to separate the wheat from the chaff. While Capcom's last official shot at something like this was the ill-fated Mega Man Universe, Mega Maker's emphasis on quality of life (not to mention the title) makes it more aptly comparable to Nintendo's Super Mario Maker, the current gold standard for fully featured level editors. The developers have even floated the idea of adding graphics from Mega Man 7 and onward down the line, which would liken the package even more to Super Mario Maker's variety of historical art styles.
One haunting question is whether we should expect Capcom to slap Mega Maker with a cease-and-desist order before it even has a chance to come into its own. It is, after all, an obviously appealing concept making ample and explicit use of their intellectual property. As with Make a Good Mega Man Level, though, I'm betting they'll look the other way unless they already have something similar in the pipeline, like how Nintendo struck down Another Metroid 2 Remake to clear the playing field for their own Metroid: Samus Returns. And given how little Capcom have done with Mega Man in recent years, that seems like a longshot, so we're probably safe... Probably. Just to be safe, I would be sure to jump on Mega Maker when it drops this Saturday.