The Interview: Mari0
Perhaps you have seen the video floating around the internet of our favorite plumber carrying a special tool from another one of our favorite games. Mari0 is a project being work on by a group of programmers over at StabYourself.net. The game brings together the classic Super Mario Bros game with elements from the Valve game, Portal.
Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with Sašo Smolej from StabYourself.net about the game:
Tell us a little about Mari0?
Mari0 is what happens when you take the NES classic and add one of the best received concepts in the last few years: Portals. It’s a feature rich, close to original remake of Super Mario Bros. with portals, map editor and co-op. We will also deliver a story with custom maps with the game, and will allow users to send us their maps, which we will host on our server to be downloadable by anyone from ingame.
How did you come up with the idea for it?
Maurice started working on a SMB clone in January, and in April we came upon Dorkly’s Mario with portal gun video. The original idea before seeing the video was adding the same multiplayer that is found in “New Super Mario Bros. Wii”, but that changed after discovering it. Since the whole code is optimized for multiplayer, it was really easy to add co-op (With any number of players) though, so that helped.
Since this is not a mod, but a full game can you tell us about the process of creating it?
Before we started hammering away on the keyboard, we had to think the concept through, see where problems may arise and what we would have to change in order to keep the game fun. It’s not as simple as “Take Mario and add Portal Gun”. We had to start at the very basics: Level drawing, movement, collisions, controls, all that junk.
It really is a lot of work to recreate a whole game. We’re ripping graphics and sounds as we go, and compare the game a lot to the real thing to make sure we’re getting as close to for example the jumping physics as we can. After we had a solid and playable foundation and thought things through, we started adding Portal logic, as well as mouse support and everything related. This is an example of a trade that we have to make between “playability” and “close to original”, because one the one hand, Super Mario Bros. obviously doesn’t have a mouse, but on the other, having to use the arrow keys to point the portal would be a limiting solution.
We have also decided to break free a little from NES graphic restrictions concerning anything Portal related. Once we’ll be completely done with the Portal gun (we’re close!), we’ll start thinking about the story and level design.
What made you go with the classic 1985 Mario Bros?
It’s a game everyone (or at least everyone 16+) remembers from their childhood, and we love to play with people like that: Give them a familiar environment and then surprise them with a modern twist. We think that’s what gives these games their appeal.
Can you give us an idea of the stories you might explore in the game?
We’re still collecting ideas, thinking of the direction we’ll go. We can’t say anything specific at this point since it will probably end up being completely changed.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtcGiZelPfk[/youtube]
What are your plans as far as music?
We have gotten an offer from a music artist whose work we quite liked, so he will probably be writing the music in a Portal 2 soundtrack style for the Portal levels we will ship with the game. The original levels will use the original music, for nostalgia sake.
What is your favorite classic video game and why?
Maurice: It probably really is the Super Mario Bros. series, especially the third one. It just has so many levels, worlds and side stuff, you can really tell Nintendo went all out on this one to create the best game in the NES library.
Sašo: It’s kind of a hard pick for me since I grew up with the PC, never really having the opportunity to play console games. I think Outlaws and Jazz Jackrabbit would be my pick since they’re the most memorable of the games I actually played. I did of course play games like SMB, but a bit later than most other.
When do you think the playable version will be ready?
I’d love to be able to give you an answer, but since this is a pure hobby we’re making our own times and can’t give you a solid date. We keep telling ourselves “This year” but hopefully it’ll be in about 2 months or so.
You can check out and keep up to date on Mari0 at their official website – http://stabyourself.net/mari0/