Super Metroid Project Base




Project Base is a mod (“ROM hack”) of Super Metroid that keeps the original map mostly intact, while adding new stuff. It does not force the player to use any advanced techniques, and the difficulty level is about the same as the original Super Metroid. Well-known shortcuts have been left alone, and new ones have been made possible with special moves and enhanced items. Project Base works with Snes9X, ZSNES, higan/BSNES, and on SNES/flash cartridges.

The name “Project Base” refers its original purpose, which was to act as a base hack for others to build their own hacks from (Hyper Metroid was built from it). I started working on Project Base in August 2009 after I was inspired by Vanilla++, and it is currently still being worked on. I often take long breaks from working on it so that I can gather feedback & bug reports, and I also watch a lot of playthroughs so that annoying or problematic spots that are consistent among many players can be found and fixed.

Today, there are hundreds of Project Base playthroughs posted on YouTube, and it sometimes appears in speedrunning marathons for charity. Twitch streams of first-time playthroughs and speedruns are fairly common. Casual mention of it has gotten more frequent in the Metroid fandom, as well as people suggesting it to others, or including it in their ‘favorite ROM hack’ lists. A small (and very very patient) fanbase has formed around it, and thanks to their time and effort, the quality of Project Base greatly improves with each version.


How do I play Project Base?

1: download Project Base

2: download a SNES emulator such as Snes9X or higan

3: open the emulator

4: open the Project Base .SMC file with the emulator

5: set your buttons/controls and enjoy

Release dates? Future plans?

The only thing that trying to put a release date out there will do is stress everyone out. I work pretty slow, and I still need to learn ASM. My quality standards for Project Base have gotten really high, so it's gonna be awhile. Future plans include more new rooms, room mergers, items, events, alternate versions, configuration patches, and implementation of lots of other smaller ideas that I've written down over the years.

Releasing a completed, polished, debugged, and thoroughly play-tested Project Base is a dream of mine that has never wavered, even during the long periods of time when I have not worked on it.

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 and distracted often. Progress usually happens in huge bursts where I will aggressively work on it all day for weeks or months at a time.

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 original Project Base 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.

How do alternate versions and configuration patches affect speedrunning rules?

Hasn't been an issue. Most people will speedrun Project Base without using any alt/config patches like they already do, and any popular alt/config combo would simply get its own leaderboard (and probably a nickname) to avoid confusion. Some people speedrun the “Vanilla Palettes” version, which has no effect on Project Base's gameplay.

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

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.

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.

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. I'm otherwise gonna stick with what I know.

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 here.

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 Project Base, so future versions will go back to using a censored death animation.

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.

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 Project Base 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.

Something broke! / I'm permastuck!

Uh oh, what happened? Email me a bug report (be detailed in the description!), or post it on the Metroid Construction forum's Project Base topic, or tweet me. Do something. It might be an important bug that I don't already know about.

Will there ever be Project Base randomizers?

As of March 1st 2017, Project Base 0.7.2 has an item randomizer! You can download it here. The randomizer .zip file contains two .exe files: one for the original Project Base, and another for the Vanilla Palettes version of Project Base. A Project Base door randomizer is also possible.

Can Project Base be combined with other hacks?

Mostly no, but sometimes yes. The “Gameplay Only” version of Project Base can be used on most Super Metroid hacks. A working version of Project Base + Control Freak is also available, called “Super Metroid: GBA Style”.

Will Project Base use JAM's Spazer+Plasma combo?

Probably not. If not, then there will be a configuration patch for 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 Project Base, then I'll give it more serious consideration. Implementing it fully and successfully would be a huge undertaking.

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.

How frequently have these questions actually been asked???

Many of them only once, some of them... never.

Is begrimed color blind?!

Nope! Just bad at choosing new colors.

Is there a Project Base chat/IRC?

Somewhat. There's a Discord server, and for IRC, there is #metconst on EsperNet. I'm usually on either of those under the screenname “begrimed”.

Who exactly did what in the Project Base credits?

I'm definitely forgetting some of the details on who is responsible for what, so please correct me if I forgot something specific that you've done.

Jathys: created the original SMILE; offered help/advice when I was new to ROM hacking

Scyzer: created SMILE RF; wrote most of the code that has made Project Base as popular as it is today, including the shortened item fanfare, backflipping, Speed Booster upgrades, room-specific enemy palette modifier, bug fixes, documentation, answering questions, and countless other smaller improvements

Kejardon: pose table, decompression optimization, super missile sprite fix; documented most of Super Metroid's inner workings before anyone else

DSO: faster elevators, color effects, rainbow speed booster, grapple beam palette, bug fixes, Samus's animation speeds, documentation, answering questions

Black Falcon: charge tractor beam, morph ball animation improvement, morph ball flash, spinjump animation slowdown, FlexGlow, chain blocks, bug fixes, documentation, answering questions

squishy_ichigo: acid palette fix, documentation, answering questions; created the Vanilla++ hack that inspired me to create Project Base, and wrote several early documents that I learned a lot from

JAM: bug fixes, feedback, documentation, answering questions

Crashtour99: fixed super missile sprite fix, documentation, answering questions

PJBoy: bug fixes, documentation, answering questions; accidentally taught me that changing random bytes with a hex editor can sometimes produce good results, which lead to me discovering lots of cool stuff later on

personitis: feedback, documentation, answering questions

Quote58: super missile recoil, shinesparks that can transition into running if Samus touches a slope, documentation, feedback, answering questions

Kazuto: faster door transitions, faster pause black-outs, answering questions; taught me how to use Geiger's Snes9X debugger

Drewseph: documentation

DChronos: documentation

Smiley: documentation

RealRed: documentation, beam tilemaps; pixel-painted new graphics for areas and enemies for his own hack, Hyper Metroid, which will also be used in future versions of Project Base

Quietus: pixel-painted new area graphics that will be used in future versions of Project Base

begrimed: level design, new & modified pixel art, new color palettes, basic assembly (ASM) edits, documentation, bug fixes

What are some other good Super Metroid hacks?

Metroid Construction has many more hacks of varying quality, length, and difficulty.


What about people selling Project Base SNES cartridges?

Project Base is not for sale by me; it is absolutely and always free. I don't know anything about making cartridges, and I'm not affiliated with any sellers — our only overlap is the simple fact that Project Base exists. Buy at your own risk. Sellers of Project Base cartridges are supplying a demand that will always exist for older-console mods, because the SNES hardware is more accurate than emulation.

Do you take donations for Project Base?

No. Instead, use that money to do something nice for someone who is depressed or struggling. Seriously, please do that if you've ever considered giving me money for Project Base in the past. This is where I should normally say something like “support official Metroid releases” and then try to keep my head down, but I won't do that. I have never wanted to support a company for trying to leave behind craters that were once promising fan projects.

Also, I really really mean it: go be there for someone who is depressed or having financial trouble if you've ever considered giving me money before because of Project Base, but DON'T tell me about it if you do, and DON'T tell them that you got the idea from here! Just go do it.

But then Nintendo might never make another 2D Metroid!

Nintendo is aware that side-scrolling 2D Metroid games were once successful, and that they could be successful again. I no longer support the official version of Metroid, because I don't think Nintendo knows what to do with the franchise anymore. At this point, returning to roots would probably look like an admission that adding more characters and fetishizing Samus was a failure.

What about C&D, DMCA, getting sued, etc.?

The amount of time and thought that I have put into Project Base is not something that I am willing to cut as a loss. I am going to keep working on Project Base, and Nintendo will keep releasing stuff with Samus in it, because we are on separate paths, and we are not in competition. Nintendo damaging its own brand has nothing to do with me.

Project Base has been available for years, and a lot of Metroid fans are already aware of it, so, I don't care what Nintendo tries to do. Project Base is one of the few consistently rewarding things in my life, and finishing it means more to me than anybody else's feelings about me finishing it.

If Nintendo tries to take legal action against me, I will document the entire process and post it online, including verbatim copies of any emails or letters that I receive. Any in-person or over-the-phone correspondence that might result from this will also be recorded (even if it's a visit by police, lawyers, or murderous bounty hunters from space). I will not omit any of the provided names or contact details, and I will not honor any gag order that tries to stop me from posting those details.

If Nintendo can't publicly address its public relations issues, then it deserves to have a sinking reputation until it learns how.