Hero - Official game guide|
Introduction - Basics - Enemies - Maps - Secrets - Trivia
I first made this game in Klik'n'Play in 2004, and it required quite a bit of work to pull off well with such a limited design tool. It took about one to three months to make. Each screen was actally a big sprite overlaying the game window, and the enemies' positions were entered manually into Klik'n'Play's event editor. Once I started learning Gamemaker in 2005, I remade Hero in one week, with improved gameplay and more enemies.
As stated in the game's help file, Flip Hero (which is his full name) was my superhero dream as a child. His nemesis was Cruiser Tetron, whose name comes from the third boss of Lifeforce Salamander of the Gradius series. The sound effects were also taken from that game.
When I made the music for Hero, it was the first and last time I composed in MIDI. It sounds terrible on most sound cards, but decent on the one I used to write the songs. I moved from MIDI to MOD and MP3 in later games, which are both much higher-quality formats.
The save system in Hero is the simplest possible. Each level has a number associated with it, and the savefile simply stores this number, so it works like a password. Therefore the reason the savefile is hard to "crack" is because you need to find the right number for each level.
Alternate hidden room
In the early days of Hero's creation, the hidden room was actually supposed to be located in Level 1. It was accessible by going through a wall in the middle left room on the map.
Not so picky
Although the game at first appears to run in a 160*160 resolution scaled to a 2x size, it's easy to notice on the bullets and object movement that the game really is made in 320*320 with 2x scaled sprites.
The concept of firing left and right with two buttons was inspired by Section Z, which also contributed the idea of Generators and Barriers. Traversing an open world without a map was mainly inspired by the feeling of Metroid. Tetron's entire throne room disappearing before he starts to move is an imitation of Lifeforce, where a really large boss was usually made out of background tiles - it would look really weird if the background started moving around together with the boss, which is why the background always disappears before the boss starts moving. It was a programming trick that resulted in the classic, eerie darkness of the boss fights.
Hiding a secret
The hidden room in Level 5 was an afterthought as I built the level, and there was no way of guessing it was there. When I inserted the developer maps as bonus material, one could find it through a blinking dot at the top of the map. A game's best-kept secret, such as Hero's hidden room, must have at least one unmistakable clue to find it, but making that clue small enough to go unnoticed by most people yet still be picked up by some, is a very hard thing to do. In my later games, the player may with a great deal of skill discover entire levels, enemies and messages they never thought existed in the game. Of course, a dilemma appears here - how much time should I spend on secret content that only a few players will ever see? The answer is "as long as I want". Rewarding the player's efforts is one of the best parts of game design.