The time is March 2006. Most of Samus´ moves are done, so I ventured in a dark and unexplored area of my life... Sprite Drawing.
I´m a sound technician, I really suck at drawing, but since I needed some original enemy sprites I decided to draw them. It didn´t matter if they were not that well drawn, some placeholder images would be fine.
So, first of all I ripped existing enemies from Metroid Fusion, since a part of the space station emulates the SR388 enviroment. Using the original Metroid 2 sprites as a starting point, I drew each enemy from scratch. I even developed a shading technique, it might be poor compared to a talented artist´s work, but I managed to draw all the enemies in a couple of months. I documented my humble spriting technique, I´ll post it here next time.
By this time I had the first couple rooms done, from the beginning up to the first Metroid fight. I added the classic transitions between rooms, a parallax scrolling system for backgrounds, hidden areas, a camera system with scriptable controls, Varia and Gravity suit, a save system, Samus´ ship, among other things.
On the second half of the year I faced my first real programming chalenge: the minimap system. I put a lot of thought before even writing a single line of code, I had too many ways to implement the map. I modified a small level editor for an unfinished breakout game, and used it to make the entire map with small 8x8 squares. Then, I made the editor export a series of 2d arrays describing each square. So, all I had to do is make a way to draw the entire map on the pause screen, and a few squares on the game HUD.
This was the first HUD element I made, ironically the most complex.
The game levels advanced a lot in those months. By the end of the year the first temple was roughly completed. A lot of other elements were tweaked and improved. Samus now had a health system, with damage multipliers that change according to the game difficulty and the current suit. I also added all the beam combos with their respective effects and sprites.
And here is where the real life factor kicks in.
By the end of 2006 my recording studio wasn´t going very well. So, my partner and I decided to close it. We spent the entire week before christmas dismantling our studio, the same studio we spent 6 months building a couple years ago.
So there I was, no business, no job, no partner, no mood for fangame coding. I almost broke up with my girlfriend, and THAT would´ve sucked.
By new year´s eve, it was the first time of my life when I actually closed my eyes, and made a wish: "a better year, just that".
2007 would be a year of change.