A community modder has restored an official Super Mario Kart track editor used by Nintendo to create the original Super Nintendo game.
Modder ‘MrL314’ first discovered references to the track editor in the code for an early Super Mario Kart 1991 prototype, which was leaked online last year as part of the so-called Nintendo ‘Gigaleak’.
The leaked prototype revealed the code for Super Mario Kart SFX-DOS functionality. SFX-DOS (or Super Famicom DOS) was Nintendo’s internal operating system used for SNES game development, allowing developers to read and write data directly to the console and use PC peripherals such as keyboards and external disks.
Within several months, MrL31
As shown in the video below, the restored editor allows users to place objects on a track such as speed enhancements and blocks. While fan-team track editors have existed in the past, this is the first time players have managed to edit tracks just as the Mario Kart creators did to build the game.
“There are a few level editors in the game itself,” the mother told VGC. “The one I showed [on Twitter] was to lay overlay tiles such as element panels, speed-enhancing arrows, walls and in later installments oil, coins and bouncy castles.
However, there are two other editors: one is designed for AI checkpoint data, and the other is for placing “3D” objects such as Pipes, Monty Moles, Cheep Cheep, etc. For more in-depth information about it, I and others documented much of the debug mode data on this TCRF page. ”
MrL314 said that there are some limitations in the emulated version of the editor: “You can not edit the track itself directly, since it would have been done in a tile editor, and the objects you put down (in later editors) can only be the objects that match the level . ”
Super Mario Kart editors allowed Nintendo to work directly on the SNES console and place data precisely, the modder explained. Once the data was in the editor, it could be tested directly in the game by storing on the SRAM chip in the game cassette.
“Accessing data from a cartridge is normally a difficult process,” he said. Normally, persistent data will be stored in the SRAM chip, but it is a battery-powered chip and it is difficult to read and write data directly to and from it. This is where SFX-DOS comes in.
“SFX-DOS was an internal operating system of Nintendo, designed for developer use on special development hardware. It initially made the SNES a personal computer, allowing it to interface with things like a keyboard, an RS232C port, a parallel port, a printer, and a floppy disk controller. “
Unfortunately, the SFX-DOS code revealed in Gigaleak lacked some elements, which the modder had to restore to make it work, as shown in the video on this page.
“Much of the base functionality was already in the game, but many of the finer details in the code flow like managing software outages, where the game reads and writes data, and how to keep the game running normally with SFX-DOS functionality were destroyed,” he said.
“I was able to repair the features of the game itself, and get the game to process all the data as it was expected to be processed. As this update is part of the Nov’91 prototype (which I am currently still repairing), I will release that solution when I release the Nov’91 repair. “
Finally, MrL314 said that he plans to fix the editing functionality in other leaked (and more complete) Mario Kart buildings as well, so that fans can do what Nintendo’s original developers did.
“Today, this feature is not as important to the SMK hacking community, as most of the functionality from the editing modes is handled in software such as Epic Edit by stifu,” he said.
“However, it gives a good insight into how the original developers made the game! I have also personally challenged the SMK Workshop community to create a Super Mario Kart hack without using modern hacking tools, and evolve as Nintendo would have done in the 90’s. ”