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Sprite animation practice

2013-10-05 12:48:39 by Alvin-Earthworm

I may be shooting myself in the foot here, but I felt like sharing this.
As many of you know, on the 9th of October, it will officially be 4 years since I released Super Mario bros Z episode 8 to the masses. It'll also be almost 19 months since I officially laid SMBZ to rest.
But, with the assistance of a friend, I was able to reacquire Flash and felt like trying out sprite animation again to see if I could re-ignite my passion to work on the series. As practice, I remade the first scene of the first episode of SMBZ. After a few months working on and off, this is the result.

Super Mario bros Z Episode 1 Scene 1 Remake

Don't take this as confirmation that I will be working on the series again, but if I did, I would like to remake the series from the ground up. There were numerous things in the older episodes that I felt could have been done better. Namely the fight scenes, the story and the godawful dialogue. Here are some of the key changes I would implement.

1: Mecha Sonic will be replaced by Metallix.
For a supposed upgrade to Metal Sonic, Mecha Sonic was a visual downgrade. The design for Metallix just looks more imposing than the original faceless design. Metallix was going to appear later in the series anyway as Mecha Sonic's perfect form after he got all the Chaos Emeralds.

2: The Pipe maze episode will be removed
The whole episode in general was filler suggested by a fan of the series because I didn't know what to do for the 5th Chaos Emerald. With that said, I feel it was poorly executed on my part. It was too dialogue heavy. It spouted out unnecessary exposition that had no bearing on the plot. And who can forget the ridiculous Deus Ex Machina moment with Kolorado's stopwatch. The 8-bit parts were kinda cool, but to me it couldn't save it from being a bad episode.

3: Captain Basilisx won't be in the remake
While Basilisx was well received by fans, I feel he was shoehorned into the plot. He just showed up out of nowhere with no backstory or buildup. I feel that also distracted from the anticipation of Mecha Mario's appearance and would have undermined the upcoming battle against the Koopalings.

For the time being, these are just ideas. I want to make sure that I would be willing and committed to work on this series again. I don't want to cancel it twice. Until then, enjoy the practice animation.


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2013-10-05 13:56:15

I love the new design for Metalix. Very Nice.


2013-10-05 14:03:40

Poor little Goomba.

Alvin-Earthworm responds:

Metallix takes no prisoners.


2013-10-05 15:51:55

1. Never heard of Metallix, so I'm interested in it.

2. I actually liked episode seven, but you are right on to points: It was too heavy on dialogue and the stopwatch moment was ridiculous. Even so, I think you sort of removed yourself with your comfort zone and tried something new, at least that's what I think.

3. That's a shame. After what happened on the first scene on episode 9, I was actually hoping to see what would happen to him. He was a pretty badass character.

If I may add something else (if you do plan on re-doing this series that is), consider getting rid of the Axem Rangers X as well. I had almost no idea who they were, so I'm assuming they're characters you created. And if that's the case, then they had almost no back story or development and they seemed nothing more than just random villains who were just there to make some cool action sequences and a reason to find the fourth emerald. That's just my idea.

So anyway, it's nice to hear from you after god knows how long, and it's nice to hear from this series again. I'm sure a lot of people are going to go ape-shit for this begging you to start up this series again but hell, the one thing that matters is that you live! :D Even if you don't restart the series, I just hope you do some sprite animation again. SMBZ wasn't the only thing I like from you. (C is for Cereal made my dayXD)

(Updated ) Alvin-Earthworm responds:

Actually, the Axem Rangers were from Super Mario RPG on the SNES. They were a team working for the Smithy gang. However, their original sprites were pretty diminutive and hard to work with, so I "upgraded" them.

Video link:

I don't plan on getting rid of them if I remake the series. But the sprites I customized for them are in need of improving. Axem Pink was a pretty bad edit. Also, their presence is to serve as foreshadowing for the second season of SMBZ where Smithy is the main villain.


2013-10-05 16:11:17

I'm... I'm speechless! Great work, and that was just practice?!

May I ask, how long did it take you to make this? Both the time you spent working on it, and the actual days, since you started. Just a simple curiosity.

(Updated ) Alvin-Earthworm responds:

Yeah, it was just a warm up to see if I wanted to get back into sprite animation. Provided I do, I would like to use this scene in the remake.
I started work on it around mid August. Working on it a few hours each week. I can't really hazard a guess about how much time precisely. My job has been taking up a lot of my time as of late, so it took longer than it should have.


2013-10-05 16:50:43

It was nice to see the work you did in this practice animation. Hope you can find that right path you want to follow.


2013-10-05 16:39:45

Ah, well thanks for clearing that up for me. But I'm still holding on to my opinion on them thinking that they weren't really necessary for the series. I mean they were cool characters and all, but I don't know, they just didn't fit for me.


2013-10-05 17:28:43

It makes me very happy that you "may" consider working on SMBZ again. Been a fan since the very beginning of the series and have followed it ever since. I love the design of Metallix, he literally is a perfect representation of Frieza in Dragon Ball Z. (Shows no mercy to anyone in his way.) I do have a question should you have the time to reply. Are there any key sprites that you plan on change? (Sonic, Shadow, Mario, Luigi, etc.) Thanks, and your "animation practice" was absolutely exceptional. Blew my mind. Hope to hear from you again soon! :D

Alvin-Earthworm responds:

For the most part, I'll be using the same sprites for the main heroes as I did in the older episodes.
It's mostly side characters that will be getting new sprites. Bowser in particular will be using his look from M&L 3.


2013-10-05 17:51:51

i guess remaking the series is kinda unecessary, all you need is to do the damn 9th episode

Alvin-Earthworm responds:

Contrary to popular belief. Episode 9 was NOT going to be the final episode in the series. More like the half way point.


2013-10-05 18:34:57

I can't believe it's been 4 years already since the last episode, moreso how many years it has been since you started this series!
But I can still remember clearly how I heard about SMBZ in the first place and what a fan I was since then. Good times, good times.

And it just happened that I found myself in some phase where I just had to do all the old things that I did in the past, so I decided to visit your old Newsground page again to watch the old episodes. What joy it was when I read your new entry!
Just call me a bootlicker, but I decided to finally create an account, inter alia just to tell you this.
I really hope you get your passion back for animating and maybe even the series!

Kind regards! =D


2013-10-06 08:18:58

Just exactly how many people are asking/telling you to resume, not remake the series already?


2013-10-05 23:49:38

That was a pretty good remake you did there.
And while I was reading on the "Key Changes" you want to make.
First part: Hope you have more fun with Metallix. Mecha Sonic was getting kinda dull (in my opinion).
Second part: I agree that it was too "Dialogue Heavy" and the stopwatch moment was weird. But the idea of the 8-bit world was pretty cool.
and the Third part: Oh well, He was an awesome character.

And I don't mind if you want to remake the whole thing. If that's how you feel then that's fine with me.
(\ -Good Luck- /)


2013-10-05 23:39:45

I only liked Basilisx because of his snakish accent. But if you're gonna omit him as well... that's pretty much okay with me.

If sprite animation is still not your thing, you do NOT have to work on it if you don't want to.

Another thing, your reattempt at sprite animation was still EPIC! I can't even believe your skills haven't dulled in age! I so admire you for wanting to do a reboot.


2013-10-05 21:08:43

I hope you continue the series, but you dont have to if you dont want...
I wonder how this post still wasnt flooded with people asking to you to continue the series....
Well, good luck on whatever you do :D


2013-10-05 20:26:40

OMG!!! More More MOREEE!!!! Please!!! It's Amazing!!! And also if you can finish the story!!!


2013-10-06 11:49:44

OK, my response to the planned changes:
1: Very nice improvement from ol' Mecha Moron (see what I did there?). Looking forward to that!
2: I can understand that the Pipe Maze episode had lots of banter, but that doesn't make it a bad episode. If anything, it brings more detail into your customized Mushroom Kingdom, making it feel more alive. Also, I can easily praise the humor in that episode, which made me crack up very much. If you would at least consider reworking it into something more action-based, that would improve it without sacrificing the detail you put into it. Just so you know, because it's not as bad as you think.
3: Basilisx really did feel like he was shoehorned into the plot, and it doesn't help that his motivation is to avenge a very generic Koopa (which was one of the fence-climbing ones, so Mario really couldn't kick his shell into other Koopas, as Basilisx claimed). So if your desire is to be rid of him, be my guest. He really doesn't have much to live for anyway.
As for remaking the entire series... I'm not going to dissuade you from the idea (because that means the aforementioned changes would never come to pass), but I'll tell you this: I hope you know what you're doing. You had a lot of plans for this series before you put it to rest, and remaking the series from the ground up sounds like a lot of extra work. You don't want that workload discouraging you to the point of giving up a second time, because that'd haunt you for the rest of your days. To quote Johnny from the Super Gaming Bros., "NEVER underestimate your workload, folks. It can bite you in the ass!" So make sure you're ready for this, because it's gonna be rough.
With that said, I'll retire to my base now, looking forward to more exciting news like this one. Good luck in your future endeavors, Mr. Haynes, and until next time, this has been Mr. Br, Supreme Commander of the Multiverse Protection Force, signing off.


2013-10-06 12:17:49

Alvin, the remakw looks awesome! And you can't even imagine how much i'm happy that you'll continueSMBZ, but now you are going to remake all the old episodes? Isn't it a waste of time for you?


2013-10-06 15:49:48

It's great to see the first scene again done with all the knowledge you have now. I was real disappointed when you discontinued the series, but I can completely understand why you did it and I respect you for coming out and telling everyone.

I can't wait to see more of your work and, hopefully, some new SMBZ eps done in your improved style. I'm loving the new sprite of Metallix. If there's anything I can do to help, I'd really love to try.


2013-10-06 15:26:58

Episode 7 wasn't that bad, it just felt too much like filler. I liked the inclusion of the Minus World as a sort of mythology gag. Just trim out all the filler and boring dialogue and it could be a great episode.


2013-10-06 17:55:43

You'll be combining Episodes 1 and 2 as you originally planned before, right?

Alvin-Earthworm responds:

That's the intention.


2013-10-06 17:44:00

Man alvin i like your work and its funny i stumbled upon it by accident when i was some dumb 10 year old squecker in 2009 but thats not the point, the point is i liked your work and i really felt ashmed when you cancelled it but what i do like bout a cancelled series that´s plot heavy is that you can speculate what could have happened and then seing the opening you made, it just made me speculate even more, i would like to see it finished even if you do lay it down again no prob i actually was planing on making a resumed series for "My own enjoyment" cause i would proboly not put it up cause imaginating is fun but making your imagination real is better hope the best of luck and thanks for making my pre-teen years the most interesting of my life. Im around 15 years old right now and your series inspired me alot i think i would have nevered touched flash if it was not for you

p.s. If you read this and for anyone else reading sorry for the bad spelling english not my first language


2013-10-06 21:42:44

Okay, I'm a new fan of few months now and after seeing that remake, I really anticipate the rest of the remade SMBZ episodes but enough of that, it's time to cut to the chase

1. Cool, although I wonder just what will Mecha Sonic's eventual Super Transformation look like.

2. I'm really divided on this one. I mean, while I did like the humor and the action sequences, I can kind of agree that the episode was too long as well as the fact that that Deus ex Machina moment kind of felt like that it was tacked on at the last minute.

3. I can agree that while Basilisx was awesome (I mean he kicked Mario's butt really hard), he was kind of tacked on as well, not to mention having a clichéd motive.

So all in all, I highly anticipate the day that you return to sprite animation but I have more important things to worry about like school, looking up on TV Tropes, and waiting for the release of the 4th and 5th Campaigns from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle and Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers, so until then, see you later!


2013-10-07 15:28:16

Captain Basilisx will not be in SMBZ?

Alvin-Earthworm responds:



2013-10-07 16:53:33

In SMBZ will be all Sonic and Shadow?


2013-10-07 13:33:45

Hey,we have recolored Sonic and Shadow and made a sprite sheet for them.Want to use them? Here are the links:



2013-10-07 11:58:21

While I'm overjoyed to have in interested in the series again, I have to disagree with the judgment on Basilisx. In a series with a lot of interesting and fun takes on classic characters, he was a fresh face with fun motivation. Part of the idea that he came out of nowhere added to a.) the humor inherent in his back story and b.) along with the idea of that's how this sort of thing works in a series where you've basically got a bunch of indestructible god beings running around stomping foot soldiers like dirt clods, eventually one of those dirt clods would turn out to be a rock with a nail in it.

Overall, I like that you're looking at the series in any light at all, I just wanted to let you know about my overall love for the Basilisx character. What ever ye decide is definitely f or the best, just something I wanted to let you know.

Thanks for being an awesome animator!

Alvin-Earthworm responds:

It wouldn't have been so bad if he had made some appearances prior to his big entrance. You also have to consider that there was going to be a fight with the Koopalings shortly afterwards, plus another two simultaneous battles involving Eggman and Mecha Mario. I got too ambitious and hit a dead end.
Provided I get that far, I am considering bringing Basilisx back for a future saga. But he won't make any appearances in the remake of the Metallix saga.


2013-10-08 01:35:57

What a great news !!
You're the BEST !!


2013-10-08 01:01:32

Whatever you do, I just hope YOU enjoy it! I'm very happy I kept you as a favorite!


2013-10-07 20:30:04

Even if you rebuild the SMBZ series from the ground up you have the full support from your fans who have been watching your old episodes all the time


2013-10-08 13:09:31

Wow that's fantastic news! I saw the fan animation Kickstarter page ( I donated) and hoped it was a sign for good news to come. Then out of curiosity I came to check your page and to see you start up is amazing. You have my full support!


2013-10-08 16:06:36

I can see dual sides of this. It'll be great to see you continue this since a good bit of people (myself included) despise it when someone quits making a series and I hope before you restart you can find the time and dedication to finish the series.
I would enjoy this change in the series, mostly because I found the story to just be the weakest part of SMBZ. The scenes were well done, the dialogue seemed to fit the characters, the fights were good, but it truly lacked the story to help back everything up.
The judgement of replacing Metal Sonic for Metallix I would have to agree on. But instead of Metallix I feel one of the other Metal Sonic models (like from the Archie Comics) would possibly do better as an upgrade rather than Metallix because of how different he is to Metal Sonic.
As for Basilisk I would say keep him, but fix what you lacked: building him up. Add more to the character that wasn't there before-hand.


2013-10-08 21:02:39

A friend of mine sent me a link to this news post. I decided to sign into Newgrounds for the first time in years just to voice my support. I was a huge fan back then, and I'd be a huge fan now. That scene remake was fantastic! Whatever it is you decide, I wish you the best!


2013-10-10 13:54:23

God, it's AWESOME to have you back! This animation looks good enough for me to hope for the PROPER finish of the saga. But, after your statements I have a questions:

1.Will Metallix have a Perfect form? And if he will, how it's gonna look?
2.Pipe maze was one awesome epizode. Even thought it was a filler. If you are gonna remove it, then maybe you shall replace it with something more better..... What will it be?
3.Cap is one nice character. By removing him, you will kinda scrap the Omega Doomship original invasion scenario. What's gonna be a replacement for all of that?
4.(My own) Some fans were asking about appearence of other characters, like Silver or Geno. Is anything like this gonna happen?

Hope, I was not too irritating. Welcome back.)


2013-10-09 19:48:03

Glad to hear you might get back in action. I enjoyed the remake, can't really wait to see more!


2013-10-10 18:45:00

Shiznuts... I can't believe you did this right now. Well, after seeing your remake and your new plans, I don't know if really necessary, the previous remake I did was the one for SMBZ KAI but now seeing how everything has changed, It makes me wanting to redo the SMBZ KAI series. I now feel a bit unsatisfied with my previous results. But seeing your new ideas, I'm thinking there should be more debuts for characters in the future episodes and considering Metallix has become the main villain, But what will his super form be?

Next, who will replace Basilisx? Think about that?

And finally, why remake it, I understand for 1,2,3,4 and 5 should improve but he rest, I don't know if you'll make it in time. But anyways, your decision, always will be.

Thanks for coming back. Hope to see more.

Alvin-Earthworm responds:

No one will be replacing Basilisx. I'm removing him from the plot entirely. There was going to be a fight between the Koopalings followed by two simultaneous battles after that. Fire Sonic will be fighting Eggman while Mario faces off against Mecha Mario. Basilisx had no buildup or a well fleshed out backstory, so it really won't detract from the story if he wasn't present.


2013-10-11 23:15:46

Your videos as of date are legendary. And I will add onto the support of the rest as I hope you do what you are saying. In light of it all I have tried animation myself an inspiration to start using flash by you and proxicide. I am hoping to make an animated graphic novel in that sense using the program. I can hope to be a fraction as good as what you can do with animation. I'd love to see more of what you can do and would love to see what the future holds for the series.

Good luck to you and all the best.


2013-10-11 22:37:02

So glad you're back! You did such an amazing job with the practice thing. But don't try to rush it. Don't feel pressured to do this series. Remember, this is really about what YOU want, not what other people want. Take your time, you should enjoy what you do, not feel like it's a chore. After all, it's your life, so do what you want. I just don't want you to feel like you absolutely HAVE to do this. I'm really glad that you might start smbz again. I love the series, and have been hoping it would start up again. It's been over a year now since episode 9 came out. Lots of people tried to continue the series, but to be honest nobody can do it like you. You have such great talent, and you do a terrific job! Keep up the good work!

Also, if you need funds, you could just ask for 50 cents or so from your fans. If everyone gave 50 cents or even a dollar, you'd have more than enough money. After all, you have a LOT of fans!


2013-10-10 22:17:46

Holy shit this is epic. Great job on the remake of the first scene! By the way, Captain Basilisx is the only character cut our for the remake right? And Fire Sonic will be in it? Because Fire Sonic is one of my favorite fan character! :D


2013-10-13 08:18:25

Hello! I have a few questions can you answer it?
1. Will "Fire Sonic" be in SMBZ
2. Can you tell me Basic information about "Metallix"


2013-10-13 08:22:11

P.s The blue Chaos Emerald must fall on ground while Mechasonic's Transformation, because of wind


2013-10-13 14:15:18

This is exciting! I look forward to these remakes (provisionally should they get made).
It's not really my place to say, but two big things that date badly are use of Comic Sans MS font for text and the internet memes and fart gags that crop up sometimes. Strongest episode definitely ep.6 cos of the focus on action.


2013-10-13 14:19:04

Also, the use of gradients for shading on the close-up is a bit 2006. I'd steer clear of the non-sprite close-ups more generally too, it's a teeny bit jarring visually (considering the style you're going for). Looking good otherwise though!

Alvin-Earthworm responds:

Well, I was using gradients for the close up of Metallix to try and get the same effect as Metal Sonic from the Sonic the Hedgehog movie.

Most other close ups will use a simple cel shading style.


2013-10-14 18:39:31

so how long until you remade all the series? 3 years?


2013-10-15 16:32:28

Your scene looked fantanstic! I am totally fine with whatever decision you make if you choose to reboot the series, and its fine if you dont do it at all.

I would like however, to see a different form of Super Mario, if he and Sonic share a power star (preferably, Mario's clothes turn golden and he looks Saiyan). I would also like to see a higher level of power in Metallix and the other characters (higher than 9000, lol it was a good joke though). Maybe some attacks similar to kamehameha from Mario w/ a powerup.

If you choose not to do any of that, thats ok. Do whatevers comfortable, because either way, I still loved your show and it would be excellent if you decided to reboot it.


2013-10-16 21:29:15

As most are I am really happy you are considering a comeback. As a writer I would like to extend my offer that if you would like any ideas for dialouge as I was starting to write the series out any ways.(Hated seeing the story not have an ending.)


2013-10-17 01:25:29

Are you definitly willing to take the chance to continue your series?I mean...I just think your series is almost dying...I wished you gotten so much help from other can't just do it worked very hard to create the series...


2013-10-17 15:36:43

When I first saw this series on Youtube I was amazed by your work and yes I do agree on your changes.
You know at first I thought you will quit SMBZ forever and have the stupid fanboys make remakes and just try to continue your series. But I'm really glad your'e bringing the series back, and please don't rush and do not cancel it a second time.
Although I have some questions.....
1. Will you keep the Wart and Ninja Ninjs plot for the Metallix Saga
2. Are you still doing 3 sagas and 1 movie
3. Can you possibly bring in Sonic characters that weren't killed and that you don't hate like Silver. Such as Eggman, Mecha Shadow, or Emerl?
Well that's all good luck on animating!


2013-10-19 21:17:27

I am so happy you made a comeback buddy. I didn't only miss your series, I also missed your voice man. The remake seems so good. Although, I really like Metallix. Considering Mecha Sonic's body, it was like he lost alot of weight *robotic weight lawl* Anyways, Metallix seems tougher. I am honestly, 1,000% honest with you, the most honest I can be, you are the best animator I have seen in the whole entire world, like I like your series better than any animated flash =D


2013-10-18 23:57:44

DDUUUUUUUDDDDEEEEEE!!!! I just checked out your "practice". It was very impressive. Like, srsly. I'm it was short, yes, but it was of a level not seen often. I'd bet it took a long time to make it, and therefore would take a gigantic amount of time to do an entire episode like that. But, if you are able to pull off the same kind of intense combat you did with your previous SMBZ work, and then add that level of graphics and artistrys, you would have the makings of a legend!

I do hope to see more, but.... yeah.... Don't do it if you don't enjoy it.

That said, time for some of my comments to your actual news post

1.) Who the villain is doesn't really matter to me, especially if it is a remake

2.) The pipe maze episode was a great episode IMO. It was one of those lore-heavy episodes that really sells on the fact that this happens in an actual, living world, so to speak. And the 8-bit throwback? Aw, that was really cool. However, I can also see why you would not like it. No doubt it took a very long time to make that very long episode, and it probably wasn't appreciated as much by many fans, who were hoping for more action and less lore. Personal favorite of mine, behind the 3 way battle, of course.

3.) It's not totally bad to have someone just pop up and say "I hate you! Now die!". I think the fact that neither mario nor the audience really knew exactly what he was talking about when he mentioned about his friend. Kinda fulfilled the emotion of being unappreciated and unrecognized. And yeah, it may have kinda distracted us from the main plot and villain of the story, but I kinda felt like that was Bowser's whole plan. And besides, there were plenty of ways you could have brought everything right back to the main plot and villain really quickly if you needed to.

So, all in all, totally love the origional. F'n drooled all over the short remake. Hope to see more, but understands if you can't get into it.


2013-10-24 06:49:45

Glad you aren't letting such a good series pass away.........


2013-10-23 20:09:30

You still got it