Reading

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Reading
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Also known as

Meister Waluigi (archaic)

Age

18

Knows of

Lunar Magic, most external programs, some very minor ASM

Join date

July 2006

Birthday

September 16

Known For

Super Mario Infinity, stories in SMW hacks, informative posts

Reading is a longtime user of SMW Central and creator of the Super Mario Infinity series of hacks, as well as a few others that were never finished. From May 2008 to April 2009, Reading served as a local moderator on SMW Central, but was reverted back to a normal member due to inactivity caused by real-life issues. As of November 2010, Reading is no longer active on the website, with the exception of a few visits primarily involving An SMWC Production.

Contents

As a user

Activity on SMW Central

Reading is a formerly active regular user of SMW Central. While active, he was known primarily for the Super Mario Infinity hack series, as well as his informative posts, which were often quite descriptive and in-depth. Reading maintained a calm and casual front, enjoying friendly interaction with the rest of the userbase, and usually did not take sides in a conflict or debate. He primarily posted in the SMW Hack Discussion and Talk forums on SMW Central. Along with his habit of making informative posts, he enjoyed going into detail about certain topics; in threads that posed a question, Reading often performed a full analysis rather than simply answering the question.

In real life

In real life, Reading's personality is much the same as it is online. Reading is casual and friendly and enjoys talking to others. He does not consider himself to be a "nerd", and has now effectively ceased to visit SMW Central due to a lack of any true connection to the site. His interests include reading, writing, music, video games, and science.

Reading the Fox

Reading the Fox is a character originally created by Reading as a representation of himself for use on his website and in the story the website was based on. The character's design is heavily based on that of Tails from the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series, albeit with redder fur, a single tail, a green headband, and blue shoes. The fox was planned to be the central character of Reading's hack Reading and the Spy Invasion, but after reworking the website's story and deciding that Reading the Fox would not be included in it, Reading canceled the hack, rendering the character effectively nonexistent. Reading is now somewhat resentful of his creation of the character, due to how similar it is to Tails and because of a desire not to be falsely associated with the Sonic the Hedgehog or "furry" fandoms. However, he continues to use an animation of the character created by ZSoaYZ in June 2007 as his avatar, as he feels that the other SMW Central members are used to the avatar and he should not change it after using it for such a long period of time.

History

Registration and early releases

A screenshot from the level "Merry Meadows 3" in Super Mario Infinity, Reading's first released hack.
Reading originally registered at SMW Central in July 2006 to ask about how the the goal counter on the title screen could be reworked to go past 96. He didn't intend to stay after that or release the hack he was working on, Super Mario Infinity: Mystery of the Magic Wand, so he registered under the name Meister Waluigi, although he had already chosen the name "Reading" for use on his eventual website. Reading didn't particularly approve of the process of ROM hacking, so he planned to leave the website afterward, but since Super Mario Infinity was almost finished, he eventually decided to release the hack on SMW Central on August 4, 2006. Despite receiving a generally positive response to the hack, Reading decided to leave the website at the end of August, due to his mild aversion to ROM hacking; he had planned a sequel to Infinity, but wasn't sure if he wanted to proceed with it or not.

A while later, after finding a patch that reduced the effects of in-game slowdown caused by BlockTool and discovering that it could greatly improve Infinity, Reading decided to continue production of Super Mario Infinity 2: The Cursed Gem, and announced the new "Perfect Version" of the original hack as well as Super Mario Infinity 2 on January 1, 2007. Tatrion, as well as a few other members, were hired to test the new hacks, and they were released on January 14 and August 25, 2007, respectively. In April of that year, as well, Reading had his username officially changed from "Meister Waluigi".

Reading and the Spy Invasion, promotion and hiatus

A screenshot from Reading and the Spy Invasion, depicting a puzzle in an underground base.
Reading had not planned on making any more hacks after Super Mario Infinity 2, but after a number of conversations with SMW Central members about the possibility of a hack starring Reading the Fox, he announced his third hack, Reading and the Spy Invasion, on April 2, 2008.

In May 2008, SMW Central's staff applications were held. Reading took the opportunity to benefit the community by applying to moderate the hacks and the SMW Hack Discussion forum and received the position. Soon afterward, largely as a result of beginning the year with a commitment to expand his personal social life, make new friends, and reach for interests outside computers and video games, Reading began revising the Super Mario Infinity series to make the games more accessible to non-ROM hackers, as well as adding custom music, fixing minor graphical issues, and a few other changes. Dubbed "Super Mario +-Infinity", the update to the first hack was released on July 1, 2008 and the second on August 4 to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the initial release of Super Mario Infinity. Aside from making these changes to his hacks, however, Reading wasn't able to perform his full duties as a staff member, as the promotion came during a time of particular issues in Reading's personal life. Reading decided to take an extended break from SMW Central on September 3 to deal with these concerns, only returning briefly to post a trailer advertising Reading and the Spy Invasion during SMW Central's first biannual Super Mario World Central Creativity Convention.

Return and new announcements

Reading officially returned on February 11, 2009, to exclusively moderate the Hack Discussion, Talk, and Art forms. Due to extensive work on another project for his website and trouble readjusting to SMW Central, though, he remained rather inactive, and thus was removed from his position on the website's staff on April 21. In the following months, Reading slowly became more active on SMW Central's forums as he was before September 2008.

On May 21, 2009, Reading announced World, a collaborative hack that he and TLMB were working on. TLMB was the main author, but Reading was also working on level and overworld design, story, and other elements.

Reading's aforementioned website project was finished on March 24, 2009, and afterward, Reading turned his focus back to The Hidden Scepter, a fan fiction series he and a friend had been writing together and that Reading and the Spy Invasion's plot tied heavily into. However, his friend's inactivity related to the project and dissatisfaction with the two parts they had already produced led Reading to decide to cancel the project altogether. For a time, the nature of The Hidden Scepter and how it related to Spy Invasion's story was in ambiguity; Reading was not sure whether to simply rewrite the series, start from scratch, or restart in a completely new direction unrelated to fan fiction, and this put a hold on the hack's development during this period. Eventually, however, he decided that "Reading" as a character would not exist in any form within the series or in any other work Reading created, leaving him with no choice but to cancel Reading and the Spy Invasion. On August 6, Reading announced the hack's cancellation, providing a "Test Release" consisting of the 26 levels he had already completed.

As well as announcing the cancellation of Reading and the Spy Invasion, Reading also stated that he was working on a new hack, and that he would announce it at the Spring 2010 C3. The only material related to the new hack he revealed between then and the convention was a single teaser screenshot posted in SMW Central's screenshots and video thread on December 11 to celebrate reaching a total post count of 1,000 for the first time on any forum.

Member of the Month and The Perfect Catastrophe

In February 2010, Reading was voted by SMW Central's staff as February's Member of the Month, along with the Staff of the Month, Supertails. S.N.N. interviewed Reading for the February Member/Staff of the Month thread. In the interview, Reading discussed his beginnings in the ROM hacking scene, his thoughts about the Super Mario Infinity series, and his plans for his new hack and the future. He also explained how hacking has helped to develop his writing, graphic, music, and even social skills. Few new details were revealed about his hack, although he discussed some of his new goals for design and accessibility regarding the game.

On May 9, 2010, during SMW Central's fourth biannual C3, Reading announced his new hack, Mario: Perfect Catastrophe, with a trailer he submitted for the convention. Shortly afterward, Reading made an official announcement, detailing that he and TLMB had decided to separate their projects; TLMB would continue work on a hack featuring his own graphics and levels, wheras Mario: Perfect Catastrophe would feature Reading and the Spy Invasion's graphic style, some of its levels, and the story Reading created for World. Reading also described the continuing expansion of his personal life and how his friends had influenced Perfect Catastrophe, and that he would be focusing more on his life and would be less active on SMW Central. His activity declined over the summer.

An SMWC Production, negative activity feedback and departure

Previously, when An SMWC Production was initially announced and level signups began, Reading had signed up for two levels in the hack, a Ghost House in World 6 ("Buried Graveyard") and a lava area in World 8 ("Crystals on Fire"). When S.N.N. took leadership of the project and spurred a period of rapid progress in the summer of 2010, Reading reclaimed, finished, and submitted these levels, which appear in the Production. Reading had also previously offered to contribute to the story of the hack, and was contacted by S.N.N. some time before finishing the levels and asked to add on to the basic premise the hack's plot had been given much earlier, in which Mario journeyed to claim eight eggs to make a cake for Princess Peach's birthday.
A screenshot from the level "Crystals on Fire", one of three Reading contributed to SMWC's collaborative hack.
Reading wrote and assembled (with the VWF Cutscene Tool) ten cutscenes that were placed in various levels throughout the hack. S.N.N. planned for a fairly simple storyline, so Reading kept the plot much lighter than the one he produced for Super Mario Infinity, tailoring his writing to produce a story that he believed was simple enough not to interfere with the other creative processes of the Production, but interesting and humorous enough to improve the overall experience. He was given the level "Mario's House" to design as a result of producing the opening cutscene featuring the house as well. The hack was released with most of Reading's work intact, with the exception of a few small tweaks to the design of the levels.

Reading continued to work on Mario: Perfect Catastrophe during the summer, but his pace became increasingly sluggish. Reading's personal life continued to develop during this period, and so did his plans for the hack, producing a sort of negative feedback mechanism; he wanted to make Perfect Catastrophe his last and greatest contribution to SMW Central, which led him to aim for a wider audience of casual and non-gamers unaffiliated with ROM hacking, which pulled him more into his social life and weakened his connection to SMW Central. Finally, at the end of August, he decided that his plans for Perfect Catastrophe had exceeded the capabilities of a ROM hack released on SMW Central, and quietly canceled the hack, making no announcement of its cancellation except to a few of his friends. Although he now was not working on any projects related to the website and felt increasingly disconnected from the community, Reading remained active on SMW Central for a time, mainly in anticipation of the release of An SMWC Production. In November of 2010, however, he decided to stop visiting the site, and remained inactive until the end of the year.

Upon the release of An SMWC Production, Reading briefly made a return to SMW Central to congratulate the community on its first collaborative hack and thank all of the staff members for working hard to maintain the website that had indirectly resulted in many of his best friendships. This was the first and only time that Reading "officially" confirmed that he had left the community. Reading considers a return extremely unlikely, but does not fully rule out the possibility in light of his past attempts to leave SMW Central.

Hacks

Reading is best known on SMW Central for the Super Mario Infinity series, and announced three other hacks during his time at SMW Central; of these, none were finished and one was never released in any form.

Super Mario Infinity: Mystery of the Magic Wand

Main article: Super Mario Infinity: Mystery of the Magic Wand

Super Mario Infinity was Reading's first released hack, uploaded to SMW Central on August 4, 2006. The story focuses on Mario and Luigi receiving a strange letter inviting them to an island archipelago called Sea Spot, where they discover a conspiracy Bowser has set in motion under the peaceful exterior. It is a traditional platformer similar in gameplay and structure to the original Super Mario World, although it makes use of popular innovations such as custom blocks and sprites. This hack features 92 levels and 114 exits. Most of the levels are much longer than traditional Super Mario World levels.

Super Mario Infinity 2: The Cursed Gem

Main article: Super Mario Infinity 2: The Cursed Gem

The second and final hack in the Super Mario Infinity series, released on August 25, 2007, continues directly from the end of the first, following Mario and Luigi as they enter a world inside an artifact called the Cursed Gem, seeking out a time bomb supposedly able to destroy the world. It is much like the first in the series, featuring similarly-designed levels, graphics, and overworld structure, although the levels are much more difficult than in the previous installment. Super Mario Infinity 2 contains 93 levels and 114 exits.

The Super Mario Infinity series as a whole is one of the more popular works on SMW Central, recognized for its story, length, and difficulty, and has attracted a few popular Let's Players such as Raocow.

Reading and the Spy Invasion

Main article: Reading and the Spy Invasion

Reading and the Spy Invasion was to be a unique hack starring Reading's character, following Reading as he joined an ancient syndicate, the Prophecy Templar, against the evil Access De-Spied to rescue his co-workers, the Creatos Avengos, and discover Access De-Spied's plans to destroy Mario and the legendary Scepter he had obtained. The hack was to feature a very different style than his previous works, entailing a new graphical style, puzzle-based levels, new gameplay elements including an always-usable "tail spin" similar to Super Mario World's cape spin, and an improved version of the cutscene mechanism used in Super Mario Infinity 2. Reading had completed a total of 26 levels and 38 exits when the Test Release was unveiled on August 6, 2009.

World

Main article: World

A water and spike puzzle in World's "Cave Mesa 3".
World was a hack jointly produced by Reading and TLMB, involving Mario being stranded on a remote island after an attack on his ship at sea, meeting a hostile reception at the hands of the natives, and discovering a so-called "World Catastrophe". The basic gameplay and concept were similar to the original Super Mario World, although the overworld and some levels were much less linear. This hack, along with Reading and the Spy Invasion, eventually became Mario: Perfect Catastrophe. Reading handed the original World to TLMB, its original author, once the pair decided to separate their projects. A thread for the hack was created by TLMB at SMW Central's Fall C3, along with the submission of a 3-world demo, but the demo is no longer available.

Mario: Perfect Catastrophe

Main article: Mario: Perfect Catastrophe

A screenshot from Mario: Perfect Catastrophe, showing Wakasha giving Mario advice in a jungle level.
Reading announced what was to be his fifth and final hack during SMW Central's fourth C3. Mario: Perfect Catastrophe followed Mario and his new companion, Wakasha, as they journeyed across a surreal island Bowser had taken over to rescue Luigi and discover the truths behind a mysterious note Mario had found, a strange emotional aura surrounding the island, and a rumor that a so-called Perfect Catastrophe would destroy the world. Perfect Catastrophe was to have a general style similar to that of the Spy Invasion, including a similar graphic style, nonlinear levels featuring puzzles and gimmicks, and the use of nonlinear "Areas" rather than traditional Super Mario Bros. Worlds. In his announcement of the hack, Reading stated that the game was being designed from an "outside perspective"; rather than ROM Hackers in mind as a target audience, Perfect Catastrophe would be made more accessible and aimed at casual gamers, without regard to the standards and opinions of SMW Central and other gaming niches. Some time into development, Reading decided that completing it as a SMW hack would be impossible, and quietly canceled the project. A demo of Perfect Catastrophe was never released.
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