Modder MrL314 has managed to restore an official track editor that was used by Nintendo developers for 1991’s Super Mario Kart. They came across references of a track editor in the code of the Super Mario Kart 1991 prototype which was made public as part of the Nintendo Gigaleak.
As pointed out by VGC, Super Famicom DOS was the in-house operating system that Nintendo devs used for development on the SNES. It basically allowed them to input data directly into the console, as well as use peripherals like a keyboard and external floppy disk.
MrL314 reportedly restored the SFX-DOS functionality and performed a custom repair job to fill in the features that weren’t released via the leak. The modder has documented a lot of the debugging mode data and published it on a TCRF page.
“There are a few level editors in the game itself,” the modder told VGC. “The one I showed [on Twitter] was for laying down overlay tiles like item panels, speed boost arrows, walls, and in later instalments oil, coins, and jump bars. There are two other editors though: one of them is designed for the AI control checkpoint data, and the other is for placing down those “3D” objects like Pipes, Monty Moles, Cheep Cheep, etc.”
The modder noted that the editor does come with some limitations. For instance, the track cannot be directly edited itself, the blocks and boosts that can be placed would have to be those that fit into the designated level. These editing tools enabled the devs to directly make changes onto the console. They could then be tested out by saving the data to the cartridge’s SRAM chip.
However, accessing data from SRAM chips is not an easy task due to the fact that they’re battery powered. SFX-DOS makes that process more manageable. “It basically turned the SNES into a personal computer, and allowed it to interface with things like a keyboard, an RS232C port, a parallel port, a printer, and a Floppy Disk controller,” said the modder.
MrL314 has also told the website that they will be releasing the 1991 prototype publicly once they’re done repairing it.
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