A JavaScript project that generates all the Earthbound/Mother 2 backgrounds.
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Earthbound Battle Backgrounds JS

Earthbound Battle Background JS is exactly what its name implies: the battle backgrounds from the SNES RPG Earthbound/Mother 2, rendered entirely in client-side JavaScript.

If you like this project, you might also like the Earthbound Battle Backgrounds Live Wallpaper, which is a Java/Android implementation.

How it works

Every battle background is composed of two layers, each with 327 possible styles (including "blank"/zero). The layer styles can be interchanged, such that Layer 1: 50 and Layer 2: 300 is the same as Layer 1: 300 and Layer 2: 50. Thus, there are C(n,r) = 52,650 possible different background combinations. Obviously, this many don't exist in the game--the SNES's graphical capabilities only allow it to properly render 3,176 of these combinations, and of those, only 225 are ever used.

The data for each of the 327 styles is bundled within the SNES cartridge. Tiles are constructed from various memory addresses in Earthbound game data. To create the distortion effect, the following function is used:

Offset (y, t) = A sin ( F*y + S*t )


  • y is the vertical coordinate being transformed
  • t is time that's elapsed
  • A is the amplitude
  • F is the frequency
  • S is the speed or frameskip of the transformation

Offest refers to the y direction of the shift at a given time t.

There are also three types of distortions that use the result of the Offset function:

  • Horizontal translations, where each line is shifted left by the given number of pixels
  • Horizontal interlaced translations, where every other line is shifted right by the given number of pixels
  • Vertical compression translations, where each line is shifted up or down by the given number of pixels

Different backgrounds use different distortion effects.

List of backgrounds

For a list of every possible background, visit this link.

It's pretty damn hard to find out which battle backgrounds correspond to which enemies. You can review the list of enemies matched with known battle backgrounds to try and get your favorite on the Suggested Layers option. If you discover a new one, please, email me and I'll add it to the list, giving you full credit!

Running locally

Make sure you have Node.js and NPM on your system. Then:

npm install
npm run watch
npm start
open http://localhost:8888

Note that this code runs entirely in the browser! Node is only used to start an Express server.


This app is in no way endorsed or affiliated by Nintendo, Ape, HAL Laboratory, Shigesato Itoi, etc. It's licensed under MIT.


I am entirely indebted to Mr. Accident of forum.starmen.net for the original battle background generation code, which was a C# project that uses the battle backgrounds as Windows screensavers. He also provided me with help along the way, and as far as I'm aware, he discovered the math behind it all, including the entire Offset function calculation. This port would be nothing without him.

In 2016, @kdex rewrote much of my shitty JS into nice and clean ES2016 code, for which I am grateful. As of dc877f33, the entirety of his modifications have been brought over here.

Additionally, everyone who worked on PK Hack or was even associated with the project. It's incredible to witness such a powerful community of fans who have turned a wonderful game inside-out over and over again.