**NOTE: As of Aug. 4th, all level designers are expected to produce weekly progress updates. If they do not, their level will be dropped.**|
The deadline for ALL levels (including the ones from September/October) will be midnight on November 7th.
Hi. I'm going to try to cover every single thing you'll need to know for claiming and designing a level for SMWCP2 in this thread. Please read it all, or else it is likely your level will not be accepted.
**NOTE: It is HIGHLY advised that you browse the planning forum to get some ideas of where we are going with this hack. If you do not do so and make a totally unfitting level, we reserve the right to reject it. To avoid these conflicts, make sure you have some background information on this hack!**
Claiming a level *PLEASE NOTE: Level sign-ups have ended. However, if a level manages to open up, these rules will still apply*.
Level signups will begin on Saturday, April 2nd at 12:00 PM (noon) EST. There will be a countdown on the top of the site. As soon as the timer hits zero, this forum will open up to the public for posting. At that point, it is up to you to find the level you wish to claim, and post in that thread. Once you post in the thread, that level is your responsibility. I don't care what you write - it could be the word "Claim", or "My ear just fell off." You post in a thread, you design the level. Because of this, there should be a max of ONE post per thread. Any subsequent posts will be deleted.
So you've got your level and you're ready to begin. Once you've got your main level, any additional things needed for it will have to be claimed in the appropriate threads. Each stickied thread has specific guidelines for how to claim stuff, so use them appropriately.
Most of the level threads will contain a "Recommended Graphics" spot in it. These are the graphics people have hand-drawn for this project, and we highly recommend that you use them. If you do not wish to use the ones listed in the thread, request some from the graphical artists on the scene, and they will provide you with a set. Because we want consistency, do NOT begin designing your level until you show either myself or FirePhoenix which graphics you want to use (either the ones you drew for yourself, or the ones the artists drew for you). Otherwise, we reserve the right to remove you from your level.
*A Note for Graphical Designers:
If you are drawing tilesets for this hack, please follow the following palette guidelines:
-Backgrounds should use palettes 0 and 1. Since we are using a custom sprite status bar in this hack, the old status bar colors can be overwritten with no fear.
-Foregrounds should use palettes 2 and 3. If you're making tiles that fit the original game's Map16, they are still using palette 2. If you're making a supplementary gfx file, I recommend using palette 3.
-Palette 4 can be used by both the foregrounds and background as an "extra" palette row in case your FG/BG needs a little more color.
-If elements of your set fit the global palettes located on rows 5, 6, and 7, feel free to use them, there is no restriction on this.
Hopefully this will help organize our palette row and map16 usage. Thank you for following this format.
All of the level threads will include music options available to you. These are simply recommendations though - you may use anything from this pool of compositions available for the hack (ID numbers are given so you can place them in-game), OR you may compose your own track for your level. You may not use music from other games. Sorry - it's a harsh guideline, but the end result will be much more unique and of higher quality.
You are free to use any sort of sprites/blocks/ASM that you feel will enhance your level, but do NOT solely rely on this. Good level design is the number one priority, and if you think you can design a good level without any sort of extra stuff, do so. Only claim ASM-related things if you think you can do something nice enough with them.
The "Must Haves" and "Must Avoids" when designing your levels
1. Include a midpoint
Every single level, no matter how short, must have a midpoint. Place it well - don't place it too close to the end or too close to the beginning. The Multiple Midway patch is also applied to the ROM if you feel it is necessary to use two in your level. All castle levels must have a midpoint in the middle, and a midpoint before the boss.
2. Include THREE (3) SMWC coins in your level
Every single level claimed MUST have three of these coins strategically placed. These are the collectible items of this hack. They should not be EXTREMELY hidden, but they should still be a little out of the way. If you have a world 1 level, they should be extremely easy to find, but if you have, say, a world 7 level, they should be quite a bit harder. Nonetheless, do NOT put them in overly ridiculous locations. Follow the instructions below to insert them:
1. Enable object editing mode.
2. Press Insert.
3. In the "Size/Type/Ext" box, type 98 for the first coin, 99 for the second coin, and 9A for the third coin. Leave everything else blank.
4. Press OK.
They'll look glitchy in Lunar Magic, but they'll work fine in-game.
3. Do NOT make stupidly long levels!
I cannot stress this enough. At least 30% of the levels in SMWCP dragged on for way too long. Yes, we all realize that this is your chance to show off your skills, but seriously, don't overdo it. If it takes you more than four or five minutes to beat your own level, then it's too long.
4. Judge the difficulty accordingly!
If you have a world 3 level, make it at a typical world 3 difficulty level (a bit below the average "medium" difficulty). If you have a world 8 level, make it challenging but fair. There should be a linear difficulty curve, not a sawtooth wave. If your level is too hard or too easy, we reserve the right to ask you to fix it.
5. Avoid "item babysitting"
Another big issue in SMWCP. It is NOT fun hauling P-Switches/springboards around levels. That is not saying you should avoid them completely, but don't make a so-called "puzzle" that requires just dragging them around. If you really want to design a puzzle, use some creativity!
Talk to other people working on the same world as you! Do it via PMs, on IRC, I don't care. This is a team hack - even though each person has their own level, you're encouraged to offer ideas to each other, and even find ways to link your levels together! Good communication can separate a "good" hack from an "outstanding" hack.
When you have completed your level:
When your level has been completed, the first thing you'll want to do is post it in the Level Testing thread for some public feedback, and alter your level accordingly. Once everything seems to be alright there, forward the IPS to S.N.N. for clearing and insertion into the base ROM.
When sending a level, please include the following:
-The .mwl file.
-The Map16 pages (FG and BG, if you used graphics that weren't in the ROM)
-The ExGFX files (if you used graphics that weren't in the ROM)
-Any ASM code that you added in (sprites, blocks, whatever)
-Anything else that I may need (message box text, etc).
Please send me a private message if you have any questions about anything related to this project. I would be more than happy to answer.
(WYEdit: fixed an unmatched pair of parentheses, just in case you're wondering why I edited the thread.)