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"Adventure in Gemstone Islands" Full Release - Public Playtesting
Forum Index - SMW Hacking - Works in Progress - Hack Testing - "Adventure in Gemstone Islands" Full Release - Public Playtesting
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Length: 69 exits
Difficulty: Standard - Hard
Tags: traditional, less exgfx, music, asm

It's finally here! The most anticipated ROM hack of 2011! Help Mario jump over Koopas and stuff! Oh, and save Princess Peach again, too.



First off, thank you so much in advance for lending me a hand with this. I'm mostly looking for second opinions: any bug report, feedback or criticism you may have on level design or difficulty (or just about anything, really) will be welcomed here.
I will include those who provided meaningful feedback in the credits as thanks.

What's new in version 0.999:
- an actual credits sequence, wow!
- Cheepocalypse has been revised and improved, now spanning up to 0x1F screens!
- a new level has been added to world 1
- mid-world fortresses have been re-introduced to worlds 5 through 7 (end world fortresses are now towers like in vanilla SMW)
- ghost houses have proper names now
- lots of minor adjustments and error fixes

Download patch v0.999 here. Testing is over, thanks!
I Well help you test it #smw{:TUP:}
Adventure in Gemstone Islands v0.99 by Burst Man

Pregame:

That's a neat Nintendo Presents screen, I like the design of it.

The title screen is pretty basic, only grudge about it is the very light hills in the background could be better off with a lower saturation, as well as the water.

Story, like every Mario game, Save the Princess!

Mario looks neat, the Hud is cool looking and the graphics so far look promising.

Overworld of World 1:

Looks very nice! Reminds me of the Beta SMW World Map.

Amber Island:

Standard 1-1 Level, fairly easy in difficulty with a bunch of enemies to take out. The koopas to me don't fit much but it maybe just a me thing.
Big Coins (Yoshi Coins) Aren't difficult to find.

Rocky Cave:

Again, a standard level, this time cave themed! Fairly simple in design.
Big Coins aren't hard to find.

Sunshine Hills:

Chucks! We get introduced to Chargin' Chucks in this level and they're fairly easy to avoid.
Big Coins aren't hard to find, yet again.

Amber Coast:

Autoscrolling athletic level! A nice deviate from the normal levels so far, this one is very fun to play.
Big Coins are super easy to find, just grab them and don't die :)

Amber Fortress:

Classic castle level! with firebars and dry bones.
The second section is neat with the rising lava, it posses a very fun challenge to try and avoid the fireballs while trying to not die from the rising lava.
The first boss is... Morton? A weird choice to have Morton as the first boss but he's pretty simple to defeat.

And with that, the first world is done! It's quite a trip, with a bunch of things to show off.
So far the levels were fairly linear, with no big branching paths or secrets to be found.

Overworld of World 2 (Main Map):

Wow! This is gorgeous! A great main map. Although I can spot some perspective issues, as well as some small palette inconsistencies.
The first one is here, where the land meets the ocean.

Look at the chocolate looking platform at the top then the coast at the bottom. While at the top it's fairly flat, the bottom is extended outward from the island, creating a perspective issue.
The second perspective issue as well as a palette inconsistency is here.

Again, Look at the grass platform at the top and the coast at the, while the grass is flat on the first tile from the curve, the coast is curved on tile after the first flat one outward, creating a perspective issue, 3 times to be exact.
With that there are some palette inconsistencies here, with most of them having a blue-ish coast while the weird curves have a green-ish coast.
I won't bore you with more details, but I will point out more examples of such problems.
Palette inconsistency.

Perspective issue + Palette inconsistency.

Palette inconsistency.

Perspective issue.

Also by this point I noticed the point counter at the bottom right corner.
Since the player never gets points, this counter is useless.

With that out of the way, we can finally move onto the first World 2 level...

Monty Island:

Quite overwhelming level with a bunch of Monty Moles and Chargin' Chucks. It's quite difficult if you don't know how to avoid them safely.
No Big Coins here (quite a relief).

Topaz Island:

In this subarea, Mario enters out of thin air.

Try moving the downward exit into the pipe so Mario has an accurate exit animation.

When you press the P-Switch, the bottom blocks turn blue while the top blocks stay like regular blocks while being collectable as coins.


Oooh! A desert level! I was surprised to see no Pokeys here but it's fine.
The difficulty starts picking up since we get introduced to Chain Chomps!
Secret exit was a little difficult to find but it wasn't anything to cry about. It's just very well hidden.

Yellow Switch Palace:

The same issue happens here with the P-Switch and the blocks.


Other than that issue the Switch Palace is standard.

Topaz Sand Pits:

Carried a shell in this pipe, this Buzzy Beetle has a weird palette here.


Huge cutoff here.


I really like the dripping sand from the top of the cave, as well as the bone decorations sprinkled across the stage. It makes the level stand out from the rest.
As for the difficulty it's okay, not that hard but not so easy.
Big Coins again, aren't difficult to find if you're looking for them.

Haunted House:

The gimmick here is executed in a very unique way.
The second room has you climbing across moving platforms which are hard to land on, at least you're gonna be attempting this about 2-4 times and at worst 6-8 times.
It takes time to get used to this gimmick but it's not particularly infuriating.
No Big Coins here! Just finish the level.

Pokey Plateau:

Pokeys in the desert! Just what I wanted! but I do not like their design at all, they look like they have a disease! I'd say, stick to the original design.
Otherwise the level was fun, maybe a bit undecorated, could use some cactuses or something.

Topaz Bridge:

Another athletic level! This time, it's not an autoscroller.
It has that perfect Butter Bridge style of platforming and avoiding. Just make sure you move a few of the fuzzies near the last On/Off switch since most of them are a bit harder to dodge even with a powerup.

Topaz Fortress:

Cool fortress! One thing it could benefit from is a checkpoint before the Boss Door but other than that the castle is perfect!
The Boss is... IGGY! The old switchero between Iggy and Morton. Iggy has a correct haircut and is a little more blue which is nice.
It's harder than the first castle but not that difficult, fitting amazingly into World 2.

World 2 was amazing! Maybe a few hiccups here and there but it was a very fun experience playing through it.

Forest Outskirts:

Weird thing about this stage is the lack of the "Yoshi Coins collected" symbol at the top right on the Overworld, while the level has Big Coins (Yoshi Coins).
Fairly short, can be mostly skipped with a single subarea.

Overworld for World 3:

Very basic, nothing much to talk about. The absence of the faces from the small trees and the big trees is slightly creepy.

Emerald Forest:

Forest level, reminisant of the Forest of Illusion from the original game.
Good use of the rising pipes and good setups with the bubble enemies makes this level one of the best designed wise.

Turnip Canopy:

After replaying the level countless amount of times i was only able to find 4 Big Coins, maybe you just hid one very well or you missed a single one.
Otherwise the level was of fair difficulty, it has an athletic direction and is very well made.

Haunted House (again?):

I understand that not every level needs a well crafted name, but come on. At least name it something like Haunted House #2. This way it's a little confusing.
The puzzle is okay I guess, just go in some doors, go right, find a hole, get a cape, fight a boss.

Spiny Woods:

Decent, has the Forest of Illusion vibe again. The secret subarea is a little slow.
Not very difficult.

Blue Switch Palace:

Yellow Blocks, from a Blue Switch Palace.

Sunken Ghost Ship type of level, I never liked Sunken Ghost Ship so I cannot accurately comment on this level.
It's a little better than Sunken Ghost Ship because you're given the option to carry a P-Switch to speed up the process, but you're easier to get hit.

The Deep Forest:

Outrageous! The level it's based on, + Yoshi's Island 1. It's okay, we're starting to get a little difficult, I like that.
Dark, gloomy, but I do not like the track used here very much.

Emerald Fortress:

Interesting use of the Thwomps, I liked the section with the Tower Tops a lot as well, It's quite unique.
Lemmy as the boss, nothing to comment.

World 3 is really picking up with the difficulty, but we're not done yet!

Ruby Lake:

A rather long level with a bunch of platforming challenges.
While I'm seeing red color, I'm not seeing much of the lake.

Featherwind Pass:

Cape flight level! Interesting direction for a level, very fun and quite challenging.
I really like the colors of the levels so far, they look neat.

Haunted House (Seriously?! Again!?):

This one is a doozy... Layer 3 mechanic is used a lot in here, and in a quite unique way.
The level is quite fun to play, sadly it has the same name as all the other so it's harder to distinguish it.

Boss Bass Bridge:

Just what the name says, Boss Bass near the bridge! Quite a fun level, feels just like that SMB3 level with such sprite.
Not that difficult if you figure out Boss Bass' pattern.

Mole Country:

Well, there are a lot of Moles here!
Again, I really love the color scheme of this world, it's really neat.

Ruby Mountain:

Athletic mountain level! By far my favorite level.

Post Note: Most of the previous levels I played I got only 4 out of 5 Big Coins, be sure to check the levels before this one for Big Coins.
(There is also a chance I didn't look hard enough but you don't lose anything for looking)

Ruby Fortress:

You can feel the difficulty ramping up here, It's really a great castle that utilizes the net in a unique way.
Ludwig Von Koopa! Not a very hard opponent.

World 4 is really charming in a way, feels like Chocolate island from the original game.
It just has something nice about it.

From this point forward, I'll only point out what problems or benefits each level has (since this is getting a little long even for someone like me)
Levels that don't have anything special will be ommited.

Haunted House (This is really stupid at this point):

This is the fourth level with the same name, come on.

Green Switch Palace:

Just like the Blue Switch Palace, this one shoots out yellow blocks.


World 5 wasn't anything that special, just a neat cave world.

Haunted House (bruh...):

Fifth level with the same name.

Pipe Jungle:

Oh boy was this level a nightmare to find the secret exit in. Everything is a pipe and i checked literally every pipe, until I figured out the secret wasn't even in a pipe...
At least it's very well hidden, good work on that.

World 6 was very neat with it's design, it was aiming for a more tropical experience which is a nice change of pace.

Haunted House (...):

I have no words now...

The Hot Springs:

A very interesting concept for a level! I liked it a lot, but I suggest making the color of the lava a bit darker.

Diamond Fortress:

Only grudge about this is that we fight Ludwig, again...

With World 7 Done, we enter the final World...

Cheepocalypse!:

Yeah, this level singlehandedly catapulted your hack into Standard: Very Hard
It's a really interesting level, shame it's so short.

Bowser's Tower:

Nerf this area, please. Even the firebars had enough of it and started to glitch.

And after a VERY chaotic fight against bowser we get...

NOTHING! Not even the credits... Bruh.

Overall Opinion:

This hack is huge! It has a bunch of interesting levels, designs and graphics.
The music choice is okay, it's fairly nice.
Overworlds are amazing! Great job on those.
Reconsider the difficulty of your hack. I'd say its somewhere about high Standard: Hard or maybe even Standard: Very Hard. (Since as of the time I'm writing this, the difficulty system depends on the hardest level in the hack)

Fix the issues I pointed out, replay the hack yourself, and in about a week or two, you can release the hack.

If I skipped a level you wanted feedback on, feel free to ask about the level. I'll also state why I have omitted the level in the first place.

Good luck with the development! #smrpg{y}

Lots of love, S1Z2 #w{<3}
Nice. Ahem.

Originally posted by Segment1Zone2
Overall Opinion:

This hack is huge! It has a bunch of interesting levels, designs and graphics.
The music choice is okay, it's fairly nice.
Overworlds are amazing! Great job on those.
Reconsider the difficulty of your hack. I'd say its somewhere about high Standard: Hard or maybe even Standard: Very Hard. (Since as of the time I'm writing this, the difficulty system depends on the hardest level in the hack)

Fix the issues I pointed out, replay the hack yourself, and in about a week or two, you can release the hack.


Thanks for your feedback Segment1Zone2! Most everything is being addressed as we speak.

Originally posted by Segment1Zone2
Cheepocalypse!:

Yeah, this level singlehandedly catapulted your hack into Standard: Very Hard
It's a really interesting level, shame it's so short.


I'm singling out Cheepocalypse in particular, given how much work I put into it. Funny that you mention the length, as I actually wanted to make it longer but was also wary of difficulty. I'll wait for more opinions before I decide to extend it though.
Now, it's obvious that this one's more difficult than everything before it, but do you consider the difficulty spike here is way too harsh? If so, would slowing down how often the jumping Cheep Cheeps appear tone it down enough without taking too much of the challenge away, or would it be better to focus on the level's design instead?

Originally posted by Segment1Zone2
Turnip Canopy:
After replaying the level countless amount of times i was only able to find 4 Big Coins, maybe you just hid one very well or you missed a single one.




In retrospect it is sort of a leap of faith, and the """""arrow""""" may not be too helpful. I can change this if it's too unfair.


Originally posted by Mohmad20zx
I Well help you test it #smw{:TUP:}


Thank you Mohmad! Looking forward to what you have to say about it!
Originally posted by Burst Man

I'm singling out Cheepocalypse in particular, given how much work I put into it. Funny that you mention the length, as I actually wanted to make it longer but was also wary of difficulty. I'll wait for more opinions before I decide to extend it though.


I'm all for extending the level. You also might look into a custom generator if you plan to extend it, since it spawns way too many cheep cheeps.

Originally posted by Burst Man

Now, it's obvious that this one's more difficult than everything before it, but do you consider the difficulty spike here is way too harsh? If so, would slowing down how often the jumping Cheep Cheeps appear tone it down enough without taking too much of the challenge away, or would it be better to focus on the level's design instead?


It's mostly said it as a joke statement, but I would consider this level a relatively big difficulty spike. It's not that big of a deal because it's the last level before Bowser's Tower and that level was hard in itself. Like in my last comment, you might want to take a look at a custom generator that spawns cheep cheeps in a respectable amount compered to the vanilla one. I think slowing down cheep cheeps is a bit cheap (if you excuse the pun). I would rather them to not spawn as often, because when the generator starts until it ends, there are like, more than 4 cheep cheeps on the screen, which is a bit disorienting considering the other enemies and platforms you have to jump across/avoid. I think the level design is well suited for this type of chaos, but it's a bit too chaotic for this hack.

So to recap, it's not the levels problem, it's the generators problem. Tone down the generator to spawn a little less cheep cheeps and the level would be perfect.

Originally posted by Burst Man



In retrospect it is sort of a leap of faith, and the """""arrow""""" may not be too helpful. I can change this if it's too unfair.


Yeah, I didn't notice that arrow at all, I thought they were just regular coins lol. Thanks for pointing out the pipe. #smrpg{y}

Lots of love, S1Z2 #w{<3}
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