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Thoughts on... AUTO-SCROLLERS
Forum Index - SMW Hacking - SMW Hacking Discussion - Thoughts on... AUTO-SCROLLERS
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The name speaks for itself.

What are your guys' thoughts on auto-scrolling levels? Do you think they're a nice change of pace from the main game or a monotonous gimmick to slog through?

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Depends on the autoscroller.

Something like Butter Bridge is neat and usually has me on edge despite like, having it basically down to muscle memory. There's plenty in Mario that's boring though, like Iggy's Castle's crusher room. I think it largely comes down to how much you actually have to proactively protect yourself and, well, play the level during the autoscroller.

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I normally don't mind them if they're kept engaging and not just there for the sake of having an auto-scroller. They still need to provide some breathing room, however.

As long as the section is short if the scroll speed is slow, if the way the autoscroll moves changes directions, and if there is adequate checkpointing before and after those sections regardless of scrolling speed and section length, and if the level is designed to keep you on your toes, those would be the good ones.

It is easy to mess up and make the level a chore to play, thats why I hardly use autoscrollers period in my levels.

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The most important point is to give the player enough action (can be a occasionally bit pointless such as interesting ways to collect coins) as it is very easy to end up with a boring level. Naturally, autoscrollers should be short as well, (using SMW as an example, full autoscroller levels in SMW last for 14 screens while non-autoscrollers are generally 18 screens and the smasher rooms are 3 to 5 five screens long). Furthermore, you can spice them up with gimmicks such as Money for Life and Air Meter where the player is running out of time during the autoscroller and has to take some risks to not die. When done well (such as in Cold Cash Crisis last 24hoSMW, IMO one of the best levels in that contest), that level will be an extremely well made autoscroller level.
If I use a type of enemy that doesn't have much chance to attack the player (mainly Bob-ombs and Pipe Lakitus), auto-scrollers make this a bit more challenging, by not allowing the player to speed through the course.


YY-CHR > Photoshop.
I used them a lot for my first hack, even making for half of the rooms. Some of the sprites of the hack were actually designed to work with autoscroll in mind (and I think the autoscroll integrated pretty well in the hack).

Some tips:

-It's a lot easier to use the medium autoscroll in comparison with the others, as it provided a nice rhythm for the player, or at least that's what I found out.

-Using autoscroll makes it easier to "sync" some sprites so that some setups are consistent even if the sprites are not in the same X position. Make sure you take advantage of that.

-As MFG has said, make sure you always provide action to the player. There's nothing more boring that just standing still waiting for the screen to scroll.

I disagree with the fact that there should be a checkpoint after and before the section. It depends on the length and of the hack (although I always add a checkpoint in every section).
I agree with what's been said. I think they're difficult to do well, and most of the time I'd prefer them not to be auto-scrolling, but they can be all right. The most important thing is getting the pacing right so that the player is going around the same speed as the screen rather than having to wait around or rush a lot. Taking the opportunity to use enemies that can normally simply be rushed past is a good idea. It can also be used to force an unconventional path through a level that goes in multiple directions, such as in Butter Bridge 1 or 6-5 in Yoshi's Island. (Though I think the latter is also a good example of how not to do an autoscroller, mainly due to the length and that section right at the end where it's extremely easy to miss red coins and have to start the entire level over.)

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Autoscrollers are kind of like water levels for me, they can be done well but you need to make sure the player has enough going on that they don't stand in place for too long, or else the level will become rather boring for me. I'd say they're probably even harder to make fun than a water level, but that's just based off of my experience, it may be different for everyone.

I do think that if you're making an autoscroller, I'd prefer it to be not very long, as dying may cause a lot of tedious repetition as you can't really speed through a level when the camera is moving automatically.
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