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Thoughts on 'Item Babysitting'
Forum Index - SMW Hacking - SMW Hacking Discussion - Thoughts on 'Item Babysitting'
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That one tip about item 'babysitting' always doesn't go well with me. Personally, I think if item 'babysitting' is used properly it can make for a good level.

What are your thoughts?
It depends what tricks are thrown to my face. Babysitting some p-switch for 3 screens in a normal romp will annoy me much different than 15 screens full of spin-jumping, climbing and dodging projectiles.

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Keep in mind the only reason it's so frowned upon is because of how much it was used back in the day back when they were considered "good puzzles". This trend ended when SMWCP released and everyone realized that, no, an entire hack where the majority of the levels are basically you carrying stuff from one side to the other isn't fun or engaging.

It can be done well, but if you want an example on how not to do it, that hack demonstrates it hilariously well. As long as you take notes, I'm sure it can in an interesting way.

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Originally posted by Daizo Dee Von
Keep in mind the only reason it's so frowned upon is because of how much it was used back in the day back when they were considered "good puzzles". This trend ended when SMWCP released and everyone realized that, no, an entire hack where the majority of the levels are basically you carrying stuff from one side to the other isn't fun or engaging.

It can be done well, but if you want an example on how not to do it, that hack demonstrates it hilariously well. As long as you take notes, I'm sure it can in an interesting way.


^^^^ This.

The P-Switch/Key/Springboard hunts that were a thing before SMWCP1 and in that hack aren't a thing I want to see returning again. A lot of it is just artificially padding out the level that makes it a chore to play because its the only main gimmick the level is going for.

If its like, 0-3 screens for the Switch/Spring/Key to use with minimal to no backtracking involved after finding it, then its fine but again, see the criticisms people have with that style of level design.

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Maybe if the level is focused entirely on the gimmick of carrying one item from the beginning to the end, it can work with minimal obstacles or easy to navigate ones; the gameplay should come from utilizing the item you're babysitting, not from whatever is around it.

It'd work well for a bonus level or a switch palace, but not for an actual obstacle course Mario Maker styled level.
It can be okay sometimes if the intention is clear and it doesn't require too much backtracking if you mess up. It probably shouldn't be required for progression outside of a puzzle-based level, certainly not without a way to reset.

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I don't mind it if carrying an item from one way to another adds up either an extra challenge to the level, or changes up the layout enough that you don't have to go through the same gameplay with minimal variety. Old hacks had a tendency to force players to carry items through the entire level, arbitrarily dragging the playtime without adding anything that would make the level feel any different than doing it normally.
I don't mind it when there is a clear goal, it's not easy to lose the item by accident, and it doesn't happen so long, or so frequently, that it wears out its welcome.

The ability to carry items can be utilized to make an interesting level.
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It's a perfectly fine concept, but easily done badly. Older hacks had some pretty egregious examples of how bad this gets (SMWCP was already mentioned, which is a damn good example of boring and/or unfun level design overall, especially regarding the topic at hand).
I think even backtracking can be fine, really, the level just needs to be built reasonably around this and have it be more than length-padding. Making sure the player knows where to go is essential. Receiving a P-switch, for example without any knowledge of where to bring it is infuriating for many reasons. Babysitting koopa shells can be enraging simply because of how many enemies you can bonk with it and loose it.

In short, I think it's a good tool to make non-linear level designs but the intent of what to do/where to bring the item should be clear if its required for progression.
i hate it cause i don't get paid for taking care of the p switch. i got it to bed on time and with no issue and you're still not gonna pay me? this is highway robbery

Jokes aside, apart from all the usual reasons, being that it's not very creative, engaging, or fun, I think the big reason is that it's kinda limiting and very easy to go wrong.

Mario has a few abilities that're straight up not usable when carrying an item, meaning he has to use maneuvers just to do certain things. He can't spinjump unless he kicks the item upwards and then grabs it in the air while he's doing the motion. He can't climb walls or vines without doing a similar thing here. He can't spin with the cape, and he can't shoot fireballs with the Fire Flower due to holding the item having the same button as those actions.

While Yoshi can hold those items too, Yoshi will also eat them after a matter of time, which at best is incredibly annoying to keep track of and manage (he's about to swallow that key, spit it out on safe ground, lick it again, rinse and repeat until you reach the keyhole/correct p-switch position), and at worst can pretty much guarantee that you need to die and restart.

These are normally pretty annoying on their own, but they're negligable. They don't become genuine problems until you actually have to start carrying them throughout an entire level. It's got similar problems to escort missions, which, again, can be done well, but it all comes down to execution (and for escort missions how reliable A.I. is, which is kind of a crapshoot).

Of course I'm a FILTHY CASUAL who hasn't played a bunch of Mario World ROM hacks, so I'm probably not as experienced to give a surefire answer (since I can't say I've played a lot of levels that have item baby sitting, and if I have, I probably forgot about them lol), but that's just how I see it.

Also while writing this post I literally got the tip at the top saying "avoid using item babysitting", which really says it all, huh?

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Originally posted by TruffledToad
He can't spin with the cape, and he can't shoot fireballs with the Fire Flower due to holding the item having the same button as those actions.

you can tap x while still holding y to do both of those things while holding an item. granted, if you're holding a shell, doing a fireball will destroy it, but item babysitting missions weren't usually done with shells to my knowledge
Originally posted by meatloaf
It's a perfectly fine concept, but easily done badly. Older hacks had some pretty egregious examples of how bad this gets (SMWCP was already mentioned, which is a damn good example of boring and/or unfun level design overall, especially regarding the topic at hand).
I think even backtracking can be fine, really, the level just needs to be built reasonably around this and have it be more than length-padding. Making sure the player knows where to go is essential. Receiving a P-switch, for example without any knowledge of where to bring it is infuriating for many reasons. Babysitting koopa shells can be enraging simply because of how many enemies you can bonk with it and loose it.

In short, I think it's a good tool to make non-linear level designs but the intent of what to do/where to bring the item should be clear if its required for progression.



agree
to me, item babysitting isn't really fun unless its done right. a smwcp is a good hack but all the item babysittings was a major flaw to me. maybe it can work in puzzle hacks where the purpose is to solve puzzles, but item babysitting in general is just not fun in my opinion.

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personally i think its great for the items to be receiving such nice babysitting. their parents would be proud knowing how well taken care of they are
Originally posted by idol
personally i think its great for the items to be receiving such nice babysitting. their parents would be proud knowing how well taken care of they are


agreed lol

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Bandcamp
Akin to water levels, autoscrollers and the like, item babysitting is not a problematic design choice in concept but may become problematic if the structure of the enviornment it is found in permits it to become so. I feel that item babysitting can be difficult to execute correctly, and the abundance of failed attempts has earned the idea its negative reputation. Item babysitting can be incredibly frustrating and can be used as filler/padding techniques, but it can also become the focal point of a fun level.

World 4 of Yoshi's Strange Quest (titled "Key Island") features five levels that all focus on item babysitting, and while some are better than others, each of them is fun to play through. These levels require players to bring a key to the end of each, and the levels Key Cliffs (4-1), Key Cavern (4-3) and Key Plains (4-4) are especially well-designed (at least in my opinion). I would consider them exemplars of quality item babysitting levels.
I mean, it CAN be tedious unless the stuff you throw isn't too bad.
I did this, and I only put koopas, platforms, and bullet bills. But I add water at the bottom so you don't die when you fall. THAT might be fair.

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Originally posted by M A R I O
And your flaming has gotten on the last nerve of people.

Good day.


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Forum Index - SMW Hacking - SMW Hacking Discussion - Thoughts on 'Item Babysitting'

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