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Your Design Tips Thread

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Can I get this moved to Basic Hacking? Forgot, wrong forum...

This thread is for people to post general level design tips as a tutorial for new hackers. I know there is tip of the day, but this thread will focus only on design for those who haven't quite figured it out. If you have your own tip, feel free to list some or a screenshot if you want. If you disagree with one of mine, pm me and I will consider editing. THIS TUTORIAL ASSUMES YOU AT LEAST KNOW WHAT PROGRAM AND FILES YOU USE TO HACK. For that info, go to the site faq.

1. Aim to create not just a mario hack, but a mario game. If you only attempt to edit the original rather than create something new, you won't achieve anything fun.

2. ctrl+del everything before you start. Believe it or not, most of us can recognize a Yoshi Island 1 remake at first sight. It shows what little effort you put in.

3. Glitches aren't cool in any form. If you need to use a sprite, change the sprite settings (poison mushroom) until you find one with the proper graphics. Sometimes two sprites just can't work together; put it in a pipe area or something if necessary.

4. To change level colors at the most basic level, click the pallette button (rainbow star) and change the settings at the right side. DOn't change the left side unless you've turned on "Enable custom pallette". Make sure that the colors aren't eye-burning either.

---Now for real design tips...---

5. Give most levels a theme, but don't overdo it.

6. 1-ups are one per level. 3-ups are one per world, usually impossible the first time.

7. Put a midway point after the first major challenge of a level. Click the second door button and choose the screen the tape is on.

8. Remember to put variation in the land by changing the height, adding hill, or adding gaps. Keep it consistant though. If you have a hilly level, keep it that way throughout.

9. There is a sprite limit per screen. Keep this in mind when using sprite platforms or goal points.

10. Any level should be beatable the first time in the sense that players don't need to guess where to go and die if they choose the wrong way. This doesn't mean it should be easy however.

11. Make alternate pathes, but give each path an advantage the other doesn't have.

12. Keep capes rare, or make your levels cape-unfriendly. There are upside down ground tiles in the direct map 16 section of the object selecter if necessary.

13. Have a few coins and coin blocks per level. It may seem boring and unrewarding to have a few, but the player will appreciate the extra lives they earn over time.

14. Being swamped with enemies is annoying. It is better to have a few well placed enemies that make a level difficult to run through quickly.

15. If you play no other hack, at least play SMW: Return to Dinosaur Land. This hack has and will always have the best design I've ever seen in my opinion. Learn from it, and let it give you an idea of what to achieve.

16. Always save a little bit of your ideas for another level. Don't throw everything into the first level and leave nothing for the second one. Give the player a reason to keep playing!

17. Don't make all your levels linear. Make it so players are required to stop and think, like they need to take a different path to hit a vine block to make a path accessible above.

18. Make every level unique. A player should be able to recognize each level as a seperate one.

Some of these tips are more obvious than others. If you feel something should be added, pm me or just post your tips. See ya!
This is technically, the Tip Of the Day thread in the SMW Central Forum. :P
I know many of the tips are from there, but here you can put what you know about design and let newbies get an idea of good design. Also, tip of the day hasn't been updated in forever.
Originally posted by Onthenet
17. Don't make all your levels linear. Make it so players are required to stop and think, like they need to take a different path to hit a vine block to make a path accessible above.

ZOMG! You stole this from my hack vid! :O

Edit: Beaten. The Tip of the Day thread has been updated. -_-

From my SMB3 LL hack. That block is a vine block. I already said some of these are obvious to the more experienced... Its just a coincidence you thought the same.
I'm gonna have to call "This is too similar to the Tip of the every-time-you-refresh-SMWC". Sorry :/
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