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Improvements, Thoughts, and SMWCP2
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - An SMWC Production - Improvements, Thoughts, and SMWCP2
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So we've reached the end of the road for SMWCP. Some people have already beaten it, which is impressive. From both the people involved in the project and the ones doing the playing of the hack, I wanted some overall input on a few things.

1. I want to know your favorite and least favorite levels in the hack, and why. Don't worry about "offending" anyone - we're all in this together. It isn't a contest, and it'll give everyone a rough idea of what to improve on design-wise (and what was done well).
2. I would also like to hear any general feedback for the hack - good things, bad things, anything you feel will help future installments. Pick every department, really - graphics, sprites, music, etc. Let's find the stuff we did "right", find the stuff we did "wrong", and use those both to our advantage.
3. For the people involved: I'd like to know how I did leading this, and what I could improve on for SMWCP2 (assuming it is me that runs it, which it probably will be). I'd like the next run to go as smoothly as possible, so any tips from the ones involved (or even the the rest of those -not- involved) will be noted and taken into account.

I will start by offering my overall view on the hack, as well as touching on points 1 and 2.

Having led this hack, I got to see it all in development and whatnot. I got a good "study" of the users involved as well, and learned who was truly interested in helping it succeed, and who could care less. It gave me some insight for future projects as well. Overall, I was extremely pleased with the devotion and interest that most people showed, and I am thankful that most people were supportive of my constant .. well .. "naggings", to be blunt. Next time, however, I would like to advise that people are more thorough on their levels. Admittedly, I was lenient on accepting things this time because a) it was our first collab, and b) I figured it would be a simple chore fixing most bugs myself (and with the help of a couple of other people). As you all saw, this caused a three month delay in the hack. Therefore, a big point of improvement - from my perspective - would be having the users who make levels test them more thoroughly.

As for favorite and least favorite levels:

Favorite: Toxic Utilities, LuluBoo's Manor, Sanctuary Fortress. There are actually other levels I liked quite a lot, but these three stood out to me. Not only did they incorporate fun, interesting gimmicks, but they also felt inspired. I can tell the users had fun making these levels, and that they knew exactly what they wanted to do with them.

Least favorite: Unearthly Hollow, Chateau of Storms. And again, it's not really that these two were -bad-, per se. Leod was the author of both Football Canyon and Unearthly Hollow, and I loved the former. I didn't feel that the inspiration was there for UH, and admittedly, having a level loaded with springboard puzzles just wasn't fun to me. As for Chateau of Storms .. again, there were some interesting ideas here, but the level just didn't really do it for me. I know phenolatukas even stated that he knew he could do better, and I believe him. It wasn't really -bad-, but some parts were rather ugly and repetitive.

As a general theme, we should keep in mind that having unique, creative ideas is a good thing, whereas repetitive ideas and puzzles are not.

I've offered my thoughts from the leadership side of things. I am extremely happy with the result of this hack, but nothing is perfect. I'd like to hear the thoughts of the userbase as they play through it.

Thank you again everyone.
1: Currently, I haven't yet beaten the hack, and no level has really stood out to me as particularly good, but there were some I didn't like.

A) Weeaboo manor: Not actually a bad level in it's own right I suppose, but the fact that it had no midpoint was very unfortunate, and in fact is probably the reason it was so freaking difficult. Also, I think it should have been placed further on in the game, since it was a pretty difficult level to do without savestates, and I died 84 times before finally beating it. 84 times on a world 2 ghost house is quite unfortunate, considering I died 4 times on donut ghost house when I was 5. Fortunately I was able to avoid using savestates by going back to big baddy cave and exploiting the silver p-switch to get a ridiculous amount of lives, but if I hadn't done that, I would have had to restart world 2 4 times.

B) Football Canyon: Oi. For starters, the music in the beginning was atrocious to me. I doubt this is actually the music's fault, probably more the fault that SMW's violin sample is just awful. Also, this one again suffered from too high difficulty for it's place in the world. It felt more like a world 5 level than a world 2 level. Finally, getting the secret exit was amazingly tedious to do, especially without savestates since you repeatedly kill that darn chuck and are forced to completely restart the level...

I'll edit this with ones I particularly enjoyed when I find them.

2: Overall I think the biggest problem was people forgetting where their level was (Or not knowing, as was my case, since I thought mine was a world 1 level, but it was actually a world ~7 level since you have to have all the switch palaces to get to it...) and consequently, the level difficulty was wacky all over the place. "As it began" and "Sunny River" both felt good difficulty wise. Easing you into the game similar to how the original did, without being essentially impossible to die. The other 2 levels weren't too bad either, but the castle level was WAY out of place for the first castle, quite possibly due to how difficult the boss was and the fact that you had a pretty difficult level to get through from the midpoint to get back to it, and very limited lives because you couldn't get lives from coins. I can't think of any solution to this though...

3: It's great that you got stuff happening. You gave the creators the kick in the pants they needed to finish the thing and it got finished, that's what's important.
I have not gone far into the hack, but I'll edit this post with Fav & Least Fav levels.

However, one thing stands out: The Difficulty Spikes. Take the first boss for example. You need expert maneuvering to avoid the fireballs. Therefore, this is Kaizo-like on Newer SMW Players.

Also, sometimes the hack leads to dead ends. The secondary level in Level 2, the one with the Shell sliding, would lead to a dead-end with stars. Since you cannot have them in your item box, I see no purpose in the level. Things like this annoy me.

Layout by algorithmshark. Additional help by mockingod.

Linkable Links: Youtube Channel - If any of you want me to do hack videos, I will. I cannot guarantee sound, however.

Shadow of A Hero Progress:

Not doing much.
My favourite levels were the smb3 styled forest level and "oh man, it's hell"...and also the part of p switch peaks with cave story enemies. I rathar disliked unearthly hollow as well,but the house part looked nice. Zephyr manor took my a while because the breakable blocks didn't break until I almost gave up. It was a good hack all around, and if there is a sequel, I'd be happy to participate

If you want to chat some interesting people, check out my new forum at:
Major graphical bug I found in Hydro Hills.

In the cave section, it's possible to take a Buzzy Beetle with you out of the cave, to the area with the goal. Once here, the graphics for the beetle fuck up big time. Since there isn't anything else there, what's keeping you from changing the graphics index to make the beetle not fuck up there? I'm surprised no one noticed that, and as I haven't gotten very far, I wouldn't be surprised if there are similar snafus elsewhere.


Hoping for someone to Let's Play my rom hack, Hell On A Stick. Current version 0.4.3.

Hoping for willing betatesters and/or LPers. PM if interested. (I wanna know where you're uploading your vids if at all, so I can watch the pain.)
1) Having not yet finished the game completely I'm not sure what my favorite level is, but as of now my least favorite would probably be Treacherous Tower. It is full of very small spaces which don't work well so early in the game and pulls a few cheap tricks, such as a blind jump onto a grinder. Maybe it's just me, but I just...didn't like it that much.


Graphics: The only thing that bugged me here was the amount of inconsistency. Quite a few graphics that should have been the same throughout the hack weren't, such as the Info boxes (which change graphics in Football Canyon), the bullet bills (which change in Craggy heights, among others), the coins (which change depending on if they're stationary or moving) and even the thwomps (which change, I believe, in...I can't remember, actually, but they become the old SMW thwomps instead of the new ones in some level). Other than that, though, the graphics are very nice overall.

Music: Overall, good, but some themes are just way too overused; I don't think I ever want to hear Treacherous Tower's music ever again. Similarly, the same song is heard three times (near consecutively) in the desert world, which made it sound a bit bland. Overall very nice, though; most of the other tracks were varied enough to remain interesting.

Sprites: Not too overused or underused, in my opinion; I'm pretty sure you guys hit this dead on.

ASM: Not too much was used, which isn't a bad thing, mind you, but what has been used seems rather...odd. For example, in Sinister Dungeon, Mario's controls randomly switch every few seconds. It adds a fun and interesting gameplay mechanic, yes, but no explanation is given for it. Even something as simple as "It's a curse, look out!" would've sufficed, especially since I died several times trying to figure out what was going on. But I'm going off on a tangent here; ASM was overall good.

Bosses: The bosses were nearly all well designed and fun to fight, but good god were they insanely difficult. The boss of world 1 is harder than all the SMW bosses put together; that alone should tell you something. Just for the record, there's nothing wrong with an easy boss as long as it's in an easy world.

Other: One thing I noticed is this: no offense to the level designers, but some of you guys just didn't know when it was time for your levels to end. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if the levels had multiple midpoints, but with just one, it means that a simple death can result in replaying what could be considered a full original SMW level. Similarly, some designs get rather stale after being stuck with them for who-knows-how-long.

Incidentally, don't think I'm not enjoying the game so far. I'm mostly only pointing out the bad here; the good is pretty much too numerous to mention. #w{=)}

3) I wasn't really here for a good part of this project, so I can't really answer this. But seeing as it did eventually get finished and it's not a horrible glitchy mess, I'd say you did a pretty good job.
I should get a new layout.

Probably won't, though.
I was told about this hack by a friend so I played it today. One problem was that it was crashing on my zsnes 1.43 but it said it might crash so I got the new zsnes (I have the old one for netplay). I am really impressed, especially with the music choices, Aquatic Ambiance on the one water level was awesome. That song always rules for water levels.

The first castle was a maze but it was all well-thought out and I liked it, especially the boss-fight. I found a level I got stuck on in world 2 I think it is but I'll try and find a way out tomorrow, I'm not finished yet but I'm really impressed.

Being new here, I don't know the standard but I've played several hacks and this is quite good. Custom graphics suit well I'd say and I can't pick out a favourite level. I'll definitely let you know more as I play.


Super Mario X-Treme Demo:
Just finished playing it a few minutes ago, and I must say that it was well worth the wait. I really do love these conglomeration hacks, and SMWCP turned out to be no exception to this.

1. I couldn't really say at this point, after I re-play it a few times I'll likely edit it in. Otherwise, look below.

2. My main problems with any levels in this hack is that some turned out to be much too long for their own good. This would be great, but the fact that some of these levels also seem to have the same very tedious gimmicks/puzzles in repetition really make it a drag to go through. Your levels are great but, when it takes 10+ minutes to complete something in world 1 or 2, you're doing something wrong.

The music was nice and refreshing, almost completely different songs for every stage. I have no gripes whatsoever with this, everybody could choose what they liked and felt most fitting. The graphics were used similarly, mostly custom, all good.

The main problem I see with most hacks is abusing (custom) sprites to pretty much artificially add difficulty. I didn't think it was so much of an issue here, as sprites were used to enhance the levels for the most rather than make it more difficult (a problem I think even my level had).

Finally, I would say that there wasn't much ASM outside of the bosses and occasional gimmicks and sprites. Where heavy ASM was used, it felt natural and not forced, which is always a good sign.

3. I have been involved with this hack since the very early stages, when it was simply a thread in the hack discussion forum. The addition of a sub-forum really did help, but I think you did a fantastic job taking over management of the project. Before you took over, it was really a mess since nobody was finishing their levels, and there was a disagreement in the direction the hack was going to take. You really set things straight and got people to actually finish.
Here are a few suggestions for a possible upcoming second part (I guess this would go with question 2):

  • Add automatic saving whenever you return to the overworld or at least a save prompt after each level. In a team hack like this it's unavoidable that the difficulty is very unbalanced. Sometimes it can be really frustrating trying to get to a castle just so you can save the game. You'll be forced to use save states, which some people just don't like using. Having the ability to save after each level also helps you in case of a game crash. You won't loose too much progress.
  • Use the Multiple Midway Points Patch, now that it's out. I've only seen the very first boss in this game so far, but that was already damn hard. Having Midway Points just before a boss fight would be helpful. Since the level itself wasn't that easy, either, you should have multiple Midway Points, though.
  • Having global graphics- and music teams instead of leaving everything to the level creators. I know, this might slow things down and be harder to organize, but if there is one thing that makes a game really bad it's style clash. I noticed this a lot with the music in this game. And if you have lots of talented participants for the hack (and from what I know there were quite a lot of people involved in this hack) then you could even go a step further and only use custom graphics and musics (custom as in "created from scratch and not ported/ripped"). This was already done quite well with the overworld. However, the music inside the levels was still too unfitting.

I guess that's it for now.

Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
I can't offer too much input as I'm just in World 4 myself right now, but there are a few things I would like to mention.

First off, the difficulty. I know that it's not easy to maintain a consistent difficulty curve throughout a collab hack where each level is designed by different people. But some of the earlier levels are ridiculous for their respective worlds. "Treacherous Castle" in World 1, "Danger Mines" and "Cave of Lost Pride" (granted, the latter is optional) in World 3.

HuFlungDu summed my thoughts up pretty much in his post in regards to Treacherous Castle. Cave of Lost Pride had too many narrow spaces. That and a few things weren't obvious. Why can I walk on these thwomps but ball'n'chains hurt me? They both look like a "frozen" version of their original counterparts. Then there were things I mistook for scenery such as the cactus in "Craggy Heights" whereas it actually hurts you. And the autoscroll part and that one-block-gap-jump-between-two-lava-pillars-while-a-chuck-is-kicking-footballs-at-you part made me rip my hair out. Even with savestates.

The graphics are quite good. A few choices could have been better like in the cave part in "Football Canyon" where it was almost impossible for me to navigate through as I didn't know where I could jump and where not due to the similarity of the tiles but overall, I have no complains. "Flooded Crater" had a weird style clash to it, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Level Design wise, I'm not too impressed. Very few levels so far managed to entertain me fully, like "And So It Begins..." and "Grinder Castle". It's personal choice whether you like these kind of designs or not, but in my opinion some of the levels are too bland ("Gramen Terra" is a good example) and/or too simplistic and not fun at all. But the hack doesn't deserve a worse rating because of that since there are so many people involved in this project and everyone has his/her own style. It's a personal thing.

e: Another thing I thought I'd add is the story in this hack. If you ask me, the whole stuff with the cutscenes was unnecessary. It's a collab hack I expect to play various levels from, not read boring text every once in a while. It seems a bit out of place for me. But I'm not a fan of big stories in Mario hacks in the first place, so you might as well just disregard this paragraph.
Flooded crater has to be the most fun underwater level I've played in a long time! It makes a good "coffee break" level, especially after playing Weeaboo manor and Treacherous tower. :P
Another level I both loved and hated was "Cave of lost pride". The reason I liked it that much was because I think it is awesomely designed, and it is amazing visually. The bad parts in this level is of course the length, compared to how difficult it is. I'd say this level would fit better in World 7 or even World 8. I played this level for half an hour, and I didn't get past the first area. It's fun, but if I keep meeting levels that take two hours to beat, I'll be angry and shake my fist at God.

Difficulty spikes in a collaborative hack of this huge size is almost unavoidable, but we should do something to reduce the height of these. We should give people a clearer point of what kind of difficulty we want for this and that world, and if we see a level which is way too hard and long, we should try to switch that level with another level further into the game. Or something like that.

One thing I like very much with collaboration hacks like these IS that some people make long, but still high-quality and enjoyable levels. The levels stop being fun when you've been playing the same level for 20 minutes and the level is in the first three-four worlds.

I think S.N.N. did a great job handling this project, and I can't tell how happy I was when he said that he was going to take over, and actually start this project again. :P S.N.N., you did an awesome job.

aran - Graces of Heaven
I actually made the secret exit in my level (Underground falls) easier because i loved Cave of lost pride.

For SMWCP2, i think it should be more organized, and let people design submaps.
The difficulty... is just... too much. The level design was still good, but all/most levels just seemed to hard/easy compared to the next one or the one before that one.
1. the second castle. In the room before the boss- that puzzle is AMAZING. The first time I played this (a base rom)I couldn't figure out that puzzle, and spent ALOT of my time there- resulting in me finally winning the boss fight with 1 second left(actually, not exaggerating :P)I also really liked the boss fight - not really easy, but not too hard.
I liked football canyon- even though it was one of those levels with difficulty spikes. It had a really good gimmick of you keeping the chuck to get through the level.
2. weaboo(I think I'm spelling it right)mansion. Although I like puzzles, I like the more simple ones. This one was another one with difficulty spikes.
Also,(i forget the name, it's that black and white cave level, danger mines maybe?)there was this one jump... that was too hard for it's own good. I actually was forced to use SLOWDOWN to get past this part.
3. maybe we could do the overworld first, and then finish the levels, so that we can more specify where to put them difficulty wise.

I hope to be in SMWCP2, if there is one. I wasn't signed up when it started, so I didn't get to join in.
I haven't finished the game but I played a lot of in while it was still in development so i still have an idea of what we should keep in mind for the future.

1. Multiple Midways Points should be patched from the beginning and level designers should be required to use it based on the lengths of their levels. Many levels in this hack would benefit greatly from using them.

2. Custom Bosses should be challenging, yes, but they should be scaled appropriately in terms of difficulty. World 1's boss is quite hard, whereas World 2's is less difficult (though still challenging due to its large amount of health).

3. Saving after Ghost Houses and Castles only is a relic from the original game we should have gotten rid of. I'm pretty sure I've seen hacks with a Save Menu on the overworld, and if I'm recalling incorrectly, that's something we should look into making for the game. If the game is going to ramp up significantly in difficulty, the players should not have to worry about losing major progress from a game over.

4. I still think we went on a global graphics changing binge towards the end, where we started changing every graphic we could think of simply because we could. If a graphic doesn't need to be changed, it shouldn't have to be. I know I'm thinking of the Goal Post graphics in particular. I know we all have different tastes in graphics and what we think is good, but personally I don't like the Thwomps and Bullet Bills too much. The Thwomps have mustache and look like weird French faces? And the Bullet Bills are very shaded compared to most other graphics. But that's all personal preference in the end. We just need to be careful that we don't get overly facetious when redesigning global graphics. Speaking of which:

5. Establish global graphics and shared palettes before people make levels so there will be consistency. A small thing but helpful nonetheless.

I'll see if I have any more suggestions once I get further in/beat the game.
I still didn't played the entire hack, so i can't say my favorite levels for now, but from what everyone said, i don't think the hack is THAT hard, really, i got to world 3 with no problem savestateless. The world 1 boss is not hard too.

3- You did well leading the hack, no complains about the organization of the hack, thanks SNN. As a suggestion, the global changes must be done first, so there is no problem changing them in every level, that way, the custom palette could be changed in all the levels before starting them too. And as some persons are saying, patch Multiple Midways Points.

Like /Everlude
Follow @Ludus.Art

I haven't beaten it yet, I'm stuck on World 1, thanks to Big Baddie Cave.
I liked "And So it begins" because it was a very great level and had an awesome remix of the Overworld theme from SMW. I especially like how the level begins, shooting out of the pipe. To whoever made "Gramen Terra", you SHOULD NOT have put that laikitu in there. It was sooo darn hard to kill when its far up in the air like that. I kept getting game overs cause of that dang lakitu! Then I decided to use a shortcut to beat it
(NOT telling where it is.). Big Baddie Cave's Red-Blue Block section is HARD. I kept getting hit and killed by the Fireballs in there; creator of "Big Baddie Cave", you are making the 2nd section TOO hard, why didn't you put something like...Paratroopas replacing the fireballs, that would be a bit easier.
Suggestions for SMWCP2:
.Save Blocks-Would be awesome if they were there
.Multiple midway points-Like NSMBWii
.Better Mario/Enemy GFX-The Mario GFX was the same as 1991. Why not NSMBWii Mario??
.A pause menu-Not a screen still! Theres a patch for a custom pause menu
.Able to access Peachs Castle-You werent able to in the 1st one..
Also, I might join in for levels. I would like to be in the Bar 'n Grill in the 2nd one. I couldnt sign up before...
Originally posted by SMLink64
To whoever made "Gramen Terra", you SHOULD NOT have put that laikitu in there. It was sooo darn hard to kill when its far up in the air like that. I kept getting game overs cause of that dang lakitu! Then I decided to use a shortcut to beat it
(NOT telling where it is.).

Yo, I made Gramen Terra, but the lakitu was not there in the original design, it was added when SNN made his own changes to many of the levels.

World Community Grid: Thread | Team
...Actually, I don't recall ever putting that Lakitu there. In fact, I almost thought it was a little weird to have one off-screen.

Addressing some previous points:

-I'm actually curious to know what people found so difficult about Treacherous Tower. It was little harder than the levels before it, but was it really THAT brutal? Furthermore, you can dodge Ersanio's boss there quite easily by just timing your spin jumps off of the flames. I can agree with some other difficulty spikes though. I think world 2 ended up being a little .. harsh, for difficulty.
-Reading up, the main complaint IS the difficulty. I'm kind of wondering if I should upload a v1.3 which has a save prompt after each level. Would there be any objections to that, or should we leave it as it is for now?
-Global graphic changes at the beginning are a good idea, yes. The fact that we did them after all of the levels were completed led to a couple of minor glitches. Doing them right away would be a great idea.
-Since SMWCP2 will have one steady leader from the start, it shouldn't be a matter of throwing the project back and forth between people. I do hope this leads to more "organization".

Originally posted by S.N.N.
-Reading up, the main complaint IS the difficulty. I'm kind of wondering if I should upload a v1.3 which has a save prompt after each level.

Pretty please!

Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
I could probably do without a save prompt from every level, but the difficulty curve is rather steep. I didn't find Treacherous Tower that bad, but some world 2 levels were significantly harder. Maybe for SMWCP2 you should try to arrange the levels in terms of difficulty (at least as best you can, with regard to the level/world themes).

I liked the Lakitu in Gramen Terra, though. It made the level more challenging and exciting.

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