Music Options: 1,2, 3, or compose your own.
Briefing: This level can still have grasslands to it, but for the most part, it should be an external factory. Seeing as how we have a whole world devoted to the inside of a factory, you should make this one have more outdoor vibes. Consider incorporating simple elements, such as poisoned water. Keep in mind that your secret exit also leads to the game's first switch palace.
*Level-specific hex edit for instantaneously following camera. Thanks, Kipernal!
*Blocks that execute code only on a specific frame of ExAnimation (or at least a brief explanation of where to start for myself to do so!) <--- I'm an idiot! Solution found.
More to come possibly, dunno!
Howdy! I think I can make good use of the outdoors/industrial theme here, with steam vents, sludge, and the like to give off a vibe of pollution, as well as a few gimmicks to work with. I'll try to get something for you good folks to post/comment/gawk about soon, and we'll see what happens from there. Thanks!
EDIT: Came up with a few ways to implement and introduce my relatively gimmicky plan of steam/exhaust vents pushing Mario (and enemies!) around at fast speeds. This level could very well end up being a treat to watch a TAS of, with these mechanics. Depending on if I feel it necessary, I might even add on/off controlled variations of the powerful steam vents, to help tie in with the previous, switch-centric level. I hope to have some neat stuff to show soon, possibly as early as today! I'll have to think of a name later, also. For now, I'll see if anyone approves of the palette I made up.
Quite obviously, as plastered all over the place, this is some very early work here. Nothing is final, except that I really would like to make use of the steam vent gimmick. I always hated how most of the blocks that shove Mario around at high speeds have no effect on other sprites, so I went ahead and made something that suited my tastes, and hopefully you'll like the concept too!
Criticism is accepted with open arms. Also, I love the level number to pieces.
I should have mentioned that I'm aware of how barren the coin/enemy placement is right now - I just tossed some in (aside from the strategically placed demonstration enemies) to give it a little life for the video. The blocks, however, are not inserted yet. As a matter of fact, I haven't even reserved any slots for them either! I'll do so once I figure out how many types I need to code. Glad to see other people can make use of them too - I might not be so hesitant to make animated varieties now!
Well, first of all, you clearly know how to introduce new mechanics to the player, which is a definite plus. This level should probably serve as a reference for anyone who's having trouble with that aspect of design.
Obviously my first worry is the lack of camera-scroll until Mario lands, so just be sure not to have Mario going off-screen too much, because that could be a little disorienting to players.
The red-koopa-reversal mechanic is interesting, and I wonder if you should do the same with blue koopas later in the stage to take advantage of their faster walking speed.
I know you were just messing around with that row of steam blocks, but it actually might be a good idea to have hectic setups like that.
Some alternate ideas I have for you are:
-vents with intermittent bursts
-vents with different force (half-force, for instance)
-diagonal vents (though I guess that supersedes combinations)
Of course, you don't have to explore everything in your stage alone. If someone else in a later world wants to make use of the steam vents, perhaps you could collaborate on what kind of setups to use in each level, i.e. save the most complex setups for later on. It certainly would be nice to see some mechanics make an encore appearance in the game under more dangerous circumstances, I feel, even if they're just brief cameos.
Timed vents are definitely going to be a priority now. I just have to figure out how to sync it up with animation and it should be a very simple project. Half-powered ones didn't really occur to me, however! They seem like a really good idea though, considering how maximum power only boosts Mario a few blocks above his regular jumping capabilities, half-powered should serve well as more of a general nuisance. Also, that platform with a ton of vents did start to grow on me as I worked under it, and I think it might fit in pretty well, as ya mentioned!
One thing I wonder is, though, how concerned should I be about the horizontal vents' killin' powers? They don't do it 100% of the time, but slammin' into a wall at that speed is, more often than not, lethal! I feel that's a touch on the overkill side for world 1. Though, I'm trying to limit using horizontal vents in places where the player has pretty ample reaction time to slow themselves down before becoming a wall pizza. I don't really feel too worried about it, since it seems pretty reasonable that such high speed collisions are deadly. I suppose at worst, though, I'll need to toss in a message box explaining such a Mario-splattering phenomenon. When I make some half-powered ones though, they might become more common in that variety. Thoughts?
If you can make the sideways ones look fast without having to explain potential lethalities, that might be the way to go (i.e. reduce the speed just enough to avoid wall pizza. Mm, pizza). Of course, if you make use of half-powered versions, then you can just choose which version to use based on the distance Mario is covering, and space the walls accordingly.
Of course, like you said, it's reasonable to assume that hitting walls at such high speeds is...inadvisable...but I don't think Mario players are used to dying by hitting plain walls, so yeah, I think you should put some thought into either how you'll communicate the danger, or how you'll eliminate the danger altogether.
I've been makin' progress as often as possible here! A lot of my time has been spent tweaking speed values and trying to fix up my problems (though these endeavors have proven rather sadly fruitless! If anyone feels so inclined to help me out, I'll love you forever!), as well as trying to fix up some of the graphical stuff. I'll probably have decent steam/vent graphics in the next update. Camera problems are really grindin' my gears here, though a mister HuFlungDu offered a possible solution to this issue in another thread, he has not produced anything tangible to implement yet. If the camera issue is fixed, I'll be a very happy camper.
Anywho! Let me know if you think I made a trainwreck/how colossal of a trainwreck I made. The end of the level in the video is not necessarily the end of the level for real, but it is probably close. Since it's the last of the world before the castle, it should probably end up near the entrance to a factory, yeah? (That's why the level is specifically made of them gray metal bricks towards the middle/end!)
Thank you all!
(Also, I think Velocity Valves/Vents might be a decent title to use, actually! Thoughts?!)
EDIT: Oh yeah, after seein' so in another thread, would it be too much to ask to delete the posts prior to my own in this thread? Helps keep my wishlist of crap at the top! Thanks again.
Anyway, the thing about adding camera scroll on the go is that it makes the landing part harder, since the ground falls beneath the screen. It's something I first noticed in TSRP's World 5 Castle, because FPI changed the camera scroll for TSRPR and the springboard section felt hard in a different way.
So, even if it's possible to do, it only raises more questions about whether jumps become blind and whether you should have coin guides or give the player more leeway to avoid cheap hits upon landing and so on, so I'm not sure it's a panacea per se, but that's just my opinion, I suppose.
An alternate method would be to slightly lower the height you gain from the high-speed ones, and then create a medium-ish one that's slightly lower than that.
As for the level itself...hmm. I don't know if this will make sense, but it doesn't seem like the vents are the star of the show. There are certainly plenty of vents in the level, but their usage doesn't seem very complex, or very integrated with each other or the sprites used. It seems like you've been largely been focused on getting the vent speeds right and other issues, though, so I guess I'll hold off on critiquing the design too much now. But yeah, after you introduce the vents, don't be afraid to get a little creative with them. Of course you don't want to make anything too difficult, but try to take advantage of the sense of motion the vents will likely give to players.
Anyway! I can see what you mean about the vents, Axem. I actually had the same thought cross my mind at one point (that is, that they don't feel central enough to the level design that they're in the spotlight), so it's good to see it's not just my own crazy developer thoughts. That said, I've come up with a couple more silly gimmicks to use them for, one of which has no bearing on gameplay, but will probably add a cute little touch that might be worth throwing in (we'll see!). The other is using several of the high speed vents in succession to lead up to a spectacular end-of-level launch, which I'll probably toss in a quick little message box to remind the player to only hold the B button so they don't end up dead without any idea of what they did wrong (curse pressing forward actually slowing Mario down on high-speed movement!). This one should hopefully sate the desire to benefit from the impossibly high horizontal speed that I'm sure a lot of folks would like to, self included.
For the secret exit, I'm thinking about going for a vertical layout, maybe throwing in some other enemies into the mix, to see/show off how they behave with horizontal/vertical movement elements when they don't usually have any. A Thwomp bein' pushed side to side as it rises/falls would be pretty neat to see, I think! Maybe even some falling platforms that get pushed back up by these freakishly powerful steam blasts? I'll have to do some experimenting myself to see just what happens in such scenarios! I kinda wish I had a later level to see just how diabolical these mechanics could get.
If anyone else has any ideas they feel would be interesting to see in action, you're more than welcome to share!
A Thwomp bein' pushed side to side as it rises/falls would be pretty neat to see, I think! Maybe even some falling platforms that get pushed back up by these freakishly powerful steam blasts? I'll have to do some experimenting myself to see just what happens in such scenarios! I kinda wish I had a later level to see just how diabolical these mechanics could get.
That's definitely food for thought, and I agree that further levels should probably explore these sorts of things further if they make for interesting scenarios.
Anyway, it sounds like you have plenty of ideas to experiment with, so take your time to find out what works best (and jot down anything that might be appropriate for later levels).
I always hate not havin' anything to show for extended (well, extended by my standards!) periods of time! I kinda bit off more than I could chew these past few days, but I've set aside some effort today to work my magic (misery?) on making some graphical and technical enhancements to my level. The vents now have graphics and animations, and I altered the platforms between girders a little bit, hopefully making them make a bit more sense!
Left: first frame of timed vents
Mid: weak vents (BONUS: a glitchy looking bomb generator... or maybe it's Sasquatch!!)
Right: strong, constantly active vent
Not pictured: on/off, though it just looks like the strong vent when it's active
You can walk through them on either side, hence being slightly darker than the platforms, though not as far in the background as the girders. Hopefully this is a fair compromise. Also pictured: a later frame of the timed vent.
That's not all, however! I've added a LDA #$FF STA $1404 to my strong upward vent blocks. What does this mean for you, the awesome mega great, oops, I mean super Mario player? Well, in a nutshell, the camera now scrolls with you if you hit a high up vent block, but usually not if you're on the bottom half of the screen, where seeing the ground is probably more advantageous. I feel it's even better than the hex edit itself in that regard!
Lastly, the main path of the level is just about what I think is ready to go up on the proverbial chopping block. I'd like to add in the secret exit before giving you guys your proverbial sharp-edged pointy shiny implements of cutting, however, so you'll have to wait just a bit longer for something playable!
The vent graphics look like they communicate their functions, which is good, and that extra camera code snippet might be just what the level needs. I'm looking forward to trying out a new version, then.
Hrm, workin' something out for a secondary path is definitely harder than I first anticipated! I should have something tangible soon enough though; probably by being less picky with myself and letting the players be the judge of how some of my experiments feel like they play out and workin' from there. I haven't lost my mojo, I've just been in a rut of uncertainty, so don't worry!
I have found more than a few results that feel like they would be well suited to a kaizo hack, on the bright side! Everything I've tried applying ends up feeling too insane. Like, "collects soiled diapers and wears Anti Mind Control Brand™ tinfoil hats" insane, when I'm just shooting for "collects soiled diapers and uses those for hats" insane. Woe!
You know, Vic, maybe we can "integrate" our levels together, e.g. the end of mine works in to the beginning of yours. Maybe I could even have an air vent or two, and you could have a P-Switch for an SMWC coin at the beginning.