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010: Arboreal Ascent - WhiteYoshiEgg
Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 Completion Project - World 2 - 010: Arboreal Ascent - WhiteYoshiEgg
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A non-visual update for the sake of updating.

There hasn't been much to show lately, I'm afraid - I got the outside background done (see the Screenshots/Video thread), but I still can't seem to draw decent interior decorations. I went ahead and requested some in the Resource Request thread - if nobody there will take it, let's hope just adding leaves around the tree will do.

Also, here's how I plan for the level to look:

  1. Outside "introduction" part (done)
  2. Vertical climbing section 1 (as good as done)
  3. Small outside midway part
  4. Vertical climbing section 2
  5. (perhaps?) Vertical falling section to make people feel like the level ends at the same height it started (outside, more like a bonus stage then actual platforming)
  6. Small outside ending section


Yep, I fear that's all. I'll be sure to have something more interesting ready next time.

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About time for something playable again.

Link

Improvements:
  • Put leaves around the tree in the vertical section (quite a lot of them at that). That should make the whole thing look a lot less empty, even if I still don't have decorations for the inside of the tree.
  • Added an HDMA gradient to the level (currently the same in both parts, though I plan to slightly change the first one later). HDMA appears to make the in-level transition look a little weird (especially when the level loading takes as long as here), so I hope some kind of HDMA Fix patch will be applied in the future.
  • The chuck GFX are now as good as fixed (the baseball/wooden ball still hasn't got the best palette, but that's easy as pie to change). What concerns me more is the fact that the Diggin' and the Pitchin' Chuck seem to share one tile... There isn't a disassembly of them either, so I'm not sure how to go about fixing that without removing one type of sprite. Hm.


I could really use some feedback regarding the leaves and how much less empty they make the level look, as well as the overall aesthetics.

Yep.

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Just got done playing your latest version WhiteYoshiEgg, it's very true, the addition of leaves and HDMA enhances the horizontal climb by a long shot.

With the added leaves though.....came some repercussions.


In screens #4 and #7, a player unfortunate enough to hug the walls will fall to a long and unforgiving death down the 300 foot sequoia tree.


I would recommend removing this koopa flying around in screen 6. He's pretty useless and looks awkward when he flies through the wood. Replace him with a Chuck or something.


Also, why don't you utilize some fuzzies? They would be pretty cool and fitting to the tree theme.
Originally posted by Agent Q
Also, why don't you utilize some fuzzies? They would be pretty cool and fitting to the tree theme.

Good idea actually; I might just do that. I have quite a lot of scenarios utilising Chucks and Grinders in mind though, so adding Fuzzie scenarios to the whole thing might make the level excessively long... I'll see.

Also, minor update.

Link

Improvements:
  • First vertical section finalized (doors and windows added, leaves moved around at the top)
  • Outside midway section added
  • HDMA gradient in level 10 (outside) altered
  • Ported to newest base ROM, new SMWC Coins added
  • All fixable graphical and behavioral bugs fixed*
  • Ceiling generator added
  • Parakoopa in screen 6 removed

Bugs to ignore for now:
  • SMWC Coins don't seem to work right in vertical levels yet (only half the coin vanishes when touched, the two halves need to be collected separately)
  • The Diggin' Chucks tilemap is slightly incorrect (one tile's wrong). I've already made a patch that changes its tilemap in certain levels (read: mine) and forwarded it to SNN, but forgot to reapply it here when porting.

Feedback most appreciated on:
  • The newly-added outside section, obvioulsy. Tell me if anything's off about it.
  • I take it the level doesn't feel as empty any more now? I personally think it's fine with the leaves and the HDMA, and I can't really think of/create fitting decorations for the interior either (tried to draw logs, they just didn't look right when placed in the level).
  • Both outside sections are actually one level - I've disabled rightwards scrolling in screen 3 and leftwards scrolling in screen 7 to make the two feel like separate levels. The code for the latter might not be as stable though - if you notice anything weird about horizontal scrolling in screen 7 (first screen of the midway section), please say so.
  • Any input regarding a name for the level, pretty please? Here's what I posted about it earlier:
    Originally posted by WhiteYoshiEgg
    I figured it would be a good idea to have the level name reflect the "climbing" nature of the level. How does "arboreal ascent" sound to you native speakers? Personally I'd love to use less uncommon words (I had to look up arboreal, and never used ascent so far), but this will do if nothing else will. (Hm, "autumnal ascent" perhaps? Those two words don't go together that well though...)


That's all I suppose.
(On a semi-related note, I plan on making the level end in a section visually similar to andy_k_250's level, allowing for a smoother transition.)



*One thing I don't think I'll be able to fix is layer 2 priority - when a killed enemy falls down, it will appear in front of all layer 2 tiles but behind layer 1 tiles with layer priority enabled. Looks a tad weird in some places, but I don't think there's anything I can do about that.

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Extras



I should have something witty to put here (even if it's just to update dated info), shouldn't I?

Advertising Space

Wrong link; you must've meant this one.

Indeed I did. And I was wondering why the download count of v7 didn't seem to increase... whoopsies. Thanks for pointing it out, the link's now fixed.

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So I'm really liking this level now, and I'm quite eager to see what you're going to do for the next interior section. It's easy, but it certainly doesn't feel empty anymore, so kudos to that. I agree with Agent Q that Fuzzies would be an interesting addition, but since you already have plans for the next section, they may not even be necessary.

Originally posted by WhiteYoshiEgg
The newly-added outside section, obvioulsy. Tell me if anything's off about it.


It's nice and transitional, and does feel substantially different from the very first area. It works for me.

Originally posted by WhiteYoshiEgg
I take it the level doesn't feel as empty any more now?


Not at all.

Originally posted by WhiteYoshiEgg
if you notice anything weird about horizontal scrolling in screen 7 (first screen of the midway section), please say so.


There was a small oddity on screen 7 which caused the screen to "lock" the scrolling (similar to SMB1's) for a moment, but going right and then back fixed it.

Originally posted by WhiteYoshiEgg
arboreal ascent


I like this name quite a bit, and I think it'll work well.

Keep up the good work.
I actually found it very fun to play, your SMWC coins are placed perfectly so far, not to hard nor to easy to find.

The exterior felt very autumnly. And was also fun to play.

Good job WYE :D
Thanks a lot, you two. I guess Arboreal Ascent is what it will be then. Gonna edit that in the title tomorrow or so.

Also working on the second vertical section now - I got pretty much the whole thing sketched out on paper, although it'll likely change quite a bit when the ideas are transferred to a much less "forgiving" medium such as LM. What I've built so far doesn't really satisfy me, but neither did the first vertical section (which I am now fond of), and once the first screen is done, the rest is usually much less of a pain in the ass.

So yeah. Long story short: dunno when I'll have something actually playable ready, but I'm on it.

--------------------


 
Might as well show how things are coming along so far.

Link

What's new, obviously, is the second climbing section after the midway point. It's not fully finished yet (and also lacks a background and decorations for now) - all that's being shown off here is the bare level structure.

As you can see I'm focusing on Grinders in this part, although I plan to add some Chucks later as well. Grinders are a pain to work with in that you need to place them at a certain distance to prevent them from showing up too early (which artificially lengthens the level, sort of). Also note that the green switch blocks will later be replaced with solid ones that can be cut through by Grinders, and that you'll be needing the latter to get the third SMWC Coin.

I've also run into problems with moving platforms not spawning sometimes, but I *think* they should be solved by now. If one of the two checkerboard platforms isn't showing up for you, please let me know.

That's all for now.

--------------------


 
Hmm, everything seemed Ok.

Only a little suggestion:



What about changing this ?-block in to a multiple coin ?-block.

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Your layout has been removed.
What I like about this level is the sense of progression with respect to the pitchin' chucks- each subsequent encounter is a little harder than before, and the one with the springboard adds variety as well. Anything you can do to add to that sense of progression would help the level even more, and I also wonder whether the areas between those chucks would benefit from an enemy here and there, considering how action-packed the level before yours (Treetop Tussle) tends to be. Of course, if the level order changes, that may not be much of a problem...Also, it might be a good idea to make use of an enemy that differentiates this level from the surrounding ones. As I look through the level in Lunar Magic, I wonder whether Super Koopas or Swoopers, for instance, might complement the vertical design. (Edit: I see fuzzies have also been recommended, and that would also work, I think.)

In any case, I'll try to elaborate a bit for sublevel 50.

C: You have an enemy between the starting point and the first chuck, so why not another enemy here? It might just be me, but I feel like you're missing out on an opportunity to introduce another enemy type here so you can integrate it into the rest of the level.

A: No more than a suggestion, but I wonder how this would play out if you replaced the koopa on the right with a low bouncing one.

9/8: I feel like there should be another enemy here in addition to the parakoopa, and again, this might be another opportunity to integrate that additional enemy type (whatever it may be) into the sublevel. It's just my opinion, though.

7: I was playing with the idea of putting a pitchin' chuck on the platform opposite and above the diggin' chuck to make things a bit more complex, and then some airborne enemy in the space above that.

4: I also feel like there could be an airborne enemy here, such as a red horizontal parakoopa flying just above and slightly to the right of the pitchin' chuck.



For sublevel 51, don't be afraid to ratchet up the intensity a notch. I'm not telling you to go overboard, and introducing the grinder concept before raising the difficult would still be a good idea, but as I progressed through that part, it seemed to require less thought and precision than the first part did, though perhaps that was just my impression (and I understand it's unfinished, so you might still be working on it anyway).

Anyway, I hope that helps.


Edit: The first bonus platform did despawn on me once. Is it because it starts by moving upward and so disappears before you reach it sometimes? I wasn't sure.

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Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART
Thanks for the input; much appreciated.

Originally posted by Bloop
What about changing this ?-block in to a multiple coin ?-block.

Sounds like a good idea, I'll do that.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
Anything you can do to add to that sense of progression would help the level even more

I personally think the level's fine the way it is (and I don't think I could come up with anything enhancing the progression feeling either, to be honest).

Originally posted by AxemJinx
I also wonder whether the areas between those chucks would benefit from an enemy here and there, considering how action-packed the level before yours (Treetop Tussle) tends to be.

I may try adding one or two, but too many enemies might make the level look a little cramped overall. Besides, all I can add is probably standard enemies like Koopas and Goombas, since I'm kind of hesitant to use too many enemy types at once.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
Of course, if the level order changes, that may not be much of a problem...

I guess so, but since I plan on making the last section of my level visually similar to the castle, another (aesthetical) problem would arise. Where'd you hear about level order possibly changing anyway?

Originally posted by AxemJinx
Also, it might be a good idea to make use of an enemy that differentiates this level from the surrounding ones. As I look through the level in Lunar Magic, I wonder whether Super Koopas or Swoopers, for instance, might complement the vertical design. (Edit: I see fuzzies have also been recommended, and that would also work, I think.)

It's not like I don't want to take your suggestions, but as I said, I don't want to use too many of the more "complex" enemies at once, and I've sort of decided on Chucks and Grinders being the main gimmick here. (Besides, making proper use of a gimmick takes up a lot of level space, and I fear using more than two enemies would make the level too long.)
If Grinders turn out to be a sub-par gimmick choice though (they're really quite hard to work with in vertical levels), then I'll definitely consider using one of the enemies you suggested.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
You have an enemy between the starting point and the first chuck, so why not another enemy here? It might just be me, but I feel like you're missing out on an opportunity to introduce another enemy type here so you can integrate it into the rest of the level.

What kind of enemy exactly? I don't think standard enemies need much of an introduction by then.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
A: No more than a suggestion, but I wonder how this would play out if you replaced the koopa on the right with a low bouncing one.

Hey, I didn't even think of bouncing Koopas. Thanks, I'll try implementing them.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
9/8: I feel like there should be another enemy here in addition to the parakoopa, and again, this might be another opportunity to integrate that additional enemy type (whatever it may be) into the sublevel. It's just my opinion, though.

I agree with you on that part being a little too empty in terms of enemies, but again, I'm not too sure what exactly to add there. Perhaps an early introdutcion of the Grinder?

Originally posted by AxemJinx
7: I was playing with the idea of putting a pitchin' chuck on the platform opposite and above the diggin' chuck to make things a bit more complex, and then some airborne enemy in the space above that.

Yep, that sounds like a good idea.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
4: I also feel like there could be an airborne enemy here, such as a red horizontal parakoopa flying just above and slightly to the right of the pitchin' chuck.

Blame my subpar playing skills or the fact that I made the level, but I think players will have enough to do avioding the baseballs. I'll try it out though.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
For sublevel 51, don't be afraid to ratchet up the intensity a notch. I'm not telling you to go overboard, and introducing the grinder concept before raising the difficult would still be a good idea, but as I progressed through that part, it seemed to require less thought and precision than the first part did, though perhaps that was just my impression (and I understand it's unfinished, so you might still be working on it anyway).

Yeah, now that you mention it, the whole concept really could have been introduced better. I guess I'll rebuild the whole thing with better progression in mind.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
Anyway, I hope that helps.

Certainly does, thanks.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
Edit: The first bonus platform did despawn on me once. Is it because it starts by moving upward and so disappears before you reach it sometimes? I wasn't sure.

I see... I suppose it's better to do away with the platforms then. I'll either replace them with vines or work around them completely.




Alright, two weeks left. I actually can't predict at all whether or not I'll be finished by then, but I certainly hope so, and I don't see anything in particular that could keep me from finishing it. I'll do my best for sure - losing this level is the last thing I want.

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Those IPSes have really eaten up my File Bin space... good thing there's the FTP thingy.

Link

Improvements:
  • I almost entirely redesigned the second vertical section as far as level design goes, and I hope for this to have more of a feeling of progression than the last one had. I feel I utilized Grinders in every possible way (hopefully in good ways too), and since that obviously takes quite long, I haven't had too much time to thoroughly make use of the Grinder-sensitive blocks... I hope I've introduced them well enough, at least.
  • I tried to take as many of AxemJinx's suggestions as I could, and thus moved a few things around in the first vertical section. Nothing too big though.

Bugs to ignore for now:
  • Obviously, the second vertical section still lacks the layer 2 background and proper decorations. Ignore that for now, as it will be changed later, and focus on the level design itself when commenting.

Feedback most appreciated on:
  • The level design in general and the newly-added section in particular. If anything strikes you as odd or worth mentioning, don't hesitate to do so.


...now that the IPSes aren't hosted in the File Bin anymore, I'm going to miss monitoring their download count...

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The level design in the new section seems solid. Only the solitary muncher plant in Screen 0B seems out of place.

I see the first vertical section has received an update in aesthetics and level design. I think it's perfect.
I love the design on this level. The part where you have to time your jumps to pass the grinders is just... awesome.

Now, there's one small complaint from me:

The perspective on the outside part doesn't really make the tree look round. Would it be feasible for you to make some inside tree wall parts for these?

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aran - Graces of Heaven
Thanks for the feedback.

As for your criticism, I'm not sure really. You're certainly right about the perspective being off, but I don't think making extra tiles would be worthwhile honestly.

Actually, I plan to get rid of the Grinder-sensitive blocks entirely and pretty much redo the uppermost pair of screens... the blocks are just too impredictable and hard to work with.


On another note, do you guys think balancing out the overall height is important? I was thinking of adding a "falling" section at the end to make up for the height gain and have the level end seemingly at the same height as it started. I'm not sure if that is really necessary though - I really don't. Feedback on that would be great.

Also, since I haven't received any major complaints regarding the second vertical section, I'm going to finish it up tomorrow by adding a background and leaves to it.

That's all.

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Ladies and gentlemen,
stuff.

Link

Improvements:
  • Finalized the second vertical section (added a background and leaves) and redid the first two or so screens to not make use of the Grinder-sensitive blocks.
  • Changed the feather near the midway point to a flower for no apparent reason.

Bugs to ignore for now:
  • The second SMWC Coin still screws up (while, oddly enough, the third one doesn't :/).
  • The Diggin' Chuck still has one incorrect tile due to my special patch not being applied yet.

Feedback most appreciated on:
  • The level design of the latest section, I guess. Is it fun enough to play? Is the difficulty alright?
  • Do all tiles behave correctly (especially at points where the bark and the leaves meet)?
  • Originally posted by WhiteYoshiEgg
    do you guys think balancing out the overall height is important? I was thinking of adding a "falling" section at the end to make up for the height gain and have the level end seemingly at the same height as it started. I'm not sure if that is really necessary though - I really don't. Feedback on that would be great.


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I'm a little disappointed that you didn't end up using the Grinder blocks, but I guess I understand. If they're being finnicky, there is no sense at all in forcing them on the level, especially if the level itself is already quite good without them.

I don't have much to say against the design, as it seems mostly solid to me. I'll leave that to any other testers (though I can't see why they'd have anything negative to say either). I will add, however, that I think a falling section at the end would be quite cool. I'd recommend claiming one more sublevel and making the background of it out of nothing but the top tiles - that is, the long trunks with ledges on them. That would give an illusion of Mario being as high as he possibly can be. At that point, you could have a vertical descent into the first bit of andy's level (forest castle).

..yeah. I don't know if I'd call it 100% needed, but at the same time, it certainly wouldn't HURT your level. I'd say go for it.
I agree with SNN about the Grinder Blocks, I thought they fitted quite well with the level.

Overall, it was fun. It may just be me, or the vertical sections feel a bit to lengthy, although, maybe it's just me.
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Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 Completion Project - World 2 - 010: Arboreal Ascent - WhiteYoshiEgg

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