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[Complete] 013 - Pon-Pon Palace - Supertails
Forum Index - Events - Collaboration Projects - SMW Central Production 2 - World 3 - [Complete] 013 - Pon-Pon Palace - Supertails
Pages: « 1 2 »
Claimed by: Supertails

World: 3
Exits: 1
Theme: Oriental Shrine
Music: 1, 2, 3, or compose your own.

Briefing: This will likely be one of the tougher levels to actually design. You may make it in a ghost house style if you wish, but for the most part, consider a general Asian shrine level. It could include things such as hot springs (if you make it external), little arena-styled rooms (if you make it internal), and more. It's a challenge to design, but the end result may be very nice if you know exactly what you want to make.
Claimed for K3fka.
Hi, I just wanted to post here to let everyone know I haven't forgotten about this o anything; I've just been a bit busy these past few days. I'll post abot my idea soon.
idk what to put here
According to the level list, this level is open. If that's in fact the case, could I take it?
You might wanna wait until SNN says it's safe to do so, since K3fka is still active (on the site, no idea about progress)

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I wonder what a HFD opcode would do in ASM...
Originally posted by TLMB
You might wanna wait until SNN says it's safe to do so, since K3fka is still active (on the site, no idea about progress)


I had no intention of starting until SNN's verdict.
Actually, this level was given to Supertails a couple of days ago, but I totally forgot to update it. Sorry.

There's still a world 8 factory level open though, if that interests you (check the stickied Level List thread, because I forget which number it is).
I've always had a soft spot for oriental-themed levels/worlds, so it's great to be able to design one here. Plus, my level in SMWCP (Asteroid Frigate) was pretty underwhelming, so it gives me a chance to do it right this time.

Basically, I'm treating this level like one in my own hack. Meaning, I'll be drawing both the FG and BG tileset, along with some potential sprite odds and ends, and will post my work here for comments and suggestions. Likely, I'll be composing my own track for the level. Stay tuned.

As for the design itself, I have it tentatively called "Taiko Temple." The level's namesake, and one of the major gimmicks, will be 16x16 (and perhaps 32x32) Taiko drums. Essentially, they'll be custom blocks that'll be ExAnimated. Each time a drum "beats" it compresses, has a couple waves come off it. If Mario is standing on it when it beats, he'll go straight in the air at a height a little lower than a springboard. I'll have it set so that each "beat" occurs every sixteen frames. But it'll be a bit more interesting: one type of drum will beat on the first frame, and the other will beat on the ninth. Two alternating drums will make for some interesting design.

So, they'll be custom blocks. I'm far from amazing at ASM, but it's something I should be able to put together pretty easily.

As for level layout, it will likely start with the exterior of the shrine, a dock, and some layer 3 water. It'll be purely for aesthetic purposes, as the door inside is right there. Once in, the first half of the level will be vertical, with some platforming action with the drums. I'll likely throw in a pipe for an alternate route/bonus area too. Then, the second half will switch to horizontal. It'll be layer 2 and use the scroll left medium sprite. Essentially, there'll be a few drums in place, but various obstacles and enemies will scroll toward you. You'll move between the drums to avoid certain ones and get to safety. Don't worry about the background - I'm OCD about this and always manually assemble the BG on layer 1 or 2 depending on the layout (will be layer 2 here, so it appears to scroll too). After that segment the level would end.

It's a pretty untraditional take on a shrine, but not only did this idea jump out of me, but it can be hard to come up with fun, interesting level design for a shrine. They tend to be pretty boring places with meditation and whatnot.

A lot of this stuff will make more sense once I have some design to show in the coming weeks. For now, suggestions and ideas are always appreciated. I tend to be very independent when it comes to designing levels, but because the hack's a team effort, I'm trying to curb the habit here. Bear with me.
That sounds like a pretty varied level! I like the idea of the drums, but how about you put some on the ceiling as well that reduces the player's jump height and makes it trickier to platform? Of course, that drum would probably have to constantly beat, so it might not fit into your current set-up for the level.

I am very excited to see what you do with this idea!
Hmm, makes me think of the level(s) in Do-Re-Mi Fantasy that utilized drums/cymbals as tricky platforming devices. I've always wanted to see that idea carried over into SMW so I'm very intrigued to see what will come of this level.
Looking forward for this level supertails!

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Your layout has been removed.
Hi guys - I'm Supertails, I'm back, and I'm knockin' and after a couple weeks of hard work, I've got a lot to share!

First of all, I've tentatively changed the level's name to "Percussion Palace" as you can see. Some noticed that the presence of "Temple" in my level and Hadron's was redundant. This is by no means final and I'm more than happy to hear other suggestions.

Second, I'm pleased to report that putting aside constructive criticism/areas to fix and bugs, the level is halfway done! That includes graphics, design, sprite placement, the works. Again though, any suggestions in those areas are greatly appreciated. It won't really be done until you all say it is.

Third, after playing Hadron's level (very well designed by the way) I've decided to eschew the autoscroll idea for the second half since it's already there for the dragon boat. Instead, I was considering having a larger drum that constantly bounces you and stays put on layer 2. Then, on layer 1, the screen scrolls left and right at the will of the player, giving you things to dodge and collect. The second half isn't finalized yet, but I certainly want to mix it up and add to what's in the first half.

Okay, enough talk. Let's check it out...

First, here is a larger image showing both the foreground, background, and some decoration.


Smaller version. I decided to go all-out on drawing graphics for this one, and while my style isn't completely like some other sets in SMWCP2, I found that trying to draw them differently didn't work well. Still though, looking at the FG for Tourou Temple especially, I'd say my style fits in pretty well. In contrast to that level, I went for a more indoor look with more red in the palette.


The titular drums. They're in and working great! The one on the top is in one of the "beating" animations. As I mentioned when getting ideas together, one of the drums (the reddish brown ones) beats on frames 1-2 while the more yellow ones beat on frames 9-10. If you're standing on them as they beat, you'll be sent up in the air. If you hold the jump button while standing or jump on them as they beat, you can get a higher boost. I've explained that via message box.


Look out! It's also worth noting that as a guy used to using free scroll, I've tried to make sure there are no blind jumps. Of course, when I have an IPS ready to test, that's certainly something to look for, but as you can see here, I have a ledge in plain view. It's also worth noting that the first half of the level is vertical.


The yin-yang symbols are basic electricity sprites and move back and forth, hurting you if you touch them (they're quite versatile and I highly recommend them). Here, you can see that both the timing of the drum and the symbol is important when making the jump.


Timing's quite important here too! I've tried to make clever use of the drum gimmick.

That does it. I have a little bonus area for the first SMWCP coin. This half clocks at about 1:20 when I test it, a little more with the bonus room. I'm shooting for a 3-4 minute level so it isn't over too soon or infamous like some of the SMWCP levels. Thanks for reading and I'm eager to hear feedback!
These are some awesome updates here, Supertails.
Oh, yes, thanks for changing the level name, Percussion Palace sounds great, although it'd be cool to follow the "traditions" of World 3 and use a Japanese word as the first word. I don't know any Japanese though, but I'm sure others can come up with something.

I think these graphics are great for your level, the FG and the BG flows nicely. Level design seems to be nice from these screenshots (you're using more floors, different paths etc). I'm glad to see you also use the same Ninja Chucks. :) The huge layer 2 drum idea sounds pretty cool, I've never seen something like that before, so I'm curious how will it turn out.

So yeah, great stuff so far, and nice to see you're back in action too! I think you can easily finish this level before the deadline.
Originally posted by Supertails
and I'm knockin'

Don't do that

I think your last screenshot sums up why I like what I see: with two alternating sets of drums, you can come up with a lot of timing-based challenges that keep players constantly on their toes.

Do the drums affect sprites as well, or just Mario?

I like the giant drum idea for the second half. Also, regardless of whether your style matches what we already have, I really like the atmosphere those graphics give off- the reddish wooden aesthetic somehow reminds me of places I've been to.

As for names? Let's see...how about:

Pon-Pon Palace (onomatopoeia for a "tap-tap" sound (?) if I remember correctly, which should fit the drum mechanic)

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Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART


Pakasshon (or Dashin) is Japanese for percussion (if Google Translate works right now).
"Hey everybody! Let's see off our brother!"
"You did great!"
"How 'bout a big Goron hug, brother?!"
-Various Gorons

My Theme songs[1][2][3][4][5]


Pakasshon is gairaigo, and as I've said before, I don't think loan words give us the feeling we're looking for.

I'm not sure dashin is the droid you're looking for either- based on this, it seems to be a medicine-related term, and based on this, it seems to also have a meaning of "feeling someone out."

Sorry for being nitpicky about it >_> <_< >_> <_<

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Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART
Well, thanks for the comments, guys! I took AxemJinx's suggestion and changed the level name to Pon-Pon Palace. I was trying to think of an alliteration that would fit both the drum and shrine parts of the level in, and an onomatopoeia never crossed my mind.

With that, I'm happy to say the level is done and ready for testing! I'll be on vacation starting on the 28th, but before then, I wanted to get plenty of time in for people to drop suggestions, post issues, etc so I can polish it up as much as possible.

Here is the download link.

I was planning to use Oriental Theme 4 (Kadyastar's) for the level, but right now, that track is broken in-game. I subbed it for another one.

This message box misses some colors.


I don't think koopa jumping fits in world 3, especially if world 3 has to be the same difficulty of world 2.


Why isn't the big drum solid for sprites?

(Died after the midway point)


This could be a bit hard...


I got up here.


See screenshot 2
Well, the aesthetics are really nice, but I question the approach you've taken in building and designing various aspects of the stage.

The alternating drums don't sync with the music, which was distracting for me- I kept on expecting them to match the one-two rhythm of the music track and so mistimed quite a few jumps in the beginning. What's even more annoying, though, is having to hold down jump in order to bounce higher. Not releasing the jump button upon landing is akin to throwing fireballs while running or running without picking up throw blocks- namely, very annoying. I found myself constantly wishing you had dealt with high bounces in a different way, be it a separate drum sprite or holding some other button down or what have you. If feasible, perhaps holding the up button would be a better choice, since that isn't used for anything in most situations.

In general, your level seems to rely way too much on precise jumps (and high bounces) and rows of spikes; like Sandy Surf Turf from RttC, I feel like it could be doing a lot more. Every area has this nagging sense of emptiness, like you're being too minimalistic with the types of sprites you use and how you use them. The result is something that seems too difficult for where it is in the game, and doesn't feel all that fun- to me, anyway. I think this level needs to add a helping of sprites so the drum-spike mechanic isn't the sole focus...I mean, most of the time the drums are just all in a row, with either a spike ceiling or floor. I wish you would be more creative, honestly.


13
17, smwcoin: Thanks to the timed nature of the drums, this is basically just a "wait until things line up perfectly" sort of thing- not very exciting for me.

15: Not much room for a running bounce here, but I feel like I need to get a head start because the koopa's off-screen half the time. And again, this seems rather difficult yet boring- it's quite clear what you have to do, but you either have to wait until you're sure things line up or make a fairly precise jump from the beginning, if that makes sense.

14: For every jump in this area, you're dealing with a single enemy and spikes- very simple, but it asks for a fair amount of precision. I don't like this trend. I also got an "oh, already?" feeling from the midpoint- there was no sense of development or progression for me.

A1
I had no idea what to do at first. Since there's nothing on screen besides the drum, I expected some sort of auto scroll to start up. Maybe a coin arrow or something would be appropriate...?

Anyway, I'd do a screen-by-screen analysis here, but it all amounts to the same thing: overly simplistic, too-precise jumps, generally involving rows of drums and/or spikes. I do have a few comments, though.

2, 6, 8right: Awfully difficult for World 3!

3: This isn't really hidden at all. Why wouldn't players see what's down there?

9: Might just be me, but being forced to go above the screen felt a bit weird.

D: It's hard to time your jump and keep an eye on the ninji at the same time...it feels like a harder version of the koopa bounce in the first section.

A3
0: Again, why wouldn't players hit all of those turn blocks? Seems pretty straightforward to me.

1/2: Instead of a row, you have a staircase *shrug*


I wish I could tell you to do x and move y here and the level would be much better, but I disagree with the design on a macro scale, too. It's as if you expected the drum mechanic to carry the level without really developing the idea far enough or devoting enough attention to other aspects of the stage. Sorry for being blunt, but yeah :b

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Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART
Bloop

Originally posted by Bloop
This message box misses some colors.

Come of think of it, I thought that message box looked off. Thanks for pointing it out - it's fixed now.


Originally posted by Bloop
I don't think koopa jumping fits in world 3, especially if world 3 has to be the same difficulty of world 2.

Yeah. You get so used to your own jumps when testing you forget their difficulty, and given this will just be the second world for some, I've cut it and replaced it with a wider gap to jump and no Koopa.

Originally posted by Bloop
Why isn't the big drum solid for sprites?

Actually, I tried having it be solid for sprites, but Koopas, Chucks and yin-yangs ended up cluttering it (and in some cases messing up the design) and I decided it'd be better without. Regarding the mushroom though, I can put a ledge at the end so it doesn't fall off.

Originally posted by Bloop
This could be a bit hard...

Good point. I've widened the gap.


Originally posted by Bloop
I got up here.

The trick was that you would get on the ceiling to bypass the symbols blocking the way, but because some others have complained or didn't get it, I'll remove that bit.

Originally posted by Bloop
See screenshot 2

Yeah, that's fair given the world especially. I've replaced that with a bit where you have to time your jumps to get across the Ninji, rather than on it.

Thanks for pointing out areas to improve and tweak.

AxemJinx

Originally posted by AxemJinx
The alternating drums don't sync with the music, which was distracting for me- I kept on expecting them to match the one-two rhythm of the music track and so mistimed quite a few jumps in the beginning.

I hadn't originally designed the level to synch with the drums or thought it would, but given some response, I might. Of course, this is using a placeholder track. My concern is whether it can stay on-beat when going between areas... having the music reset each time would honestly be distracting. I wanted the player to get the hang of the drum's timing rather than the tempo of the music, but if there's a way to have it stay synched, I'll look into it.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
What's even more annoying, though, is having to hold down jump in order to bounce higher.

I agree completely, which is why I was frustrated the blocks didn't work without it. I have the blocks set to give Mario a very high vertical upward speed ($90) yet a "regular" bounce is less than a jump. Unfortunately, I didn't find any ways to combat this. I tried having it "force" you to hold the jump button when it beat, but that just created a normal jump with no bounce. Based on a couple people who tested the level, they did seem alright with the mechanic, and while it's a little clunky I'll admit, unless I can find a solution that gives a bigger boost every time, there's nothing I can really do about it.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
In general, your level seems to rely way too much on precise jumps (and high bounces) and rows of spikes; like Sandy Surf Turf from RttC, I feel like it could be doing a lot more.

The thing is, I designed the level with precision in mind. For instance, when I noticed your earlier post:

Originally posted by AxemJinx
I think your last screenshot sums up why I like what I see: with two alternating sets of drums, you can come up with a lot of timing-based challenges that keep players constantly on their toes.

I kept that in mind while creating the level, and that's part of why I had precision that relied on the timing of the drums. So with all due respect, when it sounded like that's what you wanted, it leaves me puzzled when you didn't seem like it now.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
I think this level needs to add a helping of sprites so the drum-spike mechanic isn't the sole focus...I mean, most of the time the drums are just all in a row, with either a spike ceiling or floor. I wish you would be more creative, honestly.

Honestly, I disagree. Part of my focus for the level was to make it focused. That's why I intentionally stuck to the symbols, Chucks, Ninjas, and Koopas when designing. I don't want to include several different kinds of sprites as I feel it makes the level design feel too ADD and random rather than sticking to a gimmick. Just using a few, I can more uniquely define the level and make it feel less random and chaotic. Additionally, I tried to mix up the drums so that you did different things: the bit toward the beginning had the semi-random placement, that area past the midway point had the dash, etc. A lot of them include spikes, but it's more of a means toward an end. To me, it's more important that what the player is doing feels different. Where I do agree with you is on bits in the first half that rely on similar precision jumping (i.e. the two parakoopas and the two symbol parts) and I can change that up a bit.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
17, smwcoin: Thanks to the timed nature of the drums, this is basically just a "wait until things line up perfectly" sort of thing- not very exciting for me.

This was the original location of the bonus pipe, but even so, I can mix it up a little more, sure.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
I had no idea what to do at first. Since there's nothing on screen besides the drum, I expected some sort of auto scroll to start up. Maybe a coin arrow or something would be appropriate...?

I can't include coins in the level. Looking at it in LM, I was able to have the large drum as static on layer 2, while putting the entire background and foreground on layer 1. So, each spike and drum is drawn on the exact same layer as the background, and putting coins there puts noticeable holes in the BG. It's a pet peeve of mine, but I'm consistently frustrated with layer 2 levels that don't include any sort of background. However, I can probably include an arrow or something to get the player's attention.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
2, 6, 8right: Awfully difficult for World 3!
Sure, I can ease those portions up a bit.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
3: This isn't really hidden at all. Why wouldn't players see what's down there?

There really isn't anything I can do to "obscure" anything given there's no vertical scrolling. That area used to include a SMWC coin but couldn't since it'd make another hole in the background. There's really nothing I can do other than put it somewhere the player can see. I didn't really design as something hidden either, just something that requires a little work from the player to get to.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
9: Might just be me, but being forced to go above the screen felt a bit weird.

Yes. Hearing it from Bloop and others too I'm getting rid of that.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
D: It's hard to time your jump and keep an eye on the ninji at the same time...it feels like a harder version of the koopa bounce in the first section.

I agree. Replacing that part as well.

Again, while I can add a couple more sprites to the "pool" I'm using for this level, the nature of the level can't be overly decorative. As I said before, both the foreground and background are on the same layer. If I recall, I literally don't have the palette space to have drums at any other locations since both they and the background are on the same layer. Either way it'd use up a lot more graphics tiles I tried to conserve for the most part.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
0: Again, why wouldn't players hit all of those turn blocks? Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Right. After getting some comments on that, I'll try to put it more out of the way. There was an idea I had earlier anyhow...

Originally posted by AxemJinx
1/2: Instead of a row, you have a staircase *shrug*

I guess I can change it, though I thought it'd be an interesting and fitting way to end the level with a final test of sorts.

---

I guess ultimately it boils down to differing views and ideas on level design. To me, I like to have a specific gimmick to the level (the drums in this case) and add another component in the second half (the big drum) all while having a set of sprites and specific challenges that develop over time. I've never been one to use a lot of sprites in any level, in part because of lag, their more finicky nature, and that I find objects more interesting to work with. Again, I worked to design the level around the idea, and quite a few enjoy the level for that. So I'm not sure what "other aspects of the stage" would be or how they'd really apply.

Still though, I appreciate your long reply, screen analysis, and comments on the level as a whole. There are some definite things in the level I can improve and fix based on what you provided. We just appear to have differing design philosophies and things we look for and find enjoyable in levels. That's fine, and everyone has different preferences.

My goal at this point is to fix up what I can, and I personally believe (as a few who already tested the level have) that the basic design is sound. I still enjoy playtesting it. To me, completely redesigning the level now is both too close to the deadline, and is unnecessary given that myself and a lot of others liked the level. You can't please everybody.

I'll post an update patch later. When will depend on whether and when certain things like the song and drum block get repaired.
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