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018: Tourou Temple - Hadron


Claimed by: Hadron

World: 3
Exits: 1
Theme: Oriental Castle
Music Options: Oriental Castle, or compose your own.

Briefing: This is the castle for the oriental world, and should probably include typical Asian-styled enemies. Ninja Chucks, perhaps? Some kind of enemy that throws throwing stars? Modified Sumo Bros? There are many possibilities here. Note that if you do not want to create the boss for this level, simply create a boss door that leads to an empty room at the end and a boss coder will handle it.
So, let's see. I was kind of surprised that I got this level, as I planned to take a totally different one, but after I saw 12B was claimed by somebody else, I claimed the first free level I saw, and this was it.
Not that I wouldn't like to make it, I'm totally fine with it and I'll try to do my best.

I've been thinking about this level in the past few days, here are my ideas so far:

- The level would have 3 segments: the entrance part of the castle, a "lantern boat" part outside, and finally an interior, temple-like area (hopefully this is not too much, I absolutely don't plan to make these parts too long)
- Global enemies would be Ninja Chucks (different types, the most interesting would be a Pitchin' Chuck throwing shurikens), Koopas (and more "general" enemies) and probably some various castle enemies.
- As a World 3 castle, this level doesn't play a very important role, but I'll try to make it a bit memorable. I'll also try to have a medium difficulty, but rather closer to easy than hard (since this is still the first half of the game)
- I'll try to keep puzzles to minimum.

The 3 segments more detailed:

1. Entrance: using 2dareduck's BG and Teyla's FG from the base ROM here (I owe them a big thanks, these are really awesome tilesets). Ninja Chucks, Koopas, somewhat linear but still interesting level design is what I can imagine here.

2. Lantern Boat: now I think this would be interesting. Inspired by the Chinese Lantern Boats, the main place of this segment would be a layer 2 lantern boat. The level would auto-scroll, and it would take place outside in the night, on a river.
The "ground" (aka layer 1) parts of the level could use Teyla's FG, the lantern boat would be layer 2 (I'll have to request the graphics of them) and somebody would draw (or maybe rip) a Moon or something for layer 3 (so the background wouldn't be so empty). (we could even use a nice HDMA gradient, if possible)
Enemies: Parakoopas, maybe some custom enemies, and probably something else.

3. Interior, "temple": using Teyla's FG, 2dareduck's BG OR something else (I even could rip something, these kind of BGs aren't overused at all). A bit darker, and the main "gimmick" of this part would be the Buddha Statues. I have two ideas here: the heads of the Buddha statues would be Thwomps, or some kind of custom sprite that rolls down when Mario nears it. I think it definitely would be a funny and surprising (after a few normal statues, more and more of the heads would roll down) gimmick. And after this part comes the (still unknown) boss.

Maybe it sounds a bit too much or long for now, but I won't make it very-very long, just a normal castle length. Obviously I welcome any kind of comments, ideas, suggestions.

The stuff what's missing right now:
- music: yeah, it'd be really nice, actually. I tried porting Bloop's song, but it's not very good and still needs a lot of work (besides, I'm not even sure it would fit to an Oriental Castle - maybe that's just because I used bad instruments...). So yeah, I'd really, really appreciate a song for the level.

- lantern boat graphics (if the idea is accepted)
- outside layer 3 stuff
- Buddha statues
- maybe a BG for the 3rd segment
- Ninja Chucks (shuriken etc.)
These are some very nice ideas you have going here! Especially the Lantern Boat segment. Raft segments aren't too common in hacks, and you could come up with some nice ideas for it!
Also, some custom enemies or Boo graphical replacements would be cool, the idea being floating lanterns of sorts, or Will-O-Wisps. Also, a good water enemy would be the Pirangler, as it would be a good obstacle that would be jumping towards the raft from upstream, attempting to knock him off of the raft and trying to keep him from reaching the temple. One would strike from the lower half of the level whereas the Will-o-wisps would come from the top, them working together in a way (functionally). Though, since it's only world 3, difficulty would have to be kept in mind here.

As for the temple, the Bhuddas sounds like a funny idea, and a nice little twist on what would normally be a simple decoration. Also, I've seen the amazing work you've done with the temple areas in Mario in Japan (and the level overall), So I know you'll do a great job with this too! I can't wait to see more progress from this!
Sounds like a good idea so far, and the lantern raft is unique. Keep in mind that this is the most likely second castle, because it's the counterpart of the forest/swamp, so make it World 2 castle difficulty.
I've realized this was outdated.
This is quite a creative concept Hadron, I'd encorage you to follow it.

I like karatekid5's idea of using boos as will-o-wisp things, it sounds like a good idea, maybe you could use one big boo and a few inverted/normal boos to have some challenge, piranglers apearing from time to time sounds good too. I say you should make the raft stay in place while layer 2 objects will scrool from the right untill it gets to the temple entrance (which would also be part of the moving layer 2).

I'd advise you not to make the raft part too long though, because that would be kind of repetitive and borring for the player, don't make it last more than 50/80 game seconds. You should foccus on the temple as the main area of your level, I'd advise you to place the midway point at the begining of the temple area and make it as long as the entrance and the raft parts combined (assuming none of them would be too long).
Hadron, I've been working on {this (old link)} song recently, and it's starting to sound like it would fit the oriental castle stage, but what do you think? (That link is the first half of the song.)

I hope you're able to garner the resources you need in any case, because you have plenty of nice ideas here and I'm excited to see them in action.
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Some ideas I had were big bullies dressed as sumos, and of course sumo bros, also being in the level.

I very much think the idea of redressed boos as will-o-wisps works.

I'd be willing to do any sort of graphics if you need any. I kinda really like working with the oriental stuff :P
Thanks guys for all the support! Heh, I didn't even expect so many comments on just a few ideas (and I've got nothing "physically" yet...but will start actually working soon).

@Karatekid: Yeah, I definitely like the Will-o-Wisp idea (I just have to request the proper graphics for them), and I might use Piranglers too (although yes, maybe they would make the level a bit too hard). Thanks for the long comment, btw!

@Zephyr: oh, true, thanks for reminding.

@aj: yeah, you're totally right, and I didn't plan to make the raft level too long. Placing the midway point at the beginning of the temple area sounds nice, I'll probably do that.

@AxemJinx: whoa, that song sounds really great. When I imagined the drifting lantern boat in the night, I thought this song would be perfect. Not overly calm, but relaxing enough to take place in an Eastern-styled temple/exterior. Very nice, and I'd gladly use it, if you're going to port it.

@Teyla: thanks a lot for the offer, I think I'll gladly accept it. Oh, and the Big Bully as Sumo would be another funny element. I'll probably use the Sumo Bros too.

Unfortunately, school was pretty dang busy in the past few days, so I couldn't do anything hacking-related, but I'll most likely start working tomorrow. I'm also going to start requesting the graphical stuff soon. Thanks again for the ideas and stuff!
Ohh wow, that's even more fantastic, AxemJinx! I think it would totally fit in the level. Are you going to port it yourself (when the midi is done)? (or this is how the SPC sounds, you just uploaded an mp3?)

Also, I started "working" a bit on the level yesterday, just setting up the usual stuff. Hopefully I can do some level design today. I also requested the Ninja Chuck graphics yesterday, I'll request the rest later.
I love the idea of the lantern-boat segment; it sounds great and with the right graphics would look amazing.

As for the Buddha statues, I had something similar in my hack, in that I had statues acting as thwomps (well, they're in the ROM anyways). Here's a pic of it (in case you want them or something similar):

Also, have you come up with a name for the level? If not, I can try whipping something up :>
I composed it in FL Studio with SMW samples, so although it still needs to be ported, I'm really hoping it doesn't sound any different this time around, especially the drums.

I'll try porting it first. Kipernal's MML editing tool makes things much easier, and it's good practice anyway.
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@Ladida: thanks! Yeah, the Buddha statues is probably not only my original idea (I guess I've already seen it somewhere - maybe your hack -, I just don't remember, where).
As for the graphics, I think something similar as the Buddhas from Ganbare Goemon would be the coolest:

I (or we) will have to decide it later. I'll most likely request some graphics later, though.

@AxemJinx: oh, okay, good luck then!

Also, just started the level a bit, I'll show some screens when I have more done.

edit: oh, and yes, the level title. I haven't decided it yet, so any suggestions are welcome. I think the word "Lantern" should be involved somehow...
Originally posted by Hadron
edit: oh, and yes, the level title. I haven't decided it yet, so any suggestions are welcome. I think the word "Lantern" should be involved somehow...

How about "Lantern Lair"? Sounds like a good name to me.

I realy would like to see some screenshots of the level, just to know how it's turning out.

By the way, Hadron, you may be interested by this level, the guy wanted to use asian ghosts in his levels, so I advised him to do the same GFX replacement your are planning to do, I hope you won't mind.
How about something beginning with "tourou" which means lantern?
@aj6666: Hmm, I don't know. "Lair" rather reminds me on a cave or a pit, not an oriental temple.

Oh, and thanks for telling me about that level, I'll use the same graphics for the ghosts, obviously (when they are done).

@Teyla: Hm, promising. "Tourou Travel"? "Tourou Temple"? (though these sounds pretty generic imo, probably you can come up with better ones as your English vocabulary is better)

And just dropping a totally not extraordinary screenshot here:

Originally posted by Hadron
@aj6666: Hmm, I don't know. "Lair" rather reminds me on a cave or a pit, not an oriental temple.

Oh, and thanks for telling me about that level, I'll use the same graphics for the ghosts, obviously (when they are done).

@Teyla: Hm, promising. "Tourou Travel"? "Tourou Temple"? (though these sounds pretty generic imo, probably you can come up with better ones as your English vocabulary is better)

And just dropping a totally not extraordinary screenshot here:


Tourou Temple sounds good to me, and the lantern part fits with the lantern boat and the BG of the temple, and Ladida and I already named our levels with the first word being Japanese. And those tilesets look great together, it actually makes me think of a professional game, props to the artists :D
I've realized this was outdated.
@Zephyr: Okay, I might go with Tourou Temple then. I'll just need a few more people approving that, I think.

Also, I think I have finished designing the first part of the level.
Big image.

- Vertical scroll is not enabled
- this part is 0C screens long

Feel free to comment, criticize, nitpick on anything related to the level: length, difficulty, level design, decorating etc.

I hope it's not too difficult/long, but if you think it is, I can change it easily.
What I'll definitely need to continue from this are the lantern boat graphics. I've already requested the Ninja Chuck graphics, but nobody replied yet. Hopefully I'll get some nice drawers soon. :P
It would be easier to comment on a screen-by-screen basis if you showed the screen boundaries, but I have a couple of things to say.

-Apart from Chucks and Sumo Bros., the only enemies in this stage so far are walking koopas. Personally I feel like there should be a bit more variety, even if it just means putting them in samurai armor.

-I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the dominant strategy for the first chuck will be to walk beneath it. Maybe it's not a big deal in World 2/3, but try to keep in mind when dominant strategies can happen and whether or not you want them.

-The platform above and left of the first sumo bros. looks rather exploitable.

-Are the sliced bamboo tiles spikes, or slope tiles? Do sprites walk behind the screens, or in front?

-I can't tell without playing, but does that second chuck pose much of a threat? Again, it might not be a big deal given it's early in the game, and it's true that the player has to deal with it after passing it, so take this comment with a grain of salt.

The section seems to get better (and slightly harder) as players progress, and of course this is only a fraction of the entire stage. Just be careful not to make it too easy to jump over everything effortlessly.

The architecture looks very nice to me, by the way.

Tourou Temple sounds fine. Some other ones you might consider are Tourou Terrace, Tempest, Trial, Trail, or Test, depending on how the level feels to you. But yeah, Temple would be fine.
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