I was going to wait until the deadline to start with this, but since it became a hot topic on IRC, I figured I'd start early.
Norveg's factory is, of course, the final level. Ultimately, we need to decide which route we want to take on it. That is:
-multiple paths, or
-one single, "epic" path.
As we've seen in the past, most collabs (ASMT, SMWCP, some of the VIPs) have taken the "multiple" paths route. However, the final level in SMWCP overdid it far too much. Rather, I think we should take a more specific focus this time around. I'll leave this open to discussion.
The final boss - Norveg - is the other thing I wanted to discuss. Roy has volunteered to code this again, so I'd like us to compile a bunch of ideas to send him. You guys are the creative minds - he is the logical mind. Think about the following things:
-how many phases
-the actual atmosphere of the battle
I should have something witty to put here (even if it's just to update dated info), shouldn't I?
Since Norveg's current design doesn't look like the type that could fuck up Mario physically or has any special powers (Doc Croc also strikes me the same way), I think that his that fight should have him operate a large machine/robot that Mario has to destroy.
See also: Dr.Wily (Mega Man), Dr.Eggman (Sonic), Patchouli Knowledge (MegaMari/NSML)
Idea: Have a phase with a slowly filling vault of gold (think Scrooge from Ducktales). The gold would act somewhat like a cross between platform and quicksand, where if you stand on it for more than a few seconds, you sink below the "platform part" and have to mash jump to get back up. This phase could take place in a continuously looping vertical level with potential to get squashed against the ceiling.
I don't want to see it become a matter of quantity over quality, with many repetitive or tedious phases. A boss such as this one that has a wide variety of moves (with only a few assets used, take note!) is much more memorable in my opinion. In the same way as a level is designed, the boss should have a strong sense of progression.
-A long linear portion to start with (lasting a few minutes).
-A four-way split akin to Bowser's Castle in SMW (each room having its own gimmick).
-A final, "epic" linear part which spans another few minutes (see: the penultimate area in SMWCP with the Derris-Kharlan graphics).
I don't think we need another 30 minute beast. Just a 5-10 minute lasting impression should do the trick. We can have 2-3 separate songs for the final level too to enhance that sense of finality.
You know, I wonder if we should go the route of Bowser's Super Stupendous Splendiferous Scrumtrelescent Airship from TSRPR, with a bunch of slightly smaller rooms, some referencing mechanics earlier in the game but with harder setups, and each room a mini collaboration between two users. If we could make that work, it might be a great way for that 'collab' feeling to shine through. And yeah, having a split somewhere in the level like in the original game's final castle would give us more room to make more rooms, so that might be a good idea too- as long as we don't force players to go through all of them in the end.
Norveg kind of gives me a Baron K. Roolenstein or Knautilius feel- something involving electricity and machinery, with indirect attacks. The robots idea also reminds me of Kaos, and in general this hack reminds me of DKC3, with each level having its own mechanics and being its own little world.
So yeah, if/when I come up with ideas, they will probably be along those lines.
Edit: S.N.N., what you describe actually sounds exactly like King Bowser's Castle from Yoshi's Island. Not that that's a bad thing.
My idea is that you go through the Novregs factory and somehow disable his machines in everyroom, thus proceeding to the boss who pulls out some robot as a last attempt to stop you as you have stopped his work.
Levels could be based around shutting of sewage pipes or something liek that.
The linearity should be kept, along with the themes of the void.
We could have 7 (maybe 8) different rooms of the castle, each with a theme of the world, and just like the hack, you can choose between 2 and 3; and 5 and 6. We could even make two different rooms for Fire and Ice.
And then after fire and ice a final "last room", factory themed, and then of course boss.
My idea is that you go through the Novregs factory and somehow disable his machines in every room
I like this is idea. It's like in DKCR where you have to go and push those buttons to get the "rocket" thing but instead it's to open one huge mechanical door where the final boss is located.
I think that the level design should be linear. SMW's bower castle wasn't as memorable because of all the rooms i had to choose from.
Norveg is on some huge robot that attack Marios, obviously,. Once Mario "breaks" said robot he falls down where you fight Norveg, who though old is very fast.
Honestly, I don't think we should do the exact same thing as last time. I think that just because this is the final level doesn't mean it has to be very long and extravagant, and this being a collab hack doesn't mean we NEED to get a lot of people to collaborate on it and have areas representing each world theme in an effort to get more collaboration. IMO, that's just going overboard. SMWCP1 showed this well. :/
Now, on the other hand, I'd be very much for doing it in the style of YI's final level, where you can take one path and one path only. I'm imagining also crossing it with the 4-door thing done twice in SMW. So, in other words, two sections where you have to hit a spinning door thing that will knock down a door, determining the path you take.
I'd still much rather see it simply be a factory/offices, though, instead of "hey, let's make sections that represent every world for no reason other than because this is a collab hack!" Back in SMWCP1, it made SOME sense, because void, but here...it's just a factory. :/ Now, if you still want to represent every world, instead of taking their themes, why not take their GIMMICKS? IMO, that's a much better idea, and it can still make some sense, if the gimmicks are right! A wind gimmick would make much sense if they have a lot of fans blowing to keep a room cool. (or if you're in a giant air duct of some kind...) That Roviclaw makes perfect sense in a factory setting, for obvious reasons. You get where I'm going.
I just think we could do better than inexplicable areas based on the themes of the worlds that make no sense whatsoever.
EDIT: Oh, and I vote for a more linear level, though I don't think it necessarily NEEDS to be "epic". I think just "amazing" will do. ;P
-------------------- <Adam> I feel like smwc is a prostitute now, because we put up a porn ad for money
My main problem with multiple paths levels is that the player can pick the easy path and doesn't bother to play the others. I was thinking of along the line of a giant puzzle level. Where when you take one path it would open up another. Like a stage you would see from a Legend of Zelda game. The final room before you get to the final boss should be a slow autoscroll level that rely on quick thinking to get though.