Well before I head off to bed I was testing what I completed and fixed thus far. I still lack ASM and the fourth room ASM gimmick has been scrapped but I got the first 3 finished after asking MarioE about the gravity patch problem. I didn't include the fourth room just yet because it's not completely finished.
I've just been extremely busy with irl problems and work but I have here a new ips patch for testing. Masashi offered to code the "lock system" I had planned so that is coming soon too.
Again, sorry about all the hesitation. Friday will be my 9th day in a row at work so I'm fucking beat but I have 2 days off afterward so yay me.
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I should have something witty to put here (even if it's just to update dated info), shouldn't I?
Right outside this door is a power-up block, making this one completely unnecessary.
I don't think the Red Elite at the start of the Blackout Basement room (was I really calling it the Loopy Lights room this whole time?) is a good idea. A lesser enemy could do, though.
Not sure if I can get behind (support) this setup.
Door doesn't work.
Lava has no bouyancy.
You should inform the player that when the gravity is inverted, so are the Up/Down buttons.
The FG position for this door is too low, killing Mario upon entry.
Useless Star block since Mario can't hit blocks from above and even if he could, it would just die in the lava anyway.
Useless shell. Trying to kick the shell "up" will just drop the shell harmlessly on the block. Trying to kick the shell "down" will fling it in the inverted lava... and land on nothing the block harmlessly.
There isn't really any wiggle room for this spike pillar platform Mario's standing on. He has a very small time frame to move just three tiles while avoiding a very fast wall of extreme discomfort. It doesn't seem all that bad on its own, but couple it with the premise of the level and you have only one checkpoint to work with (the other being saved for the boss door), and you can get a little more trouble than it's worth.
I did some editing with your IPS and added the Factory Castle music to the levels and I must say that it fits what you have going great. Just don't deviate too much from the atmosphere of the level. Overall, I think what you got so far is pretty well, the main issue I have however is that the jump in difficulty from the level before yours (which is mine, assuming it's not shuffled around) feels a little too great. But I suppose I'm not a reliable gague for that since I authored one of the levels before yours (Kipernal having the other), so of course I would find it easier.
Ah yes, after checking my level right after submitting the IPS patch I noticed most of these problems, I fixed most of them, as for unfairness, lemme fix those right quick. BTW, the shell is for a yellow switch block. =P
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Both this room and the main room have a sprite set such that whenever anything is kicked into the lava, glitched lava bubbles pop up. Should be a moderately easy fix.
Try lowering the blue platforms a bit so the player absolutely has to have the red/blue switches to get that power-up (unless you intended it to be this way, in which case I must ask - why?).
I'm assuming this is caused by going through the reset door earlier. You didn't re-enable layer 2 on the screen with the door, thus causing any further layer two stuff to be broken in the level.
As a general note, be careful with the anti-gravity power as a whole. Blue Elite Koopas work absolutely horrendously with it (eg. that one right before the reset door) as you'll die if you try and jump on them. You can probably alleviate this issue by moving that particular Koopa far enough back so that it absolutely cannot be on the same screen as Mario when he's upside-down.
Other than that, please finish this already. I'm not trying to rush you, and I know you've been working harder on it lately, but it's been going on for several months now and I'd like to see it finally completed.
Finally got around to giving this the ol' whirly-gig.
The first thing that strikes me about this level is its appearance, or perhaps I should say that the first thing that very noticeably doesn't strike me is its appearance. Every castle thus far has a fairly distinctive look to it; this one, however, appears pretty much identical to Musical Mechanisms and Incineration Station, despite being perhaps the most important castle of all. At the absolute least it needs a unique palette and background (though the latter one will probably have to wait until a few more of those are made), but I think it also needs a more fundamental rethinking of what the general feel of the level should be. All of the exposed brick, for instance, strikes me as extremely out of place; you could conceivably use it in the blackout room if you want to suggest that something's gone seriously haywire in there (though in that case I'd actually make the disarray a bit stronger still), but it's rather inappropriate for the main hall. Remember that this is no run-of-the-mill mill--this is Doc's personal lab, and as such ought to be better maintained and more technologically impressive. I'd recommend removing the red brick entirely, to be honest, and going with a purely metallic look (maybe with a sort of gunmetal blue palette, or whatever else strikes your fancy); if you want to keep the slopes, simply change the brick palette to something similar to that of the metallic blocks (making the pores invisible to further reduce the brickiness), and line them with the same blocks, like so. Of course, it might also be worth seeing if you could combine this tile set with some of the other factory graphics, or perhaps some other machine-heavy tilesets such as the blimp tileset, or perhaps that one with the dopey robot in the leotard.
- This Goomba just walks straight to its doomba.
- You seem to position the red Elites so they have far too much of an environmental advantage over Mario, to the point where he can't even effectively dodge their attacks. Though it's possible to get the drop on the first one if you charge on forward and trounce him immediately (though this both requires the player to know he's there in the first place as well as where he'll appear, something which requires a bit of experimentation and virtually assures the player won't get past the first few times without taking a hit), the second one is, as far as I can tell, almost impossible to slip past unscathed by normal methods. Due to his positioning, he starts firing long before he's in Mario's field of vision (denying Mario the element of surprise), due to Mario having to wait for the whirling platform, he'll almost certainly get another volley or two off before Mario ever gets the chance to land atop him or sneak under, and due to the cramped environment, his volleys are almost impossible to avoid. Ultimately, the only reliable solution I could find other than just tanking the hit...
...was to charge into the green elite with a shell from one of the Paratroopas, and drop down to this area in time to have them both fall into the lava, which would tie up enough sprite slots so that only two of the Elite's fireballs would spawn, allowing me both the ability to successfully jump over them and to reach the platform in time for the second volley not to begin until I was in such a position where I could remain in motion long enough to outrun it. Now, I like abusing technical limitations as much as the next scoundrel, but this should hardly be the only sure way to avoid a hit, no?
- I personally think this is sort of borderline big Mario discrimination, since, if the player arrives here in the dark, they can easily be hit by a bullet they wouldn't have expected to have to duck to avoid, or worse yet, can be pushed completely off the platform by a totally unseen cannon. I'd recommend moving it up a tile like the cannon on the other side, especially since you already have the question block as "bait" to make Mario jump into the bullet's path.
- Possible death-by-powerup if small Mario attempts to jump up to collect the mushroom from the right side.
- It seems just a little mean to position the blue Elite in such way that it respawns every time the player uses the reset door. It seems meaner still to position the reset door in a place where the player will need to press up, thereby allowing the possibilty that they'll accidentally enter the door, also coincidentally respawning the blue Elite.
- This setup seems a little mean, too, at least in my view, as it's a touch counter-intuitive; I'd recommend either extending the bridge to continue to the other side of the block, or, if you'd rather avoid the chance of the player standing directly underneath landing safely on the block itself, and least put two bridge tiles on the other side, with a 1-tile gap under the block itself. As it stands, the player will almost certainly hit the block on the left side (who would think of anything else when there's nothing on the right?) and fall into the lava; even if they notice the lack of a platform directly above, they're unlikely to realize that there's no chance of them safely reaching the bridge unless they hit the block from the right and snake around. Having a small platform on the other side at least gives a subtle, unconscious hint.
- This construction has four problems. 1) If the lower switch rises up onto the same spot where small Mario is standing, he will be killed. 2) Any state Mario is likely to be bounced up and down, landing inside where the switches appear just when they appear, deactivating them at that same moment, flinging him in the opposite direction to repeat the process in a hilarious loop. 3) If Mario attempts to land on the upper platform slightly to the left or right in order to avoid said hilarious loop, he will probably rub shoulders with your friendly neighborhood spike, as the switch which throws us into the hilarious loop to be avoided effectively occupies the sole truly safe landing spot. 4) If Mario tries to be all sneaky-peaky and stand a bit more to the left before throwing the shell, he may instead cause it to land atop the block, whereafter it can ne'er again be persuaded to come down off its high horse.
On the whole, though, I do like this level, and I would certainly posit that with a bit of refining (and of course, ah, finishing the remainder of the level), it could easily be a level worthy of the position of the penultimate stage (unlike, say, certain terminating adventums we may or may not have met in a previous life). Just make sure not to go too overboard on the blue Elites--those are some dangerous critters, they are, and just a few of them will go a long way.
At the absolute least it needs a unique palette and background (though the latter one will probably have to wait until a few more of those are made), but I think it also needs a more fundamental rethinking of what the general feel of the level should be. All of the exposed brick, for instance, strikes me as extremely out of place; you could conceivably use it in the blackout room if you want to suggest that something's gone seriously haywire in there (though in that case I'd actually make the disarray a bit stronger still), but it's rather inappropriate for the main hall. Remember that this is no run-of-the-mill mill--this is Doc's personal lab, and as such ought to be better maintained and more technologically impressive. I'd recommend removing the red brick entirely, to be honest, and going with a purely metallic look (maybe with a sort of gunmetal blue palette, or whatever else strikes your fancy); if you want to keep the slopes, simply change the brick palette to something similar to that of the metallic blocks (making the pores invisible to further reduce the brickiness), and line them with the same blocks, like so. Of course, it might also be worth seeing if you could combine this tile set with some of the other factory graphics, or perhaps some other machine-heavy tilesets such as the blimp tileset, or perhaps that one with the dopey robot in the leotard.
That's actually not a bad idea, nor does it look too bad. One reason I didn't bother changing the graphics was because of the amount of ExGFX in the game already so I'll probably give the palette editing a whirl. As for combining them, I'm not too sure how that would intervene with other palettes and whatnot honestly, I'd personally rather spare me the stress with that and leave the rooms be. I'll leave the final word up to SNN or whoever.
As for the bugs, I was aware of about half of them, one thing though, people have complained that my level was too easy, I thought of some of these said "mean moves" as a precaution of some sort, like "be careful, it's dark in here". Most of these perspectives of difficulty are subjective to be honest, not that I won't take any advice whenever possible though.
For the final room though I thought of another DKC-esque idea surprise surprise. Platform Perils from DKC1. The one way platforms to navigate through the level through various obstacles. Since my other sprite request was basically shot down twice due to massive headache-inducing coding.
I'll look further into these bugs though, thanks for the input Rameau's Nephew.
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I don't care if it was wasted effort or not, I had fun making them Just tell me if this isn't what you had pictured and you want me to make something else, or if you want to make them yourself. I know that the other rooms use other graphics, but I figure I'd post these here and eventually make the other rooms look the same if these palettes were well-received.
Jokes aside I added in a few new palettes and fixed a few minor bugs, as for the door in the antigravity room I can't quite fix the BG position problem so I made the door exit the room so you can return back. I'm attempting to ASM a few of my own custom blocks and waiting for one last sprite so I can finish the final room.
First time I've tested this level and I do like it. There are some small detractors for the most part that just need a quick fix to correct them but it shouldn't be hard to do it.
As far as Level 131:
Screen 0 (top-left): Big Mario can squeeze into that hole and die. Just fill that hole up.
Screen 3: Scrambled Lava graphics when Koopa goes into lava. Just change SP4 from 2 to 3.
Screen 4 (middle-left): Same problem as Screen 0.
As far as Level 180:
Screen 9: I can't pass the last two spikes of six spikes when Mario is big (even at its highest peak). Just raise the roof one tile and it'll be fine.
As far as Level 181:
Screen 0 (bottom-left): Same reason as in Level 131, Screens 0/4. Door doesn't work (just remove it).
Screens 7-B: Graphical garbage.
As far as Level 182:
Screen 0: On-Off switch produces football.
Screen 5: I'm not sure if you need that blue rising/falling platform. I was able to get through without it.
Screen A: Extra green shell, not necessary.
As far as the blue elite koopas in 182, I don't know if they're the best enemies either as some other people have stated (SNN, etc.) if they get hit by Mario above a pit, they'll die no matter how many hits they've previously had. Also a note on the Koopas in general (not just for this level), if Mario carries a Koopa shell and hits one of these Elites, they die instantly. Wow, Koopa vs. Koopa death lolz. There's some weird things too when Mario's upside down and he attacks it from (above? maybe below I don't know) sometimes it works and he wins sometimes he doesn't. But anyways aside from those few small things this is pretty good, I like it for World 8.
Both in this version and the last, I've noticed Mario has an odd tendency to ocassionally glitch through what ought to be completely solid blocks when jumping. Combine this with the weird glitchy masses described in the above post, and I think it may be time to transfer things to a fresh ROM.
Concerning design...I'd say the section in most need of a somewhat more drastic revision is level 182. I have to join the chorus of voices suggesting that you use something else other than blue Elites in the reverse gravity room; they simply do not work well there on a functional level, and above all serve to make the gimmick feel buggy. As far as the reset door goes, I think the most elegant solution might simply be to redesign that bit so it's not necessary. Honestly, the whole business of having to throw a shell up to hit a switch in order to be able to fall through a small, spike-lined gap, but being unable get a clear shot due to a reset door blocking your way (and stepping over one tile to the side drastically increasing your chances of bashing into the spikes on top of this) makes for a remarkably cheap trap, and I think the level would probably benefit from having it removed altogether.
What exactly is this, anyway?
Concerning æsthetics...I like the new palette in the main hall, though the one in the two side rooms seems a little less interesting--it's basically the same as before, just darker (take a look at Synchronized Sector for a level which manages to give this tileset a bit more of an interesting spin). On the whole, though, I still think a more drastic overhaul than just some new palettes is is called for here. This is really a milestone stage, representing the point in the story where Mario goes up against and defeats Norveg's most trusted associate, forcing our villain into the final, desperate defensive seen in the game's last stage, and the atmosphere ought to be suitably epic to match this. Honestly, we're not so badly hurting for ExGFX slots that we couldn't spare one or two for one of our most important stages, and even if you don't want to commission a completely new tileset for this level, it might be worth seeing if someone might be willing to craft a few unique decorations to make this place feel just little more special. And as I suggested in my earlier post, it's important not to underestimate what just a wee bit of mix-and-match and emphasizing of different features can do. Compare, for example, Crystalline Citadel and the third section of tower section of EREHPS EHT RAEF; they use the same basic tileset, albeit with some of the elements used differently and a few things added to or missing from each, yet they end up feeling very drastically different from one another. The same principle can be applied here as well:
The only things I did here were to replace the Musical Mechanisms BG with the Rusted Retribution BG, edited slightly to remove the more dilapidated elements (blinking lights removed, broken cylinders replaced with intact ones, and though you can't see it here, those...bar things at the bottom altered to have a more regular length and arrangement) and removed the exposed brick in the FG tiles according to the same pattern shown in my previous post. And yet with just those minor changes, the level feels a lot more epic and imposing, as might be expected from the penultimate level. Now imagine what you could do to the atmosphere by adding a few additional decorations (borrowed from other tilesets of drawn afresh) on top of that. You don't necessarily need completely new graphics to create a completely new mood; they just need to be employed differently.
But as I said, this is still coming together quite nicely on the whole, and I look forward to seeing what final room will be like.
Some of the names we came up with on IRC:
Gizmo Chateau Fornication Forges