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135: Monotone Monochrome - Pikerchu13
Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 - World 10 - 135: Monotone Monochrome - Pikerchu13
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My level is the only one using Roto-Disks; if you're interested in replacing those Buzzies, I'll send you the file; it uses SP4. By the by.
Sparabuzzies and Bro-Brothers' tiles override each other. Any ideas?
Oh okay. I didn't even think about that ... you could always use standard enemies like Koopas and Goombas. What does a Lakitu in a Pipe look like in these broken pipes? Even Bats (if used properly) could be interesting in this desolate hallway.
I just tried the level too see how hard it was (I skipped to 97), and oh my God I could't make through the first three screens.

I'm a not dependable on that, since I am inexperienced in playing hard levels.

I opened the sub-level, and tried to see what Slow auto-scroll will do; it does wonders. I suggest using slow rather than medium, if were sticking with this design.

Also, that circling Spara-Buzzy in Screen 3 is just...ugh. It comes out of nowhere; With the Auto-scroll, players tend to keep moving forward as much as possible, and those who don't know the level's layout yet (which they find out after dying, like a hundred times); and with the priority, it's that Spara-Buzzy has caused me tons of grief even though I know that it was there.

The horizontal Spara-Buzzy in screen 4 are just there...for well, the player not to jump. Plus that Super Mario discrimination.

I'll have to agree with cs; those Buzzies ar ejust spammed throughout the level; constantly stop and waiting, while avoiding getting crushed by the auto-scroll got really tedious and more of a chore.

I suggest taking a out, like, half of the Buzzies, and use something else. Koopas are probably good for this level; since they provide at least ammo for small Mario player against those only killable by cape Buzzies. More killable enemies, if I should say.

Also, no; not Lakitu, IMO. Cramped spaces plus things throwing stuff mostly ends up as argh.
Ah...I think you may have swung the difficulty pendulum a little to far to the opposite side in that third section. Anyway:

First section:

- The abrupt, blocky intrustions of the Candy Calmaity terrain into this section looks...really bad, to be blunt. Honestly, I wouldn't get too worried about trying to link this level with that stage: as I've said before, the order of the stages in World 9 is very much non-final, and thematically, your stage and Foop's are so far apart it's hard to imagine any organizational scheme where they would belong back-to-back (his is definitely an early-to-mid-world level, where as yours definitely belongs near the end). But even if it were placed immediately after CC, I wouldn't get too caught up in transitions, anyway, especially in a world like this, which favors sudden changes. Your stage has a wonderful æsthetic in its own right, and you really ought to stick to that, instead of trying to force in references to a stage it may not even actually follow, especially when these references hurt the coherency and visual appeal of the stage itself.

- I still think you need something--anything--here.

- And I still think this is unfair to first time players, as it presumes you know what setups are following, as the intuitive approach is sure to be fatal here (tip: adding a second platform above the one seen here--like you have on the other end--will help compensate for the slow scroll here, and its fatal effect on players who logically try to keep near the right side of the screen. Alternative, throw something in to stop the player from reaching the platforms so quickly). The player should know what sort of obstacle they're facing before they're expected to have to chose a method for dealing with it.

Second section: This area's okay, but the combination of Venuses and Bros.--the two most overused enemies in the hack--and nothing else doesn't exactly thrill me.

- This strikes me as a bit of a tight spot, especially with the sneaky Venus immediately thereafter.

- This, conversely, is a little too empty.

Third section:

This, I fear, is where the difficulty gets completely ridiculous. There's far too many unforgiving setups, lots of big Mario discrimination, and the entire area seems to be based upon memorizing the stage layout, to the point where it would be more or less impossible for a player with even the most brilliant of reflexes to theortically be able to complete it on their first (or second or third or fourth) try. Your gimmicks seem to work counter to each other here--the autoscroll moves so fast that by the time an essential platform is visible, the player has already lost their chance to jump on it. And even when the player knows where the unseen plaforms are beforehand, the huge swarms of patrolling enemies further reduce the already very small windows for using them. And it's all very cramped on top of that. Frustrating.

Some of the more egregious examples:

- This is far too tight a squeeze. Either remove the lower Buzzy, or better yet, give the player another block's worth of space the slip down there.

- A prime instance of a platform which is already useless by the time you know it's there. I've actually never gotten up here without spinjumping off the Buzzy (which I assume is the think-outside-the-box method rather than the standard one, since it allows easy access to the moon). Also, big Mario has essentially no choice but to tank the hit on the upper level.

- This would be a tough place to slip through in any circumstances, but with the tiny window the autoscroll allows, it gets very close to impossible (I did make it in the end, but only with vigorous save-state abuse). And failure often means missing your window to take the normal path, as well.

- More "big Mario is screwed" antics.

- Pretty much impossible unless you know where the platform is beforehand, since--again--once it becomes visible, it's too late.

- More badly timed platform visibility antics.

- Automatically hit by the Buzzy upon emerging from the pipe.

General advice for this section:

~ An in-the-dark section should not be so cramped, doubly so with the lack of room for error provided by the autoscroll. Give the player a little more room to navigate around curves and the like.

~ Don't go overboard with the Sparabuzzies. Too many of them with too little time to react just gets overwhelming. A few well-placed ones are better than huge swarms of them. And well-placed means placed in such a way that they obstruct Mario's path, but are still avoidable--even as big Mario.

~ Never require the player to know the stage layout beforehand--doing so is essentially demanding they die at least once at every setup. A platform which is necessary to land on or to avoid should be visible while a player still has time to land on or avoid it.

Difficulty--or more specifically, enjoyable difficulty--is not about throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the player. Rather, it's about carefully selecting elements that compliment each other well to provide a challenge without getting overwhelming. A cramped place with lots of enemies and vanishing platforms could work if you didn't have the autoscroll (and thus allowed time for observing and strategizing), but with the autoscoll, you need to allow more room for error, as even the most carefully planned setups will seem like nothing more than an endless artillery barrage if thrown at the player one after the other while giving them only a split second to react. Part of the key to good level design is to know when to rein yourself in, and not do every single thing which occurs to you, but only those which work together well without putting an undue burden on the player, who, it is important to remember, will always have a tougher time with the stage than you, the designer will.
Definitely did, this time I could actually beat it, although it still was kinda easy to get the moon if you know where it is.

Two mini nitpicks:

Is that supposed to be there?

The piranha kinda goes behind the black line thingies (and also feels really overused in the hack by now, but eh, not your fault I guess).

Your layout has been removed.
I think you are so close now Pikerchu to being done. As far as 135 goes I'm fine with it, the only thing I saw weird was what Leod said.

As far as 96, maybe there could be one more enemy in Section 4's 2nd white platform to heighten the difficulty a bit.

As far as 97, there are a few more problems:
- Moon is too easy. Change to a 1-Up would be better and move it all the way back to the wall.
- I think there could be one or two enemies in Section 8 (one or two left/right sparabuzzies on both paths) and 9 (a circular sparabuzzy).
- I don't know why but when I exit out of Secondary Exit 132 the screen is moved over a couple of squares. Maybe move the entrance pipe for 132 over 2 squares.

Other than that I enjoyed the level.
I'm not sure it's quite insertion-ready yet, but it's getting there.

I still think the blocky, irregular intrusion of the Candy Calamity terrain into the first sections looks super-awkward, and really diminishes and otherwise brilliant mood. Honestly, they look more like glitches than anything else, and things like this

...are just visually confusing, especially as the CC terrain looks a good deal more solid (i.e. non-walk-throughable) than the rest.

I still maintain it wold be most elegant just to have the white terrain from the start, but if you're honestly really, really keen on the desaturated cakes, It might be better just to have a more subtle transition as seen in the earlier versions of the level, or to have the small section of desaturated cake as seen in earlier versions lead into another small portion of greyscale cake, and then the white soil for the rest of the level. Changing to the white soil then having the cake suddenly reappear in weird, right-angle-heavy formations looks exceedingly bizarre and discordant, however, and not in an atmospheric way.

In any case, 135:

- The upper saw on screen 9 doesn't actually spawn a good majority of the time. It might be better just to remove it entirely, since the lower one's the real obstacle here anyway, and I'm also not sure it's a great idea to have the player need to spin jump off of something that is mostly partially offscreen on the occasions when it does spawn.

- Inconsistent priority on the soil, so when Mario dies, he sometimes falls behind the upper layer (i.e. the edges f the land), but in front of the lower ones (i.e. the filler middle land tiles)


- General overuse of the sprite in this hack aside, one thing I don't like about the Venuses here is the tendency of their fireballs to go behind the priority-enabled walls, which makes them hard to keep track of, especially in the more cramped corridors. Of course, using non-priority-enabled walls around hem could help diminish this...

- I think what bothers me the most about screen 02 (as mentioned in my previous comment) is not simply the crampedness, but the fact that the boomerangs tend to go through the non-solid platforms in such a way that they don't look as though they're dangerous to a person walking on that platform, but still are.

- I also still generally think that screen 02 is too cramped/sprite-heavy, and screens 3-5 (especially screen 4) are too empty. A wee bit of balancing on both ends cold help.

97: On the whole, this feels much better now. As tiresome as I find Venus Firetraps by this point, I have to admit there is something decidedly eerie about their inhabiting the broken pipes here, like plants growing out of the cracks and crevices of an abandoned building, reclaiming the disused edifice for the natural world. Quite a striking effect.

- That said, fireballs and priority-enabled land continue to play together poorly here--it's very annoying the be hit a screen-and-a-half later by a fireball the player doesn't even realize has been silently following them the whole time. The Sparabuzzies, too, have some odd interaction with these same walls (they pass behind them yet are visible through the highlight), so again, the simplest solution here might simply be to use non-priority-enabled walls (unless they're needed for a specific purpose that presently escapes me?).

- I agree with the comments that the moon is best replaced with a normal 1-up.

- The final coin is even more difficult to get now that it was before--in fact, I not sure how it's even supposed to be possible without taking a hit. And the penalty for overshooting the jump it is still to be very likely to miss your window of opportunity even to take the normal path.

That aside, I think you're mostly on the right track now. Just a bit of balancing between the few excessively cramped and excessively empty areas, and you'll have yourself a fine level indeed.
I guess the only other thing I had to say Pikerchu about your level that I forgot to mention is that the deadline for levels posted by SNN is the end of March. But pretty much it's on the right track as RN pointed out.
One additional remark concerning the title: "Mania", in addition to being one of those terribly overused words in level names, doesn't really fit the mood of this particular level, being suggestive as it is of a much more upbeat, frantic pace and atmosphere. What we have here, though, is something more ordered and elegant, with a somewhat slower pace, and patrol-type enemies who move about, around and past each other in set patterns, always the same and predefined by the flow of the autoscroll, and it seems, almost, keeping pace with the music, then, would something along the lines of "Monochrome Minuet" strike your fancy...?
I believe I've addressed most, if not all concerns thus far.
I changed the title to Monotone Monochrome, and made various other changes according to what those guys above me said.
Changing the priority worked a little bit better this time around seeing all of the boomerangs and stuff in front of the FG for 96 and 97. It did though create a problem in 135 for Screens 11 and 15. Mainly where the white platforms against the dark shade will give Mario some priority problems.

In 96, maybe one more enemy on the top black row.

In 97, the moon is still there (needs to be replaced by a 1-Up) and then moved back even further. The sparabuzzies make this too easy. In the top route of Screen 7/8, it needs an enemy or two. Screens A/B have black platforms where the Sparabuzzies go behind them.

It still has a few problems but it's getting closer.
I'm basically going to repeat what I said in the last post minus what I said in 96. If you want I can fix up these cosmetic errors for you and let you have 100% of the credit, it's no big deal for me, you're pretty much all the way done. If you have LevelASM, I don't think so but I can't tell just by looking, you can send that to me too. If not here's what needs to be fixed for me.

Your posts don't look quite right in Level 135 Screens 8 and 9.

In 97, even with the pipe in the way of the moon, you can still get there too easily. A 1-Up backed up all the way against the wall is the best bet. If you need more space Pikerchu for graphics you can always claim more, it's not a problem on a mostly used graphics file. The black tiles need a no priority thing because they seem to put the Sparrabuzzies behind them. And Screen 7/8 needs an enemy or two on the top route.
Sick this week, here's my progress.
Did what cstutor said.
I've tested it again and most of problems were fixed. There is now priority problems in Level 135 on screens 11-12 with the Black and White platforms and 15-17 with the Black platforms.

If someone can verify the difficulty for World 9, I can fix up the priority issues with those screens and then it can be sent in. Hope you feel better soon Pikerchu.
The difficulty seems good now. It's not easy by any means, but I was able to beat it after three tries with no save states.

I .. guess I have no other complaints. I'm ready to clear it if you're ready to send it in.
Alright here's a new version with all of the Layer Priorities fixed (I believe): 135 (Layer Priority Fixed)

Take the first door to the 2nd SMW Coin.

Takes the second door to the 3rd SMW Coin.

EDIT: Once varified, I can put all of the stuff together and package it as one.

EDIT2: The stuff has been sent, I'll fix anything that needs to be fixed.
Agh, just when I was about to make a comment.

Anyway, you know that place that I keep griping about? Right, this place. Why not just put a row of three coins there so it looks like it has some relevance of some kind? Also, is there not perhaps some way we could suggest the 1-up in the third section is something other than an ordinary mushroom? I assume palette reversal is right out without screwing up the Piranher Plant, but perhaps there's some way of making it look seem notable...?

Other than that, it's all loverly.
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Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 - World 10 - 135: Monotone Monochrome - Pikerchu13

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