Banner
Views: 815,829,827
Time:
20 users online:  1UPdudes, algae5, Aurel509, containercore, Daizo Dee Von, Darkslayer, Dispace,  Gloomy, Infinity, JamesD28, lion, MegaSonic1999, Nint3ndoleggend, Nirv, OEO6, rextep, S3TH0s, SAMYR DUTRA ARAUJO, Tsquare07, Wuddl - Guests: 51 - Bots: 82 Users: 43,170 (2,251 active)
Latest: AhuracMusic
Tip: If you give the player a cape, be sure they can't cheat and fly over the level with it!Not logged in.
139: Bedazzling Bastion - tatanga
Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 Completion Project - World 10 - 139: Bedazzling Bastion - tatanga
Tags:
Pages: « 1 2 3 4 »
Owner: tatanga

World: Bonus
Exits: 1
Theme: Abstract/Dream
Music Options: 1, 2, 3, or compose your own.

Briefing: Be as creative as you wish with this one, but try to make your area almost surreal/abstract/dream-like. The possibilities, quite literally, are endless here. Clever ExAnimation, neat graphical swaps, and more can go a long way to make these levels memorable and fun. These levels should be quite challenging as well, but fair.

Note that this does not mean you can dump a Kaizo level here and call it a day.
I would like to create this level if possible.

I understand that since I haven't work on any levels for this project yet it may appear that I'm not really part of "the team" (although I have offered some advice to several of the level designers).

If I am allowed to create this level, I can promise you that I will provide updates frequently, and will definitely finish it.

Hope to see this project turn out successfully, it's doing great so far!

tatanga
I'm familiar with your skills, at least, so I'd love to see you try to make something for this. Just remember to claim all of your resources/Map16 in the appropriate threads, read the two important stickies in the main forum, and you should be good to go.
Thanks, sounds great. One of the plans I have for this level is to make better use of the disappearing/appearing platforms imamelia used in the "star road" section of the level. I have some interesting level design ideas that I'd like to use in combination with this. I will post more information in several hours.

--------
(IPS link is now obsolete; removed)

(Image links are now obsolete; removed)

Hello everyone, I feel I've made some decent progress building the level. My plan currently is to have around 2 to 3 areas. The first area will be horizontal sublevel that introduces the concept of the disappearing/appearing blocks and begins to use them in more and more difficult situations. Although there aren't too many enemies, I feel the level doesn't seem too boring; however, I'd like to hear the opinions of some other designers as well. I was going for a "Mega Man" style stage with appearing blocks that the player has to follow.

The second area is planned to be a vertical sublevel. Whereas the first area focuses on timing and precision, the next will feature a higher concentration of enemies, as well as some custom lasers.

NOTICE:
1. I haven't chosen any music yet, I simply used the music that happened to be inserted on the stage I was building. However, I've gotten quite accustomed to it and feel it fits pretty nicely. If anyone has any better suggestions, let me know, because I haven't heard anything else so there's probably a lot more appropriate tunes.

2. Is the SMWCentral coin in an appropriate place? I wanted the coin to be a little out of the way, but I almost get the idea it might be too easy to grab.

3. Does anyone have any suggestions for names? I really like the sound of either Hallucinogenic Haunt or Haunted Hallucinogen, but both of those options appear to use too many characters.

Feel free to offer any suggestions to improve the level!

tatanga
To me, trying to focus on single-tile jumps on blocks that disappear and are set against a distracting background was straining on the eyes for me. It actually reminded me a bit of the "Death By Rainbow" entry in the 24 hour level event.

I can certainly see how the blocks are inspired by Mega Man, but it seems lost in translation to me. The level follows a repetitive pattern of single-tile jumps <--> boo barrage, and for me personally it was more boring than fun from the start. The blocks and enemies aren't used in tandem from what I've seen so far, and there's also a lack of architecture- just single blocks against an animated background. I feel like you should be able to do a lot more with those blocks than strings of single-tile jumps...

Mind you, some of those triple jumps later in the first section demand more precision than the setups some DKC levels have you do at the end of the stage. The difficulty comes off as artificially boosted.

I also thought it was a bit weird for the level to pretty much require screen-scrolling from the beginning, but that might just be me.

--------------------
Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART
Originally posted by AxemJinx
The blocks and enemies aren't used in tandem from what I've seen so far,

Yeah, I've had some problems in that regard...

Here's a new IPS that hopefully addresses some of the problems AxemJinx noticed. (IPS link is now obsolete; removed)

Hopefully the area will feel more interesting and less tedious.

tatanga
I think part of the problem might be that you're taking an idea from a game where you can't bounce on enemies and trying to fit it into a game where you can. Using enemies in combination with the jumps you have now might just make the jumps easier. Combine that with the fact that boos aren't the most exciting enemies gameplay-wise (to me, anyway), and I'm just not sure I like the way this is headed so far. I mean, when you take an idea from another game, you have to translate it into SMW-gameplay-language, if that makes sense.

While the jump with two vertical alternating barriers is clever, and the introduction of the disappearing blocks is handled better, the overall feel of the level is the same to me. See what others think too, though.

--------------------
Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART
I would tend to agree. Expanding on what AxemJinx mentions about the nature of the block setups in his first post, I noticed that all of them, from the very beginning, adopt the alternating appear/disappear pattern, where the player needs to jump essentially right before the transition. In the Mega Man games, and indeed in imamelia's level as well, this is considered a more advanced setup, i.e. something one throws in later in the level, after the player has more or less mastered the blocks in their simpler setups. By instead handling them this way from the start, not only do you deny the player the opportunity to get get accustomed to the blocks, you also play your trump card far too early, leaving you relatively little room to up the stakes after this, with the result that the level ends up feeling repetitive.

Otherwise, I have to likewise agree that there's a lot more you can do with these blocks than simply having them as small stepping stones over a yawning void. That's a classic use of them, of course, and something you can certainly include here, but it won't support an entire level on its own--you also need to mix them up with some more interesting solid architecture, and throw some more exciting enemies than just booze boos. Remember than even if the blocks are the main gimmick of the level, they don't have to be the sole gameplay element.

Also, I might recommend choosing a different track for the level. I've always found that particular track a bit...cacophonous, which can admittedly work well in certain situations to create a sense of uncanniness, but here, combined with the highly visually stimulating foreground and background (as well as the repetitive and precise nature of the gameplay in the current version), it starts to get a bit grating after a while. Thus, if you want to use this particular visual style, I might recommend choosing a more soothing piece of music to act as a counterbalance.
That background is...mesmerizing, to say the least. I like it a lot. It would get distracting if there was too much going on in the level.

To fit with the abstract theme, maybe you should make the blocks look trippier. Make them a funny color--maybe negatively colored like the BG in Reverse Universe.

I like what I'm seeing so far. I agree with Rameau in that there's a bit too much guesswork in deciding when to jump before the platforms disappear. But then this is World 9, so...

I also tested Optic Overload (this level's predecessor) and I have to say the name fits your design PERFECTLY! What a feast for the retinas you've made there. Consider keeping the name, if that's allowed. (Sorry, I'm late to the party and I'm just starting to follow this project more.)

Or if you need another name, how about:

Acid Aura
Psychedelic Portal
Phantasm Chasm (the first sublevel has massive holes)
Kaleidoscope Cavity
Trippy Tribulations
Retinal Rampage

I liked the silhouette sublevel imamelia made, but the rest of it was almost unplayable. I'd hate to see the pink sky/lightning sublevel go to waste, as long as someone can fix its bugs.

--------------------
"(Z->)90° - (E-N²W)90°t=1"

Supporting:


Current project: Mario's Kool-Aid Acid Trip
I wonder if it might be worth it to darken the rainbow colors in the background - that is, have the animation itself act slightly darker so that it doesn't blend with the foreground so much. It doesn't bother me too much personally (and as I said before, I like the effect), but I have a very strong feeling that several other people may strain their eyes.

As for the changes to the level .. it's an improvement, though I still feel that you can do more with these blocks (and it seems like the above users feel the same). Have you considered utilizing the quarter-time P-Switch blocks in some fashion to create brown block bridges? At the very least, it would mix up block times and allow your setups to become more clever.

On another note, I just realized on this playthrough that the Boos trivialize certain parts of the level - namely, that section where you're jumping on single blocks for two or three screens. I'd suggest reworking that a bit.

Other than that, my thoughts are mostly the same as the above people. I feel like you're getting there, but you're still not quite using these blocks to their full potential. Once you pass that hurdle, you'll be well on your way.
@AxemJinx + others
After reading your critiques and testing the level, I've come to agree that the boos do not really work well in tandem with the disappearing/appearing grey blocks. I decided to scrap the early version and rebuild the level with a focus on Firebars as well. I feel this version plays a lot better and has a more fast paced and exciting feel to it.

Here's a video of the newest version. (Video link is now obsolete; removed)

(IPS link is now obsolete; removed)

@Rameau's Nephew
I experimented with a few songs, but most of them tended to sound more grating...any specific suggestions you would like to hear while playing?

@Biospark88
Thanks for the suggestions! With the new turn the level has taken, it almost seems that a castle-based name might be more appropriate. What do you think about:

Psychadelic Citadel
Kaleidoscope Castle
Bedazzling Bastion

@S.N.N.
I took your advice and darkened the background, and I feel it gives the same effect in a less obtrusive manner. Do you think it could still be eye-straining?

tatanga
This version, I'd say, is most definitely an improvement. Still, there's a few things that might be worth refining a bit further:

- The firebars are far more interesting than the boos ever were, and seem to integrate a good deal more naturally into the level. Nevertheless, I think level could be made more interesting still if you had a least one or two other types of enemy in addition. As suggested earlier, it would be especially interesting to see how the blocks could be used in tandem with bouncing off of enemies.

- While the blocks are introduced better and more gradually now, you still transition a bit abruptly from "jump between two platforms with a somewhat dangerous but still solid block between them" to "jump right at the transition, or perish". I'd recommend having at least one pairing of platforms where the player needs to jump at the transition, but with a non-fatal consequences should they fail, just to let them get more used to the rhythm before being required to make such jumps over a pit.

- I'd recommend moving the highest set of blocks on screen 05 down one tile. As it stands, they lie right at the apex of Mario's jump, and should he begin to descend even slightly before they appear, he will be shunted mercilessly downward into the void. While not exactly a difficult jump, I found whether I made it or not seemed to depend a little too heavily on chance.

- The "gate" setup on screen 7 has somewhat awkward timing. We, the players, tend to count in seconds, and it takes about four seconds for the block to reappear--so far, so good. Unfortunately, it takes far less than a second for Mario to make that drop, so the player needs to count to an odd "three-and-a-bit", which feels very strange and leaves little room for error.

- The screen 0B - 0C block jump is unexpectedely wide (and blind) compared to what comes before, and could thus use a good old fashioned coin trail to guide the player.

- The section with the blocks as vertical barriers (0C/0D) seems rather too demanding. Firstly, this is the very first time we encounter these blocks as vertical obstacles to be avoided rather than horizontal platforms to be landed on (i.e. the exact opposite of their role hitherto), and they are not only introduced over a pit, but in a very tricky arrangement, at that. What's worse, though, is the presence of that firebar, as the player scarcely has a chance to pay attention to the barriers' pattern long enough to suss out the proper rhythm, as they have to keep diverting their attention in order to dodge that thing.

- The coin is fine conceptually, but this particular setup strikes me as excessive, as there's absolutely no leeway as far as timing goes. Nothing short of frame-perfect timing is demanded here, with the punishment being death.

- Generally speaking, I wish you wouldn't have limited yourself to just two oppositely timed variants of the blocks, but had also done something with the other versions which appear at different times relative to one another.


As far as æsthetics are concerned, I think the more desaturated background indeed helps a good deal. As for music, since our intended theme is "trippy", I'd recommend something a bit less uncanny and a bit more otherworldly. Ghost House 3/Cumulus Chapel (3E) has a more subdued, mystical, and wondrous feel about it (just ignore the disconcerting wheeze-o-phone solo which appears in the version currently in the ROM), which will calm the players nerves at the more frustrating jumps, just as DKC2's tricky bramble levels famously employ the soothing Stickerbrush Symphony. Perhaps even better still, however, would be Desert Ruins 2 (59), which gives a very distinctive, shaman-type "awakening" vibe, which I think makes for a particularly memorable mood for the level.

Incidentally, what were you planning to do for the next part of the level? I, as the player, think I might be getting a little weary of these blocks for the moment after playing through this first section, so I wonder if it might not be worth introducing a completely different gimmick in the second section. You could then bring the blocks back for the finale, or better still, combine both gimmicks together to make for an especially satisfying conclusion to the level.
Originally posted by tatanga


@Biospark88
Thanks for the suggestions! With the new turn the level has taken, it almost seems that a castle-based name might be more appropriate. What do you think about:

Psychadelic Citadel
Kaleidoscope Castle
Bedazzling Bastion



"Citadel" has been used at least once in this hack already (Crystalline Citadel in W7). I like Bedazzling Bastion myself. "Bastion"'s been proposed many, many times but no one ever OK'd it. Maybe now's the chance to use it!

And I have two more from my extensive vocabulary:
Refulgent Redoubt or Resplendent Redoubt

Now go pull out your dictionary! :P I'm good with level names, so if anyone needs one, PM me! This includes any other levels in the collab!

I'll give the IPS a shot now. Assuming no one beats me there first, I'll give you some feedback later.

EDIT: I couldn't get past a certain area of the level, even with savestates. But up to that point, here's what I have to say.


Precision jumping like this is OK only sparingly. I know it's world 9, but please don't make it any longer than this.


Blind leap of faith and hope you land on that last disappearing block.


Slowdown.


Now THIS is a pain in the ass. It took me 5 open states to get this right. Crapshoots are not fun, even in the bonus world.


Hard to capture, but Mario can get stuck in the side of these blocks sometimes. Also the hitbox is a tiny bit wonky.


How in the hell do I get past this without breaking the level?

Better than before, but still feels very alpha. It needs more sprites and diverse landforms or it's bland. Please don't use the trippy BG as a crutch for empty level design here!

And sorry for being harsh. I have very high expectations for this hack, especially in the later levels. The bonus world has to be a satisfying reward for a skilled player to unlock and conquer.

--------------------
"(Z->)90° - (E-N²W)90°t=1"

Supporting:


Current project: Mario's Kool-Aid Acid Trip
Originally posted by Rameau's Nephew
- The firebars are far more interesting than the boos ever were, and seem to integrate a good deal more naturally into the level. Nevertheless, I think level could be made more interesting still if you had a least one or two other types of enemy in addition. As suggested earlier, it would be especially interesting to see how the blocks could be used in tandem with bouncing off of enemies.

Yes, I agree. I'll try and work in some other types of enemies into the mix. I also like the idea of bouncing of enemies in some situations as well.

Originally posted by Rameau's Nephew
- While the blocks are introduced better and more gradually now, you still transition a bit abruptly from "jump between two platforms with a somewhat dangerous but still solid block between them" to "jump right at the transition, or perish". I'd recommend having at least one pairing of platforms where the player needs to jump at the transition, but with a non-fatal consequences should they fail, just to let them get more used to the rhythm before being required to make such jumps over a pit.

This is a good idea in some respects, but there are a couple of drawbacks that I almost think might outweigh the positives. For one, using the "in between" grey block sprite does not work very well for some of the longer segments, as any more than 3 blocks in a row force the player back to the "jump right at the transition" style. I feel that getting the players accustomed to this from the start of the level will train them better than using the other blocks and then having the players feel "startled" when they are suddenly expected to jump at the transition.

Originally posted by Rameau's Nephew
- I'd recommend moving the highest set of blocks on screen 05 down one tile. As it stands, they lie right at the apex of Mario's jump, and should he begin to descend even slightly before they appear, he will be shunted mercilessly downward into the void. While not exactly a difficult jump, I found whether I made it or not seemed to depend a little too heavily on chance.

Alright, I'll look into lowering it a tile, though it doesn't seem to really rely on chance at all to me. Of course, being the actual designer, I am a bit biased so I can see how it could be a problem point for some players.

Originally posted by Rameau's Nephew
- The "gate" setup on screen 7 has somewhat awkward timing. We, the players, tend to count in seconds, and it takes about four seconds for the block to reappear--so far, so good. Unfortunately, it takes far less than a second for Mario to make that drop, so the player needs to count to an odd "three-and-a-bit", which feels very strange and leaves little room for error.

Yeah, I can see how this setup could be a little problematic. I don't have any trouble with it, but if it seems unnecessarily difficult, I'm sure I can come up with an alternate setup.

Originally posted by Rameau's Nephew
- The screen 0B - 0C block jump is unexpectedely wide (and blind) compared to what comes before, and could thus use a good old fashioned coin trail to guide the player.

I agree, though the OCD part of me then insists that I must add a coin trail to all the other jumps as well, for sake of consistency haha.

Originally posted by Rameau's Nephew
- The section with the blocks as vertical barriers (0C/0D) seems rather too demanding. Firstly, this is the very first time we encounter these blocks as vertical obstacles to be avoided rather than horizontal platforms to be landed on (i.e. the exact opposite of their role hitherto), and they are not only introduced over a pit, but in a very tricky arrangement, at that. What's worse, though, is the presence of that firebar, as the player scarcely has a chance to pay attention to the barriers' pattern long enough to suss out the proper rhythm, as they have to keep diverting their attention in order to dodge that thing.

Far enough, I'll either move the firebar to a less intrusive area or remove it completely.

Originally posted by Rameau's Nephew
- The coin is fine conceptually, but this particular setup strikes me as excessive, as there's absolutely no leeway as far as timing goes. Nothing short of frame-perfect timing is demanded here, with the punishment being death.

This is surprising! I managed to grab the coin on my very first try when I came up with the setup, and can consistently jump down into the "pit" and pretend to recollect the coin at least 7-8 times in a row consistently before messing up. I will look into making it slightly easier to collect though, especially if other testers have the same problem.

Originally posted by Rameau's Nephew
- Generally speaking, I wish you wouldn't have limited yourself to just two oppositely timed variants of the blocks, but had also done something with the other versions which appear at different times relative to one another.

I already addressed this somewhat earlier, but I will play around with the concept and see if I can come up with something suitable in this regard.

Originally posted by Rameau's Nephew
As far as æsthetics are concerned, I think the more desaturated background indeed helps a good deal. As for music, since our intended theme is "trippy", I'd recommend something a bit less uncanny and a bit more otherworldly. Ghost House 3/Cumulus Chapel (3E) has a more subdued, mystical, and wondrous feel about it (just ignore the disconcerting wheeze-o-phone solo which appears in the version currently in the ROM), which will calm the players nerves at the more frustrating jumps, just as DKC2's tricky bramble levels famously employ the soothing Stickerbrush Symphony. Perhaps even better still, however, would be Desert Ruins 2 (59), which gives a very distinctive, shaman-type "awakening" vibe, which I think makes for a particularly memorable mood for the level.

I really like the music in the Cumulus Chapel level, a little moreso than the Desert Ruins 2 theme (although it fits rather nicely too). I'd be interested in reading some more opinions on this.

Originally posted by Rameau's Nephew
Incidentally, what were you planning to do for the next part of the level? I, as the player, think I might be getting a little weary of these blocks for the moment after playing through this first section, so I wonder if it might not be worth introducing a completely different gimmick in the second section. You could then bring the blocks back for the finale, or better still, combine both gimmicks together to make for an especially satisfying conclusion to the level.

I wholeheartedly agree with this plan, it's pretty much exactly what I have in store for the rest of the level.

Originally posted by Biospark88
EDIT: I couldn't get past a certain area of the level, even with savestates. But up to that point, here's what I have to say.

Wait, what? I know I'm the creator of the level, so it's going to be quite a bit easier for me, but I just played through the section again (without any tools, of course) and made it through on my first try. I could maybe understand some players who are not necessarily as skilled (don't take this personally by any means) having difficulty making it through toolless; however, being unable to complete it with tools is some feat! I don't mean to be rude or imply that you're a bad player, but this is really rather astonishing to me. What area were you unable to pass?

Originally posted by Biospark88
Precision jumping like this is OK only sparingly. I know it's world 9, but please don't make it any longer than this.

I don't view these jumps as too precise, but I agree that the level should not be annoyingly difficult. I guess one argument I would make is that precision is not a bad type of difficulty at all, and that naturally a video game will expect more and more precision of a player as the player reaches more and more difficult levels.

Originally posted by Biospark88
Blind leap of faith and hope you land on that last disappearing block.

Although the player is warned to scroll the screen, I can see how this could be somewhat troublesome, though not entirely blind (even without screen-scrolling). I think I will go Rameau's Nephew's route and add some more coin markers to make it easier for players to figure out where they should go.

Originally posted by Biospark88
Slowdown.

I agree. I'll find a way to eliminate it later on.

Originally posted by Biospark88
Now THIS is a pain in the ass. It took me 5 open states to get this right. Crapshoots are not fun, even in the bonus world.

I agree that this particular section could be structured somewhat better, but it is by no means a crapshoot. Luck is not involved, only timing.

Originally posted by Biospark88
Hard to capture, but Mario can get stuck in the side of these blocks sometimes. Also the hitbox is a tiny bit wonky.

They seem to have many of the same physical oddities of the stretching turn blocks from the original Super Mario World. It might be worth looking into later on though...

Originally posted by Biospark88
How in the hell do I get past this without breaking the level?

Watch this video (completed without tools, I might add) to see.
Video link (obsolete; removed)
I agree that it may be slightly too hard for some players.

Originally posted by Biospark88
Better than before, but still feels very alpha. It needs more sprites and diverse landforms or it's bland. Please don't use the trippy BG as a crutch for empty level design here!

I can agree to this. I have a few ideas of ways to incorporate a larger variety of sprites that I will incorporate in the next build. Empty level design is something that I would never settle for.

Originally posted by Biospark88
And sorry for being harsh. I have very high expectations for this hack, especially in the later levels. The bonus world has to be a satisfying reward for a skilled player to unlock and conquer.

No, I encourage straight forward discussion, it's the only way for someone to see how people feel about a level. Although I disagree about several points, I enjoy all honest feedback.

I'd like to make the point that this level should be a challenge, even for skilled players. Because of this, it's entirely understandable that those who are deficient in the skills department may encounter difficulties while trying to finish a World 9 level.

Keep up the good work!

tatanga
You seem to be making the point that World 9 levels should require a certain level of precision from players, and while I don't disagree, I wonder whether the precision this level demands is too binary- as in, "Time this perfectly or get sent back to the beginning of the stage." When the challenge becomes too straightforward, it becomes uninteresting to me. As a player, I tend not to like situations where I know exactly what I have to do but repeatedly fail just because the level doesn't think I have quite enough precision. To me, Kaizo Mario is a good example of this.

There's also still this lack of architecture I'm noticing. I mean, look at some of the other World 9 levels- they're decorated far beyond their raw functionality. This level has a repeating background where one "cell" is very small, and the terrain is very rectangular-looking. Most of the time I'm jumping across a large chasm and all I see is the background and a couple of grey blocks. It's not very exciting, and still kind of eye-straining for me, personally.

A side note about the music: this is just me, but I see the song Cumulus Chapel as belonging to that one level alone. That level is quite atmospheric and I think we'd actually be diluting the power of the song that was composed specifically for it if we were to start using it for other levels.

Looking at this level in Lunar Magic, I've discovered that the grey blocks are actually sprites. Isn't this going to limit your sprite options down the road?

Now, this is just my opinion, but I would get rid of all of the long stretches of jumps. I'd rather have the blocks be clustered closer together as you dodge obstacles. However, that's not really possible unless the blocks are actually blocks so they don't take up sprite slots. Is that possible? If not, I also wonder how exactly you're going to keep the concept afloat after the first section.

Difficulty issues aside, I still feel this level is too simple and straightforward. For inspiration, you could take a look at this TSRP2 level or perhaps laughably complex Jetpack levels, or whatever you think would serve as a good parallel.


The drop on screen 7 feels somewhat easier if you jump into it from the lower ledge and hold the jump button down to lower your fallspeed, but I doubt that's going to be obvious to most players. The set of firebars afterward doesn't exactly give you a big window, either. The jump on C/D is worsened by hitbox wonkiness, like what you see with pencil spikes and turn blocks. The smwcoin setup does seem to demand too much precision. I'm basically repeating what others are saying here, though.



Edit: second link fixed, sorry.

--------------------
Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART
Originally posted by AxemJinx
You seem to be making the point that World 9 levels should require a certain level of precision from players, and while I don't disagree, I wonder whether the precision this level demands is too binary- as in, "Time this perfectly or get sent back to the beginning of the stage." When the challenge becomes too straightforward, it becomes uninteresting to me. As a player, I tend not to like situations where I know exactly what I have to do but repeatedly fail just because the level doesn't think I have quite enough precision. To me, Kaizo Mario is a good example of this.

I guess we may just have different views on this aspect of level design, but I would never have thought of "straightforward" as being "uninteresting." Think back to some of the most influential and provocative platformers; many use very linear, straightforward, and difficult challenges, yet are still fun (well, at least for me). Also, I would probably put Kaizo Mario in a separate category of games that rely on muscle memory and trial and error rather than straightforward design.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
There's also still this lack of architecture I'm noticing. I mean, look at some of the other World 9 levels- they're decorated far beyond their raw functionality. This level has a repeating background where one "cell" is very small, and the terrain is very rectangular-looking. Most of the time I'm jumping across a large chasm and all I see is the background and a couple of grey blocks. It's not very exciting, and still kind of eye-straining for me, personally.

Somewhat random and arbitrary additions of architecture can come across as "messy," which is the look that I'm trying to avoid with this level. It could very well be that I've strayed too far to the other side though. In my mind, rectangular setups seemed to fit the atmosphere better than the helter-skelter approach that many of today's designers follow. Also, when you say eye-straining, are you insinuating that the background still plays too important of a role in the level? I can certainly dim down the colors if it's still too distracting. I'll also consider adding some more decorations to the next release.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
A side note about the music: this is just me, but I see the song Cumulus Chapel as belonging to that one level alone. That level is quite atmospheric and I think we'd actually be diluting the power of the song that was composed specifically for it if we were to start using it for other levels.

Agreed; I'm using the desert ruins 2 theme currently and have gotten rather accustomed to it.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
Looking at this level in Lunar Magic, I've discovered that the grey blocks are actually sprites. Isn't this going to limit your sprite options down the road?

I agree that it would be advantageous to switch over to using blocks rather than sprites for the setups, as it will greatly increase my options for enemies. Good suggestion.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
Now, this is just my opinion, but I would get rid of all of the long stretches of jumps. I'd rather have the blocks be clustered closer together as you dodge obstacles. However, that's not really possible unless the blocks are actually blocks so they don't take up sprite slots. Is that possible? If not, I also wonder how exactly you're going to keep the concept afloat after the first section.

I don't know if I want to steer the level in that different of a direction, as the chains of jumps are currently part of the core of the level (i.e.: classic disappearing/appearing block bridges). I think this might be one area where we simply disagree on what direction the level should take. Don't be discouraged though; your comments have driven me even more to try to prove that these setups can be made exciting for everyone (even you :p) when designed properly.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
Difficulty issues aside, I still feel this level is too simple and straightforward. For inspiration, you could take a look at this TSRP2 level or perhaps laughably complex Jetpack levels, or whatever you think would serve as a good parallel.

Incidentally, the traps in the TSRP2 level (a great level, by the way) you linked feel very straightforward to me. I guess I've just never seen straightforwardness as detrimental to level design. I mean, shouldn't a trap or puzzle be straightforward enough so the player knows what he or she needs to do in order to pass, rather than failing because he or she has no idea what to do next?

Originally posted by AxemJinx
The drop on screen 7 feels somewhat easier if you jump into it from the lower ledge and hold the jump button down to lower your fallspeed, but I doubt that's going to be obvious to most players. The set of firebars afterward doesn't exactly give you a big window, either. The jump on C/D is worsened by hitbox wonkiness, like what you see with pencil spikes and turn blocks. The smwcoin setup does seem to demand too much precision. I'm basically repeating what others are saying here, though.

If I'm able to get block versions of those sprites, I'm sure the hitbox problems will be alleviated. Also, I appreciate repeated responses, as it shows which areas of the level are thought of as troublesome by the largest percentage of users.

--------
I've begun addressing some of the issues. I will post an IPS in the next couple of days that will include changes to the first section, as well as a first draft of the second.

Level design-wise, here's my progress so far:
- A larger of variety of enemies have been arranged in hopefully new and interesting setups throughout the first area
- Drop on screen 7 has been reworked to be easier and less hazardous
- Jump on screens C and D has been made easier with rearrangement of firebars
- SMWCentral coin has been made slightly easier to get
- Work has begun on the second section of the level

tatanga
I'm not saying that straightforwardness is inherently bad; I'm just saying that taken to an extreme it can be a problem, is all. Think "interest curves" here. Too little variation can be boring, whereas too much can be overwhelming. I don't really think we disagree here- if anything, we're just defining the terms differently. I look at, for example, World 1 of Super Mario Bros. 3, and I see levels with more architectural and gameplay variety than this one. Of course, this level is going to be much longer than the average SMB3 level...which means it has to work harder to justify its mechanics. If you're intent on pursuing the design you have going now, that's fine, but I just want to caution against exploring too many minor variations on the same theme.

Originally posted by tatanga
failing because he or she has no idea what to do next

I think this would be the other extreme, where the level is too labyrinthine or unclear. I would argue that avoiding both extremes might be best for this particular collab.


Originally posted by tatanga
Somewhat random and arbitrary additions of architecture can come across as "messy," which is the look that I'm trying to avoid with this level. It could very well be that I've strayed too far to the other side though.

Similarly, I'm not saying you should have messy architecture- I'm just looking for a holistic approach.


Originally posted by tatanga
Also, when you say eye-straining, are you insinuating that the background still plays too important of a role in the level?

Yes, but it's just my opinion. I don't like having to focus on tiny blocks while the background swirls around them. Messing with the colors might help, but then you might ruin the original purpose of the background, so I'm not sure what to recommend here.


Originally posted by tatanga
Incidentally, the traps in the TSRP2 level (a great level, by the way) you linked feel very straightforward to me.

I really just linked to that level to potentially give you more ideas, is all. That level could certainly do more to integrate sprites with the basic premise; I agree much of it is straightforward, and I can't say it's one of my favorites from TSRP2.


In any case, good luck with the editing. The newest version was an improvement, even if my overall stance hasn't changed much.

--------------------
Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART
Quick post to say I'm working hard on the next rendition right now and will have another IPS for testing in the next couple of days. The new version will feature a second room as well.

tatanga
I haven't played the IPS, but I'm judging from the screens...

does this have sudden changes of color?

If it does, be careful with it; it might causes players to get sudden epileptic seizures!

Taken from another hack thread:

http://www.smwcentral.net/?p=viewthread&pid=863162

~

If I'm wrong, then sorry bout' that! Just making sure!
Link to next version of level. (IPS link is now obsolete; removed)

This version includes some modifications to the original area as well as a completely new second area (progress ends at the second SMWC coin).

Known errors:
- Slowdown
- Incorrect sprite tileset for "electricity" sprites
- Vertically moving "electricity" sprites sometimes hurt Mario when he spin jumps on them

Note: the first sublevel is by no means final. I was having some trouble coming up with suitable ideas to rework it, so I decided to take a break from that for a bit and focus my attention on the second sublevel.

I have plans for about 3-5 screens more to be added to the vertical section, then a final horizontal section that combines the ideas of the both the first two.

tatanga
Pages: « 1 2 3 4 »
Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 Completion Project - World 10 - 139: Bedazzling Bastion - tatanga

The purpose of this site is not to distribute copyrighted material, but to honor one of our favourite games.

Copyright © 2005 - 2020 - SMW Central
Legal Information - Privacy Policy - Link To Us


Total queries: 14

Menu

Follow Us On

  • YouTube
  • Twitch
  • Twitter

Affiliates

  • Super Mario Bros. X Community
  • ROMhacking.net
  • Mario Fan Games Galaxy