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139: Bedazzling Bastion - tatanga
Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 - World 10 - 139: Bedazzling Bastion - tatanga
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The reason I keep bringing up that 1st coin is because there's a margin of instant death by getting squashed by the wall (not so much getting hit by spikes). I don't mind a challenge at all and it should be a challenge at World 9, but if the challenge is avoiding a cheap death by a block smash into the wall, I don't think that's acceptable unless it's Kaizo. All you have to do is move the left wall one square up and the problem is solved.

I never expect the designer to go with everything I say, that's part of the criticism. You can take it or you can leave it but I would rather not be completely ignored if there is a problem (which is not the case here). As far as other impartial testers, if others don't feel the same way, you should always go with the majority, there's always going to be people that don't like it. Even though I was a little bit hard on the level, I do like the 1st part for the most part (minus that wall glitch thing with the block). I want this level to do well just as all of the others.
Just a quick post to say I'm working hard on a revamp of the second section, as well as some minor changes in the first area. I will be out of town until Monday, but I should have another update ready then. Things seem to be nearing completion, and I'm liking the new design I'm making for the second area, though it's not quite ready for testing.

tatanga
Sorry for the wait, I just got a massive ear infection, and General Microbiology along with my other science classes have certainly made life busy. Hopefully this level will be wrapping up soon.

@cstutor89
I guess we just disagree about the validity of deaths caused by solid objects. One reason I'm not as concerned about this is that many officical Nintendo-licensed Mario games (including Super Mario World itself) feature levels with solid objects such as layer 2 castle stones that are able to crush Mario in a similar manner. I see no reason why these grey blocks would not possess the same abilities.

Here is version 7 of the level. (IPS link is now obsolete; removed) It features a couple minor changes to the first area, and a complete revamp of the second. The level ends outside the castle. What sprite is it we insert for the goal again?

To-do list:
- Give mini-puffers proper graphics (just haven't gotten around to it recently)
- Convert grey block sprites to objects
EDIT: - I forgot to change the music in the final outer area to same track used by the rest of the level

Enjoy!

tatanga
7th version is a lucky number indeed, because I like this version way more than the last couple of versions. It just fits better with the style of the level and the name.

I do have a few small issues with the level. As far as the blocks/sprites getting smashed by them and dying, just because the original SMW had that unintended idea going around does not mean that you should. I think maybe someone else should say something about these blocks and whether it is okay to have this. There's a big difference to me when you have to redesign a whole section because one block had this problem but it's another to change a few things around to accommodate that one block. The latter is more the case here.

Anyways the small things are this:
- Fire Mario breaks this level, especially since there's a midpoint and a fire flower just waiting outside. There are just some certain cases where Fire Mario destroying sprites will mean automatic hits from spikes.
- The 2nd and 3rd SMWC coins are way too easy in this stage of the game.
- The sprites are killable by fire.

Another thing that kind of nagged me a little bit that has nothing to do with the level itself is the position of this level relative to World 9. This level being last is in a position to be compared with everything else in the world and the game as it is the last normal level. There's an effect where when there's a lot of great levels stacked together in a row you almost have to have a level that's as good as or better than those ones before it otherwise there's a risk of being forgotten. And what I'm afraid is I don't know if this one stacks up as well against the others. I think though if this level came more at the beginning of the world, it would stand a better chance. I hope that you don't take that negatively, as I do like the level but I also want your level to shine and be memorable. I'll probably mention the same thing when other levels are being considered for the ordering too.

Having said that, this is much better than before and it's pretty good. I think that part, we can celebrate on lolz. :)
Originally posted by cstutor89
Another thing that kind of nagged me a little bit that has nothing to do with the level itself is the position of this level relative to World 9. This level being last is in a position to be compared with everything else in the world and the game as it is the last normal level.


The level order for world 9 is going to be shifted anyway, and (I think/hope) tatanga was already aware of that. His level is more fitting to be placed one or two levels before the finale anyway, which was actually intended to be RN's level.

I'll give it a playthrough in a little while/tomorrow and offer some criticism.
@cstutor89
Yeah I agree Fire Mario kind of breaks the level a bit. Any suggestions? I want to give the player a chance at a power-up, but both the cape and the fire flower seem to ruin it, and if I just give a Magic Mushroom the player won't be affected if he or she is already Super Mario. I also was wondering if the latter coins were too easy to collect. Since you agree, I'll work on coming up with some more difficult to access areas. I'm glad this version is a bit more appealing!

Originally posted by S.N.N.
The level order for world 9 is going to be shifted anyway, and (I think/hope) tatanga was already aware of that. His level is more fitting to be placed one or two levels before the finale anyway, which was actually intended to be RN's level.

Yeah I don't care where it is placed, put it wherever you think it fits best. Has work even begun on the overworld yet?

tatanga
Originally posted by tatanga
Has work even begun on the overworld yet?

Nope, the overworld is the very last thing that's going to be worked on, the only thing we have right now is the bare bones glitchy skeleton in the base rom, which, as far as I know, isn't even anywhere near final, too.

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Your layout has been removed.
Originally posted by tatanga
@cstutor89
Yeah I agree Fire Mario kind of breaks the level a bit. Any suggestions? I want to give the player a chance at a power-up, but both the cape and the fire flower seem to ruin it, and if I just give a Magic Mushroom the player won't be affected if he or she is already Super Mario. I also was wondering if the latter coins were too easy to collect. Since you agree, I'll work on coming up with some more difficult to access areas. I'm glad this version is a bit more appealing!

Originally posted by S.N.N.
The level order for world 9 is going to be shifted anyway, and (I think/hope) tatanga was already aware of that. His level is more fitting to be placed one or two levels before the finale anyway, which was actually intended to be RN's level.

Yeah I don't care where it is placed, put it wherever you think it fits best. Has work even begun on the overworld yet?


How about the roto-disk enemies but disguised as the graphics that you would put in place of the cheep-cheeps? Similar styled enemies but invincible. Maybe just push the 2nd coin a bit further to the left a square or two but still be in an alcove. It would certainly make it more difficult to get that way. Are you making a 3rd area? It might be better to put the 3rd coin in the 3rd area if you are making one. But pretty good so far.
Okay, sorry for the late reply here. Unviersity, life, you know how it is.

The first section is perfect in my eyes now, in both gameplay and graphics. The desaturated background makes the level much more bearable to look at while still being trippy enough for what you originally intended. The only complaint I have about it is at that one final jump before the pipe. Being that coins have designated vanishing blocks throughout the entire level, having them suddenly denote a place where you'd supposed to jump and hold right seems a little out of place and it really threw me off (which means it'll probably throw others off as well). See if you can do something about that.

I don't know how I feel about the second area .. pretty neutral I guess. While I recognize it's mostly supposed to be a dodge-fest, it seems to get overly repetitive. I wonder if it would be worth trying to incorporate the appearing/disappearing blocks into it a bit more after all (or another kind of sprite/platform to keep it fresh). As it stands, I don't know if a player would be able to tolerate going through about three minutes of that.

Overall though, it's definitely getting there. Keep at it!
I'm actually pretty fond of those complex circular sprite formations in the second half, and, to me at least, it feels like there's a sense of progression there. I do find myself wondering if the disappearing blocks could be incorporated somehow without making the difficulty go overboard, but overall I think this is a much better approach to the second half than what you were doing before.

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Hello, hello! I'm finally back for a comment after 2 weeks. Just played version 7, and it's leaps and bounds beyond the version I commented on before.

The first section feels nicely polished now, and I like how it stays tame near the beginning to allow the player to get used to the acid trip BG and the disappearing blocks. There's still major slowdown at the part with the firebars.

Second section? I like it. I'm not a master player, so I used savestates, but it's definitely doable without them. And that's what fair difficulty means. I really felt like I was tripping--the BG and FG animations distort your hand-eye coordination, but in a fun way, and I didn't see a trace of slowdown here. I liked the three-block jump to the pipe, although I'd suggest putting a coin above the first block.

The level still feels a bit too short. How long do you plan to make it? Add a third section about as long as the second and it'll be perfect. Play RN's level for a yardstick of the length I have in mind.

EDIT: Rank up!

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"(Z->)90° - (E-N²W)90°t=1"

Supporting:


Current project: Mario's Kool-Aid Acid Trip
Hey everyone, I've read all the replies and will keep the suggestions in mind. Unfortunately, this week is really busy at the university (General Chemistry II test, General Microbiology quiz, Developmental psych test, Biology report due, etc.) so I'm having trouble finding the time to work on it at the moment. I will have something to show this weekend, however. I hope you understand and sorry for the inconveniences.

University life reminds me of AxemJinx's post awhile back about education sometimes getting in the way of what someone really wants to do. Oh well, such is life.

tatanga
That's fine, you still have a couple of weeks left.

Just curious, but how much more do you have left to do with this level?
Ugh, just finished a two-hour General Microbiology mid-term exam!

Version 8 (IPS link is now obsolete; removed)

Anyway, sorry for the huge wait. This version uses correct mini-puffer graphics and hopefully uses the gray disappearing blocks in an interesting way to wrap the level up. The level exit sprite will be placed at the grab block at the end of the level (I looked around the site for about 1 minute to see what sprite to insert then just decided to use a symbol instead).

tatanga
The level end sprite is 02. As far as I could tell this level is pretty good.

For the most part there were a few things that stuck out for me, the rainbow pipes, the level end runway, graphics, and the SMWC coins. I still think the 2nd one is a bit too easy, kind of at the same difficulty as Version 7. There should be a nice long walkway for the level end because when the goal roulette is activated, Mario keeps moving as the level ends. As for the flashing rainbow pipes mainly in 139 and 1B2, I'm not sure if I like the flashy outline around the pipe but I like the idea. I'm not sure if I like the fish graphics in this level as it kind of feels out of place with the level. Other than that I didn't have any problems with the level.
I'd like it if I could get a couple more opinions about the level so I can finish things up and send the resources over.

Here are some pieces that I would like to be considered:

Are there any more glaring problems that should be fixed?

Is the second SMWC coin too easy to collect? Note: I've personally had some challenges collecting it, but cstutor89 finds it too easy, so I'd like to see what the rest of the community thinks.

Are the flashing pipes outside the main area awkwardly coloured?

Do the mini-puffer graphics fit with the rest of the level?

tatanga
I imagine the fact that I can final test levels again means I should actually start testing levels again, eh?

This is the first time I've played the new version of the second half of the level since it was overhauled, and I've got to say, it's a definite improvement over previous versions, and feels much more like a logical continuation after the first section. As for the Mini-Puffer graphics...I would actually argue that they do work graphics-wise. I think they fit well with the "trippy" environment without going overboard, especially considering the way they're used in the level. "Oh, there's a flying fish," the player thinks upon spotting the first one, "How curious, but then, this is a curious place." Then there's another...and another...and suddenly there's a whole swarm of them bearing down on the player, weaving in and out in their dangerous dances. It actually adds a sort of a subtle narrative to the second half of the level, with Mario struggling to fight his way through an increasingly frenzied block of flying fishoids, which I think gives the second half of level a bit more of the distinctiveness it was lacking before. So I'd say sure, keep them--they're an interesting touch.

The coin...It's a little easy, yes, but I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad thing, for several reasons. One, not all of the coins need to be super-difficult to get, even in World 9--having one be the comparatively "easy" coin is perfectly fine, and in tune with numerous other levels.. Two, it's located after the midpoint, but a good distance from the end of the stage--which means it's fairly far from anything which would save its being collected, making it a bit more difficult to keep, if less difficult to get. Three, though not that difficult to get in and of itself, it's still a bit harder than it looks to be at a glance, so what it lacks in absolute difficulty it makes up in deceptiveness, which is a perfectly legitimate strategy.

The rainbow pipes are fine, in my opinion. I like the idea of the outside sections as well, but I'd recommend changing the palette up a bit--as is, it's completely identical to that used Asteroid Antics, and that's no fun at all, is it?

Anyway, a few points which could still bear some change:

- I think the second section needs another powerup partway through (just a mushroom is fine if you're worried about the player getting a flower too easily)--it feels like too much of a marathon with just the one at the beginning. Since you're using a fast-pace autoscroll and small platforms (plus lots of bobbing and weaving enemies), the player doesn't have much time to think over strategies--they simply have to react, and it's inevitable that they'll make a mistake or two. As such a refresher, say, on the empty platform on screen 03, might not be a terrible idea, to allow them to get their second wind, so to speak.



- I tended to get hit quite a bit here on my initial attempts, even when knowing what's coming--that last Mini-Puffer, especially, tends to sort of come out of nowhere. Of course, I think this may have only seemed so problematic because it because it denied me my sole powerup--maybe it wouldn't seem so bad if we had a mushroom later, as suggested above...?



- This fellow's a little too deviously placed, I fear--he swings around bottom pretty much exactly when the block appears, and it's pretty much gone by the time he's out of range (and you only get one chance). Yet even if you know what's coming and are fast enough to reach the block in time, he'll still swing around just in time to perfectly obstruct the platform as Mario would be alighting there. Now, this can all be avoided by simply ignoring the block and spinjumping off the Mini-Puffer instead, but would most players think of that when pressed for time and with such little opportunity to experiment (especially considering this bit lies later in the level)...? I'm not so sure.

- Finally, the three disappearing block stepping stones at the end offer too little leeway, I think. The only way to successfully climb them is to start running a moment before they appear, which isn't necessarily obvious, nor something the player would be inclined to want to do considering the small size of the platforms. Like earlier version of the setup in the first part of the level, I think just a touch more room for error might be called for here (i.e. it should be possible if the play drops down just when the blocks appear, instead of having to anticipate them), especially taking into account the player's "exhaustion" at this point in the level.

On a minor note, make sure to deactivate the Dragon Coin palette animation before submitting the definitive version--it's still active in both parts of the level.

On the whole though, I think you've pretty much hit the right notes with this version. Just iron out some of those problems in the second half, and I think you'll be good to go.
Good level update, but I have a few quibbles:

The SMWC Coin is gone from the end of the first sublevel. It was fine the way it was in version 7.

The Asteroid Antics BG feels a bit out of place. It's world 9, I know. Perhaps I fret too much about logical continuity, even in the abstract world. I must be jaded from playing bad hacks years ago; graphical clashing is one of my pet peeves. At the very least, the AA BG could get a surreal pink/purple palette in tune with several other world 9 levels. Plus, the first Production had a space themed bonus world, and it's best not to rehash that theme.

In the final section, the FG stars marking the disappearing blocks are hard to tell from the BG. Perhaps make them a different color? And if the player messes up here, you may want to put an "!" block floor to give them some recourse.

Second sublevel is almost fine the way it is. The difficulty is up there, but it's fine for World 9. But as RN said, it could use another mushroom toward the end--not a flower, that would make it a bit too easy.

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"(Z->)90° - (E-N²W)90°t=1"

Supporting:


Current project: Mario's Kool-Aid Acid Trip
Version 9 (IPS link is obsolete; removed)

Fixes most errors found in previous version.

tatanga
I think you're nearly done.

Maybe as a suggestion for the pipes going into and out of the sublevels (they are green right now) maybe it might fit better if they are rainbow colored as the pipes in 139.
Pages: « 1 2 3 4 » Link
Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 - World 10 - 139: Bedazzling Bastion - tatanga

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