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Linear Levels

What meaning linear levels in the hack?
It means that the level in general is mostly straightforward, as in "go right go right go right go right", without much vary.

Note that this is by no means a wrong thing in a level, in fact, the hack might get a little tedious if all the levels are non-linear.
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Most of the time a level is considered linear when there's only one way to beat the level; this means no secret exits, no alternate paths, no hidden rooms, no flexible obstacles, etc.

Most of the players don't mind linear levels though, so you shouldn't worry too much about it.
I hate how there's a mindset in people that linear levels are always bad, making non-linear levels that feels and looks like every other non-linear level out there.

Though, I don't get the "hate" on Yoshi's Island 2 for being really straightforward.
The main aspect of nonlinearity that it seems people tend to overlook when coming up with a definition is this (and, by extension, this). Yes, it's all well and good to play levels that make the player choose where to go, but it's much more fun to play levels that make the player figure out the best way to overcome an obstacle.
I should get a new layout.

Probably won't, though.
It's neat.
Linear in a nutshell:
Get from A to B, and there is no way to do it other than 1 specific way. No C, no flexability in terms of getting around obsticals.

That said, this doesn't mean it's bad, but a hack shouldn't be entirely linear, and on the opposite extreme it shouldn't be entirely NON-linear. Some levels should be linear while others aren't. If you have one of the extremes a hack will start to get repetative, secrets won't be shocking, and overall be more tedious. I think it is easy to vouche for this with Forest of Illusion, where it was not linear, but because how linear it felt it made finding the secret exit all that more exciting.
So remember kids! If you ever get caught having tosave a princess from a foreign land after getting dragged down a drain pipe, jumping while spinning in a circle can help you greatly by allowing you to jump on spinning saw blades, ghosts, and allow you to control your jump better!


Emphasizing what others have said:

Yeah, linearity isn't necessarily a bad thing. Even extreme linearity has its place. Example: "You are a Super Player" at the end of the special world.
Linear levels are usually used either in the first world, or as the first level of a specific world. A linear level is perfect for the first level of the game. Consider SMW's linear levels. Yoshi's Island 2 is a great example. However, it is the perfect starting level.
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Originally posted by mathelete
Linear levels are usually used either in the first world, or as the first level of a specific world. A linear level is perfect for the first level of the game. Consider SMW's linear levels. Yoshi's Island 2 is a great example. However, it is the perfect starting level.

But Yoshi's Island 2 had a few split paths... wasn't all that linear!
So remember kids! If you ever get caught having tosave a princess from a foreign land after getting dragged down a drain pipe, jumping while spinning in a circle can help you greatly by allowing you to jump on spinning saw blades, ghosts, and allow you to control your jump better!


I honestly think that linear levels are when the level only has one path that you can use to beat it. That is my honest opinion and I think that they should be used for the first and second worlds of a hack.
To be honest, I'd disregard much of what SMWC says you should do in your levels. Some things are obvious (cutoff and such), but the users seem to have these ideas like "linear levels are bad" and stuff like that, which is just simply not always the case. Use linear levels if you want, use nonlinear levels if you want, mix it up if you want. As long as your levels look and feel nice and are the right difficulty, no one will actually care in the end.
@K3fka: Indeed, linearity should not be a threat to creation but a WAY of creation.
There have been many popular games that have been linear ( such as the original Super Mario Bros. and Dynamite Headdy ). Anc there are instances where unlinearity is bad( Like Shadow the Headgehog, where, to see all of the endings, you must beat the game 10 TIMES! To make matters worse, there are numerous missions where you must either destroy/get/save a large amount of something or someone which becomes more and more tedious when you progress).
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I'd like to point out that many modern games are VERY linear, more linear than most realize. But how it is designed makes it seem less linear (I'd like to use Portal for a good example. Yes, multiple ways to go, but at the same time you are always on a single path, with just a few ways to try something in each room)
So remember kids! If you ever get caught having tosave a princess from a foreign land after getting dragged down a drain pipe, jumping while spinning in a circle can help you greatly by allowing you to jump on spinning saw blades, ghosts, and allow you to control your jump better!


Portal's a puzzle game, though. So it's understandable.
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Originally posted by Wiimeiser
Portal's a puzzle game, though. So it's understandable.

However, it still feels Non-Linear due to how the areas are designed, even for the fact that you are enclosed in a test facility.

Another example I thought of (And dare I say it...) is Call of Duty. Very open, but very linear. However, it does NOT feel linear due to how it's designed, such as being open, and places looking more accessable than they are.
So remember kids! If you ever get caught having tosave a princess from a foreign land after getting dragged down a drain pipe, jumping while spinning in a circle can help you greatly by allowing you to jump on spinning saw blades, ghosts, and allow you to control your jump better!


It's personal preference, but I happen to love a bit of nonlinearity. The path to the goal may be clear, but it's fun to have a couple ways to get there. Maybe there's a junction at some point or a pipe taking you to a different segment that has different obstacles, but it encourages (not forces) people to try the level again and discover something new. It adds wonder and life to levels, knowing that there's something you may have missed and adds to its scope.

Though it can be difficult to do, I also like levels that you can return to for secrets later in the game. Perhaps there's a ledge leading to a special area a bit too high, and when you're permanently able to double jump later on, you can return to that spot and see what's there.

I find there's a tendency among hackers to rush to pump out levels. In doing so, multiple paths, bonus areas, and the like are often ignored. If people enjoy making linear levels, that's fine, but to me it can feel a little lifeless.
Variety is the spice of life, I say! Coming from a player's POV, too much of ANYTHING can leave me overwhelmed with a feeling of "omgomg I can't do this T_T"

It's nice to have a balance... =)


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I personally like linear levels most when they don't have secret exits and they aren't very long, so they won't get tedious. I think it has a nice sensation to make Mario sometimes run more than jump in some levels. I really get bored when I have to just jump, especially in narrow levels.

Originally posted by mathelete
Linear levels are usually used either in the first world, or as the first level of a specific world. A linear level is perfect for the first level of the game. Consider SMW's linear levels. Yoshi's Island 2 is a great example. However, it is the perfect starting level.


Totally agree, because IMO linear levels make the player pay more attention to things such as the background, so (s)he will familiarize with the type of world that is coming. And linear ones also tend to be easier, so the player will assimilate that with the fact that it's just the first level of that world.