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Was this really "A SMW Central Production" ?
Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 Completion Project - SMWCP2 Archive - Was this really "A SMW Central Production" ?
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I've had mixed feeling about this project for awhile, hearing about how several people felt bullied out of the project or forced to change something they felt was a nice twist (and probably was) for something more uniform to the hack's "majority". To me, it seems like SMWC was represented far too narrowly for it's own good, just for the sake of making a top-notch game. While I understand SMWCP1 has severe flaws, there were many many charming things about it. Andy_k_250's level for example, felt like something he would make, and Raocow's level was the same. Overall, it felt like each person who had a hand in the design of SMWCP1 brought something to it. However, SMWCP2 feels nothing like that to me.

Please don't take this thread the wrong way, because I really do like what SMWCP2 looks like, but it feels like it went out of it's way to be a professional game instead of what I believe it should be, a community project. I guess what I'm asking is; "Did we lose sight of what the intention of the SMWCP games were meant to be?"
I agree with Atma, and I would like to throw my own two cents in. Please keep in mind that my view does not necessarily represent Atma's view.

I have always wondered whether or not SMWCP2 was SMWC's second collaborative hack. A lot of users from the community have made levels, but I believe that a degree of bullying has gone on to make those levels fit within the level design beliefs of a select few users--AxemJinx, MrDeePay, and Rameau's Nephew come immediately to mind.

Now, I am not saying that those three users have bad ideas on how to make a good level--just the opposite, in fact. However, there is something to be said about diversity in level design, and there really is not much of that going on. No level is ever flat-out rejected because it does not conform to the "accepted" level design philosophies, but the people who follow those philosophies tend to strongly discourage 'deviant' level design.

The biggest complaint about SMWCP1 was that it was inconsistent. Levels had no flow to them and stuck out from one another--in general, the hack was accused of being a bunch of levels with little cohesion. In everything it has done, SMWCP2 has tried to be cohesive, fluent, and whole.

This has its own problems, too, of course. There is a chance that if every level follows the same level design format, levels will be hard to distinguish from one another. Here, I do not speak about level environments or themes, but of the level design principles that helped to shape the level itself. There is something to be said about certain levels being a little different or deviant. It would seem to me that deviance is not really tolerated here because it would 'break the flow'.

We run the risk of our hack being boring if this happens. And no one wnats that after we put so much work into it.

Now, the biggest counter-argument I have seen to my--and others'--accusation that SMWCP2 is being 'run' by a handful of people and not by the community itself is that those are the only people from the community who are willing to volunteer. That is certainly a good argument, but, at this point in the hack's development, there is an unfortunate possibility that anyone who wants to volunteer his/her ideas to the hack and its level design philosophies will be gently bullied unless his or her ideas match the current ones. It is unfortunate but possible that there is a bit of a 'culture of fear' going on with this project--people should volunteer to help, but only if what they offer is in line with what is currently being offered. That is a major deterrent to anyone wanting to volunteer.

I do not know what I expect in terms with this thread, but I hope it opens some people's eyes as to what I and others feel is currently going on with SMWCP2.

Extras



I should have something witty to put here (even if it's just to update dated info), shouldn't I?

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"Bully"?


....Really?

Post 3318 3319 3320 to after going to a random page of your posts.

The point of this thread isn't name calling though, it's about what went wrong in SMWCP2
Originally posted by Camerin
A lot of users from the community have made levels, but I believe that a degree of bullying has gone on to make those levels fit within the level design beliefs of a select few users--AxemJinx, MrDeePay, and Rameau's Nephew come immediately to mind.


And whose fault was that? Those were the only people, including myself, who even bothered commenting on peoples' work half of the time. I rarely ever saw other people jumping in and offering constructive input, or saying "hey, this is fine as it is, you don't need to listen to those people". What are we supposed to do? SMWCP1's mistake was preemptively accepting levels with no testing at all. This is not a mistake I (personally) wanted to make with SMWCP2.

Originally posted by Camerin
but the people who follow those philosophies tend to strongly discourage 'deviant' level design.


-Bedazzling Bastion
-Candy Calamity
-Beach Ball Brawl
-Scorched Sepulcher
-Reverse Universe
-Digsite Dangers
-Chilly Colors
-Frostflow Freezer
-could probably keep going, but here's a few examples of extremely deviant level styles. Hell, the three people you mentioned even had a few things to say about some design choices in these levels, but they were ultimately accepted. I don't understand where your logic is here I'm afraid.

Originally posted by Camerin
This has its own problems, too, of course. There is a chance that if every level follows the same level design format, levels will be hard to distinguish from one another. Here, I do not speak about level environments or themes, but of the level design principles that helped to shape the level itself. There is something to be said about certain levels being a little different or deviant. It would seem to me that deviance is not really tolerated here because it would 'break the flow'.


Not to come off as a dick here, but how many levels in the hack have you played? All of them?


Quote
it's about what went wrong in SMWCP2


You know, I'm usually pretty understanding and accepting of these kinds of threads, but .. what the fuck? Why is this coming up now? If it was such a "big issue", why wasn't it brought up way, way back in 2011? I'm willing to bet anything that this thread was created based on what recently happened to a certain perilous level which remain nameless. I'm willing to bet a certain user set out his paths and made a few complaints to some friends. There is literally nothing else I could see which could have sparked this.
In some ways this actually seems more like a collaboration to me than, say, the first SMWCP, ASMT, or the VIPs, which would perhaps be more accurately described as compilations--that is to say, collections of levels by different authors worked on mostly independently, whereas SMWCP2 had a considerable deal more back-and-forth feedback, with users actively complementing one another's strength to give a more plished end product--just look at the amount of original custom graphics, sprites, blocks and LevelASM code users made for other users' levels. Now, does that approach blur the border of individual contributers' particular contributions a bit? Yes, but every approach has it's advantages and disadvantages, that's the inevitable tradeoff of this way of organizing the product. Like the first SMWCP, this project is an experiment--in this case, an experiment in how exactly we organize a collaboration on this scale.

The first SMWCP definitely offered a great deal more unfettered freedom to individual designers--but that too had its disadvantages, namely wildly fluctuating quality, and--somewhat counter-intuitively--a lot of extremely similar gimmicks and repetitive design. Sometimes having a (moderately flexible) framework to work within can actually encourage creativity--people often produce their most clever work when they have to find creative solutions to problems, or try to interpret an idea in an unusual way. Our best levels are usually the ones that take the idea suggested in the level description and put a very unexpected spin on it, but they tend not to ignore it it outright--and those designers who did ignore all the suggestions typically didn't do so because they had many wonderful ideas which could be held back by no mortal limitations, but rather a limited number of ideas which they tried to push forth no matter what the context (e.g. the much-criticized forest-based switch palace in the desert). So in many way, you could say the higher standards and the like are meant as a creative challenge for designers, to get them to think in a slightly different fashion.

So yes, our current approach does indeed mean that an particularly level that may be perhaps less 100% unadulteratedly representative of the particular designer, but is probably more representative of the capabilities of the community as a whole. That is, after all, what a lot of people criticized about the first SMWCP--they felt that this community could and should have made a more polished, cohesive work. And this project is a direct response to that criticism, and an attempt to try a different approach to organizing the project to achieve exactly that. So we may not have a level that is so characteristically raocow as Rupture in Reality is, but...well, we also won't have one that's so oh-holy-jeeze to play through as that level. Is this the perfect or only correct way to approach a project like this? Not in the slightest. But it's one that's never been tried before, and it's one we'll hopefully learn from--just like we learned from the first production.
I should also add that I am fully 100% expecting criticism about SMWCP2. I want it. I encourage it. We all do. I don't want my past post to come off as elitist, nor do I want it to make SMWCP2 seem like the "perfect" project (it isn't, but it's leagues better than SMWCP, so...). The problem is, this criticism isn't here for the sake of being helpful - it's here because a certain user got upset and, instead of doing the logical thing (talking to me about it), he complained to a couple of friends and they made this thread to vent through him. No matter how valid any point made in this thread may be, it does not change the fact that the purpose of this thread's existence is merely to mask a problem with the "bullying" card. The three testers in question are not "bullies" - they are very valuable assets to this project and have been among the only people who have actually done shit beyond designing one level. A good number of you have submitted your level (after countless, COUNTLESS reminders) and then said something along the lines of "oh, I'll fix it up" upon receiving some post-submission feedback. Of course, you never did, so other people had to do it for you. Like, what the hell? What kind of collaboration is that? Obvious exceptions to this include levels such as GeminiRage's, where the bugs there were out of his control. I don't expect him to clean up a mess he didn't make.

I've tried to be patient with everyone. I've worked my ass off leading this thing since the beginning of 2011 to make it something better than SMWCP. I've devoted hours - full days, even, and if people don't want to volunteer or go that extra mile to help out, I can't do anything about that. I work with what I'm given. Seeing threads like this makes me want to press the Delete key on my SMWCP2 folder, offer a hearty "fuck you" to certain people, and depart.

I guess I missed the memo when "ROM hacking" had its name changed to "Politics".

Extras



I should have something witty to put here (even if it's just to update dated info), shouldn't I?

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Originally posted by Atma
Post 3318 3319 3320 to after going to a random page of your posts.


Being straightforward with answers and saying for someone talking it up in a thread while not leaving any specifics behind does not constitute to "bullying". I am aware of my overzealous, "abrasive" nature and the way I conduct business isn't always ideal, but I am not going to go out my way to make someone's life a living hell.

Originally posted by Atma
The point of this thread isn't name calling though, it's about what went wrong in SMWCP2


It was evident that you were talking about me (Camerin was more upfront about it), so I questioned your use of the word. The issue I see here is essentially one that has been recurrent since level signups opened up- people making up excuses to mask their own inactivity, regardless of the status of the level they were tasked to do (accepted and inserted, failed) and finding to fault someone or something else in place.

Was this really "A SMW Central Production"? Yes, yes it was.

In my personal experience, I would say that the 3 testers in questions are not bullies. Even though they can be rather harsh at times, they don't beat around the brush when giving their overall opinion. And you know, I can't thank them enough by doing so. They were extremely helpful with giving me advice on how to improve on my level, and were just overall a really great help for this project in general.

Also, there is a bunch of other users who were a great help for this project as well like Gaint Shy Guy, Cstutor89, and S.N.N. to name a few.
I'm not too much into this hack as I'm only responsible for some small patches, but how is making someone change a level by naming flaws not collaborative? Isn't the definition of "collaboration" to work on something together? In SMWCP, everyone worked at their own levels and ONLY their own ones. The only "collaboration" there was to put everything into the same ROM and call it a hack. Now this time people are actually pointing out several flaws in levels, maybe even being very demanding about fixing them. That may put some designers under some kind of pressure, I admit, but the resulting levels more than ever represent the ambitions and preferences of a large group of people instead of just the people who initially made them. And in the end, the point of making a collaboration hack is to make a fun gameplay experience, anyways, and not necessarily to be a lot of fun for the designers, although both things don't automatically exclude each other. For example: I'm going to be a professional game programmer in two years and I chose to do so because I actually have fun programming stuff. Even so I acknowledge that sometimes the job isn't fun at all and you have to pull back your personal interests for the purpose of making a finer game.

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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
Originally posted by MrDeePay
"Bully"?


....Really?


Not to start a flame war, but yest, bully. While I find Remau and Axemjinx are not, you have, even outside the project.

Now, onto the other thing: I can't really comment on how I feel about this project not representing the community as a whole, but there have been some users who have been lazy/gave up on the project. Like SNN said, there were some users who have been asses and not done there work. Again, though, I haven't been involved much in the project, so I don't know if I would have the same opinion as I would now.

- BlackMageMario

EDIT: Not to be unfair to Lightvayne, but not allowing a user to make a level for there "questionable" level design skills isn't very fair, now is it? I did not know the user in question attemped and failed to make a level eariler, sorry.

EDIT 2: Slash-Man also seems to have felt this a bit, if you look in his world 8 thread.

Extras



I should have something witty to put here (even if it's just to update dated info), shouldn't I?

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Originally posted by BlackMageMario
Originally posted by MrDeePay
"Bully"?


....Really?


Not to start a flame war, but yest, bully. While I find Remau and Axemjinx are not, you have, even outside the project.


Read the next post I made on the matter.

Originally posted by MrDeePay
Read the next post I made on the matter.


Your "overzealous" nature still doesn't excuse some of the posts you've made, wither it's been in this sub-forum or any other forum. There is a difference with being a bit blunt and outright unnecessarily harsh critism (and you are doing the later). Considering that other users don't do this, what allows you to? Again, I don't want to de-rail this thread anymore, so I personally think moving this to PMs would be better, if you and any others want to continue this.

- BlackMageMario
I think S.N.N. came off a bit meaner than expected there, although he does have a point. I'll share my views on this:-

SMWCP2 seems very elitist, to the point where the focus is more on creating a perfect game rather than showcasing SMWC's combined efforts. This can be a put off for some users.
There haven't been too many comments on any WIP updates. I think I can chalk this one upto people rather wanting to play the full, finished version of SMWCP2 rather than testing a beta version. Still though, the hack isn't going to get any better untested so...
4 main people tested: AxemJinx (towards the beginning), Cstutor89, MrDeepay, RN (to some degree). This basically means that the level design philosophy is narrowed down to what these 4 people think, which isn't necessarily a good thing. However, this isn't bad either, as these 4 people are quite capable designers. It would be better, in my opinion, if the actual owner of the level got more say as to how things will play out.

I've played some levels in the base ROM (about 40 or so), and most strike me as "good" so far, with the occasional "great" level in there as well. Don't misunderstand me - I do like SMWCP2, but it's lost its charm along the way due to seeking out to be "perfect".
Collaboration hacks aren't meant to be perfect at all. It's meant to be representative of the communities efforts. Not the efforts of a few people asking (mainly demanding) a level being done a certain way.
As a final comment, I don't get what Atma is saying. I'm aware many people dislike the project itself, but I am unaware of anyone who has actually been bullied out of the project. Am I missing something here?

--------------------
Please don't send me PMs about why JDCGames is down. That part of my life is over.

Extras



I should have something witty to put here (even if it's just to update dated info), shouldn't I?

Advertising Space

Originally posted by BlackMageMario

Your "overzealous" nature still doesn't excuse some of the posts you've made, wither it's been in this sub-forum or any other forum.


And I said otherwise... when?

Quote
There is a difference with being a bit blunt and outright unnecessarily harsh critism (and you are doing the later). Considering that other users don't do this, what allows you to.


I use what I feel is most efficient for conveying my point, and if it means not dipping posts in sprinkles and serving it to you on the finest sterling silver available, so be it. A lot of people online just have glass bones and paper skin.

If for some reason you wish to continue this (this has to be the fourth or fifth time you've done this), you know where to find me.

Originally posted by MrDeePay

Quote
There is a difference with being a bit blunt and outright unnecessarily harsh critism (and you are doing the later). Considering that other users don't do this, what allows you to.


I use what I feel is most efficient for conveying my point, and if it means not dipping posts in sprinkles and serving it to you on the finest sterling silver available, so be it. A lot of people online just have glass bones and paper skin.

If for some reason you wish to continue this (this has to be the fourth or fifth time you've done this), you know where to find me.


There's a clear difference between "being honest" and also between "being unnecessarily cruel/dickish". Most people consider yourself in the latter option, and I can see why to be honest.

--------------------
Please don't send me PMs about why JDCGames is down. That part of my life is over.
I come online to attend to a private matter and check the status on the project. And this is what I see.

To start, I personally had full support for this hack until certain folks, whose identities will remain anonymous, began to bring up what I considered to be non-issues. Unnecessary padding, if you may. Things that didn't really need to be added or changed but got forced into the hack anyways. I felt this was distracting the designers from the bigger picture, and overall, it was slowing down the project to a point that I began to lose faith in it, and eventually just stopped caring for some time. But that's just me.

Now onto the topic at hand. The three you mentioned (AxemJinx, MrDeePay, and Rameau's Nephew) are all respectable hackers, who are well-versed in level design philospophy. I don't consider them to be the gods of level design, but they have a very good grip on what constitutes good and bad designs. Having the collaboration adhere to these standards isn't necessarily a bad thing; after all, one of the biggest complaints regarding the first Production was that it was full of flawed level designs and inconsistency. I'd honestly rather play a competently design hack that is fair and enjoyable than one riddled with design issues that turn levels from being fun and engaging to being boring or frustrating.

As far as "bullying" is concerned... Let me state that I've been doing stuff for SMWCP2 since June 2011, and I've seen a lot happen in the several months I've been on board. Namely, there was a serious lack of dedication on the part of many level designers early on, who would claim a level, but do very little until the last minute and slap together something shoddy... or they just had no idea what was wrong with their level designs if they did make progress. We were hoping people would get the picture when at least half of the initial signups were dropped off the project at the first deadline and weekly progress reports became mandatory, but they didn't. I honestly see no reason to be nice to designers who are not going to commit a serious effort towards what should be a quality hack. They're just wasting everyone's time.

Finally, MrDeePay in particular seems to get brought up a lot for his reputation of blunt criticism. Not everyone is going to be nice about it. As a matter of fact, some people just don't learn if you don't come off somewhat harsh. They need to realize what they're doing is wrong, they need to stop doing that, and get their act together. School teachers aren't always nice, so why should we be any different?

There. I said something for once.

--------------------

My Let's Play channel (Current LP: Final Fantasy VI, MegaMari)
I'll put in my own input here.

Originally posted by Question
"Was this really a Super Mario World Central Production"?


In this user's opinion, yes it was. SNN is right about many point, not trying to be a suck up here either. This WHOLE project is based on voluntary users and how much time and resources they've sacrificed for this project instead of themselves. The three testers, MrDeePay, Axemjinx,CSTutor, and who could forget Rameaus Nephew, took a whole damn lot of time out of their busy days, a lot of days, to test others' levels and see if it is up to TODAY's hacking standards; and the hacks' standards over all. (Sorry if I spelled your name wrong RN) I could say I'm a "victim" of said testers like a lot of other people out there, but more accurately: I was blessed to have somebody who actually had something to say and offer up ideas. Yes, I got upset sometimes at what was said sometimes, no doubt. Putting time into designing and then having to redesign some portions, or maybe the whole level, can be frustrating. But think about it like this. AxemJinx, and MrDeePay are also hackers, they know what you're going through, and simply put; criticism is criticism, there is no way around it. Criticism hurts, yes, but that doesn't change the fact if one person thinks this can be improved by a mile stone, chances are everyone else thinks so, but won't say a word because they're afraid they'll hurt somebody's feeling, much like myself. That can be a torture train.

This doesn't seem like a "Was this an SMWC Production" question thread, as honestly, I think somebody is just trying to get attention, and not only that, but trying to downrate and redicule a member of this community that I believe has actually earned the right to say things and give criticism, be it constructive or not, I haven't read all the threads here. People like MrDeePay should actually be praised for what they've done for the users here, again not trying to be a suck up; but I do feel that people who actually do something worth while like criticism; because I barely recieve any myself, should be noticed and recognized for the things they do. They don't HAVE to playtest your levels, they don't HAVE to offer criticism, and they're ideas. They're not even obligated to do anything here. Yet they do because they are dedicated. User's that have been "bullied" are those that are not showing 100% dedication to this; and if you don't put everything you got into something that you're creating, or at least involved in creating, than I personally feel they shouldn't be a part of it in the first place. In a way, this goes for people who cancel hacks simply because they don't feel like working on it anymore. Some people will be amazed how much further originallity goes that just simply porting something in from another game; only referencing GAME and PLOT ideas here; Resources are different.


Now, to answer the question:


Yes, this is an SMWC Production. A lot of time, energy, and originallity was introduced and adapted into this project. New level designers and the like might not understand much about consistantcy or other elements in those lines, but being consistant is very important. Users have made the music into a soundtrack, sharing likenesses, but being different overall. Graphics artists, much like myself, have altered their own unique drawing style to fit the graphics; I should know, I had to redraw a whole tileset AND background because it was too "Scorpion Style". Everybody that has worked on this has put a little or A LOT of themselves into this, so yeah. This is definitely a SMWCP.
Vocalizing suggestions does not equal bullying. If users honestly felt that AxemJinx, Rameau's Nephew, and MrDeePay's comments were making the project worse, they should have initiated a discussion. Of course the project will tend to cater to a certain group's philosophy if they're the only ones who actually take the time to critique the project. Also, the project has accepted many levels that don't completely gel with that group's ideas. I'm guessing that AxemJinx would have preferred that I take a completely different approach with my level than what I chose, and yet it was still approved. There are other similar examples as well.

tatanga
It doesn't necessarily help when those 3 users are rarely active on anything other than the forums, it's not as easy as say, IRC to communicate with someone through PMs and forum posts.

On the topic of not communicating, yeah I feel I've fell into that area because someone volunteered to change my level around and no one consulted me, SNN told me he said something about it to me on IRC but I'm not always active on there due to work, a PM or an MSN message would help a lot more because IRC tends to fuck up on this computer when I get highlighted and idle, RN could have even shot me a PM asking about it, see if I wanted any input on the situation.

I just ended up feeling a little left out if you know what i mean

--------------------

- Best movie quote: "I just want to tell you both, good luck! we're all counting on you"
Leslie Nielsen (Airplane! 1980)
Music Porting forum - Go there if you need music help.
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