Hey, here's the level that I've been working on. It's a level taking inside a volcanic cave that revolves around using ON/OFF blocks to change which pipes are spewing out lava. The first part will be a fairly linear skull platform area, in which the ON/OFF gimmick is introduced and the main difficulty is from keeping up with the skull platform when you are not on it. After the midpoint, it will switch to a more puzzle-oriented area using the ON/OFF blocks. The main enemies used are Podoboos, Piranha Plants, and Ninjis.
Here are some pictures of my current progress, I'm almost finished with the lava river skull platform ride area:
It looks nice so far, but the only thing I do not like is the ninji color. It feels out of place with the surrounding scenery.
I'm looking forward to see what kind of inventive puzzles you do create, though.
I'd just like to put my two cents here and say that the ground palette really turns me off. The mahogany to orchid transition is not very smooth and sticks out, especially since the two shades don't combine very well. Other than that it looks pretty good so far.
Looking pretty swell eXcavator. I just have a couple of issues to address.
First, while I do like the graphics you've chosen, I feel that the palettes are a little bit off. The Ninji doesn't look like it has a gradient - it would be cool if some parts of its body where darker than others; the bones in the first screenshot also seem to have a weird palette, I'm not sure if you can fix that though; The ground seems a bit awkward - the blue to grey transition isn't that good in my opinion. I'd probably make it more red with a different gradient in that case. Otherwise, it's looking nice graphically.
Second, the level design is certainly looking pretty good. I like the idea of the bone raft - it isn't something you see much of in SMW hacks to begin with, never mind SMBX episodes - and you seem to expanding on the idea well, especially with the "On-Off" lava switch at the end.
I will say though, the level does seem to be quite tight and narrow - maybe making the roof a little bit higher might be nice (also, this is sorta a nit-pick, but I hate when ? boxes and the like are only two spaces up - I prefer them being 3 high so Big Mario doesn't get too many concessions =V)
Overall, looking to more progress eX.
I'm going to work on the ground palette a bit and probably revert the Ninjis back to normal, but I'm curious BMM, what don't you like about the bones? They are using the original colors after all.
Are they? I don't know, the brown colour that seems to go through the bones doesn't really fit in to me, for some reason. Other than that, if they are using the normal colours, then it's OK, I guess. \_(o_0)_/
Sorry for the inactivity here, I've been busy as hell all week visiting colleges, but I have fixed a lot of the graphical issues that were mentioned. I'll do some more work on the level layout soon, don't worry.