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Killjoys in SMW Hacks?
Forum Index - SMW Hacking - SMW Hacking Discussion - Killjoys in SMW Hacks?
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Originally posted by Purple Rex
I really hate most ghost house levels. Not because of the level theme itself, but because of how they're done by most hackers.

Most ghost houses are basically puzzle levels, and while I have no real problem with that, it's not uncommon for them to be based on trial-and-error or item babysitting. It's also very hard to use the ghost sprites correctly, I've seen a lot ghost levels that have boos/generic ghost house sprites randomly placed in the level with no real thought.

I also hate hacks that simply select random bosses from the sprites section and throw it in the hack, even more if it's just another overused boss (ugh Homing Thwomp). Same goes for bosses that are too repetitive and take too many hits to die.

Oh my god, Water levels are the same. But ghost levels also piss the fuck out of me. Users here make them puzzle-difficult and i hate puzzles! They annoy the hell out of me!
In regards to bosses in particular...

I hate it when every. Single. GODDAMN. Boss takes forever to kill because the only way to damage it is to wait until it uses an attack where it throws a Koopa shell or a bomb or a turn block falls from the sky or whatever and throw it back at the boss.

If you're going to make a boss like this, don't give it a million damn HP and make sure whatever has to happen for the boss to take damage happens often enough that it doesn't get stale. The fact that you have to throw something at the boss isn't the problem, the problem is that most bosses designed this way take forever to kill.

Even worse is when boss fights are long but never do anything new. If you're going to give a boss a high health pool, then make the boss start doing new things as it takes damage... Or at least have it get faster or something. Don't take the speed increase to ridiculous levels (I'm looking at you egg boss from ASMT), but make it enough that it's noticeable.

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Also a music thread - Link

C3 Projects
2013: Modern Spiny Pack
2012: MGSS v0.1
Spring 2010: SMB2 Autobomb Sprite
To be quite honest, I despise long and drawn out puzzles (especially the P-Switch and ON-OFF ones), that's why I tend to create linear levels when making a hack.
The only killjoys I know are when you get trapped in a level before you suicide or when the time runs out, and the bosses that are really hard to beat. These are killjoys to me, and I've learned very well.

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Princess Daisy's SMB3 Adventure

(My Patch is currently being requested.)

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Reimu Hakurei's SMB1 Adventure
If we're talking about killjoys, can I please take this time to mention long water levels? They're just not fun to swim through slowly.

Also, please, please, please do not make haunted sunken ship levels. I don't like puzzle levels, but please don't make it worse by making them underwater. It's just painful to play.

Mario's Vanilla Journey

Progress: 22/72 levels complete
I particularly hate:

-Bosses that take a million hits to kill
-Bosses that throw projectiles at your projectiles so they collide in mid-air
-Lightspeed projectiles.
-Long puzzle levels with item babysitting
-Big Mario discrimination

Usually inactive/procrastinating on a hack idea.
Thought of another one.

Bullet hell bosses. Mario is not that fast. Mario does not have a particularly small hitbox. Spamming fireballs randomly does not make for a good boss.

I have a hack thread - Link (Now with a demo!)
Also a music thread - Link

C3 Projects
2013: Modern Spiny Pack
2012: MGSS v0.1
Spring 2010: SMB2 Autobomb Sprite
The SMWCP Bowser's Castle and the void. Seriously, i don't see how those two levels are possible without savestates, and the levels are just really annoying to.

And i also hate really long levels, and sadly SMW Legend of The 7 Golden Statues were full of long levels.

Water levels: There just so slow and boring.

Ghost House Levels: They seem like long puzzles, and I'm not a big fan of puzzles.

I Hate having to babysit items to solve puzzles.
What I like to call RPG-Platforming. I can't tell you how many hacks do it, what I mean by this is a non-linear level that has you going back and forth between different parts to do the most trivial things. It's most commonly associated with item babysitting ("Oh you got this P-Switch near the end of the level? Just take it back to the start of the level to collect that silver P-Switch then take it back to the mid way point to collect that key, then just carry that key to the keyhole I hid somewhere stupid that you've probably passed two or three times without realising."). It's not the concept of it itself it's more the concept of doing it using a game engine that just wasn't designed for it. Other games where the platforming engine revolves around backtracking and what-not, it's fine in. But SMW wasn't built for that. Which brings me comfortably on to my next point.

Let's take the SMW engine and say 'fuck you' to how it was supposed to be used. There are some people who take the 'vary your levels' thing a little too literally. Actually practically everyone does it, and it's gotten to the point where people consider the original Super Mario World to not meet the hack submission guidelines. People try way too hard to make their platforming varied to the point where playing hack levels actually gets me angry. Instead of using what I deem to be frankly bullshit guides on designing levels as your guidelines, I believe you make your levels similar to that of the original SMW. A screen of running is now a critical removal reason for a hack (hence why I don't visit the hack removal logs anymore, because if I did, my post count would be a lot higher with most of my posts being arguments against removal reasons) but in the original SMW, it was commonplace. The platforming wasn't lazily done, in fact it was a stroke of genius. Levels were designed to enable a lot of free movement and to be able to let you gather up your speed and jump around. Nowadays hacks basically force you to go no faster than about half your maximum speed because of little, trivial obstacles and limit your jumping by putting in some low-ass ceiling, giving poor old Mario a busted skull (and you wonder why the poor guy can't speak properly, even in his RPG games). Someone please tell me how this crap is considered good level design.
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Originally posted by MVS

That's a good one. That's why I try to keep item babysitting to a minimum, and when I do I tend to not have the player carry it both long distances and have it extremely difficult for him or her to not get killed.

Now, something I rather detest are custom bosses who don't give out SOME kind of hint at their weakness. I think that it's awesome that X coded a boss, but if every feasible thing kills mario then they can get frustrated pretty quickly, y'know?


Voice actor. Composer. Musician.


It has been mentioned, but I have a serious beef with backtracking and repetition. Making backtracking enjoyable requires a very intuitive design. My go-to for this is Super Metroid, which got backtracking and repetition absolutely right. You have the main goal of defeating the four major bosses, but that isn't the only goal. You can also progress toward making Samus stronger by getting new powerups or hidden items. These are placed very well among areas, helping to make backtracking and the general non-linear design consistently contribute toward a sense of progression.

Super Mario World, however, is fundamentally different. Your goal is always very simple: reach the end of the level. You reach the ends of these levels in order to defeat a boss at the end of the world. You defeat the bosses in order to get the final boss and win the game. It all follows an especially linear progression. The only other goal I can think of that actually gives a sort of progression would have to be with the switch block palaces, as they actually give a sort of help for levels (1-ups, Yoshi Coins, powerups, and regular coins also qualify, but on an increasingly smaller scale; SMW hacks need to change it up more). There isn't anything wrong with this, but I've seen a lot of hacks that seem to miss the point. There is challenge, and then there is artificial tedium induced by poorly paced powerups and midway points. Do not have the player repeat major sections of the level. Make more difficult challenges instead of stretching out levels longer and longer. Don't have secret exits that rely on the player going through much of the same challenge. The balance between number of obstacles from checkpoint to checkpoint and the difficulty of these obstacles takes eloquent design to properly implement, and I think more hacks need to give this predominant focus.

Another beef I have is with the structure of the levels a lot of hacks have. There isn't anything wrong with something that plays as a collection of levels, but these levels have to fit in some logical, coherent way. I dislike when hacks throw out some gimmick such as a custom boomerang brother sprite and proceed to never build upon it in the succeeding levels. Don't abuse throwaway gimmicks. Build upon concepts, and the hack will have a significantly better flow to it. Too many hacks play like schizophrenic mishmashes - each individual level can be well-designed, but levels shouldn't be viewed in a vacuum. They should instead be treated as part of a bigger picture, coherently flowing. The player should be viewed as a student, studying and learning based upon what is given. It's your job to help the student master more of their knowledge around a particular concept (i.e.: boomerang brother) in creative, different ways. This process needs to be applied outside of individual levels to give a sense of genuine, lasting progression to the player. It needs to be emphasized to really give that sense of completeness that many hacks I've played tend to lack.

Boss design seems to be lost upon SMW hacking. Like I stated before, you progress through levels to progress through bosses to progress through the final boss to win the game. Bosses should be viewed as a mid-term exam of sorts. They should take some sort of concept (or a collection of concepts, but absolutely do not go overboard) you emphasized in the previous world and require it to a certain degree of difficulty. Super Mario World really dropped the ball on this, but there's no reason we should either. Frequently, bosses are just put in as an additional challenge. I resent that. A good boss is the culminate of the set of obstacles before it. Again, coherent flow and a sense of progression need to be emphasized here. Bosses can really make or break this, and too often I find them completely superfluous. If you don't want to code a boss, then find another way around it. These types of world bosses can come in the form of more difficult than usual levels or something. They are simply mechanisms that require certain concepts to be mastered to a certain degree. This mastery procures the sense of progression, and all boss design should aim for is merely that.

In kaizo hacks, I hate it when i have to press a P-Swith and i must do a certain puzzle with a little amount of time (P-Switch time) It's so damn annoying!
There are 2 things I find Kill-Joys in SMW Hacks.

1. Repetitive Bosses
Please note: This is not OVERUSED bosses so much as you feel like you are fighting the EXACT same boss EVERY TIME.
If you watch me on YouTube (Because my channel is oh so large), you know which hack I am referring to the most. And while Overused bosses could be considered here at least they feel they got a fresh spritz of Febreeze between each hack while some hacks just have the same boss with a new graphic more than anything.

2. Excessive Item Babysitting
Alright, let's face it. Going through a level just to find out you have to carry something across it again can by tiresome. While I don't mind if it's over a couple screens, or to unlock a secret (That's the point of a secret after all), when it carries over an entire level or happens frequently for reasonably lengthy periods of time, this gets tiring. I don't mind a small puzzle or the odd 5 screen carry (given it's not extremely vertical), it's fine. But when I have to carry it for 10 screens or 5 screens every level it feels uninspired.

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 hate puzzles that require coins, brown blocks, and a p-switch that i have to find.

Currently: Starting college!
Bowser. Every time I beat him, I can never return to the game! Why not delete the ending sequence?
-Skull raft levels which randomly throw in Swoopers.
-Autoscroll. Every time it's used it makes the level slow and tedious. This applies to every sidescrolling platformer.
I could go on...

Usually inactive/procrastinating on a hack idea.
Custom bosses. I find they're very difficult to pull off effectively in SMW hacks, which is why I try to avoid them altogether now. I can't recall a SMW hack with a custom boss that was very well-done. Yes, bosses in hacks such as Brutal Mario are impressive from a technical standpoint, but are often overly difficult. A common pattern I see is that they involve quick reflexes. The bosses will charge at you or use some sort of projectile attack with little to no indication.

There was one hack that had a boss based on the stacked Koopas from Paper Mario. One of their attack patterns was the aforementioned charging toward Mario with no indication. Then when they got knocked over, you had to step on just one of them (and it wasn't obvious which one was vulnerable). One of the most annoying parts was that you only had a certain period to step on the Koopa safely, otherwise for some unknown reason, Mario would get hurt. Then there was another hack with a custom boss that generated more and more homing bullets that moved faster and faster as time went on. That was really annoying.
I can't wait for the list to get so long in this thread that people stop hacking altogether. I'll add onto it too!

Pointless plots. - Mario wants to go bake a cake? Oh, I know, I'll just have him run all around the world taking eggs that belong to some random bosses. Hero Mario is now Thief Mario...

- Basically, I find this to be incredibly stupid. I know some people just want to make a game, but if this is the best reason you can make for Mario going on an adventure, then the level design probably won't be good either... (if this somehow hits a hack, I don't mean it to. I don't play hacks often.)

- So yeah, Super Mario isn't intended to have a good story line, but if I wanted to play something like a random adventure, I'd just replay Super Mario World. I feel with our ASM hacks today, people can make a decent plot without having to stick to "Bowser kidnapped the ****ing princess without some sort of twist in it... Otherwise, I'll just go play SMBWiiU.

Lazy bosses... -

- I don't mind seeing some old boss all the time, just as long as it gives a fresh feel, even a different skin is just fine.

Originally posted by MVS
Super long and descriptive post

Thus the reason my levels are complex now, and as a result, it can be quite hard. Lunar Magic makes my brain work so hard now because of the hack standards I actually am TIRED when I click Lunar Magic off.

Boring Long Levels -

I don't mind long levels, I find them quite interesting, ONLY as long as there is something going on or there is some sort of epic feel to it. If I have to go through one full room and two more and there is nothing new in it that far, or no change in tactics, then it gets boring...

Insane Auto-scroll requirements -

- Whether it be that FAST option on Lunar Magic or a slow level that requires you to jump from one screen to the other before you are squished is annoying.

Blocky Overworld -

- New people, I can tolerate, I was once the same way with OW and sub-maps, but it is kind of a boring thing to look at and is not pleasing.

The Generic Layout -

- Because of a lack of good story-lines in SMW hacking, you tend to visit the same damn places all the time, even if it is with new level design. A grassland, A forest, A freaking VOLCANO! I understand the need for variety in worlds, but I get tired of seeing a forest after world 2 (which is commonly a desert, which is fine to me for some strange reason, I find the switch from World 1 to a World 2 desert to be quite fulfilling)


- Most of Bowser's castles ALL LOOK THE SAME! Yes, they may not have the same level design, but most will most likely use Bowser's Castle GFX from SMB3...

Your layout has been removed.
Another thing that bugs me is big Mario discrimination. I know that forced powerdowns are frowned upon, but there are certain times in certain hacks where I wished there was a forced powerdown, because it would do me a favor. This usually applies to P-balloon segments, because 1 hit anyway kills you, so you are better off small.

don't click this link...
@Waterlevels: even the vanilla ones are painful. Either mario needs to move faster or there needs to be some useful mechanic that makes them fun to play. Every mario platformer since SMB has had water levels that are simply not fun to play -- I think Wario Land I/II did this best, making a water level gimmick more about interacting with the water than a level that is fully submerged. Much more fun.

@Bosses: SMW bosses are heavily constrained by what the engine is capable of doing. Carol pretty much had to take a buzzsaw to SMW in order to make the bosses he made functional and it is much the same when trying to create intelligent bosses. I don't blame repetitive bosses here and there, but if I have to fight one more thwomp boss I'm going to kill myself.
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