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An idea to help curb the difficulty
Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 Completion Project - SMWCP2 Archive - An idea to help curb the difficulty
Pages: « 1 2 3 » Link
So, let's face it: This game is hard. It's nowhere near as bad as its prequel, which effectively required savestates at certain points, but, well, let's put it this way: The levels themselves, individually, aren't that bad. But the problem is that they're pretty much all hard--there are very few moments to stop and catch one's breath, and I'm feeling like this could be somewhat emotionally draining in the sense of "uuuuggggghhhhh...another level that I just died 30 times trying to beat..."

So here's my proposal: we add two new "powerups" to the game that the player can only "buy" (as opposed to finding out in the levels). Before I explain what they are and what they do and what those quotes are doing there, here are their base rules:

  1. The shop that sells the powerups only has a single stock for each one, meaning you can only buy each one once. The stock is replenished when you either save or reset the game (or permanently when you collect all SMWCoins). This prevents players from just taking a powerup into each level "just in case" and makes them give an earnest effort, since whatever level they use the powerup on has to count. Alternately, the shop could replenish its stock after a certain number of deaths on an unbeaten level.
  2. Once you buy a powerup, you can use it once in a level.
  3. If you die despite using the powerup, you can try the level again with the powerup once you re-enter, so there's no stress over "oh man I really gotta make this one count"
  4. If you complete the level with the powerup, you can no longer use the powerup and can only repurchase it when it's available again.

So, the two powerups (which really aren't important, since they can basically be anything that makes a level easier; these are just my ideas) are:

- Portable starman, which gives you one-time instant star power at any point in the level. Useful for clearing that one part of a level you're having trouble with.
- Iron mushroom, which bumps the number of hits you can take from 3 to 10. Useful for clearing that one stage you're having trouble with (why yes, this is directly ripped off from Donkey Kong Country Returns, why do you ask?)

Here's a mockup. You have an iron mushroom powerup at the start of every level. Normally there'd be some sort of indicator at the top of the screen, but there's no status bar and at the moment I'm not too keen on poking around at the OAM to get something to display for what basically amounts to a test.

And just to get these out of the way before someone asks:

Q: But won't this make [level name] really easy?
A: Yes. That's the point. The goal of a game is not to defeat the player and make them wallow in despair. If they can't beat a level, or a part of a level, then just let them skip it so they can actually see the rest of the game without getting frustrated, saying "screw it," and just watching an LP of the rest of it on YouTube.

It's pretty much what every Mario game since Mario 3 has done.

Q: But what if they skip my level?
A: Then they didn't find your level difficult in the right way and they're not enjoying themselves. Let them do what they want. Let them have fun.
I should get a new layout.

Probably won't, though.
Iron mushroom sounds genius.
Instead of having to buy them why don't we put them in toad houses like in smb3. Once you collect the power up the toad house in inaccessible until a certain number of event occurs. The houses will be scatter across the worlds. The same storage system as smb3 can be used to save the new power ups.

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Let's face it: AVGN will have a field day if he reviews our hack, just on the difficulty. Iron Mushroom is a cool idea, as long as we don't make them abusive. Portable Starman is great! Coding it will be a cinch, DWTLC did it beautifully almost a decade ago. (God, is it really that old?)

And if anyone has the coding prowess, how about a Mercy Mode? Think of the red winged question blocks from NSMB games, or the Tanuki powerup from 3D Land. If you die 5 (?) times on a level, make a block spawn with some powerup in it right at the start or midpoint.

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"(Z->)90° - (E-N²W)90°t=1"

Supporting:


Current project: Mario's Kool-Aid Acid Trip
NO. PLEASE. NOT MERCY MODE.

The Iron Mushroom and Portable starman are genius ideas. But we shouldn't beat the level for them.
Thank you for making Outrageous Mario World the 11th most downloaded hack on the site!

Ham Sandwich progress: v1378 (Now with more arbitrary version numbering than ZGC!) Waiting to get around to working on it again.

I occasionally stream ROM hacks on Yoshi Lighthouse's Twitch account. Be sure to check it out!

Layout by Counterfeit.
Hm...interesting idea, but I could see a few problems with it. First, if we go the route of having the stock replenished when you save or reset, I could see that being pretty annoying for a player if they're having trouble with more than one level, because they have to go back and complete a previous level to save (assuming the save system in SMWCP2 works how it does in SMW...) just to continue. And, for that matter, farm more coins if they need them. Second, what if people don't feel like using the extra powerups? I mean, I never used the extra hearts or banana juice in Donkey Kong Country Returns no matter how much I wanted to, because it kind of felt like cheating. Even in levels that I hated playing because of their difficulty (particularly some of the Key Temple stages), I didn't allow myself to use any of the items. Perhaps we could find some other way to help make the game easier, like increasing the number of checkpoints or making Mario always start out big (like in Super Mario 3D Land)? (Also, I must say, your last sentence sounds almost exactly like what I always say about people using the cape to fly over levels.)
Is the game really that difficult? Didn't we test it to avoid that?
Originally posted by HuFlungDu
Is the game really that difficult? Didn't we test it to avoid that?


Originally posted by Kipernal
The levels themselves, individually, aren't that bad. But the problem is that they're pretty much all hard--there are very few moments to stop and catch one's breath


--------------------
Later.
Them all being hard should have been part of the testing. In fact, there was a lot of emphasis during the creation stage on relative difficulty.
   

I think the issue here is everyone that has had their hand in the project and helped test the levels, has played a good portion of these levels multiple times. Over that amount of time, the levels seem easy and fair to us, but someone else just picking up the game with no previous knowledge of how that level works may find it a bit hard. It didn't help we only have a handful of people testing the levels.

I like the idea of the additional powerups as they wouldn't really break any of the levels and I kinda support the idea of doing it NSMB style

Edit: Pft, forgot I was still logged in with this account #smw{...}
ava

 
 
 Fin.
I'm a little surprised that this is being brought up. Compared to SMWCP, this game is far less challenging until about world 8 (at which point it gets quite hard) and I've managed to beat all of the levels I've tested without save states so far. The big problem with SMWCP was the lack of multiple midpoints and item babysitting, which added artificial length to a lot of levels. These problems are non-existent in SMWCP2, not to mention a lot of designers have stepped up their games and made genuinely fun levels.

...however, if there are people who still feel the game is too difficult, then by all means throw in these powerups. I don't know if I personally agree with it, and I really think we should wait until beta testing has concluded to determine this, but eh.
Maybe instead of extra power ups like this we could have a power up bank ala SMB3/NSMB? Quite frankly, a "Metal Mushroom" power up that you get at the beginning of the level seems way too "We made the game too hard, here's our excuse" for my liking. Also, we're WAY too far into development to create a new powerup (We had a thread and I guess collectively decided powerups were a no no). All the levels are already designed without it in mind.
I fully disagree with the idea of letting the players use a portable star in the middle of the level, while I can understand the intention of making levels less hard, I don't think this is a good solution because it completely removes the challenge factor. The iron mushroom also seem very overpowered to me, if we ever implement something like that in the hack, it shouldn't allow the player to take more that 3 hits, 10 is too much, and it should also be really hard to get.
Originally posted by 2dareduck
Instead of having to buy them why don't we put them in toad houses like in smb3. Once you collect the power up the toad house in inaccessible until a certain number of event occurs. The houses will be scatter across the worlds. The same storage system as smb3 can be used to save the new power ups.


The problem then, though, is that then the player can stock up on "beat this level with little effort" powerups, which means that they won't have to legitimately try if they get to the endgame with 15 toad houses still open.

Originally posted by imamelia
And, for that matter, farm more coins if they need them.


Since there's really no form of spendable currency in the game, I figure the powerups would be free if available (or cost something silly like 2 coins).

Originally posted by imamelia
Second, what if people don't feel like using the extra powerups? I mean, I never used the extra hearts or banana juice in Donkey Kong Country Returns no matter how much I wanted to, because it kind of felt like cheating. Even in levels that I hated playing because of their difficulty (particularly some of the Key Temple stages), I didn't allow myself to use any of the items.


Since this is an idea for the player, if they decide not to use it, then that's up to them. We're not going to force them to do anything.

Originally posted by Darkvayne
I think the issue here is everyone that has had their hand in the project and helped test the levels, has played a good portion of these levels multiple times. Over that amount of time, the levels seem easy and fair to us, but someone else just picking up the game with no previous knowledge of how that level works may find it a bit hard. It didn't help we only have a handful of people testing the levels.


I actually think there's a more subtle cause for this.

Most games have a very small pool of level designers, probably 5 people maximum in general[citation needed]. This results in two things: First, they can very closely collaborate with each other to make sure that breather levels are put in here and there. But I think the more relevant one for us, the second one, is that because each person would make a large variety of levels, there would be no stress over "oh man this is my one level better make it huge and epic and memorably difficult!" No one here wanted to make the easy, breather levels because they're usually not as memorable.

Just gonna pause for a moment to say that this is not a bad thing. The fact that we have so many level designers and level styles is awesome. But I'm genuinely under the impression that it's the main reason for each level (mostly near the endgame) being consistently teeth-grindingly hard (which feels oppressive to the player) as opposed to having a handful of teeth-grindingly hard levels (which feels like a challenge).

Originally posted by S.N.N.
I'm a little surprised that this is being brought up. Compared to SMWCP, this game is far less challenging until about world 8 (at which point it gets quite hard) and I've managed to beat all of the levels I've tested without save states so far. The big problem with SMWCP was the lack of multiple midpoints and item babysitting, which added artificial length to a lot of levels. These problems are non-existent in SMWCP2, not to mention a lot of designers have stepped up their games and made genuinely fun levels.


I'm not saying so much that individual levels are too hard (personally I think a couple of them are a bit unreasonable, but that's for another topic)--it's more that when you're playing each level in succession, and in the environment of a player going through the whole game instead of a tester going through a single course, having level after level of such a high level of difficulty with no way out can feel, as I said a moment ago, a bit oppressive. Plus, since there's no real way to life farm in this game (which is probably the only thing in the entire hack that I legitimately disagree with), running out of lives (which near the endgame is not just a possibility, but an absolute certainty) is absolutely devastating. Not only do you now have to replay a selection of incredibly hard levels that you probably struggled just to beat the first time, but now you have to do them all with just 5 lives. By that point it's just not even fun anymore, it's just frustrating and tedious, and it's pretty much by definition the exact thing we want to avoid.

Originally posted by aj6666
I fully disagree with the idea of letting the players use a portable star in the middle of the level, while I can understand the intention of making levels less hard, I don't think this is a good solution because it completely removes the challenge factor. The iron mushroom also seem very overpowered to me, if we ever implement something like that in the hack, it shouldn't allow the player to take more that 3 hits, 10 is too much, and it should also be really hard to get.


Just off the top of my head:

SMB3 gave you a P-Wing that let you fly over any level you wanted.
NSMB gave you a mega mushroom that you could use to instantly beat any boss and easily clear most levels.
NSMBWii gave you the ability to instantly clear any level you wanted via the Super Guide.
DKCR gave you an item that gave you ten hits. On the 3DS, you can bump that up to twenty. And if all that wasn't enough, there's the Super Guide as well.
NSMB3DL gave you a tanooki suit that gave you an infinite number of hits, and if that still wasn't enough, you could just skip the entire level.

Not a single one of those games come anywhere close to the overall level of difficulty we're presenting here.


Originally posted by HuFlungDu
Quite frankly, a "Metal Mushroom" power up that you get at the beginning of the level seems way too "We made the game too hard, here's our excuse" for my liking.


With the games I listed above all giving easier ways out and yet still being easier than ours, I don't think we're in too much danger of being called out for arbitrary rule patching like this.

Originally posted by HuFlungDu
Also, we're WAY too far into development to create a new powerup (We had a thread and I guess collectively decided powerups were a no no). All the levels are already designed without it in mind.


Not really. That patch in the first post creates the current base ROM except with the iron mushroom powerup, and there were no glitches as far as I could tell. Unless there's a huge muncher pit somewhere that arbitrarily leads to a huge glitchy wall, and excluding perhaps a handful of sprites that might act glitchy if killed with a star (which could be easily fixed), I don't see what problems these could cause.




...Just realizing that this post came off as way more defensive than I meant it to be. Oh well.
I should get a new layout.

Probably won't, though.
Something that should definitely be mentioned is that ANY bottomless pit or lava pool will still one-hit-kill you, as can anything that does JSL $F606 as soon as Mario touches it. The main hazard in annoyingly hard levels is not enemy placement, but rather the aforementioned OHKOs.

With that in mind, there is a strong argument in favor of Kipernal's powerups.

Reasons:

Iron Mushroom: Asteroid Antics is ridiculously difficult to get through without use of savestates/slowdown/rewind. Even with 10 hits, it will still be extremely challenging, due to spam of electricity/poison.

Portable Star: Not too overpowered, as it only lasts a short time. The only downside to this that I can see is that it can break the puzzle in Treetop Toss-up.
Thank you for making Outrageous Mario World the 11th most downloaded hack on the site!

Ham Sandwich progress: v1378 (Now with more arbitrary version numbering than ZGC!) Waiting to get around to working on it again.

I occasionally stream ROM hacks on Yoshi Lighthouse's Twitch account. Be sure to check it out!

Layout by Counterfeit.
Originally posted by Kipernal
Not really. That patch in the first post creates the current base ROM except with the iron mushroom powerup, and there were no glitches as far as I could tell. Unless there's a huge muncher pit somewhere that arbitrarily leads to a huge glitchy wall, and excluding perhaps a handful of sprites that might act glitchy if killed with a star (which could be easily fixed), I don't see what problems these could cause.

You did not understand that paragraph. I didn't say it would be glitchy, I said it would be tacked on.

Originally posted by AnybodyAgree
Iron Mushroom: Asteroid Antics is ridiculously difficult to get through without use of savestates/slowdown/rewind. Even with 10 hits, it will still be extremely challenging, due to spam of electricity/poison.

Then it's too hard. Fix it or toss it.
Originally posted by HuFlungDu
You did not understand that paragraph. I didn't say it would be glitchy, I said it would be tacked on.


Wasn't that thread against powerups because they'd break levels, though (e.g. a flight powerup would allow access to areas you shouldn't be able to get to)? That's what I thought you were referencing. (If not...that's what I get for jumping to conclusions, then.)

Either way, I can't really make a good argument against it seeming tacked on other than "other games of varying degrees of difficulty have done it and their systems never seemed tacked on," so...I guess that's all I have to say about that.
I should get a new layout.

Probably won't, though.

Extras



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

Advertising Space

Why not just reactivate the item box, but no power-ups you collect "on the field" go there? I won't go into suggestions over the proposed new ones (yet), but have the Hub level store custom blocks that have a Mushroom, Flower, Feather, and Star go straight to the item box, but only after a specific number of events (or a specific event) is satisfied. You can also use the SMWC Coins as an alternative.

Quote
Not really. That patch in the first post creates the current base ROM except with the iron mushroom powerup, and there were no glitches as far as I could tell. Unless there's a huge muncher pit somewhere that arbitrarily leads to a huge glitchy wall, and excluding perhaps a handful of sprites that might act glitchy if killed with a star (which could be easily fixed), I don't see what problems these could cause.


- Completely mucks up Sideshow Showdown's Race to the Finish. Taking any damage there is an automatic bronze.
- In some instances it's possible for Mario to throw fireballs anyway.
- You could perhaps put the hit counter on screen in the bottom left corner.

Originally posted by Biospark88
Let's face it: AVGN will have a field day if he reviews our hack, just on the difficulty.


Worry about people like them and risking image suicide another day. If you have one person that "already has a field day" spewing misinformation and taking things out of context, what do you think someone much bigger than them won't do "permanent" damage if they actually have a more solid case to make?

If anyone has the sanity and wants to risk messing with the Map, the SMB3/NSMB Toad Houses are a thing.

But I must add that the HUB will have all three power-ups unlockable in it.

If we were to add a power-up, the Ice Flower is the safest option. There will be no levels broken with it from my knowledge. The problems with this is if we're going to have ice block graphics, and the fact that there will be sprites that will be affected by this powerup that shouldn't be.

Reactivating the item box seems like more pain to go through, considering how much trouble the HUD gave. If I'm proven wrong, go for it.

I do not like the idea of the Iron Mushroom and the Portable Star. If you want to make a level easy, go the dumb way NSMB does and have those hax Invincibility Leaves, or in this case, Invincibility Feathers. Either leave it to their skills or go all the way with the hand-holding.

Also Asteroid Antics is just long, messes with your sanity because of that. I don't think it's too hard, just incredibly long, especially compared to later levels. Saying it needs save tools is a bit too much. It's hard (and long), but not THAT ONE LEVEL hard. I'm all for neutering though, since it does contain an important message at the end that will be a pain to get back to if you leave the level and need to see it again.
Originally posted by Kipernal
Plus, since there's no real way to life farm in this game (which is probably the only thing in the entire hack that I legitimately disagree with), running out of lives (which near the endgame is not just a possibility, but an absolute certainty) is absolutely devastating.


Wasn't the solution to this supposed to be autosaving after every level? It's what most games do nowadays, and even in the past (see: YI). The lives in the game would be used to actually get you through each of the levels. The game would become less of a gauntlet to the next save point and more of a fun romp through each level if we incorporated that.

Originally posted by MrDeePay
If you have one person that "already has a field day" spewing misinformation and taking things out of context


"This hack would not be accepted at Super Mario World Center Dot Net HYUK HYUK HYUK NOT OVERDONE AT ALL"

Extras



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

Advertising Space

Oh yeah, that reminds me. Was it determined that if lives would save with the game as well? I have a patch (via Killo) that would allow the player to bring up the save prompt by pressing Select (though mine uses L/R, but can be easily edited back). There's also Alcaro's in the patches section, but that one saves every time the OW is loaded, including after dying.

Pages: « 1 2 3 » Link
Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 Completion Project - SMWCP2 Archive - An idea to help curb the difficulty

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