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Discussion: "Which levels really suck?"
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - SMW Central Production 1.5 - Discussion: "Which levels really suck?"
Pages: « 1 2 3 » Link
Originally posted by Nimono
That was my fault. I made the overworld, and didn't like how linear I was making everything, so I added shortcuts here and there, including the one between those worlds. My intention for that was that the secret exit would be difficult to reach and the secret level at world 7 difficult or higher, signifying it's a major shortcut...but then the designers sealed it off until world 7 was reached anyway. Shoulda seen that coming!

Hey, no problem! I understand why you felt that way when you made it. The problem is that the hack relies on a linear world structure to begin with. Any kind of open-world framework has to be the core basis of the map from the very beginning if you want to do more than allow the player to skip a few levels or go down one of two possible paths, else you get situations like these where they can skip literally over half the game. :(
Originally posted by Mineyl

Hey, no problem! I understand why you felt that way when you made it. The problem is that the hack relies on a linear world structure to begin with. Any kind of open-world framework has to be the core basis of the map from the very beginning if you want to do more than allow the player to skip a few levels or go down one of two possible paths, else you get situations like these where they can skip literally over half the game. :(

I actually made the map before the levels were done; I literally made it all on a whim, not because of how the levels were built. It was all linear because I build all my overworlds world by world; I don't start on one until the previous is done, so there's typically only one path between worlds with no shortcuts, or the shortcuts are tacked on after the fact, like here. Think NSMB. It's not something I like, it makes me feel my overworlds are bad because everyone hates linear.

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<Adam> I feel like smwc is a prostitute now, because we put up a porn ad for money
Originally posted by Nimono
I actually made the map before the levels were done; I literally made it all on a whim, not because of how the levels were built. It was all linear because I build all my overworlds world by world; I don't start on one until the previous is done, so there's typically only one path between worlds with no shortcuts, or the shortcuts are tacked on after the fact, like here. Think NSMB. It's not something I like, it makes me feel my overworlds are bad because everyone hates linear.

Do YOU hate linear, though?

There are advantages to both approaches, but when you go non-linear, you have to understand that you're sacrificing developer control for player freedom, and that doesn't work as well in a format like Mario. When you can deliver a potent, quality and controlled experience to the player, they won't care how linear it was because they were glad to have it.

I think the map in SMWCP is non-linear enough as it is. There are branching paths everywhere, to the point that playing through a singular route would skip a significant portion of the levels. You did a fine job and I can only see the map needing minor tweaks at best.

Be more confident in your design. :P God knows I wasn't a couple of years ago and it cost me.

Sorry for the tangent, there.
Originally posted by Nimono
I was thinking of just having the gale cloud be immobile, but used to change the direction of the wind according to the directions you press, removing the previous thing of the wind changing when you pass by certain areas; thoughts?

I was actually thinking of the same thing earlier. You could put long jumps in certain places to force left / right wind, then once it's locked to a direction, create some obstacles that complement it.

I can't think of a reason you'd want to activate downward wind, so maybe you could start the level with downward wind until players find the first gale cloud. (A short trek, though, since downward wind is kind of annoying :b)

And of course there's a ton you can do with upward wind, since it's similar to low gravity.

If you think that could work, I'd say go for it.

--------------------
Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART
Originally posted by AxemJinx

I was actually thinking of the same thing earlier. You could put long jumps in certain places to force left / right wind, then once it's locked to a direction, create some obstacles that complement it.

I can't think of a reason you'd want to activate downward wind, so maybe you could start the level with downward wind until players find the first gale cloud. (A short trek, though, since downward wind is kind of annoying :b)

And of course there's a ton you can do with upward wind, since it's similar to low gravity.

If you think that could work, I'd say go for it.

Yeah, my goal for that gimmick was literally 'wind gimmick that raocow would love'. (Basically, wind that doesn't purely work against you.) Judging from his reactions in his video, I think I succeeded, so now I just need to fix the overall design.

Regarding downward wind, if I had to just make it a temporary obstacle, I'd remove it, replacing it with no wind at all. The downward wind was never used well anyway...


Also speaking of upward wind and it being low-gravity, I wish I could keep a section where you get to float up with the cape, but that would make the cape too easy to get, and massively break the level if you got full control of the wind. You know, thinking of that, it'd be neat if slowfalling with the cape just negated your downward speed in an updraft... Nah, maybe not. Biggest problem here would be that someone would have to go in and edit the code for the wind, making it stop you from floating up with a cape and removing downward wind. maybe even fix the wind effects so they don't mess with the non-wind smoke effects.

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<Adam> I feel like smwc is a prostitute now, because we put up a porn ad for money
Worlds 7-8

Disclaimer: What I write are suggestions. I say this so I don't have to prepend the word to every sentence.


"Caiman here. No problems." (Keep, with perhaps minor edits.)

Morel Mountain
--I'm going to assume we're moving this to world 2, since it has a mountain theme. In that case, though, I think the difficulty needs to be toned down in some spots.
--Limit panser use to the vertical-throwing types. It's a bit tough to distinguish between four types just by color when the level uses so many other sprites, too.
--Remove the green winged parabeetles. Whenever I try to dodge them, it makes the red ones spawn too far apart, and I can't continue. They could be used elsewhere in the stage, but they're pretty similar to bullet bills.
--In the second set of red parabeetles, the third one is too far out. Move it and the fourth one left a tile or two. Move the upper platform left as well if necessary.
--Where the path splits between high and low, simplify the bullet bill salvos on the top path. Consider removing the bottom path or increasing its difficulty a bit, as it feels like the safer choice. I'd rather just see a single focused path, though.
--Remove the classic lakitu. It makes plenty of jumps awkward and difficult, plus it clashes with the SMW version, which is essentially the same. (Perhaps the cloud left behind is the issue, but I don't think a lakitu is needed anyway.)
--Does this level have a midpoint? If not, add one.

Permafrost Glacier
--Why don't we replace Permafrost Caverns with this stage? It doesn't really fit in world 7 anyway, thematically speaking.
--The second area could use a redesign. Ditch the p-switch and branching paths leading to dead ends, and make the layout more straightforward. Maintain the meltable ice block theme from the first section, and focus more on the brick-throwing enemies.
--Global sprites don't really do this level justice. Maybe something like ice pansers or those bouncy penguins from Yoshi's Island would fit better here?

Tropical Stride
--Choose a more fitting back area color.
--Remove the vine climb, and also the pointless lower alcove later on.
--Shorten the bullet bill long jump a bit.
--Make the passage to the optional 1up two tiles high instead of one.
--Consider moving the key / keyhole earlier in the level.

Glacial Grave
--Another level that goes nowhere on the overworld. The difficulty fits world 7, but the theme fits world 4. Maybe we could put it on an optional path in world 4 that skips a few levels, or move it to somewhere around Snowflake Cavern's position?

LuluBoo's Mansion
--Redesign the key area. Trying to navigate a boo swarm in narrow passageways in a room with vertical camera scroll enabled is bad enough, but carrying a key through it is just annoying. I've lost count of the number of times a boo spawned at my exact position before I could react and get out of the way in time.
--I think 3 hits is enough for the boss, considering LuluBoo follows you around while moving up and down. Also, let players stand on the platforms holding the throw blocks. Making those nonsolid is pretty counter-intuitive, in my opinion.

Shoreline Woods
--Remove all p-block usage. All those side rooms do is interrupt the level's pacing.
--Either lower the autoscroll speed, remove the bullet generator, or make the layout easier. There's a bit too much going on in that section.
--Remove or replace the really long row of munchers in the autoscroll section, as well as the hammer bro at the end.
--Remove or replace the hammer bro right after the last p-block room. Ground-level hammer bros with no helper platforms are really annoying to deal with.
--Consider removing the full-speed long jump in the first area. Might just be me, but it doesn't really fit.

Water-Logged Woods
--Jumping fish behavior is odd in spots because the water isn't continuous. I'd consider making the on-land sections tide levels to address that. As a bonus, that would also discourage swimming under everything because the speed forward would be very slow.
--The cramped, urchin-infested spaces in the first underwater section don't really play well with Yoshi, and the concept of urchins in cramped water levels is already overdone at this point (Flooded Crater, Dark Depths, Dinosaur Reef), so why not just remove that section? Make it a three-part level, with the second underwater section now in the middle. Yoshi works fine in that area, from what I can tell.
--Alternately, at least get rid of the urchin passing under the question blocks at the beginning. Waiting for that is annoying. Also, maybe open things up a bit or replace some urchins with different enemies.
--It might be possible to rebalance the fish generator by designing a couple of bottleneck areas- or even just high platforms- that force you to briefly pass through the flow of the fish. If that fails, I'd just replace it with something else.
--There's a forced mushroom in the second underwater area that will overwrite what you have in the item box. I'd move or remove that.

Amethyst Vein
--(Already provided feedback on the new version. It didn't need much work, anyway.)

Crystals on Fire
--Accessing the last vine before the midpoint is a little tedious and not entirely intuitive. I wonder if it should be redesigned.
--The layer 2 lava section is a little repetitive. Mostly you drop down for one line guide platform, then come back up, wait for the lava to cycle, and repeat. I think this section could be modified somewhat as well.
--Raise the ceiling for that last jump to the goal. It's an annoying jump, and having to repeat half the stage when you miss it is frustrating, because the layer 2 room is so slow-paced.

Forest's Furnace
--Feels a bit too tough and hectic in spots.
--Either lower the ground and platforms, or replace / remove the lakitu. Then again, I guess it's easy to jump on it from the higher platforms.
--Either give players more space to deal with the chain chomps, or replace / remove them. Then again, maybe running under them isn't that bad (though it is a bit counterintuitive).
--Replace the Touhou song. It doesn't fit the stage in my opinion, plus it doesn't even sound like a quality port.
--Slightly short compared to other world 8 levels, but maybe we should just be shortening the longer ones.

Gaijin Cave
--I'd raise some of the ceilings in the first section. Some jumps are very annoying.
--The throw block section is breakable with powerups and tedious without them. I'd replace or remove that section.
--Change the title?


"Do you copy? Emergency Maneuvers!" (Rework, with major edits and/or cuts.)

Dark Depths
--This level has extremely slow pacing and is too long. The first section has a small spotlight, and the rest has an unnecessarily dark palette; the layouts are claustrophobic, labyrinthine, and involve a lot of waiting for urchins and fish to pass by. It's basically an even slower, cramped version of Flooded Crater.
--Remove the convoluted item sidequest and instead access the secret exit from an alternate path in the spotlight room.
--Remove the torpedo teds, especially from the spotlight room. It's just not fun dealing with them in cramped spaces when it's hard to see anything. Alternately, just give players more space to deal with them, and decrease their frequency.
--If only urchins show up outside the spotlight, then consider increasing its radius a bit so it's easier to react to other enemies.
--Decrease the amount of dead ends in the spotlight section. It really drags the level out.
--Remove the vertical area and everything beyond. It's like the first section, but without the standout feature.
--Take the second room (water cave) and expand it into the second half of the stage, ending it there. Consider using the spotlight here as well, and using slow-moving enemies like spike tops. Keep the palette as bright as in the first room.

Bully's Brambles
--Kind of short. The first and second half don't have much to do with each other, and neither concept is explored for very long. I don't think the flying yoshi section is really necessary, and would rather see the first section redesigned and extended.
--The difficulty is both too easy and too hard. Too easy because most of the enemies don't pose much of a threat, and too hard because there are a bunch of narrow passageways whose surfaces will hurt you if you touch them. I would give more space to players in the harder areas, and adjust enemy positioning / usage in the easier areas.

Toxic Utilities
--Consider removing the groundstun effect from the light flickering mechanic in the first section. There are spots where it's dangerous to jump, but also dangerous to be groundstunned, like being on the moving platforms among ball 'n' chains. Those situations are extremely annoying. Even discounting that, it's annoying to have to jump all the time to avoid being groundstunned, though that might just be me.
--Replace the timer water with toxic water that either (a) drains a separate air meter, or (b) kills you like lava. Redesign the second half and relevant parts of the first half as appropriate.
--Redesign the secret exit to involve less key carrying.

Creepy Dark Woods
--The first section gives too many opportunities to avoid most of the obstacles by taking the upper platforms. It also focuses too much on simplistic global sprites (koopas, goombas, fish) for world 8 difficulty, in my opinion.
--The second section's layout needs a full redesign, with less layer-priority tiles obscuring your vision, and less enemies in cramped tunnels. Remove the springboard as well- it's not necessary.
--Time limit is too low.
--Needs layer priority branches for the layer priority trees.


"Too late! Game over, pal!" (Scrap entirely, or rebuild from scratch with the same concept.)

Dinosaur Reef
--Overuses torpedo teds and rip van fish in tight spaces, plus it looks like all the powerups are mushrooms.
--Doesn't really stand out from Flooded Crater or Dark Depths. All three are claustrophobic, slow-paced, and revolve around three main sprites: urchins, torpedo teds, and rip van fish. At this point in the game, do we really need another one? Especially considering it's right after Dark Depths.
--Pointless pipe travel in the beginning.
--The tide area is easy to deal with: just take the high road. Most of the enemies are down below, giving you no incentive to take the lower paths.
--Where are all the dinosaurs? I don't see a single yoshi, rex, dino rhino, or dino torch in this stage. Maybe we should reinterpret it as a rain-slick low-tide stage with dinosaur enemies mixed among the hopping fish and such?
--Basically, I think this level needs a different focus, coming right after Dark Depths. I guess another alternative would be to relocate it on the overworld, though.

Into the Water
--Lower the speed of the water currents so that you can swim against them successfully, and redesign the level completely so that you're climbing a waterfall, or something like that. Make it much less cramped, and remove the Cave Story areas. Alternately, just make a new level.

Wild Wet Castle
--Too long and tedious, too many tricky enemy combos and obstacles, too many enemy types, and arguably too many references to / elements from Yoshi's Island. Needs either major cuts or a full redesign, in my opinion.

Confusion Chambers
--Yet another ghost house stage with convoluted item ferrying, cramped spike / muncher passageways, an unnecessary underwater section, and this one even comes with a frustrating fishin' boo. Completely redesign, or just make a new stage.

Rupture in Reality
--Keep the setting and concept, but fully redesign the layout to be shorter and less annoying.
--The layer 2 scroll sections have a bad habit of making you wait full cycles because the path forward is at the edge of the scroll so often.
--The path in the vertical section comes too close to the left and right edges too often, which is where eeries from the generator spawn.
--Don't make powerups fall through the floor in the vertical section.
--The jump past the two bullet bill shooters at the start of the second room is stupidly hard. There are other jumps in that section which could be reworked as well.

Spectral Abyss
--Convoluted terrain formations and split paths, with many annoying jumps and cramped passageways.
--I'm not convinced this level needs to be slippery. Either way, it stops being slippery once you return from the side area.
--Palette needs more contrast so you can see where things are. I know the intent is probably for the lightning to reveal things, but it doesn't happen often enough when you're trying to dodge enemy combos like gold bowser statues and thwomps.
--Secret exit involves too much item carrying (p-switch in this case).
--Time limit is too low, especially if you enter the side room but go for the regular exit.
--The side room is too long and too spammy with the bullet bills.
--I'd either fully redesign this with the same setting, or just make a new stage.

Adventum Terminus
--Way too long, with a lot of unnecessary "kill all the enemies" rooms. aj6666 is already taking care of this one, so I won't go into detail.

Bowser's Castle + The Void
--We can keep the various settings, but most if not all of this level has to be rebuilt and split up into separate level tiles. Not going into detail here.

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Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART
(will continue to update over time: Edition 1 - Space Zone)

I've been playing some random levels from the hack so here are some more unusual catagories:

Boring levels-

(Major) Artic Fortress- The level design in this is very boring. Its long but consist of the exact same obstacles all the way through. It feels like the approach to level design was just "throw 500 obstacles into it to make it hard, plus as many modifiers to make it harder like ice" and its been copy and pasted into an endless endurance course. I really dislike this level.

Unfun levels (/Bad Difficulty)

(Major) oh god brambles- The first half is pretty fun despite being very difficult, but the second half with the floating munchers is just... The random, relentless and unpredictable movements of it make it impossible to beat without savestates, and very tricky even with them. Since it can't really be outmaneuvered or spin jumped on or anything, its more like rolling a slot machine if the course of actions you take will let you avoid it or not.

(Minor) Asteroid Belt- In this case, its not very bad but the wait for a chance to get past the falling stars eats into your timer. Some extra time or removing the time limit on this level would make sense when you have to slowly plan your move across the area.

Bugs-
(I know I've been out of the loop for a while when it comes to the SMWCPs but seeing as my level was brought up I suppose I should address it.)

Originally posted by AxemJinx
Peaks to Puffs
--Second half feels a bit too similar to Butter Bridge 2 from the original SMW.

I know for a fact that I made the level design from scratch, so that's purely a coincidence.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
--Remove or rework the ground-level hammer bros.

Oh, those little buggers, always wanting to jump into the ground for no apparent reason. Yeah, I'd say just remove them...

And the Boomerang Bros...looking back, I guess we could take out a couple of them.

It's kind of weird to look back at myself designing levels four years ago, to be honest!
Layout by Mirann <3
I haven't been able to play the hack but pretty much every level that I think has problems has been mentioned here, EXCEPT this one special level (I forget its name) that at one point was a vertical castle, with giant Twomps, that at one point had a jump that I think was, for some reason, impossible to actually make. I'm not sure if I fucked up, but eventually I had to mod the ROM so I could actually clear that particular section. It might be Asteroid Belt, because there was a self destruction sequence at the end with a bunch of rocks and crap raining down on you as you tried to get to the exit.

Sorry I can't give more details than that, but it would be nice if somebody looked into that.

- BlackMageMario

EDIT: I have been informed it's Obrital Fortress by Wormer. Yeah, that level towards the end had a seemingly impossible jump.
Originally posted by BlackMageMario
I haven't been able to play the hack but pretty much every level that I think has problems has been mentioned here, EXCEPT this one special level (I forget its name) that at one point was a vertical castle, with giant Twomps, that at one point had a jump that I think was, for some reason, impossible to actually make. I'm not sure if I fucked up, but eventually I had to mod the ROM so I could actually clear that particular section. It might be Asteroid Belt, because there was a self destruction sequence at the end with a bunch of rocks and crap raining down on you as you tried to get to the exit.

Sorry I can't give more details than that, but it would be nice if somebody looked into that.

- BlackMageMario


It's Orbital Fortress. You have to sprint-run all the way in the self-destruction section, but it's quite insane and it leads to death if you lose speed.
Worlds 9-10, Odds & Ends

Disclaimer: What I write are suggestions. I say this so I don't have to prepend the word to every sentence.


"Caiman here. No problems." (Keep, with perhaps minor edits.)

Deep Dark Drains
--No major issues. Maybe I'll take a closer look later.


"Do you copy? Emergency Maneuvers!" (Rework, with major edits and/or cuts.)

Catacomb Calamity
--Too cramped, and spikes / munchers are overused in spots.
--Balloon run is too cramped, plus it doesn't even seem required since you can just swim under it and take a hit on the last row of munchers. Amethyst Vein does it better, so I wonder if we should just replace this segment with standard platforming. Alternately, rework and extend it so it's actually part of the stage instead of a one-off thing.
--All those coins seem unnecessary. The tiny side path with the wall triangle, as well as the springboard, also seem unnecessary.
--The bush decorations are misleading, because there's no solid ground beneath them.
--Time limit is too low.

Time Up Tunnels
--Could use a more intuitive introduction rather than a message box.
--Some of the block formations and pathing seem kind of convoluted. I think I'd prefer setups where it's a bit clearer where I should go or what I should do. Might just be me, though.
--TRS is already working on this one, so I'll leave it at that.

Garden Path
--I don't know what to make of this level. It does neat things, but feels more like a novelty than anything else.
--A lot of empty-ish branching paths. This is my biggest criticism for it as a level - the layout seems to lack focus. You just wander around to the right, jumping over the occasional enemy. It gets kind of repetitive after the initial novelty wears off, considering the length.
--Changed Mario physics feels weird. The worst offender is the water, which drags you down really fast. If you don't mash the jump button early enough, you'll just die. This is really annoying when you have to time your jumps out of the water to avoid the jumping fish. Also, not being able to jump out of the "vine" state (walking north and south) makes things kind of tedious.
--Timer is a bit low to explore, and there's not much incentive to explore in the first place, because a lot of paths feel more or less the same.
--I suspect this level could work with a more linear path and more obstacle variety, but I don't even know if it can be edited the normal way?

Cave of Elements
--Overuses cramped spaces, munchers, and items, plus it lacks a midpoint. The general concept is okay, but the difficulty needs to be toned down in spots, and the layouts adjusted.

Asteroid Frigate
--Consider lowering the speed of the roto-discs a tiny bit. Also, the first section drags on a little. I'd end it right after the midpoint, not a few screens later.
--I think the second section would work better just as a low-gravity area, without the on/off switch shenanigans. I didn't really find any of the high-gravity areas fun- one of them just involved jumping over munchers. This would probably require modifying the layout.
--The second area is really easy with a fire flower, and really hard without one, especially the miniboss at the end. I think it has the wrong kinds of enemies. I'd replace all the giant hammer bro variants with something else and increase the sprite density instead.
--If we keep the spike-ball-throwing giant hammer bros, at least modify them so the spike balls themselves don't cause groundstun. That's really annoying.

Orbital Fortress
--I feel like a lot of the jumps and thwomp setups in the first two areas are one tile too precise.
--It's not always obvious in which direction the thwomps will go.
--A few thwomps in the vertical room ambush you without giving you enough time to react. The two sideways ones at the entrance will already be hitting you by the time the camera scrolls to show them, and there are a couple of normal ones higher up that will activate off-screen from above and surprise you.
--The rainbow shell in the first room doesn't always spawn properly. I'm not sure this section should be there anyway. Rainbow shells are tough to ride for even seasoned players, and the section is so short anyway that I think many players would just tank through it on invincibility frames.
--The blocks and spikes in the countdown section fall too quickly and erratically to dodge. Like the muncher sprite in Oh God Brambles, your best bet is to rush forward and hope for the best. I'd recommend slowing their fall speed and/or decreasing their density, frequency, or size.
--Why let players go to the right at the end, only to find a dead end? Is that just to build tension with the time ticking down?
--Not sure about the Touhou port. I think Palace Acropolis was the only level in this hack to make a Touhou song sound fitting. Just my opinion, though.

Sizzling Spires
--Too many high-precision maneuvers and cramped passageways, plus too high sprite density. Tone those down across the whole level.
--Bullet bill shooter salvos and constricting flame jets are a very annoying combination. Refrain from overusing them together in complex formations.
--The turn block snake should not double back to cut Mario off from above. There's no way to anticipate that.
--The hitbox for the submarine is both too big and inconsistent. That should be addressed, or the layout modified to compensate, or the section replaced.
--Rework the secret exit to be less annoying. Getting only one shot to catch the key when you're sure to fail the first time out of surprise is just dumb.

Switch Palaces
--Have all four use the color blocks from Switch of Many Hues in some fashion, for consistency. Keep them short.

Toad Town
--Either add meaningful content (jukebox? minigames?), or cut it to free up space.
--Whatever we do, get rid of the shop system, and by extension, the space suit.

Mario's House & Peach's Castle
--What we do with these depends on how much of the story we want to keep, but I'd be fine with cutting them to free up space.


"Too late! Game over, pal!" (Scrap entirely, or rebuild from scratch with the same concept.)

Tightpipes to Space
--The intro area seems unnecessary. I'd replace or remove it.
--There's too much silence between the sound effect and the switching. Either add a beat in between to help players keep time, or shorten that gap.
--There are times when the sound effect doesn't play, probably because it's being overwritten by some other sound effect. This should be addressed if possible.
--Severely overuses pitchin' chucks and volcano lotuses, especially in cramped spaces. This makes the level repetitive, tedious, and very annoying.
--Remove the part where you have to hit a chuck, then have it run through blocks. It has nothing to do with the level theme, and it's tedious and annoying.

Oh God Brambles
--Too many cramped spaces and high-precision jumps.
--Vine section in the first area is pretty tedious.
--Forcing the use of L / R buttons is awkward.
--Line guide platforms in vertical section don't give you enough time to react to the munchers.
--Coin guides in the vertical section aren't really that helpful. It's still easy to miss the platforms and land on the brambles.
--Seeing as the vertical section is mostly a series of high precision blind drops, it should probably be reworked or removed.
--Dodging the muncher sprite in the last main area is too tough and counter-intuitive. You basically have to rush through a level whose layout you don't know to avoid them. That sprite needs to be completely reworked or just dropped. If that necessitates a redesign of the layout, so be it.

Asteroid Belt
--Pretty much all of this level's difficulty revolves around the elite koopas and falling stars, both of which need to be either redesigned or removed from the game. It also overuses cramped spaces and has unnecessary items.
--Slow scrolling section doesn't really add anything to the level, and could probably be cut.
--I would keep the general premise but redesign the layout with different enemies. Remove the explosion effect from the falling stars and have them go through all terrain instead.

Arctic Fortress
--Too long and high-precision, and too many rooms with different concepts. Half the level is underwater, which has nothing to do with the theme. The background in the first room is nice and fits the theme very well, but you don't see it again until you hit the goal point.
--Has a bad habit of spamming a single sprite type in big swarms, often in cramped passageways.
--Unnecessary item usage in the second and third rooms; convoluted pathing in the third room.
--The final two underwater areas, if kept, should be merged into one. However, I'd rather just get rid of both.
--Basically, I think this should be redesigned mostly as an outdoor, on-land level, so you see more of that background, and deal with concepts and obstacles that fit the theme better. The difficulty needs to be toned down as well.

--------------------
Youtube (Main) | Youtube (Alt) | Bandcamp | DeviantART
Originally posted by AxemJinx
Garden Path
--I don't know what to make of this level. It does neat things, but feels more like a novelty than anything else.

I'm really good at making novelties, really bad at making levels. That's why I usually work with TLMB these days.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
--A lot of empty-ish branching paths. This is my biggest criticism for it as a level - the layout seems to lack focus. You just wander around to the right, jumping over the occasional enemy. It gets kind of repetitive after the initial novelty wears off, considering the length.

This is how I design levels, just kind of place things that vaguely meander towards the right. This is because I am terrible and don't understand how to level design. At least I tend toward making levels pleasantly dull instead of head smashingly frustrating, I guess...

Originally posted by AxemJinx
--Changed Mario physics feels weird. The worst offender is the water, which drags you down really fast. If you don't mash the jump button early enough, you'll just die. This is really annoying when you have to time your jumps out of the water to avoid the jumping fish.

This was early, I didn't understand gravity. If I can add another patch to the ROM, we can fix this to just change Mario's jump height, which was the point anyway.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
Also, not being able to jump out of the "vine" state (walking north and south) makes things kind of tedious.

I mean... That wouldn't make a ton of sense, would it? Just in a perspective sort of way.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
--Timer is a bit low to explore, and there's not much incentive to explore in the first place, because a lot of paths feel more or less the same.

Timer is really low because the level is easy as shit. Not much else to add to that... If it needs more time add more, but making it less uselessly maze-y would be better. Or make it more usefully maze-y, both totally acceptable options. Kind of a hedge maze was the feeling I was going for anyway.

Originally posted by AxemJinx
--I suspect this level could work with a more linear path and more obstacle variety, but I don't even know if it can be edited the normal way?

It can, it's just custom blocks, so you just need to place the blocks down in the patterns that are already in the level and run like that.

I would not be averse to scrapping the entire level and having someone recreating it with the same gimmick and ideas. In fact that would be great, since I feel no affinity for the level itself, only for the idea, and I would like for my idea to be in a level that isn't terribly dull. I'd do it myself, but I tried to start working on the last CLDC level when I didn't know if TLMB was going to show up again and it was... Embarrassing... The point is my level design skills have not increased over the years. In fact I can hardly remember how to use LM these days...
(Edition 2 - Some last world levels)

I've been playing some random levels from the hack so here are some more unusual categories:

Boring levels-

(Major) Spectral Fortress- Kinda short, the same boring obstacles and same ice gimick making it kind of a cut and paste of why artic fortress is bad in the next word, even if this level isn't so difficult. I'm sure something much cooler and much more interesting could be done with the theme of a Spectral Fortress than a bland and kinda short level.

Unfun levels (/Bad Difficulty)

(Major) Confusion Chambers- Ghost house with relentless enemies, item carrying, random water sections and clouds? I could swear this level is just an extension of my old chateau of storms.
Specifically, the fishing boo segment is set up in such a way the fishing boo is ridiculous to avoid all of the time. The level technically doesn't have really bad design, so it could be kept, but that obstacle should be replaced with something that does a similar thing without being so frustrating.


Bugs-

There is a Thwomp that you need to progress in Adventum Terminus (Level 51, Screen 08) that is easily killed by the blue shells obtainable on the screen before, thus making the level unbeatable. Its a nitpick but if you run through it you'll instinctively kill the thwomp then get stuck.
Originally posted by AxemJinx
Apart from hanging / freezing the game after the victory sequence, the boss is annoying to deal with because of all the FG stuff blocking players' vision.
I actually did not design that room nor have I played my level after the hack was released but I want to redesign it because I was horrified by the screens I've seen of this.
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The pacing of the "part 2" rooms on both paths feels kind of slow compared to the main tower section, probably because of the slow scrolling speeds in both.
I'm thinking the Pokeys have a lot to do with this too. I may rework this room from scratch and try a different layer 2 gimmick.
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Similarly, there are times when the main tower section feels a bit empty / lengthy.
I'll look to see what I can do about bloat.
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A few parts felt a bit weird to me, like fishing for invisible blocks and getting that springboard around the vine and ball 'n' chain on the upper path.
Mmm, not sure that I want to remove these parts, especially the latter.
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A couple of grinder rooms on the lower path feel like pointless dead ends?
I could've sworn I've put some kind of thing at each dead end to make it worth exploring but I'll work to merge everything back into the main path to eliminate dead ends.
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Midpoint on the upper path seems easily missable. Is there one on the lower path as well?
I agree, and no, there is no midpoint near the bottom. Can we do something with the multiple midway points patch here?

I'll start working on this level after I get through with all the hack/SRAM moderation I have had to catch up on and the title screen. It'll be a while, no doubt. I fell way behind because of my work schedule. Maybe some time in August.

Just look above you...
If it's something that can be stopped, then just try to stop it!
As the author of "Wieza Niebo", there are a lot of things I want to change about it, including the name
(maybe "The Eyrie"? Sorry if my ASOIAF obsession gets in the way (?))
. And the tileset, maybe. I'd keep the phantos, though.

But, I've been inactive in the hacking scene for way too long, maybe I'll give a try but I need to remember a lot of things.

--------------------
they say... i forgot


Feel I should comment on this. Not going to say there should be blue berries at all (I'm not FellowRoot), but in the first level, I'm not so sure I like the position of this one.

I don't think it being in between the red berry and the "ceiling" looks that good, to be honest.
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Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - SMW Central Production 1.5 - Discussion: "Which levels really suck?"

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