So, I figured I might as well try to tackle my own level. I'm quite aware that there's a lot of things wrong with it, and it bothered me for a while as well, so this is a nice opportunity to change things. As far as I can tell mostly the difficulty and length were an issue for a World 2 level, but since there's a whole lot of small other things I want to fix (like the location of the secret exit, unless most people didn't have a problem with that) it'll probably require a rework or reimagining of most of the entire level anyway.
Depending on whether people would rather have the level fixed or completely reworked, it could still be moved to a later world, but I can also adjust its difficulty, whichever works.
Suggestions on that and the rest of the level welcome, I can start on it once we've got an idea of what exactly we're doing with it.
In regards to the secret exit, I did find it to be a bit too hard to find. First of all, to get the P-Switch required, you have to go through some special type of blocks that look exactly the same as all the others, only hinted by two coins next to it. I my opinion, it's still really vague and a lot of people would have trouble figuring that out. Maybe you could do something to the palette to have at least some distinguishment between blocks you can and cannot go through?
And then with the P-Switch, you have to go to the right a little bit (note that during the part you get the switch, you are going left if you are taking the normal exit) and then jump through some more blocks. However, these are hinted by coins shaped like an arrow, definitely easier to tell you can jump through them, but the coins are only shown when you press the switch. How would I, or anybody else know to press the switch there? And then when you get in there, you need to have the P-Switch pressed so you can enter the door that also shows up, with no hint at all. If the Switch is off, it just looks like an empty dead-end. This exit definitely needs some changing to it.
Another part I really didn't like was the part near the end where you have to grab the ice blocks directly beneath you to throw them above to hope you manage to hit the switch. This kind of stuff is definitely not something to have in a W2 level. Immediately after this is a section I never really understood why it was even included. A bunch of ice blocks that you have to just get rid of so you can get down and hit the switch, and then climb back up, hit another switch and enter the door. It just seems kind of pointless to me.
These are the areas that I feel should be changed in some way, but maybe others might have more as well. I hope this helps.
Yeah; the secret exit is easier to find, simply because the main exit is very, very hilariously awful to find.
I do agree you need to reimagine the whole level. I think you should probably go with a more "actiony" stage design rather than a puzzle design - ghost house stages that aren't giant mazes are rare and well, they shouldn't be, because not only are they easier to design, they will usually end up being more fun to play. Although, if you can come up with a good puzzle, do use it; it'd probably be better for the secret exit.
If it were me, I'd scrap the indoor portion and extend the outside portion. I liked the action-ish nature of it, whereas the indoor area had an extremely frustrating puzzle for world 2.
I half-agree on this; however, I think you should definitely redesign the outdoor part as well, as it felt a bit cramped, there were jumps too hard for this part of the game and I remember there being a bit too few powerups. It was still better than the indoor portion, however.
Yeah, I always struggled a bit with puzzle design in ghost houses, and I guess that shows a lot with this one. I'll take the critique into consideration.
What I'll probably end up doing is scrapping the interior section entirely, and using parts of it in more of an action-oriented way rather than having a huge clusterfuck of a puzzle. The question from earlier is still standing though, is this level getting moved anyway or should it be World 2 difficulty instead?
It's really up to you. I was going to move the current version of it to world 7, but if you're going to be redesigning the level, I'll leave it up to you as to whether or not you want to make it a world 2 or 7 difficulty (and I'll put it wherever you'd prefer).
I definitely like the outdoor portion of the level more than the inside. Ghost house puzzles are tricky to design since if you don't rely on item carrying "puzzles" you have to try and trick the player. I think it would work best by extending the outdoor action to be the majority of the level.
It looks like there's also room for you to optimize the level a bit. I'm seeing a lot of single-tile objects laid down throughout where you could just stretch some objects. Every bit helps!
Which custom sprites are you using? I can tell which ones are the boo rails are. Are you using Anti-Boos in those other instances?
Additionally, make sure you aren't making it too difficult to get what I'm presuming is the first powerup from the guarding boo rail. If it's too tough people won't even bother and you have to consider that the player may choose to not have a powerup throughout the first section until you give them another.
Also don't forget how bullet bills interact with ropes. I can instantly see two places where the player can farm 1-ups forever. A counterclockwise ball and chain placed where the right side cannon is may be a better obstacle along that first rope climb.
@FP: Yes, I'm using anti-boos and the stretch-boos, that's all the custom sprites in this level. I also fixed the 1-up farming spot and made the area with the first powerup along with a few other spots less cramped.
@BMM: I'll put in a more open section towards the end of the level, probably similar to how the very beginning looks. We'll see.
So instead of having the really awkward puzzle in the interior section I made an on/off switch maze. It might look extremely confusing in the screenshot, but it's actually relatively straightforward, but that will have to be tested later. The midpoint location is also somewhat up for debate, I can't tell yet if it's extremely fair, but that can still be fixed later on.
One question though, I haven't actually put Yoshi coins into the level yet. Should I still work them in or does it not matter if the level doesn't have any?
At first I thought by maze you meant the introduction of the on/off switch.
Then I saw the area to the right of that.
... dear god that does look confusing as hell but hopefully it will be interesting to play. I'd probably make it smaller so that players who dislike those type of areas don't have to suffer too much, I guess. IDK, I'm not a huge fan of puzzles but this does seem like a decent introduction.
As for Yoshi coins, you should put them in. It would be cool if there was an optional area in that maze with a yoshi coin in it.
Making relatively slow progress on the level, but it's getting pretty close to being finished, I'll post an IPS when it's done.
But I have a few questions unrelated to that, how is moving the level actually going to work? I made it with World 7 difficulty in mind, but the level still has a mountain setting, and I actually quite like it that way. Plus the secret exit has to go somewhere, so some things on the overworld might have to be rearranged. Maybe it could be like Donut Secret 2, where it's located in another World on the overworld than the one it belongs to, as in placed in World 2 but belongs to World 7?
We can put it where Morel Mountain is (imamelia's world 7 level). The plan was to swap those two levels since Morel Mountain is much easier than your level anyway. That'll allow both levels to keep the mountain theme.