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Level Analysis: 1-1
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - Morton's Empire - Level Analysis: 1-1
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this is a new series i'll be doing. rather than just point out minor bugs, i will be analyzing every single level in-depth and providing my own opinion regarding their status in the hack.

please note that my opinions can be pretty disagreeable at times and you will likely not agree with half the things i say. with that out of the way, let's get started


1-1: Castle Escape


ah, the quintessential first level. it provides a window into the rest of the hack and can very easily keep someone in or make them give up immediately. making a first level is a very delicate art that requires lots of skill in level design to create something that is enjoyable and keeps the player interested. does this level accomplish that?

to an extent, yes. the first half has some dead spots but it is overall an enjoyable sublevel, albeit one without any particularly creative obstacles. the 1-up is in a nice spot, but very close to the beginning, which can encourage 1-up grinding. given the high difficulty of the hack, we will have to assess whether that's a good thing or a bad thing - do we want to have the player waste time grinding for lives, get set back a lot very often, or minimalize punishment for dying too much? no matter what the case, the 1-up positioning should be at least reassessed.

the sparky circling the block at the beginning is an awkward holdover from when the corridor was only 3 blocks high instead of 4. my suggestions are to either extend the block horizontally, or replace it altogether. as far as i know sparkies are used nowhere else in the level so i might be leaning towards the latter.

easily the most bland section of the first half is the falling platform section. i'm not sure why it's there and you have to be either extremely bad at super mario world or mess up the timing on your jump really badly to die here. i do have a question, though - how are you supposed to get the morton coin without dying? is it intended to be possible or is it a tease?

then there are a few screens of trivial ball-and-chain dodging, with a thwimp that clips into the wall and serves little-to-no purpose as a result. i already covered this in the pm i sent him but it could be an interesting setup if the thwimp was moved to the right a bit so that it posed somewhat of an actual threat.

then, the second half. i honestly had to replay it to gather an opinion on it because i kept forgetting what it was like. many of the obstacles pose little-to-no threat at all, and it brings the level down a bit. you can dodge every single enemy with ease, there are no creative setups that make it interesting, and really, i'm having trouble recalling it already and i just played it, went backwards through it, and played it again like 2 minutes ago.

i think the first half is a keeper, maybe with some minor edits to improve it and the second half needs a definite revamp

should i keep going? are my opinions so horrible that i shouldn't even try? let me know, or don't because if i don't get any responses i won't even bother
nerd i was just gonna post
yes i have been playing thru the rom recently and the second section i agree with you; it feels like i was getting bored when i made that, lol. pretty easy, randomly placed spikes and enemies, and the list goes on.

please keep going, i have been doing p much all the changes that ahick and you have mentioned and this thread will help with it.
(don't expect more feedback from someone else LOL)
(tbh I'm pretty sure I did both at the same time, meaning level analysis and reviews, was I not supposed to?)

imo merc, you're pretty spot on; the coin that you claim isn't possible to get you can just drop down while on the falling platform and get it; or you can fall down to the lower platform near the lava, scroll the screen left, and get a fireball to jump on over the lava. This also allows you to get the 3-up moon; though I don't think the yoshi coin should be that way, so yeah, redo that section, just make sure the 3-up is super secretive still

:P

I'll revamp it myself after the first phase of beta testing is done (uhh, whenever that is), if no one else is up for making that yoshi coin sane :P

I also agree with the second half needing to be partially redone. I did the first two screens of the second half, and erik did the last parts of the second half, while I made the first half entirely. So, I don't really think anyone cares WHO makes the changes, as long as the changes are good and we know it. :D please continue with this series if you are capable, I got p burnt out with the analysis's around about 3-9, but I did keep going
Originally posted by a hick
(tbh I'm pretty sure I did both at the same time, meaning level analysis and reviews, was I not supposed to?)

i feel like yours were more a basic alpha test/"i don't like this part" combo that don't really articulate in detail what the level did right, what it did wrong. the reason i'm doing this is to really analyze how the levels hold up design-wise rather than pointing out bugs or single sections i don't like, and ultimately i feel like they serve a different purpose compared to my old ones and your (still ongoing?) reviews




1-2: Bowling Calamity



this is the second level in the hack. it attempts to introduce a concept (specifically, falling bowling balls) and build upon it by making unique and diverse setups. this is a basic level design style that works well for many concepts and gimmicks.

when it's done right.

when it's not, it can end up feeling clunky and weird, or it's not properly expanded upon. sometimes, rather than come up with obstacles that are unique and distinguishable between each other, the level ends up using minor variations on the same obstacle over, and over, and over. it's possibly the most difficult level design method, but also the most engaging when properly executed.

how well does it work in this level? unfortunately, not much. the level does have diversity in how the obstacles are set up, but there's nothing stopping you from making them drop and jumping right over. in fact, that's just about your only option for dealing with them. there are no mix-ups for that formula. you're never required to find a way to kill them, you never have to go under them, you just lure them down and jump right over. the level is short but the monotony is apparent anyway, especially with the complete lack of conclusion on the subject matter. the ending is unsatisfying as all get-out and left me wondering if that was really supposed to be the end of the level.

there are also dry spells where the subject of the level isn't there at all, and these are still not terribly interesting. i honestly think this level is wasted potential, between the buggy bowling balls glitching their way up to higher ground and the uninteresting level design. the palettes are rather samey and the music is pretty mediocre.

i'd honestly vote for a revamp or redo of this level. looking at it objectively, this level could be improved immensely.

sorry erik ur levels just sukd
tune in the next episode of revamp every level in this hack (or at least all of mine)
(will make serious later i guess?)
Originally posted by MercuryPenny
Originally posted by a hick
(tbh I'm pretty sure I did both at the same time, meaning level analysis and reviews, was I not supposed to?)

i feel like yours were more a basic alpha test/"i don't like this part" combo that don't really articulate in detail what the level did right, what it did wrong. the reason i'm doing this is to really analyze how the levels hold up design-wise rather than pointing out bugs or single sections i don't like, and ultimately i feel like they serve a different purpose compared to my old ones and your (still ongoing?) reviews



I finished my reviews. they were analyses as well. learn to read m8 <3

btw, I don't think anyone important many people really care about level analyses if they're just the same as reviews, like yours are. your reviews were like you said in the quote above, and similar to mine, but both of ours pointed out design errors in the levels.

in other words f your opinion but continue if you feel like it, I don't plan to read any more of these, since it's just more of the same and more now extremely minute (pronounce my-noot) hatred nitpicking. Most levels in this hack in their present state are at least subjectively better than what Nintendo comes out with nowadays, so if you wanna nitpick to the nth degree, please do; just if you want my two cents on whatever you've written, you'll have to blip me on IRC and I'll discuss it with everyone else.

e: if you continue to do these, use more constructive criticism: actually tell the creator/s what to do about the problem, like I did. It'll save everyone a ton of time instead of just be like "HURRUR U SUK"
:)
well considering i'm already garnering cynicism from both you and erik on top of my lack of motivation to do this i really shouldn't bother

do i have any reason to, really? half the level designers are inactive or don't care about the project. the only other person who is not a leader and still cares tells me it's unnecessarily negative and contributes nothing of worth to the project that hasn't already been contributed. there's absolutely no reason to continue and to be completely honest, it's a really good thing i have no inspiration to.

i may sound really defeatist right now but honestly, i don't think it's worth it
Please continue. I want to know what you have to say about my level.
lol @merc not wanting to continue this just because i didn't agree with him in some points
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