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[shake your head it's] Empty (complete!)
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - The 10th Annual Vanilla Level Design Contest - [shake your head it's] Empty (complete!)
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Edit 2/11/17: Download link.

There's no way out, the only way out is to give in...





It's been forever since I've entered one of these, but I figured after the major success of the past three VLDCs, I should toss my hat into the ring for a chance at that gold. But really, even just being in one of these is a reward in and of itself, even if I end up in the worst world or something.

This level mainly focuses around the platforms that rotate when Mario steps on them, as well as the weird sprite-only blocks that are supposed to appear under wall triangles. I know the latter's old hat for most people in the vanilla hacking community, but I still think it's one of the funniest things in the original SMW, and I think I can get some more mileage out of it.

The neat thing about the platforms is that they always rotate right first, and this can be manipulated for some preeetty cool obstacles, like the part in the fourth screenshot where you need to sort of maneuver it around so you can make it swing left, while dodging the spiny and the bullet bill shooter. (I'm probably going to put another mushroom either before or after that screen; it's actually kinda tricky.)

Aesthetic-wise, I think I've mostly got it finalized. I don't want to add too many decorations to the foreground level, as I feel like that would be too busy and distracting in this sort of environment.

I've done my best to make things as noticeable as possible without detracting from the general 'feel' of the level - all foreground objects often glow a brighter color, which helps them stand out more regardless of where the background is at the moment. The munchers also stand out a lot due to their bright pinkness, which should hopefully avoid a lot of 'arrrgh, there was a muncher there?'-type problems. I'm also going to make the bullet bill shooters more visible too, since that's something I overlooked at first.

I'm trying to be a bit sparing with reset doors - in most screens, you can either backtrack to reset the position of the platforms, or you're just going to die anyway so it's not like resetting would make a huge difference. I've mainly just put them at the introduction of new concepts that might be confusing for the player the first time around, like the platforms allowing Mario to clip through the ground. I mainly want to avoid using message blocks, since I think that a good level should be able to show the player the mechanics rather than telling them?

This level really looks best in motion, so here's a quick video preview of it. Note that this video is slightly outdated - I've since changed the final screen in the video to what you see in the last screenshot in this post. (Fun fact: that screen was actually the first thing I made for this level.)

I'm also aware that the music messes with the sound effects a bit, but I actually kinda like the way that complements the weirdness of the level. There's no other song I'd want to use for it, unless someone makes a new abstract remix that's just as bizarre.

(Side note: If there isn't an abstract world this contest I have literally no idea where you'd put it. Purple world???)
I love the "VR" look of this level. The pendelum platforms are also among cool sprites with untapped potential so good job putting them to use.
Make sure to let the player know that the plataformas can take you through solid ground. Also treat bullet bill tiles like sprites (make sure the player can see them and theyre not purple)
This world X written all over #smw{O_O}

Nice Aesthetic :)

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What-A-Blast has been cancelled...
**Layout by Erik557


Man, those falling spinies suspended by that weird tile that I still haven't tried out... I need to start experimenting with that tile soon, because that blew my mind.

Loving the looks of everything else as well, keep it up. :]
Layout by Mirann <3
That's a very interesting level, and I had no idea that the blocks that are supposed to go under the pink triangles acted like ledges for sprites. That's probably just due to me typically using a custom block for that purpose. The only major issue I see, or rather, hear, is that the music messes up the sound effects. I wouldn't know how to fix that since I rarely use sampled music in my own hacks, and what I do use has pretty minimal sample use. Maybe you could use the Abstract level remix from VLDC7 if you don't feel that that has become too overused.

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"You painted my paint job! PREPARE FOR SURGERY!"
- Knockout ~ Transformers Prime "TMI"
Originally posted by ZMann
Man, those falling spinies suspended by that weird tile that I still haven't tried out... I need to start experimenting with that tile soon, because that blew my mind.

Loving the looks of everything else as well, keep it up. :]


I would recommend not using tile 1f0 in your vldcx entry, as most of the entries this year are super saturated with it and most of the creativity points will be going to levels that come up with new gimmicks; not saying that it's a bad idea to use it, but almost everything has been done with that tile already.

This level looks really good, by the way! The brown platform bits remind me of Chasm of scales.
It's very hard for me to tell what is solid and what isn't in this. Considering how the obstacles so far are very much reaction-based, I would really try to work at making it very obvious as to what the player can pass through. I like the obstacles themselves though.
I feel like the 1f0 tile works better as a supplement to the gimmick than as a gimmick on its own. There's definitely a lot of cool stuff you can do with it in tandem with other obstacles.



I've made it up to the midway point of the level, about 09 screens into the level. On my playtest it took me about 1:30 minutes to get there. I'm kind of curious to see how people will do when they play it for the first time, since I am at an advantage here as the level designer. (In these screenshots I basically intentionally screwed up so I could get a good picture of everything...)



I've also altered the screen that introduces the clipping mechanic, so it's safer for players who aren't familiar with it. The coins in this screen are blue instead of purple, which should serve as an indicator that that's where you should stand while on the platform. I also moved the spiny to a later screen. Also, I've fixed the bullet bill shooter palette.

I have a few ideas for what I'm going to do for the post-midpoint section. I'm probably going to add another sprite or two into the mix.

Originally posted by Gamma V
Maybe you could use the Abstract level remix from VLDC7 if you don't feel that that has become too overused.

The Abstract remix, while good, is definitely pretty overused, especially after last year's contest. It's also a bit too fast-paced for this level. I'll see what I can do about the samples. It's mainly just the drums, so I might be able to replace those with regular SMW drums?

Quote
It's very hard for me to tell what is solid and what isn't in this.

It's all solid except for the background, and the dotted sprite-only blocks. There's basically little to no foreground decals.


CHALLENGER APPROACHINIG: Ominous Shambling Spiny Pillar (it's actually a pokey)

Pokeys are fairly underutilized, I think, since they're so goddamn slow and really hard to make dangerous. They're actually pretty deadly in tandem with the moving platforms and the 1f0 blocks.

Pokeys are also one of the few sprites that can actually move on their own if you place one on top of a 1f0 block; normally sprites will just freeze in place, which is how the hovering spiny eggs in this level work.
The level is now finished.

I'd gladly appreciate it if people played the level and told me their thoughts on it. I tested it pretty thoroughly, but if there's anything I missed I'd like to fix it before submitting.
Visually your level looks pretty impressive, the palette animations worked really well but the design is not that good. I'm afraid the good amount of the design is trial and error, that is, either you pass or either you die. I didn't understand why you replaced the first springboard with spiny, if the player goes out and see, he will be out of time to react and press spin instead of jump. And that platform on case doesn't give you any chance, either you jump or you will end up in a pit.

But yeah, you still have some time to look at this so, try balancing your level design more and maybe make it clear the gimmick either by message boxes or something else in your design.

Good luck.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xkRkaXPN_A
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Edit: I retested the level several times, and I ended up tweaking a few sprite positions as well as some objects. I also completely overhauled the coin positions in the level; now every coin basically serves as an indicator as to which platforms you should jump on and where you should jump when you're riding one. This should help make the level easier to "sightread". I've uploaded this new patch, the same links should work.

Edit edit: Actually I'm going to do some more revisions to the level, add a few more challenges, stuff like that.
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