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Lava "Afterburner" Castle
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - The 10th Annual Vanilla Level Design Contest - Lava "Afterburner" Castle
Pages: « 1 »
>> V5 RELEASED, SEE THIS POST <<

i know how many entries there are to see here so I'll make it brief for those who are in a hurry:
this is a level, it is not quite finished yet
if you want to play it, play it (v3)
if you want to watch it, watch it (v1)
if you want to see it,




This is a lava castle level temporarily named Afterburner Castle. This is my second first VLDC entry, so please excuse me if it looks bad. I've only spent two days of effort into it so far, and later I plan on implementing all the aesthetics and such. Currently, it's a gimmick level, the ON/OFF switch determines which direction the lava will kill you from, they're spread out across the level in certain key points, reach them and proceed onwards, or rest for a while. It's a vertical level. I mainly need feedback on the level design itself, the level was much harder before so I ended up toning it down a bit, but still, is it too difficult? Not difficult enough? Too much time? Too little level? Anything?

I'm not good with ExGFX at all so that might be where I stumble (I'm way more used to just using pure vanilla resources) but hey we'll see how it goes when we get there. This entry uses the song Guilty Gear - Holy Orders ported by Wakana and the starry sky Layer 3 BG ripped by Berkay, so shoutouts to these two folks for creating these. #tb{^V^}

This entry does not utilize tile 1F0! #smw{O_O!} #smw{O_O!} #smw{O_O!}

Level history (if you're bored): Originally there was a level for my (now 99.99% dead) vanilla hack that messed with scrolling settings to make an weird gimmick and I thought about repurposing it for VLDCX (rather than just let it rot away) but I decided maybe I'd actually try to do something for once.

First idea I had was a level that switches gravity by entering pipes...too slow (plus I didn't think I could execute it well enough). Second idea was a level that fell and you had to keep climbing it to escape the lava, I know, originalAS all hell but I had trouble making it work, specifically with the Layer 2 "fall" sprite and lava on Layer 1, sprites don't follow Layer 2. Other settings lock the camera in place so vertical scrolling was impossible...on a vertical level. Yeah, that's a problem ain't it. Eventually I found the ON/OFF switch and although I thought it wouldn't turn out good enough I eventually ended up with this so...hooray? #ab{:S}

I've had trouble with resources here and there as well while testing it and some had to be removed, net-climbing koopas are completely insane and purple-triangles to run up walls don't like layer 2 levels. Screen 00 needs to be empty in order for the lava not to hit a "ceiling" and auto-switch the ON/OFF switch.
>not using the after burner theme
kinkshamin u smh
Originally posted by Leomon
>not using the after burner theme
kinkshamin u smh

*searches After Burner on SMW Music*
>Displaying 0 - 0 of 0

welp, there's your reason
"The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear." --Ram Dass
Well chosen gimmick RanAS! Looks like a fantastic stage even tho its a little too vanilla for my taste, but Design > A E S T H E T I C so whatever.
I love the gimmick, it looks like something you could see in a Donkey Kong game. (In fact, I first tried it out without any sound first, and couldn't help but hear Lockjaw's Saga.)

It takes a few lives to get used to, though, especially with how the lava follows the camera. The timing in the beginning is really tight, and often it's hard to figure out what direction you should let the lava move in, so you're basically at the mercy of a coin flip. Unless there's a strategy I missed?



I couldn't manage to grab this Yoshi Coin as big Mario. The net's just impossible to climb on in mid-air. Maybe extend it a little to the right?

I liked the branching P-Switch paths (though I feel like the silver path is much tougher), but maybe you should separate the munchers from the used/coin blocks. They'll end up floating after the coins are picked up.

That crumbling castle at the end was one hella nice touch.


Anyway, excellent job. With a few changes to the difficulty I think this could be one of the highest scoring level in design/level creativity.
Originally posted by Decoy Blimp
Looks like a fantastic stage even tho its a little too vanilla for my taste, but Design > A E S T H E T I C so whatever.

Graphics editing is seriously not one of my best habilities, so for right now the focus is just the design itself really. But later on there might be more to look forward to graphics-wise, who knows! There's still a full month ahead for me to think through stuff.

Originally posted by Lemonade
It takes a few lives to get used to, though, especially with how the lava follows the camera.

It'd be nicer if I could maker the lava follow the actual level, but alas, SMW limitations unfortunately. #ab{:P} Hopefully it wasn't too difficult though.

Originally posted by Lemonade
The timing in the beginning is really tight, and often it's hard to figure out what direction you should let the lava move in, so you're basically at the mercy of a coin flip. Unless there's a strategy I missed?

Generally you'd want to wait until the lava is as close to the screen as possible before hitting the switch, that should buy you enough time to get through all sections. Though I noticed there are some times where one specific direction makes a section easier, I tried making it so that you don't necessarily need to guess any specific direction to progress forwards.

Any switch you encounter during the stage is there for a reason, even if you have extra time, you should wait before hitting it, plus nothing except the timer prevents you from waiting a bit more during certain sections if you're not sure how to proceed.

Originally posted by Lemonade
I couldn't manage to grab this Yoshi Coin as big Mario. The net's just impossible to climb on in mid-air. Maybe extend it a little to the right?

Yeah, I just tried it a few times and indeed it's a bit too tricky as big Mario, I did as you said and extented it to the right.

Originally posted by Lemonade
I liked the branching P-Switch paths (though I feel like the silver path is much tougher), but maybe you should separate the munchers from the used/coin blocks. They'll end up floating after the coins are picked up.

Noted and done, when looking at the silver P-Switch path there's two parts where I feel like there'd be trouble, so what I did was extend the platform the switch is in to three blocks instead of just one.

The munchers blocking the way was an easy thing to fix, it's minor but it looks nicer now.

Originally posted by Lemonade
Anyway, excellent job. With a few changes to the difficulty I think this could be one of the highest scoring level in design/level creativity.

Thank you for your feedback and I'm glad you enjoyed the level. #tb{:D} Now I have an idea of more or less what needs to be done, I'll keep testing the difficulty on some parts and see if there's any peculiarities that need to be fixed.

I'll update the patch soon-ish (and mark it as v2 once I update it).
"The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear." --Ram Dass
Great stuff so far! I really like this palette and really makes the level look better despite no special decoration. The challenges seem pretty neat due to this gimmick. Those SMW limitations can make you an elevator level, but it's just an idea. I don't mean you have to make your level from scratch, but it's something really interesting. Back to the level, it's tough to be beaten without any savestates. I've first played with savestating and without use of any tools I've ended up with 4 game overs (maybe it's just me). But I could finish it! So maybe tone down the difficulty, so it's better to play and one of the highest rated levels in this contest (maybe).
Just a spoiler I made in a layout to make you look at just because I wanted to.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The level looks pretty nice and although the lava follows the camera, you kinda workaround that pretty well, with the exception of the last part, of course. Falling and climbing quickly made more obvious and confusing the rising/falling lava. Also I don't like how you did many times on the same section in the video. Maybe you should consider putting a power-up there or reconfiguring some platforms so it section ends up less frustrating.

And that's all. I think you're going pretty well and you still have lot of time to improve it aesthetically speaking, so you have everything to go well in the contest. Nice job so far.

--------------------
Thank you both for the feedback! ...and it would seem the difficulty is still an issue. Well, I tried fixing it a bit and updated the patch to v3 for now. The video and screenshots still uses v1, I'm thinking about updating them only when I implement the aesthetics later on (v4 or v5 probably).

Originally posted by MasterKastylinos222
Back to the level, it's tough to be beaten without any savestates. I've first played with savestating and without use of any tools I've ended up with 4 game overs (maybe it's just me). But I could finish it! So maybe tone down the difficulty, so it's better to play and one of the highest rated levels in this contest (maybe).

Originally posted by Vitor Vilela
Also I don't like how you did many times on the same section in the video. Maybe you should consider putting a power-up there or reconfiguring some platforms so it section ends up less frustrating.

Yeah, well actually I lost a lot more lives before too but I had to scratch that footage because it wouldn't look as good. I already reconfigured that section a bit to be easier, but I made changes to the overall level again to reduce more difficulty in various areas. It's meant to be difficult, but not "game-over time and time again" levels of difficulty.

Originally posted by Vitor Vilela
Falling and climbing quickly made more obvious and confusing the rising/falling lava.

It is indeed a problem. From the beginning once I realized how this mechanic would work I already knew the way the lava follows the camera would make it a bit confusing at first. It doesn't really even need to be that specific section, while in a hurry, any player that tries to go up/down instinctively to get away from the lava will not have much success, more common when the lava is closer to the player. The section with the blue P-Switch before the mid-way point also has that problem.

The only good way to solve it is to explain to the player beforehand how it works with a message box, for that, I'd need a sub-level that uses the layer 3 BG in layer 2 instead and put the message boxes there. I'm thinking how I'm going to do it and I think I have an idea and it would involve re-organizing the midway point but it could work very well, but for now:

v3 changelog:
- The beginning section was re-organized to make it easier
- New (small) hidden shortcut added
- Some enemies/obstacles were replaced/added/removed
- More coins, more powerups, more 1-UPs
- Slight difficulty decrease in both P-Switch paths (more so the silver one, but I fixed of the most problematic part in v2)

planned:
- message box implementation, +1 sub-level, requires midway point reorganization and maybe a few ExGFX
- "Reset" tiles to display current/future reset doors/pipes (not exactly needed but it would be nice), related to the below too
- A E S T H E T I C S (oh dear)

Ninja update: Accidentally set the time limit to 400 while I was messing with a sub-level before creating the patch, I have set it to 500 again.
"The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear." --Ram Dass



NEW VIDEO AVAILABLE - NEW DOWNLOAD LINK AVAILABLE

v4 changelog:
- New sub-level
- Midway-point redesign
- More graphics, not too much though
- Various minor fixes here and there

v5 changelog:
- Basically nothing, lol
- Actually that's a lie, I re-exported everything from the .smc file, reinserted it into another file, and reinserted the music with the most recent AddMusicK, essentially testing all resources

v5.0.0.1 changelog:
- Time limit increased to 599 from 500

v6 changelog:
- Various minor fixes
- New message box

I don't think I can change the graphics as much as other people because my creativity regarding that is low, if I happen to get any ideas I'll see what I can do but for now this is it. I submitted this version on the submissions thread as well.
The idea of using the on/off-switch layer sprite in a vertical level is super cool.

The level´s lenght is okay and personally i think too many absurd graphical changes may be awfully distracting espacially if you have to be careful about the rising/sinking lava and simultaneously have to solve some puzzles. So i think the level all in all is fine the way it is now.

One point i could "complain" about is the time limit. Since this is a vertical level you can alway fall down and have to redo more or less stuff. Also considering that you are the designer you know your levels structure, but because the 2nd part is quite complex the normal player needs some time to figure out, where to go and what to do with the p-switches. So to avoid maybe frusttrating time-ups maybe add 100-200 smw-seconds and i guess the level is quite well.

--------------------
Originally posted by Leiras
One point i could "complain" about is the time limit. Since this is a vertical level you can alway fall down and have to redo more or less stuff. Also considering that you are the designer you know your levels structure, but because the 2nd part is quite complex the normal player needs some time to figure out, where to go and what to do with the p-switches. So to avoid maybe frusttrating time-ups maybe add 100-200 smw-seconds and i guess the level is quite well.


This is somewhat compensated by the fact that the midway point is right before the blue/gray P-Switch puzzle area of the level, but yeah I see how time could be a problem. The rules suggest a time limit of under 600 SMW-seconds so I increased it to 599 instead of 600 just to be awkward. I don't want to exaggerate on time so I'll hope this is good enough. If the time problems persist then I'll change it again, though.

Thank you for your feedback! #tb{^V^}
"The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear." --Ram Dass
This patch doesn't work on me :(
Just a spoiler I made in a layout to make you look at just because I wanted to.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Originally posted by MasterKastylinos222
This patch doesn't work on me :(

Well, ROMclean says my ROM is already clean and others have been able to play it properly so I don't know what's happening here. The only major thing that changed between patches is that I reinserted the music with AddmusicK 1.0.5 (and removed the changes done by 1.0.3) but if you have a clean ROM that shouldn't be an issue in the first place...dunno!
"The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear." --Ram Dass
Wait, I don't use 7zip sadly
Just a spoiler I made in a layout to make you look at just because I wanted to.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Originally posted by MasterKastylinos222
Wait, I don't use 7zip sadly

I can't think of any file archiving app that is incompatible with .7z files. Shouldn't be a problem

e: other than default windows. lol.

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Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - The 10th Annual Vanilla Level Design Contest - Lava "Afterburner" Castle

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