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Should you always design your levels in order?
Forum Index - SMW Hacking - SMW Hacking Discussion - Should you always design your levels in order?
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This video was linked to in a thread somewhere around here. I noticed that the video brings up how it wasn't the first level they made for the game, and that they did the more "fun" stages before making 1-1, which is like a tutorial stage. That goes against the ideology that us hackers tend to have - almost all threads I see in the Works in Progress subforum show that the people are making their levels in order.

Do you happen to think designing your levels in order when making an SMW hack is preferable? Besides the fact that that's always the way people here have been doing it, I have to say it might actually be a good idea for hacking SMW, as most of our hacks seem to be aimed at people who played the original SMW, so a tutorial level is unnecessary. And SMB1 didn't have an overworld until the GBC remake, so they probably had more freedom in the kind of levels they made for that game, possibly leading to that design philosophy.

Maybe the order you do levels in might also depend on the amount of work it takes - this is not a video game level (it's a shot from the Touhou fanmovie Diamond in the Rough), but it's still something that was made out of order with its appearance in the final product. I believe this was because it looks like it took the most work out of all the frames in that movie, so he created it last. Should that philosophy be applied to SMW hacking as well?

(Also, sorry if I made you waste 4 hours of your time on a gut-wrenching Touhou tragedy.)

Kinda in hibernation for a while. I hope to be back in full swing soon.
Fun Fact: Green Hill Zone was the fourth Sonic 1 stage to reach 100% completion, the first one was like Spring Yard????

Honestly it depends on the person, so there's no real answer.

diamond in the rough is the cringiest concept for a fanmovie i have ever heard and ive seen chip and ironicus riff on the sonic fanmovie, its literally just touhou underfell but with spoiled ocs as the protags and "self-insert fanfics and mary sues are dumb and stupid" as the underlying message


Not necessarily. I usually always design my levels out of order, as there's a chance I might finish a level before the rest due to more ideas coming up. Some people like to design them in order, so it's all a matter of preference.
Just make levels according to whatever you feel like doing at the moment.
100s challenge was made almost completely out of order, and later I ended up moving levels around(on OW) due to difficulty. I believe the first few levels(including tutorial) in the hack weren't made first but not last.

On YASH I made the first level/tutorial first, and then made one world at time, but not those levels within a world in order(if that makes sense). I think YASH ended up being less disaster in-general so I would recommend focusing on making one world at time.

On related note, I also set up all asm stuff(patches, blocks, sprites..), graphics etc first before I even beginning to work on levels, which made things billion times smoother than trying to shoehorn stuff later in(which I did in 100s challenge and it broke and delayed everything too many times and made it disaster).

[[Hyperlink Blocked]]
If anything the insistence to start on 1-1 and then 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, etcetera, shows a linear approach to level design, which is most likely to occur when you're first starting out. It explains why I see more grass oneoff levels than anything else, and why 1-1 levels are so popular even though they're so boring.

The bigger question is what gets done faster: a hack with the levels in the order they were made, or a hack with enough levels made and then put into a logical order. I want to say the correct answer is just making levels until you have a hack, but we have no concrete proof of that because, indeed, the norm is to think up levels as it becomes relevant to what comes next in your game. I wouldn't be surprised if everyone starts off thinking that; I mean, back when I made mario level text files I thought that way. I would however be surprised if more fun's had doing it that way then not confining your production to a very rigid design plan.

Further questions can be raised like, are you more likely to complete a hack if you don't linearly think of and design levels, but the only way we'll find concrete answers to these questions is if we observe what designers do. And, well, good luck with that.
I always do mine in order. Feel as if I accomplish more by doing them one after another and to have a gradual collection of levels build up.
just design them in a way that feels natural lol

otherwise it might feel forced or rushed if you do them in order just for the sake of doing them in order
In the hack I'm making, I may not design the levels strictly in order, but I will almost certainly make all of my World 1 levels before going on to World 2.

The first level I made (well, the first part is actually Stage 4 from this game with different graphics) for my hack is not really intended to be a playable level. Instead, it's intended to test my player character's abilities and physics. While it probably won't be in my World 1 demo (or it will be included as an "extra" kind of level not tied to the plot in any way), it will certainly be in the final game's Special World, but that world probably won't be available until fairly late into the game. Do other hack developers make unused test levels like these?

Speaking of Special Worlds, while the topic of this thread is relevant involving numbered worlds, what about secret and Special Worlds? When do developers make Special Worlds? After the last world? Right before the last world? Do developers develop the Special World concurrently with the main worlds?

I also REALLY want to make my game's introduction before anything else, but I hit a roadblock, and I have to make regular levels instead. I can't work on my introduction until this issue is fixed.

Click the character on the right side of my layout to visit my Discord server and discuss and play and look at and get updates and sneak peeks of the games and other things I'm making.

The authors of these 2 My Little Pony fan games have removed their games from the Internet.
Rise of the Clockwork Stallions has been updated! Download My Little Pony: Rise of the Clockwork Stallions DX: Director's Cut and My Little Pony: Magic Shards now! Spread this link!

Hah, absolutely not. I make levels when I get ideas and the difficulty of the output of them always varies. Currently I'm just making a lot of levels and I hope to bunch them together into a hack sometime.
Originally posted by Koopster
Hah, absolutely not. I make levels when I get ideas and the difficulty of the output of them always varies. Currently I'm just making a lot of levels and I hope to bunch them together into a hack sometime.

Same. Sometimes, I don't even finish levels, and I go back and finish them way later. I don't even have any worlds planned yet completely for the hack, since the difficulty of the levels keeps changing. I might order all the levels in order of difficulty at the end and adjust things heavily if levels that are supposed to belong in certain worlds don't fit difficulty wise. This is one of the reasons I decided to do a nonlinear OW, since a linear OW almost expects a steady progression of difficulty and might be easier to make when levels are designed in order. Also, any time I make an OW before I finish every level, I always have to change a ton of stuff.
By designing all levels in order I personally feel you're restrictingyour own creativity. You might have an idea for a level in a later world but then not apply it because it's more distant than the current world you're working on. Personally I just design my levels depending on my creative mood then tweak some inconsistencies that might pop out if making levels which are in distinct worlds.
I feel like if I did that, it would be the easiest way to lose motivation the fastest. I strongly prefer to have a clear vision rather than just make a level, then start the next one without having worked on it any yet, and so on, even if I only kinda have an idea.
For my current hack, I actually finished level 12 before level 9 and level 11 before level 10 because I wanted to 'get it over with kinda soon-ish' without the insecurities of if I will finish, but I kinda had those concepts in mind since close to when I started the hack. In my experience, it is more motivating to have at least some of the last level or later levels done before all the other levels are finished.

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I make levels in order... this might be why I'm delaying my hack so much. I could design levels with no order, but I just fear that their difficulties might become inconsistent.
I'm doing this right now because I think it'll be more easier.

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My Discord server. It has a lot of archived ASM stuff, so check that out!

I have kinda just been making levels that I wanna make, when they were all done I arrange them in order of difficulty (for the most part). One of the last levels I made was designed specifically to be an easy first level. I may end up having a more difficult level in the first world and vice versa just to have some variety.

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"Should you always design your levels in order?"


"Should you design your levels in order if that's okay with your personality? For example, you like to keep things organized."

I don't think you should "always" design your levels in order and instead design them in the order you feel comfortable with. There are advantages to both. For example if you're designing levels in order you might restrict yourself because you might not have the ideas to execute the next level and then you begin holding your hack up. If you are designing you're levels out of order you might risk screwing up the difficulty curve or the progression of the hack. Personally I try to design my levels in order but I don't restrict myself as if I have an idea of a future level I'll begin working on it while the inspiration is still there.

My Youtube Channel for Hacking and Gaming.
I often found myself moving my levels around in order. Sometimes, halfway through making it, an idea I had fit better on a different spot on the overworld.
I normally design my levels from World 1 to World 12. (or the final level) I do this because I want a clear understanding of what my difficulty curve is developing to be like; among other things: Like hidden health expansions or something.
I don't even know what order you should play my levels so I just let you decide. Kind of.

Answer is no. Do it however it works for you.

Chapter two: Land of No Shame
Coming January 2022
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