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le Reservoir - doing marketing with a VLDC11 entry (Finale - BPS available!)

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Just so you know in advance, my level is mostly complete, apart from aesthetics. The reason I made this thread is to tease you with stuff. Daily updates are planned - I have internet now! However, if I miss a day or two, take it easy - I'm not every day at home, and I usually tend to forget things when going, for example, to DaiaNerd's house. lol

Alright, then. Let's begin!


Teaser #1: This is the main gimmick of my entry.

Holy cow you're really back?! #smw{O_O!}

Anyways, I wish you the best of luck in this contest! I hope you'll do well with your level.
I have a Discord server as well! (by joining, you agree to the rules)
Basically, I believe in peace and bashing two bricks together.

So presumably the gimmick is forcing Layer 3 to turn off... Interesting.
Teaser #2: Something interesting about layer 3 tides is that no patch is required to have it stay at a fixed (constant) Y position, and even though there are other limitations, depending on how you set up your level, you can have it at "any" height (in case the level doesn't scroll vertically). It requires you to bypass the layer 3 tilemap, though (as in, saving the tide image as ExGFX and using it in your level), not only using advanced bypass settings for layer 3 to determine its move rate and initial positions. Worth noting, though, that while you can make the tide graphically scroll slower/faster horizontally, have it not scrolling or scrolling to the opposite direction, the player will still be pushed to the left. Aside from that, my planned main gimmick was almost entirely set up at this point.

Good to see you're back, Blind Devil! I like what you've shown so far. Levels that use SMW's technical quirks for their gimmicks are pretty entertaining.
Tell me, Blind Devil, did you just stumble upon this technical gimmick or were you aware of its existence before this contest?
I saw this in Aeon's judge level from VLDC7 years ago, and then I began looking for a way to do so in LM. At first I thought there was some bugfix patch applied to the ROM but then I found out this is possible with LM. Other V-scroll setups do work but we gotta be careful with the status bar and stuff.
Teaser #3: I've decided that the player will go from right to left in my level, as working with tides is, as stated previously, a bit limiting when it comes to customization. And swimming against the current is too slow and difficult for most people - myself included - , and it's harder to build creative setups with it. But the point here is that I have worked on ways for the player to proceed depending on the water level. For example, trying to bounce from a submerged springboard isn't effective to reach higher places, so it requires you to get rid of the water. On the other hand, if there's an unreachable high ledge which can't be cleared with a jump or something, you will need water. The elevated water level allows you to swim upwards, so you can overcome the obstacle. Other possibilities also involve floating platforms: to unlock a passage blocked by one, you should get rid of the water.

This looks like such a blast haha.
One of those particular gimmicks where I doubt you could make very hard setups with it, yet very creative and clever ones.
Teaser #4: To restore the water tides to the main level, you have to re-enter the area. I never liked reset doors or pipes - instead, I preferred to make some small rooms which simulate (well they effectively do, actually) rising water. So, how can this be done? Layer 2? Welp, I guess I could have used layer 2, but knowing how I could play with layer 3 height, I chose to autoscroll it upwards! "Wouldn't that break upon reaching the status bar height?" Yes, but I've also decided to use autoscroll generators in a way that the player will get crushed before this happens.

Yes, I saw the witch. I think they were over here....

Who knew you could pack in so much creativity with tides and message blocks? Well, a lot of people actually, but not me! Interested to see what other cool setups you use with tides. Actually, most of these VLDC levels are cool, but this one gets points for wowing me just based on the concept alone.
95% chance that I'm bored. 5% chance that I'm very bored.
Teaser #5: Many people already know about that, but sprites such as bouncing Parakoopas, bouncing Paragoombas, hopping flames and potentially others I didn't test behave different in water. Whenever they hop, they go upwards until they reach the surface, sinking in sequence. And if they are going upwards and get obsctructed by a solid object, they will stick to it, and will keep moving in a straight line even if there's no longer any object above them. Also, if you place them in mid-air, they will slowly sink until they reach the ground. This makes up for some interesting usage of these kinds of sprites, as a same portion with and without water can play significantly different. Besides, Cheep-Cheeps can work in a similar way, as hazardous enemies when there's water but meaningless creatures when there isn't.

Also relevant saying that now my level is 100% complete now, design and aesthetic-wise. I'll post aesthetics teasers in the following days.
Glad to hear your level is done! Watching you design this level has taught me a lot about Layer 3 tides and how sprites interact with them. Pretty cool stuff! Definitely going to be popping back in here to see how the finished product looks. :)
This looks really cool!
The idea to use Layer 3 scrolling and Message Boxes is pretty clever!
I've played with Layer 3 settings a bit when i was learning Lunar Magic, and i saw it had a lot of potential, so i was waiting to see someone make good use of this potential!
You seem to have a very good understanding of it, and your teasers show a lot of creativity put into the execution of this gimmick!
Looking forward to see the finished level!
My Youtube Channel
Teaser #6: It's time to mess around with the graphics! The very first thing I did was to experiment tiles that could make the layer 3 tide look better. I tested the underground water surface (GFX1A, tile 45), certain grassland bush tiles (GFX15, tiles 46 and 47), and various other less relevant ones. My favorite ended up being a part of Yoshi's house (GFX08, tile 19). I have assembled the new layer 3 tilemap, then, and happily modified the advanced bypass settings again to get a translucent tide. I changed the colors, and: "Yay! That's beautiful"! However, in game, the tide completely obscured layer 1. It was a problem until I remembered there was another level mode settings option which places layer 2 on mainscreen: level mode 0B. Problem solved! My translucent layer 3 tide looks as nice as in LM does now! (Sidenote: this level mode affects sprites that go behind layers, meaning that sprites such as Piranha Plants, Pipe Lakitus and others will also go behind the BG so, in case you want to use this level mode, take that in account.)

Teaser #7: Since the level gimmick is somewhat like a dam or water reservoir, I decided to pick interesting tiles to make my FG tileset in a way that it would look industrial-esque. I picked ghost house crate and spike tiles, castle window tiles, a piece of the castle entrance door, and the brick tiles from Bowser's battle arena, as well as a midway point tile which was also rotated. Palette edits here, palette edits there, Map16 edits... and this is what I got. It looks simple, but clean and pleasing.

This level is looking so cool! Nice work on those gfx, they came out great.
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!


Teaser #8: It was time to design the background, and pick some more potential tiles that would fit for a external type of level while also thinking about the interior sections, too. And this was the most challenging part - I only had a spare palette row to use for the BG so I had to make an extra effort to add detail to it with palette limitations. Of course, I wouldn't be able to make a good BG this time without any inspiration sources at all, so I got to look for BGs from levels of Mega Man X series (thanks to listening to a VLDC11 contest remix btw). My main inspiration came from Mega Man X3's Toxic Seahorse level, and so I got this for the exterior and this for the interior. Once again, a decent result in my opinion.
Teaser #9: The level is finished! Enjoy some pictures of it in all its glory.

And if you want, you can play the damn thing. Hooray!

i was skeptical of this when you were showing the teasers because it gave me flashbacks to my vldcx entry where i tried to pull this off and it turned out really bad because it just devolved into a long course of avoiding instakill blocks (though it didn't really look like that was the direction you were taking). however the aesthetic you chose adds a lot, and i think the gimmick was pulled off about as well and as smartly as it could be.

several of the dragon coins in this level bothered me though. the dragon coins in the scrolling water refill rooms require too much foresight, as i felt like i couldn't get them unless i was hugging the right side of the screen, which of course i don't wanna do cause that's dangerous. also the 2nd dragon coin where you have to spin jump on a thwomp as it rises back up felt unnatural, because the screen doesn't scroll up while you're on the thwomp, and you can't see the one tile wide ceiling above it.

other recommendations:
maybe revise the section with the first switch a bit so the player sees the springboard underwater first? i feel like most people will just jump up to the switch before checking it out, thus missing why the water mattered.

this thwomp was a complete surprise. i couldn't see it right away as the screen didn't scroll up in time.

also the bg vertical scroll is constant pls change that it bothers me more than it probably should lkjfdflkjfslkjs

this level is definitely in my top 10 and provides some much needed competition. it felt fresh which at this point in the vldc timeline is not common.
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