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2 Demo levels for testing! [kaizo-ish]
Forum Index - SMW Hacking - Works in Progress - Hack Testing - 2 Demo levels for testing! [kaizo-ish]
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Hey All!

I have 2 levels I would like tested if anyone is interested! The levels are fairly doable, the second one being a little harder than the first. I'd say difficulty is kaizo light.

There is a retry system and some custom music.

I'd love feedback on anything you can manage!

Some notes:
- I have replaced the intro level with something more generic as to not spoil anything.
- I've removed the overworld and events so you only have access to these two levels.
- The two available levels are not meant to be consecutive levels, that's why the difference in difficulty is so apparent.
- You do not have to finish one level in order to play the other.


Screenshots:







Link to patch:
SDFW Level Demo.bps


Pineapple's playthrough:
- Level 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEAvI5p6aVQ
- Level 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v43OHHyXJBQ
YouTube / Twitch / Twitter / Discord: MajorMuff#5742


I played this and it took me about a half hour to complete the first level, "Gruesome Green". I stopped playing after about ten minutes attempting to get through the opening of the second, unnamed level, though less due to frustration and more due to aching fingers.

I came here expecting something other than what I got - "kaizo light" made me think it would be tamer than typical Kaizo levels, which are not my cup of tea. But except for perhaps the very beginning of Gruesome Green I don't think that calling it "light" is accurate. I'm sure that someone who is more interested in Kaizo levels than me would appreciate this, but as for me personally it just tried my patience and was rarely enjoyable. I don't think that I will be coming back for the second level.

Here is a video of my numerous deaths. My apologies for the poor audio mix which is going to make it difficult to hear any of my commentary. (I seem to have had a mic malfunction.) Mainly it was just me complaining about the wriggler bit and thinking out loud about how to accomplish baby's first shell jump.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEAvI5p6aVQ

--------------------

@pineapple#6455 discord / @PineMach twitter

Originally posted by pineapple
I played this and it took me about a half hour to complete the first level, "Gruesome Green". I stopped playing after about ten minutes attempting to get through the opening of the second, unnamed level, though less due to frustration and more due to aching fingers.

I came here expecting something other than what I got - "kaizo light" made me think it would be tamer than typical Kaizo levels, which are not my cup of tea. But except for perhaps the very beginning of Gruesome Green I don't think that calling it "light" is accurate. I'm sure that someone who is more interested in Kaizo levels than me would appreciate this, but as for me personally it just tried my patience and was rarely enjoyable. I don't think that I will be coming back for the second level.

Here is a video of my numerous deaths. My apologies for the poor audio mix which is going to make it difficult to hear any of my commentary. (I seem to have had a mic malfunction.) Mainly it was just me complaining about the wriggler bit and thinking out loud about how to accomplish baby's first shell jump.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEAvI5p6aVQ


First of all, thank you so much for testing my levels and providing feedback!

I find it very hard to classify my own levels when it comes to difficulty, which is one of the reasons I need someone to test them. Your feedback really helped. The second level is definitely harder than the first but I was scared to label it 'kaizo'. I have a much better feel for how hard the levels actually are now that I've seen you play it, so again many thanks for that. I've updated the title of this thread accordingly.

How do you feel about the music and the esthetics? Did the levels feel jank to you at any point?
YouTube / Twitch / Twitter / Discord: MajorMuff#5742
I think you had some great ideas, however I think the main thing you need to work on is not forcing a difficulty level.
This is tough to do though. The actual level design is good, and the aesthetics are good, but all the 1 tile jumps are a bit much.

In Gruesome Green, the first goomba to 2nd is a little snug at times, little funky jumping off yoshi, it's not bad, and it might not even need changed, but I would play around with the yoshi placement just to see how it feels in different spots.
From there I might think about making the 1 gap openings into 2 gap openings, that is the big thing about natural difficulty vs artificial difficulty. It's possible though, to keep the 1 tile gaps if the muncher on the right side above the wiggler were removed, its really snug getting in there. If that jump were not as snug it wouldn't be as bad having the 1 tile gaps to jump up thru, since there would be an extra split second to reposition.
After the midway, the only thing I think might be to add 1 extra space before the paragaloomba in order to throw the shell up and recatch as to not get frame-ruled on the galoomba.
Thats about it on that level, just a few artificially tough feeling spots, other than that good design.

In the 2nd level, the beginning is neat and not too tricky once learned, possibly try the 4th flying koopa to the left 1 more tile for smoother alignment with bullet bill,the 1 tile jumps down thru the munchers are tight considering what came just before. Other than that, I would just play around with the end section, waiting for the one koopa meh

This is totally Kaizo Light, and minus just a couple tight spots, I'd call this the easier side of Kaizo Light.
Overall so far so good I think, and the aesthetics are good. That lime green really pops out against the background #fim{@w@} #fim{:D}


PS I found your planned secrets in LM #fim{:P}
Originally posted by SkeptisTrader
...


Thanks a lot for the feedback, Skeptis!

The tight jumps are definitely intended to be as tight but I can see how they seem to force difficulty. I will play around with spacing and positioning of enemies as you suggest and see if I can make some space to move around in. After all this is my first hack and I'd like people to have fun playing it, not being frustrated and angry ;)

The wiggler jump is pretty tight and the muncher on the right was added later since I felt the jump was too easy. Now that I have the fairly tight jumps up the platforms after it though, it may be time to get rid of it.

In the second level, the 1 wide jump (or as my buddy called it, the 'noob filter' :P) is probably something that could be a little easier without breaking the level so I'll look into that.


Thanks again Skeptis, your feedback means a lot!!


No worries about finding any 'secrets' in LM, things will still change a lot before it's a finished hack ;)
YouTube / Twitch / Twitter / Discord: MajorMuff#5742


Originally posted by MajorMuff

First of all, thank you so much for testing my levels and providing feedback!

I find it very hard to classify my own levels when it comes to difficulty, which is one of the reasons I need someone to test them. Your feedback really helped. The second level is definitely harder than the first but I was scared to label it 'kaizo'. I have a much better feel for how hard the levels actually are now that I've seen you play it, so again many thanks for that. I've updated the title of this thread accordingly.

How do you feel about the music and the esthetics? Did the levels feel jank to you at any point?


Not a problem!

For almost the entire hack, when I failed I felt that it was due to my very real lack of knowledge and skill. Even though Kaizo hacks aren't my thing I was at least invested enough to keep trying until I got it, and I could see myself improving, and it kept me from becoming frustrated. But to me, the wiggler jump just felt jank. The audio mixup ate my complaining about how janky it felt to control the jump off of it, but there was a lot of complaining about that part. The shell jump part took me longer to get right, but I never felt as annoyed or impatient there as I did with the wiggler.

I thought the music and graphics were fine. My personal taste leans more vanilla, and other than that I don't have that much of an opinion really. The music was fine and the graphics weren't distracting or difficult to read. I did like the little messages spattered around the levels.

I can see that others agree that "kaizo light" is accurate so perhaps disregard my disputing that before since I have so little experience with Kaizo levels and probably don't know what I'm talking about.

--------------------

@pineapple#6455 discord / @PineMach twitter



Today I played through the second level (the unnamed one) and have uploaded the video. No big audio issue this time, so commentary should be more audible in this video. It's still not as clear as I normally aspire to, though. Even despite damping the game audio to a tiny proportion of normal, to where the game sound effects are about as quiet as they can be to still be easy to make out, the in-level music still dominates and sometimes drowns out the commentary. Perhaps the volume of the music tracks could be reduced a bit, especially this one?

About 75% of the video runtime is spent on the concluding bit of koopa jumps... I suppose that I am nothing if not patient and persistent. I don't have any complaints about the level itself. The koopas took me forever to figure out, but not because it felt janky or bad. All of this level felt pretty fair, except for the troll saws at the goal which I am still salty about but can still appreciate the artfulness of.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v43OHHyXJBQ

I noticed in the other topic related to SDFW that there might be other levels completed? If you post more levels or send them to me, I'd be willing to take a look and record some more gameplay, especially if we can keep on trading playtests.

--------------------

@pineapple#6455 discord / @PineMach twitter

Originally posted by pineapple
Today I played through the second level (the unnamed one) and have uploaded the video. No big audio issue this time, so commentary should be more audible in this video. It's still not as clear as I normally aspire to, though. Even despite damping the game audio to a tiny proportion of normal, to where the game sound effects are about as quiet as they can be to still be easy to make out, the in-level music still dominates and sometimes drowns out the commentary. Perhaps the volume of the music tracks could be reduced a bit, especially this one?

About 75% of the video runtime is spent on the concluding bit of koopa jumps... I suppose that I am nothing if not patient and persistent. I don't have any complaints about the level itself. The koopas took me forever to figure out, but not because it felt janky or bad. All of this level felt pretty fair, except for the troll saws at the goal which I am still salty about but can still appreciate the artfulness of.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v43OHHyXJBQ

I noticed in the other topic related to SDFW that there might be other levels completed? If you post more levels or send them to me, I'd be willing to take a look and record some more gameplay, especially if we can keep on trading playtests.


Hi again Pineapple!

Thanks for playing the other level as well! I agree that the music in the level is quite loud and I'm not entirely sure I'll keep that track in the game at all. If so I'll likely drop the volume a bit. Also, I'm working on learning how to port music myself so a few of the tracks in the finished hack will be my own work. (It takes a lot of time to learn though.)

The last (koopa) jump requires some regrabs that can be a bit hard to learn but are definitely not as hard as some jumps I've seen in kaizo hacks. The troll grinders at the end of the level is just something I find hilarious and I'll probably keep those, even if I run into them myself from time to time. I felt you were being very patient, especially because you mentioned you're not really into kaizo hacks! I've played all my own levels without savestates so it was interesting seeing someone using them since it changes the run somewhat which could potentially break the level. (I don't feel like it did though, except maybe for the grinder at the midway.)

I do have more finished levels and I plan on releasing an 'official' demo fairly soon. It will include the full first world of the hack. I want to make sure all is working well before doing that though. May end up sending you a level or 2 in advance!

In regards to trading playtests: I'm in! I've already wanted to find some time to play some more of your levels, may have some time later today.


Thanks again for playing, it's greatly appreciated!
YouTube / Twitch / Twitter / Discord: MajorMuff#5742


Originally posted by MajorMuff

The last (koopa) jump requires some regrabs that can be a bit hard to learn but are definitely not as hard as some jumps I've seen in kaizo hacks.


Yeah, it wasn't that it was all that bad, but that it took something like 25 minutes to learn Mario's jump physics well enough to have any chance of making it from the second to the last flying koopa in that last little gauntlet. I watch plenty of Kaizo levels from streamers, enough to get the basic idea, but I haven't played these kinds of hacks myself and so I have plenty of learning to do about the particulars if I'm going to make it through.

It took me time to understand that registering a jump input while bouncing off any of the koopas was death from the muncher ceiling, there being no small number of frames to hold jump that would result in a short enough jump to go up but not die, yet not holding down the jump button to fall more slowly while moving from one koopa to the next meant I might fall onto the bottom munchers between the first flying koopa to the second depending on momentum, and would certainly fall between the second and the last koopa because the distance was too great to cover with horizontal momentum alone.

I don't think I did any regrabbing to get through it though? Is that a tech I don't know about, or a typo, or..?

Originally posted by MajorMuff

The troll grinders at the end of the level is just something I find hilarious and I'll probably keep those, even if I run into them myself from time to time.


Is it possible to be both amused and also very deeply salty? Because I think they're hilarious, too, but I am so very salty that the hilarity came at my own expense.

Originally posted by MajorMuff

I've played all my own levels without savestates so it was interesting seeing someone using them since it changes the run somewhat which could potentially break the level. (I don't feel like it did though, except maybe for the grinder at the midway.)


I feel a little bad save-scumming like this, but I know that if I didn't then it would take ten times as long to complete a level, and it's already taking me 40+ minutes to complete each one. I'm not sure that my patience would extend to needing a week of play sessions to complete one fairly short level, and I doubt that you'd enjoy or benefit from that much more either. So, save-scumming it is.

The midway grinder was 100% my own brain failing and nothing to do with a problem with the level, so I wouldn't worry about that.

Originally posted by MajorMuff

I do have more finished levels and I plan on releasing an 'official' demo fairly soon. It will include the full first world of the hack. I want to make sure all is working well before doing that though. May end up sending you a level or 2 in advance!


Ok, I'll keep an eye out!

--------------------

@pineapple#6455 discord / @PineMach twitter

Originally posted by pineapple
[...]

Yeah, it wasn't that it was all that bad, but that it took something like 25 minutes to learn Mario's jump physics well enough to have any chance of making it from the second to the last flying koopa in that last little gauntlet. I watch plenty of Kaizo levels from streamers, enough to get the basic idea, but I haven't played these kinds of hacks myself and so I have plenty of learning to do about the particulars if I'm going to make it through.

It took me time to understand that registering a jump input while bouncing off any of the koopas was death from the muncher ceiling, there being no small number of frames to hold jump that would result in a short enough jump to go up but not die, yet not holding down the jump button to fall more slowly while moving from one koopa to the next meant I might fall onto the bottom munchers between the first flying koopa to the second depending on momentum, and would certainly fall between the second and the last koopa because the distance was too great to cover with horizontal momentum alone.

I don't think I did any regrabbing to get through it though? Is that a tech I don't know about, or a typo, or..?

When you hit an enemy without holding jump, then quickly get back on the jump button after hitting the enemy, that's a regrab. You can use it to cover more distance horizontally while barely falling vertically.

Originally posted by pineapple
[...]

Is it possible to be both amused and also very deeply salty? Because I think they're hilarious, too, but I am so very salty that the hilarity came at my own expense.

That's definitely possible, I have it all the time when I hit kaizo blocks or other trolls!

Originally posted by pineapple
[...]

I feel a little bad save-scumming like this, but I know that if I didn't then it would take ten times as long to complete a level, and it's already taking me 40+ minutes to complete each one. I'm not sure that my patience would extend to needing a week of play sessions to complete one fairly short level, and I doubt that you'd enjoy or benefit from that much more either. So, save-scumming it is.

The midway grinder was 100% my own brain failing and nothing to do with a problem with the level, so I wouldn't worry about that.

There's nothing wrong with using savestates! I just hadn't really anticipated it which is why it's a good thing that you did.


Thanks again Pineapple!
YouTube / Twitch / Twitter / Discord: MajorMuff#5742
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