2019-06-23 07:04:49 PM | Last edited 2019-07-12 09:51:33 AM by JP32
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ver c3 1.0
8 exits/levels. Normal difficulty.
Level "aerial" is not 100% done because I dont know what to do with it, hence it ends abruptly and is much harder than the other levels.
2019-06-28 05:26:19 AM
Hayo! I'll play test
2019-07-25 01:39:23 AM
Back in your C3 thread, i promised i'd come here to do some more in-depth testing, so now that C3 is over, it's time to fulfill that promise!
Before i start though, i gotta ask, is this version still the same as the one you released on C3, or has it been updated?
My Youtube Channel
2019-07-26 04:09:03 AM
Originally posted by ECS.98
Back in your C3 thread, i promised i'd come here to do some more in-depth testing, so now that C3 is over, it's time to fulfill that promise!
Before i start though, i gotta ask, is this version still the same as the one you released on C3, or has it been updated? Heres slightly never build(beta 2.0)
. One in the first post is same from the c3 thread.
For most part beta 2.0 is the same(I think I fixed few bugs and some minor issues), but it has one new level thats not fully finished, and that one level that was unfinished before is still the same with zero changes.
2019-08-11 08:46:25 PM
Alright, here i am! I've finished beta testing your hack!
I used the Version Beta 2.0 you linked in your previous post.
I'm sorry for taking so long with it, i usually go quite in depth with my reviews, but that means i sometimes take quite long to finish them. I also have a bit of a problem with condensing my thoughts, and translating them to the review in the form of a text, and i admit this led to a bit of procrastination. Again, i'm sorry for this...
I'll also be sure to report small bits of progress in the future, instead of waiting to finish the whole hack before posting, as that way not only i'll have more frequent progress reports, but my posts will also have a more manageable size. Well, i'm still learning...
Anyways, let's focus on the test/review now. Since each level in your hack is pretty distinct, and each of them has its own gimmick and focus on the design, i decided to talk about the design for each of them separately, as well as reporting all potential bugs and issues i found.
In the end, i can't make a review without writting a book =P. This did end up being
long, but i hope my feedback will be helpful! (Although i recommend taking some breaks when reading it...)
Only the levels “Linear”, “Climb”, “Automatic”, “Bizarre” and “Credits” have the coin clear condition working. it's broken on the others, as the levels do not end when we collect 100 coins. This only happens in the Beta 2.0 build.
General Thoughts: Show/Hide
I like the concept of this hack!
The idea of collecting coins to complete the level, instead of just running to the goal, really changes the way we play a hack! I love the way it encourages exploration, by having a non-linear approach to the coin-hunt theme.
I also really like how each level has its own gimmick, which gives each of them an identity, and makes them all stand out in their own way!
Now, let’s talk about a few general issues i found in the hack:
- We actually only need to collect 99 coins instead of 100.
- Every time we die in any level we get a Game Over screen, and if we didn’t complete any level yet, we get sent back to the title screen.
- Still related to the above issue, all Yoshi Coins and Moons collected from all levels get reset when we die and get a Game Over.
- The coin counter doesn’t reset once we start a new level. This usually isn’t noticeable, as the levels are programmed to end right when we reach 99 coins and the counter resets. However, if we manage to get enough coins to go past 99, the counter will go above 0. The biggest example is having 98 coins and collecting a Red Flying Coin, so the counter ends at 4 (and that is carried to the next level).
- Collecting coins with Shells only works in the levels “Linear” and “Automatic”. Would be nice to have this on “Corridor”, “Water” and “Ic-y” as well.
- You might want to patch out Block Duplication, because…
And this can be done pretty much anywhere as long as we have access to a carryable item and one side of the Multi-Coin Block is free, by using
- Still related to the Multi-Coin Blocks, be careful when placing them at ground level, because if we have access to a Cape,
we can get 32 coins by cape-spinning them
- The camera movement can be a little disorienting at times. The main problem i have with it is how camera instantly moves whenever we press up/down or jump. It would be nice if you could add a small delay before the scrolling takes effect.
- The Fire Flower has limited ammo, and picking up a new Fire Flower doesn’t refill it. Since only “Ic-y” has items to refill ammo, the power-up becomes useless on other levels after we use up all ammo.
- Because of the above, i recommend you disable shooting fireballs by spin-jumping, as that wastes a lot of ammo.
I find it funny how a level called “Linear” is actually pretty non-linear. xD
Overall this is a nice level! It’s pretty simple, mostly focused on platforming and exploration, but it does a nice job with those! There’s a nice variety in use of terrain and sprites, and a nice amount of places to explore, including some bonus areas! I also like the availability of power-ups, and how some of them allow us to reach some hidden areas.
Overall, the amount of coins is pretty balanced in the level, there are enough coins so beating it isn’t too demanding, but it also isn’t free. The coin distribution is also good, and there aren’t many places where they’re condensed.
Now, there are a few problems i found, most of them aren’t big issues, but would be nice to take a look at them:
- I’d say to be careful with Item Memory stuff. The level has quite a lot of places where coins are stacked vertically, and if we collect one of them, they all disappear when changing sublevels. Usually this won’t be a big problem since it’s unlikely a player will collect just 1 coin in a stack, it was just something i found worth mentioning.
- Another noticeable issue with Item Memory, both main level and sublevel use the same Item Memory Index, so collecting coins in one of them can make coins in the other disappear. You should use Index 0 for the main level and Index 1 for the sublevel.
- Another mechanic to be careful about is respawning. Blocks placed through Map16 and Sprites respawn when we change subscreens, which can make more coins available. This can sometimes be abused to clear the level faster (The most notable example is the bonus area with 2 Flying Red Coins). I wouldn’t say this is always a bad thing, just be careful with areas that can be easily abused.
- Even though i said the amount of coins is balanced in the level, there’s one place that feels unbalanced:
This bonus room
. It has 16 coins and a Multi-Coin Block accessible if we have a Cape or Shell (Or get a wall clip as Big Mario), which can potentially give 32 more coins! Overall, i’d say you shouldn’t put more than like 12 coins in any single place.
This bonus room
feels… empty, compared to the rest. But the main issue i have with it is the pipe in the wall isn’t exit enabled. (If it isn’t supposed to be exit enabled, you could just remove it)
This level has a nice idea, a vertical oriented level focused on climbing, and it also has a nice twist with the use of horizontal screen wrap. Unfortunately, it isn't too good right now, as the execution is pretty lacking, and the level has a lot of issues.
First of all, i don’t really like how the design is right now, the level feels like just a collection of random segments with different mechanics that have absolutely no connection with each other. The level doesn’t feel cohesive, and isn’t much enjoyable to play... I think you should instead try to define an actual focus to it. Since the level name is “Climb”, i think using Vines and Climbing Nets would fit it well. You could also try focusing a bit more on stuff like wall-running and bouncing (be it with Note Blocks or Springboards).
Also, about the screen wrap, i don’t feel like the gimmick is really used to its potential right now. I mean, it is used in the level, but it doesn’t make an impact on how the level is played, and it kinda just feels “there”. In fact, most of the setups using screen wrap are just jumping back and forth between static/falling platforms, and wouldn’t be any different if the screen wrap wasn’t there.
I think you should instead focus on using the screen wrap in a way that actually affects the gameplay, such as using moving structures and sprites. You could try things like throwing a Shell to the other side of the screen to hit a block, using Timed Lifts or Winged Blocks and catching them on the other side of the screen or maybe try using some Line-Guided sprites.
Now, going about my thoughts on each part and the issues currently present:
- The Note Block part is pretty decent, i just think it’s too repetitive, as it’s just jumping from one set of Note Blocks to the next.
I think you could try varying the layout of this segment a bit more to make the gameplay more engaging, try adding more obstacles as well, maybe even use some Note Blocks as obstacles.
As for issues, there’s a hole off-screen in
(and a minor cutoff with the Cement Blocks) and
only spawn if we come from above, because when the level starts they fly up and despawn.
- The P-Switch part is by far the most problematic!
First, the design of this part doesn’t feel much special, though i do like the end with the alternate paths for the Yoshi Coin and the Moon.
But the real problem is this part has tons of issues! The use of P-Switch to make a path is in itself a problem because P-Switches revolve around coins, and the sheer amount of coins you used for the upper portion in this segment is more than enough to end the level right here. Also, P-Switch spawned coins and blocks respawn when we change subscreens, so the Reset Door allows us to infinitely respawn the coins in this area. There’s also the fact we can jump
through these clouds
to get the Moon.
Overall, i recommend you just remove this part...
- The falling part just feels... too empty. Like, there’s literally nothing to see on this, we’re just falling... And i don’t like the Yoshi Coin in this part either.
I just recommend removing this part, and making something more interesting gameplay-wise.
- The P-Balloon part is quite ok, but i feel it’s a bit too straight-forward, as the paths are mostly straight. I think you could try varying the layout, and adding sprites for some extra obstacles. Maybe try making it a little bit longer and having a second P-Balloon as well.
- The Falling Platforms part is kinda boring, as the whole part is very repetitive, with just back and forth jumps between the platforms. It’s also quite unforgiving since the platforms fall.
I think it would probably be better to replace this segment as well, you could maybe try some of the suggestions i gave earlier.
I like the idea of this level, it truly expands on the concept of exploration with a lot of open areas and many different paths to take! There’s a nice amount of secrets to find in this, some of them requiring items found elsewhere in the level.
The level might seem a bit intimidating at first due to how big and open it is (or maybe it’s just me that get this feeling whenever i play an open exploration level xD), but we eventually get a feel for the level layout and then it’s all good!
Overall i like the use of terrain and sprites in this level. The terrain is very varied as there’s a lot to explore in this, and the sprites are mostly used well and can make the level pretty engaging.
There are, however, a few things i don’t like in the design.
One of them is the use of Puntin’ Chucks. These Chucks are really annoying enemies! Their footballs are RNG based and bounce all over the place (especially on a level as open as this!). Honestly, i'd say to replace them with something less annoying...
The other is the use of falling areas to hide secrets. The two instances of this are
this Yoshi Coin
. I never really liked this kind of secret! In the case of the Spring, we don’t know it’s there until we fall and see it, and then we have to climb all the way back just to fall again and actually get it! And with the Yoshi Coin, we are forced to fall just to hit the Invisible Coin Blocks and then climb all the way back up there!
And now, about the issues and suggestion for this level:
- I think it would be nice to have a few more lives scattered around the level. I know there are already quite a few in there, but the level is pretty big, and there are a lot of opportunities to get hit.
- I wouldn’t recommend you use Blarggs in water. They were never intended to be used outside of lava, so they have weird hitboxes which extend below into the water and teleport in a weird way during their attack animation.
- If we activate all blocks on the Invisible Coin Block bridges for the upper Yoshi Coin, the only way to come back is by jumping onto
that 6 tiles high wall
on the left.
is really cheap, it only starts flying once we jump.
- You should extend
to be at least 2 tiles high. Not only because it is hard to get through as Big Mario, but also because we can clip through the floor by spin-jumping.
- Sprite Buoyancy is disabled, so the
Fish doesn’t interact with the water
The idea of this level is interesting, but right now it is too hard! This level requires a lot of precision to navigate through it. It’s a huge difficulty spike compared to the other levels in this hack!
Most obstacles in this level are really tight, and it is almost entirely made of spike blocks, which means any small mistake leads to a hit. Also, pretty much all the collectibles are dangerously close to spike blocks, so we’re always taking risks, even when going for
! It’s even worse when we have to enter enclosed spaces, like for these
All of this is further aggravated by the fact that we play the entire level in a Flying Yoshi, both because Flying Yoshi is pretty hard to control, since we can only rise a set height whenever we press jump, and because Yoshi considerably increases Mario’s hitbox.
I suggest you give more space for us to move, make sprite setups more forgiving, make collectibles less dangerous to collect, and lower the amount of random single spikes scattered around the level (those are more an inconvenience than actual danger). Also, adding more safe areas using solid blocks would be very welcome.
Oh, and for reference: I recommend you stick with at least 6 tiles high gaps, to give space for us to fly.
5 tiles high gaps
are possible, but pretty tight. (
is pretty much TAS only)
Also, there are some issues you should watch out for in this:
- Some Fuzzies have problematic spawns. More specifically, they just don’t attach to a line guide once they spawn, so they
just shoot off the screen
. (And that one also teleported lol)
- Sometimes sprites fail to spawn. This seems to be caused by the Sprite Memory setting you’re using (it seems you aren’t using any sprite that requires index 01, so you’re better using index 00, as it allows more sprites on screen)
- Keep in mind that it’s really easy to despawn line-guided sprites on horizontal line guides, by just waiting them to move out of the screen and despawn by themselves. Not sure if there’s much you can do about this though, aside from just not using long horizontal line guide setups.
- Yoshi’s Tongue has glitched graphics.
I like the fact that you tried for a metroidvania concept, but i’m not exactly sure how well it could work. Right now there are some pretty big issues on the execution, mostly due to SMW mechanics.
One of the main problems is how SMW power-ups work: we lose one power-up when we get another one, so it’s hard to feel like we get an upgrade, and if we need the ability from that previous power-up, we have to backtrack to get it again. Another problem is the limited variety of power-ups SMW has, so you ended up resorting to carryable items, which doesn’t really work well: we have to carry them around the level in order to use them, and most of the time it just feels like a chore.
Also, i think the level is quite disorienting right now. It kinda doesn’t have a logical sequence, and doesn’t feel intuitive. Often times we find items before even finding the places we have to use them, so a big portion of the level is wandering aimlessly trying to find where they’re intended to be used, which aggravates the item babysitting issue. It’s also possible to entirely skip some items and go directly for “better” ones, and as such it’s hard to have a sense of progression.
And last, the level has way too many filler areas. Most of the rooms we come across are just empty corridors with nothing interesting in them. And this makes the level as a whole feel uninteresting.
Now for some smaller and more specific issues:
- We only get 1 P-Switch, and there are 2 places where we need to use it. So when we use it in one, we’re locked out of the other.
- This level has some problems with sprites not spawning sometimes. I don’t know if this might have something to do with the custom screen scroll.
- There are a lot of blocks in this level that behave differently but have the same graphics, like the Flower power-up and Fire Ammo power-up.
are bugged: they spin in mid-air instead of following the platform above them.
- This is likely due to the level being still WIP, but it really lacks coins and 1-UPs.
I like the gimmick in this level! It stands out quite a lot compared to most others.
Overall, the execution and design are pretty good! I like the way most sections have different routes with different rewards for us to take, and how when we commit to a route we have to keep going at it.
There’s one thing to keep in mind though, this level progresses very slowly due to Mario’s slow movement speed. Because of this, you should avoid having uneventful segments or long stretches of land, as they go on for a lot longer than in normal levels.
The use of sprites is pretty good right now, but i think it would be nice to put a few more sprites into the level, since this would give some more action to the pacing of the level.
Also, i really don’t like the entirety of the last area! It’s just a huge uneventful piece of land where we just walk for 6 screens! The pick-a-path segment makes it even worse because, since we need the items found in them, we have to play this segment multiple times to collect all power-ups! (The best route for all Yoshi Coins requires going through it 3 times: Flower -> Cape -> Yoshi Coin). I honestly recommend you replace this area, and make it more similar to the style of the previous sections.
Now, let’s talk more specifically about the issues:
We can get softlocked in this level!
The Fire Flower has limited ammo, and if we get into a situation
, where we melt the first column of ice blocks and run out ammo, we get stuck in this area! And since we can’t move, and the level has no timer, the only way to get out is resetting the game.
second Yoshi Coin
is pretty annoying, as it requires babysitting a shell for 8 screens. It’s even worse because there’s a segment where we’re forced to bounce on Goombas, and it’s easy to lose the shell there.
- I think this level could use a few more coins. Not really a big issue, but right now it pretty much requires us to go through it twice to finish it.
- Also, watch out about placing coins in the same x-position, because when we collect one, all of them are counted as “collected”. There are a few places with alternate routes where collecting the coins in one makes the coins in the other disappear once we come back. (And this aggravates the previous issue)
- Considering Mario moves slowly, some gaps in this level are pretty big! I know you wanted to make some places reachable only with a cape, but even some that aren’t cape-only require a really precise jump, like
is very tight even for cape!
- If we go for
while the On/Off Switch is off, the auto-move forces us to skip the first pipe.
- The On/Off Switch has some issues when
hit with a cape
, activating multiple times. I think there’s a patch to fix this.
- I don’t get what the Key and Key Blocks are for. The Key Blocks are blocked by a log, so they’re unreachable.
This is a pretty great level! It’s probably my favorite of the bunch!
I really like the gimmick used in this level, how we have to melt the ice blocks to get coins, and also manage our ammo count. It has a nice focus on exploration, with a lot of different places to explore with different rewards.
Overall, i like the use of the terrain and the extended level height, it allows for a lot of platforms with different height and a good amount of vertical exploration. The use of sprites is also pretty good and provides a nice challenge. I just have some problems with some of the Hopping Flames and Wigglers when they “protect” the Ice Blocks from the fireballs.
The level does have some issues though:
- If we kill the Lakitu with a fireball, his cloud will last forever. This also prevents Lakitu from respawning, and if we lose the cloud by any means, we cannot get another one, which locks us out of one Yoshi Coin.
- The “Turn off Generator 2” command doesn’t seem to be working, as Lakitu stays on screen throughout the entire level.
- I always disliked those Crumbling Bridge Blocks that look identical to the normal Bridge Blocks, as there’s no way to even know they’re there until we find them, and they usually only lead to frustrating falls (and sometimes unfair deaths). I really recommend you at least make their graphics distinguishable from the normal Bridge Blocks.
- I’d recommend you put a second Spring closer to the Grey P-Switch, because right now the only way to get it is to bring the Spring from the other side of the level. And then we still have to get the Spring again to go up into the platform where we use the Grey P-Switch.
- I think you’re being a bit too generous with
these 2 Multi-Coin Blocks
, it’s possible to get 49 coins from them. It’s better to use just 1 there instead.
are a bit hard to melt because Mario’s Fireballs despawn if fired off the top of the screen.
- I suggest you make
5 tiles high instead of 6, as it’s pretty frustrating to try climbing a 6 tile high platform. And the only way around this pipe requires us to go back and around climbing a lot of platforms, which can get tiring.
I’m not too sure how much i like this level. It has some nice ideas, but the execution is a bit lacking.
I know the hack has a focus on exploration, but i don’t think it works well with water. What we basically have here is an underwater maze, and it’s not fun to explore and have to go back and forth on tight corridors underwater.
In this level we have the Item Swim gimmick, but i don’t think it’s too useful right now. Item Swim is a faster way to travel underwater, but using it we trade control for speed, and with the hazards present in the level, i usually prefer sticking with the control. Also, Item Swim is really only useful for horizontal movement, and this level has quite a lot of vertical movement and direction changing, so we barely have any place to actually use the Item Swim consistently.
Also, you defined this level as “half-land half-water”, but it seems the only focus of the design is the water segment. The land segment is completely uninteresting. It’s just a collection of empty platforms, and a lot of collectibles floating around that can only be reached by flying. It basically just seems to be there for the sake of being there, and it’s just taking space that could have been used to improve the water section.
I’d suggest you either make the land segment something worth playing (and remove the weird focus on flying and unreachable platforms), or just remove it and go full underwater, while also making the level longer horizontally to better develop the Item Swim.
I found one major issue in this level, which is quite weird, along with a few minor ones:
- There are some blank tiles in this level that can be infinitely collected like coins when we throw an item into them! These tiles give 1 coin every frame for as long as the thrown item keeps touching them. (And this only works with items, not with Mario)
Here is an example
, as you can see, when i throw the Shell into this blank tile, i get a lot of coins! Some of these tiles also
act like Yoshi Coins
, and give infinite lives. There are several tiles like this around the level! I could find a lot of them by just randomly throwing the Shell around.
Upon further testing, i noticed these tiles “disappeared” (that is, stopped having this weird behavior) once i collected all coins/Yoshi Coins in the level, so it seems they’re somehow “linked” to some random coin/Yoshi Coin present in the level.
- A few sections are a bit tight for Big Mario, most notably
this Yoshi Coin
- The vine
cuts off the water surface
tile when it grows.
usually despawns when we come from below, because of the Sprite Spawn Range.
Well, this level is quite… uh… bizarre lol
I mean, the overall idea behind it is quite weird, and while it works as a kind of “surprise element”, i don’t know if it fits the idea of the hack. Throughout the whole hack we’ve been taught to collect coins, and now we come to a level with a “negative area” where we have to collect “Anti-coins” and get our coin count to 0.
The problem with this idea is the fact that:
1 - The more coins we collect in the “main area”, the harder it is to get our coin count back to 0. And in fact, the main area has more coins than the negative area, which means we will fail on the first time if we collect all coins (though i think this might be intended)
2 - Once we know this, the level becomes trivial as we can avoid all coins in the main area and complete the level
as soon as we get to the negative area
I like the reverse gravity gimmick, but i’m not sure how much the design takes advantage of it. I mean, it does use it, but it seems the whole deal with the gimmick is just “hey, you’re walking on the ceiling now” and most obstacles are just spikes.
Also, this level has some difficulty spikes, especially in the reverse gravity part.
become really tight on reverse gravity, especially for Big Mario, and it’s hard to land safely after
riding this Thwomp
As for the design, overall it’s decent as far as use of terrain and sprites go. It’s quite engaging and has nice coin placements. I’d just say the difficulty seems to be too dependent on spike placement, and the reverse gravity gimmick doesn’t feel like such a change to the way the level plays.
Also, i found some pretty big issues, along with a couple of minor ones:
- The game freezes when we complete this level, it stays stuck in the “Course Clear” screen with the victory music playing.
- The reverse gravity gimmick has a bad interaction with sprites. More specifically, Mario always gets hit when touching a sprite, even by jumping or spin jumping on it. Also, we can’t activate the P-Switch.
- Coin Blocks still count as “positive coins” in the negative area.
- It’s really easy to skip the P-Switch in the main area by just damage boosting through the spikes.
- “Ledge” tiles placed on the ground are
passable when in reverse gravity
. It’s not a big deal since the interior of platforms is solid, but would be nice to change them to solid as well.
becomes 1 tile too low when we’re Small Mario. (But i'm pretty sure this is caused by the reverse gravity)
- Sprite Memory shenanigans again: all coins in the main area disappear after collected. But i believe this might be intended, to make sure we beat the level on the second attempt.
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