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Level Design

I've been spectating from the sidelines with people's feedback on other people's level design, but I have a hard time telling myself what "good level design" is. I feel I don't really have a good handle on what that is, even as someone who plays hacks.

Please post examples of specific hacks and/or specific levels in hacks that are top notch level design and examples of bad level design. And by bad level design, I don't mean broken or bad graphics, I mean it looks well put together, but it's just not good in popular opinion.

And as a bonus, what do you think of vanilla SMW level design? Is it bad compared to good level design in hacks?
This should be required reading for all inquiries regarding level design in Super Mario World. It explains, in terrific detail, how a good level is designed, and why it's good when you're playing it.

I personally feel that SMW's level design is sort of taking a step back towards the first Super Mario Bros. SMB3's levels all have just one exit, but many give the player a choice of paths to get from start to finish. SMW takes that idea a step further by having multiple exits in some levels. But, Super Mario 3's level design really gets interesting and complex in ways SMW rarely does. Some of the levels are pretty bizarre and really give you a lot of variety in terms of what you're expected to do to beat a level. Like, 2-4 is basically two entirely different levels in one and you can choose which you want to go through, or the fortress in World 7 which has no enemies and is therefore the spookiest level in the whole game. SMB3 seems to have more levels which require you to go back and forth, as opposed to continually moving to the right.

I feel that, what makes a level good, is that you keep moving and keep thinking on your feet. I like levels that let me explore and find secrets. I also like linear levels that are fast-paced and reliant on reflexes. The trick is to make the player feel satisfied at the end. Beating a level should feel like an accomplishment. It's good to explore all the options you have, because there are tons of different ways to make a level in this game, and one could easily make a whole long hack in which no two levels felt like you were repeating yourself.

Chapter two: Land of No Shame
Coming January 2022