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161  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Do you want a Resident Evil 7? on: October 14, 2015, 05:33:26 AM
That's interesting. I seem to recall that the first Revelations received great reviews and great feedback from players, whereas the second game wasn't well liked at all. Everything I heard about it indicated that it had turned into a The Last of Us-wannabe, but that it didn't manage do a single one of the good things that The Last of Us did right.
162  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: October 09, 2015, 08:23:38 PM
Yup. You should stay far away from Expert levels.
163  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Far Cry: Primal takes it back to the Stone Age on: October 06, 2015, 07:40:39 PM
I just hope it's not going to be another iteration of Ubisoft: The Game. Far Cry 4 is notorious at this, with an endless series of collectibles and mindless drudgery that can only barely be called "content", and the truly interesting missions and sidequests appearing only rarely. I just wish I could play a AAA Ubisoft game again without feeling as if I'm sitting there working my way through a glorified spreadsheet. Oh, and I'd be very happy if they stopped with the "something has to happen all the time, everywhere! Action! Action! ACTION!" Even if you stand still in FC4, some kind of "content" will pop up on your screen since the developers are scared witless over the fact that you might, just might, be bored.

And let's stop with the "every animal in the history of animals will attack humans on sight, and won't stop until death". It ended up a parody of itself in FC4, and I don't think that was intentional. I mean, has anyone here ever heard about an eagle repeatedly dive-bombing a grown human being? One who's firing at it with a loud weapon, even.
164  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Has anyone played The Beginner's Guide? on: October 06, 2015, 04:33:49 AM
I played it and liked it. The nature of the game and the narrative within is such that it becomes really, really hard, if not impossible, to discuss it with any thoroughness without falling into the trap that the game apparently warns about.
165  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (10/6) on: October 05, 2015, 04:29:21 AM
I want to buy Rock Band 4, but like with RB3, Europe seems to be treated like some disease-ridden bum. There's no way to buy the game yet, either digitally (it doesn't even show up on the PS Store) or physically. Heck, I can't even find a clear indication of release date. Some places say the 6th, while others say the 16th. Who knows if it'll even be possible to buy instruments around here? It was next to impossible with RB3.
166  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS4/XB1/PC] Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on: October 03, 2015, 06:22:17 PM
What's really insulting is the sheer lack of believability of these "campaigns". They're pretending to be crowdfunding campaigns without really offering anything, all because there's no accountability. How many pre-orders will lead to unlocking a specific tier? Who the hell knows! The real answer is: The tiers aren't set to unlock at certain amounts of pre-orders, but at certain points in time. What kind of marketing campaign would offer pre-order incentives where there's even the slightest risk that the customers will feel as if they aren't getting the full product because there weren't enough people pre-ordering, especially when there's no need at all to take these risks? No, these campaigns are carefully designed so that tiers will unlock when they're the most dramatically appropriate. Of course the final tier would end up unlocking a mere days before the game's release. This was never an honest competition. Such campaigns never are. They're 100% marketing.

But people seem to swallow this huge bluff. They swallow it hook, line, and sinker, and then ask for seconds.

I hate this whole "we're crowdfunding too, honest!" scheme, but if I were to set my personal distaste for the concept aside for a moment and look at what specifically caused the problems this time around, it's these two factors:

1) Deus Ex appeals to a more thoughtful audience than regular action games, an audience that mostly consists of actual gamers with some experience with publishers and their antics. Pulling the rug out from under this audience is tougher.
2) This is the big one: The campaign was built so that the customers would "choose" between two options at set tiers (another bluff, for the most part). The real faux pas here was that the publisher added the implication that no matter how well the campaign went, the customers would still "lose" something at these tiers. That kind of thing makes even the uninformed angry.
167  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS4/XB1/PC] Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on: October 02, 2015, 04:24:56 AM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on October 01, 2015, 11:07:05 PM

I was never really sure why people were so up in arms about that preorder campaign when several similar ones have been done on Steam before.

Two wrongs do not make a right. Also, people not caring about one game doesn't mean they aren't allowed to care about other games.
168  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Con Man - Alan Tudyk and Nathan Filiion on: September 28, 2015, 08:48:43 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on September 28, 2015, 08:45:26 PM

I'm assuming you were a backer, then?  The first three episodes won't be publicly available for another couple days.

Of course I'm a backer! biggrin
169  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Con Man - Alan Tudyk and Nathan Filiion on: September 28, 2015, 08:25:26 PM
Just watched the first 4 episodes, which together form what's essentially the first real episode when added together. It was very funny. Loved that Nolan North and Sean Astin both have much bigger roles than I had expected, and they're both killing it. Bonus chuckle for Casper Van Dien's recurring cameos. Tongue
170  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Orbis. aka PlayStation 4? The rumors are put to rest. on: September 27, 2015, 02:39:49 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on September 27, 2015, 01:47:20 PM

Oh, I have been waiting for this!!  Time to pop in a new HDD.

I actually ordered my second new HD for the PS4 yesterday. I've already got 1 TB, but I've decided to upgrade to 2 now that Rock Band 4 is coming out. RB3 took up a huge amount of space on my PS3, and I'm not about to walk unprepared into that again.
171  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Orbis. aka PlayStation 4? The rumors are put to rest. on: September 27, 2015, 10:48:50 AM

Quote from: EddieA on September 27, 2015, 09:43:35 AM

It looks like Sony has already increased the PS+ cloud storage for PS4.  All my save games are now in the cloud, and I have close to 2 GB worth.

Looks like you might be right. Just tested it myself, and got no errors after a few uploads. I've now enabled automatic uploads again.
172  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 25, 2015, 08:35:01 PM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 25, 2015, 07:34:57 PM

Iím surprised you didnít post your Yoshiís Day Out level.  I think that is one of your best.  My only problem with it was the Lakitu, which seemed strangely out of place in the level.

I actually did post the original version of it on the previous page, but I never mentioned that I made an updated version.

The Lakitu is there because what I really wanted to make was a Forest of Illusion level, and there were plenty of Lakitus in those. Too bad we haven't got the proper theme in Super Mario Maker yet.
173  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 25, 2015, 06:08:01 PM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 25, 2015, 05:48:29 PM

Havenít uploaded anything in a while.  I always enjoyed secrets and branching paths in Mario levels, so this is my take on that.  See if you can find all five paths!

Three Hammer Keep

That's a good level. Very long, but you compensated for it by keeping the challenge relatively low, and by offering frequent powerups for players who pay attention to their surroundings. It reminded me of Super Mario World in many ways.

Getting that flower at the very beginning was interesting too. It wasn't straightforward, and it required some precise and swift jumping.
174  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC]Cities: Skylines on: September 24, 2015, 03:11:15 PM
The first major expansion was released for this game today. It's called After Dark, and has both a free part and a paid part to it. The focus on this expansion is the introduction of a day/night cycle, which should change the game's dynamics pretty drastically. You can turn off the cycle at any time if you prefer the old style.

Here's an overview of what's free and what's not:

I know what I'm doing tonight! smile

175  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: September 23, 2015, 08:12:20 PM
Two silly pictures that showed up in my Facebook feed:

176  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 23, 2015, 07:52:43 PM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 23, 2015, 04:30:59 PM

I donít think Nintendo gave enough incentive for people to actually complete levels as opposed to just holding select to skip the level and getting the costume at the end.  A better solution would have been, instead of skipping the level and moving on, it replaces the current level with a different one.  That way you can still get out of levels that suck but still have to complete X amount.

That's exactly what the game does right now. You can't skip levels. You can just replace them with another one.

The biggest design fault in this game is something else you mention though: You get a costume for completing a bunch of levels. This encourages players to rush through levels as fast as possible, and makes them skip levels that aren't laughably easy or that aren't linear. Levels that are a straight line to the flag get loads of plays and stars, and thus appear more and more often in the 100 Mario Challenge.

There shouldn't have been any specific rewards for completing user-made levels. The levels in themselves should be the reward.
177  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 23, 2015, 12:41:35 PM
Weird... While I have the same number of people playing my levels every day (about 15-20 per day in total, I'd say), none of them have been handing out stars over the last few days. I don't get it.
178  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 20, 2015, 08:22:16 AM
Yay, 51 stars! With that, I can now upload 20 levels instead of just 10. Also, Spooky Secrets is now my most starred level, which is good to see since I still consider it to be my best.

Also, I tried your Flappy Bird level.  NOOOOOPE.  icon_razz

Heh, I made the Flappy Bird comparison myself while making it, even though it wasn't an inspiration.
179  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 19, 2015, 11:02:00 AM
Tweaking and re-uploading Spooky Secrets did the trick. So far I've received 7 stars on the revised version, and the clear rate is very reasonable at 18%.

I'm currently at 44 stars received, and need only 6 more to get my 2nd medal, allowing me to upload another 10 levels. Since I've maxed out my currently available uploads, that's going to be very useful indeed. Stars are awarded much slower than I had expected, particularly considering how many medals you can theoretically get.

My two latest levels, and the last ones I'll upload until I get 50 stars:

Are You The Cape Master?

This is my only pure gimmick level so far, and a response to certain comments that flying is too easy in Super Mario World. You're given a cape and are supposed to fly from the start to the end of the level in one go. If your flight is interrupted, you lose. It's currently got a clear rate of 6.25% with 32 attempts, and one of the two guys who completed it was so pleased that he even posted a drawing. smile This level would have been frustrating, except that each attempt only takes a few seconds. You're encouraged to keep trying until you've mastered flying.

Boarding the Bowser's Wrath

This one shouldn't be too difficult. It's a New Super Mario Bros U level where you're boarding a single ship and spend the majority of your time deep within its bowels, until you emerge on the other side. This level features a couple of unusual tricks, including crushers and a method of traversal that I'm going to let you see for yourself instead of being told about it.
180  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 18, 2015, 05:47:21 AM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 18, 2015, 05:09:14 AM

Quote from: TiLT on September 18, 2015, 04:33:33 AM

Item Storing:  Again from Super Mario World, you had the option to keep a second power up in the top slot of the screen.  Anytime you took damage or at will, you could call down the power-up and it would give you a second wind in a difficult encounter.  Iíll never understand why they never used this system in any later games.  It gave you a reason to fully explore levels and allowed you to prepare for difficult encounters.

I think New Super Mario World has the same feature, actually. They probably see it as part of the World games' style.

I think you can use power ups from the world map in Mario U(similar to Mario 3) but I donít believe you can do it within the level, which is what I actually liked.  I remember there were certain maps in Mario World that were great for grabbing a couple capes before going to the next Castle level.  I miss that.

Sorry, I meant to say Super Mario 3D World above. It definitely allows you to save one extra powerup in the level you're in. Unlike Super Mario World, you can even trigger that extra powerup at will, without having to take damage first.
181  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 18, 2015, 04:33:33 AM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 17, 2015, 08:58:18 PM

One thing I noticed in your ďMario: OriginsĒ level is right at the end, itís impossible to get up onto the clouds if you are a small Mario.  One of the coins near the top turns solid and you have no way of breaking it. Being able to climb up but not get to the goal comes across as annoying. I assume you just misplaced a coin, or never thought someone would take damage in that part of the level.  icon_wink

I saw your comment about that, and it took me a while to realize what you meant. You probably climbed the coins towards the cloud by using the P-switch. That wasn't something I intended players to do, but it's maybe not worth reuploading the level over. You're supposed to fly along the path those coins make. The P-switch was meant for the stack of blocks to its right, but I can see why you'd think climbing the coins is the more obvious thing to do.

Item Storing:  Again from Super Mario World, you had the option to keep a second power up in the top slot of the screen.  Anytime you took damage or at will, you could call down the power-up and it would give you a second wind in a difficult encounter.  Iíll never understand why they never used this system in any later games.  It gave you a reason to fully explore levels and allowed you to prepare for difficult encounters.

I think New Super Mario World has the same feature, actually. They probably see it as part of the World games' style.
182  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 17, 2015, 07:39:09 PM
After about 30 attempts by random strangers at trying to complete my Spooky Secrets level, with not a single one of them making it (seriously, it was at 0% completion), I decided to delete it and upload a modified version. I did actually get starred a couple of times for the old one, but nobody had the patience to finish it.

Spooky Secrets v2

I don't know exactly why people failed to finish this level, but I think it might be a combination of factors. It's not supposed to be difficult in a traditional way, but is more of a puzzle level (in the same way as in Super Mario World's ghost houses). Watching my brother play the level, I realized there were situations he died to far too often, so I removed almost all of the parts that could be challenging (even if I had littered mushrooms around them), including fully covering up the bottomless pit at the start of the level. I've also added arrows in a few places to help give the player an idea of what he's trying to accomplish. It's kind of strange to tone down the challenge in this way, but I never intended to have the player die while playing this level anyway.

It'll be interesting to see if this is enough. Dying in this level is going to be really hard to do now, but figuring out the trick is the real challenge.
183  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 17, 2015, 05:54:43 PM
My latest creation:

Mario: Origins (for beginners)

This is a Super Mario Bros 3 level where the idea was to create something that those players that are completely new to Mario can pick up and enjoy. There are no big challenges here, and no sudden threats that they won't be prepared for, beyond the basic threat of a rebounding Koopa shell. There are no bottomless pits for Mario to fall into. There's plenty of coins and powerups since new players typically love to pick up everything they see. Lots of reward and little threat, all in all. The inspiration was SMB3 level 1-1.

Most new Mario players are unable to run and jump at the same time, so I've designed the level to be entirely beatable without running. There's one part near the end where I encourage the player to try out running and then flying in order to get lots of bonuses, but that's all it is: A bonus.

I'm very curious how players will react to this level. I suspect that an easy but seemingly well designed level will receive more stars than one that is at a challenge level equal to the original Mario games, but we'll see.

Quote from: Lordnine on September 17, 2015, 05:27:33 AM

But anyways, new level, this time a bit more in the Fun Category.

Hammer Hills

I love it! This is one of the best levels I've played in Super Mario Maker so far. You make great use of the Super Mario World theme as well as a level theme of your own, and you make it feel as if you're slowly climbing a big hill. You use one of my most hated enemies (hammer bros) in a way that works, unlike 99% of the other level creators out there. There's nothing I saw that punishes you for things you have no control over, and you encourage exploration by both rewarding it and by hinting that there's something nearby worth exploring. A well-deserved star. smile
184  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 17, 2015, 04:31:44 AM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 16, 2015, 10:51:08 PM

The thing that has amazes me most about Mario Make is discovering that people will go out of their way to die in the most baffling ways.  I get a kick out of looking up the death maps on my levels each day.  Itís like, I make a perfectly good path for people to walk on and instead they jump off the side into oblivion.

This is generally a sign that the level is confusing in some way, and that the way forward isn't clear. I'd guess the area as far right as you can get without opening doors is one such part, with people having jumped to their deaths. I did that, and it was because the level so far had trained me to expect it to be unfair and to try and trick me. I was expecting there to be a platform hidden just out of view, so I made a leap of faith.

We don't really have the luxury of external testers in a game like this, but in a regular development environment they'd probably catch players doing something like that and then add something to more clearly illustrate that you're not supposed to jump.
185  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 16, 2015, 08:17:49 PM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 15, 2015, 08:28:10 PM

Having some fun with the effects.


I liked my original version better, I had a custom sound effect of a demonic voice mocking Mario, but those canít be uploaded online.

I just got around to testing this. I hate to say it, but this was not an enjoyable level. It had way too many designs that reminded me of the fabled Asshole Mario stages, including invisible blocks that send you tumbling to your doom, a complete lack of mushrooms so that you'll die from the smallest of mistakes, enemy placement that punishes you for following the clues placed by the level (such as the section where you're running across multiple small gaps in the floor and run straight into a blooper), a door which will kill you instantly if you move after opening it, a gap in the roof that causes you to stop dead center above a lethal enemy if you do anything but the most subtle of jumps over it, and so on.

I'm curious though... was this intentional? Difficulty is incredibly (and I do mean incredibly) hard to observe on one's own creations, and the creator might be completely oblivious to things that could be frustrating to players (I'm guilty of this one myself).

I did give the level a star though, because I'm loyal like that. slywink
186  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 15, 2015, 06:36:17 PM
Today's level:

The Forgotten Fortress

On the surface, this is a pretty straightforward castle level in the New Super Mario Bros U style, with a few simple tricks and situations that require you to think fast. It's not too challenging. I think it's the first level I've made that I finished in my first attempt when uploading it.

What makes it unique is that I created a less obvious speed run route, with enemies and objects carefully placed to allow you to maintain momentum forwards at all times if you do it all correctly. There's a short conveyor section in the middle, but if you pull off the speed run route correctly, you can skip right past it. There's no hidden secret to it. All you have to do is keep running while jumping at the right moments. Preparing my level for speed running was pretty damn difficult, not least because I had to actually pull off the jumps correctly myself, and multiple times too. I do believe it made the level tighter though, and it's something I'll definitely consider doing for future levels as well.

There's no way to record gameplay with the Wii U without special equipment, is there? I'd love to record a speed run of this level to prove that it's possible.

Edit: Just did the whole level in 27 seconds. I messed up a little at the end, so I think it should be possible to do in about 22-23 seconds.
187  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 14, 2015, 08:36:28 PM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 14, 2015, 07:11:54 PM

Tilt, you REALLY like timing based jumping puzzles don't you?   Tongue

You mean the kind where I have enemies crawling around the platform you're jumping to/from, requiring that you keep moving? *shrug* Those are high intensity sections of my levels, where you're supposed to feel unsafe (without being in any major danger) until you reach safe ground again. I try to offset them with low intensity sections before and after, though I like to break the rules. The jumping section in Calamity Caverns was a product of my inexperience with level design for Mario, and I would have made some changes to it if I made it again now. I'll probably make a version 2 that doesn't feel so busy.

Essentially, I try to avoid creating levels where you just hold right and jump at the correct moments. I'm trying to capture some of the magic of the better level design from the Mario games, the levels that make you change your approach to things. This is one of the reasons why I have the conveyor returning you to the start of the level for a brief moment in Conveyor Castle, or why I have you crawl through tight passages, ducking to avoid spikes in Heart of Ice. If I can make something that feels fresh and isn't needlessly difficult, I've succeeded at some of my intentions at the very least.

I'm also trying to do these things without falling into the traps that the vast majority of level creators for Super Mario Maker seem to fall into. That means no enemy stacking so far in all my published levels, almost no enlarged enemies (I've only enlarged two, and they made perfect sense for the situation), and no cramped levels (except for in shorter parts of the level, such as in Heart of Ice). It's an interesting challenge.

Now if only I could gain some more stars. There's been a surprising lack of players trying my levels today, and even fewer of them have finished them. A few people have starred my levels without finishing them though, which is kind of funny. I've got 10 stars so far, but I need 50 before the upload limit is increased. You can initially only upload 10 levels, but this increases to 20 once you get 50 stars.

I'm sad that nobody has finished Spooky Secrets yet. That's by far the best level I've made, but I guess the few people who've tried it gave up once they realized the way forward wasn't immediately obvious.
188  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 14, 2015, 06:36:23 PM
One final level, and then I'm done for today. I'm spamming the hell out of this thread. Tongue

Heart of Ice

This level is a somewhat straightforward underground level for Super Mario World, but with the additional complication of there being ice all over the place. Don't worry, I won't have you navigate across ice platforms over bottomless pits. Also features Yoshi, who makes the level quite a bit easier if you can keep him around.
189  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 14, 2015, 03:43:46 PM

Quote from: EddieA on September 14, 2015, 02:01:15 PM

My first level - Piranha Plant Panic (dumb name, but I couldn't think of anything clever) - 24A5-0000-0034-86DA

It's simple and fairly easy, but I think this is the first time I ever actually finished making anything with an editor, so I'm happy with it.

Just played it and finished it on my second attempt. Gave you a star too. smile

I'm not a big fan of pixel-perfect platforming, but you did well despite that. Your level has a consistent theme and doesn't outstay its welcome. I'd be careful with having the player make leaps of faith though (such as the long jump very early on that you just barely make), and let platforms breathe a little. One block alone above lethal danger is a problem because Mario doesn't control precisely enough for that to not be frustrating. I mostly stick with a minimum of 3 blocks in width and instead introduce other elements of danger to keep the player on his toes. You'd be surprised how often players will fall off of platforms that are even wider than that if you keep them busy.
190  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 14, 2015, 12:11:57 PM
Another one! I'm on a roll. This time it's an outdoors Super Mario World level where I try to replicate the feel of the original game. That means open areas with opportunities to skip parts with some fancy flying or jumping, lots of opportunities to kick off steam, and a difficulty that's not too steep. All in all, this level is probably the most relaxing of the ones I've made so far.

Yoshi's Day Out


And another! This time I tried to recreate the atmosphere and gameplay of the tank sections in Super Mario Bros 3. It's an autoscrolling level with lots and lots of chaos, but it's not too difficult. There's even a boss battle at the end, and I tried to force the player to finish it before he can proceed, which isn't easy to do in this game.

Tanks, Baby

191  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 14, 2015, 07:47:29 AM
Another level completed, this time a Super Mario World ghost house. It's pretty long, but the difficulty is very forgiving with only one or two tight spots that give you mushrooms before and after. This is my best level so far at this point.

Spooky Secrets

As with all Super Mario World ghost houses, this level is more about figuring out the trick to the level rather than following a linear path or defeating enemies.

Edit: This level no longer exists, but has been replaced with a new version. See further down on this page for the new version.
192  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 14, 2015, 05:43:04 AM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on September 14, 2015, 03:47:13 AM

An early test for me.

Turtle Timing

Heh yeah, it's pretty clearly a test level, but as far as tests go, it's at least a little entertaining. Tongue

Thanks for the stars and comments, btw.
193  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 13, 2015, 09:46:38 PM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 13, 2015, 09:39:38 PM

I actually didnít realize I could go the other way unassisted.  It looked too high to jump which is what prompted me to look for the spring.

It is too high to jump, but the New Super Mario Bros U style is unique among the 4 game types in Super Mario Maker in that you can wall jump. Taking the shorter path in my level requires that you know how to do that.
194  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 13, 2015, 07:58:59 PM
New level uploaded:

Conveyor Castle

This one was surprisingly tough, and I kept having to reduce the difficulty over and over and over again while playtesting. It's still pretty damn difficult, and it's a cakewalk now compared to what it used to be. Kind of disappointing really, because I didn't really intend for this level to be so hard. Still, it's not unfair in the slightest, but requires you to focus on multiple things at once. It's basically one giant conveyor that you have to follow along. If you lose it, you'll die.

Learned a lot from making it.

Quote from: Lordnine on September 13, 2015, 07:48:21 PM

Do you mean the slot machine (I donít know what that is actually called) area?

I meant the castle behind the flag, but that's only out of habit. I realize now that you're using the Mario 3 theme, so there's only that slot thingy you mention. My memory was playing tricks on me.

As for your level, I gave you a star but you chose a lot of my most hated enemies.  icon_razz

Out of curiosity, which ones are that? I love the enemies I chose in this stage, though Conveyor Castle above has one of the enemies I think can be really annoying (Magikoopa).

I didnít like being forced to carry the spring back across the tiny platforms with spiky bastards.  I think I died about 10 times attempting that.  Also, giving the propeller hat power-up when you really need the fire-flower seems like a cruel joke.

Yeah, it's the hardest part of the level, but also optional. Did you try the other, shorter path? The upper path is faster and easier, but gives less rewards and will deny you the option of reaching the top of the flagpole. The bottom path is harder, but gives more rewards, including an additional 1up, a fire flower, and the propeller hat. You can choose not to pick up the latter, but it's required if you want to reach the top of the flag pole. It's kind of a risk-reward thing, though it'll only make sense on multiple playthroughs.

By the way, my levels are designed to contain 3, and exactly 3, 1-ups. I've placed them in such a way as to encourage replaying the levels.
195  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 13, 2015, 05:34:25 PM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 12, 2015, 07:34:08 PM

Actually, just ignore that level, it's not very good.

This one is slightly better.  

A Bounce in the Clouds.

Just gave it a go (and gave you a star). Not bad at all, especially compared to most of the other stuff out there. smile I've mainly got three complaints about your level:

1) All the bouncy stuff can get annoying, particularly over bottomless pits. Bouncing off a trampoline bouncing off a music box is doubly annoying. You should be careful with this kind of stuff.
2) When placing enemies, consider where they'll end up moving. I often found enemies dropping from the sky in ways where only luck could save me from them, and some enemies wandered into a pit before they even had a chance of becoming a threat.
3) The end had a considerable difficulty spike and was very hard to follow. I won, but it felt like it was out of luck. I'd remove one of the Hammer Bros and extend the ground a little more to the left in front of the castle.

I've also published my own first level now:
Calamity Caverns

My goal is to make my levels feel like they could fit into existing Mario games. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel, only to create fun platforming.

Edit: Retroactively adding screenshots to my posts, since I just discovered them on my Miiverse page.
196  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 12, 2015, 04:37:56 PM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 12, 2015, 02:58:12 PM

Quote from: TiLT on September 12, 2015, 06:09:07 AM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 12, 2015, 02:09:39 AM

Anyways, if you want to look for my crappy first level itís called Left is Best!
but at least unlocked almost all the tools.
How?  My game told me that I wouldn't unlock anything additional until the following day (Saturday).

There are two ways to get around the unlock system since the first patch. One is to do what you did (spend 5 active minutes in the editor until you're told that more stuff is coming tomorrow), then exit to the Wii U's main menu and adjust the date one day forward. Restart the game, spend another 5 minutes in the editor, and repeat. That's what I'm doing.

The other, and newer, option is to (as far as I know) use every single item available to you (they're marked with an exclamation mark if you haven't used them) until you're told that more stuff is coming soon, then place down a whole bunch of standard blocks until it unlocks. Use all the new items that you just got until you again get this message, and repeat.
197  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 12, 2015, 06:09:07 AM

Quote from: Lordnine on September 12, 2015, 02:09:39 AM

Anyways, if you want to look for my crappy first level itís called Left is Best!

I don't think it's possible to search by name. Post the level's ID, and I'll give it a try when I return from Stockholm on Sunday. smile

I barely managed to give the game a try before I had to leave yesterday, but at least unlocked almost all the tools.
198  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 08, 2015, 06:42:12 PM
I think I'm going to spend the majority of my time in this game creating levels instead of playing them, as that's what I enjoy the most. Not to mention the fact that of all the levels I've seen created by those with access to the preview version of the game (and I've seen a LOT of them), the good ones can be counted on one hand with fingers to spare.

As I've watched YouTube videos of people making horrible, horrible levels while honestly thinking that they're making something good, I've come to realize once again how everyone's a designer, but almost nobody is a good designer. People lose perspective of good gameplay as soon as they have to make it themselves. Most levels people make in this game end up being ridiculously hard without offsetting it with fun in the way a Mario game should, and I don't get the impression that it ends up this way because the creators want their levels to be hard. It just ends up that way because they lose perspective the instant they put that first building block down on the screen. They would benefit greatly from playing one of those old Mario games again and looking at how their levels are designed.

A couple of tips to avoid the common pitfalls I see the worst creators (ie. most of them) make:

  • Don't stack enemies on top of each other. If you have to stack them, don't just do so because you think your level is easy. The original Mario games almost never stacked enemies, and for good reason. A bunch of stacked enemies do not make a good boss at the end of the level, despite what most previewers seem to think.
  • Stick to a theme. Pick a couple of enemies and use those for the majority of your level. Good Mario levels have only a small handful of enemy types in them. If you're tempted to add half or more of the available enemy types to one single level, you're probably on the wrong track.
  • Pixel perfect precision jumping isn't fun. It may seem easy when you're creating your level and playtesting that small section alone, but unless there's something about your jump that makes it fun, give the player a little room for error. Don't force him to jump across half the screen only to land on a single block at the other side. Either shorten the length of the jump or add more blocks in the landing zone.
  • Good design comes from good pacing. The best levels give you a mix of high intensity and low intensity to create contrast and give you a little breathing room between difficult sections. It can be as little as the opportunity to send a shell flying into a bunch of enemies between two platforming sections to blow off some steam, or it can be something as basic as a pipe you can go down to collect a bunch of coins without ever being in danger.
  • Remember that there are no checkpoints in this game. Try not to put your most difficult section at the very end for that reason, as the last thing you want to do is to have the player repeat 90% of your level over and over again until they can do it blind, only to fail repeatedly at something stupidly hard at the very last screen. Long levels should have margin for error and slightly lower intensity to keep frustration to a minimum. If you want a high intensity level, make it short.
  • You're an expert at your own level, and you know its every trick. If you keep dying over and over again to a section of the level while playtesting, take the hint. It's probably way too difficult. Give the player a powerup before the difficult section, or reduce its intensity somewhat. Furthermore, what appears easy to you may be incredibly difficult to someone else who doesn't make the same assumptions about a situation that you made when creating it. Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who knows nothing of what's just ahead.
  • Don't use invisible blocks. Just don't. If you have to, take a cue from the old Mario games and use it as a secret bonus block in a position where someone could reasonably expect to find a secret, and never as an obstacle. Kaizo-style levels are fun to watch on YouTube, but they aren't fun to play.
  • Some enemies are traditionally more annoying than others, and were often used as unofficial minibosses or major obstacles in the original Mario games. Use them sparingly, and make sure you know why you're using them. In Super Mario Maker, these enemies are Bloopers (the squids that follow you around underwater), Bowser (obviously), Bowser Jr., Hammer Bros, Lakitus, and Magikoopas. Having said that, Magikoopas are less of a threat in this game than they used to be, as they don't respawn here. Still, use them with care.
  • Never ever make gotchas. A gotcha is a lethal situation that can only be avoided if you know about it in advance, forcing the player to use trial and error to complete your level. This is never fun for the player. In other words, don't send Thwomps down from the ceiling where the player can't see them. Don't offer a choice of two doors where one leads to certain death. Don't do anything that can kill or damage the player in a way he can't predict, no matter his skill level. Trying to place "clever" hints in advance is unlikely to help, as what seems obvious to you as a designer may be completely opaque to the player.
  • Are you trying to make a level for Mario newbies to enjoy? Make sure your level can be completed without using the run button, since running and jumping at the same time is a skill that new players struggle to master.
  • Don't litter your level with sound effects. They make it look cheap and tacky.

You can disregard any of the tips mentioned above, but you have to understand why you're doing it and what you're going to achieve by doing so. Thinking outside the box is a great way to create truly unique levels, but you must understand how to think inside the box first. Generally speaking, if you don't understand a rule, you don't understand how to break it properly either.

Personally, I'm going to try to create levels that could fit into the original games (Super Mario World mostly, as that's my favorite one). I want the players to feel as if my levels could have been official Mario levels. If I can do that, then I'm going to go a little more crazy.

Remember, you can only publish 10 levels at first. If people don't enjoy and star those levels, you'll never be able to publish more, as the amount of levels you can publish is tied to the number of stars you receive from other players.

Edit: One more thing: Don't make everything huge with the mushroom just for the heck of it. Huge enemies have a purpose in this game, but are at their most interesting when used very sparingly. As it is, all the bad creators seem to make the majority of their enemies huge for no reason at all.
199  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (9/8) on: September 08, 2015, 04:27:33 AM
Super Mario Maker for Wii U.
200  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) on: September 02, 2015, 02:46:47 PM
Reviews are starting to come out (including from our benefactors), and they're all very, very positive. Seems like I didn't make a mistake in buying a Wii U for this game. smile
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