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Episode 2 Discussion Thread

The second SMBX collab!

Name

Poll ended at 1 year ago

A Super Mario Bros X Thing Episode 3 (PTTS = Ep1)
0
No votes
A Super Mario Bros X Thing Episode 2 (PTTS = Ep0)
1
7%
A Second Mario Bros X Thing Episode 2
11
73%
A Third Mario Bros X Thing
3
20%
 
Total votes: 15

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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 1 year ago

WestonSmith wrote:
World 3: Planet Cholla - The standard desert planet. Well, until you find your way into Demo's Journey Through Time. Since the level ends in the past, it would be SUPER cool if that caused the entire map to revert to the past as well. Suddenly, the desert planet might be lush and full of life once again.
Really like this idea, and it would work super well with the town I have in mind, if we can pull it off.
WestonSmith wrote:
World 7: Planet Cannabis - Really, any "trippy" plant name would work, I just went for the obvious one. I'm not sure how a WTF world works, so I can't comment anything past the name.
I would be tempted to do something like set this world in hyperspace. Would be cool to have something slightly different than just "planet with X theme", and a planet situated in hyperspace could be sufficiently interesting, and account for all the weirdness going on.
WestonSmith wrote:
World 8: Planet Redwood - The tallest trees seem fitting for the Sky Planet. It'd be cool to pull a reverse SMB3, and have the player start in the clouds before finding a tower to work their way down (Descent of Nine, possibly?). The ground planet could be the more traditional end game planet, with the dark gloomy stuff.
I don't think the Descent of Nine will fit here. It's a postgame level really, and is more about a metaphysical descent than a physical one. It's not really the right fit for this section.

That said, I'm sure we won't struggle to find a level with some downwards verticality to use. This idea is neat.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

Whatever names we use, let's try not to use "Planet" as much as possible in the naming, like with Ep1 (and SMB3, for that matter, which had "___ Land" for world names)
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby ztarwuff » 1 year ago

Does it have to be a world? Why can't we have one gigantic map with continents linked together. That way if somebody does get trapped in a "world" they don't like because it's too difficult to be fun, they can use the "I'll park where I want" cheat code to escape.

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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby WasabiJellyfish » 1 year ago

Yeah give them just the planet names but not prefixed with Planet. Like you could use the scientific name for a redwood or something.

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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby pholtos » 1 year ago

Place, Area, Domain, Circle, Arena, Province, Realm, Field, Sector

Have a bunch of potential things.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

ztarwuff wrote:Does it have to be a world? Why can't we have one gigantic map with continents linked together. That way if somebody does get trapped in a "world" they don't like because it's too difficult to be fun, they can use the "I'll park where I want" cheat code to escape.
The idea could work, but you should have left out your reasoning. We should try to make the episode good enough so that players won't want to cheat in the first place. Besides, all .wld files are linked anyway, so if a player really wants to, he/she can cheat to skip worlds even in episodes like Analog Funk.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

There's also the fact that we'll allow players to leave worlds before finishing them this time around, thanks to lua.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Mikkofier » 1 year ago

Some fancy name suggstions
World 1: Sector Arcadia
World 2: Sector Borealis
World 3: Sector Calanshio
World 4: Sector Denisova
World 5: Sector Eridu
World 6: Sector Fuath
World 7: Sector Gleti
World 8: Sector Huracan
Postgame: Sector Ialdagorth

This is mostly just an excuse to give things fancy names (they're in alphabetical order too, just because). Feel free to ignore.

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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby ztarwuff » 1 year ago

Imaynotbehere4long wrote:
ztarwuff wrote:Does it have to be a world? Why can't we have one gigantic map with continents linked together. That way if somebody does get trapped in a "world" they don't like because it's too difficult to be fun, they can use the "I'll park where I want" cheat code to escape.
The idea could work, but you should have left out your reasoning. We should try to make the episode good enough so that players won't want to cheat in the first place. Besides, all .wld files are linked anyway, so if a player really wants to, he/she can cheat to skip worlds even in episodes like Analog Funk.
Good point. Still, my other point still stands. Heck, you don't even have to have continents either. Just one big sprawling world map.

Alternatively, here's another idea. Have all the maps really similar and pretend they're all the same world but in different time zones. I mean, our Earth has gone through so many different climates. Ice Ages, the Sahara used to be jungle etc.

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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby raocow » 1 year ago

huh, the same planet through difference instances of time IS kinda interesting and pretty different...
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

Okay, I have a question I'd like to ask everyone who sees this post, as SAJewers and I are at an impasse once again.

Basically, our disagreement is on how the episode should start. SAJewers thinks that the episode should start with an all-purpose tutorial like this:
SAJewers wrote:Show the controls, then fade into an empty level section where the player can not die. the player has to exit that section, where the main tutorial begins, and the player learns all the basics of smbx.

The tutorial for each character should be somewhat brief and not overstay its welcome at all, while teaching everything that the player will need to know. Whatever character is first has to include tutorial stuff on even the general things of smbx; the most basic stuff has to be in the tutorial area for the first character, while slightly more advanced stuff can be placed in other character's sections.
However, I think that the episode should begin with a level-level that, although the player can still die, is easy enough for first-time players to be able to figure out the controls on his/her own (*cough cough* The Post Production Void *cough cough*). After all, the player would have to know where at least the jump button and movement keys are to be able to navigate the start-up menu and begin the episode in the first place. Maybe we can even have different levels be tutorials for different characters (mine is for Sheath, obviously; someone else can claim one other character, another person could claim two characters for one level, etc.), and such levels would be judged not as general levels, but as tutorial levels for said characters.

Thoughts?
SAJewers wrote:Edit: also, we really shouldn't be talking about stuff like this right now. We should be focusing on making and reviewing levels, until get get a general base of levels to work with.
While I see your point, my idea for the tutorial(s) would fall under "making and reviewing levels," (as said levels could be made by any user; it just has to be accepted) which is why I'd like to go ahead and begin this particular discussion about the tutorial(s).
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

Imaynotbehere4long wrote: While I see your point, my idea for the tutorial(s) would fall under "making and reviewing levels," (as said levels could be made by any user; it just has to be accepted) which is why I'd like to go ahead and begin this particular discussion about the tutorial(s).
And it shouldn't be at all. Any tutorial is very important that it is done right. It should not be just another level. It needs to be carefully crafted to teach the player.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

SAJewers wrote:
Imaynotbehere4long wrote: While I see your point, my idea for the tutorial(s) would fall under "making and reviewing levels," (as said levels could be made by any user; it just has to be accepted) which is why I'd like to go ahead and begin this particular discussion about the tutorial(s).
And it shouldn't be at all. Any tutorial is very important that it is done right. It should not be just another level. It needs to be carefully crafted to teach the player.
Hence my suggestion of the alternate judging criteria; the same criteria that Pyro and WestonSmith used to judge my level (I assume). The level creator could put "tutorial for [character]" in the Restrictions slot so judges would know to judge it as a tutorial and not just another level.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

It wouldn't need judging criteria. It would go in once everyone was happy with it.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby ztarwuff » 1 year ago

Imaynotbehere4long wrote:Maybe we can even have different levels be tutorials for different characters (mine is for Sheath, obviously; someone else can claim one other character, another person could claim two characters for one level, etc.), and such levels would be judged not as general levels, but as tutorial levels for said characters.

Thoughts?
Well, my suggestion was to have different levels. In a single level, you have to cram five different characters into something small. It gets rushed.

If you have a single level, you can devote time to each character. Plus it feels less like a tutorial.

Mind you, remember how I brought up my level, MAKL Vanilla, as an example? Well, I never designed that as a tutorial. I set out to create a vanilla asset level that utilised Kood's mechanics. So, the thing that we should be doing is looking through the levels submitted and seeing which ones make the best tutorial levels. If none fit the criteria, then make some. If something fits the criteria, try to tailor it to fit in with the beginning.

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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

ztarwuff wrote:Mind you, remember how I brought up my level, MAKL Vanilla, as an example? Well, I never designed that as a tutorial. I set out to create a vanilla asset level that utilised Kood's mechanics. So, the thing that we should be doing is looking through the levels submitted and seeing which ones make the best tutorial levels.
I'm open to that idea, though that would be reliant on the judges' willingness to comb through the levels looking for something that could work as a tutorial for each character.
ztarwuff wrote:If none fit the criteria, then make some.
My idea was more "if none fit the criteria, mention it to the Talkhaus and see if anyone wants to make one. If so, then judge the tutorial levels accordingly; if not, then make some." After all, some nobody might be able to do a better job than the project leads or veterans; you never know.
ztarwuff wrote:If something fits the criteria, try to tailor it to fit in with the beginning.
You'd probably have to contact the level's creator for permission to turn said levels into tutorials. Some people might not want their levels to be tutorials while others would be more than happy to give it a go.

Some of my hypothetical situations might not occur, but it's always a good idea to be certain about these things. Like I said, I am open to the idea.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

To answer your question, I'm not sure there are any that would fit. Maybe Frolic, with tweaking, but otherwise, no.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby docopoper » 1 year ago

If you're looking for inspiration for a good tutorial look at Shovel Knight's first level, it pulls of the "secretly a tutorial" thing really well.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 1 year ago

docopoper wrote:If you're looking for inspiration for a good tutorial look at Shovel Knight's first level, it pulls of the "secretly a tutorial" thing really well.
I also want to point out that SMB World 1-1 is also a tutorial. It's often used as an example in the industry of an ideal tutorial level. There are studies and papers written about it because of this fact.

Here's a neat video that summarises a small section of the level and how it teaches the player (pretty much everything said in this video was confirmed by the level designers). If at all possible, we should aim for this style of tutorial (Megaman X's intro stage also does an amazing job), as it's much more fun for the player than a "press Z to jump" type tutorial, and is often more effective.


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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Rockythechao » 1 year ago

OH MAN, CONVEYANCE and dagnabbit Hoeloe you dastardly ninja fiend you



Heck, it's probably in everyone's best interest to go re-watch all the videos in the level design-related threads.

But yeah, I don't see why imay's level couldn't be the first of five character-specific tutorial levels. Not saying we have to or should do that (I've already proposed a bunch of other ways the level could be used in the game over in the story thread), but here's one way we can make it work.

1 - Keep the scrolling intro text, it's neato. Just make sure it only happens once per new game, whether that be via a midpoint or lua or whatever.
2 - The very next screen the player sees should have visible key prompts. Just, like, floating arrow keys and the jump key via Graphics.loadImage() and Graphics.drawImageToScene (). No text, just the main movement buttons.
3 - More Lua shenanigans to make the level safer without necessarily removing the illusion of danger. Maybe keep death in but prevent it from having larger consequences.
4 - Make other levels that teach the other characters' abilities; ideally these wouldn't re-teach concepts the player already learned through PPV but still highlight the differences between characters' physics and mechanics.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

Rockythechao wrote:1 - Keep the scrolling intro text, it's neato. Just make sure it only happens once per new game, whether that be via a midpoint or lua or whatever.
Well, I already have a checkpoint do that, and I have a restriction to make the level inaccessible after it's beaten, so I'd say that box is checked.
Rockythechao wrote:2 - The very next screen the player sees should have visible key prompts. Just, like, floating arrow keys and the jump key via Graphics.loadImage() and Graphics.drawImageToScene (). No text, just the main movement buttons.
Or I could just, you know, use the keyboard graphic from Episode 1's tutorial (or a similar sprite); no Lua necessary. It wouldn't be too much trouble for me to add that if I had to.
Rockythechao wrote:3 - More Lua shenanigans to make the level safer without necessarily removing the illusion of danger. Maybe keep death in but prevent it from having larger consequences.
But I already save Super Leeks on death by virtue of them being SMW stars; what more do you want?
Rockythechao wrote:4 - Make other levels that teach the other characters' abilities; ideally these wouldn't re-teach concepts the player already learned through PPV but still highlight the differences between characters' physics and mechanics.
Hey, that's basically what I suggested a few posts ago to begin this discussion! It's always nice to see more people come out in support for an idea you have.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

Imaynotbehere4long wrote:
Rockythechao wrote:4 - Make other levels that teach the other characters' abilities; ideally these wouldn't re-teach concepts the player already learned through PPV but still highlight the differences between characters' physics and mechanics.
Hey, that's basically what I suggested a few posts ago to begin this discussion! It's always nice to see more people come out in support for an idea you have.
and that's basically what I said earlier, the tutorial needs to encompass all playable characters, and the first character needs to include basic stuff about smbx. Whether or not it's multiple levels or 1 large level split into sections is irrelevant. what matters is that the player is taught is a cohesive, straightforward manner, and I don't think PPV does that.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

SAJewers wrote:what matters is that the player is taught is a cohesive, straightforward manner, and I don't think PPV does that.
Again, I ask: what do I have to do to accomplish that?
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

The fundamental problem for me is that I don't think it can be done without remaking the entire level from scratch. Things like the level currently going right-to-left (when most levels go left-to-right), or entering other sections in pits (the player should be trained that pits are bad). There's nothing on coins, lives, powerups. There's nothing on how fairy mode works (as in flight mechanics), how climbing stuff works, how basic attacking as Sheath works. One could also argue that visual signage is a bad way to show the player how to do things.

EDIT: Like, with a few changes, PPV could work as a second half "prove your knowledge"-type thing, but I feel it needs a better start, and should probably use lua saving stuff over inflating the leek counter with 8 or 9 leeks. Also, there's almost certainly better music we could use.
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Re: Episode 2 Discussion Thread

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

Okay, I've been thinking about what you said, and while I do agree with a few things now that you mention them, I also think you're not giving first-time players enough credit:
SAJewers wrote:
the level currently going right-to-left (when most levels go left-to-right)

I don't think this is that big an issue, especially since my level makes the player face left as a subtle indication that he/she has to go that way, and most other levels will have the player on the left facing right as an indication that the player will have to go the other way. It will let players know that both types of levels are possibilities right from the start, especially players who are used to traditional Mario side-scrollers.

SAJewers wrote:
entering other sections in pits (the player should be trained that pits are bad).

...all right, you got me. I can always replace them with warp pipes, too.

SAJewers wrote:
There's nothing on coins, lives, powerups.

Do any of the Mario games have anything on them, like, at all? Especially lives: they're always placed in difficult to reach, or at least out-of-the-way, locations, like I did with the 3-up in my level. I guess I can place a coin trail and carrot at the start, though I don't think it would hurt to save higher-tier power-ups for another character's tutorial level.

SAJewers wrote:
There's nothing on how fairy mode works (as in flight mechanics),

Scenario: You're playing a side-scrolling platformer, when suddenly your character falls down a shaft, collides with a thing, and suddenly transforms into a character with wings and stops falling. Keep in mind you never lose control of the player during this.

What I'm trying to say is that flight mechanics in any side-scroller where doing nothing doesn't cause you to fall always control the same, and even players unfamiliar with this control setup will be able to figure out what to do easily due to the fact that the character stops falling. It's intuitive enough that I don't really have to do anything except force the player to become a fairy.

The most I might have to do is lower the left wall so players won't accidentally fly into the lava when experimenting with the flight mechanics, but really, that's about it.

SAJewers wrote:
how climbing stuff works,

Funnily enough, when I was making the new sections to get the SMW stars to work properly, I tried to think of ways to let the player go back up without having to jump up blocks, yet ladders never occurred to me. I'll add some.

SAJewers wrote:
how basic attacking as Sheath works.

Not only is that activated by literally a single button push, but the second flashback in the opening shows Sheath performing that attack to break a glass wall. Now that I think about it, I could add a glass wall at the start to force the player to [figure out how to] attack with Sheath; maybe even add the Ep. 1 keyboard as an extra measure.

SAJewers wrote:
One could also argue that visual signage is a bad way to show the player how to do things.

Is there a better way that doesn't involve flat out telling the player what he/she has to do via text? I think that's something we'd all like to avoid.

SAJewers wrote:
use lua saving stuff over inflating the leek counter with 8 or 9 leeks.

I don't know; I think teaching the player about leeks early on is a good idea. Not only will the player see that they add to a total on the HUD, but if the player dies, he/she will see that they were saved on death, and will know that another level that has leeks won't require you to beat the level again to keep them.

SAJewers wrote:
Also, there's almost certainly better music we could use.

Yeah...I kinda built the level around the original Shades, as I wanted another subtle callback to Episode 1. The decision to use Mordi's remix was solely so I knew that it wouldn't trigger content ID. I have plans to look for a better fitting remix, though I'm not finding much so far.
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