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A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.3

The second SMBX collab!
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Imaynotbehere4long
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

Posting this here as I believe it will be noticed and acted upon quicker.

Okay, I specifically wait for months before playing a featured episode so that all the issues get ironed out before I play, so when I come across an error that's present even after all that time, it makes me pretty upset. Anyway, I have a bug to report in Town 4:
I have a tendency to duck-jump when making relatively long jumps in the presence of a ceiling, but when I duck-jumped here, I slid into the notch in the wall due to my momentum and I got stuck. The most annoying part about this is that I had already collected 4 of the 6 missing furbies, meaning I'd have to redo the 20-30 minutes I already spent wandering around the town to collect them. To fix this, just replace that notch with normal wall tiles.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Willhart » 1 year ago

Imaynotbehere4long wrote:Posting this here as I believe it will be noticed and acted upon quicker.

Okay, I specifically wait for months before playing a featured episode so that all the issues get ironed out before I play, so when I come across an error that's present even after all that time, it makes me pretty upset. Anyway, I have a bug to report in Town 4:
I have a tendency to duck-jump when making relatively long jumps in the presence of a ceiling, but when I duck-jumped here, I slid into the notch in the wall due to my momentum and I got stuck. The most annoying part about this is that I had already collected 4 of the 6 missing furbies, meaning I'd have to redo the 20-30 minutes I already spent wandering around the town to collect them. To fix this, just replace that notch with normal wall tiles.
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It's weird how no one else who has played or playtested this game has reported/noticed that one before. I'm sure that one can be fixed, whenever we update this episode again.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

I'll fix that once I get Shemp's music stuff worked out.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Wohlstand » 1 year ago

SAJewers wrote:I'll fix that once I get Shemp's music stuff worked out.
Are you resampled non-44100 hz musics?
You can apply this script to entire episode (put script into "worlds" folder and run "MusicFixer.bat"), it will automatically resample all non-44100 hz MP3's to 44100 hz to don't have troubles with LunaLUA in future.

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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

The "Shemp's msuic stuff" is replacing all his music and jingles. I still need a few more.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

Oh, speaking of music, that reminds me: The custom song in Swimming In The Rain wouldn't play for me. The song is there, but it has too much Multi-Modal Reflection Sorting to play in the engine provided (without the SDL2 Mixer).

Putting the song through this audio converter makes it work just fine.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

I encountered another oversight today: Although some towns will auto-filter the player to Demo, Town 5 does not. This wouldn't be so much of an issue if breaking the rocks didn't break the level:
Plus, the grassy things stay there when their respective blocks are destroyed, which looks awkward. All you have to do to fix it is put each one on a layer that is hidden when its respective block is destroyed (and this isn't a Sheath-only issue since there's a live shell in the town as well).
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It shouldn't be too much trouble to put actual blocks around the breakable blocks to prevent this from happening. Did you guys just not expect anyone to play as Sheath by choice?
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

It's actually something I've known about, but just never got around to fixing.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

I noticed a few graphical oddities in the credits: First of all, some of the characters in the CAST OF CHARACTERS are grainy while others are perfectly fine. The strangest part is that some of the grainy characters are default graphics, like the Catnips, so I have no idea how this happened. I know it would be super-tedious to go through the whole sprite-swap and replace all the grainy graphics, but it's also something that can be fixed easily.

Second, I noticed that the credits appeared behind the propeller FGO, and when I first saw that, my first thought was "you could have set foreground=1 to fix that." When I looked at the credit's txt file, I noticed that you had set foreground=0, and I assume you did this so that you could have the solid black foreground objects crop screen, which I assume you did so you wouldn't have the credits slide directly behind the HUD (as there are plenty of blocks left that can be used to fill the top and bottom of the screen). Here's my question: I know this episode uses LunaDLL, so why not use the LunaDLL code that hides the HUD? That would let you remove the screen-cropping FGOs and allow the credits to appear in front of the propeller. Is this specific version of LunaDLL not compatible with the HUD-hiding code, or was the screen-cropping a thematic choice that I'm missing the context behind?

Third, I noticed that there were two black squares beside the Rayman bongo, and these black squares would appear in front of Star-child Demo's glow, looking awkward. At first, I thought that these squares were place-markers of some sort that had been accidentally left in, but when I opened the level in the editor, I noticed that they were part of the sizable that makes up the side of the Rayman bongo. Apparently, the width of the sizable had been set to 3 instead of 2, and since the sizable's sprite-swap doesn't go wider than 2 units, the black square appears in the non-sprite-swapped area of the sizables. Decreasing the width of the sizables to 2 will fix this (select the sizable, then click left on the Block Size arrows).

Lastly, when I opened the level in the editor, I noticed that the BGO that says "ep.1 END" is on the Default layer, meaning it won't scroll with the rest of the Walkin layer. Because of this, at the end of the credits level, all it shows Sheath hanging there by herself holding the sacred turtle dove (which I thought was intentional at first). It shouldn't be much trouble to go back and put the BGO back on the Walkin layer.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

The ability to hide the HUD was introduced after this was released.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby docopoper » 1 year ago

I'm pretty sure I mentioned the Rayman drums graphical glitch twice during testing. :P
No blame, the game turned out awesome enough that I can't really complain about that.
I think the bigger problem with the credits is that one of the level creators was left out of it.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

I'd like to fix that, but it's really tedious to fix.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby docopoper » 1 year ago

I imagine. Though you might be able to do it easily at a slight cost to the formatting.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

After I finished Zebraspace and went back to look for any leeks I missed, I encountered an odd bug: when I made it to the desert town (I missed it the first time), attempting to enter the level triggers Runtime Error 11: Division by Zero. This confused me, as I only knew it to appear when the player enters a warp with a Venus Fire Trap on it; however, on the map, it's just a normal entrance, not a pipe entrance. Having no idea what to do, I tried experimenting: I tried removing the LunaDLL file, I tried removing the spaces in the txt files, I tried giving a delay to the Level - Start event, I tried slightly repositioning the Player Start Location, I tried making it so that the player enters the level via warp instead of through the normal start point, I tried moving the entrance warp to Section 3, and I even tried removing all the txt files from the level, but each time, the error still popped up. The strangest thing is that the error only appears during game-play; it can be opened in the editor just fine. At this point, all I can think to do to try and fix this error would be to recreate the level from scratch, but that would take the fun out of exploring the town.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

All right, I finally 100%ed the episode (unless there's something after the relay level), so I can finally give this a proper review!

And now, my review of Analog Funk:

I'm sure many people have said this already, but it bears repeating: this episode is amazing. The world map's graphics look professional and realistic, the new default music is enjoyable to listen to (even outside game-play), and the most impressive part of all: both of these aspects, as far as I can tell, were made exclusively for this episode (or ASMBXT, ASMT, or the cancelled A2MT, but still)! The animated parts of the cut-scenes (where things happened fluidly and the "camera" "zoomed"), and even the high quality images in the slideshow of the sisters' backstory, made me especially proud, as I always knew those kinds of things could be done, but I had never seen them done before, nor had I the capacity of doing them myself. All I can suggest regarding the cut-scenes is to have the settings' "zoomed-in" counterparts be more detailed than just actual zoomed-in sprites, but I can understand that finding someone capable of doing and willing to do such high-quality animation for a free fan-game would be a daunting task.

Of course, visuals and music are nothing if the levels aren't good, but all the levels (with a few exceptions; I'll get to them later) were really well made, and whenever I died, it always felt like it was my fault (again, with a few exceptions, even aside from my previous bug reports). I only have two issues to bring up with the levels as a whole: the general difficulty of the levels seemed to fluctuate as I went through the episode, even aside from the fact that I played every level I could as Sheath (who broke some levels and made others more difficult than they were intended). The second is that the location of the Pandamona battle (and possibly other story-centric levels) are placed out of the player's way. I completely missed the Pandamona boss fight on my initial playthrough (as it was on a secret path), so the event that caused Pandamona to be freed from her mind control and destroy the leek-powered machine in the ending didn't take place, creating a plot hole. I know that the plot isn't meant to be taken seriously, but that seemed like a relatively serious moment, and the rest of the plot makes sure to establish the means of the events beforehand (like the Ambiguously Cannon being used before Demo & friends destroy the world, or Mishi not being mentioned after she erases herself from existence, or even the fact that Demo fighting the sisters frees them from their mind control).

Although most of the levels were well made, the bosses were all quite disappointing (with two exceptions). Every single one of them were just sprite-swaps of one of the pre-programmed AIs (albeit with a minor difference in how the boss is fought). The final boss was pretty neat, (even though it was basically just another Mother Brain and Rinkas battle), but all the other bosses (with one other exception) quickly became boring once I realized what boss NPC they sprite-swapped. Heck, the boss of Zebraspace was just a Mouser and a couple of Snifit generators! How was this deemed difficult enough to be post-game? Honestly, the Rockman-4-Minus-Infinity Wily boss was the most impressive, and that wasn't even one of the main bosses! It has been shown in multiple featured episodes before this episode's release that true custom bosses (using layers, events, and sprite-swapped NPCs representing health) were possible, even without LunaDLL, so why nobody thought to make one of them, I don't know. Heck, even I can make custom bosses.

And now, the flawed levels:
For starters, Johnson McCain and The Communists is by far the hardest end-world castle, even more difficult than A Final Thing (Name Pending) and The Tower of Dr. Zalost. The main reason for this is because you make the player make relatively precise jumps while on moving layers (which, in the first section, abruptly change direction), and first-time players who aren't used to dealing with moving layer physics will be caught off-guard and be killed. I recommend making a level that introduces such moving layers in a safe zone, and have it placed at some point before Johnson McCain and The Communists; that way, first-time players can practice and get used to moving layer physics without the risk of getting killed and being forced to re-do the level again. Also, although Lakituvich's worm projectiles fire at a set pace, the player has to run away from lightning-lava and won't be able to plan around what's ahead, so first-time players may end up with a worm being generated in just the spot they need to jump to or are jumping to, and take an unfair hit.

Second: Qraestolia Caverns. The "push down twice to change characters" is a neat gimmick, and the secrets were hidden well, but the level itself is SUPER LONG AND BORING. The majority of the level consisted of the flattest block placement I've ever seen, interrupted with the occasional empty vertical shaft. Because the block placement is literally just a row of blocks most of the time, the player can basically just run forward and jump over the occasional enemy, as it's impossible for SMBX enemies to pose any kind of threat on flat block placement. The enemies were designed to be in a platformer; they need platforms to work off of. Heck, Giant Egg, the first level in this episode, is more challenging than this level! Seriously, the only reason this is as far into the episode as it is is because of the atmosphere; if you swapped out the graphics and music for something more subdued, this would have ended up in World 1.

On the other end of the difficulty spectrum: The Actions of Syo & Bon. Why was this accepted??? Not only is it a copy of Syobon Action's first level (which is itself a copy of SMB1's 1-1), but the level relies strictly on either trial and error, or knowing what happens in Syobon Action. Do I even have to explain why trial-and-error hazards are bad level design?

Speaking of trial-and-error: Retroville. Not the whole thing; just the Tetris part. It starts off all-right, but when the blocks fill up about half the screen, the player doesn't have enough time to react to the falling obstacles and basically has to memorize where everything falls in order to get past that part.

In conclusion:

Although there were a few stand-out bad levels (and the fact that most of the bosses didn't have much effort put into them), the bad-levels wouldn't stand out as much if the rest of the episode weren't as good as it is. Honestly, this is one of the best SMBX episodes I've played, and this is coming from a guy who only plays featured episodes (except on request). However, I would like to see the flaws I've mentioned fixed, or at least not duplicated in the sequel.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Willhart » 1 year ago

That was a good review. Here are some things that came to my mind while reading it.

Trial and error was not big enough critisism to have a level not to be accepted, as long as it was short enough. Also all kinds of references to video games "even remakes" were seen as a good thing, since they tend to be things not done on this engine before (Lemmings, Rayman, Syobon). You could do pretty much whatever you wanted as long as you got approved.

Regarding the bosses, it was more important for them to represent their character than to be impressive. We had a set amount of predesigned siblings we wanted to include to the game for story/fandom reasons, so a lot of them were done via collaboration. As a result, some of them were fairly low on quality and required tons of fixing/balancing afterwards before the release.

It's also good to note that the levels were placed more by the theme than the difficulty. Easy levels were used as breathers between harder ones, and some of the level were even balanced to fit better into their selected worlds (especially on the early game).

I don't actually know how the sequel will end up, but hopefully we have learned something from our previous work. I'm also happy that you liked the cutscenes, since those took a long time to make and write for a lot of people.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

Willhart wrote:Trial and error was not big enough critisism to have a level not to be accepted, as long as it was short enough.
Wow, really? To me, that's the worst thing a level can do (aside from not work and/or be flat-out impossible) since that means the level is unintuitive to everyone, and it basically requires the player to memorize where all of the cheap shots are, making the level completely devoid of any fun, regardless of length.

Stealing level design from something else is a close second, since that means the level creator couldn't be bothered to even try to make something original (especially if it's a Mario level that's stolen, as this is a Mario level-editing engine), so you can imagine how much I hate it when both of those things are combined. If the concept of the game is used to make something original, like with the Lemmings (as far as I can tell; I haven't really played Lemmings) or Rayman levels, that's different.

Anyway, an addendum to my review:

The hint books in the library (I think it was the northwest tower) were good additions to the episode, as some of the leeks were hidden a bit too well. I only have two complaints: first, it was rather annoying to have to go aaaaaallll the way back to the Castle of No Significance to consult the hints (it'd be better to have them in the hub). Second, some of the hints didn't hint to the location of leeks, and it was really annoying when I found a level's secret only to access a power-up that I could easily get from one of the towns or a shortcut to a level I had already beaten; it felt like I had wasted my time and accomplished nothing. Also, what was the point of the library's opposing wing? Was all of that just random stuff raocow has said over time, completely lost on newcomers such as myself?

By the way, adding in the "music cheat" that cites where the custom songs are from is also a great addition. I always hate it when episodes don't properly cite their songs, so having something where they're not only cited, but can be seen in-game as well is a big plus for me.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Willhart » 1 year ago

Imaynotbehere4long wrote:
Willhart wrote:Trial and error was not big enough critisism to have a level not to be accepted, as long as it was short enough.
Wow, really? To me, that's the worst thing a level can do (aside from not work and/or be flat-out impossible) since that means the level is unintuitive to everyone, and it basically requires the player to memorize where all of the cheap shots are, making the level completely devoid of any fun, regardless of length.
Different difficulty works for different people. I agree that the Cyobon style gameplay is not for everyone.

That rayman level was almost exact copy of the existing level too, made to both challenge myself with the limits of the graphics and to make raocow play something rayman related. I'm sure that these levels still took a lot of effort to make, since those original games can never be truly converted, and there are often a lot of details to be taken care of. Those levels would have been better of course if they actually did something more unique/original with their resources.

The library was added during the last months too, and I feel like it could have been a lot more useful if it was better organized. Also the second half of it was technically kind of useless, but it did give us an excuse to look for funny quotes to add to the game. I believe there is also some sense of wonderment on experiencing something that was not made for me.

The music cheat was implemented by Sturg who is one of the judges on Maglx2. We did take care to make sure that we knew the source of every song used in this game. We did have problems with finding some of them since this was a fairly late addition too, so for the sequel we are trying to keep track of them from the start.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby docopoper » 1 year ago

Don't forget about the Calleoca fight. That was the most technically advanced level in the game and took me ages to design. For example Calleoca is actually a sign post and has a custom coded hitbox that once you enter an invisible firebar is teleported into you for one frame to hurt you. :P Though I can see why you wouldn't call it a boss fight.

Funnily enough all the levels you picked out as being bad quality would have been rated as a bit below average quality before QA. It's actually hard to grasp just how much work was done during QA. There were A LOT of bad levels, far far worse than the levels you pointed out. During QA they were all converted and sanded down into being forgettable filler levels. There was a lot of political pressure not to remove levels once they had made it through the acceptance process (though a few were). The acceptance process itself involved far too many levels for the same set of people to approve all levels, so if I remember correctly your level had to be approved by three judges to be above a minimum standard.

Qraestolia Caverns is my least favourite level in the completed game, which I feel bad about because it was made by the project lead, and he is awesome and actually made some other levels I liked. Qraestolia Caverns feels like that part of some games where they have a maze for no reason that hogs a huge amount of play time with very little engagement. Johnson McCain and The Communists is another funny one because it's a great level, but I already got it nerfed twice during QA. The way QA tended to work was that we kept finding that one world was significantly worse than the other worlds, I remember world 3, 2 and 5 being particularly bad, so pretty much all the QA effort went into fixing the levels in those worlds. This had the effect that bad levels sitting in predominantly good worlds went unnoticed. There then came a certain point where we all mostly gave into attrition and QA died down, but it went strong for over half a year. The project coming about in this way lead to a game that had levels with a lot of unrestrained creativity and a much lower level of painfully bad levels than ASMBXT. In fact, Episode 1 was only slightly better quality than ASMBXT before QA, and the final boss was painfully unfun.

Also yeah, the amount of music and graphics work done for this game was insane and constantly amazes me because a lot of it felt like it happened in parallel to the QA rush, so it actually kind of caught me off guard as the project was progressing. I think this is aided because I refused to learn the story until the beta (and oh was it worth it, because the cutscenes are so fricken funny).
The first thing I would do with infinite power would be to make myself a cave where I could look at my shadow forever.

Image <- Go team Yeah Doctor Shemp.!
Image <- That's everyone being nice to me. ^^

I made a game called Utter Confusion! Play it! :D
It's a lot of fun and has been incredibly popular at every indie game dev party I've brought it to.

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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

That level I think I wanted to work on it more, but I never really got around to it. Also, you can't really zoom out, so it kinda made it hard to design on that larger scale since you could only see that the player can normally see (unlike, say, Lunar Magic, where you can see more than just the the what the player will see).
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby docopoper » 1 year ago

I don't think it would be received nearly as badly if the leek was easier to find. That's really the maze part of the level. The rest of it you at least signpost and lead the player through. If the game is ever patched some day Id say that'd be a thing to fix. Though there doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm for patching the game, so it might just remain.
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Willhart
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Willhart » 1 year ago

docopoper wrote:Episode 1 was only slightly better quality than ASMBXT before QA, and the final boss was painfully unfun.
SAJewers was right when he did not release the game back then when a2mt happened, or earlier with that other time I cannot really remember anymore. The extended video playthroughs and testing helped to remove multiple pages worth of larger and smaller bugs from the game, and polish other things like the hub. I remember the biggest problems were the new sound effect volume and some disagreement with the design philosophy regarding good story/gameplay ratio.

Edit: Also the phrase "real game" was sacred or something and some people did not like us calling this episode that way.
Imaynotbehere4long wrote:Review
What did you think of the sound effects? A lot of them were done by one person and I remember some people were very vocal about their quality upon the release of the game.
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Starting a new LP Here. Do give the game a look if you find it interesting.

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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » 1 year ago

docopoper wrote:Don't forget about the Calleoca fight. That was the most technically advanced level in the game and took me ages to design. For example Calleoca is actually a sign post and has a custom coded hitbox that once you enter an invisible firebar is teleported into you for one frame to hurt you. :P Though I can see why you wouldn't call it a boss fight.
Oh yeah, "Custom C++ Code, Example #3." I'll admit that the first half (with the chasing Thwomp) didn't impress me since I had seen a chasing Thwomp implemented in Mario Classic as a boss (and that episode doesn't use LunaDLL), but I knew that the chasing missile was wholly custom since it didn't act like anything native to SMBX. It was stuff like this I had expected to see when I read that the episode used LunaDLL, but I guess that mentality just set me up for disappointment. However, it was rather annoying when I was trying to carefully jump across the moving Bullet Bill Cannons and the missile came speeding from off-screen and killed me.
Willhart wrote:What did you think of the sound effects? A lot of them were done by one person and I remember some people were very vocal about their quality upon the release of the game.
Oh wow, really? I had no idea; I just thought they were stock sound effects taken from some video editing software (except the death theme, which I knew from ASMBXT was a customized excerpt from Levann Pollka, and the victory themes, which I could also tell were custom). But yeah, I didn't have a problem with the alternate sound effects, and the fact that I thought they were just stock sounds is a testament to their quality. I will say that, at first, I thought it was a bit awkward that Sheath didn't have her own hurt/death sounds (like Link does in SMBX), but I got used to that quickly.

P.S. If work on Episode 2 resumes, I'd be willing to help with testing and Quality Assurance.
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.2

Postby Maiku Wotaharu » 1 year ago

Happy Anniversary, A2XT!
The best part of waking up is...knowing where you are.

FINALLY, SOME MOSTS USERBARS!
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SAJewers
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Re: A Second Mario Bros X Thing: analog funk V1.3

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

It took a while, but V1.3 is now out:

- Removed Dr Shemp's music
- Updated music codes to reflect changed music
- GenoWhirled is now in the credits
- Fixed a few bugs
- Probably a few other things I forgot.

Same link as before: http://www.mediafire.com/download/ku445 ... isode1.exe
DO NOT PM ME ABOUT A SECOND MARIO BROS X. THING. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO PMs.
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