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Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

Again, I want to avoid people making hard claims on anything as much as possible. If you want to work a town, making your intention known is fine, but if you keep people in the dark, then you're likely to lose that for someone who is keeping people up to date.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Rockythechao » 1 year ago

So I've brought up the idea of quest levels on Skype and in the general discussion thread -- short optional challenge levels in each world that we could build around sidequest content so we wouldn't have to worry about cramming sidequest stuff into regular levels.

But I haven't really mentioned it in this thread until now, and I don't know whether enough people would be up to making them. I do still think it's a good idea but I'm not going to push it if we can't get at least one per world. Would it be best to gauge interest with a poll in a new thread or add a poll to this thread?

In any case, we'll have to take this stuff into account earlier in development if we want to do it again in Ep. 3.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Rockythechao » 1 year ago

After an experiment with the camera turned into a full-blown level, I've decided I'm going to make the bonus quest levels if nobody else wants to. The one I just made is currently set up to work as a W5 level but with some aesthetic tweaks it could be changed into a river level for any world that such an area would fit in. I'll be submitting it to go through the regular review process fairly soon, and I'll make the rest once their respective towns are finished based on whatever details the town creators ask for. And on that note...
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A number of you have already posted about your towns in the skype chat so apologies for making y'all repeat yourselves, but how are they coming along? For those of you who've claimed towns but haven't started yet, do you still want to make them?

As for me, I've mostly been focusing on lua library stuff as of late so I haven't made much progress with the Goopa Village since the last post, but I'll be adding what I have so far to OneDrive within the next week or so.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Pyro » 1 year ago

I have like half of the exterior set up for the W2 town. I'm really just waiting for more direction on what exactly to do in the towns before I take off, though.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

Bonus quest? I think we have more than enough levels in general.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby raocow » 1 year ago

yeah, uhm, wouldn't be best to take your bonus quest and turn in into a regular level for one of the bits still left to fill in ?
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Rockythechao » 1 year ago

"Bonus quest levels" as in the stuff I was talking about in the post immediately before that:
Rockythechao wrote:short optional challenge levels in each world that we could build around sidequest content so we wouldn't have to worry about cramming sidequest stuff into regular levels.
Pyro just volunteered to do one or two on skype, but if need be I'm willing to make eight more levels based on whatever the town creators ask of me and run them through the regular submission process. As it is, I'm going to submit the first of these levels as one for W5 for now, but I'll probably tone down the difficulty and rework the visuals so I can use it for W1 since I'd be limiting Wasabi and Duvi (or whoever ends up making the W5 towns) to quest activities that would mesh well with an autoscrolling level.

Worst case scenario, we end up not making enough levels or get enough approved to go through with this idea, or we make all of them and end up not using them anyway. Then we still have them on hand for Ep. 3 or another talkhaus SMBX project.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

Yeah, I understand that. I just think we have enough stuff as it is. We already have over 100 levels I believe, which should be all we need. Really we shouldn't require/need anything else, as we have more than enough content.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Sorel » 1 year ago

I'm still waiting for the creativity boost to come for my town, so that might take some more time.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Duvi0 » 1 year ago

Sheeeit, I didn't know I was supposed to start on my town yet. I'll have to do that.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Horikawa Otane » 1 year ago

Rockythechao wrote:After an experiment with the camera turned into a full-blown level, I've decided I'm going to make the bonus quest levels if nobody else wants to. The one I just made is currently set up to work as a W5 level but with some aesthetic tweaks it could be changed into a river level for any world that such an area would fit in. I'll be submitting it to go through the regular review process fairly soon, and I'll make the rest once their respective towns are finished based on whatever details the town creators ask for. And on that note...
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A number of you have already posted about your towns in the skype chat so apologies for making y'all repeat yourselves, but how are they coming along? For those of you who've claimed towns but haven't started yet, do you still want to make them?

As for me, I've mostly been focusing on lua library stuff as of late so I haven't made much progress with the Goopa Village since the last post, but I'll be adding what I have so far to OneDrive within the next week or so.
I'll be making one, but it won't be done until early-mid May. Just FYI.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Rockythechao » 1 year ago

SAJewers wrote:Yeah, I understand that. I just think we have enough stuff as it is. We already have over 100 levels I believe, which should be all we need. Really we shouldn't require/need anything else, as we have more than enough content.
We may have enough levels, but we're trying to do more with the towns. That includes the sidequests, raocoin currency and the costumes and other rewards, all interlinked systems. As Hoeloe said before, we really don't want to have too few of these kinds of things or else these systems will feel tacked-on, incomplete, underutilized, etc. A bare minimum would be two or three quests per world, and ideally at least one of these should require the player to do something in a different place than they got the quest in. But we only have a few options for those:
  • Adding sidequest content/mechanics/what have you to existing levels. Could clash with the level's existing code, may go against the creator's original intent, plus all of the stuff we've discussed about story/other stuff dictating the levels and vice versa... Some creators have been open to collaborating on sidequests, and others are working on both a town and level in the same world, but in other cases this could be a whole big can of worms.
  • Have quests that require the player to go to other towns or the hub. These would be much easier to organize and implement, but too many of them means a lot of backtracking for 100% completion.
  • Make new levels to house sidequest-related content. The sidequests can be decided first, then the levels can be custom-tailored around the specifications of the sidequest. Has the downsides of extra effort to create new levels, more levels means bigger filesize and longer review period to ensure quality control, more levels to take into account when designing the overworld.
Maybe we'll end up being able to do just the first two without hitting any of the stumbling blocks, and that would be wonderful! But we don't have many clean-cut cases as specified in the first point. Even if it'd just be for the worlds where we can't do the first option, I'm willing to put in the extra effort so the third option is more viable, not so we have to do it. And I guess the way I've been phrasing things seemed to suggest otherwise, so I apologize for that.

But ultimately, none of the above matters if we don't have sidequests or any of this other extra stuff in the towns. And in the end, SAJ, it's your call how much optional content will be in the game beyond branching paths, though I ask that you at least consider this:

ASMT and ASMBXT were the talkhaus' efforts to make a game for raocow, whereas A2XT has been the talkhaus' effort to make a good game. Fewer in-jokes, more cohesive and accessible story, stronger quality control... the focus for both Episode 1 and 2 have been less on making a small, simple jokey little game appealing to rao/his fans/this community and more on crafting an all-around solid, refined and technologically-impressive game. We're trying to keep that trademark talkhaus flavor, but this game's development has still been, to some extent, with a broader audience in mind.

I recall raocow saying something along the lines of not caring much for player customization, optional content, etc., though A the Safety Bee and birdhead Claire seem to suggest otherwise so I could very well be mistaken or took it out of context :lol:
But even if rao doesn't mess with all of that stuff in his playthrough, other players will enjoy and appreciate the extra effort put into including it.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

Rockythechao wrote: whereas A2XT has been the talkhaus' effort to make a good game.
No, it isn't, and it shouldn't be at all.

A2XT should have always kept to ASMBXT's mantra of "talkhausers coming together and making a thing for raocow to play, and everyone having fun", it should not swung in the other direction of trying to make a professional, good game. All we needed to change from ASMBXT was to make sure that levels were actually test and got fixed, and that people couldn't actually submit junk youtube levels; everything else about ASMBXT was fine.
Looking back, the fact it ended up swinging in a different direction was a bit of a mistake. I can be partially held to blame here too, as I, too, thought the problem was that higher quality, more professional level design. In retrospect, I was wrong.

Quoting raocow here:
raocow wrote:I just want to say this right now after reading a few posts:

Let's try not to extend too much what we can do. The thing like, say, using lives as gateways and whatnot - this is the way I see it. If you can somehow work this on your level, and then other levels can benefit from it, awesome. However, let's not hinge the game on something that is theoretical. This kind of happened with a2mt and.. well, it's not finished. asmbxt is meant to be a 'simple, without pretention' project, after all!
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raocow wrote:I'm just weary of 'having' to do anything when making a level. Call me a grumpy guss if you want, but the reason the first game worked is because peeps could do whatever, and I don't want to a2mt-ise this game.
Also, quoting kil:
kil3 wrote: Actually I'm kinda against this idea though. Not that I'm really involved with this project, but you guys are going too crazy with all this stuff. Why not just copy ASMBXT except this time with an overworld? That's about as perfect as I can envision this project.

It's actually the kind of stuff that killed A2MT.

To me, both are right. This is what this should be, and nothing more: a simple love letter to raocow from his fans, without pretention. This is what I signed up to take part in, not anything else.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Willhart » 1 year ago

We need deathlines I think.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 1 year ago

Willhart wrote:We need deathlines I think.
The trouble with deadlines is that there's so much stuff that's waiting on other people's things. For example, I'm waiting on additions to the OpenGL stuff in LunaLua for the world 3 town. Because the timescale of this sort of thing isn't easily predictable, a deadline isn't really viable. I would suggest, rather than deadlines, we introduce feature lockdown. Essentially, this means that we decide exactly what's going into the game, and solidify that now. This way, there won't be new features (such as the whole idea of "quest bonus levels") popping up weeks down the line, because they will be outside the feature set.

While in theory ideas will pop up that could eventually improve the game, in reality it's not feasible to implement all of them, and I think we have enough content planned to say "this is enough".

Also, on the subject of whether this is supposed to be a "good" game or a "raocow" game, I'd say simply - why not both? Yes, it's a game dedicated to raocow's universe and characters, and designed for him to play, but there's no reason we can't put in the effort to make it as good as it can be.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

The thinking should be "whatever gets made, gets used". If it can't be done in a decent enough time, then forget it. This was stressed a lot in prior stuff, so as to avoid becoming A2MT.

viewtopic.php?p=150870#p150870
shaman wrote:
raocow wrote:If you are working on a thing and the deadline flies past, there's probably going to be a sequel (that we will get illusions of grandeur about that will lead to development hell)
not while I'm taking care of stuff haha. I'm a preacher for agile development, and simplicity will always reign superior to fancy stuff
I assure a2mbxt will never suffer the same fate as a2mt
viewtopic.php?p=158868#p158868
raocow wrote:yeah let's not overeaching is pretty much what destroyed a2mt and reduced it down to trinkle-progress-town. Well, amongst other things.
viewtopic.php?p=158872#p158872
shaman wrote:how about leaving all those ideas for the sequel, and concentrate on what matters right now, which is testing? I don't want to sound rude or anything, but making those things takes time. the game is staying as it is, bar required fixes. Like raocow said himself, let's not turn this into a2mt, we do not need more than knowing that what we have now works

making it a separate chapter just for this, I'm ok with that. Delaying the game for this? please no
viewtopic.php?p=173102#p173102
raocow wrote:I agree with Kil in the sense of 'don't dream crazy things unless you have it working like right now'. The only way this is going to work is if, like the first game, things just kind of get done, and not just dreaming of possibilities like a2mt.
As raocow said in the above quote, let's not hinge the game on something that is theoretical.
Hoeloe wrote: Also, on the subject of whether this is supposed to be a "good" game or a "raocow" game, I'd say simply - why not both? Yes, it's a game dedicated to raocow's universe and characters, and designed for him to play, but there's no reason we can't put in the effort to make it as good as it can be.
As long as the metric for good is that people enjoy raocow's LP
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 1 year ago

SAJewers wrote: As long as the metric for good is that people enjoy raocow's LP
I'd argue on this point. Yes, we're making a game for raocow to LP, but let's also aim to get him to enjoy playing it as much as possible. If we can make a game that makes a fun LP and is also a good game in its own right, then I think we should aim for that.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

And that'll happen when we test levels and fix bugs. I'm not here to make the best thing ever. ASMBXT was decent, but could have been better if we tested more levels and fixed more bugs. If we do that, we'll be fine.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 1 year ago

SAJewers wrote:And that'll happen when we test levels and fix bugs. I'm not here to make the best thing ever. ASMBXT was decent, but could have been better if we tested more levels and fixed more bugs. If we do that, we'll be fine.
Sure, but that's no reason not to actually employ some game design principles in other stages too. Otherwise what we end up with is a disjointed collection of levels and an overworld, which is fine, but we have the means to make something much better than that.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby raocow » 1 year ago

if I may chime in, I'm happy with what is going on with trying to make towns 'work well' and whatnot, and making everything work together, and trying make thematically appropriate bosses and whatnot. That is super cool. But I agree that it's probably a good idea to put down a feature-lock -- like there's still a lot of work to do with the towns, the remaining level spaces that need to be filled in, and the bosses.

In my opinion it probably shouldn't go beyond that, and future ideas reserved for the inevitable next game, yo.

Like I get the idea of quests but that should be something that's considered from the onset. Either that or have the quests either be within the town, or with other towns/the main hub, I think that could work. But having to create brand new short levels while... other short levels are legit in need of being done, seems a little bit misguided.

I get what you want to do, I just think there are other concerns.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 1 year ago

raocow wrote:having to create brand new short levels while... other short levels are legit in need of being done, seems a little bit misguided
I agree completely here. I think the extra levels aren't really necessary. Granted if someone makes them there's no reason not to use them I suppose, but we certainly shouldn't focus efforts on that when there's stuff that actually needs finishing.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

Hoeloe wrote:
SAJewers wrote:And that'll happen when we test levels and fix bugs. I'm not here to make the best thing ever. ASMBXT was decent, but could have been better if we tested more levels and fixed more bugs. If we do that, we'll be fine.
Sure, but that's no reason not to actually employ some game design principles in other stages too. Otherwise what we end up with is a disjointed collection of levels and an overworld, which is fine, but we have the means to make something much better than that.
That's kinda what we were going for originally. Really, we don't need to go any further than what ASMT did in that regard.
raocow wrote:But I agree that it's probably a good idea to put down a feature-lock -- like there's still a lot of work to do with the towns, the remaining level spaces that need to be filled in, and the bosses.
We should set a deadline for most things, but have a separate deadline for certain other things, like cutscenes, and work from there.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 1 year ago

SAJewers wrote:
Hoeloe wrote:
SAJewers wrote:And that'll happen when we test levels and fix bugs. I'm not here to make the best thing ever. ASMBXT was decent, but could have been better if we tested more levels and fixed more bugs. If we do that, we'll be fine.
Sure, but that's no reason not to actually employ some game design principles in other stages too. Otherwise what we end up with is a disjointed collection of levels and an overworld, which is fine, but we have the means to make something much better than that.
That's kinda what we were going for originally. Really, we don't need to go any further than what ASMT did in that regard.
There I disagree. We have a lot more tools now, and a lot more content to work with than ASMT did. This means we need to do some extra work to keep things high quality. On top of that, ASMT was far from perfect, and we have a lot of opportunity, much of it already underway, to improve on that.
raocow wrote:But I agree that it's probably a good idea to put down a feature-lock -- like there's still a lot of work to do with the towns, the remaining level spaces that need to be filled in, and the bosses.
We should set a deadline for most things, but have a separate deadline for certain other things, like cutscenes, and work from there.[/quote]

I'd refer you to my previous point about deadlines. If deadlines are implemented without EXTREME care and collaboration, it will end up making the game worse, and possibly taking longer because people who are relying on others to finish in order to work will likely not be able to meet the deadlines, and then something else would have to be made instead. I would suggest a hard feature lockdown (basically meaning no-one can suggest any new features beyond what has already been discussed) instead, as that is less likely to throw a spanner in the works.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby SAJewers » 1 year ago

Then let's agree to disagree on both points then. All we've ever needed is to do ASMBXT again but with slightly more polish.

As to your other point, people shouldn't be needing to wait on other people. Let people make what they want. I don't care how fancy and great things are in favour of simplicity and letting people do what they want to to, and I don't think shaman cared either.
EDIT: This was also a conscientious decision we made early on when we started this entire thing, let people make whatever, and only the stuff that got made got used, lest this become A2MT. we specifically wanted to avoid waiting on anything.
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Re: Episode 2 Theme/Town Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 1 year ago

SAJewers wrote:Then let's agree to disagree on both points then. All we've ever needed is to do ASMBXT again but with slightly more polish.

As to your other point, people shouldn't be needing to wait on other people. Let people make what they want. I don't care how fancy and great things are in favour of simplicity and letting people do what they want to to, and I don't think shaman cared either.
EDIT: This was also a conscientious decision we made early on when we started this entire thing, let people make whatever, and only the stuff that got made got used, lest this become A2MT. we specifically wanted to avoid waiting on anything.
Sure, all we ever NEEDED to do was ASMBXT with more polish, but we have the OPPORTUNITY to do a lot more than that.

As for waiting on people, that's not what A2MT's problem was. A2MT's problem was that, coupled with the specification changing every 5 minutes. This is why I suggest that we add a feature lockdown, as that will prevent the scope getting out of hand.

In terms of waiting, it's mostly because of LunaLua that this has become an issue. People making towns and such are waiting on LunaLua features and libraries like CinematX. Waiting is a reality of collaborative game development, and no matter how much we strip back, we can't avoid it. Heck, even if we just made a bunch of levels with an overworld, the overworld itself would have to wait on the levels for placement. You can't avoid waiting for other people to finish when more than one person is working on a game, however much wishful thinking you give it. Game design is not perfectly parallelisable. However, what we CAN do is prevent the scope from getting out of hand WHILE people are waiting on things.

Besides, you might be happy with a bunch of levels and an overworld, but a lot of other people working on the project want to push the envelope a bit, and a lot of work has been done towards that. We can't just leave those elements half finished due to the nature of most of them, so they NEED the time and work putting into them, or we're looking at stripping out months worth of work that's already been completed.
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