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Level Testing and Reviews

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CloudyCloud
Posts: 230
Joined: 4 years ago

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby CloudyCloud » 2 years ago

Penguinator44 wrote:Have some thoughts from someguy who's only made two levels thus far and might not know what he's talking about
CloudyCloud wrote:Have some boom boom
For the most part I enjoyed playing your level, the various fights against the Boom Booms each had something interesting and fun about them and I liked the dialogue of the third strongest Boom Booms.

Most of the things I disliked are minor nitpicks or personal preferences
The second star really didn't add much to the level and I wouldn't have ever found it without the hint to eat the poison mushroom
Doors were a little inconsistent, at the start you go into a metal door and come out a wooden one and maybe flip the pipe upside down at the start of the second section since you're travelling downwards entering it but then travelling upwards at the exit of it.
In the third section I killed the first Dry Bones with a tail spin which made the next jump nearly impossible, maybe have it on a generator since it's on such a small platform
After those five moles spawned to help out I lost my fire flower to a hammer bro, jumped back onto the platform the moles spawned from so I could get my second flower safely and half of the moles despawned on me making the next Boom Boom fight a fair bit harder

Personally I tend to be the kind of player who likes to take things slow and plan out my jumps ahead of time which was quite a difficult thing to do in your level since I felt that there were few safe area from projectiles or enemies. It's not a bad thing per say I just felt a little rushed moving quickly from one thing to another without time to rest especially if a generator was involved and spawning more and more enemies as I waited and planned.
Well, some of the parts are updated already. Maybe you can re-try again.

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Penguinator44
Long time listener, first time caller
Posts: 77
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Location: Australia

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby Penguinator44 » 2 years ago

arabsalmon wrote:Are you sure you're using the up-to-date devkit?
I think it was just a problem with the editor, playing it in game works just fine for me

Some random thoughts I had about your level
The presentation is fantastic, the opening segment, the way it looks, the way it sounds, it just put me in a good mood playing through it.

I had the most fun in the parts finding ways to gain ground to jump onto the bouncy xylophones. There's just something so satisfying about using using one to bounce up a new area and then bouncing on it again from a different height to get somewhere else.

I got tripped up once or twice in the timed jumping sections since I didn't know what they'd look like until halfway through my jump towards the rainbow coin. Sometimes they'd be smaller than I'd expected and miss it or it would've been better if I landed on a different part of the platform and didn't know it until I was already midair or a fence I had to grab onto instead of a platform that kind of thing. I don't think it's a big issue though since you can try again but now with greater knowledge of the level.

Despite some fairly challenging parts it's very hard to die in your level. I don't really mind that in most of the level since missing a jump would still be a set back and you climb back to the start to try the whole challenge again but the final section didn't really have that. I went into it with two mushrooms thanks to the generators earlier in the level and there were plenty of mushrooms within that section whenever I got hit. I felt that it was too easy to just tank the hit and use the post hit invincibility to run to the next mushroom you'd placed instead of dealing with the challenge presented before me. I'd suggest getting rid of one or two of the mushrooms in there.

The part just after the midpoint where you bounce between pipes until you gain enough height to get above the midpoint can be circumvented by holding jump and left coming out of warp 7.

You missed turning three of those shyguys you disguised as water to friendly and stationary just after the midpoint between the pipes for warp 9. I was quite surprised to see some moving water and then killing said water.

Overall I really enjoyed it and was left wanting more, it made me want to learn some Lua coding so that I could make something like it
My MaGL X: The Lost Levels level is in beta testing so feel free to check it out
Keep - The Beta

Quman
Posts: 33
Joined: 5 years ago

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby Quman » 2 years ago

Well, things certainly have taken off since my activity fell away. Anyway, I've downloaded all of the levels from the spreadsheet (except for the two "Do you remember raocow's LP?" levels, which the links aren't working for,) and aim to start getting some reviews done in the future.
Dog In Da Grass wrote:Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.
First things first: i had no trouble beating Bowser on my first attempt, or any subsequent attempts. The only times I had trouble were the times I tried killing Bowser the old fashioned way to see if that would have any effect. Mushrooms are plentiful in this level and there isn't any great danger of falling in the lava, at least not if the player is above a certain skill threshold. I'm not exactly bad at Mario games, so you might want somebody with less skill to test your level, but the level as it currently exists is plenty easy for me. Anyway, on to my typical nitpicking.
1. Guile says "It's not to late to go home and be a family man!" That to should be too.
2. The Eeries were made to look like Ludwig's fireballs instead of Bowser's fireballs. This is right before the player encounters Bowser and has the opportunity to see that his fireballs don't match the fireballs the player has just been avoiding.
3. Some of the text references Mario directly, but there is no Mario filter in place. Do you intend for this to be a Mario-only level?
4. The message about Mario eating Peach happens while Peach is still on screen. I would suggest creating a new event that adds a 0.1 second delay before triggering the message.
5. By the way, giving Bowser a Goomba death effect was a nice touch.
6. I don't know if we will have power-up filters in the hub, so it might be a good idea to replace the invisible blocks with something that won't be revealed by the tanooki suit's statue ability.
7. "And then mario ate his wife, she was delicious!" seems kind of awkward as a single sentence. This should probably be separated into two sentences.
8. The line about Mario settling down ends in two dots, but there should probably be a third if you want the sentence to end in an ellipsis.
9. The mushroom the player picks up right at the start of the level seems kind of unnecessary considering there are three power-ups right in front of the player.

As is typical of me, I have a version of the level where I address most of the issues I brought up, but I'm not sure if uploading it will actually be of any use if the level I have is an edited down version. Oh well, here it is.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdwY4 ... sp=sharing

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Dog In Da Grass
Perro de los Muertos
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First name: Dog
Pronouns: that dog
Location: somewhere between the sacred silence and sleep

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby Dog In Da Grass » 2 years ago

Quman wrote:
, things certainly have taken off since my activity fell away. Anyway, I've downloaded all of the levels from the spreadsheet (except for the two "Do you remember raocow's LP?" levels, which the links aren't working for,) and aim to start getting some reviews done in the future.
Dog In Da Grass wrote:
Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.

First things first: i had no trouble beating Bowser on my first attempt, or any subsequent attempts. The only times I had trouble were the times I tried killing Bowser the old fashioned way to see if that would have any effect. Mushrooms are plentiful in this level and there isn't any great danger of falling in the lava, at least not if the player is above a certain skill threshold. I'm not exactly bad at Mario games, so you might want somebody with less skill to test your level, but the level as it currently exists is plenty easy for me. Anyway, on to my typical nitpicking.
[ispoiler]1. Guile says "It's not to late to go home and be a family man!" That to should be too.
2. The Eeries were made to look like Ludwig's fireballs instead of Bowser's fireballs. This is right before the player encounters Bowser and has the opportunity to see that his fireballs don't match the fireballs the player has just been avoiding.
3. Some of the text references Mario directly, but there is no Mario filter in place. Do you intend for this to be a Mario-only level?
4. The message about Mario eating Peach happens while Peach is still on screen. I would suggest creating a new event that adds a 0.1 second delay before triggering the message.
5. By the way, giving Bowser a Goomba death effect was a nice touch.
6. I don't know if we will have power-up filters in the hub, so it might be a good idea to replace the invisible blocks with something that won't be revealed by the tanooki suit's statue ability.
7. "And then mario ate his wife, she was delicious!" seems kind of awkward as a single sentence. This should probably be separated into two sentences.
8. The line about Mario settling down ends in two dots, but there should probably be a third if you want the sentence to end in an ellipsis.
9. The mushroom the player picks up right at the start of the level seems kind of unnecessary considering there are three power-ups right in front of the player.[/ispoiler]
As is typical of me, I have a version of the level where I address most of the issues I brought up, but I'm not sure if uploading it will actually be of any use if the level I have is an edited down version. Oh well, here it is.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdwY4 ... sp=sharing

Thanks for being so attentive to detail, it'll help me a lot. I didn't realize the fireballs were different and I missed some stuff.
At least I was able to nail down the difficulty since this is only the intro to the level a bunch will be added on later :3

Thanks at least for the sprite swap! I'll also be making the fixes you listed as well as adding a player and power up filter to my level.

Now that I think about it I might move the vine block up a block so it's not too easy to accidentally trigger.
Image
Image
Image

Quman
Posts: 33
Joined: 5 years ago

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby Quman » 2 years ago

Next up on my randomized list is 'Mission: Witty Lake'. Well, actually the next levels on my list are 'Do you remember Raocow's Karoshi LP?' and 'Yellow Switch Volcano', but one has a broken link on the spreadsheet and I've already reviewed the other, so I'm going to skip them for now.
Arctangent wrote:Mission: Witty Lake
This is a pretty straightforward early game level. My biggest concern is that it will leave the player wondering what's so witty about the lake. Anyway...
1. It's clear that the level was designed with the Mario Bros. in mind. The section where the player needs to use a throwable block to lower the lake is impossible with Link. If you don't intend to use a character filter, you should raise the pipe up so that if Link stabs the block from the left it will hit the tide block.
2. Using the throwable block to get a 1-up seems to be more trouble than it's worth, but that might just be my personal opinion.
3. The section where the player needs to use the green shell to hit the tide block isn't impossible with anybody, but using somebody besides the Mario Bros. makes that section harder. In the case of Peach and Toad, they throw the shell from overhead, which may cause it to bounce off of the ground and ricochet back at the player instead of hitting the tide block in the alcove. If the player is using Link they need to enter the alcove, stab the block, then quickly swim out. This section could be made easier for all of those characters by making the alcove one block taller.
4. Right after the tide block the player hits with the green shell is a trio of red cheep-cheeps that the player can't get to. The upper-most cheep-cheep is prone to getting stuck in the ceiling, and should probably be moved down a tile. You might move the other two down as well if you want to keep their spacing even.

As I typically do, I've uploaded a version that I've been fiddling with. Aside from fixing most of the issues above (I didn't "fix" #2 because it was probably just a matter of personal taste,) I also played around with the toads. They all have "witty" dialogue in this version. And by "witty" I mean they all make horrible puns.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdwY4 ... sp=sharing

In the spoiler below are some other horrible puns I considered using.
Are you okay? You look a little... FLUSHED.
I'll be in HOT WATER if I screw this mission up.
The princess sent a plumber on this mission? That's just PLUMB loco.
I don't really like puns, but I'm going along with the crowd due to PIER pressure.
I hear the captain came up with a great pun for this mission. I guess we'll have to WADE and see if it'll SINK or SWIM.
[Blah, blah, blah] If that's what FLOATS YOUR BOAT.
Geez, get ON BOARD with the mission here.
I can barely keep my head above water.
There's no need to get so STEAMED.
Sorry, that was just a FLUKE.
These puns seem rather HOKI if you ask me.
I'm quite the CATCH.

Horikawa: This level needs to be STREAM-LINED.

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CloudyCloud
Posts: 230
Joined: 4 years ago

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby CloudyCloud » 2 years ago

Quman wrote:stuff
When you are testing the "Have Some Boom Boom", please refer to the updated version in level submission thread.

Quman
Posts: 33
Joined: 5 years ago

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby Quman » 2 years ago

CloudyCloud wrote:Have Some Boom-Boom
I decided to go ahead and put your level at the top of my list since you're obviously paying attention to this thread. Then as I was preparing to write up my review I noticed that you had posted another update. I've tested your update to see which of my points had been rendered moot by the update. It's a long-ish level with a lot going on, so my list is kind of long.
1. The tanooki power-ups and the blocks they are sitting on should be moved up so the player can see that there is no floor under them. Many players won't see the tutorial, and even some who do may not make the connection. Having Mario-only blocks below the screen would be okay later in the level after the player has gotten used to the concept, but they shouldn't be unseen the very first time the player encounters this gimmick.
2. One of the dragon coins requires the player to stack mushroom blocks so they can melt the ice block in the ceiling. This isn't so bad if the player only has to do it once, but the player has to start collecting dragon coins all over every time they die, so tedious busywork should be avoided.
3. There was a discussion on page 8 of the general planning thread about having the game save the player's dragon coin count at the midpoint. I don't think there's been a final say in whether or not that will happen, but my impression is that people around here generally find a way to do anything they think is a good idea, and people seemed to think that was a good idea. If this happens, it won't really matter how many dragon coins are before or after the midpoint.
4. Why do you have a Mario filter outside and inside the castle entrance? Only one of those is necessary.
5. Killing five thwomps with bombs is kind of tedious, and not exactly difficult. It might make sense to reduce the number of thwomps in that section.
6. The bomb spawner should probably be turned off right after all of the thwomps are killed, instead of waiting for the player to trigger the next Boom Boom. The bombs are useless after the thwomps are gone, and keeping them around increases the chance that the player will trigger the glitch that happens if an object vanishes while Mario is holding it. The glitch isn't really a big deal, but I still like to avoid these things if possible.
7. There are some Mario-only walls that spawn during the mole ride so that if they get turned around they'll keep going forward. If the player jumps back to the previous platform after the first wall spawns, they can get stuck here and forced to kill themselves. The moles will despawn off the right side of the screen, and if the player runs to the left to cause the moles to respawn, they'll be stuck behind the Mario-only wall and unable to advance.
8. The dragon coin in the tutorial might be kind of tedious for the player to collect multiple times if they die a lot in this level. It might be nice to delete the invisible blocks so the player can skip the tutorial and simply collect the dragon coin on later trips through the level.
9. If the player brings yoshi into this level and manages to keep him through to the mole ride, Yoshi may make killing the hammer bros. difficult since Mario can't throw fireballs while mounted. Most players probably won't make it that far with Yoshi, and it's not impossible to clear the section without losing yoshi, so this isn't necessarily something you need to fix. However, traditionally Yoshi isn't allowed in fortresses anyway, so you might consider flagging the "no vehicles" option for the castle entrance and the first warp after the midpoint anyway.
10. The mole ride is the first section where the automatic text is likely to be a problem. Upon seeing the hammer bros. the player is likely to start chucking fireballs indiscriminately (especially since there's no indication that a Boom-Boom fight is about to start) and miss Boom-Boom's line. The player isn't likely to be thinking of the warning at the beginning of the level by the time they reach this point, and the warning isn't really useful until this point, so you might consider removing the first warning and having the mole warn the player not to go crazy chucking fireballs if they don't want to miss any text.
11. In the trigger editor, when showing and hiding layers there's a box you can check or uncheck to determine whether smoke will appear when the layer is toggled. You might consider disabling the smoke for the two walls in the room with the infinitely spawning Boom-Booms.
12. If the player stays in the room with the infinitely spawning Boom-Booms for too long, they will experience a lot of lag. You might consider forcing the player to leave to avoid this, or removing the Boom-Boom spawners after a set period of time.
13. There's a bit of cutoff near the beginning of the first castle section, where the pipe is sticking out of the lava. This can be fixed by creating a custom background object, or by replacing the bottom of the pipe with blocks that fill the whole space. There is also a way to cause blocks to overlap, but I wouldn't recommend that.
14. In the section where the player is ascending, there is a section where a buzzy beetle and spiny fall into a small gap at the top of an X-shaped structure. Seeing them constantly turning around in there looks bad, and the two of them aren't a threat to the player, so it might be a good idea to just remove them or replace them with something like a goomba that looks the same whether it's facing left or right.
15. The death of the fifth Boom-Boom is the second part of the level where the sudden text was an issue for me. He's too easy to kill by chucking fireballs at him from the ledge, and the player isn't likely to expect text from defeating this Boom-Boom since the previous Boom-Booms didn't have any parting words. You might discourage cheesing him with fireballs by giving the player a leaf right before the fight.
16. There are a two section transitions where you give the player two mushrooms and then immediately follow them with a box containing a leaf. The player can't hold more than two power-ups, so the player has no need for an extra mushroom.
17. Your level reads its custom music from the same folder as the level instead of keeping it in the level's resources folder. This isn't necessarily a problem, but it's generally a good idea to keep all of the resources your level uses in its own resource folder instead of having them in the same folder as the levels. If you decide to use different songs in the future, everybody who downloaded the early versions of your level will still have the old songs in their worlds folder with no easy way to know that the song is no longer needed. If the project manager isn't diligent about dealing with this, excess songs could easily find their way into the final product, which is a problem because music files are generally pretty big. You probably aren't going to change your song choice, but it's still probably a good idea to keep the custom music your level uses in your level's resource folder. (By the way, are you familiar with how the resources folder works? I notice your level doesn't use one.)

I'm not going to upload a modified version of your level, but I noticed that you seem to want your level to mostly focus on Super Mario Bros. 3 NPCs. I've put together a resource folder with SMB3 Hammer Bros. and Dry Bones, as well as some simple recolors and a SMB3-styled poison mushroom. If you don't care about the recolors you can go ahead and delete them, but I imagine you'll probably want to use the Hammer Bros. and Dry Bones.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdwY4 ... sp=sharing

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CloudyCloud
Posts: 230
Joined: 4 years ago

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby CloudyCloud » 2 years ago

Quman wrote:
CloudyCloud wrote:Have Some Boom-Boom
I decided to go ahead and put your level at the top of my list since you're obviously paying attention to this thread. Then as I was preparing to write up my review I noticed that you had posted another update. I've tested your update to see which of my points had been rendered moot by the update. It's a long-ish level with a lot going on, so my list is kind of long.
1. The tanooki power-ups and the blocks they are sitting on should be moved up so the player can see that there is no floor under them. Many players won't see the tutorial, and even some who do may not make the connection. Having Mario-only blocks below the screen would be okay later in the level after the player has gotten used to the concept, but they shouldn't be unseen the very first time the player encounters this gimmick.
2. One of the dragon coins requires the player to stack mushroom blocks so they can melt the ice block in the ceiling. This isn't so bad if the player only has to do it once, but the player has to start collecting dragon coins all over every time they die, so tedious busywork should be avoided.
3. There was a discussion on page 8 of the general planning thread about having the game save the player's dragon coin count at the midpoint. I don't think there's been a final say in whether or not that will happen, but my impression is that people around here generally find a way to do anything they think is a good idea, and people seemed to think that was a good idea. If this happens, it won't really matter how many dragon coins are before or after the midpoint.
4. Why do you have a Mario filter outside and inside the castle entrance? Only one of those is necessary.
5. Killing five thwomps with bombs is kind of tedious, and not exactly difficult. It might make sense to reduce the number of thwomps in that section.
6. The bomb spawner should probably be turned off right after all of the thwomps are killed, instead of waiting for the player to trigger the next Boom Boom. The bombs are useless after the thwomps are gone, and keeping them around increases the chance that the player will trigger the glitch that happens if an object vanishes while Mario is holding it. The glitch isn't really a big deal, but I still like to avoid these things if possible.
7. There are some Mario-only walls that spawn during the mole ride so that if they get turned around they'll keep going forward. If the player jumps back to the previous platform after the first wall spawns, they can get stuck here and forced to kill themselves. The moles will despawn off the right side of the screen, and if the player runs to the left to cause the moles to respawn, they'll be stuck behind the Mario-only wall and unable to advance.
8. The dragon coin in the tutorial might be kind of tedious for the player to collect multiple times if they die a lot in this level. It might be nice to delete the invisible blocks so the player can skip the tutorial and simply collect the dragon coin on later trips through the level.
9. If the player brings yoshi into this level and manages to keep him through to the mole ride, Yoshi may make killing the hammer bros. difficult since Mario can't throw fireballs while mounted. Most players probably won't make it that far with Yoshi, and it's not impossible to clear the section without losing yoshi, so this isn't necessarily something you need to fix. However, traditionally Yoshi isn't allowed in fortresses anyway, so you might consider flagging the "no vehicles" option for the castle entrance and the first warp after the midpoint anyway.
10. The mole ride is the first section where the automatic text is likely to be a problem. Upon seeing the hammer bros. the player is likely to start chucking fireballs indiscriminately (especially since there's no indication that a Boom-Boom fight is about to start) and miss Boom-Boom's line. The player isn't likely to be thinking of the warning at the beginning of the level by the time they reach this point, and the warning isn't really useful until this point, so you might consider removing the first warning and having the mole warn the player not to go crazy chucking fireballs if they don't want to miss any text.
11. In the trigger editor, when showing and hiding layers there's a box you can check or uncheck to determine whether smoke will appear when the layer is toggled. You might consider disabling the smoke for the two walls in the room with the infinitely spawning Boom-Booms.
12. If the player stays in the room with the infinitely spawning Boom-Booms for too long, they will experience a lot of lag. You might consider forcing the player to leave to avoid this, or removing the Boom-Boom spawners after a set period of time.
13. There's a bit of cutoff near the beginning of the first castle section, where the pipe is sticking out of the lava. This can be fixed by creating a custom background object, or by replacing the bottom of the pipe with blocks that fill the whole space. There is also a way to cause blocks to overlap, but I wouldn't recommend that.
14. In the section where the player is ascending, there is a section where a buzzy beetle and spiny fall into a small gap at the top of an X-shaped structure. Seeing them constantly turning around in there looks bad, and the two of them aren't a threat to the player, so it might be a good idea to just remove them or replace them with something like a goomba that looks the same whether it's facing left or right.
15. The death of the fifth Boom-Boom is the second part of the level where the sudden text was an issue for me. He's too easy to kill by chucking fireballs at him from the ledge, and the player isn't likely to expect text from defeating this Boom-Boom since the previous Boom-Booms didn't have any parting words. You might discourage cheesing him with fireballs by giving the player a leaf right before the fight.
16. There are a two section transitions where you give the player two mushrooms and then immediately follow them with a box containing a leaf. The player can't hold more than two power-ups, so the player has no need for an extra mushroom.
17. Your level reads its custom music from the same folder as the level instead of keeping it in the level's resources folder. This isn't necessarily a problem, but it's generally a good idea to keep all of the resources your level uses in its own resource folder instead of having them in the same folder as the levels. If you decide to use different songs in the future, everybody who downloaded the early versions of your level will still have the old songs in their worlds folder with no easy way to know that the song is no longer needed. If the project manager isn't diligent about dealing with this, excess songs could easily find their way into the final product, which is a problem because music files are generally pretty big. You probably aren't going to change your song choice, but it's still probably a good idea to keep the custom music your level uses in your level's resource folder. (By the way, are you familiar with how the resources folder works? I notice your level doesn't use one.)

I'm not going to upload a modified version of your level, but I noticed that you seem to want your level to mostly focus on Super Mario Bros. 3 NPCs. I've put together a resource folder with SMB3 Hammer Bros. and Dry Bones, as well as some simple recolors and a SMB3-styled poison mushroom. If you don't care about the recolors you can go ahead and delete them, but I imagine you'll probably want to use the Hammer Bros. and Dry Bones.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdwY4 ... sp=sharing
This is the second version of my reply, because the first reply... is deleted thanks to the fact that I am no longer logged in.

I may sound very impatient and pissed-off as I feel very annoyed for typing my reply once again. Not your fault.
I decided to go ahead and put your level at the top of my list since you're obviously paying attention to this thread. Then as I was preparing to write up my review I noticed that you had posted another update. I've tested your update to see which of my points had been rendered moot by the update. It's a long-ish level with a lot going on, so my list is kind of long.
1. The tanooki power-ups and the blocks they are sitting on should be moved up so the player can see that there is no floor under them. Many players won't see the tutorial, and even some who do may not make the connection. Having Mario-only blocks below the screen would be okay later in the level after the player has gotten used to the concept, but they shouldn't be unseen the very first time the player encounters this gimmick.
2. One of the dragon coins requires the player to stack mushroom blocks so they can melt the ice block in the ceiling. This isn't so bad if the player only has to do it once, but the player has to start collecting dragon coins all over every time they die, so tedious busywork should be avoided.
3. There was a discussion on page 8 of the general planning thread about having the game save the player's dragon coin count at the midpoint. I don't think there's been a final say in whether or not that will happen, but my impression is that people around here generally find a way to do anything they think is a good idea, and people seemed to think that was a good idea. If this happens, it won't really matter how many dragon coins are before or after the midpoint.
4. Why do you have a Mario filter outside and inside the castle entrance? Only one of those is necessary.
1. I actually want the player to learn the harsh lesson. But seemingly... maybe it is not a good idea to do in this way. I will consider.
2. I kinda want to do it in this way, but I do see your point, so I won't disagree. But, I don't have a better idea about how to fix it so that I can play with this gimmick yet keeping this.
3. If that can work, I will reduce my dragon coin from 8 back to 6.(No, it won't be 5. I prefer to give one more extra.)
4. It is the trace remained from the bad planning last time. I happen to forgot to erase the mario block.
~ well, ya see, I start from section 1 as usual, so in the first place I do intend to begin from the section 1, but then I decide to add in one more section to begin with, so I use the last section to begin, which is the one you saw.
5. Killing five thwomps with bombs is kind of tedious, and not exactly difficult. It might make sense to reduce the number of thwomps in that section.
6. The bomb spawner should probably be turned off right after all of the thwomps are killed, instead of waiting for the player to trigger the next Boom Boom. The bombs are useless after the thwomps are gone, and keeping them around increases the chance that the player will trigger the glitch that happens if an object vanishes while Mario is holding it. The glitch isn't really a big deal, but I still like to avoid these things if possible.
7. There are some Mario-only walls that spawn during the mole ride so that if they get turned around they'll keep going forward. If the player jumps back to the previous platform after the first wall spawns, they can get stuck here and forced to kill themselves. The moles will despawn off the right side of the screen, and if the player runs to the left to cause the moles to respawn, they'll be stuck behind the Mario-only wall and unable to advance.
8. The dragon coin in the tutorial might be kind of tedious for the player to collect multiple times if they die a lot in this level. It might be nice to delete the invisible blocks so the player can skip the tutorial and simply collect the dragon coin on later trips through the level.
5. Point taken.
6. Point taken. But what glitch are you talking about?
7. In the past version, there is no wall that spawns. In those versions, some people feedback that it is tedious to wait for moles to turn back to the path after being turned by hammer bros., so I decide to put the wall and make them spawn.
8a. Firstly, even if I delete the invisible block, they won't be able to skip the tutorial since the dragon coin didn't appear before you turn on the switch.
8b. Besides, I am afraid that they might skip the tutorial in the first run. But I think now I see the point. I will try to fix this part.
9. If the player brings yoshi into this level and manages to keep him through to the mole ride, Yoshi may make killing the hammer bros. difficult since Mario can't throw fireballs while mounted. Most players probably won't make it that far with Yoshi, and it's not impossible to clear the section without losing yoshi, so this isn't necessarily something you need to fix. However, traditionally Yoshi isn't allowed in fortresses anyway, so you might consider flagging the "no vehicles" option for the castle entrance and the first warp after the midpoint anyway.
10. The mole ride is the first section where the automatic text is likely to be a problem. Upon seeing the hammer bros. the player is likely to start chucking fireballs indiscriminately (especially since there's no indication that a Boom-Boom fight is about to start) and miss Boom-Boom's line. The player isn't likely to be thinking of the warning at the beginning of the level by the time they reach this point, and the warning isn't really useful until this point, so you might consider removing the first warning and having the mole warn the player not to go crazy chucking fireballs if they don't want to miss any text.
11. In the trigger editor, when showing and hiding layers there's a box you can check or uncheck to determine whether smoke will appear when the layer is toggled. You might consider disabling the smoke for the two walls in the room with the infinitely spawning Boom-Booms.
12. If the player stays in the room with the infinitely spawning Boom-Booms for too long, they will experience a lot of lag. You might consider forcing the player to leave to avoid this, or removing the Boom-Boom spawners after a set period of time.
9. I am considering the MAGLx2 case, where player will be reset to the small-and-no-yoshi-or-shoes status. And since I also didn't give any yoshi in the game, I am not really afraid. In fact, I forgot to consider this case.
10. Erm... I thought those warnings are quite useful: I have some blocks that talk upon being hit and stuff, so I thought it is useful? O_O
10a. Oh well, I try to indicate that 2nd hammer bros. will bring Boom Boom. Or maybe I try to warn in the signboard around the midpoint.
11. Point taken.
12. Erm... I kinda assume the player to leave as quickly as possible upon what is said.
13. There's a bit of cutoff near the beginning of the first castle section, where the pipe is sticking out of the lava. This can be fixed by creating a custom background object, or by replacing the bottom of the pipe with blocks that fill the whole space. There is also a way to cause blocks to overlap, but I wouldn't recommend that.
14. In the section where the player is ascending, there is a section where a buzzy beetle and spiny fall into a small gap at the top of an X-shaped structure. Seeing them constantly turning around in there looks bad, and the two of them aren't a threat to the player, so it might be a good idea to just remove them or replace them with something like a goomba that looks the same whether it's facing left or right.
15. The death of the fifth Boom-Boom is the second part of the level where the sudden text was an issue for me. He's too easy to kill by chucking fireballs at him from the ledge, and the player isn't likely to expect text from defeating this Boom-Boom since the previous Boom-Booms didn't have any parting words. You might discourage cheesing him with fireballs by giving the player a leaf right before the fight.
13. Well, I have made some blocks to overlap, so I think I can try this.
14. Point taken.
15. Well, in the first place, I did have the intention to have parting words for every Boom Boom, but I don't have any witty quote beside the one quote that the last Boom Boom said. So point taken. (Discouraging fireball, eh? Erm...)
15a. the said quote is from Kung Fu Hustle, a Hong Kong movie that is directed, co-written and co-produced by Stephen Chow.
16. There are a two section transitions where you give the player two mushrooms and then immediately follow them with a box containing a leaf. The player can't hold more than two power-ups, so the player has no need for an extra mushroom.
17. Your level reads its custom music from the same folder as the level instead of keeping it in the level's resources folder. This isn't necessarily a problem, but it's generally a good idea to keep all of the resources your level uses in its own resource folder instead of having them in the same folder as the levels. If you decide to use different songs in the future, everybody who downloaded the early versions of your level will still have the old songs in their worlds folder with no easy way to know that the song is no longer needed. If the project manager isn't diligent about dealing with this, excess songs could easily find their way into the final product, which is a problem because music files are generally pretty big. You probably aren't going to change your song choice, but it's still probably a good idea to keep the custom music your level uses in your level's resource folder. (By the way, are you familiar with how the resources folder works? I notice your level doesn't use one.)
16. Just a habit from me to put one pair of mushrooms in one go.
17. Well, unlikely to change the music. But, I do agree that I need to put in another folder.
17a. Anyway, not familiar with how resource folder works. ^^;
I'm not going to upload a modified version of your level, but I noticed that you seem to want your level to mostly focus on Super Mario Bros. 3 NPCs. I've put together a resource folder with SMB3 Hammer Bros. and Dry Bones, as well as some simple recolors and a SMB3-styled poison mushroom. If you don't care about the recolors you can go ahead and delete them, but I imagine you'll probably want to use the Hammer Bros. and Dry Bones.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdwY4 ... sp=sharing
Thanks first.
But, is there any SMB3-style platform crawler? (You know, I am using SMB2 version, the lightning ball.)

Quman
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby Quman » 2 years ago

My response to the above post is kind of long, so I'm going to put it in a spoiler tag.

CloudyCloud wrote:
1. I actually want the player to learn the harsh lesson. But seemingly... maybe it is not a good idea to do in this way. I will consider.

Killing the player before they've become familiar with the gimmick may feel a bit mean-spirited to the player, but dying right at the beginning of the level isn't exactly the worst thing in the world. Personally I don't think the harshness is necessary, but it's your call.
CloudyCloud wrote:
2. I kinda want to do it in this way, but I do see your point, so I won't disagree. But, I don't have a better idea about how to fix it so that I can play with this gimmick yet keeping this.

You could move the dragon coin further to the right so the player can get to it by stacking mushroom blocks on top of the question block with the fire flower in it. This way the player will only need to stack three mushroom blocks.
CloudyCloud wrote:
6. Point taken. But what glitch are you talking about?

Mario will continue holding his hands in front of him and be unable to duck as if he is holding something until the player releases the run button, at which point he will "throw" nothing. Like I said, it's not a big deal. I just aim to be thorough.
CloudyCloud wrote:
7. In the past version, there is no wall that spawns. In those versions, some people feedback that it is tedious to wait for moles to turn back to the path after being turned by hammer bros., so I decide to put the wall and make them spawn.

This is only really a problem if the player panics or is trying to break the level. Not especially likely in a normal playthrough, but possible. And I aim to be thorough. One possible way of fixing the issue is by causing the "3rd" to vanish at the same time the first wall appears. This will prevent the player from turning back and getting stuck.
CloudyCloud wrote:
9. I am considering the MAGLx2 case, where player will be reset to the small-and-no-yoshi-or-shoes status. And since I also didn't give any yoshi in the game, I am not really afraid. In fact, I forgot to consider this case.

If we do that, then there's no problem. I'm just not aware of that being the plan, so I test every level with every available character and with Yoshi.
CloudyCloud wrote:
10. Erm... I thought those warnings are quite useful: I have some blocks that talk upon being hit and stuff, so I thought it is useful? O_O

I typically don't tap buttons mid-jump, so accidentally skipping text triggered by the boxes isn't an issue for me. It's possible other players have different habits though, so don't take my experience as being representative of everybody. Just know that for some players will have my experience, and such players won't be expecting text to suddenly appear while the level is requiring them to throw fireballs.
CloudyCloud wrote:
10a. Oh well, I try to indicate that 2nd hammer bros. will bring Boom Boom. Or maybe I try to warn in the signboard around the midpoint.

The only thing I can see in that section that might indicate a coming boss fight is the small pipe at the top of the screen, which didn't tip me off.
CloudyCloud wrote:
12. Erm... I kinda assume the player to leave as quickly as possible upon what is said.

Typically, they probably will. But I generally like to avoid designing based on assumptions about what the player will or won't do. This is something I would clear up if I were designing this level myself. If the Boom-Boom Counter event triggers another even in about five seconds to turn off the Boom-Boom spawners, that should make it so even players who decide to mess around in this room don't experience serious slowdown. Boom-Booms will eventually jump through the moles and attack them, but that's not really a bad thing.
CloudyCloud wrote:
17a. Anyway, not familiar with how resource folder works. ^^;

When the game loads your level, it will look for a folder in the same location that has the same name as your level. So if your level is in 'C:\SMBX\worlds\Lost Levels\' and is called 'Have Some Boom Boom'.lvl, it will look in 'C:\SMBX\worlds\Lost Levels\Have Some Boom Boom\' and use any sprite replacements it finds there. Aside from sprite replacements, it can also find text files that will change how a sprite behaves (for example, the folder I sent you has a text file that changes the size of the dry bones, since the SMB3 dry bones isn't the same size as the SMW dry bones.) Putting custom music in that folder isn't necessary, but it's generally good practice to keep all of your level's resources in one place.
CloudyCloud wrote:
But, is there any SMB3-style platform crawler? (You know, I am using SMB2 version, the lightning ball.)

There were several in Super Mario World, but none in SMB3 unless you count the Lil' Sparky that appeared in one of the e-reader levels in the GBA remake. The SMB2 Spark's colors are so close to the SMB3 palette that a simple palette swap wouldn't have a noticeable effect, but if you would prefer to use a Lil' Sparky from SMW (and one e-reader level in the SMB3 remake,) I've uploaded a version of it that has been recolored with the SMB3 palette.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdwY4 ... sp=sharing

If you want to use it, just put the graphics directly inside the 'Have Some Boom Booms' folder along with the rest of your custom graphics.

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Dragon Fogel
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby Dragon Fogel » 2 years ago

Regarding filters, since I see the subject has come up: I do not want to have a global filter. I'm fine with having one if it defaults to Off, but people shouldn't expect it to be there. If they want a filter for their level, it should be done with LunaLua.

I guess I should add a note about that in the submissions thread for the sake of clarity.
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CloudyCloud
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby CloudyCloud » 2 years ago

Dragon Fogel wrote:Regarding filters, since I see the subject has come up: I do not want to have a global filter. I'm fine with having one if it defaults to Off, but people shouldn't expect it to be there. If they want a filter for their level, it should be done with LunaLua.

I guess I should add a note about that in the submissions thread for the sake of clarity.
^^; ... Can help me do the lunalua? Well, I don't intend my player to bring OP powerup into my level.(And since my level is Mario-specific level, maybe filter to Mario...?
(Oh, anyway, please don't take the character block away. That's the theme of the gimmick.)

If not, maybe I will try to filter then. ^^;

(But I do try to make sure that my level is as vanilla as possible, so I try not to touch any LunaDLL or LunaLua: or else if I get used to them, I may not be able to make a vanilla level anymore...)

S1eth
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby S1eth » 2 years ago

CloudyCloud wrote:Have Some Boom Boom V206
Ok, played everything again.
I see that you already fixed the problem with the tanooki powerup at the start, and the one with the wraparound (extending blocks outside to screen so you don't fall)

So, to start with: You have a level with one main gimmick, which is the mario block.
Now, you should design your whole level around that gimmick.
Introduce the gimmick, let the player learn and master the gimmick as he plays, and ramp up the challenge the further he progresses through the level, test the player's mastery of the gimmick throughout the latter parts of the level.

What you did:

Section 21:

You have a message box explaining what a Mario block does. Wasn't the mushroom supposed to do that already?
"Show, don't tell". You can teach the player how the gimmick works without explicitely telling. Show the player how different objects interact with the block, and let the player experiment.

BTW, I found your secret exit here by accident. Being "poisoned" is not much of a reason to have an invisible wall there stopping you from entering a castle. Mario looks pretty healthy, he jumps around and everything. Why is there an invisble wall?

This whole exit is "do that nonsensical thing" that would be labeled as an "absurd second star" in MAGLX2. You actually give the player a hint once they've already beaten the level, in most cases two times. But even with the hint, it's still a nonsensical thing. The hint isn't really a hint either, it tells you EXACTLY what to do, so the second star doesn't add any challenge to the level. It's just a "thing you HAVE to do". I don't think a player should be rewarded for consuming a poison mushroom. There's not much of an excuse, or story relevance to have that exit exist.

Section 20:

Then, you have a tutorial that the player is very likely to miss.
You enter the castle through door A, but trying to leave the castle through door A leads to somewhere completely different. That doesn't make much sense.

So, this room has mario blocks, but you cannot pass through them!? The player is now confused. What happened? There's another invisible wall blocking your path! You kinda ruin your own gimmick here by making mario blocks the player cannot pass through. What's the point of teaching a player how a mechanic works, when there's no guarantee that it'll actually work? You should remove those inconsistencies from the level.

Now, after reading a sign AND pressing a switch (why do I have to do two things?), we see the dry bones, and the poison mushroom, and how they interact with the blocks. You don't need the dry bones to tell the player how this thing works, the player has eyes.

You also kinda teach the player that falling into bottomless pits makes you teleport to the top, even though that mechanic is not used in the level, except above a lava pit later.

All in all, there is lots of room for improvement here. You can teach the player about the gimmick without having him reading all the text.

Suggestion: SCRAP the whole tutorial, and expand the first part of the castle, or even the section before the castle, and teach your player the gimmick there through "play". Let them learn as they play. Make easy challenges they can't possibly fail, and let them learn.

Section 1:

The actual level starts here. Note that the player most likely skipped the tutorial and hasn't fully understood the gimmick yet.

The player is instantly presented with a tough jump above a death trap. In the earlier version, the Mario blocks weren't even visible, and I jumped to the tanooki suit and died.

In this version: there's just too much going on for the first challenge in a level. You have a long jump, 2 "interceptors" (the Thwomps), a mushroom generator and a roto disc. Jumping from thwomp to thwomp is actually a difficult thing to do. I just made a long jump below them.

Since the player is not familiar with the gimmick yet, he/she might also expect the Thwomps to die in the lava.

This is followed by 2 more small platforms with double roto discs and an unreasonably difficult to get red coin.
Why are there actually red coins in the level? Does collecting them even do anything?

Somehow, after this whole ordeal, and another spawner/bowser statue that has nothing to do with the gimmick, the level becomes significantly easier. Usually, your level is supposed to become harder the further you progress, not the other way around.

After the first boom boom, there is a dragon coin in the ceiling.
Since this is a Mario level, and we cannot see the ceiling above the dragon coin, I stacked up enough blocks to see if I could go "above" the level, like in Mario Bros. 1-2. Well, you can't.

I suggest you replace the whole coin up there with a pipe that leads to a bonus room. Inside that room, you'll have to make use of the Mario block gimmick and if you succeed, you are rewarded with a dragon coin.

Next is the lava with 2 podoboos. The first time I came across this screen, I podoboo jumped over it. I didn't even realize that you're supposed to use the mushroom blocks, since those were obviously placed there to get up to the dragon coin. BTW, the red coins are placed so far down, it's far too difficult to get to them. Podoboo jumping by itself is already quite difficult to do in SMBX.

You should somehow incentivize the player to throw a mushroom block onto the mario blocks. Place an annoying and difficult to avoid enemy there, so the player naturally wants to get rid of it with a throwable item. This will give the player this "aha!" moment when they see that the mushroom block doesn't fall through the Mario blocks. I actually think that alone is enough of a challenge this early in the level, meaning the podoboos aren't even needed. (I'd probably also give the player a set amount of mushroom blocks, so it isn't too easy to build a whole bridge)

Now we get to the second Boom Boom fight. The leaf is kind of a trap, I don't think you had that in the first version? I already have a fireflower, so all I do is sit up there and fire shots down at Boom Boom who cannot hurt me in any way.
Shouldn't you at least be forced to enter the arena with Boom Boom before the fight starts?

Trap/joke before the mid point: Was that really necessary?
The warping also changes Mario's X coordinate to be centered inside the warp area, which feels really janky as it moves the camera to it and kills your momentum. And why did you add lava at the bottom? If you really wanted the teleporting, do it with lua (yes, I know you want to avoid it for some weird reason), so you teleport up there smoothly. You remember the first boss (magician?) in the MAFAB relay level? Remember the vertical wraparound it had (made possible by lunalua)? It's just like that.

Section 2:

This section is..."busy". I think you used too many different enemy types in a very tight space together.
You also did what I already pointed out before. Mario blocks you cannot pass through! This is not only confusing, you can actually die bumping your head against the block and falling down into the bottomless pit.

The way to the dragon coin:
You have to jump onto the invisible blocks, which is pretty unintuitive. You can also use the 1-tile gaps to glitch through the wall to the dragon coin.
I suggest you remove the blocks and make the player use the leaf + the wraparound to cleverly fly from the center to the left, wrapping back to the right side of the screen, and then hovering to the dragon coin. You can also replace the fireflower powerup with a second leaf in case the player gets hurt.

Or...if you want to actually stick with your gimmick, which I highly advise you do, redesign this whole section.

Section 3:

This starts with a rather awkward jump onto the coin block, which is placed so high you'll have to do a running jump or a jump off the dry bones.

Then, the moles. I actually died here because: The mole train moves past the 2 spike things. Then, a hammer bro hit me and I lost my fireflower. The moie train also turned around. I had another flower in reserve, so I timed the power up so I could collect it around the spike thing. But then the moles turned around and I died mid jump. Those 2 red mario blocks at the bottom...those weren't there before! And they're really easy to miss, too. I know why you put a wall there, but the kind you chose to use didn't work too well.

The thwomps and the bomb: yeah, they're nothing special, and don't really fit your level's theme.

Section 18:

My main complaint with this is: this section seems to expand more and more! What the hell!

Section 19:

I was going to jump into the seemingly bottomless pit anyway, even before reading the sign. But if you think you have to tell the player, why don't you move the whole thing one block upwards, so you can see the bottom of the pit?

Careful, you actually have to AVOID the star in this one. It would probably feel better if the star and the (mario 1-ish) Mole staircase were at the end of the section, and keys/locks before it.

And why does your castle have a wooden door?

I highly suggest you watch the videos in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=15953

All of them! Your level is the kind of one Mark Brown talks about in his videos. You could really improve your level if you watch these.
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CloudyCloud
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby CloudyCloud » 2 years ago

S1eth wrote:
CloudyCloud wrote:Have Some Boom Boom V206
Ok, played everything again.
I see that you already fixed the problem with the tanooki powerup at the start, and the one with the wraparound (extending blocks outside to screen so you don't fall)

So, to start with: You have a level with one main gimmick, which is the mario block.
Now, you should design your whole level around that gimmick.
Introduce the gimmick, let the player learn and master the gimmick as he plays, and ramp up the challenge the further he progresses through the level, test the player's mastery of the gimmick throughout the latter parts of the level.

What you did:

Section 21:

You have a message box explaining what a Mario block does. Wasn't the mushroom supposed to do that already?
"Show, don't tell". You can teach the player how the gimmick works without explicitely telling. Show the player how different objects interact with the block, and let the player experiment.

BTW, I found your secret exit here by accident. Being "poisoned" is not much of a reason to have an invisible wall there stopping you from entering a castle. Mario looks pretty healthy, he jumps around and everything. Why is there an invisble wall?

This whole exit is "do that nonsensical thing" that would be labeled as an "absurd second star" in MAGLX2. You actually give the player a hint once they've already beaten the level, in most cases two times. But even with the hint, it's still a nonsensical thing. The hint isn't really a hint either, it tells you EXACTLY what to do, so the second star doesn't add any challenge to the level. It's just a "thing you HAVE to do". I don't think a player should be rewarded for consuming a poison mushroom. There's not much of an excuse, or story relevance to have that exit exist.

Section 20:

Then, you have a tutorial that the player is very likely to miss.
You enter the castle through door A, but trying to leave the castle through door A leads to somewhere completely different. That doesn't make much sense.

So, this room has mario blocks, but you cannot pass through them!? The player is now confused. What happened? There's another invisible wall blocking your path! You kinda ruin your own gimmick here by making mario blocks the player cannot pass through. What's the point of teaching a player how a mechanic works, when there's no guarantee that it'll actually work? You should remove those inconsistencies from the level.

Now, after reading a sign AND pressing a switch (why do I have to do two things?), we see the dry bones, and the poison mushroom, and how they interact with the blocks. You don't need the dry bones to tell the player how this thing works, the player has eyes.

You also kinda teach the player that falling into bottomless pits makes you teleport to the top, even though that mechanic is not used in the level, except above a lava pit later.

All in all, there is lots of room for improvement here. You can teach the player about the gimmick without having him reading all the text.

Section 1:

The actual level starts here. Note that the player most likely skipped the tutorial and hasn't fully understood the gimmick yet.

The player is instantly presented with a tough jump above a death trap. In the earlier version, the Mario blocks weren't even visible, and I jumped to the tanooki suit and died.

In this version: there's just too much going on for the first challenge in a level. You have a long jump, 2 "interceptors" (the Thwomps), a mushroom generator and a roto disc. Jumping from thwomp to thwomp is actually a difficult thing to do. I just made a long jump below them.

Since the player is not familiar with the gimmick yet, he/she might also expect the Thwomps to die in the lava.

This is followed by 2 more small platforms with double roto discs and an unreasonably difficult to get red coin.
Why are there actually red coins in the level? Does collecting them even do anything?

Somehow, after this whole ordeal, and another spawner/bowser statue that has nothing to do with the gimmick, the level becomes significantly easier. Usually, your level is supposed to become harder the further you progress, not the other way around.

After the first boom boom, there is a dragon coin in the ceiling.
Since this is a Mario level, and we cannot see the ceiling above the dragon coin, I stacked up enough blocks to see if I could go "above" the level, like in Mario Bros. 1-2. Well, you can't.

I suggest you replace the whole coin up there with a pipe that leads to a bonus room. Inside that room, you'll have to make use of the Mario block gimmick and if you succeed, you are rewarded with a dragon coin.

Next is the lava with 2 podoboos. The first time I came across this screen, I podoboo jumped over it. I didn't even realize that you're supposed to use the mushroom blocks, since those were obviously placed there to get up to the dragon coin. BTW, the red coins are placed so far down, it's far too difficult to get to them. Podoboo jumping by itself is already quite difficult to do in SMBX.

You should somehow incentivize the player to throw a mushroom block onto the mario blocks. Place an annoying and difficult to avoid enemy there, so the player naturally wants to get rid of it with a throwable item. This will give the player this "aha!" moment when they see that the mushroom block doesn't fall through the Mario blocks. I actually think that alone is enough of a challenge this early in the level, meaning the podoboos aren't even needed. (I'd probably also give the player a set amount of mushroom blocks, so it isn't too easy to build a whole bridge)

Now we get to the second Boom Boom fight. The leaf is kind of a trap, I don't think you had that in the first version? I already have a fireflower, so all I do is sit up there and fire shots down at Boom Boom who cannot hurt me in any way.
Shouldn't you at least be forced to enter the arena with Boom Boom before the fight starts?

Trap/joke before the mid point: Was that really necessary?
The warping also changes Mario's X coordinate to be centered inside the warp area, which feels really janky as it moves the camera to it and kills your momentum. And why did you add lava at the bottom? If you really wanted the teleporting, do it with lua (yes, I know you want to avoid it for some weird reason), so you teleport up there smoothly. You remember the first boss (magician?) in the MAFAB relay level? Remember the vertical wraparound it had (made possible by lunalua)? It's just like that.

Section 2:

This section is..."busy". I think you used too many different enemy types in a very tight space together.
You also did what I already pointed out before. Mario blocks you cannot pass through! This is not only confusing, you can actually die bumping your head against the block and falling down into the bottomless pit.

The way to the dragon coin:
You have to jump onto the invisible blocks, which is pretty unintuitive. You can also use the 1-tile gaps to glitch through the wall to the dragon coin.
I suggest you remove the blocks and make the player use the leaf + the wraparound to cleverly fly from the center to the left, wrapping back to the right side of the screen, and then hovering to the dragon coin. You can also replace the fireflower powerup with a second leaf in case the player gets hurt.

Or...if you want to actually stick with your gimmick, which I highly advise you do, redesign this whole section.

Section 3:

This starts with a rather awkward jump onto the coin block, which is placed so high you'll have to do a running jump or a jump off the dry bones.

Then, the moles. I actually died here because: The mole train moves past the 2 spike things. Then, a hammer bro hit me and I lost my fireflower. The moie train also turned around. I had another flower in reserve, so I timed the power up so I could collect it around the spike thing. But then the moles turned around and I died mid jump. Those 2 red mario blocks at the bottom...those weren't there before! And they're really easy to miss, too. I know why you put a wall there, but the kind you chose to use didn't work too well.

The thwomps and the bomb: yeah, they're nothing special, and don't really fit your level's theme.

Section 18:

My main complaint with this is: this section seems to expand more and more! What the hell!

Section 19:

I was going to jump into the seemingly bottomless pit anyway, even before reading the sign. But if you think you have to tell the player, why don't you move the whole thing one block upwards, so you can see the bottom of the pit?

Careful, you actually have to AVOID the star in this one. It would probably feel better if the star and the (mario 1-ish) Mole staircase were at the end of the section, and keys/locks before it.

And why does your castle have a wooden door?

I highly suggest you watch the videos in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=15953

All of them! Your level is the kind of one Mark Brown talks about in his videos. You could really improve your level if you watch these.
Ok, played everything again.
I see that you already fixed the problem with the tanooki powerup at the start, and the one with the wraparound (extending blocks outside to screen so you don't fall)

So, to start with: You have a level with one main gimmick, which is the mario block.
Now, you should design your whole level around that gimmick.
Introduce the gimmick, let the player learn and master the gimmick as he plays, and ramp up the challenge the further he progresses through the level, test the player's mastery of the gimmick throughout the latter parts of the level.

What you did:

Section 21:

You have a message box explaining what a Mario block does. Wasn't the mushroom supposed to do that already?
"Show, don't tell". You can teach the player how the gimmick works without explicitely telling. Show the player how different objects interact with the block, and let the player experiment.

BTW, I found your secret exit here by accident. Being "poisoned" is not much of a reason to have an invisible wall there stopping you from entering a castle. Mario looks pretty healthy, he jumps around and everything. Why is there an invisble wall?

This whole exit is "do that nonsensical thing" that would be labeled as an "absurd second star" in MAGLX2. You actually give the player a hint once they've already beaten the level, in most cases two times. But even with the hint, it's still a nonsensical thing. The hint isn't really a hint either, it tells you EXACTLY what to do, so the second star doesn't add any challenge to the level. It's just a "thing you HAVE to do". I don't think a player should be rewarded for consuming a poison mushroom. There's not much of an excuse, or story relevance to have that exit exist.


I am not sure that the mushroom itself can show it enough. I am afraid, you know?

It is easy to say "show, don't tell", but hard to do so.

The invisible wall is to prevent the player to walk away after they see the star. ^^; It cannot be helped.

But wait, I do know that the first hint was obvious enough in the last few versions, but now it is not as obvious, right? O_O
(My second star doesn't intend to be challenging: it is intending to be... well, silly. I don't deny that. It intends to mean a bad end if you trigger a certain bad condition.)

Section 20:

Then, you have a tutorial that the player is very likely to miss.
You enter the castle through door A, but trying to leave the castle through door A leads to somewhere completely different. That doesn't make much sense.

So, this room has mario blocks, but you cannot pass through them!? The player is now confused. What happened? There's another invisible wall blocking your path! You kinda ruin your own gimmick here by making mario blocks the player cannot pass through. What's the point of teaching a player how a mechanic works, when there's no guarantee that it'll actually work? You should remove those inconsistencies from the level.

Now, after reading a sign AND pressing a switch (why do I have to do two things?), we see the dry bones, and the poison mushroom, and how they interact with the blocks. You don't need the dry bones to tell the player how this thing works, the player has eyes.

You also kinda teach the player that falling into bottomless pits makes you teleport to the top, even though that mechanic is not used in the level, except above a lava pit later.

All in all, there is lots of room for improvement here. You can teach the player about the gimmick without having him reading all the text.
This tutorial room is from a secret star in one of the entries.(You remember the one where you go back to the first door to go in to get the secret star?)(Well, some people put the secret star in that manner, I take that method and put the somewhat-optional tutorial room in the same manner.)

Well, I have a feeling that I have to use invisible wall. I just have that feeling. Okay, I know it is confusing.

The sign + switch thing is that...
Sign gives you the switch to decide if you want to go through the tutorial. But let's see...
I do know that dry bone and poison mushroom can show enough, but I am afraid that... not everyone is as smart to get the idea. No offence, just that I don't dare to assume the intelligence of people to be on the high side.(besides, I am not one with much common sense, so I don't know how one with common sense can think.
I will consider.

As of the falling into the pit teleporting you up, I just need to use that one so that player won't die after they fall down. I don't intend to teach them this gimmick. ^^; It is acting as the safety measure.
Besides, I tell them that NPC and enemy have no problem to stand on the platform, it doesn't mean the PLAYER has no problem also. I give them fireflower also, then ask them to shoot through.(I don't know how to force them to shoot, so I have to tell it out, ya know? the player control in the event... maybe only the forced "spin jump" can do the job... wait...... Aiyaya... I didn't try this event yet. Okay, this proves my point again about not using Lua. I may have an idea to get the player to shoot through the block.)
Section 1:

The actual level starts here. Note that the player most likely skipped the tutorial and hasn't fully understood the gimmick yet.

The player is instantly presented with a tough jump above a death trap. In the earlier version, the Mario blocks weren't even visible, and I jumped to the tanooki suit and died.

In this version: there's just too much going on for the first challenge in a level. You have a long jump, 2 "interceptors" (the Thwomps), a mushroom generator and a roto disc. Jumping from thwomp to thwomp is actually a difficult thing to do. I just made a long jump below them.

Since the player is not familiar with the gimmick yet, he/she might also expect the Thwomps to die in the lava.

This is followed by 2 more small platforms with double roto discs and an unreasonably difficult to get red coin.
Why are there actually red coins in the level? Does collecting them even do anything?

Somehow, after this whole ordeal, and another spawner/bowser statue that has nothing to do with the gimmick, the level becomes significantly easier. Usually, your level is supposed to become harder the further you progress, not the other way around.

After the first boom boom, there is a dragon coin in the ceiling.
Since this is a Mario level, and we cannot see the ceiling above the dragon coin, I stacked up enough blocks to see if I could go "above" the level, like in Mario Bros. 1-2. Well, you can't.

I suggest you replace the whole coin up there with a pipe that leads to a bonus room. Inside that room, you'll have to make use of the Mario block gimmick and if you succeed, you are rewarded with a dragon coin.
Well, the first harsh lesson: If it is too good to be true, it is likely a trap. "NPC can stand" doesn't mean "Mario can stand".

Oh, the red coin is to show the roto discs, and no other purpose.

... Well, I allow the player to try if you can above the ceiling, and luckily they cannot.

As of the bonus room idea, I don't have any good idea... ^^; Wait... I might have one idea that is workable.

Next is the lava with 2 podoboos. The first time I came across this screen, I podoboo jumped over it. I didn't even realize that you're supposed to use the mushroom blocks, since those were obviously placed there to get up to the dragon coin. BTW, the red coins are placed so far down, it's far too difficult to get to them. Podoboo jumping by itself is already quite difficult to do in SMBX.

You should somehow incentivize the player to throw a mushroom block onto the mario blocks. Place an annoying and difficult to avoid enemy there, so the player naturally wants to get rid of it with a throwable item. This will give the player this "aha!" moment when they see that the mushroom block doesn't fall through the Mario blocks. I actually think that alone is enough of a challenge this early in the level, meaning the podoboos aren't even needed. (I'd probably also give the player a set amount of mushroom blocks, so it isn't too easy to build a whole bridge)

Now we get to the second Boom Boom fight. The leaf is kind of a trap, I don't think you had that in the first version? I already have a fireflower, so all I do is sit up there and fire shots down at Boom Boom who cannot hurt me in any way.
Shouldn't you at least be forced to enter the arena with Boom Boom before the fight starts?

Trap/joke before the mid point: Was that really necessary?
The warping also changes Mario's X coordinate to be centered inside the warp area, which feels really janky as it moves the camera to it and kills your momentum. And why did you add lava at the bottom? If you really wanted the teleporting, do it with lua (yes, I know you want to avoid it for some weird reason), so you teleport up there smoothly. You remember the first boss (magician?) in the MAFAB relay level? Remember the vertical wraparound it had (made possible by lunalua)? It's just like that.
^^;... Okay, so just now you say "show, don't tell", then I use red coin for the purpose to indicate the podoboo(on this part and the part before) without even saying it out. This also wrong? Okay, you are confused by my level, I am confused by your standard. ^^;

Okay, if I am not to use red coin to indicate podoboo, then what shall I use? ^^;

I did try to show that NPC cannot pass through the Mario block. ^^; Mushroom block is considered as NPC... or not?

Set amount of mushroom block, eh? ... I might have a good idea.

And yes, the leaf is supposed to be quite a trap.(well, trying to get you to the arena)

Fake-kaizo thing: It is not really necessary, but I feel like adding this.

And I am trying to avoid Lua for this first. Ya see... since you can pick up so many flaws already, it means I didn't have the good grasp on good level design yet. If I still rely on technology like that... I don't think it is a good thing.
At least I am still trying to fully understand all the creative and interesting gimmick that I can make with purely SMBX.(I do think it is possible.)

As of why I add the lava, I just want to standardize all the gaps between two platform in the ground floor(section 1).
(section 2 is climbing up, section 3 is second floor.)

--- I will give my personal reasons on the parts that you comment on later... TO BE CONTINUED.[/spoiler]

S1eth
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby S1eth » 2 years ago

CloudyCloud wrote:I do know that dry bone and poison mushroom can show enough, but I am afraid that... not everyone is as smart to get the idea. No offence, just that I don't dare to assume the intelligence of people to be on the high side.
I'll respond to your full comment later, but I hope this won't be necessary because: for the love of god, watch this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FpigqfcvlM

Don't treat your players like complete idiots.
I can make an example level tomorrow that teaches the player all they need to know about mario blocks WHILE THEY PLAY without explicitely telling them if you like.
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CloudyCloud
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby CloudyCloud » 2 years ago

S1eth wrote:
CloudyCloud wrote:I do know that dry bone and poison mushroom can show enough, but I am afraid that... not everyone is as smart to get the idea. No offence, just that I don't dare to assume the intelligence of people to be on the high side.
I'll respond to your full comment later, but I hope this won't be necessary because: for the love of god, watch this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FpigqfcvlM

Don't treat your players like complete idiots.
I can make an example level tomorrow that teaches the player all they need to know about mario blocks WHILE THEY PLAY without explicitely telling them if you like.
... Well, I am not treating them like complete idiots. I am not sure if my presentation is enough.

I am treating myself as the idiot instead, if it makes sense. ^^;

Anyway, the continued comment...

Section 2:

This section is..."busy". I think you used too many different enemy types in a very tight space together.
You also did what I already pointed out before. Mario blocks you cannot pass through! This is not only confusing, you can actually die bumping your head against the block and falling down into the bottomless pit.

The way to the dragon coin:
You have to jump onto the invisible blocks, which is pretty unintuitive. You can also use the 1-tile gaps to glitch through the wall to the dragon coin.
I suggest you remove the blocks and make the player use the leaf + the wraparound to cleverly fly from the center to the left, wrapping back to the right side of the screen, and then hovering to the dragon coin. You can also replace the fireflower powerup with a second leaf in case the player gets hurt.

Or...if you want to actually stick with your gimmick, which I highly advise you do, redesign this whole section.
I cannot deny. That's why I specifically mention about using fire-flower to identify if a mario block is safe to stand on. MAYBE I SERIOUSLY NEED TO FORCE THE PLAYER TO SHOOT THROUGH THE MARIO BLOCK IN ONE CASE AND LET THE MARIO BLOCK BLOCK THE FIRE IN ANOTHER CASE, so that you all can see that fire-flower can help to decide if this mario block is with/without invisible block.
My main gimmick is mario block, but this gimmick is with the addition of invisible block also. Without tanooki suit, you can try to see if there is a spot to stand on by using fire-flower.(That's why I ask the question in "Dev Question" thing.)

Well, 1-tile gap glitch... I kinda want to mislead the player into thinking that 1-tile glitch can work while it cannot, but it still works?! ...
Section 3:

This starts with a rather awkward jump onto the coin block, which is placed so high you'll have to do a running jump or a jump off the dry bones.

Then, the moles. I actually died here because: The mole train moves past the 2 spike things. Then, a hammer bro hit me and I lost my fireflower. The moie train also turned around. I had another flower in reserve, so I timed the power up so I could collect it around the spike thing. But then the moles turned around and I died mid jump. Those 2 red mario blocks at the bottom...those weren't there before! And they're really easy to miss, too. I know why you put a wall there, but the kind you chose to use didn't work too well.

The thwomps and the bomb: yeah, they're nothing special, and don't really fit your level's theme.
Yes, it is intended to need to jump off the dry bones. But there is a trick I give you: if you accidentally kill off the dry bone with tail, a helper platform will appear instead.(Another tester also feedbacked about it, he mentioned about giving a generator, but I think a helper platform may work better.)

The wall thing... Okay, I think I might see your point.
Section 18:

My main complaint with this is: this section seems to expand more and more! What the hell!

Section 19:

I was going to jump into the seemingly bottomless pit anyway, even before reading the sign. But if you think you have to tell the player, why don't you move the whole thing one block upwards, so you can see the bottom of the pit?

Careful, you actually have to AVOID the star in this one. It would probably feel better if the star and the (mario 1-ish) Mole staircase were at the end of the section, and keys/locks before it.

And why does your castle have a wooden door?

I highly suggest you watch the videos in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=15953

All of them! Your level is the kind of one Mark Brown talks about in his videos. You could really improve your level if you watch these.
TOO MANY THINGS TO SAY. <_<
---
Just in case the player still remember the mario block thing. <_<

As of moving one block upward, I feel that it makes the design not as good. Actually I have thought of playing around with mario block for one more time.

But you need to avoid the star? O_O

My real lesson:
1. Mario block allows NPC to stand on it, but you to pass through.
2. So, NPC doesn't indicate guaranteed safety.
3. Fireflower is your friend to decide if you can stand on a platform.


But, thanks for the feedback, still. I will consider your feedback and change some parts in it.[/spoiler]

S1eth
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby S1eth » 2 years ago

CloudyCloud wrote:... Well, I am not treating them like complete idiots. I am not sure if my presentation is enough.
That's why playtesting is so important. You create your level with a specific way to play it in mind, and then have someone play it and see how they approach the level.
Then you go "that's not what I intended", and change your level. It's an iterative process.
It's all in those videos I linked you to (the thread link, watch them all)
CloudyCloud wrote:Fireflower is your friend to decide if you can stand on a platform.
Think about that again. Is that whole thing actually a good idea to begin with? Using both invisible blocks and mario blocks together, which means everything the playr has learned until now is meaningless.

And if your answer is "yes", then you should use mario blocks in isolation, and then invisible blocks in isolation, before you confront the player with both at the same time. (but I really think the answer is "no").
CloudyCloud wrote:This tutorial room is from a secret star in one of the entries.(You remember the one where you go back to the first door to go in to get the secret star?)(Well, some people put the secret star in that manner, I take that method and put the somewhat-optional tutorial room in the same manner.)
A huge problem in your level is that the tutorial can be accidentally skipped, and I don't see you addressing that problem anywhere.
It's fine if the tutorial is optional, but the player has to at a least know that it exists.

Here, an example beginning/tutorial without text: http://www.mediafire.com/download/3yxhh ... _start.zip

Notice how the player shoots fireballs through the mario wall without anyone telling them to do so?
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby CloudyCloud » 2 years ago

S1eth wrote:
CloudyCloud wrote:... Well, I am not treating them like complete idiots. I am not sure if my presentation is enough.
That's why playtesting is so important. You create your level with a specific way to play it in mind, and then have someone play it and see how they approach the level.
Then you go "that's not what I intended", and change your level. It's an iterative process.
It's all in those videos I linked you to (the thread link, watch them all)
CloudyCloud wrote:Fireflower is your friend to decide if you can stand on a platform.
Think about that again. Is that whole thing actually a good idea to begin with? Using both invisible blocks and mario blocks together, which means everything the playr has learned until now is meaningless.

And if your answer is "yes", then you should use mario blocks in isolation, and then invisible blocks in isolation, before you confront the player with both at the same time. (but I really think the answer is "no").
CloudyCloud wrote:This tutorial room is from a secret star in one of the entries.(You remember the one where you go back to the first door to go in to get the secret star?)(Well, some people put the secret star in that manner, I take that method and put the somewhat-optional tutorial room in the same manner.)
A huge problem in your level is that the tutorial can be accidentally skipped, and I don't see you addressing that problem anywhere.
It's fine if the tutorial is optional, but the player has to at a least know that it exists.

Here, an example beginning/tutorial without text: http://www.mediafire.com/download/3yxhh ... _start.zip

Notice how the player shoots fireballs through the mario wall without anyone telling them to do so?
So far other people play-test... not too much of a problem from them. O_O

But maybe it is also because I tell those things out loud.
---
Well, can I choose a third answer? When you put it in that way, I find it hard to say.

I kinda see your point.

Though, if I wanna take that invisible block part away, then I don't even need them to shoot through the mario block with fire, since there is no need to test if the platform is solid.(well, I don't remember that it is really required in other part. You may want to shoot through for 4th fight, but it is just to make the game easier, and not necessarily required.)

Then seriously no excuse to give them the fire-flower already.
---
Okay, I am thinking of an idea... If I put a suspicious pipe on the beginning of the castle, will people go in?
---
Maybe I played a bit too much new-era game... Ya see, as one of the videos that you gave mentioned, nowadays the game tells a little bit much.
(Then I get used to the new-era game.)
(And seemingly I might have used the low-ranking level as example to learn, since my standard is not enough to learn the high-ranking level... <_< )(Don't mind this line)

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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby Quman » 2 years ago

I guess maybe I should explain why it's been so long since the last time I reviewed a level. Part of the reason is that I was busy with college and other real life things, of course, but another part of it was that the level I was trying to review was relatively challenging, and I try to thoroughly test a level with all playable characters before submitting my review. After dying in the same places enough times, I lost steam and stopped playing for a while.

Eventually I solved the problem by creating a hub with that level and the next four levels on my list, and alternating between the levels. Repeatedly dying at the same place is less frustrating when you're actually making progress elsewhere. Anyway, onto my review.
To be fair, most of this level wasn't really a problem. But it's slow enough and challenging enough that getting back to the part of the level I'm trying to figure out gets frustrating. Most of the points below are about one particular section of the level: the part of the level I was stuck at before I lost momentum.

1. The bouncing yellow koopa made for a rather frustrating "trap." There are many sections in this level where the player has only had one or two chances to make a certain jump, and the top of the screen hasn't been all that dangerous up to this point, so they've been trained to stay as far ahead as possible. If they're successful in doing so, the yellow koopa may well be offscreen when the player is preparing to jump to where the koopa is bouncing. Jumping on moving enemies requires the player to focus their attention on the enemy they intend to land on, so it's quite possible they won't even notice the koopa until it hits them. This isn't exactly terrible, but the fact that it's right before the bullet jump makes it more frustrating. The bullet jump was one of the things I had the most trouble with in the level, and it was pretty common for me to approach that section, start thinking about how I'm going to attempt the bullet jump this time around, then die to the koopa I forgot was there and realize I'm going to have to play through the level again before I have the chance to make another attempt. Anyway, onto the bullet jump itself.
2. Right after the yellow koopa, the player is expected to jump off of bullet bills that are being shot upward. By the time the platform they're trying to jump to comes onscreen, the bullet generator is near the bottom of the screen. The player has enough time for one attempt before the platform drifts to the right again, and the bullet generator falls off the bottom of the screen at about the same time the platform comes back left. If the player doesn't think to use the question block as a platform, getting enough height to reach the platform above can require very precise timing (though it's easier for some characters than others; and it's a real pain for Peach because she doesn't bounce when she's hovering.) If the player mistakenly believes that they're expected to repeatedly bounce on bullets to gain more height, they'll probably waste a few lives doing that before they even attempt doing it the right way. If nothing else, I'd at least like for there to be more blocks next to the one with the flower so it's more obvious that the block serves some purpose other than giving the player a power-up. This jump doesn't necessarily ruin the level, but it did frustrate me enough that I had to walk away and took a while to come back. The fact that this jump immediately follows a "trap" koopa that I kept forgetting about makes it worse. And point 3 is the icing on the cake.
3. After successfully jumping up from the upward bullet bills, the player can glitch through the floor if they run forward into the sloped wall in front of them. Luigi is especially prone to this, but I've been able to get other characters to do it as well. You might want to make sure the bridge meets the wall at a 90 degree angle, because being robbed of your victory after finally completing a difficult jump successfully is kind of a problem.
4. Unrelated to the above, I'd just like to note that it's impossible to complete this level without abandoning Yoshi, due to the section where the player must climb vines and ladders. While being able to take Yoshi through a level isn't exactly essential, I generally like to avoid forcing the player to abandon their Yoshi to progress. The easiest way to allow progress would be to add a blue koopa before the player needs to climb, but that would remove a lot of challenge from the level. Yoshi can stand on hoopsters, so rearranging things so the player can advance by riding hoopsters would also make it possible to proceed with Yoshi, but it would also require some large changes to the section. In looking for a minimalistic solution, I tried setting a couple of munchers on a layer that ascends at half of the speed the level scrolls (that is the only change in the version of the level I'm linking below.) It does the job, but I'm sure there are more elegant solutions. I don't know how much you're really going to care about allowing the player to keep their Yoshi, and your level isn't going to be rejected for the sole crime of forcing the player to abandon their horse, but it was at least worth noting.

Overall the level is pretty solid, but a lot of things added up to make one part of it really frustrating. I don't know how much toning down is necessary, but I would like to see that section toned down to some degree. My version with the rising munchers is here.


I'll post my comments on the other levels I tested over the next couple of days.

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Horikawa Otane
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby Horikawa Otane » 1 year ago

I'll be interested in testing and designing by the end of December or so
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Watch my Butt on the YouTubes
raocow wrote:Dang it Oyster this level is not called Peregrine Penguin and the Soft Bon-Bon, it clearly says Ghost House with a Ghost in It!

S1eth
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby S1eth » 1 year ago

Oh this? It's Just My Brutal Swimming Paradise by ravegg
ravegg wrote:Didn't take that long to finish up my other level. New reviews on both would be appreciated, as I think I addressed as much as I could of the previous reviews.

Oh This? It's Just My Brutal Swimming Paradise v2

changelog:
-Minor tweaks to first half (enemy placement, forgot what most of them were)
-Line Guides are now white
-Jellyfish contraption moves slightly slower then before
-Changes to both platform placement and line guide that should make second half easier
-Changing music filename so it hopefully will work for others
I think I played this before, but didn't review it? I definitely didn't finish it at the time, and just gave up on it.

Section 1:

The nuts killed me a lot of the time. They're pretty difficult to see sometimes.
You can make them drop slower, gaining speed as they fall. Just like they do in Kirby.
The thwomps you appear to be using for them just drop fast and instantly.
I got killed within 2 seconds of entering the level. I recommend NOT putting enemies that early into the level.
Give me a simple walk and platform to jump on at the start of an autoscroller, not an enemy directly in my face.

Your water is screwed up. For some reason, you're using NPCs instead of background objects, so the animation desyncs as they spawn in one at a time. I don't like the look of your water anyway. You have the wavy solid top, and it's comletely flat and checkered under that. You can use PNG for transparent images now.

I'm also not a fan of your rainy background. It makes it look like the game runs at 5 FPS.

The bottom (water) path early on feels completely useless, because I have no reason to ever go there.

Section 2:

I've had the mushroom fall down and be lost a few times. It's nicer to have power-up rooms with more easily accessible power-ups, and no life-threatening dangers.

Put a single warp in the middle of your door, not 2 warps on both wings.

Section 3:

This is where the frustration starts. You're dealing with a lot of visual clutter (rain, water, difficult to see enemies) and have to keep track of the "track" and yourself and the dangerous cage around you.
Even with the white tracks, it is difficult to predict the cage's movement.
And whenever you make it fall (FAST), it's far too much to avoid without practice.

On top of that, your power-up barely matters here. Whenever I got hit once, I either got glitched into the cage and died, or I could not gain access to my stored power-up because the cage kept moving.

You have these stops where you have to press switches. Make the movement of the cage there less eratic and make clear save zones in which you can stand and refill on power-ups without dying.

I don't really know what you can do with this section, because I don't think it will ever be fun. It can be made less frustrating, but not fun.

Section 4:

SMBX error: cannot open the music file.
Last edited by S1eth on 25 Dec 2015, 06:58, edited 1 time in total.
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S1eth
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Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby S1eth » 1 year ago

Big Boo Castle v2 by ravegg
ravegg wrote:Oops finally got around to fixing one of my levels. Sorry about the wait. I changed this level to be a lot shorter and less cramped now. Hopefully I'll update the other one today or sometime soon.

Big Boo Castle v2

changelog:
-Removed a bunch of enemies
-Moved some boos so that they aren't super in the way all the time
-Cut the terrible flying section before the boss door
-Added generators to items you could lose
-Moved the midpoint to the outdoor section
-Made line guides invisible
-Added a sign showing where you need a yoshi
-Added another powerup box
-Put a mario filter at the midpoint
-Tweaked Boss Room
-Changed music at pre-boss room
No majors issues.

You still got the case of instantly respawning skeletons. (you stomp to kill a drybone to open the path, and a new one spawns instantly, killing your yoshi)

For the boo boss: when the big boo is killed, also make the layer with the podoboos and small boos invisible.

The boss itself: I just sat on the right side next to the respawning ice cube, threw it at the boo, waited for it to respawn, etc.
The boos will never attack you if you look at them, so that was pretty boring.
I never had to move from that place, I was never in danger in any way. It was just waiting around.

those what goes chomp chomp chomp in the night by Friendly Dictator
Friendly Dictator wrote:here's "those what goes chomp chomp chomp in the night"
i was able to get a character filter working but not a powerup filter. please filter out all powerups when the level starts
Nice little level. Not much to critizice about .

You introduce a spiny replacement enemy very early on in the level, but never use it again. I found that pretty weird.
That, and Zelda at the end.

Also, maybe the second platform in the level shouldn't end in a 45° downward slope. It made me mess up my jump because SMBX doesn't like slopes.
The three rotodiscs at once, I pretty much tanked those all the time.


A Happy Graveyard in the Brave Forest by acrowdofpeople
acrowdofpeople wrote:A Happy Graveyard in the Brave Forest | 2 stars

Completion: Nearly, pending comments and potential ghost sprite replacements. I'm interested to know if anything about the level needs to be made clearer, if anywhere has bizarre difficulty inconsistent with the rest of the level, if anything needs to be made more difficult, if anything's boring, and if anything breaks. I had to update Lua beyond the latest devkit to get the level to work as-is.

While testing this level, I discovered a strange glitch in the engine...
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I rammed into SMB3 Bowser while carrying a bob-omb, and he just happened to be breathing out fire at that moment... Since the bob-omb's death event despawned Bowser, I somehow wound up picking up his flame. I took a hit in the process, but I tried it again and was able to repeat the result. Should I do something about this, or is it a rare enough occurrence that I can ignore it?
You are still using those gif graphics that don't work well for transparency. You could switch them with PNG graphics.
Most of the stuff that hit me were the enemies hidden in the white mist.
Why is Bowser a shoe? I walked up to him, assuming he is maybe friendly, but seeing no "!" pop up, I jumped over him, then saw an impassable gap and munchers. Jumping onto Bowser was sort of my "last resort", and it worked???

At the end with the star, I fell down the hole. Then, I couldn't get up anymore form there.
I opened the editor and saw that you placed springboards underneath, but when I played and tested it, those did not bounce me upwards. They were just a flat surface to me.
There's this rectangle of mist lakitu that throws boos? I have no idea why that exists or looks the way it does...

Your warp to the "onetruepath" is on the default layer and can be entered even if the pipe does not exist.
How do I even make that pipe visible? I never found that.
Also, you seem to have walls of invisible axes. When you hide their layer, disable the "poof" effect so the player can't see them.

Typo: "you ca't defeat me"
The "boss"(?) was annoying to be honest.
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S1eth
Posts: 285
Joined: 2 years ago

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby S1eth » 1 year ago

You can really see the craftsmanship in this level. The bouncing mechanics truly shine in the early parts of the level.

Problem is: you set the P1 starting point directly next to the midpoint in the version I played.

So, Section 3 first:

So, I instantly got stuck there trying to find the correct path. I didn't think to enter the thing (platform/pipe) I started on, went to the right through the water, etc. everywhere.

If you go through a pipe to get boosted horizontally, if you hold the run button, it doesn't work, and you quickly lose your speed and drop into the water. If you don't, it works fine, kinda like those automatic mario levels.

Once you reach the top, the first bigger red platform is where I fell down the most. It should maybe be a bit easier to reach the yellow platform from the red one. From there, it goes on fine.

Near the end, you have a hurt blocks directly next to the second to last mushroom. You cannot see the hurt block from above, and you have a perfectly timed earthquake to make sure the player gets killed the during the first playthrough. I'd like to see that changed.

Also, I did not understand that black blocks did damage until I got hit by one. Maybe that's because I started at the midpoint and was not properly introduced to them, or maybe it was because I got thrown into it at high speeds from a musical pipe thingy.

Section 1:

OK, I moved the starting point to section 1 where I believe you would normally start? Works with black background and everything until you hit the detonator thing.

You have a pretty good introduction to the gimmick on the first screeen. Except the entering pipe and exit pipe should be closer together. And falling into the water makes the walk back only longer.

The second screen with the yoku blocks, I don't like that. It's a good introduction to the concept, but the timing is already pretty tight.

Next is the place with the white/block switching blocks. That part should either have slightly shorter black phases, or have more room for you to jump so you don't bonk your head and fly down into the black. Actually, I don't think it's a good idea to introduce the bouncy block and the black/white switch mechanic at the same time. I'd make this screen bouncy block only, teaching you about different heights affecting your bounce height. Because I certainly focused on surviving the switch blocks, and didn't immediately understand the bounce height gimmick.

Last is more yoku blocks. That's fine, but the water slows you down between tries, which is rather annoying.

Section 2:

Now, this section has two parts. The first one is really good and uses the bounce height mechanic in interesting ways to progress,
but the second part is horrible.

First of all, there is no indication that this section uses wraparound. Therefore, I don't know what intended way of climbing you had in mind, but I certainly didn't take that route. I started jumping from the switch block onto RED-->GREEN-->BLUE. That works, but the timing kinda sucks. Later on, I tried going RED-->WRAP to YELLOW-->GREEN-->BLUE. But the BLUE just appeared within me and glitched me to the side most of the time, so I prefer my own method. I got all the way right below the 4 left bouncy blocks until I realized that I cannot possibly progress unless this screen has wraparound. Of course, during that time, I fell down, and had to repeat the process.

And that's the downfall of this section. You fall, and you climb and you fall and you climb and you fall and you climb and fall and climb and fall and climb. And to make matters worse, you put HURT BLOCKS in that section, without a checkpoint before it. So I can repeat the whole level just to die here again after falling down 20 times. Just get rid of the hurt blocks, and make the timing slightly less tight/improve your route.
Or, just scrap that entire part. I don't think yoku block jumping is especially interesting in the first place. Vertical climbing sections are not fun if you have to repeat them over and over again.
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acrowdofpeople
Posts: 47
Joined: 2 years ago

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby acrowdofpeople » 1 year ago

S1eth wrote:Happy Graveyard in the Brave Forest
Thanks for the review and recommendations!
Bowser being a shoe had a reason, but I see I didn't elaborate upon it at all and don't remember why that is. So now he's just a shoe.
I also see that I cut out the clue about how to get the pipe to appear, so that's entirely my fault that you didn't know about it. Thanks for catching that the entrance was on the wrong layer. The pipe is supposed to appear when you bring in a red shoe but aren't wearing it. I added a line to a gravestone to suggest where to look for the clue, and I also added in the clue.
That lakitu throwing ghosts all over the place doesn't really add anything, so I'm removing it entirely.
I converted the fog into PNGs. I hope that fixes the transparency issue.
Removed all of the smoke transitions.
I fixed the "boss" so it's not "Let's guess where the platforms are!"

S1eth
Posts: 285
Joined: 2 years ago

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby S1eth » 1 year ago

What Red Coin? by Quiversee
Quiversee wrote:Here it is, my first level ever! What Red Coin? v1

I'm really eager for feedback on this, I admit there's a few things in this level I'm worried may not go over so well, but I want to see what people think before I make any major changes. It's intended to be kinda hard especially in the second half, so good luck and enjoy!
1. Put your music files inside the level folder. "WhatRedCoin/uproar.wav", not inside the episode folder.

2. Your level is freaking 126 MB big. That's not acceptable. Convert your uproar.wav file into a different format, or use a song that's not TEN minutes long. And from what I can tell, it loops after about 2 minutes anyway!? The other songs are not much better. boss.mp3 is FIFTEEN minutes long!

Your level is just far too big. And on top of that, it is not clear what to do or where to go.
And if you die, you have to start all over again.

You absolutely NEED:

1. A red coin counter on the HUD showing you how many coins you have collected, and how many you still need to collect to progress.
I collected 2 coins without even realizing that I did. So I missed them on subsequent tries.

2. Save the player's progress whenever you collect a red coin. Use multipoints.
Nobody likes to die after 30 minutes of play and then having to repeat everything again.

Normally, I go over every section individually, but you have just too many. So here's just some notes I made while playing the level:

Starting area: elevators keep you waiting far too often and too long.

Water area: Let me access the area without talking to the Toad first. The water area itself is extremely tedious and boring. I could beat an entire level in the time it takes to traverse through the water section. It's too big, has too much unnecessary stuff, and the fish take too long to kill. I once entered the area with an ice flower equipped, and that was actually kind of fun, if not broken. But destroying the fish that are above you, that's bad.

town: blocks are for power-ups, not for enemies. Power-ups are far too scarce in your level (except you somehow put all of them in the water section...?) and then you consistently punish the player for trying to explore.

The Boom Boom room was horrible. You put so many blocks there, and an unreachable area above. Of course, the solution would be a hidden spring board inside the blocks? No, only death is in those. And you cannot get rid of the poision mushrooms either. Meanwhile, I had no idea that boom boom had to be killed. In the same section, you have a birdo, but you do NOT have to kill that one?

In general: far too much enemy spam, especially the hammer bros. were not needed. Don't place Snifits in a way so that they can shoot you when you enter the door. Do not use grey Snifit bullets on a grey background making them difficult to see. Don't place hammer bros. above the screen so that when you enter the room, hammers that you could not have possibly seen come down and kill you.

Later in town, a red coin destroys the elevator. How are you supposed to get up there? I jumped onto the Parakoopa next to the elevator to get up, but what if I killed them? They don't respawn.

There are far too many rooms that don't do have anything worthwhile in them, but put you in danger. For example, there is a thwomp room, and a coin room. BTW, the coin room toad should change his dialogue if you collect all the coins.

Factory: I just stopped here and used god mode after dying too much. Not only are there INSTAKILL blocks everywhere, it is also not clear where to go. The path splits, and I decided to take what I assumed was a more dangerous path, but I was not even rewarded? It just skipped the red coin and I got to the exit pipe instead? And how are you even supposed to get to the lounge(?) area? I only went there because I had god mode and a tanooki from outside the level, but to everyone else, that area looked like the end of the section, with death everywhere.

The boss was kinda neat, except then I got killed by a random Wart attack that I could not have possibly seen coming. And again, instant death lasers. Remove the wart attack, replace the instant death with normal hurt blocks. And make the boss not only use the laser attack from left-to-right, but also right-to-left. Make the attacks easier to avoid, but also don't hand out free power-ups during the fight.

Oh yeah, the green (balls) area was my absolutely least favourite. Orange was good. Yellow was ugh.
I never collected all dragon coins. For obvious reasons. Why would I torture myself? I already spent more than an hour on this level, and that was WITH god mode on for the latter parts of it. It's not fun to be punished for trying to explore. It's not fun to have to repeat the same sections over and over again.
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User avatar
Quiversee
Oh man, I got nothin!
Posts: 18
Joined: 2 years ago

Re: Level Testing and Reviews

Postby Quiversee » 1 year ago

S1eth wrote: Very Useful Feedback
Putting in spoilers because it's long, addressing every point of feedback.
First off, thanks for swift feedback, it's appreciated. As far as the music thing goes, the placement of the songs is due to ignorance, I'll rectify that for sure. The length was intentional, but I didn't notice it loop after only 2 minutes; I'll do some editing to try and tone it down without breaking the looping. Now, on to your comments on the level.

Red coin counter in the HUD, that's something I did consider originally, but fact is, I don't have the knowhow to do such a thing. If it really becomes necessary, I could just ask someone to figure it out for me but I ended up trying to use NPCs as clues; I guess that doesn't work out so well, I was afraid of that. Same with the clarity on where to go, I tried to fix that as much as I could but ultimately, I couldn't deduce where the issues lie until someone (you in this case) tested it. And honestly the multipoints thing falls in this category too...though with multipoints I can definitely see the level flowing better with that alone, so I'll figure it out and add it for sure regardless.

Starting elevators, I personally disagree with this point, but at the same time I can think of an easy enough workaround for the bigger ones, so no concern there.

Water area, I kind of like the idea of having it hidden before you're flagged to it, but that may just be personal preference so I'll reconsider my stance there. As for the length/fun of it...yeah, I can see your point, and I think I know a simple fix to that which only causes one issue to me, but again, workarounds exist.

Enemies in the blocks, again a point I kind of like, but in this case I do see your point; when you don't have knowledge of where things are it makes sense that it becomes a bit frustrating, and I guess I underplayed that in my mind so I apologize for that being a thing at all.

The Boom Boom room, the blocks portion I added in to make it simpler for the player, but I guess it had the reverse effect unintentionally, and I'd rather keep it a quick, simple battle that is needed to get the coin. I'll try and find a way to make it easier both to identify and handle...probably in part by removing the prior block/enemy gimmick. As well as fixing some enemy placements.

Some good points on the other rooms having little point. I like the idea of the player being presented an obstacle, like the coin cutting the elevator, then having to search for a solution, but I think it's the same trap as before where I underestimate the difficulty to someone unaware of the layout. The Thwomp room actually was meant to be a powerup room but yeah, there's too much clutter elsewhere to see the merit.

To the factory, I apologize that you felt the need to god-mode it, as I said it was meant to be hard but not punishing. Clarity again becomes an issue and that one coin in particular I was a bit hopeful. The lounge area is actually meant to be accessible by finding the dragon coins, going to the dragon coin room, and taking a ridable disco to that section.

As for the boss...the wart is something I meant to remove. I had that in an earlier test of the boss (a harder one if I'm being honest) and I should have removed it. However, making him use the laser from right to left and left to right may not be doable due to just keeping him moving proper. I'll try to rebalance him, but aside from the wart it seems he is the least of your worries.


tl;dr, thanks for the review, and more importantly, the harshly honest criticism. In summation:

-Cut down enemy spam.
-Enemy in blocks = no
-Make it more clear where to go when
-Reward exploration better
-Add multipoints and a red coin counter in hud (will need some Lua help there)
-Tone down the insta-kill and rebalance the boss.
-Shorten the level in general

...yeah, looking back I can agree with all these points. I apologize that you didn't enjoy yourself on this stage, but this feedback should get it rolling as a real level.


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