Project Tips

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Enjl
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Re: Project Tips

Postby Enjl » Sun Nov 01, 2015 6:51 pm

SuperMario12345 wrote:
TNTtimelord wrote:
A quality "long-term episode" should be your main focus with MAYBE a small side project. A quality episode will take at least a year as well, so I agree with Enjl on this. I don't think you know what you're talking about.


I wasn't going by the terms of the quality of the episode, I was going by the length of the episode it's self.


Of course if you can make 1 shitty level per hour you can work on 4 long projects at once. But that's not the point of designing an episode. You want other people to enjoy playing it.

Also measuring an episode length by number of levels is only half-legit, because some levels I know are longer than an episode with 6 times as many levels (example: The Enemy's Castle takes longer to complete than Halloween Hypnosis).
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Re: Project Tips

Postby BeastieGamez325 » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:29 am

What about No Map episodes? Because that's what I'm making.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby TheKingOfBoos » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:42 pm

BeastieGamez325 wrote:What about No Map episodes? Because that's what I'm making.

Those are cool.
As long as you have a HUB of course.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby mariofan 64 » Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:52 pm

TheKingOfBoos wrote:
BeastieGamez325 wrote:What about No Map episodes? Because that's what I'm making.

Those are cool.
As long as you have a HUB of course.

It doesn't have to have a hub. Think of SMB1, SMBLL, and SMB2. Those were good. Of course, the old days aren't present anymore due to public demand, most likely. :/
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Re: Project Tips

Postby RudeGuy » Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:15 pm

mariofan 64 wrote:It doesn't have to have a hub.

But since you can't save between levels, a hub is always needed for no world map episodes.
im bored

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Re: Project Tips

Postby Enjl » Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:18 pm

mariofan 64 wrote:
TheKingOfBoos wrote:
BeastieGamez325 wrote:What about No Map episodes? Because that's what I'm making.

Those are cool.
As long as you have a HUB of course.

It doesn't have to have a hub. Think of SMB1, SMBLL, and SMB2. Those were good. Of course, the old days aren't present anymore due to public demand, most likely. :/


If public demand equates to technologic advancement, sure.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby mariofan 64 » Sat Nov 07, 2015 7:17 pm

RudeGuy07 wrote:
mariofan 64 wrote:It doesn't have to have a hub.

But since you can't save between levels, a hub is always needed for no world map episodes.

A Character hub for choosing characters before playing, and you play like the earlier-mentioned games. When you win, you go back. Sound better?
Stars can unlock more worlds, 4 levels each world, 1 star per world, if that makes you feel any better. 8-)
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Re: Project Tips

Postby Enjl » Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:57 am

I have some helpful tips which should help you finish your project. These are sorted from most important to least important, while still being relevant:

-don't make a project thread until it's very close to being finished. When making a project you're looking to show off some of your work and get feedback for it. Once you got that feedback - is there a reason to make more? Not really. People already told you you did a great job. Maybe you released a demo and they went more into detail. It'll also reduce the stress of "oh shit I should post new screens but I only finished half a level this last month" to zero, cause you haven't started hyping your project up yet.

-work on one project total and don't make it too long. Apart from the release pressure (which we cancelled out by now), the time you already put into the episode is another discouraging factor. If you work on a 100 level game but don't have too much time because of school/college/work, and only get 20 done in a year, then feel discouraged as you realise you'll have even less time in the future - plan ahead and aim for 20 levels rather and release them after a year. Story is abundant in a sense that you can change it whenever you feel like it, and that it rarely ever affects anything aside from the final boss, you can change it whenever you feel like it to fit to what you got.

-don't release demos. Same thing as the first - you want the feedback once your work is done, and in this case "work" refers to the entire episode, rather than individual levels.

-don't tease too much of it. The occasional well-taken screenshot in the screens thread is a good way to get some feedback on your design, but only start mentioning that you're working on a project when it's almost done. Also, never tease the cool stuff, like plot-relevant scenes or stuff which is meant to induce a "whoa" effect in the player.

-make sure you got ideas for your episode to begin with. You don't want to run into the "hm I need to make this ... level but I don't have any ideas" situation. I suggest making a text document for level ideas and sorting them by theme. Once you think you have enough for a project, start working!

-if you really just want to share this cool story you came up with, and really have no ideas for levels or time to make them, write a fanfic instead.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby as303298 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:50 am

I'll post something here that helps mostly for Let's Players like myself.
In the case of a large audience, when someone plays your level they surely want to know who made the level and what music was placed in it. In my project I already made out a Word Document with the following format.

World # -[Name]
[Filename].lvl -[Level name]
[Music file]
[Designer]

In example:
World 1 -Mush Mush Island

Level 1-1.lvl "Mushroom Plains"
SMW Grass.mp3
Speedy

Having a file like this also keeps you from making multiple sound files when you can recycle one you've already utilized before and just forgot.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby MECHDRAGON777 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 7:45 am

as303298 wrote:I'll post something here that helps mostly for Let's Players like myself.
In the case of a large audience, when someone plays your level they surely want to know who made the level and what music was placed in it. In my project I already made out a Word Document with the following format.

World # -[Name]
[Filename].lvl -[Level name]
[Music file]
[Designer]

In example:
World 1 -Mush Mush Island

Level 1-1.lvl "Mushroom Plains"
SMW Grass.mp3
Speedy

Having a file like this also keeps you from making multiple sound files when you can recycle one you've already utilized before and just forgot.

On that topic, I did that with Google Docs. It really helps!
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Re: Project Tips

Postby Witchking666 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:22 pm

I know this is not really related to project topics but more of a suggestion.
I suggest to make actual names fo your worlds
So for example, instead of:
"Grass land"
Or just regular "world 1"
Instead, you could go for stuff like:
"Wild grasslands"
Or "peaceful plains"
IMO that sounds cooler.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby as303298 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:49 pm

witchking666 wrote:I know this is not really related to project topics but more of a suggestion.
I suggest to make actual names fo your worlds
So for example, instead of:
"Grass land"
Or just regular "world 1"
Instead, you could go for stuff like:
"Wild grasslands"
Or "peaceful plains"
IMO that sounds cooler.


Same goes for level names too.
You can be super complex and be relevant to the level's construction like most people.
Or be liek Val...and give them a hilariously almost unfitting name instead.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby Sednaiur » Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:33 pm

These are some of my little tips and suggestions for making a project^^:
- Before you start a project, think about what you really like to do. In my opinion it dosn't works to do levels and worlds randomly while progressing onto your project. You may need a solid idea of the adventure you like to create for the player. You also should decide about the difficulty you aim for, before you start the first level. It can be very difficult to readjust the difficulty of already done levels.
- If you like to have a story in your project, think about a nice one. Way too many people just use Bowser and his habits of kidnapping someone as a story, while there can be so many interesting and/or funny alternatives involving Bowser and the others. One dosn't necessarily need to create new characters or a super-epic storyline with thousands of plot twists, to have an interesting story. Sometimes simpler stories with a ouch of humor can be way more entertaining than a story about someone very evil wanting to destroy the Mushroom-kingdom or even the whole world.
- When you like to use special game mechanics or gimmicks in your project, refrain from using ones that are buggy (even if they are just partly buggy). You really shouldn't use a gimmick and then tell the player flat out with a SMW-sign, a talking NPC, or a automated message that you are sorry for the bugs that can occur in the level which uses the gimmick. Even if a gimmick is cool by it's idea, it is way more frustrating for the player if he dies because he had bad luck with a bug caused by your gimmick, than actually seing the gimmick in action. Think about how bad that looks and is, when someone on Youtube plays your episode and then your messages tell the player about your buggy mechanic - not so cool, eh? ^^
- Always care about the design-quality. By this I mean try to build your levels in a way that they have no glitches or unfitting effects. It sure does not hurt to avoid broken-looking situations like door or pipe-warps in mid-air, narrow spots which allow the evil and abusive crouch-glitch (tons of evil other glitches can be combined with this one, for a maximum of game-breaking), or the even more harmful layer switch-glitch (standing onto a solid layer which moves below another solid layer so the player dies because of SMBX's bad collision-detection). The more serious you work onto your project, the more serious you can take to finish it.
- If you use a worldmap for your project, design it interesting and non-linear, because a linear worldmap can be so boring, that it may take half the fun of playing the episode. Linear episodes are in no wa bad, but if you use a worldmap for your episode, people certainly expect it to have some or many hidden elements onto it, like in "Super Mario Land 2","Super Mario World", "New Super Mario Bros.", the "Castlevania"-series, the "Zelda"-series, or even the "Final Fantasy"-series. If you do not like to have secret levels in your episode, than you should rather use a HUB instead, as a worldmap is not needed for linear episodes.
- If you like to have bosses in your episode, try not to use the default ones so much. It is way better to design fully custom-designed bosses with the help of layers and events, instead of placing two or three Boom Booms, Birdos, or Mousers in a room with nothing else than some scenery. If you cannot do fully custom bosses, try to make the default bosses more challenging and interesting by adding interesting event-patterns and other things like NPC-generators or obstacles to the fight. Never just use a default boss alone with no other elements, as people will certainly find it boring.
- Work steadily onto your project and do not distract you with other projects or by doing other things. If you work too much onto other things, like other projects, games etc, you may lose interest in working onto your project. Also, if you have not the time to finish at least a level per week, then you may get into real trouble if you try to work onto a project which has around 70 or more levels, as you usually will take around a year for 40 levels, if you put much work into your levels. Also, never rush anything in your project, as it will look bad if you have ecent quality on one end, but bad and rushed quality on the other end.

May these suggestions be of use for someone :-)
Enjl wrote:-don't make a project thread until it's very close to being finished. When making a project you're looking to show off some of your work and get feedback for it. Once you got that feedback - is there a reason to make more? Not really. People already told you you did a great job. Maybe you released a demo and they went more into detail. It'll also reduce the stress of "oh shit I should post new screens but I only finished half a level this last month" to zero, cause you haven't started hyping your project up yet.
In my opinion, this is partly right, but it depends very much onto what kind of project it is and how much you like to work onto it. I would say that if your project has for example 8 worlds and a total amount of 90 levels, I would create a topic for it when you are done with world 3 or 4 or around 30 to 40 levels, as a project often start to get serious around the 40% to 50%-mark. Also, creating a project-topic is to get actual critism about your style, your graphical choice, or your actual progress. Also, the earlier you create a topic for your project, the more you advertise your project, which is also very important if you want to let people know about your project. If you create a topic for it too late, the chance of your project not getting attention by too many people is getting higher, so when you release your finished episode it may not be played much or even cared about.
Enjl wrote:-work on one project total and don't make it too long. Apart from the release pressure, the time you already put into the episode is another discouraging factor. If you work on a 100 level game but don't have too much time because of school/college/work, and only get 20 done in a year, then feel discouraged as you realise you'll have even less time in the future - plan ahead and aim for 20 levels rather and release them after a year.
I think this is right. Too many people do not have a fast progress, and while they may be busy with their RL, they even start another project, which is a sure cancellation for both of their projects, because they will need way too long to be finished. In my opinion, starting and doing a project is not about just making some levels, it is about making something new, interesting, and well made :-).
Enjl wrote:-don't release demos. Same thing as the first - you want the feedback once your work is done, and in this case "work" refers to the entire episode, rather than individual levels.

I am of a different opinion here. Releasing a demo is very important, in my opinion, especially when you have done around 30% to 40% of your project, as the demo shows off your projects general style and design-quality. If you release never a demo of your project, people may not be too much interested in your project, as screenshots are just one side of the medal while the other side is the proof of gameplay (in this case the demo). Also, when you release demo, people can give you way better critism, as they could ever do by judging some screenshots.
Enjl wrote:-don't tease too much of it. The occasional well-taken screenshot in the screens thread is a good way to get some feedback on your design, but only start mentioning that you're working on a project when it's almost done. Also, never tease the cool stuff, like plot-relevant scenes or stuff which is meant to induce a "whoa" effect in the player.

I am mostly the same opinion. I think 2 to 3 800x600 pixels (400x300 pixels, if 1x1 pixeled) screenshots per level are sufficient as proof of progress and to get critism. Many people release screenshots of whole level-sections, which is somewhat boring, in my opinion - it takes away too much surprise and exploration. Often they even reveal hidden paths or secrets. About the "never tease the cool stuff"-thing, I think if you have enough nice and interesting mechanics in your levels, you may show off some sprecial stuff, as people will see a bit of what awaits them. But of course I would not suggest to show off all the interesting things of your levels. Just around 30% of them, to advertise some of the aspects of your project and that it has something nice for the player to expect.
Enjl wrote:-make sure you got ideas for your episode to begin with. You don't want to run into the "hm I need to make this ... level but I don't have any ideas" situation. I suggest making a text document for level ideas and sorting them by theme. Once you think you have enough for a project, start working!
I fully agree onto this. This is also my way to work. If done right, even a project with 100 or more levels can be very entertaining with many varying level-themes, level-ideas, and interesting mechanics. In my opinion, the most important factor here is to care about variety and to fight the laziness.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby Enjl » Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:59 pm

Sednaiur wrote:
Enjl wrote:-don't release demos. Same thing as the first - you want the feedback once your work is done, and in this case "work" refers to the entire episode, rather than individual levels.

I am of a different opinion here. Releasing a demo is very important, in my opinion, especially when you have done around 30% to 40% of your project, as the demo shows off your projects general style and design-quality. If you release never a demo of your project, people may not be too much interested in your project, as screenshots are just one side of the medal while the other side is the proof of gameplay (in this case the demo). Also, when you release demo, people can give you way better critism, as they could ever do by judging some screenshots.


I see where you're coming from, but I'd just release a few standalone levels.

The way I see it, this "lack of interest" is way more pronounced if people try your demo, and then are displeased by it, or generalise this design style and quality (and then use this generalisation to conclude how later levels will play out). If you don't release one, you have more people who are like "hm this looks interesting, I'm gonna check it out", and you won't cut their adventure half-way just because the rest isn't done yet. Especially when the project takes a long time to complete, you're more likely to lose people if you give them half the game to play a year before the full version is released.

On that note, while I would prefer releasing a few standalone levels picked from different worlds as "teasers" and a way to grab criticism, a demo of just a very small portion of the game (depending on size, obviously. 5-6 levels for an 8-World project) can work, too, without robbing engagement from the finished product due to people having "seen all this already" to the point where they might aswell just watch a let's play if they have a last spark of interest.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby *King_Boo* » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:30 pm

I have a tip. A good rule of thumb for level length is 8 seconds. This means it should take you 8 seconds to get from one side of the level to the other in the editor while pressing shift.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby Spinda » Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:17 am

Level length by itself is one of the more minor aspects of level design, as wether it's effective or not only depends on the actual level design. Additionally, your post totally disregards verticality or generally nonlinearity.

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Re: Project Tips

Postby Mosaic » Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:31 pm

Don't be afaird to use a boss that replaces SMB3 bowser in early worlds. If you want the boss to take less hits, then use lunalua.
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Re: Project Tips

Postby Ness-Wednesday » Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:14 pm

MosaicMario wrote:Don't be afaird to use a boss that replaces SMB3 bowser in early worlds. If you want the boss to take less hits, then use lunalua.

But what if that person doesn't have Lunalua and is just lazy to download it? :?

Also, I think it would be better to give Bowser infinite hp......is that even possible (Actually, I know about the boss hp change thing, I just want to know how to make him not die but can still get hit)?
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Will Toad truly get an actual project, will something happen who knows?


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Enjl
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Re: Project Tips

Postby Enjl » Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:23 pm

Ness-Wednesday wrote:
MosaicMario wrote:Don't be afaird to use a boss that replaces SMB3 bowser in early worlds. If you want the boss to take less hits, then use lunalua.

But what if that person doesn't have Lunalua and is just lazy to download it? :?

Also, I think it would be better to give Bowser infinite hp......is that even possible (Actually, I know about the boss hp change thing, I just want to know how to make him not die but can still get hit)?


This requires even less code than setting a new HP value :P
You just keep the HP counter at 0 constantly.
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h2643
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Re: Project Tips

Postby h2643 » Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:45 am

Ness-Wednesday wrote:But what if that person doesn't have Lunalua and is just lazy to download it? :?

It's his/her problem. And Idk man, soon everyone will move to SMBX 2.0 which has PGE and LunaLua installed by default, so excuses like "2lazy2download" won't be acceptable.
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