Level Design Tips

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CaptainCalamity
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby CaptainCalamity » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:31 pm

45. Only use 1x1 pixels if the entire level uses them as sort of a high-resolution kind of theme. NEVER use squashed or stretched sprites. This is, however, very uncommon.
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby HeroLinik » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:08 am

46. If using custom music, never ever use 8-bit music except if ALL graphics, including the player, are in 8-bit, and even if you are, use it with caution. This is because it's still going to clash with the 16-bit sound effects from the player.
MarioWorker12 wrote:40. There's a limit of 20000 blocks per level
Although it says you can place as much as 20000, you can actually only place 16384. If you place 16385 you'll get an error when you try to save. Which brings me to my next one:

47. If you're running short on blocks, switch to 128x128 fillers or use BGO versions. Your block level will decrease, but although the BGO level will increase, there's still a limit on around 8000.
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Murphmario » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:49 pm

48. For some levels, if the bg goes a certain height, it will look odd if you go to that height, everything will have a permanent outline. This is only good for drug levels, which are highly not recommended.
49. Don't use cutoff. E.g. blocks not having corners and bushes floating in mid-air. This makes your level look ugly.
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Shadow Yoshi » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:27 pm

50. Just because Chad named his levels using alliteration doesn't mean you should.

(Levels named "Grassy Grotto" or "Farfetch'd Fortress" is a concept I've always found annoying, especially when everyone does it.)

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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby FanofSMBX » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:48 pm

51. Consider the use of signs to explain gimmicks. Would it be possible to let the player use the gimmick in an easy or harmless situation to let them get acquainted with it instead of plunking down a wall of text explaining it?

52. If you feel the need to explain a gimmick or enemy with a sign or friendly NPC because there's something uninitive or even a bug of it, maybe you should consider whether or not to use it at all.

53. Bossedit8 made black or white silhouetted outline background objects (P switch, clock, spring, etc.) from the ultimate GFX pack, and maybe these could be used instead of a sign saying "you'd better go fetch a spring pad to get over this hill!!!!!!!1socks" to make the player feel less railroaded along one path to winning. Perhaps put them on stone or sand BGOs like hieroglyphs, ex. Wario Land 4's Hall of Heiroglyphs to make them feel like they have a reason to be there. The same inituitve idea goes for Mudkip's animated flashing "!" and h243's SMB2 arrow BGOs.

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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Magician » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:44 am

FanofSMBX wrote:51. Consider the use of signs to explain gimmicks. Would it be possible to let the player use the gimmick in an easy or harmless situation to let them get acquainted with it instead of plunking down a wall of text explaining it?
I strongly agree with this. Furthermore, not everyone can read English that well, and that's worsened by the fact that a lot of people who design SMBX episodes honestly aren't that good at spelling and grammar and it makes their episode look unprofessional.
FanofSMBX wrote:16. Remember the multiple checkpoint tutorial by KILROCK? If you use a mandatory checkpoint-tag like Valtteri's Mini Hawkmouth (in the ultimate pack), it works perfectly! Why, you could recolor that to SMB3 or SMW and use it in longer levels, or even create a mandatory checkpoint style of your own!
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castlewars wrote:47. If you're running short on blocks, switch to 128x128 fillers or use BGO versions. Your block level will decrease, but although the BGO level will increase, there's still a limit on around 8000.
Why not sizeables? You can have the middle 32x32 tile of a set, replicate that into a 96x96 sizeable block and then stretch it in the editor to fill up entire rectangular areas and they each only count as one block, correct?

So in this list #42 was used twice, and alliteration was mentioned a second time in 50, so assuming we correct the second #42 to #43 and so on, and erase #50, the next tip is still #54.

54: If you have multiple level ideas and you're not sure which to pick, go for the worst or the weakest idea first. Then, take what you learned while making that level and put it into practice to make the stronger ideas even better in execution.
(I'm currently doing this with episodes, as I have about 7 different episode ideas, lol)

55: You can edit the size parameters of individual blocks after placing them, finding out their coordinates in the debugger, and then opening the .lvl file in Notepad.exe, and then looking up those co-ordinates. Directly below those coordinates is a pair of numbers that contain the height and width information of that block and they can be edited. This can be used to alter the angle of slopes and works in tandem with using differently-sized graphics and masks to replace them. You can create 64x32 note blocks and question mark blocks by this method.

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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Darkonius Mavakar » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:31 am

56) like i did, instead of having the regular smb3 rouleyte graphic, make your own! (i made a smb3 recolored SPP roulette exit, and it's awesome)
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby StraightFlame » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:49 pm

Are pet peeves allowed here?

If so, IMO hidden things should not be mandatory for getting to the next level. I know the ghost houses in SMW do it, but those don't make it into some sort of puzzle.
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby MrPunchia » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:56 pm

Joey wrote:11. There's no shame in using graphics from multiple games. Just make sure it looks good.
So you're like me, in that you don't give a shrimp about clash. Anyways, DON'T randomly place enemies. Put somethought into the layout so it's balanced.
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Chill Pingu » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:47 am

nice bump
57. don't make ghost houses in your episodes
Last edited by Shadow Yoshi on Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Not a tip.

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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby zlaker » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:53 am

Chill Pingu wrote:nice bump
57. don't make ghost houses in your episodes
Why not?
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Chill Pingu » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:00 am

because they suck ass and it's not funny to have to go trough a level that's almost impossible to beat without having to look it on the editor.

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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Valtteri » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:28 am

Chill Pingu wrote:nice bump
57. don't make ghost houses in your episodes
That's not very good advice, nor does it have to do with level design. If you don't like ghost houses, then sure, don't put them in your episodes, but I personally find that a good Mario game has the largest possible variety of levels.
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Fuyu » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:51 am

Ghost Houses have always been the typical puzzle-like levels on Mario games since SMW, there's no other purpose but to make the player think about what to do. I find Ghost Houses really funny and a quite positive addition to Episodes, so like Valtteri said, if you don't like them, don't use them on your own Episode.
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Karl Marx » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:03 am

Ghost Houses puzzles are very difficult to design well, if you aren't willing to invest a lot of time to design entertaining puzzles that also arent frustrating as hell, i would suggest designing another theme.

These puzzles need to be the right balance of difficult and easy, because if it's too difficult, most players (like myself) would just skip the level via cheats.
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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby icez » Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:06 pm

57.consider gradually increasing level as a better way to manage a difficulty curve and better implament gimmicks
Last edited by Shadow Yoshi on Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: This tip is #57 now instead of #58.

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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Shadow Yoshi » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:28 pm

Aeon Wisp wrote:
Joey wrote:11. There's no shame in using graphics from multiple games. Just make sure it looks good.
So you're like me, in that you don't give a shrimp about clash. Anyways, DON'T randomly place enemies. Put somethought into the layout so it's balanced.
...no. I care about clash, I just don't care about multiple games being graphically represented in a level.

Clash is when graphics don't look good together. Clash has nothing to do with the games the graphics are from.

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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Raster » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:35 pm

Joey wrote:
Aeon Wisp wrote:
Joey wrote:11. There's no shame in using graphics from multiple games. Just make sure it looks good.
So you're like me, in that you don't give a shrimp about clash. Anyways, DON'T randomly place enemies. Put somethought into the layout so it's balanced.
...no. I care about clash, I just don't care about multiple games being graphically represented in a level.

Clash is when graphics don't look good together. Clash has nothing to do with the games the graphics are from.
It does matter when the games aren't graphically compatible.

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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Magician » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:02 pm

The fact that two specific graphics could go together regardless of which games they're from leads one to question why you'd bother placing any importance on where they're from. The whole point of the tip is to get people to absolve the graphic of its prior context and objectively evaluate how well it fits with other graphics. It's not objective at all to just write them off as being from different games, or to allow the mere fact that they're from different games to affect your consideration in the slightest. There's another word for that, and Joey doesn't like people saying it. [sub]it's biased.[/sub]

58. Consider the intended function of a particular style you want to use. Sometimes its purposeful not to use many BGOs or even music. It may even be interesting to include atmospheric sounds instead of music to achieve a completely different feeling. Similarly, what is known as "clash" could actually be used functionally to demonstrate two dissonant atmospheres colliding into one place.

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Re: Level Design Tips

Postby Shadow Yoshi » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:09 pm

Raster wrote:It does matter when the games aren't graphically compatible.
That isn't relevant; the definition of clash says nothing about what games the graphics are from. All it says is that clash is when two graphics don't look good together. If the graphics are from different games, great, but that doesn't mean that has anything to do with the fact that they clash.


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