Chaotic Culmination: Level Compendium

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Kamikaze Koopa
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Chaotic Culmination: Level Compendium

Postby Imaynotbehere4long » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:34 pm


The Story
Back in 2012, I had a crazy idea to make a huge SMBX episode with levels based on all the 2D platformers I had played. I released individual levels in the thread as I made them in the hopes of getting feedback; how naive I was. Eventually, I realized that I simply wouldn't have enough time in my life to finish it (on top of the fact that most of my levels weren't that great), so I cancelled it. However, now that the Levels forum has changed, I decided to repurpose this old thread as my levels thread.

The Levels
These are the levels I made for the project so long ago. They're still here for archival purposes; you can still play and review them, but I probably won't update them.

Green Hill Zone based level Updated (v 1.1)
When I was thinking of what to make for my episode's first public level, I went with something that I knew everyone in a Super Mario Bros. based community would be fond of: Sonic the Hedgehog! Okay, technically I started with the mode 7 tech demo (see below), but that wasn't really a level; it was a tech demo. Anyway, this level takes advantage of the editor's inability to pause to provide a musical intro before the loop jumps in. For the updated version, I fixed the alignment of the grass and checkered tiles, as well as slightly decreased the amount of time the sign spins. No loop-dee-loops, though; that was for another update.

Spoiler: show
At the beginning, there's an alternate path that you can only go through if you start with the hammer suit. If you choose to do this, then be careful because the floating platforms can be killed with the hammers.

Here's the level. Can you collect all 50 rings? ...

Gradius III based level
After my debut with Green Hill Zone, I decided to take a departure...FOR SPAAAAACE! My reason for this departure was to achieve a level of parallax scrolling beyond that of Mystic Cave Zone, and Gradius III gave me just what I was looking for. In this level, you take control of half the Vic-Viper (the half without the gun, but at least it sparkles!) and must avoid various Rinka sprite-swaps, all in front of a sea of parallax-scrolling stars.

Spoiler: show

Here's the level. Fun fact: this was going to be a bit longer, but I ran out of events. ...

Metal Storm based level
Once I finished the Gradius III based level, I didn't know what I should follow it up with. Then, I REMembered IREM's Metal Storm! This is my first anit-gravity level, but since that has been done in SMBX before, that's not the real draw for this level (or, rather, it isn't supposed to be). The real draw for this level is that the NPCs' effects have multiple frames of animation! It may not be as impressive as any of my other levels' gimmicks, but it's something I hadn't seen done before (heck, I don't even think I've seen it done SINCE), so I decided to do it. Also, I did put effort into making the upside-down part have traps that are also a hindrance during the right-side up part, and vice-versa.

Spoiler: show
Even though I set the Boom-Boom-sprite-swap's height to 128, it can still be jumped over. I didn't realize this issue couldn't easily be fixed at the time.

Here's the level. Remember: G stands for Grenade and S stands for Fire. ...

Sonic 3D Blast level: Green Grove
Yes, you read that right; this is a level styled after Sonic 3D Blast. It took four months of my time to create this level, and I think it paid off. This isn't just some cheap gimmick, either: the bullets and spiked ball won't hurt you if they're in the "background"; they have to be on the same "plane" as you are. The only problem with this level is that you can only play as Mario or Luigi (at the time, this was my only level that couldn't be beaten with all playable characters) because the 3D effect will be destroyed should you play as anyone else. Also, when you hear the Blaarg sound effect, don't hold right or you will die.
Spoiler: show
Behold: the majesty of the isometric platformer! And it can be yours in simply two (maybe three) clicks.

Here's the level. If you won't download anything else, download this. ...

Zelda II Death Mountain based level
Once I finished my 3D level, I knew that it would be difficult to top it, so instead of just making a level, I made a level connected with the world map. Let me explain: normally, SMBX levels take up one spot on the world map, and once it's completed, a line is drawn to the next level. For this level, much like Death Mountain in the actual Zelda II, completing a section or two of the level takes you to another part of the world map, where you can move a bit and continue the level. You might even have to choose a path. Think of it like having multiple midway points in a level. The only problem with this type of level is that it doesn't really end; it just sort of stops. That's why I added a town at the end, and when you make it to that town, you have beaten the level, and rather than hearing a short tune, your reward is that you can explore the town and talk to the people in it.
Spoiler: show

Here's the level. Remember, if it seems like the level got really hard, you probably went the secret way. There should be a sign letting you know that you're going the secret way. ...

Little Samson based level
Once I finished the Death Mountain based level, I thought that I had ran out of what I could possibly add to SMBX aside from HD graphics (I didnt' know that A2XT levels had beaten me there already). It was then that I realized that it's the little things in life that truly matter, hence the basis for this level. Also, I finally added something that I felt other members might actually use in their levels: a health bar for layer+event bosses! I was even able to remove that pesky kill-in-one-hit-with-hammer bug that used to plague these kinds of bosses. In fact, I felt that I did such a good job with this level, I submitted it to the Make a Good Level contest, even though it would lose 10 points for me not following the directions properly.
Spoiler: show
Forgive me for not having a screenshot of the boss and health bar, but could someone tell me why this doesn't harm Mario? It has been years and I still don't understand it.

Here's the level. Don't let the first enemies fool you! ...

Raocow's play-through of Little Ruins in MAGL X (skip to 1:00 to bypass watching him go through the hub).
Spoiler: show

The Rocketeer (NES) styled level
Wow, I can't believe it took me a year to put this together. Sure, I took a break to work on my SMWCX entry, but that only took so long to make. Ever since I began this project, I have always wanted to make a level that had a cut-scene comprised of full-motion animation. However, I wasn't quite that skilled at the time (heck, I'm still not quite that skilled), so I decided to make a cut-scene using large, detailed sprites instead, not unlike Ninja Gaiden (NES). Of course, it wasn't until I began making the cut-scene when I realized just how time-consuming it really is. Even then, I'm quite proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I was even going to go so far as to say that this cut-scene would revolutionize storytelling in SMBX, but I knew that would never happen.

Spoiler: show
As you may remember, I had to make custom graphics from scratch for this cut-scene as well as rip the sprites from the game itself. Naturally, my custom graphics are terrible, so I tried to take a screenshot of the part of the cut-scene that has as few of my graphics as I could.

There's also a level attached to this cut-scene. It may not be much, and there are a couple bugs I couldn't quite iron out, but it's something. I planned on adding more, but at this point
Spoiler: show
These screenshots are a bit outdated, but only a bit.
They know you're there, but they won't shoot at you...not yet...

Here's the level. Let me know what you think. ...

The Other Levels
These are the levels I made independently of the Chaotic Culmination project.

Tunnel 7: Three Mode 7 effects in SMBX
When I first discovered the SMBX forums, I was happy to know that there were more than just four episodes made for SMBX (The Invasion 1 doesn't count). However, I noticed that none of the levels featured any sort of scaling or mode 7 of any kind, so I made a short level to showcase what SMBX is capable of in the hopes that, maybe, someone would decide to use some sort of pseudo-3D effect in his or her level. So far, it hasn't worked (even Return To Dinosaur Land, which tried so hard to be SMW, didn't even try to recreate SMW's rotation or scaling effects), but I still have hope...
Spoiler: show

DISCLAIMER: This is one of the first levels I ever made in SMBX (September 2012 to be exact), so please don't complain about clash or cutoff (I didn't know about them at the time).

Download: ...

Spinjumpable Ball N' Chain Spire
Sometime around January of 2014, I was informed that there have been no spinjumpable Ball 'N Chains in any SMBX level, so I decided to rectify that (remember that this was before Lua!). As you can see by the screenshot, my Ball 'N Chains can be spin-jumped on! They're even resistant (but not immune, unfortunately) to hammer attacks! Just download the level and spin-jump to your heart's content.

original ball n chain = red yoshi
background = redigit
inspiration = Valtteri

Spoiler: show
If you have trouble getting past this first Ball 'N Chain, try to land on it when it reaches the bottom of its spin, then follow it to the next platform. For some reason, sometimes, if you spin-jump on it after it passes the bottom and try to follow it, you'll get hurt and fall through.


Sharp Objects are Usually Deadly
Remember my CC8 level? The focus of the level was supposed to be on the pre-Lua dead-but-not-really-dead effect. I even planned on adding bullets, but couldn't figure out how to implement them. As for the difficulty...I guess that, deep down, I knew it was kaizo, but I thought I could get away with it (although I didn't really know what kaizo was until Mivixion and I discussed it via PM).

In this version (which is slightly different than the one in ToB7), I finally got around to updating the quality of my song choice. I also changed the first section slightly to prevent the player from being able to skip it with a Tanooki Suit (even though that section is pointless outside of a ToB). However, the rest of the level is exactly the same, so the original reviews still apply:
Spoiler: show
bossedit8: 8.535/10

Ok, this is probably the best different type of platforming Game I have ever played out of all SMBX Levels. How this Level was made is that almost every Rooms are filled with Spikes and no actual enemies you have to avoid. Seems simple enough but one thing I really loved about the Gimmick that is implemented is if you hit a Spike you transport at the beginning of the same room where you come by (except for the very first room where you actually can lose a life as usual when you touch a spike) and it also even shows you that you have died at the same spot which makes it more natural. Alone that flashes me because no one has ever done that before, although this makes it more like "I Wanna Be the Guy" feeling into it due to having unlimited amount of Continues and Save Points. Music is fitting for this Level. It is getting really frustration later on especially with too narrowed Spikes which is kind of annoying. At least there aren't a lot of Rooms due to SMBX Limitations of Events but still it was kind of frustration. After a lot of encounterisms Spikes you gain a Star. Overall, this is, like I said, the best "Different" Jump & Run Gimmick Level I have ever seen and played, except for the frustration parts of too narrowed Spikes multiple Times in one Room.

Chad: 8.6/10

Excellent and original gimmick for SMBX. I think you're right about nobody doing this before, and the precise challenge really makes the gameplay feel different. I like the modest graphic style and how the messages communicate with the player without stopping the gameplay, too. The level's comfortably short for this kind of thing, and I can tell a lot of effort went into every spike event, which is extremely impressive. However, the precision demanded of the player is really too much. I understand that's the entire point, and that said difficulty is what defines both the gimmick and the inspiration for it, but SMBX's hitboxes are incredibly unforgiving with this kind of thing. Everything's hitbox is perfectly 32x32, and the space that the player is often given to proceed is exactly the same thing, which means a single speck in the wrong direction is death. Some people thrive on that kind of challenge and that's great, but dying consistently because one of my pixels was just in the wrong spot just isn't very fun to me. The level is clearly possible and extremely well crafted, but it could really allow just slightly more room in most areas because of how little room SMBX gives you.

Emral: 3/10

You see, the gimmick was really nice, but it was far too difficult. Even if there is that little something which makes you want to keep going, that's all there is to it. It took me roughly 1 hour to get through the level as some of the jumps are just almost impossible. Without the last hazard section this'd have been a little bit fairer in my opinion. But yeah. Nice gimmick but you went totally overboard with the difficulty.
Guess: Some Talkhaus guy.

Quill: 6.5/10

Wow, what a concept. This is super challenging, but the spikes are too exact in their hitbox. If only one pixel colides with Toad, he's dead. It's kinda annoying especially with the sideways spikes which you can normally stand on. Great concept though! The death system is superb and good job for keeping two players in mind.

TNTtimelord Layla Make up your mind, dang it!: 2.7/10

Holy crap is this clever, but holy crap is it incredibly annoying. I guarantee you almost no one is going to have patience to play this. The hitboxes on the spikes are unfairly large and nearly all the jumps are unfairly small. I'll give exceptions to other aspects considering this isn't meant to be a regular level.

Spoiler: show
This should do in place of a screenshot (skip to 2:07):


SMBX Teaches Typing
For those of you who have not played Mario Classic, there are three levels at the end that require you to cheat to progress. However, these aren't your typical impossible, poorly-designed levels; rather, these levels were built around a specific cheat in SMBX that you had to type in so you could experience the level properly. Personally, I thought this was a neat idea, but I also felt that it was a criminally underdeveloped gimmick: ignoring some of the cop-out level design choices, there was always the fact that a message box interrupted game-play to tell you what cheat you had to type in. What if there was a level where the player is told what cheat must be typed in, but it must be done within a certain time limit?

That's where this level comes in.

Basically, my goal with this was to make a level where the player needs to type in various cheats as they appear in order to reach the end (and there's some platforming in there, somewhere), as well as possibly inspiring others to expand upon this concept (I personally think that the end of my level is a cop-out as well, but I couldn't think of another way to end it). I tested this fully using a computer controller (meaning I had to set it down each time I needed to type in a cheat) and I never pre-empted the cheats (I only typed them in after they appeared on-screen), so this shouldn't be too difficult.

Spoiler: show
In what may be the most unintuitive part of my level, you need to freeze and destroy a Bullet Bill Cannon before being crushed by spikes.
As you might be able to guess, this screenshot was tricky to take. I just wanted to show that it is possible to destroy this wall without harming yourself (and still be able to beat the level), but it might not be optimal.

One more thing that should be mentioned: if you type in a physics-changing cheat, like sonicstooslow, the cheat will still be active if you die and start the level over. That's something I couldn't work around, so I decided to put this message in my post.

Download (now updated to fix the minor graphic bugs pointed out in bossedit8's review/playthrough!)

Dos and don'ts of using SMBX's pre-programmed bosses (v. 1.3)
This tutorial-level was inspired in part by Flying Brick's "How NOT to Make a Level," but it was mainly inspired by Ludwig's Flaming Fortress and countless other levels that have boring, poorly-done "custom" boss battles against SMBX's pre-programmed AIs (not to mention all the ones where the boss fight is literally just the boss NPC in an empty room). Whenever someone tried to defend this, the argument went something like "SMBX isn't capable of allowing players to make new boss AIs," to which I replied "that's not what I'm asking for." It's possible to make fun and unique boss battles with SMBX's pre-programmed AI; you just have to know how, and that's what I hope to teach with this level. Even if you consider yourself a veteran level designer, you should still give this a try; you might learn a thing or two.

Obligatory Screenshot:
Spoiler: show

All right, everything should be fixed now, but any feedback is still appreciated. ...

P.S. In this level, I give multiple examples of how to make a fun pre-programmed AI fight without having to put forth much effort. Due to how little effort it took to make these examples, I'd like to preemptively apologize in case someone has already made a fight similar to one in my level. None of the bosses are meant to allude to or rip off any custom boss fight that was made before them.

P.P.S. This tutorial strictly covers the use of SMBX's pre-programmed bosses. If you want to know how to turn normal NPCs into bosses, Flying Brick has a tutorial for that already:

The only thing I can think of that Flying Brick doesn't mention is that, if you want the boss's hit-box to move, you have to select the first HP-NPC, go to "Attach to Layer," and select the hurt-state NPC, which itself will need to be attached to the second HP-NPC, which will need to be attached to a duplicate hurt-state NPC, and so on.

For my next level, I have a crazy idea: I'm going to try to make a fun backtracking level. I won't go back to working on it until after I finish Image, by which point it will probably be just as outdated as all of my other levels (heck, it's probably like that right now), but it should still have something unique about it. Wish me luck!
I've decided to cancel SMBXville Under Seige. After my 1st Senior year of college, I realized I wouldn't have enough time to devote to finishing my four-level episode. Apologies to those who cared.

My favorite quote on the entire forum:
Spoiler: show
mechamind wrote:
AeroMatter wrote:People who think "autistic" is an adjective and not a verb.

You autistic some people so much with that statement.

My SMBX portfolio:
Spoiler: show
(includes a Sonic 3D Blast styled level.)


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