Cedur wrote: ↑
Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:12 pm
I see the ninjis are attached to the skulls, I kinda expected it to be the other way round. How do the skull coasters work, and is there any way to mark their path with lineguides or such? I died a few times at the end of the first ride when I jumped before the skulls dropped down.
Also I would appreciate if the skulls just went at a slightly slower speed. The ace coins are pretty much unforeseeable on first playthrough, and the springboard for the 2nd ace coin should be easy to grab (not requiring an early precise jump).
I'm glad you asked! Here is my detailed explanation, separated into headings!
The Skull Platforms:
To start, all Skull Coaster blocks are 2x1 or 2x2 semisolid platforms. This is to prevent any potential clipping or instant death of the player. Each platform, consisting of two of these blocks (4 blocks wide) is assigned a specific layer and is attached to one of six SMW ninjis. This produces an overall reasonable platform width for the player to stand on and jump off of, especially when the platform compresses at the slower bits. This is essentially all there is to the skulls. Rinse and repeat for all five skull platforms systems in the level. You can see how the setup with a Ninji being assigned to its corresponding layer below.
The SMW Ninjis:
Now we get to the core of what makes this skull coaster system possible: The beautifully programmed AI behaviour of the SMW Ninjis. As I'm sure you know, they are capable of jumping up 2-block high walls and over gaps as well. Knowing this, I simply added a speed multiplier to the Ninjis (5.00) and set them to "friendly" so that they could jump SUPER far, travel fast, won't hurt the player and allow them to occupy the same space without colliding and changing direction. Then, simply line them up, attach them to the skulls and you've created the entire system! One important thing to note here is that the way SMBX loads NPCs is quite inconvenient, meaning that if the Ninjis are off-screen for a few seconds or are too far away from the camera border, then they despawn and the platforms essentially disappear. After many attempts debugging, I've created this ideal setup that should almost always ensure they stay onscreen at all times. Please take note of how many tiles they are placed above the platform, as well as the platform I placed the Ninjis on.
Controlling The Ninjis' Speeds:
With this setup complete, I then proceeded to extend the platform, creating the path that the ninjis will follow. Determining their path relies on several factors. With the speed multiplier at 5, they are moving at their maximum speed by default. However, this speed can be decreased by making use of water and quicksand areas. Essentially, Ninjis can have one of three speeds: Slow (Quicksand), Medium (Water), Fast (Air). The placement of these areas was meant to be as realistic as possible, slowing down on hills and speeding up at the drops. Take this section after the first A-Coin as an example.
How The Ninjis Move:
You may have also noticed those black SMB3 Dungeon Block BGOs in the level. What way surprise you though is that these are not BGOs, but rather NPCs! Which NPCs have I replaced, and why? Well, I chose to replace the flame NPCs produced by Bowser, Ludwig, and Stone Statues. These NPCs are perfect to use because they are the most configurable without any issues with hardcoded properties, as long as you set nohurt=1. Two of these three NPC graphics were replaced by the black block to indicate that it acts as a BGO for the player. One of them acts as a solid block which the Ninjis will hit their heads on when they attempt to jump. The other acts as a semisolid only for NPCs. This was made use of heavily in the ending section, allowing for one set of Ninjis to pass through them while the other jumps on the tops them. The third flame NPC acts as an NPC filter block, blocking the player but allowing the Ninjis to pass through. These are mainly used to prevent the player from entering the path containing water and quicksand sections. As a general rule, the ninjis can walk in places that are considered non-existent to the player, resulting in no interference in gameplay. See below, keeping in mind that these all act as BGOs for the player:
Answering Your Questions/Comments:
- Unfortunately, this system does not make use of line guides whatsoever, as it relies solely on the Ninjis jump/falling from platform to platform. There is no easy way to determine their path, which requires the use of trial and error. Still, once you find the perfect block arrangement, you can easily make note of it and duplicate it as needed. Here is a reference for a two-block-high jump and a one-block drop.
- Regarding your concern with jumping as the skulls are falling, I'd recommend standing on the platform for a longer amount of time, up to around this point. Keep in mind that the difficulty of this level is intended since it will appear late into The Epic Quest
, just like the original in NSMBWii!
- Regarding your concern with the speed of the coaster, I would have to decrease the speed multiplier of the Ninjis, which would result in the Ninjis not being able to jump as far. I would have to essentially restructure the entire level to accommodate for this reduced speed. I personally like this speed because it allows you to perfectly stay horizontally in-line on the platform when you jump provided you're holding the dash button. Again, I'm aiming for the difficulty to be on par with the original. Practice makes perfect!
- Regarding the placement of the Ace-Coins, I personally believe the 1st, 3rd and 5th ones are placed well. I do agree with you on the 2nd one though. I will make it easier to get, not requiring a precise jump. I also got another reply saying the fourth one was "clash", which I do agree with as well. It's a bit too precise compared to the rest of the level, which may be unappealing to first-time players
Thank you for showing your interest in this level as well as providing! It really means a lot to me that you've shown so much interest in how the Skulls work, as you've provided me with an outlet to thoroughly explain and showcase my work. I really hope you enjoyed playing this level, and look forward to seeing you around the community! Thanks for staying patient with me as well. Have a great one!