Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

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Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Enjl » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:20 pm

Thought I'd share some general information on how to work on any kind of project here. While (most of) this information isn't restricted to making an SMBX episode, it can be applied and will help you in achieving better results.

What do I mean by "better results"? Lots of people - myself included - have dropped their projects because of a sudden lack of inspiration or ideas, the scope being too big, real life butting in, etc...
I don't see a lot of people attempting to deal with that. So here's some tips:

Make sure you have ideas
I can't stress enough how important having ideas on what you want to do is. And I don't mean ideas for a story, like "Oh, Bowser has purchased a supermarket and convinced Peach to go shopping for clothes. The different isles are locked off with star counters and Mario, Luigi and Daisy have to save her.", but rather ideas for levels.
And with these ideas you should be as thorough as possible. With each and every one of them. Document them. Think about how to expand upon them. Make sure that whenever you find yourself in a period of downtime you have something up your sleeve for any level in your episode, or at least have a level which seems more appealing to work on at the time. Use an excel sheet or a google sheet to create a list of ideas you have for your episode and shuffle them around as needed. You don't have to set on a length of your episode from the start, but it's always good to have more ideas than necessary, so that you can combine concepts or scrap concepts that turn out to not work. Speaking of length...

Think on a realistic scope
While this is in the rules for this particular forum, I would like to address it in a bit more detail. Point 1: You probably won't come up with ideas for 100+ levels which feel like their own thing and are satisfying to play. Point 2: You'll likely not have time to finish an episode like this, ever. I see people crawling through episodes with 100 levels over years, crafting each level as carefully and as thoroughly as possible, but barely making any significant progress relative to the time spent. If you spend a lot of time on your project, you'll want to revisit old stages and apply knowledge you've gained while working on the project on them. The first levels of a long project often feel out of place, because the designer improved while working on it and developed their own style even further.
Another point I want to make in this category is regarding cleanup and testing. That stuff takes a while. Don't underestimate testing (like I always do (Day 1 updates are my drug (don't do drugs kids))). By the time of release you will be tired of your project, but don't throw out a patched-together collection of levels littered with bugs and not update it. Polish all the things your testers and other people criticise. Oh, and also: Make sure to have testers. You're not as good at exploiting your levels as they are.

Team Organisation
Not working alone? Alright. How big is your team? You always want to be able to have a general overview over it and communicate with them. Bond friendships with them, help them out when they get stuck and make sure to share your documentation with them. Google drive is excellent for this, as it lets you create documents which all of your team members can view and edit at once and you can drop files for your episode which other people can download. If you have someone who makes graphics for your team, this is a good place for them to post them too.
Review progress made on your project with them. Have periodic meetups in skype or discord where everyone shows what progress they made since the last meetup. That way all of you can get a taste of your project advancing, even while it's being developed.

Set deadlines and try to keep them. You won't keep them, but if you approach them as good as you can and try to follow them, you will definitely make better progress than if you didn't. This goes for you, as well as your team.

If real life butts in in an unexpected way it's very likely to delay your project, but cases where it will flat-out cancel it are rather rare (death, for example). It's nice in cases like this - especially when it's an injury or vacation which keeps you from working on anything yourself - to have a team to talk to and share new ideas with. It helps you stay committed and gives them more motivation, too.

That's it from me. If you have any suggestions of your own, leave them as a reply!
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Sancles-Chan » Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:10 pm

Sticky this
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Witchking666 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:25 pm

Sanct wrote:Sticky this
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby MrPunchia » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:06 pm

Sanct wrote:Sticky this
what he said ^
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby CustomArio0919 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:43 am

Sanct wrote:Sticky this
Too good to not get sticked
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby HeroLinik » Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:19 pm

Stickied.
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby CynicHost » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:27 am

Can we add our own tips here? If so, I'd like to recommend this:

Everyone works differently, but please ffs don't make your project thread when you haven't even finished making your first level. I've seen this happen time and time again, and these usually end up getting shelved/cancelled. Look I get it, you're eager to show it off and that's fine, but if you can't prove you're far enough into making your episode, then you won't be able to prove you're committed to finishing it. So have patience. I personally would wait until you're at least a third of the way done before you announce it, but maybe that's just me. And it all depends on the scope of your project of course.

As a certain DarkMatt once put it:
Spoiler: show
DarkMatt wrote:STARTING, DEVELOPING, WORKING ON, MANAGING, ADVERTISING, BETA-TESTING, AND FINISHING A PROJECT IS NOT FOR THE FEINT OF HEART, AND IS A MUCH BIGGER ENDEAVOR THAN MOST OF YOU CAN IMAGINE.

DO NOT CREATE A PROJECT THREAD IF YOU CAN NOT SERIOUSLY COMMIT TO IT. YOU WILL NOT FINISH IT.

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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby HeroLinik » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:13 am

Tacticynical wrote:Can we add our own tips here? If so, I'd like to recommend this:

Everyone works differently, but please ffs don't make your project thread when you haven't even finished making your first level. I've seen this happen time and time again, and these usually end up getting shelved/cancelled. Look I get it, you're eager to show it off and that's fine, but if you can't prove you're far enough into making your episode, then you won't be able to prove you're committed to finishing it. So have patience. I personally would wait until you're at least a third of the way done before you announce it, but maybe that's just me. And it all depends on the scope of your project of course.

As a certain DarkMatt once put it:
Spoiler: show
DarkMatt wrote:STARTING, DEVELOPING, WORKING ON, MANAGING, ADVERTISING, BETA-TESTING, AND FINISHING A PROJECT IS NOT FOR THE FEINT OF HEART, AND IS A MUCH BIGGER ENDEAVOR THAN MOST OF YOU CAN IMAGINE.

DO NOT CREATE A PROJECT THREAD IF YOU CAN NOT SERIOUSLY COMMIT TO IT. YOU WILL NOT FINISH IT.
That's actually in the rules - in that you need to have at least the same number of screenshots for how many worlds you have. So for example, if you have 6 worlds, you need at least 6 screenshots. This was put into place to prevent situations like this where someone announces a project when they haven't even finished the first world (I've been guilty of that as well before). It's like when games are being made - they're usually made undercover for a while until they know when they're going to release it by, at which point they then announce it to the world. That's what Game Freak did with Pokemon OR/AS - it was announced in 2014 but it was in the works since 2012, when Gen VI hadn't even started yet! Unfortunately, I'm still seeing quite a few people trying to get around this rule and either rush levels so they can make screenshots, or take multiple screenshots of the same level to make it appear there's progress when they actually haven't even finished the first world.
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Amine Retro » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:30 am

Tacticynical wrote:Everyone works differently, but please ffs don't make your project thread when you haven't even finished making your first level. I've seen this happen time and time again, and these usually end up getting shelved/cancelled. Look I get it, you're eager to show it off and that's fine, but if you can't prove you're far enough into making your episode, then you won't be able to prove you're committed to finishing it. So have patience.
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Eri7 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:00 pm

This is very gud , i used a lot of your tips and my project is going to be awesome because of you !
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby AndrewPixel » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:13 pm

I'd like to make a 100+ lvls episode XD
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Electriking » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:29 pm

AndrewPixel wrote:I'd like to make a 100+ lvls episode XD
Not always a good idea unless you can give each level a unique idea. Most people would not be able to do it for 100+ levels.
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby FireyPaperMario » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:19 pm

AndrewPixel wrote:I'd like to make a 100+ lvls episode XD
Um.... That'll take several hours for you to make... But good luck with that.

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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby AirShip » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:40 pm

AndrewPixel wrote:I'd like to make a 100+ lvls episode XD
I think an episode with 100 levels would work if the levels were short, like some levels of SMB3, the problem is that the gimmicks would not be well taken advantage of, because of the size of the levels.

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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby NightKawata » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:31 pm

NintendoOtaku93 wrote:
AndrewPixel wrote:I'd like to make a 100+ lvls episode XD
Um.... That'll take several hours for you to make... But good luck with that.

Someone give this guy a freaking medal! :lol:

hey man if you make 100 levels in a few hours i mean either you're insane, or you've really mastered level design
or they're all gonna end up bad lmao
AirShip wrote:
AndrewPixel wrote:I'd like to make a 100+ lvls episode XD
I think an episode with 100 levels would work if the levels were short, like some levels of SMB3, the problem is that the gimmicks would not be well taken advantage of, because of the size of the levels.
yeah i mean that depends on what kind of gimmicks you wanna go for or what you do with the levels, you can make an smb3 kind of thing work, just look at the invasion 2 and what it manages to accomplish
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Electriking » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:24 am

NintendoOtaku93 wrote:
AndrewPixel wrote:I'd like to make a 100+ lvls episode XD
Um.... That'll take several hours for you to make... But good luck with that.

Someone give this guy a freaking medal! :lol:

Airship Attack had 170 levels in it, so it is not the first time a 100+ level episode has been thought of.
AirShip wrote:
AndrewPixel wrote:I'd like to make a 100+ lvls episode XD
I think an episode with 100 levels would work if the levels were short, like some levels of SMB3, the problem is that the gimmicks would not be well taken advantage of, because of the size of the levels.
Well you also have to think of how to make each of those 100 levels unique. I don't think level length vs episode length should be a factor in judging episodes. Any length of episode can work if you keep it fun and not tedious and boring throughout its entirety.
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Amine Retro » Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:55 am

AndrewPixel wrote:I'd like to make a 100+ lvls episode XD
Mix world 3 took more than a year and it's still unfinished.

Bad luck with that.
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Rhosty » Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:24 pm

AndrewPixel wrote:I'd like to make a 100+ lvls episode XD
I think with a bit of time, dedication, support, and a team, it's possible you could create a 100+ lvl episode.

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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby TDK » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:25 pm

Tacticynical wrote:Can we add our own tips here? If so, I'd like to recommend this:

Everyone works differently, but please ffs don't make your project thread when you haven't even finished making your first level. I've seen this happen time and time again, and these usually end up getting shelved/cancelled. Look I get it, you're eager to show it off and that's fine, but if you can't prove you're far enough into making your episode, then you won't be able to prove you're committed to finishing it. So have patience. I personally would wait until you're at least a third of the way done before you announce it, but maybe that's just me. And it all depends on the scope of your project of course.
Some people make their project thread without even starting on the project.
It's usually like "I'm going to make this super amazing project with 9999 levels and it will be perfect, I need you to make levels for me".

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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Electriking » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:32 pm

TheDinoKing wrote:
Tacticynical wrote:Can we add our own tips here? If so, I'd like to recommend this:

Everyone works differently, but please ffs don't make your project thread when you haven't even finished making your first level. I've seen this happen time and time again, and these usually end up getting shelved/cancelled. Look I get it, you're eager to show it off and that's fine, but if you can't prove you're far enough into making your episode, then you won't be able to prove you're committed to finishing it. So have patience. I personally would wait until you're at least a third of the way done before you announce it, but maybe that's just me. And it all depends on the scope of your project of course.
Some people make their project thread without even starting on the project.
It's usually like "I'm going to make this super amazing project with 9999 levels and it will be perfect, I need you to make levels for me".
But it would be locked if there are no screens, and if there is no information, I deem the project as non-existent and a troll
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