Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

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Enjl
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Enjl » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:54 am

Electriking wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:36 am
Some things to think about if your project is going to take a long time:
1) Will I be able to work on it for that long?
-if you think you may burn out or get stressed out or simply lose the desire to continue, then you may end up going on hiatus or cancelling the project, and end up disappointing supporters.
This is not something people realise up front. It's a result of poor planning, but the low quality of a project's plan is something most people without knowledge in project management only realise halfway through, often when they either run out of ideas or see that the quality of their work isn't what they expected it to be.
If you want to avoid these things, a spreadsheet with every little detail about your episode is just about mandatory. You NEED an overview, you NEED to know what to do, and you NEED to set yourself a scope you can reasonably work in. Baby steps are key in getting a feeling for how much you are capable of and where you should improve next, which is why I always tell people to work on smaller projects before tackling a large passion project. A project is a house of cards and good project management is what's keeping it from falling apart.
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby TheLoafLord » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:19 am

I feel that when people think unrealistically the hurt when they realise it's not possible is astronomically worsened.

Because how much they say they'll do, they physiologically expect themselves to be able to provide, and feel the need to prove their worth. I just want to say to those people that bigger does not always equal better.

You could make a 100 level monkey circus piece of trash, or you could spend your free time making let's say a 10 level project and it would be fantastic. They both can differ. Just because it has more levels does not mean it makes it amazing, and even sometimes small amounts of levels don't do too well. It depends on your skill not the size.
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Cedur » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:03 am

response to LoafLord's wall of text on discord
TheLoafLord wrote:Try to remember quantity over quality isn't always true, and that bigger is better also isn't true. You and I both know that you can't single handedly create 200 levels with a unique concept per level, and even if you had a team of 10 you would still struggle.

Many, many people are shutting down their projects or taking year long breaks, ect ect. I just want to say, to a certain degree, it's kind of your fault. Sometimes, there are cases where it's real life. And if that happens, I wish you the best of luck however it seems more and more projects are going on massive hiatus periods and getting shutdown due to the fact they think they aren't providing enough.
TheLoafLord wrote:Also, just an after note, I made these same mistakes when I came here. Why do you think my project failed? The level count was insane. So please remember that you really, really need to think realistically.
Another after note, if you pay attention to what I do, I'm rebooting my project, and you'll probably notice something different this time around: it's planned to have 25 levels. No more, no less. The change is drastic, I know, but it's definitely worth it.

Here's why a project of 25 levels seems too small for me at first sight. SMW has 72 levels with 96 exits, YI has 60 levels, Super Mario 64 has 120 different missions, the NSMB games have around 60 - 90 levels, Newer SMBWii even has 128. Episodes are usually supposed to resemble actual Mario games, and there is some kind of established quantity estimation of between whether something feels too short-lived or whether something feels overbloated. Sure, exceptions exist. But usually I expect that after only 25 levels, the episode might not feel topped off already or there could still be more to come or the game was just over too quickly or whatever.

Next, "unique concept per level" is a ridiculous goal compared to what episodes are meant for. A lot less is needed to make sure that the levels don't feel repetitive, and not every marvellous skill is needed to provide a good playing experience. If you want to make a set of a dozen absolutely stellar levels that take like a month each, that's what the standalone levels forum is for. Sure, once you have made 30 of those, you could think of juxtaposing them somehow to an instantly featured episode. But how many people could that? About just as few people as could become Petanque World Champion? If you want to be realistic and enjoy yourself, then become independent from the unhealthy standards that have arisen in this community. Learn to enjoy simplicity to a certain degree. This is also why the Novaverse projects were bound to fail. Eri completely lost his grip on reality, he was not contented with "anything average".

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<ShadowStarX> also I get why they've become unwelcome in contests but...
what is wrong with romps
I mean a few of them here and there don't hurt, do they
<Aero> what's a romp again
<Pseudo> ^^
<sdace> A level that you can beat with your eyes closed
<ShadowStarX> isn't it like a level that doesn't have a gimmick
<Pseudo> that's considered a bad thing now?
<ShadowStarX> or it doesn't have elements that make it extraordinarily special but isn't necessarily utterly repetitive
<Pseudo> to just have a regular level?
jeez
<ShadowStarX> idk I might misunderstand the situation now
well for a contest
I can perfectly understand why that happens tho
true you can make a gimmickless level clever af as well
utterly clever npc placement can do wonders, can't it
<Aero> why is it called romp
<ShadowStarX> I've heard that term used often for levels with no gimmicks
thus, I associate rompy with gimmickless
<dude> so does that mean i can never make a good level until i learn lua scripting?
<ShadowStarX> you don't need lua or gimmicks to make a good level
<Pseudo> that's the one thing that really frustrates me about the community these days
the crazy high standards for everything
even smwcentral doesn't expect a unique gimmick in every level

<ShadowStarX> it's good to have standards
but if you make them high
it can backfire
<Pseudo> standards, sure
<ShadowStarX> it can easily demotivate intermediate designers
<Vito> Well, lots of hack in smw central has not much gimmicks
<Aero> this calls for a movement. standards are too high
<Pseudo> like sure, having a ton of floating munchers is not terrible desirable
<dude> i transferred some episodes to smbx2, 90% of the episodes dont have gimmicks
<Pseudo> ikr aero
it's like we need to return to an earlier time
<dude> i still enjoy those episodes despite them not having any gimmicks =Y
[...]
<ShadowStarX> we have to find the perfect balance between basics and complexity
[...]
<Pseudo> yeah i agree
complex levels can be really cool
but simple levels shouldn't be considered inherently worse
Last edited by Cedur on Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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iphtechnologies wrote: NEO super mario world x is a really nice game. This Episode is 2,7 GB large at the moment.That`s crazy!
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Enjl » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:04 am

Cedur wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:03 am
Here's why a project of 25 levels seems too small for me at first sight. SMW has 72 levels with 96 exits, YI has 60 levels, Super Mario 64 has 120 different missions, the NSMB games have around 60 - 90 levels, Newer SMBWii even has 128. Episodes are usually supposed to resemble actual Mario games.
"unique concept per level" is a ridiculous goal compared to what episodes are meant for.
If you play any mario game released in the past 20 years you will find that every level has a unique identity to it. Reoccuring themes like the skewer towers and lakitu have had their unique twists put on them in basically every New Super Mario Bros game, while SM64, Sunshine, Galaxy, 3DLand/World and Odyssey have heavily themed levels as well.
The assumption that these levels don't have concepts to them that are unique to their game is wrong. Making a level different from others in a game is what makes it memorable. Every platformer follows this idea and it's a pretty established concept. If someone wants their levels to be remembered, this is a good place to start.
Cedur wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:03 am
If you want to make a set of a dozen absolutely stellar levels that take like a month each, that's what the standalone levels forum is for.
The difference between a badly constructed and aimless level and a level made to impress judges in a contest isn't binary. You can make great levels while putting effort into them and thinking them through properly without writing new mechanics or bosses. Walder's recent work is a good example of this. These levels are fun to play, follow a coherent structure (4step level design) and are memorable through their theming. And he's pumping out a new one every week.
In reality, the standalone levels is for just what it says: Standalone levels. Levels which aren't intended to be connected to a larger storyline. The episode forum, hate to break it to you, is meant for these storylines which tie levels together. The difference between the forums has nothing to do with time and effort spent on individual levels.
Cedur wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:03 am
But how many people could that? About just as few people as could become Petanque World Champion?
Anyone dedicated to improve their skills in level design and project management? Like, you're talking as if "instantly featured episodes" only happen for stuff that's reshaping the landscape of how we think about levels. I'd say projects like Yoshi's Archipelago and Super Mario Bros 0 show a pretty clear counterexample.
Cedur wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:03 am
Here's why a project of 25 levels seems too small for me at first sight. SMW has 72 levels with 96 exits, YI has 60 levels, Super Mario 64 has 120 different missions, the NSMB games have around 60 - 90 levels, Newer SMBWii even has 128. Episodes are usually supposed to resemble actual Mario games, and there is some kind of established quantity estimation of between whether something feels too short-lived or whether something feels overbloated. Sure, exceptions exist. But usually I expect that after only 25 levels,
It's important to remember that mario games are made by a team of level designers which have a paid job over 40 hours a week or so, designing these levels over the course of a few years. Expecting amateurs with no experience in project management to accomplish the same and resemble these games isn't realistic due to the time investment, pressure and fast improvement rate. I've been crushed under this pressure a good dozen times myself. This thread aims to help in reducing that pressure, but reducing scope is a necessary aspect of that. The accomplishment of finishing four 10 level episodes as a newcomer is much greater than the accomplishment of finishing one 40 level episode. Long episodes are draining to design if you don't have or don't know how to make a plan and don't have a grasp on your abilities and toolset yet.
Cedur wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:03 am
If you want to be realistic and enjoy yourself, then become independent from the unhealthy standards that have arisen in this community. Learn to enjoy simplicity to a certain degree. This is also why the Novaverse projects were bound to fail. Eri completely lost his grip on reality, he was not contented with "anything average".
The unhealthy standards are often self-imposed. I know that this is at least the case for Eri. He flat-out said he wanted to be the best in the community, while not having enough experience to be that. Eri lacked what I mentioned in this post and will mention again: Project management skills and the ability to recognise his strengths and weaknesses and effectively work on them. Many people offered help to him but he struggled to meet up to his own expectations regardless. This isn't meaning to bash Eri. I wanted to see him break out of that vicious cycle, too.
When I was a newcomer I also had a lot of unrealistic expectations towards myself when making projects. And heck, I still do. Jealousy of designers with more experience is nothing new, but I feel like nowadays the community tries to help each other out more to overcome that, which is a good thing.

tl;dr cedur please let people design what they want and stop forcing your unhealthy expectations onto newcomers
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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Walder » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:46 pm

ced you seem to be imposing your own standarts while bashing self made standarts for being set, man

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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Cedur » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:43 am

I have talked to Eri in private as well so I know that it was him and only him who drove himself crazy.

Your above points about "episodes vs. standalone levels" are fair obviously but I was talking about a practical aspect. By "level that's supposed to impress judges" I mean the process of making a level and taking care of everything with maximum meticulousness w/e which expands the duration of making the level to a full month or the like.

""instantly featured episodes" was a hyperbola expressing that such a thing as described above would most likely get instantly featured for being awesome (rightfully).

There are quite a handful examples of 50+ level episodes that were made by one person (or mostly one person) alone. I want that this quantity range stays the average, as I consider my plays of episodes as adventures, no matter if someone does it alone or has a team (which of course is still a large benefit). Quoting TheLoafLord again, the problem is if people think they can accomplish everything within an unrealistically short time.

I don't tell anyone how to design and what to design but I'd always tell anyone to not become too out of touch with reality and to be honest with themselves, because otherwise they'll also torture themselves on their project until finally giving up.

And if someone wants to keep their project small and I think it's too small, I'd gently try to convince them expanding it a bit if it makes sense, but if they think it's fine well it's their right.
Last edited by Cedur on Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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I believe in three 72 mm large, 690 g heavy iron balls as my lords and saviours.

It's not worth to use the legacy editor anymore these days. Get SMBX2 and PGE, it will improve your experience significantly. Here's why.

iphtechnologies wrote: NEO super mario world x is a really nice game. This Episode is 2,7 GB large at the moment.That`s crazy!
Please find similar post:
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If you're not smart enough to plan ahead, then DOOM ON YOU!

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Re: Tips and Tricks - Working on a Project

Postby Enjl » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:09 am

Cedur wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:43 am
I don't tell anyone how to design and what to design
Then detach yourself from the assumptions you made above:
Cedur wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:03 am
Episodes are usually supposed to resemble actual Mario games
Cedur wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:03 am
compared to what episodes are meant for
Cedur wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:03 am
that's what the standalone levels forum is for
--------------------------
Cedur wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:43 am
I consider my plays of episodes as adventures
The fact of a game being an adventure is unrelated to the length of the game. A short game might feel incomplete just as much as a large game may feel bloated.
Cedur wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:43 am
By "level that's supposed to impress judges" I mean the process of making a level and taking care of everything with maximum meticulousness w/e which expands the duration of making the level to a full month or the like.
It doesn't. I'm speaking from experience here. Over time you internalise design patterns and develop your own design style. Falling into that style will become effortless, and designing great levels for it that could land in the top 10 of contests within a week or two will become possible. People should work according to their abilities while aiming to improve them, yes, but generalising this skill level into a global constant and taking it for a rule isn't right if you ask me.
Cedur wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:43 am
There are quite a handful examples of 50+ level episodes that were made by one person (or mostly one person) alone. I want that this quantity range stays the average
I prefer a large number of episodes which get finished on time and are planned out well to the point where they can feel like the designer did everything they wanted to do over a small number of episodes which are trying to aim for a big level count and constantly toppling over the edge of cancellation. The long episodes can take several years, don't underestimate the stress the designers (especially ones with not too much experience) go through.
Cedur wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:43 am
I'd always tell anyone to not become too out of touch with reality and to be honest with themselves, because otherwise they'll also torture themselves on their project until finally giving up.
Glad we're on the same page here.
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Muh favourite quotes:
Spoiler: show
TheKingOfBoos: enji I'm only scared of you cuz you're always right, and that's creepy
SnoruntPyro: if you don't like kirby you have no life
ToonQuill: do you have any hentai girl sfx
Pichu: "And Jesus said unto his apostles, 'ew so much clash 0/10'."
MNIE52: ohoho master king sitting in his golden chair! Dude, you think you're president? i will not leave, if i want - i'll leave.
MNIE52: i will not kill you, why you so rude. are you have nothing to do, boy?
Sanct: oh my god i made the perfect amount of stairs i am jesus christ.
Spoiler: show
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