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Old 01-26-2018   #5
Lach
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Panda, I'm sorry that there are members of the community who would rather roast the living daylights out of your map than give actual feedback on it. I'm not a mapper so I don't usually review maps, but here is some actually constructive criticism about your work.

The visuals are decent enough, considering this seems to be your first map. It's nice to see good amounts of foliage placed to make the place look alive, I think that's a good habit to apply to any map. The actual choice in foliage is rather ugly, though. The GFZ flowers don't really fit the setting very well, nor do those terribly poorly-ripped trees. I would suggest finding some bushes and shrubbery to replace the flowers, and trees that are actually sprited rather than ripped from photos. (SRB2 is not a photo-realistic game; the cartoony nature of the characters and the limitations of the palette mean that deliberate pixel art typically looks best.) Though I would prefer something actually rural, the stone textures do look fairly nice. The metal ones do not fit at all though—I'm talking primarily about those pillars on the perimeter and that awful sheeted metal on the ceiling of the altar. Try digging through more of the Castle Eggman textures to see if there are better replacements, or better yet, find or make textures outside of SRB2's default ones. Most of SRB2's assets in general are pretty outdated yet also overused, so using outside textures definitely makes for both a more unique and (hopefully) more appealing experience.

The skybox is a neat idea, though I would agree that it needs a lot more work visually. The THZ background doesn't really make any sense. Either make it plain sky or make a custom background with some mountain ranges in the background, like in the original from SADX. Also, what if you made rural houses/cabins/stone huts instead of directly ripping the GFZ houses? I think that would fit the theme better. I also think having more islands scattered in the background would be a nice touch. Using slopes to make the islands less blocky would be a pleasing addition too. Honestly that could be applied to the map in general—since the aim of the map isn't to run through as fast as possible, players will spend a lot of time looking at the scenery. Give them something smooth and pretty to look at!

As for the stages' purpose—a hangout map is fine, but there are definitely ways to make it more than that. The map letting you access all the Chaos Emeralds from the get go is like a more creative alternative to turnsuper.lua—but what if you could take it further? You could put a secret entrance to Hidden Palace in every act or zone, and have a chaos emerald to collect in each one. It could be a new form of special stage hunting! Of course you'd probably need some Lua to determine which stage the Hidden Palace exit should send you to. Alternatively, you could make the map bigger and have it be a Match/Tag stage. I'd love to run around the Master Emerald chasing other players. Maybe you could repurpose the Master Emerald into a new gimmick, or require players who have all the Match emeralds to stand on it before turning super. There are a lot of different ways you could take this map if you wanted to continue working on it!

That's all I really have to say. Keep on making maps; you definitely know how to use Zone Builder, now it's just a matter of improving and making your work unique and beautiful.
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