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Old 05-08-2009   #14
Ezer.Arch
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EDIT: Old unfinished review was removed.

Beach Factory by Chisuun: 4/10

Almost playable map.

The paths are confuse and not clear enough. There are some useless spaces that I don't know why they are there.

The mixture factory x beach themes didn't work. A map must have identity, and only one: either you use one or another; choosing one, explore it well.

That falling floor trick after switch confused me. After I fell there, it's a tad hard to guess "where I have to go now?" even with a cut-away usage. I felt I walked in a circle, and I did. Direction cleanness is important and a critical point in level design.


Water Leaf by Mr. Thompson: 7/10

Playable and enjoyable map.

* applauses scenic and good lay-out *

Explorable, has a good aesthetic, so I can get involved with the theme because you applied very well the scenic elements (textures, things, trees, waterfalls etc), then I feel motivated to play more. "Neato".

Floating platforms "kill" any non-skilled player; not bad >:). It's an interesting element but this broke, as I could call, the difficult curve (the level starts easy and ends harder; the more you go forth, the harder it gets). Floating platforms in "middle" of the map was harder than end part. This was my perception.

Minor issue: Please, don't "hide" so much springs for a main path (e.g. look at x=-7200 y=-950), *or* make them more visible (e.g. x=-3200 y=-9450, water made springs harder to see/find). It's interesting when you want to hide a secret room or path, but if you hide a spring that lead you to continue a main path, you're breaking movement flow. Plus, visibility is important element for level desing.


Dusty Desert Zone by Chrome: 6/10

Playable map, with enjoyable parts.

A tad cramped and unclear paths at the beginning, and generous with space at the end.

The springs used in 1st and 2nd room (before that hidden teleporter) made the movement flow a tad confusing and inconstant. Sometimes, some springs are hard to use and/or is not clear where the spring is facing to.

After I go down the first staircase, there's some "pieces of floor" that are so small that I can overpass them in a single jump by using the first blue spring (enlarge 100-200% or erase them).

Falling floor trick in middle of a room was nice; it provoked me surprise and "what'll I face now?!"; a good little suspense.

About theme: well applied, uniform and harmonious. A good job.


Frost Mountain Act 2 by HyperKnux: 7/10

Playable and enjoyable map.

Music makes me happy :D ... it's explorable, interesting. Good aesthetics, theme was well applied.

Likely Frost Mountain Act 1, paths need to be enlarged; and between trees and stones, space (50 - 80% more). The first room could be larger, I think your level deserves it. Even so, most paths are clear.

Minor issues: there's a yellow diagonal-up spring near at x=5960 y=-2340 left me fall into death pit twice. And, at x=6700 y=400, a water fof has a current with wrong direction.


Vibrant Vendetta Zone by SonicMaster: 8/10

Playable and enjoyable map, with some impressive parts.

This map has three strong points: 1) length, 2) variety and 3) scenic.

You create a long and interesting suspense in whole map.

After the cemetery, going straight and underground, I found some rooms that seem to be another level. Underground rooms don't match onground paths/rooms, they use a texture set that made them look different, another place.

This is my opinion: I wouldn't recommend to use texts (CECHOs) in a Sonic game, IMHO; it doesn't fit well, maybe in a 2D mode it would fit. Texts are interesting for a RPG game or another kind of game where you depends on reading to complete the game. In a "normal" Sonic game, agility and skill to master speed are THE goal. I would use CECHOs if they won't be essential to complete a level (e.g. in SRB2, RedXVI's messages, they are funny but you don't need to read them to finish the level).

Minor issue: Besides that part "where it told you to spindash when you heard the explosion", as Torgo said, I found another corridor that uses the same thing (at x=7900 y=-3000) - as soon as I found it, I was squeezed, it was so fast that I didn't have enough time to dodge it; I'd keep the trap and raise a bit more the ceiling height.

About the name: uhmmmmm... this does not bother me. Just, this map has not to do with "vibrant...". What you did was a dadaism: you create a piece of art and give it a name that doesn't have anything to do with. The problem is that, this name scratched a thing that the community respects a lot, an old joke, a historical thing.


Floating Gardens by Kyasarin: 6/10

Playable map.

Ohhh beautiful. Did I die? Am I on sky? I liked the aesthetics, it's clean, wide... *but* seems the only challenges are platforming over death pits and dodging enemies. It's a good map to stay and explore, sometimes the paths are too wide.

Likely Beach Factory Zone, avoid theme mixing. Some rooms with CEZ texture didn't fit well in a AGZ map...

Also, make some paths more visible (especially, SW part of the map).

Minor issue: I found some walls with CEZ textures in an *isolated* place of the map (at x=15600 y=410): not good. This disturbs the adopted theme/visual identity in *that* part (but I know you used CEZ textures in another parts...).


Darkvile Castle by Simsmagic: 5/10

Playable map.

That switch to open the first door (THE *FIRST* thing I face when I start to play, THAT door, that will not open without the switch) was strange. Instead of starting to play and moving forward, I have to seek *such* switch first. That's the strange point. Nothing against switches, but a switch near the level beginning was not a good idea.

That crusher part: the crusher's bottoms blend with ceiling texture: hard to see, so, hard to dodge (a bit). Try to use a different texture, a similar to crusher's wall texture.

Scenic is harmonious. The theme was well applied in whole level.

Also, I have to say you could explore more the theme. The map length could be longer.


Aqua Caves by Blade T. Hedgehog: 7/10

Playable and enjoyable map.

I liked. This level made me remember Undersea Place Zone. Good visual identity.

Large falling floors with death pits was a problem. I don't see falling FOFs as a problem itself; if the sector is not so large and the floor doesn't fall immediately, the player can hear the noise, get aware and jump off to land on a solid floor. But if the falling floor is large and falls immediately after stepping on, the player hardly will dodge the death pit.

That Eggbox near the start is screaming "why am I here?". I know Mystic did the same with Verdant Forest Zone, but that Eggbox is not well placed in a way to cause a good effect: it's the first thing that I face when I start walking...

I think the crusher-walls with spikes didn't fit well in this map. It's better to make a variety from same elements than trying to use several elements in one map.

Anyway, but it's an interesting and enjoyable level.


Poloy Forest by Glaber: 5/10

Playable map.

A tad cramped, it disturbs movement flow (critical point). Please, enlarge main paths (50-100% more) and rooms.

You need to be more generous with space. Don't stay stuck with SRB2DB screen, say, you draw a staircase with 128x128 sector and say "it's good", on screen it seems good, but Sonic or Knuckes can jump over your staircase without touching one step. Not that I'm saying you did such staircase, but it's a sample of how dimensions should fit with character movement.

Then, try to perceive the width of a jump in movement apply the dimensions that fit better for.

As said Sonic Master, thok barrier made the scenery interesting.


Mill Citadel Zone by Ezer.Arch: NA/10

It's my map. My 11-days-made map.


Egg mansion by Knockout the Echidna: 5/10

Enemies that came from nowhere (critical point), especially Detons that come from "blind parts" pursuing my back o.O'. *RUN EZER'ARGH!!!* ... I used Detons in Misc(elanous) Real Zone, but you can see them and face them to dodge, even.

"They" says people hates Detons, but I can say Detons can be fun if properly used; then, visibility and space are mandatory here. Remember, game is about control and skill, not luck. Player can get annoyed if you take off the control from player's hands.

Try to make crushers more visible. They use the same wall textures, it's hard to see. Also, this part of the map (near the crusher part) and near end level, I feel you abused a few of badnicks.

About scenic: good aesthetics, a palette of textures well chosen.

=======

If someone wants, I have written an unfinished article about level design. It's not good yet, just I pointed out there a list of things that, I think, should be considered when you are making levels: http://wiki.srb2.org/wiki/User:Ezer%27Arch/Level_Design

I need my dinner. Ends here.

*MOM TIME*
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