Thread: [SP Level] Massive Mountain Zone
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Old 01-01-2019   #3
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Is it just me, or are first levels just getting better and better?? This one is dope! Considering the amount of things you got working on your "first try", this level is pretty astounding. I'm not just talking about technical stuff like fof stacking and falling rocks and emblems, but gameplay ideas such as scale, flow, and exploration.

Scale is especially hard for new mappers to grasp and it looks like you've basically got it down. The open areas provide a good amount of space to run around in and aren't WAY too open so that the player gets bored. Flow is good, too. The map is never uncomfortably cramped, and platforms and hazards are spaced apart well enough to run through the level without getting bogged down by awkward level design. Exploration is awesome, especially in the early few rooms of the level. It was fun to search through all the nooks and crannies, and it shows that you had fun building nooks and crannies. Nooks and crannies are my jam.

There are a few things that you did that helped reinforce the theme, too. I really liked the music of the level. It gave the atmosphere of mystery and exploration of a long-forgotten mountain with long-forgotten caves. There were also neat little details here and there that showed that you put some thought into how everything got the way it was. The level is a big climb, too, which further gives the sense that you are climbing a massive mountain.

That being said, though, there were some ways that you subtracted from the theme, too. The most obvious one (to me) was the enemy spam. By god there's a lot of enemies! Not particularly in number, but in type. I think there's nearly every type of enemy in SRB2 crammed in here, even though you didn't need to include them. Why is there an shield enemy here? Or the water skimmer dudes? Or a million archers? The theme doesn't really support any of these enemies besides the desert enemies and maybe the crawlas, but only because they're so generic. Maybe the explanation is that Eggman is exploring the mountain too, but even in the regular sonic games he makes sure to build them theme-appropriate! Their placement doesn't make much sense either. Most of the time the enemies are clustered in large lumps that you can run right past which just reinforces how unnecessary they are.

There were also a couple of visual glitches, in particular I found these the most obvious:

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Above: strange rendering issue on ceiling and floor
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Above: missing texture on one of the pillars ahead (disregard me getting hit lol)

The last nitpick I have is something that I mentioned to Evertone in the Blossom Valley topic: I think your imagination was running on low as you finished the level. The first few areas are open and full of stuff to see... but the last areas were blander and less detailed with nowhere to go besides the path ahead. I would have preferred that you kept making big rooms with stuff to explore rather than empty rooms that are only worth running through once. It's okay to stop a level once you run out of ideas!

But don't take my criticisms too harshly!! This was a damn good first level, and hell, it's just a good level! The last thing I'd want is for you to quit mapping; quite the opposite, actually. I want you to make as many maps as you possibly can because it's obvious from this level that you have enormous potential. In other words, you rock! Keep mapping! And quit selling yourself short, it should be obvious that you've made something to be proud of. Self-deprecation will get you reassuring comments for now, but eventually people will buy into the idea that you suck... when you totally don't!

Also, I'm sorely disappointed that I made it to this platform and there were no goodies for me:
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Endless Mine - Piano Cover (First one on youtube!)
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