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Old 11-01-2014   #6
fickleheart
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Single Player
Ring Valley Zone by RedEnchilada
Haunted Heights Zone by EvilEnternity3000
Mud Mines Zone 1 by "Lat'" and Ors

Spoiler: reviews

Ring Valley Zone by RedEnchilada - banana
My map! It's heavily inspired by DK64, including all of the custom graphics, so I fully expect divided opinions. I mostly made the map as aesthetics practice, because I got tired of "the map looks awful, but it's Red so that's expected"; it's quite obvious that the rest of the level came second to that. There are a bunch of little hidden alcoves, containing everything from some rings to a shield to an emblem in each! Please nitpick every little aesthetic detail when you review my map, because I really want to improve in that department.

Mud Mines Zone 1 by "Lat'" and Ors - C+
If you're going to have a level-up script, do something more interesting than increasing a few stats. Heck, you could give Sonic a homing attack at its highest level and use that for some secret paths, as an example! That could be really cool.

As for the level itself, I thought there were a lot of good ideas here, and some of them were fairly well-executed. Some, on the other hand... weren't. The biggest offender is the left path with the bouncy room, where you have to bounce through a ridiculously difficult series of bouncers over a death pit, in lighting that's impossible to see anything in when using the software renderer. (I'm aware you can't run software and thus design in OGL, but get a playtester who can use software. It'll help a lot in the long run.) This turns out to be an unfun exercise in frustration. The right path is a lot better, but you could've used some texture variation, possibly giving the parts of the ceiling that could crush you a different, more ominous-looking flat? Other than that I did like the room quite a bit. The room before that section was a tad monotonous but nothing was really wrong with it.

The outside room after this was a big disappointment to me, because it looked like it was going to be an expansive room with multiple exits for more branching paths. You did expansive well enough, but the single exit was kind of a letdown after that. I don't mind the button hunt, but give the rest of that room a purpose, possibly by adding another path split here.

The factory area is probably the strongest part of the level, particularly visually. I enjoyed the electric floors lighting up an otherwise dark (but not unplayably so) room as an effect, and the visuals otherwise were quite nice. The gameplay was also quite interesting, with the layered platforming, and nothing really felt cheap or obtuse. I will say the very end of the map was silly, though; a button opens a door, but then the proper path is to go the other way into darkness that somehow has an end sign in it. Darkness is the worst when a level suddenly ends within it.

Overall, I think some of the biggest problems are that the gimmicks don't get fleshed out well enough. You have slowdown mud, but you do nothing with it outside of the crushing room and it feels like a wasted opportunity. Bouncers get very little use; an optional shortcut through a room followed by an exceedingly difficult path, then nothing. The factory segment was cool, but was over too soon. Try to work on making the level a cohesive whole, instead of a series of rigidly-defined sections of gimmick. Hell, nothing says you can't have mud in the factory!

Also, that sky floor near the start irritated me immensely.

Haunted Heights Zone by EvilEnternity3000 - A+
Far and away the knockout winner of the contest. I'm so glad you finished in time. I wasn't particularly a fan of how the dark the timed platform rooms were, and how easy they were to cheese as anyone but Sonic, and the level could have stood to be a bit more nonlinear (there are almost no alternate paths), but otherwise perfect. Yes. You deserve to be a dev more than I do.


Match
Moonlit Island by Spherallic
Dark Mansion Zone by BlasterGuy
Burning Oak by Brawl

Spoiler: reviews

Dark Mansion Zone by BlasterGuy - D
The map is about four times as big horizontally as it should be, and the layout is fairly confusing even without factoring in the low light levels in segments of the map. The long dead-end corridor is also a horrible trap, and the texturing makes no sense. That said, at least you didn't place a non-random nuke this time, so it's not awful! Just size down and/or brighten a lot of your rooms and rethink some of the connections and this map could actually be decent.

Moonlit Island by Spherallic - A-
It's unfortunate that anything open and remotely pretty slows to a crawl in SRB2, because this map is gorgeous and dropping to 13FPS when I look across the island is an absolute shame. I'm pretty sure some jumps like the ones to the Rail would be difficult in control lag, but the rest of the map is fairly simple to navigate and flows well. I appreciate all of the little visual details that I'd never even dream of putting into any of my maps, and although the map is surrounded by a giant pit, it never feels cheap because the only areas where you're really in danger of getting shot into one are the areas that lead to big bonuses.

Burning Oak by Brawl - F---
This map is a work of art


Capture the Flag

Evilflower Zone by literally everyone
Eggflagsion by CoatRack
Industrial Starlight Zone by BlasterGuy

Spoiler: reviews

Industrial Starlight Zone by BlasterGuy - D-
The base itself wasn't too terrible, honestly. While the flag room is a mess (the elevator makes it too easy to get stuck in a firefight, and the colormap is a terrible idea), the room directly outside it is actually pretty fun to fight in. The issues come with every other part of the map; for starters, why do I need to engage in difficult platforming over a death pit for a Bounce panel (arguably among the weaker weapons) when the Scatter panel is easily accessible within a base? Why is there a grey insta-death floor instead of something easier to figure out from a glance, like a death pit? You use those through the rest of the level, too. The use of fans (a slow method of travel that leaves players as standing targets for the entire ride up) followed immediately by a spike pit to guard a weapon also kind of bugs me a little.

However, the biggest problem is that you have nothing between the bases but a giant flat void of emptiness. You need to be spending a lot more time working on your non-base map area in order to make something that actually feels like it had effort put into it, rather than being a giant blank spot that exists solely to increase the size of the map.

As for technical issues, your damaging floors need to be set up to return the flag when it hits the ground. The sector special for that applies to the entire sector it's tagged to, so you'll need some intangible, invisible FOFs to do the trick.

Evilflower Zone by Zipper, SpiritCrusher, Badz, Spherallic and RedEnchilada - weh
In lieu of leaving a comment, I'm going to link our concept art.

Eggflagsion by CoatRack - C-
<@MascaraSnake> Ah yes, Red is proudly upholding the tradition of tearing his CTF competitors a new one

The more I try to play this, the less I can tolerate its flaws. It's unfortunate, because the map could've been really good if it wasn't plagued with a few atrocious design choices. For starters, the map is very difficult to navigate; you have an alternate path completely separated from the main path (as in, you're committed to taking one once you leave your base) that's hidden behind a random painting where the only indication of its existance is a few diagonal springs pointing straight into it, and even the Bounce ring room is hidden in a room whose lone entrance/exit is through a tiny corridor tucked away in a pit in a dark room.

However, the biggest unforgivable flaw by far is the paintings. Every single painting can be hidden in, making the player hiding impossible to see and allowing for incredibly cheap ambush tactics on unsuspecting players who suddenly get shot by the walls. This is the worst with the entrance to the aforementioned alternate path, since the painting doesn't appear (and thus block one's vision) from inside, but the presence of SEENAMES makes every other painting incredibly unbalanced toward the person hiding in them. I don't know what you were smoking when you made that, but it's awful and drags the map down hard.

As for other flaws, there are a lot of areas in the map that are quite honestly too dark to play in. Most of the alternate path has this issue, but even right outside the bases on the main path is too dark, especially considering the aforementioned Bounce room. Also, making Sonic players slowly climb a ladder to get a weapon ring is bad and makes them free points for the entire arduous climb.

I feel like I'm being too harsh with my rating, so don't take the D+ to mean the map is unsalvagable. It just means the few flaws it has, all of which can be fixed, take the map from potentially really good to completely unenjoyable to play.

(Also, I've seen someone carrying the flag get hit and drop it straight out the window in the base once. Not that that's a flaw or anything, just thought it was hilarious and wanted to point it out.)


Circuit
Evilflower Zone by Zipper, SpiritCrusher, Badz, Spherallic and RedEnchilada
Spoiler: reviews
lol


Votes are final but reviews are still being written while I articulate what exactly I liked/didn't like about each map.
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Last edited by fickleheart; 11-07-2014 at 11:08 PM.
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