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Old 01-29-2014   #41
Thompson
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Um, Hey!

So week update, I want to let you guys know everything's going well in regards to the level pack, considering ideas that I'd think be successful and pretty cool.

Whatever. Why I REALLY posted was I've possibly, maybe, officially, kinda selected all the songs to each zone. And to each of those out there making there own mod, I call these ;P

Some of these you've heard before, some of them you haven't. Some songs I replaced for a more atmospheric taste to it. Some songs you'd probably find beautiful. To check them out click this link

right here ---> https://soundcloud.com/thompsexy/set...one-soundtrack <---

I want to bring you guys into my imagination when you listen to these and kind of envision what I envision so you can get a heads up on what I'll create them like. I personally think it's better than screenshots.

This will be updated to the topic post in case we have one of those debates. Which I'm fine with. So if you need to find these again, they'll be there. I also changed one of the levels to Azure Sanctorium. Couldn't really think of much to do with a desert, but this zone's theme will be in the sky. Much better theme for me to work with, and it's a little broad theme, so I can probably put a temple in there and include some sand so it won't be left out for those who were looking forward to some creative things I can do with some sand gimmicks. Anyways, the songs cutoff in awkward spots because I loop them that way. Besides that, tell me what ya think!

Now I know what you guys are waiting on. You need something to play. I can tell on your faces and see it by how many users we have online everyday and rarely anyone posts...

Well TOO BAD.

Spoiler:
Actually, goodish bad news...

Molten Mountain's like a little over halfway done, and have been working endless nights to try and finish out little sections. I don't want to show the actually level yet, but you can get an idea of what I'm putting in there with this.

a bomb, if you can't tell what it is. and this red version of the other badnik you saw is invulnerable and throws flames... Flame thrower of course.

Then all I can tell you is when you add them together. BOOM, got you a few ideas on what you can do with these TEW LUV BURDS. Also with some other custom enemy I added. So yeah, I haven't been doing nothing.


That is all.
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Last edited by Thompson; 01-30-2014 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 01-30-2014   #42
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Damn, this looks like it'll turn out awesome. I'm especially loving the lighting effects. .3. Must take a lot of effort to get them to look like that, Jesus. o-o;
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Old 02-06-2014   #43
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I'm somewhat late to the announcement, but I've certainly enjoyed your maps in the past. So I'll definitely be looking forward to this.
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Old 11-02-2015   #44
Thompson
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W E R E B A C K B O Y Z

So I'm pretty sure you've all noticed I've been gone for a while, and I have returned. I've touched a little bit on this 2.1 stuff--pretty nifty using for mapping and editing.

Long story short, my old map that I was in progress with before I had left had some rework on it, and me touching just a little bit on the new features that have been introduced into this new updated version. (and boy was converting the socs and images time consuming...)

So what I present to you guys is the only entry for the OLDC that was suppose to happen, Molten Mountain. Just a demo intended for feedback, and see if there are any problems. I have yet to hear anything from the moderators or admins that have tested the map in contest submissions. So yes please, have fun and discuss :)
Attached Files
File Type: zip s_moltenmountain.zip (4.29 MB, 122 views)
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Old 11-05-2015   #45
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The most cohesively designed stage I can remember playing. Your setpieces are so elaborately scripted- screenshakes and rising light blocks preceding lava flows and geysers rising to meet the player, it's insane. Great enemies, love how you even have objects interacting with each other (baiting Rexon into lighting bombs that shatter sectors and collapse caverns). Your set dressing is subtle and atmospheric and your hazards double as scenery.

Details: The exit to the big room where you have to lower the lava twice is too low to spot without manipulating the camera. Needs some sort of indication. Conversely, I loved how you later encouraged me to make a leap of faith into the void by placing an invincibility monitor in front of the gap. Best use of that powerup. The lava chase sequence was really cool but totally unforgiving, as the player has no chance of clearing it in one go and the lava blocks the exits. Got ceiling crushed on one of the rising stones in there because I was expecting the exit to be above me. Got trapped inside the collapsing hollow pillar trying to grab that 1up: threading the needle there felt great until I realized the only way out was to restart from the menu. Cruel.

Bottom line: Impressive!
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Last edited by Ritz; 11-05-2015 at 04:05 AM.
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Old 11-09-2015   #46
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Bit of critisism about your Rexon (Dino bot in the lava), Why does it take 2 hits when it only takes 1 in the source material, Sonic 2 16 bit?
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Old 11-09-2015   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritz View Post
The most cohesively designed stage I can remember playing. Your setpieces are so elaborately scripted- screenshakes and rising light blocks preceding lava flows and geysers rising to meet the player, it's insane. Great enemies, love how you even have objects interacting with each other (baiting Rexon into lighting bombs that shatter sectors and collapse caverns). Your set dressing is subtle and atmospheric and your hazards double as scenery.

Details: The exit to the big room where you have to lower the lava twice is too low to spot without manipulating the camera. Needs some sort of indication. Conversely, I loved how you later encouraged me to make a leap of faith into the void by placing an invincibility monitor in front of the gap. Best use of that powerup. The lava chase sequence was really cool but totally unforgiving, as the player has no chance of clearing it in one go and the lava blocks the exits. Got ceiling crushed on one of the rising stones in there because I was expecting the exit to be above me. Got trapped inside the collapsing hollow pillar trying to grab that 1up: threading the needle there felt great until I realized the only way out was to restart from the menu. Cruel.

Bottom line: Impressive!
Yo, thanks for the feedback! :) So much appreciated. I thought I'd never get anything since the community has been very quiet lately and thought I was just being used for a spark of entertainment for srb2. But, at least I got something to work with. Maybe my maps aren't as good enough for the community since everybody is now doing lua coding now. BRING BACK THE OLD SCHOOL Kappa.

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Bit of critisism about your Rexon (Dino bot in the lava), Why does it take 2 hits when it only takes 1 in the source material, Sonic 2 16 bit?
I know it only took 1. I decided to give it 2 hits for more challenge from the enemy aspect of the map.
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Old 11-09-2015   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thompson View Post
I know it only took 1. I decided to give it 2 hits for more challenge from the enemy aspect of the map.
Admittedly I found this a little annoying because I myself was expecting them to be a 'take one hit only' enemy, since normally they're chilling out in a lava pit and you kind of need their head off to take advantage of using their body as a platform.

I think giving a basic enemy more than one point of health in general is a risky endeavor, since it'll usually break the flow of rushing through a stage to simply defeat it. The extra point of health will make most people who are already familiar with the enemy avoid it entirely just to save time and dropping the chance of taking damage from it. I'd prefer to see enemies with more complex and lethal attacks (even from afar), making it more likely the player will hunt them out and engage them.
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Old 11-11-2015   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thompson View Post
I know it only took 1. I decided to give it 2 hits for more challenge from the enemy aspect of the map.
It doesn't add challenge, it encourages the player to not interact with the enemy at all.

I had a video of my blind run of your map, but youtube was being difficult and I couldn't upload it, so let me give you a quick rundown on how I felt about it.

Overall the platforming flowed pretty well, and there was enough space to run and the first half of the stage had good natural direction to guide the player. The second half, however, falls apart. I understand your style involves a puzzle element in each level, but large arrows are both out of place and feel like a lazy attempt to guide the player down the right path. If you need to direct the player towards a certain tunnel, use level geometry to encourage going in that direction.

The hardening lava gimmick is fine in concept, but its execution left it unclear if the rock was safe or not. My first run through I had no idea it was dangerous due to carrying the elemental shield the entire run through (until that clever 1-up got me killed for my greed). Afterwards I needed to take two hits from the rock to figure out where my damage was really coming from. Making the surrounding sectors darker, adding a heat wave effect, and maxing out the light from the lava sectors even with the rock in place will help send the right signals. Don't place any rings in lava if you're going to use this gimmick, you'll only give the player a false sense of safety.

As for the enemies, there isn't much to say about them, as they do little to stop the player or force an interaction outside of the red Rexon, which is more of a hazard than an actual enemy, since you can't attack it at all. The regular Rexons are ignored in favor of safter platforms, and the Iwamodoki's are only noticed if the player stands still, which they won't be doing, given the game in question. You almost had something interesting with the Rexons. I was expecting to eventually find a situation where they were the only available platforms inside of a room over lava, making dealing with them necessary in order to cross, but they were dropped out halfway through the level. Iwamodokis could also have been far more dangerous if they were placed on moving platforms or small areas where the player needed to move slowly, giving the enemy time to see and activate.

Overall its not a terrible level by any means, but it feels dated in comparison to some of the higher end 2.1 levels (not just because of Lua, either).
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Old 11-12-2015   #50
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SRB2 has detailed error reporting for SOCs now. Add your wad in the console after starting SRB2 without it to check:
Code:
Loading main config from s_moltenmountain.wad
WARNING: sfx 'SFX_FLAME' could not be found.

WARNING: Line 664: Couldn't find sprite named 'SPR_S_NULL'
WARNING: Line 673: Couldn't find sprite named 'SPR_S_NULL'
WARNING: Line 682: Couldn't find sprite named 'SPR_S_NULL'
WARNING: Line 689: Couldn't find sprite named 'SPR_S_NULL'
WARNING: mobjflag 'MF_EXPLODE_PROJECTILE' could not be found.

WARNING: Line 1617: Couldn't find sprite named 'SPR_S_NULL'
WARNING: Line 1869: Couldn't find sprite named 'SPR_S_NULL'
WARNING: Line 1878: Couldn't find sprite named 'SPR_S_NULL'
7 warnings in the SOC lump
I loved the idea with the lowering lava room, and also quite liked the rising burning ash scenery effect.

Rexxon having 2hp is fine, but it shouldn't bounce you backwards like a boss, since that just makes non-interaction the better option. Making it bounce you normally would be preferable. Further, it needs more telegraphing for when it is about to fire, and perhaps a faster firing rate and a shorter max range.

Given those changes, forcing the use of rexon for platforming would present the choice of bouncing on the head for a quicker passthrough but with greater risk from the lava, or using the platforms on their back for a guillotine hazard.


Also, there needs to be a starpost after the lowering lava room, and a more clear place to go forward in the collapsing room, especially since all the rooms previously had you double back. Doing that whole section again because of confusion about where to go was kinda bleh.


Everything said, it is fantastic to have you back.
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Old 11-12-2015   #51
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I love how all your levels have a unique style that they follow. If someone gave me this map without telling me who made it, you would probably be my first guess. Something about your maps screams adventure, and I think that's why they've been some of my favorite since Twilight Isles. One thing I noticed is that in all your maps you have huge set-pieces that the map revolves around, which I don't really see that often in SRB2 maps, and it's really refreshing.

That being said, this level is pretty great. I thought the bomb gimmick was pretty clever and the scenery looks great. The platforming feels smooth and fun, buutt the lowering lava room was a bit confusing at first, even with the arrows. Direction could have been better there. Also as for Rexon, I agree fully with Prime. That's pretty much how I was hoping it would work when I saw it.

Overall though, really great level so far, and it's good to see you back to mapping.

Last edited by Knux576; 11-12-2015 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 11-13-2015   #52
Thompson
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Yaaaas! Thanks all you guys for the support! This really helps me a lot. Especially knowing now I can see the SOC errors. Before I would just ignore the config.

I might go ahead and make the rexon's a one hit enemy. I'm guilty of even abandoning them just for safer footing and the only thing that attracts are the bonuses. Believe me, I definitely had the idea of using the backs of the rexons as the only way to proceed, but map gimmicks took over and just didn't know where to use them.

Keep in mind, the map is unfinished and hopefully that was obvious the way I ended the map lol... I really like to tease the next act with a different atmosphere. Just about one more room and, I'm done with this map.

I thought I had nailed it on the head when it came to which way to go this time. That's usually what kills me :c I test my map a lot and try to think if this is something I would understand where the map is leading me, but I guess this is still a problem of mine when it comes to mapping. I got it though. Level geometry.

Really guys, the feedback helps me know what I need to do and make it better for the finished product. You guys are still awesome :) Anymore is great and will be taken in consideration.

Edit: ALSO. It's great to be back! Lets help me create an awesome level pack!
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Last edited by Thompson; 11-13-2015 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 11-18-2015   #53
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Here's the review I promised you like two weeks ago. Sorry for the delay, it took me much longer than expected to get my notes in some kind of readable shape. I really only listed all the things that bothered me about your level, so you can assume that everything I didn't mention was cool and awesome and all those good things I've come to expect from a Thompson level.

General comments:
  • I don't get why you keep putting Crawlas in all your levels even though you have custom enemies that are much more interesting and suitable for the level's theme. The Crawlas add absolutely nothing to the level and might as well not be there.
  • On the other hand, I don't think the Rexons were as effective as they could have been. As others have observed, the fact that the purples ones have platforms on their back was barely exploited at all, but at least they would occasionally fire in my direction and force me to keep moving. The red ones, however, were pretty much completely useless unless I was using them to set off a bomb. There were a few spots where it seemed like you were trying to use them as an obstacle (like the ones at approximately (-20000,15000)), but their reaction time is so slow that I'm already way past them by the time they start firing. With a much shorter reaction time, I think they could serve as an interesting obstacle, but right now they're trivial to avoid.
  • I still maintain that in most cases, using arrows to tell the player where to go is a lazy band-aid solution for fixing a flawed layout.
  • There's a reason why SRB2's official levels don't use blue springs anymore: They're useless in pretty much every situation except underwater. A blue spring gives you only slightly more height than a regular jump, but at the cost of disrupting the player's flow.
  • DLAVA1 isn't commonly associated with damage in SRB2, so if you want to use it for damaging surfaces, you need to make sure that the player is introduced to it early on and understands that it's damaging. Personally, I only figured this out halfway through the level because I didn't have any reason for touching it before that. I'm not sure if DLAVA1 is a particularly good texture for a damaging surface anyway, since it doesn't really stick out among all the bright reds and oranges in the level. It doesn't help that you often use it in dark areas where it's even harder to notice.

Now for specific issues in chronological order, beginning with the start of the level (i.e. up to the first starpost):
  • The start of the level was a bit jarring. When I start a level, I expect there to be a clear path right in front of me that I can follow for a few seconds before the real action begins. Your level starts right in the middle of the action: There's lava right in front of me, Rexons are shooting at me, and I have about three seconds to make the first jump, which is off to the side. Not an ideal way to ease the player into your level.
  • I thought the sector layout in the very first room was a bit weird in general, with scenery sprinkled everywhere and occasionally blocking my view of the path ahead. For example, at the end of the corridor, the diagonal spring that leads into the next area is obscured by a big red stalagmite.
  • In the cave that the player enters right after the lava lake near the start, before the first starpost, I don't really understand how the player is meant to traverse that room. On my first playthrough, I thought that I was supposed to jump through those rings of rings in the air and maybe there would be some mechanic associated with them that would propel me forward. Obviously that wasn't the case. There's platforms in the lava, but they stop forming an obvious path about halfway through the room, and I don't know if I'm supposed to make a big, well-timed jump at the end or if I'm supposed to kill the Rexons and use the platforms attached to their backs as stepping stones or something (if so, they're not placed in very convenient positions).

There's a path split in the room with the first starpost, so let me first talk about the "main" path aka the one that doesn't go off to the side via that crumbling bridge:
  • The lighting in that first outdoor room (the one around (-18000,15000)) is problematic. The parts without any lava are so dark that at times I could hardly see the path in front of me. It took me a while to even notice that there are two different routes through the room, because the pillars that make up the "alternate" routes are so dark that it's very easy not to notice them. I know that it's visually appealing to have the lava act as the main light source, but that shouldn't come at the expense of path clarity.
  • In the room with the first bomb cage, you provided platforms that allowed me to jump on top of the cage, and you even placed rings on top of it, so naturally I assumed that I was supposed to climb on top of it. Of course, that doesn't actually allow me to set off the bomb because the Rexon aims slightly upwards and misses the hole in the cage. If there's no real benefit in standing on top of the cage, you shouldn't even give the player the opportunity to do so, since it's only gonna lead to confusion.
  • At the part where the player returns to the "main" room (the one where the paths split) via the crumbling platform, it's very easy to miss the hole in the wall that I'm supposed to spindash through. There are rings that point towards it, sure, but if I'm facing a different direction while standing on the crumbling platform, I might not see them. On my first playthrough, I didn't notice the bustable wall and spent ages backtracking through the previous parts of the level. I can't think of a way to make it 100% obvious to the player that he's supposed to spindash through the hole (aside from adding even more arrows, which I already ranted about above), so it would probably best to rework the path so that the player doesn't re-enter the "main" room at all. Judging from the level layout, it seems like that would be fairly easy to do.
  • The path layout in that big vertical room at around (-8000,9000) was a disaster. I liked the idea of having to spindash through bustable blocks in order to trigger some event that would dry out the lava and expose a new section of the room. The problem was that it wasn't clear where I was supposed to go, since the new section was always out of sight from the current one. The arrows didn't help, since I couldn't see them from my vantage point either. In fact, one of the arrows even misled me and caused me to backtrack to a bustable block I had already shattered.
  • If you need five consecutive red springs to get the player back on top of the room, maybe you should reconsider the general layout of that room, because taking spring after spring after spring gets annoying really fast.
  • I thought the second Rexon-bomb combination was really cleverly done, but there was one problem: On my first playthrough, I hadn't yet figured out at that point that DLAVA1 means damage, so I jumped on the thin rim of the pillar that I was supposed to destroy in order to get behind the cage so that the Rexon would fire straight at it. That actually worked, but of course at the expense of taking unavoidable damage. It was only on my second playthrough that I realized I was supposed to stand in FRONT of the cage. Maybe you should remove that little rim around the pillar so that other players don't make that mistake.
  • Unlike Ritz, I didn't particularly enjoy the leap of faith into nothingness with the invincibility monitor. In fact, at first I thought that part of the map was unfinished.
  • What is the point of that short cut-away view when I enter the large tube that propels me upwards? I would much rather watch myself get flung upwards than look at the entrance of the thing I already entered.

And now for the other path aka the one that does go off to the side via that crumbling bridge:
  • In the center of the first outdoor room (at around (-23000,11000)), there was one of those lava "pyramids" that appear occasionally in your level, but this one was placed right in the middle of the bridge so that I could easily walk around it. What's the point of an obstacle that you can just walk around?
  • In the cave right before the room with the Rexon and the bomb, there is this little recess in the wall that the player is supposed to use as a platform. While it does use a different texture than the rest of the walls in the room, it still kind of blends in with the surroundings due to the darkness (which in SRB2 tends to fuck up the colors and contrasts).
  • Forcing the player to backtrack can lead to confusion and is kind of annoying even when it doesn't, so you should avoid it whenever you can. is stupid and only leads to confusion (even with the cutscene), so avoid it whenever you can. In the case of that cave with the bomb and the Rexon, I don't get why you didn't just have it lead back into the outdoor room, since the level layout would have easily allowed you to do that.
  • That part where I fell down a shaft and somehow triggered a bomb was confusing, since I couldn't really see what was going on. It's also not particularly clear I'm going to be chased by lava. I also didn't think it was very clear I was going to be chased by lava immediately afterwards. The way you did it in Sparkling Icecap was much more obvious.
  • Having a little patch of dried lava right in the middle of the corridor where I'm being chased by lava is very cheap. There's no way to notice it in time.
  • The part shortly afterwards where there were three holes in the wall and I had to figure out which one to spindash through was pretty annoying as well, since there was no way to find the right one other than trial and error. What makes it worse is that the player might still be under the impression that he's being chased by lava at this point, since it's not very clear that it stops shortly before that.
  • In the second part of the lava chase segment, it's possible to get stuck forever if you don't spindash through the holes in the wall on time.
  • The platform at approximately (-14500,16200) blends in with its surroundings and should have a different texture.
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