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Old 07-03-2011   #61
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Originally Posted by Ritz View Post
"Here's some honest, earnest feedback to lead you forward in your mapping techniques: Vacuous purple prose. This map is fake! My maps are special. I pour my heart and soul into my maps. I guess that, like, isn't your style or something, though."

"No scores because I'm making a statement."
So Ritz, how's Balin2.wad coming along

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Originally Posted by Mr. Mystery View Post
Ahh, so this is what it looks like when a troll has been trolled.
Hahahahahaha quite so, quite so
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Old 07-03-2011   #62
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Ahh, so this is what it looks like when a troll has been trolled.
No, this is what it looks like when pretentious bullshit is called out for what it is, and for probably the first time in the history of the forums, I agree 100% with Ritz. If you can't come up with a tangible reason for why you don't like something, it's not criticism. I have no doubt that Blade pours his heart and soul into it just like everyone else. Doing things by the books is simply more likely to produce awesome work than mashing things together and hoping they mesh. I'm sorry, this is just the truth.

The difference here isn't "soul" or whatever you want to call it, the difference is how much the author refined the look and feel of their stage to make a cohesive whole. Blade's level is refined cohesively, and therefore all fits together as his gimmicks fit with his visuals. All of the gimmicks he uses have been polished to an excellent shine, and everything just works perfectly. Thompson's level, for better or worse, is unrefined, with unnatural gimmicks in places and experimental ideas everywhere. This doesn't necessarily ruin the map, but it DOES create a strike against him when his experimentation doesn't work out, as it does in quite a few areas. I vastly prefer Clockwork Grove, where his ideas actually fit together cohesively and made it feel like I was exploring a place. His newest attempt doesn't do that because of all the problems it has.

I'm sorry, "it's just so perfect" is not a flaw in the stage in any way, shape or form.
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Old 07-03-2011   #63
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We're not complaining about Blade's level for being too "perfect", we're complaining about his style being formulaic. Granted, his level is still fantastic, and this is the only thing I can really complain about at all, but it's a perfectly legitimate issue and BZ4 wasn't being "pretentious" for calling him on it.

The issue is that while Blade's levels are still sublimely tuned and visually distinctive, the feel of his levels has become pretty uniform from project to project. When I'm exploring his levels, I don't really feel as deeply engaged with my surroundings, even if they are pleasant to look at and don't suffer from any major design issues. This is actually the reason why I think KO.T.E.'s level was slightly better than Blade's...because I loved the way his level fit together and created a place that almost seemed to have a story behind it. Thompson, for all his faults, is more unpredictable, and sometimes this works in his favor. Even if Blade's level is better in most of the specifics, you'd be better off looking to Thompson if you want a level that can surprise you.

But please note that I'm not arguing that Thompson's level is outright better than Blade's here...you need only check my votes to see that isn't the case. I'm just arguing that there is a somewhat ill-defined but certainly tangible quality which Thompson's levels consistently outperform Blade's in. Clearly there's at least as much that Blade can do better than Thompson, and as I said, I think the two of them have a few things to learn from each other's styles.
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Last edited by Fawfulfan; 07-03-2011 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 07-03-2011   #64
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I think what you actually MEAN is that Blade is not using massive set pieces. Thompson's stages frequently revolve around large set pieces, such as the snowflake in the last room with rising lava, or the tree seed that grows into a massive tree you need to climb on to progress. These things are unique to their room and make parts of the stage stand out more than they ordinarily would. Doing this in moderation can create a more dramatically interesting stage, but isn't really necessary to make a great stage. There are very few set pieces in Blade's stages in general, and the ones that are there aren't trying to get you to notice them. If you want to complain about THAT, that is a legitimate argument, but BlueZero4 isn't doing that. He's spouting pretentious bullshit about the soul of the level without saying anything. He's actually not saying a thing, you all are just INTERPRETING his poetic garbage into something you agree with, and agreeing with him for that reason.

He's not actually saying anything at all.

Finally, as a reminder, Thompson is using a formula, too. All of his stages have a puzzle path and a platforming path, and they universally involve spindashing things that are generally at the top of a room or moving pushable objects into place so you can progress. I found Sparkling Icecap to be entirely predictable in what I had to do, and when I DIDN'T it was generally a fault of the map, like my death to lava or when I didn't land on the speed pad before the cutscene with the rushing lava killed me. Being formulaic is a GOOD thing in moderation because it gives the player their expectations of what to expect and more importantly where to go so they don't end up stuck or lost. It's a different formula from Blade and the rest of SRB2 in general, and when it works I absolutely adore it (Clockwork Grove), but it is a formula all the same, and you shouldn't be deriding a single map for doing something that both stages are doing.

Last edited by Mystic; 07-03-2011 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 07-03-2011   #65
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Let's just say this once and get this out of the way: Blade and Thompson have their own unique styles of mapmaking, each differing from another. (Then again, doesn't everybody?) One revolves around textbook methods of making maps good. The other revolves around distinct uniqueness and the extra effort. Yes, we all know it doesn't work out sometimes, but when it does, the result is an extra-special map.

Now can we seriously get back to voting on OLDC maps? This is starting to feel like a "Let's bash BlueZero4" or a "Blade vs. Thompson" thread.
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Old 07-03-2011   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Mystery View Post
Ahh, so this is what it looks like when a troll has been trolled.
Really, now! Alternatively, we could go with that as a concession that he isn't actually saying anything of worth on purpose, but I really don't think that's fair. He seems pretty earnest about this.

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Originally Posted by Neo Chaotikal View Post
So Ritz, how's Balin2.wad coming along
See, now this feels like a good troll, but I'm not sure I follow! Is the implication that my failure to complete a wad precludes me from calling BlueZero4 out on his bullshit? Were you just throwing it out for kicks?

So anyway, my curiosity rod was engorged somewhere along the way and I wound up sampling the maps that weren't totally irredeemable:


Sparkling Icecap - 7
I feel like I've got lot to say about this one. It's all mostly one-off gimmick commentary, but having this urge to touch on each of these clever little ideas individually is something remarkable in and of itself. I'm pretty sure Egg Rock 2 is the only other map I've felt that way about.
  • The waterfall with the descending platforms made for a hearty challenge, but the payoff wasn't at all appropriate for the 6 attempts it took me to get up there, unless there was something more than an extra life up there. I wound up clipping right through the wall, didn't get a chance to look around. That's something you could've cut.
  • I was pleasantly surprised by the extra geometry under the big rope bridge until I realized there wasn't actually much reason to go down there. Awful lot of engine overhead for a section that can and should be cleared in two thocks.
  • The river freezing over was pretty brilliant. Pretty much the only gimmick I don't feel ambivalent over, and it was purely a visual treat. Oh well!
  • Penguin loops, also brilliant. How the hell did you do that? Are things teleport-compatible now?
  • That fucking huge snowflake is a nice visual representation of this entire experience. "Wow! Why would you even do that?"
It was a fresh experience and a nice reaffirmation of 2.0's capabilities for me, but not much more than that when the stage is just barely playable with all the lag and the graphical fuckery. I spent a lot of time fooling around, but the experience would've been cut short about 2/3 if the stage weren't so vertically inclined. Why are all ice stages like this? Slippery, dinky little platforms everywhere, like you want me to fall 15 times? All precision and puzzles, no flow. Best used in moderation for a Sonic game. I kind of want this to win for all the effort that was put into it, but this isn't at all polished enough for that. With a bit of optimization, you could probably cut the performance crap entirely without having to strip out any of your convoluted gimmicks. ERZ2 seemed a bit more complex than this and that ran like a dream. Isn't there supposed to be this thing you can do with one-sided linedefs that keeps everything beyond from being rendered? Do people still do that these days? I don't know, but something's wrong here.


Frozen Hillside - 7

An organic, cohesive experience. Stage looks appealing and flows quite nicely. Custom enemies are some of the more legitimate I've seen in a custom wad, they don't look like shit and they pose a legitimate threat, complimenting the layout rather nicely; penguins keep you on the move in snowdrifts, mortar snowmen discourage reckless jumping across open spaces. Only thing I'm not too sure about is how the level seems to loop back on itself, it's easy to get lost in. A lot of custom stages seem to be built like this! To its credit, it made for pleasant meandering, particularly when I was playing somewhat leisurely and making a note of every route and nook I could find. Never seemed to reward me for doing it- not like Sparkling Icecap, anyway- but it was a fun trek, y'know?

Short and sweet, but the former wad left more of an impact on me, for better or worse. Clearly, BlueZero's priorities lie with gimmicky thrills taking precedence over rock solid level design. Where your own preferences fall will likely reflect just how much of a contemporary Sonic fan you are. Whatever floats your boat, really, but I just think that's sort of funny! You know, in a contemptuous way!


Greenflower Sunset - 6

Solid. Pretty. Mundane. Nearly forgot to rate it because of how unremarkable it is.


Stronghold Forest - 8
Visually and thematically, this is the cream of the crop for me, due in no small part to me generally not liking ice levels at all. Sort of represents the best of the aforementioned wads- nice solid design with a smattering of decent gimmicks. FHZ's snowdrifts were clever and particularly well executed, but they still only serve to hinder the player, right? Not quite so amusing as bouncy tarps. I really like the little fort at the end, it's nice to actually come across a distinct setpiece in a map and actually anticipate discovering what lies within.

One addition that would make this map by far and away the winning entry here is the addition of a morality system, in which I'm afforded the chance to brutally execute all of the reprehensible stationary furry creatures you encounter along the way. Especially the horse. This is how you get the good ending. Be bold! Hardball your demographic!


All in all, you guys are holding up with quality level design a lot more than I'd have given you credit for. Was this just an unusually decent turnout this month? Oh, and nice backseat modding akb!
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Last edited by Ritz; 07-03-2011 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 07-03-2011   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritz View Post
All in all, you guys are holding up with quality level design a lot more than I'd have given you credit for. Was this just an unusually decent turnout this month?
Yeah, this is the best turnout for single player in quite a while. Just so you know, the OLDC rules have changed since you were here, so if you want your votes to count in the average at the end you have to actually vote on the rest of the non-DQed stages in the single player division.

Last edited by Mystic; 07-03-2011 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 07-03-2011   #68
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At the beginning of Thompson's level, snow falls on you.

Why can't I get out of it? Do I need to do something that isn't move/jump/spindash, or is my computer just freaking out when I load that level?
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Old 07-03-2011   #69
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You just jump out of it, like at the beginning of Ice Cap in Sonic 3.
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Old 07-03-2011   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritz View Post
Was this just an unusually decent turnout this month?
Yeah, pretty much. We recently had maps win with a 3.something, and I've won three CTF divisions with rush job maps.
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Old 07-03-2011   #71
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Ok then something is wrong with my computer.
I'll be back to give scores if I ever get Thompson's level to work.
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Old 07-03-2011   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystic View Post
He's not actually saying anything at all.
I try to speak to the person behind the map rather than the map itself, because the only true way to get someone better at mapping is to talk about who they are. I'm more interested in people than their maps.

If you mean I'm not actually saying anything about the maps, you're right! I'm not really surprised that you love Blade's level and disagree with me because you work the same way Blade does. I'd like to hear what Blade has to think about my words though, because only he knows whether I've hit the mark or missed.

Some people like what I say; others don't. SpiritCrusher, on the other hand, is my polar opposite in terms of reviewing style. He talks about the map on a room by room basis. Perhaps you'd like his posts.
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Old 07-03-2011   #73
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BlueZero4, the OLDC is a place to get objective feedback on how to improve your own work by having the forums look your work over and try to tell you how to improve. There is absolutely no way to use any of your "feedback" as constructive criticism, and therefore it's completely unhelpful to anyone.

If what you actually mean is "I like stages with set pieces and you aren't using them. Try putting some into your future work", then SAY that. Pretentious poetry isn't going to help anyone. If you want to help people improve their work, provide specifics of things you didn't like and things you did. Instead you posted complete bullshit, and while it's all awful, the feedback on Blade's map is borderline offensive in how pretentious and vapid it is. Let's point out a few REALLY awful lines here:

Quote:
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Your map is perfect, but that's bad.
The fuck what? Remember, folks: If you want BlueZero4 to like your level, make sure to include some kind of irredeemable flaw. Perfection is bad because it doesn't include some kind of imperfection that makes it a real thing.

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I want raw, powerful emotion. I want a map out of you that comes from your heart instead of your mind. All the levels I've ever made have had myself in them.
What the fuck does this even MEAN?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueZero4 View Post
But hey, Mystic likes your map, so that's worth something.
How is this related to your review?

I don't have a problem with you having a different opinion than me and disliking a stage that I like. That's a normal part of the OLDC and having mixed opinions on stages is actually quite helpful in providing a wide range of feedback for the author. I have a problem with you providing poetry instead of criticism, and providing useless garbage in the guise of feedback. Nobody can use this to help improve their work. In fact, if people listen to your "review" they'll likely be hurting themselves instead of improving it. If you don't have anything tangible or useful to say, please refrain from saying anything so you don't waste the time of those who are looking for genuine constructive criticism.
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Old 07-04-2011   #74
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Originally Posted by BlueZero4 View Post
I try to speak to the person behind the map rather than the map itself, because the only true way to get someone better at mapping is to talk about who they are. I'm more interested in people than their maps.
That is awe-inspiringly insipid. Please give me a digital palm reading. Correlate my objective level design sensibilities with my own personal failings as an individual, as you perceive them over the internet! How do you elicit feelings of pleasure in another party? BlueZero4 will gaze into your soul and illuminate the way. He is the master, after all. Where do I place this object, this sector? Seek God and his hand will guide you.

You're a real gem, man. It's a rare, precious person who operates according to their own pseudo-logic like this. There's a word for it.
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Old 07-04-2011   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueZero4 View Post
I'm more interested in people than their maps.
Doesn't that pretty much defeat the purpose of giving actual feedback to people? Why bother "judging" let alone not even voting on people's maps in the first place? People want advice on how to improve their maps, THAT'S what feedback is all about. Telling them to "do it from the heart," like Mystic said, doesn't make any sense to us.
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Old 07-04-2011   #76
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I try to speak to the person behind the map rather than the map itself, because the only true way to get someone better at mapping is to talk about who they are. I'm more interested in people than their maps.
What? That makes no sense at all. Isn't the whole point of the OLDC about the forum community looking at people's maps and giving suggestions about how to improve them, and not about judging the people who made the maps?
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Old 07-04-2011   #77
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What? That makes no sense at all. Isn't the whole point of the OLDC about the forum community looking at people's maps and giving suggestions about how to improve them, and not about judging the people who made the maps?
Yes. It even is stated quite directly in the initial post describing how to vote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystic View Post
Votes where the voter obviously did not play the level in its intended gametype, or where the voter did not play the multiplayer maps with other real players will be discarded. Please be as unbiased as possible for the author or the look of the map. It's all about how good the map plays, nothing else.
Anyhow, we can end this tangent at this point. I've made my point and if BlueZero4 chooses to ignore it he will be infracted. We can now move right back to where we were before his post, discussing the quality of the levels here and providing constructive feedback to the authors of the level entries instead of continuing to bash someone who has already been told what not to do by an administrator.

Last edited by Mystic; 07-04-2011 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 07-04-2011   #78
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SUBMITTED BEFORE I SAW MYSTIC'S POST

Moderator Notice:
This is Mystic, ending this argument for you. Sorry you wasted a bunch of time writing this.

Last edited by Mystic; 07-04-2011 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 07-04-2011   #79
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Originally Posted by This thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by What this thread SHOULD be:
Come on, guys. Let's shape up, stop bickering, and get back to the CONTEST that we're supposed to be discussing.

Last edited by Arf; 07-04-2011 at 02:05 AM.
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Old 07-04-2011   #80
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I appreciate everyone's reviews, even BlueZero4's.

But anyway, after I've seen how I've gotten ticks, like from those who reviewed on the first page, for unnecessary issues, (framerate lag and HOMs) or issues to the level DUE to those problems, (such as falling off platforms cause of lag) I've already noticed Sparkling Icecap Zone isn't really at it's fair competitive state, meaning this could have been done way better in this contest if I had noticed how much these problems could cause to make the experience of the map worse than it could have been. So I have officially decided to fix this up, as well as with the constuctive critism I've been told on how to fix it, and unusually release it, again, in the level releases after this contest has passed by. Just giving off a heads up.

More critism, reviews, or suggestions would be appreciated and most definitely be a benifit to this level. Let the voting resume.
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