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Old 12-03-2012   #1
Lippa
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Some of you will have seen the Toxic Caves Zone level I posted about a week ago, since then I've decided to turn it into a 5-zone SP mod and put together the complete (but probably unfinished) first zone.

Spoiler: Clearleaf Canyon Zone 1

CCZ1 is a short, day-themed grass level with some temple ruins and, as the name implies, a 'canyon' feel that separates it from levels like GFZ. Speedruns at about 27 seconds.






Spoiler: Clearleaf Canyon Zone 2

CCZ2 is a longer night-themed reprise of CCZ1 with a calmer attitude, more challenges (albeit simple ones) and plenty of water. Speedruns at about 50 seconds.






Spoiler: Clearleaf Canyon Zone 3

CCZ3 is a short arena challenge, I've decided to have stages like these rather than boss fights because I feel bosses get a bit stale regardless of how many clever gimmicks you throw around. I don't want to leave it this short, so expect it to be lengthened.




Spoiler: Toxic Caves Zone 1

Some of you have already seen this, I left in the prototype because it seemed a bit silly to take it out. This will be lengthened alot unless I decide to scrap the zone in favour of something else, which is more likely at this stage.






Spoiler: Secrets



God damn I love making these things


Please provide any feedback that comes to mind and point out bugs you come across, it really helps me out!

Download Linkにようこそ!

Enjoy!

EDIT: Quick question, is it frowned upon to use other people's music in mods? There are three songs (2 from Super Meat Boy OST and one from Kampfer OST) that would fit perfectly for certain later levels where SRB2 stock music won't. With all credit and disclaimers given of course.

Last edited by Lippa; 12-03-2012 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 12-03-2012   #2
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Originally Posted by Lippa View Post
EDIT: Quick question, is it frowned upon to use other people's music in mods? There are three songs (2 from Super Meat Boy OST and one from Kampfer OST) that would fit perfectly for certain later levels where SRB2 stock music won't. With all credit and disclaimers given of course.
It would probably be frowned upon if you will take music from an another level pack (that has an original soundtrack, only Tortured Planet comes to mind though), but otherwise you're free to use anything you want.

Last edited by Lunar; 12-03-2012 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 12-03-2012   #3
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Got a couple of things to say.

- The boss level is a bit wonky. You need to find a better way to designate the platforms that are falling. The way it is now seems to throw people off, especially in OpenGL.

- This part right here can also throw people off. The major bodies of slime are able to be jumped out of, but you actually need to take a spring to get out of this one.
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Old 12-03-2012   #4
MascaraSnake
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Turns out I was right to be curious after Toxic Caves Zone. Clearleaf Canyon Zone has many good ideas and a lot of hidden stuff I enjoyed hunting for, and on the whole I was quite entertained by it. But there's one thing you really need to improve, and that's the clarity of your paths. In pretty much all of the big rooms where paths form or are joined back together, it was never quite clear where I was supposed to be going. A lot of the time I found myself backtracking and not even noticing for a while. I'm as fond of large, detailed rooms with lots of exploration as you seem to be interested in creating them, but this can't come at the expense of a clear-cut path through the level. The key is to make it immediately clear to the player what is the way forward, what is the tail end of a path he didn't take, and what is just 'bonus territory'. Placing arrows is an awkward and often rather ineffective solution. Designing your rooms so that such misunderstandings won't happen in the first place is more difficult, but results in a much better level.

Oh, and if I were you, I would scrap and redo Toxic Caves Zone. It was fine for practice, but it's clear now that you can do much better.
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Old 12-03-2012   #5
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8/10
Its a fun pack, and the levels look great in most parts, but some bad things:
1.The platform puzzle in CCZ2 is hard.
2.In CCZ1's beginning, how is the player supposed to know that one of the springs boosts you into another spring, which then boosts you into another spring, to go to a platform? I kept falling.
Ok, thats my only problems with it so far.
PS:This pack inspired me to start working on an old level of mine again.
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Old 12-03-2012   #6
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You should try to avoid having a room filled with only one texture, it makes the room very bland and the platforms that the player needs to jump on hard to see from a glance, the Deep Sea Zone looking rooms were the most guilty of this.

Secondly, you should avoid having very detailed textures on large walls like this:



It's just really ugly to look at. Try using textures that are less detailed and larger in scale so the walls aren't a bland single color when viewed from a distance.

Lastly, regarding the "boss", the concept is great (although far to difficult for a "first zone"), but, using an increased light level for the falling platforms isn't a good way to tip the player off. I died a few times because the light difference between the falling platforms was hard to notice, so I ended up playing a guessing game rather than looking for light. Try changing the texture of the FOF before it falls, or have it sink a bit for about a second to give the player a more noticeable warning.
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Old 12-04-2012   #7
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Errr... why is CCZ3 so weird? is it me, or are here only some crumbling floors?
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Old 12-05-2012   #8
Lippa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scizor300 View Post
The boss level is a bit wonky. You need to find a better way to designate the platforms that are falling. The way it is now seems to throw people off, especially in OpenGL.
For the record, I won't fix any OpenGL-specific problems because it's unsupported to the point of being useless now. In 1.09.4 it was passable but it's void enough for me to just ignore it now. But you're right, I'll change the way platforms show they're about to fall.

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Originally Posted by SpiritCrusher View Post
(lots of stuff about clarity of paths)
Yeah, I can see what you're getting at. I don't really mind the usage of arrows (they're all through the official levels?), but I do see that a couple rooms need redesigns. The waterfall area comes to mind.

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Originally Posted by SpiritCrusher View Post
Oh, and if I were you, I would scrap and redo Toxic Caves Zone. It was fine for practice, but it's clear now that you can do much better.
Yeah, I'm taking it out completely and making a "Chemical facility"-themed third zone instead.

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Originally Posted by Root View Post
1.The platform puzzle in CCZ2 is hard.
Well, for Tails and Knuckles players they can just bypass it completely, and as for the Sonic players, I'd just given them a Whirlwind shield in the previous room which makes it much easier. I think it's fair enough. If anything, it eases the player into the difficulty I have planned for later zones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Root View Post
2.In CCZ1's beginning, how is the player supposed to know that one of the springs boosts you into another spring, which then boosts you into another spring, to go to a platform? I kept falling.
It's kinda traditional to not move after hitting a spring in SRB2 because of this, but the ones where you really have to stay still are also really short-distance ones. I'll probably leave it as is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrome View Post
You should try to avoid having a room filled with only one texture, it makes the room very bland and the platforms that the player needs to jump on hard to see from a glance, the Deep Sea Zone looking rooms were the most guilty of this.
Will do.

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Originally Posted by Chrome View Post
Secondly, you should avoid having very detailed textures on large walls
I'll have a look at other textures, I recall alot of them just being unsuited to the theme, but I'll see what I can do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eva View Post
Errr... why is CCZ3 so weird? is it me, or are here only some crumbling floors?
Are here only some crumbling floors indeed, only nine of them in fact. Not even a dozen.

But yeah, thanks alot for the feedback guys, it's been alot of help :3

Last edited by Lippa; 12-05-2012 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 12-05-2012   #9
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Originally Posted by Lippa View Post
they're all through the official levels?
Are they? Off the top of my head, I can remember three levels with arrows in them: THZ2, ERZ1 and ERZ2. All of them are excused to some degree because they're set in a mechanical environment - and some of the gimmicks in ERZ are so complex that arrows are practically necessary (I'm thinking about the room with the gravity machine in ERZ2 for example) - but in general SRB2 tries to avoid arrows whenever possible.
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Old 12-05-2012   #10
Lippa
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Originally Posted by SpiritCrusher View Post
Are they? Off the top of my head, I can remember three levels with arrows in them: THZ2, ERZ1 and ERZ2. All of them are excused to some degree because they're set in a mechanical environment - and some of the gimmicks in ERZ are so complex that arrows are practically necessary (I'm thinking about the room with the gravity machine in ERZ2 for example) - but in general SRB2 tries to avoid arrows whenever possible.
RVZ has them too. I remember seeing it and thinking it was wildly out of place but still a good idea.

They're Xs when you backtrack, for the record.
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Old 12-05-2012   #11
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I actually looked at RVZ1 in a map editor, and it doesn't actually have any arrows or Xs.
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Old 12-06-2012   #12
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Originally Posted by Lunar View Post
It would probably be frowned upon if you will take music from an another level pack (that has an original soundtrack, only Tortured Planet comes to mind though), but otherwise you're free to use anything you want.
Personally, I would be honored if someone wanted to use the music from it. Yes, I know, some of it sucks, but not all of it. Only a little bit of it, IMO. However, if someone wants to use it, I would prefer they contact me, so that I could give them my remastered versions.
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Old 12-06-2012   #13
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I'll have a look at other textures, I recall alot of them just being unsuited to the theme, but I'll see what I can do.
Resources exist, at least. I've not actually looked at it to see if any of these textures are worth much, but having more choices is rarely a bad thing.
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Old 12-08-2012   #14
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Wow, that second level was awesome. I'm a sucker for grassy nighttime levels, and this one just felt good. Nice design, nice choice of music, and I loved that moment when the player emerges from the temple section of the level to the grassy section. Like when you emerge from your first cave in Skyrim... on a much smaller scale, of course.

There are a few gripes I find with your general design, though:

1. As far as I could tell, most of your sectors were at the exact same light level, the only exceptions being the shadows cast off your fofs. This tended to make some areas look rather off-putting and strangely two dimensional (the temple part I mentioned earlier is a big example of this). A general rule I tend to follow is: the lower the ceiling, the lower the light level. This doesn't apply to everything, of course. Just imagine how the sunlight/moonlight/torchlight would actually behave in the architecture you have set up. And, for me at least, a well-lit area with no definable light source(s) is sinful. Again, that temple area comes to mind.

2. Most underwater bits of the level felt rather empty. I know they're just there for some exploration and decoration, but some floor-height variety and scenery objects would go a long way.

3. The first boss fight was fun and original, but much too hard for the first zone, and the theme made no sense. If you're gonna make a more technological level in the future, I'd use this in that.

Otherwise, really good work. I actually like how confusing your sector layout is; it makes exploration a bit more fun. It's not often you see a beginning level designer produce this much good-quality content. I'm jelly now.
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Old 12-09-2012   #15
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This is actually really okay! I certainly enjoyed playing through the levels, at least. However, being the nitpicker that I am, here are some minor critiques:
  • More texture variation please! This goes for every level, but especially Clearleaf Canyon 1 and 3 looked kind of dull at places.
  • The sky at the start of Clearleaf Canyon 1 looks weird, with the clashing of brown textures and blue sky all the way up to the ceiling.
  • For a first level, it's sort of schizophrenic. On one hand, the zone has death pits. On the other hand, it's incredibly short!
  • A really minor nitpick: the spring at the end doesn't propel you all the way in CCZ1.
  • Clearleaf Canyon 2: The left path after the first path split is a bit repetitive, lots of jumps up staircases have to be made.
  • The area afterwards, with the current that you have to go around, is a good idea in theory but it's not that well executed. The current is traversible as Sonic, and the path around isn't visible unless you're practically already in the water.
  • As SpiritCrusher said, the path is sometimes not immediately clear, despite the arrows.
  • The boss fight is awesomely designed, but as others have said, it would be far better if used in a mechanical-themed zone. Perhaps as an area at the start of a later level?
  • And lastly, I agree with everything Ice and SpiritCrusher said.

That's all I can think of. I won't talk about Toxic Caves, as you're going to redesign that, so that's good. And for every complaint I have, there are tons of things that I did like: The theme of Clearleaf Canyon, especially act 2, your level design, and your level geometry that invites to exploration, to name a few things. You're very good at this, you're much better than practically everyone when they just started out (including me!), so keep up the good work!
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