Boiling Base

[Reusable] Boiling Base 2021-10-19

in general, for how big these levels are they're really short. the walls always touching the ceiling (i.e. no thok barrier or skybox showing) makes the level seem almost maze-like and it'd be nice to have more textures than mhz wall, rvz grass, and thz brick.

=== texturing ===
let's talk about texturing first. rvz grass + mhz wall is nice combo, but you gotta use more than just those two textures. look at gfz, right? it's main two textures are obvious, but there's also a bit of flowers on the floor, a bit of different tile textures, another type of tile, water and waterfalls every so often, it's simple yet all the different environments work together to create a nice landscape for the eyes. you start to do this a lot in the second big room of the first level; there's this nice land bridge and a few ledges to jump onto from ground level - there's even a small lava pool not to serve as a challenge but instead to add some extra flavor. aside from the mhz walls extending to the ceiling it looks good, and if you add this level of decor everywhere it'll pump up the presentation of the level like a gym rat on steroids

=== act 1, general ===
going into actual platforming now, act 1 has some pretty good moments, but it's... really small. there's (spoiler, i guess) three main sections, and most of each is just pressing forward. there's a bit of elevation change, but from jump to jump it's usually the same floor height. this is fine sometimes but not changing floor elevation makes the jump feel risk-free so it's not as exciting, and since that's just about every jump in the level it makes the level not exciting. and on top of that, there's a lot of runways only filled up only with enemies that are easy to go around.

=== act 1, specifics ===
i have a *lot* to say about this act and i dont know why

alright so when the player starts, they're gonna want to go forward. but there's conflict with going forward here because when you spawn in this level, there's nothing but the ledge you're on and wall in that direction. player sees end of land and wall so they get confused and hesitate. you wanna avoid this hesitation when you start the level because the start of the level starts the momentum that the players are gonna want to keep throughout the level.
tl;dr the starting ledge is too high.

there's too much content behind the player spawn. enemies are typically a bad idea to put behind spawn for a few reasons, among them being the player doesnt get punished for being afk. i'd honestly just scrap the top section (maybe use it somewhere else in the level). and why are there individual rings along the wall of the starting plateau? other than that i dont mind the second ledge behind spawn and if you wanna keep the ring box there as a secret for looking behind i'd honestly put two or three but sure i don't see a problem with that. oh- and don't put an op shield at spawn, even if it is a secret you have to spend a few seconds getting. makes the level too easy.

alright, *finally* getting out of spawn, the turn is bad for a similar reason to the spawn: there's a ledge that the player can't see beyond and it makes them hesitate. i'm not saying take the turn out, i think it's more interesting with it in - just make it more visible so that the player can react to obstacles easier. the fire ball section after that is alright, but i wish every fire ball wasn't shot out at the same time and height. oh and also you should give the player rings before this section - i know there are rings before this section it's just you have to go out of your way to get them. it's said in some article i read a while ago that rings have a direct relationship with danger - danger without introducing rings (as well as introducing rings without danger) is bad practice because it makes the level too punishing and forces the player into an overly stressful situation

onto the crown jewel of this level, i only have a few nitpicks here. firstly, make the path forward a bit more visible. one thing to help that is making more decoration in the bottom area. and i'm not talking about mapthings, i'm talking about elevation changes to make an environment - ledges, hills, a lava pool, etc. going up this section now, the first thing i see here is a character-specific secret. you should try to avoid these unless it's something like an emblem (and emblems should usually be obtainable by most characters anyway). they just make the player feel sad for playing the character they play. after that, there's a jump and a really boring hold-forward section. these are sometimes fine with nice scenery to look at and i think if there was nice scenery here it'd fit pretty well. the final thing i have for this section is the whirlwind on top of land bridge. just running across a bridge for a secret doesn't feel rewarding, and then that secret is forced away from you so soon. you don't even get to use the whirlwind before the player is forced to pick up a flame shield.

why is this tunnel so long

act 1's bossfight is a little jank but fine. fang falls through lava so idk what youre gonna do about that one lol but it does make the player hurt themselves to hit him if he falls in (if he falls in he can't jump out himself).

again, this level is a bit short. i'd like to see another section before the bossfight - maybe the land bridge could be a path split, maybe going under the land bridge could lead to a lava cave section, idk i'd just like to see more content in the level

=== act 2, general ===
this is, uh, a lot of enemies. i get that this is supposed to be eggman's hidden base and he's sicking all of his robots on you and this is a really cool concept except it does not translate well to platforming. you should try to avoid using the same texture for the floor, walls, and ceiling. find a different factory wall, there are a lot to choose from

=== act 2, specific ===
okay and also it's pretty rude to spawn the player right in front of a damage source. this is also bad practice because since the player trusts you not to do that they'll get confused as to whether or not that texture really is a danger source. the only other thing about this start is the turn; the turn itself is fine but it's too hard to react to the spikes and the player gets completely stopped for it

i have no idea what the intended way of getting this armageddon shield is but there should be an intuitive one for characters that aren't knuckles or tails

ooooo try to avoid blue springs unless youre using em underwater, they're usually not good because they stop momentum for a small height change. instead of using a blue spring to get on top of the boxes, throw in an elevation change somewhere along the side of the factory. it's a lot more fun and noticeable - the blue springs kinda blend in with the boxes.

ewwwww hive enemies. i dont think they belong here for two reasons: 1) their main function, spawning more enemies, is useless when you breeze past the level anyway, and 2) if you hit them you bounce off of them and it kills your momentum.

i know all i've said so far is there are too many enemies in too little area, but i think i kinda like this wall of pyre flies. it looks a little rough but it's an interesting little obstacle the player needs to jump above. the crawlas afterwards seem like they try to carry the same effect, they do not and instead just kinda make the level feel cluttered. this effect also carries to the second wall of pyre flies.

and regarding that specific platform, it seems like you have a nice understanding of how golden monitors are supposed to work. i still feel like this section could play to using the flame shield a little bit more instead of just jumping on flat lava, but . one thing's for sure: it's hard to notice the golden flame monitor because it's a little out of the way and behind the pyre flies.

the secret's nice - it feels like a sort of easter egg with how it has its own room with a separate theme. it also has a skybox visible, we need more of this in exterior sections like act 1

this island in the lava feels a little redundant. it gives the player another golden flame shield in case they lost theirs already despite not requiring them to obtain it. i'd honestly like to see this path as a punishment for losing the flame shield - make the top path a little slower and take out the monitors (oh and also if you decide to do this make the island out of the way so that the player isn't inclined to accidentally go the punishment route)

the eggman box section is similar to the beginning, i understand eggmans supposed to be pulling out all the stops but it's just not very interesting.

okay so you've proven that you understand the concept of golden monitors. why not use them for the invinc section? also, i feel like you can replace the eggman monitor section and instead extend this invinc section (although you'd have to make another golden invinc monitor some way through). one final thing, i would have like to see an invinc section through some fire or lava, throwing acid down is really out of place. i get that you just gave the player a fire shield, so maybe make this a path split and reward the player for keeping the flame shield all the way through? there's a lot you can do with this section and i don't think acid is the best solution - however i do have to say that although the section itself was kind of boring (tbf a little less boring because youre on a time limit) i was happy to see that every character could make it through with at least a second or two to spare

i dont really get why you disabled slope physics for this end, i feel like they would have been really fit. it'd make yet another boring hold-forward section more interesting if you force spin - and it'd help the anticipation of the bossfight in the next section for a few reasons i'd rather not get into. other than that the ceiling height is a little awkward

=== act 3 ===
not gonna include a general and specific split since there's not too much to talk about here.

-- serious spoilers ahead, do not read on if you haven't played the pack yet --

i like the fall at the start but i feel like it's too long. just shorten it a little, let sonic reach maximum velocity but only for like a second or two. i'd throw at most one life as a secret at the player, and honestly i think i'd just outright take the secret out. there's nothing inherently wrong with these rings, it just looks nicer to have them facing the direction the player's going instead of perpendicular to it.

i get you want a big reveal for the boss room but this fall is too high as well. i'd make it like maybe 256 fracs above the level of the boss platforms with red springs because falling is just about as fun as holding forward - good in small doses, but not interesting when by itself

the boss is really creative - much more interesting than the vanilla brak fight imo. i'd (serious spoiler time) give the player a little hint that you can stand on top of him though - every enemy in sonic deals contact damage so it's not something the player would ever guess to do. maybe if you die like, have a csay? somehow? idk im just throwing ideas out.

at any rate, the only thing i didnt like about the boss is it takes too long. it'd feel more in place to have like four or five hits three from the cannon and two from hitting himself. making eggman hit himself gets repetitive after a few times.
i just realized the cannons actually dont deal damage to brak. i think it'd be cool if they did (but i know thats asking a lot)

but the final things i have to say about the boss are just random things: his attack cycles also take too long, you got some jank things going on with colormap, and the rim of the cannons are death sectors
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It's welcome to releases, but the map is mostly dealing with hundreds of enemies. There's very little else to speak of. We all gotta start somewhere, so I do hope you get the feedback you need to improve.
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