Hi there, just went through this pack and I have a few thoughts I'd like to share.
I'll start with Act 1. It's always interesting to see Emerald Hunt stages, but I'm not a big fan of how it was implemented here. The best Emerald Hunt stages, in my opinion, have varied terrain and hidden areas to hide the Emeralds in (when I say hidden, I don't mean impossible to find for the record, just something you need to pay attention to find).
This level, however, is essentially just a flat, large box with a few very minor obstacles, and Emerald Pieces being placed in somewhat haphazardly. Many of these pose little challenge, such as the box with the Spring Shells for example. I would like to point out however, one can become unobtainable as Sonic if the player is not paying close enough attention. There is an Emerald spawn on a little tower in the corner of the map that is only accessible by the Spring Shell roaming near it. If you destroy the Spring Shell there seems to be no way back up, even with the Whirlwind Shield provided in another platforming segment. In the future, I would make sure to pay closer attention to things like these to avoid the frustration that comes with having to restart a level.
With that said, let's move on to Act 2. I think this is a step up from Act 1, but it still has a variety of problems. The terrain being completely flat is arguably an even worse problem here, as the goal of this is to simply get to the end. The enemies place around the level are not suitable obstacles, and that combined with the aforementioned flat terrain problem makes this stage incredibly easy to blaze through. As Sonic, I was able to get a time below 30 seconds on my first try. While sometimes it can be exhilarating to get through an Act that fast, the lack of challenge in the level makes it feel like it was not earned.
I do not really have much to say about Act 3, aside from the fact it seems to be missing rings. I do not think a Pity Shield that spawns once in the middle of the map is a good substitute for good ol' fashioned rings. I also generally dislike when vanilla bosses are reused in map packs, but that's more of a personal preference thing.
Overall, I think this level pack is... not great. But that just means there's a lot of room for improvement, and you will naturally get better as you learn more about mapping! I could see you making some genuinely great stuff in the future, so please don't get discouraged, and keep at it!
I'm just gonna focus on Act 2 here because I've already talked about Act 1 in the OLDC thread and Act 3 is just another Egg Mobile fight.
It's just... a hallway with enemies thrown into it. It's basically nothing. There's no gameplay, you just run in a straight line and dodge some enemies that are barely a threat. There's not even any slopes to change up the floor height a bit.
I'm sure you know what better levels look like, I assume you've played the main 2.2 campaign. And of course I'm not saying that you should be on the same level as those stages, but you should know that there's a lot more stuff to do in those stages. There's actual terrain, actual obstacles you have to platform around, gimmicks, places to explore, enemy placement that isn't just spamming down whatever you feel like.
Honestly, at this point, I have to think that you're not even trying. I give Act 1 leeway because I imagine it's just you learning how to use Zone Builder, but Act 2 doesn't even show signs of being an experiment, you just drew a hallway and slapped in some enemies and called it a day. I'm sure you can do better if you just try.
It would be pretty nice if you put more than an hours worth of effort into a stage.
These stages evoke no enjoyment, nor do they evoke any anger or frustration either. Instead I go through these and all that can be said is. "ok."
Act 2 was 10 sectors. There was no gameplay, the enemies were placed haphazardly and were not a thread. It was a complete flat plain and there was no level progression. Dare I say it is worse than act 1, which at least had some mini challenges you could attempt.
Here's the thing about level design. There are a few rules. I think you should take from Mario level design in how to progress a stage because it's obvious you don't know how a level should progress.
Here's a quick summary of Mario-styled level design.
- Find a gimmick to challenge the player
- Introduce this gimmick in a safe environment
- Have a few resting areas, maybe with a collectable powerup or scenery
- Challenge the player a bit with the gimmick
(Repeat previous two steps a bit)
- End the stage with a final gauntlet challenging your understanding of the gimmick.
This will ensure your level feels full and is satisfying to complete. Yes it's
a lot of work. It'll take a few days, maybe even a few weeks, but I'm sure you can do it!
This is just basic Mario design, this is fairly compatible with SRB2 and you can do the thing, just with Sonic-styled slopes and path splits
Act 3 doesn't need to exist. It's a room with eggman on it. You could've shipped this without Act 3 and it would've changed nothing. I am of the opinion that vanilla bosses should not be in any custom levels or custom level packs because they bring nothing new to the table, and it is quite the slog having to repeat something you've already done a thousand times before.
...I also gotta point out that Act 1 is entirely unchanged from its OLDC version.
You have gotten LOADS of criticism on how to improve the stage and how to improve your mapping.
There are multiple entire paragraphs written by various people about how to improve the stage and your level designing as a whole, and yet when you went to update this you changed... Nothing. Nothing at all.
I have no idea if it was a lack of care for the stage, which is fair I guess, or if you outright believed the criticism you've received for this stage was pointless and that it didn't need changing.
Anyways, if you actually read and take into account the criticism you received, and put a few days or even a few weeks into making one level as good as it possibly can, I can assure you that you'll be able to make something. Keep going! You'll get there.
i don't really want to be overly negative in this review bc it's absolutely clear you're still learning like with the original emerald glade (like with the distinct lack of linedef types used or FOFs) but i think this is significantly worse than the original level.
first off i find the filename hilarious bc it's listing two different numbers, which is it 1.0 or 2.0 you gotta tell me i need to know fnkdnsljflfsdlj
secondly, i'm going to come right out and say that i think act 1 is the best out of the whole package, it obviously has the most (of little) time and thought put into it, and on top of that it's also somewhat fun to run around in. absolutely plain and uninteresting, with some questionable enemy spam and placements, but fun unintentionally. my biggest gripe, though, is the fact that it seems to be entirely unchanged from the OLDC. c'mon man, really? you couldn't find a single way to improve it based on the heaps of criticism you got from the community?
act 2 is genuinely dreadful. it's just a few turns, some conceptually good level design...but then it's over. a few enemies here and there, a huge cluster at the end, i don't know what else to say, man, there's nothing here to see.
act 3 is just eggman and a pity shield. the most offensive part of it is that all the textures were the bustable blocks and i was disappointed that i couldn't destroy anything. that's it.
i'm just disappointed, to be frank. you had every opportunity to flesh out your ideas and make something you're proud of...instead of something within the span of a thoughtless few hours.
I played this pack in its entirety and I'm honestly...disappointed?
I was expecting you to improve on your level designing skills, but all of the levels just felt the same. It feels like you didn't take any of the actual criticism people gave in the OLDC voting period into consideration and just did the exact same thing twice.
Actual feedback on the levels themselves:
Both of the new acts just felt so...bare.
Act 2 is just a zig-zag that lasts 15 seconds with no substance, and Act 3 is just a box with barely anything in it.
I don't have much to say other than I wish for you to actually improve the next time you make a level.