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Posted on 07-18-11, 05:53 pm
Ninji
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Since: 06-30-11

[July 18 - July 31] Garmichael's Level Design Contest



Challenge: Create a Hammer Brother's Desert Level.
Requirements: Uses a desert tileset and there are at least 8 Hammer Brothers found in the whole level. They can be any type of Hammer Bros (Boomerang, Fireball, etc count), and you don't have to all of the types. Just have a total of any 8 Hammer Brothers.
Deadline: 11:59pm Pacific time zone Sunday night on July 31, 2011.


To submit your entry, just post your level file in this thread. Youtube clips are optional, but help with critiques.

Each player is required to critique each other player's levels using the critique form below. It is encouraged that each player actually play these levels, preferably before watching any youtube clip of that level.

Critique Form

Challenge Requirement Met: 10 Points

Design: 20 Points
How does the level play?
This is the general quality in design. When critiquing, ask questions like:
Is it fun? Is it well laid out? Does it match the theme of the challenge? Are enemies and hazzards placed unfairly? Is there enough time? Does it flow well? All items are obtainable? All Star Coins added? Too long? Too short? Question mark blocks with powerups inside butted up against the roof? Are there any soft-locks (this is the term for when under certain circumstances, the player can't finish the level unless they die and start over)?

Polish: 20 points
How does the level look?
This is the general level of polish. When critiquing, ask questions like:
Are there glitches not caused by emulation? Is there missing trim for the terrain or other tiles? Is there enough variety in the use of tiles? Are there enough props and interesting details? Does the camera function properly without skips and problems?
Posted on 07-18-11, 06:52 pm
Super Mario
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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Since: 06-08-11
Great

I'll see if I can take part in this one
Posted on 07-19-11, 02:36 am
Ninji
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Since: 06-30-11
Glad to have you on board!
Posted on 07-19-11, 04:43 am
Porcupo
Did you win the game?

Karma: 211
Posts: 26/322
Since: 06-28-11
I think I'll re make my three area one one in hammer bros style!
btw: Does this NEED more than one area?
Posted on 07-19-11, 02:16 pm
Fuzzy
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It doesn't need to have more than one area, but it might help make it a little more interesting.
Posted on 07-19-11, 06:13 pm
Ninji
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You're free to make a level however you want as long as you meet the challenge. In fact, you don't even *have* to do the challenge, but you lose a lot of points if you don't.
Posted on 07-31-11, 12:47 am (rev. 1)
Porcupo
Did you win the game?

Karma: 211
Posts: 37/322
Since: 06-28-11
Here is my level.
Download

Posted on 08-01-11, 03:32 am
Ninji
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Here's my level (Right click and choose Save As): Hammer Bros Oasis.
Posted on 08-01-11, 04:00 am (rev. 1 by ImageBot on 11-21-16, 02:08 am)
Fuzzy
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Posts: 73/785
Since: 06-28-11
Here's mine: Download
Posted on 08-01-11, 07:00 am (rev. 2 by ImageBot on 11-21-16, 02:08 am)
Birdo


Karma: 3267
Posts: 93/2017
Since: 06-28-11
Here is my level : Download


_________________________

Posted on 08-02-11, 07:51 am (rev. 1)
Ninji
Retired staff

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Posts: 82/229
Since: 06-30-11
Does anyone else have any levels they want to submit? I'm willing to be blurry with the deadline because not everyone is in the same time zone, like some people are from Europe and I set the deadline to West Coast America.


Well that looks like everyone who's playing.


LET THE CRITIQUES BEGIN.

Let's try to get them done within a couple days so we can move on to the next contest.
Posted on 08-02-11, 05:26 pm (rev. 1 by ImageBot on 11-21-16, 02:08 am)
Fuzzy
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Since: 06-28-11
Cool As
  • The block destroys were done much better this time.
  • I liked the area that looked small, but was bigger when you actually got there.
  • The last ? switch before the underground section was timed unlike all of the others, causing it to create red blocks when the time ran out.
  • Not enough time.
  • The exit from the cave didn't look right, because you could see the sky from behind the corners of the rocks.
  • There was no way to get very high on the flagpole.
  • There was an area that Mario could jump in that would push him through the blocks if he was big, or get him stuck if he was small.
  • Tile problem.
  • Very minor tile problem.

Challenge Met: 10
Design: 16
Polish: 18

Total: 44/50



gridattack
  • This level was way too hard. I get that it's a hammer bro desert, but there were so many hammer bros that sections of it were nearly impossible without save states.
  • The platforms at the beginning had an awesome SMB3 style to it.
  • I don't like the ground top tiles that were put in the middle of the ground.
  • The first star coin was especially hard to get because you had to dodge at least 6 hammer bros while mini.
  • The vertical area with all of the doors is where the main difficulty problem was. There were hammer bros everywhere, plus if you fell from the outside, you had to start the entire area over again.
  • The floating doors on this area don't look quite right.
  • The new palette for the underground BG looked really good.

Challenge Met: 10
Design: 14
Polish: 19

Total: 43/50



Garmichael
  • The tree BG was awesome.
  • There was a water object that was too close to a pipe, making the pipe semi-transparent.
  • There was one fire bro in water, doesn't really make much sense.
  • The level was impossible to complete. At the end when Mario got in the castle, the game never went back to the world map. I think this is because your castle is partially outside of the view, so Mario never touches a solid object to trigger the end of the level.
  • You used slope tiles to transition to vertical walls the entire level.

Challenge Met: 10
Design: 18
Polish: 19

Total: 47/50



Posted on 08-02-11, 06:38 pm (rev. 1)


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Posted by Piranhaplant
The level was impossible to complete. At the end when Mario got in the castle, the game never went back to the world map. I think this is because your castle is partially outside of the view, so Mario never touches a solid object to trigger the end of the level.

Actually No.
Even if there is no end of level castle in the level, you CAN complete it.
But I cannot tell, what's wrong in this level.
Posted on 08-02-11, 06:55 pm
Fuzzy
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Once Mario has touched the end of level flag, he walks in a straight line until he hits something solid, which is when the game puts up the flag on the castle, shoots any fireworks, and returns to the world map. Because his castle is only partially inside of the view, Mario is stopping at the end of the view instead of touching the solid part at the back of the castle.
Posted on 08-04-11, 03:54 am (rev. 3)
Ninji
Retired staff

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Since: 06-30-11
Weird.. The castle worked before I posted it.. I'll look more into it.



Here are critiques.

Cool As

- The little area below the starting point is neat. I'm split over whether I like the "Level By Coolas" thing. On one hand, its cool to mark your level, but on the other, it takes away from some of the professionalism.
- The camera should scroll up as you walk up the first hill since there's stuff up there, and you end up going that way. Lower the scroll-up line.
- I don't like it when there are only two spaces between the ground and where a [?] block is. It feels too tight.
- If you ground pound the block with the ? button, you can't stomp on it when you're big. Another reason to keep blocks 3 to 5 tiles above the ground and two tiles from the ceiling.
- Again, you're giving the player the key to the solution before they see the problem. By putting the ? Button where you put the powerup, you would allow the player to see that they can't continue unless they find the ? Button.
- The red blocks don't feel like they fit. You could have put in the brown platforms, terrain, or even the blue Mario 3 type blocks and it would have looked a lot better.
- The arrow coins aren't needed, as its plainly obvious where to go next.
- The whole "Hit the button, find what opened" thing was done in your last level, and while it was neat, it's already feeling stale. Especially since this area is so small and it's so easy to figure out where to go, the button gimmick feels too much like a gimmick. It's important to distinguish between doing gimmicks for the sake of gimmicks, and doing gimmicks for the sake of gameplay. Here, there is very little game play added by this gimmick.
- In the next area after the pipe, there is another useless ? Button. A good design tip (not just for mario level design, but design in general) is to remember: "Just because I can, doesn't mean I should."
- The rest of this area up to the point where you hit the next ? Button was very bland and could have used some interesting terrain, even if all you put in was extra brick blocks and a bump here and there. As it is, it's just flat terrain.
- One spot where you really should have put an coin-arrow is this spot where you're supposed to go down after hitting the ? Button, since it's not as obvious that you CAN go down there. Holes tend to kill you unless you're hinted to go down them somehow, usually by coin trails or arrow signs.
- In the next area, where you're riding the platform down, it's neat that the Boomerang Bros throws boomerangs through the wall, creating an obstacle you have to avoid to survive.
- This next area is a huge cluster-fuck. It's hard to navigate, doesn't feel natural, and has lots of places where you either have to be small to get through or do a tricky slide. Design around the notion that Mario is big.
- The camera in this area doesn't pan up or down (especially down) enough.
- The arrow coins that show up after hitting the first ? Button here aren't needed.
- If you don't kill the Fire Bros before going to the button, there's no way to not get hit when he turns around and shoots a fireball down the tunnel you're in. Also, if you don't have Fire Power, killing that Fire Bros is very hard because there's a ledge right above his head.
- If you go into the pipe that leads up to the "Level by Coolas" room (which is a cool room, btw), and then come back down, you have to hit all the buttons again and kill all the hammer Bros again.
- The [?] block above the second ? Button is too hard to reach, and with that Boomerang Bros right there, it's often that you lose whatever powerup you get anyway.
- There's that tile issue that Piranhaplant pointed out.
- In the final area, there's that other tile issue Piranhaplant pointed out.
- The brown platform shouldn't start inside the ground at it's lowest point. It just looks janky.
- There's no way to reach the top of the flag pole.
- There's also that issue Piranhaplant pointed out where you can get stuck. This is called a Soft Lock, and I take big points off for it. It's very important that players cannot get stuck in your level.

Design: 8/20
Polish: 10/20
Challenges: 10/10
-------------------
Total: 28/50



GridAttack

- I played all of these levels the other night, before PirhanaPlant did his critique. When I loaded up your level, the very FIRST thing I thought was "This feels a lot like Mario 3." The fact that PP also felt this way shows that you did something really neat here. Good job.
- Im not a big fan of the way you put the edge tiles inside the terrain. I like seeing it with other tile sets, but this one doesn't look as nice to me. I think its because the lower half of those tiles doesn't quite match up with the top half.
- I love hills I can slide down, and the way this one isn't a straight hill made it feel more fun.
- I really like the two doors in this next area. Its more of that Mario 3 feel.
- I wish that you had edited the tile graphics for the gray solid-on-top blocks. The corners are notched out, and you can see the background through them.
- Getting the first Star Coin as Mini-Mario was too hard. There were too many enemies. If you died later in the level, you'd have to do this again, and since its so hard, you die often. I like a challenge, and challenge is important, but there's a fine line between easy and too hard.
- The wall jump spot is pretty neat, but I wish you put a ledge on the left side at the top. I often jumped too far left over the blocks and had to try it again. It was annoying the time I messed up and fell on the jumping fire critter.
- It was a good placement for the second Star Coin. You need fire balls to get it, but I think if you gave the player a turtle at some point that they could go back and get, it would have been nice.
- This is the point where the level gets pretty bothersome.
- There are two paths up for no reason other than having two paths up. Players tend to have a compulsion to explore the whole level, and having two very long paths means they're doing a lot of pointless (and because of all the Hammer Bros, dangerous) back tracking. As critiquers, we HAVE to explore this whole thing.
- This section is very long, and very difficult because of all the Hammer Bros. About a quarter of them are placed unfairly, and just because you put powerups all over the place, doesnt mean it justifies the difficulty. Lots of times, various Hammer Bros would just fall on my head from above.
- This section also feels rushed. There are places where the visuals look bad (like the spot where there are a ton of those solid-on-top blue bridge pieces and the floating doors), places where enemy placement is too unfair, and the overall flow of the sections is too confusing.
- I really like the spirit of this tower, but really, it's too long, too confusing, too hard, and too big. There doesn't seem to be much of a focus. This section, with some clean up and focus could be it's very own level by itself, and it would be a very neat level.
- I would write out each specific thing that I have issues with in this section, but it would take a very long time because of the size of the area.
- All in all, it's a pretty good level, but you keep making the same major mistake every time: You make the level too long. Like, WAY too long. For the next contest, I would like it if you made a level that you can beat in 300 seconds. I know that you have lots of ideas you want to put in, but when you put too much in, it spoils the rest. Tighten your focus, and trim out the lengthy and uninteresting areas, keeping only the golden stuff. I really liked the first part of your level (like I usually do), but the second part of your levels tend to do this.
Design: 15/20
Polish: 15/20
Challenge: 10/10
-------------------
Total: 40/50



Piranhaplant

- The first Star Coin was hidden well, but wasn't hard to find. I consider this a good thing for the first one.
- In that room with the first Star Coin, on the left side, if you jump up underneath your camera scroll sprite, the camera acts funky.
- The next little area with the Hammer Bros was nice and simple without being boring.
- I was so proud of myself when I found the little hidden room after the green pipes, but was disappointed when I only found coins in there.
- The slight side tracking to the left to get the Star was well done, and it was fun running back to the right knocking out enemies.
- The room inside the pipe with the Spiny Shell and the yellow blocks was very clever and made for a fun mini game. I think it could be reworked however so that you get a 1-up if you do it right.
- The bit with the ? Button and the swelling ground was nice. It wasn't difficult but still rewarded you with a sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, if you went into the room with the Spiny Shell, you miss out on this spot. I would argue it would have been better to move the exit pipe to the left so you would still have to do this part.
- It was neat having the Bob-omb generator right there to give you ammo against the Fire Bros, and it was fun knocking them out with the Bob-ombs.
- The part with the Donut Lifts and the Spiked Beetles was tricky. I would have preferred only one of these critters here, though.
- The puzzle to get the second Star Coin was very clever. I didn't get it at first, but I figured it out quickly and it was fun to make it work.
- The bit with the Spiked Beetles walking around the blocks was difficult, and I expected to find a 1-up instead of a powerup in the [?] Block.
- The Red Coin puzzle was fun and tricky, too.
- For a bit, the level progressed naturally and looked interesting. Sometimes, a level just needs a simple place to go through where you're not frustrating or challenging the player, and this does the trick.I would have only put one Fat Hammer Bros there though.
- The Bob-omb puzzle was also interesting, and when you do it, he lands right on top of the silver blocks. Well done.
- I beat the level the first time and couldn't find the third Star Coin, so I went back and got the idea to jump up where you get the spring pad. As I expected, the Star Coin was up there, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't reach it. I tried jumping off a Bob-omb to get some extra height and that didn't work. Then I managed to toss the spring pad up there and still couldn't get enough height.
- I found the next hidden room, and it looked familiar. At first, I was disappointed there wasn't anything in there, either. Then I realized it looked just like the other room, and so I found the hidden blocks as they were laid out the first time. Very clever.
- The one big bad thing I would say about your level is that it felt too much like a museum of minigames. While I thought they were all very clever and I enjoyed them, they were too many in one level, and each one sort of downplayed the uniqueness of the one before it. You should have saved a few of them for other levels, and gave either 1-ups or Star Coins as rewards to the ones that remained. I feel that you could make another level, put half of those gimmicks into it, and remove them from this level, and have two really awesome and interesting levels.

Design: 18/20
Polish: 19/20
Challenge: 10/10
-------------------
Total: 47/50
Posted on 08-06-11, 03:16 am
Ninji
Retired staff

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Since: 06-30-11
Cool As and GridAttack, when do you think you'll have your critiques in?
Posted on 08-06-11, 04:03 am (rev. 1)
Birdo


Karma: 3267
Posts: 100/2017
Since: 06-28-11
Cool As
-The first are of the level was alright.
-The area is relative small to have the coins arrows indicating where to go next.
-In the other area, where you must use a switch to go to the platforms that takes you underground, when the times runs out, instead of the blue X blocks, red ones appear. It would have fit if you used red blocks, and eliminated the blue X blocks in the first part of the area, as they are unneeded.
-This sections feels really flat.
-On the second area, after you take the lift, this area feels like a big mess.
-If you get the flying red block to spawn in midpoint, is really hard to get the powerup and the player would normally get killed by the boomerang.
-You should have not leaved 1 empty space between the metal blocks and the rocks, as this make navigation harder.
-There is a soft lock on the level.
-After you exit the cave, you can see the background sky via the corners of the blocks.
-There is no way to reach the top of the flag-pole.

Challenge: 10/10
Design: 12/20
Polish:11/20

Total:33

piranhaplant
-I like the first part of the level.
-Getting the first starcoin was a little troublesome as you had to get back to the beginning and try again, and the camera could become annoying.
-When you enter the little room after the broken pipe, it should have contained a chance to get a power-up of some sort. Then I found out it makes reference to the room beneath the goal.
-I really liked the part with the yellow blocks to get the spring. Same with the spiny bonus room.
-At the part of the swelling ground, if you stay there, the ground will go up and Mario will get stuck, thought you can get free. A possible reworking on this could have used bob ombs to blast away some blocks and then activate the switch to hit he yellow blocks.
-At first I thought that the fire bro part was unfair, but then I found out you have to use bob ombs to pass this part, thought at one time I destroyed the ? block
-IMO, the worst part of the level is the part with the donut blocks and spiky beetles.
-I think its a little hard to get the power up in the part of the spiny beetles on blocks.
-Overall, this was a nice level, and I enjoyed playing it.

Challenge: 10/10
Design:18
Polish:18

Total: 46

Garmichael
-The first part was great. It had that sense of exploration.
-On the part with the water, dodging the fire spitting piranha plant, dont looks right with the unused water.
-Same for the parts with the shallow unused water.
-You could have reworked this by actually using the water sprite, and rearranging some parts to fit them with the water sprite.
-I don't see any more problems with this level, its just good at it is.

Challenge: 10/10
Design: 19/20
Polish: 19/20

Total: 48

_________________________

Posted on 08-08-11, 10:15 am (rev. 2 by ImageBot on 11-21-16, 02:08 am)
Porcupo
Did you win the game?

Karma: 211
Posts: 43/322
Since: 06-28-11
Gridatttack:
- When you went to the right of one area you fell into a trap that was hard to out of.

-The part of the midway had too many hammerbros.
-Very nice smb3 style.
-The red flying block was placed at the start of the level but not at the end.
-The First part of the level was fun and enjoyable to play.
-At the start of the level there are two power-uups next to each other.
-When climbing the "tower" If you fall off you have to do the whole second part of the level again.
-The Second part of the level was WAY harder than the first part of the level.
Challenge: 10/10
Design: 14/20
Polish: 17/20

Total: 41/50

piranhaplant:
-This level had a nice use of slopes.
-The donut blocks and spiky beetle part waas quite hard and annoying.
-As gridatttack said the part with the swelling ground was a little unfair as you could get stuck.
-The star coins were hidden very well.
-There was not much else that I can comment on, It was a very good level.

Challenge: 10/10
Design: 18/20
Polish: 18/20
Total: 46/50


Garmichael:
-The new bg was really cool.
-The part with the fire koopa and the unused water was a little weird.
-The transperant pipe looks a little odd when you get there.
-The level never finished on the (USA) version of nsmb. I think that it would have worked OK on the EUR version of the rom.
-The level was also a very good one.

Challenge: 10/10
Design: 18/20
Polish: 19/20
Total: 47/50
Posted on 08-09-11, 02:04 am
Ninji
Retired staff

Karma: 601
Posts: 106/229
Since: 06-30-11
Alright, all the critiques were in. I was very impressed with the entries this month. I personally thought PirhanaPlant's level was the best, but here's how the scores came out:


1st Garmichael: 47.33
2nd Piranhaplant: 46.33
3rd GridAttack: 41.33
4th Cool As: 35



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