Quality of overworld is something that keeps coming up. Many of the levels are very old, boring or just unmaintained. Since the overworld is most player's first (and many players only) experience with the game, it needs to make an impression and showcase what the game has to offer. Right now, I'm just not sure it does. What would you say if I told you we could have four of five completely new user created worlds, probably within a few months? Intrigued? Read on...
It came to my attention recently that we now have a few fairly talented level creators, who have made many, many levels that they probably know can never be included into the game because they're just not right for an overworld. I made a list
of things I think overworld levels should be. I think with these kinds of guidelines, everyone can focus their level creation efforts into creating levels that would actually work in overworlds.
But if everyone is making overworld levels, how do we collect them into a consistent, maintainable overworld? I think if we use themes (like SMB3 themes - desert, water, snow, sky...) and asked people to contribute "overworld quality" levels in that theme, we could redo all our maps into a "themed lands" design. Everyone would be in charge of their own levels, and can update them for new features. Probably we'd still use some of the levels we have now, if they're as good as what is submitted.
I think a theme would basically be the set of tiles, and everything else would be up to the creator's imagination. More objects to fit into themes could probably be created at the same time, it the creator wants and if they're good enough. There's at least four themes already well developed enough to have many levels created around them. I think people are much more likely to create good levels if there's a good chance of inclusion. There'd be more new levels and the overworld would be more interesting and more dynamic; if someone makes a new good level in a theme, it just gets added on. Also, the themes will give a sense of progression and consistency to the worlds, and make the game feel more complete, even without a proper story.
So, any comments/questions/suggestions?