The "overworld" project

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The "overworld" project

Postby BowserJr » 28 Feb 2009 10:38

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?
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Re: The "overworld" project

Postby FluXy » 28 Feb 2009 15:43

I also hope that we someday have Worlds which mostly use one theme.
We also need Overworld graphics ;)
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Re: The "overworld" project

Postby semipcgeek » 28 Feb 2009 18:23

Why make it linear? What I mean, so far (though I've to the next "overworld") it seems to be one single path. I remember SMB3 had multiple routes if you wanted to. You could do all the levels, or just go the shortest route possible. Multiple paths basically. Maybe an easier way to allow the users to create their own overworld. I read some posts where you can't just start from scratch like a level, or you get a black screen. You would have to edit an already made world (an extra step, but annoying). Otherwise, nice ideas.

Remember, World 5 in smb3 had a two-part Overworld. You had the ground level, consisting of a few levels, and then the sky area, which had more. Keep up the great work though!
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Re: The "overworld" project

Postby BowserJr » 28 Feb 2009 23:09

semipcgeek wrote:Why make it linear? What I mean, so far (though I've to the next "overworld") it seems to be one single path. I remember SMB3 had multiple routes if you wanted to. You could do all the levels, or just go the shortest route possible. Multiple paths basically.

Not sure the engine supports that. I'm guessing probably not. FluXy?#

But, back to the original point, Do you thing it's possible to replace/ add new overworlds created by multiple users using a scheme like this? You'd just need one thread for each world/theme, like we had for snowy graphics, and anyone would be able to contribute.

Overworld objects might be trickier. I'm not even sure what is the distinction between overworld and level objects... :?
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Re: The "overworld" project

Postby Sauer2 » 01 Mar 2009 00:11

Rule No 1.:Every new graphics must have shadows?
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Re: The "overworld" project

Postby FluXy » 01 Mar 2009 12:15

BowserJr wrote:Not sure the engine supports that. I'm guessing probably not. FluXy?#

Not yet ;)
But that is not the main problem with the level quality.


Sauer2 wrote:Rule No 1.:Every new graphics must have shadows?


It should be suggested and only self shadowing.
We don't even have all sprites with correct shading (Maryo lol).
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Re: The "overworld" project

Postby BowserJr » 01 Mar 2009 14:13

I tried to play through most of the current overworld, and yeah, the levels are mostly OK, but the random snow and desert levels are very out out place, and should be in themed areas. pasol_1 is long, difficult and boring, so I'd be happy if that were to go. flippa_3 is probably too confusing for a world 2 level. The world 3 levels are much easier than the world 2 levels. World 2 seems very dragged out layout wise - as if it has no real structure, so it just keeps going in a line until it gets bored. World 4 seems completely superfluous after the boss fight.

Also, no levels seem to use path follower, semi-massive boxes, scrolling backgrounds, auto-scrolling (although this isn't very good yet) and probably some other cool stuff in the latest SVN. :)

About overworld graphics, I had the idea they could all be stylised Black and white outlines, like you get on normal maps. (http://www.theaa.com/images/travel/walk ... ymbols.gif) These would make it look more like a map (we already have a compass) and would fit nicely with any background colour, making a themed overworld...
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