Castles Masterpiece Set 2

Apologies for my lateness in getting these up, but here are my judgings.
Davenport, it appears that you haven't been placing start locations for Player 2.

Davenport - Brownstone Castle
* The entrance to the castle looks much better, however the fact that one block is walk-though while the rest are solid is very distracting.
* The stakes in the first room are still too slow. Assuming that they're on the same layer as the spike ceiling right after the checkpoint, I suggest moving them to a new layer and increasing their speed.
* Speaking of the spike ceiling, I can get on top (and access the pipe, thanks for bringing that back by the way), but there isn't enough room to stand up there without being crushed. If you reduce the time of the move-up and move-down events by 0.1 seconds, it should be wide enough to survive while ducking, and I recommend raising the actual ceiling by one block in the safe spots for good measure.
* The wooden stake at the donut block bridge isn't layered properly; the tip moves independently from the rest.
* The question block on the roof still appears to be a switch, but I don't see the corresponding switch blocks. You should replace it with a normal question block.
* Final verdict: DENIED. You're getting closer.

Davenport - Sunken Castle
* The 1-up by the ball-and-chains is still probably impossible to get without taking damage. You might want to take another look at that.
* The bony beetles don't give any warning before getting back up after being jumped on. Just something to keep in mind, especially since they jump surprisingly high underwater.
* The Thwomp at the end (before the exit pipe) won't attack if I'm too close to the ground. It's literally too far away for it to see me…
* I'm going to have to say DENIED, but if you fix the 1-up you should be good to go.

Davenport - Brimstone Barracks
* Much better than previous iterations.
* Using color-coded coins to indicate safe platforms is a good idea, but I'm not a fan of the wall of text provided by the hint Toad. You can condense his dialog by a lot and still get the point across. I also think the blue coins to indicate low spots are unnecessary, but that's just me.
* The safe platforms are too close to the lava for my liking. I know they're perfectly safe, but I think you should reduce the time of the move-up & move-down events so they don't go completely into the lava graphic. Less than one second should be enough.
* Still DENIED, but you're getting much closer.

Master of Mayhem - Shroom Sanctuary
* Much, much better looking than your previous attempt. I almost didn't recognize it as the same level.
* I'm still not sure on the music. If there are any Genesis owners reading this, feel free to correct me, but I'm hearing a sort of hissing and/or screeching sound that isn't present on the other MP3 I have of this song.
* The background transition between the main level (which I'm assuming is nighttime and outdoors) and the ending screen is a little odd.
* It's mostly minor issues I have at this point, so I think I might be ready to ACCEPT this.

Ratty524 - Bolete Bastille
* Aside from removing some of the bugs-whose-names-I-cannot-remember at the end, this level looks identical to the previous iteration. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.
* Final verdict: ACCEPTED. I still love those freakishly tall Goombas.

Wildwes - Mushroom Fortress
* First off, I love the music choice. I'm not keen on the brick color, however.
* The first dragon coin is stupidly difficult to acquire with Mario, but not a problem for Luigi (incidentally, after testing with Luigi, the game then decides to let Mario get it first try)
* I actually kinda liked the switch puzzle; it felt more thought out than the usual "do these four segments and then continue the level".
* However, a number of the Dragon Coins felt like trial and error; one required the blue switch in a certain position which happened to be the opposite of what I needed to proceed, and the other required me to guess one of two exclusive paths.
* I'm not a fan of the Bowser statues in the vertical room. Their positioning and rate of fire makes it feel random whether I get hit (they might not actually be random, but I don't know for sure)
* I think I'll DENY this for now, but the level definitely has potential.

Solitayre - Tower of Rain
* I have no idea why the music isn't working (and I forgot that you mentioned a problem with the music until after finishing the level). It doesn't appear to be a filename issue, so my best guess is that it's an MP3 that SMBX just doesn't want to play. Did the music work for you?
* The Toadies after the checkpoint hurt when I jump on them, but are destroyed by a spin-jump; it's inconsistent with spin-jump behavior.
* The ending seems out-of-place, and you have the wrong level-end object (it's supposed to be the SMB3 star); why not use the rainy background from earlier in the level?
* Overall I liked it; the difficulty is fine and the level has a nice atmosphere. But I'm afraid I have to DENY it because of the level-end and the music not working.

Castles Masterpiece Set 2

What's not amazing is that single brick block placed against the side of the wall at the start, shown above. You can only hit it if:
1) You have a tanooki/leaf powerup, and you float and hit the side of the block with your tail.
2) You stand on the lower ledge beneath the block, and use a running-jump to hit it from below.
3) You toss an evil Toad head/shell to hit it from below.

... And the only reward you get for hitting it is one coin. Seriously? Either make the reward better, or just get rid of it entirely.

That block was intended to make accessing the powerup easier rather than hiding a prize. Do you think it would be better replaced with a solid block?

And I like the outdoor section :( I'll try playing around with that.

Castles Masterpiece Set 2

Incidentally, while building this level I discovered that if Mario is standing on a vertical moving layer and the layer moves below a non-moving ground, it kills him instantly. Just something to keep in mind when building and testing levels.

I also haven't done too much testing with this, because I hate working with spontaneous BAM-you're-dead-lol situations, but it seems pretty consistent.

Castles Masterpiece Set 2

And now for my next level:

Heavy Hallway
A level for Industrial Zone. Hopefully I've met the quota for seiromem's OC evil toad resprites.

Difficulty: 4/5
I'd say it's easier than my previous submission, but it is also based on a gimmick that's one-hit-kill and somewhat glitchy (Moving Layers). That said, I tried to design the level such that any death is due to player stupidity rather than engine stupidity.

I briefly considered naming this "The Origin of Paper Mario", but that seemed a little on the long side.

Castles Masterpiece Set 2

Then allow me to be more specific?

1 is for levels that are literally impossible to lose, or at least seem that way to even mediocre players.

2 is for levels that are generally easier than Super Mario Bros 3; for game examples Kirby, Aladdin (SNES), and possibly Super Mario World.

3 is for levels on par with the latter half of Mario 3, which I consider to be median of platform difficulty.

4 is for levels that are harder than Mario 3's endgame; for example Mega Man, Cave Story*, Donkey Kong Country 2.

5 is for levels that virtually require savestates or other cheat methods that AFAIK aren't available in SMBX.

TL;DR this is a scale that attempts to incorporate all levels of difficulty by someone who is better than most at platformers.

*That is, Cave Story's secret final dungeon. People say the rest of the game is hard, but I'd rate everything outside Sacred Grounds as a 3.

Castles Masterpiece Set 2

I obviously can’t read, I just noticed the sign-up date range… oh well.

This is the first event I’m participating in, and I’m curious on how we should rank the difficulty of our level. Is there a guide on this site for it, or is it just re-testing the level under various conditions (small Mario only, no killing enemies, ect.) and scoring based on that all right? Or am I even going to be given a chance since I’m so late?

Also, I’d just like to point out that I make up my levels as I go, and play-test the crud out of them. I’m going on the “GreyOcean Ravine” theme, and I’ve gotten maybe about 5% done since I started a couple hours ago…

Given the number of others that signed up after the posted sign-up date, I think you'll be fine.

As for difficulty, there is no standard for ranking it, as much as I wish there was; but it's probably too subjective. I personally use the following rule of thumb:
1) Harder to lose than to win. Halibaca's SMBX tutorial level would probably go here.
2) "Kirby" Tier. Easy enough that esperienced players will almost never screw up, but still a possibility.
3) "Mario" Tier. About as difficult as Super Mario Bros. 3, or most other Mario games.
4) "ROM Hack" Tier. More difficult than SMB3, but still reasonably beatable by human players; usually intended for more experienced players.
5) "BattleToads" Tier. More difficult than any sane human being can handle. I recommend against building a super-difficult level because SMBX isn't well suited to handle them.

Castles Masterpiece Set 2

Signed up late. Hope thats ok.

In other news, I've discovered a program called "join me" which allows a host do share their screen to anyone on the internet (when given the link).

I'd like to be able to watch a more advanced developer make a level so I can get a better idea of the method I should use. It would be helpful to other new SMBC devs as well.

Would anyone be up for that?

P.S. Join Me has no audio in favor of a chatbox. So you don't need a mic. And it doesn't show you. So you don't need a webcam either. If you have questions then ask me.

Sounds like a livestream to me. It's not a bad idea, but I doubt I would personally use it. Assuming that my laptop can even handle streaming in the first place, a significant portion of my level design process is on pencil-and-paper rather than the computer screen. If you're looking for advice in general, I might be able to help with that, too.

Castles Masterpiece Set 2

If they're just suggestions, then that's alright, but you might want to indicate that in the description. I'm still in favor of encouraging people to be creative with the level themes.

And I somewhat doubt you'll surprise anyone who comes to the event page and sees "Industrial Zone" as one of the world themes.

Castles Masterpiece Set 2

Shroomland Forest
This area's castle has many plants, especially mushrooms, and many piranha plant enemies! The foundation of this castle is blue-green bricks.

GreyOcean Ravine
This area's castle has lots of water and grey-blue bricks.
Many fish enemies should be used, remember your level doesn't have to be completely submerged, just use water!

Redbrick Desert
This area's castle is basically dry, sandy with red-ish bricks for the foundation. Dry Bones (SMB3 Version/Resized SMW Version), cacti and various other Desert enemies should be here!

Sky Domain
This area's castle is A giant floating castle, include many clouds and grey to white bricks! (SMW Castle tiles would work fine here)
Enemies should consist of lakitus, parakoopas, bullet bills (Restrict the amount of homing koopas) and various other flying enemies.

Industrial Zone
This zone is to have aztec like bricks with many metal frameworks around it, this is because toadly is there, and he like steel.

Perhaps the specifics for each world are a little... too specific? If every submission followed these guidelines, we'd end up with a lot of similar-feeling levels, which would get boring. I'd rather see the world themes loosely defined so that each level designer can provide their own interpretation.

And I still find the concept of an industrial area with "Aztec" anything to be really odd.

Castles Masterpiece Set 2

Davenport - Brownstone Castle
* The castle as seen from the first outdoor section is still as bad looking as ever. You really need to rework that.
* The wooden stakes are still too slow in the first room; I think about half the time I spend in there is just waiting on the stakes to lower so I can continue.
* I see the secret pipe above the spiked ceiling was removed. I still think that would have been a great place for a secret, had the pipe actually worked and you could actually survive being up there (and the ceiling was easier to climb on top of…)
* The collapsing lava bridge is an improvement, but you can see blank space beneath the lower wooden stake where there should be lava. And the Blarggs are completely pointless.
* In the third room, a grinder will fall from the upper floor and fall straight into the pit with the springboard. I have to be use the springboard quickly to get through (not easy with the firebar there) or move backwards to despawn the grinder. I'd say remove the grinder entirely.
* Why, *why* do you have the question mark blocks on the roof set as switches? It's not even really a puzzle, and with both blocks used I'm forced to kill myself.
* REJECTED from me. You're making progress, but in a "two steps forward, two steps back" kind of way.

Davenport - Sunken Castle
* This level hardly seems to be changed since the previous version.
* It's still possible to swim underneath the ground (and over the ceiling, most likely). You should either block those off (just extend the walls two tiles after the edge of the map) or add some sort of secret for players who try this.
* For the 1-up block with the ball-and-chain attached to it, it's too difficult to grab the 1-up without taking damage because the ball-and-chain is ludicrously fast and too close to the block. I'd recommend extending the chain by one segment.
* I'm going to say REJECTED for now; I still think this is my favorite level from you, but you should look into the issues listed above, and it wouldn't hurt to add coins or other things to fill up empty space.

Davenport - Brimstone Barracks
* This level is still unreasonably difficult.
* However, I think that it can be improved by raising the moving platform layers in the first two rooms by one tile
* The powerup blocks with the Spike Tops guarding them are so difficult to access that they're just not worth it. I'd say remove them and move the actual powerup to the safe spot with the two coin blocks that look like they should have a powerup.
* In the final room, I recommend raising the low spike ceiling by one tile to allow for some more breathing room down there.
* Definitely still REJECTED, but if you make these adjustments then the level might have a chance.

Davenport - Tower of Peril Pain
* Just for fun, I'm placing my verdict here instead of at the end: REJECTED. Ignoring that you neglected to place start points for the player (forcing me to edit the level before I could even test it), the level is ludicrous in its difficulty, and I actually did not finish playing it.
* The spike walls look better now, but there's empty space behind them, which would allow me to slip behind and inevitably get crushed.
* I said that the walls were too slow before, but now they're probably too fast; I have with barely enough time to reach the other side while being careful enough to ascend without falling off.
* And then there are stretches taking place in the center of the tower, requiring me to be even faster to avoid being forced to backtrack or skewered against walls that now form a bottleneck.
* And that's just the first half. The second half introduces walls that split the tower into two halves, forcing me to quickly clear the segment within one cycle of the moving spiked walls.
* Later there's a segment where I climb a wall using music note blocks, but it's in the center of the tower, and the spike wall doesn't provide me with nearly enough time to clear it. This is the part where I just gave up.
* TL;DR: There's no way you could have expected this to be beatable by the average human player. Heck, I'm not even sure you can beat this level. I was even almost enjoying parts of it, but the parts listed above were just so unfair that they ruined the rest of the level.

Jackalotrun - Forest Caldera
* Nicely done with the decorations. The level definitely captures the feel of overgrown ruins. However, some of the vines on the ceiling bug me because you can climb them but they don't lead anywhere.
* For some reason the Blarggs aren't working right; a second pair of eyes just pops up a few blocks above the lava.
* At this point I would be willing to ACCEPT this level Actually, I'm torn between Accept of Reject; the zipping points at the beginning and end should be plugged, and I wouldn't mind seeing a graphic for the "missing" bricks that contrasts better with the solid ones to indicate they're fake. I still hold that it works as an early-game level, and it doesn't need to be overly difficult or densely designed.

Master of Mayhem - Fungal Fortress
* Maybe it's because I had the volume turned up really high, but I found this rendition of Mushroom Hill Zone unpleasant to listen to. (And I feel like a hypocrite for complaining about this after I gave Seiromem a hard time for a similar complaint against my own level, but I think you should look for an alternate version of the song)
* The largest problem I have with this level is that it's a nightmare graphically. There's cutoff everywhere, especially with the moss covering parts of the castle blocks.
* The SMB1 castle tiles deserve special mention; not only are they horrendiously cut off everywhere, which just looks lazy, but they also have terrible dithering. Did you save the tiles in MSPaint?
* The poison mushrooms are very common, but I think that might be okay if you can find a way to telegraph them to the player. The poison 'shrooms in the bonus room, however, ought to go.
* I can get on top of the ceiling from the pipe that generates springboards; you blocked off the other side, but not this one…
* Final verdict: REJECTED. It's an interesting level, but the constant misuse of graphics ruins it.

Ratty524 - Bolete Bastille
* A very nice level aesthetically. I loved the ridiculously tall Goombas.
* The section at the end with the four Hoopsters back to back I agree with Jack is overkill. It's possible to cheese the enemies with a Fire Flower, but without it you're almost required to take damage (or quickly grab and toss away each one, which I didn't think to do until posting this).
* It's a very nice level, but I have to say REJECTED until you adjust that segment at the end.

Ratty524 - Pursuit Palace
* I don't think I would have found the 1-up at the beginning if I didn't see it in the editor.
* The 1-up at the end of the second room… doesn't crash the game? I waited for it to fall into the lava, but nothing happened (aside from me dying). Is that kind of 1-up "safe"?
* As it is, I'm ready to ACCEPT this level, though it probably wouldn't hurt to give a hint for the 1-up at the beginning.