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mindphaser74
05-02-2009, 07:13 PM
Here is the new video. Thanks Trickster for the awesome high quality video. I owe you something:



Ok I know I'm getting good at level creation, it's finally happening!:)

This is the Prequel level to the Below the Root Series. Though it was made entirely after chapters 1 & 2. I felt that I needed to plant a seed in this level (so to speak) that contributes to the rest of the story.

So it is a level that, on the surface, seems like the story doesn't much relate to the rest of the series... but it does. Very vaguely. Chapter 3 will show you the connection, but if you are intuitive enough, you might be able to figure it out for yourself!

Sewing Seeds showcases the past, present, and future of the BTR series and gives you a taste of some of the architecture I will use when the series eventually takes you literally "Below the Root".

Some features:
- complete use of CY patch (though no jetpack yet in the series... soon though)
- ridabe "Below the Root" title/elevator
- cool statue puzzle
- lots and lots of score bubbles
- hidden areas
- multiplayer friendly
- finally a taste of the "underground"
- relaxing gameplay
- quick slideshow near the level's end
- other neat surprises!
- should be bug-free

Here are some pics to entice: (sorry I still have a terrible camera)

http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=415&pictureid=3572
-Welcome to the Below the Root LBP series!

http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=415&pictureid=3574
- Familiar Sites!

http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=415&pictureid=3578
- Underground!

http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=415&pictureid=3581
- The Roots of Life in BTR

http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=415&pictureid=3583
-Giant Statue (will give this guy a name when I think of one) - statue's shoulders have been fixed since this pic was taken

http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=415&pictureid=3587
-The Way Out!

http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=415&pictureid=3594
-Waterfall Cave

So I hope you all enjoy this one. I'll be updating Ch 1 & 2 will the knowledge I gained from creating this level as my next project (should only take a day or 2). Then I will get hard to work on Chapter 3 : Temple Grund. :)

DanC
05-02-2009, 07:18 PM
WOW!! I have to play this!! The BTR text looks AWESOME! You must have spent a long time on that! The lighting effects look awesome along with the complex details & decorations. Really well done - you levels are getting much better each time I see them. Great stuff man, can't wait to play this one!

mindphaser74
05-02-2009, 07:21 PM
WOW!! I have to play this!! The BTR text looks AWESOME! You must have spent a long time on that! The lighting effects look awesome along with the complex details & decorations. Really well done - you levels are getting much better each time I see them. Great stuff man, can't wait to play this one!

Thanks trickster. I am particularly happy with how much this level taught me about camera angles. Someone actually played and said it was awesome BEFORE I even mentioned the level online. So a good start so far! :)

MegaBlob
05-02-2009, 11:26 PM
stunning visuals! i thought the elevator ride was too slow for my liking but the nice tree and shiny lights distracted me.
i was well impressed with root cave part with the crystals. it just looked so cool. it took me a while to finish the level cos i was so busy getting all the extra bubbles which are like hidden everywhere, its great. i also like tmore or less perfectly idiot proof!
i didnt really see how it was a prequel, but then i've only played half of the 1st in the series til i got stuck so i dunno.
i think i'll go play and finish the others in the series now. :D
cant really point out anything bad, i'd just be nitpicking.

mindphaser74
05-02-2009, 11:38 PM
stunning visuals! i thought the elevator ride was too slow for my liking but the nice tree and shiny lights distracted me.
i was well impressed with root cave part with the crystals. it just looked so cool. it took me a while to finish the level cos i was so busy getting all the extra bubbles which are like hidden everywhere, its great. i also like tmore or less perfectly idiot proof!
i didnt really see how it was a prequel, but then i've only played half of the 1st in the series til i got stuck so i dunno.
i think i'll go play and finish the others in the series now. :D
cant really point out anything bad, i'd just be nitpicking.

Thanks MegaBlob (cool name). The tie-in to the first two chapters is very subtle and you won't know for sure what it is until chapter 3. I could tell you but I don't wan't to spoil it. I did a couple of things on the level that COULD be linked to the dissaster occuring in the forest. At the moment only I know for certain what event that is.

And yes I made this level "easy", more of a eye-candy type level and to advertise the first 2 chapters. Chapter 3 will be more of a mix and I plan on chapter 4 to be the most difficult one (to that point) will lots of perils.

I will be polishing chapters 1 and 2 next though before chapter 3 takes root.

I hope you like them. Chapter 1 is more RPG and 2 is more platforming FYI. :)

Morgana25
05-02-2009, 11:49 PM
Looks amazing in your pictures - I'm going to check it out for sure!

GruntosUK
05-03-2009, 08:06 PM
I loved the two previous levels. HAD to give this one a try

+ The start is mindblowing, your text is the best I've seen yet
+ And it moves!!!! Holy **** that is COOL!.
+ Love the way the text lights up with the music, awesome job
+ You really do create really blowingly beautiful levels.

- Still them unseen tree branches blocking the way., I did'nt like them in the first one, still don't now

I'm more than pleased you joined these forums otherwise I'd have missed your gems of levels. They have been consistently good, more than playable and give my eyes a treat. You are without a doubt one of my favourite creators, fine job as ever. Hurry up with he next part :)

Unforunatly my wife was come home with her freinds, I don't want to be unsocialbe and play LBP all night, I'll pick up the feedback where I left off, great level so far :D

*****, hearted, and brilliant tag left.

My F4F is in my sig, I'd like your opinion, thanks :)

mindphaser74
05-03-2009, 11:46 PM
I loved the two previous levels. HAD to give this one a try

+ The start is mindblowing, your text is the best I've seen yet
+ And it moves!!!! Holy **** that is COOL!.
+ Love the way the text lights up with the music, awesome job
+ You really do create really blowingly beautiful levels.

- Still them unseen tree branches blocking the way., I did'nt like them in the first one, still don't now

I'm more than pleased you joined these forums otherwise I'd have missed your gems of levels. They have been consistently good, more than playable and give my eyes a treat. You are without a doubt one of my favourite creators, fine job as ever. Hurry up with he next part :)

Unforunatly my wife was come home with her freinds, I don't want to be unsocialbe and play LBP all night, I'll pick up the feedback where I left off, great level so far :D

*****, hearted, and brilliant tag left.

My F4F is in my sig, I'd like your opinion, thanks :)

Thanks for your comments Grantos. I love the reviews you guys make, so I'm extra stoked that you personally like it so much. As well as Morgana and anyone else on the review team.

The series is struggling to catch on but I'm still happy and anxious to continue it. The latest level is doing great at about 50% heart rate at the moment (much better than the first 2 levels).

I look forward to hearing what else you can say about it. I`m not sure though what you mean about the unseen branches. I will address this issue if I can, but I`m not sure which branches you are talking about. Could you elaborate on this for me.

As well I will play your level tomorrow and give some feedback. I would check it out now but I had to reinstall LBP today :( and now need to get all the story and tutorial stuff all over again (I had a save file corruption). I really want to get this re-collection over with fast, so I designated today to really give it a good run-through. And now my wife`s home so now that`s probably it for LBP today, argg :mad:

Thanks again Grantos. Without a good review team like you guys the level building experience just wouldnt be the same. TTYL :)

Matt 82
05-04-2009, 01:20 AM
Thoughts as they happen.

- The opening speech bubbles need to be hooked up to a permanent switch. I jumped down, activated them and watched them disappear in one movement.
- The title text is among the best I`ve seen. Well done. Dunno if the 'badoom tish' is required every 5 seconds when they light up right enough.
- Ok, all your text needs to be hooked up to a permanent switch. This is a level to tell the story and I keep missing it!
- The title lighting up might`ve been better as a one off when it`s first revealed rather than repeating, as it loses the effect when you`ve seen it 20 times.
- The camera at the house is a bit far away, making it a bit frustrating trying to a) see what`s going on. b) get up the stairs.
- I`m having some real issues with layers. Might I suggest that you make those crystals thin so players don`t land on the or get stuck on them constantly?
- One other thing I`m struggling with is, is seeing some of the switches. Took me way too long to find the one that leads to 'finally, a way out of this mess.'. I`m also looking at a stone statue and have no idea what to do. I managed to find the buttons on the side of the head, by accident, and can see two in the nostrils. I`m looking about elsewhere to see what I`ve missed but coming up blank. In fact, just as I type it i notice the eyes. Those could do with highlighting. They're miniscule.
- Snake tongue was good.
- The bouncing platform that gets you up to the shell isn`t great. Dunno how many times I bounced on that. Must`ve been 20 before it got me anywhere near the roof. I was thinking that it was meant to be bouncing me somewhere else since it barely got me as high as the windows most bounces.

There are loads of good things about this level. It`s gorgeous. Great use of materials and lights. It`s inventive and has its own little universe.

My biggest concern would be of pacing. It really drags. From the slow title, to the slow statue, to the long walks just collecting bubbles, to the menial tasks that get the lift started, to the rather painful wait at the end while the scoreboard comes down. By the end, the level is in danger of outstaying its welcome. It may be personal opinion, but I`m not a fan of levels taking longer than they really need to. If I was kept busy the whole time it wouldn`t be an issue but often it amounts to nothing more than holding a switch or running along a corridor , albeit a very pretty corridor.

I know this sounds like I`m slaughtering your level, but I`m not. It does need a few things sorted though. Between the pace, the getting caught on background objects and the general lack of activity, it can be a pretty frustrating experiance at times and that could haunt your rating if you plan on getting it onto cool levels or whatever.

Anyway, despite my overly negative feedback here, I did like it. I gave you 5 stars because obviously an incredible amount of work went into it, and it`s one of the best looking levels made so far. I gave you an 'aristic' tag and a heart.

mindphaser74
05-04-2009, 02:02 AM
OK Matt I'll try to tackle some of these concerns. Not all of them by any means, but some of them. As well, the therm is maxed out so fixing everything might be a stretch. Also know that I do not have the MGS pack and probably never will, so if you were looking for a shooter you are "barking up the wrong tree" my friend. ;)



- The opening speech bubbles need to be hooked up to a permanent switch. I jumped down, activated them and watched them disappear in one movement.

I'll see if I can fix this but is FAR from necessary. Unless your triangle button is broken. Is your triangle button broken?



- The title text is among the best I`ve seen. Well done. Dunno if the 'badoom tish' is required every 5 seconds when they light up right enough.

Meh, next...



- Ok, all your text needs to be hooked up to a permanent switch. This is a level to tell the story and I keep missing it!

Wow calm down there my friend, buy a new PS3 controller



- The title lighting up might`ve been better as a one off when it`s first revealed rather than repeating, as it loses the effect when you`ve seen it 20 times.

I dissagree, I like to have extra stuff going on when I'm on a LBP elevator



- The camera at the house is a bit far away, making it a bit frustrating trying to a) see what`s going on. b) get up the stairs.

I'll adjust this, thanks for the find.



- I`m having some real issues with layers. Might I suggest that you make those crystals thin so players don`t land on the or get stuck on them constantly?

It is a twisting winding root system, the effect was needed. The most rwarding paths to follow are not always the ones that lead from point A to B in a straight line. I can't agree with this. My other friends really liked this part. This will not be changed.



- One other thing I`m struggling with is, is seeing some of the switches. Took me way too long to find the one that leads to 'finally, a way out of this mess.'. I`m also looking at a stone statue and have no idea what to do. I managed to find the buttons on the side of the head, by accident, and can see two in the nostrils. I`m looking about elsewhere to see what I`ve missed but coming up blank. In fact, just as I type it i notice the eyes. Those could do with highlighting. They're miniscule.

I half agree with you on this. The switches in the root system are a little hidden, but they really are pretty easy to find. The fact that 1 out of every dozen red crystals actually glows blue should be an immediate hint. If not, then just jump on a root.

The small buttons on the head are really easy too, the story dialogue shows and tells you that the answer is on the head. The head isn't 20 miles big you know. In fact it isn't even 20 feet wide! Nothing was hidden and it is a puzzle. I will change the text from the quest-giver to indicate that it is a complex puzzle if I need to (can't remember off-hand what the text said there). But it is a small statue head and not much investigating is needed. Again, maybe you are just a shooter-type of LBP player. As for the eyes, when the statue is "Fully Activated" the light of the eyes is VERY bright, so maybe you should get your triangle button fixed so you can re-read some of that text you're missing.



- The bouncing platform that gets you up to the shell isn`t great. Dunno how many times I bounced on that. Must`ve been 20 before it got me anywhere near the roof. I was thinking that it was meant to be bouncing me somewhere else since it barely got me as high as the windows most bounces.

Yeah that's what bouncers do, look at the Meerkat kingdom. If it worked the first time, where would the challange be?



There are loads of good things about this level. It`s gorgeous. Great use of materials and lights. It`s inventive and has its own little universe.

Thank you. I thought it was a pretty place to hang out too!



My biggest concern would be of pacing. It really drags. From the slow title, to the slow statue, to the long walks just collecting bubbles, to the menial tasks that get the lift started, to the rather painful wait at the end while the scoreboard comes down. By the end, the level is in danger of outstaying its welcome. It may be personal opinion, but I`m not a fan of levels taking longer than they really need to. If I was kept busy the whole time it wouldn`t be an issue but often it amounts to nothing more than holding a switch or running along a corridor , albeit a very pretty corridor.

Didn't you see all the score bubbles!!??:mad:



I know this sounds like I`m slaughtering your level, but I`m not. It does need a few things sorted though. Between the pace, the getting caught on background objects and the general lack of activity, it can be a pretty frustrating experiance at times and that could haunt your rating if you plan on getting it onto cool levels or whatever.

How can you say that there is a general lack of activity. I think there is a general lack of activity in your brain, lol :hero:



Anyway, despite my overly negative feedback here, I did like it. I gave you 5 stars because obviously an incredible amount of work went into it, and it`s one of the best looking levels made so far. I gave you an 'aristic' tag and a heart.

Actually it only took about a week (4-6 hours a day). But I'm getting quick with the create stuff. :)

Hey thanks I really do appreciate the feedback Matt. I know that different types of levels in LBP appeal to different types of people and that we are all entitled to say almost anything we want on these forums, so please don't hesitate to give feedback on my other levels too if you'ld like. You probably won't like them but they could give you some insight into what other types of levels other LBP fans MIGHT like. Cheers buddy. :)

smasher
05-04-2009, 02:31 AM
I loved the other ones so I had to do more feedback for this one too. First I love the title lettering It looks awesome. The ride down is kinda slow though. When I got to the first obstruction the trampoline thing would not work for me at all. You might want to check it out. I went back up the elevator, and was able to get the switch from there. Once I got down I loved what I saw. The only complaint is my guy kept hanging up, because it's so cramped in there. The only other problem I had was the trampoline by the shell just wouldn't get me up there. I almost gave up. Finally I got it. Overall I think this is a great addition to the series. Also, it's gorgeous. With a little more tweeking It'll be perfect.

MY F4F levels right now are (teleport to ?????) and (fully automated machine).

Matt 82
05-04-2009, 03:03 AM
From the way you`ve responded, it seems your not keen on my criticisms, which is fair enough as no one likes to hear bad things about their level. There is no need to get defensive though. All I did was give my thoughts.

There are a couple of things I would like to follow up on what you said though.

The triangle button works just fine, but it`s just a pain to see you`ve missed something, then go back when a switch would`ve done it. It`s not a big deal as you say, but it`s a problem that can be fixed in seconds.

It was grantosuk that mentioned the roots being annoying. While I did get caught up in them once or twice, it`s was clear that there wasn`t much to be done about it as it`s a feature. I mentioned the crystals. Just thought they could be made thin so that you wouldn`t get caught on them?

The difference with the Meerkats, is that they work 90% of the time. smasher 1973 had the same problem there as I did. It`s not a challenge if the player can`t do anything to change the situation. Just a nuisance.

I`m not sure what your point about me not seeing all the score bubbles is. I mentioned the bubbles.

And for the record I do like lots of different types of level. The shooter type you mentioned being my least favourite! :)

mindphaser74
05-04-2009, 03:10 AM
I loved the other ones so I had to do more feedback for this one too. First I love the title lettering It looks awesome. The ride down is kinda slow though. When I got to the first obstruction the trampoline thing would not work for me at all. You might want to check it out. I went back up the elevator, and was able to get the switch from there. Once I got down I loved what I saw. The only complaint is my guy kept hanging up, because it's so cramped in there. The only other problem I had was the trampoline by the shell just wouldn't get me up there. I almost gave up. Finally I got it. Overall I think this is a great addition to the series. Also, it's gorgeous. With a little more tweeking It'll be perfect.

MY F4F levels right now are (teleport to ?????) and (fully automated machine).

Cool thanks alot smasher. I will address the jumpers tomorrow. You're not the first one who had troubles with the 2nd bouncer. It is doable obviously because a number of people have finished the level now. But I will tweak it some more. Jumpers are so ******* picky they drive me crazy sometimes.

The first jumper I guess needs the radius adjusted. I've noticed on jumpers that span 3 layers like this one, the jumper can work if you're in the front-most layer when it won't work if you're in the back layer. You can increase the radius to combat this but then jumping while in the front layer seems a little spazzy. So maybe if I make this jumper single or double layer deep instead, that might be better. I'll experiment tomorrow after I've checked out Grantos' level.

I didn't realise you could take the elevator back up and get to the first unclogger switch by jumping off. This is a huge bug that may require invisible matter. Thank you so much for finding this. Good eye smasher. :)

mindphaser74
05-04-2009, 03:35 AM
From the way you`ve responded, it seems your not keen on my criticisms, which is fair enough as no one likes to hear bad things about their level. There is no need to get defensive though. All I did was give my thoughts.

I said I appreciate your critism, if I don't agree with it all I am allowed to defend my thread, as long as I'm not nasty about it. And I wasn't being nasty. I am kind of newer to the reviewing levels concept here at LBPC so I don't know if we are allowed or expected to defend our viewpoints or not. I would imagine that we can. That would make sense to me.

I clearly did not agree with everything you said and I wanted to explain why I wasn't going to make the changes you suggested. I will fix the jumper, but I did't fully agree with the rest. In time, maybe my ideas on what needs changing will more parallel your own. Maybe not.



There are a couple of things I would like to follow up on what you said though.

The triangle button works just fine, but it`s just a pain to see you`ve missed something, then go back when a switch would`ve done it. It`s not a big deal as you say, but it`s a problem that can be fixed in seconds.

I do think that more perma-switches might help the text, but I didn't realise until now that it was a big issue with anyone. You are the first one who has mentioned it.

Not to mention my therm is full to 100% so adding a few perma-switches might upset the therm a little. I could take out the 40 second slideshow at the end to create the space, but I wanted to have that there to help advertise the series. Because I made this a prequel level I think that gives me an excuse to advertise the series with a fancy title and slideshow.




It was grantosuk that mentioned the roots being annoying. While I did get caught up in them once or twice, it`s was clear that there wasn`t much to be done about it as it`s a feature. I mentioned the crystals. Just thought they could be made thin so that you wouldn`t get caught on them?

I didn't see grantos say that? My memory is bad though at times.



The difference with the Meerkats, is that they work 90% of the time. smasher 1973 had the same problem there as I did. It`s not a challenge if the player can`t do anything to change the situation. Just a nuisance.

No way do the meerkats work 90% of the time. 50% maybe.



I`m not sure what your point about me not seeing all the score bubbles is. I mentioned the bubbles.

You said there was little activity in my level. What would you call "activity"? There are points everywhere, collecting points in my opinion is an activity. Due to the nice distribution of these points and the ample amount, this activity is accentuated in Sewing Seeds. And it's not like that is all there is to do.



And for the record I do like lots of different types of level. The shooter type you mentioned being my least favourite! :)

I'm ok with shooter but prefer some other types first.

Sewing Seeds was meant to be a very easy relaxing first step into the series. The series is evolving into a more difficult platforming one. You'll see that in chapter 2. Chapter 3 will be harder, and so forth. It is a system that works for me and my series.

I do want more feedback from you in the future, just don't expect miracles.

So I'm sorry if I upset you, I hope we can avoid further upsets in the future. TTYL :)

Matt 82
05-04-2009, 04:58 AM
I'm not upset dude. And you shouldn`t feel the need to defend your level, because I'm not attacking it. I felt that 'meh, next' was rather defensive though. 'Meh' being another way of saying, 'I don`t give a rats ***' of course.

With F4F, I and a few others tend to point things out that we feel could be improved on rather than just saying, 'it`s great'. While it`s nice to hear, it doesn`t really help anyone.

9 times out of 10 it is opinion, with technical glitches being the odd one out. You don`t really need to justify anything, but I would say is that you take on board that these are the thoughts of at least one person while he`s playing your level.

If someone gives feedback about my level and I don`t think it`s a problem. It`s still not a great idea to dismiss it out of hand. You should at least ask yourself why this person thought this, and then if there`s anything you could/should do about it.

For example, the drum thing every 5 seconds or so on the lift. Ask yourself why I thought it was irritating. Was it to upset you? Hardly. Was it because it was irritating? More than likely. If I find it annoying, will others be the same? Probably. It`s very possible that that bugging me from the start made me pick up more on smaller things throughout your level that I may not have bothered about otherwise. Do you need to do anything about it? Absolutely not, but valid feedback should not be responded to with 'meh, next'.

On the lack of activity thing, to clear it up. There are things to do in your level. What I meant was that a lot of it is spent riding on an elevator with nothing to do other than holding a switch. I said that IMO the problem I had the most with it was pacing. Score bubbles don`t do anything about that.

Like I said already, I don`t expect you to change your level to suit me, or anyone else. I ain`t getting annoyed because you're not doing as I command or anything daft like that.

Anyway I don`t mean to fall out with you over this, and I'm glad to hear that you don`t want to fall out with me. I do look forward to checking out the others in this series, but I might keep my big mouth shut when I do. :)

mindphaser74
05-04-2009, 05:16 AM
I'm not upset dude. And you shouldn`t feel the need to defend your level, because I'm not attacking it. I felt that 'meh, next' was rather defensive though. 'Meh' being another way of saying, 'I don`t give a rats ***' of course.

With F4F, I and a few others tend to point things out that we feel could be improved on rather than just saying, 'it`s great'. While it`s nice to hear, it doesn`t really help anyone.

9 times out of 10 it is opinion, with technical glitches being the odd one out. You don`t really need to justify anything, but I would say is that you take on board that these are the thoughts of at least one person while he`s playing your level.

If someone gives feedback about my level and I don`t think it`s a problem. It`s still not a great idea to dismiss it out of hand. You should at least ask yourself why this person thought this, and then if there`s anything you could/should do about it.

For example, the drum thing every 5 seconds or so on the lift. Ask yourself why I thought it was irritating. Was it to upset you? Hardly. Was it because it was irritating? More than likely. If I find it annoying, will others be the same? Probably. It`s very possible that that bugging me from the start made me pick up more on smaller things throughout your level that I may not have bothered about otherwise. Do you need to do anything about it? Absolutely not, but valid feedback should not be responded to with 'meh, next'.

On the lack of activity thing, to clear it up. There are things to do in your level. What I meant was that a lot of it is spent riding on an elevator with nothing to do other than holding a switch. I said that IMO the problem I had the most with it was pacing. Score bubbles don`t do anything about that.

Like I said already, I don`t expect you to change your level to suit me, or anyone else. I ain`t getting annoyed because you're not doing as I command or anything daft like that.

Anyway I don`t mean to fall out with you over this, and I'm glad to hear that you don`t want to fall out with me. I do look forward to checking out the others in this series, but I might keep my big mouth shut when I do. :)

hehe, well said mate :)

Your diplomatic ways have proven me a liitle foolish I suppose. The drumming on the elevator was actually an afterthought that I added near the end. I thought it kind of suited the music at the time but maybe I didn't give it enough concideration. I wish I could get more input on some of these things from others too. Like, is it ok or does it suck balls.

And next time you don't need to keep your big mouth shut, lol. I'll just try to remember you and that your reviews try to accentuate the negatives of a level in order to improve it. Again I'm new to this reviewing thing (to some degree) and I need to try to explain my points in the future more diplomatically like you can Matt.

I have to go to bed now so cheers and ttyl. :)

Morgana25
05-04-2009, 05:27 AM
Just checked it out and I absolutely love it. I love your visual style and you've ramped it up on this level. The title screen is mind blowing - really love the look of it. It's probably a good thing since we spend a lot of time on it as players. lol.

I know you really like the lights and sound effects on it and I can appreciate that point of view. I ended up playing it twice and the first run through the lights were fine but the cymbals got a bit on my nerves. Second time through, not so much so I'm not sure what side of the argument I'm on for that topic. It's your level, leave it as is if you choose.

The roots area was so pretty! I especially like how the colors change behind the crystals. Yea, I got caught up in the crystals and roots but that's sort of the point of the area isn't it? Otherwise you could just do a double straight ramp and be done with it. The way you have it makes the player hunt out ways to get to the bubbles. It's a much more cerebral experience than just running amok. I enjoyed it.

The statue is really well done too. Great lighting and nicely subtle details in his fingers and head. Took me a few minutes to work out where to go but didn't mind that at all. The little pocket cavern with the red crystals was a nice surprise too.

The snake was totally unexpected and interesting. I messed up and fell and missed out on a ton of bubbles but that was my bad.

I did find one spot that I'm not sure is intentional to be lethal. In the area with the little dude and his magic shell. You have a bubble on the top left of the screen next to the house. If you drop to get the bubble and you're next to the house it's ok - but if you drop and are slightly to the left of the bubble you hit an angled chunk of wood and it dumps you on the right side of the title area at the bottom in the gas. Might be a gap in the wood there - or it could be intentional. I wasn't sure and thought I'd point it out.

Another great level, in my opinion. Lots of fun and beautiful to look at while doing so. I gave it 5 stars & hearted it. Thanks for sharing it!

mindphaser74
05-04-2009, 06:04 AM
Just checked it out and I absolutely love it. I love your visual style and you've ramped it up on this level. The title screen is mind blowing - really love the look of it. It's probably a good thing since we spend a lot of time on it as players. lol.

I know you really like the lights and sound effects on it and I can appreciate that point of view. I ended up playing it twice and the first run through the lights were fine but the cymbals got a bit on my nerves. Second time through, not so much so I'm not sure what side of the argument I'm on for that topic. It's your level, leave it as is if you choose.

The roots area was so pretty! I especially like how the colors change behind the crystals. Yea, I got caught up in the crystals and roots but that's sort of the point of the area isn't it? Otherwise you could just do a double straight ramp and be done with it. The way you have it makes the player hunt out ways to get to the bubbles. It's a much more cerebral experience than just running amok. I enjoyed it.

The statue is really well done too. Great lighting and nicely subtle details in his fingers and head. Took me a few minutes to work out where to go but didn't mind that at all. The little pocket cavern with the red crystals was a nice surprise too.

The snake was totally unexpected and interesting. I messed up and fell and missed out on a ton of bubbles but that was my bad.

I did find one spot that I'm not sure is intentional to be lethal. In the area with the little dude and his magic shell. You have a bubble on the top left of the screen next to the house. If you drop to get the bubble and you're next to the house it's ok - but if you drop and are slightly to the left of the bubble you hit an angled chunk of wood and it dumps you on the right side of the title area at the bottom in the gas. Might be a gap in the wood there - or it could be intentional. I wasn't sure and thought I'd point it out.

Another great level, in my opinion. Lots of fun and beautiful to look at while doing so. I gave it 5 stars & hearted it. Thanks for sharing it!

Thanks Morgana, I'll stay up a bit longer to respond.

First off, I REALLY appreciate that you found the hole. That elevator was a big pain in the a** to put together. Since the original publish I've already gone back twice for fixes there and now I have 2 more fixes for tomorrow.
Eventually the shaft will be bug free I hope.

I am still up in the air about he cymbals on the sign. I am hoping I get more feedback on that specifically before I change anything. The effect is really nice too without the cymbal sounds. So, we'll see.

Incidentally, the lights and sounds for the sign are done in and interesting way; I have balls of different weights with mag-keys on them and the balls roll down a slope on different plains past mag-switches. The 2 balls (could have done 3) are emitted at the top of the slope and dissappear at the end. Anyways, just thought I would share that.

This will be the last of the easy and relaxing BTR levels. Chapter 3 : Temple Grund will take on a slightly darker tone and will involve scenes that some LBP players may be too young for. This level will be pure platforming with maybe a puzzle or two and I can't wait to build it. The architecture will be different at Temple Grund. After Temple Grund will come Throught the Branches (tentative title) and then the series will finally bring us below the roots for a few underground levels and dwarven mines. I will probably end the series there but if LBP2 is near completion by then, then I will get ready for a 2nd Below the Root series.

Thanks for your kind words and help. I'll be trying your collaboritive effort tomorrow. See ya!:)

mindphaser74
05-04-2009, 07:19 PM
ok I've made some changes.

1. was able to attach ALL speech to perm switches. So cut scenes will now prevent you from missing any text.

2.took out the cymbal sounds from the elevator and halved the ride time.

3. Fixed elevator shaft in 2 more places to prevent "unwanted" sacker cheating or death

4. Sped up slideshow by 20 secs (is now actually 80 secs long - LBP time - not real time, at least I think LBP time is faster than real time)

5. Moved point-bubble-spitting butterfly from the waterfall cave to the slideshow, so that points are dropping down during the entire show. Would have liked to have kept the butterfly at the waterfall cave but my therm is maxed.

6 Fixed both jumpers. The tree-jumper I increased radius slighty. The ground-jumper I increased the piston length by 1. In both cases I tested extensively afterwards and they appear to work great now.

Thanks if anyone has any more comments or suggestions or problems, please let me know ASAP.

I'm off to do some level reviewing of my own now.
Thanks again LBPC members, as usual your input was fantastic. :)

Morgana25
05-04-2009, 07:26 PM
Incidentally, the lights and sounds for the sign are done in and interesting way; I have balls of different weights with mag-keys on them and the balls roll down a slope on different plains past mag-switches. The 2 balls (could have done 3) are emitted at the top of the slope and dissappear at the end. Anyways, just thought I would share that.

I never would have thought of that - Too cool! Thanks for letting us know. I love it when we get a peek behind the scenes on levels. :)

CCubbage
05-05-2009, 03:24 AM
Okay, I just played this and here are my thoughts:

I enjoyed it. The lettering was fantastic looking, the ambience is once again well-done. It serves it's purpose well as an introduction to the series.

A few issues:

The house with the switch on the second floor - one issue I had with this was accidentally jumping into the rear layer when trying to jump up the steps. I attempted it several times before successfully getting up to the second story. Suggestion - players generally get frustrated when they try to jump to an obvious platform, only to be switched into another layer. This can be fixed by gluing a few strands of invisible rubber (rubber made REALLY thin) into the rear layer. So, it looks the same but it prevents jumping into the rear layer.

Crystals - I had the same problem Matt had with the crystals. The constant stopping while attempting to walk made it frustrating - since Sackboy doesn't automatically move into an open layer when walking into a surface which is not vertical. I would suggest gluing an invisible vertical piece of rubber to the sides of the crystals so sackboy automatically changers layers while walking.

Getting the gem out of the belly-button ramp - When you don't know what you're doing here, it can be really frustrating trying to push the gem out of this area. Suggestion - maybe make it a ramp instead of stairs inside the belly button area so you can drag the gem out easier.

In all I really enjoyed it, and I think it's a worthy addition to the series.

robotiod
05-05-2009, 09:44 AM
Can't wait to play it looks amazing.
Your levels are getting better and better.
People could learn alot from the details you put in.
Question do you plan the level before you make it e.g a Blueprint.

mindphaser74
05-05-2009, 03:29 PM
Okay, I just played this and here are my thoughts:

I enjoyed it. The lettering was fantastic looking, the ambience is once again well-done. It serves it's purpose well as an introduction to the series.

A few issues:

The house with the switch on the second floor - one issue I had with this was accidentally jumping into the rear layer when trying to jump up the steps. I attempted it several times before successfully getting up to the second story. Suggestion - players generally get frustrated when they try to jump to an obvious platform, only to be switched into another layer. This can be fixed by gluing a few strands of invisible rubber (rubber made REALLY thin) into the rear layer. So, it looks the same but it prevents jumping into the rear layer.

Crystals - I had the same problem Matt had with the crystals. The constant stopping while attempting to walk made it frustrating - since Sackboy doesn't automatically move into an open layer when walking into a surface which is not vertical. I would suggest gluing an invisible vertical piece of rubber to the sides of the crystals so sackboy automatically changers layers while walking.

Getting the gem out of the belly-button ramp - When you don't know what you're doing here, it can be really frustrating trying to push the gem out of this area. Suggestion - maybe make it a ramp instead of stairs inside the belly button area so you can drag the gem out easier.

In all I really enjoyed it, and I think it's a worthy addition to the series.

Thank you CCubbage, those are some good tips. I'll do some more tinkering. The crystals will not be changed though. They do exactly what I wanted them to to, tangle players up a little (and it is just a liitle).

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I haven't told anyone this yet, but this level was supposed to be just a quick ride down the tree on the title screen followed by a slideshow. But I ended up making it a full-therm level anyways. I am glad I did this. TTYL :)

mindphaser74
05-05-2009, 03:41 PM
Can't wait to play it looks amazing.
Your levels are getting better and better.
People could learn alot from the details you put in.
Question do you plan the level before you make it e.g a Blueprint.

I "kind of" plan it. Not on paper just in my head.

All my levels start off with creating a natural looking template. When the Therm gets to just over a quarter way up the bar, I stop and examine my template. From there I try to determine where the best "start" and "end" points are for that design.

Then I think about a small area to work on, then do it, go to another small area, think, then do, then repeat.

I try to bring my level to a close when the bar is at 3/4. Then I apply point bubbles and details with the final 1/4 therm bar.

Sometimes I lay awake at night figuring out stuff in my head. I find it helps to think about the level you are building in your spare time while you are not looking at the game.

I only ever played through the story mode once, and never finished. But since my save file got corrupted and I had to reinstall and do the story mode again, I find that I am already learning lots more. So Chapter 3 should be a big improvement even further!

Thanks robotiod.:)

mindphaser74
05-05-2009, 03:44 PM
I never would have thought of that - Too cool! Thanks for letting us know. I love it when we get a peek behind the scenes on levels. :)

No worries Morgana25. I've been through the e-commerce industry and know only too well how people like to keep there creations very secretive. I always hated that about web-design, so I didn't want to have that trait carried over to a video game. So I don't mind giving away any or all of my secrets. :)

mrsupercomputer
05-05-2009, 07:40 PM
Just finished playing and had a lot of fun! I loved the atmosphere that you created and the world both above and below the roots! The custom lettering and the intro are great and really set the tone for the rest of the level. The visuals and lighting were also solid throughout.

In terms of gameplay, I felt that you managed to create an open world feeling, where the player can explore anywhere, but never gets lost. I enjoyed the platforming sections, wether it was to reach a switch or a point bubble.

All that said, I'm right there in agreement with Matt and CCubbage about the crystals. I know you said you don't want to change them, but I found them extremely frustrating which I felt hurt the exploration aspect of your level. I also had the same issue CCubbage had with the Ruby and I think his suggest about turning it into a ramp would help a lot.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the level and will check out your other creations! Nice job!

mindphaser74
05-05-2009, 10:30 PM
Just finished playing and had a lot of fun! I loved the atmosphere that you created and the world both above and below the roots! The custom lettering and the intro are great and really set the tone for the rest of the level. The visuals and lighting were also solid throughout.

In terms of gameplay, I felt that you managed to create an open world feeling, where the player can explore anywhere, but never gets lost. I enjoyed the platforming sections, wether it was to reach a switch or a point bubble.

All that said, I'm right there in agreement with Matt and CCubbage about the crystals. I know you said you don't want to change them, but I found them extremely frustrating which I felt hurt the exploration aspect of your level. I also had the same issue CCubbage had with the Ruby and I think his suggest about turning it into a ramp would help a lot.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the level and will check out your other creations! Nice job!

Thank you mrsupercomputer. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll try out a test version of the level with the crystals changed. I think that you guys really want this changed so I'll try it.

I actually just republished the level 5 minutes ago after making a number of changes.

-I made use of invisible matter to complete fix the stairs in the house and the elevator shaft near the top of the tree, definately no more cheating can be done there now.

-Players can now ride the top of the elevator (providing another player is on the bottom text controlling the switch). To get out of this area there is a hole between the "B" and "e" to drop down to the switch.

- I added a new butterfly lift above the first branch with the jumper and edited some of the scenery here

- I added more miasma clouds to the elevator areas around the tree

- I added lights at the Head of the Statue and they work and look awesome

- Noticed a few more speech bubbles today that weren't connected to perm switches, so I fixed those and added and changed some cutscenes.

BTW 3x power finally tried my Chapter 1 of the series and complained about the speech bubbles being used with a permaswitch. She missed the text somehow and couldn't finish the level :( People have been telling me here to always use perma-switches. Now I'm confused :confused: I'll have to fix up Ch 1 and 2 I guess.

- I did a few other things that don't need mentioning too and I think the level is almost perfect (for me that is).

I will do the crystal thing by tomorrow and reply back here with the results.

Thanks again mrsupercomp and everyone else. :)

Matt 82
05-05-2009, 10:42 PM
Well the main drawback of permanent switches is that once they`re gone, they`re gone. Of course it means the player has to physically get rid of them themselves so they should have been able to read them. Unless they`re maybe close to an obstacle where to progress you have to drop a power up using circle? That might be a factor.

CCubbage
05-05-2009, 11:53 PM
It's probably a pain the the patoody, but you can certainly do magic mouths that ALWAYS pop up (for maybe the few that are absolutely necessary to do so)

Connect a sensor switch up to an emitter and have it emit a really small piece of dark matter (so it's invisible) with a magic mouth attached that activates as soon as its emitted. Set the life of the emitted object to long enough for the player to read the message. That way you don't have to do a cut scene, but the text always pops up.

mindphaser74
05-06-2009, 04:26 PM
It's probably a pain the the patoody, but you can certainly do magic mouths that ALWAYS pop up (for maybe the few that are absolutely necessary to do so)

Connect a sensor switch up to an emitter and have it emit a really small piece of dark matter (so it's invisible) with a magic mouth attached that activates as soon as its emitted. Set the life of the emitted object to long enough for the player to read the message. That way you don't have to do a cut scene, but the text always pops up.

Interesting solution CCub, I'll experiment with that next chance I get. Thanks :)

mindphaser74
05-16-2009, 04:16 PM
Thanks for all the reviews everyone. This level just made the Spotlight #13 list! Woohoo!

Grantos, did you forget to finish your review of this level? Maybe the visuals and all are getting a little old? If that's the case I have a treat for everyone with Chapter 3. You'll have to wait though. But it'll be worth it I hope. :cool:

Noroibito
06-07-2009, 02:06 AM
WOW! You weren't lying when you said this level is a visual feast! It also plays wonderfully. The logo is one of the best I've seen and No! Of course the visuals aren't getting old they look lovely! The statue puzzle took me a bit, but that was because of my stupidity:blush: Well the level was great! Except did it really explain about the series' past present and future? In text probably not but in the game play and visuals? Definitely!

5 Stars/ Brilliant/ Hearted!

Ahh since you're old chapter 2 level wasn't F4F, I going to post my second request here. Can you give me some feedback on my second level in my series? Siren: The Lost World [Episode 2-Otherside]
Thanks! I really appreciate it! Off to try the third level in the series!

mindphaser74
06-07-2009, 02:35 AM
WOW! You weren't lying when you said this level is a visual feast! It also plays wonderfully. The logo is one of the best I've seen and No! Of course the visuals aren't getting old they look lovely! The statue puzzle took me a bit, but that was because of my stupidity:blush: Well the level was great! Except did it really explain about the series' past present and future? In text probably not but in the game play and visuals? Definitely!

5 Stars/ Brilliant/ Hearted!

Ahh since you're old chapter 2 level wasn't F4F, I going to post my second request here. Can you give me some feedback on my second level in my series? Siren: The Lost World [Episode 2-Otherside]
Thanks! I really appreciate it! Off to try the third level in the series!

Absolutely, I will definately FB both your levels tomorrow morning when the tv is free.

And yes the level was supposed to just be a visual representation of some of the concepts I had in mind, but... it is little known that there is a MAJOR hint related to the story hidden in this level, it isn't obvious but I will reveal the link in chapter 4.

Thanks so much for giving my levels a try, not many people have. But I am finally going to do a campaign of sorts to try to get them noticed.

TTYL Noro :)

dcf
06-08-2009, 12:41 AM
This was the first one I played in the series. Right off the bat, the title graphic was incredible. I thought the whole level was beautiful. I did have some problem with the areas containing root crystal combinations. I found them difficult to navigate due to how they interacted with the media molecules automatic plane shifting code.

http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=477&pictureid=4292

I'm not sure what I did to get the ball to the left to appear.

***********

I thought the statue was really well done. I enjoyed jumping around on it and hitting the various buttons causing more areas to be exposed. I'm guessing that gem is a plot point that will continue later in the series.

Good prologue for showing off your stuff.

I gave it 4 stars, a heart and a beautiful. I'd give it 5 stars easily if it wasn't for the aforementioned problems I had with plane shifting.

ZipCity
06-08-2009, 09:58 PM
Cool overall, but I also had trouble with the root system. kept getting stuck in the wrong layer. In fact, once I hit one switch, I had to kill myself in order to move on, as I just couldn't get out of that layer.

I also felt like I was constantly fighting invisible dark matter. When I was trying to get from the left foot up to the left hand of the statue, I kept bumping my head on something and falling down. Very frustrating