View Full Version : Strange Lands and Far Away Places

11-18-2009, 08:44 PM
Strange Lands and Far Away Places **Trailer included**squirlin
A project I've been working on for a while now, and I think its nearing completion. Looks like I might be able to have it up and running within the week. . . I don't expect the game-play of it to be found terribly new or complex, but there are some obstacles and puzzle type situations. Quite honestly the level is mostly an excuse to throw together a bunch of cool stuff made with glass, stickers, and lights. So if you're looking for a visual treat; give it a try and let me know what you thought.

:D Special thanks to ScoutsBoo who made this awesome trailer for the level! Sorry for making it a direct link to youtube but apparently I am just too inept with the tags and coding.


11-19-2009, 01:05 PM
I'm going to check this one out tonight... This morning I happened upon a Pirate Treasure level you made that was hearted by someone (actually one of the times heart links worked well) and really enjoyed it. Came here to see if it was on the showcase and found this new one.

Fertile Decline
11-20-2009, 04:47 AM
I really want to play/view this level but I don't think it's up yet. I really enjoyed the art show print one you had up though.

11-20-2009, 05:34 AM
Thanks for those nice comments guys! :D Yeah the pirate ship was the 2nd level I ever made! Before I had been online and had a chance to see what other people were making.
I'm hoping to have the level up tomorrow. As the title suggests. . . it is pretty strange. Its good that you liked the art print show because I think of this level as related in many ways.

11-20-2009, 12:14 PM
Looks very good and detail rich. A play from me when it comes out!

11-20-2009, 05:01 PM
Ok then, as of 20 minutes ago or so. . . the level is out. Its got it's first few plays and its looking like its off to a much better start this time! 5 plays so far and a 5 star rating. :D (I had it up briefly yesterday but after six plays, it gloriously shot up to a 1 star rating!. . . so I tore it down). Its early still but it just goes to show how much luck and timing has to do with the success of a level, you never know who your first critics will be.

11-20-2009, 05:04 PM
oh - it's done?!? Yay! I'm going to check it out tonight. So inspiring what I saw of it early :)

11-20-2009, 05:08 PM
Ooh! I'm gonna play this tonight FOR SURE! I always enjoy an artistic type of level!

11-20-2009, 05:11 PM
Good to see you have a new level out squirlin. I was only looking the other day to see if you had anything new but didn't see this so I'm looking forward to checking it out later.

11-20-2009, 05:30 PM
Wow, squirlin, those pictures are amazing. I particularly like the portrait - fantastic and original use of stickers. He has a real look of a Nicholas Hilliard Elizabethan courtier (one of the ones that paid him to make them look gorgeous and devil may care, lol!). Like this one:


I am really looking forward to playing the level.

11-20-2009, 06:06 PM
Lol, way to nail it on the head shropshire-lass, that was exactly what I was going for!- Nobody has seen it but me I think, but my original sticker-drawing of that guy even has a white frilly collar. I think ima go find it and post it along with this comment.


11-20-2009, 09:07 PM
The tasks took me while to solve but still this unique journey was an exquisite experience and only over too soon.

11-20-2009, 10:26 PM
Well, that was just amazing. Iím still reeling a bit from the fire riddle section. You made me work very hard there, lol, but at least I had a real sense of achievement when I finally got the flame rose!

I loved the visuals throughout. I donít know where to start listing my favourite bits but the pollen beetles were gorgeous with their brilliant jewel like colours and the phoenix bubbles too - in fact, great use of beautiful vibrant colours in the whole level. Lovely detail in the two main characters, too, Mu (gobbling noodles, lol!) and the lady of the garden.

The balloon ride was fun, though my flying was erratic to put it mildly. My sackgirl was distinctly green about the gills after all the sudden veering left and right, shooting upwards and plunging down. Oh, and I was very grateful for the tunnels with the bubbles in them. It was good to get a points boost after my pitiful score up to that stage!

The gameplay was original, varied and challenging in parts (I am looking at you fire riddle!). I also liked the touches of humour in the speech bubbles (cargoyle, indeed!).

As Kipmonlin said, a unique journey. In every section there was something new to make you stop and go ďwowĒ. It was indeed a strange land to travel through but a very beautiful and intriguing one

I also enjoyed the puzzle elements (for want of a better word). It was definitely a level which made me think about what I needed to do next and how to go about it, which I like. I am missing one of the phoenix bubbles, though, and so I havenít seen the bonus gallery. This means I shall just have to play the level again to try and find it, especially as the bonus gets talked up so much at the end there!

A beautiful and strange level. Five stars, hearted and tagged "artistic".

11-21-2009, 03:50 AM
Just got through playing this with my friend AaronO777...We're speechless. The trial of fire was a great challenge. Simple mechanics, but fun gameplay! The thing that really got us were YOUR CHARACTER DESIGNS! Best use of stickers ever! Especially the lady of the garden! WOWEE!

We did encounter one little problem. You now where it shows the total of...what were they? Fire Birds? I managed to get behind that, run to the left, and ended up at the end of, what I presume, the gallery. Might wanna look into that ;)

Other than that, no other problems. Nice solid level! :star::star::star::star::star:'s and a heart from both of us!

11-21-2009, 04:11 AM
Whoa! Nice catch Grey! I fixed the problem. . . :) and yeah it was the Gallery- Just some stuff I wanted people to see but didn't work into the gameplay. Actually I had thought you guys might not have had so great a time for some reason. . . . might have had something to do with uploading a pic of a giant. . . donkey face on MU! LOL. .. yeah the glass and lights really show off stickers with great clearity. . . thanks for that ;)

11-21-2009, 05:41 AM
Is it still up, squirlin? And can I get past that place you said we couldn't get past now? If so, i will endeavour to play it in the next couple of days (without the assistance of someone who knows what they're doing) and get back to you with all my many suggestions for improvement ;)

[you do know I'm kidding, right?]

11-21-2009, 11:19 AM
Well, I did replay and still didnít get the missing phoenix, grr! My guess is that itís somewhere near that tantalising pile of red bubbles which I persist in missing every time the boat/sleigh crashes...grinds teeth audibly.

Anyway as I was replaying I spotted a couple of minor nitpicks. I hesitate to mention the first one as it is probably my lack of skill rather than an issue with the level. It is just that when you stop the boat/sleigh and have to activate the switches, I have no problems getting to the switches but Iím then faced in two cases out of three (I think) with a leap in the dark to try and get back. I die every time as I canít judge the jump properly - which is a bit annoying. This may have been the intention, so please feel free to pour scorn on me from a great height at this point.

The second is that when youíve finished listening to the garden lady and try to exit right, the camera angle makes it awkward to pass through the exit as you canít really see what youíre doing. I just hop about a bit in an undignified way until I make it throughÖnot a big issue obviously.

Anyway, just a couple of very minor things I noticed which don't at all detract from the level overall.

11-21-2009, 01:28 PM
This looks great, squirlin! I'll give it a go later. :)

11-21-2009, 02:37 PM
@Shropshire-lass- :D you're so close to finding that phoenix! Thanks for the nit-picks, I'm always on the lookout for things to improve or fix. . . especially the little things you know? Also any excuse to change and republish to snag a few extra easy plays is welcome ;). So i've addressed both of your points. Midora has a new range for her camera. . . and the lights in the cave will have a wider area of effect. The cave lights are triggered on a speed setting. . which means the closer you get to the activating sensor switches, the brighter the light becomes. I just wish the the change happened more gradually.

11-21-2009, 03:21 PM
I was completely floored by this level. It was overall an extremely fun and beautiful level to play but if I had to pick my favorite elements, they would be:

1. Unique, hilarious and amazingly well crafted characters;
2. Jaw droppingly beautiful glass, color and light work; and
3. Phoenix bubbles that give you a special pass to the vault of goodies (not that I've been able to see that...:().

Well done squirlin, I really love this level! As people above have said it's "stupendous", "exquisite" and rich in detail.

Rated :star::star::star::star::star:, hearted and tagged with "Are you kidding me?" :D

P.S. If I had to nit pick, I would say perhaps you can make it a little brighter where "squirlin" comes up in the intro.

11-21-2009, 05:02 PM
:D I was wondering if somebody was gonna call me out on that! I spelled my name with the black alphapet stickers onto dissolve material with regular black stickers on them. The neat thing about the alphabet stickers is they seem to have the ink-like quality of appearing red-ish when on a black background and under the right lighting. . . . I played around with it a lot and what you see in the level is the best I could manage. It would be nice if it was a little brighter. . . but I just couldn't make it happen. People know I made the level anyway. . . In the end I decided that having a dimly lit name was well worth the effect I wanted to show off. :D

11-21-2009, 09:29 PM
e-hem! *flexes fingers*
I wasn't going to mention what Max just did, but since she pointed it out, I will second it... would be nice to see your name a little more clearly. Although, yes we know it's by you, but still...

The intro to this was just beautiful. I especially loved the birds flying past - even though I knew it was programmed to happen, it felt spontaneous and looked fabulous. Your sound effects are also really good through the intro.

I hit my first snag with the grab on the chain that drops from the cargoyle... I dropped down to collect the bubbles, but annoyingly, some of them were too low for me to reach, even when I wasn't swinging. Was that just my inadequacy? I also thought it was a shame that, when dropping down, you lose the vista that you would have had from the seat of the cargoyle...maybe you could zoom out a little to encompass both, but have it triggered only when you drop down, as that's a nice 'secret'. Just a thought.

Mu is terrific and very clever use of that green rope thing! In fact all your characters were just - WOW. I couldn't figure out how you'd illuminated the faces and how you'd worked the planes to appear so seamless. Masterful! And so many little touches! Much appreciated by my artistic eye :) Despite the fact I knew what it was (but obvioulsy forgot) that gong where you put the rose flame... I thought it was a checkpoint that wouldn't activate until I got to the top where the flame was and went, oh, der! But it wasn't too clear.

Then there was that riddle of fire... It is indeed ingenious, and beautiful to look at (what material did you burn for the background? It was luminous) BUT... SO HAAARD!! Despite my extraordinary extreme platforming abilities which, although are not quite legend, you are familiar with ;) Me lost all me point bubbles in this section and me wasn't happy. The main culprits are first, that section with the tilting platform... I was muttering about you under my breath! A lot. I found it really, really hard to first of all negotiate the flip up onto that that little ledge (without falling off the edges of the tilting platform), but also getting across to the switches as I couldn't make the distance properly. I did it by sheer fluke in the end. I tried to use the rotation of the platform to flip me over but it just kept sending me into the wall - and death. I've seen you do it without any problem, but just be aware that we don't all share your dark powers and lesser beings will get rather frustrated :( The same goes for the pillar stairs. Going up the first flight was easy, but having to hop across the second flight, especially as the height increased and you lost control while dropping, was very hard too. Still, I'm having a whinge and feel free to completely ignore me.

From there it was smooth sailing, I even navigated the laser strings fine (surprised myself), but it was indeed easier with just me playing - really hard to figure out with 2 or more as the camera keeps moving. But you warn of that in the start, so no problem. It's very, very clever, so good job.

Back to Mu and down the tunnel.. that was funny and you know I love the visual effects in the tunnel. Just gorgeous. I did have a bit of the same problem as shropshirelass with darkness, so kept dying but I had no points left so wasn't too stressed about it. One thing I will mention... those cute little creatures blocking the boat's path - I did not even really see them properly until the cut scene after pulling the switch. is there any way to make them more visible beforehand? a proximity speech bubble with sound or something? They're just really good. It wasn't clear to me either time that they were what had stopped the boat.

Anyhow, the lighting and colours were fabulous and I enjoyed the trip, right up to where the boat plummets over the edge and I couldn't reach those grabs. But I will go back and retry as I want all those phoenixes.

Midora was so beautiful. I agree about the camera angle when trying to go right to the fruit task. I could see that I was trapped i the wrong plane, so you'd better fix that or else. The tree and especially those incredible beetles were gorgeous.. I'm running out of adjectives here...

The ballon vehicle was clever and fortunately while testing the mechanisms I saw those corridors drop down with the points in them. I didn't see those before. But i got them all so very happy about that.

The Mysterious man was... wonderful. I looked at his face for quite a while to take in the detail. I couldn't make out what images were spinning behind him though, but figured that obviously didn't matter or you'd have slowed it down. Because I couldn't go right before he spoke to me, when he said go back I took it literally and went back, but eventually figured it out. I was really, really tired, ok? The phoenix 'secret' board was a great idea and very pretty. Alas, I also didn't the to see the gallery either, but shall return and reattempt - when i can face that fire riddle again. lol!

I was pleased to see that despite the loss of ALL my bubbles in that fire riddle, I managed a reasonable spot on the scoreboard amongst all the others who'd also lost their points. You should now go and join that extreme platformists social group.

All in all, a magnificent level and a visual delight. Thanks so much, mr clever. I gave it 5 stars and hearted (under my daughter's profile) :)

Edit - Sorry.. that way WAY too long. I was typing in bursts and didn't realise. pack a lunch.

11-21-2009, 10:29 PM
Woah, squirlin! I promised I would play this, and oh my word, you've kept this gem under your hat, haven't you?!!

What an enchanting level! Fluid, fun and great lighting. I enjoyed it immensely. Other members have done a great job commenting already, and I can only say that this was simply superb and a joy to play.

Oh, and welcome into my Top 50 levels!

Brilliant. :)

11-21-2009, 10:34 PM
@babydoll- Yeah, I wanted to burn a lot of sacks up in the riddle of fire. > : ) I knew that many would find it difficult. . . and the dark powers of mine you speak of are only active in the riddle of fire. . .as I had to play through it every time I wanted to play test another part of the level. When you've gone through your own level enough times; you really lose perspective on difficulty. Any way I thought i made up for it by making the rest of the level seem like coasting downhill in comparison.
Also I had guessed many would confuse the flame rose resting point for a check point. . .but i'm not sure how do go about making it more clear, short of sticking a diagram next to it. :D
And now its time to brag about something. . . that I think will address most. . . if not all of your other comments. . . it just so happens that I have a really really nice television set. Its big, its High Def, and it really helps me put in all the detail I want in a level. Sadly I'm not always thinking about how this will translate to other screens. . . but it looks great for me! :p And if you've got a nice TV. . . well then I guess it wouldn't be nice to poke fun at your vision. Seriously though i'ma go back and see what I can do do make various things more readily apparent.
Don't expect me to me to change the riddle of fire!. . . I love that monster and I expect it to burn many more hopeless young sackboys. . muhuhuhhahaha

@MrsSpookyBuz- woot! I'm on your list! :D

11-22-2009, 12:02 AM
Also I had guessed many would confuse the flame rose resting point for a check point. . .but i'm not sure how do go about making it more clear, short of sticking a diagram next to it. :D
And now its time to brag about something. . . that I think will address most. . . if not all of your other comments. . . it just so happens that I have a really really nice television set. Its big, its High Def, and it really helps me put in all the detail I want in a level... Don't expect me to me to change the riddle of fire!. . . I love that monster and I expect it to burn many more hopeless young sackboys. . muhuhuhhahaha

How about the red flame sticker and a little red light or something? You go with what you feel works best.

I also have an awesome HD LCD TV and I'll bet mine's bigger than yours :)

Thanks, for considering what I said. There needs to be a partial thanks button because I don't thank you for that riddle monster which steals ma bubbles >:(

11-22-2009, 03:17 AM
Wow... the artwork in this level was stunning. Beautiful all the way through! The fire puzzle was pretty tough (which I like!) and it had some nice varied gameplay, original visuals, and a nice story. 5 stars and a heart!

I didn't run into any issues whatsoever, so I have no critisism.... so I just stopped by to say great job!

11-22-2009, 02:10 PM
So Babydoll and Shropshire-Lass should be happy to know that your comments have resulted in the levels greatest, (not strictly visual) change to the level. I decided the camera angle at Midora wasn't the real culprit, and I built a tunnel through the stone into the garden. So now there is no longer a right or wrong plane to be on. . . and I think the tunnel looks pretty cool.
Also I tested out the extra bubbles you can grab on the cargoyle ride and again I had no problems getting them all. . . the first one or two can be difficult but its possible. I'm guessing you weren't hanging on the bottom of the tail. . thing.
The lighting in the rose flame area now should be just enough to discern that it is not a check point. And I remember somebody asking what material was used in as background in the riddle of fire to which the answer is the metal grill. And lastly at Babydoll. . . I highly doubt that your TV is bigger than mine! :grr:. . . but I don't plan to state it's dimensions here for fear of becoming highly envied. ;)

11-22-2009, 02:44 PM
This,is my favourite level.

11-22-2009, 03:48 PM
Stunning visuals, almost creepy how weird it was. (in the good way.) It didn't feel like lbp at all. Simply stunning :D

The parts that really showed through for me was the cargoyle? at the beggining, the great glass effects, Mi and his noodles, the string wheel glass effect, and the simplicity of the beauty of the boat.


-You spelled repeat wrong lol.

-I think you should make the fire orb activate it's base with a permanent switch, because I had trouble reading the text.

-It's also really cumbersome to try to get the fire orb to stay on its base. I have two suggestions: When the orb gets to the bottom, the balloon floats away, or when it gets near the base, a ludicrously long winch snaps it in place. I also suggest a delay switch on the base.

-The part that confused me most in the entire level was "meet me under the bridge". It's probably just me, but I didn't notice the opening at all. Maybe when he says that, the text view points to the opening?

A few technicalities, but great, innovative, clever, cooky level. 5* and a heart :)

11-23-2009, 07:02 PM
Thanks for that feedback Incinerator. Yeah I had always known that whole flame rose returning thing could be a bit tricky. I've altered the bridge a bit now to draw the players attention more easily to how they might get under it. And I set the Mu's message to a permanent switch. As for the other ideas, either the balloon floating away. . . or the long winch. . I like those ideas but have yet to use them. Actually I remember the winch idea had occurred to me when I was building the level but apparently I must have decided against it for some reason. Anyway it is due to your feedback sir that I think that little segment plays out quite a bit smoother.

11-23-2009, 07:03 PM
Wow budy, that was one of my favorite levels EVER. Love the characters, creatures too organic and full of magical. Missed some of the Phoenix, but i will return to check it out. Once you let me a comment in one of my levels; the second one i think... (the reason to meet you or know you) you just say the word "EVIL" but for me it was great, because in that time my levels was harder. Now when i was playing the Fire test in your level.... i was thinking that this time you been EVIL. A little hard but not imposible.
The lighting (magistral) and colours of the enviroments in did... awesome, just the perfect mix to recreate a special place in LBP. And one of the best levels i ever played. It was good to meet you... because you are giving us a good moment of fun in our lives. Thanks friend.:p

11-26-2009, 09:18 PM
What a challenge. Didn't think I'd die so much playing this level, whew, got my butt kicked by that sponge fire conveyer belt contraption. Good fun though with multiplayers. Visually, I loved everything about it. Brilliant use of stickers and color. You keep raising the bar, squirlin. Excellent job. 5 stars. And thanks for a wonderful time. :-)

11-27-2009, 03:17 AM
Really shenoa? I thought the level was really easy. And you call yourself an expert platformer? You gotta step up your game lol.

11-27-2009, 04:48 AM
Really shenoa? I thought the level was really easy. And you call yourself an expert platformer? You gotta step up your game lol.

Watch it buddy, them fighting words. And I'm definitely not an expert platformer... just a member of the group. So ha, there. But here's a thanks anyway. :-p

Well, in my defense, I was trying to keep my 1 yr old from grabbing the controller, even had to play holding my controller above my head, lol. And defending myself from slaps from fellow sackmates didn't help either. I guess we were just havin fun.

11-28-2009, 08:44 AM
Great work Squirlin, this level went straight into my top 5.
Wonderful visuals, attention to details, wonderful gameplay, originality.
Keep up the good work!

I also saw that you got a very good comment from koknsun who played the level just before me.
Be very proud of yourself and give a pat on your back!