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View Full Version : Fort Sugar Series *** Sacky Nominated & Spotlighted ***



VelcroJonze
02-28-2010, 05:46 PM
Fort Sugar SeriesVelcroJonze
e.com/profilehttp://www.youtub?user=VelcroJonze#p/a/f/0/_qU81GE_yh4These are platforming levels(no story) with minor puzzle elements and fairly easy to finish. They all have a similar look, but all feel completely different. I have a video of part three posted on youtube if you want to see what your getting into before downloading. http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=VelcroJonze
Hey guy's, I have a series of levels called Fort Sugar that is currently up to part three, and I would love to get some feedback (good or bad). Part one was published on a different account- odomodometer, but parts two and three are under my current psn, VelcroJonze.

Edit: Fort Sugar Redux is on my VelcroJonze account. Some parts of the original were broken with the cheesecake update. It is the same Fort Sugar, just with a new paint job.

Hope you like it too.

Thanks!

-VJ :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuYQaM_HkEA

Spark151
02-28-2010, 05:57 PM
Wow!
From the looks of it, It looked like you tried very hard and took your time.
How long did it take you to create this level?

I havent played this level yet, but from the looks of it, you may receive a heart and five stars.
I'll reply back once I've played your level.

jeffcu28
02-28-2010, 06:21 PM
Hey VelcroJonze,

Welcome to LBPCentral! I've already played part III of this series and was pleasantly surprised at the exciting gameplay involving surprise catapulting mechanisms. I really enjoyed it, and I recommend this level to anyone who has yet to play it. I left a detailed review of part III earlier, so I'll just restate it here:



I'm surprised to find out that this level is underplayed and underrated...it definitely deserves more attention...

One thing I really liked was the very solid gameplay you presented: there were always switches, grabbable winches, hidden bubbles, exploration, and solid platforming throughout the level to keep the player entertained. I really, really loved the bubble placement you had here. They were cleverly hidden, yet accessible, and it encouraged exploration! I also liked the open-world feel at some points where the paths seem to branch out.

Now there was also technical genius here. I love those surprise catapulting moments!

I especially liked the catapulting sequence where you fall down and the piston pushes you to the side and you catapult sequentially like three times to land on the upper platform. That looked difficult to implement, and you executed it really well. I was impressed!:D

Now for some constructive criticisms. I liked the layering you did with the thin and thick layers, and how you carried it throughout to give a unified look, but I felt it eventually got too repetitive. The stone material and the jagged shapes worked really well in general, but it just got visually boring after a while. Maybe you can add some more contrast in colors to make the texture of the background stand out more. I really liked the pattern, but it seemed to just have faded in the grayness. A darker color to frame around it would have made it pop out more.

I would also suggest more stickers to add some focal points in some scenes. The spiderwebs worked really well, but they were too few I'm afraid. You don't have to pick vibrant or blatantly cartoony stickers as they would completely ruin the stony look, but maybe some grungy textures, cracks, coffee stains, and perhaps even hardware would've added more visual interest.

But don't get me wrong. This was an absolutely fantastic level to play, but I just wanted to help you get the 4-5 stars this level deserves. I would personally give it 4.5 stars for the awesome gameplay, but again, I thought the visuals needed a slight improvement for that extra .5 stars. Hehe. Of course, I can't actually give it 4.5, so I rounded up to 5:star:s in-game. Good job! I recommend this to anyone who hasn't played it yet!

Catapulting to the skies,
jeffcu28

VelcroJonze
02-28-2010, 08:27 PM
Wow!
From the looks of it, It looked like you tried very hard and took your time.
How long did it take you to create this level?

Hey Spark, it took me maybe 60 hours completed. I worked a few hours everyday for two weeks, most of which was using the corner editor. I was obsessed at making the level look as good as I could. In the end I think I went a little overboard with the layered textures. Thanks for replying. :)

Jeff, thanks so much for telling me about this site. And thanks again for your great review of my level and your support.

You are awesome. :cool:

Spark151
02-28-2010, 09:23 PM
Your levels were awesome.
I gave each level five stars, as well as giving you a heart!
Can't wait for more levels! :)

VelcroJonze
02-28-2010, 10:20 PM
Thanks so much Spark!!

It makes my day when someone says they enjoyed playing my levels.

Do you have any levels on psp or ps3? :)

Spark151
02-28-2010, 11:32 PM
Yeah.
My levels on the PS3 suck sadly.

Although, my levels on the psp are really cool.
My psp levels are on my signature. :)

VelcroJonze
03-01-2010, 12:36 AM
You have some great levels. :cool:

Taffey
03-01-2010, 06:41 AM
Hey VJ-

Well, those are some really nicely made and fun to play levels! I've never reviewed a full series of levels before - I'm glad this is my first. :)

I really had no idea what to expect, and each of the three levels in the series is better than the last. The thing I like best about your style is that it's clean, subdued, and unapologetic. Why bother explaining why there's a little catapult here or a grab winch there when it's all just so fun? You've probably heard this before, but your style is very similar to the way jackofcourse puts together his levels: Simple, entertaining platforming combined with quick-and-fun puzzles. Actually, "simple" really isn't a fair word because your levels are quite complex. The gameplay is flowing and well-paced, so it's easy to miss the fact that you're backtracking ingeniously and criss-crossing while opening doors and tracking down point bubbles. You have a lot of unique gameplay elements at work, but my favorite has to be from part III with the multiple flipper blocks that blip you around the area so fast you'll miss what just happened if you blink. That's a brilliant section and very well executed. Everything is very slick and seamless in fact, and it's clear that you do quite a bit of playtesting to get things right.

Another thing I like is your visual style. jeffcu28 mentioned that a bit of color here and there would be nice, and although I don't disagree I'd add a disclaimer to that statement. You say you don't "have an eye" for stickers and such, but I think you do and just don't realize it. All the material textures and stickers you chose flow together nicely in a very subtle way. Subtle is a hard thing to do in a game full of cartoony primary colors, so I applaud your clean, almost sterile environments. So I guess my disclaimer is, sure go ahead and add color, but keep it as subdued as possible. jeffcu28's suggestion of more spider webs is a particularly good one, and I'd expand that to perhaps include some of the other brick textures. This is all total personal preference though, and for my money I really can't see anything in your visual style I'd change. It would be nice to see a different palette of textures and tones in future levels, but I'm not exactly going to complain if Fort Sugar IV carries the same look. ;) Your corner editing skills are fantastic by the way, and I really like your use of the multiple material layers to add dimension. Everything is very meticulously lined up and looks really clean and elegant.

My suggestions and constructive criticism section here is going to be a wee bit slim. How about... uh... make more levels? No, that's just lame. But I do want you to make more levels though. Perhaps.... Oh, you could play with music a little more I suppose. I believe all of your levels are single-song only, which of course is fine, but you may want to consider switching tracks once or twice to help set the pace and tone. One of your strengths is flowing gameplay, so definitely keep doing that. You also have a knack for coming up with new and unique game elements (like the hidden catapults - love those!!), so definitely do your best to keep the fresh ideas coming. Easier said than done, I know, but there's my lip service on that subject.

Well I'm stumped on what else to suggest as improvements, but I'm definitely not stumped on my ratings. I gave part 1 a 4.5/5 rating, and parts 2 and 3 got 5/5. All that translates into 5 stars in-game of course, and I gave all three levels hearts as well, along with a creator heart for you. It's great to have a talented creator like you around here - jeffcu28 certainly picked a good one. :)

Thanks for the excellent levels, and I'm looking forward to more! ;)

VelcroJonze
03-02-2010, 12:06 AM
Wow!! thanks so much for the excellent and very thorough review Taffey!

You are one of the legend creators in my book, and knowing you liked my series and even hearted them (wOOt!!) is trully awesome.
Everything is very slick and seamless in fact, and it's clear that you do quite a bit of playtesting to get things right.

Yes! I spend as much time playtesting my levels as I do the actual creating. I think if someone is going to take the time and download my level and play it, I should make it as enjoyable as possible. The launchers in the middle section were a little tough to get right at first, and after I got them to the point where I liked them I had a problem of getting Sackboy back to the top of the fort and past the first launcher without getting smacked across the level again. I hooked my piston up to a static piece of dissolve and the button switch that brings the last wench down dissolves it, so no smacky sacky. :)

Thanks again for the feedback Taffey! :cool:

VelcroJonze
03-02-2010, 09:19 PM
Okay folks, I am seriously thinking about releasing a new version of the original Fort Sugar. The reason being is that I created that level on my brother's odomodometer psn. Well he no longer uses his psp and I like my psn better, and I want all of the series under my name. Plus, all of my cut scenes disapeared after the cheesecake, (magic mouth and no text syndrome). These things have been bugging me for a while now, :eek: so I think I am going to do this. The original will still be up under the odomodometer account as well as my other levels, Skyboy, The Chilly Ride, and Swings of Pain. Check those out too if you get the chance.

I have made myself at home the couple of days, and I plan on leaving alot of feedback on the levels posted here.

Thanks to everyone for this awesome community! :)

Taffey
03-03-2010, 12:43 AM
I say definitely go for it. I'm looking forward to the Lucas-style remastered edition of the classic FS1. (Remember though, Han shoots first! And Luke doesn't scream!)

VelcroJonze
03-04-2010, 01:15 AM
(Remember though, Han shoots first! And Luke doesn't scream!)

Speedo screamed! :eek:

Okay Fort Sugar Redux is up on the servers. I added a little facelift, but nothing to drastic. I didn't want to change it to much, just fix what was broken. I also added a new platforming segment that replaces a part that I just wasn't happy with.

Any feedback for this or any of my other levels is most welcome!! :)

amazingflyingpoo
03-05-2010, 07:45 AM
Hidy Ho Velcro! I am so sorry that it has taken me this long to play Fort Sugar III, but I was a bit super-addicted to trying to finish my latest level, and I didn't play much of anything. BUT! Now it is finally published and I can sit back and enjoy other peoples' wonderful levels, like this one :D

So, let's get down to business...

There are different types of PSP levels, there are Platformers (I would call Lleonard_Pler the king of this), vehicle/contraption levels (salieri takes the cake on this), funny levels (can anybody say Taffey?), and Story levels (Shade-Seeker :D).

So, yeah, I'm making this all up as I go. But let's pretend that you are actually buying what I'm saying. Well, if that's the case, then I would throw you in a category with JackofCourse, which I call "Just Plain Fun". I wouldn't throw it into Platforming, because I prefer a platformer to have at least a little bit of story, and you and Jack just keep it straight fun.

Let's actually talk about the level now instead of me making up some hypothetical level categories that mean nothing (man it's great having my level done so that I can babble on-and-on here):

I was immediately impressed by just how fun the design of Fort Sugar III was. From the start where bubbles were already falling on my head, to the falling sponges on winches, to the awesome pads that sent you flying into the air, everything was just fun.

I especially liked the part where a set of pads sent you through 2 right-angles and back up to a position on the same plane that you were standing on before. I made sure to show my wife that on my second play through (I'll talk about why I played it twice later on). Something else that worked really well was the electrified wall that chases you. I actually HATE that type of thing, because almost every single author who incorporates it into their level ends up making it so that by the time you realize that the wall is coming for you, it is already too late because you needed to start running the moment your feet hit the ground. This one on the other hand gave me that moment to realize what was going on and get moving. It worked GREAT!

As for the scenery, you did an excellent job. Obviously, there were not incredible set pieces, but that is completely fine because this level wasn't built for intricate set pieces. Instead, you just had some great layering of material and excellent material choices to give a great look to a fun level.

My only real issue with the entire level is that the background and objects in the level seemed to go away completely around the last 5% of the level. There is a part where you start grabbing sponges which lower you down levels, and you do this a few times. Then you hit the ground and go left, and then just start going up ramps.

This may seem silly, but I got to this part, and it was so empty that I decided that I must have already been here and what I used must have disappeared. I actually quit the level and restarted because I was so confused as to where all the scenery had gone! I know, I know... it sounds stupid, but the very end of the level just sort of lost the magic fun-ness that the level held, and because of it, it feels like the end of the level doesn't have a soul. It's not a big deal though, the level is awesome, and it's just a tiny portion at the end. The only reason that I even mention it is to encourage you to do more at the end on Fort Sugar IV, which I will be eagerly anticipating.

Okey dokey, that's about all I've got. Sorry that my feedback is a bit random (unlike the masters of feedback, Jeffcu28 and Taffey). The level was a blast to play, and it is certainly something that you should be proud of! I will be trying out the prequels in the near future (and if you don't hear feedback from me, make sure to remind me!)

Great work!

VelcroJonze
03-06-2010, 01:48 AM
Thank you so much for playing my level Poo, and the feedback. You are the second person to compare my work to Jack's, (the other was Taffey), this week, and let me say that is one huge compliment. I can for sure say that he is an inspiration to me, and I agree his levels are alot of fun. I'm glad you enjoyed the launch pads too. I always thought getting shot through the air was fun, and apparently other people do too! You know, the last part of the level feels kind of empty to me as well. I struggled through that part in about three days and looking back, I probably should have put the level on ice for a while and came back to it fresh after a few days (or weeks), but I can never do that. Once I start something it bugs my until it's done.

Whenever you get a chance please play the others. I re released Fort Sugar and called it Redux, so all of the sugar series are now on my VelcroJonze account. Take your time and don't feel obligated to write a long review, unless you want too.

Thanks again Poo!! :)

amazingflyingpoo
03-06-2010, 06:44 AM
Alrighty, I just had a Fort Sugar marathon and played (Redux) as well as Fort Sugar II. I can talk about them both together in general since they share a lot of the same mechanics, and I have a few points to make about them individually.

First of all, I want to say that you do a wonderful job of implementing new ideas into each of the levels. I was a little worried that Fort Sugar III would just be a rehash of the same stuff in the first 2, and while it does have a lot of the same things, you re-use stuff in a good way, and by that I mean that you have sort of staples of the series like the boards that fling you in different directions and hanging grabbable material held up by winches, but each level also has new ideas that help the level to stand out. After playing all 3 levels, I also see that you have a great idea of how to make a level look good with layering. Like I said in my previous post on this thread, I was impressed at your material choices as well as your layering that you did. It all looks fabulous.

One thing that worries me after seeing them all is that they look very very similar. It is sort of a good thing since that are all in a series of levels, but it is a bad thing because while what is there looks good, it feels like the levels could use some more decoration. Now this is a different complaint then what I was saying about the end of Fort Sugar III, that part just sort of had the whole level design and decoration die away in the last 5% for me. What I am talking about here is that there are giant rooms where you do nothing but have a giant wall of material in the background. I'm sure that you could easily come up with something to look at in rooms like this. When I play your levels, the only things that is really discernable between them and Jack's levels is the scenery. He not only does excellent layering, but he also makes sure to have every section of his levels look beautiful and fun (and he has a bit more of a variety of puzzles to his levels, but I'm not sure if that is your aim, so I can't hold that against you :) ). I think that for Fort Sugar IV, it would be great if you could spend an extra few days just making the level have more set pieces. It could even just be clever sticker usage, but just be careful not to just put stickers out for the sake of filling space, because that will just look stupid. Put some thought into it.

Your camera angles in all of your levels are EXCELLENT. I love the way you use the camera, it is spot on with what I want to see in a LBP level of this style, and I have seen few people do it as well as you have. I think that the camera angles may have been what made me want better set pieces even more, because there is so much potential to have an awesome looking section when you have awesome camera angles mixed with great set pieces (see Lleonard_Pler's levels for an example of this).

So let's talk about the 2 levels specifically a little...

Fort Sugar (Redux):
I didn't play the original Fort Sugar on the odometer account, because I figured that this would be the better version anyway. I can't believe that this was your first PSP level because it looks so good, and it is a blast to play. All of the compliments that I have given your levels apply to this one as well. It is excellent!

The part where you had the block of material that emitted blocks and you could form a path across the fire was cool. I would have preferred if the switch was a 3-way switch set to directional instead of a 2-way switch set to On-Off, but that is no big deal, and some people may have liked the way it is now more anyway :D

My only complain with this one is those ramps at the end with the fireballs. I didn't exactly have a hard time with it, it was just really boring, and if you died you had to repeat the boredom. This was a pretty nasty way to end the level, because it left a bad taste in my mount. After seeing how Fort Sugar III also ended with a disappointing ramp section, I'm thinking that you may just want to skip ramps altogether. I think that both levels would have been much better if you had just ended them before the ramp sections. Except for that the level played great and was a blast.

The part that stood out to me most was near the start when you are swinging across the floor of fire and fireballs are shooting out in different directions (and the camera angles in the level were awesome as usual!).


Fort Sugar II:
Fort Sugar II semed to be very very short. I thought that III was relatively long, and (Redux) was a good length as well, but II seemed to have barely any level to it. You just jumped down into a cave, messed around in there a bit, and the level seemed to shoot you up and end... I mean, this level didn't just feel a little shorter, it felt a lot shorter.

Anyway, what is here is pretty darn good. I loved the part at the beginning where you had the moving rectangle which blocked the falling fireballs from hitting you. That felt very fresh and unique!

Hmmm... not to much more to say for this one... it was really short :-P

That's about all I have. One other silly piece of advice would be to make it so your doors are not all disappearing material. Why not make a channel for the door to go up into the wall, and when the player pulls a lever, the door goes up. This is by no means a big deal, but the less disappearing material that you have visible to the player then the better off you are in my books :D


Awesome work, and I am seriously looking forward to Fort Sugar IV! Take your time with it and I think it will be absolutely incredible because you have so many awesome ideas to build on from (Redux), II, and III!

VelcroJonze
03-07-2010, 03:41 AM
Thanks for finishing my series Poo!. Your eye for details amazes me and all of your advice is greatly appreciated.

On Redux, the ramps with the fire balls, that was tribute to Donkey Kong! :cool: I made the fireballs smaller in Redux for an easier trek, but I can see where it might get a little tedious for some. Thanks for mentioning my camera work in this series. I play test my levels over and over and, I always try to get the camera in the best spots, I like a smooth camera too. I see alot of levels that the author didn't properly adjust the zone and when the player jumps or move up or down in elevation the camera will move in and out of the zone, and that drives me nuts. On part two's length ... what can I say, it was right before the cheesecake update and my patience was at an end with the editor, so after losing about ten hours work, I published anyway. Someone left me feedback somewhere that that was his favorite level of the series too.

I havn't even started think of the next installment. I want to take my time on part four, and make it as good as I can get it.

It's hard coming up with new ways to torture Sackboy.

Thanks again Poo for all you do for the community and your support! :)

jeffcu28
03-07-2010, 04:34 AM
Hey VelcroJonze,

Congratulations for making it to the Community Spotlight! This level is certainly underplayed and deserves the extra attention. Keep coming up with great levels, okay?

Applauding,
jeffcu28

Fastbro
03-07-2010, 03:13 PM
Congrats on the spotlight VelcoJonze! Another deserving level!

VelcroJonze
03-07-2010, 06:39 PM
Thankyou Jeff and Fastbro!!

Wow, I had no idea this would happen. :)

SalieriAAX
03-07-2010, 08:38 PM
Hi VelcroJonze,

I've had a play of your levels and I had a great time doing so. I would like to write really long, detailed feedback like some of the other contributers have but I would mainly be repeating what others have already said, which wouldn't be of any use to you at all.

You are very modest about your design abilities, but I think your levels are really attractive in an unassuming sort of way. I really love the way you use the thin layers to veneer over the thick layers in your environments, it makes the architechture look really tangible and sturdy. In a way it reminds me slightly of the dwarven architecture in World of Warcraft. I have tried to do stone architecture a couple of times and it really is harder than one would imagine to make it look decent. You may be a bit lite on stickers in places in terms of most people's expectations, but your style works, and it is undeniably your own style.

In terms of gameplay, you have acheived some of the most fluid and dynamic platforming I've yet experienced. In fact in the whole series I only had one real problem and that is in part III, where you have that impressive spring section that bounces you around several corners - I got surprisingly crushed to death three times in a row when I was trying to get through it.

I loved the way you used score bubbles and incorporated little nooks and crannies around to keep people alert and to make aiming for a high score interesting. This really tied in nicely with your muted colour scheme because your little passages and hollows blended into the background perfectly.

I could say that your levels might be improved if you added more colour, some storyline, some characters, etc. and in a certain sense it would, but only in the way that a Georgian house would be improved by the addition of an escalator. They simply wouldn't fit that brilliantly in your level, which is really all about fluid platforming and stylish simplicity. I still don't think it's a bad thing to experiment with different elements, and presumably you won't want to create only Fort Sugar levels all the time.

So, anyway, fab levels, and congratulations on the spotlight.

VelcroJonze
03-07-2010, 09:03 PM
Thank you so much for playing salieri, you are one of my favorite creators so your praise means so much. I'm sorry the launchers smashed you three times in that section. That part was so tricky to pull off with the physics in the game, and I never know how a certain player will move their sackboy after a drop or a launch. Some times a little nudge on the thumbstick to the left or right or the drop is a little bit off is enough to get sackboy off the sweetspot of the launcher. I have been squashed there before too.

Thanks again for your feedback and for making those amazing creations! :)

* going to play Star Wars: Tie in the sky

trianglepigsquar
03-14-2010, 05:21 PM
Velcro what an amaising set of levels!!!

You asked me to play no.3, but i thought I might as well do the job properly and play them all. I WAS NOT DISSAPOINTED!!! Your levels were fun and enjoyable. How did you create such big objects without getting data corrupt?(3 of my levels have been lost by me making the floor to big-well thats my theory anyway!!!) I like levels where you have to search for the points, its sometimes annoying when everyone gets the same score...The suprise shooty pad things were great. I had one of these in my level and then it got corrupted...The adventure elements were great! I also like levels with story, could you make a story edition???

Yay on no.1 I got 2nd place!!!!

5 stars and a heart!!!

VelcroJonze
04-11-2010, 06:05 PM
Fort Sugar III has 500 plays!!

Woot Woot!! :D

Fastbro
04-11-2010, 06:36 PM
Congrats! My levels have only skimmed past 250. So its quite an acheivement in books!

MTVirux
04-11-2010, 10:54 PM
From now on people will think twice before saying that fort levels aren't good!