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Shiwayari
01-09-2009, 06:26 PM
So I am finally finished with my first level after LBP's release (not counting the Switch Level). I have been working on this since a few days after release and have probably spent more than 200 hours and 100 (not all through whole level, though) playthroughs on it. The thermometer is 100% full. I can't even place one block of glass, or it overheats and I can't save it. Like always, what took the most time is fixing bugs over and over again. I'm always surprised when another exellent creator published a 5 star level and says it took about 50 hours, but maybe it's just me being slow.
My initial plan was to make a really big level, but realizing the thermometer limits I had to give up on that and decided to make a series of levels. This is part one.
After working on this level for such a long time, I have totally lost the ability to judge it myself, so the following description might not be 100% accurate :)


I'll list some aspects of the level with comments behind; I think it's easier to read than a long description..

- Story driven
As far as I got due to thermo restraints. I'm more of a logical person myself and not really into writing, but I tried to make it decent. I found it was ok while playing it a few times.

- Designed for one player.
I wanted to add some multiplayer experience, but halfway through I realized that I don't have thermometer-space nor did I check if gameplay was good with more than one player. I hope it's still a fun experience!

- Platforming elements combined with puzzles.
I hope they're not too easy or too hard to figure out, I can't judge it anymore ^^

- Backtracking.
If I just look at the level neutrally, it's not really big, but the thermometer is still full. The thing is, you have to go back a lot, which helps expanding the experience and I found also adds an interesting way of discovering things.

- Difficutly:
Only taking in count my own abilities here, noone else played it yet.
_- Avarage to Hard in some places.
_- Easy to complete, because of mostly unlimited checkpoints.
_- But a real pain to ace. (Still didn't after ~50 plays xD)
There are no prize bubbles, as I didn't want to annoy players with more useless stuff. No acing prize either, because I think it's to hard. Might add one later though.
_- Okay, after some feedback, it seems the level is actually **** hard =o..

- Hopefully no "****, I'm stuck"
One of the most important things I took into account when creating, is that it is (almost) impossible to get stuck. If you try hard to get stuck, then you might, but you should not get stuck by accident. If something goes wrong, you can always go back and try again.
_- What I mean with getting stuck is that it gets impossible to finish the level. Due to the difficulty you might get stuck somewhere, meaning you won't know what to do next.
_- It seems there are still some bugs, but I never encountered any more than I fixed.

- No cheating.
Another main focus. I made sure that a challenge does not disappear because you died once and come back. If you die, you have to try again.

- A bit of MGS.
When I was about half finished with the level, the MGS content came and I totally loved it and thought it fits well into the theme. Though I didn't use it a lot, it wouldn't have been possible without.

Some not so good things:
- There is one minor bug, which I cannot fix. The cause is the object capture and emitting bug of patch 1.07, so I cannot do anything about it. It should not be harmful to the gameplay in any way though. You might not even notice.

_- **Even though MM now fixed the bug, it still didn't vanish from the level. I don't know if I'll be able to fix it at all, as the mechanics are hard to take apart.

- Sadly, I'm not skilled at making stunning visuals. I tried my best while going through the level and I think it looks ok. I tried to add some more decorations at the end, but the thermometer soon gave up and didn't let me add anymore.

- The global lighting. There is a part in a cave and I did not find a global light setting which looks dark, still has enough light to see and creates a good atmosphere. I wish there would just be an option to turn of those **** shadows, that are there due to the sunlight. I left it at daylight in the end, feel free to comment on how to make it look better.

- The badge. Yeah it's a small issue.. but WHY can't I make square screens and only 16:9 ones D=.


Hmm.. that's all I can come up with.
When giving feedback, keep in mind that I can add absolutely nothing. However, if there's something negative, feel free to tell me that this and that could be added. It still helps, even if I can't do anything about it. Also, please comment on difficulty. I think it could be quite troubling at some places and I can still tweak some settings.

So.. after a couple of feedback, I decided to make a video anyway, to use as a walkthough, because it seems the level is really too hard. I had to split it into 2 parts, because the level takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
So here they are:

bF6GxzrmbUI
QUuYJunxhIo

Sorry for the really bad quality. I don't know much about video compression and then there's also those annoying lines whenever I record from my projector..

To finish:
PSN: Shiwayari
Level Name: Expedition Yagon, Part 1: Crystals open the Gate to Darkness?
Description: A discovery from a few months ago has told about ruins named Yagon and of an unbelieveable object being there. There are only a few days left to find them, but the hope is almost gone. Will you find them today?

______________________________________

I published a V2 of the level (omg, almost been a year? ), for more info, see my post on page 3 on the bottom.

bren13240
01-09-2009, 06:44 PM
I'll check it out!

Her'es my level: Removed

:)

Doctor Ramatool
01-09-2009, 07:52 PM
Hey, just finished playing your level, didn't finish but here's what I thought of it so far.

PROS

-The backtracking is very well done...did have a problem with it though.. I'll list it later in the cons. May be what you intended though.

-Loved how you started the level...was really neat.

-That blue crystal challenge is just great... really one of the best challenges I've had in LBP in a while. Did have some problems with it though.

-Difficult.... I think one of the harder levels out there in my book... Its a fun difficult though and thats sometimes hard to pull off. So good job at that.

CONS

-Had to restart two times due to getting stuck... not because I died... the first time I took the blue crystal to where the yellow crystal door was located and it popped... couldnt go get another one either :(

-The second time... the part where you have to drop the stone down to access the cannon.... I dropped it... went down and it wasnt there heh.

-The blue crystal gas challenge... the first part where youre going vertical and not horizontal. Sometimes the gas would completely disappear and I wouldnt be able to see it at all. Also, some of the platforming there was hard to land on... not because of its size or anything.. but the angle I'd try to jump on it... probably took me 15 tries to get past this part.

-That whole part with the lava and figuring out where to take that red crystal or whatever it was keeping you alive ( awesome by the way ), was very confusing on what to do... I thought I had found all the things I needed to use it with... took the boat back and learned I needed the gold crystal.. had no idea where it was... and was on my last life on the boat (mainly because the falling fire blocks during the first trip with it... which seemed like they need not be there... couldnt avoid them and it just slowed what was an already slow boat ride down with the deaths)

-The cannon part with the blue crystal. Was very hard to tell where you needed to shoot it... in fact I was guessing the whole time... probably took me 5 minutes to figure out where I had to shoot it.

Suggestions

-Either make that blue crystal behind the moving stone guy a little more visable, or make it able to grab another blue crystal after its been shot up to the second spot for it.

-Not sure how you can fix the gas part.. but since it only happend a couple times and theres unlimited checkpoint for it really not a big deal.

-The lava part... make it more visable as to where you need to take that red crystal.

-I would just take the falling fire out of the boat ride.

I really enjoyed the level outside of the few problems I ran into and will certainly give it another try... I'm sure I just made a stupid mistake and missed that yellow crystal. Hearted you and the level. 4 Stars.


-

Shiwayari
01-09-2009, 08:45 PM
Had to restart two times due to getting stuck... not because I died... the first time I took the blue crystal to where the yellow crystal door was located and it popped... couldnt go get another one either

Hmm.. I actually never thought of that possibility. I think I'll just make it impossible to take it down again by moving up the floor a bit.


-The second time... the part where you have to drop the stone down to access the cannon.... I dropped it... went down and it wasnt there heh.

After 100 times I have never experienced this.. I have absolutely no idea what would make it disappear. It's not made of dissolve and there nothing to smash it either..


-The blue crystal gas challenge... the first part where youre going vertical and not horizontal. Sometimes the gas would completely disappear and I wouldnt be able to see it at all. Also, some of the platforming there was hard to land on... not because of its size or anything.. but the angle I'd try to jump on it... probably took me 15 tries to get past this part.


Hm yeah I noticed that too, but it's a problem with the game and I can't do anything about it.
And the horizontal part was actually easier? I thought it would be **** hard xD I'm not sure what messed up your jumping, but I think I know what you mean. I could try making the platforms bigger, depending on what the thermo can endure.



-That whole part with the lava and figuring out where to take that red crystal or whatever it was keeping you alive ( awesome by the way ), was very confusing on what to do... I thought I had found all the things I needed to use it with... took the boat back and learned I needed the gold crystal.. had no idea where it was... and was on my last life on the boat (mainly because the falling fire blocks during the first trip with it... which seemed like they need not be there... couldnt avoid them and it just slowed what was an already slow boat ride down with the deaths)

Hmm.. I held back on explaining with the red crystal, I thought it was kind of small down there and it wasn't hard to figure out where to take it. Maybe I'll mark them a little more somehow.
But not finding the gold crystal surprised me. The first time you arrive with the boat, you can see a stone-material-stickered-crystal lying in a hole directly above you. There is even a quite big radius set to activate magic mouths, which tell you how to get the gold crystal.
About the falling fire stones. I was wondering wether it was okay or not, I guess it wasn't after all. Putting an infinite checkpoint onto the boat wouldn't be too easy and I probably can't do it due to the thermo. I guess I'll remove a few dropping fire stones.



-The cannon part with the blue crystal. Was very hard to tell where you needed to shoot it... in fact I was guessing the whole time... probably took me 5 minutes to figure out where I had to shoot it.

I actually had an arrow-sticker there before, guess I'll add it again. I just hoped that it would be easy to remember where the "hole in the ceiling" was ^^.


-Either make that blue crystal behind the moving stone guy a little more visable, or make it able to grab another blue crystal after its been shot up to the second spot for it.

I think I'll add a light there.



Thank you for the feedback, this has helped a lot! I'll get back to improving things tomorrow. Hope it wasn't frustrating and you'll check back again. There's still about 1/3 of the thermo left after the golden sign :)
And maybe you forgot, but should I check out any of your levels?

Doctor Ramatool
01-09-2009, 08:57 PM
After 100 times I have never experienced this.. I have absolutely no idea what would make it disappear. It's not made of dissolve and there nothing to smash it either..

Yeah I dont know either... I did grab it like at the lowest point though from the looks of it... maybe it got caught on something.



Hm yeah I noticed that too, but it's a problem with the game and I can't do anything about it.
And the horizontal part was actually easier? I thought it would be **** hard xD I could try making the platforms bigger, depending on what the thermo can endure.

I think it may be caused by the fire background... not positive but its a possibility. I think it was really only one platform that kept giving me trouble.. it would look like a perfect landing but I would still slip off the side.



Hmm.. I held back on explaining with the red crystal, I thought it was kind of small down there and it wasn't hard to figure out where to take it. Maybe I'll mark them a little more somehow.
But not finding the gold crystal surprised me. The first time you arrive with the boat, you can see a stone-material-stickered-crystal lying in a hole directly above you. There is even a quite big radius set to activate magic mouths, which tell you how to get the gold crystal.
About the falling fire stones. I was wondering wether it was okay or not, I guess it wasn't after all. Putting an infinite checkpoint onto the boat wouldn't be too easy and I probably can't do it due to the thermo. I guess I'll remove a few dropping fire stones.

Yeah.... I got no message whatsoever about the gold crystal... and yeah I'd mark them a little more on what you need to take the red crystal to. Or maybe add a light to where you need to take it or something...




I actually had an arrow-sticker there before, guess I'll add it again. I just hoped that it would be easy to remember where the "hole in the ceiling" was ^^.

Yeah after I had to restart for the blue crystal popping, I easily remembered... but it would be cool if you could angle a camera so you could actually see the hole or some of it, not sure if you were able to with the limitations though.






Thank you for the feedback, this has helped a lot! I'll get back to improving things tomorrow. Hope it wasn't frustrating and you'll check back again. There's still about 1/3 of the thermo left after the golden sign :)
And maybe you forgot, but should I check out any of your levels?

Not a problem at all, just glad I could help.
Yeah sure, you can leave some feedback on the one in my signature whenever you get the time. Thanks!

Shiwayari
01-09-2009, 09:11 PM
I just said I'll go look at it tommorow, but I went and did it just now anyways xD
I removed a few emitters at the fire-drop boat ride to add a few lights here and there. Again, the last light was overheat =o
I also made the platforms on the descent just a tad bigger.

I didn't do anything about the gold crystal yet though. I said the radius was quite big, but you still have to go up there to get the message. After at least one lava-rise (out of the 4 possible), you can reach it per jetpack.
Let me know if it's still confusing and/or hard to notice, then I'll alter the message and make it unavoidable.

Doctor Ramatool
01-09-2009, 11:14 PM
Let me know if it's still confusing and/or hard to notice, then I'll alter the message and make it unavoidable.

Nope, managed to finish the level... and yeah, great job. Had no problems with any of the parts I hadn't seen before. I still almost lost all my lives on the boat/red crystal part again... but I did see the crystal this time. I did have to restart again though! The yellow crystal popped in one of the narrower tunnels on me... lol I think I've just had some really bad luck with this level. The level seemed very long, but it kept me entertained the whole way. Gave it 5 stars that go around. Nice work!

Shiwayari
01-09-2009, 11:45 PM
Hmm, I knew that it wasn't obvious that you could get a new golden crystal, by going back to get a new crystal ore to emit. But I didn't really know how to explain it. Maybe I'll also think of something corncerning this.
Anyway, thanks again, I'll be checking out your level tomorrow.

ZepOfLed
01-09-2009, 11:54 PM
After about 5 attempts, I finally finished your level. I know you said that you playtested it to make sure you couldn't get stuck, but in the four attempts prior to finishing that was the reason. I didn't get killed (thanks to your infinite checkpoints) but I couldn't progress. On the first attempt, I got stuck on the part where you fire the blue crystal from the cannon. I accidentally pulled the blue crystal off of the ledge killing be and making the crystal disappear. I went back to the spot to try again only to find that there was no blue crystal. I don't know how your triggers are set up, but you might want to double check that part. Also, it would be better if the cannon actually dame down to touch the stone platform, that way you couldn't lose the crystal down the gap between them (like I did).

The next three failed attempts were completely my fault, although the level could have made it clear what I was supposed to do. The reason I got stuck has to do with the fact that you can raise the level of the lava multiple times. It does tell you that you're supposed to raise the lava, but not by how much, and since you can't really see the lava rising when you're going around underneath, I wasn't really sure if anything was happening. On my first time through this part, I went to at least two of the exploding rock areas; when I went up to the top, the boat was on top of the rock ore near the blue light so I couldn't get to it. On my second attempt I still didn't realize that you could raise the lava multiple times (having not witnessed the change the first time). I raised it once and got the ore down to the bottom, picked up the gold crystal, and then couldn't figure out how to get it up to the blue light (the lava had only raised once, and was still too low). I think if you mentioned that the lava can raise multiple times, and that each of the exploding rock areas raises it once, it would be much more clear what you're supposed to do. The third and fourth times I still didn't realize that you could raise it more than once. On the fifth attempt, I FINALLY realized what was happening and then proceeded through rather quickly.

The parts leading up to that point are well thought out, but some of them are more annoying that fun. The sections where you are surrounded by red gas are particularly frustrating; the vertical one was okay, but I was getting really annoyed with the horizontal one (at one part in particular). The last lone platform before you jump onto the boat made me so angry. I would make it to that point and then jump to the platform only to have two fire logs thrown at me. There was nowhere else to jump because the red gas had enveloped both adjacent edges. This happened several times, and resulted in my immediate death. I think that if you made the space between the gas wider this problem could be avoided. (Or you could not have logs land on that platform). In general its not good to have fire logs fall onto the ONLY place you can possibly be.

The logs falling during the boat section were annoying, and made it slower than necessary.

Well, I know that was a lot of fire to take, but now I can sing your praises:

*Some of the scenery was bland, like the entrance and first sections of the cave, but I really liked the part leading down to the volcano. The fact that everything is moving makes it feel like you're treading on very unstable ground. It made that part very exciting (when I wasn't annoyed by the lone platform, as stated above).

*I especially liked how you had to hang on the stalactite, which then crashed through the floor to help you get to the cannon. That was top notch!

*The dungeon part (behind the yellow crystal door) is, in my opinion, is the best section of the level by far. I loved how you had to backtrack to open new pathways and obstacles. The difficulty was just about right and the progression is very logical. The lighting was good here too. It felt very much like a puzzle you would find in the Legend of Zelda series. Great job here!

Overall, it is a solid level, but I believe that the red gas sections should be amended and that the volcano part could be explained more clearly. Once I figured out what I was supposed to do I really enjoyed myself. I'm looking forward to seeing what you have planned next! 4 stars/hearted

NinjaMicWZ
01-10-2009, 12:28 AM
I couldn't figure out what to do after I grabbed the first red crystal, and my party leader left... will try again later. Am I supposed to go back up out of the cave?

Shiwayari
01-10-2009, 12:59 AM
(Actually, you're supposed to jump into the lava with the crystal and take it to 4 marked areas, which will each make it rise a bit. Watch out for explosions, as the text says. After that, go to the centre area, there's another crystal-like stone. I think I should probably make that one more obvious after all:confused:)

It's 2:00am for me, I guess I'll go sleep soon; so I can't answer for some hours =o

Edit: Ah, I think I just replyed to the wrong question. You mean the very first red crystal on the string? Yeah, you're supposed to go up again then, but not completely out. The red smoke will be gone.

NinjaMicWZ
01-10-2009, 01:05 AM
(Actually, you're supposed to jump into the lava with the crystal and take it to 4 marked areas, which will each make it rise a bit. Watch out for explosions, as the text says. After that, go to the centre area, there's another crystal-like stone. I think I should probably make that one more obvious after all:confused:)

It's 2:00am for me, I guess I'll go sleep soon; so I can't answer for some hours =o

Edit: Ah, I think I just replyed to the wrong question. You mean the very first red crystal on the string? Yeah, you're supposed to go up again then, but not completely out. The red smoke will be gone.

Yeah, the red crystal... I grabbed it, and it disappeared, but nothing happened. I couldn't make it across the jump, and couldn't go down, and the gold door was still closed - I'll try again in abit.

phort
01-10-2009, 03:07 AM
This level's looking like it's really going to be a piece of work! So, I'll start commenting as I go along. Sorry if I say anything that's already been said, I didn't bother to read the other feedback.

I really like the intro. You give the impression of a helicopter flight without building a helicopter that just looks like a toy, as they often do in LBP. The sound is enough.

The part with the falling rocks and the tiny platform is a bit hard, I notice later you used an infinite life checkpoint, but this would be a more suitable place for that since the log jumping is relatively easy. The rocks tend to toss you about even when you're standing firmly on the platform which is kind of irritating.

I really like that you reuse areas of the level repeatedly. It builds familiarity and makes it so every time you go somewhere you don't have to scan all your surroundings carefully just to catch the minor details of a puzzle.

Nice touch with the stalactite falling through the ground to create a platform.

What happens if you drop the crystal into the fog? I didn't because I was worried that would screw it up.

I really like the use of the checkmark to confirm that you shot it right! nice instant recognizable feedback. It seems sort of out of place, but it does the job effectively.

I brought the jewel to the gold wall and it disappeared and nothing happened. Did that cause me to lose? I retried and brought it up the hill.

The moving fog segment is really cool and original!

I like the use of moving platforms for the effect of the rocks floating on magma.

An ancient vehicle with fire raining down on it... what's the point of killing the player here?? That's just irritating.

Minor technicality: You say "lava" a few times but when it's below ground it's called magma.

Ooh, I figured out how the crystal part works! As soon as you let go you move to the front layer which is all gas!

I can not figure out what to do after the bit of text where he mentions something about a blue light and forging a yellow crystal or something. the jetpack tethers prevent me from going under the lava unless I take off the jetpack and get lucky enough to grab the crystal before I die. there's nothing up the red staircase and the boat is immobile. as far as I can tell I'm stuck.

Went deeper and found one more explodey magma hole but I ran out of lives. It's at this point that I've given up because as good as this level is I don't want to have to replay the whole thing.

5/5 stars, hearted, complex. This is a lot better than a lot of the stuff that is insanely popular.

Shiwayari
01-10-2009, 11:54 AM
After about 5 attempts, I finally finished your level. I know you said that you playtested it to make sure you couldn't get stuck, but in the four attempts prior to finishing that was the reason. I didn't get killed (thanks to your infinite checkpoints) but I couldn't progress. On the first attempt, I got stuck on the part where you fire the blue crystal from the cannon. I accidentally pulled the blue crystal off of the ledge killing be and making the crystal disappear. I went back to the spot to try again only to find that there was no blue crystal. I don't know how your triggers are set up, but you might want to double check that part. Also, it would be better if the cannon actually dame down to touch the stone platform, that way you couldn't lose the crystal down the gap between them (like I did).

Well yeah, I playtested it a lot, but it was a problem that I only playtested it myself. It's hard to do it properly with your own level I guess.
But I'm confused about why you got stuck by pulling the crystal off the ledge, because it's supposed to respawn if it falls down. I thought I tested that, but maybe the Magnetic Switch froze again.. MM please fix hose bugs <.< I'll look at it.


The next three failed attempts were completely my fault, although the level could have made it clear what I was supposed to do. The reason I got stuck has to do with the fact that you can raise the level of the lava multiple times. It does tell you that you're supposed to raise the lava, but not by how much, and since you can't really see the lava rising when you're going around underneath, I wasn't really sure if anything was happening. On my first time through this part, I went to at least two of the exploding rock areas; when I went up to the top, the boat was on top of the rock ore near the blue light so I couldn't get to it. On my second attempt I still didn't realize that you could raise the lava multiple times (having not witnessed the change the first time). I raised it once and got the ore down to the bottom, picked up the gold crystal, and then couldn't figure out how to get it up to the blue light (the lava had only raised once, and was still too low). I think if you mentioned that the lava can raise multiple times, and that each of the exploding rock areas raises it once, it would be much more clear what you're supposed to do. The third and fourth times I still didn't realize that you could raise it more than once. On the fifth attempt, I FINALLY realized what was happening and then proceeded through rather quickly.

I'm going to add an explanation here, thanks for mentioning that. But you didn't have to restart everytime, the red crystal respawns infinite times and you can always go down again and activate the rest.


The parts leading up to that point are well thought out, but some of them are more annoying that fun. The sections where you are surrounded by red gas are particularly frustrating; the vertical one was okay, but I was getting really annoyed with the horizontal one (at one part in particular). The last lone platform before you jump onto the boat made me so angry. I would make it to that point and then jump to the platform only to have two fire logs thrown at me. There was nowhere else to jump because the red gas had enveloped both adjacent edges. This happened several times, and resulted in my immediate death. I think that if you made the space between the gas wider this problem could be avoided. (Or you could not have logs land on that platform). In general its not good to have fire logs fall onto the ONLY place you can possibly be.

The logs falling during the boat section were annoying, and made it slower than necessary.

Okay, now I have a confirmation that that part is too annoying. I'm just going to remove the emitters at the last platforms.
I already removed half the emitters at the falling fire boat ride, thinking it was really easy to get by, but I guess I'll completely remove these too.


Well, I know that was a lot of fire to take, but now I can sing your praises:

*Some of the scenery was bland, like the entrance and first sections of the cave, but I really liked the part leading down to the volcano. The fact that everything is moving makes it feel like you're treading on very unstable ground. It made that part very exciting (when I wasn't annoyed by the lone platform, as stated above).

*I especially liked how you had to hang on the stalactite, which then crashed through the floor to help you get to the cannon. That was top notch!

*The dungeon part (behind the yellow crystal door) is, in my opinion, is the best section of the level by far. I loved how you had to backtrack to open new pathways and obstacles. The difficulty was just about right and the progression is very logical. The lighting was good here too. It felt very much like a puzzle you would find in the Legend of Zelda series. Great job here!


Overall, it is a solid level, but I believe that the red gas sections should be amended and that the volcano part could be explained more clearly. Once I figured out what I was supposed to do I really enjoyed myself. I'm looking forward to seeing what you have planned next! 4 stars/hearted

Don't worry about being critical, it's what will help me improve. And I kind of knew that the part before the temple turned out confusing, I just didn't have the chance to let anyone test it.
Glad that you liked the looks and feeling, I'm not too good at these, but I tried my best.
I'm also quite happy with the temple-part. It has like a completely new atmosphere.





This level's looking like it's really going to be a piece of work! So, I'll start commenting as I go along. Sorry if I say anything that's already been said, I didn't bother to read the other feedback.

I really like the intro. You give the impression of a helicopter flight without building a helicopter that just looks like a toy, as they often do in LBP. The sound is enough.

The part with the falling rocks and the tiny platform is a bit hard, I notice later you used an infinite life checkpoint, but this would be a more suitable place for that since the log jumping is relatively easy. The rocks tend to toss you about even when you're standing firmly on the platform which is kind of irritating.

I really like that you reuse areas of the level repeatedly. It builds familiarity and makes it so every time you go somewhere you don't have to scan all your surroundings carefully just to catch the minor details of a puzzle.

Nice touch with the stalactite falling through the ground to create a platform.

What happens if you drop the crystal into the fog? I didn't because I was worried that would screw it up.

No problem if you haven't read all the feedback, it still helps to see if the same thing gets mentioned multiple times.
I can't make the platform at the falling rocks bigger as it would push the rocks aside, but I'll see if the thermo allows me to add another infinite checkpoint here.
What is supposed to happen if you drop the blue crystal is that it just disappears and a new one respawns. But there seems to be a bug here, because it didn't respawn for ZepOfLed. I'll check it out again.


I really like the use of the checkmark to confirm that you shot it right! nice instant recognizable feedback. It seems sort of out of place, but it does the job effectively.

I brought the jewel to the gold wall and it disappeared and nothing happened. Did that cause me to lose? I retried and brought it up the hill.

The moving fog segment is really cool and original!

I like the use of moving platforms for the effect of the rocks floating on magma.

An ancient vehicle with fire raining down on it... what's the point of killing the player here?? That's just irritating.

The magnetic switch radius might still be too small for the golden crystal, it happened to me before one and I already increased it, but I'll make it a little big bigger again.
Now that the falling fire boat ride has been mentioned a lot, I'll just remove the emitters here.


Minor technicality: You say "lava" a few times but when it's below ground it's called magma.

English is not my native language, so I'm glad that's the only error mentioned until now ^^ I'll reword that.


Ooh, I figured out how the crystal part works! As soon as you let go you move to the front layer which is all gas!

That's how it was planned to work, but I found it doesn't as sackboy refuses to change into a layer of gas by himself. I have a big area of gas attached to a piston beneath the volcan, which will move in and kill sackboy if he moves out of a sensor attached to the crystal. It was a hassle to find a workaround to the 1.07 object emitting bug.


I can not figure out what to do after the bit of text where he mentions something about a blue light and forging a yellow crystal or something. the jetpack tethers prevent me from going under the lava unless I take off the jetpack and get lucky enough to grab the crystal before I die. there's nothing up the red staircase and the boat is immobile. as far as I can tell I'm stuck.

I'm not sure what you mean here, but you may have to rise the lava more. There are 4 exploding rock areas all together, which you have to activate. After that, you should be able to easily take the crystal ore down.
But I'll add an explanation on that there's are 4 areas, which each make the magma rise once.


Went deeper and found one more explodey magma hole but I ran out of lives. It's at this point that I've given up because as good as this level is I don't want to have to replay the whole thing.

5/5 stars, hearted, complex. This is a lot better than a lot of the stuff that is insanely popular.

I wonder if I can add an infinite checkpoint to that boat, it seems neccessary.
Thanks for the good rating, maybe you want to check it out again after I made some improvements. There is still a completely different part to come after the golden crystal sign, which I believe is much better in terms of explanations.



Edit: I have now changed all the things I mentioned above. However, I had to remove a lot of point bubbles, including those at the beginning, to get thermometer space. Sadly, resetting the scoreboard is not possible, so just enjoy the level without worrying about score.

NinjaMicWZ
01-10-2009, 10:14 PM
OK... me not remembering that there was a red fog above where I entered in, was entirely my fault... I think you should add cut scene cameras that direct the player towards the next triggered event, even though it should have been obvious to me.

I have to give you an extensive compliment on your mechanical aptitude here... the rising/sinking smoke, the intro sequence (though the change from pensive thought in a helicopter to standing on the ground is a little abrupt and could be more seamless), the cannon with the blue key and it's accompanying Y/N signals (amazing touch), stalactites that are invisibly functional, and the awesome magma section - I felt like I was descending into the depths of Super Metroid all over again.

The open, backtrack heavy design of this level is a first in LBP IMO... it's not quite non-linear go-everywhere, but it's structured and feels like a good old Metroid/Zelda Action-RPG design where you do something/get something that opens up new areas.

The rocket pack section under the magma is just wow... genius, and the tectonic shifts and looks are amazing.

...but, I can't get past this. I unlocked 3 magma points with the red crystal, all of which killed me everytime. When the magma rose the 3rd time I could actually connect with the lower jetpacks and had to deftly try and hit O and drop and catch with R1 again to stay alive and drop to the lower section of the stairs. After dropping a certain amount of crystals in the magma, they wouldn't respawn anymore - I kept dying and eventually the infinite checkpoint stopped working too. I'm dead now, and I really want to play through this level... please get it going, because so far it's an amazingly deep and rewarding experience.

Some small complaints about dying in general - the red smoke in the volcano seems to lower too slow, if you widen it's breadth so that the player is still able to move at a decent speed I think it would work a little more fluidly. The smoke at the bottom, is too tall - when you die and respawn you often land into the smoke as it's going by and go through 2 lives for no reason - that sections a bit touchy.

Alot of the platform jumps aren't hard neccesarily out difficulty and timing, but because the platforms themselves are so tiny and narrow - I can't really fault that because I do severe jumps in creation too, but these just feel geometrically wrong to me. Alot of your thermometer is probably maxed with the points and cracks you've put in everything, which is great, I like that - but if you try to shape things a little less pointy and have just some blockiness and roundness to the crevices it'll achieve a more natural and solid look, and probably free up some thermometer space as well without all those unnecessary vertices everywhere. There's a part on the ship where the shifting magma plates in the foreground have too distinct a separation - the square flat edge doesn't blend into the preceding plates low corner and it just looks sloppy right there.

I like the dialogue in this level so far, and the plot is very compelling. Anyway, PLEASE don't take anything I've said the wrong way, because I am thoroughly enjoying this level in all the ways that count and has so much going for it and am only nitpicking for feedback purposes.

Shiwayari
01-10-2009, 11:39 PM
...but, I can't get past this. I unlocked 3 magma points with the red crystal, all of which killed me everytime. When the magma rose the 3rd time I could actually connect with the lower jetpacks and had to deftly try and hit O and drop and catch with R1 again to stay alive and drop to the lower section of the stairs. After dropping a certain amount of crystals in the magma, they wouldn't respawn anymore - I kept dying and eventually the infinite checkpoint stopped working too. I'm dead now, and I really want to play through this level... please get it going, because so far it's an amazingly deep and rewarding experience.

You don't have to stay near the rocks until they explode, you just have to take the crystal near once. Maybe it wasn't too clear though.
But I don't understand what you explained after that. You mean that after the 3rd rise, you could access a jetback while being in the boat? The only way that could be possible I think is that the next jetpacks spawned to early, above the magma. If so, that should be easy to fix.
And what do you mean with "catch with R1"? Can you explain further?

Hmm.. so the crystals and checkpoints didn't respawn. Then you're the first one to encounter the results of the 1.07 bug. I'll try to explain. The red-crystal emitter is set to emit one at a time only. The red crystal object is actually 2 different objects with wire between, the other part being offscreen. Because of the 1.07 bug, I had to attach dissolve and string to be able to capture the wire. Because of that, that same bug also does not dissolve what has been emitted, even if it's set to emit only one at a time.
I think the reason is, that as soon as the dissolve-material dissolves, the game doesn't recognize it as the emitted object anymore and emits a new one without deleting the old one.
The result is what you saw. Because it's a bug, the game did not reserve thermometer space for all those not-dissolved objects and the level is full and refuses to emit more after some time.
Basically, I can't do anything about it, but it should fix itself after that annoying 1.07 bug is finally fixed..


Some small complaints about dying in general - the red smoke in the volcano seems to lower too slow, if you widen it's breadth so that the player is still able to move at a decent speed I think it would work a little more fluidly. The smoke at the bottom, is too tall - when you die and respawn you often land into the smoke as it's going by and go through 2 lives for no reason - that sections a bit touchy.

Alot of the platform jumps aren't hard neccesarily out difficulty and timing, but because the platforms themselves are so tiny and narrow - I can't really fault that because I do severe jumps in creation too, but these just feel geometrically wrong to me. Alot of your thermometer is probably maxed with the points and cracks you've put in everything, which is great, I like that - but if you try to shape things a little less pointy and have just some blockiness and roundness to the crevices it'll achieve a more natural and solid look, and probably free up some thermometer space as well without all those unnecessary vertices everywhere. There's a part on the ship where the shifting magma plates in the foreground have too distinct a separation - the square flat edge doesn't blend into the preceding plates low corner and it just looks sloppy right there.

I actually already increased the size of the platforms in the descend. I don't want it to be too easy. I think the main problem is that it's automated layer-shifting though.
About the cracks, in the beginning I had no idea how to achieve a proper cave-look and just fooled around with the corner edit tool. I used it less through the level as the thermo got filld more.. -but- ..
I recently wanted to add just -one- OR gate and I deleted like 100 corners, some not too neccessary sound objects and almost all the point bubbles, only to find that I could add 2 more blocks of some random material and that was it. I scrapped that and didn't save.


I like the dialogue in this level so far, and the plot is very compelling. Anyway, PLEASE don't take anything I've said the wrong way, because I am thoroughly enjoying this level in all the ways that count and has so much going for it and am only nitpicking for feedback purposes.

I'm really happy that you like this level and want to finish it. Good that all the effort paid off, even though there are a lot of issues. And actually I'm normally really bad with writing out a story. I always have ideas, but I usually can't deliver them that well. So I'm glad you liked it that much.
And don't worry about pointing out issues, it's what helps improve the level. Thanks for the feedback!


I don't really know how to fix the main problem that let you die as a huge part is just that bugs fault and I don't think I can do much about it.
I also didn't quite understand what happened, as I said above, so a further explanation might help fix that part!

NinjaMicWZ
01-11-2009, 12:19 AM
With the jetpacks... when it rose to a certain height, there was -

magma top__________________>>>>__^__ red crystal here
>>>>>>jetpacks here x x x x x x x x|-
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>|-
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>|- stairs here
>>>>>>jetpacks here x x x x x x x x

When I would take the red crystal onto the stairs, the first jetpack would pick me up, and all the radiuses of those jetpacks would only let me move left or right or up towards the ships hull, but not long enough to reach the jetpacks below. I could go anywhere after I went all the way left, and couldn't go down because I was tethered to the jetpack.

The only way I got down was to try and sneak under the first jetpack by the stairs, and then kind of drop the crystal and catch it and move as quick as I could, and then fall onto the lower jetpacks. After that I just wasn't sure where to go and died after trying to repeat the process a bunch of times.

I was probably lost again, but it seemed to me that the radius on those jetpack tethers was just too short and getting from one to another to continue moving freely was troublesome and impeded the player's movement.

The lava triggers didn't seem to activate unless I stopped directly on them... might have just been latency in my connection though.

Shiwayari
01-11-2009, 12:53 AM
With the jetpacks... when it rose to a certain height, there was -

magma top__________________>>>>__^__ red crystal here
>>>>>>jetpacks here x x x x x x x x|-
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>|-
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>|- stairs here
>>>>>>jetpacks here x x x x x x x x

When I would take the red crystal onto the stairs, the first jetpack would pick me up, and all the radiuses of those jetpacks would only let me move left or right or up towards the ships hull, but not long enough to reach the jetpacks below. I could go anywhere after I went all the way left, and couldn't go down because I was tethered to the jetpack.

The only way I got down was to try and sneak under the first jetpack by the stairs, and then kind of drop the crystal and catch it and move as quick as I could, and then fall onto the lower jetpacks. After that I just wasn't sure where to go and died after trying to repeat the process a bunch of times.

I was probably lost again, but it seemed to me that the radius on those jetpack tethers was just too short and getting from one to another to continue moving freely was troublesome and impeded the player's movement.

The lava triggers didn't seem to activate unless I stopped directly on them... might have just been latency in my connection though.

Now I think I understand what happened. but that also never happened to me. I have it set up that as the magma goes up, it activates magnetic switches which will activate jetpack-emitters attached to the front layer. That way, it should be almost the same distance everytime, but I guess something can still go wrong. Though maybe the switches activated later because of latency problems? I wonder if something like that happens.
I'll look into it tomorrow and either make them emit closer together, or increase the radius (which would probably need a lot of testing again..)

phort
01-11-2009, 10:23 AM
Thanks for responding to my feedback! I'll probably replay the level tomorrow (it's 3 AM here) and give feedback again... hopefully I can finish it this time! Last time I had the same problem someone else mentioned with the jetpack tethers being too short and just had to take off the jetpack and put another one on quickly to move on to the last magma hole... then I died. :(

CCubbage
01-11-2009, 12:24 PM
So far, I LOVE this level. Very cool. I'm going to need to take another shot at it because for some reason after bringing 3 crystals to the magma areas I just couldn't find the fourth area and continue. Either that or I HAD the 4th one and couldn't figure out what to do next. Either way, I found after working with the red crystals and the magma for about half an hour I was confused.

Here's my input so far:

Pros

+ Loved the beginning. Starting in black and dropping into the game was a great start.

+ Well-done story.

+ I actually enjoyed the difficulty level.

+ Nice visuals

Cons:

- The first time I played I grabbed ahold of that big rock that drops down. I had no idea I was supposed to let go of it so I dropped through the floor with it and died. When I went to the level below the rock wasn't there. (I didn't know it was SUPPOSED to be there, however, so I just got stuck. Wandered around aimlessly for awhile, restarted the game. This time I let go of the rock, went below and it was there.

- Idea of shooting the cannon was neat, but it probably wouldn't be too hard to make a blast sound and some smoke come out of the cannon. Not necessary, but it was kind of anticlamatic to just put a check sign.

- I stood at the entrance to that drop with the smoke lowering for a while. I didn't realize the smoke was dropping with me. It took me a while before I realized what was happening. But for a new player this area could be very confusing. But, I DID in fact figure it out, so if you are going for a difficult game with some puzzles this may be appropriate (I have had worse times in Tomb Raider games...)

All-in-all very cool. I'm going to try again later to figure out the magma parts.

Shiwayari
01-11-2009, 01:55 PM
Thanks for the input. Happy to see this level being well liked despite the issues.

About the falling-rock. I don't even know how many times I tried to tweak it so that it would always fall properly. This same error was mentioned before and I have noticed that if you pull it to the right while hanging on it/falling down it'll get stuck somehow.
I have tried a lot of differnt timings while not pushing the stick in any direction, even dying with it while falling and it always worked. So the best way is to just hang on it and let go without using the stick.
I had an idea how to make it always fall right, using an emitter, but the thermometer probably won't let me. I will try though.

I could have modified the cannon a bit yeah. But I can't change it now due to the thermo. Even though the check sign seems out of place, I thought I had to somehow add some feedback there. I tried a camera but that didn't work. Even I thought it would be totally confusing without feedback there xD

Hm.. it is intended that everything is not totally clear immediately, but I didn't think that this part could be confusing. But you figured it out in the end, so it's probably not that bad?


If you're still having problems with that magma part, one of the 4 is actually on the ceiling in a little "room" towards the centre. Maybe you didn't find that.
After finding all four, remember that message about the crystal ore you read when arriving at the fire shrine! :)

CCubbage
01-11-2009, 02:15 PM
Definately going to go back into this one. Loved the game (gave it a deserving heart), and I personally am glad everything isn't completely "clear". It seems like in the world of "LittleBigPlanet" people have an incredibly short attention span, so difficult puzzles generally turn people off. I don't have a short attention span, and am glad you designed the level this way.

I don't know whether the thermo can handle it, but maybe the falling rock could be quickly lowered using an invisible piston and "placed" at the bottom. The top of the rock could have a tiny bit of dissolve and when the rock reaches it's destination the dissolve could disappear, causing the rock to be nicely placed where it needs to be. I have seen many situations where rock (which is obviously heavy) will just disappear when it lands. I had a puzzle in one of my games where I REALLY struggled with this.

I'm sorry to go on about this rock so much, but it seems like this is a REALLY key part of the level. If the rock fails, it's a game breaker and the player just wanders around. I would probably give up some jagged rock to save resources rather than not fix the rock.

If you get a chance, you may have fun in my "Splat Invaders Deluxe" game. (I don't need feedback on it, just thought you might like it. You will be done in about 5 minutes).

ConfusedCartman
01-11-2009, 05:33 PM
I'll try it out right now; I'll edit when done.


I'll check it out!

Her'es my level: Removed

:)
That's definitely not fair use of the Feedback for Feedback system. Thread edited out of post until you learn to use it correctly.

CCubbage
01-12-2009, 04:49 AM
OK, I just spent a LOT more time with this game. I got a lot farther, but I do have a small compaint:

The part in the game where you have to get through a bunch of search lights that fire at you if they see you: I got to this point and spent about a half an hour trying to get through it. It was SO touchy I had a hard time controlling and I just kept dying over and over again. Finally, (through some kind of fluke) the search light saw me as I was regenerating from dying and fired at me. I regenerated again just in time to be hit by more fire. This happened quickly through 3 or 4 generations and I was completely killed without having a chance to move (the game probably decided to put me out of my misery)

Just a personal preference, but I think this area MAY be a tad difficult. Or at least it is really difficult to figure out exactly what to do.

phort
01-12-2009, 08:45 AM
It seems that whatever you changed in the blue gem cannon puzzle made it really quick to assume that you dropped the gem so it repeatedly respawns the gem and displays a red x for no reason.

On the descent into the volcano where the red gas slowly moves down, I encountered this problem twice in a row: if you jump down from the last platform to to bottom too soon, just before the gas below you goes away, and you hit the gas, you respawn just as the gas above is in front of the checkpoint, causing you to get a game over (because of MM fixing the "wheel of death" bug, if you die right after respawning, it just tells you you ran out of lives.)

Noticed a typo in the part with text about the blue crystal. "throwing it into the magma at the bottom of this volcan." I see you fixed the lava/magma error though :) Was the O too many letters to fit in the text bubble?

I'm glad you added the infinite life checkpoints, although fortunately I didn't die once in the lava pit!

In the section inside Yagon (or whatever it's called) there's a platforming part behind the spotlights, separated by a pane of glass. I noticed that it's way too dark in there because of the shadow the glass casts on that area. I would suggest adding some lights so the platforms are more visible, they're really hard to see back there.

[edit] on the section CCubbage mentioned with the spotlights, that is way too hard and I kept getting killed right by the spawn point too.I think you should make those spotlights stationary so they only shoot you if you fall off the little platforms, so that it isn't simultaneously a difficult jumping puzzle and a timing puzzle with some luck required.

The puzzles in the part after you get the golden crystal are really hard but at least they don't break like some of the early ones. The platforming is quite fiendish. And now... I'm one of only 4 people to complete the level?? I hope the next level in the series isn't locked or else you're only ever going to get 4 plays on it! Sadly it will be hard to ever get many players to play a "part 2" if part 1 is so hard, and most people won't arbitrarily play part 2 first so your audience for the next level is pretty limited. I don't know what to tell you to help with that though. Sorry. Maybe if you made this level easier somehow. I know that's a tough task considering the size of the level and how full the thermometer is.

Anyway, (now that I've finally finished it) I can comment on the level as a whole. Like I said, it's a really tough level, but it's also rewarding. Every one of the puzzles is really unique. The level has a great style to it, too. I can tell you spent a lot of time on the details of this level, like how the ancient metal structures are all cracked. Considering it probably took me half an hour to complete it once all the way through, this is probably the longest single LBP level I've played. While it's quite a feat, it's also a deterrent, most people are used to LBP levels being short and (hopefully) sweet, and many people don't have the patience to spend that long on a single level, especially if they get stuck or get a game over several minutes into the level (which I did several times trying to complete it).

Anyway, I can see a LOT of work went into making this level such an epic, so congrats on actually finishing it! I don't know if I could spend that long working on a single level without abandoning it!

Trystian
01-13-2009, 04:00 AM
I just didn't get the beginning. So I grab the red crystal, and understand the fog is now gone. Then I go up. And pass the flame-block tossing statue. From there, I see some rock-blocks to swing on. Then suddenly I hit a stalactite and grab onto it. It falls through the ground (which was a very clever and cool event).

But then I'm lost. I backtracked to the gold crystal spot. And back to where I had picked up the red crystal. I even jumped in the hole where the stalactite fell, which was quite a feat, considering the auto-plane jumping sackboy does. Then I did some more backtracking.

What on earth did I miss?

The one other bit of feedback I'd give right now is - give us just a wee bit more space to land on before jumping across the chasm with the falling rocks.

CCubbage
01-13-2009, 03:41 PM
Once you grab the rock and it drops down, you go to the area below (where the falling rocks are) and it is now like a "bridge" allowing you to cross to the left. (sometimes the rock disappears, so if the rock is not there on the area below you need to start over. I think the author is looking for a solution to this).

Shiwayari
01-13-2009, 05:36 PM
I just didn't get the beginning. So I grab the red crystal, and understand the fog is now gone. Then I go up. And pass the flame-block tossing statue. From there, I see some rock-blocks to swing on. Then suddenly I hit a stalactite and grab onto it. It falls through the ground (which was a very clever and cool event).

But then I'm lost. I backtracked to the gold crystal spot. And back to where I had picked up the red crystal. I even jumped in the hole where the stalactite fell, which was quite a feat, considering the auto-plane jumping sackboy does. Then I did some more backtracking.

What on earth did I miss?


Once you grab the rock and it drops down, you go to the area below (where the falling rocks are) and it is now like a "bridge" allowing you to cross to the left. (sometimes the rock disappears, so if the rock is not there on the area below you need to start over. I think the author is looking for a solution to this).

Yeah that's basically it. I'm looking for a solution, but vacation is over now and I hardly have time to play.:grr:


About the plasmaball shooting search-lights mentioned a couple of times now:
I'll make them easier. I went through that one a lot of times trying to make it not easy and not too hard. The trick is(was) to jump through the lights when they turn to you, so that the balls will fly past. If you got that, it should have been pretty easy. But I also went through that one a lot and hardly died there at the end, I've probably gotten too used to it.
I can't change any mechanism-things, but I'll decrease the fire rate.



Edit: Forgot to reply to phort =o ..


It seems that whatever you changed in the blue gem cannon puzzle made it really quick to assume that you dropped the gem so it repeatedly respawns the gem and displays a red x for no reason.

I relocated the sackboy-sensor that spawns the initial crystal to just before that section, so that you can get a new one even if you get a "done right" mark. In case something goes wrong. I couldn't remove the X there, because I would have needed another OR Gate and the thermo won't let me D=.


On the descent into the volcano where the red gas slowly moves down, I encountered this problem twice in a row: if you jump down from the last platform to to bottom too soon, just before the gas below you goes away, and you hit the gas, you respawn just as the gas above is in front of the checkpoint, causing you to get a game over (because of MM fixing the "wheel of death" bug, if you die right after respawning, it just tells you you ran out of lives.)

Hmm.. didn't know of that. I think I can just rise the checkpoint a little here.


Noticed a typo in the part with text about the blue crystal. "throwing it into the magma at the bottom of this volcan." I see you fixed the lava/magma error though :) Was the O too many letters to fit in the text bubble?

Ah, actually forgot that it was "volcano". xD


In the section inside Yagon (or whatever it's called) there's a platforming part behind the spotlights, separated by a pane of glass. I noticed that it's way too dark in there because of the shadow the glass casts on that area. I would suggest adding some lights so the platforms are more visible, they're really hard to see back there.

I'll see if I can add more lights there.. I already should have a few there, but they aren't that big, because I didn't know where to hide them.


[edit] on the section CCubbage mentioned with the spotlights, that is way too hard and I kept getting killed right by the spawn point too.I think you should make those spotlights stationary so they only shoot you if you fall off the little platforms, so that it isn't simultaneously a difficult jumping puzzle and a timing puzzle with some luck required.

See above "Edit:"


The puzzles in the part after you get the golden crystal are really hard but at least they don't break like some of the early ones. The platforming is quite fiendish. And now... I'm one of only 4 people to complete the level?? I hope the next level in the series isn't locked or else you're only ever going to get 4 plays on it! Sadly it will be hard to ever get many players to play a "part 2" if part 1 is so hard, and most people won't arbitrarily play part 2 first so your audience for the next level is pretty limited. I don't know what to tell you to help with that though. Sorry. Maybe if you made this level easier somehow. I know that's a tough task considering the size of the level and how full the thermometer is.

Anyway, (now that I've finally finished it) I can comment on the level as a whole. Like I said, it's a really tough level, but it's also rewarding. Every one of the puzzles is really unique. The level has a great style to it, too. I can tell you spent a lot of time on the details of this level, like how the ancient metal structures are all cracked. Considering it probably took me half an hour to complete it once all the way through, this is probably the longest single LBP level I've played. While it's quite a feat, it's also a deterrent, most people are used to LBP levels being short and (hopefully) sweet, and many people don't have the patience to spend that long on a single level, especially if they get stuck or get a game over several minutes into the level (which I did several times trying to complete it).

Anyway, I can see a LOT of work went into making this level such an epic, so congrats on actually finishing it! I don't know if I could spend that long working on a single level without abandoning it!

It was a lot of work indeed, especially the bug fixing. It's like everytime I enter the level and do something, there's something that breaks because I hit pause/unpause. It's like unpausing has an impulse on the whole level.
I was kind of expecting few people to get through it. Personally I really love solving puzzles, just like coming up with new ones and exploring things so I really wanted to make something like that. I also like long ones and often find myself thinking that this and that level could have been longer when playing online. Even if only few people spend that much time on one level, I can't do anything about that and don't want to abandon what I want to make for that. It's a game to have fun with after all. :)
It also seems hard in general to get your level around in LBP, considering how many there are. Initially I wanted to make the rest locked, but I probably won't. I might just place a notice at the start. I also thought about publishing a second, easier version, but I don't know how much of the gameplay it would take away to make everything easy.

CCubbage
01-14-2009, 12:23 AM
About the plasmaball shooting search-lights mentioned a couple of times now:
I'll make them easier. I went through that one a lot of times trying to make it not easy and not too hard. The trick is(was) to jump through the lights when they turn to you, so that the balls will fly past. If you got that, it should have been pretty easy. But I also went through that one a lot and hardly died there at the end, I've probably gotten too used to it.
I can't change any mechanism-things, but I'll decrease the fire rate.

Cool. Keep in mind, I actually knew how to do it. I kept getting ALMOST through them. However, there was many difficult parts in the level and by the time I got to this point my hands were shaky. I'm definately going to give it another shot when I get a chance. Keep in mind, I am another one who will REALLY work at a level. I love a good challenge. If I say something is too hard, generally it is because I had to take a powerful sedative after trying it.

Trystian
01-16-2009, 12:24 AM
I tried THREE more times tonight, but the stalactite fell through the floor in the same way each time. Somehow, my actions must be causing it, but can't fathom why. Can you describe the mechanism behind the effect so perhaps we come up with ways to help? 'cause I'm really curious to play your evil, evil level. ;)

Senrir
01-16-2009, 01:54 AM
ummm ... Im quite stuck ... where is the blue crystal ? O.o

Shiwayari
01-16-2009, 02:31 PM
I tried THREE more times tonight, but the stalactite fell through the floor in the same way each time. Somehow, my actions must be causing it, but can't fathom why. Can you describe the mechanism behind the effect so perhaps we come up with ways to help? 'cause I'm really curious to play your evil, evil level. ;)

Hmm.. this seems to be a bigger problem than I would have thought. Sorry about that annoying bug, I didn't have any time for LBP at all this week, but I'll try to come up with something today.

Here's how that part currently works:
The grabable part on the stalactite has a grab switch which is connected to dissolve material (going through a timer). That dissolve material is glued to the ceiling and to the stalactite. The stalactite has a Magnetic Key on it, which activates a Magnetic Switch once it falls down. This switch dissolves a block of dissolve material under the floor, which also causes the little "floor block" to fall down.

My current idea to fix this, is using an emitter which activates when the stalactite falls down. This emitter would just emit the same stalactite into the poison fog below, but in the same position every time. I'll just place something below the floor which catches the falling stalactite, so that there aren't two in the fog below.
I hope I can somehow get through with this and don't overheat the thermo. I may have to find some uneccesary things to delete though.



ummm ... Im quite stuck ... where is the blue crystal ? O.o

You probably encountered the same bug mentioned above. If you made the stalactite in the upper "corridor" fall down through the floor, it's supposed to land in the poison fog in the lower corridor, giving you a platform to get to the left. I encountered this only once during all my playtesting, but it seems to occur quite often.



In case someone wonders, I have not reduced the fire-rate of the plasma balls at the searchlight part yet. Sorry if it caused some bad experiences, I really didn't have any time, but I'll get to it today.

I'll post an update (or edit this post) if I have fixed one or both of these things.

Thanks again for being patient and not losing interest :)

Senrir
01-16-2009, 02:38 PM
kays ^^"

will stay tuned!

Shiwayari
01-16-2009, 08:35 PM
Okay, I fixed some things now. Even though it took me 3 hours to get it right, the stalactite should >not< get stuck anymore after falling down. It took me that long and I even was lucky that there was enough room to build what I needed (not thermo, actual level space). I was also lucky that I found 3 emitters that had some uneccessary object-reservations, so that helped me ge the thermo space.
The fire-rate of the searchlight-devices in Yagon is now half the rate they had before. Personally I think it's too easy now, but maybe it's only because I played it so many times. Some more feedback on the difficulty of the inside-Yagon part would be nice, as most of you probably didn't get there until now.

A small changelog:
- Falling stalactite fixed
- Searchlight-device fire-rate halved
- Lights added behind the glass with the platforms inside Yagon
- Spelling "volcan"->"volcano"
- Height of infinite checkpoint after the vertical volcano-descent adjusted; should not give you another game over.
- The 4 crystals at the very last "activate the golden light" now turn dark again after 7 seconds instead of 10.

Concerning the last point I mentioned; I changed that, because I thought most people wouldn't even notice they turn dark again after 10 seconds and there was no challenge at all. So I tried 7 seconds and thought it worked pretty well.

I really feel that the feedback so far has helped this level a lot. I'm much more satisfied than I was before now. Keep it up :)

Shiwayari
02-23-2009, 03:10 PM
Sorry for the double post, but I can do that if I added something new to the thread, right? The last post was more than a month ago, so there wouldn't be a point to add something without bumping..

So I just added a video (well, 2 parts) to the first post. I decided to make one to use as a preview and walkthrough, because it seems the level is too hard for the avarage player.
I still encourage you to play the level and only refer to the video if you get stuck though, because exploring is one of the main aspects.

I'd also like to get some more feedback, now that I (hopefully) fixed the mentioned bugs. :)
Just comment on anything; difficulty, bugs, presentation, visuals, story, atmosphere etc..

CCubbage
02-23-2009, 03:18 PM
Tell you what... I originally liked this level so much, I'm going to go through the whole thing again tonight and give an update to my earlier feedback.

I know this isn't F4F, but is there any way you could give a runthrough for my Splat Invaders II: The Caverns of Splat and check out if there are any visible problems? I'm trying to get some different folk's feedback to make sure there is nothing confusing.

CCubbage
02-24-2009, 06:36 AM
Okay, here's my notes:

I could tell you made some improvements. This time the dropping rock worked like a champ

In the carry the crystal to the magma part: Once when I lost the crystal it took a while for it to appear again. One thing that is confusing is not having any indicator to how many more you need to do.

I may have missed it, but I don't think there was an indicator telling me I needed to sail the ship back again.


Near the end the spinning plasmo shooters (which I can tell you made a little easier) - I STILL can't get past these. I died a few times, but then as I was spawning a plasma hit me and completely killed me. Game over.

Shiwayari
02-24-2009, 12:45 PM
Okay, here's my notes:

I could tell you made some improvements. This time the dropping rock worked like a champ

In the carry the crystal to the magma part: Once when I lost the crystal it took a while for it to appear again. One thing that is confusing is not having any indicator to how many more you need to do.

I may have missed it, but I don't think there was an indicator telling me I needed to sail the ship back again.


Near the end the spinning plasmo shooters (which I can tell you made a little easier) - I STILL can't get past these. I died a few times, but then as I was spawning a plasma hit me and completely killed me. Game over.

At the magma part, you might have noticed I tried to make speech bubbles tell you how many more you need, but it doesn't work somehow. It disappears after a very short time and stops working. Due to the thermo limit, I couldn't put mouths at every glowing part, so I placed them in the middle. Maybe that's the cause..
And the crystal taking time to respawn is strange.
It still has that left-over bug from the now fixed object capture/emit bug. It's fixed in the game, but not in the level. The red crystals are supposed to disappear if a new one is emitted; I don't know if I can fix that because the mechanics that I made as a work-around to the bug are a pain to take apart.

Hmm.. I totally forgot about telling the player to use the ship to travel back once the magma is up. Just didn't come to my mind.

I'm surprised that the plasma balls are still hard. I actually halved the emitting frequence and wonderd if it would be a challenge at all to get through now, maybe I'll half it again?

The breaking unlimited checkpoints are really annoying, but I don't know if I want to go into them again; I'd rather wait for the new patch from MM, which will bring a default unlimited checkpoint and just replace them (Well, I hope it will).


I don't know when I'll be able to go into the level again, as I have very little time at the moment. I'd also like to check your level, but same for that. I'll see if I come to it.

CCubbage
02-24-2009, 02:42 PM
The part with the plasma balls - I'm not saying it's necessarily difficult, I just don't know how to do it. And when you've gone that far through a level and it's a touchy jumping puzzle that appears to be impossible to a player you've lost them - especially if they respawn on top of a plasma ball and die permenantly.

I'm just telling you (as a personal opinion based on someone who used to be a professional video game designer and has been playing games for over 30 years) - I think this plasma area is a bad mechanic. Here's why: Normally in LBP you are supposed to avoid this kind of beam by going behind it - not by jumping into it. Most players will get to this point and it simply doesn't make sense. Also, I just think by this time you've given the player so much challenge that they will have had enough. They don't need a frustrating jumping puzzle - if I were you, I would take that little bit out. It would give you possibly just enough thermo to finish you game.

By the way, it is possible that the reason the crystal doesn't respawn sometimes is because of thermo. If it's that high, there will be times where things won't emit properly.

In some of my games, the difference between getting the tag "Brilliant" and "Frustrating" was sometimes just a small detail - something was just a little TOO hard and I had to compromise - even if I felt it would be too easy.

Shiwayari
02-24-2009, 03:49 PM
Hmm.. I was trying to put something to do everywhere in the level, that and a little more challenge was the point of that plasma ball area. I don't really want to remove it completely.
I thought it was obvious how to do it and I don't like just going one layer back/forth to avoid everything. You could imagine it like a wall going up and down and you have to get through before it goes down and crushes you. Except this one is turning left and right.
To be more specific, as soon as the 'cannon' is turning towards you, you jump through its field of vision. That way, the plasma ball will emit after you're already past the cannon. I can imagine that you might not want to try everything again though. I suggest you just watch the video for the rest, if you haven't already.
Like I said, I'll definitely replace the infinite checkpoints as soon as MM releases their patch. The level is really not meant to be played over and over again, it's just too long.

The full thermo normally shouldn't be a problem, as the game rerserves spaces for the emitters. You are propably right though, because that old emitter bug just doesn't dissolve stuff even with max 1. And the game reserves space for only 1 object, so it overflows. I might really have to fix this somehow.

CCubbage
02-24-2009, 04:30 PM
Absolutely - having an infinite checkpoint at that part would have allowed me to practice enough to get through it. Either that or having some material block the plasma from hitting me immediately after I died. It just seemed like such a long way to go to be hit once, respawn on top of a plasma, get hit again and be told "restart?".... The reason I didn't watch the video is I was trying to give you the best feedback available based on a user out there in the real world. As soon as I watch the video I can't give you objective feedback on it anymore.

Shiwayari
02-24-2009, 07:11 PM
I don't know if you have watched the video now or not or if you even want to try again, but just to let you know before trying again, I've changed some things and it should be better now.

Edit:
It's published now.
The things I changed:

- At the plasma balls, I just made the rotation radius of the first cannon smaller, so the plasma balls can't reach the checkpoint anymore. I wonder why I didn't think of that obvious solution earlier.

- I somehow fixed the red crystal emitting bug! If you get a new one now, the old one will dissolve and there hopefully won't be any more 'level overflowing'.
It was amazing what happened after I removed the bug-workaround. I got back more than half a notch of the thermo, even though I just removed one brain and one magnetic switch/key.

- With that space, I went to the magma part and added magic mouths that tell you how many areas are left after each one you found. The only strange thing is that it shows four bubbles everytime, even though it should only show one. After a short while three disappear and the one that is supposed to show stays open. It doesn't bug me too much though, I think the effect I got is worth more than removing it because of such a minor fault.

- I also added two hints saying that you should take the boat back to the left.

That was about it, and once again, the last sensor was overheating the thermo xD
It's like everything fits perfectly in. There was just this message in create saying something like "this area of the level is too complex, leave more space". I hope this doesn't mean much; I played through it three times again and everything was fine.

Oh and I just wanted to thank you for all your feedback again. I just wish some more people would post something.

CCubbage
02-24-2009, 08:04 PM
I'll give it another shot tonight.

You have to remember... you've created a FANTASTIC level. In fact, complexity, story, details, and overall design I would say it ranks pretty high. The only barriers you face is the general LBP audience - casual, short attention span.... there are a lot of people even on this site that will truly enjoy this level once they feel they can accomplish it.

Shiwayari
02-24-2009, 08:12 PM
Yeah that's so right, it's so hard to make LBP players focus their attention on something.

Just posting.. I went through it online again and it seems all the emitters were half refusing to work. Stalatite/crystals/checkpoints suddenly didn't emit to the point where I got stuck. I probably killed the thermo now.
I republished the older version with just the changed plasma cannon now, because that just didn't work. I won't go into it again today, but at least the cannon should be okay now.

Shiwayari
01-01-2010, 08:52 PM
Forgive the double post, but editing is pretty pointless since it's been almost one year..

When the water pack came out, I absolutely HAD to go back into this level and remove those annoying jetpacks to replace them with water. I felt the change was big enough (it -is- a rather big part of the level) to update this thread and maybe get some more feedback =D
So I just published a V2 of the level (the V1 is still up.)

A list of what I changed in the level since the last time I posted:

After Creator Pack 1 was released:

- I replaced almost all the checkpoints with real unlimited life checkpoints (there is only 1 non-unlimited checkpoint left, but that section is very short and easy), so there should be no more bugs concerning this.

- I added quite a few global lighting switches to improve the atmosphere a lot. I think it fits quite well as I set it, though it might be a little too dark at some places for some, but you'll have to see for yourself (and give me the feedback! =D)

- I set a lot of gears to invisible that should not be visible. Also adds to the atmosphere, and I found lot at that.

- Some smaller improvements I don't remember


After Water Pack was released:

- The biggest change yet made on the level: I removed every single jetpack and replaced the mechanics at that part of the level with water. I think everything there works a LOT better now and should be a lot less frustrating and bug-filled, if at all.

- I also removed the 'constant black smoke', as it was just there to simulate the magma, but the water does that job a lot better.

- I rewrote 90% of the dialog to have a better 'flow' and also provide better hints on what to do.

- I also added a few subtle hints.

- I made the level look more 'professional', for example by removing the 'X feedback at the cannon' after having succeeded.

- I changed a few lights a little.

- The stalactite at the beginning... I thought it worked after the last change (a year ago?) but I had one playthrough where it didn't show up again. So what I did was add a second mechanism that does the exact same thing, just with a different trigger. The first one is also still in place, so I just hope that I will never see/hear of this bug again >.<


That's about everything I think.

Even though I really have to thank MM for that water, as it's just what I needed to make the level so much better, I have to say that I had a really hard time changing all that stuff. I had to go back into the mechanics that I had almost no idea how I set them up almost a year ago, so I had to 'backtrack' a lot of wires and move switches just to see how it's set up.
And even though the water has some awesome properties like making fire go out and those floating effects, it was really hard to find 'work arounds' to these properties.
I had to work out how to prevent the water from making all the fires go out; some of the mechanics had to be changed, because they were under water and didn't work with those floating effects. And the hardest part was to change all the crystals at that part. Since they had to be small and grabable, but at the same time aren't allowed to float upwards. Not only did I have to find the balance between grab- and heavy- material, but I had to set up a lot of mechanics again, since the crystals are emitted and still have to 'communicate' with the rest of the level.
Thank god the 'jetpack-deletion' gave me back the thermo space I needed to do all that.

Well, just saying, it was a lot of work.
But really, I might just be praising myself, but I'm so satisfied with the atmosphere and gameplay now and I had quite the fun to play the level again myself. Hopefully it'll reach some more plays/hearts/stars this time around, I think it's absolutely worth it.

So.. get yourself to play the level (again) and give me some feedback =p.


__________________

On a side note.. I still didn't get to make the next part of the level, but I'm still set on making it some day. The MM water levels were quite the inspiration and I had a lot of ideas, so I really hope i'll find the time to get to it soon =o
__________________

Oh and I almost forgot, if you still can't make it through on your own, you can now ask me to tag along and help, since I can finally play online after that leerdammer update (I mailed MM the error I had like 5 times, but they just didn't want to believe me that it was an error on their side.) !
Just tell me when and I'll see if I have time (I'm GMT+1, it's 21:40 here, as a reference).
And one more thing, I won't publish it as copyable, but If you want to see the create-mode view of the level, your're free to ask me to enter in online create (If you tell me how to do that, since I have no idea where online create mode is supposed to be xD).


And with that, I'll look forward to feedback and, have fun playing!

CCubbage
01-01-2010, 09:56 PM
Nice! I'll get on it! I hadn't forgotton about it.

To everyone out there.... this leve is hard, but it's a MUST PLAY. Very cool stuff!

EDIT


...


I DID IT! I BEAT IT! I CAN'T BELIEVE I BEAT IT!

Very nice, and the water worked really well for this level. Every section worked perfectly. The only suggestion I have at this point is to maybe take some of the text boxes and merge them together since the new update allows more text in a text box (for instance, at the very beginning).

This level is brilliantly designed, never cheap, and TOUGH AS NAILS. Great job!

NinjaMicWZ
01-04-2010, 03:31 PM
I remember how awesome this was back in the day. I want to go back and redo almost everything of mine too, but I bet the water changes and whatever else you've done have really souped this level up. It was already pretty epic to begin with, and anyone who doesn't remember, this guy was a logic genius before there was logic geniuses.

Shiwayari
01-05-2010, 08:39 PM
Good to hear everything worked well.
Thanks for the info about text boxes, didn't know about that. I went through and merged them all, changing some words. Wow, now I have 2 1/2 empty thermo bars.

And all the praise gets my motivation up to get onto the next part faster. Now if I could figure out how to stop time for a week, then I might up it tomorrow :p.

Oh and the logic yeah, I also still want to do a V3 (or maybe a V2 Part 2?) of my switch demo, though all 'demofriendly stuff' I have for now is a modified talking tool which I made directly after CreatorPack1 came out..

And again do I realize that publicising is hard, but thanks for the replies for now :)

Morgana25
01-08-2010, 05:14 AM
Well I finished it on my alternate account and it's definitely difficult.

I can understand how casual players are getting lost and not wanting to put the effort into finishing or figuring out a lot of the level but it's very satisfying when you do.