View Full Version : Dr. Tecnova's Lair

01-11-2009, 05:24 AM
A secret agent and pilot extraordinaire, you are code name Ace. Your mission is to infiltrate and destroy Dr. Tecnova's lair. His machines, cold and heartless will do their best to keep you from your mission. If you survive this mission, it will be your task to some back and tell us what you have learned of this menace!

This is the first of a trio of levels with our hero, Ace McSack, pitted against his nemesis, Dr. Tecnovia. I'm going for a 1940-1950's feel, and i tried to make is a "Dlck Tracy" as i could. The level is a shooter, with some puzzles, and a very basic x2 bonus room. It has Airplanes, which took some serious time to get balance issues fixed on.

Extensively playtested by yours truly, and along with suggestions from a great level creator, SuperPhillip, I sincerely hope that this level will be one of your favorites.

F4F: I will give feedback for a maximum of 10 levels, please post which one you would like feedback for, so i can help you where it's needed. feel free to add me as a PSN friend, so i can help you while you are building your next ones too!

01-11-2009, 05:46 PM
I'm going to give it a shot now, back soon with a review


err honestly...its a mess, its not a mess that cant be cleaned, but its generally a mess

- at the start theres no indication you have to pull a lever to open the door
- the first plane didnt fly correctly 3 times in a row - it hit the walls and turned over, shooting me into the gas
- the plane doesnt respawn, if you lose it for some reason you cant get another
- alot of the enemies can be avoided by changing lanes
- Your required to shoot alot of things but with few guns, if you lose your gun for some reason you lose your gun for some reason you have t travel a LONG way back
- Theres very little direction to it, I found myself running around trying to find where to go
- Its rather blank, could use some decoration
- the Black and white filter doesnt help....when your expected to find a grey switch you dont know is there, against a grey background, in a dark room...well you get the idea
- Couldnt finished the level - I got past the second plane and the glass tunnel (which was hard to tell was glass due to the black and white), pulled a switch to lower a ramp then died and respawned on the other side of the ramp, with no way past it

While I see what your aiming for..it needs a fair bit of polish - a bit of colour, a bit of direction and it should be fine

remember the player doesnt know what you know - I didnt know where the plane had to go, where the switches were what I had to shoot or didnt have to shoot

3/10, 2 stars, no heart


01-11-2009, 10:01 PM
ouch. that hurts fantastically bad. I dont know what to say about that. tell you what. i'll send you a PM when these issues are addressed so you can give it another shot. im not angry about the review though, just so you know. i was just under the impression that the level was at a much more polished grade than that. can you tell me exactly how you managed to die on the other side of the ramp?

also, i thought it was a very linear path, but i suppose you got lost near the cran/x2 section?

The plane is supposed to respawn in all three plane locations. im thinking that perhaps the switch was deleted. thats a quick fix. as to how the plane flies, i'll probably make a tutorial level on how to do it, which you should play before hand. theres a spot you should stand on, and be very sparing with the throttle. theres a bonus for landing perfectly.

as far as the switches, other than the ones behind the glass, which ones are difficult to see? and do you have any solutions for letting them see it?

More guns. got it. i'll throw more in there. as far as checkpoints, how did you feel about the number of those?

I'll throw some arrows in for direction in the more confusing places.

Decorations are hard to come by, as most dont fit with the theme i was working toward.

i realize that many people wont like the black and white filter, but i realkly want to keep that vintage old school red baron kind of look.

I'll get to work on it tonight, and pm you when im done. thank you for your input, its greatly appreciated.

Did you want a F4F? if so, let me know which level you'd like me to try out.

01-11-2009, 10:51 PM
Checkpoints are fine as they go along, but be sure to put a gun in front of each of them, that should solve your gun problems easily

The switch problem could be solves simply by stickering them white or something similar, the greyscale version of the sponge yellow is a very mid-tone grey and blends with everything

The problem with the plane wasn't that it was hard to control, it was just that I didnt know where I was taking it - im in a large empty area, I don't know if I'm going up or down or what

as for the ramp, the enemy by the ramp can be avoided by jumping to the back row, I simply walked past him instead of killing him, I accidentally changed rows on the way up the ramp - and spawned on the wrong side of it

The level really isn't that bad mate, I just think it was published a bit too early, one of the easiest ways to test a level is try and abuse everything, try and break it all - afterall who knows what other players might do?

as for F4F feel free to do the one in my sig, though I dont force people to check it if they dont want to

01-12-2009, 06:47 AM
Cool... i'll try to work out the plane thing. if this were your level, would you want to get rid of the grey tone? i want it to be a kina old timey feel, but perhaps the grey tone takes it a bit far. i'll see. i really appreciate your feedback, and if it's ok, i'll add you as a friend on psn, so i can update you when i think its all good. i'll give heist a try tonight.

Edit to avoid a Double Post:
Hey, I updated the level and republished it. being my only critic at the moment, i'd appreciate it sooo much if you could give it another go. i went with the sepia instead of the black and white filter... added a lot of speech and signs to help you with directions..

i also made the enemies impossible to just avoid, and i fixed the problem where you can get stuck on the wrong side of the ramp.

i also worked on the plane's take off ramp quite a bit, and made everything much more visible with lighting and stickers.

I changed a lot of the materials, and added a lot of decorations and stickers.

By the way, did you find Dr. tecnovia's bedroom? Theres a bonus there.

01-13-2009, 12:57 PM
Wow, I guess you made some serious changes because I loved it. I didn't notice the problems MrGenji saw for the most part so I assume you fixed them. Very cool level, and I believe I have first place.

I loved the Sepia color tone you used, it kind of felt like Sky Captain or something. I was a little disappointed I didn't get to really fly a plane I just hopped on and rode it but oh well lol. I actually thought the level looked pretty good when I ran through it. Overall I thought it was quite fun, you mixture of platforming and paininating was awesome. The way you set it up so you had to use multiple planes to dodge the enemies attacks was well executed. I would try to distinguish more so which way you are supposed to go and which way is just optional for extra points. There are some problems with the level that I mention later, they can all be fixed fairly easily. Despite these issues I still found the level had one very important thing going for it, its fun. It has a certain kind of class and style that just works really great. I gave it 4 stars.

There were a few parts that could use some editing, quickly: There was a part where I hopped on a crane and rode it to the left, then 3 more cranes came up and started going right and I thought I was supposed to hop on the, a few minutes later I realized it was just for more points. I saw the little arrow the second time over there. There is an elevator that goes down and then a big sticker that says SHOOT and points left towards oblivion. I sat there shotting left for like 2 minutes before I realized I was supposed to shoot the switch lol. The part where you pull the levers to disable the traps had an infinite ammount of points, just turn the switches to max emmited 1.

01-13-2009, 02:01 PM
I havnt re-tryed it yet, but apparently alot of changes have been made - actually im going to go try it now

EDIT: I'm typing this as I'm playing it

Ok the new tone is much nicer, and has an even better "vintage" look than B&W imho

The plane looks great and the flight is much easier now with the gentle slope of the ceiling to guide me, clouds are a nice touch

might want to make the first gun a bit more obvious, but thats purely your choice - its hardly a major thing

Guns are an improve ment, coving all 3 lanes now -although you should but something deadly at the bottom of the "holes" they come from, to save people falling and having to use try again

onwards then, I don't know if its a shortcut or not but you can walk behind the metal fencing in the next area (instead of using the platform)

the next gun cant actually hurt you if you stand still, just need to lower the emmiters a bit

ride across the crane is nice, all working well - might want to move the checkpoint forward so you land on it

by the way I love the design of those bomb launchers, the way you have to take down "shields" to kill them

huh just noticed the shortcut through the crushing blocks, thats good - score bubbles might be an idea there

lol "Egads" great word there, woops hit a cloud and broke the plane ><, landed on the roof of the next area - no big problem though

"Zounds" Loving the dialog btw, makes it seem so much more like a story rather than a random series of platforms...If only I could master the art of dialog...*sigh*

Onto the area with the trap switches now, switches are easily visible this time round, as hex said the switches award endless points.

OH thats what the room with all the lights was, self destruct

killed myself on the next turret, NO GUN! had to run back for a new one (not far though) dont forget if you die you lose your gun - which is why almost every checkpoint should have one (if its needed)

the ramp falling is now visible, its still possible to get stuck on the other side, but you'd have to try very hard. Perhaps put a checkpoint in the self-destruct room?

this next area has a nice flow to it - dodging between the pillars whilst running really makes it seems like a daring escape

this next lift is a bit temperamental and kept changing directions if I moved slightly from the center

some more haphazard flying from me and weeee a nice group of people telling me how good I am

The End


Well what can I say? What a change from the previous version, this new level is slicker, Funnier and generally more enjoyable. About my comments above, bear in mind this time I tried to break everything - I repeatedly dropped my gun to see if I would have to run back, I flew the planes as badly as possible and tried to cheat my way past every obstacle - but this game has changed an amazing amount from my first try - without sacrificing a good points

4 stars and heart - keep up the good work!

01-13-2009, 03:38 PM
Yeah I would try to fix the stuff he mentioned, I didn't run into much of it because I was casually playing. Its good to make it as unbreakable as possible because if it happens by accident it obviously isn't good.

01-13-2009, 10:25 PM
Just a Note, If you guys havent found Dr. Tecnova's Bedroom, you should look harder :) i noticed that the high scores arent anywhere my personal best of 20,170, as i know where all the secrets are. and Mr.Genji, the crushing blocks... there IS points there already :)

Also, the shortcut behind the grate instead of the moving platform is there, because you can take the shortcut, but you miss out on the points. so if you are going for high score, you'd be missing out if you decided to take the easy way out.

Also, i made a few more fixes, and the level will be in its complete and final stage tonight, (about 12 hours from this post) so i'll publish it and send PM's. my next level, which is already begun is a prequel. flight school for ace!

01-13-2009, 11:22 PM
oh i never really go for points unless they rate something other than points....if that makes sense

01-14-2009, 09:05 AM
Hmm, lots of secret areas eh? I will have to check it out.

01-14-2009, 09:43 AM
Hey guys, the final level is now completed, as of oh, 12 seconds ago. i had to remove a secret area, so now theres only 2 secret areas and 1 secret for bonus points... but the overall feel and goodness is better.

i took all of your guy's comments and suggestions and completed them. there should now be no back alleyway shortcuts that are unintentional. no way to break the level, unless you jump off the elevator before the shoot spot and get rid of your gun. however, im not putting a gun there. its a runway.

so your guys comments were absolutely helpful in making this level a success (in my eyes) however, i got rated terribly by an unknown, who also tagged my level as "lousy" even though he didnt leave any comment as to why he did so. i'm tempted to erase and republish to get rid of the bad tag... i may do that in a second... so it may show 0 plays.

anyway, now its time to begin on Ace's flight school, and from there, i'll create a boss level where you have to fight Dr. Tecnova. i hope i can count on your guys great critisism on my future levels.

01-14-2009, 12:18 PM
you could always put an invisible wall next to the elevator so you cant jump off

01-14-2009, 12:35 PM
Invisible wall? what wizardry do you speak of? how do you make invisible walls?

01-14-2009, 01:45 PM
Invisible Dark Matter. I can send it to you, but you can make it yourself pretty easily. Just make Dark Matter the smallest size possible with Grid Mode turned off and there you go. You've got yourself Invisible Dark Matter. Oh - make sure you selected the "circle" shape from the menu.

I think there are other ways of making it, but this is the easiest method in my opinion.

01-14-2009, 02:10 PM
you can make anything an invisible wall by making a really long thin line of it, rotating it 45 degrees-ish and shrinking it until it disappears, the only thing other than dark matter you'd want invisible though is dissolve I suppose. or perhaps something you can grab....

as you cant see it only its properties matter, its good for making new forms of hazards though, for example I use an invisible wall on fire to make lasers that burn people on contact

01-14-2009, 04:16 PM
Yeah, I use invisible dissolve material a lot in Heart of Gold. It's a great tool. A pain to work with though. You have to attatch switches before shrinking it. And once something is invisible you can no longer grab it without dragging over it.

01-14-2009, 08:57 PM
Very cool, i'll do that tonight, and THEN it will be the last version. if you guys dont mind, go ahead and play my level just 1 more time, because i fixed all the issues, added in more special effects there at the end, tweaked the camera angles, and fixed some mesh to make the level smoother to move through. (i.e. you can now run up the large staircase without having to jump more than once, and there is no more tiny lips of mesh that sackboy can get caught up on.)

also, i deleted the old one, which lost all it's plays and hearts...

01-16-2009, 01:03 AM
Alright I will play it again later. I ended up deleting the first publication of Heart of Gold for the same reason, it had to many glitches at the start and had rather bad reviews.

01-17-2009, 07:48 AM
Well guys I'm not exactly certain what is happening, but my level has 10 plays and is rated at 2 stars... whereas my first level, which is far from polished at all is rated at 4 stars... I don't know how I can fix that, since I'm absolutely certain it is NOT a 2 star level... any ideas?

BTW. I added the invisible wall, a few more decorations, better elevators, even better special effects and a couple of better camera angles on the crane section.

I also added a sticker switch in order to get into DR. Tecnova's Bedroom, and the sticker is hidden in the level along with some more points. i also added a few more hidden point areas to find. This is, even though I've said it before, the final version. Now all of my efforts in LBP will be working toward the prequel, Ace McSack's Flight School.

However, for my future levels in the world of Ace McSack, please continue to give feedback as I can use it to polish my other levels, and it also kicks *** when I hear how much someone liked this or that. It's very motivating.

01-17-2009, 07:25 PM
oh i love the way you deeply critise my level as though u r a genius level designer... lets have a look at urs shall we...

first of all the plane got stuck on something and wouldnt move, so i restarted.
next it took me several trys to land the thing as it kept flipping over ( consider some kind of track for it to run on ).
after the plane, random jetpack ( im not critising this, i just wondered what it was for... ).
backgrounds are kinda bland and everything is perfectly square ( grids arent ment for everything, just precision objects ).
lack of checkpoints ( i died n it sent me wayyy back ).
the power supply to the electric floor is a square pillar!? ( n u sed bad things about 'my' attention to detail ).
a few switches and radio's are visible, dunno if this was on purpose though.
i liked the airvent bit with the searchlights, that was cool, n the planes would be awesome if worked on a bit.
if the whole place was coming down itd be nice for some rumbling and falling debris.
had to run for ages when i crashes the last plane... ( is there enough plane sections!? ).
all this talk of dr technova and i didnt get to fight him or see him, that kinda sucked.

sorry bout the ''in depth'' critism but i just critisised it as much as u did mine, n i felt u were a bit stuck up while tallking bout what was bad in my level so this is my payback muhaha!! no but seriously ill fix the flaws u mentioned in my level, ( btw i didnt use the grid cause its ''supposed'' to be a delapidated, abandoned apartment building, its supposed to look raw ) but the way u acted as ur heart was a blessing from god kinda annoyed me...

3/5 stars and a heart as author and on ur level, fix these flaws, and it will easily b 4/5 stars ( i wont take away my hearts, dont see the point, its not like u can run out ) :*)

01-17-2009, 10:22 PM
Ok, Where did you die? I thought I had enough checkpoints.

Radios were meant to be visible at one time, I will hide the ones I dont want to show. thanks for the input.

I'll see about the falling debris, but I don't know if the thermometer will let that happen.

There Isn't enough Thermometer to make the boss battle in this level, but the sequel will be built around that, so we wont run into that problem again.

I use hearts as a tracker for levels i want to play again, and if I tell an author that his level could use a bit of work, and the author doesnt improve the level, then i wont want to play it again later. therefore, i will remove my heart so that i can find the levels i want to play again. thats what the heart system is for, the stars are for judging quality. and comments.

01-18-2009, 08:24 PM
cool :*) a good way to stop the thermometer rising is to use very little different material types on object and backrounds and sticker them the colour or texture u want

u can fit way more detail into ur level and the thermometer doesnt suffer

hope to see some excellent levels from u soon, i fixed most flaws in mine,but i havent got round to changing fingerprint stickers yet

01-18-2009, 10:08 PM
Hey dude, played your level last night, and this is in response to your comments on my level :).

I really like the level. I haven't played many levels that can pull off the sepia tone very well, and it kept with the theme of the 50's/60's era.

+ It was pretty fun and it was a good challenge
+ I thought it was created really well

- I didn't finish the level, so my only negative as of right now is that the lights that shot plasma balls at you were way too hard (for me at least ^^). I ran back to get a gun when I died the first time, and tried to shoot the lights, but this turned out to be a waste of time :P. I'll try it again, and edit this later for more feedback.

Edit: The lights were real easy :l. But I don't really have anymore to add :P.

01-19-2009, 08:50 PM
Alright, I know that i said i wouldnt change anything... lol...

There is now an autopilot plane on th first plane ride, so you can see the distance we are looking at. it won't land perfectly, and i did that on purpose, because i dont want auto-pilot users to win the bonus. so theres a switch to give you either the auto-pilot plane or the ACE plane, which is completely user-controlled.

I removed all of the straight port-enemies, and put in my own. some are better, some might be worse, but at least they are all custom now. Thanks to Talmasca, i realized how silly it was to shoot at a plain old pillar to shut down the electric floors, so now there's a fuse box and an explosion when you shut them down.

I'm not going to lie, if you guys have good feedback i'll continue to work on it. i like this level a lot, myself. i know its not groundbreaking, but i like it anyway. here's hoping so do you.

01-19-2009, 09:59 PM
I just gave 2.0 a run and I do like it, I would love it if you'd change 1 thing...the colour. I know its set that way to build on the aura of a 1950s spy but most people don't want to play a black and white video game (hence the low sales of black and white video games since the 80's)

1950s movies had colour anyway, Wizard of Oz was 1939. If the materials you used look good in colour I'd say turn the colour on. I might be biased though, every other altered colour level Ive played I thought was trash, yours was still really good with the B&W.

For tweaks and such, only thing in the first building that got me was the turret at the bottom of the stairs, it was tough to time the shots on, maybe what you intended, just pointing it out.

2nd building
-the laser lights I was able to walk through without even noticing they were firing, but when I noticed they fired I kept jumping into the fire...just me being silly
-When you pass the lights and are able to go back to the 'levers that control the traps' it was really tough to time those dropping things, and when I finally got by I got squished in an elevator that didn't seem to mean to squish me.
-When you shoot the first turret after the the laser lights it explodes to show the outside background, don't know if that was intended.
-when you are taking the last escape elevator it pans to the outside for a screen then comes back.

So besides my opinion that colour is greater then mood setting B&W there are just a couple tweaks from a great level. Even with the Black and White I think its my favorite level Ive tried that uses the paintgun.

Hope this helps,

01-20-2009, 08:52 AM
OK... im confused about 1 thing... pass the lights...? you totally arent supposed to be able to do that... are you a ninja? i'll have to go set those to impossible mode.

the levers turn the traps off when pulled, so there should be no difficulty once they are turned off.

the timing on the turret at the bottom of the stairs... if its the one i think it is, then you need to use the pillar at the top of the stairs to dodge incoming fire. that was deliberate.

the explosion showing the outside is not deliberate. good call on that one. i'll fix it up shortly.

and the camera angle... i'll have to take a look at that. thats something i didnt notice before... thanks for the feedback.

I am super glad you enjoyed it. i think the level has grown so much now thanks to feedback from people like you that i almost feel bad about taking credit for building it.

just a quick question though... did you use the ace or the autopilot plane first? and if you used the auto, did it work out for you? do you have any feedback on the planes, or any way i can make them work better?

01-20-2009, 06:07 PM
OK... im confused about 1 thing... pass the lights...? you totally arent supposed to be able to do that... are you a ninja? i'll have to go set those to impossible mode.

The lights that go back and forth and shoot when you get in their beam of light, those ones I was able to walk past pretty easy they would fire either to the left or right of the beam so you just had to go through them either when they were left or right of center (depending on which way that light shot). I didn't see a way to turn them off, was there a way to do it?

I had tried the level before you added the auto plane and had no problems with it, so I tried the ACE plane and died the first time (but laughed dying since it was not a long wait to fly again) then tried the autopilot and it actually landed, flipped on its nose and blocked the way into the lair. I just reset and did ace, which was much more fun when I read the 'stay below the radar' and flew it without gripping the throttle the whole time.
It really is a fun part of your level, flying the planes, just have to get across to people they can't just hold R1 the whole flight, they need to pump it a couple times.

01-20-2009, 08:17 PM
lol yeah, i get some people who say they love the planes, and others saying it always crashes... you cant please everyone.

theres no switch to turn of those lights, you should be forced to use the path through the wall. the switches are used to turn off the falling plasma balls at the end of that section.

I went through and fixed the hole in the wall behind the enemy near the self destruct room, made those lights impossible to pass, fixed the camera angle on the last elevator ride, added some color, (but kept the sepia), and hid a few switches.

There were 2 text bubbles whose radius were too small, so now the text should pop up better, and long enough to read.

Here's hoping the new fixes didn't make the world explode!

I also changed some materials, and fixed a few mesh problems which would, under very weird circumstances, make you fall through the level.

Overall, the level is much cleaner, and now it plays the way it was meant to. no sneaky shortcuts through the lights :)

01-21-2009, 08:56 PM
I'm afrid you'll have to put me with the people who don't like the planes. The plane problem wouldn't be too bad if more than just two would appear. Also, the plane at the end, it kept flying errotically in the air. When I let go of the second one after dying, I fell PAST the end of the level. I fell REALLY far down, and saw the supports of the level. Of course, I had to kill myself. After that, there were no more planes, which I mentioned before. I jumped and tried to fly on my own, but my Sackdragon wings couldn't flap hard enough :(

I'm about to try a second run-through, and find all of the hidden things.

Also, I'm saying this because I saw James Bond a few days ago: you should have to rescue a love interest :P

01-22-2009, 07:56 AM
first, i just want to mention that it my plane is erotic in any way, i'm very sorry :) j/k

the thing about the planes is that infinite numbers will appear, but only 2 at any given time, so you just have to wait for one's lifetime to run out, since its an emitter. i suppose i can lower that time down a bit to make it better however.

how... exactly did you manage to get to the end of the level, and where did you fall? theres posts and things that should keep that from happening at all... so you'll have to elaborate on that one.. you've got me stumped...

A love interest eh? i'll look into that, although i'll have to do some major modifications to incorporate that fully... mostly in the other levels im working on though.

so what did you think about the autopilot, was it helpful or did it suck?

01-22-2009, 04:13 PM
[QUOTE=TJapan;129003]first, i just want to mention that it my plane is erotic in any way, i'm very sorry :) j/k[QUOTE]

Lol I think you mean erratic, having no fixed course, instead of erotic, To excite sexually.....Classic spell check fun

Beside that I played your level again and aced it, so its surely not to hard if I can ace it.

If you are still looking for things to tweak:

-The hardest part IMO is the turret in the first building that you have to go downstairs to shoot, so if you want to make it easier on the little kids thats the first step.

-In the 2nd building when you go behind the laser light you should put an arrow to the enterence, I know the first time I tried to go in it but was off center so it wouldn't let me go in so I just ignored it.

-After the 1st laser lights the camera still shows a bit of the outside where the turret exploded, just a crack on the left side as the camera pans from 1 side to the other.

It's a really good level now, only reason its not getting high marks and hearts is people suck and only <3 easy levels that they get stupid stickers for..

Good work man.

01-22-2009, 04:26 PM
first, i just want to mention that it my plane is erotic in any way, i'm very sorry j/k

Tjapan - you and 100% pure win, never fails to make me laugh

you know he once described someones level by saying it looked like it was "groped by a dirty giant"

01-22-2009, 11:10 PM
Hey Ozwald, that turret, if you want to give it another go...

stand at the top of the stairs... hide behind the pillar there, when the timing is good, jump out and aim for there the turret will be at it's lowest, and hide again. next time, pop out and blast it once it hits bottom. its set at 3 or 4 shots so you can get it in one pass.

i'll fix that little sliver, i thought i got it, but i guess not...

I'll mark that entrance a little better... i highlighted it with a green sticker, but its not much more visible.

BTW, something to help you guys get into the mood.

How to make "Ace McSack"

the side part wig, stickered black

the trenchcoat, stickered brown

(if you have the animal pack) the penguin scarf, stickered white

the black devil-goatee/mustache combo,

and white cotton material, with the beady little eyes.

also, if you guys figured out the puzzle in Dr. Tecnova's Bedroom, please post it up!