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larryjoe701
01-20-2009, 03:15 AM
The main concept explored in Monochrome is the use of darkness and color. I've seen several good examples of dark levels, but none that use the reflective properties of different colored stickers.

Some of the features are as follows:

* Simple story with a twist
* Multiple interconnected quests
* Boss battle
* 100% original content
* Lighting-based puzzles
* Challenging platformer sections
* Hundreds of logic gates
* Dozens of controlled lights

I've just published the level. It's a difficult level and I tried to include a variety of puzzles.

Comments on the idea, questions about the implementation, and testers would be welcomed.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3402/3211883158_90d248bf35.jpg?v=0
A platform section illuminated by different colors.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3483/3211883150_1c26fac26b.jpg?v=0
A color filter based puzzle
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3338/3211883138_a1f649baa8.jpg?v=0
Another color based puzzle
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3302/3211883128_291b083bc6.jpg?v=0
My crazy vertical escalator
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3366/3211883276_2fbb61907e.jpg?v=0
One of the bosses

Coreymill
01-20-2009, 04:19 AM
Okay, so I tried to play your level but I really think it needs more direction in it, I am an avid gamer and love puzzles ... however I find myself stuck and unsure what to do in this level.

- I was able to turn on the blue star which lit up the blue light by that light puzzle w/ the blue red and green lights. But after doing that I have no idea where I am supposed to go or what I am supposed to do.

- I went over to the right on the first level and pulled some levers to light up that area w/ the green star in it but that didn't seem to actually do anything and I just don't see anywhere else to go. Unless you have to do something with the red blue and green light puzzle. However, I have no idea at all what I am supposed to be doing with that section/puzzle ...

- I think that there are some really neat ideas in this level and I really liked how you restored/turned on the blue star when you got to it. However, I think the level doesn't help the player out enough right now. I will keep an eye on this thread to see where the level goes because I really would like to see the rest of the level because what I was able to get through was pretty interesting.

:EDIT:

-Okay, so I kept trying to figure things out and I kept going right and after much fiddling around in the darkness I was able to figure out how to turn on the green star. I think that little puzzle is too difficult, you have no way of knowing that the 'basket' is over there ... maybe if you lit it up or something it would be more fair. I started by trying to push them right and then accidentally knocked one into the 'basket' after awhile ...

- But NOW I have no idea where the red one is. I think it might have something to do with the area that goes down those steps off the 'first floor' but it's too dark to be able to see anything or know what to do.

F4F is easy in a sense since I only have one level to choose from at the moment.

Neverynnal
01-20-2009, 05:36 AM
I just want to add a little blip here. I wasn't able to finish the level because something came up, but I'll have some very detailed feedback for you when the time comes. The level has some serious, serious potential, and I think if you changed up a few things you have a real gem here. Looks amazing and some of the mechanics thus far are awesome. Especially loved that glass case that you ascend automatically. Man that must have been a royal pain! Anyway, more to come asap

EDIT: Alright I played through the level and it's entirety ALMOST. Got to the boss and I'm almost sure Monochrome bugged out on me. Tried to kill him for about 15 minutes, and the blue head wouldn't die ><

Pros

-It looks really really good. The bright vibrant lighting was right up my alley where it was used.

-The whole concept of the level is really well thought out. I loved trying to find all the stars and waking them.

- As mentioned above, that glass chamber that brings you to the upper level was really neat.

- The puzzles were pretty fun for the most part. You really have to take your time with this level to enjoy it.

- I especially liked the puzzle with the 3 lights that you had to bring down in a sequence to light up the spotlight for the red star. That was soooo ingenious man! :)

- Yeah it's obvious you used a ton of logic switches throughout the level. It'd be interesting to see them all.

Cons

-As stated above, there is no direction. While I enjoyed running all over the place finding the stars, most people won't. Maybe make "signs" throughout the level indicating where the stars are. ie) Birthplace of [INSERT NAME] The Red Star of [INSERT NAME]. ---------> I don't think it would take anything away from the level.

-The one thing that really frustrated me though, was constantly being confused about how to open/dissolve some of the doors. We need sounds to indicate this since we can't see anything, or even some text would do. It's a lot of guess and check and it can get very tedious.

-As Coreymill stated, the green stat part with the basket and the teetering glass section needs some work. I somehow activated it without having any idea how I did it, and then when I went to the right 2 of the doors were open, but the fire wall was still left up. So I backtracked and found a different star and then went back and it was gone. Really confusing here man, you need to address this.

-The boss bugged out on me. First of all, I wasn't sure what light I was supposed to shine in their eyes, and I tried all 3 for like 15 minutes on the blue head and it wouldn't die. So I quit the level and didn't get my high score :( Was a shame really, was doing really good up until that point.

-After you kill Polychrome it goes pitch black. While it's cool, it's frustrating to say the least. Thank god for the halo on my sackboy's head lol..

ANYWAY, aside from the cons I stated, the level was a lot of fun and I 5 star/hearted it. I just really enjoyed the direction you took with it, and the obvious amount of effort you put into it. All it needs is more direction and I think you got a really, really solid level here. Keep up the good work, and I hope to see you improve upon it in the future. :)


F4F Grab a friend and play SEMINAL GEMINI under the PSN: NinjaMicWZ. Thanks bud :) and be sure to play it.

larryjoe701
01-21-2009, 03:16 AM
Hey folks, I really appreciate the quick feedback on my level. I updated it tonight based on your comments:

I added arrows (red, green, and blue of course) illuminated by LEDs, one for each of the stars. At first they are all on, pointing up for blue, right for green, and down for red. As the stars are awakened they turn off, so you know which areas you still need to visit. I also added arrows at the top and down below, so you know you need to go both left and right. Once all the stars have been awakened, a white arrow with all three LED colors shows you which way to go.

Coreymill - I'm not sure if this is the problem you had, but I found that the door that blocks access to the lower area when the main light isn't directed down had become glued stuck. I replaced it with glass and tested it a few times to ensure it was working. Basically, you shouldn't be able to head down to the red area unless you shine Polychrome's light down. Also, there is a splitter box (needed to shine the down-coming light to the left and right) down there that was made of glass, making it very hard to see. I've made it wood. It must be dragged under the light to proceed with the Red Star sections.

I've added some much-needed illumination to the second Green Star area, with the balance. You can now see what's going on there.

Glad y'all liked the glass chamber that brings you to the top. It took some work getting the timing right and just figuring out how to build it and not end up with a stuck-together block. The LED emitter in the dark really makes it look neat.

I simplified the color filter puzzle on the right Red Star, simply because the last step didn't make sense.

I added sounds to just about every action.

Neverynnal - The color-cycling star on the right which makes everything dark is actually Monochrome. I added another magic mouth that voices a warning that destroying him will plunge the world into darkness. In defeating him, you actually found a secret. I didn't expect anyone to find their way back the first time in the dark.

Neverynnal - I also added another magic mouth near the three stars by Polychrome. He's programmed such that shining the color of each head on that head blocks it from being destroyed... is it possible that you had the blue light on the blue head? I gave it another test or two and it appeared to function correctly. I also increased the sensitivity of the destructive sensors and decreased the sensitivity of the strengthening sensors.

Nukemgreen
01-23-2009, 06:09 AM
Thanks for the review, I'll try this level out tomorrow night. I'll tell ya what I think ASAP!

King_Tubb
01-23-2009, 05:32 PM
I thought this level was awesome. I still havnt beat but those reasons are mention in my cons.


Pros: -Awesome lighting, the spotlight trigger system is genius.
-Great use of spotlights, almsot every puzzle involves them, and and each puzzle in a new way.
EDIT: - Cool Polychrome boss, i like the snakes you made.

Cons: -Poor overall lighting, i found myself getting easily lost, and dying often to random falling because i could not see where i was suppose to jump next.
- The Red zone, if you dont have the spotlight on it, get you stuck if you accidently wander down in that direction trying to get points.
- There is no sense of what to do. It took me a while to figure out that i had to move the spot light in the beginning to get around. You should a magic mouth there explaining that piece.
EDIT: -PolyChrome Boss needs more lives, either make it a double or unlimited, because the average beginner isnt gonna know what to do verse him until they've lost most of their lives. Frankly i had no clue what i was doing either...i started pushing stars around (the red star killed me once =P). So in conclusion for polychrome boss, More lives, more instructions on what to do, and remove the gas on the red Chrome star.
- Up/Left blue star was a had some faults... You should put dissolve material at the end below the star because if you walk to far you fall down and have to redo the puzzle >=(. Also i can barely even see the button for its puzzle...that just poor quality.

More coming soon when i get more time to play it again.

larryjoe701
01-23-2009, 06:44 PM
I look forward to reading your reviews. I understand it can be a difficult level when you're not aware of exactly how things proceed. Let me know if there are places that really need more lives and/or directions. It's meant to be a level where it takes you a while to figure out some of the puzzles and platforming. The darkness is just a necessity to explore the story as well as the game play elements (puzzles based on light, platform visibility dependent on sticker color). Each section that you complete does in fact introduce more light into the different areas. This can make certain puzzles and platform sections easier (especially the upper areas). I wanted the it to be dark, but tried to introduce enough lighting to make the puzzles and jumps possible. If you run into an area where there just isn't enough light to do what you need, please note the area (up/left, up/right, down/left, down/right, right, far right). I'll accept that the dark lighting may not be for everybody. I also wanted replayability in that each area is hardest if its the first area you do (since lights come on as you complete each section), therefore you can always come back and try a different approach and see how it affects other areas.

If you're having trouble, here are some hints:
Always position the intro spotlight to the direction you're headed when waking the stars. If you don't have a beam of light with you, figure out where you made a mistake.
If you're having trouble with the darkness, try activating the green stars (to the middle right) first, then the blue star on the upper right, then the red stars (left, then right) and finally the blue star on the upper left.
Listen carefully to the story. When facing a star that says "Return", head back to the beginning rather than attacking.

Coreymill
01-23-2009, 07:03 PM
cool, thanks Siren
Monochrome by larryjoe701

This is a difficult level. I wasn't able to complete it because there were no clues what to do or how to get things to work. It was also very dark, and alot of times I had no idea where a jump would take me, so I died alot.

Pros:
1.Some lighting looks real nice, especially at the very beginning. It had a nice chrome look.
2. The glass stair step where it pushed you higher and and higher was very cool. I think it would be a cool prize bubble.

Cons:
1. Too dark.
2. No obvious path to take. Too much guessing. Need the magic mouth to give you some kind of directions what to actually do to make things work the way they need to.
3.Couldn't finish the level. I got to the place with all of the mult-colored lifts but it was so dark there, I had no idea if my jump would end up in a safe place.

Overall I gave it a 2/5 stars. Needs work and better directions.

There's a review that you got on his own thread ... not sure if you saw it or not since he posted it there.



- Anyway, it seems that people are complaining about the level being too dark a lot. I am going to assume that this is because they aren't sure what to do in the level, much like I was the first time through. However, when I went and played through it a second time and knew more what I should be doing I was able to get through the level with no problems at all.

- My first time through, and probably if I did it again, I didn't know that you had to light up all of the different areas with the first light that you come to. Now that I know that's what you are supposed to do it seems really obvious, and the intro even hints you at what you are supposed to do. However, I think that most people will be like me and once they get there they will just move the light around until something happens (turns on the jump to get to the blue light). Because after I did that I just left the light there and figured I had 'solved' that section. Seems kind of stupid when you know what to do but it was my thought process the first time through.

- So, I just think that you need more explicit instruction telling you to light up an area with that light before you go into it. Or, if not more explicit instructions ... give that hint of having his light get to the other stars said right when you get that that spotlight so you connect the two of them together. Oh, and I gave your level 4/5 stars when I played it, still can't believe that person gave it a two. whatever.

larryjoe701
01-23-2009, 11:25 PM
Thanks for taking another look Corey.


No obvious path to take. Too much guessing. Need the magic mouth to give you some kind of directions what to actually do to make things work the way they need to.


My first time through, and probably if I did it again, I didn't know that you had to light up all of the different areas with the first light that you come to. Now that I know that's what you are supposed to do it seems really obvious, and the intro even hints you at what you are supposed to do. However, I think that most people will be like me and once they get there they will just move the light around until something happens (turns on the jump to get to the blue light). Because after I did that I just left the light there and figured I had 'solved' that section.

I have added another magic mouth at the "landing" to reiterate what Polychrome said. I too feel like the level might make sense more the second time around, but I figure most people will only give it one shot.

The Great Glass Lift has been added as a prize bubble.
It is available to those who plunge the world into eternal darkness.

Nukemgreen
01-24-2009, 04:42 AM
This is an excellent level, but I had to restart a few times, once for a notable reason: It's possible to get stuck to the left or right of the escalator's main path. Maybe you should put a foreground layer of glass over the escalator so that can't happen?

Anyways, light puzzles were challenging but not overly hard, bosses were genious, platforming was difficult but not impossible. Overall I'd give this 9/5\10 and a heart. By the way, how'd you discover stickers' reflective properties? Just tinkering around?

larryjoe701
01-24-2009, 05:07 AM
This is an excellent level, but I had to restart a few times, once for a notable reason: It's possible to get stuck to the left or right of the escalator's main path. Maybe you should put a foreground layer of glass over the escalator so that can't happen?

Anyways, light puzzles were challenging but not overly hard, bosses were genious, platforming was difficult but not impossible. Overall I'd give this 9/5\10 and a heart. By the way, how'd you discover stickers' reflective properties? Just tinkering around?

Thanks for the review. I do have glass in front of the lift, but I'll check again for holes.

As for the colors think I was just tinkering. I have another level where I was adjusting the overall colors. I noticed how changing the "lightness" made things bluer. That gave mean idea and I did some experiments.

Nukemgreen
01-24-2009, 05:13 AM
Cool. I was at the very top right of the lift and I was trying to hop over. Maybe I fell into the gap created by an open piston?

King_Tubb
01-24-2009, 05:32 PM
I made some edits on my review, check em out, they could be useful for you to make this level better.

Samson107
01-25-2009, 09:53 PM
what a very, very clever puzzle game, im impressed. A must play for people who like a challenge, I perticully liked the part where u mix the coloured lights, welldone! i did the first 4 stars but when i went up to the top i ran into problems... if i go left i die cause im rubbish and if I go right i cant do the puzzle. For some reason no matter where i moved the blue light nothing happends. the other 2 doors vanished but the fire door remained. I will keep trying until I do it and i'll update this post, I look forward to seeing the rest of it.

Neverynnal
01-25-2009, 10:22 PM
Alrighty I gave it another play larryjoe and I absolutely love the changes you made since the last time I played. I hearted/5 starred the level, and I was really sad to see I was the only other person to actually beat the level itself. Once you get the concept, the level is quite easily beaten, but it really isn't a level made for the younger LBP audience. It's too clever, thats the problem (which really isn't a bad thing).

One thing I think would improve the level immensely though. You know the section with the green basket and such? Don't make it accessible until people have opened up all the doors on the other side of that section. ie) Put up a dissolve or a multicolored door saying "Must awaken the stars before entering!" or something like that. Doing this would do away with unnecessary backtracking. Your call of course!

Also, make it a double checkpoint on the boss. You want people to beat the level I take it, so give people some room to guess and check with the boss. I know I needed to.

But yeah, the lighting changes you made and the new lighted arrows indicating where to go really, really improved the level. You really hit it spot on, and this is definitely in the top 20 levels I've played on LBP. Visually awesome and your logic switch work is INSANE! Great job!

And btw, don't be upset by a crappy heart/play ratio. It deserves better than it's getting, but you have to realize that much of the LBP audience are a bunch of 13 year olds with no appreciation for aesthetics and they're simply looking for linear levels where they don't die.

CCubbage
01-26-2009, 07:42 PM
And btw, don't be upset by a crappy heart/play ratio. It deserves better than it's getting, but you have to realize that much of the LBP audience are a bunch of 13 year olds with no appreciation for aesthetics and they're simply looking for linear levels where they don't die.
Another note on the Heart/Play ratio - Nev's right on the reason for a lot of poor heart/play ratios, however from reading this thread I get the feeling there may be another reason for this specific level: People can only heart a level once, but they can play it multiple times (your level has taken many people more than 1 try to beat). So, if I need to play your level twice to beat it but I heart it, that throws off your ratio.

But, if I personally play it twice that means you've created a challenging but rewarding game!

Really good experiment on this (I'm going to mention my level here simply because it pertains, not because I am trying to plug I promise): my Splat Invaders Deluxe game was fairly simple and took a short time to complete.

Last time I looked it had about a 25% heart ratio. Took the exact same game, doubled the size and made it more challenging. It get's far better comments, better reviews, ended up on the spotlight showcase, but has about 17% ratio. Why? Because a lot of people play it more than once....



Edit: Ok, I actually PLAYED this one this morning and wow! Brutal, but worth every minute. Gave it 5 stars and put a heart on it.

HOWEVER, just to echo what I was saying above..... I didn't quite finish it and need to play it again. Not a chore, I am looking forward to it, however I am about to mess up your play/heart ratio. My personal opinion is do not worry about play/heart ratio on this level. You've created a really challenging, but intrigueing piece of work.

Great job!

xThaVIOLENTonEx
01-30-2009, 02:12 AM
i have attempted this level 3 times so far and had to quit to go to work. i will try again when i get a chance.

im not the best reviewer so forgive me please.

This level is amazing so far! i loved the puzzle with the three colored blocks that unlock their corresponding lights sequentially. GREAT! i am fascinated by tech and i really enjoyed a lot of the aesthetics in your level. The lighting was great(a little dark at times which caused me to pause a LOT to wait for good lighting to make jumps). The level offers a decent challenge and i only hope to get my creations on par with this piece of art you've created. I gave it 5 stars and hearted it even though i couldnt finish it, but i will go back and play again. i will update this post once i do. For now, i recommend everyone reading this post stop and go play the level yourselves. And like Nevernyal said, dont pay attention to the heart/play ratio cause people that dont understand the thought that has to be put into a level like this just can't appreciate it.

larryjoe701
01-30-2009, 04:23 AM
Thanks for all the great comments. I'm not worried about the hearts and I'm glad to see some folks getting to enjoy the level BUT SOMEONE ELSE PLEASE BEAT IT!!! Out of ~70 plays there are only 3 names on the scoreboard.

And by the way "Splat Invaders Saga" was great.

NinjaMicWZ
02-01-2009, 10:43 PM
FINALLY got around to playing through this whole level, larryjoe, and I'm glad I did. I've seen a few spotlight puzzles here and there in different levels that baffle me with their switch logic, but this takes the cake and truly takes it to another level. I can't imaging the amount of switch boxes and the huge mess of wires this level must be behind the scenes.

I really enjoyed the theme and design of this level and I have to first say WOW @ the little glass pillar tube. None of the puzzles really stump a person to the point of quitting, but they do require you to stop and think on some of them.

This is an amazing use of light in general, in terms of illumination and effect - when you pop the two brains on the star and it goes pitch black with the single foreboding sound, you really stop and go "uh oh... it's dark... maybe I shouldn't have done that".

The few platforming segments and obstacles in the level are pretty fun and well done to a point that they add variety to a predominantly puzzle-based level, which is a good thing. Overally, the look of the textures and shapes a little hit and miss but I know that this pallete is limited by what works well in the dark and under lights, and what doesn't. There were points in the level that were masterfully designed, and others that felt chunky or thrown together. I feel that if you can find any way to liven up the look, without compromising your vision and the great gameplay, you should.

The boss is awesome... a little easy, but the hydra heads look great and have nice mechanical animations and shaping. The method of disposal is very unique too.

There was one point, after the darkness sets in that you can see alot of your flat switch boxes on the first set of stairs, when heading back to the giant doorway. It's a cool teaser that interests creators and alludes to the complexity, but you should just move those off screen somewhere unless you plan to give players the MM visible switch route on every step - I sometimes wish levels this complex did, as seeing the operations happen on the fly would be a treat for curious creators.

Overall, a great level and masterpiece of logic.

Samson107
02-05-2009, 11:32 AM
I will beat it pal, don't worry

Takelow
02-05-2009, 08:08 PM
Hi,

I just play this one, and o found it really amazing!
I loved a lot the athmosphere you distilled progressively in the level, with a progressive illuminating of the scenes. It is very interesting to see how the same section is different each time you cross it. A very good work here!
Your puzzles are really great and fun to play. I loved a lot the boss too.
I just suggest you to add some more bubbles to guide the player. I often felt lost in the level. Moreover, I think you could improve your camera work.

Nevertheless, i enjoyed a lot the level.
5 stars, hearted ;)

If you have some times, take a look to one of my Bearer levels (i recommand to start by part I however...) ;)

King_Tubb
02-08-2009, 03:38 PM
Nice job getting into the level showcase larry!

Except you were under inactive users...=(

larryjoe701
02-08-2009, 06:10 PM
Thanks for the notification King Tubb! I'm really excited to have been chosen from among so many great levels. Just yesterday I republished with some improvements from the above comments.

As of this morning, my scoreboard still only shows four names... Come on folks you can beat it!!!