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Serpit
02-07-2009, 10:23 PM
Well then, about time I reared my ugly face here as well :eek:


My name is Serpit, I'm an avid level creator from Austria, and I'd like to invite you into this Timeless Village of mine.

You assume the role of a celestial emissary, sent down to Earth to investigate a mysterious village that has detached itself from the rest of the world for unknown reasons. You will descend from the heavens, follow the clouds, climb down an enormous lighthouse and then enter the village itself. As you make your way through the level, the story will gradually unfold and the tragic secret of the Timeless Village will be revealed.

While the level contains a few platforming sections, most of the gameplay focuses on solving puzzles to advance through the village. You will have to explore your surroundings and pay attention to the environment to find the solution to most of your problems. I recommend that you don't play it if you are very impatient or are prone to give up easily.

Another big part of the level is the story and the atmosphere. I tried my best to give the village a somewhat ethereal feel through the lighting and music used. There is a relatively large amount of text, at least compared to your average LBP level. The mystery of the village will be revealed bit by bit, and finally solved near the end, where the level culminates in a boss battle that keeps true to the puzzle theme of the whole stage as well.

I've been around the GFAQs LBP boards for a while, and the response to the Timeless Village there has been pretty positive so far. Out of 11 individual reviews, the scores average to 8,9/10.

So, if you are a fan of complex puzzles combined with a nice story, I suggest you check the Timeless Village out, and I hope you enjoy playing it as much as I did creating it =D


Level Name: Timeless Village
PSN: TheSerpit
Location: Central Europe
Icon: White Crescent Moon

gameguy888
02-07-2009, 10:49 PM
You might want to mention your PSN so we can find the level easier (btw, after looking for a while, it appears to be TheSerpit).

I'll go play your level now though, and be back with some feedback in a few minutes. I just felt I should mention this real quick.

Serpit
02-07-2009, 10:53 PM
You might want to mention your PSN so we can find the level easier (btw, after looking for a while, it appears to be TheSerpit).

I'll go play your level now though, and be back with some feedback in a few minutes. I just felt I should mention this real quick.

Thanks for the reminder, I'm an idiot x_x

Anyway, thanks for playing. I'll check out your Factory of Mystery levels tomorrow, since I can't play right now.

gameguy888
02-07-2009, 11:59 PM
First thing I noticed, is that you don't get a lot of time to read the first speech bubble before you go out of it's range.

The part where the sign has to be knocked over, it appears that the ground starts "twitching", like it's suddenly loose. It didn't seem to cause any problems, but usually if that happens, some parts can start breaking. Plus, it looks a little awkward. Might want to stick some dark matter in there somewhere to prevent this. Then again, I'm not too sure what could be causing this.

Other than that, the level is amazing. The puzzles were definitely tricky to figure out. Being the puzzle junkie I am, this level was great fun. Clever idea with the colored clouds of gas by the way.

Really, I can't think of any problems I really had with this level other than those I mentioned earlier. This level seems very polished.:)

Serpit
02-08-2009, 10:37 AM
First thing I noticed, is that you don't get a lot of time to read the first speech bubble before you go out of it's range.

Probably happened during my last reupload. Thanks for the pointer, I'll fix that.


The part where the sign has to be knocked over, it appears that the ground starts "twitching", like it's suddenly loose. It didn't seem to cause any problems, but usually if that happens, some parts can start breaking. Plus, it looks a little awkward. Might want to stick some dark matter in there somewhere to prevent this. Then again, I'm not too sure what could be causing this.

The thing is, the sign DOES break, but very rarely. So far, I had two people point it out to me, but I have no idea how to fix it. At least it's near the very beginning fo the level so it isn't too bad, but I'm still looking for a solution to the problem.


Other than that, the level is amazing. The puzzles were definitely tricky to figure out. Being the puzzle junkie I am, this level was great fun. Clever idea with the colored clouds of gas by the way.

Really, I can't think of any problems I really had with this level other than those I mentioned earlier. This level seems very polished.:)

Thanks, glad you liked it =D

I left some feedback for you as well in your thread for Factory of Mystery part 2 =)

mostevilmilo
02-08-2009, 11:32 AM
Hello! I just played this level and was very impressed. Here's my review:


The good stuff:
- Wow, this level has some really satisfying puzzles! I enjoyed each and every one of them. Nothing like a good brain-tickler!
- The visual design of the level is beautiful. From the clouds to the village to the boss area, it was very pleasing to the eyes. And yes, I think you succeeded in your goal to make the village look "ethereal".
- Great story and writing. Loved the "cut-scene" where the guy walked across the bridge of light. (How DID you make that invisible bridge?? I've observed this in other levels but can't figure out how it's done)
- Charming custom characters.
- The music fit the level and really helped to set up the atmosphere.


Stuff that need improvement:
- At the beginning of the level, the text disappears too quickly. I had to restart your level just to read the whole thing.
- The puzzles were ingenious, but there were very few clues in your level as to how to solve some of them. Players who are not observant, patient, or who are simply not into puzzles will probably find this a little frustrating. Personally I think the level is fine, but for the sake of the more action-oriented gamers out there, you might want to include more clues.
- You probably should consider making a few more checkpoints... it might be a little frustrating to fall off a cloud and have to climb all the way back up again.
- The boss was very hard. It took me a while to figure him out. This wouldn't be much of a problem if the boss didn't kill me every 5 seconds. Infinite checkpoint, maybe?
- Maybe you can make some of the pistons invisible? The ones in the clouds?


I really enjoyed this level! A puzzle-themed level is refreshing after playing a plethora of action-oriented ones. 5 stars and a heart. :)

If you have time, please try my levels. Their links can be found with my signature. Thanks. :)

OCK
02-08-2009, 12:14 PM
Well I just tired this out with NinjaMicWZ and we got stuck at the second house. We were trying for about 10 minutes but to no avail. However, I will be going back to lay it tomorrow on my own and I will get back to you with more extensive feedback then. So far I really enjoyed what I have seen so hopefully your puzzles don't completely bust my brain lol.

NinjaMicWZ
02-08-2009, 01:03 PM
I went and replayed it and figured it out on the way back to that part, OCK. The rest of the level is a little less abstract in thought, but still mentally stimulating. I love how everything is outside the box and really makes each spot an involving and interactive set piece.

This is a great level... when I started it with OCK, I thought "wow... nice dialogue" - and I love the concept of being an emissary from the heavens sent to right a grievous sadness. You're a man after my own heart with that, and it's a wonderful story.

The puzzles are great, and there's still just enough acrobatics to make it fun... I played it with a friend who's normally very impatient and put off by anything slow or involving thought, and if she was compelled to finish and stay, then I know you've achieved a good balance.

You did effectively capture the timeless feel, and I like the aesthetic design the whole way through, and the theme... but I think you could give it a real punch with some lighting effects and a little bit more darkness and fog. The look is colorful though, and will probably draw people in who aren't looking for a moody and dark experience (and those who can't adjust their settings)... so it would be entirely up to you.

I would use some big, bright yellow spotlights in the cloud sections for a hazy and heavenly look. You should maybe put a rocket under the stove too, for when it turns on... and some hidden rockets around the fiery parts for smoke (or a thin layer of black smog in the background there). Little details like that can add more. Maybe look into some effects that could be done with emitters to really give the village some cool looks. A little more sticker work might help to give things a little bit more detail too.

I really like the level though, so I have no critiques... just ideas of how I would do it or add to it. Good stuff.

Serpit
02-08-2009, 03:00 PM
Hello! I just played this level and was very impressed.
...
I really enjoyed this level! A puzzle-themed level is refreshing after playing a plethora of action-oriented ones. 5 stars and a heart. :)

If you have time, please try my levels. Their links can be found with my signature. Thanks. :)

Glad you liked it =D
I played one of your levels and left a review in the thread ^^


- Great story and writing. Loved the "cut-scene" where the guy walked across the bridge of light. (How DID you make that invisible bridge?? I've observed this in other levels but can't figure out how it's done)

Create a straight line of dark matter set to the smallest possible size and it will turn invisible. I frequently use this.


Stuff that need improvement:
- At the beginning of the level, the text disappears too quickly. I had to restart your level just to read the whole thing.

Yeah, that has been pointed out to me already. I'll fix it when I reupload my level the next time.


- The puzzles were ingenious, but there were very few clues in your level as to how to solve some of them. Players who are not observant, patient, or who are simply not into puzzles will probably find this a little frustrating. Personally I think the level is fine, but for the sake of the more action-oriented gamers out there, you might want to include more clues.

You'd be surprised to heard how many clues I added since the original upload xD
Can you give me some advice on where to add more though? I don't want to make it too obvious, and I actually put a warning to imaptient players in the level description ^^ Still, I'd be glad to hear your ideas, since I personally can't think of any mroe appropriate spots.


- You probably should consider making a few more checkpoints... it might be a little frustrating to fall off a cloud and have to climb all the way back up again.

Noted, although there are 2 checkpoints up in the second cloud section. I guess I could add 2 more if needed.


- The boss was very hard. It took me a while to figure him out. This wouldn't be much of a problem if the boss didn't kill me every 5 seconds. Infinite checkpoint, maybe?

I didn't know about infinite checkpoints until today, so I figured two double-checkpoints would do fine =) If I figure out how to do them though, I could add some to the boss battle.
In case you hasn't noticed, you are completely safe when you stand directly under him, and the fireballs follow a fixed pattern.


- Maybe you can make some of the pistons invisible? The ones in the clouds?


Hmm... Any recommendation on how? I puzzled this already, but the problem is that invisible pistons have to have a minimum length of 0, so the only thing I could think of is putting some kind of stopper (invisible dark matter perhaps) on the appropriate spots above the clouds.

Anyway, thanks for the input =)




Well I just tired this out with NinjaMicWZ and we got stuck at the second house. We were trying for about 10 minutes but to no avail. However, I will be going back to lay it tomorrow on my own and I will get back to you with more extensive feedback then. So far I really enjoyed what I have seen so hopefully your puzzles don't completely bust my brain lol.


Sorry to hear you got stuck, but thanks for not instantly condemning it to a low score. I am aware that the second and third house are probably the most obscure part of my level. I thought adding a variety of hints would help, but maybe I need to make it more obvious after all.




I went and replayed it and figured it out on the way back to that part, OCK. The rest of the level is a little less abstract in thought, but still mentally stimulating. I love how everything is outside the box and really makes each spot an involving and interactive set piece.
...
I really like the level though, so I have no critiques... just ideas of how I would do it or add to it. Good stuff.

Thanks for the kind words =)
Any level of yours you want me to take a look at?



You did effectively capture the timeless feel, and I like the aesthetic design the whole way through, and the theme... but I think you could give it a real punch with some lighting effects and a little bit more darkness and fog. The look is colorful though, and will probably draw people in who aren't looking for a moody and dark experience (and those who can't adjust their settings)... so it would be entirely up to you.

I would use some big, bright yellow spotlights in the cloud sections for a hazy and heavenly look. You should maybe put a rocket under the stove too, for when it turns on... and some hidden rockets around the fiery parts for smoke (or a thin layer of black smog in the background there). Little details like that can add more. Maybe look into some effects that could be done with emitters to really give the village some cool looks. A little more sticker work might help to give things a little bit more detail too.


Nice, several good ideas in there :D
I'll see which of them I can manage to squeeze in, as my thermo is nearly bursting.


Thanks to everybody for the great reception ^_^

Maraz_Matari
02-08-2009, 03:40 PM
Hey Serpit, haven't seen you here before :) anyways I love this level, and recommend it to anyone looking for some brain fun. :) This level has alotta cool stuff in it, and a great story. I just watched Ground Hog Day the other day and was reminded of your story here, and could easily imagine some spirits working thier magic in the background :)

Anyways I'm going to be using your colored cloud type idea in my next level, and I'll credit you at the end. Hope that's cool with you :) peace bro.

Dante95
02-08-2009, 07:30 PM
I tried your level! It was very cool! The atmosphere was very calm and relaxed. I will make a list of cons to your level:

-The first text fast to fast, i couldn't read it.
-Expecially on the clouds path on the falled bridge, use more Checkpoints: it's easy to fall down!
-The boss is to strong: if you are hanged to a lantern and he hits you, you fall and often you die. If you are in one of the deadly block and he hits you, you fall down again. Use the snowflackecat Infinite Checkpoints like in my level, in this way the players are relaxed ;)

Overall, the level was realy cool, the puzzles was hard but very satisfying, and the light bridge was great xD The only thing: the rhythm of the level was a little slow, but it was a part of the atmosphere :D
5/5 stars and Hearted ;)

Serpit
02-08-2009, 09:34 PM
Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback so far. I've republished the level now with a few changes that some of you suggested:

-Stuck Dark Matter to the trees so they don't fall over anymore.

-Added a magic mouth to show the gear in the tree when you pass it first.

-Added 2 additional checkpoint in the second cloud section

-Gave more time tor ead the very first text bubble

There's a lot of great suggestions I haven't worked in yet, but they'll have to wait for when I have more time on my hands. Making the pistons in the clouds insvisible requires a completely new setup, as I was at the very beginning of my creative career when I first made that part =P

NinjaMicWZ'S ideas are also something that I want to implement, but right now most of my thoughts are focused on the creation of my second level, which is about 1/2 done already.



Hey Serpit, haven't seen you here before :) anyways I love this level, and recommend it to anyone looking for some brain fun. :) This level has alotta cool stuff in it, and a great story. I just watched Ground Hog Day the other day and was reminded of your story here, and could easily imagine some spirits working thier magic in the background :)

Anyways I'm going to be using your colored cloud type idea in my next level, and I'll credit you at the end. Hope that's cool with you :) peace bro.

Yeah, I finally made an account here yesterday. Thanks for the nice words, and of course you can use the colored cloud for your level.



I tried your level! It was very cool! The atmosphere was very calm and relaxed. I will make a list of cons to your level:
...
Overall, the level was realy cool, the puzzles was hard but very satisfying, and the light bridge was great xD The only thing: the rhythm of the level was a little slow, but it was a part of the atmosphere :D
5/5 stars and Hearted ;)

Glad you liked it =)


-The boss is to strong: if you are hanged to a lantern and he hits you, you fall and often you die. If you are in one of the deadly block and he hits you, you fall down again. Use the snowflackecat Infinite Checkpoints like in my level, in this way the players are relaxed ;)

So 16 lives really aren't enough? >_> I mean, there is a pattern and a safespot below him, so I figured two double checkpoints should suffice, but it seems I have to do something here as well xD

iiiijujube
02-09-2009, 02:03 AM
I can't get past the second house. A little help?

OCK
02-09-2009, 02:11 AM
So I came back today to give this another go, here are my thoughts:

As others have mentioned your colored clouds look great! I reall love your village and the weclome sign is a nice touch and implementing it into the gameplay was a great idea. Your houses are charming and perfectly constructed. One suggestion: please consider changing those mushroom trees. Sorry, it's just that when you have made such wonderful cutom creations as your houses then why not give the same treatment to the trees? We have all seen that mushroom tree a million times and I think that if you were to make your own trees then it would just be an extra detail that really helps your level stand out. This is part of my own personal design philosophy but if you love those mushroom trees then by all means keep them :)


Great puzzle with the flower pot (the one that was giving us trouble yesterday) There really is no need for any more speech bubbles here and I personally like figuring out things for myself. Your windmills look beautiful and the story is getting interesting.

I love the lighting in the hourse. Although you used the Oak Tree from story mode at least you colored it to make it unique. Nice puzzle with the boxes.

Well I just spent the last 15 minutes trying to figure out what to do next (after reading the Sanctuary speech bubble) and my daughter woke up so I had to stop. I backtracked through the entire level up to the welocme sign and just could not figure out what to do. However since I think you have created a great level I will be coming back later and hopefully I can figure things out :)

dkjestrup
02-09-2009, 07:09 AM
Looks interesting!

If you want to know how I made a hint in my level, I can tell you.

- When viewing fire through glass, the fire appears as the previous material.

Using this, you can have a piece of wood, say, with a clue stickered onto it, and then fireize :confused: it. Then have a switch or something, emit a piece of glass/push a piece of glass over it.

I haven't played the level yet (cannot until friday) but when I do I hope to give you some feedback, and give you hints for your hints :rolleyes:

mostevilmilo
02-09-2009, 12:33 PM
I played your level again. This time, when the bridge of stars appeared, I jumped down immediately and tried to interfere with the guy. I pulled on him, shoved at him, yanked his hair. But try as hard as I could, he would net let me stop him!!! Ah, the power of true love!!

Haha, anyway, to answer your questions...

For the clues... well, I guess the most common way to leave a clue is to have a magic mouth camera focus on a point of interest. For example, in the first house, the lantern which you need to pull to lower the portion of the roof. In the second house, you can focus on the stove. You can have a speech bubble say something like "hmm, that looks interesting." This is as good as giving away the puzzle, however.

I guess a better, more creative method would be to make the point of interest more... well, interesting. Make it stand out more so that it's very unlikely the player will miss it. Like, for example, as NinjaMicWZ said, try putting a rocket under the stove.

However! Like I said in my previous post, I think your level is fine as it is. Adding more clues would just make it easier, and that would defeat the purpose of a puzzle level. If you want, you can do what I do - make two versions of your level. The first and original version is the one without clues. Then you can publish a second version - the easier one with the clues for those who don't like puzzles too much. You can indicate in the introduction that you have other versions of your level so that they know which one to play.

Well, I guess you have a third option, but this one might be a little difficult. As soon as the level starts, you can give the player a choice of whether he wants the puzzles hard or easy. If he chooses hard, then the level stays as it is. If he chooses easy, then the level will have clues. I guess there are two ways to do this:
- You can work with emitters here. Choosing easy will activate the emitters. These can emit items that have magic mouths on them which can give the player clues using camera angles or speech bubbles.
- Choosing easy will activate all the points of interest so that they stand out more... like maybe it'll activate the rocket under the stove, or something like that.


As for the cloud pistons.... Hmm, you're right, I guess it's not as easy to change as it looked. Giving the piston a zero value would make some clouds go higher than you intentionally planned... have you tried attaching a piston to a really really really small block of dark matter? I haven't tried it myself, so I don't if it'll work...


I hope I was able to help. :) I really do like this level, and I hope you continue making puzzlers... LBP needs more of those, I think.

NinjaMicWZ
02-09-2009, 01:15 PM
I agree with milo, that clues defeats the purpose of the level... and I love figuring things out. However, the optional help might help your play count.

People who don't want to figure things out probably won't read either way though, clues or not. If you try a level called Metal Revolution, he had boxes scattered around that when grabbed would provide a clue for players on each section. There was a reward system in place based on wether the player used these clue boxes or not, and wether they finished the level with their first wheel. Might be tough to implement something like that in a tasteful manner that doesn't conflict with the aesthetics or serious tones, but it's worth looking into.

It's so hard to balance your creations between what the intended vision is as a truly quality level, and making it accessible for the admittedly impatient and sometimes clueless player audience.

Cleverly disguised lights in general are a great way to provide subtle innuendo and direction with spelling it out for the player... like how you put the red light behind the stove.

One thing I think you should do too, for when obstacles are solved like that... a magic mouth trigger that directs the player to the section that they just activated - it adds another level of polish. he player SHOULD know what it is they're activating, but it just makes it seem more complete, well directed, and intentional. When the same activating key is triggered, it can activate a magic mouth with a max radius and a camera zone set to the stove that simply says "...".

P.S. I love the changes you've made with the lighting, and I like that you added more "spirits" for where you are being spoken to. The lighting in the houses is looking good, but I think you should go with just one small LED light tucked up under the ceiling, to where it's not visible and set it to a max radius that illuminates the whole house.

I've seen this effect in other levels too - your therm is probably full, but some levels that have building interiors use a thin layer that covers the front of the building until the player enters. It's set up to an inverted sensor switch and put on an emitter, so that when the player enters the building and into the sensors range the front-most layer dissappears and then reappears when he exits. It could be held in place with a very tiny piece of dark matter so that it sits in place.

The intro section looks very peaceful and saintly now with the yellow lighting, and the star you ride down on looks great too. The momentary pause you set it on is a great now. Before I had to hang on the cloud to read it.

It seems easier to cross to the other house now too - the lanterns aren't shaking or aligning themselves. Good improvement.

Also, I just noticed too - add some sounds to the buttons and mechanisms. Like here, where the beehive (?) you roll onto the red button. When you grab it it could make a little "snap noise" when the dissolve piece lets it go... and then when it presses the button it could give you a "subtask completed" jingle... and the unfolding platforms could have a creaking wood, or wood break noise to give them more presence. The windmills definitely need some creaking wood noises on them hooked up to a sensor switch so it activates when the player is on or underneath. The lanterns could use a sound too, when grabbed, but I'm not sure which one - I'll have to go in create mode and refresh my memory.

Put a mechanism engage sound for when the gear falls into the windmall... same way you used the steam engine sound. It should activate only once when it starts, since it's not a continious sound.

I also noticed, put some rockets in the chimneys of the houses too... it'll make a good detail.

Ah hey I just found that secret area by the windmills... nice. I was wondering what the box looking thing was for.

Anyway... I hope I don't sound like I'm nitpicking your level, 'cause I'm not trying to. I really, really like it. These are just tips from me, and even if you don't implement any of them it's still a great level.

Serpit
02-09-2009, 03:17 PM
I can't get past the second house. A little help?

Go to the second floor of the house and knock the flower pot out of the right window. Push it into the hole with the steaming pipe in the yard to activate the stove in the top floor of the right house. Now go to the top floor of the left house, pull the lantern to create a way to the roof, and from there swing along the chain fo red lantern to reach the second floor of the right house. Now go up to the stove, jump on it and let it catapult you through the chimney.



So I came back today to give this another go, here are my thoughts:

As others have mentioned your colored clouds look great! I reall love your village and the weclome sign is a nice touch and implementing it into the gameplay was a great idea. Your houses are charming and perfectly constructed. One suggestion: please consider changing those mushroom trees. Sorry, it's just that when you have made such wonderful cutom creations as your houses then why not give the same treatment to the trees? We have all seen that mushroom tree a million times and I think that if you were to make your own trees then it would just be an extra detail that really helps your level stand out. This is part of my own personal design philosophy but if you love those mushroom trees then by all means keep them :)

I actually added those trees as a finishing touch, and before that tried to make my own, but they looked kinda stupid so I opted for the mushroom trees instead xD
I'll probably leave the mushroom tress in, but my next level will have custom trees if I can manage to create some I'm satisfied with - so far they're just default Tall Trees.


Great puzzle with the flower pot (the one that was giving us trouble yesterday) There really is no need for any more speech bubbles here and I personally like figuring out things for myself. Your windmills look beautiful and the story is getting interesting.

I love the lighting in the hourse. Although you used the Oak Tree from story mode at least you colored it to make it unique. Nice puzzle with the boxes.

Thanks, it's good to see when people enjoy the puzzling. The oak tress were actually edited even more, as they had a few more elipses added and all the holes have been patched so people can't fall through. Thanks to Maraz_matari for giving me this idea ^^


Well I just spent the last 15 minutes trying to figure out what to do next (after reading the Sanctuary speech bubble) and my daughter woke up so I had to stop. I backtracked through the entire level up to the welocme sign and just could not figure out what to do. However since I think you have created a great level I will be coming back later and hopefully I can figure things out :)

Sorry to hear you got stuck again, but I'm glad you aren't demotivated yet. I'm not sure what speech bubble you speak of though - there's several that mention the sanctuary, or are you referring to a speech bubble IN the sanctuary? If you tell me where you got stuck I can help you a little if you want, though I'd be happy if you managed to solve it on your own of course =D



Looks interesting!

If you want to know how I made a hint in my level, I can tell you.

- When viewing fire through glass, the fire appears as the previous material.

Using this, you can have a piece of wood, say, with a clue stickered onto it, and then fireize :confused: it. Then have a switch or something, emit a piece of glass/push a piece of glass over it.

I haven't played the level yet (cannot until friday) but when I do I hope to give you some feedback, and give you hints for your hints :rolleyes:

I was actually advided to play your level for precisely that mechanism by Taffey when he reviewed mine =) Really ingenious idea, but as I told him, it isn't really my style to have a piece of sponge tell you to grab it xD
Nothing against you of course, it's just not really something I would do. Your level was great, by the way ^^



I played your level again. This time, when the bridge of stars appeared, I jumped down immediately and tried to interfere with the guy. I pulled on him, shoved at him, yanked his hair. But try as hard as I could, he would net let me stop him!!! Ah, the power of true love!!

Haha, anyway, to answer your questions...

For the clues... well, I guess the most common way to leave a clue is to have a magic mouth camera focus on a point of interest. For example, in the first house, the lantern which you need to pull to lower the portion of the roof. In the second house, you can focus on the stove. You can have a speech bubble say something like "hmm, that looks interesting." This is as good as giving away the puzzle, however.

I guess a better, more creative method would be to make the point of interest more... well, interesting. Make it stand out more so that it's very unlikely the player will miss it. Like, for example, as NinjaMicWZ said, try putting a rocket under the stove.

The second method is probably the preferrable one for me. Thanks for the advice here, I'll try to work something out =)


However! Like I said in my previous post, I think your level is fine as it is. Adding more clues would just make it easier, and that would defeat the purpose of a puzzle level. If you want, you can do what I do - make two versions of your level. The first and original version is the one without clues. Then you can publish a second version - the easier one with the clues for those who don't like puzzles too much. You can indicate in the introduction that you have other versions of your level so that they know which one to play.

Well, I guess you have a third option, but this one might be a little difficult. As soon as the level starts, you can give the player a choice of whether he wants the puzzles hard or easy. If he chooses hard, then the level stays as it is. If he chooses easy, then the level will have clues. I guess there are two ways to do this:
- You can work with emitters here. Choosing easy will activate the emitters. These can emit items that have magic mouths on them which can give the player clues using camera angles or speech bubbles.
- Choosing easy will activate all the points of interest so that they stand out more... like maybe it'll activate the rocket under the stove, or something like that.


I've actually got something along those lines planned for my current project. The're a lot of puzzles as well, and the level is divided into sections. In each section, there's an area that you can enter if you need an optional hint. There's mandatory clues as well, but those aren't as clear and sometimes riddled. Basically, I'm giving the players the choice to solve the puzzles more or less by themselves, or receive additional help which will make it easier.


As for the cloud pistons.... Hmm, you're right, I guess it's not as easy to change as it looked. Giving the piston a zero value would make some clouds go higher than you intentionally planned... have you tried attaching a piston to a really really really small block of dark matter? I haven't tried it myself, so I don't if it'll work...


I hope I was able to help. :) I really do like this level, and I hope you continue making puzzlers... LBP needs more of those, I think.

When I attach them to a tiny bit of dark matter, there's still a very ugly, floating piston base >_< The best possibility would be letting the pistons come from BELOW, but since I'd need to put blockers and can't put the pistons to backwards, there's be some syncing issues, which is why I'm currently leaving it the way it is.

Glad you liked the level though, and as I mentioned, my next creation will be puzzle-heavy as well. And thanks for the great advice ^^



I agree with milo, that clues defeats the purpose of the level... and I love figuring things out. However, the optional help might help your play count.

People who don't want to figure things out probably won't read either way though, clues or not. If you try a level called Metal Revolution, he had boxes scattered around that when grabbed would provide a clue for players on each section. There was a reward system in place based on wether the player used these clue boxes or not, and wether they finished the level with their first wheel. Might be tough to implement something like that in a tasteful manner that doesn't conflict with the aesthetics or serious tones, but it's worth looking into.

It's so hard to balance your creations between what the intended vision is as a truly quality level, and making it accessible for the admittedly impatient and sometimes clueless player audience.

See above, my next level will have a system for additional clues, and I think I've implemented it in a way that doesn't clash with the story or setting. I hadn't thought about a scoring system here though, but maybe I might just add that - a decrease in score bubbles rewarded at the end for each of those areas you entered.


Cleverly disguised lights in general are a great way to provide subtle innuendo and direction with spelling it out for the player... like how you put the red light behind the stove.

One thing I think you should do too, for when obstacles are solved like that... a magic mouth trigger that directs the player to the section that they just activated - it adds another level of polish. he player SHOULD know what it is they're activating, but it just makes it seem more complete, well directed, and intentional. When the same activating key is triggered, it can activate a magic mouth with a max radius and a camera zone set to the stove that simply says "...".

That's one of the things where I wonder why I haven't added it yet. I think I already thought about simply showing the (now active) stove after you've pushed the flower pot on the pipe, but for some reason I didn't add a magic mouth. Thanks for the reminder XD


P.S. I love the changes you've made with the lighting, and I like that you added more "spirits" for where you are being spoken to. The lighting in the houses is looking good, but I think you should go with just one small LED light tucked up under the ceiling, to where it's not visible and set it to a max radius that illuminates the whole house.

I've seen this effect in other levels too - your therm is probably full, but some levels that have building interiors use a thin layer that covers the front of the building until the player enters. It's set up to an inverted sensor switch and put on an emitter, so that when the player enters the building and into the sensors range the front-most layer dissappears and then reappears when he exits. It could be held in place with a very tiny piece of dark matter so that it sits in place.

Fun story: Originally, the second and third houses had front walls. Yuu had to look at yourself through (large) windows only, and even though I personally felt that every important aspect was clearly visible, a lot of people couldn't properly navigate through this admittedly already confusing section and complained, so I had to remove the walls. I actually wanted to add thin front walls that disappeared as soon as you entered the houses, but there'd been several complications and I deemed it too much of an effort. Lazy me xD


The intro section looks very peaceful and saintly now with the yellow lighting, and the star you ride down on looks great too. The momentary pause you set it on is a great now. Before I had to hang on the cloud to read it.

Yeah, thanks to all of you for reminding me of this. There was originally enough time to read the text bubble, but it got messed up during my latest re-upload.


It seems easier to cross to the other house now too - the lanterns aren't shaking or aligning themselves. Good improvement.

I actually didn't change that part, but I'm glad you found it easier this time ^^


Also, I just noticed too - add some sounds to the buttons and mechanisms. Like here, where the beehive (?) you roll onto the red button. When you grab it it could make a little "snap noise" when the dissolve piece lets it go... and then when it presses the button it could give you a "subtask completed" jingle... and the unfolding platforms could have a creaking wood, or wood break noise to give them more presence. The windmills definitely need some creaking wood noises on them hooked up to a sensor switch so it activates when the player is on or underneath. The lanterns could use a sound too, when grabbed, but I'm not sure which one - I'll have to go in create mode and refresh my memory.

Put a mechanism engage sound for when the gear falls into the windmall... same way you used the steam engine sound. It should activate only once when it starts, since it's not a continious sound.

I also noticed, put some rockets in the chimneys of the houses too... it'll make a good detail.

More sounds are needed, I see. Thanks for the input, I'll try to consider your ideas when I edit my level the next time. Sound objects shouldn't be too much trouble to place around the stage.


Ah hey I just found that secret area by the windmills... nice. I was wondering what the box looking thing was for.

Wow, first time someone commented on that. I actually considered deleting it for thermo space since apparently no one found it XD There's 3 secret areas by the way, did you find them all?


Anyway... I hope I don't sound like I'm nitpicking your level, 'cause I'm not trying to. I really, really like it. These are just tips from me, and even if you don't implement any of them it's still a great level.


No, I really enjoy reading the feedback you guys give me. Thanks again for all the ideas I've got soo far, it's good to know people are enjoying my work. I hope my next level won't disappoint.

....

Long post. Tired T_T

xkappax
02-09-2009, 04:46 PM
Serpit, this is a really nice level. I played this with VMethos a little while back. I love the puzzles, and it took me a while to figure some stuff out, but when I did, it was extremely rewarding. My only complaint would be the part after the second gas bit with the clouds. Those clouds are very hard to navigate (a fault of the game, and not yours) and my sackboy would constantly fall off the clouds and land smack dab on the checkpoint that was below. I don't know how to suggest to fix it, possibly moving that checkpoint out of the way. (ps. i haven't played this level in a few weeks, so if you've fixed this, ignore my ramblings about the clouds)

That being said, I really just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I usually don't like levels with a lot of puzzles in them, but I loved this one! Great work.

Serpit
02-09-2009, 09:21 PM
Serpit, this is a really nice level. I played this with VMethos a little while back. I love the puzzles, and it took me a while to figure some stuff out, but when I did, it was extremely rewarding. My only complaint would be the part after the second gas bit with the clouds. Those clouds are very hard to navigate (a fault of the game, and not yours) and my sackboy would constantly fall off the clouds and land smack dab on the checkpoint that was below. I don't know how to suggest to fix it, possibly moving that checkpoint out of the way. (ps. i haven't played this level in a few weeks, so if you've fixed this, ignore my ramblings about the clouds)

That being said, I really just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I usually don't like levels with a lot of puzzles in them, but I loved this one! Great work.

Wow, thanks for the nice words, glad you enjoyed it =D

I did change the cloud part you mentioned a bit - by putting another checkpoint up there. I hope that helps at least a litte =p
That reminds me, I need to play your other levels as well. Centralia was great, so I'm looking forward to your other creations ^^

xkappax
02-10-2009, 11:31 AM
Oh, I'll try it again, then! I've been meaning to review this in Maraz's thread, but I've been so busy with our next level. I always try to do things that are waaaay beyond my means. I have a very hard time with mechanics, so my stuff tends to fall apart a lot until my husband fixes it. :P So, that's what I've been doing lately, but as soon as I'm able, I'll write a review for it.

and thanks for the kind words about Centralia. ^_^ My other levels are really really goofy compared to that, but I hope you enjoy them!

anyway, everyone who likes puzzlers, play this level! The atmosphere is great in this one!

Serpit
02-10-2009, 06:55 PM
@OCK: Now that I think about it - You commented on the premade mushroom trees, but did the premade clouds I used not bother you? Just asking, because as of now, the only premade items in my new level are clouds and trees XD



Oh, I'll try it again, then! I've been meaning to review this in Maraz's thread, but I've been so busy with our next level. I always try to do things that are waaaay beyond my means. I have a very hard time with mechanics, so my stuff tends to fall apart a lot until my husband fixes it. :P So, that's what I've been doing lately, but as soon as I'm able, I'll write a review for it.

and thanks for the kind words about Centralia. ^_^ My other levels are really really goofy compared to that, but I hope you enjoy them!

anyway, everyone who likes puzzlers, play this level! The atmosphere is great in this one!

Thanks, I hope I'll probably write a review on one of your creations as well sometime - Now gotta take a looka t those other levels of yours ^^

GruntosUK
02-11-2009, 06:26 PM
I was looking forward to playing this level after you posted in my thread and I had a read through. I love puzzle levels.

+ Great start with the cloud platforming, loved the riding on the star section
+ Nice first little puzzle ;-)
+ Liked the look of your houses and sections.
+ The puzzles are great. They really made me think, look around my area for things etc.
+ Nice little details, even the chimleys have holes
+ Well playtested, everything seems to work OK.
+ Loved the cloud and gas section. Well thought of, it was an excellent little section, the second one, even better :-)

- The rocks look a little flat
- There are no hints, some of the puzzles maybe hard to some, a camera pointing, a magic mouth may help. Getting past the second house is a good example, theres no information on what the trigger is, I just thought it was there as a hazard
- The pistons on the clouds, I noticed this at the start, and later on in the game
- I found the secret, thing is, it activates the checkpoint straight after you come back out, making you backtrack.
- The boss was HARD. The emitted fire logs seemingly had to pattern, I got killed loads by coming out the checkpoint straight onto them, then the spikes got me under the moving blocks, I managed to knock one thing down, but died on my last life.

This is a very long level, that was awesome to play and solve. The puzzles and story were great, every task had a meaning and was fun to undertake. Its let down by the cheap deaths on the boss I think

The boss needs work, and the puzzles need some visual clues.

v0rtex
02-12-2009, 06:01 AM
Just played your level (well, I didn't finish it, but I will be back).. What I've seen so far was very nicely done. I went back to make sure I hadn't missed anything, and never really got stuck anywhere. The use of all three layers as one big puzzle was a nice touch. And the chimney! Almost wish I hadn't read as many other's feedback first, I was on to a few of the puzzles too quickly, but they still put a smile on my face.

I wish I could offer more critique or suggestions, but what's been said so far covers everything I've seen to this point. Haven't met your boss, but am looking forward to it (I think :p).

One point of interest... I don't have the nimble gaming fingers or eyes that my kids do, so the pistons on the clouds actually helped me to navigate the jumps. I was glad they were there (I truly suck at sticking a landing on anything small, much less moving).

Could not figure out how to get the prizes in the lighthouse though. Hmph!

Check out my level if you have the time (Midnight Gold Run LBPC thread (http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8627)):

Level: Midnight Gold Run
PSN: v0rtex2002 (that's a zero in v0rtex).

NinjaMicWZ
02-12-2009, 09:44 AM
I actually did find one of the other secret areas, and I can SEE another one, but haven't accessed it yet.


@OCK: Now that I think about it - You commented on the premade mushroom trees, but did the premade clouds I used not bother you? Just asking, because as of now, the only premade items in my new level are clouds and trees XD

I wasn't really thinking about it, but honestly, as much of a chore as it sounds, I think using stickered sponge and floaties in lumpy sections for clouds might look more professional and unique. You would probably be able to make the cloud areas more robust and full as well.

I'd spend months and months revamping entire levels that had been published for quite along time, and sometimes completely rebuilding sections and adding lots of new stuff... so as bad as it sounds to fully redesign an area or rethink the whole thing, it's not that bad. When you get to your 4th or 5th project you'll have much more of a handle on things and think of techniques and shortcuts that will help you spruce up your older projects.

Serpit
02-12-2009, 07:31 PM
I was looking forward to playing this level after you posted in my thread and I had a read through. I love puzzle levels.

+ Great start with the cloud platforming, loved the riding on the star section
+ Nice first little puzzle ;-)
+ Liked the look of your houses and sections.
+ The puzzles are great. They really made me think, look around my area for things etc.
+ Nice little details, even the chimleys have holes
+ Well playtested, everything seems to work OK.
+ Loved the cloud and gas section. Well thought of, it was an excellent little section, the second one, even better :-)

Thanks for the nice words. If you liked my start riding section, you'll LOVE the beginning of my level xD
You're the second person so far to comment on the holes in the chimneys, lol. Glad people actually notice them.
I'm also quite fond of the coloured clouds, although originally I had no idea that the section would look like this - I originally had a more vertical platforming in mind, but I'm glad I decided against that now.



- The rocks look a little flat

You mean the main material I used? Yeah, especially the sections without grass look a little boring.


- There are no hints, some of the puzzles maybe hard to some, a camera pointing, a magic mouth may help. Getting past the second house is a good example, theres no information on what the trigger is, I just thought it was there as a hazard[quote]

Well, it does tell you that there's heat gushing out in the yard when you pass the pipe, and zooms in on the stove. That, plus some subtle hints as well, should be enough, but I am well aware that this section gives several people a headache ^^
It's just that I don't want to make it too easy. I fear that If I actually showed a magic mouth at the flower pot or something, it would be way too obvious what to do.

[quote]- The pistons on the clouds, I noticed this at the start, and later on in the game

Noted, but I fear I won't change them. Doing so at the beginning of the level is incredibly troublesome, and I think they give the player a nice differentiation between the static and the moving clouds.


- I found the secret, thing is, it activates the checkpoint straight after you come back out, making you backtrack.

Hm, true, I guess many people would just want to kill themselves to get up to the clouds faster. Thanks, I'll prolly put the checkpoint somewhere else. Congrats on finding the secret though!


- The boss was HARD. The emitted fire logs seemingly had to pattern, I got killed loads by coming out the checkpoint straight onto them, then the spikes got me under the moving blocks, I managed to knock one thing down, but died on my last life.

Err... I don't really understand this, as I specifically tweaked the fireballs so they couldn't kill you at the spawn point. You can only die to them if you move right without looking as soon as you respawn.

By the way, there's a safespot right below the boss as well. Still, I'll take another look at it.


This is a very long level, that was awesome to play and solve. The puzzles and story were great, every task had a meaning and was fun to undertake. Its let down by the cheap deaths on the boss I think

The boss needs work, and the puzzles need some visual clues.

Glad you had fun =)
I guess I have to reduce the lifetime of the fireballs even more if people keep running into them after respawning. Thanks a lot for the great feedback =D




Just played your level (well, I didn't finish it, but I will be back).. What I've seen so far was very nicely done. I went back to make sure I hadn't missed anything, and never really got stuck anywhere. The use of all three layers as one big puzzle was a nice touch. And the chimney! Almost wish I hadn't read as many other's feedback first, I was on to a few of the puzzles too quickly, but they still put a smile on my face.

I wish I could offer more critique or suggestions, but what's been said so far covers everything I've seen to this point. Haven't met your boss, but am looking forward to it (I think :p).

One point of interest... I don't have the nimble gaming fingers or eyes that my kids do, so the pistons on the clouds actually helped me to navigate the jumps. I was glad they were there (I truly suck at sticking a landing on anything small, much less moving).

Check out my level if you have the time (Midnight Gold Run LBPC thread (http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8627)):

Level: Midnight Gold Run
PSN: v0rtex2002 (that's a zero in v0rtex).

bunch for the review =D
It's nice to hear that you enjoyed the puzzling even though you've been "spoiled" already ^^ It's also a relief that at least someone liked the pistons on the clouds. I don't know, to me that's just one of the little thigns that make LBP charming - the fact that some things look slightly mechanical and somewhat like toys, I guess.

I'll be sure to check your level out, probably within the next few hours. Thanks again ^^




Could not figure out how to get the prizes in the lighthouse though. Hmph!


I actually did find one of the other secret areas, and I can SEE another one, but haven't accessed it yet.

Okay, I'm providing a description on how to access the secret areas. Obviously, only look if you don't want to figure it out yourself =D


To get to the upper level of the light house, you have to find it's second entrance. Grab the sponge on the winch and ride it down to the ground, but don't let go. Now, while you're being drawn up, press to the right to build up momentum, and when you're at the top, let go of the sponge to swing on a cloud to your right. Jump up the clouds and then into the lighthouse again from the right. There are a few point bubbles and a prize bubble here.


This one is right below the lighthouse, and chances are you've seen it while jumping down. To access it, jump down to the LEFT side of the lighthouse. You will land on a cliff, and there's a ball of sponge on an elastic string dangling there. Jump down, grab the sponge and swing to your right to reach the entrance of the cave. There's a lot of score bubbles down there, nearly half of the possible maximum points you can get in the level.


You'll probably have seen two weird wooden box-like objects with no apparent use in the level. One between two of the windmills, and one between a windmill and the fourth house. Those are cellar doors, but they aren't open yet. To reach the secret area, make your way up to the second cloud section, and ride through the first field of coloured gas clouds. No, there's a gap between 2 clouds, and actually 2 arrows pointing down. Just jump in the gap, and you'll fall down all the way through the cellar door. There's 2 prize bubbles and quite a lot of score bubbles down there. To get back up, pull the switch on the center wall, and a lantern will come down for you to grab on the right side.




I wasn't really thinking about it, but honestly, as much of a chore as it sounds, I think using stickered sponge and floaties in lumpy sections for clouds might look more professional and unique. You would probably be able to make the cloud areas more robust and full as well.

I'd spend months and months revamping entire levels that had been published for quite along time, and sometimes completely rebuilding sections and adding lots of new stuff... so as bad as it sounds to fully redesign an area or rethink the whole thing, it's not that bad. When you get to your 4th or 5th project you'll have much more of a handle on things and think of techniques and shortcuts that will help you spruce up your older projects.

I wasn't really thinking of it as a chore - Really, I like designing custom content and I think I'm not doing too bad. My main qualm is that my own replacements for premade objects tend to look worse and take up more thermo space, but I'll take OCK's and yours advice and put some cutom clouds and trees in my level. At least then I'll be able to say that it's 100% custom content as well ;-)

ThommyTheThird
02-13-2009, 05:06 PM
Hey Serpit, here's my review:

Pros:
- Nice "Welcome" board. Breaking it was even better :P
- Found a secret, but i can't tell which one, sadly :D It was awesome though.
- Holy cow! I figured out the first secret. AWESOME! "See the first misc note down below"
- I'm on a roll, found that lighthouse one aswell.
- Wow.. these puzzles are amazing. I now "fixed" the oven :D and going onwards.
- Woot, a flying owl.
- The flying cloud, gas-dodging thing was nice! Very original.
- Nice bossfight ;) Especially phase 2, makes you think.

Cons:
- The pots on the outside of the house, were badly stickered. I threw them out and i saw basic wood behing the brown sticker.
- Your house's windows broke. There's 4 of those little glass squares, but in each window there's one missing. Im guessing it collapsed.
-

Misc:
- I see a tunnel kind of secret.. But there's something grabbable blocking my way, but i'm guessing it's dissolve.
- Alright, maybe it isn't dissolve. If it is, then i'm just doing something wrong, if it isn't it's probably stuck, and it should be fixed.
- I see an oven with a piston thingy, but can't seem to get it activated.
- Awesome, i'm stuck.
- Restarting as i've lost way to many lives already.
- What the, the oven is activated. Didn't happen last play. I think it's a sensor switch, if it is, please make the radius a tad bigger.
- No, it's not :O But i did get the speech bubble.. I'm confused.
- I'm in the garden now, and there's loads of buttons and pieces. I'm thinking i'll be here for a while.
- I knew that lantern on a winch was used for something.. I noticed the bolts on the .. doormat?
- Restarted once again, since i lost all my lives on the boss'2nd phase.. Had no clue what to do.
- Figured it out, and it was innovative :D

Overall:
AMAZING! I loved it, nice visuals, GREAT puzzles!
5-starred, Brilliant'd and hearted :)

Serpit
02-14-2009, 03:39 PM
Hey Serpit, here's my review:

Pros:
- Nice "Welcome" board. Breaking it was even better :P
- Found a secret, but i can't tell which one, sadly :D It was awesome though.
- Holy cow! I figured out the first secret. AWESOME! "See the first misc note down below"
- I'm on a roll, found that lighthouse one aswell.
- Wow.. these puzzles are amazing. I now "fixed" the oven :D and going onwards.
- Woot, a flying owl.
- The flying cloud, gas-dodging thing was nice! Very original.
- Nice bossfight ;) Especially phase 2, makes you think.

Cons:
- The pots on the outside of the house, were badly stickered. I threw them out and i saw basic wood behing the brown sticker.
- Your house's windows broke. There's 4 of those little glass squares, but in each window there's one missing. Im guessing it collapsed.
-

Misc:
- I see a tunnel kind of secret.. But there's something grabbable blocking my way, but i'm guessing it's dissolve.
- Alright, maybe it isn't dissolve. If it is, then i'm just doing something wrong, if it isn't it's probably stuck, and it should be fixed.
- I see an oven with a piston thingy, but can't seem to get it activated.
- Awesome, i'm stuck.
- Restarting as i've lost way to many lives already.
- What the, the oven is activated. Didn't happen last play. I think it's a sensor switch, if it is, please make the radius a tad bigger.
- No, it's not :O But i did get the speech bubble.. I'm confused.
- I'm in the garden now, and there's loads of buttons and pieces. I'm thinking i'll be here for a while.
- I knew that lantern on a winch was used for something.. I noticed the bolts on the .. doormat?
- Restarted once again, since i lost all my lives on the boss'2nd phase.. Had no clue what to do.
- Figured it out, and it was innovative :D

Overall:
AMAZING! I loved it, nice visuals, GREAT puzzles!
5-starred, Brilliant'd and hearted :)


Thanks a lot for the review =D

I have to admit, it was a bit confusing to read at first. I only really figured out your post structure after I read it a second time, lol.

Anyway, glad that you enjoyed it that much. I also really appreciate it that you actually replayed the entire stage after dying on the boss - most people probably would have stopped there. Thanks for the pointers about the flower pots (Which I was sure I had stickered completely >_>) and the broken windows.

I've left a review of your level at the appropriate thread, so check it out, and thanks again ;-)
By the way, good job finding the secrets, and nice score you got there ^^

AJnKnox
02-14-2009, 07:21 PM
Thought your ideas were great! (The colored clouds, the look of everything, story, puzzles) Everything had a good flow. I had no trouble with any of the puzzles till the boss and there I am stuck. Overall great job! 5 Stars and hearted.


please check out my level:

Attack of the BORG!

PSN: ajnknox


*Forums NOOB*

mrsupercomputer
02-14-2009, 07:51 PM
Just finished playing up to the boss, unfortunately I died while fighting him! I'll take another stab at him later, but I wanted to give you some feedback. My thoughts:

Pros:
- Satisfying puzzles. I must admit that there were a couple instances where I almost gave up before realizing that the solution was right in front of me.
- Good story that keep my interest.
- Visually appealing - the clouds and houses looked very nice.
- Creative platforming elements - The clouds with the gas come to mind, where you are switching layers to avoid being hit.

Suggestions:

- Some else mentioned the pistons on the clouds as being a visual distraction. They do seem a bit out of place.
- I found the boss fight, while cool looking, a bit frustrating. I'd suggest slowing the fire balls down just a tad.

Overall, I enjoyed this level very much and found it a very satisfying puzzle and platforming experience. Well done!

Serpit
02-14-2009, 09:22 PM
Thought your ideas were great! (The colored clouds, the look of everything, story, puzzles) Everything had a good flow. I had no trouble with any of the puzzles till the boss and there I am stuck. Overall great job! 5 Stars and hearted.


please check out my level:

Attack of the BORG!

PSN: ajnknox


*Forums NOOB*

Thanks for the kind words, I'll probably check out your level tomorrow =D



Just finished playing up to the boss, unfortunately I died while fighting him! I'll take another stab at him later, but I wanted to give you some feedback. My thoughts:

Pros:
- Satisfying puzzles. I must admit that there were a couple instances where I almost gave up before realizing that the solution was right in front of me.
- Good story that keep my interest.
- Visually appealing - the clouds and houses looked very nice.
- Creative platforming elements - The clouds with the gas come to mind, where you are switching layers to avoid being hit.

Suggestions:

- Some else mentioned the pistons on the clouds as being a visual distraction. They do seem a bit out of place.
- I found the boss fight, while cool looking, a bit frustrating. I'd suggest slowing the fire balls down just a tad.

Overall, I enjoyed this level very much and found it a very satisfying puzzle and platforming experience. Well done!

Glad that you liked it, and I hope you beat the boss next time. Yeah, I've been told that the battle is pretty hard, but I've already tweaked him a lot already. I don't know if you noticed, but the fireballs are shot in a fixed pattern, and there's a safespot directly below him. Hopefully that helps ;-)

Thanks by the way ^^

King_Tubb
02-16-2009, 06:22 PM
Ok Serpit i finally got around to playing your level

Pros:

-Awesome story line, even though it didnt seem exciting to me.

-Great puzzles, ill admit that i sat around for easily 10 minutes on a few of em.

-Cool boss. Even though i almost lost all my lives on him.

-Cool idea with the colored gas and clouds.

Cons:

-Custom Content. Those pre-made clouds are a definite turn-off, same with the trees.

-Bland Houses. All the houses are the same color, wood-colored. Adding stickers to make them white, green, blue, etc would add some flavor to the level. You could even just change the material each is made of.


4/5 Only because I found the boss frustrating and some parts too "pre-made"

Solisdrive
02-16-2009, 07:13 PM
Wow, cool level. I loved the simple look of it and the puzzles were really neat. I loved the storyline as well. The boss was also cool except he kinda killed me on respawn.

I felt the puzzles were a bit too obscure. Half the time I had no clue what I was doing and I was begging for a small hint. I'm not much of a puzzler so this might just be my own issue but all the puzzles were really neat once I figured them out and it was satisfying unlike other levels with incorporated puzzling.

Oh and the colored cloud bit was a really cool idea.

Other than that, great job, hearted this level. Good work!

Oh and for F4F: Please check out: Ascending The City (http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8834)

Serpit
02-17-2009, 02:40 PM
Ok Serpit i finally got around to playing your level
...
Cons:

-Custom Content. Those pre-made clouds are a definite turn-off, same with the trees.

-Bland Houses. All the houses are the same color, wood-colored. Adding stickers to make them white, green, blue, etc would add some flavor to the level. You could even just change the material each is made of.


4/5 Only because I found the boss frustrating and some parts too "pre-made"

Thanks for the feedback, glad you liked the level =D
Custom Content: Yeah, I've decided to go 100% custom on my next stage, so that won't be an issue anymore ;-)
Bland Houses: Eh, I actually like the bland wood =P
Changing the maerial would take up too much thermo space I don't have, and although coloring is an option, I'd personally find it a bit weird. I'll think about it though ^^

By the way, I plan play your Master Hand again soon =D



Wow, cool level. I loved the simple look of it and the puzzles were really neat. I loved the storyline as well. The boss was also cool except he kinda killed me on respawn.

Thanks for the kind words. The boss shouldn't be able to kill you at respawn unless you imemditely go right when you come out of the portal, but I'll probably tweak him a bit to make it completely impossible and also reduce the speed of the fireballs.


I felt the puzzles were a bit too obscure. Half the time I had no clue what I was doing and I was begging for a small hint. I'm not much of a puzzler so this might just be my own issue but all the puzzles were really neat once I figured them out and it was satisfying unlike other levels with incorporated puzzling.

Well, the things that take the most effort are the most satisfying ones =)
Sadly, I know my puzzles are relatively obscure - mostly due to my inexperience with levle creation when I started, as evidenced by the second and third house. I did add several hints though, although some of them are relatively obscure as well xD


Oh and the colored cloud bit was a really cool idea.

Other than that, great job, hearted this level. Good work!

Oh and for F4F: Please check out: Ascending The City (http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8834)

I'm really glad I added the coloured clouds, since everybody seems to like them xD
Thanks again, and I'll check out your level today.

cornontheCOD
02-18-2009, 07:19 AM
Looking pretty cool, but I didn't get very far. I got into the house with the broken stairs. I got upstairs by swinging on the lamps, but I don't know what to do when I get inside.

F4F: any level in my sig

graygoose
02-18-2009, 09:44 AM
i reviewed this level awhile back, and i just wanted to add that timeless village is a great level to stimulate the brain, its not a hard level, only it requires you to use common sense and environment awareness.

the whole level is a puzzle divided into areas, and at the same time they are all linked together which makes each puzzle solving make sense in a way. i described it as " what a smooth level flow"

also even the boss is also a puzzle.. and a surprisingly simple one when youve figured it out lol!

i scored it with a 9. something out of 10... i cant remember.

Serpit
02-18-2009, 08:12 PM
@AJnKnox: I've played your level and I'd like to give you some feedback, but I can't find an F4F thread. If you want, I can send you a personal message though ^^

@Solisdrive: I've played your level as well, I'll write up something right after this post =)

@graygoose: Thanks again for the kind words :D



Looking pretty cool, but I didn't get very far. I got into the house with the broken stairs. I got upstairs by swinging on the lamps, but I don't know what to do when I get inside.

F4F: any level in my sig


Push the flower pot from the left house in the hole with the steam pipe in the yard - if you do so, the stove in the right house will be activated and can be used to leave the house through the chimney.


I'll play one of your levels soon. I can't do it today anymore though, sorry ^^

dobi6
02-19-2009, 03:29 PM
I felt this level had a real lack of direction. I was left frequently with a wondering with where to go. I like puzzles, but You get to places without any obvious indication that you should have to figure something out before you can proceed, as you are allowed to wander a bit before you figure out that you are stuck.

xkappax
02-20-2009, 06:10 PM
I can see where you'd think it lacked direction, but I felt very rewarded when I actually did figure out where I had to go/what I had to do. That's just me though. :P

Serpit
02-21-2009, 03:22 PM
I felt this level had a real lack of direction. I was left frequently with a wondering with where to go. I like puzzles, but You get to places without any obvious indication that you should have to figure something out before you can proceed, as you are allowed to wander a bit before you figure out that you are stuck.

Thanks for the feedback. Can you tell me the specific area you felt had a lack of direction (or was it the whole level?). For that reason, I have added hints - When you cross the yard between the second and third houses, the camera zooms in on the stove and tells you that the heat is leaking out, basically telling you to do something about it. For the next, longer section, there's a zoom up to the gear wheel, showing you your goal.

By the way, I played your King O' Side, plus cornontheCD's Desert of Shadows and Sky Town and Kappa's Crystal Cave in Autumn, so reviews for those should be up later today.

cornontheCOD
02-24-2009, 03:03 AM
I tried your level again. I think the reason I got stuck is because the hint in the yard (the smoke out of the ground) is not easy to activate. The first time through I did not activate the text that moves the camera to the stove thingy.

Although I love the visuals and puzzles so far, i got stuck again. I got to the part with the windmill on fire. I realize I have to get the gear on top of the tree, but I can't figure it out. I guess I'm just not very bright :(.

Also, I love the puzzle design. I keep getting the !aha! moment that is the sign of good level/game design. keep up the good work

Boogaloo
02-25-2009, 04:26 PM
Hey Serpit,

puzzle levels are always tough to judge, mainly because everyone playing (and building) them has a different set of experiences. I think you did a brilliant job and the puzzles were pitched perfectly. The pressure in the stove puzzle was impeccably logical (and fairly easy to work out, but satisfyingly executed), and all of your little doors were neatly cut with perfect mechanisms. Everything fit together beautifully, and the only bit I really had to work out was how to get up to the first windmill. I thought the way that you used the whole level for the puzzles was very well done indeed, and good fun to work out. My only minor niggle in the area with the houses was the hanging lanterns on the string to get into the first floor of one of the houses - they don't look very neat compared with the rest of the level, and feel a bit ungainly to swing on - but it's not especially difficult.

One of the openings didn't work:
When I jumped off of the cloud into the underground chamber between the windmills, the first time it worked - but the second time the chamber hadn't opened and I got stuck.

The section in the clouds was a nice change of direction, and your story line was actually very good. Having the lights/souls tell the story is pretty eerie at the start, and the story has a nice resolution/coda.

I'll have to say that I'm not a big fan of the boss either. I sussed out the pattern of the fire logs, but when you're swinging on the lanterns you're at the mercy of the blocks timing as well. Also:
when I managed to get on top of the blocks and jumped for the torches - I missed the first one for some reason and grabbed the one at the back, and it didn't work. When I finally did manage to grab the right one and it toppled over, I let go of it and fell into the spikes - losing my last life. The spikes are freakin' annoying man!!! I kept getting burnt and running into them face first!

I would suggest at least getting rid of the spikes on the moving blocks - they'd still crush you if you're not quick enough - and maybe give some clue as to what would beat the boss. I understand that you want people to work it out - but it's a little on the harsh side with the dangers in that section.

Overall though I'd have to say that this is a great level - satisfying puzzles, well built objects and architecture (I'd leave the little houses as they are - they look mint), and a great story. Top marks.

http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/1305/aphoto7.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
This is me. In your level, lol.

Shiwayari
02-25-2009, 09:31 PM
Just played this and loved it. I'm a fan of puzzles and I know it's not so easy to come up with good ones. I'll just post what comes to my mind:

- I like the overall feel of the level, it has a very calm atmosphere and it's in no way frustrating to think about how to solve a puzzle or where to search.

- The visual design was a bit plain though.

- I loved the puzzles, especially the part where you got those different blocks, one on each layer, and could go back to reach the windmills that seemed pointless before.

- Each puzzle made me feel a sense of accomplishment, very satisfying!

- I think it's already mentioned a few times: The time to read the text bubble at the beginning is too short.
And the text bubbles at the boss can lead to pointless dying. I'd suggest trying out a cutscene camera here, so that you can't move into the boss' range until you're finished reading.

- Speaking of the boss: simple, but awesome. I love the part where he comes back before his heart is destroyed. I think you should add one more checkpoint though, or add an infinite one. I had about 4 lives left, but I can imagine some dying and not trying again.

- There is a problem with the boss: If you grab one of the 'pillar' things with the fire on them to make it fall onto the boss, you fall into the spikes if you let go. This wastes one life without you having done anything wrong.

- I somehow didn't like the beginning with the electric clouds, but I liked the second cloud part. The color-coded gas-evading was nice.

- A minor thing: I liked the owl as a character and found the piston movement strange. Maybe use a winch instead, to make it less 'stiff'?

- I thought the difficulty was just right; puzzles, platforming and boss.

That's all I can think of.


If you're still returning feedbacks:
I'd like some on my level 'Expedition Yagon'. Be warned, it seems it's really hard. And it's long. You could also check out 'Shiwa's Devices', but I'd rather want some on the other one. The link to the levels thread can be found in my signature.

Serpit
02-28-2009, 12:30 PM
Thanks a lot for the feedback, you two. I played Quetzalcoatl Rises and Expedition Yagon today, so except reviews later.

OCK
02-28-2009, 01:12 PM
I finally had a chance to go back and finish this the other day and I have to tell you that I was very impressed!

I thought the story you told was original and well thought out. The NPC's of the princess and the poet lloked great! You really managed to give life to this world and that is quite an achievement.

The gameplay during the cloud sequence was brilliant. Great use of the different planes and really nice implementation of color. I have never seen a sequence quite like it and that is always a good thing.

Your boss was wonderful. It is the only boss in LBP that comes back from the dead just when you think it's over and that element of surprise really adds a whole new dynamic to the battle. I thought the design was great and I reall enjoyed the fight.

I gave the level 5 stars and a heart and I eagerly await your next creation :)