View Full Version : The Crystal Cave in Autumn (Spotlighted!)

02-20-2009, 04:40 PM

Hello again, everyone! I am just posting to let you all know that our new level is finally completed! This has been in progress since shortly after Centralia - A Ghost Story, but we had some horrible thermometer issues and some horrible "level falling apart" issues. The original level was scrapped, and I started it over again myself in December. I've been working on and off on this until about a month ago, and then Catiers, my husband, picked it up and added some vehicles and mechanics. This level has had the most effort put into it since Centralia, and countless hours and hard work have been poured into this. This level fell apart 3 times and turned to gas two times, and the thermometer is bursting to the point where we can't add another sticker!

Sorry about that mini novel I wrote up there. I just wanted to give some back story to the level. Here is the level's information:

PSN: xkappax
Level: The Crystal Cave in Autumn
Location: off the east coast of the united states of america. The icon is a blue background with two crystals on it.

I have placed two videos of it on youtube. I actually had to break it into two parts because it was just a LITTLE bit over their 10 minute limitation! :( As always, I apologize for the commentary, but I just wanted to explain why/how we did certain things.

Video part 1:


Video part 2:


I still need to take some pictures of the level, but I haven't had a chance to do that yet, and I apologize.

Also, I am happy to say that this is the first level that the review league on lbpcentral has reviewed, and I have posted a link to the review below:


I hope you guys enjoy the level! Very much time and effort went into it! Thank you all in advance! ^_^

02-20-2009, 05:14 PM
I really liked the level. Did I left some feedback in the comments? I don't remember but I did play that yesterday or the day before.

02-20-2009, 06:56 PM
Yeah, Ranger, I did see your comments on the level. You said something about the vehicle, and how you jumped down and couldn't get back up. I put a spawn point inside the vehicle... so you probably could have popped yourself and you would have spawned at the top of the ride. It was a teeny tiny spawn point that I emitted (thank you mikey flies for using that trick in your level and showing me that it could be done!) ^_^ You got me all scared though because I thought something had happened to the spawn point that was inside of the vehicle! >_<

anyway, I am very glad that you liked it!

02-20-2009, 07:06 PM
I love the beginning part here with the falling leaves and the stickered trees... I now long for autumn, and the days of my youth whilst sipping some tea. Way to set the mood... lol @ your LBP avatar being the ghost

wow that cat looks really cool... easily one of the best looking character etchings I've seen in the game since launch. It looks great. Did you make it, or is it some story object I forgot about? I messed around here for 5 minutes annoying the cat by grabbing it and making it meow.

The digging section is a neat idea, put into good context.

Making the backstory optional is an incredible idea. It makes replays better, and will definitely please both people who want more substance as well as people who will hate having to push X so many times. Alot of us could probably do with something like this in our storydriven levels.

The underwater sections in this level are awesome... flying past that giant waterfall off this giant rapids slide. I've seen alot of waterfalls like this, but just the sheer size of it and the way it was only glimpsed while speeding past made it much cooler.

Ooo... this mine cart sequence is high adrenaline... probably the fastest and longest I've seen. You managed to fit a huge roller coaster ride into an already epic-sized level. I normally don't even really like mine cart sequences, but your guys levels always do them well.

The part with the sitting in the sunshine and the collapse... that is really cool.

Great skulldozer scene too... nice design on it, still silly, but threatening just like story mode levels - which is something people have trouble balancing or pulling off, and is always present in your levels. I can only imagine how much tweaking went into making that whole section doable, playable, and work without a hitch... same for the mine cart sequence.

Ah... back home at last. I've played a couple levels recently where people are giving credit to others who inspired them, and I think that's great. I like seeing the whole mentality of community, sharing and cooperation... it makes us all better at what we do, helps us make more interesting creations with less limitations and more imagination, and promotes the idea of helping each other by making people less reluctant to help and less bitter about being paid homage.

Nice fun level, tons of variety and stuff to do and lots of character as always.

02-20-2009, 09:52 PM
Thanks, ninjamcwiz.

A few things:
The cat actually came with the valentines day pack, but it was BRIGHT magenta. I stickered it grayish blue, to be more like my cat, Shady (he's pictured in my avatar, hugging a kappa)

The boss chase was the worst thing ever. That was the part of the level that i thought was going to lead to the divorce of larry and myself. The spawn point wouldn't go up after activating it and activating the sensor switch on it, that entire part inexplicably fell apart at one point, and we could NOT get the ghost to behave the way we wanted it to. We finally got it though, that section alone probably took us a week.

Funny story about the mine cart section: Larry slapped down some track, and that's the way we left it. It worked nearly perfectly the first time. The mine cart was what got the most tweaking. We went through three mine carts before we settled on that one. We did run into one weird glitch while making the track though. Apparently if you corner edit railing metal glued to dark matter in just the right way, it renders it uneditable and turns it to floaty. The railing and the dark matter! I took a video of it and will be putting it on youtube soon! It was insane. We had to do a LOT of rewinding to fix it. You couldn't even select it! I love mine carts, though. I am not sure why. I've actually ridden in one once (Pennsylvania has a lot of coal mines) but the one I rode in wasn't as crazy as the one in this level.

The water section was inspired by a level by a guy named Zoreck. The level was Inside The Monster. If you haven't played this level, I recommend it, because it is short, but it's still a very beautiful underwater level. It was published right around the time centralia was made. I love the underwater materials that they've given you... so i figured that I'd make use of them as much as I could! I can't take credit for the waterfalls though. Those were all VMethos. He made em for me. My first waterfall was just awful!

On the subject of the purple story room with the ghosts... I have a confession to make. I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE text heavy story driven levels. I feel terrible for saying this, because I realize that a lot of people like them. They do have their place, and I've seen some really well done ones (i.e. Senkoy's level, Maraz's levels, etc) ... It's funny too, because I LOVE rpgs, but I feel that when I'm playing a platformer, I want to play a platformer. My problem, though, was that I wanted to have a backstory to tie that level into Centralia, but I didn't want people to have to skip a million text bubbles. That is a fast road to "ANNOYING" tags. (please don't get mad at me for saying that, it's just an opinion. I'm sure there are plenty of good text driven levels out there, but they are not for me )

as far as the thanks go at the end... There are so many people in this community that have helped me that I can't even begin to have enough text bubbles to mention them all... This game is such a community based game, and I'm very thankful for the kind souls that I met. I really wanted to show my appreciation for as many as I could! I also put pictures around of all my friends that I play online with, because I think I like playing with my friends online much much more than I like actually creating!

Also, I found out making that last section that I think my favorite thing to do in that game is to make houses!

wow, sorry for the novel, but I'm glad that you liked the level. It was really alot of work, and it's nice to see that people are playing it!

02-20-2009, 10:32 PM
I gotta agree with everything Ninja said - absolutely fantastic. I played this last night and had a BLAST. Riding in the cart is one of my LBP highlights - done VERY well.

You and your husband have a real knack for making games fun. You manage to keep it flowing all the way through without hardly any downtime.

This didn't have QUITE as much of your trademark humor in it, but that's completely forgiveable considering the amount of detail in here - you were probably getting tired near the end.

The ONLY con I can think of is somewhere in the middle of the game if you moved all the way to the left you could clearly see the background (material didn't stretch quite far enough to the left). But that's a small quibble and easily fixable.

5 stars and a heart! Great game!

02-21-2009, 04:18 AM
Larry's got a real knack for mechanics. I don't know how he does it. I can't even dream to be able to make something as fun as he does. When I first started this level, I was all over the place... I said I wanted some kappas, a mine cart ride, a chase, an autumn scene, crystals, ghosts, and you HAD to swing on snakes! He thought I was out of my mind and said "those things don't go together!" Also, it doesn't help that I don't lay anything out. I just sort of go... and what happens, happens, and that drives him nuts. we somehow had a lot of happy accidents though, and the level actually works. ^_^

Is it bad that I'm admitting that nothing in that level was really planned out? lol.

Concerning that part of the background that you saw... Do you remember where that background was visible? I am actually having a bit of thermometer issues, so I might have to delete some points to actually make any changes to the level. I went a little nuts at the end and just kept pushing and pushing until it wouldn't let me add a thing more!

As far as the humor goes, I wanted to sort of prove I could do a serious level, too. I like comedy much much more, though, so I added little things like the talking shovel, the cat, and the talking button by the mine cart.

There's also a super secret area that I don't think anyone has found yet! I'm very excited to see pictures of it if anyone manages to find it.

Anyway, thanks for the kind comments, guys! ^_^

02-23-2009, 01:22 PM
This level is a crazy trip haha It starts in a autumn forest in a very relaxing mode, with a wood house and a ghost tells you what to do. Talking about story, i liked it a lot, very creative :p

The relaxing part is just the beginning, because after you enter the cave, you will pass through lots of crazy vehicles parts and some cool underwater passages. Really nice watefall, with some cool effects. The huge one after a slide is amazing!

The first vehicle part (with 4 wheels) leads you to a tunnel that makes you go to every direction! But the best one for me it's the mine cart. You just fly on that thing in a crazy course with lots of jumps and slopes! Really amazing hahaha

The Skulldozer part is cool too. Not too hard or easy, very well done. Didn't die here :p

Watching the video, i saw some secrets passages i missed =O Will play it again hahaha

Really amazing level, gave 5 stars and a heart!
If you want, take a look on my levels, it's not as good as yours, but i think can be fun hahaha :D

02-23-2009, 03:09 PM
hey, thanks a lot for the kind words. I'd be glad to take a look at your levels, probably some night this week, possibly even tonight!

There's a super secret room where I hid an easter egg for anyone who's played the Fall of Winter. Two people have found it already. I'm hoping more people find it! (i am so bad at keeping secrets, apparently. lol.)

And the skulldozer part... I actually played skulldozer and distress in the ocean over and over to get the whole "chase" mechanic down. I built the track with the pits, and my husband built most of the sponge stuff that you jump on. I wanted it so you could either jump on the tops of the sponge or run on the ground. I wanted it to be sort of easy so you could experience an exhilarating chase without dying too much and missing most of it.

again, glad you liked it!

02-23-2009, 08:53 PM
Fantastic level! What else is there to say? This is your best level yet you guys. It feels like a big, big adventure and it is. The game play flows perfectly from beginning to end. I loved everything about it. Congratulations.

Only thing I felt seemed out of place was the red buttons on the part where you jump back and forth on those platforms and the black wheels on the mobile contraption. But that's just nitpicking a really great level. Go play this level y'all! :D

Oh yeah 5/5 Heart for sure.

02-23-2009, 09:05 PM
Thanks, Jayden! And I hate those buttons too. Oh, I hate them so much! They don't match that area! Maybe I'll do something about them tonight if I get a chance, because I really don't like them!

Oh, and also, I played Starstruck 3 last night with my husband, and that is one of the most amazing levels I've ever seen! I just kept saying "WOW!"

02-26-2009, 03:14 PM
I had the chance to play this one last night and the only thing i have in mind is WOW!
I found the level impressive in an artistic point of view and in a gameplay point of view. I lkoved the details such as the leeves that fall at the start of the level. I also loved the way you introduce the level, with a story, the house, the key...actually all the introductive part.
I found the level very consistent. The cave is great with differents atmospheres highlighted by the light (perhaps is there too much different music however...it will be my only concern for the whole level tough). Your submarines sections are jaw-drapping and the waterfall very beautiful.
I also found the final pursuit very fun.

You will understand that i loved the level very much. It is fun and you do not bother one second here!
Clearly in my top ten favorites levels. 5 stars, a BIG heart and an "artistic" tag.
Keep the great work ;)

02-26-2009, 03:25 PM
Wow! That cart ride was so awesome, I'll play the level many times just to do it again.

I see many hours of work and tweaking/playtesting in this level. I did not encounter a single glitch. I don't really have nothing negative to say than...

Awesome work, one of my favourite levels, 5 stars, hearthed and recommended to everyone!

If you have some time, take a look at one of my levels. Thanks!

02-26-2009, 04:16 PM
I can't wait to play this level.... :D

02-26-2009, 04:46 PM
I want to thank you all for your support. It means a lot to me that you guys are playing this and enjoying it.

Last night, this level was on page 2 of cool levels and I was so happy. I was practically crying because all of my hard work on this level paid off. It got a whole bunch of plays and was exciting.

I woke up this morning and all the other levels that were there yesterday were pretty much permanently there. Mine was gone.

I also found out that republishing does not work anymore to get you back on cool levels, or back on recently added, or anywhere. My level no longer has the requirements to be on highest rated anymore.

I feel, right at this moment, that all our hard work was for nothing. This is a plea to the community. Please support all the user levels on this forum, because it appears that there may not be any other way for these gems to get out there anymore.

Thanks again for all your support, you guys. ^_^

02-26-2009, 07:26 PM
I agree with you xKappax. We only have easy acess to really popular levels or some random recent ones, and thoses are, in the most of the cases, h4h ones or levels made in 30 minutes.

I think Media Molecule need to change the inferface, making levels like this one, Chroma Stone, Left Behind series and many others that i played in this forum much easier to access. The cool levels needs more cycling too, everyone already played Dino Islands hahahaha :p

02-26-2009, 10:56 PM
Chroma stone is a wonderful level. I found it because the person republished it and it went into the "newest" area. A lot of ppl look at this as an exploit, but it's how I found all the great levels I found.

Thank you for your kind words, really. This whole new "cool levels" thing has hit me really hard. I have very low self esteem, and to know that my level isn't going to get played by anyone now really hurts. I'm tired and don't want to join 80,000 forums and post all over the globe. I just want to rest because this game is so darned stressful! :(

thank you everyone for supporting our levels. This forum, and community, is wonderful.

03-09-2009, 07:01 AM
You should ask a mod to add spotlighted to the title kappa.

03-09-2009, 09:38 AM
Hey kappa, well done on the spotlight :)

Well deserved!

03-09-2009, 11:30 AM
Hey, thanks a lot guys!

I wanted to share this with you guys for a while, but no one was posting in this thread to move it up, so i couldn't :P

Anyway, this is a video of a glitch that I came across with my husband while working on The Crystal Cave in Autumn. I hope you enjoy this strange and very un-useful glitch video:


03-09-2009, 11:56 AM
Great level, very strong consistent atmosphere, and the best cart ride I've seen as of yet. :)

03-09-2009, 04:41 PM
I feel like I can't say thank you enough... so ... THANK YOU! it really means a lot to me that people are playing this level and enjoying it! (i feel like a broken record, but I truly mean it!)

03-09-2009, 05:12 PM
What's a record?

03-10-2009, 01:55 AM
Congrats on getting spotlighted, xkappax!
You deserve it! :D

03-10-2009, 02:33 AM
Thanks! And I should say the same to you, likewise, tomasoares! It feels good to have levels that people like! ^_^

And ccubbage, these "records" i spoke of. I think they were around when I was a kid. Around the same time that columbus discovered america and dinosaurs roamed the earth. Or something like that :P

03-10-2009, 08:34 AM
Really Really great job here. My roommates and I just had a blast. I'm even more impressed that the cart ride works for single and multiplayer with all the jumps it pulls off.

5 stars and heart.

03-10-2009, 12:09 PM

And you can tip the cart, especially in with four people, as I found out when testing it... but you have to be trying to tip it. In centralia, we made the jumps boring so you couldn't tip the cart, but it didn't do any cool jumps. We had to sacrifice that for the sort of jumps that it does. Luckily though, you can just get a new cart if that does happen. There was really no way around that cause of how drastically your sackboy affects his surroundings. :(

03-10-2009, 05:07 PM
Finally got to play this level and I LOVED IT!

The only issue I had (other than it being cool and great) at the waterfall area, I didn't like the camera towards the left... When you jump all the way across, the camera hides the fact that you need to go back right.

Other than that, 5 stars and a heart!

03-11-2009, 04:12 AM
So, was looking for a level, and realised I hadn't played any of yours! Feedback:

+ The fish etc look funky!
+ level is very beautiful
+ great use of lighting
+ nice use of the small checkpoint (you capture it eh?) in the car
+ level seems really big due to camera angles, and appears to have a lot of hidden areas
+ lol at the ghost!
+ sun platform and mine cart were very well done. especially the cart.
+ the part where you drag the mine cart with crystals on it was well done!

- At the waterfall, when you jump all the way to the left, use a camera zone to show you are supposed to change direction! I lost a couple lives here with leaps of faith!
- On the car, make the camera zone bigger, so you can see more of the level, this links with...
- The car looked ugly! sorry, but the rubber wheels contrasted with the beautiful look of the level. Either embed rock in them, so you can only see a thin layer of rubber, or sticker them?
- with the digging section, change the rocks so they are rock shaped! Look kinda funny.
- also, just a suggestion, I know you got the digging of Ranger Zeros level, and I plan to use that gameplay my self, but how about this: Make the dirt look dirt shaped. Have some bigger rock-coloured pieces that you cannot dig around. More realistic. May want to have these embedded into surrounding walls/glued to background though, or you may block the way.
- the change of music after the ghosts was a bit sudden. Change the music? (subjective)
- wasn't very clear to run from the ghost/fire thing. Thought I was supposed to stay and fight. Camera angle maybe?
- were was the epic boss battle?! Nah! just kidding, assuming it was thermo maxed? :p

Although that may have sounded extremely negative, I thoroughly enjoyed the level, 5 stars, hearted, and playing your other levels. :)

03-11-2009, 11:30 AM
I realize that there are problems with the level, and unfortunately it's REALLY hard to fix things with a maxed out thermometer. ... For some reason whenever I go back to do work on the level, it freezes my playstation after about a minute of work. I have no idea why THAT is happening, but it's not good.

My husband and I both realize that the vehicle is ugly. It's all about the functionality of the vehicle rather than the looks of it. Truth told, I was going to go back and fix the vehicle at the very end... and then it got to the point where I couldn't add another sticker and ... well, that's the story of that. :( And the wheels are rubber because nothing else would climb the slope that my husband built. Everything else would hit the first wall and immediately break and render the vehicle useless.

The digging bits came from a weird japanese mini game that I saw. I was originally using the cow glitch for that part, but then they patched it out and I was afraid to continue using that glitch because I thought it would make my level not work. Everything I used there ended up being way too annoying. I went with those circles and unfortunately with the way things are, it's way too hard to change them.

i hate that part with the waterfall too, btw. (the camera) ... perhaps I'll add a camera zone there or something after work today.

speaking of which! I'm late for work! AAAAAAAH!

thanks for the kind words, and I know you meant nothing ill of what you wrote... constructive criticism is different than the people on gamefaqs who say things like "well, centralia was terrible" or "you have no reason to live, your levels are awful" ^_^

03-11-2009, 07:54 PM
I understand you would have max thermo lol. The level was beautiful. Sequel?

03-11-2009, 08:05 PM
Actually, if you can believe it, Centralia - A Ghost Story is the sequel to that level. I wanted the backstory in the purple section to tie the two levels together.

and yeah, my thermometer is abso-positively bursting. I added a picture frame in the house at the end so I could put a picture of me and one of my friends, and my game froze and the level erased itself. Good thing I had a backup! :O

I'm at the point where I'm scared to death to touch that level cause of the weird things that have been happening with the thermometer as high as it is. I imagine I can probably add one more sticker, but the minute you pause the level, it crashes the whole playstation!

Weird stuff, I know!

03-17-2009, 11:45 AM
I know the feeling with being scared to touch a level. All mine are at bursting. I've made a note now to try and leave at least one small bar of thermo for little fixes because you can bet your life that once its released you'll have missed something


03-17-2009, 01:26 PM
I saw a review from beethy http://lbpreviews.blogspot.com/2009/03/crystal-caves-in-autumn-by-xkappax.html and that is the reason I looked at your level. I think it is extremely well made, I loved to play it and everything I had to complain would be nitpicking and was already mentioned. It is most definately one of the very best out there. Your waterfall inspired me and I will try to remake it in my upcoming level. Keep up the great work and promise to not divorce ... not because of LBP anyways.

03-17-2009, 04:02 PM
Hey, cool. You saw beethy's review of it! I was actually very flattered that he chose our level to review! (although, he does have a pretty dirty mouth, doesn't he? I def. cant show the review to my father, lol)

The waterfall: I get a lot of compliments on it, but I absolutely cannot take credit for it. It was made by VMethos, a friend of mine who lives about 45 mins away from me. You can see a better version of it in his level. The one he gave me was his first version of it. (his level is called "The Seal of Silvraen, Shadows of an Ancient Era) My original waterfall looked like a piece of junk compared to his. :P

I have a very early version of the crystal cave under larry's account. It is unfinished, but I have toyed with the idea of including a key to it in the level so people could see where we started with it, and where it ended up. If anyone is interested in this, I'd definitely be willing to do it, so please let me know.

03-18-2009, 08:07 AM
Yeah, beethy is most definately not something to show to anyone but that's what make his reviews special. :)

I saw your credits and wanted to write VMethos a message about that. I will take a look at his level, because I am still amazed by the idea and I need water in my next level, too.

I am am always interested in how things are made. We all want to learn so show us how you started :). If I'd wasn't so paranoid I would make my level copyable but ... not until i got my "Create" trophy, I am selfish here.

03-19-2009, 03:50 AM
You shouldn't make your level copyable, because some horrible people have been stealing levels. It's really a shame, to tell you the truth. :(

Anyway, for anyone interested, I added a key at the end of the crystal cave in autumn. This unlocks the first build of the level, which we started shortly after centralia. It's really messy, and really reeks of us not knowing what we were doing, but ... well, it's there if you're interested.

I did a sort of commentary on the level that explains certain things, like thermometer issues and stuff.

03-19-2009, 06:57 AM
I will have a look when I find the time. Maybe on a second run I can find your super-secret area in the level. I am a fan of secrets, too. I love to hide them everywhere.

Mh, yeah the stealing issue is something I do not like, too. This is the reason I publish some techdemos every now and then. I am working at one at the moment, which happens to be the start of my new level, too.

03-20-2009, 02:35 PM
I have today off of work. I am working on the comic most of the day, but I think after that I'm going to try to make some of the fixes to the stuff that bothers me in the level. If my game doesn't "diverge" which is what happened this morning :(

03-20-2009, 07:43 PM
Sorry it took me so long to get to you about this, but this is an awesome level. I think it's the first level I have played on LBP that provoked an emotional response. I'm not sure why it did, but it did and that is saying something. Great job!

03-20-2009, 08:28 PM
What was the emotion? Ingenious, brilliant, frustrating, difficult, or ramp?

03-20-2009, 10:31 PM
lol, thanks dimo. and if i had to guess, the emotion would definitely be "ramp"

Whalio Cappuccino
03-20-2009, 11:12 PM
Your level got me in a sudden urge to create, now I need to get my LBP back from my friend.

03-21-2009, 05:00 PM
You gave your LBP away? Deliberately? Shame on you!

03-22-2009, 12:27 PM
Hah hah hah. I actually wish someone would take my lbp away from me because then I could stop having a horrible video game addiction.

Matt 82
05-03-2009, 09:08 PM
Tis great fun. It`s so trippy! I love the look, I love the mine carts.

And I love your commentary track on the older design!

05-03-2009, 10:14 PM
I have to say, I played this level awhile ago and I must say I really love it. I mean I love it. The graphic design is supreme (I wonder why?) and the story blows you away. I especially like the "looparound" aspect of the level, you know, having the end being practically right where you started. From me? 5 Stars and a nice Shiny Heart. And some chocolate from beyond the rift.


"Want some?"