View Full Version : Surreality 2: A Sojourn and the Case of the Missing Sunglasses

03-19-2009, 07:50 PM
Hi all,

I hate doing this... really hate doing this... but I've just published my newest level, "Surreality 2: A Sojourn and the Case of the Missing Sunglasses."

From the level's description: "If the adventure almost began in part 1, then it starts properly here. Battle vicious fire ants, take a dangerous ride, slip past some scary specters, and challenge the nappiest of bosses. Multipath, secret areas, two endings, and someone nicked your shades."

My PSN is HardSync. The level can be found off the coast of England, kinda near Greenland I suppose.

Thanks go out to xkappax and GrantosUK for their help, testing, inspiration (the level is part tribute to their fantastic levels) and all their kind words.

And thanks to everyone reading this. Hope you enjoy the level.

Here's a vid (also posted below) that xkappax did of the beginning of the level (thanks, Kappa!)



03-19-2009, 11:48 PM
Unfortunately, with the state of cool levels, this is the sort of thing you have to do to get your level out there, so please don't feel bad for self promotion.


This is a very nice looking level. Sure, I'm probably biased, because I did some beta testing for it, but still. A very good looking and funny level. There are two endings to this level, too, so that's worth a second playthrough for that alone!

03-20-2009, 05:48 PM
Everyone should have a go at this, if just to see the "boss". Its a great level that will definetly make you all smile.

I'll have another go at the improved one later HardSync once I get the TV back see if I can get the high score again :p

03-20-2009, 05:49 PM
Thanks, kappa. :) You know, I'd be happy if it appeared on newest levels longer than say, 5 seconds...

Apart from that, I don't know how Mm calculates how levels get put on the highest rated, but there were tons of levels on there that have seemingly a lesser rating (percentage plays/hearts/stars) than my first Surreality level does. And does my first Surreality show up on highest rated? No. Does it show up anywhere? No. Mm hates me. :(

03-20-2009, 08:08 PM
well that was an interesting level.. beautiful level design and really user friendly. one gripe tho... IMO it was too dark and the hint of sephia fog made it darker...

oh and i liked how you gave the players the option on choosing their own music, thats the frist ive seen.

overall 4 stars and beautiful plus a heart.


oh and i killed the cat lol

03-20-2009, 08:12 PM
Mm hates me too, so don't worry. They stopped doing mm picks the moment the hearted The Fall of Winter. lol. That's my luck, eh! ^_^ (in all honesty, i'm not complaining, i'm absolutely overjoyed that they hearted it in the first place!)

It actually doesn't make sense to me why you don't show up on highest rated, truth told. You have a pretty high heart to play ratio and star rating on your first level. I saw a level on page five of highest rated today that had 200 plays and 20 hearts. it didn't make sense to me!

I tend to agree with graygoose about the lighting. I have a westinghouse and a sony bravia. It's rather dark on the bravia but playable. It looks perfect on the westinghouse. Although, on the other side of the coin, you could put a gamma warning at the beginning of the level if you don't wish to tweak it. It was the same thing that happened with Centralia. Up to you, though, ultimately.

Here's a short video I took of your level, hardsync:


and to graygoose:

graygoose, how dare you! what will the kittens do now!?

03-20-2009, 09:34 PM
Man, that is the best video ever. "Play it... because, why not, right?" I love it. We, that being my wife and me, laughed all the way through it (in a good way).

Ah, and 13 is a reference to Grantos's character in his levels.

As for the darkness, we've got a Sony Bravia as well. We tend to switch between Cinema mode and Standard mode depending on what we're playing. But you can either change the brightness on your TV or in LBP (I think)... if you need to. It looks just fine on our TV in Cinema mode, which is darker than standard... just saying is all. :)

But hey, kappa, thanks for doing a video! Really, really, really appreciated -- and we loved the commentary all the way through! Thanks so much!

03-20-2009, 11:33 PM
I said "play it, because 'why not' " as a reference to something in the movie Spinal Tap. The one guy says he wants his tombstone to read "here lies david st. hubbins, and why not?" lol.

I had fun doing the video. I'm actually surprised I didn't die like 17 times on those ants. That seems to be the trend with me.

03-21-2009, 12:36 AM
haha. I love Spinal Tap. I've been trying to work out how to incorporate some Spinal in my levels. Exploding drummers? Maybe. "This one goes to 11"? Or how about the "black level". Yeah! (Note to graygoose: thanks for the heart ... sorry the level is too dark for you. If I increase the lighting, the level material doesn't glow any more... I don't know what to do. I suppose I could I dump the fog... but then the colours would be off... I'll have a play around with it tomorrow.)

As for the ants, kappa, you can actually "ride/kill" them all for for a 2x bonus. The trick is to start off in the middle or back plane... jump... and then ride/kill... It took a little trial and error to get them all placed like that. The last one is just slightly off from the others, but still gettable...

03-21-2009, 12:42 AM
LOOKS GOOD nice job

03-21-2009, 06:32 AM
I am so going to "play it, because 'why not' "....tonight!
Great vid xkappax - I love the commentary :)

EDIT: Let me start this off by saying that it must be really interesting to know you in "real" life HardSync and I say that in the most respectful and non-sarcastic way possible. I love your level. I think it's because not only did I find it fun and challenging, it has an amazingly refined sense of humor that is darkly charming. I think you really have an interesting outlook on players and the world in general coming through in this level (As well as the first in the Surreality level - and yes I know what ubiquitous means.) The talking heads were a nice touch & I think you're a Monty Python fan and that's about all I want to mention in specific because xkappax is right - players really just need to play this level. Bottom line. If you're reading this now and you're not HardSync - seriously - step away from the PC and go play this level.

Have they gone?

ok, good

HardSync - seriously a wonderful level. Thank you for sharing it and your unique take on the world.

03-21-2009, 06:53 AM
As for the ants, kappa, you can actually "ride/kill" them all for for a 2x bonus. The trick is to start off in the middle or back plane... jump... and then ride/kill... It took a little trial and error to get them all placed like that. The last one is just slightly off from the others, but still gettable...

I Had Thoughts off doing that to make a combo... but then it was already too late when i killed the first 2 already...lol ill have to play through it again :)

and Kappa

HEY! when i watched your video for Hardsync's level, i just remembered your the one who discovered the grab glitch (making any type of material grabable/floatable) or whatever right?

im bluegoose in youtube who thought your voice was of a boy... eeeeeeekkk!! do you remember me? lol sorry... :(

03-21-2009, 09:37 AM
Just played both Surreality levels.

First level:

+ Humor: even though I was totally alone in the room, I laughed very loudly at the "rocket car joke"
+ Hated the swinging star-bit but because you mocked it yourself, I didn't mind :)

*You used a lot of Mm content but this is one of the few times it didn't bother me at all.
* The level had many little annoying bugs, but again...I really didn't mind

Second level:

+ Very, very funny.

+ That "epic boss fight" was one of the funniest things I've seen in LBP.
The fact that you could actually kill the cat made the joke better, ten you topped it with the kittens and that made the joke into a masterpiece of LOL-proportions. :)
- Very Dark, It took me a while to find the switch in the part with the talking heads.
I know I could adjust my lcd to another setting but the remote was on the other side of the couch...so, you know :)

Conclusion: Are you still here? Go play those **** levels!!

03-21-2009, 10:18 AM
I also have trouble with the lighting on my TV. Its very dark in places.

03-21-2009, 12:12 PM
Lol, graygoose, it's okay. For some reason a lot of people thought I was a 13 year old boy when I did that video. hah hah. I guess because a lot of people don't expect girls to post on gamefaqs or something, but I don't know. i did not take offense to it in the slightest.

And I'm not the one who discovered that glitch, I think it was around for a really long time. I found this random user level online that had a bunch of metal that was floating. I looked at my husband and said: "Imagine if we did a whole level like this out of dark matter!" ... lol.... so I went and made the video. That glitch was called the cow glitch. Does anyone know WHY it's called that, btw?

Anyway, this is about hardsync's level, so... yeah. I really like those ants. Usually, when I see someone using an object they won in someone's level, it's that shark from Distress in the Ocean, and the shark is floating in mid air on the blank level template, glued to dark matter and/or rockets (remember that level, hardsync?) I like that you use objects you win, but actually make them work in the level (you did this in your "revenge" level, which I recommend everyone tries if they want a good laugh)

and I agree with morgana, I wish I knew hardsync in "real life" too, cause he's fun to play online with! :P

oh and someone should do a spinal tap level. you could have rotating things that go to "11" ... and you could have to navigate through their various albums, like shark sandwich, and intravenous de milo. ^_^

03-21-2009, 05:21 PM
First off, thanks to everyone for their kind words about the level. Morgana and kappa, I wish I knew me in real life too. :)

Right, I know the level is too dark for some TVs, so this morning I've taken a page from kappa's book and published a locked version of the level that's not nearly so dark. The key for this is the dark level, as you approach the talking heads. Unfortunately, it doesn't look quite as good (to me) and you can now see all of my dark matter nails, bolts, and strategically placed bits of dissolve material, etc. But I hope it solves the issues with it being too dark. That said, you can adjust the gamma in LBP from the Start menu, choose Display settings, and crank it up. This avoids dilemmas such as needing to retrieve remote controls and what have you. But you'll need to remember to change it back. I will NOT be updating the brighter version.

I do like my levels dark, though.

Hey, Morgana, I played your Tron level this morning. It looks great. I did manage to fall all the way to the very bottom of the level in one place, but apart from that little snag, it's a great level and really nicely done. I'll have to check out your other levels soon -- but I chose the Tron one because it was one of my favourite video games growing up. The movie was all right, too, but it was the game that hooked me -- one summer I must've spent about $100 in quarters playing Tron in our local pizza shop. :)

Zwollie -- yeah, I use whatever content I feel does the job. (By the way, what bugs are in the first one?) There's probably a bit of snobbery and elitism out there with people saying you should make ALL your own stuff from scratch. I disagree. That's not the point of LBP, to me anyway. Besides, I really struggle with making cool stuff like those ants. I've tried. And failed again and again. I'm glad there are people who can do it, and who share these with us. That said, I created my own custom AND switches and all the other custom switches that control events and things in the level.

ALL but one of my levels use items that I got from someone else's level as part tribute and part "these are really cool things to have in my level". I use a lot of Kappa's stuff because I like the way she makes things look -- especially her shade specters. Those appear in two of my levels. I also used some other bits from her levels as well. You give them away, and if I like 'em, I'll use them and give you credit for it in my levels.

The first Surreality does use some of Mm's stuff, but if you look closely they aren't exactly the same. The bridge is the same, except I spent 10 minutes un-stickering the thing. It's a silhouette level, so almost nothing in the level has stickers on it because you couldn't see them anyway. The small houses are actually modified so that they slant a bit. I think I made the cows from scratch. But anyway, I used someone's stuff for the little enemies dotted about -- can't remember whose. But I liked 'em because you don't even have to jump to kill them -- just walk over them -- so I put 'em in.

When I do use other people's stuff, I tend to modify it a little. The cart in the newest level is actually someone else's. I removed the stickers, changed the material to glass, and added a cushion. Same deal with the ants -- as kappa put it, their butts are on fire. :) But the original cart and original ant appears at the end of the level. Yeah, I could've made my own, but someone already did it better than I could.

OK enough about stuff. I'm really glad you guys like the level. Thanks for sharing your comments and for playing it!!!

03-21-2009, 05:49 PM

Just played both Surreality levels (not the lightened one, because I really like your dark silhouettes as they are). And I too wish I knew you in real life, cuz I like witty people. And that gets me to the first point about your levels... very funny. I have played a number of levels that were recommended as really funny and they all had their moments, but you kept me laughing (alone in my living room).

And as for your boss in Surreality 2, my house mates:
were not amused. (boy, if looks could kill)

I really enjoyed playing both levels. The visuals were very cool (as I said, I like the silhouettes), and the flow of play was quite enjoyable. I also love secrets and hidden areas (found the sunglasses - very nice).

I also found no major flaws or bugs (and I was looking for them). So nice job.

All-in-all a very nice level (both of them), and a job well done. I look forward to seeing and playing more of your work. I do participate in F4F, so feel free to take a look at Midnight Gold Run (link in my sig), although I am currently working on a revamped version of it, so I guess I'd prefer you wait for that. But I'd actually prefer any feedback on my newest level, which is in the final stages of beta testing now. So keep an eye out for it in the level showcase. :)

03-21-2009, 05:59 PM
i see so its cow glitch? sounds cool, but it dosent make any sense lol!

03-21-2009, 06:18 PM
v0rtex2002, I LOVE YOUR HOUSEMATES! My housemate was also not amused. He can be seen sleeping in my avatar. :P

And I love levels with humor. I try to inject as much humor into my levels as possible. Hardsync definitely does too! :P

03-21-2009, 06:27 PM
Pleased this level is getting is getting the plays and comments it deserves. Probably the best "boss" in LBP, and definetiy the funniest.

03-21-2009, 06:34 PM
Probably the best "boss" in LBP, and definetiy the funniest.


*pets attention demanding kitty*

03-21-2009, 06:34 PM
v0rtex2002, I LOVE YOUR HOUSEMATES! My housemate was also not amused. He can be seen sleeping in my avatar. :P

He's adorable! :)

03-21-2009, 06:43 PM
Thanks, Vortex. :)

We've got three cats, or maybe they've got us. I dunno. I'll post pics up of them in my gallery. :)

editing to include pics here:



03-21-2009, 07:43 PM
That black cat looks exactly like my elderly 18 year old cat, Otis. Only with more fur and with less grossness. My friends call him "Zombie Cat" and "Old Man" ...

I originally wanted to do an entire level about cats, but I doubt I will ever do it. Unless they give me my "image import tool" :P

03-21-2009, 09:12 PM
I have to admit these were two realy funny levels. Really liked them. After "Ramp" it was a real satisfaction how you picked up all the 08/15 level passages :D

I don't think that i can add something that my predecessors haven't said already. Good job!

Cats FTW! :p

03-21-2009, 09:38 PM
After "Ramp" it was a real satisfaction how you picked up all the 08/15 level passages :D

Vanemiera, I'm not sure what you mean by 08/15 level passages...? Can you tell me what that means?

But thanks for your comments nevertheless! :)

03-22-2009, 01:09 AM
I played your Tron level this morning. It looks great. I did manage to fall all the way to the very bottom of the level in one place, but apart from that little snag, it's a great level and really nicely done.

Thanks - may I ask where you fell through - I'd like to fix it.

03-22-2009, 01:41 AM
Thanks, Vortex. :)

We've got three cats, or maybe they've got us. I dunno.
LOL - I'm right there with ya.

I live alone (well... kids every other w/e) and when I'm home the big guy (Cubby - the b&w, Holstien cow colored one) cannot bear to be in any room that I am not. :)

03-22-2009, 08:28 AM
Thanks - may I ask where you fell through - I'd like to fix it.

It's at the part where you need to jump on the right shoulder of the recognizer (I think that is what they're called - sorry it's 7:30am and I just awoke). If you jump off early, before it reaches its apex, you can land a little way below the platform and carry on right until you fall off.

03-22-2009, 08:32 AM
cool - I'm on it. Thanks for the heads up.

03-22-2009, 11:36 AM
Just played the Surreality level 1. Will play level 2 also. It was okay, but for me, it kinda lacked in gameplay ideas.. I felt mostly understimulated the whole way through, although the humor kept me playing.

A quick note: On the boat, I missed the contact to make the boat move, and jumped into the water. I think you should make the switch more easy to recognize, and make the water kill sackboy.

Check out my level, "Save Die Reload!", user "CarlsenJeppe".. thead: http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9714

03-22-2009, 12:23 PM
Finished part 2.. The boss was really funny.. but other than that, it overall felt a bit too simple and boring to me. I would have prefered some more gameplay to go along with the humor, but that may just be me.

Keep it up.

03-22-2009, 02:50 PM
Thanks for your comments, Carlsen. I have to ask: Keep what up? Boring people? ;) Anyway, glad the humour kept you going, which is precisely the idea...

By the way, my "Super Ultra Challenge Race MGS Yeah! (or something) Ver 0.991x" level is all about gameplay -- people find it too hard.

03-22-2009, 03:13 PM
Hehe, Keep up the good work. Your levels are nicely done, and I am sure a lot of people does get much enjoyment out of them. And if you keep working on it, you will propably also find good gameplay ideas to go along with your humour.

03-22-2009, 09:39 PM
Thanks. Bah, gameplay is for gamers! This is LBP! We don't need no stinking gameplay.

Seriously, the Surreality series is all about gentle platforming that requires minimal effort, with some sparse difficulty thrown in for a laugh... I don't have the talent that some people have, like Grantos and Kappa and Morgana do... they've got some fantastic levels. I'm just riding on their fame, you see, as part of my master plan to take over the world! Bwahahaha!

03-23-2009, 03:16 PM
haha. I love Spinal Tap. I've been trying to work out how to incorporate some Spinal in my levels. Exploding drummers? Maybe. "This one goes to 11"? Or how about the "black level".

Three words: "Smell the glove"

03-23-2009, 03:25 PM
But what's wrong with being sexy?

Want to build a level with great content: "Big bottoms".

03-23-2009, 04:27 PM
My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo. I'd like to sink her with my pink torpedo.

:D Might draw the ire of the mods. just sayin'

03-23-2009, 04:34 PM
But ... big bottom drives me out of my mind. How could I leave this ... behind? ....

:P Seriously though, back on topic! this is a funny, good level. Play it!

03-23-2009, 04:58 PM
Wow, some really nice comments about this level. I'll try and check it out this eve.

On a side note, man Kappa does some funny videos!

"I love ants, except when I kill them" :)

03-23-2009, 05:40 PM
I get really nervous when I'm doing videos, and so I just start rattling off whatever I can think of. It occurred to me that I was saying that I love ants while I was killing them. I do love ants though. I think they're really cute. :P

As far as this level goes though, if you want over-the-top, "maxed out" quality mechanics, look elsewhere. But the humor in this level is here, and that's what really matters, because that's what Hardsync aims for above all. (Check out his 'revenge' level, and that will become apparent) Also, it's a rather nice looking level.

03-23-2009, 07:54 PM
Kappa is very kind. Thanks for those nice words, and thanks to everyone who has posted their comments. :)

Re mechanics: all of my mechanics are behind the scenes stuff; I try not to make them overt and in your face but there's a lot of stuff happening in this level. Nothing terribly complex... nothing that hasn't already been done before and a lot better by others. I've learned a lot from playing other levels out there -- some of the stuff people do is incredible! I don't even know how they think up the stuff they do... it's really fantastic that they did, though, because it's both fun and inspiring for me to work out their mechanics and then try to incorporate some aspect of them into my levels.

Also, after playing so many community levels, you get a feel for what tends to be annoying to other players, so I tried to limit annoyance as much as possible. You should have seen the old mine cart ride, back before it didn't respawn. I had like 6 magic mouths explaining that you had to hold on to cushion, and that the cart was a one-shot deal. I was annoyed by all that text... so I spent about 4 to 5 hours reworking the cart ride so that I could skip all that unnecessary text. Besides the cart is wont to tip from time to time, and I didn't want it to be level-breaking. Nevertheless, I'm sure there are aspects of my level that do annoy some people -- and of course the things that "look like bananas", as Catiers puts it, are deliberately pesky. :P

03-24-2009, 10:44 AM
Well I played this level last night and I have to agree with the ladies. Some very nice touches of humour in this level. I loved the two heads arguing and Boss is classic. Your take on the "short trip" was very funny. :)

I wouldn't be overly concerned about the complexity of the level as this (I think) isn't point. This is a fun light hearted level and shouldn't really be overly demanding.

The only suggestions for improvement I can give is that I think some areas could do with just a little more subtle lighting for atmoshpere.

Even without this it got 5 stars and a heart from me. :) Good job.

03-25-2009, 07:25 AM
Thanks, Wex. :) Really glad you enjoyed it! Mind if I ask which areas could use more lighting?

03-25-2009, 01:49 PM
I think that the area where you get on the mine cart could use some more lighting, but that's just me. like I said, it looks fine on one tv, too dark on another. So it's really up to you, Hardsync. And I know I'm not wex, but I play him on TV. :P

03-25-2009, 03:20 PM
Yeah, I think that was the area I was talking about. As my doppleganger said, its not that big a thing, more just a personal taste. I always try and give some critism of a level as I know it helps me a lot when people point out things in my level threads. Definitely a good sign when my only critisism is the lighting :)

I noticed when I played you had about 170 plays on it. You must be getting close to being on the cool pages now. Once this hits the pages I'd imagine it will do well.

I'll give it another crack tonight and see if I can come up with some better comments for you.

All the best,
xkappax... I mean.... wex.... I mean.....****, I've been sussed, quick edit....edit...

03-25-2009, 04:47 PM
These boards make me smile. :P Last I checked, this level was on page 5 of cool levels. I think it was 5. or 6!

03-25-2009, 07:06 PM
Thanks, guys. I'm sure I can squeeze in an additional LED somewhere over there -- I'll get on it and see what I can do. I've actually got a little less than a quarter of thermo left. I could probably squeeze in a lot more.

I did manage to sneak on Cool Levels somehow, initially on page 6. If it's on 5 now, that's cool! :) I did notice that I had loads more plays recently, but also my heart-to-play ratio has suffered a bit. Generally, I feel that 10% is a good figure to aim for, but I'm probably coming in at about 7% since appearing on Cool Levels, and to be fair there are some really great levels on there right now, as well as some that are less great. Even so, what I'd really like is people to play the level and enjoy it. Better if they tell me they did like it, but not necessary. It's also nice to know that people found it funny. Humor is so terribly difficult to do -- it is arguably the hardest form of writing. I don't know why I keep going for the funny... it's much easier to write something dark, cynical and evil. :)

03-26-2009, 03:39 PM
953 plays and 55 hearts at last check HardSync and page 4 of cool levels. You seem to have players on there almost constantly, when I checked the level, 6 were on there :)

03-26-2009, 05:41 PM
I still believe that 7 days isn't enough, considering his is up tomorrow, I think. Then that lady is going to come out of the well and kill you.

03-26-2009, 05:42 PM
Lol, I don't like that lady, she scares me :)

03-26-2009, 05:44 PM
She got me already. I didn't get seven days though. I got one. And then I died. It was awful. She came out of the television.

03-26-2009, 05:47 PM
Mine generally comes in from work right about now :)

03-26-2009, 10:15 PM
Bah, I've been removed from Cool Levels. It was nice though, I had four days and my second Surreality level has only about 200 plays less than my first one. Can't complain much. Came home tonight to find my level on page 4. Republished. Got onto page 1 for about 2 minutes, slipped back to pg 4, and then a half-hour later (which was pretty much exactly 7 days from first publishing the level) it wasn't on Cool levels at all.

By the way, does anyone know what "kbh" means? Someone posted that on my first level, and I'm stumped... I didn't think I was that old, but if I can't keep up with the day's acronyms, well, I must be old. :)

03-26-2009, 10:32 PM
No idea, my nieces send me txts on my phone in this new language they seem to have invented. I have no clue what they are on about at all, then they say I never text back, if i could understand gibberish then I probably would. What happened to the good old english language eh?

People really need to buy keyboards and plug them into the PS3

03-26-2009, 11:18 PM
duh, it stands for killer baby hamsters. Your level has those, right?

03-27-2009, 04:21 AM
Urban Dictionary lists it as: Killer Bong Hit

03-27-2009, 07:52 PM
duh, it stands for killer baby hamsters. Your level has those, right?

No... but it should! :)

Urban Dictionary lists it as: Killer Bong Hit

Oh. Well, I guess that's all right then... thanks!

03-27-2009, 11:27 PM
well, your level definitely has one of those. I remember it fondly.