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Thread: The Rose Garden

  1. #1

    Default The Rose Garden

    http://lbp.me/v/ybw9q-


    After a month of hard work my first LBP2 level is finally done. I have been away from the world of LBP for a long time and did not have the BETA so it was like learning to ride a bike all over again lol, Luckily I had the help and support of a few friends and eventually hit my stride. The following level is the result.

    I wanted to make something story-based that had a lot of atmosphere and dealt with themes of loss, depression and sorrow. The entire level started with the title song "Rose Garden" by Lynn Anderson which is one of my wife's favorite songs and really inspired the whole creation. I do not want to discuss the story for fear of spoiling but rest assured, it is unique within LBP (I think lol). Along with the narrative I wanted to try some new things that I have not seen done in other levels and to that end I played around with camera angles, the grappling hook, story-telling/sound devices and a pretty cool controlinator sequence. The level features voice acting which I hope people will enjoy. One more very important thing, the level is STRICTLY SINGLE PLAYER!

    I would love to get some valuable feedback and suggestions on how to improve further are always welcome. I would kindly ask anyone wanting to discuss the story to use spoiler tags. Special thanks to Jaeyden, NinjaMicWZ and XX_Mr_Orange_xX for their help and support (please note I did not ask any of these fellow creators to play test pre-release. Any faults with the level fall squarely on my shoulders). I was told to "come back strong", I hope I did just that



    DSCN6592 by OCK1, on Flickr


    DSCN6591 by OCK1, on Flickr


    DSCN6590 by OCK1, on Flickr


    DSCN6589 by OCK1, on Flickr


    DSCN6588 by OCK1, on Flickr


    DSCN6587 by OCK1, on Flickr


    DSCN6586 by OCK1, on Flickr


    DSCN6585 by OCK1, on Flickr
    Last edited by OCK; 03-06-2011 at 07:23 PM.


  2. #2
    Nope! It's Chuck Testa Gilgamesh's Avatar
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    First off, I have to say that I loved the visuals throughout the level. The atmosphere felt appropriately dark and oppressive and there was a good mix of gameplay elements.

    I have a couple of suggestions for the level though:

    On the part just after the upside-down falling roses, I ended up walking behind the fence and couldn't move any further so I had to backtrack and switch layers to be in front of the fence. I think there should be a barrier of some kind to keep from ending up behind the fence there.

    I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to get past the fire-breathing demon at the start. It wasn't obvious where I could stand safely between the fire and gas/hand attacks. It took me a little while also to find out I needed to grapple its head and hold on (instead of letting go) in order not to get killed when attacking it.

    For the rose garden adventuring part, I would replace the Rotator with a Joystick Rotator for aiming (R-stick), this way it would be easier to aim at enemies. The first text mentioning the phantom's weak point also seemed to pass by a bit too quickly compared to the rest.

    The grabbing mechanism didn't always work for me. Sometimes the thing wouldn't get grabbed, or my character would start spinning around. I'm not sure how the mechanics are set up, but I think it shouldn't be too hard to make it work more accurately and not hamper movement as much.

    I would also tweak the In/Out movers so that the player doesn't need to press a button to stop "floating" and so that you can't push the phantoms higher by jumping near them. It also seems that if I press Circle while jumping, that breaks the jumping mechanics.

    Hope that helps.

    I enjoyed the level and story, and I'm looking forward to the next level.
    Midnight Revenge

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  3. Thanks!

    OCK

  4. #3

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    Hey i have queued your level and will play it and give feedback later.
    Can you try mine and id appreciate feedback

  5. #4

    Default

    Thanks a lot for the very useful feedback Gilgamesh!

    On the part just after the upside-down falling roses, I ended up walking behind the fence and couldn't move any further so I had to backtrack and switch layers to be in front of the fence. I think there should be a barrier of some kind to keep from ending up behind the fence there.
    There are hidden point bubbles behind the fence so it is intentional that the player be able to access that area

    I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to get past the fire-breathing demon at the start. It wasn't obvious where I could stand safely between the fire and gas/hand attacks. It took me a little while also to find out I needed to grapple its head and hold on (instead of letting go) in order not to get killed when attacking it.
    I have modified the speech bubble so it is an obvious instruction rather then just an artistic one. You are actually NOT supposed to hold on but keep tapping R1 and letting go when he start to move back up again. I tried doing something different but it seems you are not the only person to have trouble here, I might change it and make it a 1 hit kill...

    For the rose garden adventuring part, I would replace the Rotator with a Joystick Rotator for aiming (R-stick), this way it would be easier to aim at enemies. The first text mentioning the phantom's weak point also seemed to pass by a bit too quickly compared to the rest.
    I will play around with it, thanks!

    The grabbing mechanism didn't always work for me. Sometimes the thing wouldn't get grabbed, or my character would start spinning around. I'm not sure how the mechanics are set up, but I think it shouldn't be too hard to make it work more accurately and not hamper movement as much.
    The tag proximity is set to grab the same way it would if you were playing "normally" so you must be right next to the rose to grab it. The best way to pull the rose is face it and move backwards. I am aware of the spinning and I don't know if I can do anything about it. The roses have followers, not sure if there is a more efficient way to do this...

    I would also tweak the In/Out movers so that the player doesn't need to press a button to stop "floating" and so that you can't push the phantoms higher by jumping near them. It also seems that if I press Circle while jumping, that breaks the jumping mechanics.
    I have to tell you that I tried multiple solutions with this and nothing worked. I have tag sensors on the ghosts attached to out movement, same layer, if they are pushed into the air. For some reason it is not working. Same goes for the controlinator. I had a floating tag and sensor on the controlinator and it completely hampered my jumping. I am open to suggestions

    Thanks again, I appreciate it.

    @Hitman - I will check out your level within the next 24 hours, I look forward to your feedback.
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    Published Levels: Pulse - 218 - The Legion - Out of Africa

    New Release: The Rose Garden

  6. #5
    I make Ambient levels. JonnysToyRobot's Avatar
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    This looks right up my street (: Can't wait to play it.

    Can you have a go at the one in my sig after I come back with feedback?
    I'm the best slow dancer in the universe.


  7. Thanks!

    OCK

  8. #6

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    Ok, just finished playing it. Gotta say, this one was a real treat for me. It was creepy, deep, gorgeous, and 100% OCK-style through and through - which I've missed for a very long time. There was always a cutting-edge nature about your creations that made me feel like I was experiencing something new.

    So, the good stuff:

    Audio-wise this is absolutely the BEST audio I've heard in LittleBigPlanet 2. The insane use of the song "Rose Garden" at the beginning with the haunting reverb totally hooked me. And this quality followed throughout the entire level.
    The theme was REALLY engrossing. From the very beginning I was drawn in. A well-done dream sequence is no trivial task.
    The way the camera was used really pulled me into the story. It was really an interesting challenge trying to control myself from all those angles.
    The visuals were very cool! There was always a deep sadness about the way everything is arranged. I felt like it MEANT something, and I was interested in knowing where everything was leading.
    The adventure of traversing the rose garden is unmatched - crazy stuff, man! It suddenly felt like a classic adventure, but with an eery setting.

    A few things:

    The first boss - It may be a result of a number of factors, but it took me a while to figure out what i was doing. I would run up to the boss while his head was up, and when I got close enough try to grapple hook him and it wouldn't work. Since the material in the back layer was JUST high enough so that I wouldn't land on it when jumping while running, I didn't catch that i had to be in the back layer. So I died... over and over... without realizing what I was doing wrong. I think this will confuse people.... and get you a bunch of sad faces. My suggestion would be to make this a single-layer boss and not let the player approach in the front layer. Or, before the fight begins show a cut scene sequence that makes it a bit more clear what the player is supposed to be doing.

    The part with the fence that you can walk behind to get points, and then need to come back. The EXACT same thing happened with me here that happened with Gilgamesh. Because of the camera being pulled back and at the angle it's viewing.... I honestly couldn't tell there WAS a front layer. I must have walked back and forth behind that fence 10 times trying to figure out what to do. I knew it must be something simple, so I kept trying... and eventually went to the left, realized I could move to the front layer, and continued. But this is an area that you may find is problematic. Maybe get rid of a bit of the foliage decorations at the beginning of the gate and change the camera angle so it's more clear to the player what to do. It's ok if the back layer is a secret... it's more important that the player be led to the front layer in this part.

    Climb up the roses' thorns.... when I got to the last rose, I kept dying over and over again.... I couldn't tell there was an invisible walkway to jump on. I kept trying to get up higher, or swing from the bottom of the last thorn.... this part took me the longest because there didn't seem to be any way past it.... and then when I realized there was an invisible walkway, I walked off the end of it to my death before I realized I had to use the grappling hook again. One idea I had that may keep the artistic integrity of this area is have sections of the walkway light up while the player is standing on them. This way they could see there is something to walk on, but would need to pay attention unless they fell off the edge.

    All in all, none of these things ruined my experience... probably even enhanced it a big . My fear, however, is that MOST players will get stuck on at least one of these areas and quit. But I totally enjoyed it!

    Happy face and a heart.... and a little warning in my comment that may help some people to give it a bit extra instead of giving up.
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  9. Thanks!

    OCK

  10. #7

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    Left a review in game! Sadly, I haven't got any newer levels for you to leave feedback on yet!
    Last edited by SirAsphalt90; 02-28-2011 at 04:07 PM.

  11. Thanks!

    OCK

  12. #8

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    Anyone that enjoys a creepy/disturbing level owes it to themselves to at least try this one...the atmosphere and dialog from the spectres is just great. Really liked the cloulds passing in front of the moon and the color correcton chosen really works nicely here.

    The 90 camera flips early in the level had me struggling to keep my lunch down. Trying to use a grapple sideways is disorienting and too difficult, The fight against the demon is confusing, I didn't get to read the hint the 1st time because I died...the safe spot in front of the claws can't reach the head, there's another closer in but this really came down to trial and error.

    After the demon, it's confusing where to go...I kept dying because I didn't realize I was upside down and the controls where reversed until I manged to stumble into the rose passage...a wrong step is lethal.

    This level is riddled with invisble barriers, and lethal gas you can't see...half the time your sack person isn't visible but your expected to control him.

    I gave up after finding 2 roses in the maze...I wasn't have fun. I couldn't kill a single phantom...which apparently doesn't matter because they don't do anything and are easily avoided. A pity the yellow instructions at the start that are jarring with the visuals weren't even helpful, No idea what to do with the thing you can jump on...what good is the flashlight whose beam is way to narrow?

    You did a great job capturng the feel of being trapped inside someone's nightmare...I guess that's why I didn't enjoy being there...you still earn a smiley even though this is perhaps the most frustrating level I have ever played.

  13. Thanks!

    OCK

  14. #9
    I make Ambient levels. JonnysToyRobot's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed it, but there are some issues.

    There's a general lack of direction given as to what you're supposed to do, way too much time was spend headscratching on my end and eventually I had to abandon it at the actual Rose Garden, because I was so lost as to how to avoid the phantoms (I couldn't read the note because my TV is too small) and how to get the last Rose. There were other times such as when you climb the roses you basically have to find out yourself that the top thorns are grabbable, the bottom ones are.

    That being said, the atmosphere was well done, even if sometimes the visual presentation was a bit crude. The song at the beginning was especially haunting. I liked the camera's twisting around too since it added to the feel of the level as a whole.

    Other than that, Gilgamesh's recommendations sound good (:
    I'm the best slow dancer in the universe.


  15. Thanks!

    OCK

  16. #10

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    @Cuz - Thanks for your kind words and suggestions. "Cutting-edge" is something I have always striven to be, I can't help but be original and try new things (much to my detriment it often seems...).

    Audio-wise this is absolutely the BEST audio I've heard in LittleBigPlanet 2. The insane use of the song "Rose Garden" at the beginning with the haunting reverb totally hooked me. And this quality followed throughout the entire level.
    The theme was REALLY engrossing. From the very beginning I was drawn in. A well-done dream sequence is no trivial task.
    I really appreciate this comment. Audio can add so much to a level and I think it is often underused. I wanted to "break new ground" with the audio and voice acting so I am happy it had the intended effect on you.

    The first boss - It may be a result of a number of factors, but it took me a while to figure out what i was doing. I would run up to the boss while his head was up, and when I got close enough try to grapple hook him and it wouldn't work. Since the material in the back layer was JUST high enough so that I wouldn't land on it when jumping while running, I didn't catch that i had to be in the back layer. So I died... over and over... without realizing what I was doing wrong. I think this will confuse people.... and get you a bunch of sad faces. My suggestion would be to make this a single-layer boss and not let the player approach in the front layer. Or, before the fight begins show a cut scene sequence that makes it a bit more clear what the player is supposed to be doing.
    There are two layers here, front and middle. The back layer cannot be accessed due to the gas blocking the way. The middle layer has a floating white playtform which I thought would stand out but I guess not lol. Everything I do is in service of the story I am trying to tell, that is why I have the speech bubbles which not only add to the story but also give a hint as to what to do (I have modified the second one to explicitly tell the player to tap R1. You are not the only person to have a difficulty here so clearly I must make a change. Perhaps a cutscene will work best, thanks for the suggestion!

    The part with the fence that you can walk behind to get points, and then need to come back. The EXACT same thing happened with me here that happened with Gilgamesh. Because of the camera being pulled back and at the angle it's viewing.... I honestly couldn't tell there WAS a front layer. I must have walked back and forth behind that fence 10 times trying to figure out what to do. I knew it must be something simple, so I kept trying... and eventually went to the left, realized I could move to the front layer, and continued. But this is an area that you may find is problematic. Maybe get rid of a bit of the foliage decorations at the beginning of the gate and change the camera angle so it's more clear to the player what to do. It's ok if the back layer is a secret... it's more important that the player be led to the front layer in this part.
    You guys are absolutely right, some roses have been removed, it should be more obvious now

    Climb up the roses' thorns.... when I got to the last rose, I kept dying over and over again.... I couldn't tell there was an invisible walkway to jump on. I kept trying to get up higher, or swing from the bottom of the last thorn.... this part took me the longest because there didn't seem to be any way past it.... and then when I realized there was an invisible walkway, I walked off the end of it to my death before I realized I had to use the grappling hook again. One idea I had that may keep the artistic integrity of this area is have sections of the walkway light up while the player is standing on them. This way they could see there is something to walk on, but would need to pay attention unless they fell off the edge.
    Are we talking about the first rose? At the "end" there is a bounce pad which propels the player to the top of the second roses thorn. I have added a speech bubble at the end of the second rose, I will do the same for the first rose, thanks.

    @fullofwin - Thank you for your honesty.

    The 90 camera flips early in the level had me struggling to keep my lunch down. Trying to use a grapple sideways is disorienting and too difficult, The fight against the demon is confusing, I didn't get to read the hint the 1st time because I died...the safe spot in front of the claws can't reach the head, there's another closer in but this really came down to trial and error.
    I really don't know what to say regarding your nausea, I guess some people are more sensitive then others. The camera flips are a reflection of the characters state of mind, the ending will shed light on everything that came before. I have reduced the life on the demon, added to the speech bubble hint AND added a cutscene showing exactly where the player should stand...

    After the demon, it's confusing where to go...I kept dying because I didn't realize I was upside down and the controls where reversed until I manged to stumble into the rose passage...a wrong step is lethal.
    Not too sure how you did not know you were upside down, the cam does a very obvious swivel. I understand it is not easy to get used to the reversed controls. Once again, I tried something new and I know a lot of people might not appreciate it.

    This level is riddled with invisble barriers, and lethal gas you can't see...half the time your sack person isn't visible but your expected to control him.
    There are a few invisible barriers but absolutely none that get in the way of gameplay imo. If you could give specific examples of which ones somehow managed to diminish your enjoyment of the level then that would be appreciated. As for gas it is always obvious what will kill you. If there was a particular section that seemed "unfair" then please let me know and I will look into tweaking it.

    I gave up after finding 2 roses in the maze...I wasn't have fun. I couldn't kill a single phantom...which apparently doesn't matter because they don't do anything and are easily avoided. A pity the yellow instructions at the start that are jarring with the visuals weren't even helpful, No idea what to do with the thing you can jump on...what good is the flashlight whose beam is way to narrow?
    Sorry to hear that. the tutorial clearly states that phantoms have a weak spot (is this really THAT hard? lol) which happens to be their head. You have to combine jump with flashlight. the controlinator even has a "Hint" button which can help players out...

    You did a great job capturng the feel of being trapped inside someone's nightmare...I guess that's why I didn't enjoy being there...you still earn a smiley even though this is perhaps the most frustrating level I have ever played.
    Thanks for the smiley and your honesty, I appreciate it

    @Jonnys - thanks for the feedback.

    There's a general lack of direction given as to what you're supposed to do, way too much time was spend headscratching on my end and eventually I had to abandon it at the actual Rose Garden, because I was so lost as to how to avoid the phantoms (I couldn't read the note because my TV is too small) and how to get the last Rose. There were other times such as when you climb the roses you basically have to find out yourself that the top thorns are grabbable, the bottom ones are.
    I am sorry your TV did not allow you to read the maze tutorial. Once again, there is a hint button on the controlinator which I think I will add to for all the younger gamers out there.

    That being said, the atmosphere was well done, even if sometimes the visual presentation was a bit crude. The song at the beginning was especially haunting. I liked the camera's twisting around too since it added to the feel of the level as a whole
    I am happy to hear you enjoyed the camera angles and the atmosphere, thank you. Expect feedback on your level within the next 24 hours.



    UPDATE -

    - Gilgamesh kindly sent me some logic for the jump mechanic and ghost layer problem which has been implemented. He also sent logic for pulling roses which will be implemented soon. Thanks a lot, you have been given credit in my level description

    - I have added magic mouths to various areas of the level to help makes things a bit more clear. Thanks for the tips everyone.

    - Demon boss has had a health tweak and cutscene cam added, hope that makes it easier.

    - Removed some roses after upside down section to make front/back layers more clear, thx Cuz and Gilgamesh!

    Thanks for all the honest feedback, I will continue to fine-tune the level and look forward ti hearing more thoughts
    Last edited by OCK; 02-27-2011 at 10:56 PM.
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    Published Levels: Pulse - 218 - The Legion - Out of Africa

    New Release: The Rose Garden

  17. Thanks!


  18. #11

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    OCK,

    My review probably sounded rather harsh...I really do think this level is a masterpiece. The individual camera flips weren't the problem...it was when I'd mess up and end up ossilating between two that I'd get a lttle quesy. I do think it's a cool idea and helps the overall dream-like mood to disorient the player this way,..it would be terrible to take this out even if it were possible.

    There's a section where you grapple 3 roses while sideways...going from 1 to 2 is tough, 2 to 3 was easy. If I could see the gas I would have avoided it...I just know I died constantly without knowing why. I know I kept dying after the demon battle because I ddn't know where my sack person was after the camera flipped...I didn't think to try reversing direction because I couldn't see the effect on my sack person until I made it to the falling roses and I could him moving the wrong way. Maybe much of my difficulties were because I was playing during the day and the sun washes out the tv somewhat.

    As for invisible walls, one was the part Gilgamesh mentioned, there's I think 2 other places here that dead end, the hungry soul was a confusing mis-direction...you grab destroyed a previous soul...I thought you needed to do something here. This wasn't that bad...at least I was right-side up and there was no gas.

    I had a lot of trouble aimng the flashlight...because I did try jumping/aiming at the head and also grabbing. Now I'm rather perplexed how I never managed to defeat one...

    Anyway, I really appreciate what you've done here even though it gave me a lot of trouble.

  19. Thanks!

    OCK

  20. #12

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    Hey Played this one today. I was totally floored. I loved your aesthetic, and mood setting. Your audio is second to none! Truly amazing. The only problem I had was pulling the roses. If your using followers, my guess is that the rose is hitting the character before the follower can line up on the key, so it results in the rose pushing the character which in turn creates some spinning.I'm thinking all you have to do is to attach a piece of holo to get that key just a little farther out there. As long as the follower, and key can line up freely it should work smoothly.

    Anyways, incredible work!!

  21. Thanks!

    OCK

  22. #13

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    Epic level... Love it... but, uh... I can't figure out what to do after I grab the rose and begin flying everywhere. The text says I need to lose my thorns... and I tried deleting all decorations to see something... but yeah nothing. Uh... an someone please quick tell me what to do? ;-;

    ... no idea how but I managed to get past that part ;-;
    Last edited by RockSauron; 02-28-2011 at 02:16 AM.

    This statement is true.

  23. Thanks!

    OCK

  24. #14

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    I think that part you have to grapple hook the thorns on the rose to destroy them, the you go to the left and climb the thorns on the other 2 roses. I THINK... if you were where I think you were.
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  25. Thanks!

    OCK

  26. #15

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    I just Added it! Try My level Out!! http://lbp.me/v/ybbgs4

  27. #16

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    UPDATE

    - Reworked a couple of barriers in the maze garden section, should be a lot easier now.

    - Tweaked tutorial to give enough time for player to read each section.

    - Ghosts can now be defeated by simply shooting at their body, it works better and keeps the flow of the level going.

    - The entire maze garden has received new lighting. Not only does it look cool but the player has better visibility.

    - Intro screen has been spruced up a bit

    - Demon enemy has received health reduction to 3 hits

    - Destroyable rose in maze section has received "health" reduction. Due to hit detection problems it took longer then necessary to destroy it and interrupted the flow of the level

    - Final boss has received health reduction. Until I can figure out a way to make throwing the rosebuds more efficient I think this is best

    I plan on making more changes throughout the week, thank you for all the invaluable feedback.
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    Published Levels: Pulse - 218 - The Legion - Out of Africa

    New Release: The Rose Garden

  28. #17

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    Man! What an experience. I love it. The atmosphere of the level is awesome and totally artistic, even somewhat frustrating gameplay parts subjectively contributed to the whole general feeling. It just drips with authenticity. And the theme is totally non LBP-ish. (But I have to note that we have similar sensibilities, since I am currently also tackling with the same themes in the level that I am currently building. If you wish, I can show you the 5 min intro cutscene on my moon (Stampy83).

    Now, I will give you some of my views regarding your level and maybe you won’t agree with everything I say, but I still want to say it, because, after playing it, I care and want this level to be as good as it can be.

    But before I continue, I have to ask: What did you plan to accomplish with your level? My view is that your level has very strong narrative elements and therefore everything should have been focused on experiencing the story. Unfortunately, there are some parts in the level which could prove problematic for many players. It is really sad to see the current play/finish ratio (113/13), which is indicative of the fact that the players are quitting probably after dying multiple times on some area/or finding themselves lost in the maze. Again, I have to ask, what is more important to you, for the player to be faced with challenging parts, or to tell a story, even if you would loose difficulty and complexity of your level? My opinion is these types of narrative levels should be as user friend as possible.

    Sadly, the attention span of the LBP player is not that great, and we as level creators have to take that into consideration. Generally, I can understand your design philosophy with which you try to combine challenging, artistic, and meaningful experience. But if the purpose of the level is for the player to experience the story, maybe you should consider lowering the difficulty for that cause, deleting all iffy areas, simplifying the maze, and streamlining the experience in order to make it as user friendly as possible.

    I will list some of the parts which proved to be problematic, but still I can’t remember them all, and I think the best method would be for you to ask 10 players who have not played your level, and for you to just spectate and watch them play it. Take notes at each problematic area, wherever they die more than two times, whenever they take more time than necessary to go to the next are, that should be a red flashing light that something is not right. Remember, you want to tell the story, you want to let the players loose themselves in this nightmare, you don’t want them to constantly hear that squishy sound of sackboy dying or hearing mindless footsteps as an echo of not knowing where to go. Maybe you will not agree with me, but I just don’t see this as that type of level that needs difficulty or big “figuring out” aspects, which could get players stuck. Then, after noting all the problematic areas, simplify the level, cut some part, work on streamlining the experience, and your level will have much higher play/finish ratio, which in the end is most important. You are telling a story. Don’t allow your story to be half told, because it is unique and deserves to be told completely.

    Now here is the hard part, my advice is that you take down the level, and start working on the problematic parts. Seriously, take the approach that you will eradicate all the hard and possibly frustrating parts. Make your level a free flowing experience. There is really no need for dying here. Make it almost as natural as a movie, but a movie which you control and into which you are immersed. I know it can sound depressing to hear some random dude telling you that you should revamp your gameplay parts, but I am not saying that because the gameplay is too hard and potential confusing, but I am saying it because the atmosphere and the feel of the level are AWESOME! Don’t let it be ruined with a problematic gameplay design in some areas. Don’t make the players finish the level, orchestrate everything so that they truly experience it. That is what matters the most.

    Here are some specific notes I can remember. But if you wish, we can play the level again, and I will tell you part by part where I had problems.

    Regarding the camera shifts in the beginning and the constant need to adjust to it, I can only commend the achieved artistic vision, but you also need to be aware that you will loose many players who are not willing to adjust to the camera shifts.

    The fire-breathing demon at the start could definitely be as meaningful with one hit kill. And you can maybe put a sensor that if a player dies, the character repeats to self what he should do (somehow I have missed the instruction you mentioned). Here is another random idea. Why is it even important that the player dies here? Make it a theatric experience, not a gameplay experience, because there is not much skill involved here to pass this point.

    I have died couple of times in the part where you have to jump on the rose petal (I have seen the instruction, but still was clueless) Maybe you should make that solid parts of the petal more visible, or protect the area so the players won’t keep falling.

    Yes, the grabbing mechanics do seem to break sometimes in the controlinator part, for example, when dragging roses, they were constantly being dropped. Also, that enemy which respawns there constantly could maybe use some more randomness to its appearance and patterns? Some fire obstacles in the maze were too fast. Try to eliminate backtracking as much as possible…

  29. Thanks!


  30. #18
    Artist / Creator JustinArt's Avatar
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    This level is really epic and artistic. I must have played this level before you updated it yesterday, so maybe I don't need to describe some fixes.

    VISUALS:
    The dark and light lighting gives this level an detailed look, and the hologram roses and silhouette sackboys are outstanding. This level has very interesting camera angles too, but the there's one after you defeat the demon that every time I jump at the edge, I got killed. At least I did a right thing continue walking after that.

    SOUND:
    This level has excellent echoing sounds. I never heard anything like that before. Also, great music choices like "Victoria's Lab" interactive music and "Aura of Awesomeness". The only thing I found involving sounds that should be fixed is the censorship at the end of the level (Well that's because of an inappropriate word), say something else instead.

    GAMEPLAY:
    Outstanding gameplay. The usage of the grappling hook is a blast, and the controlinator gameplay is well done too. I don't know if you fix it yet, but I do agree with most players like Gilgamesh that you need to change the rotate tool to the joystick tool for rotating the controlinator.

    OVERALL:
    It's an extraordinary level with such detailed visuals and challenging gameplay. Great job. A yeah vote, a heart, and a positive review.

    F4F "Prius_Recycle Rescue"

  31. Thanks!

    OCK

  32. #19

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    @Stampy - thank you for all the feedback. The fact that you took the time to write all that shows that you care about my creation and that means a lot to me.

    But before I continue, I have to ask: What did you plan to accomplish with your level? My view is that your level has very strong narrative elements and therefore everything should have been focused on experiencing the story. Unfortunately, there are some parts in the level which could prove problematic for many players. It is really sad to see the current play/finish ratio (113/13), which is indicative of the fact that the players are quitting probably after dying multiple times on some area/or finding themselves lost in the maze. Again, I have to ask, what is more important to you, for the player to be faced with challenging parts, or to tell a story, even if you would loose difficulty and complexity of your level? My opinion is these types of narrative levels should be as user friend as possible.
    I am a storyteller but I always strive to do new things on the gameplay side as well. I think it is hard for me to strike the right balance and make sure things aren't too challenging because I have been playing games for such a long time that I don't really find anything challenging myself lol. But your right, it is a shame people are getting stuck and I have continued to refine the level since it was published. It bothers me that people are not patient enough to see things through but that's the general LBP audience for you...

    Then, after noting all the problematic areas, simplify the level, cut some part, work on streamlining the experience, and your level will have much higher play/finish ratio, which in the end is most important. You are telling a story. Don’t allow your story to be half told, because it is unique and deserves to be told completely.
    Once again, you are right. I have been simplifying but my work is not done yet

    Regarding the camera shifts in the beginning and the constant need to adjust to it, I can only commend the achieved artistic vision, but you also need to be aware that you will loose many players who are not willing to adjust to the camera shifts.
    Taking the level as a whole the cam shift parts maybe make up 2% of the level? I think as creators we need to draw the line somewhere and stick to our guns. I understand that some may find it disorienting but I guarantee you in a few months time some well known creator will release something that plays around with cam shifts and be praised for it lol (and I am happy to see some people have actually praised this aspect of the level).

    The fire-breathing demon at the start could definitely be as meaningful with one hit kill.
    Agree 100%, this section has been totally revamped, hopefully there is zero frustration/confusion now.

    I have died couple of times in the part where you have to jump on the rose petal (I have seen the instruction, but still was clueless) Maybe you should make that solid parts of the petal more visible, or protect the area so the players won’t keep falling.
    I am still thinking about the best way to simplify here without sacrificing the artistic merit of the section, thanks for the suggestion.

    Yes, the grabbing mechanics do seem to break sometimes in the controlinator part, for example, when dragging roses, they were constantly being dropped. Also, that enemy which respawns there constantly could maybe use some more randomness to its appearance and patterns? Some fire obstacles in the maze were too fast. Try to eliminate backtracking as much as possible…
    I have yet to implement the logic for grabbing that Gilgamesh sent me, will be doing it over the weekend when I have more time. I am also playing around with various ways to better direct the player in the garden without using blatant mechanics such as glowing neon arrows lol.

    @JustinArt - thank you for all the feedback.

    The dark and light lighting gives this level an detailed look, and the hologram roses and silhouette sackboys are outstanding. This level has very interesting camera angles too, but the there's one after you defeat the demon that every time I jump at the edge, I got killed. At least I did a right thing continue walking after that.
    Thank you, visuals have always been important to me. I will look into tweaking demon section

    This level has excellent echoing sounds. I never heard anything like that before. Also, great music choices like "Victoria's Lab" interactive music and "Aura of Awesomeness". The only thing I found involving sounds that should be fixed is the censorship at the end of the level (Well that's because of an inappropriate word), say something else instead.
    Thanks again, I carefully thought about each music track for each section and I think I chose the perfect mix, glad you enjoyed it. Regarding the end, the word is perfectly appropriate to the character and what is happening. In fact, I would have used stronger language if this were not an E rated game! Thanks for your thoughts anyway

    I do agree with most players like Gilgamesh that you need to change the rotate tool to the joystick tool for rotating the controlinator.
    My weekend project.

    Thanks for the support, I appreciate it


    UPDATE

    - Demon enemy has received health reduction to 1 hit, middle layer has been removed. No reason to frustrate a player so early in the level

    - Speed of spike trap in garden has been reduced giving the player more time to get through

    - Repositioned a thorn in the 3-thorn section to make it easier to reach and keep level flowing

    - Added checkpoint midway through grappling section with two roses

    - Completely revamped upside-down part. There are some striking new visuals which also make gamepaly more accessible. I know there were complaints about not being able to really see the sackboy, glass outline material has taken care of that.


    Thanks again for all who have left me valuable feedback, I really appreciate it!
    I use Feedback4Feedback

    Published Levels: Pulse - 218 - The Legion - Out of Africa

    New Release: The Rose Garden

  33. #20

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    I played this again last night and WOW! The visuals have been updated quite a bit - much of the level seemed much more colorful, but still retained the dark atmosphere. The change to the first boss was nice - even though it was MUCH easier, it made a lot more sense.... almost a "fear" that you must face rather than a difficult boss.

    At the very end.... the recorded dialog..... it's almost impossible to make out what is being said for me. If you have it on a sequence, I would suggest using captions at the bottom of the screen. The feature appears to be broken, but during the development of Hansel & Gretelbot I actually found a trick that makes it work:

    At the beginning of the sequence, place a magic mouth on the sequencer with NO text and NO recorded dialog. Set it to "caption" and set it to 1 shot. After that, all the other magic mouths on the sequencer with recorded dialog and a caption should appear properly. Having the dialog appear in a clean caption at the bottom of the screen will look nice.
    F4F Participant
    Levels published: F4F: LIBERATOR - Spotlighted!!!! -, Vectroids - MM Picked!!! Spotlighted!!!! -, Sea Dragon -Spotlighted-, Roll out the Barrel! -Spotlighted-, Splat Invaders III: Insurrection - Spotlighted-, Destiny! -Spotlighted! MM Community pick!-, Vertigo! -Spotlighted-, Splat Invaders Saga -Spotlighted! IGN Pick!-, Splat Invaders II: The Caverns of Splat -Spotlighted!-, Tiger Woods Mini Golf -Spotlighted!-, Starship Troopers -Spotlighted!-

  34. Thanks!

    OCK

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