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Joshua Bone

Joshua Bone's level design feedback thread thingy

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A lot of creative concepts in a lot of well designed levels which are over all a great playing experience - but to be honest, I didn't expect anything less :rolleyes: 
 
Let's have a look at the individual levels:
 
23: A well designed level, not the necessarily the type I personally like the most, but it's a fine one.

44: An interesting concept, I think it would be a really good and fun to play level, if it would a bit smaller, it starts to feel a bit long and repetitive after a while.

52: I like this level a lot, the helmet area is really creative and fun, as is the level over all  (Y) The revolving door I pointed out already in the pm, but in the end it didn't feel like it is necessary, it is an interesting puzzle as is. The ball which starts next to the green door is fairly hard to spot with the male tile and the movement of the blocks - personally I think that it doesn't add anything to the level, it might be better without it.

53: A cool concept and really nice level, not to hard yet it starts to get a bit tedious after a while, if it would be a bit smaller it would probably make it a great level.

54: A nice fun puzzle level, really like it (Y)

55: A nice difficult puzzle, and as the in the title, obfuscated is the right word, for some parts, even though it felt relatively linear to solve, you have to think ahead a bit in several areas and figuring out how to control the toggle was the hard part, though it's not necessarily one of the hardest levels of the set, and several areas are not as strict as shown in the replay - I didn't use all the buttons available, and I'm pretty sure I got all the chips, so the extra one felt a bit odd for this type of level, it's fine, but I think it would be fine as well if all chips are required.

56: A really good idea, overall the level might be a little on the long side, especially since almost every single misstep will lead to being completely screwed, and the time limit feels way to short, it could be 900 or more. Even though it is relatively linear, it's not clear at the start how everything will work out. It might not be that hard puzzle wise, but you have to explore a lot and at least to me it felt harder than the last level over all.

57: An interesting level, probably not necessarily the most fun to casual play, as the automatic switching even though sometimes helpful, can be a bit annoying. The time limit of 200 feels unnecessary short as you don't have any information about the structure, or where the chips are and therefore have to explore on your first play through.

58: Yes, trial and error with walkers killing you if you make the wrong choice in a maze like structure you don't know (looking in the editor makes it easy, but no). This part feels more like a horrible troll. Removing the walkers on ice however makes it a really nice puzzle level...

59: Under straightforward I do understand something different :cool:, however I really like the fist puzzle, it's creative and interesting to solve (Y) The blue tank one is easy, but fun, (in theory you can kill several tanks and make the level unsolvable). What I don't liked too much are the invisible walls, why include this trial an error by removing essential information from the player? At least for me it ruined the puzzle on the left without any reason, normal walls would imo be way better choice (or filled traps or something if it shouldn't be a wall).

60: The start of the level I like a lot, the maze is fine as well :)

62: Yes, trial and error, not my thing, again a level you don't know the structure and you get killed by making the wrong decisions.

63: The slime part includes some guess work but with educated guesses you will have no problem to solve it, and there are not to many options how to go about it in the first place - it's not difficult - the paths you have to take however are relatively long, overall, but not a bad level by any means, but not necessarily the best level of the set either.

64: To me it wasn't at all clear at the beginning what you can do with the yellow teleport, I think this should be explained on a hint, as it's a really cool idea; sadly the level includes a lot of waiting if you want to play it save, and regardless if deterministic or non-deterministic, which anyhow doesn't effect the casual game play at all, it's not my favorite level, but definitely a cool idea for a blob level.

65: A little tedious but easy enough to be a nice relaxing level.

66: Really cool, I like it a lot, it looks great, to watch the tanks drive in place, and fun to play (Y)

67: Really clever use of empty clone machines, the idea of the level itself however really similar to a recessed walls maze with a interesting but weird gimmick, and for such a level type I don't really see how a really strict time limit is necessary or even a good idea. Imo the time limit can be way higher, as this level type by nature has already the requirement of planing a path which you have to figure out through some try and error especially as the vast majority of the structure of the maze is not visible to the player at the start (even though not that complex).

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Thanks for the feedback (9 months later). I would be very interested to know what your solution was for OBFUSCATED AND INTERRED. If you ever feel like recording a video I'd love to see if it is busted :)

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Your new levels are really well designed and from those I played already, a lot of fun to solve (with the exception of conquest, a new test of patience and tedium) and I like the updates to your older levels (Y)
Probably some time next week I'll have time to play the rest, and give feedback to each of the new levels.
I personally like the difficulty of the levels, some are a bit on the long side, yet it is probably a good idea having more easy and medium difficulty levels in the final set to make it accessible to more players :)

OBFUSCATED AND INTERRED
The level might be a bit easier than you thought because it is pretty linear, for the most part you have just one option at each point in time of how to proceed, but it is not busted as far as I remember my solution, you have to solve every part, just some details are easier than shown in the replay.

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Thanks! CONQUEST is what it is, I think it might be possible to expand the starting areas a little bit, but I think it's legit to have a couple of campaign levels in the set. 

I'm definitely switching my focus to easy levels now. 

On OBFUSCATED, I intended it to be a 'misdirection' level, where if you do the one 'obvious' option all the way through you end up stuck, sort of like on DETECTIVE STORY but with more noise. The fact that it felt linear with one option at each point makes me feel like it might be busted. Dunno, I haven't really looked at it in a year or so.

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Here the some more details to the great new levels :)

MARKTKANAAL
Most of the areas are pretty easy by them self, with the ice maze on top of everything, and some areas you have to visit from different sides at different points, this level gets quite long and therefore time limit could be longer. Other than this, a nice and fun to play level (Y)

CONQUEST
With all the blobs a real test of patience if you want to play it safe. This type of level, especially that big should imo be untimed.

MY MOTHER SAYS
The constant pining noise starts to get annoying after a time (is it really worth to have this bonus room?). The opening puzzle is interesting, yet I don't understand why you are hiding keys under blocks for no reason, a secret eye would make the puzzle better. The gimmick, the logic gate delay setup is relatively simple for those who knows wiring in cc2 works, for other players probably difficult to figure out. With an eye I like the starting area and especially the basic idea of the puzzle is really cool, the rest of the mandatory part of the level is is essentially just chip collecting but does fill the space in a walls of level quite well :cool:

DISINTEGRATOR INTEGRATOR
Really cool, great level. Especially the starting rooms are nice well designed puzzles. The rest is relatively simple, yet slightly lengthy. I think the time limit could be 900 instead of 600 without harm (Y)

HOOPLA
A nice easy to medium difficulty level, just the time limit is too short. 800 or 900 sounds good, otherwise players might run out of time on their first try, and have to replay the whole level for no other reason.

SALMON RUN
A good medium difficulty level, I really liked the puzzles :), and are not too sure if the dodging with the ball and walkers is actually necessary for this type of level.

THE AMAZING VORTEX
The first part due to limited vision a bit of guesswork, but that's fine, since it is the first part of the level, the rest are creative mazes. Just the time limit should be higher again.

A MAN OF MANY LAYERS
An interesting idea for a maze, however there is a lot waiting for monsters which is partly why it was not necessarily my favorite to play.

NURSERY GAMES
Pretty easy fun level, in the first section death is possible, in this regard I wish there would be an indication to go right first, but since it's pretty short, it doesn't matter too much.

GREENLIGHT
A push up wall maze with toggle and slightly visually confusing aesthetics, it took me several tries to finish it, even thought it's not that strict, but there are bottle necks, especially if you don't know how many chips and bombs there are, but it's short enough to be fun.

 

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BEFORE MY VERY EYES: very cool maze!

Part and Parcel:
Fun concepts throughout. I really liked the beginning and two right side portions. I wasn't as fond of the left side with the enemies.

I move, you move; another fun and quick one!

Slime yard; was a really interesting take on "block factory" :D I actually liked this one.

Rule of Tincture: haven't solved this yet but I like the structure. What does the title mean?

fyi: I'm not a fan of anything that uses abuses glitches or unexpected behavior in the game, so I might not offer much comments on those levels.

I haven't downloaded the latest version yet so I'll be playing more in the future.

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Thanks, guys! 

_H_:

I am hearing you on the time limits. You've given this feedback on quite a few levels and I will try to reevaluate each level individually for the next version. I agree CONQUEST is a prime candidate for an untimed level.

The noise on MY MOTHER SAYS is just one example of one of the big weaknesses of CC2 -- the horrible SFX. I play with the sound turned way down. I've already decided not to alter my design process based on worrying about annoying sounds. 

Didn't realize there was guesswork on THE AMAZING VORTEX, I will take another look.

A MAN OF MANY LAYERS is my least favorite of the new levels; I was stuck on ideas for those walls for a while. Maze levels in general have been the big holdups for this set. If I think of another idea I'll change it in a heartbeat. Thanks for the feedback on the rest :)

mobius:

I try to keep the levels that use glitches and unexpected behavior small. I think they're definitely fair game for bonuses, but agree they can spoil a level if abused. Other than MULTICHIP, I'd be interested to hear if you think there are other obvious examples. I guess I'd say that THIN BLUE LINE and SPIRIT PORTAL might be borderline as well. 

On PART AND PARCEL, would you agree with _H_ that the left side would be better without the invisible walls?

RULE OF TINCTURE was just a result of my usual indecision on what to name a variety level. I think I started with the word 'grail' and did some googling/wikipedia searching to look for other medieval sounding names. I think I like the result. 

Glad you liked the others! I also was pleasantly surprised by I MOVE YOU MOVE. I didn't want the level to lose its character from SLO MO but also felt like ditching the toggle walls wouldn't leave anything recognizable. It's not the highlight of the set or anything but it felt playable at least. I've been feeling ambivalent about SLIMEYARD, but am glad you enjoyed it!

 

 

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when downloading the latest version I had to play them in the editor because for some reason when selecting the levelpack and playing only five levels appear in the list. It might be a problem on my end; not sure. Also fyi: if I say I haven't solved a level yet; it doesn't mean I'm necessarily complaining about it or saying it's too hard.

As usual there are totally new and amazing mechanics going on in some of these levels:

I particularly like the mechanism to push and pull blocks in Fearless Acrobat :lol: , Speaking of this level; the monster area in the upper part is exactly what I originally had in mind for my own level "About Face" but could only get it to work with 1 type of enemy at the time.

My Mother says; very nice one except the very beginning I haven't figure out yet.
(I may have mentioned this before but sometimes, especially on levels like this; I may alter chip's position in the editor so I can play other parts of the level. I'm sorry if this makes anyone angry but this is how I play)

Disintegration Integration: totally stumped on atm: I find yellow teleport puzzles very hard.

Hoopla was a super fun level! For being such a big level it did not feel frustrating at all. The yellow tank bonus puzzle reminded me of "Tank Blocker part 2B" which I solved once a while ago but since forgot the solution.
I didn't mind the time limit here.

Nice take on Amsterdam; another very fun level. Reminds me of Venice ;) (except no evil ending :P )

Salmon Run: another nice concept but quite hard; takes a while to study everything and figure out how it works. Not sure I'm real fond of the walker areas at the bottom. Haven't solved it yet.

Nursery Games; another fun one; not too simple but not too hard. Good use of teeth

I should be more specific with glitches: sometimes I don't mind those levels; it depends. Mainly it's that the game is still new to me so it'll take me a while to discover all the glitches and unusual features. I'm still learning all of the non-glitch features!
The only level I can think of atm which has totally stumped me because I'm still unaware of the trick is "One lesson before" It's a matter of taste so I'm not really complaining, just saying I don't spend a lot of time on those levels, I mean I wouldn't spend more time than I would on another level because imo; figuring out a glitch can be hit or miss. If it's a mechanic that is unexpected than by definition it's difficult to discover. (I haven't solved the others you mentioned either).

On Part and Parcel: yes; I guess this would help. This area is harder than it looks imo, still haven't figured it out; I just wasn't real fond of it. (maybe that will change if I solve it).

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To correct what I said before;

When I download the latest version right now all the levels are there but totally out of order.

I looked at the c2g file but I can't see why this is happening.

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I reorganized the level order in 1.4.0 to be loosely based on increasing difficulty rather than original level order, so that's intended :). 

Thanks for the feedback too, very helpful as always.

The walkers areas on SALMON RUN were designed to require basically no dodging skill to solve, coming as late in the level as they do. I actually was just looking to fill space at that point after a really complicated level. I played through the level again recently just to make sure and I still feel like they are fairly placed. My rule of thumb (usually, but not always followed) is that 'gratuitous' late-game dodging and puzzles on long levels should be solvable close to 100% of the time on the first try by an average player. In this case it should be obvious what needs to be done in both rooms, and it should be almost trivial to execute. If that's not the experience I'd love to hear what makes them difficult. 

ONE LESS'N BEFORE is nothing glitchy, just standard CC mechanics plus a single well-known CC2 ability. FF behavior in the Steam engine makes it a little tricky to execute, but I can pull it off almost every try. 

I think altering player position and editor peeks in general fall into the same category. Ultimately it's up to the player how they want to experience the game. Some levels could be absolutely ruined by this; in others, it's a harmless way to get past a single difficult section. I don't mind it.

On MY MOTHER SAYS the rest of the level after the opening puzzle was honestly pretty much just filler. Glad to know it's enjoyable filler :). The opening puzzle is surprisingly hard, and was one of those 'I wonder if this is possible' designs that turned into a puzzle that seems to fit the space perfectly. 

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A little feedback after some more playing today:

Footrace Through Fire swamp:
Graphically; this one is much improved over the first version.
Gameplay however; I found this one quite frustrating. If the race wasn't quite as tight I think it would be much more fun. (as is it seems you need to be absolutely perfect, unless I'm going about it the wrong way).


Uptown decision:
A bit overwhelming at first because there's so much going on in a small space. That's why I initially skipped over this one but I don't dislike it because of that. Takes quite a bit of thought and time to go through; cool puzzles throughout! Quite a tough one despite being a small level.
Is it intentional that you're allowed to go through the swivel door the wrong way? (this is a glitch with the no signs on top of swivels).

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Played several of the new levels:

Much more time on the Golden Key would really be appreciated; The third room with the centipede and many toggle doors takes a while; and after leaving that room every time I play there's barely enough time left to keep going. I haven't beaten it yet.

Real Thinker: great level out of "Writer's Block"

Treasure Collection: really nice & straightforward one

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