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The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle [Public Demo]

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:23 am
by ShadowStarX
Well, you haven't seen this name in a long time.
Don't worry, it's not going to be an NGCA ripoff this time... But it will still be a hub episode naturally.

My concept generally is the following: the episode consists of a currently only vaguely determined amount of levels (somewhere in-between 20 and 32) albeit said levels would expansive.
Most levels (except for the first two) would follow this formula:

Now what does mean? It means that the first half of the level "introduces" a gimmick, or a set of gimmicks and if the player successfully beats the challenge (and collects the SMW star),
However, the SMW star acts a permanent midway point too that unlocks the two "second halves" of the level. A big upside of this is that the player can beat the two second halves without having to redo the first half.
The two "second halves" would expand upon the gimmick(s) and the theme(s) introduced in the first half.

Besides World 1, the player would also have quite a bit of liberty regarding which stars they would want to collect if they aren't going for a 100%
World 1 would have to be more linear than the worlds after so as to introduce the different kinds of special objects to the player, such as clear pipes, barrels, NPC pass-through blocks, etc. (and also to make sure they are sufficiently familiar with the episode's structure later on)

Progress
World 1
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World 2
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World 3
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World 4
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World 5
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Screenshots: show
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GIFs: show
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As you can see in the blue cave screenshot, the levels have a junction in the beginning to make traversing as smooth as possible.

So, what do you think of this concept?

Beta Testers:
Mechdragon777
Erik

Public Demo Download Link


Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:59 am
by Chanceux2
Why does most episodes end with Bowser? My first episode Im making ends with Dark Toad.

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:30 am
by ShadowStarX
Chanceux2 wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:59 am
Why does most episodes end with Bowser? My first episode Im making ends with Dark Toad.
I personally don't want to get too distracted by story elements because I want to make sure I primarily focus on design, creativity and aesthetics.

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:13 am
by Chanceux2
ShadowStarX wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:30 am
Chanceux2 wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:59 am
Why does most episodes end with Bowser? My first episode Im making ends with Dark Toad.
I personally don't want to get too distracted by story elements because I want to make sure I primarily focus on design, creativity and aesthetics.
oh... okay

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:06 pm
by MECHDRAGON777
Considering those star blocks are purple, I assume they related around the star gimmick you have around with the split path system? Could be wrong, but that is an interesting way to add replay-ability?

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:30 pm
by ShadowStarX
MECHDRAGON777 wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:06 pm
Considering those star blocks are purple, I assume they related around the star gimmick you have around with the split path system? Could be wrong, but that is an interesting way to add replay-ability?
I mean yes that's how it works but it serves more of a way to give the player choices.
It also makes sure that the core ideas could be expanded upon in two distinct ways.

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:08 pm
by ShadowStarX
I've forgotten to ask: do you think Star Coins could be beneficial for the episode? I plan on having 5 in each level and they would be in easy-to-see spots and would rather require platforming skills, instead of exploration. (so no "where the hell will I find this" situations)
I am not going to use Dragon Coins though as they do not work well with the Y-junction structure. (plus the player would have to beat the level without dying to make them valuable)

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:45 pm
by Cedur
Star coins would be great! I wonder how to split them across the paths. Maybe have more than one splitting pattern? Like, changing between 2-1-2 and 1-2-2 for the sake of unpredictability?

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:09 pm
by BroccoliRampage
ShadowStarX wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:08 pm
I've forgotten to ask: do you think Star Coins could be beneficial for the episode? I plan on having 5 in each level and they would be in easy-to-see spots and would rather require platforming skills, instead of exploration. (so no "where the hell will I find this" situations)
I am not going to use Dragon Coins though as they do not work well with the Y-junction structure. (plus the player would have to beat the level without dying to make them valuable)
So just a thought. I have been looking to implement a system where bonus items like star coins would instead provide the player with important information, such as clues to help them unlock a secret location or powerup. I think this fits better with the idea of a non-hidden bonus item, since the idea isn't to be looking all over creation for them but to challenge them to attempt difficult platforming challenges. We have to be creative in our projects, given that 1ups and by extension, mass amounts of coins, are no longer important enough to be worth working hard for. The reward needs to be in the excitement of finding the unexpected, the prospect of secrets hidden deep within the game.

So perhaps a type of coin or NPC which provides info, or numbers to a combo locking door, or just plain cryptic clues?

Anyhow, it works, because once "part one" of a level is completed, that knowledge is gained and can't be lost (much like a save point) and the emphasis then is on finding the clues hidden in the other sections.

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:01 am
by ShadowStarX
Cedur wrote: Star coins would be great! I wonder how to split them across the paths. Maybe have more than one splitting pattern? Like, changing between 2-1-2 and 1-2-2 for the sake of unpredictability?
Well, Star Coins would indeed not have a preset pattern. (besides each half having at least one Star Coin)
So, potential patterns:
3-1-1
2-1-2
2-2-1
1-2-2
BroccoliRampage wrote:
ShadowStarX wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:08 pm
I've forgotten to ask: do you think Star Coins could be beneficial for the episode? I plan on having 5 in each level and they would be in easy-to-see spots and would rather require platforming skills, instead of exploration. (so no "where the hell will I find this" situations)
I am not going to use Dragon Coins though as they do not work well with the Y-junction structure. (plus the player would have to beat the level without dying to make them valuable)
So just a thought. I have been looking to implement a system where bonus items like star coins would instead provide the player with important information, such as clues to help them unlock a secret location or powerup. I think this fits better with the idea of a non-hidden bonus item, since the idea isn't to be looking all over creation for them but to challenge them to attempt difficult platforming challenges. We have to be creative in our projects, given that 1ups and by extension, mass amounts of coins, are no longer important enough to be worth working hard for. The reward needs to be in the excitement of finding the unexpected, the prospect of secrets hidden deep within the game.

So perhaps a type of coin or NPC which provides info, or numbers to a combo locking door, or just plain cryptic clues?

Anyhow, it works, because once "part one" of a level is completed, that knowledge is gained and can't be lost (much like a save point) and the emphasis then is on finding the clues hidden in the other sections.
Well I'm not going to rely on exploration to extend the playtime myself as I am trying to go with a pure yet creative and fun platforming experience.
If you can pull off exploration well on your end though, I wish you good luck and I hope you'll enjoy making content.
Thanks for sharing your ideas though!
(I personally don't like cryptic clues and I'm going to keep the Y-junction structure)

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:27 am
by ShadowStarX
A video of a WIP level's first half and one of the second halves.

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:04 pm
by ShadowStarX
The episode is finished! Expect a download link in 2 hours!

Added in 1 hour 23 minutes 8 seconds:
Download the full episode here

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:33 pm
by Chanceux2
ShadowStarX wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:27 pm
The episode is finished! Expect a download link in 2 hours!

Added in 1 hour 23 minutes 8 seconds:
Download the full episode here
Now you can work on a topic about this episode

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:29 am
by Teemster2
ShadowStarX wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:30 am
Chanceux2 wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:59 am
Why does most episodes end with Bowser? My first episode Im making ends with Dark Toad.
I personally don't want to get too distracted by story elements because I want to make sure I primarily focus on design, creativity and aesthetics.
I see to many episodes with a story line and for me I dont get into that. I just enjoy playing the game. I think you have the right idea what to focus on.

The levels look like you put a lot of work into them. Good job.

Nice to read it's finished.

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:17 pm
by ShadowStarX
Teemster2 wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:29 am
ShadowStarX wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:30 am
Chanceux2 wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:59 am
Why does most episodes end with Bowser? My first episode Im making ends with Dark Toad.
I personally don't want to get too distracted by story elements because I want to make sure I primarily focus on design, creativity and aesthetics.
I see to many episodes with a story line and for me I dont get into that. I just enjoy playing the game. I think you have the right idea what to focus on.

The levels look like you put a lot of work into them. Good job.

Nice to read it's finished.
Thanks!
I appreciate that you understand why I want to focus on the gameplay-related aspects of the project.

Also here is a level I've just started working on (idk why I have BGOs theree, I'll prob. place them after I'm done with the section and also recolor them to fit autumn):
Image

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:59 am
by Enjl
I think the contrasting green and wine colours are beautiful.

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:48 pm
by ShadowStarX
Enjl wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:59 am
I think the contrasting green and wine colours are beautiful.
Yeah I've actually realized that those look neat in a way and I've decided to delete the recolors from the level folder.

Anyways, I'm having a blast with making levels utilizing the Y-junction structure, and if I have enough momentum, I am even able to finish a level within a week, if not 4-5 days.

I'm also planning on making W2 an open demo after I'm done with all 4 levels for it. (I have ideas for all, and one of them is fully done)

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:58 am
by ShadowStarX
Image

Only doing bosses when they can be tied to the rest of the level.

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:15 am
by Cedur
What are these green blocks doing?

Re: The Mysteries of Bowser's Castle

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:17 am
by ShadowStarX
Cedur wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:15 am
What are these green blocks doing?
They are jump blocking slime blocks.