Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

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Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby ShadowStarX » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:27 pm

So today on Discord, in the #smbx channel, the topic of The Invasion 3 came up and how it could incorporate Beta 4's new features.
The problem with past Invasion 3 iterations was that they were generally super-customized and did not aim to serve the same purpose as The Invasion 2.

The new Invasion 3 would generally try to:
  • Showcase the easily accessible features of SMBX2 (without feeling forced) - I primarily mean the new NPCs such as Sumo Bros, Chucks, Bumpers, etc.
  • Expand upon The Invasion 2 (and remove unnecessary elements or less popular levels)
  • Be a lighthearted beginner-friendly experience and have a similar difficulty to the Invasion 2 but also actually balanced and utilizing game design techniques
A natural drawback of this project however would be that whoever creates stuff for this might have dedication and energy redirected from something that's more creative and/or more challenging, as we lack episodes that try to go super wild with ideas.

However, that is the reason why it could be a collab, next to a few other reasons:
  • Some people might want to make rather simple levels but also do not want to start a project of their own
  • If people who have other projects also want to make stuff fit for this but don't want to focus too much energy on this, only taking up a portion of the work can help, as I doubt many people would feel like making 60-70 levels without being able to go too wild
  • Having a project like this being done collaboratively helps in assuring consistency, proper pacing and avoiding deviation from the intended goal
There is still one question though: what kind of collab should it be?
My proposal is to have it run like how SLAM is. Have a few main therads explaining the rules and the general aim of the project and have everybody submit levels, listing which world they intend it to be in.
If a level doesn't get accepted, the project leader(s) will give feedback to the creator. If a level is good enough though and/but rather suited for SLAM than The Invasion 3, it could also be moved into that project, alternatively.

Also an example for a potential World 1 setup:
1: Super Easy Road - a simple level based around SMB3 1-1 but also a mega mushroom thrown into the mix
2: Grassy Grass Grasslands - an optional level which leads to the Yellow Switch Palace (similary to how Yoshi's Island 1 functions in SMW)
3: White Savage Land - similar to the TI2 version but showcases snow particle effects
4: Clear Pipehammer Maze - showcases clear pipes, in a similar manner to SM3DW
5: Floating Brick Niche - Rather than nighttime, the level has rain and it introduces Bombshell Koopas' existence
Castle: Dungeon of Pain/Misery - Similar purpose to The Invasion 2, but showcases adjustable podoboo height and multiple checkpoints to the player.

But to also mention something that expands the project: having a "side" sky world for the second half of the game similar to the ice world in the first half of the game and introducing a Special World as a reward for collecting all 7 or 8 stars.

I would like to ask everybody for feedback. Is it a good idea to make a new Invasion episode that would showcase the easily accessible features of SMBX2 Beta 4 and has a generally beginner-friendly feel?
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby CJ_RLushi » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:34 pm

This actually seems like a really good approach at a TI3, and I really liked that W1 concept, maybe we could also have certain worlds introduce certain things like W1 being an introduction to general SMBX and some 1.3 features, then we could have other world showcasing CGFX, or one of the worlds being a HUB world like SM64
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby Enjl » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:51 pm

With how much smbx2 adds it's important to not lose part of your audience for an episode aimed at general creators. One such choke point could be processor and graphics card quality. If you intend to make particle effects or darkness effects part of a level, I would suggest enforcing them to be insignificant enough so that a user for whom it lags can turn them off via a setting in the pause menu.

Furthermore, for what it's worth, TI2's first half has a very smart structure, and I think it's worth leaning into that (how every world is primarily themed after a specific game, and world 3 onwards starts introducing extra elements like pwnhammer). The latter half kind of fell off as most of it felt smb3-y and overall like it was rehashing ideas, and I think this is where the SMBX2 content can really shine. Of course, essentials like clear pipes and line guides should make brief appearances early on to ensure players encountered them, but I think once all the basic elements are introduced, the gradual progression from the simple first 4-5 worlds towards the rather wild and unique endgame could be fascinating.

One aspect I'd definitely like to see incorporated into the project's planning is secret exits. Depending on what the levels you get turn out to be I would shape the worlds' level orders and how levels interconnect, unafraid of building in massive skips where they make sense. A general per-world styleguide is fine but I think that enforcing things like that example world 1 might be the wrong way to go because it locks away a lot of freedom for both you and volunteer designers. The overall progression, as with all episodes' progressions, is definitely something to think about only near the end of development when you have a general idea of what you can do with the levels. If you're interested in seeing some more non-linear setups I can make short videos for you explaining the maps for jumphalf and yump 2.

SLAM is the project for wild ideas so I think even having this run concurrently would be alright.
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby Cedur » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:08 pm

I'd really love to see this, heck, a couple of months ago I already worked out facetious level names for specific showcase levels
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby ShadowStarX » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:19 pm

Enjl wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:51 pm
Furthermore, for what it's worth, TI2's first half has a very smart structure, and I think it's worth leaning into that (how every world is primarily themed after a specific game, and world 3 onwards starts introducing extra elements like pwnhammer). The latter half kind of fell off as most of it felt smb3-y and overall like it was rehashing ideas, and I think this is where the SMBX2 content can really shine. Of course, essentials like clear pipes and line guides should make brief appearances early on to ensure players encountered them, but I think once all the basic elements are introduced, the gradual progression from the simple first 4-5 worlds towards the rather wild and unique endgame could be fascinating.
Regarding this, I agree that W1-3 + first half of W4 shouldn't go too crazy except for showcasing very few simpler features like clear pipes.

Generally, my idea for new stuff introduced in each world in my 2019 brainstorming was:
W1: Mega Mushroom, Yellow Switch Palace after an optional level (a nod to SMW), Clear Pipes
W2: Not many new things introduced, besides Phantos and Keys in the Dungeon - Boss is also Mouser instead of Wart, some levels have Birdo at the end
W3: Lineguides, Billygun, P-switch, Yoshi + A side level with Trouters and Flurries, Castle level could expand upon Thwomp variants
W4/1: Spikes (just an addition to Flying Raccoon Zone), Mega Goombas (in Go Go Goomba), CSFX (in the Retroville level), SMB1 Lakitu (a new level before DoIP)
W4/2: Green/Purple Snifits being an alt. weapon in The Suck
W5: Shoe Goombas, Fire Snakes, Dino Rhino+Torch, Donut Blocks (in the sky world), Buster Beetles, Pansers, Cobrats - Boss is Fry Guy
W6: Ptooies, Wigglers, New Ghost House Enemies, Barrel Cannons, Lakitu War Zone being moved to the sky world
W7: Dolphins, Sea Mines, Rip Van Fish, Torpedo Teds, Sky level showcasing Parabeetles and Rotating Platforms
Sunken Ghost Ship between World 7 and 8, serving a nod to SMW and also an opportunity to expand upon 'Do Not Enter'
W8: More levels than just 3, 5th Invasion level in the Sky World just before Bowser's Castle (serving as a big gauntlet) and the Bowser Castle level is more based on SMW - this world would generally be more similar to Valley of Bowser in SMW than Dark World in SMB3 but the tank level(s) wouldn't be absent
W9: Special World, let things go wild (though I just want an excuse for a Tubular nod)

And this isn't necessarily everything that can happen, these are just what came to my mind. And obviously W5-9 would expand upon what W1-4 established.
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby Cedur » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:21 pm

I'd consider planning a new setup altogether. The episode is gonna be large enough.
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby ShadowStarX » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:23 pm

Cedur wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:21 pm
I'd consider planning a new setup altogether. The episode is gonna be large enough.
I mean I think that having 8 regular worlds, 2 side worlds and 1 postgame world is good enough.
But we can certainly make W5-8 last longer, especially W8. There are just some gimmicks which are just way too cool to leave out like Snake Blocks, Carrot Platforms, etc.
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby CJ_RLushi » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:25 pm

One thing I really want to see is the weird aesthetic that SMB3s World 8 levels had, like that monochrome level, or the nighttime one with white lines, not just your everyday spammy lava world
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby Enjl » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:25 pm

You're already overthinking the structure.
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby CJ_RLushi » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:27 pm

Oh also, W7 in TI2 is too easy to be World 7, like, I remember Pipe Maze and Choco Island being more difficult
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby Enjl » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:29 pm

For reference, the really cool maps of jumphalf and yump2 (2 games that decided their structure after the levels were done). Jumphalf is notable for its massive shortcuts and loosely defined worlds, and yump2 is notable for how all the paths interlock. Pardon the pause at the start, my voice audio track died and I forgot to cut it out.
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby ShadowStarX » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:34 pm

Enjl wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:25 pm
You're already overthinking the structure.
I thought so, I didn't want to reuse that one as it seems a bit unruly and overthought. Not only that, it'd be pretty selfish to force that literal structure onto a community collab.
But I do want to keep W1-3 simple and slowly escalate things going forward and introducing new (easily accessible) SMBX2 features where appropriate, and I still want the Bowser Castle to be SMW-based rather than SMB3.
CJ_RLushi wrote: Oh also, W7 in TI2 is too easy to be World 7, like, I remember Pipe Maze and Choco Island being more difficult
I mean we can give the episode an actual difficulty curve. W1-4 being as easy as they are is p. fair imo though but W5-7 are a different story. W6 has levels harder than W7 does. (Lakitu War Zone is the hardest non-W8 level imo, even if it's nothing crazy)
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby CJ_RLushi » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:37 pm

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Nah but Jokes aside, I was thinking something else, if we're going to do this? how are we going to keep it alive? like, all other attempts are now dead

Also, should the worlds be centered around specific biomes? or could we make it like the 3D World and Land saga, which completely ditched the "biome based world" concept
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby Cedur » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:40 pm

I could gather a list of levels with, as I already said, facetious names. I have never developped a fixed structure myself, I'm just saying that I wouldn't prefer building upon the old TI2 levels.
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby ShadowStarX » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:43 pm

Cedur wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:40 pm
I could gather a list of levels with, as I already said, facetious names. I have never developped a fixed structure myself, I'm just saying that I wouldn't prefer building upon the old TI2 levels.
I wouldn't want to 1on1 copy everything either but some levels can be altered in a way that is both recognizable and new.
I'll probably whip up a level called "Clear Pipehammer Maze" this week, intended as a World 1 level introducing... I think you know what.
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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby ShadowStarX » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:50 am

A level I crafted "from scratch" but obviously inspired by a preexisting The Invasion 2 level.

The way I'm envisioning the project's handling is a subforum like SLAM and a text channel in the SMBX Discord. (I don't think a separate server for the project is necessary)
"Look me in the eyes and tell me that ad isn't funny." - Shadow Yoshi, 2015
"hitaswitchtohitanotherswitchandseewhathappens" syndrome - Waddle, 2016
"I am in a call with a Natsu" - MECHDRAGON777, 2016
"A serious joke question" - MECHDRAGON777, 2020

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Re: Should The Invasion 3 be revived in a way?

Postby Idunn » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:24 am

Honestly I’m splitterd atm, I actually would like to contribute into this probably, but I’m afraid my level design skills might weight this quality of this.

So in don’t know if I should take part or not honestly.
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