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Super Talking Time Bros. 3: Yes! It will happen! And YOU can help! (Feedback requested, See Page 4)

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
I'll try and get to your new levels soon, Qu_Marsh. I've been working on this level for the past little bit:

Iggy's Spikeatorium!

My intent is for this to be the first world boss stage, it has a custom lua boss: Iggy Koopa, using unused sprites from Super Princess Peach which I put together into a usable spritesheet, then coded a boss around what his animations were.

I'm fairly confident the difficulty for this stage is a touch high for World 1, so give it a critical look in that regard. But make sure and let me know how the boss feels. Fully custom bosses are still one of the trickier things to do right in lua, and I want to make sure it can't be outright broken in some way I haven't anticipated.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, included in this zip are some modified files for the Tap-Taps since I realized something was off with their hitboxes, this will be fixed in the next devkit update but until then this will work.
 
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SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Ooof, OK, let me try and get caught up here:

Monty Mole Day: I'll be honest, I'm not really feeling this one. It's really tedious, even when you know what to do. Autoscroll is a tool that needs to be used carefully, and when it's used when you repeat a section 2-3 times each time just feels longer than the last. Maybe instead of autoscroll make the section scroll in one way only ala SMB1?

Also, what's the purpose of the three blue coins at the start? Are they just a bonus? Because they're pretty distracting and I kept wondering if they played a part in the puzzle.

The Electric Slide: This is much more like it. A straightforward concept that gets to the point. I enjoy the Jinbe appearance, even if I'm still a bit embarrassed at that MSPaint style sprite art I made, haha. Only real suggestion I have for this is to maybe add a block to stop you from sliding out of the stage at the end. Happened to me my first time, you really move when sliding.

Dire Dire Dire Docks: Like the visuals of the stage. The music seems a bit too high energy for such a slow autoscroller though. You're not repeating sections so this doesn't hit the same problem Monty Mole Day did, but it does occasionally feel kind of samey. Have you thought about varying the autoscrolling speed, so it moves a bit faster when there's a lull? It seems like you have it set to the speed of the airship piece, but it shouldn't be too hard to code it to keep up.

The one gate that can come down is mean. Not sure how I feel about it. It's a death if you innocently hit that one switch, and it feels a bit like a cheap shot in an autoscroller. But it's also a logical evolution of the main gimmick thus far. Maybe if you could hit it again after a period of time to raise it, so it still functions as an obstacle but it still gives the player a chance to save themselves. It looks like you use the vanilla events system for the gates so maybe that wouldn't be so easy? I'm not sure. This could use a second opinion at least.

Storm and Stone: Short and sweet. Nice straightforward gimmick, and it's a a fairly quick stage to boot, maybe a touch too quick? I think it's a good thing to have shorter stages mixed with larger ones, but for a stage this length maybe it could only have two Star Coins? If we decide to make 2-coin stages a thing, anyway.

The enemies all fit the theme well, and I like the modified Stretch graphics, being mudmen suits them. Not having some kind of cue pre-lightning is tricky, it's a consistent timing at least but I always felt like I had a bit less time than I actually did. That first Star Coin was probably the most harrowing of the bunch as a result.

Stonebridge Shoreline: Seems good. I like the parallax in the background here. Maybe I've run out of steam playing all these levels in a row because I don't have much to add, haha. I'm not sure how you're meant to get the third star coin, I just flew up to it? Were you supposed to do a jump off the Cobrat? The trail of coins was unclear.

I'm not a huge fan of the mini-boss, though. As far as Boom-Boom fights go this one just feels finicky. The water and the spikes and the platforms all combine to present a boss arena that's more annoying than fun.

Claustrovania: As raocow would say, it's Layer 2! Insta-death via smash in SMBX can be unforgiving, though, and I wonder if some of the longer stretches between safe spots could be a bit more forgiving? Also I just could not get into the pipe that leads to the third star coin, so I've only seen that bonus room, though it seems to use the Tanooki statue to avoid damage while on a moving layer, so that's neat. That pipe could stand to be lowered a block, I think, I just couldn't get the timing for it down.

Goodbye Green Brick Road: Nice upbeat Snake Block stage. That very last jump at the end (off the pipe) made me sweat since my footing disappeared an instant later, but I got it. It's almost an auto-scroller, but not, since it feels better to have control even if you are functionally restricted to following the Snake Block. I like the bits where you have to pause an avoid where you would otherwise be able to blow past them.

Ok. That's all. I think? I think that's all.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
So there are some things that will need to be discussed and decided, and I hope to get a broad range of feedback. So even if you haven't contributed a level or testing to this thus far, all opinions are welcome.

1) The Name

As things stand, I feel kind of strange calling this 'Super Talking Time Bros 3', as all the previous games had a significantly larger number of people contributing, they felt more like a forum-wide project. As things stand, an overwhelming majority of the levels are made by Qu_Marsh, while a majority of the remainder of levels as well as all the back-end things are mine. To me, a 'STTB3' should be more indicative of a larger collaborative effort as the title would suggest. So I'm thinking it might be best to call it something else.

I'm not leaning towards a drastic change. But something like 'Super Talking Time Land' or 'Super Talking Time 2D World' or 'Super Talking Time Gaiden' or something silly. Or maybe I'm overthinking things and 'Super Talking Time Bros 3' is just fine. Either way, it's not a decision I want to make exclusively since it is a project that will bear the forum's name regardless.

2) Structure and Bosses

For awhile we've been thinking of this as another 8-world project, and we've had a loose idea for what the worlds could be, thinking that the final world would be a Bowser-dominated New Donk City. But the current spread of levels, as well as the dearth of boss fights thus far, makes me wonder if we should think about breaking from the usual structure? I'm not sure what that would be at this time.

I think I may have been hoisted by my own petard in a way when I first made that Petey Piranha boss fight. Lua creations are becoming more common in the wider SMBX community, but there still isn't a large amount of publically available new boss fights to use. When I finished that boss I had hoped it would be another 'Whispy Woods' moment, often thought of as when development of STTB2 really got going. But making complex lua bosses remains one of the trickiest things, making Iggy took quite awhile, and I worry that in trying to start off with our best foot forward we'd also be setting an unreasonable expectation. As it stands, having a really memorable boss fight at the end of every world like those probably won't be feasible, especially if I'm the only one who does them. Right now there are at least two more bosses I have in mind to make (final battle with Bowser, and optional post-game superboss against you-can-probably-guess) but plenty more would need to be done and it would be jarring to have some bosses be new custom entities, and others be vanilla encounters with existing NPCs.

Or am I just overthinking things again? Maybe the showcasing of some rather impressive SMBX2 lua content lately on raocow's channel has got me second-guessing.

3) Collectables: Coins, Star Coins, and Stars

With regular coins, we already have a Mario Odyssey style not-lives system. But it's likely coins will rapidly accumulate as to make them feel superfluous, so I'm wondering if an item-shop would be a good idea? There are scripts out there for a SMB3-style world map inventory system, and while it doesn't work at the moment with the world map we're using I believe work is in progress to update it. Another option is to create little mini-games with items being the reward, for a coin fee. Of course, it would all need to be created.

One thing I wanted to do early on was to make rewards from Star Coins totally cosmetic, largely new costumes for the characters, but I'm seeing now that was incredibly lofty. Another, albiet easier and more predictable option, would be to have Star Coins unlock things. Thanks to the new map system we can have Star Coin locks directly on the world map. However I don't want to overuse them, and I'd much rather prefer alternate paths to be hidden behind secret exits. So should Star Coin unlocks be limited to the bonus worlds?

As for Stars, I pretty much have a plan for them in mind. Stars are only awarded by world bosses, with another coming from Bowser at the end of the game. I intend to have the big final postgame bonus world unlocked only by having all the Stars, so as to necessitate beating Bowser first. Though doing it this way with a standard 8 world structure would take some of the interest out of hunting them down, so maybe there could be some hidden bosses and perhaps needing all of them won't be necessary?

EDIT: There was a fourth thing I forgot! Oh no!

4) Characters

I've been considering changing the initial plans to make Rosalina a main playable because she is just so different from the others, and also because she's due to be re-worked by the SMBX2 dev team at some point in the future. It could just be a headache. So I'm thinking of keeping the main playables limited to the standard four of Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach. Rosalina would still be usable in Bonus world stages where any of the 2.0 characters (+ Link) are fair game to have their own levels.

This would not affect levels that use Rosalina thus far, since I'm pretty sure the only one is Doki Doki Picnic which is already in Subcon.

But what are everyone's thoughts?



Those are the three four main things that have been occupying my thoughts on the game lately. I'd appreciate any and all feedback, no matter if you've contributed to the project so far or not.
 
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SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
I'm bumping this so it doesn't get lost in the void of Page 2 since I really need feedback and thoughts on this. Doesn't matter if you haven't contributed thus far.
 
Iggy's Spikeatorium: This seems like a really good boss stage for world 1!

The visuals of the level are fantastic; I like the parallax scrolling. Where is the tileset from, or is it one you made? The lava/heat effect really makes the second half shine, and the DKC2 castle music fits well.

The level presents a good variety of obstacles without ever getting too gimmicky. I did find the second half of the level easier than the first, for what it's worth, but that's fine. I particularly liked the room with the final Star Coin, where
the shell is flipping the switch back and forth
. It was good to see your TapTaps getting more use, too.

Another thing I liked about the level is how it builds up to what's coming ahead You have the skewers outside to preview the obstacles ahead. And then all of the Iggy banners make it clear it's his territory and set an anticipation for the fight.

I didn't think the Iggy fight was too difficult (as you had asked about); I beat him on the first try. Totally was not expecting him to have voice effects (but I like them!) For what it's worth, I mostly beat him simply by stomping him and not from having him run into the spikes. But it could be fun to have an achievement for beating him that way.

I only had two really small quibbles:
  • It seems impossible both to get the 1st Star Coin and the 2nd Dragon Coin on the same run, because if you wait long enough for the skewer to clear a path to the Star Coin, the blocks you need to reach the Dragon Coin have been destroyed. This isn't a big deal at all because who really needs the Dragon Coins anyway, but it felt a bit clumsy.
  • In this spot, the broken bricks kind of suggest it's a nsmbwalls spot that you can walk into (since
    that's how you get Star Coin 2
    ). I tried to jump through that wall and ended up falling in the lava and losing a life. Should be an easy fix if you just make them regular-looking bricks.
 
Thanks for all of your reviews & feedback, Spoony! I'll be updating my levels in turn.

Claustrovania v2:
  • Made almost all of the sections where you have to avoid a crusher one block shorter (and thereby easier)
  • Extended the pipe that leads into the Star Coin area, as Spoony suggested
  • Made one jump near the beginning of the level quicker to move through just to save the player some time
  • Widened the area around Star Coin #1 so that you can't trap yourself on top of a dropped springboard
  • Slightly relocated the initial ? block in the second section so that the player has more chance to scope out the moving floor & ceiling before going for it
  • Relocated this level to endgame because it's much more difficult than I remembered, haha
 
The Electric Slide v2:
  • Added a block at the end of the level to prevent you from accidentally sliding all the way through to the exit.
  • Removed some extraneous blocks outside the section boundaries that had been left in by accident.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Claustrovania v2: These changes helped, and I do think it is better towards the end of the game. Now that I can get into the bonus area, the usage of the Tanooki statue is clever, and I appreciate it also drops you out next to the exit once done.

Electric Slide v2: Accidentally sliding off the stage and missing the coin at the end was my biggest issue, so that looks good.


And thanks for the feedback for Iggy's Spikeatorium, I'll take another pass at it. The tileset is actually an old SMBX one from some GFX pack I've long forgotten about, though I did take the effort to break up the BG into separate layers, which was the most time consuming part.
 
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