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23rd July, 2010 at 18:03:46 -

I vote Wario 2's semi-linear but branching idea. I was never very fond of Metroidvania style. It seems too open. (I was not a fan of Super Metroid and Wake, for example.) Games with that seem to wander too much.

 

  		
  		

aphant



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23rd July, 2010 at 18:11:24 -


Originally Posted by Jon LambertI feel like this is a horrible lie. Level design in Wario Land 2 (which would have been linear levels with branching paths) was excellent as it allowed you to explore as little or as much as you wanted to, and different parts of each level could play to different mechanics or styles without feeling awkward. Those who explored could find more coins to play the minigames necessary to get treasure and picture panel pieces (ultimately unlocking the time attack level and flagman game & watch game.) The choices didn't seem meaningless to me at least, since I was directing the story myself, getting a different playthrough experience based on the paths I, and I would eventually have to go on every path to meet every level and collect all the treasures and panel pieces. What inspires me to visit every room in a Metroidvania game?



I'm thinking on a small-scale. On that treasure map, there are about 50 levels. I don't doubt the level design for all of them. I do have doubts that this group will be able to have half as many levels with varied design, though. That's why I brought up a Metroidvania style of progression again. Even though it would be a larger amount of game area to cover, it should be (in theory, anyways) easier to make because of each region's basic design principles; instead of having 25 levels, it could be 9 levels broken down into rooms.

You're onto something by breaking that treasure map down into chapters. There are 9 chapters in your list, and I assume they all have their own aesthetic theme. It sounds like each level in a single chapter has a single basic premise, too. There might have been a chapter that had mechanical contraptions that would crush, push, or impale Wario; In a Metroidvania, one region might have mechanical contraptions that would crush, push, or impale the player. It's a similar concept.



Now, the term Metroidvania is a combination of two game names: Super Metroid, and Castlevania.

Metroid, quite possibly the first platforming game to feature scrolling to the left. The basic premise of Metroid was that there was this huge map, broken down into five regions: Brinstar, Kraid's Lair, Norfair, Ridley's Lair, and Tourian. Brinstar and Norfair were roughly divided into two sub-sections, with one being a different color and generally being more challenging. To finish the game, the player would have to visit all of these areas, often retreading old ground. Overall, every area had the same general traps, relying heavily on enemy placement and level design. There were a lot of pickups (usually more missiles) for the player to find, with them being placed roughly 1.5 screens apart. Furthermore, to get to most of these pickups, the player would have to hunt high and low to find weak sections of wall, floor, and ceiling to get to them. Metroid was also one of (if not) the first games where the player's powerups were permanent, as opposed to being temporary (like a Star or Fire Flower in Super Mario Bros).

Super Metroid took the original concept from Metroid and expanded on it. There were more ways to travel, more weapons, more enemies, and more regions. Super Metroid took the sub-section concept even further, providing new aesthetics and different challenges. There were a total of 6 regions, from the open outdoors of Crateria to the molten depths of Norfair, and five regions were broken down into no less than 3 sub-sections (the last region, Wrecked Ship, was small and not able to provide much in the way of sections). Overall, there were 19 different sub-sections.

It's important to note that even in the original Metroid, there isn't too much backtracking to do. Most of Brinstar and Norfair will only need to be explored once, and there are some rooms that you can skip entirely (unless you want a 100% clear). Once you go down to either Kraid's or Ridley's Lairs, you'll have no need to ever return to them once you kill the boss (again, unless you want a 100% clear and missed something). The same goes for Tourian, except that once you get into Tourian you can't get out, and it's very linear. Super Metroid is the same way, where once you're done with a sub-section, you never have to return (again, except for 100% clear). For the most part, backtracking means having to retread old ground to collect missed items; you'll never have go down into Lower Norfair to get some upgrade, then back to Brinstar Overgrowth and use that upgrade to get yet another upgrade, and then take that upgrade deeper into Lower Norfair to get into Ridley's Lair, for example. You'll only have to take new stuff to access new parts of old areas to collect optional equipment, like more missiles; It's possible to have 255 missiles (picked up 5 at a time), but you only need 15 to finish the game. By the way, a 100% clear means collecting every item in the game. There are only 35 or so items to find in Metroid, but 100 to find in Super Metroid!

That covers the Metroid part of Metroidvania. Onto the vania part, Castlevania.

The first four Castlevania games were linear, and had branching paths. The games had about 8 levels each, and those were broken down into rooms like before, with each room offering a different challenge. Once you finished a level, you couldn't go back. This is not the Castlevania we're talking about.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night took the Super Metroid route and had a huge, expansive castle. There were some 10 regions in the game, and then depending on how the player dealt with the "last" boss, they could gain access to an upside-down version of the castle, resulting in 20 regions. Each region had a unifying theme to its challenges, but there would be hundreds strings of rooms that were effectively like a mini-levels, each string having a similar theme in mechanics. Unlike Super Metroid, where a full clear would be getting all of the items, a full clear (201%) in SotN meant exploring every square of the map. Similar to Super Metroid, players would be tasked with finding new upgrades to explore more of Dracula's castle, but unlike Super Metroid this could mean having to take a new upgrade to an old area to get to a new area for a new upgrade. Backtracking was a necessity and in abundance as players would be hunting all over the place to get to the next upgrade. However, unlike Super Metroid, players had access to teleporters to expedite their journey. Also unlike Super Metroid, new weapons and armor could periodically be found and equipped, and the best of these could only be found in the "Reverse Castle," while some equipment could be found in walls, secret rooms, dropped off of slain enemies, or bought from a librarian. However, aside from the best equipment, the real ending, and an increased difficulty, there was no reason to explore the Reverse Castle.

Symphony of the Night is the game that defines the vania in Metroidvania.

In short, the term means a game with a lot of different regions and the ability to go back to those regions at any time, with items and pickups scattered throughout the map.

 

Jon Lambert

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23rd July, 2010 at 18:28:11 -

Okay, great. So now we know exactly what Metroidvania means. I thought that we would address this next issue later, once we had decided upon a gameplay style, but I think we're going to have to do it now.

We have to decide what exactly it is we want to accomplish with this game. Are we trying to make the next indie classic? Is it just a game made for fun, so people have something to do? Is this the game Clickteam will use to promote MMF2?

We also have to think about how big a game we want to make. Is this going to be huge, or just something someone could knock out in about an hour?

These are things we have to think about as well.

 
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Matthew Wiese

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23rd July, 2010 at 18:41:20 -

I think the best direction would be to have the game be made for fun, but develop it well enough Clickteam cold use it to promote MMF.

 
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aphant



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23rd July, 2010 at 19:00:07 -


Originally Posted by Jon Lambert
Hence my comment at the end of each of my posts amounting to "We'll have to do whatever the people want." If you all get to defend your Metroidvania-style, then I should get to defend my Wario Land 2-style.



If Metroidvania is easier to work on, then I think we should go that route. If Wario Land 2 is easier to work on, then I think we should go that route. I think that we should do whatever is easiest to get started on and is easier to produce content for. I simply care less about the style the game takes, and more about getting work on the project started and getting it done.


Originally Posted by Jon Lambert
We have to decide what exactly it is we want to accomplish with this game. Are we trying to make the next indie classic? Is it just a game made for fun, so people have something to do? Is this the game Clickteam will use to promote MMF2?

We also have to think about how big a game we want to make. Is this going to be huge, or just something someone could knock out in about an hour?

These are things we have to think about as well.



I think our goal should be to prove that a community project can work and create a game that people will want to play.

However, since you mention timing, and that I was looking up some speedruns, I'll point out the following:
The fastest minimalist run in Metroid clocks in at about 18 minutes. The fastest 100% run clocks in at 52 minutes.
The fastest minimalist run in Super Metroid clocks in at 32 minutes, while the fastest 100% run is 55 minutes.
The fastest time in SotN is about 34 minutes, and they skip a few items.
The fastest time for Wario Land 2 is 8 minutes, and I think they take the shortest route. The fastest 100% treasure run is 1:51.

I would hazard a guess that each of those games would require at least two hours to finish for the average player, probably going as high as 6 hours for a full clear.

Now, I point those times out for a reason: In each of those games, it's possible to do a bare minimum to finish it. It's also possible for the player to invest more time and find more stuff. These are games that are great for replayability. That's what we should work towards, having a game that is fun to play and offers replayability.

 

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23rd July, 2010 at 20:18:08 -

Indie classic FTW!
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23rd July, 2010 at 20:58:09 -

im now in the member list ?

 
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23rd July, 2010 at 21:59:17 -

I do not think a metroidvania would be easier to work on. The nature of the style brings in many complications not present in the linear levels of the wario land 2 style.

 
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aphant



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24th July, 2010 at 00:56:45 -

What complications would be present?

 

Jon Lambert

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24th July, 2010 at 05:43:51 -

Coding
All right everyone, we've decided on making a platformer, and while we are currently still working on choosing a gameplay progression model, that does not prevent us from working on coding engines and the like for the game. So, what I would like to do right now is find someone who can lead the coding efforts, a Coding Leader, if you will. The Coding Leader will be responsible for organizing coding efforts, which will require making sure it is apparent as to who is coding what, helping out with any coding that needs work, leading discussion on how things should be coded, and coding things in general. The Coding Leader will not end up having to code everything, but will have to code some things, and because of that, the Coding Leader should be well-rounded in coding skill and have experience with coding platform engines, menus, and the like necessary for a game. If you want to be the Coding Leader, simply say so and say why. Otherwise, if you just want to contribute to coding, say that as well.

Right now we would be working on coding a platform engine, so you can say what you think should be coded in to the engine or discuss how you think it should be coded, and once you get a good idea of this, and we have a Coding Leader, we can get to work on actually coding the engine.

Story
All right people, I figure that to get other parts of the game done as well, it can't hurt to start working on the story right about now. Any story is probably acceptable. Keep in mind that we don't know what the gameplay progression will be like just yet so that may or may not change how the story can work. Otherwise, you can think of pretty much anything. When you do come up with a story or ideas for story elements, remember that you'll need to also think of a theme for the game, e.g. dark, as the music, graphics, and sound will have to match the story.

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24th July, 2010 at 06:24:53 -

I say we take Jon's original design and roll with that. Have the graphics as 'retro-inspired' which will appeal to all those 'indie' lovers but more importantly, in using a restricted colour palette it will be much easier for the artists to maintain a similar art style across the entire game. A retro-style of graphics will also hopefully be easier and quicker to produce.

Music and sound effects would also be easy to match to this style as many clickers here are familiar with creating those sounds.

I think a coder should also make a level editor for the game and then we can have a team of level designers\developers using that tool to make the levels. Having a tool like this would allow a large amount of people to create levels for the game, all independent of each other, very quickly.

 
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24th July, 2010 at 06:31:14 -

I like the idea of having Jon just take the reins with design (the leader was always planned to make final decisions, but it should be soon that that starts happening), but I'm not so sure about the retro. To tell the truth, I'm getting a bit sick of retro. >_>

Wouldn't really bug me either way, just not what I would pick. The ease of production you mentioned is alone probably more important than my opinion on it.

All this updating is exhausting. I'm off for about 47 hours of sleep.

 

  		
  		

NE



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24th July, 2010 at 09:00:51 -


Story
All right people, I figure that to get other parts of the game done as well, it can't hurt to start working on the story right about now. Any story is probably acceptable. Keep in mind that we don't know what the gameplay progression will be like just yet so that may or may not change how the story can work. Otherwise, you can think of pretty much anything. When you do come up with a story or ideas for story elements, remember that you'll need to also think of a theme for the game, e.g. dark, as the music, graphics, and sound will have to match the story.



Okaaaay, if we're going with Metroidvania, then we'll presumaby be setting the game in a large, explorable area that's still inclosed to a degree. Castles and alien planets have already been covered, so it might be wise to avoid those. That leaves us with...

Mine?
Hotel?
Shopping mall?
Buckingham Palace?
Office block?
TSR-approved dungeon?
Treetop village?
Giant cake?
Sewer?
Inside a whale?
Steampunk airship?
Ordinary house as seen by a really tiny character?
Twisted carnival?

 
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24th July, 2010 at 15:24:25 -

I think Andy's idea of a level editor is great, I can easily help out the project with creating levels in a level editor with having to always stay in touch.

Though the level editor should be detailed enough to make the game fun to look at as well as play.

 
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Jon Lambert

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24th July, 2010 at 15:51:15 -

If we did a Metroidvania game, level making would be a little more difficult, because you'd have to make sure that you knew how many people were making however many rooms, what region they were for, judge them to see that they fight the region's gameplay theme, make sure they connect to each other, and so on and so forth. It sounds like it'd be harder.

Our level editor should have a number of tiles to use so that people can make whatever kind of level/room they want, that is, have a number of gameplay elements, and it should also have define the tileset for a level by a single value that can be edited easily, so that more tilesets can be made and added in later. And such.

 
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