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Temporary => Knytt Stories Level Releases => Topic started by: Ultigonio on October 31, 2016, 07:49:18

Title: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on October 31, 2016, 07:49:18
Happy Halloween, everyone!  This year, I decided to go as someone who just finished his level.


Deep Freeze
(http://i.imgur.com/3mbXQvi.png) (https://www.dropbox.com/s/tvbtknkob3uiyev/Ultigonio%20-%20Deep%20Freeze%20%28version%201.0.5%29.knytt.bin?dl=0)

(...Can be downloaded by clicking here (https://www.dropbox.com/s/tvbtknkob3uiyev/Ultigonio%20-%20Deep%20Freeze%20%28version%201.0.5%29.knytt.bin?dl=0).  You'll also need Knytt Stories Plus (http://egomassive.com/ks/) to play this one.  If you already have KS+, be absolutely certain that the build you have is relatively recent!)



Two years ago, on this date, I started work on what may be the single most ambitious project I've ever worked on.  Deep Freeze is a huge, difficult, and wholly unique Knytt Stories experience that pushes KS and KS+ to their limits in order to produce a wild variety of challenges and puzzles.  All these puzzles are based around one distinct idea that gets changed up constantly, keeping the focus tight while making every bit of gameplay feel fresh.  I'm hoping that it pushes players just hard enough to be totally engaging, but gives them plenty of time and space to cool down, with the help of a simple, muted aesthetic, and a relaxing soundtrack composed by yours truly.


I've spent hundreds of hours designing, playtesting, and creating assets (custom objects, music, tileset adjustments, the works) for this level, and I've spoken at length in the preview thread about all the thought that's gone into designing it.  At the end of it all, I had two goals: finish something big, and create something that my friends on and away from the forum would enjoy.  I've already completed one of those goals, and for the other, well... here's to that.  Enjoy.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Fubaka on October 31, 2016, 18:28:28
At last!

I have no doubt in my mind this level will be remembered as one of the best. The lot of you are in for a real treat with this'n.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: StraightFlame on October 31, 2016, 20:43:11
Wow. I'm amazed at how... well... amazing this level is. "Will be remembered as one of the best" is a massive understatement in my opinion; the level design, visuals, and music were all much better than those in any other level i can think of.

...there were a few screw-ups that probably need to be fixed, though.
Spoiler: Happy accidents (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on October 31, 2016, 21:07:59
At last!

I have no doubt in my mind this level will be remembered as one of the best. The lot of you are in for a real treat with this'n.
Oh yeah, and this guy helped out with some of the visual stuff, too!  Mostly making varied gradients and adding light details to some of the areas.  He also did some playtesting, which is really important because I sincerely don't think this level would be as polished as it is without the input of every single playtester who ran through parts of the level.


@StraightFlame: Holy moly, you really blitzed through the thing, didn't you?  Most people took breaks when they played this level!  :P

Nevertheless, I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.  As for those small mistakes on my part...

Spoiler: Re:StraightFlame (click to show/hide)

I'll see if I can get away with a quick swap between this new version and the last (I'm hoping that no one else has downloaded the level, yet).
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: StraightFlame on October 31, 2016, 22:08:24
Spoiler: Re:StraightFlame (click to show/hide)
I just realized what the problem is: It's the artifact warp at x1004y996. There's no additional screen at x1004y1003 for when the player returns there with all 7 artifacts.

(I said "stopped working" because i assumed it just took me to the adjacent screen as if the warp didn't exist.)
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: ixMarcel on October 31, 2016, 23:07:48
I'll see if I can get away with a quick swap between this new version and the last (I'm hoping that no one else has downloaded the level, yet).
:bebisharen: ayyyyyy lmao
I'm playing through this version right now  :shifty:.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on October 31, 2016, 23:14:44
I just realized what the problem is: It's the artifact warp at x1004y996. There's no additional screen at x1004y1003 for when the player returns there with all 7 artifacts.
Oh my goodness, I can't believe I didn't think of that.  It's been fixed, now, thanks for the feedback!

:bebisharen: ayyyyyy lmao
I'm playing through this version right now  :shifty:.
No!!  Don't, it's dangerous!!
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: StraightFlame on November 01, 2016, 12:38:46
I don't really know how to say this without undermining the "omg 10/10 best level design ever" stuff from my first post, so, uh... here's a list of things.




By the way, i noticed that there's a thing at approximately x1010y998 that looks like some kind of unused test area or something like that. Is it some kind of unused test area or something like that?
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on November 01, 2016, 17:14:01
here's a list of things.
Waaaah

This is what I get for bein' rusty and making such a horrendously complex level.  Everything should be fixed, now, including one issue you didn't catch.  Also, I've updated the aforementioned "feature" to better reward skill and cleverness.

By the way, i noticed that there's a thing at approximately x1010y998 that looks like some kind of unused test area or something like that. Is it some kind of unused test area or something like that?
Spoiler: Unused Area (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: StraightFlame on November 01, 2016, 18:45:38
This is definitely, absolutely, genuinely the last bug report i'll post. I swear. You can tell because these are all from the starting area because i didn't find anything else in the other areas.

Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on November 01, 2016, 18:52:19
This is definitely, absolutely, genuinely the last bug report i'll post. I swear. You can tell because these are all from the starting area because i didn't find anything else in the other areas.
I'm just gonna' call this update 1.0.3 again
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: scratskinner on November 02, 2016, 06:23:22
How recent is "relatively recent", and what breaks if I use a KS+ that's too old?
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on November 02, 2016, 21:37:01
A nine-month old version of KS+ - version 1.2.5 - should do just fine.  Older than that, and a certain animation won't play properly.  Go even older, and you can get issues like a certain gimmick near the end of the level simply failing to work, making the level unbeatable.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Talps on November 03, 2016, 23:16:23
I started playing this evening until I ran out of time. I've found 10 creatures so far. I'm really enjoying the experience; I love the minimalist graphics and the very original COs; you've used some effects, such as fading text, that I've been wishing I had the skill for myself. Though the high difficulty may put off a lot of players, I'm loving the challenges which are fair and patient. So far it's really well designed and I'm looking forward to getting back to it.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: ixMarcel on November 05, 2016, 13:54:43
I finished playing this yesterday. It's definitely a masterpiece!

The aestethics were marvelous and the simplistic graphics fit the level perfectly. The gameplay was unique and challenging in fun ways - it's amazing how you expanded on the idea of timed shifts. I also loved the music (wish I could make such tunes myself).

The only thing I didn't enjoy as much were the hologram puzzles. They were just a bit too complicated for my taste.

Also, thanks to you I found out there's this super-useful thing called SignTrig
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on November 05, 2016, 19:45:04
The only thing I didn't enjoy as much were the hologram puzzles. They were just a bit too complicated for my taste.
Yeah, I totally understand that.  Other than the fact that the large breadth of puzzle/challenge types will definitely leave some people having difficulty with one particular part or another, I feel that certain series of those hologram puzzles ramped up faster than they should have.  Balancing and curving difficulty appropriately can be very difficult, especially with puzzles.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, though!  It's great to finally have people just playing this thing for fun.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: pfrangip on November 06, 2016, 05:24:06
I am enjoying this thoroughly! I do like how you were able to create an entirely new mechanic... it makes everything feel fresh and challenging once again!

Spoiler: (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on November 06, 2016, 05:37:06
Spoiler: Re:Stuck Pfrangip (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Talps on November 06, 2016, 17:53:38
I really enjoyed this. The first half of the game in particular I felt I would have been happy if I'd paid money for it; the quality was that good. I find it really hard to design clever puzzles and have paid for would-be puzzle games that very quickly degenerated into straightforward platforming, so making a level with so many challenges where stopping and thinking was a better option than running in and mashing the buttons is a real achievement. So well done!

The difficulty did get a bit nasty later on and there were some screens where the mid-way saves of earlier puzzles were sorely lacking. Also, the artefacts from the beginning felt completely pointless, but reading the comments here makes me wonder if they served a point which I didn't see because I had collected them.

All in all I really loved the quality and cleverness of the design, especially in the first half or two thirds. The 40-50 segment could have used a bit more polish in places to be as good, and I really liked the time challenges right at the end and would have liked to see that segment extended.

I'd like to criticise the story and will go so far as to say that more thought could have made something better, but I also recognise that that wasn't the point. I am resisting the urge to say more; suffice to say you probably know that I like plot heavy games so if the story isn't a key component I'm going to miss it.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on November 06, 2016, 21:09:48
Yeah, I definitely understand what you mean by the latter end of the game being a bit more rough.  While most of my favorite puzzles in the level are there, the pacing isn't always as stellar, which is especially because that 40-50 segment you mentioned was intended to be the most smoothly-paced part of the game.  I feel like part of this is due to the inherent complexity of the concepts at that point making for especially tough platforming, but another part of it is KS itself clearly buckling under the weight of said complexity.  Screens are static and small, and in order to stuff in a concept that requires so much room to function properly, I ended up having to really pack in certain things, and this shows with the awkward difficulty curve of some of those screens.

Nonetheless, I feel did the very best I could ensuring that stretch of gameplay was at least fairly enjoyable; I'd received a massive chunk of heart-breaking feedback from the first playtester to complete it, so I'm glad I went through, smoothed out the bumps, and then repeated the process with another tester.  It's clear that more could have been done, but my exhaustion with Deep Freeze, confusion as to how to further adjust difficult, and desire to stop sitting on it for so long, led me to release it in this state, which I'm ultimately satisfied with.  

(Sergio also mentioned feeling that the bit at the very end should have been a little longer.  In retrospect, I totally agree, but I couldn't come up with any particularly enticing ways to expand on the idea, and I was concerned that players might find it more annoying than interesting.  If nothing else, I've at least left the door open for someone else to expand on that one.)

I don't disagree that more story may have benefited the level, but I can't shake the feeling that it would have severely extended development time and may have made it difficult for me to make some of the free-form changes that I was always making to the level design.  In the future, I'd definitely like to construct a more visually and narratively* complex experience, but my goal with Deep Freeze was simply to make something big, and something fun, and I knew that simplicity would be the ideal way to keep me moving forward.  

The cyan artifacts were intended to give more experienced KS players something more interesting to focus on in the early part of the game.  Much like the story, the use of the cyan artifacts was something that succumbed to me just wanting to get the level done.  The red ones do serve a purpose, but it's very, very niche, and requires one to find a bizarrely-hidden secret.

Anyhoo.  I'm glad you enjoyed the level, and I strongly appreciate the sentiment that you'd be willing to pay money for even just some part of it.  It's a motivating thought, even if I have no intention of releasing anything commercially for quite some time.

*Apparently not a word
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: egomassive on November 10, 2016, 00:25:39
I finally finished playing it! I had to take breaks because of the difficulty, but I finally made it through. I feel this might be greatest KS puzzle level ever made. I say might because KG's Define was also really good, but it was so different from this that it's hard to compare. Congratulations on finishing it, by the way. It must feel terrific to have finally finished such a huge undertaking. I almost feel bad about what I'm about write next...
Spoiler: Bug Repot (click to show/hide)
P.S. *gives star*
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on November 10, 2016, 07:21:39
I finally finished playing it! I had to take breaks because of the difficulty, but I finally made it through. I feel this might be greatest KS puzzle level ever made. I say might because KG's Define was also really good, but it was so different from this that it's hard to compare. Congratulations on finishing it, by the way. It must feel terrific to have finally finished such a huge undertaking.
I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!  It really makes me proud to get all these wonderful comments from folks I've looked up to for ages.  Hopefully the difficulty was more satisfying to conquer than frustrating to deal with!

Define is really interesting and, yeah, totally different from Deep Freeze.  It's impressive how dynamic KG managed to make the mechanics of the level feel using shifts - I can't imagine the level of patience that must have taken for certain screens.

Moreover, I'd like to thank you personally (again) for making KS+!  The only reason the concept for Deep Freeze was even conceived was because of the tool, and its gorgeous interface made working on the level such a smooth experience.


(As for the bugs, I'll fix those up tomorrow and get a new version out relatively soon.  As I think I said earlier in this thread, Deep Freeze is insanely complex and also held together with duct tape and string, so it's not surprising that some things seep through).
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: pfrangip on November 12, 2016, 16:28:32
Just finished! Really did love the puzzles in this... it was "money-worthy," as Talps said. I appreciated how most of the puzzles were just that... puzzles... not platformer/agility skill testers but true, "Huh, what do I do here?" type puzzles. I'm not even sure how you came up with so many unique puzzles! I can't really add to what everyone else has said... the music was great in most places, I enjoyed the art style, and it really was just a lot of fun to play.

I did run into my fair share of wallswims and a few perplexing glitches, but I'll leave those to everyone else.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Purple Ink on November 19, 2016, 04:35:55
Wow. Can't really say anything that hasn't already been said. This is definitely one of the best KS levels ever made! :)
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on December 08, 2016, 02:30:27
Right, that took way longer than it should have!  Those issues Ego mentioned have been worked out, and a new, slightly updated version of Deep Freeze is now available.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Norci on December 28, 2016, 14:38:58
x1005y996 is unsolvable. Both up and left teleport things are too fast. Or is there an another way to beat the level?
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on December 29, 2016, 11:40:27
x1005y996 is unsolvable. Both up and left teleport things are too fast. Or is there an another way to beat the level?
Hmm.  I can't say I understand exactly what you're stuck on, but I assure you the screen's solvable.  There might be an element unique to this area that you've not fully grasped, yet.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Norci on December 29, 2016, 15:26:15
x1005y996 is unsolvable. Both up and left teleport things are too fast. Or is there an another way to beat the level?
Hmm.  I can't say I understand exactly what you're stuck on, but I assure you the screen's solvable.  There might be an element unique to this area that you've not fully grasped, yet.

I can't find a solution, any hints?

I cannot reach the topmost switch due to the red spike thing blocking my way when using the up teleport thing.

Also the switch to the right is too far to reach with the left teleport thing.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on December 30, 2016, 06:28:28
I can't find a solution, any hints?
Sure.

Spoiler: Hints (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Norci on December 30, 2016, 08:51:01
The problem for me is that once you teleport to the glowing beacon, it will nullify the teleport effect. So 0:24-0:26 in the video will not happen.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: ZaratUshtrA.2.0 on December 30, 2016, 16:27:13
Fantastic level, beautiful maps and awesome puzzles. I love this level  :D Thank you )))
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on December 30, 2016, 20:23:04
The problem for me is that once you teleport to the glowing beacon, it will nullify the teleport effect. So 0:24-0:26 in the video will not happen.
OH.  That's the issue!  Your KS+ is out of date!

Fantastic level, beautiful maps and awesome puzzles. I love this level  :D Thank you )))
You're welcome, and thank you for enjoying it!
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Mitorun on February 21, 2017, 04:58:32
Recently published many quality levels KnyttStories. But this level is not just good, he regained the lost sense of pleasure from the game. The beginning was exciting, more was a bit boring, but in the second half of the interest is back again, and I was afraid of the moment when the game is over. Many thanks to the author of this masterpiece. He brought the impressions for which I loved KnyttStories.

Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

P.S. I apologize in advance if the message is not clear. It has been translated by Google Translator.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on February 21, 2017, 05:04:28
That's okay, I think I get the message well enough!  I'm glad you enjoyed the level so much.  I agree that the music probably could have been a bit lengthier and perhaps more varied.  I think it's mainly an issue with the difficulty of the level; players spend long periods of time on just one screen.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: BanderAnder on February 23, 2017, 17:39:05
Amazing level!  :O I really like hard platforming so this is a real treat!

The difficulty level has a good curve in my taste, both platforming wise and puzzle wise. Its cool how the shift effect forces you to think about both timing and positioning at the same tame
I like how the sectors establishes their own kind of "genre" of challenges and does variations within it.

Its nice that you get sectors to differ in feeling even though the graphics are so minimal.
I really liked the "rain on steel tank" kinda ambience sound.
Nice music that fits perfectly!
Some songs obscure the countdown sound for the shifts, annoying at first but then I got used to it.

I havent finished the level yet and I'll savor the rest of it!  C)
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: GrayFace on August 13, 2017, 01:07:41
Incredible level!!! I didn't feel any bumps in difficulty, everything felt very polished. The only gripe I had sometimes is that I had to turn off the music to hear the teleports ticking and was forgetting to turn it back on. Speaking of which, the music is also great!

Spoiler: Bugs (click to show/hide)
BTW, maybe cyan artifacts could be traded for 1 red artifact to give them purpose?
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: Ultigonio on August 18, 2017, 22:42:56
Incredible level!!! I didn't feel any bumps in difficulty, everything felt very polished. The only gripe I had sometimes is that I had to turn off the music to hear the teleports ticking and was forgetting to turn it back on. Speaking of which, the music is also great!

Spoiler: Bugs (click to show/hide)
BTW, maybe cyan artifacts could be traded for 1 red artifact to give them purpose?

I'm glad you enjoyed it!  Part of me wants to turn the music down, but then it ends up being too quiet for general listening.  It's a shame there's not a way to duck the music while the ticks play.

Re:save point: Fair.  I'll add one there.
Re: x997y998: Wow, that's a nice find!  Unfortunately, I have absolutely no clue on how to fix it.  Any ideas?

Spoiler: Secret Bugs (click to show/hide)

Trading in the cyan artifacts wouldn't be a bad idea.  At this point, it's a bit of a struggle for me to even open up Deep Freeze, so I'm not sure I'll bother, but it's good food for thought.  
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: GrayFace on September 14, 2017, 01:12:16
Re: x997y998: Wow, that's a nice find!  Unfortunately, I have absolutely no clue on how to fix it.  Any ideas?
I think you can use a flag warp at x997y997 with a flag being set in x997y998 at position x9y0 and turned off when you go through or head back.

Trading in the cyan artifacts wouldn't be a bad idea.  At this point, it's a bit of a struggle for me to even open up Deep Freeze, so I'm not sure I'll bother, but it's good food for thought.
It would also require removing one red artifact, which isn't good.

I've been having an idea to convert Deep Freeze into a KS Ex level to fix sound issues.
Title: Re: Deep Freeze [Large] [Very Hard] [Challenge/Puzzle] [KS+]
Post by: David C on June 22, 2019, 06:14:13
i only actually started playing this level now, and i love it. 1005x966 is my favorite room so far. I have one question though, in room 996x961, is it possible to complete it if you press the button to remove the block at x=10 y=8? The intended solution is good but it feels like it would be cool if there was some super-precise jump that made it work without the extra block to jump on.