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nifflas.ni2.se  |  Nifflas' Support Forum  |  Temporary  |  Knytt Stories Level Releases  |  Topic: [Environmental/Challenge] [Easy] [Small] Curse of the Catacombs « previous next »
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Author Topic: [Environmental/Challenge] [Easy] [Small] Curse of the Catacombs  (Read 12060 times)
Vegetal Gibber


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« on: September 06, 2015, 00:24:30 »


Type: Environmental/Challenge
Difficulty: Easy
Size: Small

[ Download link ]

This is mostly an environmental level with a side of exploration-based challenge (just power-up collecting and some platforming, no enemies/traps) and a dark/creepy theme. It also features a simple story with two different endings, although only one of them will reveal the details.

This level was inspired on the awesome (but unfortunately abandoned) "Valley of Dry Bones" community tileset project, which I have extended with extra wall/ground tiles, shadows and some other additions. I've attached the modified tileset to this post, feel free to download and use it in your own projects. Note that there are still a few empty tiles, so there's a bit of room for further additions.

It runs in vanilla KS with no mods, but KS+ with single-pass rendering enabled is recommended for the best experience.

Spoiler: Credits (click to show/hide)

Spoiler: Screenshots (click to show/hide)

Hope you guys enjoy it. Any feedback would be appreciated!

« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 19:04:54 by Vegetal Gibber » Logged

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egomassive


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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2015, 04:52:03 »

Terrific level! My favorite part was the little red CO that worked with the skull terrain. I struggled a while with that terrain when I drew it, and I was never completely happy with the end product. You made it and all the other pieces of that abandoned tileset shine. There were may great spooky ideas here, and you made it all in such a short time. I'm impressed.
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plural


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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2015, 09:19:12 »

Really nice little level, great small graphical touches that give a remarkable amount of atmosphere to the level. Also, even for the static nature of the cutscenes in the game, the intro cutscene had a nice fluidity to the movement, so to speak, from frame to frame.
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sergiocornaga
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2015, 12:50:39 »

This level is a real treat. I too thought the opening cutscene was great, the sound effects made it so dynamic. I loved where you hid the blue key, and that maze of spinal cords at the end was fantastically creepy.

It doesn't matter too much, but your use of the big bones in the tileset is a little inconsistent. Sometimes they're solid and sometimes they're not without visual differentiation. Speaking of those bones, one of the tiles (second row, middle) has a black line on the right side despite having a crack in it. I think this might be an unintentional error from when Polana was working on it since that line used to be right up against a dark brown blank tile, meaning I didn't notice it until now. Unless you like how it looks, I think you could get away with fixing it yourself.

I also would have liked to have seen collisions for the spinal cords that better matched how the tiles looked. You might have noticed that in an earlier version of the tileset, I made an invisible collision tile for this purpose that I now kind of wish had stuck around (since the makeshift collisions I added directly to the spinal cord tiles aren't quite adequate sometimes). It's possible implementing something like this would mess up some of your platforming challenges, though.

I also found that I saw occasional flashes even though I was using KS+ with single-pass rendering. What's up with that (egomassive)?
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egomassive


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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2015, 13:59:06 »

I also found that I saw occasional flashes even though I was using KS+ with single-pass rendering. What's up with that (egomassive)?
I've come to believe that the underlying engine has some sort of multi-threading behavior which allows it to give inconsistent results. However it works, there is no documentation to clue in programmers, so we have to do ugly things to make it behave itself. The Custom Objects are an add-on which is also a black box to programmers. Their inner-workings are unknowable and unchangeable. In short, I did my best.
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LPChip
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2015, 16:29:50 »

Played the level, as it was labeled easy and small. Fun level. Found 2 keys, but never was able to use them. Did a bit more exploring after ending, but only found one ending.
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Comhon


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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2015, 20:35:45 »

I enjoyed playing this level. Great work!
There is a really good atmosphere, during playing I really felt being in a big catacomb maze and having no way out...
Spoiler: ending (click to show/hide)
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Vegetal Gibber


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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2015, 23:18:19 »

Thanks for the feedback and the kind words, guys!

@egomassive: I'm happy I could give this great tileset a chance :) I started this as a side project, but I ended focusing almost entirely on this until it was done, so development went surprisingly quick. Gotta act when inspiration strikes :P2

@plural: Glad you liked the cutscene :) I took a similar approach before in the secret ending of Tomatoes, but this is the first time I used it in a more elaborate story. It's hard for me to do proper narrative in English, so I prefer this wordless way to convey the story.

@sergiocornaga: It's true that climbing on the spine tiles feels a bit "floaty" due to the full tile collision mask. I did see your post about the invisible tile, but I found about it after I had finished building the level. I'll probably address this on a future update, when I get the chance. I can also use the empty space on the tileset to create background versions of the bones, to make the experience more consistent.

@LPChip: Glad you gave it a try! Here's how you can get the second ending, if you're interested:

Spoiler: "Truth" ending (click to show/hide)

@Comhon: Thanks, atmosphere was my main focus here, so it's nice to know I succeeded in making the player feel that way :D

« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 03:14:00 by Vegetal Gibber » Logged

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Fubaka
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2015, 04:38:59 »

This is about as effective a use for that unfinished bones tileset as I could have imagined.

Lovely atmosphere as usual! You always know how to deliver on those COs! Great level design as well!

I'm glad the level wasn't Challenge based, apart from whatever jumps need performing. The spookiness is further solidified because of it.

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Vegetal Gibber


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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2015, 11:59:43 »

Thanks Fubaka, glad you enjoyed the level :)

I was tempted to include a few actual challenges on the second ending path, but I decided against it for the same reason you explained. Having the character die multiple times and come back instantly with no consequences would pretty much cancel the effect of the spooky atmosphere.

Spoiler: Second ending bug (click to show/hide)

I noticed the contradiction with the water right after posting the level on the board, and boy, did I feel stupid! :P2  I chose to leave it as is for now, but I'll probably replace that water with a different type and block the access in the revised version, to make it feel more consistent.
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2015, 14:47:33 »

Well, I enjoyed the level. I loved the opening cutscene (I especially liked the pixel art of the wet Juni staggered against a bone.) but I was unimpressed with the level design at first. However, there's a certain amount of "creepy tension" that builds throughout the level, and culminating in the "secret" ending that scared me a bit. I really enjoyed the COs, I also really liked how you had the red detector going off in the secret path. The atmosphere was clearly the best part of this level, and since that's what you were going for, I think you definitely succeeded.
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Vegetal Gibber


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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2015, 00:06:47 »

Thanks for the feedback!

Spoiler: About the red light (click to show/hide)
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Talps


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« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2015, 18:48:44 »

That was fun, and looked fantastic! I loved all the COs in this; they added a huge level of depth and immersion.

I found all 4 keys and the secret ending easily enough, which doesn't bother me; I quickly run out of patience in levels where the secrets are too arbitrarily hidden (Fubaka, that passage you complained about in 'Dragon Myth' is clearly marked if you come at it from the right angle!)

I especially loved the hidden door; I felt like a genius when I found that! 8D

Actually I have one complaint. I got the blue key with only the double-jump; I got into its hiding place easily but getting out again was so hard that I almost gave up on the level, thinking I was actually trapped.

Also, like Sergio said, I was disappointed by the collision of the spines, though I sympathise that that's a really hard problem to rectify. If it were me I probably would have left then as they were and let the player struggle up them, though perhaps yoursd the better solution.

On the other hand, I loved how you used the red sensor blocks in the secret passage.

All in all I thought the level was great. :D Well done!
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 18:57:22 by Talps » Logged

Vegetal Gibber


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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2015, 10:11:57 »

Glad you liked the level, Talps :) Thanks for the feedback.

Based on what you and Fubaka said, I think I'm going to modify the access to the blue key a bit so that area cannot be reached without using the umbrella. Seems like it's just too tempting for experienced players to try and get in there as soon as possible X) This should prevent situations like the one you described, and also fix the issue with the umbrella in the "Truth" ending.

I think I can modify the collision mask on the spine tiles using invisible pixels to improve the climbing without resorting to invisible objects. I'll try this in version 2.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 10:55:12 by Vegetal Gibber » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2015, 11:48:52 »

I think I can modify the collision mask on the spine tiles using invisible pixels to improve the climbing without resorting to invisible objects. I'll try this in version 2.

OK, but keep in mind that the spine tiles already have an invisible collision mask. There's not a lot you can do to it other than extending parts of it out by a few pixels so that the entire thing is one straight line, but given how curvy the spine tiles are, Juni will still often look like she's climbing on air.
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