[Challenge/Scenic] [Hard] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary

  • 24 Replies
  • 2561 Views
*

Offline Vegetal Gibber

  • 655
  • 140
  • Sorry excuse for a game designer
    • View Profile
    • VG's Games Portfolio
[Challenge/Scenic] [Hard] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« on: March 21, 2018, 23:01:39 »




[ Download the level ] (file size: ~6.1MB)

[ Mirror link ]

Juni is sometimes a bit too curious for her own good. She has just become trapped in what seems to be the ruins of an old underground sanctuary. Help her find the way back to the surface and maybe find whatever it's hidden there!

"Emerald Sanctuary" is just a short and very simple adventure I decided to make on a whim before resuming work in my larger projects. It's basically a classic straightforward KS challenge level with no gimmicks (only 3 COs this time :P2 ). It features ambient music by Fubaka and custom graphics by the Nifflas community (with a few contributions from me).

Playing in KS+ enables a tint filter that makes the graphics a bit shinier, whereas playing in normal KS (or other mods) results in somewhat darker but more saturated colors, so feel free to choose whichever KS version depending on your preferences!

« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 22:34:28 by Vegetal Gibber »
Some KS levels by me:

*

Offline LPChip

  • You can only truly help other people by allowing them to fail.
  • 3425
  • 125
  • Excel at the thing you're the best at!
    • View Profile
    • LPChip Interactive
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Normal] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2018, 02:20:41 »
Those last changes look great. :)
If this post was helpful to you, please consider giving it a :hs: by pressing the on the left, above my avatar.

MODPlug Central Forum
"If I tried to kill you, I'd end up with a big fat hole through my laptop." - Chironex

*

Offline Vegetal Gibber

  • 655
  • 140
  • Sorry excuse for a game designer
    • View Profile
    • VG's Games Portfolio
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Normal] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2018, 03:15:36 »
Thanks! I ended making a separate version of the main tileset for screens with waterfalls, giving the background tiles a more washed-out look while also trying to make them not clash too much with the original tiles (used in other screens).
Some KS levels by me:

Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Normal] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2018, 05:39:08 »
Thank you for making another wonderful level, VG.  I had recently finished the quite enjoyable Next Gen Knytt DLC Pack, so I was super excited when your announcement came up since I especially love your challenge levels.  C)  Looks great, sounds great.  I couldn't find any flaws on my playthrough.  It may be short, but the challenge made it feel much bigger. 

It's not a [Normal] challenge, though.  Maybe if you're judging on the majority of the level, but if you assess based on the hardest part of the level--like the path to the umbrella--then this could even fall in the [Very Hard] range.  Secret or optional areas are usually assessed separately, of course. 

Even though you've made levels of almost every difficulty, is it tough for you to assess challenge when you're probably an expert player at this point?  It's possible that since the player-base has changed (fewer, more hardened players), level makers should alter their assessments accordingly.  Just a thought I had.

I looked at the editor to find how to unlock a secret.  I don't feel too guilty since I don't think I would have found it otherwise.   :/ But that's a secret, they're supposed to be hard to find or hard to get.

*

Offline Vegetal Gibber

  • 655
  • 140
  • Sorry excuse for a game designer
    • View Profile
    • VG's Games Portfolio
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Normal] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2018, 08:57:15 »
Thanks for the feedback! Glad you enjoyed the level :D

Yeah, I think I got a bit carried away with some of the challenges, even though I didn't intend to make a hard level this time :oops:  Maybe it's because I still have The Dithered Temple on my mind. For the time being, I've reclassified it as "Hard", which probably fits the level better.

It's actually quite hard for me to correctly assess the difficulty level when I'm designing challenges, just as you said. The same goes for puzzles and secrets. As a designer, I want to give the players a fair chance to fully complete the game without them becoming too frustrated, but as a veteran KS player, I'm always tempted to make challenges that aren't too similar to what I've already experienced myself. It's hard to balance these two sides properly, which is why I usually ask other users to betatest my levels before releasing them (as opposed to what I did with this one :P ).

Spoiler: Regarding secrets (click to show/hide)
Some KS levels by me:

Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Normal] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2018, 12:52:15 »
After replaying the level, I think the fact that I gave up to look at the editor was more on me for not being observant or exploring a bit more than on you for not telegraphing the locations of things.
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

*

Offline sergiocornaga

  • 1240
  • 130
    • View Profile
    • Sergio's Games
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Normal] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2018, 20:16:19 »
Exceptional level! I've now reached both endings. I definitely had a tough time at some points! The biggest hurdle for me was getting to the run power-up from the first save point. It took me ages to work out which of the rooms even contained a challenge I could overcome. When I did figure it out, it's still pretty hard to perform, it's a long trek to retry from the save point, and there's a 50/50 chance upon successfully overcoming the challenge that it won't even take you where you want to go! Symmetry is nice and all, but I think this might border on sadistic.

I also spotted some exceptionally minor SGEs in Scene2 of the ending: shadow tiles don't continue behind the 1-pixel gap at the edge of the wall tiles in about three places. Hopefully you still have those screens to edit, but if not, not the end of the world.

*

Offline Vegetal Gibber

  • 655
  • 140
  • Sorry excuse for a game designer
    • View Profile
    • VG's Games Portfolio
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Hard] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2018, 00:37:24 »
@Sergio: Thanks for the feedback! I think I know which room you're referring to :oops:  I've edited the screen a bit to (hopefully) prevent the player from spending too much time on the wrong path. This makes the room layout slightly less symmetrical, but I'm sure I'll learn to accept it eventually :P2  I've also fixed the SGEs you mentioned in the ending cutscenes (and a few other missing BG tiles in other screens).

@helvetzia: I added a couple detector blocks to the spot you mentioned. Thanks for the suggestion.
Some KS levels by me:

*

Offline sergiocornaga

  • 1240
  • 130
    • View Profile
    • Sergio's Games
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Hard] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2018, 09:18:03 »
Yeah, that was the room! Still pretty hard, but that is the difficulty of the level now. Do you think x998y1000 could use some detector blocks too for consistency, or is that excessive? Also, I noticed that the level seems to only be updated on Dropbox, not your own website's download link.

*

Offline Vegetal Gibber

  • 655
  • 140
  • Sorry excuse for a game designer
    • View Profile
    • VG's Games Portfolio
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Hard] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2018, 09:51:07 »
That's weird... I always upload the file to both sites each time I make an update, and the date/time for the remote and the local files seemed to match. I've uploaded it again just now, just in case. Thanks for the heads up!

Spoiler: (click to show/hide)
Some KS levels by me:

*

Offline egomassive

  • 1703
  • 233
    • View Profile
    • egomassive games
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Hard] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2018, 20:25:03 »
Nice little level. It was difficult discerning which way to go, but I made it.
Spoiler: Feed back (click to show/hide)

*

Offline Fubaka

  • 613
  • 79
  • We are the music makers.
    • View Profile
    • My Music Page
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Hard] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2018, 23:59:18 »
This was a nice little level from you, and I'm not just sayin' that cause you used my music. :P

It took me a little while to realize there was a room to the left of the starting area, as I thought for some reason that the column there was a wall. I am a fan of the auxiliary shading that you added to the tileset. It makes it look a lot more professional.

Spoiler: Gameplay points (click to show/hide)
Where is fancy bread? In the heart or in the head?

*

Offline Talps

  • 902
  • 119
  • ...especially in a life-or-death situation.
    • View Profile
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Hard] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2018, 21:54:35 »
That was fun.

Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

Having tried to make a level based around the Emerald Cave tileset myself, I got the impression you'd run up against some of its shortcomings the same as I have - for example that it's so bright, it's difficult to use it for anything... atmospheric.



On the whole though, I really enjoyed this. Short, pretty, sweet, a secret I could actually find (whilst still feeling cunning for doing so - I really liked the multiple steps thing). The challenges were mostly fun. I found the giant purple spider a bit tough but I might just be out of practice and uncoordinated. In fact, looking back, later challenges might have been harder and just didn't seem that way after I'd warmed up.

To be honest, I think I was lucky I didn't play this until you'd released a few more versions after the feedback above. Beta-testing is important!


This almost makes up for you making me wait another eight months for the NGK Boss Pack DLC maaaaaaan!
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 21:58:33 by Talps »

*

Offline zhynna

  • 17
  • 2
    • View Profile
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Hard] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2018, 06:22:36 »
Good level. Thank you. I found the crystal ;-)

*

Offline LPChip

  • You can only truly help other people by allowing them to fail.
  • 3425
  • 125
  • Excel at the thing you're the best at!
    • View Profile
    • LPChip Interactive
Re: [Challenge/Scenic] [Hard] [Small] Emerald Sanctuary
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2018, 07:49:01 »
I had to give this level a try, but that was a big mistake. I am hopelessly stuck. I am a hard difficulty player, but anything I try seems impossible.

I'm very positive I explored every possible route I can go even though I only have seen about 6 screens so far, but every jump I can make always results in death, so I'm pretty sure they are impossible.

The level looks great though...

EDIT: okay, I got past where I was stuck by using the teleport cheat. It was where these 2 creatures bounce up and you have the jump pads.

Second time I had to cheat was after you get the eye, I can't possibly make the jump back. Definitely Very Hard. I'm sure if I try it for 3000 times, I may make it, but the game just runs so fast its really hard to time, so I just give up.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2018, 08:02:21 by LPChip »
If this post was helpful to you, please consider giving it a :hs: by pressing the on the left, above my avatar.

MODPlug Central Forum
"If I tried to kill you, I'd end up with a big fat hole through my laptop." - Chironex