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More and more members are starting to toy around with Super Mario Flash, making the game one of the Interguild's more active areas. Browsing through the levels, however, I noticed that we need some basic instruction in how to utilize the tools given, thus creating better, more enjoyable levels. This can be done by addressing three simple points, and that is what this guide is for.
Note: More content to be be added.
The first and most important thing to remember is to be simple! Already there are too many levels that involve dozens of Bullet Bills flying from all directions while Mario has to squeeze through them to land on a tiny block that has a line of fire swinging around it. Do you see how complicated all of that even made that sentence? Be simple! I cannot stress that enough. It seems as if people are trying to merge the fitting complexity of Hannah and the Pirate Caves traps into Super Mario Flash levels--it just does not work. Those are two different games with two different mechanics. Keep it simple.
Now, realize that keeping simplicity does not necessarily relate to a level being too easy or uncreative--it merely means that you should not make the player panic due to them not knowing whether they should jump through the hoard of Boos to the left or jump on the Goombas to the right in order to dodge Bowser's blasts and all of the hammers dropping from above. Super Mario Flash levels should be smooth and understood yet all the while thrilling.
A good level is one that guides the players through without the use of a video walkthrough. If the player has no idea what to do in order to advance in your level, then you are missing the purpose of a Mario game. Mario is not an advanced and hardcore puzzle game; it is a series of fun traps and actions--nothing else. And, honestly, if the player cannot figure out what their goal is in a side-scrolling, no up and over or down and under mechanics game, then...uh...
Regarding lack of guidance, one of the main problems I see is the overuse of hidden, nonsensical Warp Points. Really, people, use a damn Pipe. Not only is searching around for invisible entrances incredibly boring, it is also incredibly annoying. Putting hidden entrances in your level nearly forces the player to stop, exit the level, and go to the level editor to find out just what it is they are supposed to be doing. That is not their job; it is yours. The only time hidden Warp Points are acceptable is when they lead to the bonus stage, but even then, do not make it utterly ridiculous to find.
Yeah, yeah, jumping on Goomba after Goomba is fun and all, but we are not on World 1 - 1 anymore. It is about time that you start getting creative with the functions of the game. Sure, we are given a limited amount of objects to use, but there are tons of ways to use those objects for new, enjoyable ideas. Repetitive levels grow tiring very easily, and no one wants to play a level that cannot give them excitement or something new. Get creative, get wacky, and give the players a good time. Now, still relating to creativity (although not necessarily important), note that the level editor supplies you with some scenery objects to put to use. Players can appreciate designers who put effort into making their levels pleasant, both in gameplay and to the eye. See what you can do with those empty tile spaces.
Now would also be a good time to talk about Hidden Blocks. Know that trapping the player with these things again and again is not creative but, in fact, entirely bland. Hidden Blocks should not be plastered excessively throughout a level. Instead, use them for occasional light traps, perhaps rendering the player from jumping when not wanted (i.e. they need a Mushroom to get past enemies instead of simply jumping over them). Get creative with them! There are more uses for Hidden Blocks than ticking off the player; start getting creative!
Example Levels: Ireland, Critter Control, In the Sky II
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