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Tagged: mario maker

[release] Mario Maker: The Wreck

Difficulty: very easy
Quality: ★★★★☆

I was rolling a Doom random level theme generator for speedmapping purposes, and one of the prompts it gave was “The Wreckage”. I didn’t really know how to make that in Doom in only an hour, but I did know how to make it in Mario, so I did.

The additional rules were “no monsters” and “no stairs”, so neither of those things appear in this level. It’s quick and entirely atmospheric. I like it. Though it’d be slightly better if I’d correctly named it “The Wreckage”. Oh well.

[release] Mario Maker: …

Difficulty: fairly easy
Quality: ★★★★★
Secrets: —

I removed the music and only used monochrome obstacles, with very few actual enemies. No pickups, no secrets. It’s short, linear, pretty easy, entirely thematic.

The result is interesting.

[release] Mario Maker: The Works

Difficulty: fairly easy
Quality: ★★★★★
Secrets: 🍄🍄🍄🍄🍄🍄

This is great. I put a lot of effort into polishing it. I even set it aside for a while because I wasn’t happy with it, then came back and fixed it.

It’s fairly long, but doesn’t have any particularly tricky parts. Pretty atmospheric, I hope. Not all of the 1-ups are hidden, and not all of the hidden details are 1-ups.

I don’t even want to say anything more about it; I feel like I’ll ruin it. Just play it.

[release] Mario Maker: Purgatory

Difficulty: fairly easy
Quality: ★★★☆☆
Secrets: 🍄🍄🍄🍄

I had three hours left at the end of a night, and I decided to use them to speed-map a Mario level. Two hours later, I had this. It’s fairly simple and straightforward as a result, but still a fun quick romp.

The theme is fairly shallow: there’s a “heaven” overworld and a “hell” subworld, and you shift back and forth a couple times on your way through the level.

I watched someone try to speedrun it shortly after I uploaded it, and I was delighted to see that they managed to skip the hell area entirely. Seems appropriate.

[dev] Weekly roundup: not much

This month’s theme is game dev, and the major project is my text adventure, Runed Awakening.

I got knocked a bit off course by accidentally watching some Discworld specials and sleeping through all of Saturday because my cat is a jerk. I’m hoping that writing this now will help nudge me back into a more productive mindset.

  • Runed Awakening: Made some huge improvements to AI, which is surprisingly tricky, so I’m always happy when it works out. Fleshed out more stuff in the start area, started adding some tester amenities, and fixed bunches of bugs. There’s some more to do with what I have, but I’m currently a bit blocked on planning out the middle of the game, which I want to have some intertwining side stories. So I did a lot of thinking without necessarily making much progress, which is annoying. Hoping to get closer in the next few days.

    The game is pretty story-driven, being a text-based game, but it’s also a pretty shallow story — neither the player nor the universe are in imminent danger or anything nearly so dramatic. I considered trying to make it a little heavier at the end, but I think that would feel pretty tacked-on. I’d rather try to get this out sooner and do something bigger for a second game. I just hope people enjoy this one? I realize I’ve never actually published a creative work, so I’ve been anxious on and off.

  • art: I drew a Delibird and it’s okay though I’m still not happy with the way I do outlines. Also this Friskeon. And a lot of doodling. I think I’ve managed to draw for at least an hour every day this week, which I’d like to keep up. Still frustrated, though; I’m painfully aware that I only know how to draw a few body shapes in a few general poses, and I’m trying to branch out from that, and it’s all stuff I’ve never tried before so it comes out awful. So it goes.

  • music: Something I want to learn how to do. I toyed around with LMMS a bit and made a few notes that aren’t entirely terrible. A huge problem here is that even if I think of something I like, I can’t transcribe it correctly, and after hearing the wrong thing a few times I’ve forgotten what the original thought was. Next time I give this a shot I might just practice transcribing tunes I already know very well, like Zelda melodies.

  • spline: Fixed some fallout from CSRF protection, whoops.

  • flora: Mel wants to design a card game, and I’ve been helping plan that.

  • blog: Worked on this month’s posts some, but I hate everything I wrote and will probably delete most of it. We’re halfway through the month already so I really need to get these done, ugh.

[dev] Weekly roundup: makin’ games

Here we go — the first weekly status post, Sunday to Saturday.

This month’s theme is game dev, and the major project is my text adventure, Runed Awakening.

Also I’m going to try picking a major project to focus on each month, along with a general theme that will direct minor projects I work on when I get bored or stuck on the major project.

  • blog: Wrote a new post about, I guess, boobs. Added this ‘dev log’ category, and seeded it with posts about all my Mario Maker levels — big high-quality screenshots and a few paragraphs of what I was thinking. Started taking notes for blog posts for this month, which I think might end up being a three-part series on getting into Doom mapping.

  • Mario Maker: Made and released Pipe Dream. Went through and played through all the levels several of my friends have made, leaving doodle comments on all of them. (The Miiverse drawing interface is super primitive — only one level of undo — so this was surprisingly difficult!) Made a level called The Works, but I’m not super happy with it and think it has a lot of filler, so I’m sitting on it and will revisit it next time I play.

  • spline: Did that stuff for Sketch. Later I went back and improved the YouTube embed support a little, finally fixed thumbnails being shown using full-size images rather than actual thumbnails (oops…), and updated forbiddenflora to take some recent CSS changes into account.

  • art: Drew a Psyduck petting a cat for @sarahjeong. Did a lot of doodling, but none of it came out very well; been having this problem a lot lately, ugh. Also I realize I haven’t actually been posting any art on here since it’s much more of a pain in the ass than just dragging something to the Twitter web interface, but I’ll make an effort to do art roundups every so often.

  • Runed Awakening: I recently rearranged the entire world and have been dealing with a lot of fallout from that. The intro sequence saw a lot of improvement, as did some AI. (I’m being intentionally vague since it’s a story/puzzle game and I don’t want to spoil it. This is driving me up the wall.)

Back to doodling!

[release] Mario Maker: Pipe Dream

Difficulty: easy
Quality: ★★★★☆
Secrets: 🍄🍄🍄🍄

I bumbled upon a pipe-themed level while playing 100 Mario Challenge, and decided I wanted to do one. Unfortunately I hit the warp pipe limit much earlier than I’d expected, so it’s only partially pipe-themed. Still, I’m pretty happy with it.

I keep trying to make levels that are easier, more interesting, and less linear, and I think this is the first time I really feel like I hit that mark. I only spent a few hours on it, too.

[release] Mario Maker: Mount Erebus

Difficulty: fairly easy
Quality: ★★★☆☆
Secrets: 🍄🍄A + trick to make the boss easier

There’s a story behind this.

I was bored and wanted to make a Mario level, so I asked Mel to pick a tileset. They said castle. So I made a castle level.

I didn’t say it was a very good story.

I’m a little unhappy that you can get hurt with little warning in a couple places, but I think it’s balanced out by how short the level is.

If you’re curious, this is named after a level from the original Doom, which in turn is named after the southernmost mountain on Earth.

[release] Mario Maker: Free Will

Difficulty: entirely in your hands
Quality: ★★★☆☆
Secrets: 🍄🍄

I want to call this “experimental”, but then, aren’t all of these experimental?

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is games where the plot isn’t actually necessary. The world isn’t ending, your life isn’t in danger, it’s just a fairly standard story. And the game never explains why the protagonist needs to do it. It’s just taken for granted that the protagonist wants to go through the story, because that’s how games work.

(I can’t actually think of examples of this off the top of my head, now, but I know I’ve run into it.)

Of course, players tend not to notice this, because the entire point of playing a game is to do the thing that the game offers. So sometimes that’s the only reason the protagonist wants to do it: because the player wants to do it. Because it’s a game, and if you didn’t do it, there’d be no point.


Here is a completely trivial level. You can just immediately run to the goal. The point of Mario games is to reach the goal, right? There’s nothing stopping you here.

Or is the point to enjoy the experience of traversing a level? If you do that and enjoy yourself, even though none of it got you any closer to the goal, didn’t the level still serve its purpose?

Up to you!

[release] Mario Maker: Cookie Dough

Difficulty: fairly easy
Quality: ★★★★☆
Secrets: 🍄🍄🍄🍄

Vanilla Dome has a cool aesthetic and an unusual style — you navigate up and down through caverns, rather than mostly to the right as is common in Mario. I tried to capture some of that here.

This was the first time I tried to do any real narrative things with the detailing in the level. Not some grand coherent plot; just little hints that life is happening here and it’s not necessarily centered around you. I love that in games.

There are also quite a few branching paths, which is a little difficult to cram into Mario Maker where the world can only be two screens tall. Jamming in a lot of secrets made it even harder, but I managed. See if you can find them all! No backtracking required, I think.

There’s a boss battle at the end, though the solution is unfortunately not as obvious as I’d hoped. A surprisingly tricky problem is finding ways to force the player to actually beat the boss, rather than scurry past it. (I’m not sure anyone has picked up on what the boss is, either.) It’s a real shame, because it feels clumsily tacked onto the end of what is otherwise a pretty nice level.

Overall I think this could use a little bit more cohesion, but I’m pretty happy with it.

[release] Mario Maker: Tiny–Huge Island

Difficulty: medium, has some annoying spots
Quality: ★★★☆☆
Secrets: 🍄🍄🍄🍄

I love any kind of parallel-areas gimmick, and since you can make large versions of basically any critter in Mario Maker, it was begging for this. It’s named for a world in Mario 64, which I played only briefly but found memorable anyway.

It’s surprisingly difficult to come up with puzzles that actually require large monsters, and even harder to come up with ones that require small monsters. In the end, I think all but one of the puzzles can be solved in either world, though one way is always considerably easier than the other. I like alternate solutions, and heavily dislike when game designers add obvious artificial roadblocks to seal off alternate solutions, so I’m fine with this.

There are some places that are a little harder than they ought to be, which is a shame, but it’s my most popular level nonetheless. I’m itching to make a sequel, but this was incredibly tedious to do, because you can’t actually copy anything across areas. All of it was done manually.

[release] Mario Maker: Spoopy Manor

Difficulty: slightly tricky, not in a good way
Quality: ★★★☆☆
Secrets: 🍄🍄 + “secret exit”

Boo houses are cool. Mario Maker adds a Boo house theme for the classic Mario tileset. Awesome.

I tried to make this moderately confusing and weird, as Boo houses ought to be. I think I may have overshadowed that a little bit with some annoying jumps into Boo circles, though. And unfortunately this predates checkpoints, though it direly needs one.

Still, I enjoy playing it just for the strange environment, so maybe you will too.

[release] Mario Maker: Test Flight

Difficulty: tricky, not in a good way
Quality: ★★☆☆☆
Secrets: 🍄🍄🍄

This is my first Mario level, hence the title. It… is not particularly great.

The concept was okay: you start out in what seems like a cheerful easy level, then you suddenly hit a wall. You have to go down a pipe to progress, and surprise! It’s not so cheery any more.

Unfortunately it’s a bit worse than “not cheery”; it’s cramped and kind of annoying. The original idea was actually worse than how it came out — I’d intended that you have to cross the entire second area, get a cape upgrade, and then backtrack without losing the cape. You need the cape to reach the exit, so if you lost it, you were screwed. I found out that you could actually skip all the backtracking pretty easily, and I was relieved enough that I left it in.

Suffice to say, I would do this very differently if I did it again now.