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created May 16
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cool first maps! always nice to see new mapmakers. I like the precision platforming style you've got going.
I have a few easy tips though to help with future maps. it's surprising how big of an impact small changes can have! (forgive me if I say things you already know, I'm hoping this serves as a guide for any other new mapmakers as well!)
(Edit: This post ended up really long! I'll understand if you don't want to read the whole thing, but definitely glance at the end trigger section, and join the discord at the bottom! If anybody else has corrections or advice, please feel free to post them! let's make this a discussion!)
end trigger (red flag):
in the base game, you'll notice that every level ends with an enemy, or a cluster of enemies (except beginner tutorial). this makes it a lot clearer where the level ends, and in some cases just feels satisfying to hit! so far you've been carefully placing the red flags the correct distance away from the end so that they work, but there's another way to use them. if you place an enemy where you want the level to end, you can place a red flag right next to it and shift-click the enemy to attach it. that way, the level will end when they hit that enemy!
Under the triggers tab in the editor there's a lot of different options on the right, but every good map has these three right at the start: Ambience, Fog, Music. Ambience is just background noise, and Music lets you pick the song that plays. Fog triggers let you change how the level looks
Fog triggers can be really complicated at first. they let you control the colors of every layer individually! However, just adding a fog trigger can make a *huge* difference in how a map looks, and therefore people's first impression of it. playing around with colors though, it can be hard to get something to look as good as the stock maps, but thankfully there's actually a quick trick to get really good fog triggers!
When you select a fog trigger in the level editor, it actually saves all the colors in a sort of clipboard, so when you go to a different map and create a new fog trigger, all the colors are there! the hard part is getting a map with a fog trigger you want to copy into the level editor. Dustmod has Editor Anywhere that makes it really easy, but even without dustmod you can move level files into the editor:
If you find your Dustforce folder, (You can get to it through Steam by right clicking the game in your library and going to Properties>Local Files > Browse Local Files), everything you can open with the editor is in the Dustforce/user/level_src folder. The stock maps are all saved in Dustforce/content/levels2. So, what you can do is copy some of the maps from levels2 into level_src and bam! easily accessible ready-made fog triggers.
one of the best ways to know what people are going to think of a map is to get someone else to try playing it while you're working on it. It's really hard to know what someone seeing the map for the first time is going to do, so that second opinion can be really valuable for adjusting the map before sending it out to everybody.
That being said, it might not always be possible to get another person to test a map, but personal testing can be just as valuable! When working on a map, play the heck out of it as much as you can. If there's a part where you feel frustrated, or you aren't having fun, odds are other people will feel the same way (Some mapmakers do that intentionally though). I'd say that most people try to play for SS, so that's probably the route that should be tested the most, but if you're a fan of any% that's okay too! In the end the most important person to please is yourself, so as long as you're having fun with it, the map's a success!
art / style:
This one is a lot more subjective than the previous tips, but it can still have a big impact for a small amount of effort. Dustforce supports 5 main level "themes": Forest, Mansion, City, Lab, and Virtual. each theme has its own set of blocks and enemies that work really well together. Using tiles and enemies from the same set can immediately make it look really good, and coupled with a fog trigger they can make a map look just as good as the base game! Personally I would say your first three maps have a kind of Virtual feel to them, but it's entirely up to you.
Overall though, if you have fun playing it, odds are other people will as well. I hope you keep making maps! If you'd like to talk more about mapmaking with people that know way more than I do, join the discord! there's a great community that would be glad to help, and a lot of people willing to playtest maps too!
Edit2: If anybody prefers videos, there are a few tutorials that go through everything a mapmaker could want to know!
IsaVulpes - Quick&Dirty Mapmaking Tutorial - 1:41:54
Riokaii - Do's and Dont's - 0:35:50
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