Scintillating

by DoughNation
created Sep 24, 2014
Leaderboards
366 views | 408 downloads

Rating
/ 24 votes

Difficulty
/ 11 votes

Tags
mansion stars

map notes
Thanks bengarrr, shurykan, and other people who advised during the creation of this map
edited Nov 9, 2016

33 comments

Jvcpro
said Sep 24, 2014
the arrows were very essential for figuring out the optimal route.
bengarrr
said Sep 24, 2014
I watched this from its inception in the foreground of dough's flour-ishing imagination. I watch as it took form and shape as dough meticulously rolled it into perfection. This is no half-baked masterpiece, it has fully risen to the occasion. I have witnessed greatness!
DoughNation
said Sep 24, 2014
Thanks, I'm not sure how to make watching me make maps interesting but I'm glad you enjoyed it
Morelia
said Sep 24, 2014
Can't say I'm very fond of this concept of intentional misdirection.
archmage84
said Sep 24, 2014
This has to be one of the least flowing custom maps I've ever played.
Antinumeric
said Sep 24, 2014
I particularly liked the arrow pointing to the gigawalls leading to an apple.
TheBadger
said Sep 24, 2014
Countless puppies were harmed in the making of this map
DoughNation
said Sep 24, 2014
All because you wouldn't provide more pics
Brudish
said Sep 24, 2014
I... uh... what?
Brudish
said Sep 24, 2014
This map is like a case study in bad level design. It's a perfect, flawless butterfly that has a picture of Dickbutt on its wings.
bengarrr
said Sep 24, 2014
How exactly? I might be biased because I watched him make it, so I already knew where to go, but I've noticed over the past few years there's a huge stigma here on atlas for anyone who doesn't just follow the same old formula of: (slope boost -> disjoint section -> slope boost -> disjoint section -> slop boost -> zetta climb -> goto line 1) iterate until end flag. So I don't necessarily see how this is "a case study in bad level design" if it is simply not following the formula.  The formula is not bad, it produces a ton of quality maps, but I think people on here are conditioned to expect it, and any map that challenges people in a more cerebral way instead of a reflexive way, gets the old "this sucks, never do it again!" response. Which I think is totally unfair and discourages experimentation with the level design. I mean don't you ever get tired of just going fast? Also if its so bad, maybe some constructive criticism  would be more productive than just saying "dickbutt."
Brudish
said Sep 24, 2014
At first I thought you were joking or trying to get my goat or something, but I'll lay it out, piece by piece. I'm not upset over this map or anything. I found it really funny when I played it because it really seems like it's done intentionally poorly (and that's funny to me).

1.) Intentional misdirection with the arrow is clearly there to divert the player to the incorrect route.
2.) The weird fake "dust" on the giga walls throws the player off.
3.) The fake fourth pillar along the giga walls distracting the player is intentionally misleading.
4.) The camera when the player climbs upward from the beginning doesn't begin to track or assert itself as the correct path until after the player has already collected the dust along the left wall.
5.) The gargoyle floating out in nowhere seems to suggest the forward path more than continuing upward, causing the player to fall into the abyss.
6.) At the end of the ceiling run section, there are about four different directions the player's attention is drawn to with dust, and the correct path isn't immediately easy to spot.
7.) The wall to the right of the maid up there is just outside of Dustman's jump height, forcing a double jump, but it's extremely awkward.
8.) I had no idea if I was supposed to climb up the wall past the next maid to reach the gargoyle. I opted for moving down instead, again a camera tracking issue.
9.) There's dust underneath the dustblocks, forcing you to retraverse the path or maybe use super? I can't even tell.
10.) It's not clear which path you're supposed to fall down to reach the final platform.
11.) There's dust on both walls beside the blind drop to the end that you will probably miss because you're fastfalling. Either that or you'll blow super and have to manually defeat the enemies at the bottom. It's weird.

These criticisms aren't really an issue though, because it seems obvious that the map was made purposely (at least I hope it was purposely) bad. None of the criticisms are about a lack of formula, but there are elements to level design that are completely neglected here that should be top priority for any level: clear direction through camera and obstacle placement, not obfuscating the path, placing the obstacles in a coherent layout. You can still fuck that up while having a slope boost -> disjoint -> zetta climb. Nothing I'm criticizing is about lack of formula, it's about working against the player. I didn't give constructive criticism before because I legitimately thought this map was a joke. I thought you guys were intentionally joking. Does that help?
DoughNation
said Sep 24, 2014
1-4: Intended, Matt Bush feeds on the tears of the damned.

5: It serves different purposes depending on whether or not you are going for SS. I could have worked harder to make it seem intuitive for the former but that's still kind of subjective.

6. This one is my bad, I removed a couple things that suggested "left" in the process of making the level doable for all characters

7. This one is going to be a difference of opinion, because not only do I not find a double jump as Dustman not awkward, but it is also even the intended thing to do.

8. My bad again. I got my fill of wrestling with the camera when designing the Matt shrine so I just set it on Free for most of the actual level. I decided against putting dust on the wall because characters wallrun at different points but in retrospect that was a mistake.

9. Intended, I think this is a lot more obvious if you've played one of my previous levels, but it is there to suggest that you backtrack (and in doing so, guide you toward the end).

10. Once again my mistake which really only could have been solved with cameras. I was hoping 9) was enough.

11. This one is interesting because it is my mistake once again, but this time, not for the reason that you believe. I wanted to force people to blow their supers to clean the wall dust so that they would have to kill the end enemies with attacks since the level seemed like a very Dustworth affair, and long falls + heavy cancels are a good way to tax him. But it turns out that you can get it all with one super (oops). Regardless, I don't find my originally intended way weird; it could just be a difference of opinion again.

I'm not going to argue that Scintillating isn't bad, but calling it a "case study in bad level design" I will disagree with since this map plays too smoothly for that. I have other maps that do that better.
Brudish
said Sep 24, 2014
First off, I want to make it clear I'm not trying to rag on you that hard. But you made some solid mistakes in this and you recognize it.

1-4 are indeed hilarious intentional misdirection.
5 isn't subjective though: the player isn't lead towards the correct route either through camera or through dust. The area was not effectively implemented.
7 is more about the single tile notch out of the corner there giving - me, anyway - the impression that I was supposed to single jump up there. It may not have been intentional misdirection, but it hit me as such.
9 is mostly a problem because I wasn't sure what the proper path was from the gargoyle floating above the maid, which I only found by searching around the level on my first playthrough trying to find a path. If you had a well-defined track, I can see this technique working.

So yeah, sorry if you feel like I'm beating you down, but there's a lot of problems with this level! I thought you were joking. Sorry that you were serious about it, as I'm not trying to be mean, but the mistakes you made were seemingly intentionally bad. It's rare to be put in a situation that's so intentionally punishing and not feel like somebody's egging you on. It's not a matter of "going against the grain," it's meeting basic gameplay and functionality requirements that support the player. You can support the player's goals while still challenging them, the form, or the medium.
Riokaii
said Sep 24, 2014
check out most of my recent maps, They do not utilize slopeboosts or zetta slopes much at all (except for the level "Mode")

I wasn't told a single time "don't do this again"

There is no conspiracy, theres no formula required by atlas you must follow. There are basics of good level design. This level would be fine if it was made a lot clearer, and would probably be pretty fun and well recieved, and it has no slopeboosts or zetta slopes. It is being met with critisism because of the basic and standard design elements that it fails to meet.
bengarrr
said Sep 24, 2014
Wasn't saying all good levels are formulaic, just a lot of formulaic levels are regarded as such. I was saying a lot of levels and some highly lauded ones, tend to have a particular formula. I wasn't saying the formula defines all good levels on atlas. Or that the praise of the formula defines the community.

Just pointing out that because of this formula, or as you say "basic and standard design elements", there is friction a lot of times. Some people seem to expect a path to be laid in front of them. It's seems sort of arbitrary to say a level has to meet some criteria before it can be considered to have the "basic" features of a "good" or "functional" level.

Maybe I just have different tastes, but I don't mind levels that force me to play them several times before I even discover the actual route (not just the optimal one). Bad levels for me, are levels that prohibit a player's choice between right and wrong decisions (not just the distinction).
edited Sep 24, 2014
Brudish
said Sep 25, 2014
It feels like you're just talking around us at this point. You said in your first post, "but I've noticed over the past few years there's a huge stigma here on atlas for anyone who doesn't just follow the same old formula of:" and proceeded to mention some standard obstacle chain. But then you say in this one, "Just pointing out that because of this formula, or as you say "basic and standard design elements", there is friction a lot of times." And there's clearly a misunderstanding here.

The "formula" you mentioned in the first post and the "formula" you mention in the second post are not the same thing in the slightest. The first one is a chain of obstacles, the second is apparently what I'm referring to, which are considerations to support gameplay. These are two very different issues. Imagine a level where the camera is zoomed in so far that all you can see is the character and in order to complete the map you have to just wander around, looking for the single hole in the spikes to fall through. I guess you could say you enjoy the map, but realistically and by looking at every other map in the game and every expectation about what a level provides the player so that they can play it within certain boundaries, players a probably not going to like the map.

However, and this is a caveat I've been saving until the end, if the level is made clearly with the gimmick in mind and developed around that thought and then supported, so that an entirely new experience is crafted for the player and -  here's the important part - presented as such, then it's difficult to find fault in it differing from the standard course. It's difficult to find fault because you've developed your constraints and worked with them and presented them so that the player is aware of what you're trying to do. You're still supporting the player, oh look at that.

Anyway, when we talk about good level design, we're talking about making sure the player understands what is required of them. If you're not doing that, you're failing as a presenter. Do you get angry when you try to explain something to someone and they're not understanding it because you're not explaining it very well? How is it their fault that you're not communicating in a manner that they can comprehend? Hint: it isn't.
bengarrr
said Sep 25, 2014
Some levels are formulaic. Their formula is not mutually exclusive to some set of "basic design elements."

Sorry, I made it seem like I was talking about them as the same set, my bad. My point is you can't arbitrate some strict or loose set of design rules that a level must follow. And supporting player presumptions is just as arbitrary. What constitutes "considerations to support gameplay?" You can't define that, as soon as you do you limit what you're perceiving about what's being presented. It's like walking up to a Picasso and saying its bad because its not like a Botticelli.

But I agree with you that a level must be presented in a rational way, that develops the player's expectations of that particular level, *especially* when it tries to force a player away from all presumptions. I felt the level did that, for the most part. It shouldn't be required of a level to have a clear path or not be misleading, as your first few criticisms suggest.

I assumed your criticisms meant that levels have to conform to some presupposed expectation of the player, specifically because most of your criticisms dealt with your expectations of the level i.e. you expected the level to support you being able to super to finish the final enemies. Or your criticism about how the first gargoyle made you fall into the abyss. When you say there is a lot of problems with the level, but list out a bunch of your expectations that it didn't fulfill or how you were intentionally misled, doesn't really constitute a bad design, in fact that means the design did exactly what it wanted. It subverted the common tropes you see in maps, like always using your super to finish the final grouping of enemies (although it ended up still being possible) or dust clearly designating the right way to go (or even the right way to collect it) or jumps not being awkward. Part of the point of the map (at least from my perspective as an observer not the actual designer), was to force you to critically think about the most optimum path, specifically because it's not immediately explicit from the placement of enemies and/or dust. But I do sympathize with your point about the gargoyle above the maid, as there was no way to glean he was there.

So if a level simply does not present itself explicitly, is that bad design? Of course not, it's just different. My allusion to some "formula," was meant to illustrate the fact that a lot of  levels are very explicit with how you should go about going through them. And it seems that's where most of your criticisms lie, in that the level wasn't explicit enough or it was confusing. Also why does a level have to design around its gimmick? Why does it have to be presented explicitly as such? Can't the gimmick be designed to made emergent from the level? The fact that you had all these expectations about normal levels and had them challenged in the level was the gimmick, no?

Hint: Don't be patronizing it doesn't help your argument.
Probably not Towelie
said Sep 26, 2014
Sheesh, stop with the novels guys it's hurting my eyes. Also bengarr, don't get so crazy, we get you liked the map. Brudish is not being patronizing, only voicing what many other people did not like about the level. I do not think it is good level design to intentionally mislead the player, I don't know why you would but I don't pretend to know what people want on here, all I do is say what "I" think and that is what Brudish is doing. Don't know why  anyone would get heated about this considering there are so many joke comments.














Hint: D&.
DoughNation
said Sep 27, 2014
I can only hope that your comment telling me to get off the atlas was also a "joke comment"

@brudish, 5 is subjective with respect to the positioning of the gargoyle, i.e. at which point it becomes "okay" - I've used it in other unpublished maps and the feedback has been usually mixed
Brudish
said Sep 27, 2014
If it was clear that the path continued upward either via camera or dust, 5 is fine. That's mostly what I was getting at.
Probably not Towelie
said Sep 27, 2014
Where did I tell you to get off the atlas?
DoughNation
said Sep 27, 2014
Maybe directly below where you tell me to never make maps like these again when you're already well acquainted with the fact that all I do is make gimmick maps? When all you give me to work with is disparaging the map as "terrible" and "disgusting" even an idiot like me is smart enough to put two and two together, bud.
Probably not Towelie
said Sep 27, 2014
Well dough, I've seen good maps from you, and I've seen bad maps but that certainly does not mean I want you to "get off the Atlas". I'd rather you just make gimmick maps that aren't a pain to complete (not, mind you because of difficulty but because of the gimmicks). The disgusting was most certainly a joke and you seem to have taken it that way at first, or not. Regardless, you are the one who uploaded a video to help people with cameras then turned around and make a level extremely cryptic by locking cameras and hiding enemies. Seems odd.
To show what I mean I'll include a screenshot of such places:
First example shows the beginning.
http://postimg.org/image/cwbbymwv1/
As you can see, the camera does not follow the player until he had gone out of the frame. By the arrow pointing to fake dust, all it does is make me think something is missing after the giga walls. At least it was at the beginning so it was not that bad.
http://postimg.org/image/3rele9nf5/
This one shows the lone gargoyle that makes you believe you have to cross the gap, a camera lock that only allows you to see it and go up would have been best in my opinion.
This next one shows just how I thought about this part:
First you come across the dust on the wall and the dust maid and gargoyle.
http://postimg.org/image/hmupl2xnn/
 I thought you go around the block collecting the dust on the wall and ceiling and then go to the dust on the right. At the top I found the other dust maid so I hit her and fell to the dust on the right continuing on not knowing there was a gargoyle above.
http://postimg.org/image/t1nshtkoz/
A small bit of dust or a larger camera is definitely needed here because I played through the level roughly 20 times wondering if I missed dust on another part, for example if the three gargoyles on the far right lead to something else? Or maybe there was something after the last two enemies I needed to clear? To me it was a bad choice of camera placement that made the level bad. I don't care about the dust on either wall making you lose super so you have to kill enemies manually, nor the out of the ordinary path. Now, I don't claim to be an expert on camera placement, but I'm quite sure this map does not have good camera placement. The only reason you and bengarr don't agree is because you both had knowledge of the route before hand. You knew where to go from the get go and that is something you should take into account later on. Not sure why this has turned in to a super crazy debate because the problem is so simple and easily fixed. Cameras. Also, I apologize for the: "this map is terrible" comment, it was a product of frustration that I will try to keep in check for the future.
bengarrr
said Sep 27, 2014
Heated? Brudish and I's comments looked pretty tame. Answering your own rhetorical question is semi patronizing. Also you should probably go read those novels, as everything you just stated was pretty much discussed in dough and brud's first exchange.

P.S. For posterity's sake, I just want to state on record that I have no qualms here. People didn't like the map (totally fine), I simply wanted to open a dialogue about why (I thought some of the hate was unjustified), because I actually enjoyed it.
Probably not Towelie
said Sep 27, 2014
My comment was meant to draw attention to what I myself was unhappy with "in the level", seeing as dough believes I have some sort of vendetta against him.
Probably not Towelie
said Sep 24, 2014
Can we agree this is disgustingly deceptive and never do it again?
voxanimus
said Sep 24, 2014
like 50% of dough maps are like this tho
DoughNation
said Sep 24, 2014
I solemnly elect to not rescind the opposite action of declining the reverse inclination to discontinue the creation of similar maps in the future.
doicm
said Sep 24, 2014
Where's the unpublished unofficial creed/guide to mapmaking that we vowed to uphold?
NoobSlayer
said Sep 25, 2014
the alternating mattfaces gave me a seizure
invert
said Sep 25, 2014
scintillating indeed
Probably not Towelie
said Sep 25, 2014
Yep even after getting SS this level is terrible.

Please log in or register to post a comment.