1 (edited by Dave 2005-12-22 18:25:26)

Topic: Freestyle training course

Hi, as some of you know, I started making some levels over the summer, and then school started, and I haven't worked on them in a while... But I got an idea just recently : Instead of a "treasure hunt/Indiana Jones style" set of levels (I had only completed 5...), I thought maybe it would be both fun and useful to make instead a series of "freestyle training levels" where various freestyle techniques would be required to be used to finish the levels. Of course, it would start "easy" and get harder, once the various freestyle techinques were all introduced singly. Levels after the first 10 or so would start to require multiple freestyle techniques in order to finish the levels...

I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty good at freestyle and I think I'd be able to design some pretty interesting levels, and hopefully, they will help those who are interested in getting better at freestyle. If nothing else, they ought to be quite a challenging set of levels.

What are your opinions on this idea?

EDIT:

The following link will always point to the latest collection of freestyle-based levels :
Freestyle Training Course
simply unpack the contents to your neverball/data folder and add the info from sets-dave.txt to sets.txt

Please feel free to comment on anything about them: texturing, design, difficulty, coins/times goals, etc.

I will post a list of changes here :
12/22/05 - Added 2 more levels (8 total). Polished them all off - they all look pretty now. Minor changes in texturing and intro text in some levels. Requires the latest version of my textures pack(with the orange/gold, and purple textures), and of course, the Mehdi2-beta textures(which you probably already have installed).
11/12/05 - Added a 6th level. slight improvements to one or two others(mostly textural). A couple of levels still need polishing. Removed my texture pack to reduce download size. Requires both my texture pack and textures from Mehdi2-beta set. (if you have them already installed, you do not need to download them again)
10/25/05 - Added a 5th level. (in development- input desired from other players!)
10/19/05 first "release" - the 2nd level is still in development, but the other 3 are polished.

2

Re: Freestyle training course

I like this idea, as we already spoke about ;-)
This set will be the "try again and again" set tongue

3

Re: Freestyle training course

I figured you would like the idea, Tuxmym, since, like you said, we already talked about it. I'm wondering whether this would be the sort of thing that the other Neverball players out there would also be interested in...

4 (edited by Dave 2005-10-24 20:19:37)

Re: Freestyle training course

OK, Tuxmym (and any others who are interested...), I whipped up a quick trial run of my idea :

map file : //http://members.cox.net/dolsen6/map1-1.map
pre-compiled .sol file : //http://members.cox.net/dolsen6/map1-1.sol
(Edit: these links are broken. I only have so much webspace, so just download the finished version as part of the set.)

Keep in mind, it's just the basic texturing, and would be greatly polished up for any kind of release, but I think the idea is a good one. I've even almost beat it... but, it's quite difficult tongue . And if you had to get a high number of coins to unlock the goal, then it would be even harder( I haven't yet tried to go "coin-collecting")

Other levels would include tricks for bouncing off of the outside corners, "slingshot" effects (inside of curves), see-saw practice, angled-acceleration tricks... etc. But basically follow the format of having the opening levels give you a place to practice(relatively safely), and then to pass the level you move on to a much more difficult section that requires you to use that freestyle technique. After all of those basic freestyle ideas have been covered, then the levels will just plop you into really hard situations and it will be quite a challenge to complete the level!

Please let me know what you think(of the map I just posted, or the idea in general, whatever) !!!

5

Re: Freestyle training course

HARD ! Really hard ! But I like this concept. This level shouldn't be placed at the beginning of the set. After 10min, I didn't managed to finish it ! However, with some practice, this level could actually improve our freestyle abilities smile

6

Re: Freestyle training course

Sounds great!

I think you should give some hints in the .sol's text to make it (a little) easier.

Currently Playing:
Celeste and Electronic Super Joy

7

Re: Freestyle training course

I'm all for it. I like the idea, I like the level (even though it looks like it's going to take just about forever for me to complete it), I wish I could contribute some levels myself... We'll see about that. tongue

8

Re: Freestyle training course

I like the idea, and I'm going to test the level now ! (but sure I'll like it wink )

9

Re: Freestyle training course

Thanks for the feedback, guys! I did include some brief instructions in the .sol file, but it looks like you can actually include quite a bit of text in that opening "message"... So, I could include more detailed instructions and/or tips/tricks etc. However, it would clash with the artistic nature of Neverball's opening screens (where you get to see a portion of the level, and have a small text "blurb") by making a huge paragraph of text come up, obscuring the view of the level intro... I'll try it both ways and see what works best.

Tuxmym, yes, it's really hard. I actually managed to finish the level last night(but only heading right for the goal, no coin gathering.) took me just over 30 sec... only did it once.

I think I will set the coins for unlocking the goal quite high : ~195, that way, if you don't gather any coins in the beginning part, you have to gather all of the coins in the hard part to unlock the level...

What is also funny about this level, is that I find it easiest to use the chase camera mode (instead of my usual manual mode, or even the lazy mode)

10

Re: Freestyle training course

That's really insane, I'm not good enough to finish it at the moment wink But I love the concept of such freestyle-based levels !

11

Re: Freestyle training course

sounds very interesting. im crap at neverball, but perhaps these learning levels will be what i need to get me going big_smile

will download this map as soon as i can...

12

Re: Freestyle training course

I think perhaps that the first several levels should be really much more gentle... until the basics of freestyle are all covered, at least. And then it will have a pretty steep learning curve - for example, I figure this level I made here would probably be around level number 8,9 or 10...

Here's maybe a tentative idea...
1-7 very basics, easier to perform tricks and easier to finish levels.
8-15 take the basics and make levels which focus on one of the basics, but make you do them in harder situations. (Like the current level I posted earlier.)
16-25 combinations of techniques will be required to finish these levels, as well as lots of skill and patience!

13

Re: Freestyle training course

GAD ZOOKS!!!

I was never really that good at freestyle, and this proves it!

I managed to do a 180 degree jump back onto the coin platform, but that is about all...

Still, a very fun distraction, and the makings of some fiendish secret levels (?) or an entire level set if you are motivated enough  smile

Currently Playing:
Celeste and Electronic Super Joy

14

Re: Freestyle training course

themacmeister wrote:

I managed to do a 180 degree jump back onto the coin platform, but that is about all...

Hey, that's good! Really, I guess I'm designing these levels to be very difficult for even the best players out there, which means that it will take a lot of time to get good enough to beat them.

I remember back when I first encountered Mehdi 25. I honestly thought it was impossible and that not even the creator of the level could have finished it. But, by going back and playing the others levels through many times, and improving my skill in general, I eventually was able ro actually finish and then was able to do tricks in it. I think these levels will be similar. At first they will seem impossible, and then as people go back and practice earlier levels and get better in general, they'll come back and be able to get somewhere in these levels...

I think that's how it will go...

I wish there were a way to get text to pop up in-game... maybe a switch of some kind that triggers a text pop-up. That would be really great for giving instructions in the earlier levels...

15

Re: Freestyle training course

Good work Dave,

I noticed some horribly stretched textures on some platform edges... that is about all the glitches I could see.

Currently Playing:
Celeste and Electronic Super Joy

16

Re: Freestyle training course

themacmeister wrote:

Good work Dave,

I noticed some horribly stretched textures on some platform edges... that is about all the glitches I could see.

There will be complete re-doing of textures, macmeister... many of them are misaligned and, like you noticed, stretched in funny ways. This was just a concept run of my idea, whipped up in a couple of hours.

I hope soon to have a few more of these concept levels for people to try, but school demands are keeping me from doing anything with it for several more days. I "get" to do a music theory presentation on Rounded Binary vs. Ternary forms on Wedenesday for a famous music theory teacher - Dorothy Payne. It's like a workshop to help give me tips on teaching the subject, etc. As part of my presentation, I will be using a computer game that I wrote for my kids a couple of summers ago. It's a very funny game called "the Greeble Roundup", where you try to identify the greebles so they can all go to the Greeble family reunion. The "form" of the greebles is important; if a creature doesn't match the right characteristics, then it's not a greeble... Okay, I digress....

17

Re: Freestyle training course

Hey, thanks Dave for the level, really grat fun to play. Very very difficult though. But for me freustration has always been an important part of the game... PLEASE MAKE SOME MORE!!
and could somebody post a replay, I would love to watch the good guys roll. To me it seems very hard to get 150 coins AND finish in 60 seconds....

18

Re: Freestyle training course

Very Hard, the only way I figured out the first part was by reading the instuctions to it!

19

Re: Freestyle training course

Dave..
I like it!
Can't wait to play some levels like this but a little more moderate.

I do have to say, however, that I think giving lots of hints about how to reach the goal could
be incongruous with neverball. This may be a matter of opinion, but one of the things I love about the game
is that it has a puzzle-like element at times. That is to say, the architecture of the level implies a solution,
You have to experiment. I have enjoyed figuring some things out from watching replays from advanced players.
But usually only after applying myself to it for a while.

Anyhow, great idea, I hope you can find the time to crank out some levels..

btw, I noticed that you are studying music..? I'm a bassist in Los Angeles. Did you know that Joshua Bell (young-ish violin prodigy) is big on video games? He says they help his playing with improved hand-eye coordination, etc. I think I agree with him.

20

Re: Freestyle training course

Hi Guys! Thanks for the input! I've already modified it a bit, and I'm thinking of getting rid of the whole first part, or making it lots easier than it is right now.

@nue - there shouldn't be a 60 sec limit, and probably most of my freestyle levels will give the player plenty of time to actually finish. You must have substituted this level for one of the orinigals that had only a 60sec limit.

@Rodimus - yeah, they're gonna be hard! The first several levels, though will not be so hard as this, and the later levels will be TONS harder! *insert evil laughter here*

@tonesfrommars - Good point about the too many clues... I'll just give the basic idea in the opening blurb and let the player figure it out! Also, that is a funny point about the violinist - I never thought that improvement in hand-eye coordination would help anyone but fighter-pilots and surgeons - The last people in the world that you want "wasting time" playing video games...

I'll try to get the level in a more final state and repost it here. Should be a bit easier to get into the second section of the level, which is plenty hard by itself. I'll try to post a replay soon after as well... No guarantees on that one - It's hard to finish it!

21

Re: Freestyle training course

what was the coins goal?

i just imput it into the easy 1 slot

22

Re: Freestyle training course

Rodimus, this has yet to be determined. I have now redone the beginning part of the level, and a few changes to the 2nd part. There will less coins overall(Though still lots!). I will do some retexturing of the thing, and post a semi-final version soon. I tried a coins tun tonight(okay, several tries!) and I got about half and then fell out... But I know it can be done, because I've personally collected every coin at least once, just never all in the same run. I'll keep you posted.

(In the meantime, Rodimus, try to gather at least 100 coins before considering the goal to be "unlocked").

23 (edited by Dave 2005-10-24 21:57:47)

Re: Freestyle training course

Okay Folks,
Here is a re-worked version of this level: The first part of the level is in a finished state. The second part still needs polishing/re-texturing.
For your information : needed to unlock goal - 100 coins , time to complete level: 3 minutes (it can be beat easily in under 30 sec., not first time through, but after first having "unlocked" the goal, of course...)
//http://members.cox.net/dolsen6/map1-3.map - .map file
//http://members.cox.net/dolsen6/map1-3.sol - pre-compiled map for lazy-heads like me...

Here is a replay of a successful completion of the level here: It's not the fastest time by any means, but it will give you an idea of how to finish it : //http://members.cox.net/dolsen6/FINISHED


Try it out and let me know if you like the changes to the first part of the level! Thanks!

(EDIT: All links are now dead and replaced by this one , which is the whole Freestyle set in a tar.gz file.

24

Re: Freestyle training course

Hey Dave...

OK Here are my thoughts..
The beginning is aesthetically great, very nice looking and interesting to explore.
I think it's much more difficult than the prior version.
Keep in mind this is coming from someone who is a beginner when it comes to the freestyle techniques in question.
I assume this level will not be an "introduction" to leaping from corners...?
The prior version was my first experience making such jumps, plenty of runway to gain speed, and larger landing pads.
Lots of fun and plenty of coins to collect after making a successful leap.
I was able to gain the teleporter platform after a little time experimenting.

The new version is a bit frustrating when trying to reach the teleporter.
There is just enough room to gain momentum, and if you miss, you fall out. Or you fly through the teleporter going too fast, and fall out on the other side.
I think for a "training" course, you may consider allowing for trial and error without falling out constantly.

Of course, I am referring just to the opening section.
After teleporting, it gets crazy hard, and do-or-die is appropriate.

I know from watching your replays what a skilled player you are, and I realize it may not be your intention to dumb things down.
But I do think you can design a level that will draw in less skilled players and still deliver the hard stuff in order to graduate to the next stage.

That is just my 2 cents, it's going to be an awesome level regardless!

I want to view your replay, but when I save as.. from my browser it saves as a .txt
Any suggestions?

Thanks

25 (edited by parasti 2005-10-05 13:16:43)

Re: Freestyle training course

Very nice, Dave. I haven't finished it yet, and I didn't get a chance to watch your replay, because it seems to be from Easy 01, and I've replaced Mehdi 21 (plenty of time tongue).

The middle coin where the yellow coins are looks like out of place due to a 'missing' coin pad. I find that the technique required to finish the second part of the level is different from the first part... At first one just has to slightly hit the corners (and I'm good at it, that's why the first part seems a lot easier than the one before) to bounce forward, in 'reality' (the second part) one must bump into corners at full speed and at a slightly different angle to jump up.

tonesfrommars, you're using Windows, right? Have you tried removing the .txt extension?