Norp the Yorp I level design

Discussion and analysis of graphics, story, levels, and so on.
Stealthy71088
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Norp the Yorp I level design

Post by Stealthy71088 » Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:35 pm

This was the first mod I ever played, and it holds a special place in my heart as a result.

Here's level 1

I'm going to start this the same way as before, and hope we can get more people and a bigger discussion going than we had at the beginning of Yorpius II.

Stealthy's Notes
-The pogo is in this level
-There are a lot of points in this level
-There are three strong gargs in this level
-It's very easy to be knocked off a platform in this level by the hovers(?), but not usually to Keen's death

Stealthy's Questions

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-Is it better to be given the pogo immedietely, or is it better to have to look for it?
-Point distribution- Is that too many points for this early in the game? Would you change point values?
-Is it wise to give the player so many different sprites to deal with so early in the game?
-Should hovers be deadlier?
Any questions, comments, or thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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Freeyorp101
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Post by Freeyorp101 » Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:28 am

Is it better to be given the pogo immedietely, or is it better to have to look for it?
I think the pogo was already in norps possesion from the start, and the tile placement was just there to have the pogo become 'got' in the game too.

The pogo is only visible for a short amount of time, and is a nice way to 'have' the pogo from the start without patching, which I quite like.
There are a lot of points in this level
This tends to occur throughout most levels in this mod, and as a result the player could have accumulated many lives before the end of the game.
Should hovers be deadlier?
I don't think so, thier purpose could just as easily have been to stop keen from easily obtaining those points as being an actual threat.
Is it wise to give the player so many different sprites to deal with so early in the game?
I like the way it introduces the mods creatures early on, as most people playing the mod will have already played keen1 etc, so the player knows what the creatures look like from an early point of time.

EricMushroomWilson
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Post by EricMushroomWilson » Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:50 pm

I think the thing about getting the pogo depends on the mod's level design. If there are a lot of places you can't get without it or it's a least very useful, it could be frustrating to be without it for too long.

Also, someone playing a mod is quite likely to have played the original games, and might be pretty used to using the pogo stick fairly often. I think in mods it's often a good idea to get it fairly early.

You do get the pogo fairly early in Keen 1, usually I think, and in the other games (apart from Dreams) you start with it. As one of the central mechanics of the Keen games, the argument can be made for it seeing a lot of use.

If, on the other hand, the mod designer wants to make it very secret or hard to get, that could be interesting too.

As for other stuff about the level:

1) Three gargs in the first level might be pushing it a bit, although maybe not... were there any gargs in the first level of Keen 1?

2) There are rather a lot of points, although I'm not sure if there are too many...

3) Is it possible to get the yorpy doll and candy canes surrounded by green walls?

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Freeyorp101
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Post by Freeyorp101 » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:59 am

3) Yes, there are a few foreground tiles to the left of the doll and candy canes, although the player must be willing to jump at apparently solid tiles (which if they were would generally fall down to their death) to get there.

EricMushroomWilson
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Post by EricMushroomWilson » Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:10 am

Ah, I see. I was trying to get it from the wrong side, I think.

Benvolio
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Post by Benvolio » Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:35 pm

Given that overly hard mods are not as much pleasure as one mght expect, the ration of points (i.e. extra lives) to difficulty level in this level, and indeed the entire mod, is adequately balanced. Also, ample ammunition is provided for this level, leaving Norp armed in the next level also. Hence, the number of sprites "to deal with this early on" is no challenge to an experienced keener, or any experienced gamer for that matter.

In all i've always regarded this mod as very entertaining level design and pleasant eye-friendly graphics, and i played this having already been very familiar with Norp The Yorp: Diffusion, Xtraverse's second release.

EricMushroomWilson
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Post by EricMushroomWilson » Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:59 pm

Hmm. I agree that too high a difficulty level can become tiresome, since the player may spend a lot of time not getting any further in the game. Looking at it that way, the large number of points could well be considered a good thing.

EricMushroomWilson
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Post by EricMushroomWilson » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:54 pm

More thoughts on level 1:

Not being able to see the spike things at first is a bit problematic, perhaps, although you can see them if you jump onto the green platform thing.

More of a problem, possibly, is the possibility of falling onto the spikes from higher up in the level, although I don't think that's too much of a problem either, really.

More of a tile issue, but the edge tiles of the green platforms (with the yellow end parts) block from all directions I think, whereas the middle parts can be jumped throuh from below. This seems a bit odd and inconsistent to me...

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XkyRauh
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Post by XkyRauh » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:44 am

I think the strongest part of this first level is the amount of uniformity in the presentation. The first platforms we stand on are the same length, and every jump we make along the yellows and blues is the same distance. This will begin to look boring if it occurs in each and every level, but for a FIRST level, an INTRODUCTION level, it helps us become familiar with the game's environments very quickly.

In just this first level, we've got 4 main "structures" to deal with:
- The green speckled "Solid ground," which is quite thick, and can potentially hide secrets
- The green striped "Ribbons," which are horizontal in nature and of varying widths
- The multicolored "Diagonal striped blocks," which appear alone or in pairs, and can be passed through
- The strict "Square donut blocks," which inhibit movement and define reigons.

This all sounds like common sense, but as long as these "styles" of ground are consistent with their initial definition, in this first level, the entire game will have a more consistant, complete-package feel. I'm curious to see if it pans out. :)

((As for the number of points, I'd attribute it more to a lack of detail tiles... all of our early mods were "ground, sky, and points," without much thought put into scenery.))

EricMushroomWilson
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Post by EricMushroomWilson » Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:34 pm

That's quite interesting. I never really thought of the "definedstructure", but it does make sense. However, not all of the diagonal striped blocks appear alone/in pairs, although most of them do. Up in the top right corner of the level there are a few blue ones forming a sort of half pyramid. It's kind of interesting that the blue key gem is on top of blue blocks...

Another thing I think is worth noting is the general "squareness" of the level. It's not quite a perfect square (I don't think so at least...), but it's not exactly vertically or horizontally oriented. A lot of the movement is vertical, but there's quite a bit of horizontal movement as well.

The "squareness" of the level contrasts with the first level of Keen 1, which is a lot longer horizontally than it is vertically. The movement in that level is largely horizontal with optional vertical areas.

Stealthy71088
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Post by Stealthy71088 » Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:09 pm

The general structure of the level allows for keen to take many different paths through the level. Look at the blue key. Keen can jump through the pyramid to get the key, climb up the blue tower to the left, or climb through the green horizontal platforms through the middle. The only passage Keen cannot take to the key is the green staircase, which is built too low for keen to pogo up through.

This means that Keen has a lot to explore. The level isn't linear. Keen can go just about anywhere and do whatever he wants, as long as he gets the key and brings it back to the door. I think this type of structure was used quite often in the original Keen1, although I think it slowly became more linear as time goes on. I confess that my levels are probably too linear, something I'll have to work on.

The different tile structures that Xky pointed out sort of camoflage the blue pyramid. Unless the player chose to travel all the way to the right at start, and climb up, the player would probably register the pyramid as solid.

The kill tile coming from the bottom of the pyramid, along with the points, make the pyramid look solid as well. If the player isn't paying attention, he or she will miss out on the short cut.

The only thing I would change, if I were to change something, would be the left platform next to the box with the yorp doll. I think I would try to lower it one tile, so Keen could explore the box without dying. This is the player's first experience with this particular tile structure after all.

EricMushroomWilson
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Post by EricMushroomWilson » Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:44 pm

Seems like we've said a lot about this level now. Do you think it's time to move onto the next one?

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XkyRauh
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Post by XkyRauh » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:02 pm

Usually we give each level a day or two to soak in comments. :) Whoever starts the thread gets to decide when to move on to the next one.

We could probably support more than one thread of this sort at a time, Eric, so if y'wanna start one of your own about a different mod, don't be shy!

EricMushroomWilson
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Post by EricMushroomWilson » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:13 pm

Hmm, well, maybe I will. I'm not sure, really. I might like to hear some in-depth feedback on the levels of Keen 0, but starting a thread about my own mod doesn't really seem right.

Plus, the levels might be too haphazardly thrown together for analysis to really work that well...

Something I think would be interesting would be a thread like this about one of the original Keen games, although I don't know if maybe deconstructing them would "ruin the magic" so to speak.

Anyway, I might try to find a good mod to start a thread about. We'll see...

Stealthy71088
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Post by Stealthy71088 » Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:01 am

Level 2
It's amazing how complicated Mortimer's computer is. To actually be able to support life with all those fruits...I wish we could get Mort to do some patching for us.

Stealthy's Notes
-There are 45 shots worth of ammo in this level.
-There are 5 gargs and 8 yorps.
-I really like how the gargs can fall on Keen
-Each key, the exit, and the yorp dolls are nicely oprganized into sections.
Stealthy's questions

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-Ammo- should the quantity be lowered or scattered?
-Why exactly are there 5 die signs in the lower right corner? Is this overkill? (get it?)
-All the points are concentrated. Should they be scattered?
-Comments on structure of level- Too repitious? Too organized?
If anyone has any other thoughts, comments, or questions, post them

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