file Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts

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04 Apr 2011 18:30 #1 by Marble_of_Randomness
Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts was created by Marble_of_Randomness
Most of beginner level makers want to make an awesome custom level or want to become a staff member of any mod by being a professional level maker. Believe it or not, it took only 1 day for me to get QuArK by learning about QuArK through Matan's video guide.
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So here are my tips to become a professional level maker:
Think about it!
Ask yourself questions like Do I really like to do it? or Is it a fun hobby for me? because when I was thinking about what I might success, it helped me become a skilled level maker and people liked my custom levels.
Learn!
This is permanently required for all new students because this is the only source in doing something great. Everyone needs to learn like in school or wondering what to do to install games. Learning is the thing you need the most.
Get Started!
Always show your first piece of artwork (a.k.a level) to the legendary level makers and ask them if it's good because that's also the way to progress in to becoming a better level maker since they know mostly everything about QuArK or Constructor and they will give you tips and information you need from them. Unfortunately, I didn't do that and I had a hard time progressing in level making so make sure you follow this!
Practice!
Apparently, this is the permanently required too for new students. This helps the beginner level maker get familiar with level making and excels it.

And finally, last but not least,
Don't Give Up!
Sometimes, you try making a level and it has errors. This either makes you get angry, exhausted or sad but remember this, if you leave it, it ain't coming back. Nike's motto simply says, JUST DO IT! because it's just there, waiting for you to do something and wants you to be better and better.
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This now ends my tips and tricks guide into becoming a better level maker. I hope it helped you.

~RandomMarble38

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04 Apr 2011 18:47 #2 by Marble_of_Randomness
Replied by Marble_of_Randomness on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
It's very important, in my opinion, to know lots of different level styles. You'll learn a lot by going through CLA, since some styles in there aren't used much/at all anymore. There are lots of different genres: pathfinding, tower/skyscraper, MMG, MP rides, and so many more. Become acquainted with these and you will be able to formulate ideas more easily.

Level planning is highly recommended by many people (although I've never used it, but what do I know?). My levels were built in a more improvisational way: start somewhere and branch out.

As far as level building goes, please don't go haywire on scenery, curves, or eye candy of any kind. It takes longer to build and usually doesn't (let's be honest) enhance the level in any big way. That being said, people do appreciate a clean level with nice presentation.

And finally... DON'T EVER TAKE YOUR OWN SCREENSHOT. That's what Matan is for. Half-joking aside, the art of taking level screenshots is very difficult, so you'll need lots of practice if you want to capture a nice image to use in the final release of your level.

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04 Apr 2011 18:50 #3 by Marble_of_Randomness
Replied by Marble_of_Randomness on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
Are you supporting my guide? If you are, thanks!

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04 Apr 2011 18:53 #4 by Jeff
Sure! The other guides we have are more specific (and mostly focused on QuArK/Constructor). This one is nice for general tips and concepts that will help you succeed.

I am a programmer. Most here know me for being one of the major contributors to Marble Blast Platinum and PlatinumQuest.

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04 Apr 2011 21:04 #5 by Pablo
Replied by Pablo on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
Great thread. Sticked. I might post my thoughts sometime; anyone else is welcome to.

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04 Apr 2011 21:16 #6 by Jeff
great thread rm38

the only advice i can provide:

Make origional levels. Try not to keep repeating the same ideas.

I am a programmer. Most here know me for being one of the major contributors to Marble Blast Platinum and PlatinumQuest.

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04 Apr 2011 21:27 #7 by Andrew
Replied by Andrew on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
Nice guide! Some thoughts/advice:

1.) Experiment with different level types to see which ones you're good at and which ones could use some improvement. It's also nice to mix up your level styles so that your levels don't become boring and repetitive. My early levels consisted of tower climbing, playground-style, challenge courses, MP rides, and others. One of the reasons my levels have been so successful is that each one is unique. Even two levels of the same style can be completely different if you really try to make it original and creative.

2.) I never plan out my levels on paper, but other people do. It probably depends on what kind of person you are - I would try writing down a level plan first and see which method you prefer. When I prepare to create a level, I always have a general idea in my head of what I want the level to look like and the challenges I want to use, and just build off those. Some improvisation can get involved if something doesn't turn out like I planned.

3.) Scenery is optional, not a necessity. If you do decide to put in scenery, don't overdo it. People care about the fun factor, the replay factor, and the creativity of a level, not the eye candy. This is why I hardly ever use scenery in my levels - I consider it a waste of my time.

4.) ALWAYS HAVE TESTERS! Even the greatest level builder should always have someone playtest his/her level before releasing it to the public. One or two testers is usually enough, three or more is too many for me. Testers can point out any flaws in the alignment of interiors (or in texturing if you used QuArK/Constructor), can suggest how to improve challenges that aren't fun or creative or original, can tell you if a challenge is too hard or too easy, and can suggest a Gold/Platinum/Ultimate time for your level. I always find that custom levels that go through rigorous testing are much more well-received among the community members than levels that are thrown together in the space of a few hours.

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04 Apr 2011 22:19 #8 by ridley2
Replied by ridley2 on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
Apr 4, 2011, 11:47am, marblefire wrote:Level planning is highly recommended by many people (although I've never used it, but what do I know?). My levels were built in a more improvisational way: start somewhere and branch out.

Level planning? That stuff doesn't work for me. I just think of fun challenges (usually based off shortcuts in other levels) and slap them together and add in cosmetic tweaks later.

Might as well put this in here...

If you have trouble thinking of challenges, either end the level or stop working on it until you get some. Don't put in filler challenges which you know will be boring (tightrope challenges, etc.).

Don't worry about making your level good looking, but instead work on getting the best fun factor you can think of. If you think a challenge is boring, and your testers think the same, scrap it. Once I get my computer 100% fixed, I'm open for testing any time.

Use your favorite program to make levels. If you're good with Constructor but don't like using it, feel free to switch to something else. I personally prefer the level editor for a number of reasons, hence my best levels (imo) are made from it. Also, if anyone has questions regarding the L.E., feel free to ask me about it.

Accept constructive criticism! That had to be my biggest fault when I was making a lot of levels (you all remember me being a noob about Massima, don't you?). Don't get upset when someone says something bad about your level - just accept the simple fault, and you'll know how to make your level even better next time around.

And last but not least, the golden rule:
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.
Any player would rather play one good level over ten crappy ones. Put care into your levels!

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04 Apr 2011 22:49 #9 by Greg_Hutchinson
Replied by Greg_Hutchinson on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
tl;dr

Oh well it looks nice anyways

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05 Apr 2011 00:00 #10 by snowbody
Replied by snowbody on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
I would add that in regards to planning, making a short textual list of the challenges and elements is much more sensible. While planning it on paper is beneficial to the aesthetics of the level, it often is unnecessary and you would end up changing things during construction.

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05 Apr 2011 00:53 #11 by Jeff
also, make sure to properly texture the platforms. Misalignments can be easily fixed!

I am a programmer. Most here know me for being one of the major contributors to Marble Blast Platinum and PlatinumQuest.

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05 Apr 2011 01:00 #12 by RC
Nice Guide. Also add in there to not use level interiors.

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05 Apr 2011 01:55 #13 by Pablo
Replied by Pablo on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
Apr 4, 2011, 3:19pm, tehmarbler wrote:Accept constructive criticism! That had to be my biggest fault when I was making a lot of levels (you all remember me being a noob about Massima, don't you?). Don't get upset when someone says something bad about your level - just accept the simple fault, and you'll know how to make your level even better next time around.

That was quite a flame war.

I think quality over quantity is the most-forgotten rule of level building. Actually, it applies to a lot more stuff in life too.

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05 Apr 2011 03:01 #14 by MarbleDuck
Replied by MarbleDuck on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
Me not following rule #5 is why I have 50 or so 70% complete maps and 0.2 released levels.

youtube.com/marbleduck

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05 Apr 2011 03:04 #15 by ridley2
Replied by ridley2 on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
Apr 4, 2011, 6:00pm, rollcage wrote:Also add in there to not use level interiors.

There's nothing wrong with using level interiors if you use the Level Editor and alter it around tons, or just use a part of it for a challenge.

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05 Apr 2011 03:05 #16 by Jeff
Apr 4, 2011, 8:04pm, tehmarbler wrote:
Apr 4, 2011, 6:00pm, rollcage wrote:Also add in there to not use level interiors.

There's nothing wrong with using level interiors if you use the Level Editor and alter it around tons, or just use a part of it for a challenge.

and adding to that note, make it challenging and alignment perfect or almost perfect. you dont want to put out like 3 platforms and say thats your level.

I am a programmer. Most here know me for being one of the major contributors to Marble Blast Platinum and PlatinumQuest.

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05 Apr 2011 03:13 #17 by ridley2
Replied by ridley2 on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
But not too challenging that it's frustrating. Cosmetic alignments come after challenges and isn't super important.

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05 Apr 2011 03:39 #18 by RC
I mean like using the Roll Like The Wind! interior. To whole interior in the level looks unprofessional unless it's a Revisited level or something.

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05 Apr 2011 06:21 #19 by RDs.The-dts-guy
Replied by RDs.The-dts-guy on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
Nice guide.

Some guy that does DTS shapes and levels.

AWESOME time HINT : When making PQ level place your custom interiors and textures in platinum/data/interiors_pq/custom
makes life easier for you and everyone else :)

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05 Apr 2011 13:53 #20 by Oaky
Originality over all else. Make it memorable, make it something that no-one has ever seen before. There are a huge number of custom levels (less being produced these days, that number will increase with PQ's release) and you really need to stand out.

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05 Apr 2011 14:13 #21 by IsraeliRD
Replied by IsraeliRD on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
To continue Oaky's point, Pascal has made some memorable levels, but not for their originality as much as difficulty. They are a great example of levels that had great potential but missed out because he made them so hard.

"matan, now i get what you meant a few years back when you said that "the level in mbg is beyond me" after the last rampage i noticed things were insane, and now i truly feel that too" - Dushine, 2015.

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06 Apr 2011 03:23 #22 by ridley2
Replied by ridley2 on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
Apr 5, 2011, 7:13am, admin wrote:To continue Oaky's point, Pascal has made some memorable levels, but not for their originality as much as difficulty. They are a great example of levels that had great potential but missed out because he made them so hard.

I disagree - I personally found all of his levels to be really enjoyable because they put up the most memorable challenges. That alone gave them outstanding originality and replayability, even if the levels themselves weren't good for speedrunning.

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06 Apr 2011 04:11 #23 by IsraeliRD
Replied by IsraeliRD on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
It wasn't speedrunning, it was to try and even beat them (or even the gold). I often found them frustrating and just not fun. While I can't deny originality/creativity, it's the fun factor and replayability I'm most concerned about.

"matan, now i get what you meant a few years back when you said that "the level in mbg is beyond me" after the last rampage i noticed things were insane, and now i truly feel that too" - Dushine, 2015.

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07 Apr 2011 14:51 #24 by J@ckRB
Replied by J@ckRB on topic Becoming an Expert Level Maker :: Thoughts
Build levels using what you are best at. If you are good at making fun levels, them make fun levels, but, don't ignore other factors. There's no point making a really hard level with no fun or replayability factor.
Another one, BE PATIENT!!! You can't build a good level in 15 mins. Remember that.

"funny quote" - funny person 2016 part 2 electric boogaloo

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