I've been wanting to make more custom levels lately, since my last one (Riddle of Reflections) was released over seven months ago now. I thought it would be useful to start writing down the ideas that I've had, as well as taking note of the semi-finished PQ levels I have lying around at the moment. I might keep this updated with new ideas as I get them - although if an idea manifests itself unusually quickly I might also decide to skip that step to make it more exciting.
Fore and Back Again
An MMG level where the finish is beside the start, and there are no gems. The player would start off with a lot of speed, and have to use various ways to slow down and then turn around and do the level all over again(TM). The better the player is at slowing down, the more of the course they can skip. Will require a lot of careful playtesting to pull off.
To make the level last more than ten seconds, most of the slowing down will probably be on icy downslopes, where even constantly jumping and holding back doesn't do much by itself.
Bumps could be used for a twofold purpose - to slow down the player on their first pass, and then as obstacles to avoid when building up speed again.
I envision part of the level on a giant steep hill, that the marble will initially be rolling down. The player will point their camera uphill, and follow some sort of arrows towards superspeeds that they can then use to slow down on the hill. The superspeeds will also serve a dual purpose to speed the player up when going back up the hill on the way back.
We haven't had a PQ MMG level yet, and the nature theme should be perfect for it.
Alice in Marbleland
A puzzle level where pressing buttons changes the size of the entire level.
A bit of procedural level-editing using my Python library would be perfectly suitable for this. Ordinarily, to make the level resize such that the center of its transformation is always at the appropriate button would take a lot of manual effort. With the Python library I can just automatically create the appropriate Path for each button that I place, probably by subclassing Button.
Of course, having the level smaller allows you to pull off more jumps, and having it larger allows you to fit through gaps. These are the obvious mechanics to include, but I hope to find more creative ideas as well.
I had this idea on the back burner when Buzzmusic released Wild Gold, which did a very simple version of the same kind of thing - you go through a pretty milquetoast cobbling together of MBG interiors forming a pathway, and then do the same thing again with the interiors enlarged. Honestly it felt like a waste of potential to me, and I think my twist on it will be original enough.
An obvious adaptation of the game
where the object in each stage is to kill yourself. This would be done with path triggers superimposed in each OOB trigger, which would be carefully timed to transform the level at the instant you respawn on the checkpoint. Although falling off is the only traditional way to kill yourself in MB, and most of the challenges would involve that, I can also see some ideas like:
Getting crushed by moving platforms - the platform in question would have an OOB trigger inside it. When the marble gets crushed, the MP would stop moving, but the OOB trigger would continue moving towards the marble, colliding with it almost instantaneously to give the illusion of getting killed by the MP.
Getting stuck inside stretched interiors - you would need to gain enough speed to do this, probably by falling from a high point and getting submerged in the ground. The OOB trigger would of course be on the other side of the ground.
Getting teleported out of bounds. I imagine a part of the level where you fall through a teleport trigger, and the help text says something like "If you don't fall fast enough, you'll get teleported OOB!" Naturally, the only way to fall slow enough to be teleported OOB would be strategic gyrocopter wall hits on the way down, or something similar (and less of a rip-off of Warped Course).
Perknique Puzzles: Pathfinding Paradoxes
A sequel to the Perknique Puzzles level pack - small levels with tough par times, that focus on the principles of pathfinding. A couple ideas for levels include:
What's the Catch: A circuit with a time travel near the finish. The optimal path would be to go for that time travel first, despite resulting in a longer elapsed time.
Crossroads: A level with a couple forks in the road, that is seemingly symmetrical except for the placement of the finish, which determines which path you should take at each junction for the fastest time.
Unwinding Steps: A level with a small zig-zagging stairway, where wall-hits allow you to keep a relatively straight path with fewer turns.
A level where you're on a giant (probably cylindrical) planet and have to build enough speed to escape its gravitational pull.
The level would have to be designed so that you naturally go faster as you progress through it. Perhaps a double/triple decker structure where you start at the bottom and work your way up.
Might have to bug HiGuy for whatever he did to make Ring. Some way to go through a .map and apply a transform to all of its vertices?
A gem hunt level in a large room with warps (Hawking's Dilemma style) on the walls, floor and ceiling. Each warp takes you to the opposite side of the level, analogous to the wrapping mechanic in Pacman.
The gem hunt format allows interesting stuff to be done with the warps. Along with the traditional spawn clusters, there are spawns with gems on opposite sides of the map - gems that would be very far away normally, but can be easily picked up using the warps.
There's one blue gem, in the middle of a hole in the far end of the level. This is the only place in the level where you can fall infinitely, down the hole into a warp on the ground which takes you up to the ceiling, directly above the hole.
A couple other areas in the level exploit other quirks of the warp system.
This level is pretty much 100% finished, and is my first candidate for release. I originally made it as a replacement for Serendipity Labyrinth, which was originally in the Expert category and the lowest-rated level by testers. My level was rejected from the PQ main game for being "too confusing", despite being unanimously liked by testers. I declined an offer to have it put in the bonus category, insisting that it was too good to share a stage with levels like Dizzying Road and Coloured Tile Maze.
A beginner level where pressing buttons turns low-gravity on and off. The advantages and disadvantages of low gravity are explored.
Low gravity is used to make difficult jumps easier.
Normal gravity is used to make falling quicker, and to have more traction on the ground.
All sections can be done with either gravity, including a cannon part where your trajectory has to be adjusted based on your gravity. If you have low gravity, aim low - high gravity, aim high.
The AT path is more difficult, and involves no gravity changes at all.
Another level rejected from PQ, originally intended for the beginner section but apparently "too much like a tutorial". This was before I could make the finishing touches on the scenery and other aesthetics, so it's at a 90% finished state at the moment.
"it's funny how the super monkey ball game without monkeys is the one that attracts more furries" - eblu 2018
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