Devs Make Mario
November 19, 2015 12:29 PM   Subscribe

You might know that mefites are making levels in Super Mario Maker. But in a shocking twist, so are game developers! Every Wednesday for the past ten weeks, Polygon has been recording a different designer putting together, commenting on, and playing through an all-new level in their video series “Devs Make Mario”. (YouTube playlist) List of episodes within. posted by Going To Maine (52 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
I really, really can't justify buying a Wii U. But finding a couple hundred bucks on the ground in an envelope would be pretty cool right now, universe.

BTW, if you haven't seen the ongoing fued between Patrick Klepak of Kotaku and Dan Ryckert of Giant Bomb, it's worth finding (check Patrick's Youtube channel, mainly). Dan has designed a series of ultra-difficult levels that Patrick then suffers through live on Twitch. And by ultra-difficult, I mean some of the trolliest shit that has ever been trolled.
posted by selfnoise at 12:38 PM on November 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


(check Patrick's Youtube channel, mainly).

This is just fine, and will help justify being subscribed to YouTube Red.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:59 PM on November 19, 2015


The Ryckert/Klepek stuff has been amazing, and even led to a great charity drive. There's lots of auxiliary videos too, including multiple levels of Periscopes/each team watching the other. (Giant Bomb Unarchived has a lot of them, included multiple synced streams.)
posted by kmz at 1:10 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


That blind drop in the Igarashi level really bothers me.
posted by 256 at 1:26 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


OMG thank you for this.

My kid (9) is OBSESSED with Mario Maker Let's Play and I can't wait to show these to him.

It is possible that Santa is bringing us a Wii U with Mario Maker, possibly against Santa's better judgement. 'cause we already have an Xbox and that seems ample.

It is also possible that Santa has been enjoying finding games for herself for the Wii U as well.

One think I love so much about this game is that it has my child thinking about how games are designed. He and his friends have been creating Mario levels on paper (and with lego) in his afterschool program, and he's amazingly thoughtful about why he does certain things and about game balance in general.
posted by anastasiav at 1:26 PM on November 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


Splatoon and Mario Maker are good enough by themselves to justify the purchase of a Wii U — and I say this having never actually played Mario Maker.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:34 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


(also I say this as someone whose last new game system was the original Playstation).
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:36 PM on November 19, 2015


Nintendo's output on the Wii U has been better than anything they've ever done. Pikmin 3, Splatoon, Mario Maker, Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Smash, Donkey Kong, Wind Waker HD. There's no 3rd party support but if you like Nintendo games it's easy to justify getting a Wii U.
posted by zixyer at 1:44 PM on November 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


YOSHI'S WOOLLY WORLD

Just a recommendation.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:46 PM on November 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


yeah, on the one hand, the Wii U is only good for Nintendo games, but on the other hand, "Nintendo" is the only genre of console game that I actually enjoy.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:52 PM on November 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


YOSHI'S WOOLLY WORLD

Yes! Yoshi's Woolly World is top-drawer platforming.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:53 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm just waiting for them to improve the interface a little more, and for people to put together more playlists of actually good mario levels. Too many weird gimmicks and crazy stuff, not enough just straight up "I made the Super Mario World continent I always wanted!" or whatnot. I love my Wii U but I feel like I'm waiting for so many things!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:54 PM on November 19, 2015


This has really made me want a WiiU. Also Splatoon. My dream level as a kid was a haunted house with a bunch of branching paths, secrets, and different win conditions.
posted by codacorolla at 1:59 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


uhhh any metafilter Splatoon players, feel free to memail me so we can squad up.

(oh god there are two main things right now that I do instead of producing useful writing, and here I am trying to combine them. I'm so dumb...)

posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:11 PM on November 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm hoping Santa brings me my daughter Splatoon for Christmas.

Or maybe Hyrule Warriors.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:15 PM on November 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I like that the You Don't Know Jack guys managed to incorporate that most annoying of video game tropes, The Escort Mission, into Super Mario.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:20 PM on November 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Brianna Wu's level she made for her husband Frank is some elegant trolling.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:28 PM on November 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


Sounds like Lode Runner.
posted by larrybob at 2:50 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Splatoon was good until I tried the rollers, which turn it into the greatest Pacman type game ever. Utterly hooked now.
posted by BinaryApe at 3:13 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Brianna Wu's level she made for her husband Frank is some elegant trolling.

You can't crouch-jump through that gap?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:31 PM on November 19, 2015


I'm just waiting for them to improve the interface a little more, and for people to put together more playlists of actually good mario levels. Too many weird gimmicks and crazy stuff, not enough just straight up "I made the Super Mario World continent I always wanted!" or whatnot.

They announced that they will launch a web portal for Mario Marker in the last Nintendo Direct, which should make levels easier to search, share online, and curate.
posted by zixyer at 3:32 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have made 29 of these levels to date, and am being held back mostly now by the need to get a few more stars to unlock the next ten upload slots.

The number of stars players bestow on your levels determines how many total levels you can have uploaded. They set it up so that, generally, you have to have a higher average-stars-per-level for each new tier of slots. Stars also determine when a level gets automatically deleted from Mario Maker's own culling process -- courses that don't get starred, or receive a minimal number, eventually get deleted from the servers. Unfortunately it seems that most players who encounter levels through the primary means of playing them, 100 Mario Challenge, are either averse to or simply don't know how to star levels.

So, for those who are playing Mario Maker, I urge you to have a thought for the course builder. What I suggest you should do is, if you play a level you like, and think that you'd like to see more like it, then you should leave a star. Smiliarly, of a level seems distasteful or outright malicious, don't star it! It's a subtle but important way you can influence what gets made and what gets removed.

Note, leaving a comment on a level automatically stars it, but while comments can be deleted stars can't be revoked once bestowed. So leaving a comment on a level expressing disapproval or some problem may have the effect of inadvertently rewarding the creator.
posted by JHarris at 4:10 PM on November 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am a mega-evangelist for the WiiU, which is one of the best consoles I've ever owned (and I've owned roughly most of them at one point or another.) Splatoon is great, Mario Maker worth every bit of praise (and I'm finally getting back to it after a month or so of work+break-up wrecking my creative energy), Mario Kart 8 is brilliant, the open-world Zelda is slated for sometime in the next year, speaking of WInd Waker HD is the original forgotten sonte-cold-classic but just better, and the new Mario Tennis comes out tomorrow, which I might be the only person alive excited about.

Oh, and DCK: Tropical Freeze. Holy Shitballs.

As for Yoshi's Wooly World, let me ask people: I love love love good quality platforming and really hate Yoshi. Is the platforming in this good enough for me to forget how much I hate that fucking goblin-raptor?
posted by Navelgazer at 4:35 PM on November 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


WInd Waker HD is the original forgotten sonte-cold-classic but just better,

Did they get rid of the bad part? Is the sailing gone?
posted by Going To Maine at 4:47 PM on November 19, 2015


They did make the Triforce piece hunting much less tedious. Still lots of sailing, though. Which is good because the sailing is amazing.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:53 PM on November 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


It also makes sailing a lot faster, which is good, because as much as I appreciate the perfect, contemplative beauty of the sailing and exploration in this amazingly unique world, I can't vouch for the philistines.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:15 PM on November 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, the Gamepad has your item menu on it so if you need to switch gear to solve a puzzle you can do it in a split second with the stylus rather than pausing. It is amazing and I can never go back to the old ways.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:25 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are a lot of great things about this but the best is how in Christine Love's game, the plural of "Bullet Bill" is "Bullets Bill"
posted by capricorn at 5:35 PM on November 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Okay, it drives me fucking batty that there aren't easily-found course IDs here. (Not a dig against you, Going to Maine - I love this post and this ain't your fault.) I know most people would rather watch videos of the levels than play them themselves, but here are the ones I could find:

Derek Yu: BD99-0000-0062-6FC7
Luke Williams: FB82-0000-0090-150B
Kayin: FD23-0000-00AA-636E
Samantha Kalman: 507F-0000-00C7-ECA7
Michael Herbster: 768A-0000-00D4-D0D6
Christine Love: 587B-0000-00E3-1938
Matt Thorson: B575-0000-00F0-81D9
posted by Navelgazer at 5:47 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I considered linking course IDs, but when I found that they were only plane text and not accessible via the web I stopped trying.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:52 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Again, no worries, and not all of them are available anyway, apparently.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:55 PM on November 19, 2015


I just spent a bunch of money on myself. Now I'm thinking of spending a bunch more.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:15 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


You will never regret the purchase of a WiiU. If you find yourself alone in a threadbare apartment save for your WiiU, and a budget-rate iron lung, you will still have the WiiU to keep you company.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:20 PM on November 19, 2015


An interesting fact: the last digits of a course ID (possibly up the last 12 digits) are, in hexadecimal, the order in which the stage was uploaded. So, the smaller the number at the end of the ID, the earlier it was uploaded. My earliest course has the number 19-CCF3 at the end, which indicates a course that was uploaded on release day.

I think lower numbers are now-deleted review version courses, but notably the "official" courses on the Makers screen have very very low numbers.
posted by JHarris at 6:34 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Similarly, the second group of four numbers has, so far, always been "0000," making searching a page for Course IDs a relatively simple affair once you think of it.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:08 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, first one in over a month, but I think I'm happy with it? This is the new thread for posting levels, right?

Kooperhorn 2
Course ID: A276-0000-00F2-13B9
posted by Navelgazer at 9:17 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Many of us have been posting levels we've made to the Metafilter Mario Maker blog, at mefimariomaker.blogspot.com. Any MeFi member who wants to post their levels only has to MeMail me to have their account added to the roster.

I keep a Google Sheets document with ID codes for my own levels. Take heed of the difficulty ratings though, especially that one level I rate at a difficulty of 5, which I consider to be a masterpiece of evil.

Heck, I'll just put the ID code here: F8AB-0000-0091-0CFB. It's completely fair (I hate Kaizo tricks), and there's even multiple ways through it, but you aren't going to blitz this one....
posted by JHarris at 9:55 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


BTW, if you haven't seen the ongoing fued between Patrick Klepak of Kotaku and Dan Ryckert of Giant Bomb, it's worth finding (check Patrick's Youtube channel, mainly). Dan has designed a series of ultra-difficult levels that Patrick then suffers through live on Twitch. And by ultra-difficult, I mean some of the trolliest shit that has ever been trolled.

I have been consuming these, and they need their own FPP.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:49 AM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Has anyone posted anything from the "thinking time series" yet? Start with this one and be hooked: 55E1-0000-0062-495D
posted by King Bee at 5:39 PM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


It does kind of bother me, I have to admit, the celebrity aspect to Mario Maker level popularity. Because honestly, I haven't seen much that these quasi-famous gaming people have made that is objectively better than the things we've made.

Seriously. Some of your fell MeFites have made some pretty darn good courses! Give them a shot maybe?
posted by JHarris at 8:57 PM on November 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


A note: I'm generally proud of my levels (which aren't on the level of some of the MeFite levels, but which I still think are pretty damn good most of the time) but I learned tonight via friends that I kind of demand a lot of wall-jumping, and that wall-jumping isn't as natural a skill to some as to others.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:12 PM on November 20, 2015


New Super Mario Bros.-style wall jumping (applicable, thankfully, to only one of the four included playstyles) is the easiest wall jumping I know of in a game though. I often think it's too easy to wall jump. If you were trying to jump the moment you hit the ground in that game style, but just missed the floor, what ends up happening is you grab the wall, then immediately wall-jump off of it, so instead of sailing on or at least falling down perhaps onto a waiting platform, you are sent flying nearly directly backwards from your vector of approach. This has directly killed me a number of times.
posted by JHarris at 11:48 PM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, you sell yourself short. Even when MeFite levels are (in my opinion) too hard, they're still very interesting. naju, in particular, makes some very intense courses. Try his Climb Ev'ry Mountain, if you can finish it, you'll be a much better Mario platform player, and his I Came To Stomp Bombs will grant you intimate knowledge of the virtues and foibles of one Robert Omb.
posted by JHarris at 3:36 AM on November 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, I have spent hours with I Came to Stomp Bombs.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:27 AM on November 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can you post the codes for some of these mefite levels so I can follow the makers?
posted by King Bee at 9:33 AM on November 21, 2015


Also, thanks JHarris. I tried to build a series of "a-ha! moments into Kooperhorn 2, though there are things I would definitely change aesthetically now, and there's a point towards the end where it can be impossible to finish if you don't keep your item.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:56 AM on November 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wish these videos showed more of the actual design process. Lately my own has been "Figure out a core mechanic; design a bunch of set pieces around it; pick about three that work well and build a level that ramps up to them."

The upsides of this approach are that it lets you explore really quickly whether a mechanic is fun, and what complements make it shine. The downside is that it exacerbates the feeling that other parts of the level are just filler, and it can be hard to turn off the inner critic saying "The rest of the level is boring, so it sucks." Lately I've had more and more trouble with that part. I'd love to see more design approaches that help me break out of that box.
posted by brett at 10:35 PM on November 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


King Bee, level codes can be found on Mefi Mario Maker, but here are a selection of levels I personally have enjoyed that you can follow people from and so you can immediately play around with their courses. I got these codes off the blog so some of them might be out of date if they got updated, like during Checkpointpocalypse, but I know naju's course ID is good. And I already posted a level code for myself up above, so my ludicrously numerous output isn't represented here. (It's like half the things on Mefi Mario Maker anyway, I sometimes think I post there too much....)
  • naju/naxuu's The Anti-P Consortium -- 6632-0000-00D8-2BD3 -- A devious level involving Thwomps and P-Switches. A word of advice: in the first underground area, it's not obvious that you have to make a long, high leap to the right out off the entry pipe, for no apparent purpose. Just do it and take my word for it. If nothing happens the first time keep trying, you'll know when it worked.
  • dng's The House Of Death -- 65B8-0000-0051-60E0 -- which even comes with title page and old-style software instruction pages, viewable on the MeFi Maker page for it.
  • NMcCoy's Triple-Jump Toadstools -- 0114-0000-0047-F11D -- Not had at all, and good for learning the timing on NSMB's least-used maneuver.
  • Branduno's Let's Go To Bowser's Castle -- 361A-0000-00A0-32D3 -- If you just go through it, it's pretty hard. A bit of exploration though and you can make it much easier.
  • Elementary Penguin and partner's Double Dungeon -- 5E41-0000-00A0-D1F4 -- While I found it a little unfair in places, it still feels a lot like a traditional SMB level, just with a few added features.
  • Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish/DavidL's Pipes Climbers -- 55FD-0000-009B-A58B -- A pipe-and-pirhana like out of Mario 3's World 7, but in the NSMB style. One of those few courses where the wall jumping isn't that hard, and is genuinely fun to pull off, or I think so anyway.
  • Navelgazer/Pascals Bookie's relaxing Kooperhorn 1 -- 47C3-0000-007E-14C0 -- Not hard at all, and just pleasant to run and bounce through. I know Navelgazer can make hard levels from some of his other courses (like oh say Airship to Heaven, 69D0-0000-007B-977D), but this is just a springtime climb up a turtle-covered mountain.
  • hjo's The Sky Floop -- 0F16-0000-00CA-2EC1 -- is a joy to play, I think. Not too easy, not too hard, and lots of fun to just poke around and find things in.
posted by JHarris at 10:49 PM on November 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Another one, and judging by the dates I've been working on this one for about a week. It's not perfect - I ran up against the limits of what the system would allow - but it's epic and difficult, with a hell of a lot of inspiration taken from Return to Bowsers Temple (7DFE-0000-006D-29BC).

TEMPLE OF THE ELEMENTS
A0C4-0000-0102-2A92

It's long. It's probably either much harder or much easier than I think it is by this point. Who can even tell.

Enjoy!
posted by Navelgazer at 4:26 PM on November 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I played through Temple Of The Elements last night. It's very nice, a long, long multiroute course with just the right amount of challenge, for me at least.

I think I should say a word, here, in favor of challenge. It is a tricky thing, and it is hard to get a good number of stars on Mario Maker if your work is at all challenging, unless you can somehow harness that challenge through celebrity factor (like, getting your levels played by prominent streamers). naju's I Came To Stomp Bombs is very challenging, almost infuriatingly so (my own reaction to it has fluctuated greatly since I first played it), but there's always that chance that there's hidden blocks I haven't found yet that could have made it much easier, or that I haven't adopted the right strategy yet.

Those are the Mario Maker courses I like best, in fact the games I like best, those that are open to many approaches. Where you're never quite sure if you're doing it right, but you can still find out at least one way to do it. I'm not talking about courses that require you to, say, bounce a P-Switch off a wall and then jump off of it, because life is too short to learn to consistently pull off kaizo tricks, but if doing that is an option I'm okay with it, so long as other means also work.
posted by JHarris at 9:02 AM on November 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


How long has it been since King Bee linked Thinking Time and I overlooked it? Those are very nice courses!
posted by JHarris at 10:00 AM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, and you can tell which of us are the diehard Mario Makers by the people who are favoriting all these later comments.
posted by JHarris at 10:02 AM on November 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


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