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Messages - Balneor

#1
VVVVVV Levels / Re: Nebula: Enter the Unknown
August 19, 2023, 09:33:41 PM
So, Nebula. Not Sure's third grand hit. This time, a much more accessible gameplay entry, albeit still really challenging towards the end. Despite its relatively short length, it feels like Nebula's development spanned for just as long if not longer than what came before.

In the first minute of play, I couldn't help myself but chuckle at the sight of Not Sure using VVVVVV's most common custom level story trope : dimension exploring via the DSS Souleye. As this is a huge contrast to the creator's past crazy ventures in level building and designing.

This surreal instant doesn't last for very long however, as after entering a warp token placed in a pitch black room directly below the ship's exit port (the transition is so crude it's kind of distracting), we are directly led back to normalcy : A series of graphically and musically themed areas comprising of one dozen sections to individually overcome.

The music is mainly 8 bit, either original tracks or remixes. And the graphics are - I assume - from games of similar age. I'm not surprised, this has been Not Sure's artistic signature since he's tried his hands at it. I guess you could say he was one right person to fiddle with VVVVVV, which itself is a throwback to the old era of computers.

As you can expect, the graphics do a marvelous job at giving a different atmosphere and feel to each themed sub sections we find ourselves wandering through. (well, as much as the spikes's black outlines love to get in the way of that...)
And the music choices, while minimalist, only further accompanies that. I almost fell off my chair hearing that first area's theme. And let's not spoil the music of the ultimate climax please.

Story wise, as hinted at earlier, there understandably isn't that much to cling onto... and yet you might be wrong at the same time ? I'm not going to claim I'm getting it all, as some of it is a bit cryptic (or doesn't ring me any bells)... but at the same time, if you know, you know.


This level took me just short of three hours to beat, as in getting past the last challenge.
It progressively gets harder, and as usual for these levels, the end retains surprises that took me one full third of my clear time to overcome.
But far from this being a mere test of skills about overcoming obstacles, and much like tradition, this level tries to bring fun in other ways. We have things such as nice little visual appetizers, easter eggs... but the main dish here are secret areas holding this game's "trinkets". I only found the last one on my first playthrough... which I instantly skipped as it was riddled with what was essentially my kryptonite. And granted... the process of finding most of them won't leave you thinking with much else but the play of a fart sound effect in your head (or staying on theme, duck noise). But once you get to them, you're basically through the tedious part already.
They act as level refreshers, and are nowhere as ridiculous as those seen in Supernova. And although they aren't based on never before seen topics or ideas... they're clearly not overstaying their welcome.
Besides, you'll need the treasure if you want to get closer to the heart of this mystery... or it may be a bad idea after all... like that tablet hints.

... and honestly, I don't have much of any criticism to bring about this level.
The release version has had been some pretty embarrassing collision errors here and there (including one leading to a huge skip). Room cheeses... and then there was a game breaking bug I uncovered while trying to save and load. Made the final section impossible to complete if you did so much but quit the game there... but it was fixed quickly, didn't ruin my save.

I don't feel like any sections in particular felt unfair or frustrating to me. I definitely enjoyed more sections than others, but overall I think what you have is a solid balanced experience I had a ton of fun with.
And it can't be denied, this level oozes of sections that range between cool, and near instant iconic ideas that somehow work. But it's true that you'll have to remain patient and wait for the second area to kick in before seeing lots of these. 

As for new gameplay quirks, Not Sure doesn't necessarily innovate (that I can see). But a lot of what he did, was taking ground on some of the more novel gameplay gimmicks and scripting tricks that got introduced into the scene in recent years. And started digging down for blueprints.
The same way he uncovered those for Nova and Supernova, who have memorable sections at every corner, and some who inspired the crafts of other level makers (including himself here, funnily enough).
Some gimmick he was familiar with, and others he had possibly never played around before. They include gotoposition, custom enemy entities, custom platform and conveyor speed (!), infinite flipping (!).


In short, with this release, Not Sure's once again rekindling the world of gameplay levels, and proving that it's still very much burning with ample fuel. Not that he has been the only one over that recently.
I guess the only actual downside to this level is that the entire map isn't filled like the others. My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined.
#2
VVVVVV Levels / Re: The Lost Levels Of VVVVVV
July 22, 2023, 10:58:46 PM
Made a shameful mistake. No, "+" is a level that has been in production for a couple years now, and it's not out yet. We can do nothing but wait.
She's posted updates of it on the discord, but afaik she has never released any fragments or demos for it... or maybe she did, but the name was different than "+" and I have no idea where I should look for it... damnit
#3
VVVVVV Levels / Re: The Lost Levels Of VVVVVV
July 19, 2023, 10:26:54 PM
TAS Trials is currently still under development. Which has gone slow recently because he was unpleased with the shape of the work he had came up with, so he wanted to reshape it again with more interesting impossible ideas. Which I think he also said it was quite a difficult task and he was short on inspiration or something.
Unless he decides to release it, in a finished or not, I'm afraid we're gonna have to wait... or someone else can start working on going through the trouble of replicating everything he's built in the videos... lol

MIRA-VIU was made for the level making contest of october 2020. It should be downloadable on the discord server where those events are held. I'll still drop the level file just in case. If someone want it removed tell me. I think the creator would be fine.

And as for this level called "+" made by VVVVVVCrewmate7... do you know where you heard of this level ? The Discord ? Thread here ? I can't find such a user on the site, even making a user search.
Either way, I don't have a level called "+". It's common for forum people to talk about an upcoming level they're making and then disappearing not long after without having published anything.
#4
VVVVVV Levels / Re: mystery dimension
July 08, 2023, 08:57:08 AM
Not gonna lie... he's kinda right. A lot of coincidences...
If they really used your level to build their own, they should have made it clear...
#5
VVVVVV Levels / Re: Balneor's Fun Level Pack
May 30, 2023, 09:14:20 AM
I was replaying 100 challenges, and I noticed one of the rooms became impossible. Got no goddamn idea why, but it appears old me completely changed the enemies placement in (5,7) base 1,1.
So, I removed the old modified level and just replaced it with the original downloadable version, which I played again and is fine.
#6
VVVVVV Levels / Re: viridian gets milk
May 08, 2023, 10:58:15 PM
Good production
#7
VVVVVV Levels / Re: VFUTCG
April 15, 2023, 12:11:40 PM
Quote from: ILoveV6 on April 15, 2023, 07:27:10 AMLove the minecraft textures lol, really wanna see more funny short levels
There are a ton if you search
#8
VVVVVV Levels / Re: Hello im a new player here
April 14, 2023, 11:37:31 AM
Hello

It's important to know that custom levels are generally harder than the main game, for numerous and various reasons.

Still, there might be a couple that are similar in size and content as the main game. And be relatively accessible. There would be, among others I'm surely forgetting :

The Bracketed level series (three 20x20 levels going by "[some symbol here]" names)
https://distractionware.com/forum/index.php?topic=1816

Vespera Scientifica
https://distractionware.com/forum/index.php?topic=4200

Temporal Troubles
https://distractionware.com/forum/index.php?topic=3758

Dimension Open
https://tolp.nl/forum/index.php?topic=141.0
There are other like this one, with crewmate action, but they are less polished

That should be enough for some time
#9
VVVVVV Levels / Re: im back with new levels
April 07, 2023, 11:52:43 PM
The second level is impossible because of this room.


Neat levels otherwise.
#10
VVVVVV Levels / Re: The Tower
April 01, 2023, 11:45:51 PM
Oh shit it's him again

Well well. This isn't an april fools you cooked. Not for me !

It seems the level is unbeatable, because there is no way to access the crewmate at (2,1) (base 1,1) as the adjacent tower room has horizontal roon warping and there doesn't seem to be any other script based way of reaching that balcony.
The crewmate at (2,11) is also unobtainable, at some point the spike corridor cannot be waded through.
Though, I know you said you couldn't finish the fools in time.

Spoilers put in white but : The audio of the mic is a bit low and it's not easy to hear what you say compared to the game sounds. End of spoilers.

As for the level... we could make use of more nonobvious levels like this. It's hard to stomach, for sure, but you can't claim such levels aren't very interesting and can't be inspirational when it comes to other people. Besides, these are such rare sight these days. People here might be forgetting you can do things like this at all.

Even if it's not exactly the way you wanted the level to be in the end, thanks for your efforts and for sharing your level with us.
#11
VVVVVV Levels / Re: tommyland
March 28, 2023, 12:23:42 PM
Randomness:the level

Like the custom textures even if it's the original textures with a color filter. Uncommon but interesting color choice too.
And the enemy sprite change
#12
Probably the most complex level you made yet, with more intricate dialogue and room names I didn't expect you would say. Almost as if someone else was responsible for it.

At the same time, I don't know if the level was playtested cause the "error" script that activates he "end" script with gamestate 1013 doesn't seem to work. Even then, there doesn't seem to be a ending to the level, or to the party, which is pretty lame. Isn't it ?
That and it was again relatively too short despite how it presented itself to be. The error cutscene to me sounds like you grew bored with the level and just ended it like that. If that's how you feel, I can't question it, but as always I can't help but imagine a larger sized level from yours
#13
VVVVVV Levels / Re: warpahabain
March 09, 2023, 11:14:22 AM
Pretty quiet level
Only regret is it's too short
#14
VVVVVV Levels / Re: first level
March 07, 2023, 11:37:50 PM
Pretty clean and cool looking level.

Bit unfortunate that there is no way to go back in the level for missed trinkets or crewmates. You could have used the empty space in the last room to create some sort of teleport space. But it's your level.

There is also perhaps a problem with this room. If you keep going left, you'll clip inside the next room. Also, the token genuinely caught me off-guard because I didn't expect it to be midway but logically at the end of the room, after all enemies.

#15
VVVVVV Levels / Re: relative
February 27, 2023, 12:53:55 PM
Not too bad execution, especially the stuttering scripts (in white)

You should make something bigger