Saturday, March 5, 2016

Upcoming update!

Hi ho!  Is anyone still reading this?

Another Super Mario Maker content update is on the way, and it turns out it has quite a number of new features!  Coming March 9th:
  • A P-Switch can be shaken to turn it into a Key!
  • Coins can be shaken to turn them into Pink Coins!  Collect all the Pink Coins in a course (up to 5) to get a Key!
  • Doors can be shaken twice, the first time to make P-Switch doors (introduce last update), the second time to make Locked Doors that require a Key to open!
  • Keys are not carried like other items, but automatically follow Mario (probably so they can still be useful in Super Mario Bros. mode).  Up to 8 can be following Mario at a time.
  • Particularly interestingly, a Key can be given to an enemy and will be left behind when the enemy is defeated, meaning people can now create forced boss fights!
  • In other news, Thwomps can be shaken to create the gigantic skewers seen in some Super Mario World courses.
  • An addition difficulty is being added to 100 Mario Challenge: Super Expert, with a few special costumes that can be unlocked for clearing it!  You only have to clear six courses (as opposed to eight for Easy and sixteen for Normal and Expert), but you can expect them to be particularly insane.  Now that there's a specific home for Super Expert courses, maybe Expert mode's difficulty will decrease a bit?
  • The game will let you open one of your courses in a special viewing mode that shows you where each player died with more precision.
  • Finally, the Bookmark site will start tracking how many world records and clears each player has.
Pretty neat!  Unfortunately I've stalled out at the moment in creating courses -- I'm up to my maximum of 40 and am still 23 stars shy of the next unlock point.  I should probably delete some of my under-performers....

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Recent JHarris courses

As promised/threatened a couple of weeks ago, here are some of my more recent courses!

Crossing the Impossible Gap (14.70% Normal -- about 7 lives to finish it, on average):
The area pictured above has six ways to cross it, by my reckoning, scattered throughout the course.  How many can you find?

The Embiggening (11.69% Expert -- about 8-and-a-half lives)
A short-but-sweet course centered around Mario's rarest powerup (because it needs an Amiibo to place it), the Big Mushroom, which is an interesting item in a number of ways.

Nimble Footwork or Brute Force (9.68% Unrated -- about 10 lives):
There are two routes through this course, intertwined with each other.  If you just run through it you'll have a hard time, but there's an easier way....

World μ-◆ (22.48% Normal -- about 4-and-a-half lives):
Made to look and play like a classic Mario level.  You pronounce the title "World Mu-Diamond."

Atop the Trees and Mountains (16.00% Normal -- 6-and-a-quarter lives):
More of a riddle than a course.  It's not hard at all once you figure out the trick, so I will refrain from giving hints here....

Training for Plumber Athletes (9.77% Expert -- about 10 lives):
Finally, my favorite course of those pictured.  It looks much harder than it is.  It feels great to get a good dash going and taking it at full sprint!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mario Maker popularity tracker spreadsheet

Hey all!  I've got lots of new levels to post but have been busy getting a book wrangled and edited together.  So until I get around to posting them, here's something else I made, an Excel spreadsheet to track how well your Mario Maker levels are doing!

Here it is. (Dropbox link)

To use it, first you go to this site (not mine) and enter your NNID.  That's the username of your WiiU Nintendo Network account, not the name of your user Mii.  The script there will go to your public Mario Maker Bookmark profile and download the stats for each of your courses, which you can then copy out of its table and paste into the spreadsheet at position A4 (both the site's URL and the right place to paste are noted for you in the spreadsheet).  If you don't have/want Microsoft Office you can load the sheet into LibreOffice as well, although the functionality that counts how many levels you have at each difficulty doesn't seem to work in it for some reason.

Once it's there, you can sort by various criteria by clicking the drop-down arrows at the top of each column.  It's a good way to find out which of your courses have struck a chord with players, as well as showing which have gotten the most plays and other derived data.  So try it, why doncha?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Vines and Pyramids

Two new levels since last I checked in!

The Secret of the Pyramid

I kind of went crazy and threw in everything I could find into this Mario 3-style level--including the kitchen sink, as you'll see. It didn't occur to me until after posting that there's a way to break it so you can neither get into the pyramid pipe nor back to redo it, but I think it should be fine.

A Vine Mess You've Gotten Into!

Obviously I wanted to call this Well Here's Another Vine Mess You've Gotten Me Into, but the title character limit wouldn't allow it. I really just wanted to make a level involving as many vines as possible, and something about the handling of Mario World made that style feel right. There's a correct way to go through it, and there's a couple tricky ways, but you got us into this mess, Laurel, so you get us out of it.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

House Call

The sprinkler system isn't working, so Mario must travel down the pipes and fix it. Can he make the garden grow?

Super-silly premise aside, in reality this is a scrolling level with a criss-crossing path and challenging, varied quick-thinking platforming throughout.  Eager for everybody's thoughts, as I'll probably go back and edit this one with critique, and work on the aesthetics again, so that I can publish a more polished version later.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Super Mario Maker 1.30

Hey everyone!  Released today was Super Mario Maker 1.30.  This is the version that gives us the Super Mario Maker Bookmark site, which is both an easier way to search for interesting courses and a better way to play them!

If you sign into the site with your Nintendo Network ID (NNID), you can choose to "bookmark" a course.  The next time you load the game up on your Wii U, there will be a list of bookmarked courses you can choose and play immediately from!  And I hear, if you're using the Wii U's Internet Browser, you can even jump to the course immediately from the listings!

Furthermore, and of special interest to us, it is possible to more directly link to one of your courses, for bookmarking or immediate play!  The URL of your stage on the internet takes the form:[course ID here]

So, my recent course Beneath The Floating Islands has the URL:

Its worth having a look at the site even if you're not playing immediately, as a maker can now "tag" his course with one of a number of descriptors: Automatic, Music, Puzzle, Gimmick, Dash, Remix, Thumbnail, Costume, Yoshi, Theme or Speedrun.  Apparently you can only apply one tag to each of your courses, and they have to be one of those, which kind of sucks, but Nintendo seems to be learning how to do this better and so maybe it'll improve in the future?

Additionally, courses now list both the first player to finish it (excluding courses uploaded before the update) and the world record completion time for finishing it.

And there are also three new course elements!  Shaking a Grinder (sawblade) creates a pinball-like bumper, shaking a door turns it into a P-Switch Door that can only be used while a switch is in effect (it appears as a dotted line otherwise), and the Koopa Clown Car can now be shaken to make it into a more powerful armed version.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Lost Level Exit

The Lost Level Exit

With the Wii U offline for the past month or so due to a move, my Mario making has been getting a little rusty. But playing some old Mario games in the meantime, I was struck by inspiration. This one homages/shamelessly swipes the gimmick from one of the later Lost Levels stages. I suspect my tolerances may have been thrown off by playing a lot of Expert Mode in Mario Maker, but going back to Lost Levels, they don't seem nearly as unfairly difficult as I remember.

But anyway, now that I'm back online, I'm pretty delighted to see everyone has made a lot of stages--I'm looking forward to playing through the backlog!