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Super Smash Bros. Brawl: How to Make Great Custom Levels

by: JaredNewman ; edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

There's no shortage of battlegrounds in the hit Wii game Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with over 30 normal stages, plus some classics from Super Smash Bros. Melee. Still, you and your friends will inevitably get bored, so here's how to make custom stages they'll actually want to play.

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    Concept First

    The best levels are the ones that start with a concept. Don’t begin by dropping pieces of the stage randomly all over the screen. Instead, think of what kind of stage you to create. Draw on paper if you need to, or just visualize it in your head. It can also help to think ahead about which large objects you want to feature, if any, and incorporate them into the design.

    Fundamentally, there are two kinds of levels in Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Straightforward fighting levels (think Final Destination from the normal stages) and crazier, obstacle-driven levels (such as Donkey Kong). For the former category, you’ll want lots of flat, regular surfaces. Nuisances such as spikes and springs should be placed on the outskirts of the level, if at all. For the latter category, go crazy, but it still helps to have some organization.

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    Memorable Design

    You’ll want to come up with a theme for your level. What would make it interesting enough that your friends will want to play in it? Even a normal platform with a long row of spikes on either end is somewhat memorable, as it allows players to push their opponents into treacherous territory.

    Another popular example of this is the “Pinball" stage. Place two inclined surfaces toward the bottom part of the stage, ramping down to the middle of the screen. Have each ramp lead to a giant spring that acts as the pinball flipper, propelling the player to the top of the screen. The rest of the stage is comprised of springs, spikes, conveyors and other fun surfaces.

    Since you cant change your level size once you start building, you may have to start over if you find that your stage is too big or small. In this case, just consider your design as a first draft, and fine-tune it the second time around.

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    Test, and Test Again

    In the level editor, you can press the ~ez_ldquo+ez_rdquo~ button on the Wii remote to get a sense of your level, but you really need to save it, then play it with actual opponents to see if it really works. Your level might include pockets where it’s impossible to get knocked off the stage, or areas where the footing is just too hazardous when players are fighting. Make a note of these glitches and modify as needed.

    You can get a general idea of how the level works by playing with computer opponents, but sometimes they get fooled in areas with tough jumps or dangerous pathways. If you have friends who are patient enough to try your machinations before they're fully polished, take advantage.

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