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Proposed TMK Redesigned Map; It's essay time!
Topic Started: Jun 27 2017, 11:26 AM (206 Views)
Katach314
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It's funny because sadness
For various reasons, I didn't much like Touch My Katamari. To explain all the reasons here would be tangential (woo, tangent! :D ) and lengthy, and might detract from my main point. The grievance that inspired me here was that the game never provided satisfying growth progress. One of the theories I came up with to explain this deficiency was that the katamari was too light, always rolling at a constant speed, giving the illusion of a lack of progress. Another one was that the controls were small and flimsy (due to being on a handheld rather than on a console with nice, strong controllers), and that the joysticks don't need to be pushed far to be completely pushed forward, creating the illusion of an easily-surmountable-yet-still-somehow-impossible-to-overcome limit. But later, I found a new problem, one that revealed that this point had deeper, harder-to-correct (well, maybe not that hardware hypothesis, but still) origins. This problem was simply that the stages simply weren't big enough.

TMK borrowed its stage structure from Katamari Damacy, separating its overworld into House, Town, and World levels (sorry for explaining things you already know, I just wanted to set up the context to the issue and my thoughts). For various (opinionated) reasons (the katamari got harder to roll over time, the House and Town levels were included in the World level, the levels were bigger than their TMK counterparts, possibly nostalgia), the system by and large worked for KD.

However, TMK has none of the features that, in my eyes, forgive the format. At the end of the stage where I got the largest in a sublevel (Stage 4, Stage 6, Stage 8 (though I felt the House level was satisfying, the near-weightless katamari and unsatisfying controls held it back)), I felt little sense of accomplishment. For the Town and World levels, I was especially disappointed by the abundance of items I SHOULD be able to roll up (small houses and islands, respectively), further voiding any sense of achievement I felt. That depressing conclusion lurked in my mind for years, as I saw nowhere to go from there philosophically (an interesting parallel). But, one day, while replaying The Great Journey DLC stage in TMK, I noticed that the stage incorporated bits and pieces of the three levels into one stage. Comparing the choppy nature of the stage with the choppy nature of the game's setting, an idea struck me: what if it wasn't like that? Then, I knew what to do: redesign the map!

While I introduced that dramatically, my quest is a simple one, more to do with splicing together the three levels into one large one (ala WLK or BK), rather than a complete redesign. However, since the map in the game will never change and I lack the programming/modelling skills to make a different one, this will remain only a thought experiment for me (but if there is an enterprising person out there with ambition and the proper set of skills... please listen to my pitch :howyoudoin ).

TL;DR: I thought TMK's levels (the places you roll) are too small, so I'm stitching them together to make one big map.

...Alright, sorry for the long, labyrinthine introduction. :heh I now introduce my conceptual TMK Redesigned Map!

Zone 1: 5cm - 20cm
Boundaries: The disconnected room from the House level
Notes: This is unchanged from the original.

Zone 2: 20cm - 50cm
Boundaries: The side yard, dining room, living room, and back porch from the House level (original 20cm - 40cm zone + original 40cm - 60cm zone)
Notes: The annoyingly small 20cm-40cm zone and the unnecessary number of zones (it was the only new non-DLC area with over 3 zones) really irritated me, so I'm doing away with both of those here.

Zone 3: 50cm - 80cm
Boundaries: Backyard from the House level, playground/park/parking lot (the original under 60cm zone) from the Town level
Notes: The House level's backyard has no back wall, and opens up to the park/parking lot (there's a convenient gap in the wall near the parking lot, but it would be central and more natural to open into the park itself...). The House and two other nondescript houses (they'll probably be the houses on either side of the original House level. Also like in the normal House level, the houses' yards are walled, and invisible barriers prevent you jumping over them at this point, rendering them inaccessible at this scale), block the side of the park normally blocked by enormous green chain-length fences. The houses are located where the baseball diamond normally is; said diamond has been relocated to a nearby field (which has been raised to be level with the houses and sufficiently divided from the over 3m areas) behind the playground.

(A brief aside: This area with the diamond is normally blocked off with a fence (the barbed-wire item with the "danger" sign, the name of which escapes me right now), and is thus only accessible when over 3m; this area also is to TMK what the DLC supermarket area was to BK. In a Mechanical Colony-esque level, you would be prevented from rolling in the 50cm - 80cm zone until you are 50cm or greater.)

Zone 4: 80cm - 3m
Boundaries: The normal 60cm-3m zone from the Town level, the little area with the shrine bell (?) near the Tech Expo
Notes: Sans the addition of the aforementioned bell area, this zone is unchanged from the original.

Zone 5: 3m - 12m
Boundaries: The river, town directly in front of the Over 3m barrier, shrine area used in the Fan Festival DLC stage, area with racetracks and tall buildings near the park (and maybe the lake with the totem pole and/or the amusement park) from the Town level, the Under 12m zone from the World level
Notes: I possess little appreciation for the over 3m zone of the Town level, due to it being large, convoluted, hard-to-memorize, and disappointing (I SO should have been able to roll up those small houses... :glare ). So, I hope I'm not getting on anyone's nerves for removing most of it. Anyway, all of this is stitched onto the back (the part farthest from the 12m barrier) of the former under 12m zone of the World level. To keep the zone from getting too big, I might sacrifice the small European village, the pond to the left of the Goldman mansion area, the Goldman mansion area itself, and the grassy region behind the three aforementioned areas.

Zone 6: 12m - 60m
Boundaries: The former 12m-60m zone from the World
Notes: Any parts removed from the Original Town over 3m zone or the Original World under 12m zone could be relocated here. The mountain range might need to be extended a bit to accommodate the larger under 12m zone, and the 60m barrier now blocks a gap in the rock wall with an incomplete rock arch above it (i.e. the portal to the wacky rainbow version of the over 60m zone is gone). Other than that, this zone is unchanged from the original.

Zone 7: 60m - 300m
Boundaries: A normal, sane version of the original over 60m zone from the World, based off similar zones in past games (WLK, BK)
Notes: I once spied a not-crazy-rainbows-and-general-insanity version of the over 60m zone, and was disappointed that I could not roll there instead. :( So, I'm putting this here to honor that wish. The zone's islands are unchanged, sans their textures, and they're covered with the typical cities, landmarks, and large creatures normally adorning such zones. Any parts removed for space from the Original World 12m - 60m zone could be on an extra island here. The zone is surrounded by a bay composed of rounded grassy rock walls, not unlike those seen in the Cosmos segment of The Great Journey DLC. The large (taking up about 1/3 of the wall perimeter) gap in this wall is blocked with Dokudami Islands (the pointed islands that surround BK's under 300m section).

Zone 8: 300m - 3km
Boundaries: A mashup of the over 300m zones of past games (WLK, MMK (yes, I know that's an over 500m zone, but bear with me here), BK) and the Great Cosmos segment from The Great Journey
Notes: The Great Cosmos Island is a giant island (made of many separate pieces, so it can be rolled up) in the center of the zone. The other islands (those inspired by similar past zones) fill the rest of the zone. The edges of the sea transport you to the opposite end of the zone, like in KD/MMK/BK.

To keep the basic structure of TMK the same (or if system limitations limit the size of the overworld), we could stop here. However, if you don't want that... ;)

Zone 9: 3km - 10,000km (or possibly 10Mm (Megameters, 1,000km each) for brevity; were this switch to happen, it would occur when the katamari reached 1,000km, adding Mm to the size counter (why am I explaining this?))
Boundaries: Earth and its orbit
Notes: The Earth would generally be the BK Earth with a couple nips and tucks, but the real attraction would be its orbit. Some asteroids, meteors, and small stars have been caught in its orbit, Dangerous-Colony-style. The Moon (sporting a green starburst which resembles The Moon's appearance in KD) is also in orbit, and can be collected at ~9Mm. Earth's orbit is mostly explored by jumping. The Moon will appear in the next zone, so don't be concerned if you can't roll it up. Earth's countries don't give as much size as normal, encouraging the player to explore the orbit.

Zone 10: 10Mm -
Boundaries: The Cosmos (not to be confused with the Great Cosmos)
Notes: All the planets you have made will be here (incidentally, I feel like the planets of TMK could use a redesign, since they were all recycled, ugly, or uninspired), along with the King, Queen, and Papa. A plugged black hole, a WLK sun, and various constellations may or may not be here (perhaps there are also celestial bodies that have a random chance of appearing?). There should also be a giant planet representing the Great Cosmos.

Now, some things I felt might be necessary to note here:
- The implementation of this map would require a complete redesign of the main campaign of the game to better represent each zone, a la BK. In fact, the new map could also allow more side stages to be created (Collect the Cousins stage in the 3m - 12m zone, for example). Katamari Rolls On: Canon Edition, anyone? :drool
- If the one-cousin-per-stage rule is abandoned, the abundance of new areas would provide countless places to put cousins, either for fitting in old ones or places for new ones.
- The greater amount of stages could necessitate a hub that isn't the King's head, meaning that he could go back to being a not-extremely-terrifying illustration! :yay The King dress-up mode can stay, though. :bleh

Any suggestions to the map? Any proposed stages or hub(s)? Be sure to tell me/everyone here with a comment!
Edited by Katach314, Nov 26 2017, 03:48 PM.
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slowbro
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way too silly :S

I enjoyed reading this :D especially since I played through TMK again recently so I actually remember the areas despite my poor memory. There's no denying that a lot of this game's areas feel small.

Me, one of my favorite stages in TMK actually is Make it Big 6 with its convoluted, seemingly impossible to memorize over 3m area. But certainly I'll happily play your massive level that mostly skips that area. :china :D
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Katach314
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It's funny because sadness
Thanks, slo. :D

But my problem with its confusing layout is that it always feels like I'm missing something, like there's some clump of items that I should be going towards, but I can't because I forgot the whole place it was located! And I might be retreading the essay here, but the sheer size and abundance of small, uncollectable objects (the buildings just past the 3m barrier are notable offenders) make me feel like I'm down-to-the-wire, too small, just passing the level, even though I'm playing on Eternal and have rolled up every item in the map five times over. And the fact that there's no Royal Look in this game to give me a bird's eye view of the stage, there's no way I can memorize it all. The fact that this also makes me unable to easily make pictures of my map is an added annoyance.

Side note: What's up with those trees around the under 60cm zone? Those are clearly Boulevard Trees, which can be rolled up at 8m10cm4mm, they're senselessly blocking that zone, and they should be IN MY KATAMARI! :mad Why are you loitering around, trees?! Get a job!
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tldraco
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TEAM COWBEAR
I can agree with your desire to see the BK style of one megamap return. Having been my first katamari game, Beautiful Katamari was an outstanding engineering of level design and correlation.

As it pertains to your level ideas, they sound nice. I'm sure you have put deep thought into this as made evident by your post. It has been quite a while since I've played TMK so I can't really provide much insight.

I enjoyed reading about your ideas to include popular Katamari astral bodies making a return, though.

Katach314
 
Another one was that the controls were small and flimsy (due to being on a handheld rather than on a console with nice, strong controllers)

Have you ever considered buying one of these?

Katach314
 
(but if there is an enterprising person out there with ambition and the proper set of skills... please listen to my pitch :howyoudoin

Katamari has always seemed like a game that could easily be made into a game-making engine. While, yes, this could be quite time consuming considering how ungodly messy people's houses are in the universe of katamari, the physics of the game seem simple enough to be emulated into a game-making engine. The big drawback I could see here is having moving objects (like toys, cars, etc.) to run into eachother. But if we are to get rid of said objects' movement along the x & z-axis, perhaps this can be avoided.
Making original objects and cousins is one thing (probably easily done via a graphics program), but using pre-existing objects in a database of some sorts seems easy enough.
Or maybe I'm underestimating the complexity of stage design altogether.
Sorry for the off-topicness of my reply. Just a bit more elaboration. I shall cease to detract from your original ideas :)
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Katach314
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It's funny because sadness
Thanks for all the compliments :D .

tldraco
 
Have you ever considered buying one of these?
Never seen one of those before! But that wouldn't fix the problem, since the joysticks, buttons, and shoulder buttons are the issue.

tldraco
 
Katamari has always seemed like a game that could easily be made into a game-making engine. While, yes, this could be quite time consuming considering how ungodly messy people's houses are in the universe of katamari, the physics of the game seem simple enough to be emulated into a game-making engine. The big drawback I could see here is having moving objects (like toys, cars, etc.) to run into eachother. But if we are to get rid of said objects' movement along the x & z-axis, perhaps this can be avoided.
Making original objects and cousins is one thing (probably easily done via a graphics program), but using pre-existing objects in a database of some sorts seems easy enough.
Or maybe I'm underestimating the complexity of stage design altogether.
Yeah, I think the collision thing would be a deal-breaker. :/ It would sure be a great tool for making katamari stages, though. :D

tldraco
 
Sorry for the off-topicness of my reply. Just a bit more elaboration. I shall cease to detract from your original ideas :)
AS LONG AS PEOPLE ARE TALKING I COULDN'T CARE LESS :devil
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