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Let's take the intro stage in New Hard Type. As it is an introductory stage of the hack, I wanted to include a handful of elements (or you could call them tropes) that would be present in the stages, while retaining the original theme of the stage. The tropes to include were: Horizontal linear platforming, Multiple pathing, Expanded, detailed world, Claustrophobic sections (with enemies enhancing the idea), Vertical climbing sections. So I took the original concept of the highway and expanded onto it. I made a highway, in which you end up falling to the underground area of the city, traveling around the area to get back to the surface to get to your original destination. It conveys into a theme and results in both an open stage with a more claustrophobic interlude, with even a vertical section. In this case, what did I design first? Did I slap together platforms and enemies and call it a stage? Or did I design entire sections and mesh them together? Or did I instead design the tropes that would be included and explores? Or did I design the entire theme of the stage and then explore and expand onto it? Basically, an unexperienced designer will do from the former to the latter, while the more experienced designer will try to go from the latter to the former: From the theme to the details, from the design tropes to be explored to the individual jump lengths and enemy positions to be adjusted. So, what I propose in this topic is to discuss what could be explored in each stage! We have the following map to work with (zoom in the image): If you don't remember where each stage occurs within the map, load your old MMX game and check it. What I want to discuss here, is different ideas to brainstorm. An example of something I could work with would be something like: "Intro stage: Highway like the original. Horizontal stage, possibly exploring multiple paths after falling from an individual jump (should probably include visual cues to let the player know you can fall safely there). After finding the bee miniboss, the floor falls and suddenly you're in an entirely new area, an underground where you need to find your way back up. Then you reach the end of the stage". That's a bit convoluted. How about something more friendly, more fun to imagine: "Storm Eagle: You start at the airport, then you jump from ship to ship. Maybe the background moving suggesting that the ships are in movement? In each ship you infiltrate from the rear to the front while fighting the defenses, until you infiltrate the main ship of the maverick army, where Storm Eagle is hiding." "Flame Mammoth: Slowly descending into a volcano. Etc." Use your imagination and help me start the designing process!