LittleBigInterview: TheAdipose (Mario! – 5 Superpowers)

Another day, another LittleBigPlanet community creator superstar. Famous for his popular creations, such as Mario and UNO inspired game worlds, Critical Gamer sits down with TheAdipose for a constructive chat.

CG: Many of your levels are collaborations. Is this difficult to organise? It’s surely a problem in the LBP 2 beta, where online create is disabled…

TheAdipose: I think online create is the single greatest feature on LittleBigPlanet. Without community and other people to build and socialise with I would have very little interest in create mode. Collaborating with others allows you to accentuate your strengths and hide your weaknesses. I’m a ‘logic and gameplay’ guy and I’m always looking for visual experts to hide my shocking artwork.

I’ve never found it particularly difficult to organise creating teams as I tend to take on the ‘project leader’ role and ask others (very politely) to work on certain areas in the level. It’s sad that online create is currently disabled in LBP 2, but we all know it’s coming at some point. Until then, we upload our levels to each other and work separately. There may be *cough* ‘ways’ to get into O.C. but MM have asked us not to use it at the moment.

CG: You’re already one of the most popular LittleBigPlanet creators. Did it come as any surprise to see how popular your beta levels became?

TheAdipose: I was very happy with the success of my levels in the beta. So far I’ve made ‘demos’ of what is possible with the tools and people seem to have enjoyed playing them. I based each one on an existing franchise (Lemmings, Mario, UNO) which normally guarantees a bit of extra attention. I’ve been really pleased to see that ‘cool levels’ seems to use a different system this time, which hopefully promotes high quality levels rather than repetitive survival challenges.

I’m still after an elusive ‘MM Pick’ which is a great way to promote the best of the best. As I mentioned above, community is the biggest part of LBP, and whenever I publish a level I ask my PSN buddies to give it a play. It’s their feedback I value most of all. I would recommend every creator gets to know as many other creators as possible.

CG: Were any of your levels in the beta originally published in LBP 1? If so, what has the LBP 2 beta allowed you to add or improve?

TheAdipose: They are published, but all three are currently broken under the new systems. Although MM have worked very hard at backwards compatibility, it’s not perfect yet. My most famous LBP 1 creation (apart from my video tutorials) was a level based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. This involved lots of sack cut outs and dialogue looped through old style logic. I’m very much looking forward to replacing the cut outs with proper sackbots and making the city feel so much more alive.

On a related note – there is finally a reason to buy costume DLC. I’ve always been a ‘this is my one costume’ kind of player, but now I need characters for my levels. MM is going to get so much money from me on the costume side.

CG: What, for you, is the most important thing now possible in LBP 2 that isn’t
possible in LBP 1?

TheAdipose: I’m not sure I can answer this in one so I’m going to give myself three.

1. Sackbots – They allow so much more character development in levels. They can act, move, follow, talk and really immerse the player into whatever world you have created. As well as having sackbots around the player, you can actually put the player in a sackbot. This means that in a Spiderman level you can make the player be Spiderman. You can also give special abilities to each bot – like in my Mario level – flying Mario could jump high, fire Mario could shoot fireballs, etc. The possibilities in creation are massive.

2. Movers and rotators – Without the awkward restrictions posed by pistons and bolts, movers really open up the gameplay genres on LBP. Objects can move by themselves on any pre-programmed route. You can also set objects to follow other objects (or the player). The card game level I made would have been near impossible on LBP 1. With LBP 2 you just stick the movers in a microchip and the card glides from your hand into the deck.

3. New logic tools – The new logic tools are so easy to use, it makes creating with them really enjoyable. Logic that would have taken me half an hour to put together in LBP 1, I can link up in under a minute in LBP 2. It means that easy logic is now available to all creators and very advanced logic is waiting for those who care to learn more. Some of my friends have been building calculators and even entire computers inside these tools. The microchips also mean that you no longer have to give vast areas of your level over to storing the logic. Lush.

CG: How long do your levels take to create, on average? What’s the most time and least time you’ve spent on a level?

TheAdipose: Well I’ve been doing ‘level demos’ in the beta at the moment. It seems unlikely that we will get to keep our creations so I don’t want to put my heart and soul into something that won’t see the light of day. I’ve been doing ‘levels in a weekend’ which seems to tie in quite nicely with my short attention span. The quickest was the UNO level which took half a day. Mario and Lemmings took most of a weekend each. Some of my LBP levels felt like they took forever.

My Gladiators level (which I won a crown for – yay!) took over a month and both Luos and I were sick of it by the time we finished. My first proper level took about two months, but it went through several revisions and re-releases before we were happy with it. Discworld took about three weeks to finish, but that was also the most ‘social’ of my creations. The credits list for that level was well into double figures. Luos and I often had four people working on the level at one time – which obviously speeds things up. I’m simultaneously envious and horrified by the people who take months and months on one level. I don’t know where they get the stamina from, but the outcome is often very impressive.

CG: What levels do you admire, from either game?

TheAdipose: My favourite level in LBP history is subterranean setbacks by rtm223. My favourite creations are tricky levels, with original gameplay and puzzles that make you think hard. That level by rtm had ground breaking logic, a great narrative, many tough challenges, and nice gritty visuals. Check it out – but don’t expect an easy ride.

On the new beta it’s just really great seeing what new ideas are coming out. LBP 2 is no longer constrained by the platforming genre. With a little imagination you can make literally any type of game with the new tools. I’ve seen RTS, card games, movies, racers and much more! I admire the creators who think outside of the box and keep surprising the community.

CG: Do you have any general tips for fellow LBP creators?

TheAdipose: Tutorials! LBP is blessed with so many great creators who are willing to share their genius with others. Look in the tutorials sections of many LBP websites. There is so much to learn that will improve your creations. I also made a series of video tutorials that have also supported new players through their first levels. Aside from that, get involved in the community. Join fansites, be active on forums, make friends, share your creations, give feedback on other peoples and generally enjoy the experience.

CG: Is there anything else LBP related you would like to add?

TheAdipose: It’s a real shame the game has been delayed but I understand the decision. LBP has a long shelf life – it isn’t the kind of game you complete and trade back in. For some of these creators, LBP is THE game they play. For that reason, I think MM have made the right decision to get LBP 2 right before they publish it. Until then, this buggy, crash prone beta will have to withstand my creative whims.

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Written by Anthony H

Anthony has been playing games for far too much of his life, starting with the MS-DOS classic Mario is Missing. Since then his tastes have evolved to include just about anything, but his soft spot lies with shooters and the odd strategy game. Anthony will inspire you with his prose, uplift you with his wit and lie to you in his biography.

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