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VLDC9 - vanilla level design contest 9

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TRS
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Re: VLDC9 - various landfalls defying commonality 9

Postby TRS » 1 month ago

Aside from a 1-up block that is only marked if the p-switch is active, we designed the level around the animations, specifically the amount of time the level stayed pitch black normally. The idea was to encourage p-switch use--even though it didn't actually do much p-switch wise--because it made the level more colorful and easier to traverse.

Later on we changed the level to require the p-switch in certain places, and in hindsight that was a bad idea. Due to the abundance of switches, there is rarely any time where you are in the dark.

The neon star animation was originally going to be used for the secret exit path, but then neither of us could think of a good way to hide a secret exit so we trashed that idea and repurposed the animation for the second half of the level.

The secret exit, remade to be the second half of the level, was supposed to be a star run. But normal star runs where it's really just a race and there's an abundance of things that normally can kill you, those are overdone. This star run was supposed to be easier, where the challenge was in the platforming and not getting to the next star as fast as possible, and then you could challenge yourself even further by trying to get a 1-up off of the koopas. The autoscroll exists almost solely to prevent the player from blowing through the second half with invincibility; particularly it means you can't run and jump off of the two-tile-wide platforms in the beginning.

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Re: VLDC9 - various landfalls defying commonality 9

Postby FrozenQuills » 1 month ago

2nd: IGNIS FATUUS by Agent Q
Nimono
DESIGN: 29/30
CREATIVITY: 20/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 59/60
It felt like Ghosts n Goblins! I quite liked it, though it seemed a bit too easy to run out of time... I had about 45 seconds left on the clock by the time I hit the end.

ninja boy
DESIGN: 22/30
CREATIVITY: 20/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 52/60
Wow this level was great, really fun looked amazing and provided a good challenge

Eternity
DESIGN: 26/30
CREATIVITY: 18/20
AESTHETICS: 9/10
TOTAL: 53/60
Surprisingly simple, but still fun. Design's rather straightforward but still pretty well done, the fire enemies are used pretty well throughout and no major issues come to mind. The atmosphere's also great, specially on the cave sections.

Koopster
DESIGN: 27/30
CREATIVITY: 18/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 55/60
This level looks SO GOOD! And plays SO GOOD! It's not outstandingly different from the ordinary in level design, but it feels really professional. It's very fun to play and explore. The time limit is just a little bit tight though!

1st: SUBTERRANEAN GLOW by Impetus and Noivern/TRS
Nimono
DESIGN: 28/30
CREATIVITY: 18/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 56/60
Quite a beautiful and fun level! Although, some parts in the autoscroll (especially the end) were a bit too difficult to complete if you weren't way up front, thus knowing the obstacles that were coming... Make sure to give enough leeway for players that hang in the back-middle so they can see what's coming up!

ninja boy
DESIGN: 30/30
CREATIVITY: 20/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 60/60
This level is just flat out awesome the grim look or the grey scale the colorfulness of the p-switch then the star tying it all together I just have no words.

Eternity
DESIGN: 28/30
CREATIVITY: 18/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 56/60
A P-Switch run level done right. This level is short but sweet, the design is really well done and aesthetically it's fantastic. Nothing particularly bad about this, it's super fun to play through and even though the gimmick is nothing new, it was executed in a great way. The star was definitely a great additon too.

Koopster
DESIGN: 26/30
CREATIVITY: 18/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 54/60
"oh look it's a POW Perspective ripoff" man do I regret that first thought. This level was so amazing! I LOVE how you need P-switches to color up the area and also be able to see, but I think the gray colors could darken a bit more often for the gimmick to work more effectively! When I saw the star, I remembered Lunar Magic has this starman trigger on ExAnimation that no one ever uses and I imagined you could've used it. I was not disappointed at all. You got some basic, but very good and cohesive design.

Both of these levels super nailed aesthetics, but personally that's not enough to be in the top 2. They're still great levels though.
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5th place counter: 4
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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby zagesaw » 1 month ago

Kinda disappointed with the top 2 rankings. While they are decent levels with cool aesthetics, the gameplay in them is pretty average. They aren't bad levels by any means, actually still pretty good, but having them placed as the Top 2 really makes them appear more disappointing than they should be.

World X almost made me gave up in finishing the collab lol. After VLDC8's World X I had high hopes but dear god the levels in this one were frustrating except for 1 level which I thought was really good.

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Lockirby2 » 1 month ago

Ignis Fatuus feels like a level that would have been plain without the aesthetics. I don't feel that it was as creative as most of the other top levels in terms of gameplay.

I honestly don't mind Subterranean Glow taking first place, even if it wouldn't be my first pick. I think the second half with the star run is more fun for people with a SomeGuy-esque mentality who want to chain kill as many Koopas as possible. For players like raocow who don't care about that, the second half ends up losing a lot of its content. If you don't care about getting lives you have half as much stuff to do in the slow autoscroller, and because it's an autoscroller you can't set your own pace (which was probably a mistake for this reason). Thankfully the challenge is centered around falling down holes, which prevents the star run from being a complete non-event.

I think the judges didn't have to hold back with their level difficulties much because they weren't being ranked. I enjoyed them a lot because of this, especially Koopster's.

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Nimono » 1 month ago

Lockirby2 wrote:I think the judges didn't have to hold back with their level difficulties much because they weren't being ranked. I enjoyed them a lot because of this, especially Koopster's.
I, unfortunately, wasn't trying to make a tough level. I wanted to make something fun and ultra silly, but I couldn't really get many opinions on my design- I had literally 2 people to test it, Koopster and Jack. IIRC, Eternity was extremely busy at the time so wasn't able to do much about World X stuff, and Ninja Boy...kinda wasn't there much? I couldn't ask the public for help in testing because World X content is supposed to be secret until the collab comes out.


so, apologies for my level being meh!

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Kles » 1 month ago

I think the judges, in general, allowed the presentation of the levels to colour their "design" scores. Ignis Fatuus was a safe, unexciting level and Subterranean Glow was pretty good but had some flaws. I still think Midnight Arbor was the best designed level in the game - it subtly did so many things so well.

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby TaviTurnip » 1 month ago

raocow please turn your monitor up at some point in your life man :( The time difference between "you could see this" and "the rest of us could see this" was pretty severe, although I don't know how much YouTube "autocorrects" dark things without consent, if at all... but there was a pretty clear response delay on your part.

EDIT: I see certain arrogant people in the thread still wouldn't know a good level if it confessed its love to them. Sigh.

The contest is definitely ruined when the controversial judge's favorite level got first place, because the three other judges clearly didn't also rank it extremely highly at all no siree!!!!!!!1!12
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Re: VLDC9 - various landfalls defying commonality 9

Postby Zephyr_DragonLord » 1 month ago

TRS wrote:
Zephyr_DragonLord wrote:though I wish the star saturated the whole screen with color gradually. That would have been even cooler than what we got (though more difficult to implement).
There's supposed to be a layer 2 starry background that's supposed to show up with you have a star, but the collab rom messed up that animation and it didn't get fixed despite me posting the bug quite a few times. This is what it's supposed to look like.

The background still stays gray/blue for two reasons: I wanted there to be a visual indicator that the p-switch was still active, even though it wasn't as important in the second part of the level; and we were out of graphics room and animation slots besides.

(I'm actually kinda afraid to watch the video :( )
Okay, that's really cool, and it's sad that those graphics didn't make it into the final cut... I'm impressed this is all vanilla, really.
I also really liked the level. As did the rest of the judges... And yes, continuing on with what raocow says, he really wasn't harsh against your level more than somewhat underwhelmed.
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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby ztarwuff » 1 month ago

TaviTurnip wrote:raocow please turn your monitor up at some point in your life man :( The time difference between "you could see this" and "the rest of us could see this" was pretty severe, although I don't know how much YouTube "autocorrects" dark things without consent, if at all... but there was a pretty clear response delay on your part.
Not throughout the entire level, but there were some egregious places where I could clearly see what he needed to do, but raocow didn't seem to be able to at all. Possible it's youtube. Maybe raocow just happened to have screen glare at the time.

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Kowkarot » 1 month ago

Nimono wrote:so, apologies for my level being meh!
I wanted to dislike your level, but it made me laugh so much I just couldn't. It fixed my mood after playing NinjaBoy's, so I really liked it in a "guilty pleasure" sort of way.
ztarwuff wrote:
TaviTurnip wrote:raocow please turn your monitor up at some point in your life man :( The time difference between "you could see this" and "the rest of us could see this" was pretty severe, although I don't know how much YouTube "autocorrects" dark things without consent, if at all... but there was a pretty clear response delay on your part.
Not throughout the entire level, but there were some egregious places where I could clearly see what he needed to do, but raocow didn't seem to be able to at all. Possible it's youtube. Maybe raocow just happened to have screen glare at the time.
It was raocow. When I played the level I had no problems with visibility (Except when the screen turned completely dark of course).

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby 10204307 » 1 month ago

Something that really struck me: entering the underground section of Subterranean Glow for the first time and seeing the ground slowly fade into vision while the incredibly atmospheric Abstract map music played in the background

Something that really un-struck me: finding the first P-switch and realizing that I'd spend half of the level listening to the P-switch music instead

Like, the aesthetics of the level are very cool, and I do like the glowing effect. But the abundance of P-switches and invincibility stars sort of dampened the atmosphere for me. It's just a shame that you can't change the P-switch music on a per-level basis, because that could've made things really interesting, I think.

It would've been cool to see this gimmick done with On/Off blocks instead, where the state of the switch changes which things are visible to the player. I think there's a lot of cool setups that could be done with that mechanic.

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Nimono » 1 month ago

Kowkarot wrote:
Nimono wrote:so, apologies for my level being meh!
I wanted to dislike your level, but it made me laugh so much I just couldn't. It fixed my mood after playing NinjaBoy's, so I really liked it in a "guilty pleasure" sort of way.
i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry ;____;

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby TRS » 1 month ago

stop apologizing so much

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Stink Terios » 1 month ago

Nimono wrote: i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry ;____;
Don't be, your level owns.

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Lockirby2 » 1 month ago

Nimono wrote: I, unfortunately, wasn't trying to make a tough level. I wanted to make something fun and ultra silly, but I couldn't really get many opinions on my design- I had literally 2 people to test it, Koopster and Jack. IIRC, Eternity was extremely busy at the time so wasn't able to do much about World X stuff, and Ninja Boy...kinda wasn't there much? I couldn't ask the public for help in testing because World X content is supposed to be secret until the collab comes out.


so, apologies for my level being meh!
No worries, there was no particular reason why the levels should have been difficult. I enjoyed every level in World X, including yours.

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Kowkarot » 1 month ago

Nimono wrote:
Kowkarot wrote:
Nimono wrote:so, apologies for my level being meh!
I wanted to dislike your level, but it made me laugh so much I just couldn't. It fixed my mood after playing NinjaBoy's, so I really liked it in a "guilty pleasure" sort of way.
i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry i'm so sorry ;____;
No seriously. I started the level, listened to the music, and just exploded in laughter. I had a smile during the whole thing. It's just that I disagreed with so much of your judging, that I was ready to play your level in the saltiest way possible, but I just couldn't, it made me too happy. And in the end, that's kind of the most important thing.

The one I hated was NinjaBoy's, but that's because I have a grudge against THAT particular gimmick, so much that I even dislike SMB3 because of it. Maybe his level was good too, but I was just destined to hate it.

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Nimono » 1 month ago

TRS wrote:stop apologizing so much
don't take my repeated "i'm so sorry" so seriously :p
Kowkarot wrote:No seriously. I started the level, listened to the music, and just exploded in laughter. I had a smile during the whole thing. It's just that I disagreed with so much of your judging, that I was ready to play your level in the saltiest way possible, but I just couldn't, it made me too happy. And in the end, that's kind of the most important thing.
AWESOME. That is EXACTLY the kind of reaction I wanted to get with that level. :D I had a blast making it, I just couldn't quit giggling at the "music" I "made" for it :p

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby ft029 » 1 month ago

so yeah there were also stars that were supposed to appear in the star run, but Jack is unable to insert map16 for 115 levels. How incompetent :roll:

Nothing too amazing about Ignis Fatuus, but it felt like a "profressional" level-- almost as if Nintendo could have stuck this into one of their newer games or something. Props to that.
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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Super Maks 64 » 1 month ago

Spoilers, because this goes into detail about World X

Koopster's level uses level layer 2 with different scrolling and L/R scrolling which is cool but the level is too hard, the Ball and Chains are the worst enemies for me in that level, there is a cool layer 2 rising section, but I think there's too little time to correct your position.
Also making sure Kamikaze Koopa doesn't fall off a layer 2 static platform in an autoscroller is not a good idea.

I really like airship levels but I don't like how the Pitching Chucks were used in ninjaboy's level and because SMW didn't have airships it doesn't contain all those sprites like diagonal cannons and whatnot so the level is basic but I think just dodging the Bullet Bills is fun.

I think the music in Nimono's level is the best thing I've ever heard in SMW and the design in Nimono's level I think is hard but beatable (although some parts in the castle feel cheap).

Eternity and Gloomier's level I think is a solidly designed "tile 1f0 the level".



The final level I don't think is good, but there will be time to talk about it.
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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Nimono » 1 month ago

Super Maks 64 wrote:Spoilers, because this goes into detail about World X

I think the music in Nimono's level is the best thing I've ever heard in SMW and the design in Nimono's level I think is hard but beatable (although some parts in the castle feel cheap).

Out of curiosity, what parts did you not like? I know I messed up on some parts, it would help me to know where so I know how to avoid that in the future ^^


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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Koopster » 1 month ago

Lockirby2 wrote:I think the judges didn't have to hold back with their level difficulties much because they weren't being ranked. I enjoyed them a lot because of this, especially Koopster's.
We (or at least me???) were actually very much encouraged to make something hard because "it's the postgame"
I had two other strikes for levels before the one that made it, one I dumped for being too easy and the other for running out of ideas (I thought it was really good though, I'm sad that I lost a good portion of that :( )
My level is indeed very hard, but it got positive feedback from Jack, who was one of my only few testers. I realise it's a level for a more enduring audience, people like Jack himself and I guess you. But I could've made it a lot more friendly and fun for the average player.

I'm happy to hear you liked it :D

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Super Maks 64 » 1 month ago

Nimono wrote:
Super Maks 64 wrote:Spoilers, because this goes into detail about World X

I think the music in Nimono's level is the best thing I've ever heard in SMW and the design in Nimono's level I think is hard but beatable (although some parts in the castle feel cheap).

Out of curiosity, what parts did you not like? I know I messed up on some parts, it would help me to know where so I know how to avoid that in the future ^^

The torpedo ted bouncing while it may make someone think about all the bad romhacks that have it is designed very good (it's good that you used the left speed of torpedo teds). And also a nitpick but was the generator neccesary it doesn't add anything where it was placed.
In the castle part I think the introduction to the layer 2 isn't great (there are coins exactly where the 'L' falls), moving on the Cape Waluigis are something I don't like because the Porcupuffers in SMW for some reason stick to the center of the screen, but you can take them out with the fire flower. The 'cheapest part is the giant 'L' block because it falls on you and then you get Spinied in the face, and the 'L' block column because they appear so fast.


Overall it's a short and good level and has the best atmosphere possible and I hope your train level for VLDCX will also be good.
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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby nothobz » 1 month ago

ft029 wrote:so yeah there were also stars that were supposed to appear in the star run, but Jack is unable to insert map16 for 115 levels. How incompetent :roll:
:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

The best part of Agent Q's level was the song. Those samples are so freaking good. I love them. It's too bad they changed the song and completely shifted the tone of the level away from what he wanted. When I heard it was supposed to be whimsical and whatnot I was legitimately shocked.

Subterranean Glow was eh. It'd be fine if it didn't go completely black, because there were a lot of times i'd start a jump, and then have no idea where to land (more often than not landing on a piranha). The idea was cool, it looked phenomenal, but yeah, the p-switch and star songs ruined any shot at atmosphere this level could've otherwise had.

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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby Reb » 1 month ago

Oh man Koopster, what a stressful stressful level you've made here.
I absolutely loved it. Especially the secret exit.

It's really nice to see a whole level use this gimmick rather than just seeing it as a side path or simple puzzle like you normally do.
like man, the feeling of relief and pride you get when you get a midpoint or end goal are great
too bad the blocks can be kind of finicky at times, because the level was really designed well around them, and that's not your fault
seriously, good job overall
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Re: VLDC9 - varicolored luminosity deluding canopies 9

Postby S.N.N. » 1 month ago

In any other case, I'd find World X's map completely amazing, but knowing that it was basically a phoned-in version of VLDC8's (which, if you look back, pretty much did this exact thing) is a bit of a shame. I'm pretty sure like all of the code is copied over from there except for the additional layer of sprites like the brown blocks that fall vertically on Koopster's level/the ships on ninja boy's/etc.

There were plans to make the event a lot cooler. The Porcu-Puffer on the grass map was going to dive into the hole in the middle of the icebergs and cause them all to sink down, and then you would go to an underwater site where all of the levels were in domes. Due to time constraints and a loss of motivation, a similar route to last year was taken. I've heard that VLDCX's world X is going to be another story though, so I'm really looking forward to that.

re: Koopster's level: I really like it, but I can see how certain people were put off by it.
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