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Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- tim horton's betrayal

this is the place where lps are being talked about. it's important to talk about games being played on the internet.
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FPzero
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Posts: 454
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Lunchtime somewhere

Postby FPzero » 1 month ago

107th, Black and White Land, by YoshiGamingHD
24.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 11/60
Creativity: 8/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 23/100

Comments:
There isn't much to this level aside from the black and white aesthetic gimmick. Even then, you still missed a few colors like the browns in the bushes and the status bar. The level is extremely short, with barely any ideas explored before it ends. The midpoint is only 4 screens away from the goal! There's honestly very little to talk about here because the level is so short and basic. Make the level a bit longer, figure out some kind of neat idea you want to base your level around that isn't just an aesthetic idea, and then see what you can make with that idea. If this is your first level ever, don't get discouraged. Keep it up, keep trying, and work to make something great.
Ryaa:
Design: 11/60
Creativity: 3/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 17/100

Review: Seeing that this level is Super Mario Land inspired, I thought it was a neat goal to work towards. However, I don't think this level was executed well at all. The palette has a bunch of random dark and bright shades of grey that make Mario look completely different and messy. I was noticing that some bush tiles had actual color in them which made no sense. It would have been more efficient to just lower the saturation of every used color to 0 in the Lunar Magic palette editor to avoid these midhaps.

What I don't like design-wise is that the level itself is very jumbled and doesn't give a clear idea with what it wants you to do at points. To give some examples, the very start of the level launches you directly into a jumping Piranha Plant and it's weird trying to dodge it when the level had barely started. The fact that this is placed over a pit of munchers over a thin pipe is what's even more confused and you don't see either of these things at all later in the level.

As I continued, I saw that there were a bunch of weird jumps and sprite placements that served no functional purpose to the overall movement of the level. The midpoint being so close to the goal point is what's even more confusing to me.

This level would need a lot of work in order to actually feel nostalgic yet new at the same time. Right now it just doesn't do any of that.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 15/60
CREATIVITY| 7/30
AESTHETICS| 8/10
TOTAL | 30/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
yay super mario land- oh it's over

This level is too short, and not much happens. Nearly all the enemy placements were
nothing new. I almost got unfairly ambushed by some parakoopas near the beginning.

The 2 kicker koopas in the first half were the most interesting thing here but they
just knocked the shells into each other.

Simply put, this level has aesthetic as the focus, which won't fare well in a
design contest.
morsel:
18
5
3
26/100
And also some yellow in the bushes. This level does not quite come up to the vanilla SMW standard. The first half was not too bad, but the second half is short and feels unfinished. Buoyancy was not enabled so the fish are not able to swim. A curious thing: Just after the midpoint a koopa got stuck to a wall.

106th, PHANTASMAGORIA, by LotusLandSigma
30.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 17/60
Creativity: 8/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 29/100

Comments:
It's a very basic level, not much to say about it honestly. There's some ideas with boos and boo blocks, but for the most part it's just straight left-to-right design with an occasional obstacle like vine climbing or 1F0 hopping. The whole second half of the level is just a big flight segment through a cloud of boos and doesn't feel very fair since they're just placed randomly. You shouldn't use the bottom row of tiles since they aren't visible to the player, and you should watch out for blind jumps in the second half. There just isn't much to say here. Wish you'd included a background that wasn't just a starfield so it could be a bit more visually interesting.
Ryaa:
Design: 18/60
Creativity: 5/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 26/100

Review: I'm a little disappointed that this level is as generic as it is and includes an "I Hope I Win" at the end. My biggest issue is that this level has no actual flow. It just happens and there isn't anything in place to actually make you feel like there is a challenge. The cutoff at the midpoint is what really bugs me though. I can see the creator knows how to utilize map16 features if they managed to get 1F0 working right so it would only make sense to have some sort of tile to make it not so unpleasant to look at.

The flight section bugged me a bit because you can just fly at the top and you pretty much skip that entire section. What was the purpose of it? What was the purpose of having switch blocks for a part of the level that you can easily get by. I don't even understand it.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 18/60
CREATIVITY| 9/30
AESTHETICS| 3/10
TOTAL | 30/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
what

While this level features many different obstacles, there isn't a sense of
progression nor really any difficulty curve. It wants to be a p-switch level, a
cape level, a platforming level, a ghost level... you get the idea. The p-switch
run at the end also has blind drop issues due to the camera scroll.

It's also on the short end. There really isn't any challenge after the midpoint
aside from randomly hitting a boo during the flight segment.

If this level focused on developing fewer ideas instead of just presenting a bunch
of them, it would fare better.
morsel:
25
8
4
37/100
Not the best level. The first half is not too bad but lacks focus. Some sprites posed no kind of threat. It was confusing where to go at the midpoint (you have to let yourself fall blindly). The second half is focussed, certainly, but it boils down to flying. People comfortable with flying will not have too much trouble with it, but others might well have. I am not sure the foregoing part of the level properly prepares you for this challenge. It is interesting to use boos in a flying section since they chase you and so you cannot slow down too much. The background was a bit empty. There was an unnecessary invisible block. There was a grinder going behind bush.

105th, Bounce and climb!, by RetroKoopa7170
32.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 17/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 33/100

Comments:
I think you did pretty good for a first level. I can tell you had fun building it and it's not just because you put a lot of bouncing note blocks and left an enthusiastic thank you note at the end! So here's some beginner advice. Don't be afraid to use the actual ground tiles next time instead of just logs (though I appreciated that you used two different types of log to make things look a bit more distinct). You should also focus on expanding on your level ideas. Bouncing around on logs is nice, but what if you put some hopping koopas that could intercept Mario's bounce and make the player carefully time their bounces and jump heights to avoid or stomp them? Think about ways to make your objects and sprites work together instead of existing separate from each other. That's a way to make a good level. Watch out for lopsided midpoints. Try to make sure they're placed in the middle of the level and not too far to one side of it. Also the P-Switch part was very unnecessary and only served to stop the pace of the level. It's not a great idea to use them as artificial barriers like that.

As you are, this was a nice start. If you keep making levels, I think you'll eventually be making something really nice. Don't let the score deter you, keep trying and improving!
Ryaa:
Design: 10/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 27/100

Review:

Welcome to SMW hacking! First of all I would like to say that for a first level, you're off to a very good start. Though the simplicity of this level is explained through your first-hand adjustments to SMW hacking in general, I think that this level is very short and sweet to play. There wasn't a point where this level was unfun or anything. The only real issues I have with it are that the P-Switch portion felt a little unnecessary. Since the coins that turn into a wall are right behind the wall that turns into coins, it's redundant having the player wait for that. The only other thing I think that could have been changed was the placements of the powerups at the beginning. Having the player grab both a Mushroom and a Fire Flower felt redundant as well as only one of those powerups at a time could have done the job.

As I started to explain before, this level is more on the simple side which I'm very indifferent about. So unfortunately I can't give a high score due to nothing in the level giving any sort of "awe-striking" vibe. Just know that this score I'm giving does not mean that I think this level is bad in any way. What I will say though is that I am really hoping to see more hack content from you and I really encourage you to continue making more levels as like I said before, you're off to a really good start.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 25/60
CREATIVITY| 7/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 38/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
light loggy labyrinth

Kinda cute level. It's incredibly easy, and the most challenge you'll find are some
flying koopas. I appreciate the dragon coin side content but it's really just
checking out little alcoves. The moon placement is nice for such an easy level.

The p-switch area is not necessary. The level is also very samey throughout, and it
gets boring quickly.

Next time, try to push your creative limits with enemies and obstacles.
morsel:
20
5
5
30/100
The level is lacking something and not quite up to the vanilla SMW standard. There was a the part where I hit a p-switch and then I had to wait till some other brown blocks changed back into coins. Lots of it feels empty of enemies.

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Reecer7
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Lunchtime somewhere

Postby Reecer7 » 1 month ago

Ryaa wrote: Review: I'm a little disappointed that this level ... includes an "I Hope I Win" at the end.
REBEL!!!
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Lunchtime somewhere

Postby KobaBeach » 1 month ago

Song source is King of the Mountain from Rudra no Hihou

Translation patch is here
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Lunchtime somewhere

Postby Implo » 1 month ago

And that's the end of Worst 10. Well, it wasn't that bad, isn't it? I liked second level. As for third level - I didn't really like it. It looks nice though. This level is also huge improvement compared to original version that was much longer, more deadly and unfair. I don't like this exchange of heads. The switches part really confused. Also blue P-switch. The problem with this P-switch is: do you need to use it now or later. I usually do it later, so I had a bit more troublesome time with remembering where are other color blocks. Remembering gimmick isn't my forte. Also I don't see the point to gather one item, get to pipe and unlock another path. It could be one linear path and it could be better.

Third section was designed a little random. The last section was the worst. Sumo Charlies kicking logs (rugby), it can really easily overwhelm me. Also raocow didn't need to use rugby to jump higher, to the right there was climbing wall. As for Sumo fight in next level, it's possible to beat it. But, yeah, it's barely functional.

One more thing. raocow experiencing here a bug in base rom. Normally jumping piranha plants will stop jumping from pipe if Mario is near the pipe or on it. Not in this base rom. Piranha plants will keep jumping and ignore player position. So be careful, raocow.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Lunchtime somewhere

Postby FPzero » 1 month ago

104th, THE CAMPING EPISODE, by SilvaTeixeira
34.25/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 11/60
Creativity: 8/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 24/100

Comments:
There isn't much to this level to be honest. It's nothing but going to the right on very flat ground, jumping on or over enemies until you hit the end. Nothing gets done with the nighttime idea, no enemy interactions are explored, Lakitu isn't even a threat because he's always at a height Mario can bounce on him. There's just nothing really interesting about how this level is designed, sorry to say. Palettes were pretty decent at least.
Ryaa:
Design: 26/60
Creativity: 8/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 37/100

-Don't like how close the goombas at the start are

Review: Um. To be completely fair, I don't really think this level makes much sense. I feel like it went in a direction that completely paralleled from what I was originally expecting. The goombas at the very beginning didn't really give a good first impression due to how close they were. The rest of the level was essentially the same strictly linear jump and dodge gameplay that gets boring after a while. What surprised me is that the background suddenly goes from a semi-okay looking autumn type of forest to dark aesthetic land and I'm not too pleased with how sudden that change was. A huge suggestion I have for this is to focus way more on the camping theme where you could have given your level an atmosphere that surrounds that which would have been super interesting to see.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 23/60
CREATIVITY| 10/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 40/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
jump over everything

An okay level in a nice environment. I like the aesthetic changes from day to night
to day again.

The biggest issue this level has though is that level just amounts to jumping over
stuff despite all the different enemies. There isn't much variety in terrain or
enemy placement throughout, aside from the stack of logs near the beginning and
lakitus. As a result, the gameplay is repetitive, especially in the second half.
This also hurts its creativity.

I suppose this is essentially an aesthetics focused level.
morsel:
25
7
4
36/100
I am not sure the level quite comes up to the vanilla SMW standard. Single coins are scattered around haphazardly. I am given yoshi but there is a normal door at the end; if you bring yoshi through this door anyway and fly, you may see bits of unassembled level. There is an easy to get moon. The palette is not very good in the second part. Something strange and not vanilla in this level: in various ways, you can get the bubbles to change direction.
103rd, Vanilla Plains, by Enan63
32.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 31/60
Creativity: 13/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 49/100

Comments:
I get the feeling this is your first level. If so, this was pretty passable! Let me comment on specifics so you can learn from this. So the first thing I noticed was that there was a blind jump on Screen 04. The camera can't show down that far, so the player just has to jump and hope they'll land safely. On Screen 05, the triangle wallrun is fun, but it doesn't really serve a purpose since all you do is use it to go up a wall and immediately back down. The platform jumping on Screens 0A to 0C are nice, but those jumps are *really* long and Mario barely clears them. It's a big jump in difficulty compared to other parts of the level.

I liked that you used a lot of Banzai Bills as a regular level enemy because it kept them from feeling like a random addition. At the same time, I think there were a lot of ideas explored here between the vine climbing, platform hopping, Banzai Bill use and other things. In the future, try choosing one or two elements and designing your level with them in mind. Make a bunch of different ways those ideas can interact and see what you can make. Keep it up!
Ryaa:
Design: 10/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 27/100

Review: There's not too much to say here. This is a very Vanilla level. It's not necessarily unfun or anything but it's pretty bland in design. I do think that the VLDC Overworld remix was a nice addition though. The level itself feels more like someone's first or second level (on the better side) when it comes down to what I feel about the quality.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 23/60
CREATIVITY| 7/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 36/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
level 105

This is essentially YOSHI'S ISLAND 1 from SMW with a strange difficulty spike in
the middle. It features the same enemy set; rexes, banzai bills, etc. all used
without much flair.

There's a blind jump before the midpoint, and a bunch of really big jumps after the
midpoint. They are very out of place, and you have to make those jumps at the last
second.

Then it goes back to YOSHI'S ISLAND 1 territory as it ends.

I suggest keeping to a central, new idea and evolving it as the level progresses.
morsel:
20
5
5
30/100
This level does not quite come up to the vanilla SMW standard. It might have been more focussed and inventive and it might have played more evenly. The vines and wall-running were present but not correct. There was a blind jump over a pit. The part where you had to jump at the extreme edge of all the platforms was out of place.
102nd, KingOfTheMountain, by MarkVD100
32.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 21/60
Creativity: 13/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 37/100

Comments:
I suspect this level can't truly be beaten in 500 seconds without foreknowledge of what you should be doing. My own playthrough was full of stumbling and death to weird elements, and the path was generally not very clear especially in the second half when my timer ran low. At least a 1up checkpoint existed for the final part.

I think the sprite and tile edits you did generally looked uglier than the vanilla counterparts, and in the case of the Chuck replacement actively hindered the player. Sumo Bros can't be jumped on, so to see a sumo head on a chuck body made me immediately assume it was a sumo and therefore couldn't be jumped on. Level design in the outdoor areas generally felt really messy, and there were tons of enemies placed with seemingly little regard to how they got put down, especially by the end.

The on/off block stuff was also kind of neat but also felt like it was there just to slow the player down. And then there was that on/off falling layer 2 part over lava towards the end that seemed to require spinjumping on a blargg to get past and was stupidly precise for no good reason. All in all this level attempts a lot but doesn't do much of it very well.
Ryaa:
Design: 17/60
Creativity: 10/30
Aesthetics: 2/10

Total: 29/100

Review: To start this off, I feel pretty bad giving this review because I can tell that the creator put in a ton of effort to make this how it is. Though the issue here is that the level itself presents a ton of issues that make into something that isn't very fun to play. It really seems like this level is all over the place as the gimmicks don't combine well and there are points where open areas lead you to paths that end up being dead ends. What I specifically don't like about these dead ends though is that they usually mean that there is a pipe nearby that you skipped over that doesn't even look like it's supposed to be the exit to the actual section.

The underground gimmick is something I'm not too fond of either. The space the player is given to explore with this gimmick is very limited as the lava puts you in an immediate situation where you either learn everything about the gimmick right then and there or you suffer trying to memorize where each platform is. It's not executed well at all. I feel as if there could have been a beginning portion of this where the switches could have been introduced in a non-lethal manner while also being much cleaner and not so condensed. What bugs me even more about this gimmick specifically is that it is completely ditched after you leave the underground section.

The most unfortunate part is that it really seems like you wanted to include the boss in the level but either ran out of time or knew that there wasn't in-game time to fight it. I can't count the boss level itself because it's not in the main level, but what I will say is that it damages the "plot" of the level when the part that you're supposedly building up to gets cut off so abruptly by the goal sphere.

I know this review is fairly long so I will cut it short here. This level one of my least favorites so far due to how jumbled and messy it is. Though I do applaud the overall effort as it shows throughout the entire level.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 32/60
CREATIVITY| 16/30
AESTHETICS| 3/10
TOTAL | 51/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
sorry im not counting the little boss afterwards

This level sort of went all over the place. The outside sections were alright, and
it had some funky graphical replacements. However, I'm not a huge fan of rocks and
enemies suddenly falling on me, even if they are indicated with coins. It also took
me a while to understand that the little notches in the hills allow climbing.

I like the gimmick involving the on/off switches in the cave sections, they were
probably the best thing about this level even if they were a bit cramped. This is
where most of the creativity comes in.

The final area is a bit of a explorative puzzle which is interesting, though those
footballs were kind of annoying. Not a fan of the message that keeps popping up
either.

In the end, this is an okay level with some annoyances here and there. Also, the
aesthetics could definitely be better; there is some cutoff and there seems to be
something static-y with the music.
morsel:
20
15
2
37/100
This one seems to have the author name visible in more than one place. The level does not make the most favourable first impression (the graphical replacements are not in the best of taste and I wanted to turn the music off). The level proceeds in a desultory fashion for the most part, although there are attempts at venturesome design. The ON/OFF idea is a workable concept and is not too badly implemented here. There were many accumulating issues throughout the level. It would have been an awkward jump with yoshi if I had not known to run over the gap. The rock chucks are placed unfairly, and there are other things that can fall on you in the level besides rocks. A background just cuts off in one room and the blaargs hide behind it. Coins are used inconsistently in the second ON/OFF section with the moving layer. I was disappointed to see a 1-up checkpoint. There is a pop-up message; it appears more than once. The level ends but seems to continue after the level. (This was another level that used jumping plants; I am surprised so many levels have them and the bizarre proximity problem is never mentioned, accounted for, or abused.)
For the second level, I mention that I thought it was the author's first level. During judging, we did not know who made each level unless they explicitly said it themselves in the level itself. This was done to try and prevent bias as best as possible (though I'll admit sometimes you can easily figure out who made a level just by telltale hallmarks of their design). Anyway I mention this because it turns out that Vanilla Plains was definitely not Enan63's first level, though he is relatively new to hacking. But, he did decide to make and submit the level within the first 4 hours of the contest, proudly boasting that he had used no ExGFX. In fact, he wasn't the only person who submitted on day one; six different people submitted entries on day one and, surprisingly, the quality of them varies wildly.

raocow mentioned the 500-second limit in this contest while going through KingOfTheMountain. The limit was put in place to avoid situations like VLDCX where a limit of 600 seconds was suggested but not required, so everyone ignored it and created massive levels that contributed to judging for that contest taking 7 months and burning out a lot of goodwill for our contests. So to try and avoid a repeat situation, I instituted a time limit. This is something we might go back and remove for future contests, because limiting submissions to no secret exits does contribute to faster levels in a way that's less restrictive than a hard time limit.

Anyway we can definitely see how it affected submissions by looking at KingOfTheMountain, and the fact that the level is extremely long for 500 seconds, and I couldn't beat it from start to finish in the time limit when judging. Not to mention the boss at the end being cut for time, though looking at the boss perhaps I would've ended up scoring the level lower had it been included. Blessings in disguise I suppose. Maybe I could beat the whole level in one go and under the time limit with the knowledge and familiarity gained from playing the level once, but it's still not good to base a level's winning run around familiarity with it. Always assume the player doesn't have that knowledge. Also by some accounts the first version of the level was WAY harder and the final submission was toned down significantly for judging, but seeing as I was staying clear of all levels as best I could, I never saw the original version.

Lastly, Implo brings up a good point that I only remembered upon seeing it in today's video. For whatever reason, Piranha Plant proximity was broken in the VLDC11 baserom. I'm not entirely sure what went wrong at the time, but it does mean that all piranha plant types will not stop going in and out of pipes even when Mario is standing next to or on top of them. Treat all piranha types like you would the Red Piranhas in The Lost Levels.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Lunchtime somewhere

Postby Leet » 1 month ago

The problem with "trying to not be vanilla with the graphics in vanilla" is that the limitations of still ultimately being vanilla are often felt hard. This isn't anything to do with this level, but since raocow brought it up, the big example in my head is when munchers are resprited to be stationary grinders. Except you can't spinjump on them, so they aren't real grinders, and if you were to take the graphic swap at its word you would expect to spinjump on them. So the only way to engage with that treatment is to keep in mind that it's a cheap vanilla trick, and so you're more keenly aware of the limitations than ever. And IMO that feels real bad! So that's why I don't really like that VLDC style, though this particular level doesn't do anything like that, it's fine.
Well it is a decent hack but sometime its just too repetitif there no level that actually pop in your face and your like oh yeah that level they all ressemble themselves and just monster along the way.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Lunchtime somewhere

Postby Reecer7 » 1 month ago

people without very strong visions usually go for vanilla, but sometimes it feels like some people just have an irrational phobia of grass. i have been very impressed for the bottom 10% of the contest!
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One ninth of Ninety-Nine

Postby Mandew » 1 month ago

This would be a good time to mention that the scoring sheet has a column, on the far right, called "Max - Min" (as in, Maximum minus Minimum). It mentions the difference between the highest judge score and lowest judge score a level got. A low mark in this space means that all the judges pretty much saw the same value towards the level, and a high mark in this space means that at least one of the judges has a very different opinion from the rest. I think it's a very neat inclusion, since it accounts for some levels catering to some niche or other.

As a point of reference -- 20 or lower is considered "unanimous enough", 20 to 40 is considered "non-unanimous", and 40 or higher means "clear disagreement".
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One ninth of Ninety-Nine

Postby raocow » 1 month ago

oh man that *is* pretty cool
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One ninth of Ninety-Nine

Postby FPzero » 1 month ago

101st, Industrial Desert, by IronFoxGaming
38.75/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 16/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 1/10

Total: 29/100

Comments:
You didn't use the right level settings and all your upside down slopes don't act correctly. It's possible to get stuck inside them and have to wait out the timer, which is a huge problem. I also think this level looks very ugly overall, with all the graphical changes being rather unclear about what's solid and what isn't. Then the darkness gimmick indoors happened and it really wasn't much better visually. There's just a ton of weird graphical choices here and it just looks very messy. There also seemed to be something wrong with the music, because I know I've heard that track before but this version sounded a bit glitchy, as if the instruments were wrong. Ending music was also glitchy.

The level's design is unremarkable overall. It's fairly short, and doesn't really do much other than have some upper and lower paths you can go through. The on/off lights gimmick is the closest this level gets to a proper design idea, but it's not implemented very well because it makes the level pitch black instead of just hard to see. So you have to rush to get to the next On/Off switch because otherwise you won't be able to see your path in the dark. And to bring up the graphics again, they really affect the level's design by making it very unclear what you can stand on or walk through at multiple points.

(Also because I looked at the level in Lunar Magic, you do know you can resize objects right? There's no need to place nearly 5000 objects tile by tile when you can stretch things.)
Ryaa:
Design: 18/60
Creativity: 10/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 31/100

Review: I don't like this level very much. I can see all of the effort that went into creating this but I'm not sure the result was very pleasant as a whole. The level design itself is very scattered. There are a bunch of different paths to take and each one doesn't really give you a reason as to why you would want to take that path compared to another path. I saw a lot of what seems to be quicksand cluttered throughout the level and I don't think this graphic needed to be a different color. The moving animation with the same colors as the base sand tile would have been more than sufficient. The brightness of the color gives the illusion that the quicksand will be an important feature when it has no solid function in the level other than just being there for no real reason.

As I continue into the level, I was really upset when discovering the darkness gimmick. It's extremely unfitting and serves no positive purpose in the level as you can easily get mixed up and be forced to navigate larger parts of these sections blindly. It's not a very well implemented gimmick and doesn't fit at all with whatever the previous section was supposed to be. The transitions between the first, second and third sections is in no way smooth and doesn't flow into each other at all.

In general, there are a ton of graphical issues where tiles cut off, some aren't solid and you can fall through them, and some have issues where they work as slopes and you can walk through them. There clearly really wasn't much attention put into this level (or there was too much attention put towards everything at once) when there are this many issues here. The music itself doesn't really help either as the changed instruments in this variant of the port really make it lose the energy and atmosphere it gives levels that use it. Perhaps if the instruments were changed then it would be a lot more pleasing to here.

There is a lot of work that would need to be done to make this level something that would actually feel good to play. Right now it's just a big mess.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 28/60
CREATIVITY| 16/30
AESTHETICS| 4/10
TOTAL | 48/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
what is everything?????

Wow this looks messy. There's so much stuff everywhere and it does not look very
good. It also messes with the design; I was having a lot of difficulty seeing what
acts like what throughout the whole level while dealing with ambushing enemies. The
pyramid sections are the biggest offender with the disguised bullet cannons and
background that is the same saturation and brightness as the foreground.

Speaking of which, it does not help that the insides are pitch black most of the
time, which is not fun to deal with. The only way to deal with that part fairly is
to wait for the layer 2 to go all the way down and then hit an on/off block, which
is boring.

The outside parts are better at least. I like how it's more of an exploration, and
the falling platform segments were cute.

While I can see the effort in making unusual aesthetics and design, this one falls
short of being a good level.
morsel:
30
15
2
47/100
I remember once reading the phrase 'preposterous gallimaufry' in a novel. The graphics in this level took some getting used to (e.g. the set of lazy tongs with a part that fell off) and it was hard to guess at the solidity or other behaviour of divers things in the tileset. There is an animation that is not synchronised. Why were there goombas frozen on clouds? The light switching gimmick was interesting; I recall it being used in VIP5 and it was nice to see it again here, even if it is not the best gimmick (it encourages standing still at the switch till the last moment to give yourself as much time as possible). The level was nicely populated with sprites, particularly indoors (by the way, part of the ground was not solid here). After leaving an area, there was a message telling you about a technique you could have used there--a useful message.
100th, LIME GREEN LANE, by Young Boi
39.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 22/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 40/100

Comments:
This is pandering right? This color scheme...it's meant to make me happy, isn't it? :V

This level has one critical flaw in its sprite usage and it's that the Monty Moles are really no threat because you placed this level on a submap and not the main overworld. This means that they hop out of their holes slowly. Basically every single Monty Mole can be avoided before they even hop out of their holes, meaning that there's little threat throughout the level. And since you used them as the main enemy in large sections of level, the level felt really empty. Like, the moles are there and visible but they haven't become obstacles yet and probably won't if the player is just barreling through the level. That one flaw really hurts this level's design since there isn't much else going for it. A mole-heavy level where they pop out almost immediately would make for an engaging time. But a mole-heavy level like this where they take too long to come out meant that there wasn't much to do other than make it to the exit pretty quickly.

That said even without the moles issue, this level doesn't offer too much. It's very straightforward and doesn't offer any side paths or other ideas to the player. It's just a voyage to the goal post with scattered enemies along the way. And that wouldn't have to be a problem but there isn't much platforming to do either. There's no pits to fall in, no higher paths, nothing to climb, or swim or anything really other than go to the right on wide chunks of land with unthreatening enemies.
Ryaa:
Design: 20/60
Creativity: 10/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 33/100

Review: Not too sure what to really say about this one. It feels almost as if a vanilla SMW level and typical VLDC Map16(tm) was combined into one single entity. The level design isn't really that interesting since most of it is just Monty Moles and Chucks coming at you with no eye-catching features that make you feel like you're playing something that's actually memorable.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 25/60
CREATIVITY| 7/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 38/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
it is actually very easy, being green

A level that is too average and easy. I can't really say much other than it's
super linear and you bop enemies while jumping over pipes and rocks.

Not much changes throughout the level, and I wished it had more content, but hey at
least it's green... maybe too green, though.
morsel:
30
9
6
45/100
A very green level. Without doing anything wrong, it was too unadventurous and straightforward. Very short.
99th, Darkmoon Riverside, by ThumbLie
39.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 19/60
Creativity: 11/30
Aesthetics: 2/10

Total: 32/100

Comments:
This level definitely feels like a first time level. The boat ride was the most creative thing about it, but there wasn't much there beyond avoiding some parachuting enemies. The palettes aren't very good and the tiling is questionable. I'm not really sure what the point of the bonus room was since it was full of extra items like a key and springboard and p-switch but none were necessary? It's just not a very strong level overall but I think if you just spend more time with the game and continue making levels you'll be able to make some good stuff one day. Don't give up!
Ryaa:
Design: 12/60
Creativity: 5/30
Aesthetics: 1/10

Total: 18/100

Review: I have to really sit back and think about this one. I'm not too big of a fan of it. There is a lot of cutoff in the level tiles, the enemy spam is ridiculous and the music has this weird mix of being pleasant and also unpleasant at the same time. I'm not too sure what the overall direction of this level was but so far it's not a very positive direction. The autoscroll section is almost unbearable unless you're really careful with the powerups you gain or you grab the star near the middle of it. I will say that I do like the design for the ship, but aesthetically, that's all that I like. The palette is a jumbled mess of colors that isn't too pleasing to look at.

What I will say despite all of this is that I believe the creator of this level should continue making levels. It seems at the moment that as a first level, the creator lacks a specific direction in terms of what will look and feel good to the player and what won't. I believe that making more levels will really hone in on these skills in the future.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 38/60
CREATIVITY| 18/30
AESTHETICS| 4/10
TOTAL | 60/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
the crows nest is now officially the safest part of the ship

Some questionable palette choices, but it plays alright. The first area has some
interesting gameplay due to the tides and the terrain. The lakitu at the end is
a bit much but doable once you have the right tools or galoombas.

The secret bonus room in the first area is creatively done; the shells give more
points when you throw them at the fish bubbles, and I like how you're either
catching or dodging stuff. The key and p-switch probably shouldn't be in the
lineup of items though, unless they have uses that I'm not seeing.

The ship is quite a thing. It's more fun if you're in the crows nest as trying to
deal with enemies on the actual ship is a bit frustrating. The pipe and landmass
obstacles the ship passes through are well designed as it forces you to move around
more. And while there are enemy saturation issues at times, this is mitigated with
a star.

It's unfortunate that the entire ship part can be skipped by using a lakitu cloud.
Then again, the ship part does go on for a bit too long.

All in all, this is a pretty okay unique level.
morsel:
35
10
3
48/100
The palettes are not that good. Having to jump up near lakitu and the falling para-men can be unfair. There is a wonky layer 2 ship journey; you may skip this by swimming under the level to the end--I notice you may also use the cloud, so that is obviously an intended shortcut. The sprites were a little chaotic here--they seem to be as poor sailors as I am. I was thankful when I found a star. A fun game for players would be to see how many sprites they can collect on the stern of the boat. I managed six.
That Max-Min column was something I thought up for the purposes of easily tracking which levels needed to be reviewed once we were all finished judging, to see if we could figure out where some of the huge score discrepancies were coming from. The "large disagreement" color is actually set to appear for any value of 35 or higher, but we managed to resolve some of the ones that fit between 35 and 40, which is why you only see red cells that have 40 or higher in them. I thought about hiding the column when I posted the spreadsheet publicly but I guess I never did. It's fine though, as it gives people looking over the scores a bit of easy insight. It'll be a little while until we see it, but I'm the cause of the largest Max-Min value on the spreadsheet, and I'll be happy to explain why when we get there.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One ninth of Ninety-Nine

Postby Piesonscreations » 1 month ago

Kinda surprised the 100th place wasn't in the last places.

Also, Diddy Kong Racing credits music :partygator: :partygator: :partygator:
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One ninth of Ninety-Nine

Postby KobaBeach » 1 month ago

industrial desert got done dirty
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One ninth of Ninety-Nine

Postby S.N.N. » 1 month ago

I didn’t play any of the entries in this contest other than like 3, but I’m actually impressed with the quality of these first-timer levels that have been popping up. “Bounce and climb!” in particular was super pleasant, and it makes me happy to see that people are still attempting to get into SMW hacking even after it’s been around for so many years. Regardless of their rank, I hope they continue designing (same goes for the creator of the last level played today.)

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One ninth of Ninety-Nine

Postby konaa » 1 month ago

S.N.N. wrote: it makes me happy to see that people are still attempting to get into SMW hacking even after it’s been around for so many years.
geez, yeah. I'm very glad about that too. I was really worried that mario maker was going to direct all the would-be mario world hackers to that game instead. I honestly sometimes wonder how much of an influence raocow has on that. He's one of the few non-speedrunners that I can think of with a large youtube following who regularly plays romhacks (rip protonjon, ssohpkc, and uh... psychedelic eyeball?.)

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One ninth of Ninety-Nine

Postby KobaBeach » 1 month ago

konaa wrote:
S.N.N. wrote: it makes me happy to see that people are still attempting to get into SMW hacking even after it’s been around for so many years.
geez, yeah. I'm very glad about that too. I was really worried that mario maker was going to direct all the would-be mario world hackers to that game instead. I honestly sometimes wonder how much of an influence raocow has on that. He's one of the few non-speedrunners that I can think of with a large youtube following who regularly plays romhacks (rip protonjon, ssohpkc, and uh... psychedelic eyeball?.)
There are still Kaizo players who do romhacks. Ldad and Dode were playing Hyper 6 recently.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby Mata Hari » 1 month ago

Re Koopas rarely swimming, I think it's pretty important to point out that Image

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby Mata Hari » 1 month ago

This is why I think the word tortoise is important and why I think it's silly that Americans rarely use it afaik

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby Leet » 1 month ago

I was going to say something about kappa, but when I looked into it there really isn't any connection between Kuppa and Kappa after all.
Well it is a decent hack but sometime its just too repetitif there no level that actually pop in your face and your like oh yeah that level they all ressemble themselves and just monster along the way.
Blood Ghoul wrote:Sometimes it seems my blood spurts out in gobs, as if it were a fountain's pulsing sobs. I clearly hear it mutter as it goes yet cannot find the wound from which it flows. Before I met you, baby, I didn't know what I was missing.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby Implo » 1 month ago

I really liked first half of Cloudy Lake. It was fun underwater level. Second half was weaker. The problem for me were water clouds. Most of the time I was mistaking them for solid clouds. Also during orange clouds get hurt runs when running you can get stopped on floor. The solution is to jump, but it's so sudden that few times it lead me to death. I think that making second half also underwater section would be better idea.

Second level was really confusing for me. I play it few times without switch and with it and to be honest never noticed difference in color of tiles. When level gone to using the gimmick, it confused me a lot and I died a lot. I needed to memorize what's solid and what's not. I only figured out the gimmick after watching FPZero video where he explain it. What can I say? This change of colors is too subtle for me to notice it more contrastive colors.

Last level was just like more advanced version of Lime Green Lane. I like it.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby KobaBeach » 1 month ago

Mata Hari wrote: Re Koopas rarely swimming, I think it's pretty important to point out that Image
a perfect specimen
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby FPzero » 1 month ago

98th, CLOUDY LAKE, by debug001
40.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 18/60
Creativity: 11/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 33/100

Comments:
So first off, the orange clouds are a bad idea because you made them out of muncher tiles which have a full 16x16 block hitbox, not a sloped hitbox like the graphics of the clouds would suggest. This means it's very easy to take damage from visually nothing at all, which is very bad. The second half also felt really strange because it halfway abandons the swimming concept and shoehorns in some forced damage segments with the orange clouds (which again have block hitboxes and don't match the visuals at all). The first half is loaded with powerups, but the second only has them where needed for the forced damage. The two halves of the level just don't work together at all and bring the whole thing down. Focus on one idea instead of trying to do unrelated ideas in the same level. Or do your best to combine them together.
Ryaa:
Design: 21/60
Creativity: 8/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 32/100

-Don't like the blue and black tiles that munchers are standing on

Review: The moment I read the first message box I was a bit confused as to why the creator decided to make the starting pipe orange if the "gimmick" is to not touch anything orange which is a bit inconsistent. I'm not too fond of the scenery and random addition of turning the entire screen into a water level solely because it doesn't seem to fit with how there is a sky background. Both of the gimmicks feel lazily put together which is made clear by the second message box where the creator feels the need to say something along the lines of "don't ask me why it's just like this" which doesn't make any productive sense. If you have to verbally explain very simple gimmicks, then there is a chance that the gimmick idea either lacks construction or needs to just be replaced with something better. I didn't really like this level due to the messiness within the design choices.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 31/60
CREATIVITY| 14/30
AESTHETICS| 4/10
TOTAL | 49/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
hello i am the creator and this is the gimmick of this level

Aside from destroying the sense of immersion by announcing yourself in the level as
the level maker, this is alright. The first half is a standard water level with a
color-coded twist, and the second half is a slightly harder typical cave level.

I find it weird that you're forced to take damage at some points. I guess that's
one way of making a level engaging.

But yeah, the design is ok, the creativity is ok, and the aesthetics, well, they
can be better.
morsel:
25
15
6
46/100
Avoid anything orange (not the pipe you enter from though). Another water level. This one is more adventurous, but has some problems. The sloped cloud has a graphic that does not match its hitbox, meaning that empty air may hurt you; it is also extremely annoying when you have to damage boost over these apparent slopes. I am not sure why you would have a gimmick like this and use munchers all over the place as well. The level was fine when you were not worrying about the unsatisfactory block interactions. It could have done a bit more with its design elements (e.g. you hardly have to deal with sprites when you are swimming in the water clouds). You can swim under the level directly to the midpoint.
97th, GLOWING IN THE DEEP, by bebn legg
41.75/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 31/60
Creativity: 16/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 50/100

Comments:
I understand what you were going for with the "glow" idea but man was it tough on the eyes. I think I'm still seeing purple. I think there are less eye-straining ways to show a glow than bright blue/purple color rotation. Something as simple as a dull glow back and forth would've looked a lot better. It didn't help at the end of the level either, where the glow is mixed in with a bunch of non-glowing objects and you have to stare long and hard at what you need to be doing. I recognize that's basically the level's gimmick; I'm just not sure that it was done very well. It would've been much more bearable with a less harsh glow.

The first half of the level isn't anything special, mostly just going left to right with a few little things you can see with the glow active. It's all the sudden puzzle elements after the midpoint that make the level slow down a lot more and get a bit visually overwhelming. But after you strip away the glow it's not particularly interesting design, just a fairly standard "carry an item to this point and use it" puzzle. I think there could've been more interesting ways to use the glow overall.
Ryaa:
Design: 20/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 2/10

Total: 34/100

Review: The moment I went into this level, my eyes shot wide because there were already 500 things happening at once and the level had barely started. This palette is so saturated that it actually makes it harder to see what is going on in many areas. The enemy spam in certain sections really doesn't help any of this either. The glowing graphic feature is a neat idea but I personally feel like it lost the energy it could have had due to everything that was going on in the level at once. It almost feels as if it could have been much better if literally every graphic wasn't so bright. The portion where you have to navigate through the puzzle is something that could have used it's own level section. Trying to decipher what is glowing and what isn't would have made much more sense with a dark background. What's truly unfortunate though, is that if you gain the cape near the midpoint, then you can skip all of this just by flying once. Overall I didn't really like this level that much but I can at least see where it was trying to go.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 36/60
CREATIVITY| 17/30
AESTHETICS| 3/10
TOTAL | 56/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
my eyes

This is a bizarre situation where subpar aesthetics make for an interesting gimmick.
I see (hah) what you're trying to do here, but the gimmick makes everything
incredibly cluttered and not well organized. The palette animation is too
distracting as well. Still, I got a small kick out of the glow/nonglow gimmick
especially in the second half. This level is good at hiding a lot of extra content.

There are a few design flaws though; the upside down bullet cannon in the beginning
makes it seem like something is down there, but it's a pit. There are too many enemies
at times, and some are poorly placed. Finally, the first half is less than stellar as
a whole.

I think a "gotta pay attention" gimmick like this can work, and it sort of did in
the second half, but it's a very risky one that can frustrate players. This attempt
at it only did okay.
morsel:
15
10
2
27/100
This is a place of confusing colours and objects; hitting the switch does not help with this. (Playing it again, I now see it is more interesting than I thought it was: You may choose your favourite colour scheme, the only problem being that I did not care for any of them.) At one point fake objects are introduced. There are fake and real munchers. Sprites are plentiful and placed carelessly and often to no purpose. There is a hole or secret passage in the ground at one point. I went down it and got hurt. Shortly after I emerged, a goomba came out. Perhaps he lived there.
96th, Sunset Land, by JLippe
42.25/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 31/60
Creativity: 13/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 50/100

Comments:
This feels like a pleasant enough very earlygame level, like a World 1 or 2 at highest. Its biggest flaws are that it doesn't really settle on a central idea even though it uses a couple different sprite sets. You use a lot of different enemies and other sprites, but only once or twice each for the most part. Moles are the only enemy that get used frequently in the second half, but because this level is on a submap, they don't hop out quickly and are little danger. It also doesn't have very many enemies in the first half, and those that do exist are often on slopes, which means you can just slide kill most of them. It's basically a little too much on the easy side. Next time, try and figure out what enemies or other sprites you want to really focus on in your level and try to make some good design that works with those ideas, instead of making the terrain and just populating it with enemies afterwards.
Ryaa:
Design: 25/60
Creativity: 10/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 41/100

Review:
It seems like whoever made this level is getting used to using map16. I don't think this level is bad or anything like that, it just has more empty space than it needs to. There isn't too much going on other than enemies sparsely placed around the level. The atmosphere was nice but could have really used a custom song to really nail the sunset aesthetic. The palette is very nice to look at but could use some work to feel not too "orange" if you kind of get what I mean. This is more on the basic side, but given more time and proper development, I think this could have transformed into something really neat.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 32/60
CREATIVITY| 11/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 49/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
from rexes to moles

An okay level. It feels like YOSHI'S ISLAND 1 and YOSHI'S ISLAND 2 mixed together
as different halves. There's nothing really outstanding in terms of creativity or
design, and I suppose it gets a bit harder in the second half. As a result, it's
fairly average and ordinary, even with the dragon coin placements.

This would be fine in an easy hack, but it won't stand out in a contest.
morsel:
20
5
4
29/100
This level does not quite come up to the vanilla SMW standard, in my opinion. Coins scattered about; koopas on ledges; (in the first area) one rex only and one chuck only; (in the second area) one lotus only and one chuck only. Parts of it felt empty and nothing was developed. The palette is a bit bright.
bebn legg is actually one of the staff members on SMWC and so it was funny to find out how badly we all scored him. These days, he and Ryaa both work together on our Discord as co-leaders, so it's extra funny to me reading back his comments.

And in my own VLDC11 playthrough, I named the episode featuring his level "bebn palette-cycles us to death".

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby Kleetus » 1 month ago

FPzero wrote: bebn legg is actually one of the staff members on SMWC and so it was funny to find out how badly we all scored him. These days, he and Ryaa both work together on our Discord as co-leaders, so it's extra funny to me reading back his comments.
I guess we can't always have good days. I'll remember this for when place poorly in MAGLX3.

Cloudy Lake was kinda neat, being a water level not set underwater.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby konaa » 4 weeks ago

this video was the first time I've ever heard anybody refer to the smw water as "purple". As a kid I had a friend who would insist that "no it's just blue, your tv is screwed up" because it looked blue on his TV. Unfortunately this is not where it ends. The koopas that have blue shells also looked purple on my tv. Basically I was under the impression that the water was the same color as the blue shelled koopas. Mario kart 64 would eventually come out prove that the shells were, in fact, blue. This convinced me that smw water really WAS blue.

At this point I think my brain is just broken from all the confusion. I can only accept that any sprite in smw is whatever colour somebody else says it is.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby Mandew » 4 weeks ago

While playing Super Mario World, the blue on a NTSC SNES sometimes looks very different from the blue displayed by Emulators. Like, it can end up looking a sort of candy, pastel blue. It's kinda freaky that it can be so different.

Actually, the comparison I used to make was that "Sometimes it looks like the A and B buttons on the controllers, sometimes it looks like the X and Y buttons."
video games

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby Piesonscreations » 4 weeks ago

Someone in the comments suggested that maybe the level wasn't playtested on low brightness, and that could be the case, but I have my monitor at 30% and I still could see just fine, so I really don't know.
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