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Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Happy New Year!!

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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ft029
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Eleven Ten

Postby ft029 » 1 week ago

That was super interesting to read about, ECS! I learned some new things, especially about the key vending machine.

I also loved the levels today. I personally got somewhat frustrated by the second half of super maks' level (maybe it could use a 1-up checkpoint).

I think pyro's level has super high replayability value. It's a great Gamer Challenge to get all 5 dragon coins.
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ECS98
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Eleven Ten

Postby ECS98 » 1 week ago

Piesonscreations wrote:Welcome to the talkhaus!
Also, we should have rankings for the best jokes on the intro screens.
Oh, thank you! :D
Also, i agree with that! We need a TSDC (Title Screen Design Contest)
Militarized Iceberg one really made me laugh lol
FPzero wrote:As mentioned earlier, Technical Loopholes was my judge favorite level. I just loved how it used the sprite respawning thing, and I especially loved how it would throw enemies of all types at you at different angles to keep you on your toes. The slow platform gliding over 1F0 tiles was weirdly satisfying to see. It was just a super cool, thorough exploration of how to use this mechanic.

Unfortunately, our contests are rarely free of drama and other issues [...]
[...] I still feel really bad about the situation
Technical Loopholes was really cool! It's so great how fresh it felt for me when i played it, even though we literally used the same gimmick! I actually learned some cool things with it about the Respawn Loop i wasn't even aware of.
Also, yea i remember that thing with the scores, it really sucks when something like that happens, but well, we're humans, and as such we make mistakes. I also had my share of drama on VLDC11, by acting stupidly on a Fan-Judge thread, and i still feel bad about that... (You might remember it).
ft029 wrote: That was super interesting to read about, ECS! I learned some new things, especially about the key vending machine.

I also loved the levels today. I personally got somewhat frustrated by the second half of super maks' level (maybe it could use a 1-up checkpoint).

I think pyro's level has super high replayability value. It's a great Gamer Challenge to get all 5 dragon coins.
Thanks ft! I'm glad to hear you liked my explanation post! Also, as i said in the post itself, congratulations on reading everything! xD
Indeed both levels today were really cool!

Well, Technical Loopholes is kind of a brother level to Vanish Castle (or, as a comment in the video stated, they're lovers who didn't get to be together lol), so i guess it's pretty natural that i'd love it!
I really like how, even though we used the same gimmick, Maks still managed to use it in a way that felt fresh to me! And i really love how much the level abused some sprites' behaviors for very interesting setups, like Chucks jumping from midair or line guided platforms / grinders used in some clever setups!
I do agree with ft that the second half can be a bit frustrating, mainly because it's pretty long (and i feel like the survival sections drag on for a bit longer than they should), but i still think it's a super cool level!

Militarized iceberg is also really cool! Ice sliding is a mechanic that's usually seen as annoying, as it's normally used to get in the way of the platforming, but i always knew it could also be used for clever sliding setups, which is exactly what this level accomplished!
I love the way it introduced the ice sliding and then kept adding new twists to it to keep the gimmick fresh! Layer 2, growing pipes, wall running and moving platforms were used really well to complement the gimmick!
It's a bit weird that the whole gimmick is optional though, since we can play the level as Small Mario and literally skip the whole sliding. I'm not sure if i'd consider that the best decision, but i guess having the Yoshi Coins require Big Mario is a good way to encourage the player to play the way the level was meant to be played. When you engage the challenge of keeping the Mushrooms is when the level truly shines!
If i'm being honest, i feel like the last section hurts the level a bit due to the fast Layer 2, since it's rather punishing, but the level is still really cool!

Also, there's a really fun coincidence i noticed in this video!
Basically, as we all know, Technical Loopholes uses the same gimmick as Vanish Castle, the Sprite Respawn Loop. But one thing most people don't know is, shortly after VLDC11 ended, i made my second level, a level for a brazillian collab hack, and that level, named "Frozen Palace" ("Palacio Congelado" in portuguese), used the same gimmick as Militarized Iceberg, using ice to slide into 1-tile gaps as Big Mario! It's even funnier because, back then, i hadn't played, watched, or even known anything about Militarized Iceberg at all, so using the same gimmick as it was a pure coincidence!
So basically, the theme of this video is:
The first level in the video uses the same gimmick as my first level.
And the second level in the video uses the same gimmick as my second level.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Seven Six

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

7th, Bouncy Ruins, by Dan Drigues
86.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 52/60
Creativity: 27/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 86/100

Comments:
This level really has some length to it, doesn't it? 16h screens until the midpoint is quite the endurance challenge. I think I preferred the first half a little more to the second because it was almost exclusively about how grinders and wall springboards could interact with each other and the terrain, with nearly no other sprites to mess with that. The second half added thwomps and thwimps to the mix which felt like it took away from the first half's tightness of design in some cases, but I can imagine there are only so many different ways you can arrange the wall springboard and grinders before you start wanting to add new stuff into the mix. Plus, it did mean that the second half was freshened up with new content. Really, I was just impressed with how much mileage you got out of those two sprites in the first half.

Most impressive was how you used the springboards. Since you can't start a spinjump off of them, you created situations where you actually have to respect the movement of the grinders and thwomps you paired them with. And they also negate spinjumps too, which meant you could always anticipate how a player will enter into a setup. I just think they were used extremely well both to add to the "bouncy" part of the level's name and to enhance the setups you designed.

Difficulty was high throughout the level, which did hurt a bit when paired with the level's length. Dying late in each section meant redoing minutes of progress each time. I think there also could've been another powerup placed in the second half somewhere, since that part was harder than the first half.
Ryaa:
Design: 54/60
Creativity: 24/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 86/100

Review: I actually really like the way this level moves. It's very to the point with every new gimmick or sprite that is shown and that is very helpful for any player to get adjusted to the above average difficulty. The sections themselves are a bit long, but not frustrating in any way that would make me want to quit before beating them. There wasn't really a specific point where I didn't have fun so that's a very good quality this level has. What I'm a bit confused about is why the creator here decided to give the player Fire Flowers when they do absolutely nothing to any of the enemies. That's not too significant of a concern though.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 54/60
CREATIVITY| 22/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 83/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
boing

Wow this level churned out a million different grinder setups. The first half
consisted entirely of grinders and the springy things, and the majority of the
setups were quite engaging.

The second half brought complexity by adding more thwimps and thwomps to the
grinder setups. I really like how the level progresses with its difficulty, and it
brought about plenty of creativity.

However, I feel like it did a few setups repeatedly, and the level goes on for a
bit too long. I almost ran out of time on my first run. Perhaps a few of the
obstacles can be cut.

Then again, this is a solid level that proves that you can create a good level
solely around a single enemy type.
morsel:
57
26
8
91/100
This was a joy to play. I liked how you forced the player to use all parts of the spring, naturally teaching how they worked. The level was tremendously focussed without being repetitive, and introduced new sprites at just the right moment. The second half was perhaps a tad too long, or perhaps the first half was too short. Anyway, an excellent, classical level with no frills. My major graphical beefs would be the use of spikes as well as munchers, seemingly indiscriminately, and donut platfroms acting as ledges. On replaying it, there was one part in the second half where I managed to get the camera too low and there was no way to raise so I had to guess at the head-room.
6th, Roaming Fiber, by Christian07
87.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 52/60
Creativity: 26/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 86/100

Comments:
On one hand, you did a pretty good job of making an interesting level concept with nice variations. On the other, it's a real shame that SMW's engine doesn't allow Mario to move with a variable Layer 2 climbable object. It does lead to some weirdness when climbing, and Mario getting too clingy with the nets. That said, overall I think you made a really good level. Right from the start you introduce the idea that we're going to be using the backsides of nets to climb past obstacles, and from there you keep iterating on the idea in new and different ways. Eventually you even mix in the ability to manipulate the net placements by using the camera scroll. It's all very clever. The only puzzle I didn't like was the final one, where it's not at all obvious that there's enough room to slip behind the net. I basically just guessed that that might be the case.

It could just be the slower-paced nature of the level, but it did feel pretty long. I didn't make it through in one life so I don't know how close I would've been to timing out. In general, I think the level was very well-designed, so good work!
Ryaa:
Design: 55/60
Creativity: 28/30
Aesthetics: 9/10

Total: 92/100

Review: To be completely honest. I think that this is one of the most creative gimmicks I've seen. It's a very simple concept but is executed in a way I wouldn't have expected. I think that this level is simply fantastic in terms of how well it blends together each category of the rubric into something that isn't forgettable. However with all good things there are some downsides. What I noticed is that due to the strange physics of climbing in Super Mario World, some sections are very finnicky to work with. For example the last section before the exit has you dodging a jumping Bowser statue while trying to get behind a thwomp. The issue here is that for whatever reason you have to be very specific in jumping from the corner of the moving gates to the gate that the thwomp is in which can be a bit weird to do. This section also has weird cutoff but thankfully that's the only case of this that I noticed throughout the level. Overall, I think this level proves that you can still come up with really unique ideas despite the limitations of a "Vanilla" contest.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 48/60
CREATIVITY| 28/30
AESTHETICS| 9/10
TOTAL | 85/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
thought there would be more grinders, but this is different

Nice! I don't think I've ever seen a level combine nets and layer 2 like this
before. The design is well crafted so that it eases you into the gimmick and
introduces how you can manipulate screen scroll with the nets. I really like the
advanced uses of the gimmick when getting the dragon coins, especially the puzzle
where you have to magically climb in mid-air for a second.

It's unfortunate that there's a bonus area that (sometimes, I later found out)
leads to an endless bonus game in the first half. Then again, that side area isn't
very good since there's no indication that the net will quickly move off screen.

The scrolling net gimmick can also be a little bit janky sometimes, probably
because of the variable layer 2 scroll in combination with L/R scrolling. It can be
very hard to predict how all the level elements will react to your controls. Plus,
the part where you first see the nets move forces you to wait.

Luckily, you pulled off such a creative and unique level with great design overall,
so nice job even with a few point deductions in design.
morsel:
50
27
8
85/100
Twenty-eight years after Super Castlevania IV was released, VLDC contestants have finally woken up to how cool it is to go behind a grille. I think this was the only level of the thirty-odd levels in the contest using this mechanic in which Mario's activities sub retis are not as completely useless as Simon Belmont's. This level is more thematic and incorporates some nice wonky layer 2 movement and screen-scrolling puzzles. I encountered a bonus room where I thought layer 2 was going to go up and down; it only went down. I understood later that these two bonus rooms are really alternative paths (with their own dangers). These were balanced well and added interest on replaying. (Because the dragon coins seem almost integral to the design of this level, I should mention the first dragon coin is poorly hidden compared to the others as it just involves wasting your time at the beginning before playing the level.) [Some more or less minor issues follow.] Doing the long jump to the bowser statue shooting flames with the muncher roof above you can be tricky depending on when he is firing. Some of the set-ups are not that friendly to experiment with (e.g. the set-up for a dragon coin where you have to scroll the smashing layer to the left; again at the end where you have to scroll right and a reflector may spawn directly at the side of the screen). Some of the thwomp gates can be passed without using the grilles (killed with a shell; flight with cape and invincibility frames and, of course, taking damage)--there is nothing wrong with this; perhaps it is intentional for quicker playing. On re-playing, I notice having nets on both layers can be a little janky (not being able to move off the edge of the layer 1 net even if it is overlapping a moving net--perhaps it happens when both edges are lined up or nearly lined up).
So, Bouncy Ruins is Dan Drigues's first level, or at least one of their first, as far as I'm aware. They registered on SMWC just in time for VLDC11, and their first post was their level thread. They claim to be very new to SMW hacking as well. And, man, if someone that new can place this high that's incredible. I sincerely hope to see more levels from him in the future because Bouncy Ruins is so cool!

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Seven Six

Postby RudeGuy » 1 week ago

It's pretty cool that this is Dan Drigues' first level, and it's also cool how much setups with grinders he managed to create. I always thought grinders were the most versatile sprite in SMW, and that level is proof of that.
Anyway, everyone likes dev commentaries, right? I'm christian07 (that's my old username), so I'll copypaste mine off youtube now:
First off, the idea came from another level I had just finished when the contest started. That level also used layer 2 nets, but I thought I could do more with the idea. Both levels were also VERY inspired by another, perhaps obscure level made by S.N.N., called Thalassian Gorge (I say obscure because it's really difficult to find now).
During the level, I discovered that, if you're on a net and there's another one really near, but they're not on top of each other (like in 10:28), you can still make a small jump towards the second and be safe. I don't think any of this was discovered by any judge, so... it probably made for some awkward moment.
Also, it's a shame you never went for that pipe at 15:04. I think the section under there contains one of my most clever setups. Oh well...
I never thought one could fly to the left at the midpoint. Then again, I was near the deadline when I finished it, so I simply ignored some stuff (this is also why it has an unchanged intro and a completely empty map... and why it's perhaps the only level which doesn't have its name changed on the map)
One last thing: the name of this level is a bad networking joke. "roaming" and "fiber" are two terms used in networking that don't have much of a sense when combined toghether... except in the context of this level, I guess.
Alright, I guess that's all. Damn, I still feel amazed that I'm 6th. I saw some levels earlier in this contest that I thought were definitely better than mine.
Also, because the reviews are above this post... Can someone finally tell me what is morsel talking about when he mentions Super Castlevania IV? (I've never played it)

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Seven Six

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

In the first level of Super Castlevania IV, you can walk behind the iron bar fences and avoid enemies and obstacles much like Mario can when he's behind a fence. I assume that's what he's referring to.

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ft029
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Seven Six

Postby ft029 » 1 week ago

Dan Drigues' level is the type of platforming I'd like to see more often. Going through the level is very satisfying-- the sproings were used masterfully.

I replayed Christian07's level since he mentioned some bonus rooms, and I went into an endless bonus game after completing the sinking net room (which, on the first playthrough, I did not expect to keep sinking). This can be easily solved by having an entrance to 108 on screen 07. (Or maybe, me opening the game in lunar magic caused an issue with entrances? who knows...)

I also flew left, but I found that more funny than an issue.

The actual bonus room that Christian07 mentioned-- it's quite cool. It reminds me of the shenanigans in ravegg's shattered dreams room in JUMP.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Five

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

5th, TRAUMEREI, by Tob & Darkdlp02
88.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 51/60
Creativity: 23/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 82/100

Comments:
I think it was pretty cool how you used the Thwimps sliding along 1F0 as not just obstacles but also as puzzle elements, then kept building upon them as the level went on. Timing them with turn blocks so they'll hop onto a track instead of the block was pretty clever. In general this level features a number of "hopping enemies", so I was kind of surprised I didn't see any Hopping Bowser statues in the level mixed in with all the stationary ones, thwimps and hopping flames. The Yoshi Coins were good puzzles too, asking the player to think just a little harder before moving on. I was pleasantly surprised by how much leeway there was with the difficulty too. There were reset pipes for parts that could be failed, there wasn't a ton of danger from the enemies being used as puzzle elements, and there was plenty of solid ground to stand on. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't hard which made for a good time while solving puzzles. The palettes were bright but pretty easy on the eyes, and I liked the Thwimp graphic replacement. The only weird graphic was the solid blue flames because I totally didn't expect them to be solid for whatever reason. Overall, very nice level.
Ryaa:
Design: 57/60
Creativity: 29/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 94/100

Review: What's interesting is that this level leaves an incredible first impression. The music is very energetic and the palette is beautifully crafted. Each section has puzzles that are very clear and challenging but not in an annoying way that would make me not want to play them. I had so much fun and there wasn't any point where I didn't have fun. The only thing I could say I didn't understand is why you used enemy graphics as solid blocks that would lead the player to think that you could spinjump on them. I was able to normally progress through the level despite this issue though I personally think it would have worked a bit better if you could actually spinjump on them. With all of that in mind, I believe that this level achieves really great things and I really hope to see more like it.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 53/60
CREATIVITY| 25/30
AESTHETICS| 10/10
TOTAL | 88/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
sunsets and stones

Nice puzzle platformer! I really like the creativity that was implemented with 1F0,
bowser statues, and thwimps in combination with throw blocks and turn blocks. Each
little gimmick is introduced well and there's some nice challenge with some of the
precision jumping that needs to be done. I also love the dragon coin placements.

I guess the only thing that holds this back design wise is that the gimmick can
involve waiting. In some areas it was okay since you had to dodge things while
doing so, while in others it's a bit boring; the thwimp immediately after the
midpoint is the biggest offender. It could have also been a bit more creative
and developed in its design, but currently this does the job.

So yeah, this is a really neat and nice looking level.
morsel:
57
23
10
90/100
Excellent level. I wish it had been a little longer. It could have been clearer that there was a thwimp conveyor line at one point, as it is easy to think you have to keep pace with the first one. The muncher replacements do not look solid to me, but at least they were noticeably solid on first appearance, which is more than many would have thought of making clear. Collecting the dragon coins was fun. It is perhaps a bit iffy to force standing on a statue shooting fire (if you stand on the left, the flame can hurt you when it spawns).
I've noticed that I gave out a small handful of scores higher than 90/100 for this contest. I'm not sure if that's just reflective of me becoming more picky or what, because this contest was overall fantastic. I noticed it in the recent Halloween Level Design Contest as well, where I don't think I gave any level above a mid-80s/100.

Maybe it just means I don't hand out points as easily any longer, and that I've learned how to judge pretty well these days. Shrug.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Five

Postby Arctangent » 1 week ago

i would absolutely love a full-on platformer with this level's aesthetics

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby Arctangent » 6 days ago

the factory level isn't exactly one that jumps out at you aesthetically, but if you stop to look at it it actually looks really good and clean

i love the subtle shadow effect going on with the floor

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby FPzero » 6 days ago

4th, Brown Block Factory, by Sixcorby
89.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 52/60
Creativity: 24/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 84/100

Comments:
Man I love seeing the cool ways people use the block snakes and this level was no exception. It was actually fairly restrained in how it used them, giving the player short bursts of activity where they had to use them for bonuses or wait for a wall to drop. If anything, I think it might have been cool to see the brown blocks used a slight bit more, especially the blocks that would rocket upwards. The puzzle before the midpoint was very clever too and a nice little breather that didn't break the pace of the level badly at all. The autoscroller was quick and kept me on my toes avoiding enemies and rogue brown blocks, though the final setup was a little tricky. I liked the choice of music and dark graphics to add to the whole "strange factory" vibe, though maybe the BG was a little too dark, as I didn't even notice it was there until I looked very closely. Nice touch with the exanimated blocks moving in the walls too. In general the level was a really nice, bite-sized piece of fun level design. Great job!
Ryaa:
Design: 57/60
Creativity: 29/30
Aesthetics: 10/10

Total: 97/100

Review: This is a heavily interesting level. It has a focus and actually keeps that focus throughout the entire level. It's easy to tell what you need to do in order to make progress through the different areas. The aesthetics and music along with the overall gimmicks and setups make this level feel completely new and extremely fun. What I really liked especially was the little puzzle section where you have to stop the Brown Blocks in mid-air. Though I do wish that there was more of that to be seen later on as that idea completely vanished after we saw it the first time. Despite that, this level does an amazing job at not only keeping the player on their feet, but making the player feel comfortable enough to move around in the level with the the feeling of wanting more and more as you progress. I'm absolutely in love with this level.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 56/60
CREATIVITY| 28/30
AESTHETICS| 9/10
TOTAL | 93/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
brown block basement's big brother

Fantastic level. I love how the level is based around brown block shenanigans, and
it's more than just removing barriers; they can activate elevators, trigger
obstacles, and even be used as timing puzzles. The creativity in this level is just
so good!

The level is also well designed. Many of the obstacles are puzzly or even action
puzzly, but none of them are too difficult. The autoscroll section is especially
nice and engaging.

I do have a few minor gripes: for one, the second half with the falling diagonal
blocks could be better indicated, perhaps with lines instead of exclamation points.
Second, the sinking platforms at the end of the second half is a bit too hard, and
I found myself taking a hit there too often.

But still, this is quite amazing and well made, great job!
morsel:
52
25
8
85/100
I recognise this moving line of blocks from that JUMP level that also had moving berries set in stone and dirt. You, anonymous author, are at least a tasteful thief. I do not know why that JUMP level used that animation as it did not make any use of brown blocks; ultimately this level did pretty well in finding things to do with both brown blocks and fake brown blocks (did I also recognise a YUMP level, BALKS?). Perhaps even more could have been wrung out of the vanilla sponge: the moving lines of blocks could have been used as conveyors instead of ropes; some other sprites could usefully have been re-skinned; and some of the ideas could have been explored a bit further. Using the diagonally falling blocks as obstacles was a bit janky. The background is so dark it will probably not be visible to many people. Some familiar miscellaneous graphics used elsewhere in this contest: a favourite vine replacement, the very thin rope with adjacent climbable air; and our old friend Mr Red 'Switch' Block, the friendly neighbourhood warning sign.
When I said levels were usually dense enough to be their own videos, this also assumed you might die while playing them! :lol:

And tomorrow is FrozenQuill's favorite level.

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ft029
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby ft029 » 6 days ago

I never noticed the shadow effect in the walls. That's neat. I really liked how the crazy eater blocks were used (in my vldc9 entry, it was downright unfair, but here, everything was introduced smoothly and in a way the player could react to.)
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby Piesonscreations » 6 days ago

Brown Blocks in Mario.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four Brown Bricks

Postby Awoo » 6 days ago

Piesonscreations wrote: Brown Blocks in Mario.
It is the most fun you could possibly have
ワンワン :pal:
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby S.N.N. » 6 days ago

Sixcorby's level is really great. I'd love to see the "OFF" gimmick explored more in a future hack/contest entry, as there seems to be some serious untapped potential there.

3rd place is one of my personal favorites from the contest, despite being a tad on the short side. It's utterly fascinating on a technical level, and it's a blast to play. Looking forward to seeing the video of it.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby SAJewers » 5 days ago

3th place was definitely a neat level.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby FPzero » 5 days ago

3rd, PURPLE WAVES, by ft029
90.25/100.00 points (FrozenQuills's favorite)
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 49/60
Creativity: 24/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 78/100

Comments:
The core idea in this level is really interesting but it's SO easy to mess up and die to. I actually found the second half easier than the first for some reason. I figured going down was going to be much tougher but it turned out to be the opposite. Alright so it's a neat idea having to manipulate the camera to not rise up and move the water level with it. It's just really hard to work with on occasion, and there's pretty much just one right path through the level despite what it might look like. Thankfully the level isn't *that* long, but the first half is long enough that dying late in it does feel like a pain especially when it's so easy to die because you moved the camera and water just a pixel or two too high up. The second half was neat because you had to figure out what objects would allow you to shift down the water level, but I felt like it was too short compared to the first half, and didn't feature nearly as many ideas. I question making such a big part of that half about the floating brown platforms that turned into express elevators downwards when using them. I was expecting a wider variety of ways I'd have to lower the water, but they were the majority of that segment. I've never taken flight off moving platforms though, so that was pretty cool to see. And I liked the final puzzle in that you both had to figure out how to get up to the key and back down. If it hadn't been for the coin hints I think it would've been much worse, so thanks for adding those.

Overall a level with an interesting idea and execution, flawed a bit by how deadly the idea is in the first place. Nice work.
Ryaa:
Design: 58/60
Creativity: 30/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 93/100

Review: I absolutely love this level. At first I was confused because I didn't know what was going on but after I realized that standing on platforms will lower the layer 2, I just fell in love with what I was witnessing. The gimmick itself is executed in a way where it isn't too hard to get adjusted to, everything here is just really fun to work with. The level isn't too long either in a way where if you die, there isn't that feeling of internal pain where you know that you have to go through an entire long setup again because of a simple mistake. I'm not too fond of the rainbow shell Koopa on the top level of the first section since it feels a bit randomly added.

The second section is really neat as well. It uses similar assets from the first section but executes them in a completely new way and even introduces some new things that you wouldn't expect. The flying portion was really awesome since you wouldn't expect to have so much room to fly with such a small space. The last section was fascinating since it's so easy to work through yet somewhat precise as well.

My only qualm with this level outside of the rainbow shell thing is that I'm not that much of a fan of the aesthetic. It's very simple and to the point for sure, but I feel like more could have been done to make this level feel even more significant. Although I don't think this is something severe at all or anything like that.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 59/60
CREATIVITY| 30/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 95/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
holy shii-take mushrooms

I've never seen a camera scrolling gimmick done so well before. All the obstacles
are super creative and fun to figure out, even if the water is instant death. I
love this so much, and there's so much depth added with the falling platforms.

I really like where it went with the second half too; it became more about
reactions than figuring out what to do. And the final room is just amazing with how
you have to puzzle it out and then execute everything using the things you learned
from the level.

If there's one thing that's missing from this level, it's that I feel like the
moving purple water gimmick can be introduced a bit better, but that's very minor.
Also the aesthetics can be better but that's whatever.

Bravo!
morsel:
58
30
7
95/100
This is a highlight. I was reminded of a level from the super Japanese hack SUPER. The idea is marvellous and the execution is a complete delight. This is another level that engages the player's creativity--you need to work to understand this level in order to enjoy it. Some of the line-guided sprites despawned. It was a friendly length for the harsh punishment. The level starts very cleverly by demonstrating the purple water is deadly by displaying a skeleton in it (at least I thought it was clever when Nachos and Fried Oreos did it).
I'm the one that gave it a 78/100 while everyone else gave it a 90+, so I guess I should explain a little. I felt like the gimmick was cool, but executed questionably. I usually take some points of Creativity when I run into cool ideas I felt were flawed, and here was no exception. I found myself dying to this level a lot in the first half, even though I knew what I was supposed to do. There were a few times where the waves would just kill me through the platform even though I was doing what was expected. Now, it must be that I was still doing something wrong even though I was doing what the level had planned, because it's clear that I shouldn't have had issues with it. But I still felt that the level was just too janky for my tastes. And this isn't even a knock against ft's design capabilities or anything, because I loved his VLDC9 level (Not that I knew who the level was made by when I judged, of course). The other major thing was that I felt the second half was too short and didn't reach its full potential of ways to bring the water down. The "express elevator" as I called it in my comments with the falling two platforms made up a big chunk of the second half and wasn't very difficult to navigate.

It's a good level, but it definitely wasn't one of my favorites. But I have no problems with the other judges thinking highly enough of it to score 3rd place. That's how opinions work!
Last edited by FPzero on 03 Dec 2019, 16:04, edited 1 time in total.

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ft029
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby ft029 » 5 days ago

I'm quite astonished at my placement. I made the level fairly quickly-- I definitely made use of the 1 day deadline extension. I'm really happy with the idea of the level; I had some sadistic ideas for setups that might be too mean (like an overly long midway that players rush toward, but ends up being impossible to get due to the water level).

There's always more to wring out of a gimmick, and certainly there are many missed opportunities in my level. But, I'm proud of the setups I did come up with. I take the comparison to SUPER as a compliment :)

Also: The stuff about "sea bass on purple waves" is a reference to Mr. Hoo's restaurant in the book The Westing Game.
Last edited by ft029 on 03 Dec 2019, 19:32, edited 2 times in total.
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ECS98
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby ECS98 » 5 days ago

I'm with FPzero in this. Purple Waves was a really neat level with a super cool technical gimmick, and i enjoyed it a lot (i actually enjoy it way more now than when i first played it!), but i just feel like it was a little bit flawed in exectution (or, better yet, as FP said "questionable execution"), in the end becoming quite janky. The main problem i see in it is the fact it uses Springboards to rise in the first half, because Springboards have that little animation where Mario sinks into them for like half a block before blasting off, and that little sinking is usually just enough for Mario to touch the water and die, even when the water doesn't actually reach up to the platform we're in. That made the first half really unforgiving.
There is also that problem in the 4:00 mark in the video, where if we jump as soon as Mario lands on a platform, sometimes the camera keeps following him, and in this case this leads to certain death. Maybe it's because i have a pretty active playstyle, but i run into this quite a lot!
Also, i found the second half to be waaay better than the first, due to the fact we had to find different ways to lower the water to keep progressing, instead of "trying to not rise the water 1 pixel too high and die to it" like in the first half. It was cool to see the different ways the level allowed us to lower the water, but, as FP said, i felt it was too short compared to the first.
I'll say again that it was a really cool level, i know my comment came off as a bit negative, but i still loved it, it's just that the execution was less than ideal at times...

S.N.N.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby S.N.N. » 4 days ago

Welp, here we are.

I don’t have much in the way of dev commentary, other than that I was eager to use Yoshi a bit more after making a level around killing him in my VLDC9 entry. While I was working on it, I realized fireballs slid along 1F0, so I bent the second half of the level into that gimmick, bringing back Yoshi at the end to tie the two together. It was a lot of fun to design, but much like many of the other top ten entries, the time limit was a crux - if I could do it again, I’d probably cut out a puzzle or two.

The song isn’t a remix, but rather, it’s something I composed specifically for this level. The HQ version of the track is here, and I released the track on SMWC for usage in other levels.

Thanks for playing it, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Look forward to the first place entry - it’s really great.

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FPzero
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby FPzero » 4 days ago

2nd, Crystarp Hollow, by S.N.N.
93.25/100.00 points (Ryaa's Favorite)
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 55/60
Creativity: 28/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 91/100

Comments:
A very action-puzzle focused level revolving around seldom-used puzzle elements. It's surprising we don't see more Yoshi-centric puzzles in levels, considering how many possible puzzle solutions he can provide. In this case, it was making sure you feed Yoshi under increasingly complicated situations using Tile 1F0, then the second half involved manipulating fireball pathing and bounce using 1F0 and solid tiles. I've never seen puzzles like the fireball ones in the second half before to be quite honest so nice job finding something very creative to work with. Really, the main element here was use of 1F0, and all the additional unique puzzle elements were just ways to garnish new uses for the tile. I think you used the Jumping Bowser statues with 1F0 pretty well as they created a nice medium speed bouncing obstacle to avoid and Diggin' Chuck rocks were used similarly in combination with Yoshi to provide Yoshi-only platforms to climb up. I think I would've liked to see one more feeding Yoshi puzzle in the second half, maybe in combination with fireballs somehow, just to tie both halves together a little more, but what puzzles you did present in both halves were really interesting and fun.

If I have any one real complaint with the level is that due to the uniqueness of the puzzle elements, the time limit really does become a factor. I would've just barely had enough time to finish the level in the provided time had I not died, but the solution to the final Yoshi/fireball combination puzzle really had me stumped for a while. It's a level that benefits from knowing some solutions ahead of time, since you can breeze through other segments and give yourself extra time to use later on. If you have to reset some puzzles a couple times on your first playthrough, you're probably not making it to the end in time unless you can figure out what's being asked very quickly. This isn't a huge strike against the level, but it is something to keep in mind. Very well done!
Ryaa:
Design: 59/60
Creativity: 30/30
Aesthetics: 10/10

Total: 99/100

Review: I adore this level. The design and the mechanics are so clear and concise with a bit of a challenge that feels new and fresh. The colors and music really add to the feelings I had while playing as well. What threw me off initially was that the first section had you go to the left instead of the right. However, I believe that this choice was very significant as it prepares the player to expect things that usually don't happen which was a really neat touch. Figuring out the puzzles felt very fulfilling since they weren't too difficult and provided reset doors at any point where you'd need them. I was completely caught by surprise to find out that you actually needed to carefully use fireballs in order to progress through the second part which actually amazed me as I've never seen anything like it before. I don't personally think there is anything in this level that's actually "bad" or anything like that. What I will say is that I do wish that the reset doors were actually normal sized as it can get a little weird having to take damage just to enter the small door if you lose a Yoshi or mess anything else up. Despite that, this level has surpassed a lot of my initial hopes for what a good puzzle level should be.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 54/60
CREATIVITY| 30/30
AESTHETICS| 10/10
TOTAL | 94/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
this is so not normal

This is incredible. I love how the level introduces two very different gimmicks
involving 1F0 and then meshes them together at the end. Each of the baby yoshi and
fireball puzzles were very cool and creatively utilized 1F0 in ways I haven't seen
before. I especially enjoyed the fireball run segment and the baby yoshi waterfall.
Also, the moon placement is super clever.

The level isn't perfect though; I ran into three problems. One is that the obstacle
with the hammer bro and thwimp on 1F0 is unclear. I thought you had to get across
rather than just drop down. Another problem is that you can tank the fourth and
fifth dragon coin without much issue. Finally, it's a bit long for all the puzzles
you have to do.

Regardless, this is amazing and top to near top marks on all accounts, congrats!
morsel:
53
27
9
89/100
I was not sure about this at first as feeding yoshi is often rather slow and cumbersome. The first couple of feeds were like this (well, the second one was; the first seemed like it was meant to be a sort of tutorial, but was rather inelegant, to my thinking) but things picked up with the vertical feed and the second half of the level, with the change to unusual fireball activities was fantastic. There were many clever sprite uses. I appreciate the symmetry, now I think of it, of yoshi being thrown to sprites followed by sprites being thrown to yoshi. Thwimps sliding on 1F0 seems to be a topical effect in this contest; it was nice to see it coupled here with the similarly-behaving bowser statue. There could have been more margin for error to make it nicer to play at points (yoshi can avoid falling in the one tile gap at the turn blocks and goomba part; the part where you are ascending the staircase and have to stand between the rocks to make the camera scroll). The hammer bros were an interesting obstacle, but were placed suboptimally: the first you can avoid easily by standing on the flowers; the second surprises you by appearing directly under you when you go to the edge of the ground. Some of the reset doors should have had a more convenient something near them to hurt yourself on. The part at the yoshi drop and fireball throw had a pit under it that might have contained a reset. I thought the translucent effect was sometimes intrusive as it applied to mario and yoshi.
With SNN's VLDC9 level still fresh in my memory, I kind of figured it was his level even when judging. I don't know why it couldn't have been someone else's in my head, but I just somehow knew. I blame all the years working alongside him as staff on SMWC.

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idol
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby idol » 4 days ago

snn also made half a yoshi level for a team hack made by the vldc9 ow crew that never got finished so he really is a one trick pony huh
must b love on tha brain
[avi source]

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Piesonscreations
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby Piesonscreations » 4 days ago

I really liked the song in the level! And the bouncing fireballs thing was neat.
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BobisOnlyBob
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby BobisOnlyBob » 4 days ago

idol wrote: one trick horse
BOB is an acronym for BOB is Only BOB etc.

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muuma
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby muuma » 4 days ago

Funfact: the 1st place doesn't have any wacky/glitchy mechanics in it.
I see what you did there...

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Arctangent
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Four

Postby Arctangent » 3 days ago

witchcraft


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