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

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

Postby Mandew » 1 month ago

This level has a Max-Min score of 40. I presume that the Darkness part of this level was the divisive aspect here, perhaps for technical reasons. It's unfortunate, really; had it been handled in a less divisive way, I'm assuming the level could have easily been 5 to 10 points higher in the scoring, placing it in the rankings of the high 70's -- and that's assuming the other judges weren't also negatively affected by the darkness section, albeit to a lesser degree.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby FrozenQuills » 1 month ago

iirc I only thought of the darkness as a minor annoyance and not game breaking.

but looking at raocow's playthrough, that is WAY darker than what I saw lol
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(SMBX Forums CC11, SMBX Forums CC12, Endgame Madness Contest, SMWC Kaizo Contest 2016, SMWC 24hr Contest 2018)

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

Postby Kleetus » 1 month ago

I think the first Mario game to have a poison forest/jungle was SM64DS, with the Goomboss level. NSMB world 4 codified the trope into what people think of today.

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

Postby FPzero » 1 month ago

95th, Panic at the Docks, by Trollope
43.25/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 25/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 42/100

Comments:
This level was pleasant but way too short, and didn't really have any true idea to it. The podoboos in pipes were fun, but they couldn't hold the level together on its own. All the enemies were just koopas or bullet bills, and they weren't really placed in any good ways, just as enemies to fill a level. It needs more substance. Style isn't enough here.
Ryaa:
Design: 25/60
Creativity: 10/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 42/100

Review: Really unfortunate that this level had to be cut so short. I feel like if there were actual gimmicks in place to match the neat palette and aesthetic design, then it would have turned the level into something very memorable. As it is right now, I can tell that this level is very unfinished. This became clear to me when I got through the inside section and immediately the level was just over. I see a lot of potential for this level and it sucks that that potential wasn't reached.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 29/60
CREATIVITY| 10/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 46/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
this existed

Nice aesthetic, but the gameplay is kind of lacking. The most interesting thing in
this level is that you need to do a bullet hop in the first half. Everything else
is either koopas on a dock or koopas and bullets in a building.

Basically, the creativity definitely could have been pushed more here.
morsel:
25
13
5
43/100
The podoboos should have made whooping noises when they jumped up. The level does not feel as if it goes anywhere with its basic ideas (e.g. the podoboo shooters might have been more dangerous; more use might have been made of the bullet shooters). The indoor part with a bullet generator feels tacked on. You get a springboard at one point; if you jump off it immediately you can go over a wall and die. The ghost house non-solid pillar is used outside as a solid object; not the greatest crime in the world, but worth mentioning, apparently.
93rd (tied), Yoshi's Island 2 (Dark Forest), by The Hacking Yoshi
46.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 27/60
Creativity: 16/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 47/100

Comments:
Let's address the elephant in the room first. The second half dark room is really badly designed solely because of how dark it is. Seriously, I didn't even realize a light switch existed until I basically smashed my face against my monitor trying to figure out if this was some kind of joke. The darkness obscures everything, from solid ground, to enemies, to projectiles. And once you do get the light cone it really doesn't change that much because lots of things still hide in the darkness, and the level expects you to make leaps for platforms that are barely visible outside the light cone. The darkness gimmick here does absolutely nothing for the level and in fact makes it *much* worse. Outside that room, there's a lot of questionable decisions too. Munchers hanging from leaves, a large number of Pitchin' Chucks and small rope platforms make for unnecessarily precise platforming at times.

I didn't understand why you had randomly rotated and flipped ? blocks and other tiles since they functioned the exact same way but looked wrong. The sideways turn blocks will rotate back into their normal position too so it just looks a bit buggy in the end. Overall this level tries to use darkness and projectiles but fails to create a very fair environment for the player to appreciate what little good design does exist in it.
Ryaa:
Design: 15/60
Creativity: 3/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 21/100

Review: This kind of level really makes me not want to touch it ever again. It's so randomly put together in such a way where it makes me question how much the creator actually tested it. There are so many ways you can die and each death doesn't feel like it's the fault of the player for the most part. The first screen is incredibly misleading because it looks like everything is completely normal. However, the moment you move to the right then that is when cutoff hell begins. Munchers floating in the air, single out of place bridge/rope tiles are everywhere, and the enemy/muncher placements are almost atrocious. The colors used in the main palette are nice too which is what makes it so unfortunately to see it being used in such an unfun setting.

It's clear that the midpoint is placed incoherently as you instantly spawn in only to be bombarded with a flurry of baseballs. It's not well thought out and could have been changed to actually feel like a safe spot.

Moving on to the Disco Ball section. The fact that the entire level up to this point has been a random assortment of any random feature that Lunar Magic and Map16 can create, I feel that keeping this theme and adding darkness was the last thing the creator should have done. It just doesn't work. I didn't like this level at all and was happier beating it the second time knowing I wouldn't have to play it again.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 34/60
CREATIVITY| 15/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 55/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
a baseball game

A decent level that could use some improvement. For one, The level did not need
that many baseballs flying around. I think every chuck in the first half throws six
baseballs which causes quite a bit of waiting. I'm also not sure if I like the
munchers in the canopy since they are kind of hard to notice. The level sure likes
to saturate the player with obstacles.

The second area is better and easier actually. I liked the ninji and chuck
placements. The lava lotus parts were difficult but manageable, though I don't
think the area benefited from the spotlight gimmick. There are a lot of
enemies which are a bit annoying to see when most of the level is dark.

I don't understand the spooky mirror-realm objects.

Overall, this has some enemy saturation and clarity issues, but it's a decent
challenging level.
morsel:
37
18
6
61/100
I entered the level and started moving forward. There was a muncher depending from the canopy. Unsurprisingly, there were more munchers later on. Yes, they often felt very low down. There was a strangely oriented turn block that you could hit to make it spin, and when it stopped spinning it became on ordinary turn block; there may be some kind of moral here. There are arrow signs pointing the wrong way. I have rarely seen a set-up where you have to jump from one hammer bro platform to another without them being able to be misaligned; this one was no different. The dark area was extremely dark. There were things hidden in the darkness that you would want to avoid. There was a hole in the ground hidden by a tree near the end. There were many different colours of vines and I could climb them all. This level had a robust attitude to leaving cut-off things cut off. I liked how dangerous and well placed the sprites were and the tricky jumps I had to do. I liked how clear and clean the level looked beyond its fripperies. The ground becomes a grey concrete mass after you beat the level; there is some kind of moral here.
93rd (tied), Level Entry, by Flabort
46.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 28/60
Creativity: 13/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 45/100

Comments:
This level is pretty wide open but doesn't really seem to do anything major with all its space. Despite all the ghosts and climbing koopas, it kind of feels empty with how much open space there is.It was also pretty easy, although that might just be because of how generous you were with powerups and green ! blocks. There's about three different ways you can get through the level at any given time and no one path really seems like the "correct" one to take. Instead each one just has a variety of enemies tossed in with seemingly little thought behind their placements. Sometimes too many enemies were placed for some of them to spawn. I noticed that the flipping gates didn't activate later in the level and looking in Lunar Magic, you didn't use the SA-1 sprite header to allow for more enemies. Palettes were a little drab too, mostly being desaturated or strangely colored. By trying to present many paths for the player to take, you ended up making three very average paths instead of one great path. Big levels or not, I think you would do well to put a little more focus into your level designs. It's functional, but it's just not that great.
Ryaa:
Design: 24/60
Creativity: 20/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 51/100

Review: Not completely sure what was going on here. This is one of those where it felt like there was no clear objective on what you were meant to do. Like of course you're meant to get to the end of the level but the atmosphere felt really out of place for some reason. I think the color palette was cool but I didn't like how weirdly the contrast between the two bone colors are. My biggest issue with this level is that it feels way too open. I think havign a set path to follow with a few bonuses here and there would have worked much better rather than leaving the entire area to be explored with no real benefit.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 34/60
CREATIVITY| 15/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 55/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
ghost house has been upgraded to ghost mansion

The entire level is just one giant room. There are a lot of paths to take, and each
one has an adequate set of challenges, mostly involving ghosts and nets. My
favorite paths tend to be the lower ones, especially the one with the boo lasers
and nets. Good use of switch palace blocks to make the level easier, by the way.

There are dragon coins in this for replayability, and they are well placed except
for one. This particular one is hidden way high up in a random alcove; it's way too
easy to miss (and also too easy to unfairly hit the spikes while spin-flying). I
also don't like how getting all coins requires both switch palaces, but that's not
a big deal.

As a whole, this is an alright nonlinear level with my only gripe being dragon coin
placement.
morsel:
25
5
3
33/100
There seems to be a lot of space and extra paths in this level but no real reason to explore it: I went right and won. This level does not quite come up to the vanilla SMW standard in sprite and object usage (e.g. compare it with those levels with nets and net koopas). A lot of sprite types were used, but none in any surprising way, and there was a lack of theme and development.
As mentioned in the YT comments, Youtube does actually do a bit of brightness correction on its videos so it's not clear to a watcher how truly dark the second level gets in the second half. So I've taken some screenshots of the level to show just how dark it was:

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In the first screenshot I'm dying to a Ninji you just cannot see. Can you make out the turn block, coins or ? switch block somewhere above Mario? That's probably much more accurate to what raocow was (not) seeing when he played. The second screenshot shows that it does't really get much better once you hit the ? block.

Funny enough, this seems to be purposeful. The palette between the two areas is NOT the same. The second area's palette is actually slightly darker than the first one's, meaning the dark spotlight effect that gets overlaid would make the level even darker once the color math is applied. Had they kept the exact same palette between the two areas, it might have been a bit easier to see, though I still believe it was a bad idea for the level overall.

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

Postby KobaBeach » 1 month ago

It's likely that they were tested in SNES9x or something because like VIP5 had this exact issue with an Area 42 segment iirc

We had to disable color blending or w/e to make it actually visible in hardware and bsnes
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby Implo » 1 month ago

About darkness - the reason that some people have no problem with that and others have huge problem may be also brightness of your monitor. I tested it with minimum brightness and for me the whole screen was just black. Then I tested on my usual settings and I could barely see blocks and enemies. Same goes for screenshots posted here. So maybe that's raocow problem - his brightness setting is too low.

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

Postby Mandew » 1 month ago

I said this before, and I'll say it again; the pitfall of darkness gimmicks is that you have to account for some people having different monitor settings than others. It's not just an issue of brightness; there are plenty of other settings which can tip it over to "overdone", including contrast, red/green levels, and even things such as a Night Light mode being active. It would be unreasonable to ask your player to have to change their otherwise perfectly functional monitor settings -just- so they can play your level. Always keep in mind that the player has the bigger end of the stick and can very easily decide to move your game into the trash can if the hassle cannot be justified.

Either make it so everyone has the same restricted visibility, or tone down the effect so everyone can still see everything with relative ease, regardless of settings. I'm usually all for divisive contents, but I think contents should be divisive for direct personal reasons, and not technical ones.

Otherwise I thought the level looked like a contender for the top half of the rankings. And honestly, I know why this sort of mistake happens. "How bright everyone's monitors are" is not something that's super obvious to have in mind. Hopefully this contestant won't have to deal with these divisive circumstances again, 'cause I'm legit interested in what else they could do. They seem to have a ton of potential.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby Implo » 1 month ago

I disagree with you. Author made level with his brightness in the mind. I don't think he will ever think that other people can see the stuff, because they have lower brightness. It's your role to adjust brightness. Just like in video games - you have problem to see anything, then it's you who needs to increase brightness. I mean nobody send mails to the author to increase the brightness of their games, right?

By the way, I checked first half of this level too. On minimum brightness I couldn't see the background - it was completely black for me. On my normal settings I could see it normally. It's just a guess, but by his low brightness settings, it's possible that raocow misses some visual effects in the levels. Like the background made from dark colors.

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

Postby Mandew » 1 month ago

Sorry, but no. If it were an entire game that consistently employs dark coloration, it would be one thing. This, however, is one half of a level. A level whose other half employs plenty of bright and saturated colors. A level which, like every other level in this contest, has everything to prove. Should it fall onto the player's responsibility to discard the monitor settings they prefer for all of 5 minutes, and struggle to set it back to the way it was prior? Especially with zero promise that it'll be worth it? No.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Sunset Hour in Summer Alaska

Postby Alice » 1 month ago

Piesonscreations wrote: 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.
Implo wrote: About darkness - the reason that some people have no problem with that and others have huge problem may be also brightness of your monitor. I tested it with minimum brightness and for me the whole screen was just black. Then I tested on my usual settings and I could barely see blocks and enemies. Same goes for screenshots posted here. So maybe that's raocow problem - his brightness setting is too low.
It's not just a matter of brightness. There's other factors to take into consideration as well. For example my monitor is an S-IPS monitor with a tempered glass panel. Colors in general are richer on it but no matter what settings I use, dark things are ridiculously dark. Gamma usually has a far greater impact on dark scenes than brightness. (Though in my case my monitor is a cheap Korean monitor so it doesn't even support hardware gamma settings.) On top of that different monitors don't show the same black levels as well.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby Mandew » 1 month ago

I'm pleasantly surprised. We're barely in the top 100 and we're already getting plenty of fully functional levels, and ambitious ones that have one or two mishaps.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby FPzero » 1 month ago

92nd, Sunny Shoreline, by TheSpeedyJay
47.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 34/60
Creativity: 16/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 55/100

Comments:
This level is pleasant, but it feels very empty. The Layer 3 rise/fall tide is nice when combined with the Jumping Cheep Cheeps like you did, but aside from that, the water level didn't really feel like it had much consequence in the level. There wasn't really any point where the water level mattered to the level's design, so it mostly felt like decoration. There also wasn't any real swimming to be done in the level, so I barely had to interact with the water at all. I would've liked to see you use the water level more to the level's advantage, maybe by making the player swim in it for a period or time, or by adding more fish or water hazards to the mix. Because cheep cheeps aside, the enemies that were on land were just basic koopas and goombas who felt like they were placed just to put enemies down, and not because they were carefully positioned. The level's also quite short, which isn't a bad thing, but when it's also as easy as it was the level ends up being over in a flash. A little more length, a stronger central idea, a better use of layer 3 tides, and this level could've done much better.
Ryaa:
Design: 23/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 39/100

Review: A fairly simple level that's way too short. The shortness of this level really takes a hit out of the design as there is nothing to really remember about it since it goes by so fast. I don't think the general design is necessarily flawed in any way on its own. I do question why the three Yoshi Coins at the end are so close to each other.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 34/60
CREATIVITY| 13/30
AESTHETICS| 8/10
TOTAL | 55/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
volatile tidings

A pretty solid commonplace level. There's some nice gameplay with the tide feature
as you have to deal with enemies in and out of water.

Unfortunately, the tide is the only defining feature. It could definitely use some
variety such as different enemies or a new level structure, and the underwater
section isn't enough. As a result, the level feels underdeveloped.

The design and aesthetic are fine, but this won't stand out well in a contest.
morsel:
25
10
6
41/100
Not too bad, but it might have been a little more ambitious. It was a very short level and SMW's own tide levels probably have more going on. I entered a bonus area, moved a considerable distance, and emerged from the pipe I entered originally. The background looks a bit odd scrolling as it does (the sun need to stay where it is and the other things to either scroll differently or look further away).
91st, Yoshi's Island 1 (Crystal Forest), by Cryses96
47.75/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 26/60
Creativity: 13/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 44/100

Comments:
I don't think the opening search for the springboard added anything to the level. In fact, it definitely hurts the level. The ceilings in the cave are way too low, requiring duck-jumps and prayer to make the jump back to the clouds under the pipe while holding the shell. And then if you make the jump, you have to make sure you catch the springboard and not the shell. Did you know that Big Mario can just completely bypass your key-required pipe? As long as Mario's head is in line with the bottom of a pipe, you can push big mario into a sideways pipe. So I ended up skipping that. There was also no real indication that the midway point was going to be in that pipe during the line guide segment. I saw the path under the pipe and assumed it was a bonus path to take, so I didn't get the midpoint at first. While the level gives off a really cold vibe thanks to the graphics, palette and music, I found the palettes to be too monochromatic to easily distinguish what was solid and what was pass-through. Additionally, the palette on the background in the caves was dark enough that the line guides themselves were obscured, and so I wasn't sure when the path was turning in some cases. Overall it felt unfocused with the springboard hunt at the beginning, then the key hunt, then the line guides with dropping chucks, then the boo cloud.
Ryaa:
Design: 23/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 41/100

Review: I'm not too big of a fan of this level. The aesthetics are pleasant to see but offer more inconveniences to the actual level design which isn't a good sign. One of the biggest examples I can give are how some of the platforms that connect to trees are able to be completely walked on while others have gaps where the trees are. It's pretty inconsistent and a bit annoying to deal at times. I didn't really like how the first mushroom puts you in a bit of a tight spot since you don't see where the boo circle is and the boos that were following you could be right under you which puts you at an immediate risk of losing your powerup. Generally my biggest gripe with this level is the koopa shell section at the beginning. The jump is very tight and doesn't really take into account that the platform under the pipe is a bit too short to make the jump as conveniently as one would hope. Later on after this section, you can easily skip the entire part where you need to bring the key with you if you just keep the springboard you were given a short moment prior.

Generally as the level progressed and I played through the rest, I noticed that I really wasn't having much fun playing. It feels like the goal of this level aimed more towards the aesthetics rather than the actual gameplay itself.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 20/60
CREATIVITY| 16/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 43/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
this time a lighter blue

A spooky forest with quite a few design mishaps. The ideas look good on paper, but
the execution is lacking in several places.

- The shell to trampoline fetch quest in the cave section is surprisingly difficult
despite how normal everything else is in the level.
- You can completely bypass the key by using the trampoline.
- The boo circles require waiting quite a while.
- The rope platforms look like they continue behind the trees they're attached to,
but they're not.
- You can easily miss the midpoint thinking that the area after is bonus content.
- The brown block digging chuck section can be negated by camera scroll
- There is not enough viewable space for some of the chuck hopping
- The boo cloud section is Bad and unexpected, leading to unfair moments since it's
combined with precise platforming.

I do like what it's trying to do with the hidden item puzzles and action segments
like the line guides with digging chucks, and the dragon coins are nicely placed in
the first half. But there's unfortunately a lot of design mistakes I had to mark
this down for.
morsel:
39
18
6
63/100
Parts of this are very awkward. The jump back with a shell is very tight (perhaps you are supposed to use the vine--that would be awkward in a different way). Then you have to throw the shell and not grab it again when it falls back down but grab the springboard instead. The pipe can be entered standing on a springboard rather than a key. The platform ride when you are behind the status bar is a bit iffy. You easily skip the midpoint thinking there is a split path there. I was able to ride the ghost block up to the top of the level and jump over the wall (no, I do not know why I did this either). The boo cloud felt unfair, as boo clouds generally do (there never seems any way of avoiding a boo appearing directly where you land or are forced to stand). The cloud tile in the canopy was a bit odd. Trees hide holes in the rope on the path to the key. Still, the level was full of points of interest (e.g. the way the diggers were used--set up above the platform ride they were very well placed; I also liked the brown block one--it was funny when the chuck did his digging animation and thew rock appeared ten tiles above him.)
90th, Rocky Forest, by Green Jerry
48.25/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 40/60
Creativity: 17/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 63/100

Comments:
This level didn't really push any boundaries but it was a competently made forest level. The layer 3 bushes made for a nice, simple visual addition, as did the cave tiles. There were some Dino-Rhinos in the early parts of the level, but their usage dropped off at the midpoint, instead focusing more on the timed lifts for crossing some gaps. Aside from that though, there wasn't really a central focus of the level as much as just a forest theme. Piranha plants helped in that regard, but they were hardly a central idea.

The level was good, but it wasn't anything outstanding. A nice, filler sort of level that you'd play as a refreshment between other, more focused levels. Levels like this have their place, but their downside is that they usually aren't too memorable.
Ryaa:
Design: 25/60
Creativity: 10/30
Aesthetics: 2/10

Total: 37/100

Review: I'm not really liking this. It feels so random and not well though out with how weird and tight some jumps are. The layer 3 is probably an addition this level could have went without due to how weirdly it moves. The best way to describe how I feel after playing this is that there was a little too much going on throughout the entire level.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 34/60
CREATIVITY| 11/30
AESTHETICS| 8/10
TOTAL | 53/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
forests have many rocks

This feels like a level from SMW itself. The first half is pretty easy and average,
but the second half gets better with some nice platforming with the timed platforms
and turn block bridges. The aesthetics are also pretty good.

The only thing I really question is the area with the four question blocks and turn
block bridge underneath in the first half. You have a piranha plant there so it
looks more challenging to take the path above the question blocks, but if you take
it, there's a blind drop onto the turn block bridge and no reward.

Aside from this one issue, this is a nice looking average level that could have
taken more risks with the design; it's not the most enjoyable level but it's
adequate.
morsel:
25
10
5
40/100
Another level not that far removed from SMW, but SMW would have focussed on sprites more and had less foreground. I thought there was going to be an emphasis on dinos, but they soon stopped appearing in the level; later, there was only that one green dino that talks to you. Perhaps the entry into the exit pipe in the cave was a little tricky compared with the other obstacles in the level. The wobbly bushes were frightening me; I was glad when they went away. It always seems strange to me to see bushes marking the pits; perhaps they are like the 'piece of bright green moss which I had always learned to think would never bear' one reads of in Lord Dunsany.
morsel's score on Crystal Forest was a definite outlier compared to the rest of the judges. In general we found he had a preference for, or at least was less deterred by, harder setups like the one experienced in the beginning cave. It makes sense given his hacking background. That's why it's interesting to have judges with a variety of backgrounds because you get a more representative swathe of judgments.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby Kilgamayan » 1 month ago

FPzero wrote: That's why it's interesting to have judges with a variety of backgrounds because you get a more representative swathe of judgments.
Still hoping for an eventual level design competition where the judge team is made up entirely of people that do not play or design romhacks

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby SAJewers » 1 month ago

vldc 12 ft. guest judge shigeru miyamoto
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby Grounder » 1 month ago

SAJewers wrote: vldc 12 ft. guest judge shigeru miyamoto
"4/10, where are the Toads?"
Why don't you eat me?

I am perfectly tasty...

AND I'LL STEAL YOUR SOUL! :twisted:

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Piesonscreations
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby Piesonscreations » 1 month ago

We had the space episode today.
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Peliptia
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby Peliptia » 1 month ago

ahh 🙝 «altair» 🙐 was amazing〜 i get its thanks to visual charms for a big piece of that♡♡but ahh it does it so so well∗ ͙ ⃰ the level maker managed to craft something that feels so genuinely organic— but not by hiding what the graphics and stuffs were. its one of those instances were a level kinda looks both vanilla and not at the same times* ͙܍ i dont know really how to articulate it better than it just really hit a rhythm with me❤♡

⚞andahhgoshdolphins ⚟
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby Mata Hari » 1 month ago

Altair's palette choices were really very good but the graphics overall were very cluttered and unfocused, which I'm not into myself, and had a negative impact on gameplay. Having lots of ornamentation in muted colours alongside spikes in very similar muted colours is like... well you saw what happened

Teeth of Uranus was also very gorgeous and I actually preferred it aesthetically because very stark, empty space levels that emphasize the sense of isolation really do it for me. But the fact the author just jammed two Dragon Coins at the end makes it look like they ran out of time, which is a shame. From what I saw in the video the positions of the other dagadons looked close to being fair insofar as they generally had some form of indication, but I imagine that if raocow had tried going for them he probably still would've fell into a bunch of pits.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby FPzero » 1 month ago

89th, HOUSE OF HOLES, by Sockbat Replica
48.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 32/60
Creativity: 17/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 53/100

Comments:
There's a nearly level-breaking problem with your level: If you die past the midpoint, the camera loads too high upon re-entry and you cannot see the lowest rows of platforms. This is a HUGE design oversight and tells me you did not carefully test your level. The only reason it isn't actually level breaking is because you can still walk on the platforms if you know where they are, and the second half isn't very long.

I don't understand why there are so many moons laying around when they do literally nothing in a game with infinite lives. I thought that you had a good idea using the bone-throwing Dry Bones in conjunction with the ghost house holes to give the player a projectile to avoid while waiting for the right time to proceed. That was a good interaction. But the use of the ghost house hole doesn't really go much further beyond that, and the level ends up being pretty simple overall. It could have done with some better ambition, maybe a vertical sublevel where you have to use the holes to go downwards, or avoid falling through them while climbing upwards. As it is, it's kind of lacking.
Ryaa:
Design: 29/60
Creativity: 8/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 41/100

Review: I'm not too sure how I feel about this level. It's one of those where I can't really put into words what I experienced while playing. It's not bad but it's not that interesting. The palette is very weird too. Not bad weird though. It sort of reminds me of Shovel Knight in a way with the way the background looks. But considering the level is called "House of Holes", I guess I can say that it pretty much follows that guideline. The thing that really sets the level back for me is that the design is very linear and not in a good way. By my fourth playthrough, I noticed that I wasn't necessarily bored while playing but rather there wasn't much to do in the level.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 30/60
CREATIVITY| 13/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 49/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
number of moons: yes

This level features free moons more than it features moving holes. I don't know why
that's the case; the level loves rewarding the player. The holes and enemy
placements are okay, but it's nothing new nor creative. I suppose the dry bones
are a little bit interesting.

It's too bad that the level suffers a bit from repetitive gameplay; not much
changes as it goes on.

In the end, this is an average level while simultaneously being an average life farm.
morsel:
36
12
3
51/100
The level had fairly standard platforming. The palette was not good. I do not know what the moons meant; perhaps I am not supposed to. The level was short and a little too simple. There was an off screen ceiling at the end. I played it again and thought it was a better level than it first appeared. Many sprites offer more danger when you try to get the dragon coins. Some strange decisions hold the level back.
88th, Altair, by Tweyxx
49.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 35/60
Creativity: 14/30
Aesthetics: 2/10

Total: 51/100

Comments:
This level is overdecorated to a messy extent. There is seriously too much decoration all over the level making the path and its dangers harder to distinguish from one another. Spikes are embedded in walls, Dolphins are used as their sprites and as solid platforms, there are coins all over the place obscuring the empty space that helps determine where Mario can and can't jump, ceilings are hidden by layer priority enabled leaves, line guides are invisible... And on top of all this, the level is very monochromatic on all layers. This makes picking out safety versus danger even harder. Powerups were scarce, especially before the midpoint where the difficulty spiked a little for some reason. I think you used the dolphins well as complements to the flying platforms as far as avoiding spikes goes.

The tall horizontal level room was also pretty ok, but there wasn't much challenge in it...actually come to think of it, I don't think there was a single enemy in that room. And looking in LM to confirm it, yeah. Yeah there just aren't any enemies here. No wonder it felt more than a little barren. A few rotating platforms in there aren't really enough to save the room.

Overall, the biggest complaint here is just that the level is far too visually cluttered for its own good, but it also feels like the level is kind of incomplete by the end with that enemy-less room.
Ryaa:
Design: 25/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 41/100

Review: To start off, I firmly believe that there are waaaay too many things going on in this level in both the level design and aesthetic field. The moment you enter the level, I was a little caught off guard by the heavy amount of tiles I was seeing. The foreground trees really make the level feel very condensed due to how high the spike-filled ground is. Generally there are just so many aesthetics and mixed tiles that it really makes the level lose whatever focus it was aiming to achieve.

As I continued on through the level, I eventually got to the midpoint. What confused me is that a pipe to a completely different section is placed before the midpoint which isn't a very wise design choice with how messy and cluttered this level is. The main problem in this level that's even more clear in the light section variant is that the coin placement is insane. There are coins everywhere and it is a bit distracting in a lot of cases where you need to actually look and see what's going on. Moving back to the light section though, it really feels like these sections don't really connect to the previous section at all outside of the messy level design and music style. Nothing else atmospherically connects these two sections due to the lack of focus on a specific set of level gimmicks or ideas.

Overall it just really feels like this level is really lacking direction. I personally think that this level could have been heavily improved if the amount of dangerous blocks and aesthetic tiles were cut by around 60%. Due to the state this level is in, I can't say I really liked it too much.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 37/60
CREATIVITY| 17/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 61/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
is this smbx?

I have VERY mixed feelings about this level. The bad news is that the graphics
absolutely hinder the design; please don't hide your spikes in dirt! The things
that are hurting you should stand out a lot more, and it's very easy to get
distracted by, well, everything that is everywhere. I kept fearing I was going to
hit the ceiling in the first half with that massive canopy.

However! While I hate how the graphics hinders the design, at the same time I'm in
love with the aesthetic you're going for. The music is amazing, and the second half
is very, very nice. Only the detailing needs to be toned down. A lot.

Plus, the underlying design is actually very good. I love the dolphin setups and
the platforming in the 3-up moon area. The second half I must say is easier than
the first, though the platforming design is still good.

Basically, this level has a lot of good ideas. It's just a shame that the
aesthetics get in the way.
morsel:
25
15
3
43/100
This level kept giving me lives even though I started with infinite lives. I did not want them. There was a bonus area with a moon in it. This was not hard to find; it might have been the way forward. The level layered things on top of or underneath other things. There were spikes in lots of places. Many of these were hard to see and avoid. There was an invisible ceiling at one point under the canopy that brought me into some spikes. Many other ceilings felt low and the dolphins were awkward to jump on or off. An animated piranha opened one side of his mouth before the other. At the end, a million feathers fell from the sky.
87th, Dents d'Ouranus, by Cote de Boeuf
49.25/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 26/60
Creativity: 17/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 48/100

Comments:
I had a lot of trouble with this level and it's surprisingly short, as though you ran out of time and just had to end it there. There's a lot of nearly-full extension jumps required of the player with little time to react to the setups since falling platforms don't stay still long enough for you to observe the parakoopa flight paths. As such, much of this level felt like trial and error, the kind of level you only beat by dying through it a bunch of times, learning each setup and jump by dying to it once. I also found the Yoshi Coins to be completely not worth getting, since the first one had a tendency to trap Mario on the little chunk of land near it and not spawn the parakoopa to get back to safety, and the third one didn't seem possible to survive once you got it. A few coin trails seemed a bit unreliable, and overall this level just felt like it lacked some general polish when I saw a hothead spinning in the air, an easy fix for sure had you done some testing and polish.
Ryaa:
Design: 23/60
Creativity: 8/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 37/100

Review: To start off, I don't like this level design. I feel like if platforming this specific had more happening in it other than overly spaced out jumps, then it would have been much more engaging. The music felt like a very nice edition along with the palette but I didn't have much fun playing the level at all because of how weird the platforming was. There wasn't much going on here that made me feel that good while playing other than the music/graphics.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 36/60
CREATIVITY| 12/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 55/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
level of long leaps

A basic athletic level. It's mostly focused around jumping over gaps and not much
else.

It's pretty short, but it provides some nice difficulty with the enemy hopping near
the end. The dragon coin placements were nice.

Not much else to say other than it's not bad, and that it could have been more
creative and developed.
morsel:
35
13
9
57/100
This is very short and felt unfinished to me. Some of the jumps are a bit awkward (the blind fall; waiting for a rising koopa to come down; the koopa bouncing after the grey platform can be easily mistimed if you move too far forward on the platform; the jump off the springboard if you go down there at the end is quite tight). One of the sparkies refused to join the party. Excellent atmosphere.
Judge opinions of Altair are kind of different than you might expect for a level that looks like it does, but there comes a point where VLDC-style graphical manipulation goes too far, and I think this level shows it. There's just too many unnecessary details obscuring the critical pieces of level design. I understand it's going for a ethereal atmosphere and storytelling, but that peacefulness the music and graphics are trying to evoke don't work when mixed in with so many spikes. I've always felt that spikes are a really cheap way to add difficulty, especially when they are the primary way of dealing damage to a player in a level. Spikes just mean you can't jump or move somewhere. There's little tactical value to them, since it's not like a Koopa where you have to actively dodge their movements or time a jump onto them. Spikes are just there to do damage, and that's about it.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby FPzero » 1 month ago

Separate post if that's allowed to give raocow his next :kood: One More Level :kood: warning! It will still be a few days before then but I want to give it ahead of time. You'll probably be tempted to do all three of the levels that are tied for 80th place in one video but that's big mistake! "Mountan Castle" should absolutely not be played as a One More Level, and will likely be its own long recording. You have been warned. I'll make another reminder the day before you hit the 80th places.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby raocow » 1 month ago

it's fine, I can tell what level it is by virtue of the level's author. Off camera I noticed the author and I was all 'oh he made a level for this huh'
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idol
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby idol » 1 month ago

to be fair, that author also made a vldcx level that was one screen and was just jumping on a glitched wiggler to a goal.

if you played that first, oh you would've been so fucked thinking you were safe with his vldc11.
must b love on tha brain
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby Leet » 1 month ago

are ga deneb altair vega
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 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby konaa » 1 month ago

Oh nice! Seems we've officially entered into the section of the contest I like to call "I don't understand the placement". This will continue till about 10th place.

That said, kudos to the judges for making these hard decisions because coming up with a ranked list of all these levels must have taken a supernaturally critical eye. It's been pointed out before, but these scores from the results show what I'm talking about:
ahgood.PNG
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- One of the tougher lines in picross

Postby BobisOnlyBob » 1 month ago

Leet wrote: are ga deneb altair vega
you say as you point at the Summer Triangle
BOB is an acronym for BOB is Only BOB etc.


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