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Vanilla Level Design Contest X - 1he First place entry...well d0ne to all.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've hit 100th now! Also raocow liked the new level

Postby xfix » 2 months ago

As if "no life farms" rule would be enforceable. What would be here to stop the level author from providing a ridiculous number of 1UPs in a level. Or coins for that matter, if 1UPs would be banned.

Nevermind that such a rule is a bad idea anyway.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've hit 100th now! Also raocow liked the new level

Postby xfix » 2 months ago

100th: Overgrow Chateau by Zyglrox Odyssey + TaviTurnip
Koopster
DESIGN: 29/50
CREATIVITY: 21/30
AESTHETICS: 14/20
TOTAL SCORE: 64/100

The message box at the end of the secret got me good, my mind was completely blown when I discovered Zyglrox made this lol
Alright, so this is a team level and it shows, because the first and second halves are completely different. The first half definitely isn't as hard as you'd expect a Zygl level to be, but instead it's very annoying to navigate - ghosts are way too much in the way, especially during wall-running the hitboxes just go insane. The priority was also a problem in a few places. Though I did enjoy the platforming quite a bit, even though a lot of it felt disjointed - lots of different platform types were used quite randomly. The second half and the secret exit are all about following and spinjumping on eeries and I think they were pretty neat, but they suffer from being a bit too cramped sometimes. Also it took me a while to figure out those last passable spikes, I thought a ghost hole wasn't spawning or something - but it was a quite clever puzzle. Both halves have their own issues and cool things, but I feel the second half overall was a bit stronger than the first.

lolyoshi
DESIGN: 23/50
CREATIVITY: 17/30
AESTHETICS: 14/20
TOTAL SCORE: 54/100

The level feels like it has a mixed identity. It also doesn't play really well.

Noivern
DESIGN: 12/50
CREATIVITY: 12/30
AESTHETICS: 8/20
TOTAL SCORE: 32/100

This level asks too much of the player. Things like the first brown rotating platform and the first timed platform were likely good in playtesting but in practice I died regularly. How am I supposed to grab a 1up mushroom on top of munchers? In the second half the aesthetics are tossed to the wayside. The gameplay is swapped out to a puzzle that doesn't really make any sense. A lot of the blue blocks aren't needed and many of the turn blocks felt like they were placed randomly.

The secret exit was very very poorly hidden and suffered from the same issues as the first outside area, but with a little bit of fake hurt blocks thrown in. You can't show the player that walkthrough "spikes" look slightly different than regular, then stick the player in an area where the "spikes" don't look different at all and expect them to be able to tell the difference.

Sinc-X
DESIGN: 12/50
CREATIVITY: 10/30
AESTHETICS: 12/20
TOTAL SCORE: 34/100

The first half of this is alright. The enemies tend to be placed more just in the way than as actual challenge, and some of the platforming is a bit wonky, but it's not terrible. What is terrible, though, is the second half. The throw/turn blocks make no sense here and add nothing but annoyance to the level. The reset doors feel like an excuse to try and cover up bad design rather than being an integral player, and dragging the Eerie along for that last jump was just a stupid idea and should have been totally scrapped.

Rameau's Nephew
DESIGN: 18/50
CREATIVITY: 17/30
AESTHETICS: 12/20
TOTAL SCORE: 46/100

This level starts out with a Boo placed in just the right place to demonstrate how badly booze and wall-running mix. This is followed by a few slightly awkward jumps and semi-blind jumps, a few wall triangles you're better off not bothering with, and some random elements that don't amount to all that much.

The second part starts off with a not-immediately-obvious block-throwing/Eerie herding challenge, which, though a touch unclear at first, is by no means a terrible concept. After that, though, the level gets a bit weird and directionless; there's hints that more complex challenges were intended, but only an outline ever came into being, and most of the vestigial elements can be safely ignored. The entrance to the secret path is maybe a little -too- obscure, being both in the drainage ditch and signaled by only a slight color difference. The path itself seems to mostly be a more elaborate take on the first challenge in the main basement area, and has similar odd, seemingly incomplete elements later on.

Æsthetically, neither part looks too bad. The first area is a pretty standard tileset mashup, but by no means unpleasing. The basements go for a more abstract take, which doesn't look too shabby in itself (though the shading on the Eerie sign is odd), and there's some glitches with note blocks and the like), but sort of clashes strongly with the first part. Some element to tie them together more might have have helped smoothe things out.

+ Reasonably interesting visuals
+ Takes advantage of some lesser-used elements
- A bit awkward and directionless
- Two sections clash a bit in terms of gameplay and visuals.

Other: I never did figure out what scandalous secrets the Eeries were hiding. The tabloid which hired me is going to frown most mightily.
100th: Forest Level by underway
Koopster
DESIGN: 3/50
CREATIVITY: 25/30
AESTHETICS: 17/20
TOTAL SCORE: 45/100

Kind of a cliche, but it's still cool to find out what happened by putting the small pieces together (though I will say figuring out riddles is not my forte and it still felt vague to me). For a type of level that I feel should focus on exploration, it was really linear and almost had no secrets (and "go through a random block that's unsolid" is a lame secret, I'm glad it was just done once). The theme kind of demands for no gameplay and the level delivers I guess, so there's not much going for it other than the plot and setting, and going through stretchy empty corridors if you're into that... I think a few rooms look too busy and overdecorated and that honestly hindered the experience a bit.

lolyoshi
DESIGN: 1/50
CREATIVITY: 12/30
AESTHETICS: 19/20
TOTAL SCORE: 32/100

[16:38] +vine_st: i can't see this as anything besides
[16:38] +vine_st: mario being gay
[16:38] +vine_st: and looking back at himself as a ghost

Noivern
DESIGN: 0/50
CREATIVITY: 27/30
AESTHETICS: 15/20
TOTAL SCORE: 42/100

This isn't a level. I appreciate what you're trying to do here, it's super creative. But you have the wrong contest.

Sinc-X
DESIGN: 4/50
CREATIVITY: 17/30
AESTHETICS: 17/20
TOTAL SCORE: 38/100

Nice story and æsthetic, but this is a level design contest, not a story and æsthetic contest, and the level itself offers very little. It's barebones and bland, and even though it's supposed to be spooky, kill rooms aren't cool.

Rameau's Nephew
DESIGN: 25/50
CREATIVITY: 28/30
AESTHETICS: 20/20
TOTAL SCORE: 73/100

Ah jeez, this level is -extremely- difficult to rate, as it's just doing something so completely different from pretty much every other level in the contest. On the one hand, there's not really that much gameplay, per se, decidedly by design. On the other hand, I don't think I've ever seen atmospheric horror or abstract story-telling done this well in vanilla SMW before. Is that worth something? Yes, I think it is.

I could make a comment here about how it might have been a good idea to add a gameplay element to the affair, but honestly, I don't think it would have been. Gameplay and horror kind of work at odds with one another, as the enemy of creepiness is familiarity. If you spend to much time fooling about in any environment, concentrating on other things, you get used to it. Its dulls from exposure. So in the interest of maintaining the focus on the atmosphere, this level probably made the right decision in keeping the gameplay to a minimum.

Would I want to see an entire contest of levels like this? No. A full length hack? Also probably not. But as a one-off testing the limits of what's possible in SMW, and just trying to do something -different- from any other level, I'm going to say this was a pretty durn successful experiment. We've come a looooong way since Mario Wakes Up.

+ Great creepy atmosphere
- Not much gameplay

Other: I noticed there's what appears to be a large uterus in the caverns. You might say it's a womb with a view hahahahahoooom.
99th: Chuckmania by RedAstaire (Rockythetigre)
Koopster
DESIGN: 27/50
CREATIVITY: 27/30
AESTHETICS: 9/20
TOTAL SCORE: /100

Hey I just beat your level in 20 seconds by going over the ceiling. Good times. The concept of a snake that chases you is really cool and not something I've seen before, but it's a limited concept when you have a predetermined trail and that shows since after half of it it's very easy to just outrun the snake. The level is also very short. I kind of dig a lot of the obstacles that make you wait around and take a little long (volcano loti and destroying pokeys), but it kind of lost track at a few places. Also I'm pretty sure you can get stuck permanently in several places. I'm not sure what the purpose of the first half is, it has zero connection with the second half and there's no connection between anything within itself either.

lolyoshi
DESIGN: 32/50
CREATIVITY: 18/30
AESTHETICS: 10/20
TOTAL SCORE: 60/100

It's good but it's weird. Also I can softlock somewhere in the second half.

Noivern
DESIGN: 13/50
CREATIVITY: 11/30
AESTHETICS: 7/20
TOTAL SCORE: 31/100

It's a buggy mess. It's incredibly easy to trap yourself after the midpoint, and with no time limit you have to reset. Everything is disjointed and nothing fits together. Some tiles are just one step away from being floating and/or cutoff. And the best part: you can go over the top of the level and skip the whole thing.

Sinc-X
DESIGN: 9/50
CREATIVITY: 12/30
AESTHETICS: 5/20
TOTAL SCORE: 26/100

Not much good to say here. There are a few nice ideas but they're either poorly designed or not fleshed out enough. The fast autoscroll in the first half is total garbage; that part would have been infinitely more enjoyable without the scroll. Using the block snakes as a chase segment is neat in concept but here there is nothing to make it interesting or fun. Throw block blockades are a pointless obstacle, and the few other things scattered throughout really don't pose much of a threat at all. It is also possible, in multiple parts, to get permanently stuck. When you remove the timer, this is an even more serious offense. æsthetically it's like an experiment gone wrong. The palette is disgustingly ugly, and the other minor edits (squaring the mushrooms??) are only detrimental to the experience.

Rameau's Nephew
DESIGN: 25/50
CREATIVITY: 19/30
AESTHETICS: 10/20
TOTAL SCORE: 54/100

There's a certain manic quality to events, so the level's name delivers in certain respects nonetheless. I'm less enamored with the first half, especially once the sup autoscroll starts, though it does have a certain weird, unreal quality to it, and at least gives you some freedom of which path to choice, even if the autoscroll itself severely limits what sort of action you can take. The second half is a little more interesting conceptually with the advancing wall of doom. I wasn't so super keen on the part where you have to hurry past all the Volcano Lotuses, but the part where one actually has to ride the wall to advance, followed by the throw block gates, watery bits and Pokeys was more interesting. Powerup balance is a bit weird in this section; there's none at all in the part with all the projectile spewers (i.e. where you most need them), then more than you could ever hope to eat in the rest of the level. It was sort of neat how they provided advantages and disadvantages speed-wise, though, on the one hand allowing you to tank hits, while on the other hand slowing your progress through the throw block gates.

+ Neat concept in the second half
+ Weird atmosphere made from fairly basic elements
- First half less interesting and underdeveloped
- Second half could use some refining/not rely on projectile spewers in the first part

Other: If the player gets the bright idea to continue the invisible ?-block tower at the beginning, they'll either hurl themselves to their doom if they jump left, or find a way to skip 90% of the level if they go right.
Last edited by xfix on 10 May 2020, 12:06, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've hit 100th now! Also raocow liked the new level

Postby Zygl » 2 months ago

Only like 45 seconds into the video but "my" level was a collab with TaviTurnip. I don't know why it's only being credited to me `~`

e: Thank you Koopster for mentioning it in your comments, thereby confirming I definitely did make that clear when I submitted it. It's been long enough I almost doubted myself :?
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've hit 100th now! Also raocow liked the new level

Postby xfix » 2 months ago

Zygl wrote: Only like 45 seconds into the video but "my" level was a collab with TaviTurnip. I don't know why it's only being credited to me `~`
Fixed in my post above. Not sure why VLDCX results as well as SMWDB only lists you, however. My guess is it's because TaviTurnip is not a member of SMW Central (RenaTurnip however is, but Zyglrox specifically said TaviTurnip), but I don't know really.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've hit 100th now! Also raocow liked the new level

Postby Zygl » 2 months ago

xfix wrote: Fixed in my post above. Not sure why VLDCX results as well as SMWDB only lists you, however. My guess is it's because TaviTurnip is not a member of SMW Central (RenaTurnip however is, but Zyglrox specifically said TaviTurnip), but I don't know really.
Okay but that's... That kind of pedantry only makes sense if they automated some part of this `~` I could see a script being like "ERROR: User "TaviTurnip" not found" but I can't imagine a person organizing this whole thing looking at this situation and going "welp, guess we just won't credit this other person".

e: I know I'm the one that posted the level. Are there any other collabs that are credited correctly? I guess it's possible they just credited whoever posted the level, without actually reading into anything like "hey this was a collab" 🤔
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've hit 100th now! Also raocow liked the new level

Postby Ashan » 2 months ago

This isn't a level. I appreciate what you're trying to do here, it's super creative. But you have the wrong contest.
Nice story and æsthetic, but this is a level design contest, not a story and æsthetic contest
How are narrative, atmosphere, and aesthetics not components of level design?

This is a level design contest, not a satisfactory gameplay contest
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby Daizo » 2 months ago

I do kind of agree that "level design" is a pretty confusing term; to design a "level" requires more than just gameplay. The only reason "gameplay" takes a huge priority is because of JUMP and recent Kaizos basically killing every subcategory of SMW Hack genres besides like, "Nintendo" styled levels. That, and level design is basically universally accepted to be the same as satisfying gameplay thanks to the billion analysis videos on youtube, so you really can't separate the two anymore.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby gbreeze » 2 months ago

Why does every conversation have to mention jump? What does that have to do with anything?

Anyway, I do disagree with the judges that this isn't a "level", cause it is. And it's quite creative. But when we host contests on smwc, it's generally accepted that the "level design" category is a component of mario's interactions with enemies, structures, and the environment in a "platforming, action, or puzzle / video game sense". Atmosphere, story, creativity, and more are all included in the rubric, under "creativity" and "aesthetics". Perhaps the category name "level design" could be more clear, but it's almost universally accepted that judges try to do their best to avoid too much spillover into other categories.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby Daizo » 2 months ago

JUMP was the stepping stone to "focused gameplay", which is why I mentioned it. Yeah JUMP itself isn't 100% made to be that kind of style (that belongs to JUMP 1/2, arguably), but it is what really set the notion to gameplay being priority #1, and also credited as inspiration for the various hacks in that style.

There is a fair bit of irony to it, I know.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby KobaBeach » 2 months ago

Daizo wrote: JUMP was the stepping stone to "focused gameplay", which is why I mentioned it. Yeah JUMP itself isn't 100% made to be that kind of style (that belongs to JUMP 1/2, arguably), but it is what really set the notion to gameplay being priority #1, and also credited as inspiration for the various hacks in that style.

There is a fair bit of irony to it, I know.
gameplay is priority #1 because that's what you do in most platformers. you play it, you jump and run.

i don't know why you're seeing this as some bizarre conspiracy from jump and kaizo to kill off every smw hack with cutscenes or whatever
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby TRS » 2 months ago

If you've participated in, played, or watched any VLDC levels you know what kind of levels to expect from the contest. VLDC expects (action-)platforming and the judging rubric was designed to accommodate that.

Underway's level was so clearly outside of what all of the other participants and judges expected out of the contest that they couldn't feasibly fairly judge the level using the existing rubric.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby Ashan » 2 months ago

"Conform to expectations"
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby Sinc-X » 2 months ago

Ashan wrote: "Conform to expectations"
thats called a "contest", maybe you've heard of it

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've hit 100th now! Also raocow liked the new level

Postby raekuul » 2 months ago

xfix wrote: What would be here to stop the level author from providing a ridiculous number of 1UPs in a level. Or coins for that matter, if 1UPs would be banned.
Were designers docked points if they had a dragon coin on a subscreen boundary? Asking for a friend.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby Daizo » 2 months ago

KobaBeach wrote: i don't know why you're seeing this as some bizarre conspiracy from jump and kaizo to kill off every smw hack with cutscenes or whatever
There is no denying that the only thing people care about these days is gameplay overall thanks to it, and it's not necessarily a bad thing to give it attention because it was a problem before. I just feel that as soon as anything strives away from gameplay, suddenly people have the erge to say "no stop it you fool we don't want your fancy graphics or story novel." The only really new hacks I see that remotely represent what "forest level" is going for is Ganymede and ALPHA SPHERE... that's it. when you have to plug your own work as an example, you know it's a dying art.

Maybe it is a little unfair to pin the blame on JUMP itself I'll admit, but there is a reason why the term "JUMP design" exists as a term along with it being credited as an inspiration in GPWII. The whole goal of JUMP 1/2 was to be only "the good half" of the package, after all.

Yes it should've been obvious that in the end, you're modifying a platformer intended to be a platformer before JUMP came into existance, but there exists another abstract term called a "genre". I am still a firm believer that if you want to represent a different genre in your mario video game, go right ahead and show off. There's other hacks that fit your niche if it doesn't suit one's tastes.

>BUT< For this contest, yes, this isn't the time to submit your 'the predecessor. All I was doing is clearing up the "level design" confusion and why it's so heavily associated with gameplay. In the end, you have to know what your judges want in order to win, and these judges were very strict to gameplay this time around... it's what happens.

I spent far too long on this post, lordy.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've hit 100th now! Also raocow liked the new level

Postby xfix » 2 months ago

raekuul wrote:
xfix wrote: What would be here to stop the level author from providing a ridiculous number of 1UPs in a level. Or coins for that matter, if 1UPs would be banned.
Were designers docked points if they had a dragon coin on a subscreen boundary? Asking for a friend.
I believe Lunar Magic 3 fixes that one, so this hypothetical scenario shouldn't happen anymore.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby gbreeze » 2 months ago

It's been suggested by several people that a creativity contest would be a nice idea to have. The contest would focus on what sort of creative ideas you can create with LM, whether that be compelling and interesting stories, creative atmosphere and aesthetics, or even using ASM to come up with a unique "level" that isn't exactly a level per say (for example, what if you wanted to recreate pong in SMW? Impressive, but does it count as a level? Well, it would here). It would be nice to give those levels a chance to shine. Not that they shouldn't in VLDC, but it's very hard to judge these levels against the rest of the levels, in defense of the judges.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby Ashan » 2 months ago

Sinc-X wrote:
Ashan wrote: "Conform to expectations"
thats called a "contest", maybe you've heard of it
I think I should come at my argument from a different angle cause yeah my last post is getting off into the weeds and isn't really the point I'm wanting to convey.
I also didn't notice until now that the 3 scores are weighted differently, with design being half of the total mark, and the judges gave pretty fair rankings for creativity and aesthetics.

Basically, I've always seen the point of this contest as "take the strict limitations of vanilla, and show off what you can do with them." SMW hacking as a whole has always appealed to me cause it's really interesting to see what people are able to pull off in a fairly limited engine, and it's why I never cared for SMBX stuff, because you can basically do anything and it's way easier because it's a modern, flexible engine. Some of the most interesting pieces of art come from working within self-inflicted limitations, and I think that's what the vanilla contests can highlight. Most people will make fancy setups with unique interactions between things that aren't usually put together, and that's all cool, those are the gameplay-focused entries. But the scoring system/judging methodology doesn't seem to give enough credit to entries like Forest Level that I think is an great instance of ingenuity within the vanilla limitations. It's just showing that ingenuity in "the wrong way" so it scores badly.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby Leet » 2 months ago

"This isn't the time or place to submit a level that isn't going to win" seems like an insane rhetoric since I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people entering do not expect to actually win.

Give it a low score if you didn't like it, sure, but don't suggest they're doing something to be looked down on because they aren't focusing on what's likely to win. Especially in a contest that was advertised as going to be compiled into a game, in which a level that's totally different from most of the others would be well-appreciated in a long game.

But of course, we only have to think back to when the maglx level that was explicitly presented as "here's a nice place to relax in between the other entries" got people EXTREMELY MAD for existing, or for a judge daring to say it was their favorite.

"Not a level", "not a game", "not art". And the cycle of conservative game design thought goes on.
Well it is a decent hack but sometime its just too repetitif there no level that actually pop in your face and your like oh yeah that level they all ressemble themselves and just monster along the way.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby Daizo » 2 months ago

Leet wrote: "This isn't the time or place to submit a level that isn't going to win" seems like an insane rhetoric since I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people entering do not expect to actually win.
Good point, plus the fact people wanted to be a part of what was to be known as the "biggest collab" so these levels do make sense in that context. It's just you can't fault a judge for judging.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby SAJewers » 2 months ago

gbreeze wrote: It's been suggested by several people that a creativity contest would be a nice idea to have. The contest would focus on what sort of creative ideas you can create with LM, whether that be compelling and interesting stories, creative atmosphere and aesthetics, or even using ASM to come up with a unique "level" that isn't exactly a level per say (for example, what if you wanted to recreate pong in SMW? Impressive, but does it count as a level? Well, it would here). It would be nice to give those levels a chance to shine. Not that they shouldn't in VLDC, but it's very hard to judge these levels against the rest of the levels, in defense of the judges.
This is why I expect my MaGLX3 level to not score very high.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby Reecer7 » 2 months ago

i think it's fair that the contest has a (albeit unspoken) bias towards the gameplay aspect of level designs, because that's the main reason a lot of people are interested in romhacks,

but i'm just saying, if someone wants to start up a smw demoscene, that'd be cool too, i'd like to look at that
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby xfix » 2 months ago

98th: ninjaboy.xls by tomato jonson
Koopster
The one left for last
DESIGN: 24/50
CREATIVITY: 9/30
AESTHETICS: 10/20
TOTAL SCORE: 43/100

Really difficult and unforgiving level. It is doable and quite fun to learn, but that doesn't excuse the lack of midpoints or more powerups. A lot of obstacles discriminate big Mario, I don't even think it's possible to get to the second room big. The boss is just there to be nerve-wrecking despite not being too hard and I really don't like that.

lolyoshi
DESIGN: 28/50
CREATIVITY: 14/30
AESTHETICS: 10/20
TOTAL SCORE: 52/100

I feel a little conflicted. I was determined enough to beat the level (and get some satisfaction),
but some of the obstacles were totally a little too demanding and precise (and the boss was flaccid honestly).
Overall, it was shallow at what it was trying to do.

Noivern
DESIGN: 40/50
CREATIVITY: 24/30
AESTHETICS: 9/20
TOTAL SCORE: 73/100

Aside from a few gotchas in the very beginning, this is actually really well designed. Very nice variety of setups with the saws that require some good thinking.

That said, due to the extreme difficulty, I cannot recommend including this level in the collab.

Sinc-X
DESIGN: 0/50
CREATIVITY: 8/30
AESTHETICS: 8/20
TOTAL SCORE: 16/100

Did I miss something? When did this become KLDC? I was tempted to just give this a 0 and not even play the level. But I suffered through it, and it was completely not worth it. It's still tempting to give this a 0. However, you get brownie points for doing.. a few mildly cool things with the saws that could have been executed well had you put any thought into the contest you were submitting to. Nothing more than that, though. This is an absolute heap of trash.

Rameau's Nephew
DESIGN: 24/50
CREATIVITY: 20/30
AESTHETICS: 7/20
TOTAL SCORE: 51/100

As torture machines go, it must be said that this one is rather meticulously designed. However, it demands no less of a mechanical precision from the player in order to even begin to overcome its challenges. Now, let it be noted--the elements here are by no means randomly strewn about, quite the opposite, there is a fiendish deliberateness about these setups, as though the level posed the question, "How many evil things can you do with saws without repeating yourself?" and provided the answer "Quite a lot, actually."

To speak of powerup balance here is to address a matter completely alien to this level's Weltanschauung. Nevertheless, the level provides but one mushroom (pre-boss) and essentially sets things up to assure you'll lose it immediately (though later setups would be impossible to pass through while big, anyway). One who seeks a midpoint will seek in vain. Occasionally the level will veer back in to the realm of merely normal hard in order to lull the player in to a false sense of security, but such reprieves are but temporary, and the return to madness is swift. The end result is a level which only the staunchest masochists could derive enjoyment from.

The boss is a curious thing indeed. At a glance, it may appear to be surprisingly simple considering what has come before, but such appearances are deceiving. Or rather, the concept is indeed quite simple, but proves in practice to be rather more difficult that it looks as though it ought to be. There is, I must admit, something to be said for that sort of elegance, even if it works only to one's undoing.

+ A painstakingly designed torture device.
- A painstakingly designed torture device.

Other: Who put all these pipes in the sky, anyway?

Implo
Posts: 209
Joined: 2 years ago

Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - We've passed 100th! Prelude to 'the!

Postby Implo » 2 months ago

Tomato Jonson strikes again! This level wasn't very fun. Some saws placement is creative, but it's just one death trap after another. It's annoying level. I remembered this level wrong. I thought it has 4 sections + boss, but actually it has 2 sections + boss. Also no midpoint. No idea what judges saw in that level to score it higher than many previous levels.

Is it less fun than Mountan Castle? Not for me. Mountan Castle was super long, more precise level with lots of really bad design decisions. It was really huge trainwreck for me, which forced me to use savestates, rewinds and slow down. And even then I couldn't beat it on my first playthrough. On the other hand Ninjaboy.xls is shorter and less precise, so I could finish it with just savestates.

As for first double saw - I believe with enough momentum you can jump over it. But it's very hard.

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Daizo
Posts: 92
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: The Underworld

Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest X - OK still looking at 100th! To level or not to level...

Postby Daizo » 2 months ago

Yep there's that sweet level design we were craving

e: yeah, after watching that whole thing, it's like a Kaizo: Light except done using very annoying, not easy to read mechanics. I'd say this would place high in a KLDC, but considering how strict those Kaizo streamers like their games, a lot of that strict platforming does not give you a satisfying flow to it (especially with some of those seemingly-forced hit areas). The level isn't 100% garbage, the ideas are salvageable and if you look at every obstacle individually it is creative, but the fact that you have to go through all those really hard setups in one run really doesn't make this "fun" to go through.
My YouTube channel - P-Switch... - 100 Rooms of Enemies: The Nightmare Edition
Links above if you want to check 'em out... or not, since these are overlooked.


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