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VLDC9 - vanilla level design contest 9

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Mata Hari
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Re: VLDC9 - vexatious loot devotional cliffs 9

Postby Mata Hari » 2 years ago

This level is a lot like myself: cute but flawed

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Re: VLDC9 - vernal landmarks dyed cerulean 9

Postby raocow » 2 years ago

lolyoshi wrote:
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The pale black door

on the left (which isn't a palette error)

is where the last dragon coin is.
ugh, really?

the level was so nice I didn't expect actual deception.
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Stink Terios
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Re: VLDC9 - vexatious loot devotional cliffs 9

Postby Stink Terios » 2 years ago

So, fuck this level.

I just assumed that door was a pallette error and didn't think much of it.
Why isn't the moon there instead?

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Re: VLDC9 - vexatious loot devotional cliffs 9

Postby BobisOnlyBob » 2 years ago

One thing I need to know - were entrants aware of the Dragon Coin Counter and that it would be prominently displayed when the contest began? I think that the moon and the fifth dragon coin are unfortunately misplaced with regard to one another, but I find it hard to count that as a severe strike against the level when the level itself is otherwise a good, short and sweet experience. I've seen worse Dragon Coin placements but none quite that odd.
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Re: VLDC9 - vexatious loot devotional cliffs 9

Postby S.N.N. » 2 years ago

This level and one other are why Dragon Coins are not required to unlock the post game.

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FrozenQuills
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Re: VLDC9 - vexatious loot devotional cliffs 9

Postby FrozenQuills » 2 years ago

BobisOnlyBob wrote:One thing I need to know - were entrants aware of the Dragon Coin Counter and that it would be prominently displayed when the contest began? I think that the moon and the fifth dragon coin are unfortunately misplaced with regard to one another, but I find it hard to count that as a severe strike against the level when the level itself is otherwise a good, short and sweet experience. I've seen worse Dragon Coin placements but none quite that odd.
They were prominently shown in VLDC8, so it was assumed that dragon coin counters will be the same in VLDC9.
Interestingly, I think most of the judges did take dragon coin placement into their judging. They didn't really strike the level that badly for the one coin that's too well hidden, though; it's mostly raocow's perspective that kind of made it look like it ruined the level.

36th: ANGEL CLIFFS by Prizm
Nimono
DESIGN: 25/30
CREATIVITY: 16/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 51/60
Loved the garden-in-the-sky feel this level had! Especially liked the Kirby-style doors to go into bonus side areas for extra challenges. Great work!

ninja boy
DESIGN: 18/30
CREATIVITY: 12/20
AESTHETICS: 8/10
TOTAL: 38/60
This was a nice rompy level which reminds me a lot of Kirby but different enough to give it it's own personality. I liked the P-switch door placements since you could tell around where they should be following the exit door locations but I only found 4 doors which had dragon coins and not the 5th plus I couldn't even find it in LM.

Eternity
DESIGN: 19/30
CREATIVITY: 14/20
AESTHETICS: 7/10
TOTAL: 40/60
Another simple but good level. Not much to say, the level doesn't introduce anything new but it has some nice obstacles and the mini Dragon Coin sublevels are pretty interesting (even though some might be a bit too hard for a single Dragon Coin).

Koopster
DESIGN: 14/30
CREATIVITY: 12/20
AESTHETICS: 9/10
TOTAL: 35/60
This level felt really pleasant~ I like the bonus room spread throughout the level, but I realised that if you take them out, the level is not that interesting. It has a rather large selection of gimmicks that don't get developed upon well in my opinion. The very short length doesn't help too much. I also think the final bonus rooms escalate way too much in difficulty! Also, I never could find the dragon coin that's hidden in the slightly gray door. Rather mean-spirited of a hiding spot for those who don't pay extreme attention, yo!
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Re: VLDC9 - vexatious loot devotional cliffs 9

Postby ft029 » 2 years ago

S.N.N. wrote:This level and one other are why Dragon Coins are not required to unlock the post game.
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Re: VLDC9 - vexatious loot devotional cliffs 9

Postby TRS » 2 years ago

I agree with moving the moon to the grey door, but not swapping the two entirely. Honestly, if you think the lighter color exit door is deceptive, requiring the p-switch to be used two different ways for two different dragon coins is not that much less so.

I'd be okay with swapping the two if it was changed to not require the p-switch. Otherwise it be better if the coin was just placed somewhere new.

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Nimono
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Re: VLDC9 - vexatious loot devotional cliffs 9

Postby Nimono » 2 years ago

FrozenQuills wrote:Interestingly, I think most of the judges did take dragon coin placement into their judging. They didn't really strike the level that badly for the one coin that's too well hidden, though; it's mostly raocow's perspective that kind of made it look like it ruined the level.
I personally never took Yoshi Coin placement into account, since I see them as a bonus thing to go for, not a required part of level design, but maybe I should start judging it...

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Re: VLDC9 - vexatious loot devotional cliffs 9

Postby Dragon Fogel » 2 years ago

I feel like there's an issue in general with these contests where it's not made clear enough what people should be judging on (and also made clear to the entrants so they can design around it).

Judges shouldn't be questioning after the fact whether they should have taken dragon coins into consideration. It should have been stated in the entry rules that this was something that should be done, and judges should have been reminded of it by the main organizer. The same applies to a lot of other things that have come up before; I know there was some arguing in MAGL 3 about things that were never made explicit.

Obviously things can't be re-judged here, but this really is something that could use some more thought in the future.
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Re: VLDC9 - vexatious loot devotional cliffs 9

Postby Lockirby2 » 2 years ago

Out of all the Dragon Coins in the game, I think this one took me the second longest to find. That being said, I'm not sure if the one that took longer was my fault or the level's...

Yeah, I'm not going to knock the level too hard for the difficult Dragon Coin. If even one of the judges wasn't sure whether to grade with the Dragon Coins in mind, the rubric wasn't clear enough going in. If I consider the Dragon Coins as an optional sidequest, it barely impacts the level at all as far as my personal judgement is concerned.
TRS wrote:I agree with moving the moon to the grey door, but not swapping the two entirely. Honestly, if you think the lighter color exit door is deceptive, requiring the p-switch to be used two different ways for two different dragon coins is not that much less so.

I'd be okay with swapping the two if it was changed to not require the p-switch. Otherwise it be better if the coin was just placed somewhere new.
I don't think it's that brutal. Unlike the grey door, it's obvious where the entrance is, so you can focus your search on a very small area. There are also at least two other ways to get in there. Someguy712x found a cape in the level, which you can use to glide to the doorway, and I managed to do a precise spin jump on the Koopa to get in.

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Mata Hari
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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby Mata Hari » 2 years ago

Today's levels filled me with a quite powerful sense of contentment, which baffles me

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FrozenQuills
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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby FrozenQuills » 2 years ago

So yeah, Midnight Arbor has quite a bit of history. It's my first SMW level after like 8 years or something and it used to be a lot different, and originally divided into 3 parts (a split path rompy area, the running section, and the midnight neon section) instead of having a secret exit. I eventually got rid of the rompy split path and replaced it with really neat gimmicks since people thought it was too confusing. I also revamped the aesthetics several times to make the level look neater.

I didn't really expect to get a high placement with this but seeing some other LPers (lolyoshi, DarkMatt) actually wanting this to rank higher is really inspiring.

Anyway, thanks for the play raocow. I'm really happy you managed to find the bonus room at the end that most people missed as well.

and yes this got the same score from ninja boy as Short Cave but I got top 30 anyway so it's all good.

Also to add, I like Grinder Gauntlet even if it felt typical. IMO it should've been higher than 69th since it's kinda fun with its grinder setups and it didn't really do anything wrong.
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Kles
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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby Kles » 2 years ago

Midnight Arbor did a lot of really good things really subtly and it makes me sad that Nimono and NinjaBoy gave it such a low design score.

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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby cozyduck » 2 years ago

I also felt the need to login and comment on how well designed midnight arbor was. Wonderful level in every aspect.

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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby Kles » 2 years ago

FrozenQuills wrote: Also to add, I like Grinder Gauntlet even if it felt typical. IMO it should've been higher than 69th since it's kinda fun with its grinder setups and it didn't really do anything wrong.
The quality of design has elevated to the point where "kinda fun" and "not doing anything wrong" doesn't generally get you any higher than the lower end of the middle end of the pack these days. Which is a good thing!

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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby S.N.N. » 2 years ago

I recall FrozenQuills' level being my favorite in the forest world from a design standpoint, but I had a difficult time with the secret exit. Had some issues getting the timing on the button prompts down, but otherwise it was a great experience overall

(Music side note: I did the map tracks for the forest and the best ranked world. I'm super disappointed with how the forest map track turned out - I wanted to go for an 11/4 time signature, but it came out a bit less forest-y than I would have liked, and honestly a bit weird-sounding overall. On the other hand, I'm really proud of my best map composition, whenever we get there!)

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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby Eminus » 2 years ago

FrozenQuills wrote:I didn't really expect to get a high placement with this but seeing some other LPers (lolyoshi, DarkMatt) actually wanting this to rank higher is really inspiring.
I played your level before the judging and I seriously expected it to rank way higher! That level design was pure genius and truly impressive coming from someone who stopped making levels for an eternity.

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Nimono
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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby Nimono » 2 years ago

Kles wrote:Midnight Arbor did a lot of really good things really subtly and it makes me sad that Nimono and NinjaBoy gave it such a low design score.
I felt that the second half of the normal exit brought the level down with how easy it was to get hit and stuff. It didn't feel as well-designed to me as the first half and the secret exit path, which I REALLY LOVED! It made me sad :c

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Giik
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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby Giik » 2 years ago

Whoa, midnight arbor is fantastic. What's the music from?
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lolyoshi
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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby lolyoshi » 2 years ago

Giik wrote:Whoa, midnight arbor is fantastic. What's the music from?
Last Bible 3 - Underworld Forest

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Giant Ninji
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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby Giant Ninji » 2 years ago

Man, Midnight Arbor went through a ton of iterations. Remarkable how fun it is in the final version. The first version was, honestly, bad, so glad changes happened.

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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby FrozenQuills » 2 years ago

Giant Ninji wrote:Man, Midnight Arbor went through a ton of iterations. Remarkable how fun it is in the final version. The first version was, honestly, bad, so glad changes happened.
Yeah I have to thank you for the initial criticisms for the level, since that helped me realize what works and what doesn't work in SMW as opposed to SMBX. (I made several SMBX levels before entering VLDC9, including winning the boss contest as raocow said in the video)
And thanks everyone else for the feedback as well.

24th: MIDNIGHT ARBOR by FrozenQuills
Nimono
DESIGN: 15/30
CREATIVITY: 16/20
AESTHETICS: 8/10
TOTAL: 39/60
Level looked good and played well in first half, but discoloration and excessive difficulty for jumps in second half. A+ on the secret exit route, great usage of the triangles!

ninja boy
DESIGN: 18/30
CREATIVITY: 10/20
AESTHETICS: 7/10
TOTAL: 35/60
The aesthetics of this level are interesting and pleasant to look at and the mechanics are thought out and well designed. The secret exit with the fast pace running was a nice addition and the colors in the second half made this level for me. I do feel however the level quality in the latter half declined a bit and focused a little too much on the layer 2 smash rather than the athletic nature of the first half.

Eternity
DESIGN: 25/30
CREATIVITY: 15/20
AESTHETICS: 8/10
TOTAL: 48/60
Great job with this. The level was fairly basic at the start, but as it progressed there were quite a few neat additions, such as the layer 2 at the end, which was used nicely and actually added a lot to the design. The area leading to the secret exit was really well designed too.

Koopster
DESIGN: 28/30
CREATIVITY: 18/20
AESTHETICS: 9/10
TOTAL: 55/60
This was super nice! I like how you take a lot of neat gimmicks and mix them all together. I felt a little misleaded on the button pressing guidance in the secret exit room, such as in the first "B" but gladly the punishment is not death most of the time. Good 1-up checkpoint usage, also.


69th: GRINDER GAUNTLET by Pedro156
Nimono
DESIGN: 20/30
CREATIVITY: 8/20
AESTHETICS: 5/10
TOTAL: 33/60
Bog-standard forest level. Quite fun, not too difficult, it's nice. However, it's not really that special, either. Just an average (but good!) forest level.

ninja boy
DESIGN: 13/30
CREATIVITY: 9/20
AESTHETICS: 6/10
TOTAL: 28/60
A nice level with a nice feel to it, it didn't do anything out of the ordinary but it was well balanced and fun to play.

Eternity
DESIGN: 16/30
CREATIVITY: 14/20
AESTHETICS: 8/10
TOTAL: 38/60
Rather liked this one, the design is solid and aesthetically it's pretty nice too. The grinders were used nicely through the level but otherwise it wasn't nothing special, really. Not a huge fan of the whole "getting P-Switch, backtracking a bit, pressing the P-Switch" thing but it isn't that bad here as the backtracking section is fairly short.

OTHER: The first message block was really helpful. In fact, I had to replay every single level after going through this one - I was going through all of them without jumping, which made most of them really unfair (the other ones were epic nothing v2 aka best world levels). Thanks a lot.

the second one was unnecessary tho (srsly) ;)

Koopster
DESIGN: 18/30
CREATIVITY: 11/20
AESTHETICS: 9/10
TOTAL: 38/60
thnx for tellng m howto JUMP!!!!!!!!!! i wouldh have nver encorped the MYSTERIES of judging the vldc. This is a very simple level in design. It's pretty fun to play, but it doesn't really strike as anything but "a level". I think you meant to make that last part a P-switch run, but because of the way SMW works, I could just grab it and bring it to the pipe :<
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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby Nimono » 2 years ago

By the way, sorry for all the short comments each level gets from me- I streamed my judging live, so in the interests of time, I pretty much put down my basic thoughts, and on top of that, we were given excel files. I really didn't like making the comments super huge in the file as it was (made them nigh-unreadable at times), so I just kept it short.

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Re: VLDC9 - violet lumber dark conservatories 9

Postby Zephyr_DragonLord » 2 years ago

Seems like I didn't beat out the Quills post again. I guess my commentary is post-mortem.

Angel Cliffs looked really good, but then there was that Dragon Coin that was hid very sneakily... Still good to run through normally, though.

Midnight Arbor did not have that problem, and looked even nicer, which is a hard feat... You made some very fun setups, FrozenQuills. That message block is placed perfectly, and is a great reward for exploration. The grass setups are incredibly good, and the Dino-Rhino use is spot on. All in all, a fantastic level, and one that I would feel great playing.

Grinder Gauntlet was a fairly nice level, too. Not terribly much to it besides a ton of grinders, but that's just fine... Maybe there was a difficult point or two that might not have needed to be there, but other than that, this level doesn't do much terribly wrong.
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