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VLDC9 - vanilla level design contest 9

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Re: VLDC9 - vitreous locomotives diffracted cosmos 9

Postby Grounder » 2 years ago

I think the semicircle is that weird style of hill with eyes that the Mario series has.
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Re: VLDC9 - vitreous locomotives diffracted cosmos 9

Postby Zephyr_DragonLord » 2 years ago

zagesaw wrote:Maybe i was being harsh with Stellar Garden. By bland I mean more blandish than I would expect for a Top 10 placement, especially since I feel that other levels deserved it far more. It should still get Top 20-30 because it is a good level but it's mostly due to the aesthetics being really strong. I also think the winning contest level should be Top 20-30 too instead of well..the winner.

I really didn't like playing Stadium of Plants, and I don't like how the cape is an invisible block for the secret exit. I strongly disagree with having to find an invisible block be mandatory to get the secret exit. Maybe put coin guides to indicate where it is or something. I've seen others completely miss the cape and tried to do a running jump to reach the ledge to reach the secret exit, because it is still possible but really difficult to pull off.
The level also was really busy in certain parts and the first half was kinda boring. I stand by with placing it in the 60s. It was the only level in the best world that I didn't enjoy playing.
That's a fair critique of Stellar Garden... it is a tad bland of a level, especially before the midpoint. I wouldn't put it below top 20, though. The level does a ton of things right. We'll see how the winner is.

I disagree about the Stadium of Plants, though. Please tell me wholesomely that this level is worse than Sky at the Weird, or just slightly better than Triangle Land. I would understand Top 20-30 for this level under different judging, and wouldn't mind at all. Also, do remember that some Mario levels (even the original Bowser's Castle, much to my dismay) pull the invisible block thing. At the very least, it was a suspicious area, and there are not many places to look. I personally feel the midpoint room is the weakest part of the level, though. And secret exits are supposed to be somewhat secret, keep in mind...
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Re: VLDC9 - vitreous locomotives diffracted cosmos 9

Postby Divemissile » 2 years ago

after seeing all these mixed opinions on PLANT STADIUM, i decided to play it myself. i wasn't particularly impressed, honestly

the first half was pretty neat. it had cool setups, with a central theme of thinking about your actions rather than rushing in. that aspect did get a bit frustrating after playing it a lot (i'm crap at smw ok). after the easy to ignore midpoint the level goes all SKY AT THE WEIRD on us and has really odd graphic choices. the oddest imo is the hidden blocks, which look pretty ugly being a random turn block frame. i still like how open the level is, i think it's pretty fun. after that there's the famous boring autoscroll, which i definitely agree could be a lot more interesting. me being bad at smw only died once, compared to me dying several times in the two parts before then. it does some great things with the aesthetics but it's very dull, a huge let down compared to the rest of the level. overall, i think this level would be better fit somewhere between 40's-20's, though that's from a playthrough where i didn't bother with the secret exit or dragon coins

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Re: VLDC9 - vitreous locomotives diffracted cosmos 9

Postby Mata Hari » 2 years ago

This level is pretty weird insofar as the crowd background is pretty neat and clearly had a lot of thought put into it but the gameplay is mediocre and the foreground has some weird sloppiness going on, like the half-spun 'invisible' blocks are ugly and confusing and that midpoint is just busted up, one of the poles was missing and then they forgot to overlay that one map16 tile so the middle third of the pole that IS there just disappears. There's a lack of polish is what I'm saying.

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Re: VLDC9 - vitreous locomotives diffracted cosmos 9

Postby FrozenQuills » 2 years ago

Looks like comments for yesterday's levels weren't posted yet, so I'll post all of them today.

10th: STELLAR GARDEN by Dr. Tapeworm
Nimono
DESIGN: 30/30
CREATIVITY: 20/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 60/60
This level is absolutely amazing. The aesthetics, the gameplay, everything about it is just so well-done! Great job!

ninja boy
DESIGN: 22/30
CREATIVITY: 20/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 52/60
This was a great level looked really good played well and had a good difficulty too it. I do question some of the graphics on where they came from but all in all a super fun level to play.

Eternity
DESIGN: 25/30
CREATIVITY: 17/20
AESTHETICS: 9/10
TOTAL: 51/60
You should have used the red stars gimmick a bit more, because it worked nicely with both the level theme and the spriteset you're used here, in my opinion. Great level anyway, aesthetically it's super neat (the enemy GFX replacements are very creative) and it's pretty fun to play too.

Koopster
DESIGN: 18/30
CREATIVITY: 13/20
AESTHETICS: 8/10
TOTAL: 39/60
Petty nice and upbeat stage there. I like the sprite replacements you made and the deco, even though the latter could be a bit more well spread imo. The level itself is pretty basic. You introducted the red stars in the second half which is cool, but I think you could've done more with them than you did!

9th: ICE CUTTING SITE by worldpeace
Nimono
DESIGN: 30/30
CREATIVITY: 20/20
AESTHETICS: 9/10
TOTAL: 59/60
Oh man, great gimmick! Couldn't figure out the midpoint Yoshi Coin's puzzle, but oh well. The puzzle at the end for the Moon was nice, though maybe a little too easy...

ninja boy
DESIGN: 18/30
CREATIVITY: 17/20
AESTHETICS: 8/10
TOTAL: 43/60
This was a great level with a great concept of watching a mirror to figure out where it was safe to go. I also like the bonus areas and the challenges they provided.

Eternity
DESIGN: 24/30
CREATIVITY: 16/20
AESTHETICS: 6/10
TOTAL: 46/60
A pretty great challenge-type level. It starts out slow, but it gets really interestng near the end, specially with the ice block mirror gimmick, which was implemented nicely. The small puzzle to get the moon at the end was a really nice touch as well.

Koopster
DESIGN: 29/30
CREATIVITY: 18/20
AESTHETICS: 9/10
TOTAL: 56/60
This is a really interesting gimmick! Not as useful when it shows what's higher up, but in the drops, it worked really nicely. The level is otherwise designed in a very clever manner, with well timed obstacles and creative ducking action. It's too bad that not being big kind of breaks the level a bit, but regardless; really neat level!

6th: STADIUM OF PLANTS by Aquamentus
Nimono
DESIGN: 26/30
CREATIVITY: 20/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 56/60
Nice job making this look like a stadium! However, reaching the secret exit path is a bit tough...

ninja boy
DESIGN: 23/30
CREATIVITY: 20/20
AESTHETICS: 10/10
TOTAL: 53/60
At first I didn't get the name of the level but once I realized that the background was made of plants it all made sense.

Eternity
DESIGN: 18/30
CREATIVITY: 17/20
AESTHETICS: 8/10
TOTAL: 43/60
Some of the sprite GFX replacements don't work as well as the others (the Bony Beetle is a good exampe, it took me a while to recognize it actually), but other than that this is very creative! I'm slightly disappointed it didn't do more with the theme design-wise, though.

Koopster
DESIGN: 26/30
CREATIVITY: 19/20
AESTHETICS: 9/10
TOTAL: 54/60
At first I was like, what, why is there an auditory behind a platforming area? Then I imagined Mario as an artist performing various acrobatic movements throughout an area designed for such purpose, where monsters play along, creating difficulty and intrigue. Oh man what a good level. The concept is really inovative and the way you managed to make it a thing with vanilla graphics just stuns me. The level is very fun to play as well. Kind of keeps you in your toes sometimes (could have one or two more powerups!), but in the end beating it is a very satisfying task to have accomplished. Pretty tricky secret exit!
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Re: VLDC9 - vitreous locomotives diffracted cosmos 9

Postby morsel/morceau » 2 years ago

I also don't like this level. I don't even think it looks good. The background is quite cool, but no other aspect of the level suggests 'stadium'. Part of the time you're in a crazy fun-house and then you emerge on grass high above everything, so that the stadium looks more like a field (or a cabbage patch). Tracks, sand, water, hurdles, shot-putting, pole-vaulting --all the obvious stadium things you could do in smw -- are non-existent. And why does it at some arbitrary point start turning all the enemies into plants? Why not do this from the start? Why is pokey sometimes pokey and othertimes a plant riding on two shells? The level's theme devolves to a background you can't see half the time. You can compare the level to Inside Intestines from the seventh contest, which has similar design concepts but does really well with them.
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Re: VLDC9 - vitreous locomotives diffracted cosmos 9

Postby Kowkarot » 2 years ago

Zephyr_DragonLord wrote:I disagree about the Stadium of Plants, though. Please tell me wholesomely that this level is worse than Sky at the Weird, or just slightly better than Triangle Land. I would understand Top 20-30 for this level under different judging, and wouldn't mind at all. Also, do remember that some Mario levels (even the original Bowser's Castle, much to my dismay) pull the invisible block thing. At the very least, it was a suspicious area, and there are not many places to look. I personally feel the midpoint room is the weakest part of the level, though. And secret exits are supposed to be somewhat secret, keep in mind...
I don't know, I think Triangle Dimension is a really neat level, definitely better than Stadium of Plants. And Sky at the Weird is my least favorite level, but you know, it at least tried to do some cool things, it failed yes, but it had potential, specially the first section. Stadium of Plants did absolutely nothing. There was nothing that made me think "Hey that's kind of cool, I wish they would've done more of that", nothing. It's a really, really average level with a neat background.

I also think the palette looks awful, it looks dull and depressing, but eh, that's an even more subjective thing than everything else I said.

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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby S.N.N. » 2 years ago

I'm not a fan of the level either. It's fine for what it sets out to do I guess, but it's one of two levels that I don't feel belong in the best world (the other being the winner, which others have already pointed out). I think the autoscroll really kills any momentum the level has, and compared to other levels that did it better (i.e. Triangle Dimension), this one feels a bit too slow and dull.

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Re: VLDC9 - vitreous locomotives diffracted cosmos 9

Postby Zephyr_DragonLord » 2 years ago

I find it really interesting just how different our opinions regarding this level are. I want to hear the opinions of the judges, too...
Kowkarot wrote: I don't know, I think Triangle Dimension is a really neat level, definitely better than Stadium of Plants. And Sky at the Weird is my least favorite level, but you know, it at least tried to do some cool things, it failed yes, but it had potential, specially the first section. Stadium of Plants did absolutely nothing. There was nothing that made me think "Hey that's kind of cool, I wish they would've done more of that", nothing. It's a really, really average level with a neat background.

I also think the palette looks awful, it looks dull and depressing, but eh, that's an even more subjective thing than everything else I said.
Yeah, Triangle Dimension is actually pretty neat... though too bad it didn't have terribly much content for the normal exit. I can see that getting better with some polishing. It does have a far more exciting autoscroll section than Stadium of Plants...
Sky of the Weird is simply a tragic level. It could have been so much more. It might have even been here, were it better balanced. But we have bullet generators, an unclear autoscroll, and a Lakitu that's hard to hit while climbing on vines. It could have been great, but was marred by terrible decisions.

...I think Stadium of Plants is receiving this much negative attention because it's in Best World, so we're all looking for all of its flaws... which just happened to be adhering to the book for level design, with a few changes for good measure. There is a real neat setup with the Baseball Chuck next to the second Dragon Coin, but every other setup is either merely good or average. And the autoscroll wasn't actually bad... just merely unexciting (gameplay wise) for parts of it (particularly the secret one). Though I do have to ask... where are the footballs? We are interested in this answer... I think it's a good level with a great background and theme, but I'm just a sucker for well-presented concepts.

(I wonder what Aquamentis will feel if he finds this page of posts...)
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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby Pyro » 2 years ago

Stadium of Plants is honestly a level I'm completely baffled as to how it ranked so high. Nothing is really good in it at all. The plant gimmick doesn't even come in after the midpoint and it's purely visual. There's also just random uses of 1f0 that are completely pointless because pokies just fall right off them? It's a pretty bad and boring level. I legit would like to know why it ranked so high, the comments barely say anything.
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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby Nimono » 2 years ago

Pyro wrote:Stadium of Plants is honestly a level I'm completely baffled as to how it ranked so high. Nothing is really good in it at all. The plant gimmick doesn't even come in after the midpoint and it's purely visual. There's also just random uses of 1f0 that are completely pointless because pokies just fall right off them? It's a pretty bad and boring level. I legit would like to know why it ranked so high, the comments barely say anything.
For me, I just genuinely liked it, and I never noticed those blocks were 1F0 until today. I genuinely thought that it was better than Triangle Dimension because, Triangle Dimension's normal exit was disappointingly short, and the secret exit was incredibly frustrating to me. I don't get how raocow had a far easier time with it than I did, but overall, I just felt it was badly-designed with how much it felt like the only safe way to get through it was to wait until the absolute last second to jump, but by then, it was almost too late to make the jump without being pushed off! (I'm not even joking about that being my experience with the level- I'm certain others had far better experiences with it, but mine was REALLY bad.)


to be honest i didn't even expect stadium of plants to get to best world. i just scored what I thought it deserved.

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Re: VLDC9 - vitreous locomotives diffracted cosmos 9

Postby Kowkarot » 2 years ago

Zephyr_DragonLord wrote:...I think Stadium of Plants is receiving this much negative attention because it's in Best World, so we're all looking for all of its flaws...
That too, maybe I would've had a different opinion of this level if it hadn't been in Best World. It kind of makes me afraid of what's awaiting 1st place...

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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby repairmanman » 2 years ago

Can someone explain to me ninjaboy's decision to rate Ice cutting zone so low on design?
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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby xfix » 2 years ago

repairmanman wrote:Can someone explain to me ninjaboy's decision to rate Ice cutting zone so low on design?
It's Ninja Boy. That's all I have to say. (hint: he rated levels he played later noticeably higher than levels he played earlier, and yes, his ratings are a bit of a joke)

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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby 10204307 » 2 years ago

Yeah, I'm not sure how Ice Cutting Zone deserved a design score as low as 18/30, especially since in his own comments ninjaboy described it as "a great level with a great concept".

I'm going to join the masses and say that I wasn't particularly impressed by Stadium of Plants when I played it on my own a few days ago. Autoscroll is one of my least favorite mechanics, but on top of that the gameplay is just really dull. It's a level that doesn't seem to know what it wants to do.

(For the record, I liked worldpeace's VLDC9 level better than his VLDC8 level. They're both really good, but Ice Cutting Zone feels like it flows better as level.)

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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby ft029 » 2 years ago

If it makes you guys feel better, in Frost's anonymous judging thread that was open during vldc9, Stadium of Plants got:
Design: 16.25
Creativity: 8
Aesthetics: 4
Total: 28.25/60

In my opinion, the first half was also weak because so much time is spent waiting for the damn moles to pop out.
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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby S.N.N. » 2 years ago

ft029 wrote:If it makes you guys feel better, in Frost's anonymous judging thread that was open during vldc9, Stadium of Plants got:
Design: 16.25
Creativity: 8
Aesthetics: 4
Total: 28.25/60
Yeah, Frost's scores seem to align with my own personal opinions a lot of the time. He's like the Eternity/Aeon of VLDC9 (generally the most reasonable/balanced scores).

I'm glad he's judging for VLDCX - he has a good grasp on how it's done.

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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby TRS » 2 years ago

For reference, if the level had that score it would have been 90th place. Or 19th if it was averaged with the other judges. I don't think it's worthy of 90th place, but eh.

Frost's reviewing is generally high quality. I'm glad he's judging this year.

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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby Lockirby2 » 2 years ago

But would it have 90th place if compared to Frost's other ratings? Maybe he just rates levels on the entire scale while Koopster/Eternity tend to rate mostly above 30 (especially Eternity)?

Stadium of Plants is better looking than Stellar Garden to me (perhaps the best looking level in the contest), but not as much fun. That being said, I'd already give Stellar Garden 10/10 on the aesthetics, so I'd place it lower overall. I also didn't like the puzzle leading to the secret exit. I'm not a huge fan of puzzles where flying is the solution because I usually try to avoid flying to break other puzzles. Putting the cape in an invisible block makes this worse too. I didn't mind the autoscroll in the normal exit as much as the secret exit.

I still thought the level was good though.

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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby ft029 » 2 years ago

Frost's judging was relatively harsh (not that it's a bad thing). Rompy levels usually got no more than a 20/60; extremely good ones in the 40s or low 50s; a select few above 55... and then the rest.
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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby idol » 2 years ago

frosts view is pretty close to my thoughts as well. probably would bump aesthetics up a bit tho. it has some very neat looking things, but also some ugly bits.

aesthetics are the only thing that matter tho. beauty isn't everything. it's the only thing.
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Re: VLDC9 - viridian landscapes drizzly coagulations 9

Postby heycallmeZe » 2 years ago

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Re: VLDC9 - velodromes leisurely demonstrating carnations 9

Postby Ryrir » 2 years ago

I had a pretty hard time with "Cutting in Line", it was definitely the most frustrating level in best world for me.

Looking back it's hard to point out exactly why though. I think it just always goes a little bit overboard with its obstacles, there's always that one extra eerie or that one extra saw that gets you. Some of the line guide sections are also a little bit too tight I think, in that they almost require foreknowledge if you want to pass an obstacle without getting hurt.

The level would have been a lot better if the player just had a little bit more time to breathe

(I also couldn't help but compare it to "Mushroom Tripper" from JUMP, which uses the same gimmick a lot better imo)
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Re: VLDC9 - vanadium likeness delineated cutting 9

Postby FrozenQuills » 2 years ago

Fortified Cavern is a great level; Blue Leaf is always really good at making cavern or fortress like levels as far as I've seen. The layer 2 part in particular is pretty creative.

Cutting in Line went better than I thought for raocow, actually. The line cutting is creative, but the main downfall of the level is that it throws too many things at you at once, especially near the end (and it doesn't help that the last speedy platform sometimes just drops the player off into the abyss for no good reason). That dragon coin puzzle room with the coin snake is also not good.

And yeah, I think Mushroom Tripper did a better job of using the scale platforms than this level.
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Re: VLDC9 - vanadium likeness delineated cutting 9

Postby Mata Hari » 2 years ago

Hot dog Fortified Cavern is a good-ass level. Like it's the kind of level I wish I could design.

I feel like one of the weaknesses of judging has been failing to give sufficient weight to gameplay, but I'm glad there are at least a couple of gameplay-focused levels in the top 10.


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