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

this is the place where lps are being talked about. it's important to talk about games being played on the internet.
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Ignoritus
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Ignoritus » 1 month ago

idol wrote: maybe 5 years ago, but if you take a look at the hacks hosted on smwc - especially the ones that end up in our waiting section, many of them are kaizo. in fact, we even have 7 hack moderators who focus on kaizo/troll hacks.
I point back to the part where I said "We sit in a community that is adjacent enough to Kaizo fans to understand that it appeals to some people, but if you walk out and hand a Kaizo level to any traditional gamer they're going to get frustrated and consider it a bad level."

We sit where a particular gathering of Kaizo-fans is but that doesn't change the big-picture obscurity of Kaizo and the fact that Kaizo is effectively a completely different game from Super Mario World and thus it will never be able to meaningfully be judged alongside traditional SMW levels.
idol wrote: and while it may not be explicitly kaizo, games like celeste or dark souls that are supposed to be very hard and not accessible to all players still have a huge audience.
There's a massive gap between these games and Kaizo however, and that goes back to what I said about Kaizo working a lot better in game that is built for it. I haven't played Dark Souls, but Celeste works specifically because Celeste does almost all of what I said is needed for this type of game to work. You die and respawn nigh instantly making it insignificant to have to keep throwing your face at it, you typically get the opportunity to view the room and figure out what you need to do before beginning, and the game keeps the route simple enough that you can cognitively follow along while challenging your reflexes.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby idol » 1 month ago

to be fair, the ethos of kaizo is already something many romhack players already accept: it relies on hard setups that can only be completed in but one singular way. chances are if youve played a jump team project or the top levels of recent vldcs, you'll see that same idea put into clockwork setups and level design that looks flashy, has a challenge, but can only be done in the way the author intends. it's very different from regular super mario world. the thing about kaizo is it's just even harder than it's already hard-hack brethren.

i would not say kaizo is a completely different game from super mario world because most top vldc levels are already completely different from super mario world in the way they treat levels. in super mario world you're presented with mostly open left-to-right experiences where you come across enemies you can jump over, jump on, fireball, fly over, etc. but in a hack like jump you have many levels where a specific challenge is laid out to the player, and the player can only complete it by doing what the author intends the player to do.

so i don't feel the problem with kaizo in regular ldcs is that the level design ethos is so completely different - it's just that the skill level is inaccessible, not the actual ideas behind it.
Ignoritus wrote:You die and respawn nigh instantly making it insignificant to have to keep throwing your face at it
to be fair, most kaizo hacks now do have instant respawn systems. morsel even notes that the way mountan fails is because you do not have an instant respawn, thus messing up the flow.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Ignoritus » 1 month ago

idol wrote: i would not say kaizo is a completely different game from super mario world because most top vldc levels are already completely different from super mario world in the way they treat levels. in super mario world you're presented with mostly open left-to-right experiences where you come across enemies you can jump over, jump on, fireball, fly over, etc. but in a hack like jump you have many levels where a specific challenge is laid out to the player, and the player can only complete it by doing what the author intends the player to do.
I argue that the game is completely different at the point where the audience changes entirely. You're right that many hacks have an entirely unique design ethos compared to SMW. But at the end of the day, the fun still comes from the same source: running around navigating across platforms and dodging enemies to reach the end with minimal slipups. At the level of Kaizo you don't have that. There's no running around, you are fixed on one hyper-specific linear path. The fun at that point comes from trying to do one pre-designed thing perfectly. Many people want to have the former experience but will take no joy at all in the latter.

I see your point about some levels that aren't clearly Kaizo already doing the "lock you to a hyper-specific path" thing through their level design, but I'd also argue that many levels that do that are strictly criticized for it. I'd argue the fish level that gave raocow hell a few days ago wasn't quite "Kaizo" (excluding maybe one or two brief setups), but it did the exact same thing and was harshly criticized for that fact.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby SAJewers » 1 month ago

If the submitter wasn't trying to win/interesting in winning, and was just interested in making something and submitting it without too much care of ranking, then imo no harm done as this didn't seem to break any rules. Just like that submission that got honourable mention in that title screen contest eons ago.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby RudeGuy » 1 month ago

i'm just going to ignore any argument about kaizo and whether it should be allowed or not and say that this is one of those levels that i'd really love to see its ideas eventually implemented into something more accessible. it's just so damn creative, despite what you may think about it's difficulty.
i think one of its downfalls is that all these ideas are thrown at the player without giving him time to really teach them, expecting the player to have a lot of knowledge already... which is common in kaizo levels, but obviously it can be very frustrating for those who do not usually play them.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby SAJewers » 1 month ago

RudeGuy wrote: i'm just going to ignore any argument about kaizo and whether it should be allowed or not and say that this is one of those levels that i'd really love to see its ideas eventually implemented into something more accessible. it's just so damn creative, despite what you may think about it's difficulty.
i think one of its downfalls is that all these ideas are thrown at the player without giving him time to really teach them, expecting the player to have a lot of knowledge already... which is common in kaizo levels, but obviously it can be very frustrating for those who do not usually play them.
100% agreed.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby KobaBeach » 1 month ago

tag yourself im the people getting legit mad at this level
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- And they just don't stop coming

Postby Awoo » 1 month ago

KobaBeach wrote: tag yourself im the people getting legit mad at this level
I hate seeing raocow frustrated like this. IMO this level is some pretty hot garbage, too.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby KobaBeach » 1 month ago

i think it's good and there's nothing wrong with kaizo.

the judges are ill equipped to deal with it but it's not a bad level
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Cyril » 1 month ago

i haven't watch the video, or any video in this series, but my comment is that all the kaizo SMW hacks that get played at GDQ look like completely unfun garbage and the way they describe beating them for the first time sounds miserable to me so i have to assume this level is basically exactly like that
i've honestly never played a video game in my life

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby moogy » 1 month ago

As someone who has only occasionally dabbled in SMW/SMBX stuff, but regularly plays difficult IWBTG fangames, I have to say that it seems like the only real problem with this level is the iteration times. Having a long death animation and multiple screen transitions between each attempt really kills the pacing and seems like it would make it an utter chore to actually sit down and play. Get rid of that stuff and it honestly seems quite fun; the design itself is a lot more interesting and tight than anything else we've seen in this contest so far, imo.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Leet » 1 month ago

Honestly I don't think this level is even kaizo. I think it looks terrifying but there were actually several moments (particularly in the first half) where raocow totally was able to figure out what to do intuitively because it's quite well designed. It's like a far-end-of-difficulty jump/yump level, but not at all in the "challenge is no 1 priority" reaches of the kaizo stuff that I've seen. (Then again, I ignore all those modern epic meme twitch kaizo hacks, so maybe kaizo is just easier in general now.)

I also agree that if raocow had stopped after the midpoint and came back the next day he probably would have had as good a time (maybe) with the second half as he did with the first.
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 11 -- A one and another

Postby The Doctor » 1 month ago

moogy wrote: As someone who has only occasionally dabbled in SMW/SMBX stuff, but regularly plays difficult IWBTG fangames, I have to say that it seems like the only real problem with this level is the iteration times. Having a long death animation and multiple screen transitions between each attempt really kills the pacing and seems like it would make it an utter chore to actually sit down and play. Get rid of that stuff and it honestly seems quite fun; the design itself is a lot more interesting and tight than anything else we've seen in this contest so far, imo.
Yup, my thoughts exactly. With instant respawn (like morsel mentioned in his review), the level would change from tedious to fun. I mean, just imaging playing Celeste or Super Meat Boy with a 10-15 second wait between deaths.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby ft029 » 1 month ago

I played a beta version of this level as testing. I enjoyed the first two sections very much, but then got extremely frustrated with the 3rd section. I couldn't figure out how to get baby yoshi to eat everything required, and I died way too often before that to get many chances. Eventually I gave up because I needed to work on my own entry, haha.

I wouldn't give this level a 60/60 for design if it were submitted to KLDC; although maybe if the level were just the first 2 sections, I'd give a 50+ or so. Creativity score is obvious.

Finally, I'm very curious about the level's music, as listening to it for over 2 hours has rewired my brain somehow.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby KobaBeach » 1 month ago

I personally just don't want to see people go "oh this level is kaizo and made raocow mad so it's bad" because that is a really close-minded way to think.

I'd probably play this if it had a retry system active. As is, without it it's kinda tedious, as The Doctor said.

ft029 wrote: Finally, I'm very curious about the level's music, as listening to it for over 2 hours has rewired my brain somehow.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Mandew » 1 month ago

silver sky has such a powerful mood to it, that kind of aesthetic is my jam
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby SAJewers » 1 month ago

Man, I am all for these "not a standard mario platforming level submissions.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Implo » 1 month ago

I didn't like Quiz Academy level. My problem was that I have very small knowledge about Mario franchise and most answers I didn't know. I would prefer it to be a quiz about SMW only or VLDC.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Piesonscreations » 1 month ago

I find it so funny how raocow didn't know the numbers of exits in SMW, but still could tell apart every single level in the game to count them up.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Alice » 1 month ago

idol wrote: and while it may not be explicitly kaizo, games like celeste or dark souls that are supposed to be very hard and not accessible to all players still have a huge audience.
I don't play Dark Souls so I can't really speak for that series but Celeste kinda has assist mode which makes it approachable for nearly everyone. It allows you to slow the game down, give yourself more jumps, have infinite stamina, or even be invincible. And it's explicitly meant for those who are unable to complete the game under normal conditions.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Implo » 1 month ago

Piesonscreations wrote: I find it so funny how raocow didn't know the numbers of exits in SMW, but still could tell apart every single level in the game to count them up.
Embarrassingly enough I also failed this question. I knew the number of all exits and number of secret exits and all I needed to do was simply math. And I failed to do that.

And you shouldn't be surprised that raocow was counting normal exits either. raocow was always bad with math in levels. Even in previous video - the only part he needed to watch author's video was about math platforms.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Ignoritus » 1 month ago

Does anyone know the music for Silver Sky?
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby Kleetus » 1 month ago

I liked the use of damaging blocks in cold and colder, but they looked too similar to the rest of the level.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby FourteenthOrder » 1 month ago

Ignoritus wrote: Does anyone know the music for Silver Sky?
I'm pretty sure it's:
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- A one and another

Postby FPzero » 1 month ago

79th, Cold and Colder, by Minuy600
52.25/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 33/60
Creativity: 16/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 55/100

Comments:
Not sure the hurtful frozen blocks in the second half are that great of a gimmick since it's basically just reskinned munchers placed kind of awkwardly. It wasn't very long though so it never got too hard to manage. The first half had some interesting stuff with dino-rhinos and ice physics going on, in that you don't usually see those two elements together. There were some sparks of ideas here but I think you could've taken the time to develop them more. As it stands, the level is functional but nothing special.
Ryaa:
Design: 38/60
Creativity: 15/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 47/100

Review: This level is quite a weird one. Not because any gimmicks are bad or anything like that but mainly because of how sudden things switch. At first I figured it wwas just going to be a normal ice level with a slightly above average set of platforming. Though like I said before, I personally think that the transition between aesthetics and gimmicks was very sudden and not well thought out. Personally I feel like the aesthetics were a little too powerful considering how simple the gimmick changes and original palette were. Other than those things I don't think the level functions in a way that's unfun, but more so generic. I do feel that some portions of the "Painful Ice" section could have been limited a tiny bit as SMW ice physics are a lot more slippery than you'd expect.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 35/60
CREATIVITY| 15/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 56/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
level has a very loose definition of cement

An okay level with a sort of creative element near the end. I like the dino rhino
usage, they don't get much attention. The kicker koopa parts were adequate.

The colder area is a weirdly big and scary difficulty spike. For one, precise
movement with slippery physics while dodging difficult to see 'munchers' is very
hard. Second, apparently turn blocks count as cement blocks. Third, there are quite
a few cement blocks to dodge in small areas. Compared to the rest of the level, the
difficulty of this area is out of place.

Despite this, the level gets the gimmick across and it ends up being alright.
morsel:
27
10
3
40/100
Why is there a pit with goal tapes in it? I went in there and nothing happened. Having any object that is a single tile block hurt you is not a good gimmick. I am not sure the level quite comes up to the standard of vanilla SMW. Parts of the background and foreground are hard to tell apart in the white cave.
78th, Silver Sky, by MechaNinji
52.75/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 36/60
Creativity: 17/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 60/100

Comments:
This level feels like it'd fit into maybe a World 2 of a hack. Which isn't to say it's bad necessarily, but it does feel very simple. The slow autoscrollers didn't help matters when there was generally one threatening enemy on screen at a time. Many hotheads and floating "mines" were completely unthreatening to Mario. In fact, a Ninji ended up being the only thing that damaged me by complete accident. It kind of feels like you were a little more concerned with the aesthetics of these nice, floating, mostly symmetrical buildings than the actual level design of the buildings. Because most buildings ended up having one, maybe two enemies inside them and lots of open space to avoid danger. And again, it's not a bad thing to be an easier level, but there's a lot of missed potential here. From the graphics being used I was expecting to see falling gray platforms, or maybe some of the floating grassy platforms actually be their sprite versions floating in the air, or moving up and down.

This level feels like the start of something better, but just didn't go the distance to really take its concept to a good endpoint.
Ryaa:
Design: 30/60
Creativity: 13/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 51/100

Review: These autoscroll levels seem to have a very similar scheme to them. They're long, slightly boring and there isn't much going on other than just sitting and waiting for the moment to actually progress. I think the song and aesthetic choices work well but the gameplay is what really brings this entire level down for me. I'm by no means impatient but if I have to wait an entire 10 seconds just to jump to new platforms or get to new areas, then I can't help but question the design choices a bit.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 34/60
CREATIVITY| 13/30
AESTHETICS| 8/10
TOTAL | 55/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
are the spike balls what's silver about this sky

A level built around its setting. It's atmospheric, and the autoscroll doesn't do
much except allow me to enjoy the scenery more. Everything pretty much stays the
same throughout the level.

Luckily, it does use a few unusual enemies like ninjis and sparkies. Things get a
little bit more difficult with the obstacles near the end too.

All in all, this level plays it too safe, but it has a nice aesthetic going for it.
It really could have used more obstacles during the autoscrollers.
morsel:
28
10
7
45/100
There was not much to beating this level. The spike balls did not come into play substantively, so I wonder why they were there at all-- as decorative hurt blocks, perhaps. Or perhaps everything is meant to be frozen (the platforms look as though they are surrounding by pieces of dirt, as if they had just exploded into being); if that is so, I wonder why the ninjis are moving. The slow autoscrollers were very, very slow.
77th, Quiz Mario Academy!, by Lsh0426
53.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 37/60
Creativity: 19/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 68/100

Comments:
It's really hard to judge this level because all things considered it's not really that much of a *level* as much as a minigame built in a level format. So I guess I'll try and judge it on the merits of being a quiz.

It's a creative idea to use falling and door warps as your way to put the player through different answers. I wasn't sure why you sometimes had throw blocks at the bottom of answers and fake doors for others. I assume the fake doors were just to prevent guessing, then seeing the right answer from where you were. But you probably should've done that for all the answers and not just the first few. I think the questions were good choices, but they weren't really balanced for difficulty or obscureness. Like, one of the early questions was one about the Olympic Games sub-franchise, right next to much more common knowledge questions like who Mario's voice actor is. I think it would've been best to keep all the easy questions at the beginning and then ramp up more and more. It was funny to watch the different reactions from the Mario statues when you got graded poorly. I know it was optional, but it would've been nice to get sent back to the post-graduation questions if you got it wrong without having to end the level and use the 1up checkpoint door.

Like I said, it's hard to judge this compared to other traditional levels. It's good in the end and a nice little diversion from all the other levels I've been playing.
Ryaa:
Design: 25/60
Creativity: 20/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 51/100

Review: This level is quite the sight. I think it's a very interesting idea to have a quiz as a level. Though I don't really like the idea of having the play the guessing game or use google just to play a Mario level. What's very unfortunate though is that other than this quiz mechanic, there isn't really anything that necessarily catches my eye. I think you did a great job with aesthetics and whatnot but generally there isn't anything completely interesting about this level other than the questions. It's one of those where it's only truly fun if you actually know the answers. Imagine if someone was playing that didn't know any of these answers and had to spend a long time searching or guessing in order to progress. It's not a completely fun concept. Though I do appreciate the time and effort that went into this idea.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 33/60
CREATIVITY| 22/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 62/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
this level REALLY requires thinking

Cute quiz, but I'm not sure if it's really a level??? There are no actual enemies
nor platforming, but you do have to think about your answers, and that's where the
fun is I suppose.

There's good design in how the questions get harder as it goes on, though a few
near the beginning are not common knowledge I think. Many players are gonna get a
D- lol. I also believe that the level could be better if there was a bit more of a
punishment if you got an answer wrong like some obstacles, because right now your
punishment is, uh, weaker morale because you got a bad grade.

I do admit this idea is creative, but it's not something that will win a level
design contest.
morsel:
0
30
7
37/100
Not a level. I got D-. You shall get the same.
I think morsel was unnecessarily harsh towards Quiz Mario Academy but I know we discussed his score and comments after judging was finished and this was pretty much the most score concession he would make.


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