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Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- tim horton's betrayal

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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FPzero
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- ID# of the month which is named after the number 9

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

58th (tied), Get the mushroom!, by Manofer
63.25/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 43/60
Creativity: 22/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 71/100

Comments:
It feels like you just totally ran out of ideas or time at the very end, because the midpoint is very late into the level and there's only two puzzles left to solve after it. I think there were some interesting ways to make the player chase down a mushroom and keep it until the right time shown off in the level. But there were some weak parts too. The puzzle before the midpoint wasn't really much of a puzzle since you just needed to throw a shell at a couple blocks. I also wish you'd indictated that you needed to keep the shell at the end of the first segment. The level should've been longer with a couple more puzzles before the end. As it is now, I'm left wanting a better conclusion.
Ryaa:
Design: 37/60
Creativity: 16/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 60/100

Review: I didn't have too much fun playing this level. The idea to keep your powerup in order to progress was a neat concept, but I don't think the a lot of the puzzles were as clear as they could have been. Throughout the level there were points where some mechanics were set up in ways where you had a harder time getting through different setups mainly due to them being built to be inconvenient. This is very evident in the first section that you need a koopa shell in. The offscreen thwomp near the end wasn't that good of an idea considering you have no way of knowing that it's there until you get hit by it.

This level needs a bit of work I think. Aesthetically I think it does the job though some things are pretty simple outside of the background. The level design doesn't do too much to ensure that the player has an ultimately fun experience and that should have been the main priority here.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 41/60
CREATIVITY| 18/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 65/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
dont dont eat the mushroom

Pretty alright! This is a nice take on item puzzle levels. It's easy to understand
and execute and each mushroom puzzle is different.

I feel like it ended too quickly though. Plus, while the puzzles as a whole were
okay, none were especially creative or enjoyable. I just get an okay sense of
satisfaction after each one.

So yeah, this is a typical but sort of interesting level about getting your shrooms.
morsel:
35
15
7
57/100
This is a very unusual level. I enjoyed how different it was. It picked a theme and stuck to it. There was a part where you could not reset consistently with the rest of the level. Some of the activities were more straightforward than others and could have been developed more. Peculiar fact: If you climb into the turn-block instead of jumping at it, it does not bounce the shell.
58th (tied), Mecha Mountain, by FerpyMcFrosting
63.25/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 48/60
Creativity: 21/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 77/100

Comments:
While I liked a lot of your mechanical graphics, I did find myself having trouble picking out the green munchers and other spikes from the rest of your graphics. I'm not really sure why, but I definitely took damage to them a lot. Just watch out with your graphical changes in the future and make sure that hazards are clearly defined. When you change a lot of graphics, it can be hard to pick out the dangerous tiles if you're not taking it slowly.

I thought this level was pretty fun. I liked how you created a winding path with the tall level using line guides and platforms. Guided grinders were a good choice for obstacles, as was the cramped level design. It made it so you had to actually take time to avoid enemies and not just immediately jump over them. Plus the slightly vertical nature of the level meant that putting Koopas on platforms that aren't so wide meant you had to time some jumps upwards. I do think you could have done a little bit more with the line guides, since their use was kind of basic, but what you had was a solid start. Lastly, the level isn't super long, but it feels like it's just as long as it needs to be.
Ryaa:
Design: 29/60
Creativity: 18/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 54/100

Review: This level frustrates me in such a weird way. It's not hard at all and getting through it is extremely simple. My issue here is that I can tell the creator noticed how creative and new these aesthetics looked and then got way too trigger-happy and just threw them everywhere. It ends up being a huge mess because the graphics are very distracting as a result of this. I think the background is really neat and the tiles themselves are cool but there isn't much of anything in this level that actually makes me have that feeling of joy while and after playing it.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 43/60
CREATIVITY| 13/30
AESTHETICS| 9/10
TOTAL | 65/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
switchback oriented like real mountains

A nice looking but rather standard level. I can tell that the aesthetics are the
focus here, which are nice but could have some of the background objects toned down.

The overall design is fine; there are a few obstacles involving line guides and
some enemies, but unfortunately once you've seen a few of them you've seen the
whole level. However, I do like how the level gets a tiny bit harder after the
midpoint, since the penalty for missing a jump becomes getting hurt or losing a
life instead of being able to try again. It also gets a bit more action-oriented.

While the most memorable part of the level is the aesthetic, the creativity
certainly could have been pushed more.
morsel:
40
10
7
57/100
Probably with more restraint, the decorative elements in this level would have been able to shine more effectively. A lot of the decorations are black. There are also black munchers scattered about. As well as munchers, there are spikes and also a different kind of spike. These, too, are scattered about. It is better to make obstacles out of sprites rather than hurt blocks (the hitboxes are more generous and they are just more interesting). Aside from this, the level uses its space well and places sprites sensibly, even if there is not much to beating the level.
57th, Tangle Race, by KajurN
63.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 44/60
Creativity: 21/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 70/100

Comments:
This was a fun little race level! I liked how you had to keep a good pace to avoid losing the vine, but it wasn't too difficult to keep up. Tossing throw blocks into holes to make the vine keep going felt good too, since you could chuck them and keep jumping to the next one. Midpoint felt like it was placed a little early but the level is short and fast enough that it really didn't matter too much. I actually think the best race was probably the first one, because you were interacting with the blocks blocking the vine's growth more. The second and third races were more about running around fast to get to the occasional obstacle you had to clear.

I think you could've actually gotten away with having another race in the first half of the level. Making it two races before the midpoint and another two after the midpoint. Basically I'm trying to say that I enjoyed the level quite a bit and wanted more of it. That's a good feeling to have after hitting that goal tape.
Ryaa:
Design: 42/60
Creativity: 20/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 68/100

Review:

I love that we're ending off the contest with a level that has no visible name which is pretty funny. For starters, I really love the music choice. The song is pretty energetic which is really nice. Definitely not a fan of having to go that far up in case I accidentally mess up due to not realizing that the first obstacle you see the moment you enter is a time trial. It's not that smart of a design move if the creator's plan was to make the reset doors for these puzzles easy access. Playing the sections was very fun and I'm a little disappointed that the level ends that quickly with how nice the vine setups were. The level being a verticle level really adds to the high speed feeling that you're meant to feel as a player which is a nice touch. I feel that with soem improvements and even additions to the level design, this level could have had a lot more of a shine to it.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 41/60
CREATIVITY| 18/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 65/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
day at the races

You don't see vine racing often, and this level does it pretty well. The level as a
whole is an athletic racing exercise that is not too hard for the average player,
and it ends up being pretty fun.

The only gripes I have is that it's easy to mess up the ending with the disco
shell. You can easily get trapped bouncing on it in the narrow chute since you have
to jump over it to get the silver p-switch. I also wished this was a bit longer and
more creative in it's obstacles, since right now it's mostly throwing blocks and
jumping over enemies.

Still, this is pretty good as a whole.
morsel:
38
8
5
51/100
A skytree. Generic kaizo (in spirit, not in letter) visits the vanilla contest, instance the second (this one is not as good as the other one as its obstacles are completely stereotyped in this setting). Coins do not reappear upon resetting.
Tangle Race was the last entry in our randomized list. It was the final one I played since I was going in order. morsel actually did the list in reverse, so it was the first level he did. I'm not sure why he calls the level "generic kaizo (in spirit, not in letter)" because nothing about it really feels like that at all to me. I also disliked how he referred to another level in his score, since I always avoid comparing contest levels together, because I believe it leads to unfair judgments if you think "yeah but this other level did X better" and score a level differently because of that.

I think maybe I score Manofer's level a little too high for how empty it feels at times. Perhaps a mid-high 60s would have been better than the 71 I gave it.

Also either today or tomorrow marks the halfway point through the contest in terms of entries.

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Grounder
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- ID# of the month which is named after the number 9

Postby Grounder » 1 week ago

FPzero wrote: Tangle Race was the last entry in our randomized list. It was the final one I played since I was going in order. morsel actually did the list in reverse, so it was the first level he did. I'm not sure why he calls the level "generic kaizo (in spirit, not in letter)" because nothing about it really feels like that at all to me.
One of the original three Kaizos had a "chase the vine" level. Forget which one, though.
Why don't you eat me?

I am perfectly tasty...

AND I'LL STEAL YOUR SOUL! :twisted:

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FPzero
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- ID# of the month which is named after the number 9

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

Ah, that could be it then.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- ID# of the month which is named after the number 9

Postby FrozenQuills » 1 week ago

just noticed that i gave all of these consecutive levels a 65, interesting
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SMBX Tileset Compiler and Separator
The boss entry that made me eat a shoe.
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5th place counter: 5
(SMBX Forums CC11, SMBX Forums CC12, Endgame Madness Contest, SMWC Kaizo Contest 2016, SMWC 24hr Contest 2018)

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xfix
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- ID# of the month which is named after the number 9

Postby xfix » 1 week ago

FPzero wrote: Tangle Race was the last entry in our randomized list. It was the final one I played since I was going in order. morsel actually did the list in reverse, so it was the first level he did. I'm not sure why he calls the level "generic kaizo (in spirit, not in letter)" because nothing about it really feels like that at all to me.
Skytree is a level in Kaizo Mario World 3. People made many variations of this level inspired by the Kaizo Mario World 3 version, so the term "skytree" is well known within Kaizo community.

Skytree video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9FVz_ujpdU

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- ID# of the month which is named after the number 9

Postby Leet » 1 week ago

There's those bad fake buzzsaws!!! But at least they're in a situation where you have to get hurt so it doesn't break the conceit as much.
Well it is a decent hack but sometime its just too repetitif there no level that actually pop in your face and your like oh yeah that level they all ressemble themselves and just monster along the way.
Blood Ghoul wrote:Sometimes it seems my blood spurts out in gobs, as if it were a fountain's pulsing sobs. I clearly hear it mutter as it goes yet cannot find the wound from which it flows. Before I met you, baby, I didn't know what I was missing.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- The value of $CAD

Postby Awoo » 1 week ago

I don't know what the man at the store told you, raocow, but I can assure you that Astroglide is not fake grass! :kood:
ワンワン :pal:
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- The value of #$0B

Postby KobaBeach » 1 week ago

"that is like the quotse of the year"
Do not deny it
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who cares:
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FPzero
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- The value of #$0B

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

56th, AMBROSE ASYLUM, by Blizzard Buffalo
63.75/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 48/60
Creativity: 23/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 77/100

Comments:
I think the final Yoshi Coin was a bit poorly marked, since up to that point you'd had some sections where a coin or something else had signalled that there was safe ground below it, so I jumps down into the pit to get it, only to discover it wasn't safe and the actual path to it was a hole in the wall further ahead. Just a minor sour note I encountered.

This level makes good use of many different castle enemies to keep the player on their toes as they make their way through it. I thought it was pretty clever to use the climbing Koopas and grounded saws falling from above in conjunction with a line-guided rope. Don't really see that too often. The level was a bit on the long side with few powerups, but it didn't end up feeling too hard with a little learning and practice, and time wasn't ever an issue. It was a decent challenge. One thing to watch out for is your graphical changes, and making sure the player always knows what is and isn't solid. You weren't entirely consistent with your palettes in that way. Like, the skull boxes look bright, like they should be solid or at least a platform, but the solid bridge tiles used a dark palette, suggesting they were passthrough like your other level decorations. Be careful with visual consistency.
Ryaa:
Design: 37/60
Creativity: 23/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 68/100

Review: This level leaves a really good first impression, though I think it would have been much cooler to have a build-up song in the first section since there isn't that much energy in that part. I really appreciate the usage of tiles to make the Ghost House look completely different and new.

The level design wasn't completely fun to work through which was unfortunate. I don't necessarily think that the design is bad, but I just think that it gets a bit random and inconsistent at points when it comes to enemy placement and mini-gimmicks. This is very evident during the part where you have to hang on to the rope. Personally I think that the pink gate should have been a different color as it stands out a bit too much. Despite the pink issue, I heavily appreciate the usage of aesthetic design here and I think that it does the job completely. Only real issues I have there in regards to that are that the lava is two different colors and there is slight cutoff in some areas.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 38/60
CREATIVITY| 15/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 60/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
i like my castles blue

A very run of the mill level. The enemy placement is alright even if I got ambushed
a few times, and I like how the second half gets a bit more challenging especially
with the thwomp placements. The dragon coins were also placed pretty well.

Not much else to say other than it ain't bad. The chucks gave me quite a surprise
at the end too.
morsel:
35
12
3
50/100
The major thing contending against this level's playability is the decoration. I was constantly asking myself if this or that were or were not solid. Beyond that, there is decent use of sprites, particularly the rope ride and some of the line-guided obstacles. It was a chore to find where to enter the big door (it always is). There was a map16 disaster on the staircase outside.
55th, Magnetic Net, by NextTactics
64.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 41/60
Creativity: 23/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 71/100

Comments:
This level is weird because despite it having a central idea in the 1F0 nets and line guides...it actually feels unfocused? I think a lot of it has to do with the fact there are a ton of other snippets of seemingly random design. There's the first cave where you place keys to form a bridge over a gap, then there's a spinjump "choose your path" section, there's a small key hunt after the midpoint, then a little bit of optional swimming, then finally apart where you lead a rainbow shell to continue. Basically, I think there's a bit too much extra stuff that didn't contribute to the core ideas. You should have used the 1F0 nets more often, as well as the line guides. When you used those two ideas, the design was good. I liked the big line guide maze after the midpoint because it reminded me a lot of the mazes vanilla SMW did a few times, and I think thwimps sliding back and forth across the nets was a neat way to make the player spinjump to safety. Speaking of thwimps, I'm curious why you didn't just replace the thwimp graphic with actual thwimps instead of using the accidental bob-omb ones. Seems like an oversight to me.

Just wasn't focused enough for my liking, though there were good ideas sprinkled throughout.
Ryaa:
Design: 32/60
Creativity: 17/30
Aesthetics: 9/10

Total: 58/100

Review: I'm not all that sure what was going on here. I didn't like that the path you were meant to followed was obscured by alternate pathways that seemed to completely distract from whatever the level's goal was. Some of the platforming was tight and made it very easy to fall if you had a powerup. It would have made more sense if the underground/water sections actually shared similar gimmicks to what was going outside but everything in each new section was random and felt so disconnected.

The aesthetics were so good too which is what really bummed me out. It would have been so cool to actually see the gimmicks and scenery actually blend together instead of feeling like a maze with extra paths that are slightly obnoxious just for dragon coins.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 38/60
CREATIVITY| 18/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 62/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
also could be called mag-NET-ic

The level says Magnetic Net, yet they did not really feel like a focus here.
It's actually more focused around puzzles, line guides, and nonlinearity,
all of varying quality.

Some areas of the level were good, such as the flying green koopas over the nets
and the multiple key puzzle in the cave. Others were mediocre though, such as
babysitting the shell near the end, a few cramped areas, and the line guide
platform "lottery" after the midpoint. I call it a lottery since you need to get
the bottom path first and then the top path, which can get boring if you don't
figure that out fast enough since you have to keep repeating the segment.

Still, it just ends up being okay overall.
morsel:
38
20
7
65/100
Default pleasant atmospherics courtesy of worldpeace. The level begins by making good use of space, particularly for bonus material. The key cave is rather a deadly place to house a solitary dragon coin; it's even worse when you're one-wayed out of collecting a dragon coin later (as it was so much wasted effort). The stationary thwimps were a strange but not unfitting element. Some careless things with them: You may kill one with a shell at the beginning before you realise what to do (if you kick away the shell to spin jump); one of the ceilings above them is a bit low compared with other jumps in the level. I thought there was a deterioration in the second half with the slow-paced way cool knock-off and surprise key hunt (again, there is something unnecessary about that huge pit underneath the pipe you have to enter on a key). The disco shell part is slightly more tiresome if you are big, but strangely pointless for all that--perhaps it is meant to tie into a tight time limit. Over all, the level feels too miscellaneous or unfocussed. SMW being itself, wigglers do some strange things. Some of the decoration is questionable to me (those sloped tiles look as much functional as decorative; the rock platform acting as completely solid; empty air hurt cubes dressed up as urchins). Green springs are not green springs.
Yeah, I also fell for the last Yoshi Coin the same way raocow did. It wasn't just you.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- The value of #$0B

Postby Mandew » 1 week ago

we're getting at the point in the rankings where a single point difference from every judge would impact rankings by 6 to 14 spots
video games

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- The value of #$0B

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

54th, Turrim Caelo, by Stiviboy
64.25/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 32/60
Creativity: 16/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 51/100

Comments:
One thing I immediately noticed is that your graphical changes are not good at all. The red "koopa" looks nothing like a koopa, and instead looks like a bob-omb. But it's not and actually the blue ones are bob-ombs. Two completely different enemies given the same graphics but different palettes. And don't get me started on what the Ninjis look like. Doors too--I had no idea that those were doors for a while. Nothing about them suggests they're a door. When changing graphics like this, you have to stop and ask yourself if what you're doing is actually a good change that enhances your level and visual clarity, or if you're making the change for the sake of just making a graphical change. The only change I actually liked was the Rocks being turned into bouncing Munchers.

If I seem to be talking at length about graphics here it's because it really was that big of a hindrance to visual clarity. As for the level design itself, it was mostly focused around On/Off line guides and did an okay job at it. The toughest part was the tall "O" shape in the first half where you had to do a strange curved jump to hit the switch and make it back to your rising platform. The second half was better than the first because the line guides and level design seemed to wind around itself a little more, but it was so short that it didn't have a chance to actually get too interesting. And the little "Survive" challenge at the end felt tacked on and was easily exploitable to not take damage. The only reason I did was because I got lazy timing the same jump over and over until the P-Switch finally fell down. The second half especially feels like you ran out of time and had to end the level where you had it. A shame too because it seemed like it was starting to go places right before it abruptly ended.
Ryaa:
Design: 37/60
Creativity: 25/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 70/100

Review: I wasn't very sure if I was going to like this level from the first glance. Mainly due to the fact that so far, a lot of the levels with really pretty aesthetics have been lacking in the actual level design aspect. However I do believe this level tackles a slight few of those issues a bit. I think that the ideas are somewhat clear, concise and consistent, but lack any general polish. The only thing I truly disliked and didn't want to see more development on was the survival section. It wasn't hard or anything but it wasn't that engaging considering all you had to do was just jump over and over and over. The line guide gimmick is interesting but I don't think that it's too clean. The beginning makes it a bit clear that there wasn't too much polish going on in regards to the actual level design. I'm in love with how different and new the aesthetics/enemy design gives a very modern Super Mario Land sort of vibe.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 42/60
CREATIVITY| 18/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 67/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
featuring pro football player Larry

Those graphical replacements are adorable! Anyway, this is pretty fun with a few
flaws. I like how the level encourages exploration as I was trying to puzzle out
how the line guides work. The little dodging segments with the line guide platforms
and baseballs are well done, and the ending is cool too.

However, I think some of the line guide rides are a bit too long with not much to
do. This is easily seen in the area before the midpoint. It could also use more
variety in terms of creative obstacles.

In the end, this is a fun little level that utilizes the on/off feature of line
guide paths pretty well.
morsel:
45
15
9
69/100
This was fine, taken as a whole. The message box seems inelegant. I do not think the doors are marked logically (it is a good convention that has dark and light doors--here, you may try to go in the first and ignore the next). Some of the sprite replacements seem rather pointless (we were always told in my youth that having differently coloured buzzy beetles was a Bad Thing--this is not functionally different). There were unmarked fast lines (although this never seemed much of an issue). Some of the platforms rides just involve standing still for a while. The dangerous windows in the castle might have been more clearly marked. Some of the baseballs are invisible under you when you fall. The SURVIVE part was a little repetitive. The spikes were nice; and nice rows of jumping munchers (the middle muncher always being particularly excited).
52nd (tied), Adventurous Ascent, by Roykirbs
64.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 45/60
Creativity: 18/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 71/100

Comments:
I liked this level a lot so I'll get the main problem I ran into out of the way first. I took the bonus path for the 2nd Dragon Coin but the hothead that's supposed to be there to help you spin jump up the 6-tile high platform didn't spawn, so I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what I was missing. I had to use the fact small Mario can jump 6 tiles with a running start to keep going because I was otherwise stuck. My time ran low because of this fact but I did manage to clear the level with a little bit remaining.

The use of the big level to help climb the mountain was nice and lent it a good climbing feel. I really liked the "houses" and buildings you created from various tiles since they looked nice, but I appreciated even more that you used your palette to tell the player what was solid and what was walk-through. Blue things were all solid, gray were all walk-through (with the exception of the cement block but we all know that graphic to be solid anyway so it worked). Enemies were a good mix of castle and dino-rhino, though I think there was opportunity to mix them together a little more. In fact, if I had any real complaint it's that the level doesn't really have a unique selling point to it. It's mostly just an enjoyable trip up the mountain without much other than some nice scenery to really make it memorable. Still a good level overall, but I would've liked to see you expand on your ideas a little more.
Ryaa:
Design: 35/60
Creativity: 15/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 56/100

Review: The music used in this level is what really caught my attention primarily. I'm absolutely in love with this song. Though as I continue to play the level, I started feeling really bored. The aesthetics are nice for the most part outside of the very saturated blue castle tiles. Though I thought the city building were extremely clever. The one thing I didn't like is that the gameplay felt very repetitive. Once the first Dry Bones jump was introduced, the rest of those jumps in the level were pretty much the exact same thing with nothing new to add. Going back to aesthetics, the one thing I didn't like outside of the castle tiles I mentioned were the strange formations of dirt seem at points throughout the level. It didn't seem to add anything in that aspect.

I guess the best way to explain my feelings on this is that all I felt like I did in this level was constantly jump up and up and up with nothing interesting or attention-grabbing in between. I would have loved to see more development with the Dry Bones jumping since we as players are led on to believe that this is the featured gimmick of the level at the beginning.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 37/60
CREATIVITY| 14/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 58/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
even more blue levels

An adequate climbing level with some nice gray buildings. Most of the gameplay
involves dodging sparkies, dinos, koopas, and dry bones, and it pretty much stays
that way throughout the entire level. I like how some areas require you to bounce
on the dry bones, but that was never really developed upon. Each bounce is the same
maneuver.

There is a small issue with one of the dragon coins, which requires a really
awkward running jump since you have to jump 6 blocks high. Otherwise, you're
softlocked.

It is sufficient to say that while adventurous in its name, it could have been more
adventurous in its design.
morsel:
50
13
10
73/100
Very pretty level; the buildings looked fantastic. There was some nice, classic platforming and the areas were well populated with sprites. Some sprites are not placed carefully enough: a hothead you need to jump on despawned in the lower path to the midpoint; a stray goomba fell on my head at one point.
I don't know why my brain could not parse the doors in Turrim Caelo at first but it didn't, and my score reflected that. I think there was definitely too much "let's replace graphics with other things just because we can" going on in the level, and not enough focus on what the level wanted to do. The second half in particular felt unfinished because of the way it suddenly goes into that survive section.

With Adventurous Ascent, I know the timer keeps coming up, but the author chose not to use the full 500 seconds here. The level's start only has 400 set. Everyone I've seen play the level also gets stuck in that exact same area with the 6-tile high jump. I'm wondering if the author made that jump and forgot to test it, because I remember looking in Lunar Magic to see if I was missing anything about it, and I wasn't. Had I not gotten stuck there, like you did, I think I would have finished around the 100 second mark. But it's also strange to me that the author wouldn't use the 500 seconds available and instead opt for 400 when the level is fairly lengthy and lightly focused on exploration.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- The value of #$0B

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

52nd (tied), NEVERLAND, by Fellipe R
64.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 26/60
Creativity: 16/30
Aesthetics: 4/10

Total: 46/100

Comments:
This level had a really strange layout to it and was built without using any normal tileset elements, just logs, vines, pipes and blocks. It was a bit of a puzzle level, a bit of a climbing level, a little bit athletic--but none of these parts felt very strong to me. For whatever reason, it's just really hard to put my finger on what this level was trying to do, and whether or not it did things well. It had the player go up and down, carry items around, dodge munchers, and subvert a Kaizo trap at the end by finding a different P-Switch. That was honestly the most unique element of an otherwise not very memorable level. It lacked focus and exploration of ideas, and the lack of themed tileset graphics meant that it didn't even have a basic level theme identity to fall back on. The level was...just kind of "there".
Ryaa:
Design: 47/60
Creativity: 20/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 72/100

Review: What's funny is that even though this level is a mild difficulty, it seems more like a base idea for a kaizo level than it does for a VLDC level. With that said, I can say that I'm not so sure if the music fits the setting with how on your feet you have to be throughout the level. The vines seen throughout the level do get a little over-the-top since there are so many. Perhaps if these vines were split up in a way where they give you a general path to follow them it might feel a lot more organized. I had a lot of fun while playing though. The end part is what made it a really and fun nice twist. This is also why I'm going to label this level as a very simplified kaizo level.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 43/60
CREATIVITY| 18/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 68/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
lol you can die in 2 seconds at the beginning

I like how expansive the level is without being too overwhelming. There's a lot to
explore and you're usually rewarded with progress or dragon coins. I enjoyed the
challenge too; it's at just the right difficulty where it's not too easy, but you
have to pay attention to your surroundings. The level is also nicely focused around
vines. Finally, the split paths in the 2nd half is an added bonus.

There isn't much that is wrong in terms of design. I think the second half's left
path is much easier than the right path, but the right path is more fun. I suppose
it could have been a bit more fun and creative as a whole, but it's not a huge deal.

Anyway, solid job with this.
morsel:
45
20
7
72/100
This was well done. It does not start all that promisingly, with a bullet shooter staring me in the face. I tried to get the moon at the beginning that I had seen when I went over the roof, but the level would not let me (I worked out how to get it later). I loved when the level stated making me go into little rooms. The climbing parts felt fresh compared to some other levels in this contest. I am not sure the split path was necessary (was it shorter, easier? was there some kind of bonus?--I did not notice). Sometimes I could go places without being able to return (some of the stone blocks between the munchers; going over the roof after hitting the p-switch).
50th (tied), Primary Pipes, by Shog
64.75/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 45/60
Creativity: 22/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 73/100

Comments:
The way you mixed together pipes on Layers 1 and 2, as well as used the growing/shrinking pipe really made this level feel like something you'd see in a lategame New Super Mario Bros level. I thought it was really neat! Though there were a few issues with it. The time was pretty short, which wasn't great. 300 seconds isn't really enough time, and you had 500 available so why didn't you just use that? Powerups were a little scarce, though the level wasn't super long so it wasn't a huge deal. Also, while I liked the setups with the brown swinging platforms, I think a few of them were a little difficult to get through without taking a hit. And the one before the vertical section had a very long jump attached to it that I didn't like very much. The boss fight felt a bit out of place, though I guess Wendy does live in a pipe so it did fit thematically.

Like I said though, I really enjoyed how you used both layers and the sprite pipes to enhance your level design. It was good that you switched up to a horizontal scroller in the vertical section, since all the layer 2 before that had been smashers.
Ryaa:
Design: 25/60
Creativity: 13/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 45/100

Review: Um. I'm very confused. So this is a pipe level that has normal overworld music that transitions into a castle that transitions back to pipes that transitions back to a castle and then into a sudden boss???? Where was the buildup for any of this. The big problem this level seems to have is that there is too little space to make your moves. Especially at the beginning I immediately noticed how cluttered everything felt. I'm not sure what the difficulty of this level was supposed to be but it's all over the place and doesn't help this level have a flow at all. There was absolutely no warning that there was going to be a boss which I didn't like at all. The boss itself was neat but unfitting in every aspect. I think that this level would have been so much better if it actually had a general direction that was clear enough to follow through on.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 42/60
CREATIVITY| 17/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 65/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
peeping pipes plus platforms

This is quite nice. I like how the layer 2 pipes are introduced and used throughout
the level, and how things got more complex with the swinging platforms. The dragon
coin placements are good too.

While the level establishes itself well with its gimmicks, it is still somewhat
underwhelming, unfortunately. Things got a bit cramped at times, and there needs to
be better indication for that running jump before the vertical section. The wendy
boss seemed out of place as well, and didn't involve any of the previous gimmicks.

Ah well, this is still a good effort overall.
morsel:
48
20
8
76/100
A lively first half. The second half felt a bit slow. Also, the theme seemed to shift at some point from pipes to rotating platforms. Perhaps some jumps are a little tight compared to the rest of the level. Reappearing midpoint. I don't like that the block you used as a stone block looks like it should have cloud properties to me (probably since it is made from the platform sprite), and you don't have to notice this before it is in a position to impede your jump (in the vertical section). The moving pipe in the vertical section may despawn before you encounter it (the sprite does not do much in any event). The boss fight feels miscellaneous.
50th (tied), Otherworldly Monument, by eltiolavara9
64.75/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 45/60
Creativity: 22/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 75/100

Comments:
While I liked both halves of the level, they didn't feel very connected in ideas, just visuals. The first half uses diagonal boos and ghost house holes to make some interesting setups, but the second half is an athletic level with an emphasis on avoiding glowing red hurt diamonds and the ghosts are missing entirely. They only return for the big boo fight, which was pretty good as well. I think the 3 keys idea worked out since you had to scale different challenges to get to them and throw at the boo.

Returning to the first half, the ghost holes were pretty good, but I found them to be a bit unfair at times. The one that goes back and forth over the hurt diamonds felt glitchy, as I would sometimes take damage from it even in cases where I was lined up with the hole. I also didn't like the section with 4 holes all in fast succession, because while it was a neat idea, you can fall through them too fast to have time to react to the muncher placements on the way down. Just felt a bit unfair is all.

Second part's athletic was pretty good, though maybe it didn't need as many hurt diamonds as it had, since some of the setups made the player slow to a crawl and slowly move to avoid damage. Feels opposite to normal athletic setups, where the player is often moving through obstacles very quickly. I just wish it had had more to do with the first half of the level, since they really did feel like two different levels entirely aside from visuals. Oh, and you had 6 Yoshi Coins for some reason.
Ryaa:
Design: 25/60
Creativity: 15/30
Aesthetics: 3/10

Total: 43/100

Review: I'm not too certain on what the theme of this level was. I guess it was supposed to be creepy in some way but the map16 tiles completely distracted from whatever the goal was here. The map16 is horrifyingly distracting as you continue through the level (especially in the second section) and gradually gets worse as you continue. The level begins with having you under the impression that you're going to be focusing on the pass-through floor but after you get to the second section, the gimmick just disappears. It sucks too because the part where you have to carefully fall through the floor was really neat.

Moving on to the second section. I feel like this portion is where the entire level lost focus. The random blue enemies didn't feel significant at all considering how drastic of an enemy aesthetic change the colors cause. If these enemies were supposed to emulate ghosts of some sort is what I'm very curious about. This section didn't do much that was interesting as like I mentioned before, the map16 tiles completely ruin any actual atmospheric feeling the player could have while playing. I overall didn't like this section at all.

The boss however is what really baffled me. I can see where the idea for this was going, but the boss itself was way too underwhelming. Suddenly throwing the idea that keys are this important at the player while the sprites themselves had no purpose prior to this boss was not a very swise decision.

To put everything I feel into quicker terms, I don't believe that this level does much that would make it feel like something I would want to play again and enjoy.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 43/60
CREATIVITY| 18/30
AESTHETICS| 7/10
TOTAL | 68/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
a

Pretty alright spooky level! I enjoyed the moving hole shenanigans and some of the
platforming in the second half, and the boss was good since it provides a bit of
exploration.

My only issues are that it's kind of unfocused in the challenges it presents, and
that there aren't that many new ideas presented. The boo rings also required some
waiting.

Nonetheless, this was pretty fun.
morsel:
48
15
10
73/100
I suppose with the hole fixed you are reliably able to use it on munchers like this (you used not to be able to). There was decent variation in obstacles and the level always gave you things to think about. There was some careless sprite usage (the boo circle used in its conventional time-consuming fashion; in the part with the four holes, they can be perfectly lined up and since you cannot see two layers down it is potentially an unfair drop; a stray bulletat one point; a chuck that faces the wrong way when you die and restart; you can use koopas against the boo as well as keys). Graphics and colours were nice. (Noteblocks change colour with no other effect.) All in all, an enjoyable play. The boo fight was a bit messy and did not seem up to the standard of the rest of the level.
All three levels today had large Max-Min values because Ryaa and I kept being outliers. I know I just didn't see anything special in NEVERLAND's design for the reasons I listed in my scores, so it's funny to me to think the others felt it was worthy of a mid-20s placement.

----------
Also raocow this is your next :kood: ONE MORE LEVEL WARNING! :kood: Actually it's two warnings in one post.

46th place, "Petroleum Pipeline", is a great level in my opinion, but it has relatively challenging platforming and you might not want to do it as a third level if that's how your videos get to it. A recent playthrough of it for my LP took me about 20 minutes, while I'm fairly sure my judging took about 30.

43rd place, "Dude, Jill", will almost definitely be one level video material. Do not trap yourself into it after playing something else. You may also wish to use savestates because the midpoint for the level is in an amazingly awful place and probably not even worth seeking out because of the level's construction. With savestates and knowledge of the level, my LP's video took over 20 minutes, and in judging it probably took about an hour.

"Dude, Jill" is also morsel's favorite level, if you're interested in calling out Judge Favorites in your videos.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Crank it up

Postby ft029 » 1 week ago

I think Petroleum Pipeland is a "your mileage may vary a lot" level. Having played so many similar kaizo-type levels in ROM hack races, I basically knew what to expect for each obstacle. Based on raocow's experience, I think he could clear it quickly.

"Dude, Jill", though. That one is actually super tough.
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eltiolavara9
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Crank it up

Postby eltiolavara9 » 1 week ago

man my level was kinda lame
i mean like i guess its good for my first entry to a vldc, but i feel like i played it too safe and didnt actually have any gimmick
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Crank it up

Postby Mandew » 1 week ago

eltiolavara9 wrote: man my level was kinda lame
i mean like i guess its good for my first entry to a vldc, but i feel like i played it too safe and didnt actually have any gimmick
I think you did good. While there wasn't any gimmick per se, you did bring uncommon takes on what one can do with the level elements you've worked with. Like, not every level have to be super duper blow-everyone's-mind material. Considering the sheer heat in the competition this year, you did really good to get this far, especially with a first-time entry.
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Crank it up

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

49th, Skyway Sanctum, by Carld923
65.25/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 35/60
Creativity: 17/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 59/100

Comments:
It's kind of strange that you put the hint about spinjumping on enemies after a part of the level where you had to spinjump on enemies, isn't it? Well I'm glad you offered the blue switch palace because there are parts where I would have been infinitely more frustrated without it, especially the spin jumping section after the midpoint. That looked like it would've been hellish to bounce through. But although you offer the switch blocks I can't help but feel like that's not a very elegant solution to the level's design, because if I'd played without them the experience would've been much different--much harder for little reason. If you can mitigate a significant challenge by placing down a couple solid blocks to stand on, was the challenge well-thought out? The level was also very stingy with powerups. I counted two in the whole level not counting the midway bar. For a level with as high a challenge as this one has, I think that's a little mean.

The first half of the level had some ideas with the climbing nets and climbing behind the scenery, plus mixed in some Layer 2 and 1F0 to add challenge to the nets. But after the midpoint the nets and layer 2 basically disappeared in favor of more complicated spinjump plaforming. The Thwimps sliding on 1F0 were an interesting obstacle in the final sections, but it wasn't really enough. By the end, the interesting design had mostly disappeared, with little but simple Thwomp and Grinder setups before the end. A bit of a weak ending to be honest.
Ryaa:
Design: 38/60
Creativity: 25/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 70/100

Review: A lot of levels so far have been having this weird issue where the gimmick is very clear yet it's explained in an unnecessary amount of detail through Message Boxes. The colors here are very nice outside of the color of the 1F0 tiles. Those tiles could have been a different color to make it easy to actually distinguish where they are since the color is so similar to the background palette. The first 1-UP is placed a tadbit too early on which could have been taken out completely. The rest of the first section went reasonably well until the Thwomp above the first falling spike flame. That thwomp is a little hard to see as the scren doesn't completely scroll until you get up there which can disorient players that are jumping up quickly. I believe some sort of coin setup could have been used to indicate that the thwomp was actually there.

In the section with the midpoint, I noticed during my second playthrough that playing the level with activated switch blocks actually made it a bit more inconvenient to play. While in the first and third section, it seems more like the switch blocks didn't really provide anything that was much easier than the original level variant. It would have been nice if the slightly hard to reach areas actually gave you rewards rather than just singular coins and whatnot. Which ties into my switch point as the switches could have been utilized in a way that could have supported the player in getting to these points if they had better rewards.

The platforming in general is something I really like however. It isn't too difficult and even though some editions are a bit random (like the podoboos in section 2), the level wasn't one that I could say I didn't have any fun playing.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 45/60
CREATIVITY| 19/30
AESTHETICS| 8/10
TOTAL | 72/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
lots of blue levels this year

This level makes pretty good use of 1F0. It introduces the gimmick well and
utilizes it a lot throughout the level, mostly through spinjumping challenges. I
like how each dragon coin involves some advanced use of 1F0, especially the last one.

I think what would make this better is if 1F0 is used with some other idea, besides
just spinjumping. Both spinjump bouncing and 1F0 has been used a ton over the
history of SMW hacking.

Nonetheless, the level doesn't do anything wrong and it's pretty well designed.
morsel:
38
15
7
60/100
You have to be very Observant as those blocks are barely visible. At one point I was standing on a pipe and the jumping piranha jumped out, in violation of the conventions of proximity; this is what is called smart sprite loading. Some of the brick ledges are hard to distinguish from the decorative ones. Some situations wee blind (a drop; a thwomp from above).The flame I have to spin on is not introduced very well (there is a pertinent message, but only after this obstacle). I liked the miscellaneous monument gimmick of being behind the net as parts of it were moving (some of the earlier uses of flipping seemed a bit trivial); but even this was a bit pointless as staying behind the net just leads to a power-up. This is another level with thwimps sliding on 1F0. The level was a good length. The spin jumping corridor seemed trickier than other parts of the level. Sometimes you could fall down a long way.
47th (tied), Knuck If You Chuck
65.75/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 43/60
Creativity: 21/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 71/100

Comments:
This level had some interesting ways of working Chucks into "athletic" setups with rotating and floating platforms, as well as using Chuck Rocks and footballs as obstacles. Footballs are less good because they're random, but I was able to maintain fireballs throughout the level so they were a mostly null issue. Some jumps felt semi-blind even with coins just because it was tough to see what you'd be falling onto in certain cases. Visually, parts felt kind of lazy because you heavily relied on cement blocks for platforms. I appreciate that they were two-tone if nothing else. Second section looked better but the background felt empty since it was just a gradient and nothing else.

It was okay and provided a decent challenge, but I couldn't help but feel like it needed a little more to it. I'm not even saying a longer level because it was already a little long. But like it needed something else inside it to really stand out. Maybe I'm looking for a tighter focus on the platforms or Chucks since you pretty much used all the different variations available to you instead of choosing a few that worked well and exploring their uses. It's still not a bad level though.
Ryaa:
Design: 35/60
Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 55/100

Review: There's so many things about this level that shine and so many things that don't. My biggest problem here is the disconnect between all of the features in this level. We're led on to believe that the level will be featuring Chucks in some sort of unique way and that's where the level design fails. The creator here introduced the gimmick of spin jumping off of things when you see blue coins but nothing involving this gimmick was developed any further than the first time you see it.

Moving on to aesthetics. Graphically, I think the aesthetics are beautiful. They're unique and actually make the level very pleasing to look at. The rest of the aesthetic choices such as music don't sit well with me at all outside of the last two parts. It wasn't a smart idea to use Bowser's Road for a happy looking sky area. the song itself is a very specific song that indicates that you're in a final area of sorts and is incredibly unfitting.

The goal of this level seems very unclear to me. The second section has to be my favorite even though the generic and repetitive design was still consistent with the issues I had in the first section. I think that this level would have had a better image if it chose a specific gimmick or two and really honed in on those in order to actually have a flow instead of just a random assortment of whatever the creator could figure out in Lunar Magic.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 51/60
CREATIVITY| 19/30
AESTHETICS| 8/10
TOTAL | 78/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
quicktime player

Great level! The platforming is action-packed, and all of the different kinds of
chucks were used well. The fact that you're moving most of the time really helped
with how well this plays.

I especially enjoyed how the level added complexity with layer 2 falling lands. You
still need to rush, but you also need to deal with moving rocks and slopes. The
podoboos were a nice touch to the quick thinking. I also liked how one area forced
you to deal with 3 chucks.

The last section is nice as well like the last section. I guess this is the part
that could be improved the most since it's similar to the previous section and a
bit samey, but I still had a good time with it.

All in all, very nice job. The design is tight and while it's not the most creative
use of platforms and chucks, I really had a fun time playing it.
morsel:
42
12
6
60/100
I was quite excited at the start of this as the chuck hopped from one block to another--I thought this idea might be developed. Alas, the level was a little more conventional than this (although, in another exciting moment, a chuck ran down and sat on top of a question block). There might have been more elaboration of some of the elements used (rocks, turtle platforms). There was something of a disjoint between what the level looked like at the start and what it looked like at the end. The level was fairly coherent in action, but not in time and place. So much for the dramatic unities.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Crank it up

Postby Kleetus » 1 week ago

The spinning munchers in "SUPER MARIO BROS?" were great and should be standard in all randomly floating muncher spam levels.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Crank it up

Postby Bluster Kerfuffle » 1 week ago

Man both of today's levels were super good but I especially liked the second one. Like it started off cool and creative and it got cooler and more creative every time. I definitely don't have the skill level to play it but I appreciate its construction sooooo much. Super good.

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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Crank it up

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

47th (tied), SUPER MARIO BROS?, by Daizo Dee Von
65.75/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 43/60
Creativity: 19/30
Aesthetics: 5/10

Total: 67/100

Comments:
I appreciated the subversion here, it was pretty neat to just fall through the ground into some weird underworld reality. The level design down there was very strange, but thankfully you had Mega Moles to help out. As far as Mega Mole riding gimmicks goes, these rides were pretty good, requiring you to be active both on and off the mole, clearing paths and keeping up with him as he traveled. The timed lifts were used well to move Mario between segments and climb over obstacles. I liked the falling Goomba section as well, just because it was hinted at with coins. I suppose if I had some complaints to level against the level, it's that it doesn't always look the best at times. The tile transitions and spinning munchers are ok, but could probably look better with a bit of effort. Then again the spinning munchers are there to lend a "weird" vibe to the level so I probably wouldn't actually get rid of them. The midpoint was also a bit early for my liking. I think it should've been placed a couple screens later.

Weird take on a subversion level, but fun enough.
Ryaa:
Design: 39/60
Creativity: 17/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 62/100

Review: What a neat level. For some odd reason, I was expecting it to take a weird turn from the very beginning (the music gave it away) and it was a very nice twist. The usage of the darkness mechanic was such a subtle yet clever twist as it completely changes the atmosphere of the entire level. The platforming itself is mixed between solid and not completely clean. Using Mega Moles is tricky because they have strange hitboxes which makes it a little annoying to land on them at points in the level.

With the aesthetics, I already mentioned that I felt it was very clever to use the darkness gimmick in the way it was used here. Despite this, I'm not a fan at all of the cutoff and aesthetic choices. The ExAnimation and whatnot is very cute though. It adds a lot to the abstract feeling in this level. There is a lot of cutoff through this level which isn't very pleasant to see and even makes some Mega Mole parts act weirdly when they walk on the cutoff tiles.

The platforming through the level isn't too interesting and feels mildly empty at points which isn't that good of a quality with a level that's using the tall horizontal level feature.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 42/60
CREATIVITY| 18/30
AESTHETICS| 9/10
TOTAL | 69/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
where all the pits lead to

Short and sweet. I was actually wanting a bit more especially with how short the
first half is. Both the moles and timed platforms were used well with other enemies
and munchers. In addition, the little ascension sections were cute though a bit
simple.

The level didn't really make any mistakes, but it definitely could have been
longer. Some of these obstacles have more potential than what's presented.

Btw, those level transitions are cool.
morsel:
38
20
7
65/100
This was not badly done. I loved the simple but effective way of handling the graphical transitions. The mole rides feel like generic mole rides. I am not sure the coins at the part with the three vines were sufficient indication (the dirt squares confuse things). That part and some other of the more unusual set-ups might have been developed more. Perhaps you could have incorporated the bonus area which must be under the model level.
46th, Petroleum Pipeland, by KennyJ
66.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 49/60
Creativity: 26/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 81/100

Comments:
I wanted to like this level more than I did by the end, mostly because it has some great ideas but goes a little too hard on the execution and started tiring me out. It was still pretty good overall though. Using Timed Lifts and 1F0 is a fun way to extend their usefulness, plus you can use it to shift the lift downwards as they fall. It felt really good to bounce through obstacles in the first half, deftly avoiding danger and making it to the next safe spot. It changed a bit around Screen 12 towards the much more difficult. Jumps started becoming kind of awkward, either needing really small hops to avoid munchers, or big long ones to clear lava gaps. The lack of powerups started to show as well, as by the end of the level I was really hurting for one. I understand that your challenge to the player is to get there with a mushroom to get the final Yoshi Coin, but that should just be an optional challenge and not affect just getting through the level so much. An extra hit would've been really appreciated. I also felt like the Yoshi jumps at the end were pretty finicky. I had a real hard time getting him to be thrown through the red ? blocks so I could land on him once again.

The level is really creative and the setups with timed lifts and 1F0 are great, but watch out you don't go overboard with difficult setups especially at the end of a lengthy second half.
Ryaa:
Design: 30/60
Creativity: 15/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 51/100

Review: This is one of those things that would be considered "almost kaizo" but it's not too frustrating to deal with. My first thought when entering the level was "I really don't think this music fits", but as I continued on through the level, it makes sense that the creator would use this song specifically.

Moving on to what I feel about the level design. As expected from the music choice and atmosphere, I figured it would most likely end up being 1F0 land which it definitely was. Most of the gimmicks here depend on 1F0 in order to properly function. And while that isn't necessarily a bad thing, it would have been nice to see more variety in the design during the beginning half. Some of the platforming itself is very tight which isn't much fun trying to get right when you're getting adjusted to the way the level works. Throughout the entire level, I can't really say that anything here feels new or exciting to experience.

I will say that this entire level is strangely easier when you're small Mario and that seems very backwards to me.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 41/60
CREATIVITY| 23/30
AESTHETICS| 6/10
TOTAL | 70/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
carefully treading the kaizo line

Usually vanilla contests are no place for kaizo and kaizo lite levels. For me, this
one nearly crosses that line, but it's doable.

To be honest, I enjoyed the challenge and movements the player has to pull off. Some
of the platforming and enemy bounces are quite creative, others look ridiculous like
the triple number platform at the end. But the level does provide a mushroom at
least, so it's not straight up unforgiving. The only bad design remarks I can make
are that this is not doable on your first try and that it's too precise at a few
points.

A kaizo-leaning level does not mean a bad level. I'm fine with something like this
as long the design is creative, surmountable, and fun.
morsel:
40
15
7
62/100
Generic kaizo (in spirit, not in letter) visits the vanilla contest. Blue coins indicating spin jumps; yoshi ditching; ultra star number platforms ; sprites frozen on 1F0. There is nothing wrong with this in itself; it is just that I feel I have seen a hundred things like this recently. Shell-jumpers may collect a moon.
I didn't think Pipeland would be too bad overall, and it went about as well as I expected for you. I just gave the warning in case you got to the level as the third one in a recording session, since its more challenging nature had the potential to take a while.

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Daizo
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Location: The Underworld

Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Crank it up

Postby Daizo » 1 week ago

So yeah I guess fun fact: "SUPER MARIO BROS." was the level I made straight after finishing with JUMP 1/2 since those levels I had to make under a lot of guidelines. It was a stage where I just let lose and made a level that is more "hey look at my madness" while still making it interesting. I also challenged myself to never use any sublevels, which made things interesting design wise (and it also explains why it's so short: every part of this one level was used).

I also loved the trolling I've pulled with my level thread where I had posted next to no context about the level until the preview.
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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FPzero
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Posts: 453
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Crank it up

Postby FPzero » 1 week ago

45th, Crevice Climb, by Steven
66.50/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 44/60
Creativity: 21/30
Aesthetics: 6/10

Total: 71/100

Comments:
I think the first half of the level was stronger than the second, by virtue of it being mostly platforming stuff. The puzzles in the second half weren't bad, just a bit less focused on platforming and I happened to prefer the platforming in this instance. Plus, you locked away the only powerup in the second half behind a P-Switch puzzle that I couldn't even do because I couldn't figure out how to safely get the P-Switch in the first place. While I'm listing complaints, I did notice that one of the brown platforms critical to proceed in the second half didn't spawn once, and I couldn't continue. Lastly, I think that little intro in the forest was completely unnecessary because there was absolutely nothing in it other than a powerup and a few screens of empty terrain.

But once we get beyond these complaints, the actual vertical climbing in the level was pretty good. Shifting between being on the platforms and having to jump off them in the first half was a great idea executed well, and it felt tricky without being too hard. I wish you'd done a little more with the first half's ideas in the second half, instead of veering more into a variety of different line guided puzzles, but overall this was a solid enough vertical level.
Ryaa:
Design: 38/60
Creativity: 22/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 67/100

Review:

I think that this level is fairly solid. It's not the best but it's nowhere near bad for sure. I was a tadbit confused with how the first section was so empty and spacious. It appears that it sets the atmosphere but it feels a bit too empty to me. Seeing the aesthetics was pretty cool in this section though. I'm just thinking that it would have been cool to sort of introduce the line guide mechanic in this section with a basic setup to help the player understand that they would be using the lineguides to work through the level.

The level itself was pretty much average fun at best. Like I said earlier, nothing about the level was bad or anything. Some setups felt a bit too low in space which is funny considering what I said about the first section. The first obstacle involves you getting a Koopa shell from one of the two Red Koopas. This is a decent setup but having something that could be so easily messed up due to the low space probably isn't something that should be there without a reset door or a different setup maybe.

The rest of the level was pretty alright but nothing was necessarily challenging. The portion before the end where you had to hit a block to get a shell in order to kill 2 Red Gate Koopas was a bit awkward to work with since the line guide sprite that leads you to this area can despawn at points. I think putting the block in a more reachable spot may have made this a little less weird to deal with at points.

The last section where the setting suddenly shifts to night was way too sudden. I think having a nice little setup to try and get a high star count on the goal tape would have worked really well here. The level itself needs some work but I believe it's on the right track.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 43/60
CREATIVITY| 17/30
AESTHETICS| 8/10
TOTAL | 68/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
mechanical mock mlimbing

Mostly solid level. There are some neat challenging obstacles with the line guided
platforms and saws, and even a few puzzles. The dragon coins provide additional
difficulty too, and are well placed.

I think the hammer bro near the beginning plus the chuck is a bit overwhelming. I
also managed to make a dragon coin despawn somehow (the one near the midpoint), as
I was able to get the p-switch and wonder why nothing was behind the brown blocks.
The go-behind-the-net portion of the level was unnecessary.

Anyway, I found this to be a kind of fun level with some simply designed line guide
shenanigans.
morsel:
40
13
7
60/100
A nice clean looking level that mixes tilesets in an inoffensive manner (I start by saying this as the depopulated introductory screens seem to insist upon the player remarking on it). The level is generally pleasant to play. Sometimes you may miss a jump and fall and be unable to progress or reset. There are some sprites that are easy to despawn, either coming at them from below, or as they move off to the sides. Again, resetting some of these may not be feasible or even possible. The platforms move right when they land on a line, and there was a part with a moving saw that almost assumes that knowledge, a bit out of keeping with the rest of the level (that part also feels tight even if you know what is going to happen). After hitting a p-switch, there are coins that will be solid 9impeding player movement). There is a one-tile net which is awkward to grab in itself, doubly so since it is against a wall. At one point, a hard-to-get p-switch and some babysitting rewards you with...a mushroom. Green springs are not green springs.
44th, G.U.C Plains, by toad64
67.00/100.00 points
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 39/60
Creativity: 18/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 64/100

Comments:
I replayed the level a second time when it became clear that it basically had two completely different paths to take depending on if you're going for Yoshi Coins. And while I appreciate that you attempted a more exploratory level, you really should've given the player the full 500 seconds instead of 400. For reference, I got all the Yoshi Coins and finished with 33 seconds left. When I skipped those paths and went straight to the goal I got there with about 230 seconds left. This also means that for the most part, there's no reason to go on the non-yoshi coins paths because they're mostly uninteresting and don't visit the cave at all. Seriously, if you skip the yoshi coins this level becomes really short. I feel like the level would've been stronger overall if you'd abandoned the multiple paths idea and just make the main path the yoshi coin path, give the player 500 seconds, and spent your time polishing one path instead of two. As it stands now, this level gains little from having the split paths.

All that said, I did enjoy the cave spelunking for Yoshi Coins. I think those sections were pretty strong and they looked nice. It seems like you put the most time and effort into their designs. Only thing I disliked was the falling coin trail in the second cave just doesn't work out well because there's no time to react to the swerving the coins do. It doesn't matter where you land, but the coins can mislead away from the ? block partway down because you can't fall left and right fast enough.
Ryaa:
Design: 48/60
Creativity: 28/30
Aesthetics: 9/10

Total: 85/100

Review: Another level where the aesthetics and level design are about even. I love the idea of having paths that are not only non-linear, but also give a varying amount of challenge depending on if you decide to take the harder path or not. I appreciate that the signs are used to differentiate which paths will take you to a separate route. Though I will say that there wasn't much going on at all in the easier path in the castle which was a bit of a disappointment. The one issue I really had though is with the amount of detours that you can accidentally come across. The first underground section can be a bit confusing as the intended exit actually functions as an entrance back to the area. I'm unsure if this ewas intended considering both the entrance and exit pipes do this. The other detours I have a small issue are the single coin blocks mini-areas where it seems more like a powerup would fit better if placed in these types of areas.

I think that even though there are some points where I definitely questioned why some things were designed the way they were (and still do in a way), this level is pretty neat and follows the exploration concept in a very unique way.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 41/60
CREATIVITY| 15/30
AESTHETICS| 9/10
TOTAL | 65/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
wth is underground plains and castle plains

A pretty nice level structured around branching paths. The lower paths tended to be
more difficult and interesting, but contain dragon coins. The upper paths appear to
be more typical levels and are quite easy. These are good design choices, but it
ends up feeling like 2 levels in 1.

There isn't much wrong with the level. Everything felt fair and doable, except for
one setup with the winged platform and ball and chain. Where it falls short is in
creativity and interesting elements; if the level was solely the top half, it would
not fair well. If it was solely the bottom half, it would do a bit better, but it
isn't amazing. I like the platforming and gameplay down there such as the diagonal
podoboo section.

All in all, I appreciate giving the player choices and the design is pretty decent.
morsel:
40
10
4
54/100
The level was very miscellaneous, to no good effect. If it had tried a smaller canvas, it might have done better. I think the message is saying that if I ever see two arrow signs, dragon coins will be found by following the lower one. I could jump over a wall at one point and land in the dirt (and at another place). I could bring buzzy to a place for which he was not intended. I liked the part with the grey platforms and the reflectors (although you can just jump to the blocks and ignore what is happening). The palettes look a bit washed out. The background effect at the lava is clunky. Sometimes pipes are two-way and sometimes not. I ran up a wall and a goomba fell down and hurt me.
Not sure what Ryaa saw in G.U.C plains even after re-reading his comments, but that's how it goes some times.

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Leet
Well, hello, Smith ( ´-`)ノ
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Crank it up

Postby Leet » 1 week ago

I Hope I Win count: 3
Well it is a decent hack but sometime its just too repetitif there no level that actually pop in your face and your like oh yeah that level they all ressemble themselves and just monster along the way.
Blood Ghoul wrote:Sometimes it seems my blood spurts out in gobs, as if it were a fountain's pulsing sobs. I clearly hear it mutter as it goes yet cannot find the wound from which it flows. Before I met you, baby, I didn't know what I was missing.

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Grounder
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Today, Twice

Postby Grounder » 6 days ago

Please don't submit your Kaizo level to a non-Kaizo contest, no matter how good it might be.

I'm guessing this level was carried by someone...
Why don't you eat me?

I am perfectly tasty...

AND I'LL STEAL YOUR SOUL! :twisted:

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S.N.N.
Posts: 501
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Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Today, Twice

Postby S.N.N. » 6 days ago

If the entire midpoint path got taken out (seriously?), and the layer 2 platforms weren’t so broken, this would have probably been a top 10 contender. There were a ton of fascinating ideas here, but unfortunately, the whole level felt held together by string and masking tape.

Also, apparently when you have to drop the springboard on the Munchers, there’s an indicator on their position just to the left, so it isn’t actually blind timing. Super cool.

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FPzero
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Posts: 453
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Re: Vanilla Level Design Contest 11 -- Today, Twice

Postby FPzero » 6 days ago

43rd, Dude, Jill, by ToxicRave
67.25/100.00 points (morsel's favorite level)
Scores:
FPzero:
Design: 19/60
Creativity: 23/30
Aesthetics: 7/10

Total: 49/100

Comments:
At first I was going to strike points for this level not having a midpoint. But I looked in Lunar Magic and found that there is one, it's just at the end of a path that's hard enough I may as well not even bother going for it. Seriously, it's not cool that you hid the midpoint behind an unnecessarily difficult optional path. It's also not cool that you decided the best time to introduce instant kill setups a couple minutes into the level, so you had to constantly go back through all the opening bits over and over again. I gave myself my own midpoint at the final section because it's just not reasonable to expect the player to do all of this without a proper midpoint. And remember, I didn't learn about the midpoint's existence until after the fact. I did enter the path it's at the end of, but after dying in it a couple times, I remembered that the first optional path I discovered had nothing but a Yoshi Coin at the end, so I assumed a similar case here and just kept going on the main path. If you'd skipped the optional path for the midpoint entirely and just put it right where the player can see it, this level would have been a little more bearable.

Just a little though, because everything after the midpoint is so weird and carries the spectre of instant death as you phase through platforms that smash too fast for Mario to even track that he's standing on something. And then all the lava swimming with the Lakitu constantly throwing Spinies upwards? The only reason I was able to get through it was because I managed to bring a throw block with me through the pipe and could drop it on his head for a brief reprieve from Spiny tossing. The ideas here are interesting but the execution is just unfair. And to have to die and go back to the map and restart every single time when death is so common just starts wearing on the player.

I wish the level had mostly been a longer exploration of the first segment because that was interesting and tightly designed. It felt very fair because you could learn the patterns of how the Pipe Lakitus threw their Spinies in relation to the water and the Layer 2. There was no instant death, and it was actually a fun section to play. Things got weirder when you started messing with the fast smasher because it's just so annoying to have to deal with for platforming purposes, lava or not.

This level is just...lots of creative ideas, but poor execution for the average player and for this contest. This level doesn't necessarily feel like it'd fit proper Kaizo, but it would probably be a lot more at home in a KLDC.
Ryaa:
Design: 40/60
Creativity: 24/30
Aesthetics: 8/10

Total: 72/100

Review:

Yet another weird one. I think that the scenery and everything looks pretty great and unique and definitely fits what the creator seems to have been going for.

With the actual level design, I'm very 50/50 on it because it's not fun at all to get used to and only slightly lost that unfun feeling after I played the level around twice more. The first portion was really fun but I didn't like the part before the pipe at all. It's not necessarily hard but using the fast layer 2 smash in a tight setting like really makes it difficult for a player to have an easier time getting used to what they are supposed to do and when they are supposed to do it. I think it would have been cool to implement the slim ceiling opens that are near the end of the level in this portion as some sort of an introduction to dealing with that later on.

The section with the trampoline confused me a lot. Not exactly sure why the creator decided to used this type of setup that can either be really easy to mess up. With the way the rest of the level is set up, I'm a bit confused on why th level didn't just include the section building up to the midpoint after that pipe and just give the player a new trampoline to use or something right after a midpoint. The next part is pretty solid and probably my favorite part. Going back and forth between the tiles isn't hard to catch on to at all even though it can be very finnicky a lot of the time. Playing through the rest of the level was much more of a breather and very fun compared to the first half though.
FrozenQuills:
-------------------
DESIGN | 20/60
CREATIVITY| 30/30
AESTHETICS| 9/10
TOTAL | 59/100
-------------------

COMMENTS:
feels like matterhorn 2

The beginning area looks so promising, but then the difficulty went from 0 to 100.
Yeah, there's ridiculous amounts of creativity with layer 2 and enemy setups.
But it's too hard not because of length or kaizo-ness, but because of how unforgiving
the level is, especially when the penalty of messing up a timing is instant death
with the layer 2 juggling over lava. No amount of mushrooms can really help in that
area nor in the swimming parts near the end.

I do like a few of the design choices though, considering some of the progressive
setups, secret paths, dragon coins, and how the midway point makes it so you don't
have to do the beginning repeatedly (?). But this is unfitting for a vanilla contest
where all sorts of players play these levels; it's a very brutal level that will
take a lot of deaths to figure out, at least in my experience.

I can already tell that pro SMW players will adore this though.
morsel:
53
27
9
89/100
This was the first level I played. The theme of this one might be called 'active waiting': Wait for layer 2, moving pipes or bowser flame walls while doing jumps and dodging stuff. There is still some actual waiting (i.e. just standing still) in parts. The level started very generously: You can go slowly, observe things carefully (e.g. that lakitu throws left), and retry obstacles easily. I think having instant death lava as punishment before you get a checkpoint is probably a mistake as the level starts to feel unbalanced the more you replay the beginning. That checkpoint is also hidden, in a sense, as it is on one of two equally unappetising paths, and I am not sure that arrow was sufficient indication. The level isexciting to play when you know how it works, even though I felt there were some awkwardnesses (some of the respawning bowser flames felt chaotic or forced waiting; the level felt easier while small (because of the extra head-room)--I ended up skipping some mushrooms). I enjoyed the 'puzzle' blue coins that had various meanings. Small breaks: you can swim in upside down lava; you can go under the line of fuzzies after the midpoint; you can kill lakitu with the throw block taken through the pipe. Having played it again after playing everything else, this is definitely the hardest proper, non-kaizo level in the contest. I appreciate how it engages the player's creativity in solving its problems (although it is another level that is much more re-playable than playable, in my opinion). Kudos for taking some risks. It was one of my favourites and I shall replay it now and again.
This level had a Max-Min of 40. I gave it my 49/100 because I just felt that the level's difficulty was unreasonable for a vanilla contest, and that the idea itself barely worked. Fast smash Layer 2 platforming feels awful to navigate, because you basically have no time to react to its movements. If there wasn't the constant threat of instant death and restarting the whole thing at the slightest mistake, I could see someone trying to make a better level out of it. But as it was I really disliked this level for being too janky to be fun. The very first section with lakitus throwing water in slower falling layer 2 was an interesting idea that gets abandoned until the very end, when it's introduced with the moving lakitu and fast smash lava. In that setup it's extremely frustrating because it adds an element of randomness to what's already a very difficult section. The midpoint's position on an optional, separately difficult path is a bafflingly poor design decision to me, because had it been on the main path I would have maybe given the level a better chance without savestates. But as it was, I could not beat the level without them. It's too much of a gauntlet, and without modern Kaizo retry systems it's just not a fair thing to ask of all players.

I don't feel like it should have scored as high as it did but that's how judging averages go.


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