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The Other 100 Tiles Developer's Commentary, Part 4 (Levels 31-40)

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ajmiam

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Level 31

"Creepy Crawly"

A level I made primarily for the "whaaaaaaaaat?" factor.  It looks ridiculous at first glance, and then you realize the monsters are circling invisible walls and it's just a small maze.  Even if I'd wanted to make it much bigger, I couldn't have, since you can only have 127 moving monsters in a level in MS mode, and the level currently contains 112.

Level 32

"Goin' For a Walk"

This is basically the obligatory walker level of the set, made at JB's request late in the set's production because I didn't have (m)any walkers levels yet.  (I can't recall if I made this before or after Level 73.)  That's about all there is to it.  I definitely like the other walker level in the set more.

Level 33

"Corresponding"

A puzzle where, as the hint says, you have to figure out which block corresponds with each water space, and there's only one correct set of pairings.  I think it turned out decently but wish it were a little harder.  (For a few of the blocks, it's very obvious that they can only go in a particular place, which significantly narrows down the rest.)

Level 34

"Pursued By Shadows"

There are plenty of monster-dodging levels where you can lure the monsters to their deaths, but not so many where you can send them away only temporarily...hence, this level!  All the teleports in the play area are only enterable from the left or top to ensure that no Teeth will unexpectedly pop out of them at you, and the two Teeth trapped in the top-left corner of the level ensure that you can't use the teleports yourself to escape.  This is one of my favorite levels from this decade.

In an old version (released in the 33-level preview) I had an opening at (11, 13) instead of (10, 14), which caused Teeth to repeatedly move left along row 12 and drop into the spiral, meaning you'd have to lure them alllllll the way around again and again until the coast was clear.  Ugh.  I'm so glad I changed that for the 63-level preview and the final version.

As far as the title goes, JB insisted that I use proper titling conventions and make the "By" lowercase, but I thought the title would stand out more if the "By" was capital, so I overruled him. :P  I'm not sure where I originally heard the phrase, or if I just made it up.  It is a book title and a card in a collectible card game, but I hadn't heard of either of them until I did a Google search just a few minutes ago.

Level 35

"The Incredibly Safe Maze"

Another really silly "whaaaaaaaat?" level, and another way to use invisible walls without a ton of guesswork.  There are monsters, but the maze is safe, so they must be held back by invisible walls...hence you can watch them to find your way through the maze!  The name might have been inspired by the (very friendly and safe) "Incredibly Deadly Viper" from Book 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  Hmm, maybe I should have called this "The Incredibly Deadly Maze".  :P

Level 36

"Infernal Cell"

A throwback to the four "Cell" levels from Po100T, but instead of force floors between each cell, the monster flows act as 1-way passages within some of the cells.  The gliders and water in the top-right are just there to give the level a bit of visual variety.  The center of the level could be though of as one big cell, but if you treat the socket and exit as walls, it's 4 cells arranged in a 2x2 pattern, which gives the level 36 cells as its level number would suggest.

Level 37

"Tanks, Toggles, Traps"

This was one of the very last levels I designed for this set, kind of as a hole-filler.  The puzzles were designed mostly by playing with different configurations of tanks and toggle walls and seeing how they could be manipulated, and I'm pretty pleased with how the first couple turned out.  However, I couldn't think of too many ways to make them more complicated, so I called it quits after a very easy 3rd puzzle and a 4th puzzle that's very similar to the first 2.  The wall pattern has an interesting aesthetic, where I intentionally made the outer walls a mostly continuous path with no squares, crosses, or diagonal-only connections, and only a single "T"-shape.  Also, unlike most levels, the title took me a little while to decide after I'd finished building it; in the end I went with simple alliteration.

Level 38

"Patterns"

"Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge" inspired me to make this dodging-themed level, as that game had plenty of neat-looking patterns of enemies to dodge--stuff a bit more intricate than "back and forth in a straight line" or "around and around in a rectangle".  For instance, in the video below, look at the section with the oncoming enemies after the slide down the curvy vine, and compare that to the fireball-cloning section in the top-left of Patterns.  It's a little different (3 paths vs 2) but both sections have zigzagging oncoming monsters to dodge.  Anyway, that was one of the concepts I started with...the other was the idea for the bug-and-paramecia section in the bottom-center which I didn't actually know was solvable until I built and tried it.  ("Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy" from CCLP4 has a similar looking section, which may be coincidence, since I didn't play it before designing this level.) 

I knew some rooms would be harder than others, with the bottom-left and bottom-center probably being the hardest, which is why I let you visit the rooms in any order and skip up to 12 chips (just enough to skip those two rooms, or certain other combinations of rooms).  It's possible the level is harder than I intended, even with the ability to skip chips.

"Patterns" may not be all that popular, but it's one of my personal favorite levels from the set.  I ended up liking the northeast enough to build Level 44, which is fully dedicated to the concept of avoiding monster "snakes" in mazes.

Level 39

"Block Unpuzzle"

(CCLP4 Level 62)

First of all, let me say that I'm super happily surprised by how popular this level is!  It was my highest-voted level in CCLP4.  Anyway, my first idea was a reverse sokoban where all the trap buttons are initially held down and you need to UNcover all of them.  But then I thought it would be more interesting if you had to do both parts--the covering and then the uncovering.  The placement of the blocks and buttons was pretty much arbitrary.  All I did was make sure there were no 2x2 squares of blocks (for obvious reasons) and no 2x2 squares of buttons (since then you'd be unable to move those blocks for Phase 2) and that I didn't surround all 8 squares next to the center thieves with the same type of tile (block or button).  I ended up with this setup, tested it, and found it to be possible and moderately challenging, so I kept it.  It was a little bit trickier to design the mechanism that would enforce the two phases of the puzzles.  I was working on something involving a column of traps, a column of bombs, and spamming cloned fireballs horizontally after the first phase, but then realized that constantly-flipping-tanks and traps would be a simpler, more elegant solution.

Level 40

"Pneumatic Diversity Vents"

(CCLP4 Level 63)

This level is based on the concept of force-floor-and-ice slides that take you from one section to another.  It's named and inspired by a feature in Portal 2 shown in the video below.  (It was originally intended to show up in test chambers, but in the final game only appears once, as a means of travel about midway through the game.)  I like the block puzzle at the beginning, because it's the first instance I can think of where you have to get 2 blocks out of your way by "storing" them in a single space (fill in water, then pack down the dirt and put another block on that space).

I think this is the best-placed of the secret hints.  It plays off the CCLP3 trope of "don't pick up any items right away because you might need them to deflect monsters".  I definitely didn't want to have this level be cooked if you picked up those chips because that would be pretty mean when the previous levels in this set don't require you to be so paranoid about taking items.  However, the fact that you don't have to be paranoid to solve the level, but do in order to get the secret hint, makes the secret hint a lot less obvious than if you had to be paranoid to do both!  Plus, once you do figure out the secret hint, it's nice that you don't have to redo the whole level...just enough to reach it.

 

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