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Future Community Sets

M11k4

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CCLP1 is old news. A cry goes out in the night: What next?!! It's good for us as a community to produce something together. Granted, it is not easy to work together, but so far the sets that have resulted from community collaboration have been well worth the effort. So what is the next project we should embark on together? Below are a few options.

 

CCLP2 Lynx

So this project is nearing its end, as the release date has been announced as August 9th. Fortunately, there are still things you can do to contribute. Stay tuned for more info upon release!

 

CCLP4

This is the next natural set to work on as a community. However, when it will become a reality and in what form has yet to be decided. There are some who would like to get it started straight away, while others would gladly wait years before doing so. One side of the argument is that we already have tons of decent levels that just were not right for CCLP1 but could go in this set, while the other side is saying that we don't have enough new levels since the release of CCLP1 for this project to be useful just yet. Perhaps some of the staff members of CCLP1 (and CCLP3) are just worn out by the previous process, while some others are eager to be part of something communal. In the end, at this time, it is hard to say what the right next step is, as a common understanding of what goals this set should be are yet to be discussed. Is there a way for invalid tiles to make an appearance? When should the staff be assembled? Will there be teeth on level #123?? I believe these things will sort themselves out and this set will eventually happen, but it is possible some of these other ideas in this post will be finished earlier.

 

Veteran Pack

Another direction to go after CCLP1 is to make a set for experienced players. The exact difficulty of the levels in the set is not set in stone, but it could match the hardest ones from CCLP3. Having this set would open up CCLP4 to be easier, while still finding something for the audience who cares for difficult puzzles. I think this set would work with as few as a dozen levels. It could have a sequel every two or three years. I also imagine that there could be a ban on releasing solutions to the levels, so that solving the set would really be a challenge and a badge of honor. A major issue that should be addressed as soon as possible would be to settle upon a good name for this set. It should be succinct, different from CCLPn, and still be immediately descriptive. Post your suggestions below!

 

CCLP3 for dummies

This is a fun idea that I like a lot. The concept is to take a bunch of high concept levels, break down the key concepts and build them up again into something that a beginner could solve. In other words, take each level of CCLP3 and dumb it down. I think the key for this project to work would be to act more as a homage to CCLP3 by people who love that set, rather than just making fun of how difficult it is overall. It's hard to say if this will ever happen, but it would be fun to see a few levels designed in this vein. This is also another project where we could experiment with a different way to compile a community made set other than just voting from a large pool of candidates.

 

CCZone-1

Over the years many levels have been made for the competitions here at CC Zone. I feel many great levels in those competitions are sadly soon forgotten. They are of course still available in the collected sets, but the presentation there is different from normal. Those collections do not provide a narrative or a difficulty curve, as they just lump together levels mostly chronologically. On the positive side, we now have the option to take a look at those levels again and try to see when we would have a critical mass of levels needed to build a new set from them. I imagine that point has not yet been reached, but perhaps soon we could attempt to select about 50 levels and create something cool. Stay tuned, and keep submitting your creations to the competitions! Remember, you can also try to make a Time Trial or Treasure Hunt level, and someone on the staff can use your level in a competition.

 

Secret Project

I can't say much about this one. If you want to be part of it, just hope you are in the right place at the right time. Deadline for this thing is way, way in the future, so don't expect it and it might just manage to surprise you. (Okay, a short hint: tentacle cornea)

 

CCLP0

So by almost all fronts, CCLP1 was a success. I think a lot of this had to do with two things. First, the set had a clear goal in mind, and everyone knew what it was. Second, the set went back to the basics and emphasized the core of what is Chip's Challenge. Is the correct next step for us as a community to make an extra difficult CCLP4 after this success? I don't think so. Either CCLP4 has to be much easier than CCLP3, or else we need to make something else first. The name of this set hints at the idea that it would be even simpler than CCLP1. Or it could just be at the same difficulty level, but in an alternate universe. The point is that we still have a decent name to use for another set full of simple levels. So don't be afraid to make more fun and easy levels!

 

Something Completely Different

I am by no means a master of knowing how the wind turns, so I don't pretend to know how the community feels in five years, or what the next community project should really be. Perhaps someone already has a collaboration in the works that I have no idea about. What project would you like to see happen? How do you think we should keep compiling new sets for others to play? I feel that the way to make the next sets we produce together great, is to have some good discussion about them as well as some hard work. Talk more! And then go grab a friend and start experimenting with ideas for what would make you happy. Let's see what we all come up with!

 

-Miika



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I do like the CCLP3 for Dummies idea.  Imagine learning how to do Avalanche as a set of five or six levels.  And how many Old Frog tutorials you could make! 

 

But it's not like I have time to do them.

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"I am by no means a master of knowing how the wind turns, so I don't pretend to know how the community feels in five years, or what the next community project should really be."

 

Thanks, Miika. This pretty much sums up my feelings on all of this. I think it all comes down to understanding the audience. I remember a time about ten years ago when the community was generally more concerned about locating and exploiting as many bugs in MSCC as humanly possible after the release of the MS-only, invalid-tile-laden CCLP2, with levels aplenty demonstrating these obscure behaviors until the search was exhausted. I don't think anyone really expected the surge of interest in Lynx play that followed CCLP3's release, but that sort of shift in focus seems to happen when a new official set is released, and the makeup of the community is changed over the years. Will CCLP1's release inspire easier, more manageable levels, at least when compared to CCLP3's? I don't know. In some ways, I hope so. New custom sets like JoshL5, The Other 100 Tiles, and the like seem to be already heading in this direction for the most part.

 

But this is why I'm not eager to dive head-first into a project like CCLP4. At least not yet. We don't know what kind of levels will be released and submitted for it, especially after CCLP1's release, nor do we know what people will be around to contribute to it. Anything can change, particularly with respect to community preferences after a new official set is released. People will come. People will go. Perhaps we'll reach a point where we can determine what characteristics permeate the general trends in level design and decide the kind of set that best represents what these levels offer, but I don't think that time is now.

 

Personally, I believe that the CCLP series's target audience, at least generally speaking, will always include the folks who don't have time to play the game day in and day out and would rather taste the best the community has to offer instead of every custom level set in existence. We test and vote on these levels so they don't have to. It's for this reason that after CCLP3's release, I've come to the conclusion that CCLPs should not include obscenely difficult levels, even if they may feel like a walk in the park to us veterans who spend a lot of time playing custom levels. My honest opinion: CCLP4 and beyond should remain at around CCLP2's difficulty level.

 

A few thoughts on some of the other ideas here:

 

Veteran Pack: Love the concept. Don't know what to call it, but a smaller set outside the CCLP series that highlights the most deserving extra-difficult levels would be fun for a certain audience. CCVP, maybe? 

 

CCLP3 for dummies: I remember in your thoughts about "Old Frog," you mentioned that each of the rooms could easily be its own level. This set could do something similar: break entire maps down into simpler versions, much like the Mission: Possible and Mission: Impossible levels in DanielB2, and provide easier "excerpts" from long campaign levels.

 

CCZone-1: Another stellar idea. Like you said, it should probably wait a few more years, but it could definitely work. I think we would need to have a few more competitions encouraging easier (not necessarily smaller) levels and levels that utilize only a handful of game elements, though. Perhaps we should also make sure that competitions based on a template are represented only by the winning level.

 

CCLP0: This one really intrigues me - for two reasons. During CCLP1 voting, I noticed that a lot of extremely simple levels that seemed like they would've been ideal for very, very early positions in the set were quite heavily voted down. Because of this and the much greater amount and variety of more difficult levels that were voted highly, this very simple difficulty tier wasn't quite as well-represented in the set. Perhaps a lot of voters found the levels pointless or "filler," which is understandable. But to a newcomer who has never seen the game, I don't think this would be the case if the level was well-designed and allowed them to play around with concepts taught in the tutorials. The good news is that at least for the most part, the difficulty curve of CCLP1 is fairly comparable to that of CC1.

 

However, I keep coming back to the war stories told by CC1 players during the early days of Richard Field's CC site and Alice Voith's Chips Plus site. I mean, Richard's solution guide thanked other people for providing him with solutions to levels like Block N Roll and I.C. You! It was a monster challenge for the uninitiated. Thankfully, CCLP1 has resolved a lot of the annoyances, like extremely long block-pushing levels, but a set that's even gentler serving as an introduction to the game might not be such a bad idea. I know I've decried Chuck's Challenge for being far too easy with its tiny, contained levels, but that's mainly because it was positioned on Kickstarter and elsewhere as a "spiritual successor" to Chip's Challenge, in which case it has fallen quite short in a few areas. But the easiness of the game has reportedly been difficult for its newcomers. From that perspective, I can understand why its learning curve has been as gentle as it's been (and hope that more difficult challenges are on the way). A similar set for CC that caps off the difficulty at 3.5 out of a scale of 5 wouldn't be so bad, though I'd hope for greater variety with respect to size and playing length.

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Wow, thanks J.B. for sharing your reaction and thoughts. There's something there for everyone to digest, I'm sure. Will have to read it again in the morning to allow everything to sink in properly. For example, I hadn't thought of there being an audience for CC that might enjoy the game for years to come but only really check out these major releases in the CCLP series. For any of these projects, understanding the audience really will make a better set.

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