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Pit of 100 Tiles Developer's Commentary, part 5 (Levels 41-50)



Level 41

"Constant Vigilance!"



This level's based off of Mad-Eye Moody's catchphrase from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" Thus, I included plenty of booby traps in this level that'll kill you if you're not careful, but they're all visible. The ball hallway that leads to the exit can be seen from the start, for example. I was quite pleased with the part where you have to push the blocks onto the fire/keys and later collect the keys from the other side...it was a nice way to use hot blocks without making them about lucky guessing.


The area with the bugs and paramecia going around those 3x3 rooms was inspired by the episode of Rock's CCLP2 LP where he plays through Loop Holes and gets killed by one of the monsters that's circling the chip (when all but two of the monsters in the level were circling the outside of their rooms instead). I changed things a bit, staggering the monsters so that the chip that the bugs are circling is completely impossible to pick up in MS. Unfortunately, it's possible to pick it up in Lynx with very good timing. At least none of the other chips in the level are particularly hard to get, so it doesn't skip a major challenge.




Level 42

"Life, the Universe, and Everything"



With a level number like this, who can pass up a Hitchhiker's Guide reference? Not me! I didn't have too much of a plan for making this level other than that I wanted to use every (valid) tile type at least once (not counting different directions separately), and I did succeed at that plan. I pretty much just started with the pool of water and the Teeth in the beginning room and went from there. The toggle wall maze (where walls and floor swap almost completely) was inspired by similar mazes in levels like A Walk in the Park, Jumble, Every Trick in the Book, and Shattered from CCLP3. Also, making it so you could get suction boots before tackling much of the force floor section was intentional.


I didn't really know what to do with the hint tile in this level, so I decided to use it and the thief to introduce the "boot disposal" concept (where you have to get rid of your boots so they don't slow you down on a sliding path, such as the ice at the exit). I didn't plan to use the concept very much during the rest of the set, but it did help to prepare the player for part of a level very close to the end....


In Po100T's first version, this level had one of the silliest busts I'd ever made. I accidentally put a gravel tile in place of a wall tile at (7, 2), meaning anyone could grab the fire boots without the skates, and by extension, without the chips. What's extra silly is that it took nearly a month for anyone to find it after the set was released!




Level 43




I've been a chess player since about 2nd grade, so that's the inspiration for this title. The theme was supposed to be situations where it looks like Chip is doomed to get trapped by monsters, but there's an easy-to-overlook way to escape. The beginning section, in particular, is similar to a "back-rank mate" (where the losing king is on the rank closest to where his player is sitting, is checked by a queen or rook from the side, and can't move forward because his own pawns are in the way), only here it's blue walls instead of pawns, and there's a way out.


This level seems to be a bit unpopular, and I can understand why. Many of the ways out of the situations are extremely easy to overlook, especially the safe spot to hide from the stream of cloning fireballs while waiting for the toggle doors to open. It didn't help that the way the doors were placed made it look like they would open in time for the player to avoid the fireballs, when in fact they would not. (I put them there so that they'd open while the player was standing in the safe spot, thus notifying the player that things were happening behind the scenes and they weren't stuck.) The tank blocking the exit is also a nasty trick, though I thought it wouldn't be so bad since the level's short and if you cook the level that way, the reason why (and what to do about it) is visible from right there.


Funnily, it took over a year and 8 updated versions before anyone realized that this level's chip count was set to 0 instead of 2, which I then quickly fixed. Given how easy the chips are to get and how early they are in the level, I don't think it made much of a difference :P




Level 44

"Secret Passages"

(CCLP1 Level 78!)



For some reason I always liked secret passages in books and movies, especially the Hardy Boys detective stories. So I decided to translate the idea of a secret passage to CC. Blue walls for the rooms and hidden walls for the passages seemed a natural fit. Note that I don't require you to find every secret passage to complete the level, but you do have to use at least some of them to save keys and others to get chips that are in secret rooms inaccessible from the main hallways. There are a few extra keys; I know it's possible to finish with at least 2 red and 3 blue keys left over.


There's a subtle hint in this level. (I've always been a fan of subtle hints.) The number of chips in each room is equal to the number of ways out of the room (visible and secret hallways combined). I hoped that the hint tile would sort of give this away, given that it uses the word "Chip", but wouldn't be too obvious since it's placed to look like a thief talking to Chip the player. How many people noticed the chip/hallways correlation?




Level 45

"Periodic Lasers"



There's not a lot to say about this level, except that since there was constant clicking due to all the cloning, I couldn't use a "warning click" to tell the player to switch sides, so I had to use the timer instead--every 20 seconds, the fireballs switch sides. I don't think I've seen more than maybe one or two other levels (if any) using specific times on the clock as a warning, even up till now. This level is a return of the "laser" idea, which I had originally not intended for any particular levels other than Laser Sweep and the upcoming level 70. The word "periodic" appears in the title because I was thinking about periodic functions when I made this, and it refers to the predictable, repeating side-switching of the laser shooting.




Level 46




In the first released version of Po100T, this level didn't have the glider cloner, and was named "Blue Bombers" (because the walkers were blue, and it's a reference to a nickname for Mega Man). However, early players of the set noted that it was annoying that the walkers could waste a lot of time bouncing back and forth even after you'd set up proper paths for them to take, and I agreed. As such, I let you use a limited number of gliders to destroy bombs. Since there are 16 bombs, 6 blocks, and 8 gliders, only 2 bombs need to be destroyed by walkers in the final product.


The level looks a lot like Flames and Ashes from CCLP1, though I didn't play it before making this.




Level 47

"Touch Force Floor, Get Dizzy"



Yet another video game reference here. This title is a play on the name of World 1-7, called "Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy", from the game Yoshi's Island. Anyway, it's a big force floor mesh inspired by Forced Entry and Force Field. (In fact, I put it at slot #47 because Force Field was at slot #147 of CC1.)


The design may look extremely chaotic, but there's actually a bit of order to it. There are 6 "rings" that each consist of 8 force floors circling around a chip--one ring in each corner and 2 in the center. From each ring, there are 2 paths leading out from it to other rings and 2 paths going into it. The chips are placed on the "empty" tiles between the paths, and ice appears wherever two "paths" cross.


I knew that grabbing all of the chips could be frustrating, so from the very start the level had extra chips.




Level 48

"Choose Your Own Adventure"



I'd only read a couple "choose your own adventure" books in my childhood, but liked the concept and name enough to base a level around it. Here, you can clone either a glider or a fireball at the start, and that determines the path you can take, up until the end where the paths rejoin and you can go through either locked door to exit. I kinda like how both paths walk through the same pink ball room, with only the balls themselves preventing you from crossing over. In case you're wondering why there's a floor tile above the teleport at (15, 9), it's so that if, for whatever reason, you come through that teleport and then try to re-enter it from below in Lynx mode while the toggle wall at (29, 10) is open, you won't get stuck in the teleport. Also, the level is untimed to discourage people from focusing on only playing the "faster" path.


I think my biggest complaint about how this level turned out is that the difficulty of the two sides is unbalanced--the force floor mesh and bug/fire/recessed wall/green lock maze of the fireball path are quite a bit harder, I think, than the simple block pushing and dodging of the glider path. But maybe this isn't such a critical problem, since it fits in with the idea of choice. Also, the ice-and-toggle-walls timing challenge rears its ugly head once again, but I think it's less obnoxious than it was in Difficulty Switch.




Level 49

"49 Cell"

(CCLP1 Level 49!)



Well, it's another "Cell" level. I hadn't yet decided upon setting the time limit to be the number of cells times 10, so I think it was like 500 or 600 pre-release before I set it to 490. Coincidentally, this level has not 49 chips, but 36--I didn't aim for a specific chip count in any of the 3 "Cell" levels so far.


Anyway, this level continues to ratchet up the complexity, adding boots, buttons, and more keys and monsters. I intentionally added a way to cook this level (taking the force floor into the red key room a second time without getting the fire boots first) in order to encourage the player to pay attention to their surroundings. Also, uniquely for the "Cell" series, this level features a Teeth that guards the second-to-last item to be collected (the flippers). I definitely wouldn't have wanted the player to have to deal with a Teeth throughout a large portion of the level, but I thought having to avoid a Teeth for a short time would be interesting given the "Cell" structure. I kind of wish the Teeth hadn't been replaced with a fireball for CCLP1, but it's probably for the best given the level's placement in the 49 slot of CCLP1, which would be a bit early for a challenge like that.




Level 50

"Enjoy the Show!"



Here's a returning concept from Levelset 1, though it changed quite a bit. The Levelset 1 version was only a single, very loopy ice slide that led to the exit (with a Teeth entering a force floor portion of the slide behind Chip near the end). It was meant to be a mid-set break. I decided to change things up and add a few different "attractions"--exploding bugs and paramecia; an instant-bridge-just-press-buttons; and another section involving pushing a tank back with a block.


However, the real reason I brought back this idea was because I had heard of the special programming of Tile World 2 that causes it to play back a portion of the solution to CCLP3's "You Can't Teach an Old Frog New Tricks" from the Teeth's view instead of Chip's, and I wanted to see that happen here. That's why you end up cloning a Teeth that has to bounce through a forest of pink balls to release Chip from a trap--I thought it would be fun to watch. Unfortunately, the special programming didn't kick in here (and I'm still not sure what exactly causes it to activate....) so the level lost a bit of its purpose. It's the only level I explicitly removed from CCLP consideration (permanently) because it's simple to solve and the long delay for the Teeth to release Chip from the trap at the end could be seen as annoying (or the player could incorrectly assume Chip's permanently stuck).



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I didn't notice the correlation in level 44.


As for the special programming in Tile World 2, it is based on the level title.  When I renamed YCTAOFNT in my copy of CCLP3 and played back the TWS, all that happened was seeing Chip stuck in the trap.

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