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Pit of 100 Tiles Developer's Commentary, part 6 (Levels 51-60)



Level 51

"Against the Floe"



Dumb pun title #12354723, but it was inspired by the level instead of the other way around this time! Anyway, this was intended to serve as an "action" level as a substitute for 50, which is a "break" level, and I guess it qualifies in the sense that there ARE monsters to avoid...but it's more about patience vs pressing your luck than anything else. It might seem like lucky timing to cross the ice safely at first, especially if you always try to go, but the three sliding monster groups are always spaced the same distance apart (36 tiles).


Since the types of monsters used were pretty much irrelevant, I wanted to use as many different ones as possible (including walkers). I couldn't use blobs, though, since they could start out going backwards or perpendicular to the monster stream, plus they were too slow in Lynx. Also, Teeth would take different amounts of time to get going in MS depending on the step, ruining the 36 tile intervals, so they're out as well.




Level 52

"Escape the Telenet"



This was inspired by a toy/puzzle I saw that involved two chambers on a flat plane, each containing a small metal ball and a shallow pocket away from the center. The goal was to get both balls into their pockets at the same time, but tilting the toy wouldn't work since if you did that to get one ball in its pocket, it would cause the other ball to fall out of its pocket at the same time. The solution was to spin the toy, causing both balls to move outward simultaneously.


Anyway, I thought about making a Teeth puzzle based on that concept, but didn't quite know how to go about doing that...so I reversed things; this time, you wanted to bring Teeth to the center from opposite sides, but because they were on opposite sides of the center, separated by a twisty path, luring one towards the center would lure the other one away from it. The solution is pretty elementary, though--just take one Teeth past the center to the other Teeth's side, then lure both Teeth back to the center at once.


I wasn't sure that using one Teeth to partial post the other would work in Lynx, but it does work in both rulesets, thankfully. I don't understand why BOTH Teeth end up getting partial posted into the middle, one after the other, in MS.


Minor notes--The time limit is 99, not 100, to emphasize that this is a really short level. Also, the thin walls aren't symmetrical because the debate about CCLP1 being pedantic-only was still going on at the time, so I favored south, east, and southeast thin walls over north and west thin walls (these latter two didn't appear in CC1 and thus were not considered part of "pedantic" CC). And I know this level is nothing like Telenet, but I couldn't think of a better title :P




Level 53

"Hotel Chip"

(CCLP1 Level 104!)



This title is wholeheartedly inspired by the oft-mocked game "Hotel Mario". The gameplay is inspired by the shine called "Mysterious Hotel Delfino" in Super Mario Sunshine. This mission has Mario go through a hotel where most of the rooms are locked, but he can find secret passages to travel from room to room, eventually reaching the attic and then dropping into the room containing the Shine Sprite. I represented the secret passages using blue walls; in some cases, Chip must pick up items behind the walls, and at other times he passes through them to travel into rooms locked with green doors since Chip doesn't pick up the green key until the end.


Aesthetically, the monsters are meant to represent the hotel guests, the ice slide an elevator, and the force slides either escalators or steps. The hint says that Chip's room is "#501" because the room Chip must visit first is the 1st room on the 5th row from the bottom, i.e. the 5th floor. (Okay, with the hallways as they are, you could make a better argument for it being the 3rd floor, but I didn't know how to specify the top-left rather than bottom-left room for that "floor" in a flavorful way.)


The Teeth room is a bit cramped for dodging. Nothing too tricky for advanced players, but in the CCLP1 version, I widened it and added fire in the center (blocked off with thin walls) to represent a "boiler room".




Itemswappers like Tool Box from CCLP3 always annoyed me with how easy it is to take items in a wrong order, thus cooking them and not finding out until much later, so I made sure to avoid letting that happen here. The only key available at the start is red, and every red door leads to a yellow key (or an item that leads to a yellow key). Every yellow door leads (eventually) to a blue key, and each blue to a red, so the cycle repeats. Every possible order of unlocking the doors is therefore a correct solution.




Level 54

"Just Glide Through This Level"



After I came up with this punny title, the level pretty much designed itself. Yes, if you move like a glider, going south to start and only turning in the proper direction when you encounter visible walls, you'll pick up every chip and bounce right into the exit, all without oofing into a single invisible or solid blue wall. I added dead ends here and there so that players who didn't get the hint in the level title would be less likely to solve it than if the only open tiles were on the correct path.




Level 55

"Build-a-Bridge Workshop"



Agh, the puns don't stop! This is a reference to Build-a-Bear Workshop, which I've never actually visited but have seen tons of commercials for. :P I purposely designed this level to be very lenient with extra blocks, but have some portions (like the southeast) where it's clearly best to build along a particular path. I was happy with coming up with the thief islands as a mechanism to require that the two chips and exit are connected by dry land before you pick up either chip.




Level 56

"Roy G. Biv"



I have a minor fascination with rainbows, so I decided to work them into a CC concept. I made a Levelset 1 level with this title where there was a ball that you had to get across the top row of the level to a bomb (similar to Progress Ball), looking something like this:


There were minor challenges elsewhere in the level to pick up the keys, and then the hint said "Be sure to open the doors in rainbow order!".


For the Po100T version, I decided "Why stop with keys?" and applied the rainbow concept to everything that I could. I started out by putting a fireball room and a pink ball room on either side of the start, then added the bug room with the two keys (only one of which must be collected at that point) and the blob room, and improvised from there. All I knew when I designed the level was that I'd use locked doors to partial post into the rooms in order, so I had to lay out the teleports pretty much where I did.


Originally, the blob room required you to dodge the blobs, but I didn't want yet ANOTHER random/untimed level in the set, so I changed it. Also, the "chip vault" after the blue door (which is mostly there to serve as a reward and fill up the space) didn't have a looping path, but I figured it would be annoying to have to walk all the way back.




Level 57




This is a blue wall maze that just...came to me, title and concept, one day. There isn't a lot to say about it, really, other than that I liked how it looked so much that I decided to use it again later in the set, and actually reference it in To100T. I suppose if I'd been feeling extra-nice as I made it, I would have made it consistent as to whether the "open" blue wall is the upper or lower one wherever there's a path, but I didn't. :/




Level 58




I always really liked Monster Lab in CC1 for both the constant streams of monsters (an unusual concept in that set), tons of buttons, and the different ways Chip had to clog the clone machines to stop the streams. There's also a slight double meaning with the passage below the start that gets "clogged" with pink balls when you pass through it. I basically started with that passage and teh force floor/recessed wall passage above the start, and improvised from there. Anyway, this level has a lot of running around, figuring things out as you go, and revisiting rooms from different directions or for different reasons, something I kind of like about it.


The tank room (where you cause a "clog" by hitting a blue button) was directly inspired by the analogous part of Monster Lab, and the bug circling the chip sockets was inspired by the end of Mix Up.


I tried to build the room left of start so that you'd have to take the block to the bottom row and deflect the fireballs into the bombs one by one, moving the block to the right each time, but oops, I failed and you can just take the block up the left side! Not that it's a major problem or anything.


The "zigzag past fire while chased by fireballs, hiding occasionally to let them by when they get too close" concept didn't originate here; it actually started in "Toll Road", a Tiles 200 level that I eventually put in To100T. The "bugs following a long twisty path around a central structure" idea did originate here, and I used it a few times later.


I discovered the "Clone Desynchronization" glitch (apparently also known as "Release Boosting") while testing this level in Lynx mode, and posted a video showing it to YouTube. That made this level the first publicly visible one of Po100T. I also joined CCZone (awesome decision)so I could post a link to that video in the forums and ask about the glitch. People seemed to like the level from what they saw in the video, which helped encourage me to release the levelset on CCZone!




Level 59

"Roads to Victory"



I started this level by placing the exit and the paths leading to it, and thought "What if the chip solution wasn't actually the correct one?", a thought that soon became "What if ALL four paths were correct solutions?", which gave the level its name. I wasn't sure how I'd make the solutions diverge, but then I made the starting room (originally with just five blocks for bridging down, two keys under the blocks, and a glider to dodge). I then decided to add water to the sides as an alternative way out and place bombs so that it mattered which way the glider went if you sent it out of the room. The rest was pretty much improvised.


Yes, there are four paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on. At least, the chip solution and the yellow key->toggle door solution require the least specific actions, so they're usually available if you mess up another solution. The suction boot solution is probably most difficult since it requires you to send the glider right at the start (tricky).


The walker sliding around the force floors might seem scary, but there are no force floors pointing at its path from outside the rectangle it goes around.


As with Choose Your Own Adventure, this level is untimed because I didn't want one solution to "dominate" as the fastest one.




Level 60

"Slimy Swarm"



A Levelset 1 concept that took direct inspiration from CC1's Jumping Swarm. The Levelset 1 version was even more like Jumping Swarm, with only the one cloner at the top. Upon reflection, I realized that the blobs took too long to spread out from the top-right, making the rest of the level less interesting, so I put in 4 cloners, one on each side. It took a bit of adjusting the chips required, chips available, water, and rate of blob cloning before I was comfortable with the level's difficulty. There are 11 extra chips.


The reason that the blobs are cloned by balls instead of cloning more copies of themselves is because unlike with the walkers in Jumping Swarm, there's no way to prevent a blob from stepping on a red button, trying to go back, and immediately getting forced onto the red button again, thus cloning way too many in a short time. Also, there are force paths completely surrounding each cloner because I wasn't sure if blobs could randomly choose to clone into a wall and thus not be created at all. (Does anybody know, can this happen?)




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