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Pit of 100 Tiles Developer's Commentary, Part 9 (Levels 81-90)

ajmiam

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Level 81

"Follow the Leader"

This is inspired by Socialist Action from CC1, which includes a line of bugs marching around a bank of invisible walls. I'd also seen similar concepts in a few custom sets, where you had to join a line of monsters that are walking a path through a maze of invisible walls. Follow them exactly, or you'll fall behind and get run over. My one complaint with many of those levels was that the monsters tended to be placed unreasonably close together, so one or two mistakes was all it took to die. Thus, I made sure to spread the monsters out here, and include plenty of chips that act as safe spots where you can wait for a monster to pass if it's getting too close to you.

 

Originally there were no visible-by-default walls in the starting area, but I added them to make for a more gentle introduction. Also, in the set's first update after release, I added a bit to the hint explaining how to beat the fireball-cloning section.

 

I think the level may have been slightly too large and didn't necessarily need to fill the whole map. The top-right section seems like the most redundant part.

 

Level 82

"Automatic (Caution) Doors"

(CCLP1 Level 140!!)

YES! This level. I had the idea for this concept for a while as I was building Po100T, but didn't know how exactly I would execute it. I kind of improvised it, but nevertheless I'm extremely pleased by the result. It was fun for me--the designer--to play, and also for a lot of other people judging by the reviews of my set. :D Anyway, I started off making the beginning room--requiring a little dodging in order to reach the doors from the button--and then thought of a few ways to make paths from a button to a set of doors, such that the paths are completely walkable but are too long for you to make it in time unless you find a shortcut. These paths include the twisty floor path through the water west of the start, the path around the blue lock east of the start, and the path parallel to the water-guarded ice slide north of the start. I then built the level in pretty much the order you solve it, but not necessarily decidng how things would be unlocked until later (like the green doors or the aforementioned water path). I believe a lot of the enjoyability of this level comes from seeing these inaccessible paths, the suspense and uncertainty in how to unlock them, and the realization upon acquiring the proper tools to do so. Also, it's relatively safe to explore and try things without cooking the level. (The fireball stream in the northeast is a potential exception to this, though you can see from a safe space that their path passes through the fire before you head past the point of no return.)

 

One unusual aspect of this level is the chip placement. All the chips and the chip socket are contained in the first 1/3 of the level or so. The reason for this was to encourage the player to explore the starting area and see all the places they'd be able to get to later, and what they'd need to get to those places. I did something similar for a later level (#98 Rube Goldberg).

 

The means of exit (opening a seemingly-useless red door to lure an unseen Teeth into hitting a red button for you) was an accidental innovation. In a test run, I'd just solved the Teeth section and headed back to the starting area, only for the Teeth to trigger the doors, something I didn't realize would happen. I decided that could be made into an intended level mechanic. It's not something the player will likely think of; it's more that they'll just try unlocking that door and it'll happen. In the more confusing original version of the level, the final locked door led to the sprialing exit path instead, and the player had to step into a pointless-looking alcove to lure the Teeth south and trigger the toggling.

 

The exit path is a bit awkward, as the buttons will occasionally clone a ball when the previous one hasn't died yet, stopping the doors for a second or so. Oh well, it's a minor annoyance and not life-threatening.

 

EDIT: Oh, I suppose I should explain the title. It's based on those yellow-and-black signs you often see on automatic doors in the real world, e.g. at your local supermarket if it has them. Like this:

 

RQh5YHr.jpg

 

Level 83

"Chip Compactor"

Another where I thought of the core concept (a ball is controlling tanks and you have to unlock doors to increase the time between switches) before the actual layout. The chip at the beginning is tough to snatch right away, but it's possible, and you can always come back later if it's too hard for you. After that, the only really tricky part of this level is the top-left, especially in Lynx, but there are more blocks than you need. I do kind of like the atmosphere of the giant crusher you have to run through to exit once the tank cycle has been extended to its maximum length.

 

In the title, I mean "Chip" in both senses of the word :P

 

Level 84

"Tangled Web"

This level is based on the "path tracing puzzle" you often see in children's activity books, where there are a bunch of criscrossing overlapping lines and you have to determine which line leads from the start to the goal, sort of like this:

 

osLaOvg.jpg

 

In this case, since you don't have full view of the map normally, I had to add a couple of vantage points on the ice at the start of the level so you could see the full paths, and therefore know which starting point leads to which obstacle. You can always go back to those vantage points as you're solving the level. When making the paths, I of course had to be careful that the ice corners for one path wouldn't get in the way of another, but that wasn't too difficult.

 

Level 85

"Disappearing Mazes"

This level is super easy! What's it doing in the #85 slot? It's meant to be a relaxing level to give the player some relief after the challenges they've just been through, as well as before the upcoming one. See http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BreatherLevel. The whole concept of the level (including, naturally, the last room with all the sockets) is inspired by being able to eat through all the chip sockets in Strange Maze from CC1 once you get all the chips.

 

Level 86

"Laser Refraction"

Oh dear. This level is probably the hardest in the entire set, even harder than #98 and arguably #99. The concept, inspired by the Thermal Discouragement Beams and Discouragement Redirection Cubes from Portal 2, is about pushing blocks to deflect "lasers" (streams of fireballs spaced 1 apart) into bombs, allowing you to get red keys. The problem is that once a block is in the path of a laser, you can't move it out unless you succeed at a "50/50 timing" challenge, which I HATE. So why's the level in the set? Because if you think through your moves VERY carefully, you can solve the level without ever having to extract a block from a laser stream. I know because I managed it once. Once.

 

This is notable for being one of the only untimed levels in this set that doesn't involve luck, just because it's THAT complicated. I believe the time it took me to solve this without any 50/50 timing is comparable to my casual first-time solve of On the Rocks.

 

Level 87

"(Ir)reversible"

(CCLP1 Level 134!)

Just as the title and hint suggests, it's all about choosing two paths, one of which lets you go back after getting the chip and one that doesn't. I think the decision I like the most is the block-sliding section (the 2nd decision point in the level). Note that at the tank part, it turns it's possible to take the "wrong" path first and still get back (the right side), but it requires good timing.

 

One funny-looking mechanic is the pair of teleporters you see at (29, 20) and (31, 20). Each one leads to the other, as Rockdet discovered to his surprise and amusement when he played this level for the first time. So why are they there? It's because it's actually very tricky to make "one-way" teleporters in this game. Just putting a force floor before or after a teleport doesn't do the trick since backwards force floor boosting exists in MS. So, having the teleport pair there ensures that the other horizontal teleports in the level send the player on a one-way trip to that pair. I would go on to reuse the concept in Level 82 of To100T (but vertical this time!)....

 

Level 88

"Outwit"

A very bare-bones :teeth: dodging challenge. Well, 4 challenges. Actually fairly difficult for this set. There isn't much rhyme or reason to the thin wall placements; I just tried to make sure there'd be plenty of obstacles to get the Teeth stuck on. The teleports are there for easy movement around the level--as well as making sure the Teeth can't trap you in the gravel strip between the two rooms on the left or the two rooms on the right. The border with the thin walls and walkers are just decoration, both a homage to Level 88 from CC1 (Spirals) and a way of saying, "Aren't you glad you don't have to deal with this?"

 

Level 89

"Memory Test"

I just wanted to make a level with long paths of many chips. The recessed walls add a way to fail, and the monsters on traps, as the hint says, are just there to make it easier to tell where you are. In the first release, the level didn't have the monsters, and therefore looked very bland. I added them in the set's first update after its initial release.

 

Level 90

"Water Slide"

This is the penultimate action level, and it pulls precisely zero punches. It is, like "Three Strikes You're Out!", inspired by the Joyride series from CCLP2.

 

This level is way harder than the norm for this set, but on the plus side, it's short, and there is a shortcut that you can use to skip a lot of it. I think the way I handled the 90-degree "curves" in the slide (each lane before the curve leads to the corresponding lane after the curve) may have been a mistake. It makes it very awkward to tell where you're going to end up, especially right when you get out of the shortcut. The "Joyride" system (where all 3 lanes before the curve lead into the near lane after the curve) is probably easier to grasp when you're zipping along at 10 tiles per second. As you might imagine, I died a couple dozen times before clearing this for the first time, and even nowadays I don't generally solve it on my first try.

 

The space in the title is there to distinguish it from CCLP3's "Waterslide" (a Pieguy level that's easier than one of my levels, who'd imagine!)



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