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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/02/2012 in Blog Entries

  1. 10 points
    There's a thread on this forum dedicated to what we as Chip's Challenge players called certain game elements when we were younger that really intrigued me upon first glance. Some of the names given to the various monsters have been quite funny. (For instance, I didn't know that thieves have been called both "firemen" and "policemen"!) But I feel like another one should be made about the misconceptions we had concerning certain game behaviors when we first started playing. Wouldn't that be interesting? Perhaps part of my perspective stems from being only 5 years old when I first started playing the game, so reading the help file provided only limited understanding compared to engaging in actual gameplay and the experimentation that came with it. I'm assuming that's the case for most first-time players, though. I didn't understand what "following the left wall" meant for bugs - I just assumed that the game programmers somehow instilled set paths for them - nor did I understand that all grey walls were actually permanent. When I tried Nuts and Bolts for the first time, I saw the thief and the bombs above the opening area and thought that there was supposed to be some way to break through those walls to get to them! But no - the only walls that I could break through were blue, of course. Why do I bring this up? Because we've taken upon ourselves the rather awkward task of evaluating and voting on levels for a level set whose target audience is comprised of people who are the exact opposite of us veterans. These are the people who will struggle not only with understanding the game and its elements, but also with being able to control Chip to begin with. These are the people who will make the mistakes that we forgot we once made when we first started playing. These are the people who would lose patience with the game if the CCLP1 of today were constructed exactly as CC1 was, with a level like Nuts and Bolts throwing newcomers into the fire and steeply escalating the difficulty curve immediately after the tutorials. And sometimes, I think it's difficult for us to cast aside our veteran sensibilities and remember how these people feel - how we felt - upon playing the game for the first time. At the time of this post, there have been 10 voting packs (500 levels) for CCLP1 released and nearly 6,600 votes cast. Although the voting process is far from complete, I've begun noticing an interesting trend in the results - most of the top levels so far are either hodgepodge or "themed" levels with some degree of variety and (usually) moderate difficulty - though for a beginner, many of these levels would probably be fairly difficult and would fit right at home in the last quarter of CCLP1. In contrast, most of the CCLP3 top levels were those that obviously involved a lot of time and effort spent to build them, which typically meant that they were also the hardest of the bunch. A lot of these levels were also hodgepodge or themed levels as well, or at the very least, they were non-homogenous. But the irony of this penchant for non-homogeneity in individual level design was that by primarily using the voting results as the determinant for what was inducted into the final set, CCLP3 was a rather homogenous set when viewed as a collective whole. "Puzzle," "long campaign level," and "hodgepodge" would probably be the three main descriptors players would give CCLP3 if asked what kind of level best described the set. On the other hand, it's hard to nail down a specific type of level that CC1 featured a lot, mainly because the set itself had so much variety. (The same may be said of CCLP2, though some people might answer "invalid tiles" if asked that question.) So how can we avoid making the same mistake with CCLP1? Thankfully, the CCLP1 staff will be making the final decisions on what's inducted into the set and what's not for the sake of variety and the establishment of a friendly difficulty curve. I think this is important for any CCLP for the former reason, but it's especially important for CCLP1 for both reasons. But since we will be using the voting results as a guideline, we need some way to know what levels everyone enjoys besides the aforementioned hodgepodge and themed levels. If voting continues to go as is, there's going to be a huge mass of levels below the top tier that are averaging around 4.00 or so and a whole bunch of easy levels that aren't even reaching that point. So here are a few tips that I thought I'd pass on to all of you voters out there that I thought might be helpful to keep in mind when rating levels - especially when it comes to making sure easy levels get their due: - Not every level needs to be "extraordinary." It's true - the CC community of today is a very, very tough crowd to please. For the most part, we have a tendency to play and rate levels based solely on how interesting we find them. And we've seen and played so much that even our level design tendencies can often reflect this; many levels out there today try to outdo each other by trying to include just one more trick in their compositions than the last one. Again, though, there's an irony in this, especially with respect to designing for beginners. The easier levels that we often deem "boring" are most likely going to be the ones that newcomers would find interesting, whereas those that we find interesting would probably also be intriguing but sometimes frustrating for first-time players. The other major takeaway from this point ties in with the above bit about CCLP3: individually great levels do not necessarily make a collectively great set. A set composed entirely or even primarily of "epic" levels would get frustrating and repetitive after a while (in fact, some people would say that CCLP3 was exactly this), even if they weren't all difficult. Easier, smaller levels do have their place, even if they may not seem quite as engaging as the epic ones. - Try to avoid comparing apples and oranges. It's very easy for us to look at the easy, simple maze we're playing and think about the thrilling campaign level that included every game element or the level that reinvented the wheel for a familiar concept to which we awarded a 5. But why can't all three levels succeed on their own terms? While a collection of individually great levels doesn't necessarily make a collectively great set, a collectively great set is composed of individually great levels - specifically, a variety of levels that do a great job being what they were designed to be. Almost no one would say that it would be fair to compare Sampler with Four Plex from the original game; yet both of them are often praised - the former for being an excellent, simple itemswapper, and the latter for being an excellent campaign level. Is it fair to give that excellent maze a 3 just because it doesn't feel quite as thrilling as that giant hodgepodge level? For instance, I've given Chip Be Steady (Lipstick #50) a 5 out of 5 rating. It isn't a mind-blowing level that left me with a sensation of "Whoa!" when I solved it, but in the context of being a maze in which you had to avoid touching toggle buttons and a level that beginners would find inventive, it succeeded. The only other levels I'd even be thinking of when looking at it would be similar mazes in which the player isn't allowed to touch the "walls," not the campaign level with every game element included that I may also enjoy too. The reason why this one in particular stood out was because of its symmetrical "border" with the colored doors and teeth waiting to be released, which made it look a lot neater than similar levels. - When evaluating easy levels, don't look for the interesting - look for the uninteresting. Yes, you read that correctly. But it deserves a bit of clarification. The aforementioned designing tendency to outdo other levels by including more "tricks" in them is especially harmful to easy levels. As veterans, we tend to frown upon levels that feel more minimalistic - though not necessarily trivial, even for a beginner. Maybe this is because we've played the game so much that so little feels original to us anymore. We play through a level and immediately turn to one of those prepared level categories we've already created in our head so we can file it away under something like "blob level" or "ice maze." We may also turn to our preconceptions about those categories as well, some of which may be negative, even if the level would be ideal for a level set targeted at beginners. Sometimes, we may even have specific levels in mind that the ones we're playing remind us of, so much so that we're willing to discard them just because they feel like yesterday's news to us. But there's a difference between a level that's a blatant ripoff and one that does a commendable job being simple and generic, either by presenting its concept in an approachable way or by demonstrating some degree of artistic merit. Many of CC1's levels accomplished both of these objectives well. The problem with us is that we not only want to throw away these types of levels out of comparative instinct, but we also prefer easy levels that are inherently more complicated because they feel "more interesting." In many cases, these levels would be an inappropriate, muddled teaching tool for beginners and would be too uninteresting for later portions of CCLP1. Don't be afraid to give a deserving easy, generic level a good rating because it's generic and does a fantastic job being so, especially when that level excels with respect to design quality and playability. - CCLP1 may be a CC1 replacement, but it need not succumb to its shortcomings. I remember the very first time I went to a Chip's Challenge website. I was eight years old and was nearly done with the game, with the exception of "Totally Unfair." Richard Field's site had a complete walkthrough that came in very handy, but what was even more interesting than that was the collection of testimonials on the site about the game. Some of the levels that other people listed as the hardest to beat may surprise us today - levels that we as veterans find easy, such as The Last Laugh, Knot, or even Blink. It may seem unbelievable to us that they could be a challenge, but they certainly were. Another common thread from first-time players was that Nuts and Bolts presented a huge step up in difficulty from the lesson levels that preceded it. And I could totally empathize with that sentiment, as Nuts and Bolts took me an entire month to complete. Does CCLP1 need a "Nuts and Bolts" equivalent immediately following its lesson levels, or could there be some space in between to amp up the difficulty a bit before such a large level? Do we need to wait to introduce partial posting until level 138, for instance? Or is there a level simpler than Partial Post that could teach the concept in a different spot in the set? We shouldn't feel obligated to give CCLP1 all the trappings that made CC1 what it was; rather, we need to recognize what made CC1 work and avoid the areas in which it fell short while still being flexible. - Don't forget about what made you love the game when you first played it. Whenever I vote, this is the principle that I try to come back to - but it's also the one that I so often neglect. That desire to break down those walls on Nuts and Bolts is something that I forget when I play the game now. But when I think about what got me hooked on Chip's Challenge in the first place, it was that. It was that desire to break out of the box, to explore, to see what was around that next corner. In hindsight, I was so thankful that the gameplay window was only nine by nine tiles. I would spend hours trying to figure out the secret to the opening room of Paranoia while looking wistfully at the bugs roaming around in the room on the left. I didn't know what else was over there, but I was determined to find out. Sometimes, I think we now focus so much on dissecting the game, cram in as much content in as little space as possible in our levels, and find it easy to turn to the editor for a level map that we've forgotten the joy of walking around in open space, exploring that newly opened path, and remembering what made Chip's Challenge so fun to play to begin with. It's my hope that CCLP1 can recapture that sense of awe and wonder for a new generation through top-notch level design and accessible gameplay while still retaining the "challenge" part of the title that kept us coming back for more. Let's not forget about the easy levels along the way that prepare newcomers for those challenges!
  2. 6 points
    February 9, 2002. Many CC veterans and long-time community members will recognize the significance of this date. It was the release day of CCLP2. Excitement pierced the online air. After years of playing and optimizing CC1 and being disappointed with the lack of release for CC2, the CC community finally had something different and official to get behind. New levels! New challenges! New records to set! It was all so fresh, teeming with possibilities to be explored. After the set was released, the first few months brought about a flurry of activity on the newsgroup. Scores were being reported every day. Busts were discovered. Records were being broken. People were threatening to rip each others' heads off if their records were broken. It was a level of involvement for the game that I still hope can be rivaled in the years to come. And in the wake of the optimization rush, people started thinking ahead: where do we go from here? What will CCLP3 be like? Let's start collecting levels and build something new! It should be fairly simple. It wasn't. CCLP3 wasn't released until almost nine years after CCLP2. Much of the delay has been attributed to the waning community involvement of the original staff and the piling up of submissions that took place over that time. Even though submissions didn't start until 2006, many sets were already created specifically for CCLP3 in the years beforehand that immediately followed CCLP2's release. When a new staff was finally formed, it took a mammoth undertaking to play catchup and test the gigantic mound of levels. But it finally happened at the end of 2010, and a new official set was born. Fortunately, CCLP1 managed to avoid many of CCLP3's delays by positioning itself as a specific kind of set, with a specific goal to achieve. Even though the work was plentiful, it was much more manageable. So...where does this leave us with CCLP4? After looking back at how the previous CCLPs were constructed, what the level design scene was like in the past, and what it looks like now, I've come to the conclusion that CCLP4 needs to become a reality sooner rather than later. This isn't normally where I'd land on an issue like this. Many of you reading might know from previous comments I made during CCLP1 production that I'm the last person who would ever want to rush production on a new CCLP, and that is still true. But I think we're dealing with a very specific set of circumstances this time around that need to be recognized. I'd like to dedicate this blog post to explaining my reasoning. Please note that although I'm not mentioning any other potential level packs that could be built in the near future (like a "hardcore" set, CCLP0, etc.), I'm still behind the idea of making them at some point. - We've already got a solid collection of levels from CCLP1 voting. This is probably the most understandable reason. We can all agree that the CCLP submission periods are typically kept open for a while so plenty of levels can fill up the pool, and thus, there can be plenty of options from which to choose when voting. But there's a difference here between what these pools theoretically looked like between CCLP3 and CCLP1, in which many new levels congruent with the set's purpose had to be created, and CCLP1 and CCLP4, in which there are (so far) no such restrictions, and many existing levels can be submitted again. It's especially worth noting that a lot of deserving difficult levels were given the shaft for CCLP1 for a number of reasons: they were too complex to begin with and didn't even make an appearance in voting, some of the ones that did were perceived by voters as less beginner-friendly than others, and the staff's attempt to establish a gentle difficulty curve meant limiting the number of difficult levels in the final tier of the set. So although there are also plenty of levels in this bunch that didn't make the cut by virtue of being poorly designed or not very fun, there is a very strong collection that could perform quite well in CCLP4 voting. - We've already got a solid collection of levels created after CCLP1 voting. The term "level factory" has been tossed around in reference to some very active designers in our midst, but it's also an interesting statement on the state of level design in general today. Although the number of designers may have decreased since, say, the age of heavy activity on pieguy's site, the rate at which levels - specifically quality levels - are saturating the potential submission pool is quite astonishing. The past year and a half has seen the release of and/or additions to sets like JoshuaBoneLP, The Other 100 Tiles, JBLP1, TS2, ZK2, ZK3, Ultimate Chip 3, JoshL4, JoshL5, and many more, with even more additions to some of these and entirely new sets on the way. What's really encouraging for a CCLP staff is that many of these sets have tried to incorporate some kind of difficulty curve, which helps introduce a form of variety into the submission pool. One of the indicators that can be an effective way to determine when it's probably a good time to start looking at working toward a set's production is to see if it's theoretically possible to construct a decent 149-level set from the levels available, especially if it's difficult to choose between a number of quality options. Personally, I think CCLP4 submissions are already at this point, though it doesn't hurt to keep them open for at least several more months. - The set needs to be constructed with CCLP5 in mind. This may seem like an odd reason, but it's an important one. If CCLPs are meant to represent the best of what the community has to offer, waiting too long can end up putting deserving levels under the bus - not only during the current set's production process, but also during the next's as well. Many designers who walked away disappointed after not seeing a favorite level of theirs in a CCLP have been encouraged to submit it again for the next. And as levels like Lazy Hourglass, Yet Another Yet Another Puzzle, Rhombus, Double Diversion, and Traveler show, it is indeed possible. But it's much more difficult when these levels are up against a brand new bunch that's taken the spotlight. Alongside that, waiting too long will bring about way too many "147 candidates" (read: ultra-difficult levels) from which to choose. Of course, the staff would need to be responsible for maintaining a proper difficulty curve for the set, but it would be that much harder for them and voters to make the difficult choices when there are so many of them. Plus, again, the levels that get shafted will have a much harder time competing for a spot in CCLP5 with so many new options available by then. I don't think we need to have CCLP4 submissions open past the end of 2015. In fact, I'd even go as far as to suggest that they should be closed in the middle of 2015. We've got the components for an amazing set at our disposal right now. Let's move forward. Though I personally don't intend to get involved with its production, I hope we see interest in staff positions from the community in the days to come.
  3. 5 points
    Level 91 "Pipe Maze" The atmosphere and name of this level is meant to evoke an underground pipe maze from the Super Mario Bros. series, and I'm quite pleased with how it turns out. There are a few places where you have to push a block and not follow it, but I always allow the player to look ahead and see that. The hint is meant to remind you that there's a water tile at the end of the slide leading out of the southmost section; I probably could have worded it better. I didn't notice until much later that you can't actually see the water at (10, 9) before you step into that slide, but I'm sure 99% of players pushed the block ahead anyway. At least if I had to accidentally leave an unforeseeable deathtrap in a level, I put it right near the beginning! Level 92 "Square Dancing" (CCLP1 Level 18!) I was getting close to the end of the set. I needed another level. I didn't have many blob levels. And so I constructed this level in approximately 2 minutes. At least for a blob level, it's not really stressful or frustrating, so I think it's fine for CCLP1. I wouldn't be surprised if this level had the shortest design time out of all CCLP1 levels. The name is a reference to Blobdance from CC1. Level 93 "Progress Ball" The name is a pun on "progress bar", which I later found out was also a custom level title. As this is a late level in the set, it includes a bit more trickiness than usual, such as the fact that you have to enter the glider/fireball room through a recessed wall the first time and through the force floors the second time, as well as the fact that stepping on the button at (30, 26) will get you stuck unless the ball is in the proper position. Of course, these details are probably still pretty easy to figure out for experienced players. Another one I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, and though it might've had a chance at CCLP1. You can pretty easily run through the big line of tanks in the southwest without using the blocks to block any of them off. Didn't feel like changing it since it's not really an important part of the level. I added the force floor at (19, 1) in an update. My reasoning for that was that if someone had astronomically unlucky timing, they could step on the (30, 26) toggle button while the ball was on the (18, 1) toggle wall and get it stuck on the left of that wall. But oh wait, if that wall's closed, then the ones next to the button are open, so no cook. Silly unnecessary fix (just realized that now) Level 94 "Bridges for Bugs" You know what the set really lacked, I thought? A long block-pushing level. Why did I think that? No idea, especially when Level 86 is already kind of the same thing. But as far as block-pushing levels go, at least this one is somewhat interesting since you're building paths for a bug and not just for Chip. It could also have been a lot worse; note that I limited it to about 1/3 of the map. This level introduces reuses (from Level 30) a mechanism I call "double cloning". Note that the clone button doesn't directly clone a bug; instead, it clones a ball which clones a bug and promptly dies. This way, the ball acts as the bug's controller boss and forces it to exit the clone machine to the north in MS, no matter what any previously cloned bug might be doing. Level 95 "Chomping Swarm" Remember Jumping Swarm and Slimy Swarm? This is like those, but with Teeth. I made a version of this in Levelset 1 that didn't quite work because if Chip was too far left, the Teeth wouldn't enter the force slide. I fixed that issue by designing it so that the entire playing field is several spaces right of the cloner, except for the path from the socket to the exit since the Teeth cloner is moot at that point. Also, the use of traps instead of walls to help keep back the swarm is kind of neat, I suppose. Using traps this way is a coincidentally similar concept to "The Grass is Greener on the Other Side", a Josh Lee level in CCLP1. Level 96 "Chip Away" The title is a pun I was surprised never got into an official set. The concept is based on the part of "Oh-Ho!" from CCLP3 where you have to clear some dirt and make a ball's bounce cycle longer, letting you sneak in behind it. In this case, you have to "chip away" at the dirt, locked doors, or chips to increase the bounce cycles and get the rewards at the ends. I think the level had some neat ideas, such as the multiple uses for the ball at (1, 22), but the core concept dragged at times. The chip line right before the chip socket didn't need to be that long. The hint is meant to get you past a couple of tricky decisions with your keys. You have to unlock the blue door at (3, 17) before the one at (13, 13), and at the end of the level, you have to unlock the yellow door at (17, 2) (which you can reach earlier, though it's farther from the yellow key) before the one at (6, 2), though in that case you can clearly see which choice is correct. I'm not sure the hint wording is quite as clear as it could have been. This level saw a couple of updates. First, I added force floors between the toggle walls in the bug line because I was having trouble with the bugs getting turned around in Lynx. Second, I changed the ball at (14, 18) into a fireball and added a water tile at (7, 17) so you could drown it and not get surprised by it when you're coming back through the (20, 17) force floor. Level 97 "Guardians" In Levelset 1, I made an extremely generic dodging level called "Guardians" that just consisted of concentric squares of monster paths, separated by full-tile walls, with chips in between the paths. Something like this: Well, I wanted to make it more interesting this time, so I compressed the old "Guardians", so there was no longer safe space between the paths, and put it in the middle, with four unique dodging challenges around the outside. I decided to have the monsters in those four areas be released when you grab the keys because that reminded me of the trope in various other video games or movies where a character grabs treasure in an ancient temple or something, and some monsters/spirits/golems come to life and start chasing him or her.... The first three dodging rooms look trickier than they are; in each of them, there's a spot in the middle where you can stand and the monsters won't get to you before you have a clear path to the exit (in the walkers' case, this is usually true). The Teeth room surprised me by being harder than I expected, but it's still doable. Depending on how you unlock the locks in the middle, you can make a swastika, but if you do that, you have no one to blame but yourself! Level 98 "Rube Goldberg" Whoo, boy. This is one of the hardest--if not the hardest--levels in the set. Tricky because you need to think ahead and keep track of what parity toggle walls and tanks will be in as things happen.... It includes a couple of concepts inspired by CCLP3. First of all, the level idea as a whole, where you need to set up an elaborate path for a monster to go through while Chip is stuck in a trap, is totally inspired by You Can't Teach an Old Frog New Tricks. Also, the key section in the west was inspired by Vulcan. Of course, a massive difference between this level and Old Frog is that in Old Frog, you have to make a lot of decisions that could cook the level before you can see the whole thing. In this level, I let the player see nearly all of it, enough that they can make the correct decisions without guesswork. For example, I even let you walk through the fireball/trap mechanism in the east yourself so you can see what will happen to the glider there. In an update, I added chips and chip sockets to the level, forcing you to explore the northeast before you start unlocking doors in the west. This way, you can see what positions the toggle walls and tanks are in, and therefore know how many times to hit each button. As a bit of trickiness, the only solution for the key section (as far as I know) involves making the glider pass over 1 green button...and 3 blue buttons. One annoying thing about the level is that once you clone a glider and hop into the trap, you have to wait quite a while to see if it releases you or not. To alleviate this, I tried to add some sound cues to the level that would play as the glider went through. The string of balls exploding bombs in the northwest is unmistakable to the ear when it happens. Also, in the same update where I added the chips, I added a toggle wall in front of the fireball cloner so it would shut off (and shut up) a short while after it had done its thing. Level 99 "I Wanna Be the Bit Buster" This level takes everything the set is about--friendly, intuitive, fair design--and throws it all out the window for one level of sheer evil fun on the part of the designer. It's only fitting for a level named after I Wanna Be the Guy, a game infamous for its extreme difficulty and traps that are unfair, creative, and made to do the opposite of everything the player expects. This was incredibly amusing to design, and apparently some players thought the traps were amusing to fall for, too, since a few people gave the level positive reviews. (And some gave it negative reviews, as I expected.) Just how many traps are there in this level? I'll count them below. Please don't look in there until you've tried the level for yourself! The hint for this level says "EASY" in all caps because, well, I figured some people might not like this level, so "EASY" is the password for the next level! Level 100 "Boss Battle" Even though this is the last level, I designed it pretty early...around 12th or 15th. It was supposed to be the midway point of Tiles 200 back when that was a thing, but I figured it also served fine as a finale for this set. The password is EASY because I think this level really is easy--much easier than #99 and miles easier than the previous action level (Water Slide). Fine by me; I generally dislike boss battles in video games, so the easier, the better. This is based on danmaku (bullet dodging) games. Since Chip can't really kill things in this game (other than by directing them into water or bombs), the "story" is that you're trying to infiltrate and sabotage a spaceship, so you have to dodge a barrage from its guns (which are shooting monsters at you) and press buttons to turn them off, then go inside, dodge the crew members, and bridge to the exit (simultaneously clogging its engine coolant tank and dooming it to overheat and break down). I intentionally made the patterns of the balls and the tanks pretty easy to discern and dodge. The fireballs are a bit trickier, as they're cloned randomly by blobs. The inside should be relatively simple. I'm slightly disappointed because when I built this level in Tiles 200, the spaceship actually looked vaguely spaceship-shaped. But that version was lost to the bit bucket along with the rest of that set. Try as I might, I couldn't pull off the same look here. At least the gameplay turned out the same. Conclusion What do I think of this levelset as a whole? I was quite pleased with the levels in terms of how fun they are to play, and I was especially happy to see the generally positive feedback from most of you who played the set! I'm also incredibly proud of getting 26 levels from this set into CCLP1 (and possibly some into CCLP4). One thing that I think of as a shortcoming of the set is that most of the levels are very easy to medium in terms of difficulty, and the difficulty curve is pretty flat until the last 15 or so. It's possible that, as the designer, the levels seem easier to me than they do to others. Still, there aren't any I would consider a challenge on the level of CCLP3 Level 100 or onward. (I've learned to appreciate difficult levels like the ones in late CCLP3 after playing them, though I didn't much like them initially.) Part of the reason for this is that I find it hard to design levels that are extremely difficult while also making them fair (giving the player all the information they need to solve them). I would try my hand at making a few more difficult levels in the sequel set, The Other 100 Tiles. I also think I tended to "play it safe" with the design in this set, not really toying with the player's expectations very much (level 99 nonwithstanding). Again, I would aim to change that a bit in To100T. Thank you to everyone who viewed my commentary! I hope it was at least a little interesting and taught you things you might not have known about my thinking and level design processes. I'll be starting the Developer's Commentary for To100T soon. Have a happy holiday season, everyone!
  4. 5 points
    Quite frankly, I wonder. Last night I had a crazy dream about Chip's Challenge. This isn't the first time it happens. I once dreamed that J.B. phoned me to ask me to help his wife get the role of Melinda in a film adaptation of CCLP1. I originally got the ideas for several of my levels (Two Sets of Items, Flying Saucer, Container Ship in a Cyclone, etc.) in dreams. But this time, it is even more nonsensical. I was checking CCZone, like I do almost every day. There was Markus' post about CCLP1 in the blogs section, but there was also a new post in my blog. That was strange, I didn't remember posting anything. I checked out the post and saw that it was an early draft of a post I had wanted to make for a long time. It was divided in six groups of three paragraphs each. The first paragraph of each group was about CC. The second paragraph of each group was a deep question and I asked that the readers post their answers in the comment sections. The third paragraphs were in spoiler tags. They were supposed to contain pictures from another forum, along with captions, but only the captions were there, and they made no sense without the pictures. I then check the comments section. There is only one comment, made by a member who doesn't exist in real life. His username starts with the letter r and he has no avatar. He answered all six questions. I give him a reputation point. I go back to the main page, and see that there are 11 members in the chat room. I then see that two members are following the blogs section, and I decide to follow that section too. After refreshing the page, I see that there are 49 members in the chat room. I put my mouse pointer over the link to the chat room without clicking, and this opens the chat room. Then, I see that there are two types of visitors in the chat room: registered members who are allowed to post, and unregistered guests who are not allowed to post. There are 49 registered members and a large number of unregistered guests (five digits). Nobody reacts at my arrival. I post this picture by accident and I don't know how. I didn't post a link to the picture, but the picture itself. Then, another member, probably random 8, posts a cat selfie. However, the cat in the picture looks a lot like my cat. I don't have a cat in real life but in this dream I do. I am horrified at the fact that a picture of my cat is available on the Internet and briefly consider deleting my Youtube channel and all my levelsets. Luckily, I soon realize that it's not my cat, because of the computer in the background, an old laptop running Windows XP. There are two open windows: a maximized browser window showing a forum (it's not CCZone), and a Chip's Challenge (MSCC) window that cannot be seen entirely. random 8 writes in the caption that the set being played is DwanT1.dat. Then, several other members post various websites. They don't post links to websites, but the websites themselves. Josh posts a magazine advertisement from the early 1900s. I try to copy all three pages of chat messages to a text document on my computer, but then I wake up. While this dream does not make a lot of sense, it made me discover one thing: I wish CCZone was more active. What do you think?
  5. 5 points
    I'm still letting that sink in. 500 is such a small, unassuming number as a number. It's a fairly short period of time in seconds, being just over 8 minutes. You can't do very much in 8 minutes. You can do a lot in 8 minutes (complete all but 5 or 6 official CC levels). It's an incredibly long time to have to make 0 mistakes during (Warehouse II, Cityblock). And when taken one item at a time, 500 is a veritable mountain. I'm not done optimizing, nor am I done with any of these scores (ok maaaaaybe done with CCLP1), but this is a good point to take a hiatus. These past dozen bolds have all taken a lot out of me and I definitely need the break to work on other pursuits, so for now I will just reflect on what it took to get here. (as well as the Chip Cup from the past 2 years, since I need to average 7th to lose this year... heheh) 500. Wow. February of last year, I scored 700 on Cake Walk to take 10th place in the original set and claim the Bit Buster award. I had 403 bolds at the time. Trying to go chronologically from here would be confusing, since I don't remember a lot of the specifics, but I do remember Ruben gained 1 second each on Teleblock, Lemmings and Jailer to reach 5,977,030 points and knock me out of the top 10 (November 30th). Naturally I refused to let this stand and went to improve my 413 Blobnet. That same day I spent a couple hours playing the level, at first copying Miika's 422 safe route directly and later using judgment to skip waits (but still no risks). This resulted in a quick 427, settling me firmly in 7th for the time being. But then I realized I could take a couple risks early on, cut a few corners and before long reached 431, meeting my goal of 430+ for the level. I am still yet to improve Block Buster or Cake Walk, but I'm much more confident in my ability to get a solid score now. The new goal is to pass Andrew Bennett on all sets: this seems doable with significant effort, but it feels like it can't be a bigger mountain than 500 bolds from 0 in this span of time. CCLP2 I'd gone through and picked off the easy bolds while playing through for the first time. This left me with some fairly significant execution challenges to overcome, and I made the mistake of sorting these into the same classifications I gave CC1 levels: Definite, Probable, Unlikely and HAHAHANO. Funny aside about HAHAHANO- originally CC1 had 4 levels in this category, being Blobnet, Blobdance, Cityblock and Doublemaze (I could see Block N Roll being something that happens at some point as 433 takes very little reacting). Now there are three, as I not only found 549 on Cityblock, but found and scored 550, beating pieguy!!! I'm not convinced my route is optimal, but I'm in the CC1 MS evolution page now anyway and nothing can take that from me (of the 500 bolds I have this is one of the ones I'm most happy with, and if you want to match it...well, don't be afraid to break the patterns.) Anyway back to CCLP2. The Definite pile was fairly small and easily scored. The Probable pile had a couple naive placements, like Jungle (seriously me?) and Island Hopping (only took about a half hour or so, wasn't too bad). Working through these didn't take too long to reach around 120 bolds, at which point I hit a wall. Oorto Geld II was a pain and I had to score it twice as the first time I missed the -.9 and got a -.0 instead. Iron Mysticus and Key Color also both proved much more challenging than I expected (Key Color in particular with a 1/10000 string of bad luck with the blob cloner blocking me the first time 10 times in a row...), but as usual persistence in attempting and practicing specific sections helped significantly. Wrongly pegging difficulties of levels continued as Icy Moat fell quickly (I expected to struggle with the timing, but it was close to 49 Cell which I already knew) but Madd Maze was a full day grind, with an abyssal RFF room success rate (my route through has an extra input compared to the AVI or TWS routes, but this extra input helped me as it meant I had a consistent input rhythm), and then the blobs kept directing the gliders wrong >_<. Eventually I worked through all the easy levels, and so progress slowed significantly at 480ish total (I'd been working on other sets during the CCLP2 focus, but not as much). Pauseless Captured and first try traps Gauntlet helped, as well as saving a bunch of long sokoban routes for all in a row. After Cityblock, I moved to CCLP3, scoring two new records (Countdown with Hornlitz and Get a Clue solo!) and copying a bunch more routes. Checkers and Flame Thrower were two non-public routes I was able to find with minimal difficulty as well. Flame Thrower in particular was a lot of fun to work out a route for in the editor, and then I just adjusted when I would pick up certain chips and scored 370.6 immediately. A small tweak to the last room to trade [1] for [2] and a chip was all it took for the bold of 371. I also found the Alphabet Soup route a few days before scoring it (thanks James for pointing out that my 948 was the 949, but missing a move in execution which snowballed >_<). Three days ago I got access to MSCC. It was the second most frustrating experience I've had with this game (I'm getting to the most frustrating, don't worry) as Every. Single. Input. was delayed by an entire move. I had to count out how many times to press the key individually, then not screw up the rhythm and on the longer walks I was counting "1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3" or "1-2-3-4 1-2-3" or something else like that. The actual teleport skip in Graduation was trivial. This was bold 493. The previous two days were spent on long sokobans. On the Rocks and Mind Block were both very simple to score, especially after noticing Mind Block had a consistent pattern and 'merge point' in cloning another block. One of the biggest route memorization aids I've found is finding a place that must be visited between phases and remembering what happens between those visits to that point. For Warehouse I, the next bold I scored, that was dropping a block into a bomb. Executing and remembering the route took a couple attempts, but was ultimately much easier than I anticipated. Yet Another Puzzle took a few more tries than I expected but was still fairly easy. And then we got to Warehouse II. I tried scoring Warehouse II back when I first played through CCLP2 last year. It didn't end well and I took b-191 initial solve. I expected a repeat, but all the maneuvers made sense to me this time around (thank you, optimizing Shifting Maze out to 832!) and I was able to score the perfect decimal after only about 60 minutes! I expected it to take much longer than that. Oracle II on the other hand, was an interesting blend of everything thus far. Long opening (2.5 minute first room, very easy to remember) and then a more complex second half that I kept making small mistakes during. I was still able to score 598 after another hour or so, though it nearly gave me a heart attack when I lost 3 moves on the final trip up from the bottom! (oof, oof, missed spring slide) And so I reached 499 MS bolds. All the way back at 470ish I decided that number 500 should have an appropriate title and you already know it's Which One Next? This was a dumb decision. I regret everything. This was the most frustrating experience- not for remembering the route, no, that was easy with a carefully notated map ( http://i.imgur.com/VldpXwA.png). All of my frustration here came from execution, as there is really nothing hard in this level (other than the 11 teleport run about halfway through). But I kept screwing up the simplest things, and it took me 3 hours of attempts (over the span of a lot longer than that) to realize I was trying to teleport too fast. Slowed down the pace, found the right rate, and had a flawless run going all the way until 30 seconds left, where entered a station from the wrong side. Then I had another perfect run to the very last teleport sequence, where I still went too fast. Finally, I managed to not screw up the ending after losing [1] in the 11 teleports to take my 795 and 500th bold. I am not looking forward to Oversea Delivery after that. Anyway, thoughts on a couple levels and stuff! CC1 levels Lesson 7: Taught me how to boost sort of okay. I kind of brute forced attempts until scoring bold 20+ months ago. Trinity: Taught me how spring slides sort of worked. I kind of held the key every time and hoped to change directions right. Now I know to double tap things. Hunt: Taught me that following every step exactly the same as a reference route is a recipe for dumb mistakes. I copied the beginning and then just made up a path for the rest as it really didn't matter. Blobnet: Much much later, taught me how to spot whether blobs were on their moving turns or their non-moving turns. Blink: Taught me how to spring slide properly- with the double tap and then direction change. I do still hold sometimes for when all the direction changes are equally offset, however. Arcticflow: Taught me that practicing specific areas was much easier with a copy of the level edited to only be that area. It still wasn't an easy bold at all. Mishmesh: Taught me how to play off a map. This has come in handy a LOT. Seeing Stars: Taught me that pausing to help remember routes was viable. I've since honed this quite a bit farther, but for the sake of real time I rarely use this technique. I Slide: Taught me the value of good notes. This has also come in handy a LOT, and not just with simple moves. Combining an encoding, textual instructions and a map on the side is how I execute routes with a lot of variety and backtracking. Spooks: Taught me that pieguy is unsurpassable, and sometimes unreachable. Also taught me that J.B. is nearly on the same level. Four Plex: Taught me that the publicly available route, even when it's the bold, isn't always perfect. Cityblock: Taught me that pieguy is beatable, hooray! Mixed Nuts: Chips under blocks are apparently my specialty and I learned more about how spring slides work to save time here. Still not enough for a new record.. :/ Mix Up: Taught me I could remember long sokoban routes. It was around here that the reasons why certain orders saved time started clicking for me. Yorkhouse, and to a lesser extent Catacombs: Taught me not to trust Andrew Bennett's probability calculations. They always err on the side of optimistic, as Catacombs is 1/655 and not 1/455 and Yorkhouse is way below 10% odds. The grind was annoying, but... CCLP1 levels Graduation: Taught me that MSCC is garbage and how did I ever play with this and how did anyone ever put up with this and how does James even manage now it's impossible. Also, Teleport Skip Glitch is easy someone add to Tile World please so I can score Skelzie. Wedges: I can blocks! Tetragons: RFFs aren't that bad... Square Dancing: Always test your routes before counting moves, and always count the free first move when counting moves. Descending Ceiling: If something seems weird about the scores people have, there's probably a couple tricks to find and each person missed a different thing. Applied to Get a Clue. (hint, hint) Who's the Boss?: Shift-O is dumb. H2O Below 273 K: holy crap this game gets hard to execute fast wow (273 -.9 still very happy with this thanks) Mini Pyramid: Yeah, chips under blocks are definitely my specialty. Chip Kart 64: Note to self: sliding less tiles is faster than sliding more tiles due to more overrides and boosts. Colors for Extreme: Keep an eye out for blocksliding opportunities. Technically applies to Booster Shots as well, but this came first chronologically so Bowling Alleys: Just because a lot of the top players have the score doesn't mean it's optimal. Also applies to Get a Clue, but this came first. Also, just because you barely scraped another second out of the level doesn't mean that your decimal is optimal. The Shifting Maze: Yep. I can definitely blocks. Shuffling everything around, more loops, small timesaves, small "hey I don't need that!" moments... this is probably one of the most complex CCLP1 routes to develop. Time Suspension: When grinding RNG, set aside an entire day, have other things prepared to keep from getting bored, and the pull of a new record can outweigh a lot of tedium/boredom. Also, walkers are worst monster. By a lot. Portcullis: You can slip by the single ice tile clone thingy in Lynx. Huh. Easier Than It Looks: Ok seriously if the same route hasn't scored a second higher yet it's not going to without a change. Also, pay attention to teleports and where they lead. This can shortcut (hi Countdown!) Cineworld: Half waits suck. CCLP2 levels Use the Fish: Taught me to just boost for it when failure means death: going to slow means a restart in this setting! Madd Maze: RFFs suck. Just thought you ought to know. Just Enough: Tedious, tedious, tedious, so glad I get to copy a route instead of have to iterate the timing of everything myself...ugh. Roller Coaster: Just because the AVI is perfect doesn't mean I have to be perfect. Think through if moves can be lost, and if so, where do they start mattering. This goes double for the TWS losing 0 to the blobs but 6 to the walkers. I lost 8 to the blobs and 0 to the walkers in my run, since the walkers will often either let you past or kill the attempt. Monster Factory: Sideswipes exist. Better routes for travelling salesman problems don't. CircleMaze: Pay VERY close attention to heavy boosting sequences. 475 takes very little luck and 476 does not require >R (override) >R (override) >R at the end. Captured: Mouse clicks aren't so bad... Gauntlet: Random results will behave differently for everyone. I knew this already, but James mentioning how bad it feels getting stuck in the trap on 458 potential had me expecting it to happen on my first try past the walkers, so I was pleasantly shocked when it didn't! CCLP3 levels Lot in Life: Illogical routes sometimes trump logical routes. My poor 95 MS....my 95 Lynx though is pretty logical. Not easy to find without the right insight, though. Map the Path: It pays to be in the right place at the right time for the scoreboards. I was around when J.B. found 245, and was able to find it before anyone else came online. Looking back, I think this is the moment I realized "yeah. I can actually do this optimization thing." Recess: Even bad levels make CCLPs sometimes. Spiral: See previous level comment. Blazes: James gets ridiculous insights with monster interactions. Pay attention to them. Get a Clue: Pieguy is not perfect. I am able to find things he missed sometimes. (This, combined with the imminent J.B. look got me to take a look at Cityblock and score 550). Flame Thrower: Just because one person found routing the level easy/hard does not mean I will find it easy/hard. J.B struggled, I had no trouble. Conversely, James found 825 on ACD and I still don't see how an improvement isn't 826. I suppose finding a "half cycle" on the balls would be the key. Once Upon a Troubadour: Moving mouse clicks are a pain when boosting is involved. At least it's short. Countdown: Just because bold has been reached doesn't mean you should stop looking. Shoutouts to Shane for finding the trick I missed to raise 71 to 72, though if we hadn't, triple joint bold with J.B. would have ensued Checkers: Miika is really good with blocks. Listen to his ideas. In Lynx, slaps are awesome, splash delay is not, avoiding splash delay is. Mediterranean: Collabs are awesome. Long teleport runs are not. Which One Next?: Ok, what did I just say? Oh right, long teleport runs are not awesome. This is a bad level. Yay 500 bolds with appropriate title (and 501 has a recommendation already). Lead Us Not into Temptation: Walkers are still worst monster. Also this is more likely than Time Suspension, which is still unconfirmed. Despite the route having been public since I scored it. Manic Depression: Sometimes, just sometimes, randomness will go your way the first chance it gets. Also cross checking into rams is awful and the first bunch of this level is a huge pain. Mr. McCallahan Presents: Some busts are convoluted and use every part of a level and several obscure mechanics. This helped me fix Fish in a Barrel before anyone else caught the ridiculous MS only bust in UC4. Chip Cup I would have had a real shot in the 2014 Cup had I been around to enter the super competition...oh well. I still did well for what I was able to enter. I went into the 2015 season aiming to win, and so far I've built up quite the lead. Got sniped on the pieguy award with the survival competition last year by pieguy himself. Still haven't had a single treasure hunt competition to enter. Sometimes, the rule that better Lynx scores are counted as equivalent is silly when Lynx is clearly faster by a significant margin. The Power of Slide Delay Compels You! is a great level and I had a lot of fun trying to make everything I wanted to do with it fit into the level, as well as tweaking the slide delay rooms. J.B. is not infallible with optimization and can be beaten in time trials (I did so twice!). If a level gets updated, always look over the new possibilities. The past 22 months have been a ton of fun. Here's to another long period of time, more intricate routes, more fun levels and stellar community packs! I'm coming for that CCZone Awards Leaderboard overall first
  6. 5 points
    Background information (VERY LONG VERSION): Background information (VERY SHORT VERSION): Levels 1-10:
  7. 4 points
    Chip's Challenge 3 is apparently happening eventually. Here are some improvements from CC2 that I would like to see. Need-to-haves: A sand tile. This would block monsters and blocks but allow Chip and Melinda (with hiking boots?) to cross. There is no tile with these properties in CC2 while even Chuck's Challenge has one. Using fake green walls as a block blocker is awkward. A no-drop tile. An overlay tile that prevents boots from being dropped on it. Blank no signs and no signs with irrelevant tools technically do the job but they are unsightly and don't convey their intent as well as a dedicated tile would. Native support for zero-directional blocks. This is the most commonly used "hacked" tile and is a logical extension of the other directional blocks. Wiring on a separate layer. Wiring in CC2 is powerful, but still held back by their restriction to being placed on just floor and steel walls. The ideal solution is to combine the best of CC1's connection system and CC2's wiring system and allow wires to exist on a dedicated layer. Visibility while playing a level could be toggled by a key and they could appear as a transparent overlay. This would also fix the oddity of pink and black buttons not appearing when hide logic is on. More consistent monster behavior. Bugs and rovers should not avoid canopies. Fireballs and ghosts with flippers should not avoid turtles. Rovers with fire boots should not avoid fire. Support for bowling balls starting on clone machines. The ghost setup takes up an absurd amount of space for such a simple result. Allow blocked green teleports to be skipped over. Support for lowercase letters. Give teeth monsters north-facing tile, and give blue teeth the same number of animation frames as red teeth. Automatic recording while playing a level, like Tile World's. This should be easy to apply to normal play since it already exists in the editor. Higher res graphics, 64x64? No 3D graphics like Puzzle Studio or Chuck's Challenge please Extra green chip/bomb tiles. More diverse sound effects. CC2 has fewer sound effects than the original Lynx game despite the wealth of new elements. Important bug fixes: Disallow hooks from attempting to pull monsters. Disallow the player from being able to slap monsters. If blocks can be pushed consecutively on floor, allow them to be pushed consecutively on force floors. Trap logic fix, including multiple trap button problems and the issues with wired traps Consistent snatching and hook block slapping behavior (i.e. not monster order related) Flame jet max distance fix The two disappearing Chip glitches and the Waterbirth glitch Thin wall on closed side of railroad should not have any effect except when the RR sign is equipped Allow player to step off force floor if they start the level on them Allow key inventory to exceed 255. Want-to-have fun stuff: Allow blocks to be pushed at 2x speed when Chip has speed boots. Make blocks have no effect on recessed walls. This would revert their behavior back to CC1. Ice blocks and directional blocks would still be able to be pushed on them, and turtles could still retain the CC2 "flicking" behavior. More thin tiles: walls are the only tiles to have thin versions of them even though other tiles could be adapted to this concept. Puzzle Studio has thin toggle walls. Thin gravel, thin force floors, thin recessed walls, etc. have potential. Lasers: Puzzle Studio and Escape have these. A beam it shot in one (or more) directions until stopped by a wall and other elements like blocks and perhaps monsters. Chip dies when hit by the beam. Maybe a beam receiver that converts the beam to an electrical current. Reflectors: Chuck's Challenge has these, though they apply to the spitter enemy. Pushable block that reflects bowling balls and lasers 90 degrees. Could be rotated with train tracks. Logic gate enhancements: Add NOR and XNOR gate for completeness. Add diodes which allow current in only one direction, the ability to specify a delay in frames from 1-10, which will make synchronizing circuits easier and remove the need for chained OR gates (Circuit City contains an example of long OR gate chains) "Frictionless" blocks (don't have a better name): Copy of the yellow blocks from Escape. These are blocks, once pushed in some direction, that continue on a straight path until they hit an obstacle. Think of tanks but pushable in any direction by Chip. Score gate: Exists in Challengo, essentially a socket that the player can open if they have enough points but will deduct from their score.
  8. 4 points
    First levelset dedicated to Miika: After being away from the game for over two years, I got interested in playing and designing Chips games once again. At first I just wanted to chose one of my favorite levels - "Road to Chip's Heaven" and totally rebuild it - which I have now done- called BRIDGES.. I started looking around the site to catch up on what has been going on. I realized that I had forgotten so much that I needed to email a few of my Chipster friends to relearn a few things, etc. Josh Lee was the only one that I was able to contact for help, which he has gracious been doing. When I was looking around the site, I read Miika's blog and noticed that Miika had also recently returned after being away for while. While reading Miika's blog, I saw a man that plays the game with integrity, not looking at an editor to see what to do. (I can't say that I do that) He likes to have the time to figure things out on his own. That is why I made the BRIDGES levelset. The two levels are just about the same except for the North West corners. The first level has no time limit to give the opportunity to figure out the level without running out of time. For those that like to approach the game like Miika, I had the idea that once the player knows the scheme of the layout, the player can then move on to play the second level to see how well it can be plaid - time wise. Also, the second level has a stealthy shortcut, which could be fun to discover. Due to Miika's approach to the game, and him coming back at about the same time as myself, I want to dedicate my first levelset to Miika. I have called it "BRIDGES" and have upload it. Note: Since I first made this blog (the first time), I discovered a mistake that I had made in my first upload, as I had added some block in the South East corner to make it look more symmetrical (that was a mistake) because I should have checked the level out before uploading the set. Well, since I had to fix that, I have made other improvements as well. plus redesigning the North West corner area. I left the North West corner in the second level the same as it was in the first upload. So, there are two version of that area. The first level's is probably a little more difficult. I apologize to those player that have already downloaded the mini level-set. I promise to do much better about checking things out. I am confident that BRIDGES is right now. It's good to be back! Ian Wilson-( thinker I.D.)
  9. 4 points
    Shortly after I finished playing CCLP3, I started calling for CCLP4. Larry, in his infinite wisdom, said (and I'm paraphrasing) "Slow down there, young Newly! You don't wanna go off half-cocked." In the intervening years we got a very nice set put together (CCLP1), and it resolved the "we must do SOMETHING" feeling inside me. However.... Now we are at a bit of a crossroads. It takes at least a year to make a set. We went four years between CCLP3 and CCLP1. That is the outside limit in my mind. If we don't make a plan now, THIS YEAR, then CCLP4 will languish like CCLP3 did, and it'll take new "annoying boys" to get it going again. So, let's "DO SOMETHING!!!"
  10. 4 points
    Where was I? My friend came over to install Jezzball for me, and while he was at it, he also installed Chip's challenge. Then he opened it to teach us how to play, which probably was a good idea because I doubt I would have bothered to try it if I had never seen it played. (Oh, all the great computer games I might have missed because they look boring at first sight and I haven't bothered to try them! Just as well perhaps.) I'm sure all of my siblings where there to watch this new game. You're a guy named Chips and you collect chips. Yes, we thought his name was Chips. So what are chips? Who knows, they are something to do with computers and you need them to get passed that grey gate that guard the exit square. I remember that the game seemed quite dull. I mean, how much fun is Lesson 1 really? Still, I was a little bit proud after finishing it. I know that most of you guys beat a great deal of CC1 at the age of five or so, and here was I, 13 years old. But please bear in mind that my experience of computer or video games was (and still is) very limited. This was mainly due to two facts, general disinterest from my side, and lack of equipment in my home. We got a TV when I was four, VHS player when I was 12, and computer when I was 13. And my brother eventually saved enough money to buy an xbox360 long after I left home. Before CC, my computer game experience was limited to Free Cell, Solitaire, some other card games, Mine Sweeper, Pipe Dream, Jezzball and Snake. Plus some Super Mario on Nintendo 8 bit at a friend's place. Later on, I played quite a bit of Sim City 2000, and my boyfriend (now husband) taught me StarCraft (so that I would let him play with his brothers and cousins). Still today CC is virtually the only computer game I play. Anyway, my siblings and me fell in love big time with Chip's Challenge. I remember thinking that it was so perfect. It had everything it needed, neither more nor less. Four elements, four boots. Two elements that kill you if you don't have boots, two that don't. Water can be overcome with the help of blocks. Fire cannot. FFs can be forced through, ice cannot. One monster can walk in fire, one can swim. One monster turns left, one turns right, one turns randomly and one just bounces back. One follows the left wall, one follows the right wall and one follows you. And one is simply random. Another one is controlled by buttons. I could go on about everything that is perfect in this game, but you all already know it. I do think however that the ice block would have completed the tile set in a nice way, but back then I knew nothing about it. I did miss a key stealing thief, and in the beginning we thought he took both boots and keys. My one sister is just a year younger than me, the other & my brother came about ten years later so they were very young at that time. They would come and ask me or my sister to play "Chips" so they could watch. But we had to turn the sound off, because my youngest sister would start crying at the "bummer"-sound when Chip dies. We tried to teach her to play, but she wouldn't get longer than Lesson 1 as she refused to play any level with a monster in it. We also loved the music. Well, the happy one more than the scary one. My sister has it as her ringtone today, and "bummer" is her text message sound. Guess that means she's overcome her fear.
  11. 4 points
    With the addition of blogs on CCZone and all, I thought this would be a good way to discuss my first experiences with CC, CC1 in particular, since I did not have much knowledge of the different extensions, the level editors, or any of that complex (well, for me as a five to seven year old, I'd say it would have been pretty complex.) stuff. I'll start, in this first entry, by talking about some of the earliest CC moments I ever had, the first ever computer video game I had ever played, and is still my favorite video game on PC to date. So let's go back to 2004. My grandpa had an old computer, a Windows 98, that he didn't want anymore, so I asked my mother if we could keep it, and of course the response was yes. The entire BOWEP (Best of Windows Entertainment Pack, for those who haven't heard of it) had been installed on that '98, and I had fun playing all the different games, some of my favorites being SkiFree, Rodent's Revenge, and, of course, Chip's Challenge. The first time I ever played it, I figured out how to play pretty quickly, and sped through the first nine levels on my first day. I think after that was when I quit playing that day. I remember later that night I had a dream about a teeth monster in a factory-like building with thin walls try to eat me along with a pink ball somewhere. I'll remind you I don't really remember much of that dream, mainly because that was nearly eight or nine years ago. I spent five minutes admiring the first level of CC.. LESSON 1. I went on to complete the lesson levels and, either completed or gave up on Nuts and Bolts, the infamous first real level of the game. Without realizing it, at one point during that day, I had enabled Ignore Passwords with Ctrl+K (I think I used +K, not one of the other... two?). The next day, or, my second day of Chip's Challenge-ism, I figured out that all the levels had suddenly been unlocked! So I spent my time playing the ones that looked pretty cool, like Cityblock (you gotta admit, that's kinda colorful) Four Plex (my favorite CC1 level ever), and especially All Full. I can't remember that much of the early days of my CC childhood, but from what I do remember I'll try to explain in best detail in the next entry of this blog, which I could probably write a series of novels on. Let's just say I loved Chip's Challenge as a five, six, and seven year old.
  12. 3 points
    Another day, another 15 levels worth of thoughts. 31. Blocks Aren't Us I remember I was just toying around with bridging levels and hit on the teleport arrangement in the southern room, and how just those teleports would allow access to an entire room of water. From there, I decided to make a symmetric minimalist bridging level, because it's a rarely done genre. Bridging levels are really hard to keep from being tedious, and I figured that 4 distinct approaches/minor deviations from full water would work perfectly for making an enjoyable bridging level. With those two thoughts in mind, I built the force floor room, then the ice room and the glider room. In the first version of the level, the glider room had 2 gliders and it was manageable, but ultimately I decided it didn't really mesh with the rest of the level so I removed one of them. 32. Autumnal Forest This was the last level I made for UC6, and stemmed from realizing I hadn't built the obligatory "variety/puzzle level where all the walls are actually blocks". While trying to come up with some new ideas of what to do with that design trope late at night, I had the following thought. "heheheh, what if instead of blocks I used LOCKS lol". Naturally, this turned out to be a legitimately great idea. The individual challenges aren't too complicated in this level, but to me it's one of those fun levels that just flows. I also love revisiting older areas, and passing back through the fireball room was something that I felt just needed to be included as one of the final steps. Keeping the current key count in memory while designing was pretty tricky, and keeping it bust-proof was trickier. 33. Betwixt and Between Walls from Fossilized Snow, before it became a CCLP4 level but after it was pretty clear it was going to make the cut. Around halfway through the sets' construction I looked through a bunch of custom sets for interesting walls to use as launching points, and figured that this could be used for... something. Quite some time later, I built a one block glider manipulation puzzle, using gravel and water to set two sets of boundaries. Finally, the means of exiting was something I hadn't really seen done too much, being a blind partial post off of the glider. Unfortunately, this wasn't very fun/fair, so I added the tank buttons to give an auditory cue. I play with sound on basically always, which seems to be a minority stance- but it makes sections like this so much easier! Oh, and the level is named after an area in Kingdom Hearts 2. 34. Hyperspace Runway Walls from The Last Starfighter and level originally made for the Walls of CCLP1 create. TLS was selected not because the walls looked interesting, but because it was level 28 and I asked Jessi what level I should use. Naturally, 28 was selected because a while back, I got a 28 cycle Specter in an any% no infinite jump run that still turned out to be the record (linked below). From there, I realized that TLS was actually quite an interesting layout, so I ruined it with a bunch of force floor slides and blocksliding. At least the glider room is legit. 35. Snow Worries Hey, another level named after a level in a game I used to speedrun, this time the 6th level in Ty the Tasmanian Tiger! In hindsight, this and the previous level probably shouldn't be next to each other, as Snow Worries is a blocksliding puzzle where the puzzle is figuring out how to set up a blockslide. Honestly, this is a level because I noticed the socket puzzle was possible (making a block bounce off a bouncing block) and wanted to make a level around it. The ending can be a little mean, but it's not too bad I don't think. 36. Center of Attention Nothing too special here, just a four quadrants variety level with a sokoban, a monster manipulation, and some dodging. Sorry about the ending, I realllllly shouldn't have left it like that but since I found a way to do it without precise timing or the monster partial post, I left it >_< 37. Unlicensed Archaeology Level originally designed for "The Five Rooms" create, where it placed second. I really didn't have any ideas for how restrictive the guidelines were for quite a while, and then I decided to just theme a level around blocks. Not just use blocks, but actually have that as the core theme. From there, the first room became an explosive romp, the third room a simple tank bypass, and the final room a simple symmetric bridging puzzle. That still left the second and fourth rooms, and the fourth seemed to fit a partial posting puzzle and socket clearing fun part easily. I can't think of a better description for the blue key search than "fun part" lol. Anyway, the second room was actually the first one I built and sent me down the rest of that path. I'm not sure exactly why I decided to use single blocks as walls with dirt as the enforcer, but I'm glad I did because it creates a natural series of small puzzles to figure out how to progress, and as the designer I had to make sure to leave a way back! Level named while streaming Tetris Plus and just discussing random things with Jessi. The phrase came up, and I knew it fit this level perfectly. 38. It's a Small World The very... second level I made for this set! Nothing too complicated here, just a teleport puzzle. I still had a lot of fun working out how to build 7x7 rooms in each corner, and I very much like the starting FF spiral. I guess being able to touch the border is unusual, too. 39. Christmas Armament This is easily one of my favorite levels in the set, less due to how it plays and more due to the combination of concept and execution. Basically, I had the idea of farming red keys to get to the next room from the center, but wasn't sure how to fill each sub-room. Cue me (blob) pestering my brother (tank), my sister (walker), and my mom (teeth) to each build a 7x7 and 8x8 room. The tank maze room and block/bomb room are probably the best two, but the teeth puzzle is interesting as well. The force floor room underwent a lot of iterations before I settled on the more complex variation- originally it was a lot simpler. 40. Obligatory Block Shuffling Level I needed to make a block shuffling level. I made a block shuffling level. The upper room came first and set the shape of the level and honestly isn't too hard, but the lower room took me a solid hour of tweaking to come up with. This is probably my best sokoban design to date with a couple tricky steps involved in the solution. What more is there to say about it? 41. Just Another Regular Thursday Walls from Dave's A Puzzle. Other than the invisible wall with the tank (not required to make the level possible, but made it more fun) and the throwaway joke of blue walls + deadly obstacles in one of MY levels... there's not much here. It's kind of generic in a charming sort of way. Hey Dave, if you ever read this does this level look/feel like something you'd have built? 42. Choice Tools Walls from Nitroglycerin, and entered in the Walls of CCLP1 create. This ended up being Miika's preferred level of my three submissions, but it couldn't go too far due to only being a maze. Which is a shame, because I put a solid 3-4 hours into making sure every combination was possible to beat the level with! Not even building sections, just tweaking the "final" level until I had a version that didn't care what you picked. The inspirations here are quite obvious I think- choices, choices and Tool Shed. This level is the reason I ran the mazes only create, which my brother ended up winning with TOTALLY RANDOM MAZE. I could be accused of nepotism with that judgment... but even Josh (runner-up) agreed that it should win If you're reading this Andrew- make more levels! They're good! 43. Fahrenheit Frenzy About halfway through construction, I decided I wanted to make a time crunch level. A linear fire themed gauntlet named after another Wrath of Cortex level. So I built the bug dodging area, and then it all went downhill when I couldn't resist from building a puzzle. However, I think the puzzle is actually pretty good despite relying on stuff under blocks (I may or may not have been trying to make a statement) even if Tyler busted it with spam cloning somehow. Another of my favorite designs. 44. Celsius Scramble Another of my favorite designs- Doublemaze already overlaid 2 mazes on top of each other, and Archie's Double Puzzle overlaid 2 sokobans on top of each other. What if we took this further with larger tiles (3x3) and took full advantage of the fact that there was ice? The result was this semi-maze, semi block moving, semi dodging/timing variety experience. The two best moments to me are using the tank to deflect a sliding bug into the teleport, and pushing a block into a teleport and then walking around to push it as it pops back out where it started. 45. Blue Narciss After designing time trial levels, I felt like making a level with the aesthetic of Eddy's Melody Rain. A single block monster manipulation puzzle followed. Those are kind of a theme in this set, aren't they.
  13. 3 points
    ...which you might have known if you've been paying attention. I had a good clean break of one year from this game, and now I plan on hanging around for a bit again. It's nice to be back. I see most of you are still here and even some new people have joined the mix. That's great! If our community wants to survive for another decade, we need new blood. Do hang around for a year or two, and maybe a couple of you will stay for longer. And for those that feel they've had a good time but need to move onto other things, do take a minute and say good bye. You'll always be welcome back! Last year I got a new job and moved to another country. It was good to have a break from CC. Things have settled down a bit now, and it's good to not be away anymore. However, I'm going to try to manage my time and efforts better than I have in the past. There are simply so many interesting things to do in the CCverse that I will need some focus to get anything done without having it overwhelm my life. Mainly this means I won't be optimizing the official sets as much as I'd like but will rather try to chat and create content here. It's very likely you'll still see an occasional score report from me, and in particular working together with other people on problematic levels is something I'll gladly be doing. I was going to list some of my goals and plans for the coming year, but now I feel like any such list would be lacking as I haven't yet totally caught up with everything in my mind. I did read my previous blog post and was happy to see I did most of the things I was hoping to do last spring. I would like to post on this blog about once a month if I can find the time. I would like to finish CC2; so far I have played half the levels. Of course I also need to sort out my scores and totals on the official sets, even without any improvements. I'll definitely be running some competitions and judging them, even though those always take up a good chunk of my available time. I haven't decided on what I will do with CCLP4 voting, but at least I'll keep an eye open. (To clarify, I don't know if I will vote on all the levels this time.) Finally, I have a ridiculously long back-log of semi-interesting semi-important projects that I'll try to wade through every once in a while. Thanks for having me back. Let's have a great time again! -Miika
  14. 3 points
    CCLXP2. I recently finished playing through this set and to say the least, it was a different experience than back when I let's played the MS version. Not by much, but different enough to call it out. The CCLXP2 project dates back to as early as late 2011. As we all know, CCLP2 was not crafted with the lynx ruleset in mind, due to the fact people were far more aware of the MS port instead of the original version. Over the years and especially after CCLP3's release, Lynx compatibly became more common of a ruleset, with many more designers crafting levels with both MS and Lynx rulesets in mind, instead of just the former. Because of this, various community members, including myself, took it upon themselves to make CCLP2, Lynx-compatible. For players who prefer the Lynx ruleset over the other to enjoy the first offical level pack (at the time at least). I was once part of this project in its early days, since I am a big fan of CCLP2. But as time went on and going through many hiatus periods, eventually I disbanded from it due to other reasons. Despite the fact it has been released for quite some time now, I finally found myself to take the time to play through it. I was very tempted to LP this, to go along with my old out-of-date MS run back in 2011 but I decided against it. As far as feedback goes, I will leave some for any level I found particularly interesting or more of a challenge. This includes the fixed levels and even some where the gameplay was slightly different but was still Lynx-compatible from the start. Warning, spoilers. (I mean if you never played the original CCLP2 at least?) --Feedback-- 14. The Parallel Port This was the first level in CCLP2 to use invalid tiles. Originally, every collectable item was under a fake blue wall and the path to the exit included an ice corner, which can't be passed through in Lynx. The fix to this was shifting all items to the upper layer and over some to require close to the same amount of time to obtain as it would in MS. While the level itself wasn't really interesting even in the original, I found it enjoyable to finally play it in Lynx. 15. Debug File I always choke myself up whenever I go back to watch Rock's run of this level and dying hilariously. This level went under very little fixes actually. Aside from the monsters not being on top of blocks, the way to collect chips was interesting. This was possibly the best (and only) fix for this and it was much appreciated. Got the bold on my first try too, without trying! 17. Double Trouble The fix to this was simply making it possible to move at the start. Originally, the glider would kill you instantly in Lynx. Not that this mattered because the level was unplayable anyway due to the thin walls being under some fake blue walls and normal walls under chips. I found it a little amusing that the pop-up walls in the fixed version aren't necessary. 19. A Sample of Things to Come I never was a big fan of this level but the fix to it was pretty simple. I like the new mechanism that replaced the original buried pop-up walls under the red locks at the start. 20. Ranger Denmark This level was always silly to me, but this version is very obviously different. Such that the fire was replaced by water and most the monsters were swapped with their counterparts. Still was simple as ever to solve though. 21. Block Away! I hated the original version but this one did it some justice, though not that much. I remember looking at this level upon this project's early days, figuring out what could be done if the wrong red buttons were pressed. That fix was clever, I never thought of it. The fact the blue keys next to the tanks were still there when viewing in the editor was nice to see, though me personally I would have swapped through some keys as to not add some like the lower right did. Finally, the way to exit. Great change. I disliked the original with traps under locks. Even though I didn't trapped in this run, had I done so I wouldn't have minded as much. 22. How Goes? Pretty good. (see what I did there?) I remember this change being brought up and it is indeed a great one. Does not affect MS's solution at all, which was part of the goal whenever possible. 26. Work Fast Surprisingly, I had a hard time at this one. I was so used to the way monsters moved in MS that it's completely different in Lynx. The glider section below was also a challenge to go through since splash delay is a thing. Overall, I enjoyed it but I probably won't replay it ever. 28. Madness I (LX) So this was the first level that had to undergo a big change. While it's appearance is quite similar compared to viewing the original, the gameplay is slightly different. Blocks moving against each other while on traps is actually a pretty clever concept and I liked it. I did get killed by the first attempt though, since I didn't pay attention to the display message before. 31. Well of Wishes While this level was already compatible with Lynx to begin with, I felt the gameplay was different enough to review it - notably, the glider part at the start. For the longest time, I kept thinking it was possible to go through it the same way in MS but I don't believe it is. Until I realized the flippers can be used to collect those chips. Even though it's possible to do that in MS as well, I never noticed that and I really liked that it was used here. 47. Tele-Rooms I really found it fun that I was able to obtain all the first chips in the east fireball room without stopping. A lot of levels in this ruleset do this and I found it nice. The only other difference I found cool was the blobs on ice. The timing to get past them a few times was a good challenge. 48. And Then There Were... Four? Of course those fire boots are still in the third column. I liked this fix, I remember it being brought up and it was well-received. Though, I don't think all the other red buttons needed to be there. 59. Lot of Danger The beginning was much more difficult, since you have no control over the random force floors. I honestly really dislked the paramecium part after this. I felt it could have had more wiggle room and less of a chance of dying by it. Other than that, this level was pretty good. 68. Madness II (LX) I just realized both Madness levels changed in this set. Anyway, the only changes were the hidden items and the force floors underwater right at the beginning. Mostly everything else is the same. It was a good level to play again. 70. Killer Spiral One of the few levels that I actually suggested the fix for (The other being Frost Swirl)! And a different style gameplay, since I couldn't rely on boosting like I could in the original. 82. The Block Stops Here (LX) The bomb section at the bottom was a well done fix. It was appreciated that I could actually kill off some of the gliders, if I really needed to. 85. Follow the Glacier Brick Road It was sad to see the original level's concept go but there was no way to replicate it for Lynx. So arguably this one was a lot, lot easier to solve. 87. The Walker Machine (LX) An actual level that requires you to erase blue keys? This may be my favorite level in this Lynx version. It was just a ton of fun to play and has so much replay value. I loved it, well done to whoever's idea this was! 92. Abandoned Mines The blob section was a lot more challenging here, since blobs act weird in Lynx. The force floors at the end gave me a headache. That's mostly the animations fault but still it was a pain collecting the chips there. Was still fun to play again regardless. 93. Exit Chip Okay. This level wasn't nearly as evil as the original. I actually kind of liked it? That's kind of hard to say though! Thankfully I didn't die by any ball on that ice slide, though I did almost get killed by the block containing suction boots in the NE. 94. Checkerboard II (LX) A good fix to the level but I didn't enjoy playing it. I found it easier to mess up guiding blocks in this version. I might have been impatient though. 96. Glider and Fire I remember there being debate on whether this level should stay or be replaced by a mirrored version that I made back when this project was first starting out. I'm honestly a little disappointed the mirrored version didn't get used here, it would have been much easier in my opinion. Anyway I had to watch Miika's lynx solution to this level to solve this. I especially hated the ending that requires nearly perfect timing to exit or you'd get killed by a glider, which is completely out of your control. I wish some were removed at least but oh well. In general I can't say I liked it, but it was definitely a challenging level. 99. One-Block Sokoban Lol I accidentally erased the blue key on the first attempt. Backtracking to get the green key before pushing the block was not fun. It couldn't be helped though. What could have been helped though was the teleport/splash delay cook at the very very end. That wasn't very nice, Lynx. 105. Yet Another Puzzle (LX) Still remained just as fun as the original, despite the change. It was a little harder to outrace the glider before getting stuck. 107. Joyride I I recommended a time limit increment for this level but unfortunately it didn't receive one. So the bold time is 2, which I find funny. 108. Tricks Block slapping made this level a lot easier. 112. After the Rainstorm (LX) Even though its not required here, I love the fact the force floor remains in that once called "Ram" section. Nice touch. 113. Oorto Geld II This is the true definition of a lame sequel. And the walkers didn't do it any better. Did not enjoy this one. 119. Teeth I never did play the version that required odd step but this was a good level. I appreciate the teeth in NE no longer releases out of it's trap. 120. Frost Rings (LX) Even though it's concept couldn't be retained, it was still enjoyable. Nothing beats the original though 123. BlockSlide No changes but because slide delay does not exist in Lynx, this level played sooooo much smoother. Loved it. 130. Frozen Birdbath (LX) I raged on this level in my MS run. I despised the original so much, it's my top least favorite CC level. BUT. This version did it so much justice. I loved it. Considering to replace my #1 least favorite level now. 131. Time Bomb (LX) I'm surprised this was mirrored and Glider and Fire wasn't. But it makes sense with this level, since the original had fire all over the place. The level was great. I don't know if it's the same gameplay just mirrored but it seemed harder to me. Great fix (or replacement I guess?). 132. Captured (LX) This one wasn't as annoying as the original. Quicker to solve as well! 136. Switch Hit I'm surprised the AVI for this level claims this to be unsolvable in Lynx. It was definitely more interesting here though, it had me stomped on how to exit since the way to in MS couldn't be done. 139. Frostbite (LX) I found this to be a little more timing based. Enjoyable to play though was never much of a fan of the original. 140. Keep Trying Moving with random force floors everywhere was more difficult than it should have been. But still fun to play! 143. Trapped The fact there still resides a bust here makes this level better. Didn't catch it until I completed it the first time, so I went back and executed that bust. 145. Gauntlet I don't know if it's possible to collect all 15 chips in the teeth corridor, but I didn't chance it. Thankfully the 2 at the end were useful for something! The walker clone machines also acted out with me and caused me to die several times. 146. Run-a-Muck Hated the original. Hated this version even more. I especially hated that a fireball in the west room goes in the ball/chip room which only made it unnecessarily harder. Sorry. 147. Cloner's Maze Just because gliders don't die in fire here, I went all out with the cloner and spammed it for a good 30 in-game seconds. Don't do that, it ain't a good idea. Anyway I had to watch chipster1059's video of solving this in Lynx because I was at a complete loss on some parts. While I'm pretty sure it's possible otherwise, I relied on collisions to collect the yellow key and one of the chips. I hated one collision but loved the other. Thanks chipster for the video assistance! 148. Neptune Liked the fact the traps made getting blocks in those spots for gliders to destroy the bombs much easier. I didn't enjoy this level that much unfortunately. --Final Review-- Overall, playing this was very interesting and most, if not all, the fixes were excellent. Thank you to those who worked hard on completing this project and I apologize for disbanding in the middle of it. You did CCLP2 some justice with this. I highly recommend playing this, even if you weren't a fan of the original. Rating: 8/10
  15. 3 points
    Now You See It: J.B. said this would would be really hellish in Lynx, so after making a notated map I attempted it there first. Took 3 tries, then 1 to match the 906 in MS. The map I used replaced all wall/floor equivalents with wall and floor tiles, then marked the path to the exit with dirt. Paths to chips had gravel, dead ends were marked with a single trap at the entrance. I also had recessed walls for the fork to take second, but these were obsoleted by the dirt/gravel notation. Skipped ahead to Perfect Match at this point because the solution I had was 964 and I was missing something. That something turned out to be the additional clone and kill to block the fireball stream earlier. I scored 968 on the 2nd attempt. In Lynx, it only transfers as a 965...but the trick to 966 is really neat and feels good to execute. Paranoia: At first, I thought the boosting was 4 ice tiles, so I could drop 1 boost and just spring slide to not waste any time. Unfortunately, it was actually 5-but fortunately, I could do it every time! I forgot to wait at the paramecia once, but beyond that this was a fairly easy bold to score. Catacombs: 1/455 shot. I've had worse. (on later calculation & anecdotal evidence, it's more like 1/655.) 3 minutes later, I had 379.8. Reason for the lost move? Being sent left at the first RFF and overriding right. Ah well, going in 379 was what I was going to go for, due to having to head off to class soon anyway. But with how quickly and painlessly that came, I knew in the hour between classes, this would be the goal. Unfortunately the luck was not on my side, though I did reach the final RFF 3 times. Amusingly the second RFF moved the block where Chip was supposed to go and Chip where the block was supposed to go 6 times in a row! After arriving at home, I spent another hour and a half on it-still without success. A couple days later I spent a half hour working on it again, got nowhere, hopped in a call with Zorasknight, got it 17 minutes later. Pretty convincing anecdotal evidence towards RNG-based CC levels playing nice while I'm in a call with an Ape Escape speedrunner. Unfortunately LUNiT had to go kill this plan to score luck based bolds before it could begin... Colony: It took me more time to note down room directions than to score. For completions' sake, here are the notes I used (an * denotes skipping the chip in the room). DLUL* DULLL DLUL DDDR* DULUR RRURD RRRLD DLD* RLURR DDL* DRLU LDUL* DU* L* UDRUUL LDDDR LD FINISH I used FINISH because at that point, the remainder of the path is obvious. Apartment: Watched the route once, wrote down directions as above, scored it in one try. Icehouse: See above, but without notes and 2 tries to execute. The first attempt forgot to take the ice path to the red lock area. Memory: I expected this one to take a few tries, but like Colony, encoding the route correctly resulted in a quick execution of the route: actually first try! LU U*R D LLL U*LD D*R R LL*UUR*L L D*D*ULD L RURD*ULL*R U L U*R U*L U*R L*DR*DL*DRDL*RR*URRU*D*R U U*DR*R U L RU*U LL R*RU*L L RR*DL*RD*DDL*LU*DDL*UU UR LU D*DL D*L*U RU U*U R LD*DDLU*U*L D L RUL Every directional input was which direction I needed to leave the room from. An * meant hitting the button in the room was required. Every space was used as a separator for chips, allowing me to remember when I was supposed to pick certain chips up. I still messed up and grabbed a chip early, but played the rest perfectly and still got the 488. Jailer: I had to wait in the northwest for 2 moves, which fortunately is allowed by the route. Aside from forgetting where to go after the 2 chips on the right wall once, this was an easy route. Short Circuit: I expected this to be an easy first try bold, but my first attempt came up 1 second short. My second attempt turned the wrong way with 7 chips left, and my third got it despite seeming the same as my first. Kablam: This one proved rather boring. Thankfully, I got it first try. Balls O Fire: Took 2 tries. I forgot what to do on the first and got 258. Block Out: I repeatedly messed up the ball section at the bottom, mostly because I watched the AVI once and went "alright I know how to do this, let me do it real quick before homework". 10 minutes later, I had bold but was in no mood for homework, so I pressed on to... Torturechamber: ...a dumb idea. My very first attempt forgot to wait at the last chip, and then I could not do the boosting right. After another 5 minutes, in which I died at the last chip another 3 or 4 times, I finally remembered to wait...and then waited too long. Thankfully, the next attempt got the 133. Blah blah blah CCLP1 public routes blah blah blah Cineworld sucks blah blah blah public half of CCLP3 for 76 bolds & 6,000,000 points blah blah blah tried Block Buster a bit and the first 2 seconds didn't work repeatedly because half waits. Specifically, my down input is ignored half the time and the other half the time my second right input was ignored. Have I mentioned I hate half waits? I'll try this again after other routes with them. I took a 387 with "fast" green key, though I messed up and cloned extra blocks. Chiller: A route that was both surprisingly difficult and surprisingly simple. At first, I had trouble remembering what to do, but after following the top row block once (and playing the rest out to be 274) I had very little difficulty remembering what to do. Time Lapse: Boosted wrong, [963]. Open Question: I've gotten better at dodging levels. Specifically, playing my own level "Amorphous" (currently unreleased, but will probably be in a demo of sorts for UC5, yes, that exists, fairly soon). Said level has lots of pink ball dodging in similar patterns to this level, and block pushing through it. I watched the public TWS route for the general route between chips, and scored 462 in one attempt following. Deception: Watched once, played once, made a mistake, still got bold. This keeps happening now: I've noticed I have a lot less difficulty remembering longer or more involved routes than I did when I started out. I had trouble remembering the sequence of actions for Iceberg before, but now I can remember the entirety of things like Paranoia easily, and for routes like Colony and Memory I can encode the route in such a way so that I can reference while playing and easily score bold. Oversea Delivery: hahahahahahahahaha later. Even after that spiel this route is still a little too involved and a little too execution heavy for the moment. It does allow 2 mistakes, but remembering the route and then having to execute...I'll definitely be back later. Block Buster II: Oh, you again. I don't like you. I was able to get the first half down pretty quickly and reliably, but, again, the half waits refused to cooperate. After a dozen successful first halves, I finally got the 1st 2 half waits...and realized I didn't know what to do after that. An hour or so later, I was getting the first half 25% of the time, and the first half wait about half the time. However, I still couldn't get the slide delay shenanigans right, with my best attempt moving up after 'button 6' instead of half wait DL. My hand had slowed down at this point and I could no longer get the boosting in the first half, so I took a break and moved on. The Marsh: It took me a couple tries to remember the block pushing at the end, but it was easy. Miss Direction: First try, bad boosting at the end . On checking my Partial Post decimal with the command line -t, I found out that this was a -.9. Slide Step: With my hand still not fully back up to speed, I knew this would pose an interesting challenge. I watched the route in the public TWS, and scored 208 on the first attempt. That wasn't too bad, 210 should be easy, right? A couple restarts later, 209 with mistakes in the bugs. A few tries later, I oofed twice after the bugs, but played the lower half perfectly to score 210. Alphabet Soup got a skip for now: untimed, non-public bold. I'll look for it eventually. Totally Fair: Took a few tries to manipulate the tooth monster correctly, but it was a simple enough level. The Prisoner: It took me the longest time to direct the fireball into the bomb, and then I kept mis-ordering the rest of the 'prison'. When I finally escaped, I forget to take the ice slides as a shortcut, scored 271, but scored 272 immediately after. Fun fact: at this point I was missing more untimed CC1 bolds than timed CC1 bolds! Tried Block Buster II a bit more. Decided to do an easier route if I dropped any boosts in the beginning. Ended up with 693. Another hour of attempting later, I forgot to wait before following the final block and ended up with a 713. Since it was now 2 AM, I let the time sit there for the night. Firetrap: I watched the route once, thought I had it down but when I went to score it, I kept making small mistakes. Forgetting to get the red key, forgetting to get the blue key, forgetting there's a wait before pushing the block onto the fire, forgetting to wait for the tank before the fireboots, forgetting where to go after the ice corner hit after the fireboots...after about 15 minutes I had the 667, though, without having to reference the route again. Block N Roll: SKIP SKIPSKIPSKIPSKIPSKIPSKIP NO WALKERS RIGHT NOW, NO THANK YOU All Full: As a kid this was one of my favorite levels. Scored bold on the 2nd attempt, because the first took the ice slide and cloned a bug. Ice Cube: 2 attempts, going off the directions on the wiki. The first misinterpreted (2R) to be right, right, backtrack instead of right, right, left, left. I clarified the notation and scored 933 on the 2nd try. Totally Unfair: Made the mistake of setting odd step first attempt, bold on the second. Common theme, that is. Recommended listening music for the remainder of this post: . This is what I was listening to during everything from Mix Up onwards. Mix Up: I expected this to be a torturous endeavour, and I was not mistaken. However, I expected the reason to be remembering the 5+ minute sokoban route, not execution mistakes outside of the boosting! My first few attempts at the level were with heavy pausing, alternating between gameplay and the public TWS every block. In the bomb room, though, there would be stretches of gameplay only 7 moves long-that room was complicated! The farthest one of these pause attempts went was 717 seconds remaining: the tooth dodging. I accidentally ran into a wall after the sideswipe, then input down left...but the down was post oof so the left input went after, stepping onto the tooth. I wasn't pleased, but get trying. At this point, I found I knew most of the route by memory, and get forgetting minor details in the bomb room. Eventually, I executed correctly to the tooth room again, with 3 or 4 pauses to catch my place in the route, and dodged the tooth monster right! After taking the chip, I paused again and checked the TWS to make sure I wouldn't lose this attempt. The boosting went perfectly...and then I spaced out and didn't move for 2 moves in the bug room. 682.8, I pulled a Spiral (Andrew Bennett's Spiral route in the CCLP3 public TWS was a 395.8, with a move lost after picking up the final chip). I was actually somewhat angry, now, but kept going, determined to pull off a 683 without pausing. 2 attempts at the bomb room later, I messed up the boosting at the end and lost 1 move but that was still good enough to score 683. I can safely say that's one of the most difficult bolds I've ever scored, as the next longest route I've executed correctly is (I believe) Metal Harbor Lynx, at 208 seconds, though Seeing Stars at 203 MS seconds is longer. This comes in at 316 seconds: the longest timed route in CC1! Blobdance, Pain, Doublemaze: hahahahanope, hahahahahahahafinemaybelater, hahahahahahahahahahahahahanotachanceidon'tevenhaveH2Oyet. Goldkey: Forgot to tap up 3 times at the end of the force floor area, forgot where to go after the northwest, 392. That's one forgiving route. Partial Post: After attempting to remember after a single watch, and failing horribly, I fell back on the old standby: notes. Teleport x5 Feed 3 blocks in up Adjacent block in, swing around DOWN UDUD Loop around, stagger 3, swing around UP DUD Next in, swing around UP DUD Straight shot, swing around DOWN UD Clear the bottom, swing around UP DU Closest in, swing around D U Closest in, swing around D U Stagger 2, left and feed down, feed left Bottom block left 3, middle left 3, bottom down 1, topleft left all the way Set up post, feed 2 down and slide 3 in front Swing around to the left, then the top Partial Post 2, then D(LU)R The first attempt with notes scored 237. Many, many attempts of ignored inputs later, I had what I thought was perfect, but it turned out to be a 239.6, 2 moves lost. A few attempts later, I realized I had lost a spring slide on the DUD® stretch and another on a R(DL)U(UU). It didn't take too much longer after that to score the bold. Yorkhouse: New day, new attitude towards random elements. How bad could it be? Well, I made some dumb execution mistakes but still scored a 919 on the 3rd attempt. When going for 920, though, everything seemed to go wrong. The first 2 walkers seemed to strike 50% of the time apiece, but surviving them would guarantee passage to the right side of the level. The next 2 walkers were murderous, though, and I died many times with 143 chips remaining. Finally, I survived that walker...except the final caged walker killed me. I even had a cool reactionary route change to avoid a walker pileup, too... The next attempt died at 86 chips remaining. Next 2 long attempts died at 207 and 293, both from ridiculous collisions and forced chip takes. Then 198 releasing the right corridor walker...you get the idea. Lots of dumb unavoidable deaths. Finally, I was able to survive releasing the final walker and wasn't killed cleaning up the last chips. That was rather annoying. Icedeath: Woohoo, boosting! Another level where I looked at the route on the wiki and executed. My first attempt clocked in at 262, and my second attempt at 262.8. This was surprisingly easy, as not 5 minutes later I had 263.2. Underground: Notated the route onto a map of the level, took a while to score because I kept making small mistakes. Stripes?: Made an altered map of the level with gravel and keys, scored 856 on the first attempt. 858 followed immediately after. Fireflies: Noted down the chip orders and when to wait on an image of the map, scored bold in 2 attempts. The first forgot the 2nd wait in the southeast. Cake Walk: Some other day I'll execute the "proper" route. Right now, I just played the level once to remove my initial time, scoring a completely improvised 681. I even made the mistake of going for the yellow key before picking up the green key! Force Field, Mind Block: Some other time. Special: Overboosted once to score 954, 955 next attempt. At this point, I went back for Block N Roll and scored 432 in one attempt. The walkers played really nasty and I had to wait a lot, so I went for another attempt. That died on 436-437 pace at the last walker. And another, that got 431. Then I got 434 (stalled a bunch approaching the top...). The 4th completion was my initial goal of 437, and I'm more than satisfied with that for now. This reminds me too much of Time Suspension, but with more walkers involved. A few days after the original posting I played Cake Walk again and scored 700. And that's it for the initial pass through CC1, aside from some untimed levels near the end. Here's the current score/bold/seconds to gain breakdown. CC1 MS score: 5,977,020 (131 bolds), 10th place Missing seconds: Blobnet: 413 (-23) Spooks: 547 (-1) Block Buster: 387 (-15) Block Buster II: 713 (-1) Block N Roll: 437 (-6) Skelzie: 453 (-1) Cake Walk: 700 (-17) I'm planning on picking up a 430 on Blobnet, 400+ on Block Buster if not the 402 outright, 714 on Block Buster II, 439+ on Block N Roll, 454 on Skelzie when I have access to MSCC (eventually), and a 710+ on Cake Walk. Once these are completed in the least optimistic scenario, my score would be 5,977,460, which would be enough for 5th place currently, 1 second ahead of James. Missing untimed bolds, entirely from lack of trying: On the Rocks, Rink, Writers Block, Cityblock, Oversea Delivery, Alphabet Soup, Blobdance, Pain, Doublemaze, Force Field, Mind Block. Of these I will probably be scoring On the Rocks, Rink, Oversea Delivery, Alphabet Soup, Force Field and Mind Block. Writer's Block and Pain, being public, I may go for eventually. Cityblock, Blobdance and Doublemaze are on the HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHANOTLIKELY pile. Perhaps in a few years. Well, I suppose next on the list is CCLP2 since there's a lot of public routes I haven't attempted there. After that, finishing up CCLP1 (gotta get that 6,005,xx0!), and then I can turn my attention towards CCLP3 and beyond! Oh and Lynx. There's a lot left to do, but rising to 10th on the CC1 MS scoreboards from having never finished the set in a little over a year? That's been fun. - Jeffrey/IHNN
  16. 3 points
    What? Retrospective? But the set hasn't even been out 2 weeks! Well, I think it's worth putting down my initial thoughts on the set, partly due to the way I experienced it. Some of you may know that I played through the entire set in one sitting, in a blind race.[1] I had not played any of the levels in the voting packs (though I had played through some of the levels from their original set, though I only remembered about 4 in any detail, and certainly not enough to remember the exact solution), and so it was a fresh experience, a new set to play through. I expected to have a bit of difficulty with some of the levels, but for the most part blast through and have a blast playing. I could have been a bit more accurate with that assessment. For the most part, I did speed through the levels, figuring out the trick to levels such as Loose Pocket (#100) in around a minute (my solve time was a 315 with a 326 reset after exploring past the pink ball, totaling 59 seconds playing the level) while taking forever on Deserted Battlefield (#99) and some other levels. And yet, as I've gone back and optimized, these levels are about the same length. I did struggle to solve some of the puzzles, especially in the 130s and 140s, though I think the easier levels are perfectly placed between the harder ones. I do still have to complain about Clubhouse (#149) as I don't think it's particularly engaging, being a simple Sokoban level with nothing really memorable about it other than the crude cooks possible in the starting room. I don't think it's a bad level, or a bad level for CCLP1 even (I just wish there was a bit more fire in the first room to remove the possibility of cooking the level by moving the block to the top left), but I don't think it was suitable for a level 149. On the whole, the final part of my expectation going in was met: I had a lot of fun playing the set, and the people I raced generally agreed, though none of them had time to finish the race, they have gone on to complete the set. I even got someone who'd never played the game to join, and they got quite stuck on #37 (Habitat) for over a half an hour before finally breaking through. For comparison, I had solved level 25 by the 28 minute mark-certainly a slow pace if I was executing all the bold routes, but for blind, that was fast! (Hornlitz was around for the first couple hours before having to leave, and was playing alongside-I was keeping pace with him and even passed at one point). Overall, this shows CCLP1 is definitely a good CC1 stand-in; I had more fun playing through this set than CC1 (in Lynx), both of which I did in the past couple weeks. The race shows it's good for beginners as well, and it proves to have a few challenges for experts. Still, it has a few shortcomings for me... The first and most glaring to me may come as a bit of a surprise, but I feel like the lesson levels are too long and involved on the whole. I'm going to take just the first level from each set here, as it shows my point the best I feel. It's a sense of scale that the rest of CCLP1 does better, I feel. These levels both teach you the exact same mechanics and Lesson 1 did it near perfectly, showing almost everything you need from the first window. As the introduction to the set, no, the game as a whole it's not very overwhelming, in fact, it's quite welcoming. Key Pyramid might as well be pieguy's "too many keys?" compared to Lesson 1. You can't see the exit from the starting point, and though the order of unlocking doesn't matter like Lesson 1 there's a lot more running around. In fact, Key Pyramid takes 32 seconds to Lesson 1's 17, with only one additional key/lock pair. As an intro, it's much more overwhelming. I feel like the lessons could have been more compact and gotten the same point across, but that's coming from someone who solved them all in 5 minutes. This sense of scale is gotten absolutely correct, however, by Present Company (#3). Even Block Party (#4), despite being a 43 second bold compared to Lesson 2's 10 second time, nails the sense of scale. Every room is different and shows something new about blocks, and you're constantly doing something instead of running from small room to small room. Key Pyramid is a small complaint, and since it's my biggest that speaks very well for the set as a whole. Graduation (#10) vs. Nuts and Bolts is another no brainer-Graduation is the better level for the recap. The red herring exit still shows a new concept, similar to what I believe Nuts and Bolts tried for in the end with the fireball and trap room (monster guiding-or at least that's always what I did as a kid). Graduation nails everything you could want as a first campaign level-no difficult parts, room to explore, and yet a clear progression and goal in mind. As I played through, I had a few levels that I really really liked, easily becoming some of my favorite CC levels. In the order they appear in the set... Tiny (#17): A perfect example of how to teach a concept without explicitly stating what needs to be done. Moving 2U to the fireboots immediately cooks the level, but due to the small size this is an "ohhhhh, so that's what I do" moment. Similar to Lesson 7 from the original CC, it teaches "when in doubt, don't get a boot", though in a more up front manner-Lesson 7 is so stealthy about it I didn't even notice until recently, while this does it perfectly. Also, this took longer for you to read than the level takes to solve! Generic Ice Level (#21): This is anything but generic. I've never seen another ice level give you skates immediately (Dodge! doesn't count!), the blocks sliding feel natural and everything about this level just screams win, aesthetically and gameplay-wise. Easily in my top 10, if not top 5. Repair the Maze (#22): One of the few I remembered from before CCLP1, I love the concept of having a maze being able to breaking through parts-in CC1, Strange Maze was one of my favorites as a kid. Like the bold route, I would always end with the sockets, though unlike the bold route I would go through and dispose of every single socket in the level before walking to the exit! Now, if this had 3 color keys and 2 of each... The Last Starfighter (#28): Perfect use of blob cloners, blowing up the walkers with no randomness is cathartic, the aesthetic is beautiful and the level is pretty fun too. Spitting Image and Alternate Universe (#33 and #111): These are just such a cool concept of taking one room as an exact forecast of what's in another room. For the most part, I hate hot blocks. These 2 levels use them perfectly with no treachery involved. Sundance (#48): It looks like a difficult dodging level, but it's simpler than meets the eye. Perfect appearance as well, I only wish it were a bit longer, though I suppose that would ruin some of the appeal. Juxtaposition (#70): I was wondering why there hadn't been any blue wall mazes up to this point, as CC1 had Mishmesh and Chipmine by this point in the game. Then this level came up and I couldn't get enough of it. Thin walls don't see enough use, and fake wall mazes are incredibly difficulty to design without being predictable or overly tedious. This level uses all of them flawlessly. Another top 10 for sure. Colors for Extreme (#81): The opening room is amazingly designed to manipulate the glider in a progression, the level is another itemswapper but it feels like such an epic campaign level. It's also relatively simple, though certainly not easy. A perfect fit for the middle of CCLP1. Loose Pocket (#100): Though I figured out the trick fairly quickly, it's a perfectly executed twist on the Trust Me style level. Most of the red herrings are obviously so, but that only makes some of them look more realistic. It's short, simple, and arbitrary in its design in places. Frozen in Time (#102): Chip's Challenge is not an eerie game. It's not a spooky game. It doesn't have an environment. It doesn't have anything that creeps the player out. This...this manages to do all of the above. It's incredibly simple, and yet it's perfect. I remarked in the call when I got to this level that it was spooky, and wasn't exactly believed. Well, someone else got to this level around the time I was in the 140 range and immediately gave a cry of shock at the teeth, and then agreed that yes, it was spooky. Beautifully done, and not what I was expecting at all. Not needing the chips is a nice touch, too-now I wonder what the level would play like if everything were to be unfrozen... Tunnel Clearence (#105): Amazing concept, amazing design, almost goes on too long but in the end it's just the right length. The ability to ignore the red key at the start and explore makes this level just that little bit better. Exhibit Hall (#108): A level I'd seen a variant of but never played. Said variant being the background for J.B.'s commentary on Chuck's Challenge 3D, which I had watched less than a week before CCLP1! (by the way, I agree with pretty much everything you said-if I wasn't optimizing the game, it'd have been over and done with very quickly, though the editor has a lot of nice possibilities) The avoidance level is a rarely seen concept, due to its difficulty to pull off well. This does it with 8 4x4 rooms, some with puzzles, some with dodging, some with simply items to collect. The ability to skip the fireboots by taking a block from the water room doesn't hurt either. Incredibly fun level. Runaway Train (#118): This level has such an amazing aesthetic to it, and the design, through cramped, still feels exploitative. The teleports to switch cars and give the illusion of a longer level space than actually exist is pure brilliance as well-I caught it immediately, but I've been playing this game for years. A newer player would probably wonder how the designer made a level bigger than the grid, if they even thought about it. Oh, and the level is fun too. Automatic (Caution) Doors (#140): Another level with lots of branching paths, lots of exploration, lots of ways to go-and yet, it's linear. The concept is unique (I've never seen it done before) and beautifully executed in how each step grants you access to another area. The chips are only the first step in this epic level. Easy top 5 level right now, and it will probably remain in the top 10 regardless of what CCLP2 and 3 hold for me. Of course, there were a few I did not enjoy that much-in the same order... Quincunx (#31): Too easy to die, not very interesting either. If it was smaller (say, lop off the bottom 2 rows) it might be better, but it's one of only 3 levels in the set I would rate as Just a Bunch of Letters (#34): The cypher level of the set, but it's very dull. The original Cypher was cryptic yet obvious in hindsight, Cypher II was brutally difficult but the name and connotation it came with was a useful hint, Motion Blur was an amazing concept and beautifully executed, and this falls flat in comparison. Maybe I'm being too hard on it due to it's slot, but I don't enjoy it as a level either. Design Swap (#62): CCLP1 has a lot of itemswappers, and this is one of the most bland. It's also hurt by its huge size, though it gets better when you open up the center, it's still very boring running back and forth across the entire length of the grid. New Block in Town (#63): Another level. Too many things that must be done in the exact right order or the level is unsolvable, and then right at the end subverting the order that had to be used for the rest (chip then button). Thankfully, I didn't run into the hidden wall, if I did I would have been seriously pissed at this level. As it is, cool concept, poor execution. Ruined World (#83): Bleh. It's one of 2 "push all the block" levels in the 81-90 decade, along with Chip Block Galaxy (#88). I was neutral on #88, but I do not like Ruined World. In both it's very easy to miss a block, but here it's easily lethal while in #88,the worst that can happen is trapping the block-though there are many places to put the used blocks, mitigating it. Time Suspension (#101): The button device is cool. The toggles and tanks are interesting. However, I absolutely detest the walkers in this level, mostly the one in the 3x4 room. Retrieving the blocks for the bombs is so much of a hassle, and there's quite a bit to do on each run up that just gets old fast. Comfort Zone (#114): Incredibly easy to cook the level, especially if you stay in the comfort zone given as long as possible. I can't really say why I dislike it as much as I do, but it falls into this bottom CCLP1 levels list. Utter Clutter (#124): Very long, very tedious level. It feels like it attempts to emulate All Full from CC1, but it fails in that its puzzles are based around key snatching and then realizing something incredibly non-obvious near the very end-which, for me, took 5+ minutes to reach every time. Requiring all the chips works for forcing all the puzzles to be completed, but works against the concept. Amphibia (#143): The final level. If you were around at the end of my stream you would have heard a LOT of raging at this level. I hate it. There's a lot of waiting for cycles that aren't exactly clear, and though it's similar to Fireflies, I liked Fireflies. However, I figured out why-Fireflies is completely symmetrical and has a much lower monster density, and loops around to itself. Amphibia forces a specific path to each chip, turning a monster dodging cycle waiting level into an incredibly tedious and lethal maze. My only praise is that it's infinitely better than a similar level I played in a voting pack (more on that later). And finally, my top 5 hardest levels in the set. 5: Bummbua Banubauabgv (#142): I took forever to figure out this puzzle, even though the solution is painfully simple. 4: Flush (#141): This is a flawlessly crafted puzzle (barring the bold route, which I've figured out the method but not the timing...) where every step is timed with a pink ball chute that holding a trap button drowns. Avoiding the keys took 2 plays to realize, and even still I cooked the level several times after that point. However, every time it was my fault and foreseeable in advance, so I can't hold it against the level. (related note: levels 141-145 took me nearly an hour, with the last 2 of those taking about 10 minutes. 141-143 are the hardest run of levels by far!) 3: Double Diversion (#69): Didn't see that coming, did you! I struggled quite a bit with this level, triggering things too early, too late, standing in the wrong spot, moving at the wrong time, into toggle walls...it's a simple level, but I struggled quite a bit finding the solution. 2. Utter Clutter (#124): I covered this above. I believe this is the level I spent the most time on, due to the length before the part I screwed myself on. Twice. 1: Thief, You've Taken All That Was Me (#147): Of course #147 is the hardest level. It's an amazingly crafted puzzle, up front with what it expects you to do. The 4 sections of the level are all tricky puzzles in their own right, with special mention going to the sokoban in the bottom right-that took me a solid minute of looking at to figure out, and there's only 3 blocks in it! Nothing is unreasonably difficult, 3 of the 4 puzzles are logic based, the order they can be tackled is up to the player-everything is done to make this as anti-frustration as possible. The result is a puzzle that feels right at home in the #147 slot, alongside the fast paced Force Field, the monster manipulating Cloner's Maze and the ultimate (outside its sequel) sardine can level, Avalanche. CCLP1 does capture everything I liked about the original Chip's Challenge, avoids the long tedious block pushing levels, is fairly varied and unique in places. I've been playing through the voting packs after the release as well, not for the award okay maybe slightly but for a sense of perspective-I can appreciate the final product that is CCLP1 much better if I have a frame of reference for what didn't make the cut. If the voting packs are the best levels the community had to offer for the set, then CCLP1 is made up of the best of the best. So far, I agree with a vast majority of the levels that made it in (though I still don't like Amphibia or Blobs on a Plane, and think that Asteroid #44, Chip Joins Mensa Club would have been awesome to see) and most of the ones that got cut (Asteroid #3, !? for being what is this I don't even, I still don't know how you would solve this in Lynx as my route was VERY MS only, Baguette #44, I Hate You for being unnecessarily sadistic, Bookshelf #35, Coovet Blocks taking 10 minutes and having difficult dodging AND easy screws, Bookshelf #44, Audacious Scavenger Hunt for being incredibly overwhelming in its design and easy to screw without realizing it, and Cardboard #39, What's Rightfully Mine for taking its concept too far). I would give CCLP1 a 9.5 out of 10, compared to about an 8 for CC1 (I still want to finish CCLP2 and 3 before I can fairly compare to them, but I'm pretty sure my order will go CCLP1>CCLP3=CC1 for different reasons>CCLP2). Job well done CCLP1 staff. Mission accomplished. [1] If you desire, you can watch my playthrough here.
  17. 3 points
    I haven't spent so much time on CC stuff during the past year. This is mainly due to a little girl, my daughter Siv, being born on Valentine's Day last year. Suddenly, there wasn't much time to just sit down by the computer. Now, I'm thinking that perhaps blogging on CCZone is something I can do. This can be done from my phone, which is good. And I can write a little now and then in Notes and post once I have enough for a blog post. I have hesitated to start a CCZone blog before because I'm thinking perhaps you guys aren't very interesting in reading what a 29-year-old mum is writing. But I'll write more to satisfy my own desire to do something CC related, so it doesn't really matter how many will follow my posts. I'll start with how it all started. I've already written some of this in various threads in this and the old CCZone Forum, but this is a good place to collect it all, I think. My CC story started with Jezzball. It was at Christmas in 1996 and I was 11 years old. At this time, not too many people had computers at home. (Or at work for that matter, they had type writers.) But for the Christmas holidays of 1996 we went to a family that had a computer. And I spent too much time playing on it - mainly Snake and this fantastic game Jezzball that I immediately fell in love with. So, when we finally got our own computer, perhaps a year later or so, I started thinking of how to get Jezzball on it. I asked my computer geek friend, and he happened to have this game in his possession. He was happy to help. I later learned that he was in love with me. I didn't know it at the time, or maybe I sort of felt it and took advantage of it to have him help me... Anyway, he came over with a floppy disc with Jezzball for me. And he said, "I'll give you another game at the same time. I'ts called Chip's Challenge"... This seems like a good cliff hanger so that'll be it for now
  18. 3 points
    Mazes are level genres that truly have been overlooked during CCLP2 and CCLP3 voting. There are about nine in CCLP2, and CCLP3 only has four (though, depending on your interpretation of what a maze is, these numbers could be slightly greater or fewer). How many did CC1 have? Around 23. The distaste in mazes can be attributed to the fact that they don’t offer much optimization potential, and many of them are just plain monotonous. Look at CC1 and some of its most despised levels. Rink, Doublemaze, and Stripes? are all mazes. Levels like Scavenger Hunt, Chipmine, and Now You See It aren’t too exciting either. On the other hand, mazes are excellent for beginners because failure will rarely occur. Time is the only enemy. I compiled a list of what I consider 10 well-designed mazes that I would like to see in CCLP1. A-Maze-Ing Ida4.ccl #11 Remember playing Strange Maze and feeling that great sense of triumph after collecting all the chips and being able to bust open all the chip sockets? This level extends such a concept throughout the whole level, though in four separate quadrants. However, the keys that are just out of reach truly make this level interesting, and would make a wonderful level early in the set. Chip Be Steady CCLP1Submissions-KTNUSA #17 J.B. has praised this level in the past, and although I initially thought this level was nothing special, I am starting to agree with him. The “avoid the toggle button maze” is a concept that has been around for ages, but this level truly perfects it. It has the best aesthetics of levels I’ve seen of this type, and the actual maze is confined to a space small enough as to not make the level tedious. Choices, Choices pieguy1.dat #11 This choice may surprise many of you. Pieguy isn’t exactly known for his beginner-friendly levels. This level is seemingly complex, however, one must realize that all sixteen combinations that the player chooses in this level are solvable. This, while additionally being extremely impressive conceptually, adds a ton of replay value for the player. Plus, it’d be neat to have a computer generated level in an official CCLP. Elemental Park ajmiam-the-other-100-tiles #13 The four element maze is a concept explored quite often, and Elemental Park is probably the only one that has done it right. Eight chips per element, and no unintended shortcuts to be found. That teleport is an excellent touch as well. Invisibility Cloak Markus_CCLP1 #38 Here’s a word of advice – avoid invisible walls as much as possible. Blue walls and hidden walls are more reasonable, as their true identity is revealed after a simple touch. Invisible walls are often abused to hell, sometimes filling up entire levels (cough cough Stripes?), but this levels confines its invisible wall usage to a 9x9 space, and uses normal walls to guide the player. It is amazing how the addition of the invisible walls actually make the level more intriguing. Fiery Fogstorm JCCLP #48 Here is yet another acceptable use of invisible walls. Their usage, along with the usage of the fire, makes this level quite appealing to look at. While the force floor navigation could possibly be tricky for beginners, this level is wonderfully straightforward but its design choices elevate it above other mazes. Frozen Labyrinth JCCLP #37 Everyone knows that I am in love with this level, so there is no real need to go into detail. Just the sheer concept of this level is brilliant and nothing in the level is arbitrary. The fact that the thin walls and ice can combine to form a straightforward maze is incredible. Slide Labyrinth GAP’sSub.ccl #24 Very few levels seem to have a large open space with rooms arbitrarily scattered. I think it creates a unique atmosphere. Ice mazes are too often made to span the entire 32x32 map. This level cuts the ice maze in half and adds in some neat pink ball dodging rooms. Play it yourself; it’s really fun to navigate. My only qualm is the short time limit, which can easily be changed. Tunnel Clearance TS0 #11 Yes, this is my own level, but it is one that I am very proud of. It is a maze concept that to my knowledge had not been used before, coupled with symmetry and some cool aesthetics, this one belongs in CCLP1. Whirlpool JBLP1 #82 This level is quite beautiful, and uses blue walls in a wall that is sensible, i.e. not filling the entire level with them. A beginner may easily get lost, but we need higher difficulty mazes in the set too
  19. 3 points
    If you saw my post a few months ago in the "Ten Levels You'd Love to See in CCLP1" thread, then you'll recognize some of these levels. But then I had a thought: why not add ten more and post a blog entry about it before voting started? It never hurts to take a break from talking only about level designing! It's not my "top 20" in any way, but these are all levels I'd absolutely love to see in CCLP1 that haven't been in the spotlight or mentioned much - made by 20 different designers - along with a brief explanation about why I enjoyed each. So, in no particular order: And the Buttons Were Gone (Ida Roberthson): One of the most fun aspects of CC1 was its wide open levels. Who didn't love running around Nice Day or walking around the room in the expanse outside the room in Lemmings? It's just one of those original game charms that was lost with the "compressed cleverness" of CCLP3. In this level, there's a puzzle, but the puzzle is quite simple, isn't crammed into a tiny room, and certainly isn't obfuscated by layers of deception. There's freedom to walk around, which is a plus. All in all, probably one of the most non-complicated and enjoyable "monster manipulation" levels out there. Celtic Rotation (Ben Hornlitz): Though the name may bring back memories of CCLP3, the implementation of the concept here is much less complicated and feels like a clean, symmetrical CC1 level. There are only four traps, which makes everything much simpler, and the itemswapping isn't excessive at all. Very well-designed! Firewall ("tensorpudding"): CCLP1 needs some good old-fashioned dodging levels. I've always said that one of the hallmarks of a well-designed CC level is knowing just how far to take a concept. It's especially difficult with levels that are purely about dodging because of the lack of an undo or checkpoint feature in the game: the longer the level, the more frustrating failure can be for a player. This level, however, is just the right length. It takes a concept that feels easy at first sight - fireballs traveling through lines of teleports in a predictable manner - and forces the player to learn the gimmick as he plays at a pace that's reasonable. What's even better is that the linear "maze" through which the player travels starts off incredibly simple so the player can get used to the dodging and then gets a tad more twisty toward the end. Very well designed! Chip Be Steady (Kevin Stallman): The concept of creating Strange Mazes that extend into the realm of not pushing buttons or collecting boots in order to make it out alive may not be new in the custom level designing world, but it certainly would be for a first-time player, and this level just hits all the right notes. Many of the KTNUSA levels extend to the edge of the map, and while this may be overkill in some of the other levels, it certainly doesn't hurt this one; in fact, it helps it by creating an expansive maze that never quite gets old. The neat door arrangement seals the deal with all four colors represented in each section. Stairs (Archie Pusaka): There's a level called Skiing from TomR1 that played around with this zig-zag design style, but unfortunately, it fell into the trap described above of filling up the entire map with the same concept. This level, on the other hand, features a single set of "stairs," but the challenges therein consist of four different "stages." It's actually a really simple itemswapper, but it's just so fun to play that it's hard not to enjoy it! The end may look like a cheap "dodging near the exit" challenge, but thankfully, the hint reveals that it's quite a bit more straightforward than it appears at first glance. Good stuff. Burn Out (Grant Fikes): Much like the level above, this level reminded me a lot of another one - in this case, EricS1's Separation and Regrouping, in which two cloners would clone on the same column using a force floor, separate into two streams via toggle wall, and then merge via another force floor before the monsters died. The challenge in that level mainly involved collecting all the chips before time ran out, but here, the objective is to evade the two less concentrated fireball streams while working against the flow. Much like other great levels, this one knows just how far to go, never overstaying its welcome. Perhaps the most satisfying moment is blocking the clone machine at the end to get to the exit located by the "merge" area. That always feels relieving after all that dodging and weaving! Corral ("ajmiam"): Some people who may think this sounds crazy, but I actually enjoyed Blobdance from the original CC. This level features a similar challenge with rectangular rooms and blobs, but it's a lot less frustrating and includes a fun strategic element: using arsenals of blocks to box blobs in. I can think of a lot of players who'd have fun with that outside of the goal of exiting, but beyond that, the level itself doesn't feel stale. The rooms have a variety of sizes, which make the smaller rooms a lot more intimate in terms of blob dodging and boxing. Overall, this level is very enjoyable to play and just screams CCLP1. Blocked Alley ("Syzygy"): One thing we often forget as designers is that playing a CC level isn't just about getting to the exit. It's about the experience too. The atmosphere we create lends itself to that experience for better or worse. Here, it's definitely for the better. I've always believed that permanently invisible walls work well when used sparingly or in a way that doesn't make the player feel like he or she needs to rely hopelessly on sound to find the way out. In this level, they work brilliantly to enhance what's already a wonderfully claustrophobic environment and to make players feel even more lost. The narrow time limit works well too, and the monsters inside the "buildings" give an even greater sense of urgency, bringing to mind CC1's Nightmare. Roundabout ("jbdude55"): There have been many levels over the years that have emulated what CC1's Colony achieved, but this is one of the few levels I've seen that takes the concept and breathes some new life into it. The elements in the spaces between the rooms add some itemswapper fun to the mix, and the ones that seem a bit iffy at first (blue walls, invisible walls) are used to great effect and don't feel cheap because each room is 4x4 and contains only one monster, allowing the player plenty of time to explore. Aesthetically speaking, the level is a triumph. Note how the spaces between the rooms alternate from room to room - the pattern they form when all four are viewed from a single room has a beautiful symmetry. Fiery Fogstorm (Josh Lee): CCLP1 needs a force floor level or two. Sadly, many force floor-centric levels fall prey to one of the following pitfalls: (a) ripping off Forced Entry, ( B) ripping off Force Field, or © presenting a sidestepping challenge that's just way, way too hard, sometimes with no opportunities for subsequent attempts without a restart. This level does none of those things, with a simple-to-understand maze and only one major mid-force floor navigation challenge that presents no penalty for initial failure and an aesthetic that I can only describe as unique. There are also multiple entrance points to some of the chip hiding places, which makes the task at hand much less rigid and more friendly. And the title itself just screams win. They're Not Called Blocks for Nothing (Eric Schmidt): So far, I've been listing levels that have been rather easy - or if moderate in difficulty for a beginner, at least easy to grasp. The concept here is quite easy to grasp, but the level in which it's featured is what I like to call a "difficulty curve" level: one that teaches the player the "trick" at the start while steadily increasing the difficulty throughout. Thankfully, the challenges here are quite reasonable. The last room, while being the most challenging, is actually deceptively simple. And to top it all off, there's a nice "end at the start" touch that brings everything full circle. Chip Alone (Tom Patten): "Be a good little fella now and open the door!" Tom's original classic sadly didn't make it into CCLP3, but its sequel did. CCLP1 would be a perfect opportunity to use the original while paying a masterfully designed homage to a quintessential Christmas movie. The layout is much simpler than the sequel, with little preparation needed before the monsters travel through the "house." Speaking of which, it's fun to speculate about what rooms of the house are represented throughout the level. Is the area through which the bottom fireball travels supposed to resemble the basement? Only Tom would know, but I suspect yes. Also, if the extra room with the boots outside is supposed to represent either the treehouse or the neighbor's house...well played. ChipWeave (Henri Potts): CC1 had its fair share of maze levels, and CCLP1 could use some, if only to get things "back to basics." This level combines the game's objective of chip collecting with a maze that looks easy but is actually a tangled web of well-laid paths. Incredible design here, and a lot of fun to navigate. Skydiver's Maze (J.B. Lewis): Okay, I'm not usually one for self-promotion, but I couldn't resist here. This level is hard but manageable. One of my favorite difficult level qualities is the ability to explore before making any big decisions that could lead to a restart, and I tried to apply that principle here. The objective is to get a block down to the trap button at the bottom. Thankfully, the high time limit allows for plenty of study and path-tracing before any actual pushing is done, and the final solution is pretty satisfying to find. As an added bonus, I placed some tantalizing ice skates that can't ever be collected - whatever happened to the days when we put items in our levels that were obviously unreachable without having to experience a Trust Me-style red herring? Badlands (Tyler Sontag): I absolutely adore this level. It's not only a fun level to play, but it also looks beautiful. Remember back in CC1, when levels like Drawn and Quartered or Spooks would contain tons of dirt without requiring the player to be incredibly precise with how it's used, as was the case in CCLP3? Here's one of those levels. Much of the dirt here is used purely for aesthetic effect, but it works. The spacious room at the top is also a welcome touch. There's something about a level that starts off in rather close quarters and then "opens up" into a grand room that's just so satisfying. The challenges around the edges of the level are fun and non-complicated. It's also welcome to see a room with fireballs that isn't meant to be a "monster manipulation" section. And how about that fire! I can't help but be reminded of CC1 levels like Paranoia, Slide Step, and Corridor when I see "arbitrary" fire like that. This level feels just like the CC of old. Cell Swapper (Markus): Some of the most clever puzzles from CC1 were those that involved navigation - though Short Circuit may not make anyone's CC1 top 10 list, I did appreciate how there was almost always a method to determine which path to take whenever a fork was encountered. Unlike that level, though, this one does allow for exploration and a map to be drawn before tackling the actual navigation when the toggle walls close. The result is a well-calibrated puzzle and a beautifully matriced design. Just perfect for CCLP1. Heat Wave (Daniel Bouwmeester): If you were to ask most veteran chipsters what they think of when they see a level that involves fire and water, as can be seen from the start of this level, they'd probably go for CC1's Steam or the many ripoffs of it that have been made over the years. Thankfully, this level is its own animal: a fire maze with walker dodging. It's reasonable enough for the neophyte crowd, but it's a fun ride for players of all skill levels. It takes full advantage of fire being a "safe spot" against walkers, with its chip-snatching challenges reminiscent of the northwest room of Nuts and Bolts. There are also walkers that occupy their own squares and exist only as pure obstacles, which is a neat touch as well. The water is used to great effect as the "barriers" for the player, but the way it's laid out makes it look like several rivers are flowing and criss-crossing throughout the map. Plus, for anyone out there concerned about optimization, it's not terribly difficult to achieve the optimal time here. All in all, an enjoyable and well-designed level. Assassin (Rock Généreux): Who doesn't love a good teeth-evading level? CC1 brought us Victim and The Prisoner, but this level dares to be its own animal and succeeds. What makes this level work is that isn't neither too claustrophobic nor too open; there are defined paths to travel - and multiple ones at that, which make running away even more of a fun, panic-driven decision-making process. The structure of the level also includes the diagonal lines that are useful for trapping teeth while making one's way over to another area. This level is definitely one of my favorite dodging levels in recent memory, and I heartily recommend it for CCLP1. A Puzzle (Dave Varberg): This level combines the bottom water section of CCLP2's Yet Another Puzzle with the obstacle-course sokobans of CCLP3's Yet Another Yet Another Puzzle. But unlike either of those two levels, this one isn't overly difficult, though it may pose a challenge to new players. Veterans may be fooled by a mechanism at the start of the level that usually requires an additional block, but thankfully, the level actually is solvable with one block remaining. The objective is fairly obvious once the first room is cleared, and thankfully, the level can be explored fully without having to wade through lots of challenges before one knows what to do. The actual manipulation of the glider may be a bit tricky at first glance, but the level's design allows for careful study of just how far a bridge would need to be built in order to direct the glider to its final destination. Overall, this level exemplifies what one may term "simple complexity" quite brilliantly. Straight Forward (Trevor Hedges): In racing games, there's a certain smooth "flow" to a track that has had a lot of thought put into its design. Trevor, who designs custom tracks for Mario Kart Wii, has obviously thought of that same "flow" in designing this CC level. It's only appropriate that I end this list with an epic campaign level. This one is fairly easy and is placed right after a bunch of tutorial levels in Trevor's custom set; however, I think it's better suited for CCLP1's 30s or 40s. (If I had my way, I'd use Chip56's Chip Suey as the "tutorial review" level in CCLP1, providing it was voted highly.) One of the dangerous aspects of building a lengthy campaign level for CCLP1 is that the longer it is, and the more opportunities exist for failure, the more frustrating it can be to inexperienced players. This level is certainly long, but the tasks to perform are anything but frustrating. The linearity is refreshing, with a return to the start that just works. So what are some of your favorites you're hoping to see in the final product? Sound off in the comments!
  20. 3 points
    After yesterday's stream of Giraffe set, discussing with other players and reading your thoughts on what I've already played, I feel that I have to write this. I've pointed out issues in the stream itself, but with 3 watchers, I was not expecting a miracle, also given the fact that they're in the CCLP1 staff so they probably already have some form of consciousness about the whole thing as well. First point and most important point to make, if you had to read and remember only one thing about that whole charade, that would be it. We're making a community pack, so everything should be in there. Someone's favourite level isn't necessarily a best fit for CCLP1, and so far that's what I've noticed with you guys. I feel too many levels are currently victim of their "hit or miss" factor, making them absurdly low in the rankings just because they don't happen to be of the right type... So, liking a level doesn't mean it fits in the mould, and disliking it doesn't mean it doesn't. Before going ape about a level (because you don't like the type or you haven't gotten the gimmick), you might want to stop and understand its purpose, and analyse what it could bring to CCLP1. I've seen way too much negative things about pearls, just because it doesn't suit one's particular taste. Also, dying in a level shouldn't make the rating go down. Dying has to be expected, and who wouldn't die while playing the original 149? I dare say no one. So we could probably do with a little more thinking and a little less selfishness, perhaps, maybe, question mark? As part of the staff, I'm going to tell you right now that our first priority in building this set will always be variety. Again, we're making a community pack. As veterans, we probably all hate playing a long and basic maze. But truth is, we still need some of those. Why? Try playing 100 itemswappers in a row, and as you blaze through, just realize how your mood would wear off. Yeah, exactly, the magic slowly dies and the whole thing gets heavier and heavier. This is why we certainly don't want to go "this-level-is-the-best-let's-have-149-copies-of-it-into-the-product". But wait, more than that : we have some of those mazes in the voting, and they're pretty darn gosh good! So why voting them down just because we don't like playing them?! That feels so selfish to me... What I like to do when playing a level is comparing it to the best levels I know of this particular type. If it's a dodging level (and you know I love them dodging levels), I'll ask myself if it's the best we could do for CCLP1 in terms of dodging. Same goes with every other type. How about I give you some personal favourites now? These are some levels that in my opinion are worthy of CCLP1, from what I've played so far (which is not a lot). They're not all there, some I've loved a lot as well, but here's at least some thoughts about some particular levels I've enjoyed a lot : -- From Giraffe Sleeping Dragon : Amazing concept, I haven't seen enough levels where you have to drain the exit path. The only thing I had against that one is the partial post trick involving the blocks, which makes me place that in late game situation. Cross Over : A very creative maze, not much else to say. Very well crafted. A (Mostly) Simple Maze : When I finished this, I stopped and thought "what did I just play?!" We need something like that in the early game, and I love the fact that you can solve it 358 different ways. Finding : It felt like one of those Hidden Danger ones, where you just keep on rambling everywhere not exactly understanding what's going on and eventually find yourself collecting everything. Pretty great. -- From Cardboard Blobs on a Plane : Was it to be expected from rockdet or anything?! Despite dying quite a lot when I played it (which isn't a bad thing), it was exciting and deserves a spot in the major league for me. Courtyard : I never praised this level enough, everything about it screams win. -- From Flouncy Balls. : This level reminded me of Four Square, it really made me smile a lot. Secret Passages : An amazing level, a maze without feeling like a maze. I'd be clearer with the chip hint thing, but nonetheless a fantastic composition. This is rockdet signing out, keep up the good voting job folks!
  21. 3 points
    Welcome to J.B.'s Level Design Musings! I've thought about starting this blog for quite some time, but I haven't really set out to commit to do so until tonight. So, here it is. Basically, I wanted to provide fellow Chipsters with a place where we could talk about the merits of quality level design, what level design preferences have looked like in this past in our community, and where things appear to be going in the future. I certainly don't consider myself to be the ultimate level design authority, but I'm happy to share my thoughts about what I've observed to work the most when designing levels, and at the same time, I'm ready and willing to learn from others as well. So why don't we start from the very beginning? Custom level design has almost always featured an overarching desire to explore new territory. When I discovered ChipEdit back in 1998, along with one of the first sets uploaded online (which is now much longer and called CatatonicP1.dat), I was intrigued by the use of invalid tile combinations. In fact, much of my time was spent playing around with invalid tile combinations, precisely because it was "that thing the original game just didn't have!" After a few years away from the game, I returned to the online CC world to discover many more sets had been uploaded, including an epic (then) 149-level challenge called EricS1 and an invalid tile lover's paradise: DaveB1 and DaveB2. From what I could tell, many of the seasoned designers were all about boldly going where no level had gone before. By the time CCLP2 was assembled and released, this same paradigm applied to many of its levels: sokobans, joyrides, a new type of puzzle called "Cloner's Maze," the use of random force floors, and other elements that had never been explored to much extent in years past took center stage. And at the same time, the interest in optimization started to reach a fever pitch. The years that followed were largely spent dissecting the game and analyzing its various bugs and idiosyncracies. Some designers built entire levels that revolved around "insane" level behavior or the other strange workings of Microsoft CC. Much of the community at the time played the game for optimization, too. In fact, many levels were built specifically for optimization; the introduction of pieguy's custom scoreboard site was very instrumental in ushering in an era where custom scores could be reported on any set that was uploaded. Throughout this time, submissions for a new level set called CCLP3 were open - and for quite a very long time. With so much of the game's mystery taken away, the biggest satisfaction most people found was in optimizing it, and many of the levels submitted for CCLP3 consideration reflected this desire. When CCLP3 voting was finally completed, most of the levels that the community had favored were the most difficult ones out of all that were submitted. But ironically, though the set was built mainly for the veteran players who enjoyed complexity and puzzling brain-teasers, what followed in the community was an unexpected but quite welcome shift. New players began to join the fold, and many of them weren't interested in optimizing the game, analyzing its intricacies to meticulous detail, or spending hours solving giant puzzles. They just wanted a game they could pick up for a brief period of time and enjoy playing in manageable chunks. The rise of Let's Plays on YouTube also proved to be conducive to casual gameplay, and once again, CC felt new again for a brand-new generation. Design was no longer about finding something new; it was now about presenting the familiar in innovative ways. It also wasn't long before the idea to create an official set specifically for new players that served as a replacement for the original CC1 was brought forth, and from that, the CCLP1 project has since launched and is currently in production. Since CCLP1 submissions have closed, I've tested thousands of levels in the running, and I can safely say that the future is looking bright for level design. The objective of creating a level set that's beginner-friendly has sparked a revolution in level design where casual gameplay is being considered, and I believe that can only be a good thing, particularly for the next generation of CC players who will likely search for more challenges after completing CCLP1. In the days to come, I'll be sharing my thoughts on level design, how I believe the best levels consider all styles of gameplay, and some difficult lessons I've learned as a designer. Where will community preferences with respect to level design go in the future? The answer is anyone's guess, but I can only hope that it's a place where players of all skill levels can feel welcome.
  22. 2 points
    So, I hadn't meant to let it slip quite yet that I'm in the early stages of working on a CC-like game which will eventually (hopefully on the scale of a few months) become an open source community project. I mean, we're talking very early stages. So far I can read in CC1 levelsets and convert them into an in-memory format. And there's a sweet random number generator. That's not much. That being said, however, I've spent thousands of hours working on stuff like this (Puzzle Studio in particular), and I'm pretty confident that this project will go somewhere. The project is unnamed so far. Every name so far doesn't seem to fit. It's not Super Tile World or Tile World 3 because Tile World is an emulation of Chip's Challenge, and this project has no intent of emulating a ruleset, but rather inventing a new one based on the best parts of old engines. It's not JBone's Challenge because I want this to be a community effort, and JBone's Challenge is really a different game I want to write (and which may eventually be branched from this). So it's just The Project or The Unity Project for now, name suggestions welcome. Is the Unity Project open source? The Unity Project is meant to be a community effort. I intend to release all of the C# code under an open source license of some sort, probably either the MIT or a Creative Commons license. HOWEVER, I have a set of criteria (Phase 1) that I want the project to meet before I open source it: The game has a new experimental ruleset which has received positive feedback from a large number of community members, particularly from the optimizer crowd. The game can open and play any Lynx-compatible CC1 levelset. All official levels in CCLP1, CCLXP2, CCLP3, and CCLP4 are solvable or at least are expected to be solvable (I'm certainly not going to solve all of them!) in the new ruleset. Depending on the engine it may be possible to apply an algorithm to the public TWS files to generate replays in the new engine, and then manually test the levels where that strategy doesn't work. The game uses a forward-thinking internal level format for things like button connections, global toggle state, level size, viewing window, controls, etc. which is expected to accommodate most of the CC2 gameplay. (I would like to be able to open CC2 files and use many of the elements, but I have no intention of ensuring that all CC2 levels are solvable under the new engine. The game has a robust testing framework. Unit tests for single elements (e.g. assert Player.testEnter(Wall) == false) Integration tests for as many gameplay situations as we can think of (e.g. make a 3x3 level with force floors, assert that after input "URDL" the player is on square X). Replay tests for a significant number of CCLP levels (e.g. if I apply this series of inputs to this level, gamestate == WIN_LEVEL). Why the emphasis on backwards compatibility? Lots of reasons! Might sound silly, but here's one of the biggest for me: We don't have to design a level editor until we get the core gameplay down!!! This is HUGE! I've probably started a half-dozen CC clones in my life, and none of them got very far. Part of the reason is I didn't become a software engineer until 2 years ago. But time and time again the part that I've gotten bogged down on is how to create a freaking editor and save and load my files. If we start by loading DAT files, we have tons of gameplay testing right out of the box. We don't have to decide on a save file format yet. Tons of world-class content available immediately for new people. Maximize engagement from existing community members. Level designers stay connected to their creations Familiarity of existing levels and gameplay. Spending time on CCLP5 submissions vs working on this doesn't have to be either/or. Best chance of moving future community level pack design efforts away from the two-ruleset tyranny. By setting clear definitions about what features the core gameplay must support, it allows the project to begin on a strong software engineering foundation, with a clear initial direction. How can I help during Phase 1? Get involved in the discussions. I'm going to have a lot of questions about things like boosting, spring step, trap behavior, etc. I'm trying to take the best parts of MS but I haven't spent a lot of time playing it. Even though the code isn't open source I do intend to share parts of it that I'm working on for feedback. Start learning C#. Unity tutorials will help a little bit, but I'm really just using Unity for the easy graphics and the cross platform support. Make animated game artwork! Make sound effects! Start designing the new features and tiles you want to implement. It's one thing to say we want lasers, it's another to specify what they will do and exactly how they should interact with other tiles. Playtest and aggressively look for bugs (as soon as there is something to playtest). Keep asking for progress and showing support. This is 100x more likely to happen if the community stays enthusiastic!
  23. 2 points
    SET/RESET: The outer four buttons can be 'set' independently, and the middle button resets them all. SEPARATE ON/OFF: A simpler version of SET/RESET. Basically like a toggle switch except the on and off functions are separated. MULTI-TOGGLE: You can add more branches as needed. Each press of the button moves the toggle to the next state. EDGE TRIGGERS: The STEP ON trigger fires a 1-tick pulse on tick t+1 after the button is pressed. The STEP OFF trigger fires a 1-tick pulse on tick t+3 after the button is released. The ROCKER fires either a 1-tick or 2-tick pulse on tick t+1 after the button is pressed, and another 1-tick or 2-tick pulse on tick t+1 after the button is released (the pulse will be 1-tick wide for a short press of the button, and 2-ticks wide for a long press).
  24. 2 points
    So after almost a year of relative absence from the game, I'm back! I'm between jobs right now, and the Seattle weather is nothing but rainy, so what better opportunity could I expect to dedicate some time to Chip's Challenge 2? I spent the last week or so dedicating myself to a complete Let's Play and levelset review of "Nanamin's Challenge 1.0" which was released by Nanamin on February 25th this year. I picked a brand new set by a designer I know nothing about for a couple reasons. First, the CC2 community has been somewhat dormant for some time (due in part I think to a poor editor and the ongoing CCLP4 voting), so I would like to do what I can to generate interest in the game. Second, I've never created a Let's Play video series before, and I wanted to try it out on a truly blind experience -- I've never seen any of these levels before. The videos are available on my Youtube channel at the following links: Part 1: (Levels 1-20)Part 2: (Levels 21-26)Part 3: (Levels 27-35)Part 4: (Levels 36-42)Part 5: (Levels 43-48)Part 6: (Levels 48-55)Part 7: (Levels 55-60) Summary: Nanamin's Challenge 1.0 is a wonderfully designed 60-level set with a medium difficulty curve. There are several themes I've noticed that run through the set: 1) The most common and most enjoyable levels are small, compact puzzles that always manage to bring together a variety of elements in some very creative ways. 2) There are a fair number of cooperative levels where you switch between Chip and Melinda. 3) There are 6 GRID MAZE and 3 CHAOS levels that are interspersed throughout the set and even act as a weak story line. GRID MAZE levels take place on typically on repeating patterns of decorational walls, while CHAOS levels involve picking your way gingerly through unintelligible jumbles of tiles (think NONSENSE or SCRAMBLED EGGS form the original CC2 set). 4) There are bonus flags everywhere! I'm not an optimizer but this set would either be a dream or a nightmare. Curated Levels: If you don't have time to play through the whole set, I'd recommend the following subset of 10: 15 STRATEGIC DETONATION 23 THE WRONG FOOT 25 THE DUEL 26 GOLDILOCKS 30 THE SECRET OF THE BLUE SCARAB 33 THE ICE KINGDOM ADVANCES 39 OBSTACLE MACHINE 42 EXPULSION CUBE 48 COMPANION CUBES 50 CONTROLLED RELEASE And if you can only check out one level, please check out the masterpiece that is 48 COMPANION CUBES. Recommendations to the designer: 1) make more levels! these were great! 2) add a secret eye tool to 55 FLOODGATES. Remove or redesign the guesswork in levels 05 OUTBREAK and 29 GRID MAZE 3. Redesign 58 WATERFALLS to not depend on monster order. Redesign 19 DESICCATED SWAMP to add more depth to the gameplay. Individual level reviews: 01 MIRROR CUBE (Part 1, 0:50 - 10:24) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) The highlight of this level was the interesting opening puzzle with the swivels, doppelganger, yellow teleport, and toggle doors. The enormous blue wall bonus maze and the lower room with all the arrows felt somewhat haphazard. On the plus side, it added a sense of exploration to the level, but it also felt confusing and space-inefficient. Using the TNT to pick up the last chip or blast through the walls to the exit felt loose. I thought it was a bug and demonstrated it in the beginning of my LP video part 2, but a viewer pointed out that the exclamation points suggest placing the TNT there. But with the final chip merely one room over it seems like it only saves a second or so. Overall a playable and decent level, but it feels like an amateur-ish introduction to what turns out to be an excellent set. 02 GRAVITY CURTAIN (Part 1, 10:24 - 11:48) Concept: (3/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) Another level that felt very loose and like it was thrown together fairly quickly. It is short and easy. I think the design falls short compared to some of the work that clearly went into later levels in the set. I think there is potential to turn the Melinda/gravel/force floor maze into something a little more creative. 03 WAIT (Part 1, 11:48 - 16:20) Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) After a slow start to the set this is the first real puzzle level that shows, in my opinion, what the set is all about. It's one of many small to medium sized levels that use diverse elements to create compact puzzles of surprising depth. The glider/bear-trap puzzle is nicely connected to the block/flame-jet puzzle. The interplay between the pink button wired to the flame jet and the orange button is instructional. The tank and button do feel somewhat underutilized however. I like the way the recessed wall section works to bridge the two halves of the level together. 04 FLOODMARSH (Part 1, 16:20 - 27:01) Concept: (4/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) I've always loved the 'maze within a maze' idea of levels such as SHORT CIRCUIT in the original CC1 game, or TRIPLE MAZE in CCLP3, for example. FLOODMARSH is a fun and easy entry into that category. You initially navigate the maze as Chip (with flippers), and can use the water and floor paths. Once you gather all the chips, you transmogrify into Melinda and lose the flippers, taking the floor and chip socket route back to the exit. I appreciate the restraint in level size and the tight-but-not-terrible time limit. A nice concept executed well. 05 OUTBREAK (Part 1, 27:01 - 36:22) Concept: (4/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) I have mixed feelings about OUTBREAK. I think the concept is thoroughly unique (finding a route through a 'minefield' of block cloners and area buttons); however, the only thing that makes this implementation *barely* playable is the small size of the level. Upon further thought, I think one major factor bringing this level down is that the direction of each clone machine is not visible, so the gameplay is in fact a guessing game. I would suggest to the designer that an arrow marking on the floor next to each machine would help to make the level fair. 06 SHOVEL TEAM (Part 1, 36:22 - 39:39) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) This is a simple, unique concept that ends up being an extremely fun and loose level to play. A great early level in a set. Fun to figure out what's going on underneath all the ice blocks, and then easy to execute. 07 DOUBLECROSS (Part 1, 39:39 - 41:15) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) Average level, fun and quick to play. Not sure I 'get' it, but it works for an early level, especially for a player still learning the elements. 08 POOL PARTY WITH ANTS (Part 1, 41:15 - 46:27) Concept: (2/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (4/5) This is very much a gimmick level, but it works wonderfully as such. The wing boots are an underutilized design element. The level did a nice job of putting me into such a rush that I didn't see the 'twist' until I was just beginning to get frustrated. 09 ANTI SWAMP ZONE (Part 1, 46:27 - 50:34) Concept: (2/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) Another decent early-game level. The block pushing is both interesting and forgiving. The teeth, bowling ball, and perimeter of slime all contribute to the aesthetics. Great design rescues what might otherwise have been a somewhat boring concept. 10 BLOCK COURIER (Part 1, 50:34 - 56:31) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (3/5) I don't generally like levels that require 'block-sliding' (hitting a moving block sideways off an ice or force floor), however this level is at least mercifully short enough to make the challenge fair, similar perhaps to ANNOYING WALL in CCLP3. (One nice bonus would be adding the helmet to protect the player). This level is also technically busted (see the beginning of the second Let's Play video), but the bust is creative and fun enough that it might be worth leaving in. 11 ANT NEST (Part 1, 56:31 - 1:01:24) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (5/5) I loved this level. I liked the way that opening more doors in the level added to the number of ants milling about. I liked how the green door/yellow door balance ensured that Chip and Melinda both had roles and had to help each other out. The gravel squares in the center of each room ensured that the dodging wasn't too bad. Finishing the level off with a TNT blast was fun. 12 FORKPATHS (Part 1, 1:01:24 - 1:11:30) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) A great concept with really great execution as well. I've struggled as a designer with using area buttons and force floors well, but this is a great use of the theme. At initial glance it seemed very intimidating, but it was fun to explore the paths, and it seemed like it was always pretty obvious which button to press next. It would certainly have been easy to make this level more unforgiving! A fun level to figure out. 13 GRID MAZE 1 (Part 1, 1:11:30 - 1:16:03) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) The first of 6 levels bearing the name GRID MAZE. It's alright to play. The confusion of colors between the custom walls, floors, bombs, and bonus flags adds to the difficulty. Decent filler level. 14 DUAL CORE (Part 1, 1:16:03 - 1:19:35) Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) A great little block puzzle, fairly easy, and well-placed in the set. I love the use of both the green and purple toggle walls to add interest to the sokoban concept. 15 STRATEGIC DETONATION (Part 1, 1:19:35 - 1:25:52) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (5/5) Another great little puzzle. Fun, short, and satisfying. Instructive on blue teleports. The order of doing things is non-obvious. 16 STAMPEDE (Part 1, 1:25:52 - 1:28:04) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (1/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (4/5) Out and back monster-dodging. Memorable and fun. 17 SNOW PLOUGHER (Part 1, 1:28:04 - 1:33:28) Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (4/5) A deserving puzzle level. Possibly a minor bust since the ice block cloners change direction when blocked. Aesthetically pleasing due to diagonal symmetry. 18 FLIPPER (Part 1, 1:33:28 - 1:34:40) Concept: (3/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) A great and easy introductory puzzle level that requires planning ahead. 19 DESICCATED SWAMP (Part 1, 1:34:40 - 1:38:53) Concept: (3/5) Design: (1/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) A weak entry in the set in my opinion. The level is aesthetically pleasing and the concept has a lot of potential, but it feels thrown together and poorly designed. This level would work great as a 'maze within a maze' similar to FLOODMARSH, where Melinda goes through the whole maze to get the dirt boots, then collects the chips, then loses the dirt boots but can open chip sockets, etc. Instead, she gets the dirt boots halfway through the level, which opens pretty much everything up. There's a blue key and two red keys which don't make much sense, and then a key thief by the exit that seems to serve no purpose at all. 20 CHAOS ENCROACHES (Part 1, 1:39:04 - END) Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) The first of 3 'Chaos' levels (at the 20, 40, and 60 level numbers) is also my favorite of the series. It plays more like a puzzle (reminiscent of NONSENSE in the CC2 official set) than the other two which feel more like mazes. 21 GRID MAZE 2 (Part 2, 4:07 - 15:28) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) I'm not a huge fan of the Grid Maze series in this set, although I do think they (for the most part) make good, short, filler levels, and serve to provide a sense of interconnectivity between earlier and later levels. This one for some reason really stumped me during my LP since I kept seeing a camo floor as a wall, but that was my fault. A decent maze level. 22 HOMEOSTASIS (Part 2, 15:28 - 19:01) Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (4/5) Fun to figure out, not terribly challenging but definitely some wrong paths to go down. Good puzzle with great aesthetics. 23 THE WRONG FOOT (Part 2, 19:01 - 26:42) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (5/5) Love, love, love this bowling ball puzzle! We don't see enough of these... 24 LATTICE PALACE (Part 2, 26:42 - 28:52) Concept: (2/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) Nothing remarkable here, but it's a simple and fun level. 25 THE DUEL (Part 2, 28:52 - 35:25) Concept: (5/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (5/5) One of the few action levels in the set. Great use of bowling balls, going head to head with monsters. It's a tough concept to do well but this succeeds. The high point of the level is definitely the shootout with the four fireballs in the lower right corner. Very fun. 26 GOLDILOCKS (Part 2, 35:25 - 48:26) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) Masterful puzzle, very compact, one of my favorites in the set! Nice take on the directional block/railroad track concept. The flame jet portion works beautifully. 27 PALACE DUNGEON (Part 3, 0:00 - 7:36) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) Definitely a fun puzzle. I loved the bear trap/ant combo to allow pushing blocks around the level. The itemswapping at the end felt a little less inspired but it's a solid level. 28 DRAIN CLOGGER (Part 3, 7:36 - 10:54) Concept: (3/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) I like the idea of filling up the force floor to gain access to the other side of the level, but the block puzzle just wasn't very interesting. I'd like to see it reworked into a slightly less trivial sokoban. 29 GRID MAZE 3 (Part 3, 10:54 - 13:56) Concept: (3/5) Design: (1/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (1/5) Unless I'm missing something with the hints, this is purely a guesswork level. The hint tiles certainly do lie! At least the level is mercifully short. I would recommend removing this level entirely. Worst of the Grid Maze series, unless there's a puzzle with the hints that I didn't understand. 30 THE SECRET OF THE BLUE SCARAB (Part 3, 13:56 - 29:36) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (5/5) Another excellent variety puzzle. I love the way the rooms connect, and how you make your way around the level and return to the start. 31 CONTAINMENT CHAMBER (Part 3, 29:36 - 32:30) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (1/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (3/5) Decent level, I admire the attempt to use rovers. The fire squares make the dodging easy at least, although the monsters feel almost as random as blobs. 32 TANK! (Part 3, 32:20 - 36:24) Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) A solid design. Fairly easy level but it manages to feel very fresh. A lot of fun to play! 33 THE ICE KINGDOM ADVANCES (36:24 - 38:34) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (1/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (5/5) Well done! I experimented with this concept a bit during the original CC2 design phase (see GLACIER and GLACIER 2 in the CC2 Rejects set) but they were pretty awful. This design does a much better job of giving the player choices without the solution being obvious. Great level! 34 PUSH'N'SWIVEL (Part 3, 38:35 - 48:03) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (4/5) This level as well as EXPULSION CUBE do a great job exploring the 'sokoban with swivel doors' concept. Both are great puzzles and very satisfying to solve. 35 FLAMOSPHERES (Part 3, 48:03 - END) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) Great concept, great use of the 'hide logic' feature. I think the level is just the right length for this idea. I like that taking the wrong path doesn't kill you immediately (similar in that respect to SPOOKS from CC1). Very unique level. 36 CORE (Part 4, 0:00 - 8:18) Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) I like the idea of getting all the blocks across to positions on the opposite side. The symmetric design is top-notch. Gameplay isn't going to be particularly interesting on a level like this but it works and doesn't take too long. I don't know if it was intended, but you can get away with some tricks by pushing blocks onto the force floors and then pushing them off on the other side of the level. I rescued my 1st attempt on the Let's Play this way. 37 GRID MAZE 4 (Part 4, 8:18 - 19:26) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) Decent level, my favorite in the GRID MAZE series since it's more of a puzzle than a maze. It's hard to keep track of the different areas and what needs to be done, but in the end it comes together after a couple tries. 38 WASHOUT (Part 4, 19:26 - 26:08) Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) Really fun and unique design, satisfying to solve. I like the symmetry of the central puzzle while retaining the variety between the right and left 'wings'. 39 OBSTACLE MACHINE (Part 4, 26:08 - 40:58) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (5/5) Another phenomenal 'variety' puzzle in a set that's already full of them. One of the best levels in the set. Great use of a lot of different elements. 40 SURROUNDED BY CHAOS (Part 4, 40:58 - 54:13) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) The second entry in the CHAOS series is an awesome design! I don't even know how I'd go about designing a maze that works on this level. The level map even looks like a work of art. The gameplay is really frustrating at first but turns out to be quite playable. 41 COUNTDOWNER (Part 4, 54:13 - 58:07) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) I really loved this puzzle. It makes a great tutorial on counter gates, yet without feeling like a tutorial. 42 EXPULSION CUBE (Part 4, 58:07 - END) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (5/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) The ONLY things that might drag this level down are the two blocks that have pop-up walls underneath them. For this reason I'd recommend giving the player the secret eye tool. But even as it is, you discover those secrets fairly early on your first playthrough. The rest of the level is a top-notch, straightforward, and quite difficult puzzle involving blocks and swivel doors, and is one of the best puzzles in the set. 43 PARADIGM SHIFTER (Part 5, 0:00 - 10:08) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) Another wonderful variety puzzle. Excellent use of the key and item thieves, as well as the connection between rooms. 44 OFF RAIL (Part 5, 10:08 - 15:10) Concept: (3/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) It has potential but didn't feel like it played very well. The long railroad tracks with recessed walls at either end felt somewhat reminiscent of CAMPGROUNDS (although not quite as evil). It seemed that to play the level 'right' you'd need to make a map. Fortunately it's short enough that I was able to take a random route and beat the level on my second try. 45 GRID MAZE 5 (Part 5, 15:10 - 19:25) Concept: (4/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) I've always loved the idea of the toggle wall maze that 'switches' half-way through to create a brand new maze. This level plays with that idea, but ultimately doesn't execute very well. The biggest drawback are the invisible walls that block off many of the exits, an unfair move that feels off-putting after you've essentially solved the maze. 46 GHOST TO GHOST (Part 5, 19:25 - 23:50) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (3/5) A decent entry in the set, although the design didn't make a whole lot of sense to me for such a simple concept. It works though, and is pretty easy. 47 SPRING CLEANING: WITH ICE! (Part 5, 23:50 - 26:05) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (3/5) Good filler level. 48 COMPANION CUBES (Part 5, 26:05 - End, plus Part 6, 0:00 - 24:45) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (5/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) This level is simply a masterpiece!! Best level in the set, and one of the best custom levels I've played. It's not often you spend an entire hour solving a CC puzzle and feel like you wouldn't mind restarting and playing it again just to appreciate what just happened. The two thieves in the ice block room caused me so much grief, but that only added to the pleasure of circumventing them! 49 FOUR LINES (Part 6, 24:45 - 27:36) Concept: (3/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (3/5) A teeth level that works okay, but I'm not thrilled with the design. I love the idea of Chip clearing a path through the dirt for Melinda, and I love the idea of teeth that only follow the active player, but neither concept was really explored in much depth here. My solution was pretty much to just run for it, and since that worked it didn't feel like it had much depth. 50 CONTROLLED RELEASE (Part 6, 27:36 - 35:21) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (4/5) Fun: (5/5) Winning concept, and great process of discovery to figure out what is needed. Great blend of action and puzzle elements. One of the best of set. 51 PINPOINT (Part 6, 35:21 - 48:22) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (4/5) This puzzle really wouldn't be that difficult if it was visible all at once, but being as spread out as it is, ends up being a very satisfying challenge. 52 MONOPATTERN (Part 6, 48:22 - 1:04:56) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) Didn't care for this level much. The idea of using repeating patterns on the map reminds me a little of COLOR COORDINATION by J. B. Lewis, but isn't really put to good use here in my opinion. The problem is the patterns don't really serve much of a purpose or present a challenge in most of the rooms. The mazes are too simple, the turtles and recessed walls room can be solved in pretty much any way you feel like, the puzzles feel trivial. (Although I do like the final room with the ice blocks and fire.) I'd like to see the concept revisited with a little more care. 53 GRID MAZE 6 'FINALE' (Part 6, 1:04:56 - 1:11:44) Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) One of the better GRID MAZEs. The teleports are nicely confusing, and it's just the right amount of frustrating at first, but you learn the level after a bit. The time limit is short but fair (I beat it with 20 seconds left on my first try). 54 DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING (Part 6, 1:11:44 - 1:16:03) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) Cool concept with two ways to win: either collect all the chips but no green key, or else collect both red keys without collecting all the chips. I will point out that the hint is incorrect, and the level is poorly named, because you may push blocks and collect green keys to your heart's desire, and still exit as long as you get both red keys and only 3/4 chips. Either way it's a very easy level, but feels looser than intended. 55 FLOODGATES (Part 6, 1:16:03 - END, Part 7, 0:00 - 12:19) Concept: (4/5) Design: (1/5... but 4/5 if the secret eye is added) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (1/5... but 3/5 if the secret eye is added) So... the hint says 'Think before you push' and 'Beware the outside', but as the level is designed you might as well 'pray before you push' and 'beware the inside'. The puzzle is actually quite a nice one in theory, but it plays horribly because about half the ice blocks have recessed walls underneath them, so just when you think you're clearing the path to the exit, suddenly there's a wall there and you've busted the level. Over, and over, and over. I eventually made a pen and paper map and recorded all the blocks that have recessed walls underneath, and then beat the level fairly easily and enjoyably, which proves that's it's actually a good puzzle. But it's unplayable as is. The good news is that simply adding a 'secret eye' tool should make it fair. 56 COCCOON (Part 7, 12:19 - 16:23) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) It's playable, not one I'll remember. 57 BEHIND CLOSED DOORS (Part 7, 16:23 - 24:46) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) A solid teamwork puzzle with a lot of nice variety. Very enjoyable. 58 WATERFALLS (Part 7, 24:46 - 39:27) This is the only level in the set I didn't beat. Initially it looked provably impossible. It turns out to be possible due to different behaviors from blocks on force floors depending on whether they are before or after the player in the monster order, but I personally consider that to be invalid as a puzzle concept. If there's a way around the monster order part, the level looks like an interesting puzzle, and I'd like to see it reworked so that it doesn't depend on that. 59 MANDALA (Part 7, 39:27 - 59:56) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (5/5) A sprawling teamwork level, reminiscent of MELINDA 911, that stitches together portions of earlier levels, and manages to stay 100% fresh. I think my solution busted the level somewhat since I didn't need the force boots, but I kind of like that it's busted since there are several creative ways to win. 60 AND OUT OF THE CHAOS (Part 7, 59:57 - END) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) The final level in the set, and the third CHAOS level. My least favorite to play, but still fun. Frustrating to pick your way through the maze, as I never felt like I could remember my past routes, felt more like feeling blindly the whole way. I really did not like the blue tank next to the red teleport, as it is too easy to accidentally die when exploring the teleports. I don't understand the cryptic hints, but would like to believe that there's an Easter egg there to discover. Also, does "Nanamin" equal "Alice Cox"?
  25. 2 points
    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. 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: 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 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: 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 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!)
  26. 2 points
    I guess it did take a year but now CCLP4 is sort of happening yay. Also I'm getting much more into cc2. The tutorial challenge was awesome! My personal life has gotten to be quite the complicated thing (more than usual...) but I am starting to free up a little time here and there. As the year goes on I should be around a little more often. Anything in CC2 you wish was there but isn't? Someday we may have a tileworld version of CC2...might be able to enhance it a bit. Or maybe Chuck will take suggestions (which will probably end up in Chuck's Challenge). Anyway -- when do we vote????
  27. 2 points
    Level 71 "1.5D" The inspiration for this level was a very strange indie film called Flatland that I watched in a math class once. It's about shapes that are living in a 2D plane when all of a sudden one of them is introduced to the 3rd dimension. Anyway, the film involves a depiction of one-dimensional space not as a straight line, but as a spiral, so that's why this level is shaped the way it is. The level's named "1.5D" because there are a few places where you can leave the "one-dimensional" spiral, but not many. And if you squint and blur the 1 and period together, it kind of looks like "LSD" which is fitting for such a strange level! (This wasn't intentional.) I knew from the start that I wanted you to eventually lead a monster (here, the glider) through the entire spiral, so in addition to collecting items, you clear out obstacles (most noticeably, the tank). "You Can't Teach an Old Frog New Tricks" is what inspired the whole "lead a monster through the entire level" gimmick for me, though there's a more complcated usage of that to come later. The fireball in the beginning is a bit of a nasty trap; it's just there to force you to feel the limitations of the "1D" space. The tanks you can't reach are there so you have a visual aid for timing the blue button press in Lynx mode--you need to hit it when they're fully on a space, but not stopped. Level 72 "Occupied" (CCLP1 level 73 why is this even in the set?) Inspiration for the title and concept was those "Occupied/Vacant" signs you see on Porta-Potty locks. Why are the button connections all jumbled up? I thought it would be interesting to force optimizers to figure them out (or peek at the editor) and draw a map, while casual players could just hit all the buttons in any order it doesn't matter. Not that I think it was a great idea now. At least you can see which traps you've opened--they're the ones where the monsters have left. I feel of all my levels that got into CCLP1, this is the least interesting and fun. I'm still not sure why it got in. Level 73 "Feeling Blue?" In Levelset 1, this level was a simple no-frills blue wall maze like Chipmine. However, I decided that since there are plenty of blue tiles, I should use them all and make things more interesting, and I'm glad that I did. I started with the line of blue locks and went from there. There are a couple walkers in this level but one is just bouncing back and forth on ice (not random) and another is stuck in a single-tile-wide hallway (not random in MS, and always behaves the same in Lynx) so luck can't make the bold time unattainable. That's why this level has a time limit. Level 74 "3 Minutes to Midnight" This is an itemswapper that looks very much like Hotel Chip, but with less of a pattern as to what item leads to what. Therefore I allow you to have multiple keys and other tools at once, to both help you save time and reduce the chance of cooking the level. As with Hotel Chip, the ice is meant to represent an elevator and the force floors on either end are meant to represent escalators. The blue walls on the outside are meant to represent skylights or something...I just associate one of my local malls with the color blue for some reason. The title of this level would have been "2 Minutes to Midnight" to match the Iron Maiden song, but 120 seconds was too low of a time limit to be reasonable. Heck, the current bold (which is JB's, not mine) would have finished with only 2 seconds to spare! Level 75 "The Shifting Maze and The Impossible Maze" (CCLP1 Level 92!) In the levelset JoshL2, #57 "Yet Another Strange Maze" has a section where the walls are made out of blocks. In the original release of the set, the blocks were clone blocks, so when I played through the level in Lynx, I was able to push the blocks, which I thought was a really cool idea! (Josh since fixed it, replacing them with normal blocks with traps under them.) Anyhow, I decided to build a maze that features the concept (walls are pushable blocks)--that's the "shifting maze", and then so you had something to do with them, I made a water "maze" that requires several tiles to be filled in with blocks--that's the "impossible maze". The title got shortened to just "The Shifting Maze" for CCLP1. Level 76 "Garbage Chute" i thought of this level idea pretty early, except it was going to be a bit more complicated, with the bombs leading to more rooms to explore as they were eliminated, but in the end I kept it simple. There's a small bust here, as once all but the last bomb are eliminated, you can push a block through the path, blow up the last bomb, and exit. Great if, say, you missed a brown button in the recessed wall room. I kept it in because I thought requiring the player to take a block through would be a little tricky for what was meant to be an easy levelset. The fireballs on traps used to be paramecia until I realized the controller/boss glitch would be an absolute nightmare if one got turned around and ended up back on a trap. Though I dunno why I didn't just add force floors like I did with the fireballs.... Level 77 "x times 2 to the n" This level's gotten quite the bad rap I see, and I don't think it deserves it. The point of this level is that there are 4 different mechanisms that will press a blue button after a certain number of moves. The mechanisms are based on the one in Tossed Salad from CC1 where there are a series of balls in traps, and each one releases the next ball when it itself has been released twice. (I call that a "ball clock"). I intended that some of the mechanisms would be faster than others, which you're supposed to figure out when choosing which one to start first (hence the title), but this level got disqualified for CCLP1 consideration because apparently the west mechanism was too short to finish the level in Lynx if you started it first. Yeah, disqualifying the level for that reason kind of misses the point of the puzzle. Approximate number of moves for the ball clocks to complete: West: 16 * 2 ^ 5 = 512 North: 4 * 2 ^ 9 = 2048 East: 18 * 2 ^ 8 = 4608 South: 94 * 2 ^ 3 = 752 This level's time limit is so huge (999) because the level already has its own timing mechanism; I don't need the timer to act as another. Thus, it's just here for scoring. This level had a precursor in Tiles 200 named "Powers of 2". It was an untimed level with a ball clock where you could either wait an astronomically long time for it to finish on its own and open the exit, or you could solve the puzzle of the level to speed it up. Yeah, I liked ball clocks, but couldn't figure out anything interesting to do with them back then. Level 78 "Brickwalled Again" More Brickwalled, this time with bug dodging! I don't know where this idea (bugs in a maze) came from. It may have been inspired by Maze of the Year (JoshL2 #39) except here the maze is wide enough that the bugs can't really corner you. The maze used to have 4 bugs but I reduced it to 3 because apparently 4 was too hard or something, I can't really remember. Note that the blue fake/solid wall layout is not the same as in Brickwalled. Level 79 "Wormhole" I'd had an idea for quite a while to make a force floor level based around either black holes or wormholes. Some ideas in this level I like. I think some of the puzzles are all right, and I like the idea of clearing out monsters by sending them onto a force floor. It can just be annoying to figure out where to go next, and in Lynx, to dodge monsters that are converging on the center teleport at the same time you are (not necessary in MS). That's why the chips near the teleport are there, to allow you to sit and wait for an opening, and in an update, I added additional floor to make it less likely you'd miss stepping off to get the chip. Also, the suction boots were much, much farther from the exit originally until I realized it was all too easy to get run over right at the end while slowly walking along the slide. Level 80 "Slide of 25 Trials" Hey, finally a level whose title and concept (sort of) reference the same thing the set's title does! This is just a series of times-sliding challenges I made because I needed to get better at those myself. I was careful to make sure that you could always see all the enemies you'd have to dodge before starting to slide, except for one place in the middle and one at the end, where instead you get a chance to back off as you approach the monster in case the timing is bad. I think the level is pretty reasonable, as even back when I made it I was able to get through it on most attempts.
  28. 2 points
    I know, I know. You're all on steam. But this is exactly what I (and possibly J.B.) was talking about. We "put off" CCLP4 and suddenly interest in good ol' Charlie Brown, I mean Chip's Challenge, loses the interest of people. OK, so we can take a bit more time enjoying the fabulous release of CC2. (The luster is sort of fading for me personally.) But the truth is still true -- we have LITERALLY THOUSANDS of levels that would be good candidates for CCLP4. Can we at least THINK about starting on this thing? Let's not wait another year. Or two.
  29. 2 points
    A while ago, I did a review of the Beta version of CCLXP2, the Lynx version of CCLP2 (you can find it here: http://cczone.invisionzone.com/index.php?/blog/16/entry-61-cclxp2-beta-review/). Since then, Miika released the final version of CCLXP2: http://cczone.invisionzone.com/index.php?/files/file/470-cclxp2dat/ The first thing I noticed is that the CCX file seems identical to that of the Beta version. There is no extended storyline, nothing from that Create Competition a few months ago. But the storyline is merely an enhancement to the set, it's the levels that really matter, so let's talk about these instead. Miika provided a complete changelog for the set. Very few changes were made, so most of the solutions for the Beta are still valid. Also, most of the things I said in the review for the Beta are still true. I shall therefore only review the modified levels. Madness I LX: Essentially, a few thin walls were added near the trap buttons to prevent a bust. I have no idea what the bust is, but either way, it is only a minor change. Yike-O-Matic *: The pointless block and water tiles I reported in the Beta have been removed. Therefore, optimizers maysave a few fractions of a second due to the lack of a spash delay. Lot of Danger *: The first room is still as painful as ever. The change is simply adding a water tile. For the "visual effect". Changes. Absolutely. Nothing. Just Enough *: A toggle wall was changed into a thin wall. This prevents a bust. My solution was not affected. Checkerboard II LX: First thing, there is a mistake in the changelog: this is level 94, not 95. The change involves adding a lot of gravel, probably to prevent Chip from using the fireballs to blow up the bombs, and even more gravel for symmetry. It appers this bust also works in MS, so I really don't understand: I thought the goal was to make the levels as close to the originals as possible, including reproducing their busts. Yet Another Puzzle LX: This level is very different. Even more bombs were added, making the level longer, just like the original. This is the best change in the final version. After the Rainstorm LX: A few force floors were modified to fix a bust. This is only a minor change, although my solution was rendered invalid. Teeth: It now works in even-step. Ths is a very welcome change. I don't really understand the mechanism, but it looks great in the editor. And finally, Cloner's Maze *. While it remains unchanged in the final version, I did manage to solve it since I wrote the Beta review. It is a very good level. I would like to thank Jeanne Hoffman for the SSViewer solution, which was extremely helpful in solving the level. If anyone knows how it was made, please tell me. Overall, I rate CCLXP2 :star: :star: and a half. Great set and great adaptation. Thanks to Miika Toukola, Rock Généreux, Josh Lee, Dave Varberg and Michael Warner for their work on this project! If you are interested in watching my LP of CCLXP2, you may find it here: Most of the videos are for the Beta, but the last few are for the final version.
  30. 2 points
    Alright, so...this is going to be a long post, covering everything I've done with CCLP1 so far. That said, I've done a bit more with CC1 and even scored 47 bolds in CCLP2 while simply playing through it, so the overall counts are hugely inflated since last time. Be very aware, wall of text incoming. Skelzie: Due to not having access to MSCC without huge input lag (for now, I have a couple potential workarounds), I simply learned and executed the 453 route. Didn't take too long, the rapid teleport sequences weren't very hard for me, instead I struggled with the blobs-they killed me incredibly frequently, but eventually the RNG fell the right way and I got to the ending teleport sequence. Got it first try, of course-453 scored for the TWS, I'll worry about 454 after I get 320 on Graduation. Monster Lab: I'd been spending some time grinding this when I didn't really have anything going on, and on April 27th I got 1 tile away from the exit, but was killed at 50% odds by a rebounding walker. I pressed on and not 5 minutes later scored the 292. Did not expect that...but the first massive obstacle to 5,977,000 is out of the way. Shrinking: Felt like trying for this a while ago, got bored, tried again randomly and scored 338 quickly. Thanks To...: Had some time to kill with nothing to really do, scored this in around 40 attempts...with 2 failed 990 attempts. I got really lucky with the RFFs... In terms of CCLP2 bolds, I picked up 24 from the first 90 levels, all on fairly simple routes, no learning of them-just a first solve while looking at an editor and then a further 23 in the last 60. I suspect when I start optimizing CCLP2 I'll pick up another 30 without any effort, at least. The list is Maze of One Way, The Serial Port, Debug File (mouse panel ftw), Ranger Denmark, How Goes?, Work Fast, Chase Race, The Mystery of the Seven Chips, Mads' Rush I, Ray of Light, Fun House Rink, Breaking the Rules, Hurry Up, Chip!, And Then There Were... Four?, Just a Minute!!, Security Breach, Planet of the Teeth (I did optimize this, since it was a fun level to work on), Reversi, Hobgoblins and Chimera, So Many Chips!, Killer Spiral, Bumble Boy, Cra-zy, The Walker Machine, Exit Chip, Loop, One-Block Sokoban, Torch, Hard as Rock, Pyramid, Bounce, Joyride I, Counter Clockwise, Turn Turn Turn, Frost Rings, Flame Boy, Paramecia, Blocks 'n Bombs, Dodge!, Fantasy Island, Miscellaneous, Frozen Birdbath, Microcosm, Zartacla, Trapped, Wormwood and Neptune. And then we move on to CCLP1, a set where I have 88 bolds, with very few routes copied, instead finding them for myself...it's a very different experience to CC1 and it's been a very enjoyable one, though coming up a second short is a bit frustrating at times . I've also been optimizing the same levels on the Lynx side of things, with 93 bolds there (including a joint bold and several unconfirmed records!) In order, the levels I've optimized, without outright giving away most of the routes I used (since CCLP1 is shaping up to be half public, half private...) Key Pyramid: Fairly straightforward, just leaving a couple things behind and a lot of running back and forth. Still not really a fan of this level. MS: 168/168 (bold, my time) Lynx: 168/168 Slip and Slide: This one took a couple tries to hit on the right route, but it's definitely very easy to find. MS: 180/180 Lynx: 179/179 Present Company: Also really straightforward-grab the right boot, clean out the other room, clean out the first room, exit. MS: 183/183 Lynx: 183/183 Block Party: Now this was a fun route to find, 201 was the first I scored here, I immediately improved to 204 and 205, and quickly 206 after working out the key section. 207 took a small trick near the end (the force floor trick I used from the 201 even!). On the Lynx side of things, direct copy of the MS route. MS: 207/207 Lynx: 201/201 Facades: Learn the wall locations, easy to score. MS: 232/232 Lynx: 232/232 When Insects Attack: Took a couple tries to find a 185, transferred to Lynx. Buuuut, after that random 8 scored 186 in Lynx, and finding that was a bit annoying. I found the one thing with the paramecium and the dirt but didn't put together the rest of the route for a half hour. MS: 185/185 Lynx: 186/186 Under Pressure: 185.6, gave the route to Ben to upload to ChipWiki after he uploaded a 185.0. Lynx is a bit annoying due to the hint tile, but oh well. MS: 185/185 Lynx: 184/184 Switcheroo: A bit annoying, but there were only so many configurations that could have worked. MS: 230/230 Lynx: 229/229 Swept Away: Would you believe me if I said this was my first try at optimizing the level? Because it was. MS: 228/228 Lynx: 225/225 Graduation: The first really big level in CCLP1, and also the first level I lack a bold on-though not because I didn't know how to score it! 318 in MS took all of 3 tries to execute correctly, and a base 317 in Lynx took 5 or 6 due to being very tight without either trick. The night before Mike reported a 319 using the Teleport Skip Glitch, I had actually looked at the level and went "huh, the Teleport Skip Glitch would save at least a second here". I started trying to get my laptop able to run MSCC, but alas, it can't, and so I had to go to sleep without a new record despite having seen a way to. The next morning I counted spaces and it seemed like it would yield a 320, which J.B. confirmed. I knew how to score this, just don't have the means...on the Lynx side of things, Miika reported a 318, which I started looking for. I found the useful block slap immediately, but the other trick to push it to a barely 318 eluded me for hours. Eventually, thanks to some very vague hints from Ben, I figured out the one thing I had overlooked: tanks don't turn if they're already moving. After that, it still took a couple tries, but I did score the bold. MS: 320/318 (318 is maximum in Tile World) Lynx: 318/318 Basketball: Straightforward itemswapper, took a couple iterations to work out how to dodge the balls but once I did it was a very easy bold. MS: 226/226 Lynx: 225/225 Leave No Stone Unturned: In MS, fairly simple route with a small sokoban section to optimize-didn't take too long. In Lynx, block slaps and splash delay make it a lot more complicated...and I'm down 2 seconds without knowing where. MS: 289/289 Lynx: 287/285 The Monster Cages: James why did you have to find the thing with the walker stalling all 3 paramecia ;-; Took a solid 2 hour grind session (made easier by talking with a friend working on a Touhou fangame, discussing ideas and such) to actually score, but I did get it...at least in Lynx the different monster behavior makes this a freebie. MS: 263/263 Lynx: 263/263 Wedges: My initial score was a 204.8. Then I realized I had done a dumb with the 3 wedge rooms and could save 2 moves in each of 2 places, and that gave 205.6...I'd already found the teleport shortcut but hadn't quite pieced together how to avoid losing 2 moves to the extra block in the region yet. When I found it and scored 206, I was quite happy and immediately turned around and made the route public. I think this is the level that really showed that I could definitely optimize block pushing somewhat well on my own. In Lynx, the block slaps make the wedges 2 moves faster, so despite the splash delay and lack of boosting, it's still faster. I only just found the moves I was missing-stupid being greedy and getting the red key early >.< MS: 206/206 Lynx: 208/208 Twister: When I first played this level, I hated it. On a second play, I realized that no spaces ever had to be stepped on twice, and immediately revised my opinion of the level. Naturally, this second play was optimizing and netted me the bold-first try in each ruleset. MS: 315/315 Lynx: 306/306 Tetragons: My first attempt was 1 second short, even after triple checking the sokoban section for improvements. I said I had no interest in returning due to the RFFs, but I later revisited and noticed that I had been treating the central chip in the right rooms as a 1 path detour, instead of passing through the center. MS: 281/281 Lynx: 277/277 Tiny: Small level, not very complicated, easy enough bold. MS: 990/990 Lynx: 989/989 Square Dancing: Ruben reported 264, I started looking to confirm. I didn't feel like actually testing any routes, so I plotted the distance from each chip to each other chip worth considering, and started developing routes. Found 1 "263.8" and 2 "263.6" routes, but after 2 hours, never found a 264. So I went to go execute the 263.8 and found that it was the 264 route all along and my count was off by one >__<. MS: 264/264 Lynx: 263/263 Feel the Static: After figuring out which chips could be picked up at less time cost, this was an easy bold. I put off optimizing it for a while though for some reason. MS: 351/351 Lynx: 348/348 Chip Suey: Honestly wasn't that bad to figure out, I scored the bold in Lynx very quickly due to the consistent walker behavior, then switched over to MS and scored...379.6. Every time. Both Miika and James told me that it was probably in the teleports (I was going through each teleport once, Miika went through twice and James 3 times), which due to boosting was equal. I suspected it was the sokoban at the end, but trusted the expert judgement...and after rigorous testing, proved that the teleports were equal with all 3 routes. I then started listing off to James every little thing I did, and when I got to the sokoban, I spotted the 2 missing moves and scored the bold quickly-the walkers played nice after realizing this, and gave me the 1/6 shot 3 out of 6 tries. Third time I nailed the boosting and got the bold. MS: 380/380 Lynx: 375/375 Generic Ice Level: Not picking up the skates ASAP was all it took to find the bold route here. MS: 175/175 Lynx: 172/172 Repair the Maze: This one was really fun to work on due to the aspect of where to spend the 2 extra keys. The first thing I did was replace all red locks that I would never want to remove with yellow locks, and then did the same with locks that were outright worse than other ones. I ended up with a total of 3 locks potentially worth removing, picked 2, scored 325. Looked at the level again, spotted a shortcut that could be used if I used the lock I left behind, and that was enough for the 330. MS: 330/330 Lynx: 330/330 Circles: Annoying due to the walkers getting the way more often than not. MS: 226/226 Lynx: 226/226 Chip's Checkers: Thanks for the route here Ben . This was a really fun level to score the bold on-I came up with a 342 route on my own, but after seeing Ben's route spotted the obvious mistake I had made-being greedy and grabbing a chip early, of course. Still took a while to execute, but it was fun. MS: 343/343 Lynx: 329/329 Mind Lock: Pretty simple level, not really many options. MS: 139/139 Lynx: 139/139 Trafalgar Square: I love this sort of puzzle, and optimizing this was a little easier than expected. There was really only one potential point of entry, and from there it was pretty obvious where to go. My first attempt missed an extra push that saved a bit later on, but when I revisited the level later I found it quickly. On the Lynx side of things, there's 2 slaps that save time-this got me the confirm on Miika's 172! MS: 173/173 Lynx: 172/172 Teleport Depot: Bold is a 283.8, my first route was a 283.0. I found this out when I went over to Lynx and came up short of the bold there, and quickly noticed I was breaking the wrong blue lock! Oops. MS: 283/283 Lynx: 276/276 The Last Starfighter: In MS, I got stuck at 273 for a while then randomly pulled a 274.8...and a 274.6 with 2 wasted moves returning from the top >.<. In Lynx, the old record of 255 is trivial, but random8 beat me to scoring the 256 by having a blob clone extra blobs. I still intended to get this second for myself though...until another trick was found that allowed 257...and 258 with a blob! MS: 275/274 Lynx: 257/257 Sky High or Deep Down: Pretty simple route, just a matter of trying top to bottom and bottom to top. I think the order is different in each ruleset, but I don't completely recall. MS: 326/326 Lynx: 326/326 Button Brigade: I optimized this one in Lynx first-had a bit of trouble figuring out the best way to set up the fireball room near the end, but it didn't take too long to find. MS was even easier, though I thought I was triggering some bug with boosting and toggles-nope, just a cross-check! MS: 219/219 Lynx: 217/217 Quincunx: Evil evil evil evil evil evil evil evil evil evil evil level. I still hate it. At least Lynx is trivial, but MS demands perfection. MS: 144/142 Lynx: 114/114 Nitroglycerin: Very well designed maze, fairly simple to optimize. I had more trouble remembering my route than discovering it. Still didn't take too long-I still have a couple more free bolds like this later on. MS: 263/263 Lynx: 263/263 Spitting Image: I scored 955 immediately, then could not find the 956 at all. I kept overcomplicating things trying to split the first room up-which still scored 955. Of course, the trick was something simple again (a simple teleport twice..), which I didn't realize until James told me the difference between MS and Lynx was 8 moves, not 10. MS: 956/956 Lynx: 954/954 Just a Bunch of Letters: Honestly, on the MS side of things it was a matter of looking at the map and picking a route through the letters. The Ls in the middle kind of forced a specific route, and the monsters didn't interfere. Lynx though...the waits dropped the route to a 287, so I had to leave a chip behind to skip having to wait-it resulted in a lower 289, but a 289 is a 289. MS: 289/289 Lynx: 289/289 Mystery Wall: A common theme is figuring out the hard part of the route optimally and then missing something simple elsewhere in the level. I figured out the optimal way of doing the block cloning on my own relatively quickly, but this came up 2 moves short of the bold. I kept looking there, trying more and more outlandish things until James outright told me I had that part right. That left only the top section...where I realized I was doing a dumb again. MS: 379/379 Lynx: 374/374 Rhombus: Another really easy level, thankfully. It was just a matter of figuring out the teleports in the beginning to beat the fireball cycle. MS: 219/219 Lynx: 216/216 Habitat: I can't be bothered to work on this one for a while- my first route turned up a 331 in MS, and in Lynx it was 330. Ended up getting a tick-perfect run along the 4 chips in the lower section on a second attempt /by accident/, and matched my 331. MS: 332/331 Lynx: 332/331 Heat Conductor: My first approach to this level netted me a 480 in MS and a 462 in Lynx-this was with way too many extra teleports. I was able to increase the decimal by reordering a few sequences to avoid teleporting 5 times at the end twice in a row, but it wasn't enough for extra seconds. Then I compared routes with Ben, and after confirmed I teleported too much found 481.0/465-exactly what Ben had, only a lower decimal. We compared routes directly at this point, and one particular arrangement of chips ((9,9) (6,5) (14,4)) being collected on their own pass I hadn't considered before...and that was enough to get a 482. Then James wondered where I was dropping only a bit and I noticed I could save [2] by teleporting vertically going to the fireboots. That bumped me up to 482.6/466.almost467, with [2] left to find. I'm...not sure where. MS: 483/482 Lynx: 467/466 Dig and Dig: Very simple level, just a matter of avoiding the monsters. MS: 237/237 Lynx: 237/237 Sea Side: Another travelling salesman level-plot a path between islands, then plot the chip path. MS: 962/962 Lynx: 960/960 Descending Ceiling: In MS, the bold of 166 was fairly well established. I found all the cycle skips and scored it pretty quickly. In Lynx, however, I noted that the bold was 160...with a partial confirm of 159? I wasn't sure how this was quite possible, until it hit me: each person missed one cycle skip, one of them at the very end. I found them all and scored a new record of 163. MS: 166/166 Lynx: 163/163 Mughfe: I didn't put too much effort into this, just enough to purge my initial time. MS: 419/413 Lynx: 403/397 Gears: Trivial level is trivial. MS: 206/206 Lynx: 206/206 Frozen Labyrinth: Even without Miika's AVI, the right route for this level was fairly straightforward. Nothing difficult in the execution either-just a matter of remembering when to slide. MS: 365/365 Lynx: 360/360 Who's the Boss?: In MS there were lots of routes that scored 279 due to the boosting allowing certain cycles to be reached...in Lynx, optimizing was a bit more of a mess, with the bold going up and up and up from 272 to 273 to 274 to 275 to 276 to 277. No clue what Miika did for the 277 honestly. MS: 279/279 Lynx: 277/276 Sapphire Cavern: My initial route was down 1 second, upon trying a slightly different path I found 286. MS: 286/286 Lynx: 286/286 Bombs Away: Well, the route before James messed with monster collisions was easy to find...no matter what I did I couldn't make having monsters clone monsters be worthwhile, though. MS: 955/943 Lynx: 942/942 Sundance: Another trivial bold is trivial. MS: 180/180 Lynx: 180/180 49 Cell: I...do not like optimizing this level. In either ruleset. MS: 430/422 Lynx: 413/406 The Grass is Greener on the Other Side: MS ruleset was trivial to find, since the teeth just cooperate. Lynx required a small wait, but this was still a fairly straightforward level. MS: 167/167 Lynx: 166/166 H2O Below 273K: This level...this level is insane to optimize in MS because it's an approximately 30 second long nonstop boosting frenzy. When I started working on it, Ben had bold at 256. It took me about 10 minutes to score 259, but I couldn't stay away, scoring 263, 265 and then 267 -.9. Later that day I went back and scored several more 267s before topping out at 268. At that point I went over to Lynx and scored 231 (bold) first try. A while later I kept working my way up, scoring 269 and 270 the same day. From there, I was positive I wouldn't be able to improve it...until I decided to play the level for a bit while screensharing. I scored 270 again a half dozen times, including a -.1! Finally, I broke through and scored 271, and I don't think I'll be improving this anytime soon. MS: 274/271 Lynx: 231/231 The Bone: Scored bold in MS, switched to Lynx, improved the record by 1 second with a block slap and splash delay dodge, then it got improved again. MS: 309/309 Lynx: 306/305 Start at the End: I optimized this in Lynx first, and my first attempt found the bold easily enough. In MS, I derandomized the level to see how much slack there was with the boosting, did it fast enough and scored 408 , and then took an hour to actually scored it on the stock version...then James pointed out I was missing a lot of moves in a very obvious place, and I then found the 410 route immediately after. Unfortunately, I was annoyed with the boosting and didn't really feel like going for it, so I got a 409.8 and called it a day. MS: 410/409 Lynx: 400/400 Mini Pyramid: Found 231 in MS, added a ram to score 232, then realized the next day that skipping the suction boots might be viable...found 234 and polished the route to score 235. In Lynx, I scored 229, then tried a different approach with the water blocks and scored 230. I'd accidentally snatched a chip under a block sliding off ice at one point, though, and optimized the route further to net a new record. MS: 235/235 Lynx: 231/231 The Chambers: Very easy in both rulesets. MS: 322/322 Lynx: 323/323 Connect the Chips: See above. MS: 963/963 Lynx: 963/963 Key Farming: Fairly simple route to discover, and the execution wasn't too bad since you have 4 mistakes. MS: 296/296 Lynx: 285/285 Corral: I kind of fluked into bold in MS on one singular attempt with 0 interference...in Lynx I didn't try too hard. MS: 327/327 Lynx: 327/321 Asterisk: See 3 levels above. MS: 970/970 Lynx: 970/970 Guard: One of those levels where you try everything until it works. Kind of annoying, especially in Lynx where you have to get rid of one of the fake walls to trap the teeth. MS: 263/263 Lynx: 262/262 Highways: This level was so much fun, and I usually don't like boosting after a 2 ice slide. Probably due to all the boosts being like that. MS: 424/424 Lynx: 412/412 Design Swap: I found 333 on my first attempt, and quickly improved it to a 340. I then found all manner of other times like 341, 339, 336, and 343. At this point I noticed the potential to disrupt the bugs to hold down the trap button for me, and scored 345 with that. James then told me that this was not part of the 346 route, at which point I looked for a 'vanilla' route a bit longer and ended up finding 346. Switching over to Lynx, you fall 1 cycle behind MS resulting in a 340...except due to different cycles the bug-button approach actually saves a second, netting me another new record. MS: 346/346 Lynx: 341/341 New Block in Town: Annoying level, easy route at least. MS: 174/174 Lynx: 169/169 Chip Kart 64: This one was quite fun, though I honestly don't see how a 45 is possible...it's probably something really silly. MS: 45/44 Lynx: 35/35 Squared in a Circle: Copied Miika's AVI for the 427 and 413, was nowhere near convinced it was optimal in Lynx. I found a nifty little trick that saves [2.5], and when random 8 said he found a trick that saved [2] in both rulesets...we merged routes and suddenly 414 joint bold. MS: 427/427 Lynx: 414/414 Klausswergner: I didn't put too much time into this route, just enough to try the obvious route (scores 281), and a couple faster routes. Ended up with 285/284, which isn't too bad for the amount of effort. MS: 288/285 Lynx: 285/284 Booster Shots: Lynx bust, annoying route in MS. MS: 304/299 Lynx: 386/386 Flames and Ashes: Juggling one block around was actually really fun here. MS: 947/947 Lynx: 946/946 Double Diversion: Just like back in the blind race, I'm still not a huge fan of this level. It was just annoying to optimize, with testing waiting/not waiting and which side. MS: 288/288 Lynx: 285/285 Juxtaposition: THIS MAZE IS AMAZING. Learning the paths didn't take too long, either, even for Lynx. MS: 426/426 Lynx: 426/426 Tree: Another level I put a bit of effort into-improvized the sokoban every time, most of my missing time is probably there. MS: 302/298 Lynx: 280/276 Breathing Room: Small and fairly simple, not too many different things to try to find bold. MS: 183/183 Lynx: 180/180 ToggleTank: I found the bold route literally first attempt optimizing this. MS: 243/243 Lynx: 241/241 Shuttle Run: This...is probably one of the easiest bolds in the set. MS: 8/8 Lynx: 6/6 Secret Passages: Upon looking at the level in the editor, my initial route idea counted keys...and came up with just enough to go through all the locks I wanted to. The result was a 533.8. MS: 533/533 Lynx: 533/533 Elevators: This is another of the easiest bolds in the set. MS: 957/957 Lynx: 957/957 Flipside: Most of the difficulty here is in avoiding the few walkers-funnily enough, the optimized route was much safer than my casual routes. MS: 390/390 Lynx: 390/390 Colors for Extreme: I found both of the old records the day before James improved both, and J.B. and random8 both confirmed the same day. I got hung up on trying to disrupt the glider path with the blocks and couldn't think of any way to break the level that night. When random8 uploaded the 889 Lynx solution, though, I took another look and saw the potential blockslide. From there, the bolds followed. MS: 900/900 Lynx: 889/889. Launch: I'm not sure where the extra second in Lynx is-maybe a block slap I missed? MS bold was first try. MS: 95/95 Lynx: 92/91 Ruined World: I got stuck at 970 for a while, and then realized I was ordering a couple blocks silly. MS: 971/971 Lynx: 971/971 Black Hole: Every route I tried fell short, until I realized the bugs were all offset by 1...that turned the route into a mad dash into the bugs snatching all the chips from certain death. MS: 971/971 Lynx: 969/969 Starry Night: This route didn't take very long to find either-and executing the boosting didn't take too long either. I had more trouble working out how to dodge the walker in Lynx! MS: 309/309 Lynx: 302/302 Chip Block Galaxy: I put a bit of effort into this, not much though. Ended up with a partial confirm and Lynx record because no one else tried. MS: 908/890 Lynx: 893/893 Roundabout: Due to boosting, the bold was trivial to find in MS. In Lynx, 350 required splitting rooms and detouring later sometimes, sooner other times...it was quite tricky! MS: 350/350 Lynx: 350/350 Flame War: My initial idea of a route netted bold in MS, but -1 in Lynx. I had a couple other ideas involving maneuvering an extra block, but they never quite panned out. MS: 322/322 Lynx: 321/320 Gate Keeper: Straightforward level. MS: 365/365 Lynx: 362/362 Deserted Battlefield: After wandering around for 5 minutes on my first play, I wanted revenge. I looked at the editor, found the 17 second route, and executed it in both rulesets. MS: 982/982 Lynx: 982/982 Loose Pocket: Another surprisingly simple level to optimize for its position. MS: 332/332 Lynx: 334/334 Frozen in Time: see Loose Pocket. MS: 944/944 Lynx: 943/943 Portcullis: Both of my initial routes came up a second short, though I found some improvements pretty quickly. I still don't know where the missing second in Lynx is, though. MS: 977/977 Lynx: 978/977 Tunnel Clearance: Lynx demands perfection, but perfection is simple enough to obtain. MS has so much room for error, but remembering which direction is tougher. I'm not sure which ruleset has the harder to score bold here. MS: 257/257 Lynx: 235/235 Jailbird: My first routes came up 4 or 5 seconds short, but they didn't have any monster collisions. After that I found 366, 367 and 368 fairly quickly, and switched over to Lynx where the collisions behaved differently. It took a bit of tinkering, but I found a 366 route...and then accidentally stumbled upon the perfect set of collisions and scored 368 in Lynx for an unconfirmed new record. MS: 369/368 Lynx: 368/368 Alternate Universe: After learning the center segment, this didn't take long to score. MS: 959/959 Lynx: 954/954 California: I didn't spend too long on this, just enough for an initial route. Somehow, still +19 on everyone outside the joint bold in MS. MS: 426/419 Lynx: 414/404 Blobs on a Plane: Derandomized, found the 255.4 route, executed 248 in MS after an hour, scored 247 in Lynx within 10 minutes. Decided to keep going, suddenly 250 5 minutes later...another hour later, 249 partial confirm in MS. MS: 252/249 Lynx: 250/250 Runaway Train: The walker killed me way too often for my liking in MS-thankfully, Lynx played nice. The only tricky part was the paramecia room. MS: 104/104 Lynx: 98/98 Metal Harbor: I happened to stop on this level flipping through CCLP1 in the editor, forgot how to solve it and spotted a way to have an extra block in Lynx with some creative block slaps. I figured the bold route already used this, did a lazily optimized dry run and scored b+4. Further optimizations yielded another +3, +2 and +3 for a 787: +12 on random 8's 775. random 8 then found the bust and scored 788, I switched extra blocks and scored 789, then the next day spotted an extra splash delay and an extra 0.5 near the end...and scored 790. MS was easy-merging Lynx routes less slaps was enough MS: 798/798 Lynx: 790/790 Chip Plank Galleon: Lynx bold was easy, MS I'm down 1. MS: 282/281 Lynx: 280/280 The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Simple route. MS; 60/60 Lynx: 58/58 Blockade: Another pretty simple route. MS: 210/210 Lynx: 207/207 Elemental Park: Yet another simple route, though the execution is quite difficult in MS. I did 2 attempts after scoring bold in Lynx. MS: 596/588 Lynx: 573/573 Frogger: A simple test of iterating permutations of waits and runs. MS: 272/272 Lynx: 271/271 Easier Than It Looks: My initial optimization was a .8, once I realized I could just teleport down in the walker room...I felt really dumb. MS: 106/106 Lynx: 103/103 Spumoni: The only MS record I have, and only because I got to it first. The level interested me, and I routed it and executed-the execution was fun too. MS: 446/446 Lynx: 439/439 Steam Cleaner Simulator: I also optimized this within the first week, but it was a bad 463. Today I went back to improve my Lynx score from b-14 and ended up with 464, then did the same with MS and netted 469. Then I realized my ending in both rulesets was dumb and gained another second. MS: 472/470 Lynx: 468/465 (Ir)reversible: Straightforward level with no options=just execute it. Lots of boosting, but nothing hard. MS: 333/333 Lynx: 328/328 Thief Street: It's a .8 with a mouse-assisted flick. MS: 179/179 Lynx: 178/178 Bummbua Banubauabgv: Another very simple level to optimize, just a matter of organizing blocks in the solution path. MS: 383/383 Lynx: 380/380 Chance Time!: Simple, fun level. Bit of luck, but nothing too bad. MS: 235/235 Lynx: 235/235 I still have another 40 CCLP1 levels to go before I've got at least a base score for the set...maybe I'll hit 6,000,000?
  31. 2 points
    Its the best way to make leves, you all know it. You begin with a big fire and throw random objects in until your inspiration falls out the buttom, when all your other ideas are all gone. As i write I am going thru this very method - not only from fire but the surrounding world, the Tv I watch, the music i listen to - it's not difficult unless you make it. My current levelset is at 11levels and I will release sooner- not later. It is a great honor to participate in the Cclp4 design process and as such i honor my good friend michael in his enthusiam to take the responsibilty of staff (but I haven't even talked to him at all - we should talk sometime!). I nominate Michael hereby to be a part of this and if the admins are willing-- maybe I could participate? who knows. Im just a newbie here (or a n00b as many say) after finding my old Win95 'compu' and discoveing what remains of this great nostalgia.
  32. 2 points
    Another week, another TON of bolds scored. Quick summary: Mishmesh: for a 3 star difficulty this one was on the harder side for me. Eventually I made a map with all walls and floor displayed as such, with recessed walls to show which way to go second, traps showing dead ends and even a red key/lock for the one area on the top where the recessed wall method wouldn't work. Took about 45 minutes to score. Knot: Piece of cake, got this 2nd or 3rd try due to some boosting mishaps. Scavenger Hunt: I watched the AVI to see which directions to go at forks, this bold followed up immediately. On the Rocks: Some untimed levels I've scored. This one I simply played through to get it out of the way. Cypher: First try, no reference. Lemmings: The first of a few levels I had to reference the public TWS for-there's no AVI of a 577! Definitely a fun route to perform due to all of the organized chaos going on-I also messed with alternate block timings to see what the results would be, and the 577 seems to work by cutting off the lead monster in the monster order. I wonder what bold would be if the entire monster order was reversed? Ladder: I identified that I could move the chip collecting ladder to the end of the route without wasting any moves, so I did just to get the (marginally) trickier part out of the way as soon as possible. All in all, smooth sailing through here... Seeing Stars: ...until Seeing Stars. This is way too hard to remember to be only 3 star difficulty (for on this later). I spent an hour on this and only had the first 40-50 seconds (out of 200!) completely memorized. From there, I decided to switch gears from rote memorization to trying to get a better understanding of why the move savers saved moves. As a result, the corners all became much easier to remember-though if you asked me now, I wouldn't remember the specifics of how to move the blocks to the spots, I could tell you the spots that blocks need to be parked. It still took another hour to remember everything past that point, but I did eventually score 597 with 0 dropped moves. Not the kind of level I like working on. Sampler: The bold difficulties seem to be more based on how hard an optimal tenth is than an optimal second, to me. Just comparing Sampler, Seeing Stars, Lemmings and Mishmesh, they're all ranked evenly, and yet Sampler and Lemmings I found easier than Trinity, which is ranked as 2 stars! It took a couple tries to remember the teleport sequence, but executing was pretty easy. Glut: Too easy, even though as a kid I could never figure out the teeth exits-I thought they were traps Floorgasborg: Oh come on, seriously? This is 3 stars? It took a few attempts to get the timing down on the initial force floors, but this is nowhere near the difficulty of Seeing Stars. I got the 195 on my second attempt reaching the random force floor-the first time they sent Chip left and down, straight into the fake wall on the back wall. I. C. You: Interesting happening while attempting this-on an attempt with 0 lost moves, I actually got prevented from pushing the block by the blob! I couldn't be mad about that, since the probability must be something like 1/1000. It's pretty funny (the blob moved immediately after, so with odd step the odds of this happening are 0, for anyone curious). Beyond that, remembering which way to spring slide caused the bulk of my issues, but it was a relatively easy bold. Still, I'd rank Sampler equal to it, not 3 stars vs. the 2 stars here. Beware of Bug: First try, not much else to say. Lock Block: This was also a first try bold. Refraction: This is another level, like Blink, where I used text notes to remember which direction to move in. SE(L->R), NE(R->L), tanks, NE(R->L), SE(1L->R->1L), toggle NW(R->L), SW(1R->L->1R), tanks, SW(L->R), NW(R->L) As a result, remembering which quadrant to go to, and then which side in that quadrant became trivially easy. I lost 1 move stupidly, but it evened out due to having to wait. I nearly died due to it though! Funny story about this level-I actually ran out of time on it as a kid-300 seconds did not feel like enough. Monster Lab: I tried for the 292 for 5 minutes, scored 225, and kept going back while paying attention to something else. Still no 292, and I can't be bothered to get a 226 if I plan to obsolete it anyway. It's a real shame about the walkers in the southwest-this was always one of my favorite levels to play, and knowing that you can skip pretty much the entire thing makes me sad. Three Doors: First try that got the opening ice slides. Pier Seven: THIS is why I think the bold difficulty needs a bit of a re-evalution. This level is ranked as 4 star difficulty. I got it in around 10 minutes, and 10 minutes later had the perfect tenth value. Compare to Seeing Stars, a 3 star level that took well over 2 hours. It seems like boosting=+1 star-except Trinity, though my opinion on Trinity may be biased due to scoring it so early. The thought still remains: the bold difficulties on the wiki seem pretty arbitrary, and Jimmy V.'s site of easiest bolds is fairly outdated. Looks like I'm on my own on determining these difficulties Mugger Square: After the mini rant, the wiki pegs this one at 4 stars. Ironically, the hardest part for me was any ice to force floor slide-I died because I failed the override after picking up the flippers no less than 3 times on 377 pace runs. Fun level to play though, definitely a learning experience on how to deal with force floors going into teleports a bit better, and the fireball cycle was a good way of knowing if I was ahead of pace or behind pace. Problems: It's just walking around, I'm not sure how that garners a 2 star rating. Digdirt: Trying to remember waits by cell number wasn't too effective, so I remembered them by how many chips are left. Once I made this switch in how I learned it, instant bold. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: I said I could get an award on CCZone in less than 5 minutes, that isn't a 5g award. Well, it's the "Let's Play" award, for let's playing 20 official CC levels. Well, I've picked out quite the set... Lesson 1 17 Glut 3 Lesson 2 10 Floorgasborg 5 Lesson 3 11 The Last Laugh 18 Lesson 5 15 Scoundrel 6 Lesson 6 6 Victim 8 Lesson 7 11 Metastable to Chaos 10 Lesson 8 4 Fortune Favours The 14 Southpole 16 Lobster Trap 14 Nice Day 17 Trust Me 6 Forced Entry 7 Thanks To... 12 The longest level in this group has a bold time of 18 seconds-even taking into account tenths and time spent switching levels, these 20 can go down in 4 minutes (210 seconds, to be precise)-5 is enough for an intro and mistakes to be made. As a result, I learned a few other bolds, so here's my thoughts on them! The Last Laugh is nifty. Scoundrel I did as a kid. Victim I never would have thought of. Metastable to Chaos is mindblowingly simple. Fortune Favours The had me facepalm with how simple it was. Lobster Trap I saw the time and found the route for. Trust Me might as well have said Bust Me. Thanks To... I didn't score bold on, but it's quick even without the 1/64 shot. I'll probably record this later today and claim a couple other awards at the same time, for efficiency's sake. Miika requested this, so even though it's still really bad: my current score my CC1 is 1,091,100, with 51 timed bolds and 57 solved levels, 4 of which are untimed on this TWS. 5,970,000 should be fairly easy to obtain, but the real test will come when I must return to RNG hell, level 23...and this turned into a wall of text I don't even know how I just typed what I thought ;_;
  33. 2 points
    decided to write a blog because I have nothing better to do. … When I was a kid (~10 years old) I had a gameboy color and my favorite console game was Mario. I played a few other games like Zelda but Mario was the only game I finished then. I often sat for hours at a time playing the same levels over and over; because the game is difficult. Later when I got very good at the game and played with friends or watched the game on youtube, I took for granted how difficult the game really is. If you play it for the first time it's not that easy. Sure its easy at the beginning but the game quickly gets difficult. I found that years later, when I was older and hadn't played the game in a long time I was unable to get as far as I thought I would. The attitudes of gamers has changed drastically since the early 90's. People don't want to play the same level 50 times over to get to the next stage anymore. Perhaps people aren't as easily entertained; either because they know that today with technology more variety is possible, or maybe it's something else. Whatever it is, I don't think that this is necessarily a good or a bad thing. It's just something that game designers need to keep in mind when they make games for today's player. A Major thing that has changed; that I personally think is a very good thing; is freedom. A lot of games today have way more freedom then they did back then. For example some developers like Valve include a "developer console" in their games. With enough knowledge you can basically make your game do all kinds of things that the designers didn't intend. You can cheat, see parts of the map you normally couldn't or create custom levels. All of this may not sound real important but what it comes down to is: letting the player have more control. Getting more replay value in the game. And in the long term; having the player take a more active role in influencing game development. Bringing the gamer closer to the designer. Now, one part of this freedom has been criticized by some gamers. And that is making games too easy. Often today there are difficulty settings or options that can potentially make the game extremely easy for a gamer. Yes, games are supposed to be a challenge. But this kind of freedom demands a responsibility on the player; to choose how he will play. Will he take the easy way out? Or challenge himself? This is a decision that I think IS ultimately the player's; no one else’s. Everybody's different. But I think there are a good number of gamers who still want a challenge and I don't see why they should let themselves be hindered by these sort of options in a game. I personally, love the challenge, and even after beating a game or level a certain way, an easy way, I often go back to see if there was something I missed, or trying and overcome whatever more difficult challenges I skipped over the first time around. I've heard people criticizing the rewind feature of Chuck's challenge. I haven't played the game yet but I can I understand their points and can agree; it makes the game too easy. But I think it's important to realize that it does so by temping the player to ABUSE the feature. Why I like this sort of feature is because it puts the player in control. It's a freedom for the player to choose how he plays the game. If he abuses a feature; that is his choice. In my personal case, I can imagine that if I'm playing a level that has an abundance of tough or irritating areas I would use the feature for a few times then simply give up and walk away. I think, if the rewind needs to be abused, it's not a good level. But I don't think it's a flaw in the game to allow this kind of playing.` Similarly in any game like this, if such features are needed to a certain extreme, the game itself is bad; not the feature. I recently tried playing Zelda 2, Adventure of Link which is a notoriously difficult game. A lot of fans love the difficulty of this game, and this style of game. But many of these gamers are those that grew up with the game; as I did with Mario and we spent hours doing the only thing we could; the only games that were available to us. Today this type of game seems really restrictive and totally inaccessible to some. On the other side of the coin, there are games that are outright too easy or don't offer a proper challenge; or enforce the easy options to an annoying degree (I think of elements in modern 3D Zelda games that Zelda fans complain about; the guides like Navi) In closing; I don't think we should be limited by our game. That fact that you can choose how you want to play your game, in my mind, is a very good thing. Well those are my shenanigans, as usual I could be a genius or a babbling idiot. That's for you to decide. Being part of 2 communities of games where custom levels are shared has taught me that very, very often, you design a level with one thing in mind and often, another entirely different thing is observed by the player, and sometimes your own idea gets thrown by the way-side. ...But that's another blog....
  34. 2 points
    I hated brinjal. The first time I ever played CC was when I was six years old (back in 2003, I think). Well, my dad played most of it, I only pretended to play . Back then we had an old Pentium IV PC on Windows 98 - and my dad got a copy of BOWEP, which had Chip's Challenge with it - the start of my Chipping days. My dad used to play CC continuously back then - well, we were both addicted to it. To the point where we were issued warnings (by mom, of course) in case we were on the game for more than two hours a day. Anyway, we finished quite a few levels. I remember discovering the Ctrl+K shortcut by accident one day, and thinking it to be a glitch, wrote down the passwords for all levels up to 145. When we figured there were more, and that we needed to beat them in order to get past them, well, 146 (Not a) Cake Walk put us to the test. Mind you, in all this, only my dad was playing - I was only spectating and trying to complete Lesson 8. So we finished quite a few levels, while skipping the ones which we were unable to solve. I had a morbid fear of teeth back then - I remember being so scared of them that even though I used up all the dirt on the eighth level (umpteen times), I was always eaten the tick after I got the chip. Digger was a nightmare - though somehow I managed to go at least once, to 4 chips remaining before I died. Mazes were something else that confused me and ate my head back then (sometimes they still do) - So naturally, Brushfire was somewhat of a disaster in my hands. I managed to get away from the bug back then, only to walk into a dead end. Now, level editors or MapMaker was not something that we had even heard of back then, so full-grid maps were not an option. The other thing that I was dead scared of were random monsters. Blobs and rollers (yes, I know we call them walkers now). Forget Blobdance or Jumping Swarm - Blobnet was also crazy tough. When I used to see a blob or a walker, somehow my fingers used to stop working properly. Either that or the blobs used to chase me intentionally. This was something that I shared with my dad. He was also quite unlucky and unsuccessful when it came to that level. Which brings me back to my brinjals (also called eggplants or aubergines, to those who don't know). I hated them back then. The thing I loved was goat's brains. (Even though some of you might be disgusted at it, it's actually quite a delicacy). One morning we both were at the PC, religiously trying to complete this dastardly level. Mom cooked brinjals that day. It was a Sunday, so school was off and we had the whole day at the PC, instead of just the evening. My mom still has a habit of cooking the thing I hate during Sunday afternoons, and cooking my favourite at night (but that's another matter). So I was forcefully yanked off my Quest to eat stupid brinjals. So, my mom has a habit of telling any sort of lie just to get her son to eat what she wants to feed. This time she cooked up a story that brinjals are actually a substitute for goat's brains, and that I would have triple the brainpower, and that I could easily complete the level (my spirit, my dad's fingers). I hesitatingly ate it. I think I wanted to prove her wrong then, but it didn't work. We finished the level that day.
  35. 2 points
    So we are just about to the end of releasing the voting packs. Voting will remain open for a while, but seriously, will anyone vote after Halloween? So, the next piece of this puzzle is to narrow down the levels to a couple hundred. Then the staff will duel with swords to determine what makes it in and what doesn't. Okay, pistols at 50 paces. Honestly, we have a big task in front of us. We want something with decent lesson levels, a nice, reasonable difficulty curve (with occasional respite), and fun levels. But we also want to be sure this thing isn't too easy, either. So, needless to say, this will lead to a lively debate internally. Those of you who aren't on staff -- first, thanks for reading my blog, and second, we'll try to keep you all out of it. Sometimes we get intense defending what we believe in. And fortunately for the set, we don't all agree with each other. For example, I like mazes. But I don't like invisible walls --- AT ALL. So when there's an invisible wall maze showing up I may not like it, but if the rest of the staff does it will probably get in. As long as we get a good variety of fun levels that's what really counts. So, let's finish up voting and start the hard work, shall we?
  36. 2 points
    So I started a topic http://cczone.invisi...-in-my-cc-blog/ to get some idea of what others would like to read that I write. Of the first three topics I posted, this one now has four votes, and the other two have two votes each, so I'll be writing about how I was introduced to CC and then later the CC community, and how I started improving my scores. Not all my topics will come through that thread, but you should take advantage of it to tell me which topic to visit next. I'll try to add a new topic each time I use one to there should always be at least three topics that you can still pick from. Most stories start from the beginning, and some stories start from the end and then jump back, but I want to start this one from the middle. I had somehow heard that CCLP2 had been released, so I downloaded it, unzipped it, found the file with the levels in it, changed its name to CHIPS.DAT and renamed my old one as CHIPS.OLD and started playing! I had no clue about Tile World and didn't bother to read all the documentation that might have explained how else I could have played the levels. These were the first custom levels I ever played. I don't remember my reaction to invalid tiles or any particular level either, but I did enjoy it a lot. This introduction to CCLP2 wasn't right after its release in 2002, but maybe in 2004 or 2005. I didn't play through all the levels at once, but maybe thirty of them and then I kind of got side tracked and forgot about the whole thing. Then one day I was bored and I clicked on the icon on my desktop and played through a few more levels. This would go on for a few years until I finished most of the levels. Earlier I had finished all of the original levels, so towards the end I was determined to do so with these levels too! I had no maps or anything, so this wasn't a trivial task. I had one level left. After the Rainstorm. There was something there that I just couldn't figure out. I was had to be missing something. Maybe I hadn't stepped on all the tiles I could reach, and all I needed to do was find a hidden pair of flippers? This idea didn't lead anywhere. I then went through all the water tiles, filling each one in to see if something was hidden under the water and would reveal itself after I step on the dirt. This too turned out nothing. I had only one thing left to do, either give up or go online and look for help. I'm glad I didn't give up. Now why had I been able to download CCLP2 but not been interested enough to look online for other related information? I don't remember, but I do know I found lots of stuff to keep me busy! I found that I needed to use something called a 'ram' to solve After the Rainstorm. I found that there in fact was a level 145 in the original set of levels, and I had to go back and play that to be able to say I completed all of those levels too. I found scoreboards, editors, a newsgroup, tons of custom sets, and Tile World. A whole new world opened up in front of me! So what do I do first? I was a bit shy at first, so I didn't know what to post the the newsgroup. I looked at the long list of custom sets at pieguy's site and one jumped out at me, TomP1fixed.dat. The reason it caught my eye was that it had sequels called TomP2.dat and TomP3.dat, so if I liked the first one I could play through all three. I still didn't download an editor, and though the set has a bunch of invalid tiles, after CCLP2 I didn't complain at all. I played through the first one quite quickly. TomP2 took a bit longer, and by its end I was a bit annoyed with the invalid tiles, so I didn't move on to TomP3. Thus, I needed another set. The next one that caught my eye was KeyboardWielder.dat. Why does it have such a silly name? And why are there so many levels with very few score reports? I worked on that for about a week, maybe solving one level each day. These were very different from the levels I had seen before, and for one of them I even ended up downloading an editor so I could test some parts without playing through all of it (this was In the Line of Fire, but I still didn't want to use an editor to look at levels otherwise). So I reported some of these scores at pieguy's site. I had also been reading the newsgroup for a few months, which I guess is how long it took me to play to the end of TomP2. This was towards the end of summer 2009. I was soon asked about my CC1 and CCLP2 scores, so I posted those too. I had played through all those levels again after downloading Tile World, so I have no clue what times I had when I first played them. The next set I played was JL1 after it being recommended to me. It had some great puzzles and it cemented my love for this game. I soon began playing levels again to get a better time on them. This was particularly interesting for newly released levels, but I also practised on some older ones, like the last 40 or so levels in TomP2 (none are yet broken!). I improved my CC1 scores and learned a lot from the wiki on what optimized routes look like. I got my CCLP2 score up past 6,000,000 without outside help, and then raised it a bit more by looking at the bold solutions (I've been at about 6,020,000 since then). I wasn't able to compete in the Time Trial competitions at CC Zone because I couldn't be bothered to get a screen capturing program, but I did watch those too. Then CCLP3 voting came around and that was a blast! Unfortunately, we don't have time for that part of the story right now. We didn't even get to go back and see what happened in the beginning, so I'm sure I'll revisit this history stuff at another time. Until then, I would love to hear any comments you have! Has your own story had any similarities? Did something make you think I'm totally nuts? Was there something you'd like me to elaborate? Thanks for listening! -Miika
  37. 1 point
    Hello, everyone, and thanks for taking some time to read the commentary for my second levelset, The Other 100 Tiles! (To100T for short.) I had fun reminiscing and typing up the history of Pit of 100 Tiles, and am looking forward to doing the same here. Set History & Design Philosophy Now, on to the levels themselves! Level 1 "A (Slightly) More Complicated Maze" Level 2 "Gravity Falls" Level 3 "Mortarfied" Level 4 "Pluto" (CCLP1 Level 87!) Level 5 "Hammered Into Place" Level 6 "Tool Shed" Level 7 "Encased in Carbonite" Level 8 "Boomerangs" Level 9 "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (CCLP1 Level 123!) Level 10 "Swapgates"
  38. 1 point
    I took a break today from my ongoing Let's Play of the very enjoyable but lengthy 'Flareon1', and decided to take a peek at the latest file from H2O, posted yesterday. The levelset is called 'Rising' and features 8 levels. Playing through the set took me about an hour and 20 minutes. The video of my playthrough can be found here: 01 RISING The set begins with this massive untimed 99x99 bonus level which is unique in that it contains all of the other levels in the set. I call it a bonus level because the solution is trivial - just walk in a westerly direction and find the unguarded exit. However, there are bonuses everywhere and I'm sure finding an optimal route would be a challenge. I really like the pixel art (the trees and the path) at lower right, and it is interesting to be able to get a preview of the levels to come. However, I think it would be more interesting if there was at least a little bit of challenge in the level, and it was also pretty confusing on first play because I didn't know that all these rooms were previews of coming levels. I didn't 'get' it at first, but once I figured it out later it was a cool moment. 02 RED INK A nice little puzzle, fun to solve, feels like it's over too quickly though! 03 HOT WATER Also a cool concept, dodging the yellow tanks is easy but interesting. Again, the level is over so quickly! I could see combining this + RED INK + maybe a compressed version of GREEN THUMB all into one level. (I guess after my review of Explorer's Delight I must sound like Goldilocks-- "These levels are too long... these levels are too short..." Sorry.) 04 GREEN THUMB The central puzzle is awesome, and very fun to figure out. I'm less of a fan of the level's layout, but it works. 05 OFF THE TRACK I enjoyed this one. Short enough it's not terribly frustrating, pleasing to the eye, and a unique gameplay concept. 06 CUT TEETH Wonderful level with an unique, engaging theme. The length is perfect, just enough to be quite challenging, but not so much that it's a chore to restart the level after a mistake. Felt very satisfying to solve. 07 CUT THE ICE My favorite of the set. I like the use of the one-way teleport mechanism to create three separate, similarly themed teamwork puzzles. The top left puzzle did feel somewhat trivial compared to the other two (which were excellent!). I might consider starting Chip and Melinda off within sight of each other to emphasize that this is a teamwork level. The teleport mechanism plays pretty well! There are ways to drastically simplify the circuitry, but since it's not visible during play maybe it's irrelevant. 08 DIRT FILE A lengthy maze level using blue tanks, green toggles, and... a three-way toggle mechanism! This was actually the most frustrating level in the set for me, mostly because I didn't quite understand that each of the pink buttons was actually controlling the state of all the pink walls, i.e. I thought that each pink button was only responsible for the pink walls in the immediate vicinity, and so it would confuse me to find a door open where I thought I'd left it closed, and vice versa. A hint might help. But overall it's a quality level and satisfying to solve.
  39. 1 point
    Today's levelset review is of the custom CC2 levelset "Centennium II" (v 0.1.0) by J. B. Lewis. The set contains 10 levels, and was released about a year and a half prior to this review. I gather this is a back burner project, but I do hope it someday contains 100 levels as its predecessor does. The levels vary widely in theme and concept, however they are all clearly "CC2" levels in that they all appear to be heavily inspired by the possibilities opened up by the new elements. As with previous reviews, I recorded a Let's Play video series. This was less of a blind play than previous series, since I have seen these levels before, but it was still a blast and I learned a lot about the levels and the game in the process. The videos are available on my Youtube channel at the following links: Part 1: (Levels 1-6)Part 2: (Level 7)Part 3: (Levels 8-9)Part 4: (Level 10) Summary: Centennium II (v0.1.0) is an early and unpolished attempt by a master level designer to begin exploring the potential of Chip's Challenge 2. The concepts in the 10-level set are wildly creative and diverse, although the quality of the execution varies somewhat (as should be expected given the experimental nature of this offering). Recommendations to the designer: 1) Fix major busts on SOKOBOMB and AXIS. 2) Raise the time limit on PANDEMIC to at least 800 to allow for a more methodical playing style. 3) Tweak TRAIN OF THOUGHT to give the player more reaction time. 4) Shorten NOW YOU SWITCH IT to be more forgiving (either a 20x20 design or else 20-30 more extra chips). 5) Raise the base difficulty on MANIFEST DESTINY by turning some of the bonus flags into chips. 6) Add 90 more levels . Seriously, these are great! Individual Level Reviews: 01 WARM UP Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) A nice intro to the set. Good use of the colored floors to give each room a different feel, and good reminder of how the elements work. The force floor room seemed surprisingly challenging to navigate, not sure how a relatively new player would fare. The recessed walls under the blocks felt like an unfair surprise, but I wonder if the hint tile was supposed to warn me? For some reason no hint text was displayed. Although I just realized that one of the chips wasn't required, so I probably didn't even have to restart (a nice touch btw). Loved the room with the tank and trap, the room with the ant cloner, the water/thief room, the teleport room, and the bonus mechanism. 02 CHRISTMAS TREE Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) What a remarkably original level! It makes me happy that this even exists . Overall the gameplay isn't anything particularly special, but it's a nice use of the toggle chips and green wall elements, and ends up as a loose and casual addition to the set. 5/5 aesthetics. The 'presents' are hilarious. Thanks for the bowling balls, Santa! And the 1K flag in the center of the dirt blocks made me laugh. 03 ROUND TRIP Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (4/5) Nice reversal of the CCLP3 concept of luring teeth through a thin wall maze, in this case chasing them! Using opposite-color teeth is one of those rarely used CC2 concepts along with rovers and stopwatches, so I'm glad for the attempt. The short time limit and gender tiles make for a fun challenge that is unlikely to be solved on the first try, but probable on the 2nd or 3rd. A solid 10x10 entry. 04 SPLITSVILLE Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) I really want to like this puzzle more than I do! It's a really cool concept, but my solution felt less like I had actually 'figured something out' and more like I had spammed buttons until all the doors were open. I'd like to go back and figure out what the actual pattern is to the switches. Definitely another 5/5 aesthetics level and a nice easy bonus. 05 PANDEMIC Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (4/5) Fun: (3/5) This level is actually close to amazing. Blobs and slime is another CC2 concept that sounds great in theory but is surprisingly difficult to use well. This level comes really close to doing the trick. I think the size is great, and it's so cool to see how fast the slime spreads. You really get a feeling of shock and almost panic seeing the level changing so fast around you. The chip and block layout is pretty great. Honestly, I think the biggest thing I would change would be to triple or quadruple the short time limit. The spreading slime already provides a sense of urgency. The way I want to play this level is to have all the time in the world to gather blocks together and 'bulldoze' my way around the level in corridors that are 4 or 5 tiles wide, perhaps even strategically corralling some of the blobs into a corner. I think there's a rare strategic and sandbox-y quality hinted at by this level that would be fun to explore with some more time (and even possibly more blocks). 06 SOKOBOMB Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) (assuming bust is fixed) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) Another amazingly creative concept: push blocks together into groups to destroy them with well-placed TNT. Seriously, I don't think I ever would have thought of something like that. Unfortunately the level is seriously busted, but can be fixed I think by replacing all the green walls with toggle walls. It's very easy with 4 bombs, but would make a great early level. I would almost consider removing the 4th bomb to make it more challenging, but it works great as is. Love this level! 07 TRAIN OF THOUGHT Concept: (5/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (5/5) Fun: (3/5) The idea is wonderful - implement the addictive minigame from Lumosity in CC2, and guide all the monsters to their appropriate locations using railroad switches! Alas, this level is so close to being wonderful! Unfortunately, I think the monsters either come too fast, or the switches are placed too far apart, for this to work well. For this concept to be fully successful, it should be playable for a new order of monsters each time. My solution unfortunately was dependent on literally writing down the exact order of monsters and sticking the list to my computer screen, and even then it took me 3 or 4 tries. The last 6 monsters come SO fast that near perfect play is required even with the order memorized. I don't think there's really time to pay attention or react to what the next monster is if playing the intended way. So, I'd like to see this level tweaked a little to allow reasonable reaction time. But that being said, I did have a blast playing it 'my way', and it definitely holds its place on my list of memorable CC2 levels. 08 AXIS Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (5/5) I previously reviewed this level in a blog post (http://cczone.invisionzone.com/index.php?/blog/18/entry-79-axis-review-centennium-2-j-b-lewis/), and my opinion stands. This is a great level, and is both my favorite in the set, and also one of my top 10 custom CC2 levels. This time I did uncover a major (but very fixable) bust: Collect all 4 chips, and then open any socket with the bowling ball. As shown in my video, the tank will be destroyed and you can just exit. 09 NOW YOU SWITCH IT Concept: (3/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (5/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (1/5) This level just doesn't work for me as is. I spent over an hour on it, but didn't solve it. The concept is worth exploring, but the 32x32 level is just too long (I was hurting for time even with 999 seconds), and the traps too subtle, to make this playable. I would say either 1) make the level 20x20, or 2) make 30-40 of the chips extra. On my nearest attempt I was down to 18 chips left and 150 seconds left, which put me into a serious time crunch, which is just a disaster waiting to happen in a minefield like this. The concept is solid however, and so I definitely think it's worth having a more forgiving version of this level in the set. 10 MANIFEST DESTINY Concept: (5/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) An awesome concept with decent execution. I absolutely love the idea of having one time limit to essentially build the level as Chip, and then another time limit to play through the level as Melinda! So amazingly creative! Nice use of the logic circuit to shut the door after 2 minutes. In practice, I thought the execution of the concept felt way too easy and loose, although maybe that was intended. I had more than enough time to clear most of the dirt out of the upper level before switching to Melinda, and then felt like I could have either used the yellow tank or (with a little more careful preparation) the fireball to activate the toggle button. Since that was the only real puzzle that was required, it felt significantly anticlimactic. The bonus puzzles could definitely add some interest, but honestly I think the level would be better if most of them were required. The lower third of the level felt very out of place with the rest of the design, as if a completely separate level had been added for no obvious reason. The puzzles were fun and easy to play, although the slime puzzle was rendered trivial because I still had the hook tool. The yellow teleports at the end certainly opened up some fascinating possibilities for the bonuses. For example, you can swap them (along with the flippers and hook) for the dirt boots from one of the rovers. Or you can use them to free the rovers into the dirt room and hope they go where you need them to. Or you can bring all 3 ice blocks into the dirt room and clear dirt that way. So, overall I loved the concept and appreciated the open sandbox feel with multiple solutions, but thought the bar for beating the level felt like it was placed almost absurdly low, and felt like the bottom 1/3 didn't really belong. Still enjoyed it a lot, which is what counts last I checked .
  40. 1 point
    START BUTTON - Chipster1059 - C1059-CC2 - Level 1 Size: 52x26 Time: 100 Chips: 4 Designer comments: "Taken from C1059-2 with an added section featuring the CC2 buttons." Concept: (4/5) The level actually consists of 8 separate levels, ranging from extremely easy to moderately difficult. Each level provides a completely separate path to the exit, similar to MONTY HAUL. The player starts as Melinda but has the option to play as Chip also. The initial room has four 'start button' paths, each of which has a button from the original CC1 lineup (green toggle, red clone, blue tank, brown trap). Pressing the button trivially clears the way into the chosen room. You can't see in advance which room you are choosing. Additionally, a red teleport takes you into a second starting room which also contains four 'start button' paths, this time using four CC2-only buttons. (pink, black, orange, grey - the yellow tank button and light switch are left out.) Rooms: Key/Door room: a simple key/door maze with a few ways to cook the level. Blob Room containing a bunch of blobs and some gravel spaces. Chip room: A maze where you must not collect more than 3 chips. Blue/Invisible room: a simple maze. Turtle/Water room: a simple chips-on-turtles puzzle with a few dead ends. Light switch room: a simple electricity puzzle. Yellow teleport room: a surprisingly involved yellow teleport puzzle. Mimic room: four mimics in a room of green floors with a few green walls. Design: (2/5) The level arrangement felt a little sloppy. First, I didn't even notice the red teleport was an option until I opened the level in the editor. I'd like to see the 8 starting paths all leading away symmetrically from one single central room. The transmogrifier is trivial since there is no need to play as Chip. It's nice that the 8 buttons were all used, but they are used in such a trivial way that it doesn't add much to the level (The pink button doesn't even serve a function in its context.) A few of the individual levels held interesting concepts but the majority felt trivial and poorly executed. I thought there was a lack of consistency between the rooms in both difficulty and style. The electricity puzzle and chip maze puzzle both have potential to be interesting, but instead feel hodgepodge. The wire/lightning bolt maze feels pointless. The yellow teleport puzzle is good but feels very out of place compared to the rest of the level (it also takes a good 3-4 times as long to solve as any other room). There's also a continuity gap where it comes to design simplicity. Most of the level feels aimed at a brand new 7-year old player, but then the FF tack in the chip maze and the entire yellow teleport puzzle are advanced concepts, and that blob room dodging is HARD. Action Difficulty: (range from 1/5 to 3/5) The blob room and the mimic room involve some dodging while the other six rooms do not. Puzzle Difficulty: (range from 1/5 to 3/5) The key/door room and chip maze room have mild puzzle elements. The yellow teleport room is a clever and interesting multi-step puzzle. Fun: (3/5) Design flaws aside, I did enjoy playing through all the solutions. The yellow teleport puzzle was the most enjoyable. There's a lot of replay value in levels like this. It would be nice to see a little more work put into either this level or another similar concept. My (for all 8 rooms).
  41. 1 point
    Level: TEAMWORK? Levelset: gm5 ("High five") by _H_ Level #37 Time: 350 Chips: 8 Size: 10x10 Concept: (4/5) It's a tiny-sized teamwork level with Chip and Melinda working together. Unlike other similar levels like SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE, this level feels much less rigid. The major puzzle is right at the start, figuring out how to use three dirt blocks to clear the slime out of the center of the room to make the other puzzles accessible. You then need to bring Chip to the green key and Melinda to the yellow key, collect the chips, and figure out the small but clever railroad puzzle at the end. Design: (3/5) I really liked how difficult it was to start this level. The opening puzzle is solid. The sea turtle/water/flipper combination looks much more complicated than it is and definitely adds to the mystery. Once I figured out the opening I was mildly disappointed with the followup, as many of the elements didn't seem particularly intentional. I didn't understand how the flame jet fit into the level. Half of the railroad tracks at the top seemed useless. The green toggle doors and bear trap puzzles were okay but it felt looser than I might have liked. Also I didn't really understand the title. Action Difficulty: (1/5) Plenty of time and no dodging. Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) The opening puzzle is really nice and had me mystified for quite a few attempts. The middle game is a fairly simple back-and-forth to get the chips. The railroad puzzle is easy but getting the bonus took me a few more tries. Fun: (4/5) I had a lot of fun figuring this one out. The slime and block puzzle at the beginning offers quite a number of starting possibilities that all seem to lead nowhere at first. The bonus at the end was clever and made a nice added challenge. And it's always fun combining Chip and Melinda's special abilities.
  42. 1 point
    Hey everyone. This is chipster1059 here. It's been a while, hasn't it? I haven't done many CC-related things recently except release C1059-CC2 in 20-level batches. Sure, there was that Create Competition in December, but the levels had been made a while before the competition, just unreleased. I just renamed them, changed the hints and removed a small bust. So where have I been all this time? Firstly, I wish to apologize to Jacques Smith, Elizabeth Brockway and Tyler Sontag for not finishing the LPs of their sets, Jacques.dat, LizzyB1.dat and TCCLPRejects.dat. I haven't updated any of these LPs for a long time. Secondly, I wish to apologize for my handling of C1059-CC2. The download link for the soundtrack has been broken for a while. The set was supposed to contain 200 levels, but instead I just stopped at 100 levels, which caused various problems. Per example, "149 is a meaningless number" (level 99) was a tribute to Special and was supposed to be simply called "Meaningless Number" and be in the 149 slot (meaningless because CC2 has 200 levels instead of 149). "Sisters in the Maze" (level 97) was supposed to be in the 147 slot. "Clover" (level 86) was supposed to be in slot 100 and "Holly" (level 96) was supposed to be in slot 150, so that one in every 50 levels would be named after a plant. I really should have done better than that. But all these are merely the visible consequences of my absence. I haven't explained why I was gone, or what will happen now. In fact, a few weeks ago I didn't even consider writing this. I was convinced that nobody had noticed that I didn't visit CCZone as often as I used to. It was only earlier this month that I realized how inactive CCZone had become, with the only discussions being a few people leaving feedback on levelsets and the sets' creator replying. I posted about this in my status and Josh said " We miss you chipster!" This was rather unexpected, so I thought I might provide an explanation for my absence. Don't worry, I'm fine, I haven't been sick or anything. I was just very busy in real life. Busier than usual. Real life is obviously more important than other things, so I needed to get rid of certain aspects of my life which took too much time. Now a confession. Some of you may have already figured this out, but for those who didn't: CC is pretty much the only video game I play. There used to be a note in my profile (with an embarrassing typo the went unnoticed for months until Tyler pointed it out) that said how I discovered CC: I researched old computer software and found some old WEP floppy disks in my basement. That's it. I don't play any other games on a regular basis. The reason behind this is simple. In CC, the possibilities are endless. There are almost 800 official levels, around 25 000 others and several editors that allow you to make your own. It can just keep going forever. (Also my computer is an older machine and can't handle any games with 3D graphics and stuff) Anyway, CC was pretty much the only thing I could cut. The LPs were one of the first things to go, so I just uploaded everything that had already been filmed and got it over with. I also had to reduce the number of custom sets I played. Great sets had been released, The Other 100 Tiles and JCCLP2 for example. I just had to ignore them, I didn't have enough time to play them. Also, the timing sucked: this was around the time where CC2 was released. I originally planned to wait until a Linux version was available to play it (as of this posting, no Linux version has been released, although the Windows version works fine in WINE if music is disabled). That would have given me enough time to sort out real life problems. However, Tom wanted me to LP CC2. So I just dug into my basement some more and installed Windows Vista in a virtual machine and played the whole thing. It was tough. But I pulled it off, because it's a great game. Around the same time, I worked on C1059-2, and only succeeded in releasing a decent set with Cyberdog's help. If he hadn't playtested it, it would have only been released much later and several good levels would have been much worse. As October came to an end, I had managed to solve most of the real life problems. Pretty much the only two sets I had played recently were Flareon1 (Josh requested feedback, I spent an evening playing it so I could give some) and C1059-CC2 (mostly verifying for any busts introduced by CC2 mechanics, mainly item dropping). I could have started playing more CC again, but did I? No. Instead I wrote a novel. I'm editing and posting it on the Internet at a rate of one or two chapters a week now. Here's the link in case anyone's interested, but I must warn you that the basic idea is rather stupid. CLICK AT YOUR OWN RISK. Either way, writing that took nearly all my free time for November and early December. So what now? Balance has been restored in real life, although I remain slightly busier than I used to be. I guess I can safely come back to the community in a "normal" way, but things will change. I will continue the LPs I started, but I won't begin any new ones, and there probably won't be videos every week. I will also resume designing and make more CC2 levels, but it may take a while for them to get released (send me a PM if you're interested in playtesting). I don't know if any of you are still reading this, but if you are, I would like to thank you for doing so. There aren't many people in the CC community, but those who are there really make it a good community. :chipwin:
  43. 1 point
    A few months ago, I played the CCLXP2 Beta and filmed myself as I did. I am currently uploading these videos on Youtube, with a few comments on each level. However, since then, I have replayed some of the levels, and here is a more up to date opinion on the various levels. I liked most of the adaptations. Most of the time, they were done well. I did not notice the changes unless I paid specific attention to them. There are a few levels, like Frost Rings LX and Frostbite LX, which don't feel like the original, but are still fun and I can't see how they could be improved. Here are the adaptations I think were done well. There are lot of them, and there may be a lot of repetitions. Sorry. While I liked most adaptations, I think some of them are not perfect and could be improved. Here they are: Unfortunately, there are four adaptations I hate. In two cases, it's because of a force floor room that gave me a headache. In the other two, it's because it's much easier than the original: And finally, five special cases: Overall, all this work has really paid off and the CCLXP2 Beta is a really great set. I rate it :star: :star: and a half. I am really looking forward to the final version. Thanks for reading!
  44. 1 point
    Even more bolds! I Slide: Fairly simple-there's more than enough time on the long ice slides to remember/reference a set of notes, resulting in a fairly easy bold. Traffic Cop: Another very easy bold to obtain, a nice breather level among breather levels. As a kid I never though to bridge across water with a block... Grail: Another really fun level to play, despite the heavy randomness of the start. Didn't take too long to pull off. Potpourri: The wiki hyped up the ice section to be really difficult, but I got the boosting down instantly and took only 3 attempts to that point-one failed boost, and one where I derped and moved UL into a ball. Deepfreeze: Aside from one attempt where the I forgot the double ice slide en route to the skates, the bold came smoothly. Strange Maze: Another first try bold. I was beginning to wonder when the next challenging level would come up, but I had forgotten about... Loop Around: ...which proved to be nowhere near as hard as I expected. The 50s are definitely on the easy side for bolds. Took a couple tries to pull off, but it was definitely on the easy side again. Hidden Danger: 2 tries, the first boosted past the teleport. Slo Mo: Having already done level 60 and 61 being untimed, Slo Mo ramped up the difficulty again...with luck. I blew one attempt literally 2 spaces from the exit, though 3/4 of the time it would have worked, luck was not on my side, as nearly every time I was next to a blob, the blob would move onto Chip at 1/4 odds...until the winning run, where Chip ran past no less than 3 blobs. I did not expect that. Block Factory: The boosting at the start took a couple tries to get down, as usual, but oddly I never stopped messing up the chip grabs off the force floors. Humorously, one attempt failed by going on the long ice slide below the last chip. The wiki says that waiting [1/2] before pushing the final button is easier, but I could never get that timing (scoring 476.8) whereas every time I tried the [1/2] wait before the button, I got it. After throwing 3 attempts to the "easier" method, I scored 477 first try using the "harder" method. Spooks: The first of the non-public bold routes...well, I scored the old bold of 547, and then started looking for potential improvements to see if I could find the 548 route...unfortunately, every different start I tried was unable to pick up a chip, and Luc's route is incredibly tight-whatever pieguy found, I'd sure love to see it... Amsterdam: Another pair of false difficulties-this one is ranked at 3 stars, while the 547 route for Spooks is ranked 4 stars. This is a hard one. Like, a really really hard one. I scored 395 easily enough (using the 397 route), scored it again, and then scored 396 (-2 moves) on what I thought was perfect. Re-watching my 396 and the 397 in the public TWS revealed to me that I lost 1 move (maybe both?) in the section with the single tile ice slide. Further attempts and studying were able to save the first move and pinpoint where the second was, but actually scoring the bold was no easy task-including one try where I ran into a wall with 16 chips to go. *sigh*. Then I scored a -.1, failing only the single ice tile (accidentally boosting past it until of turning south), chaining together each half of the level on a separate run. It was only a matter of time...but I couldn't get it. So I stepped back for a couple days, and then scored the 397 literally first try when I went back. That always seems to be how these things work... It was at this point that I went through the existing bold difficulties and adjusted them to be for respective of their actual difficulty to obtain-I'll mention any further old rankings I seriously disagree with. Chipmine: Made a map similar to Mishmesh, played the level a few times to work out the best path to take to reveal pathways based on other opened pathways, scored 518 fairly easily. I personally wouldn't rank it 4 stars, but I can definitely see why it was ranked that high-the fact that I could reference back and forth between an edited map and the game itself definitely helped, and the maze...it's a hard feeling to describe, I want to say I already knew the maze, but I didn't. This was one of my favorite levels as a kid, so maybe I subconsciously remembered a few of the pathways? Either that or the spacefilling nature (2 dead ends, each only 2 tiles long) made the required turns simpler to 'guess'. Regardless of why, I coasted through a level I expected to be difficult, despite running into a wall once. Eeny Miny Moe: Pretty simple bold to score, took a couple tries to remember the bridge section route, but from there it was just 2 and a half minutes of movement. No big deal. Bounce City: The wiki overcomplicated the key grabbing section-I just ran through, and due to the ball towers I could even forget where I was going for a second and still easily score the bold. Nightmare: Literally first try. The force floor right before the red key I deliberately dropped the boost, noting that there was a wait up ahead and that failing the boost would result in a swift plunge into the water. With that, I was "halfway" through the game, only down 3 bolds (4, if you count untimed levels) and a score of 1,666,230. The real question of if I can keep up this pace of scoring when the levels get harder will be answered...eventually. I have a CCLP1 race in an hour! and you can watch on my stream too! twitch.tv/ihavenonamesda
  45. 1 point
    Shortly after Chip's Challenge Level Pack 3 was released three years ago, I promised to write a review of the collection of 149 custom levels. As the next such set is upon us, I thought it is finally time to make good on that promise. I'll try to recall my initial feelings for the set, as well as how it felt going back to the levels and optimizing them. I have a few comments on what I think are great aspects of the set, and a couple about its shortcomings. I have to admit that I am a bit biased to write this review, because I just simply love the set. I further claim that there is nobody in the world that has played it as much as I have, since I have actively been working on improving my scores in both MS and Lynx modes for quite some time. If you can forgive me for these two faults, read on! It was Christmas. We were visiting my in-laws and the only computer I could use was in a room with two teenagers sleeping. It was just before 2 am. As quietly as I could, I snuck in the room and I turned on the computer. The room filled with a sharp whirl of the fan that luckily soon died down to an acceptable level. I downloaded the set and the accompanying fresh version of Tile World. For the rest of the night I immersed myself in exploring the challenges Chip faced and the story presented in new screens between levels. I was excited after each level to see what the next one was. Every level I had not played earlier was particularly enjoyable.1 I was not concerned with optimal times, but rather just wanted to first see how the set felt. The newsgroup was vibrant with score updates from others. Those updates did not come in level order and many of the records were from the CCLP3 staff. Clearly not all people were playing the set through in order and without an editor, as I had chosen to do. As everyone else started waking up around me, I had to suspend my progress. I had had a great first night and had no doubt that the set would be a great success. As the holidays progressed, I only had limited amounts of time to work on the levels and it seemed every day I could only advance a few more levels. This was also due to how involved the levels were becoming, and I was not even to the half-way mark yet.2 The set was getting crazily difficult, but as I was familiar with most of the difficult levels I managed to complete the set in a month. I was exhausted but wanted to revisit many levels to see on which ones I could match the records. This turned out to be a learning experience and a lot of work that is not yet complete. I was lucky enough to etch out a few scores under my name, but the speed and consistency that the veterans were doing the same was on a completely different level. At some point I turned to playing in Lynx and slowly started reporting those scores too. There are still many Lynx scores there for others to improve upon, though I hope I haven't made that too easy. So that's my first contact with the set. I was there at the release and all of that was a new experience for me. I don't imagine anything can quite match the novelty of that first time again. I don't want to get into analyzing individual levels here, so I will stick to five general points about the set. 1) The levels included in the set are all very well designed. There were over 2,200 levels in the initial voting pool and clearly some of the best individual levels made it into the set. As Chip's Challenge is a puzzle game at its core, many of the highest voted levels turned out to be puzzles. It's apparent in the final product that the staff was very restricted by the voting results of a community that could only see one level at a time, and not the full experience of what the set would feel like. This resulted in a set that feels very heavy, particularly if one does not know what to expect. Later levels in the set that deviate from a heavy puzzle emphasis are very welcome. The flow of the set has it's positives too though, like the throwbacks to CC1 levels in certain slots. Among these, the results of the Level 1 and Cypher Level Contests were nice to see. 2) The updates made to levels, in particular the name changes and time limit re-evaluations, were inspired. I loved the new names of levels. Connecting the Jumble and Replay levels as series was neat. All the time limits worked well, being tight enough on levels where it made sense. It was a good move to allow some levels to be untimed, which was not a given as CCLP2 did not choose to do this. Several levels were updated to avoid busts, but in some cases this resulted in a very different level than the one that was voted on. I was surprised that no updates were made to levels after the release, even though some designers requested this and new major busts were discovered. I understand this in a way, but would have preferred that such a thing would have been made clear during the release. For example, saying that an update may be made during the first three months, but after that time no updates will be considered would have worked very well. Overall I felt the set was put together expertly and connected to a story very well. 3) The Tile World update was also a very welcome thing. The user interface was an improvement, though I missed some keyboard shortcuts. The ccx-files allowing a story to be told and crediting the designers was an essential upgrade. Some things were missing, like clear indication of odd/even step, or even random force floor direction at the start of a level in Lynx. The death messages were cool. I missed a simple way to change the graphics and a good way to compare one's scores to the bold. At least some love was shown for competitive play with the "copy score" function. The best new thing in my opinion was the ability to fast-forward replays of solutions, though a full map view during playback is still just a dream. The biggest let downs were the lack of a simple all-in one download which I thought was promised, as well as the lack of even the smallest update later on to fix small yet annoying bugs.3 4) I truly admire the work done on the scoreboard at the release of the set. Everything worked just like it should. There was a reasonable restriction on how many scores one could report at first, and the restriction of releasing solutions only after three people had completed the set was a step in the right direction. Maybe it should not have limited casual solutions, though, but only competitive ones. After the initial ban on solutions, I still felt there was not clear enough stance on which routes should be allowed to be released and which would be better left for players to discover for themselves.4 It is my understanding that the staff did not optimize the levels before the release, which sounded fair but probably let a few unfortunate details on some levels slip through the cracks. Too many levels that contain randomness require almost perfect luck. Some other levels are simply ridiculous to optimize due to other factors and might have been better off if they were untimed if they had to be included at all. 5) If I take a step back from the set itself, I can see that the process of creating it was not simple. The people that announced the opening of submissions were not the same as those that released it in the end. I am glad J.B. stepped up to the plate and organized a team around him to get the job done. There had to be a tremendous amount of work to be done behind the scenes between the closing of the voting and the release of the set. It is too bad that after this point some of the follow-up work was a bit sloppy. I've already mentioned the lack of an update to the set or Tile World, or clear guidelines on competitive play, but also there was no information released about the voting results. These results and other information about the formation of the set would have been interesting to hear and possibly could be useful to know for future projects. Additionally, there was no decent support for new players trying to solve the levels for the first time, like perhaps with proper hints and help on the Chip's Challenge Wiki or a page explaining what to expect within the set. As far as I know, there was very little promotion of the set anywhere. Maybe everyone was too busy enjoying the set itself to think about these things. At least I was. In the end, I am a sucker for difficult puzzles (in the right context), so I felt this set was made for me. I still love it, but I kind of fear it as well.5 I felt the staff did an outstanding job compiling the set and I appreciate all their efforts. I want to thank the CCLP3 staff and anyone else who was part of realizing this whole experience for me. There are some aspects of the set that understandably people do not like as much as I do, unfortunately to the extent that some seem to hate it entirely. I like to think that in the right context and time, anyone could learn to love this set as one of the greatest works humanity has ever produced. I would not trade it for anything. -Miika Toukola 1 I had taken part in the voting process of CCLP3 but I did not get to play even half the levels in the voting pool. Almost a third of the levels in the set were new to me when I played it for the first time. 2 I have since learned that the half-way mark is at level #75 if you count by level number, at #95 if you count by how long it takes to watch the quickest solutions, at about level #100 if you are solving through the set after knowing the solutions, and at about level #140 if you are solving the levels for the first time without help. 3 Literally as I write this, an update like this has been released! 4 For example, maybe the second person who scores a route shouldn't be allowed to release the solution. This would allow the first scorer some say in the matter and yet once enough people, like three, have scored the route successfully, then it could be released if they want. 5 I have fewer than half the bolds in MS and still need to work on all the others. It is such a tremendous task to optimize the whole set that its proportions are hard to comprehend.
  46. 1 point
    Alright, so, I know it's been nearly eleven months since I posted the first and *only* entry in my blog. That was probably for the blog award, right? Yeah, sort of. I never really had anything to write about other than CC1 experiences when I was younger, and that's the first thing that came to my mind when I wrote that first entry last March. So, I said I would continue this blog, so... I'm gonna continue it all these months later! So, what's there to write about? One of my favorite things that I remember from playing the original Chip's Challenge in MSCC on a Windows 98 OS was probably.. well, the levels I admired the most. I never had a level editor at that time, as I didn't even know they existed and thought that the 149 levels at my disposal (in which I accidentally discovered the ctrl+k shortcut, and that's how I had access to all the levels..) were the only ones ever made for that game.. I was wrong! At this time, CCLP2 had been out for a good four and something years, and I never found out about it until around the time of CCLP3's release. Wow, I sure did miss a lot when I lost access to CC for a good 3 to 4 years, between 2007 and 2010-2011. My favorite two levels in CC1 at that time were probably ALL FULL and ICEHOUSE. ICEHOUSE is definitely on that list, as I dedicated some of my time to drawing maps of the ice corner ring structure that the majority of that level is made of. I liked racing and racing-type video games when I played CC back then, and ICEHOUSE was a great way to implement the fun of racing with the monsters sliding around in the circular pattern on Icehouse. I had a lot of fun on that level. ALL FULL was namely for design, as that's why I enjoyed it the most. I loved the upper section that was full of chips - when looted, I felt like I had accomplished something by gathering all of those collectible chips. The force floor ring and fire section in the southeast was also a signature location in that level for me, as it attracted my attention as I experimented with it from time to time. All in all, it was just a fun, nice-looking enjoyable and comfortable level that I could play almost endlessly (before going back to Icehouse) without ever knowing that the C/B glitch had any effect.. I didn't know what it was, of course. Honorable mentions must go to UP THE BLOCK, as it puzzled me as to how to get the gliders exactly down in the bombs - of course I knew how, but at first I couldn't grasp the concept. Once I got to the lower sections, the open areas felt like a nice touch as I could practically free-roam through the two or three rooms that those areas provide. The level itself when I play it or think about it instantly makes me feel some nostalgia, although not as much as I used to experience. I definitely felt the same way about FOUR PLEX, as it was probably my third or fourth favorite level in the set. I loved the aesthetics of the water and fire in some areas, and it presented a nice challenge (the glider room, specifically). Overall, I love the design of the level and hopefully I can revisit it one day whether it be in the CC1 level or a recreation that I might make of it that the original level itself inspired me to make. Overall, both of these levels deserve the mention and are for sure in my top 5 CC1 levels, if I have a list.. of top 5 CC1 levels. Other than that, there are definitely a few more experiences from the past that I could dream up and remember, but for now, that's all I mainly wanted to get out of my head and express. Hopefully it doesn't take me another ten to eleven months to post another blog entry, but I don't know. Hopefully my CC interest rises as it's been in a state of decline lately as I've had a large lack of level ideas for my second ZK3 levelset. Anyways, that's all for now. Stay tuned for (hopefully) another entry in three or so years!
  47. 1 point
    So last time we discussed some principles we want to follow in creating an edition of CCLP2 for Lynx. Now I'll fill you all in on some basic issues that need to be considered before the bulk of the practical work can be done. Our primary goal is to make the set accessible and fun for players who want to play the set in Lynx. This main goal needs to be approached through the principles outlined last time, bringing forth issues that open up into several directions that we could take and the philosophy of how to proceed. These were discussed in a team and for each we chose a path to follow, leading to the following goals and guidelines for the rest of this project: 1) Do we need the permission of the designers to do anything? Yes, we want to contact all the original designers we possibly can. If some of them do not want their levels included in this release, then they will not be. We want to cater to their wishes also in informing them of the types of changes we propose to their levels and allow them to be involved in the process if they so wish. 2) What are we willing to do with the levels? Why exactly do we want to change levels? We want to leave a level untouched when possible. Our goal is not to go back and make the existing levels better or more to our liking just because we could. Many of the levels already work in Lynx, and there is no need to change them from a solvability point of view. Admittedly, some levels are what would now be called "unequal" in both difficulty and possible logical approaches, but this is more of a concern for new sets than for CCLP2. Here, these are more of a richness and signature, than an issue we need to set right. This also means we are not setting out to fix busts in levels, but rather leave these in as they are. (There are less Lynx busts in the set than MS busts.) 3) What types of changes are we willing and looking to make? We wish to alter levels so that they work in Lynx in a way that does not affect the MS player. This is not possible for all the levels, but luckily it can be done for some levels. Measuring how well this goal is achieved is not simple, but one way is to compare how the level plays in MS in both the original and the altered version. When possible, it is preferable that at least the fastest known route could be kept intact in such a way that the altered level is not possible to be solved any quicker than the original. We also want to be careful not to introduce new types of busts only for Lynx to any levels, so while the solution may look different in Lynx than MS, the concept for the solutions should stay similar. 4) Will all the levels be made to work in Lynx? Some levels just do not stretch enough to both convert for Lynx while leaving the MS experience intact in a satisfactory way. The reasonable possibilities here are to simply identify these levels as not solvable in Lynx, or alter them to be solvable in Lynx in a way that keeps the basic structure of the level intact even if it alters the MS experience, or to create completely new levels to fill these holes, perhaps in a way that thematically references the originals. Of these three options, in our opinion the middle one seems more in tune with both creating a full Lynx play experience and honoring the original MS set, so we have leaned towards that direction. 5) Will changes be made to any of the levels that already can be solved in Lynx? We want to examine the solvable levels for "high unequalness" between rulesets and address these issues on a case by case basis. Though this might seem to go against leaving a level untouched when possible, it is also unwise to not take a look at these levels and see if changes are needed. After all, for the normal player there is very little that sets apart an unsolvable level from one that can be solved only by using some elaborate scheme or unreasonable skill in the face of some unfortunate ruleset behavioral difference in a level. 6) How will the altered levels work in MS? Is there a threat of having "new records" set in MS due to the changes? As stated above, the main objective criteria we can use to measure the success of a proposed change is to compare the MS routes between the original and altered version of the level. Most of the levels can receive edits that do not influence the highest possible score obtainable in MS. Some changes that cause the best possible time in MS to not be as good as in the original may also be accepted. For levels that have larger changes made to them, such that the best route in MS might require fresh analysis, we opt to make these levels unsolvable in MS. This will highlight the degree of changes made to the level, and eliminates the concerns for someone to feel the need or even accidentally optimize these in MS, possibly creating non-standard records for these levels. 7) What other issues are there? How much work is still left? There are other issues that need to be addressed and some that might still not have surfaced. Where will we host the final product? What is the name of this release? How will the changed levels be identified from the ones that stay unaltered? Will there be a high score table? Can we add a ccx-file that expands the story? When will this be released? How awesome will it be? We know the answer to some of these, and are working on the others. As stated in the previous post, the goal now is to open up the discussion to include anyone else who might be interested in having a say in these things. Hopefully everything will gel and once we are ready to release it, it will be great. Up next is an update on the status of the practical work that has been done, what needs to be done, and how we all can help bring this thing together. We can't wait to share some of the levels with everyone! Before we sign off, however, we want to stress again that we are not looking to replace the original set in any way. We are not working to supplant CCLP2; at the most this project could be a supplement to it. If done the right way, it can hopefully even draw attention to the MS playing of the set, and everyone wins. Thanks again, and may you not be cornered by Teeth! On behalf of the CCLP2 Lynx Team, -Miika Toukola
  48. 1 point
    One of the most memorable experiences I had while playing the original Chip's Challenge as a kid was journeying through the epic campaign level that was Four Plex. There really wasn't a level that preceded it that was in any way so diverse while being so lengthy and linear. The first room was a challenge to navigate out of. You remember it, right? There were the twisty ice paths, all the items to collect, and blue walls to uncover. And to add to the challenge, there were even a few pop-up walls! But thankfully, failure here didn't hurt too much. You could just start over with only a few seconds of your time lost. Once you exited this room, you proceeded onward to a much more challenging one. There were plenty of obstacles here: you had to retrieve four blocks and push them to a line of bombs, but along the way, you had to trigger a ball cloner on each trip to each block, and as a result, your window of time to get past the barrage of balls shrunk with every subsequent retrieval! Oh, and who could forget choosing the wrong direction after getting off each force slide or getting a block to your face if you didn't react quickly enough? And to top this room off, you also had to deal with a bug circling around while you maneuvered your blocks to the bomb line. But once you completed this section, you slid into another room and may have noticed a change in tone. No monsters coming at you or darting out from corners to attack! But what's this?! Buttons everywhere! After spending a few seconds stunned at the sight of so many buttons all in one place at one time, you noticed that there's a clone machine in the corner and some bombs you need to explode. Now the objective is a bit more clear...but so was your realization that if you made one wrong calculation with those toggle walls, you could send a glider loose, maybe even into that clone button, which would cause all sorts of chaos and pandemonium! So you carefully planned your moves and eventually figured out a way to move around while keeping the toggle doors in the state you need them to be in. Eventually, all the bombs were exploded and chips collected. Finally, you reached the fourth and last quadrant. There's no way you could mess up now; you came too far for that! That's why you were only sitting still, nervously staring at what lay ahead...pop-up walls. You really needed to be careful now - after all, one wrong move could have sent you all the way back to that first ice room, where you'd have to start all over again and go through all three of the previous sections! So, you gingerly stepped through and made sure no chip was left behind. But along the way, you probably noticed that there was a path into another area - even more, a pop-up wall-free area at that! Should you go for it, or continue exploring? You could leave a path for a return trip back, so you continued tiptoeing across the pop-up walls and collecting whatever chips you could scour. After you conquer that bit, you took on the end-of-level itemswapper! Looked like a piece of cake at first, but you may have figured those monsters circling around in the tight 3x3 spaces could have been an issue. But you couldn't let that bother you: you had to muster all the resolve you had and go for it. After a narrow escape or two, it was finally time. This was the moment you had been waiting for: the exit was in your sights! You brushed past the chip socket, slid up on the ice, and hit the left arrow key...sending you into a bomb! A bomb one square away from the exit, too! Your life was in shambles! Okay, maybe that story was a little overdramatic. But that was my experience playing Four Plex - besides the bomb failure at the end, thank goodness. Perhaps it's not everyone's experience, but I'm willing to venture a guess that most beginners who take on this level might have made some of the mistakes described above or felt some of those emotions while taking on certain rooms. When I solved this level, I was so satisfied and thrilled. It quickly became one of my favorite CC levels. It still is. And for a while after I finished CC, I was wondering - why weren't there more levels like this in the game? I mean, sure, we had some really long levels, but come on - they all involved repetitive block pushing! Bo-ring, right? What other linear campaign levels were there with this kind of variety? Nuts and Bolts? Tossed Salad? These were all relatively short and not too difficult to complete. So what's with the lack of more epic Four Plex-esque challenges? In recent years, sets like CCLP3 and the custom sets in which some of its levels appear have provided an answer. One of CC's inherent flaws is the lack of a checkpoint system - something that could alleviate the worry of going back to the start if a mistake were made. While I certainly can't speak for the original CC team, I'm going to bet that the original Lynx system may not have supported save states, and the levels had to be designed with this limitation in mind. Unfortunately, not every custom level designer has thought this way or realized this. The use of an editor, complete with the ability to see a level's entire map, changed level design tactics for quite some time. Because it was possible to play the game with a map in front of you, level designers could worry less about hiding items, presenting challenges that focused on guesswork, or using invalid tile combinations that would otherwise obfuscate important information from the player. It was much harder for designers - myself at the time included - to put themselves in players' shoes and think like they would upon seeing a level for the first time. The expectation seemed to be that most people who played these sets would do so for optimization and would want to have a map in front of them so they could analyze the level much more quickly. And this would all work well...as long as we weren't dealing with players who wanted to simply play the game casually without the use of any help. And eventually, this became the case. While playing CCLP3 and testing CCLP1 submissions, I think I've found the answer to my long-pondered question about Four Plex. It's a great level by itself, but a set with too many levels like this would simply be exhausting. Some people might say that the latter portion of CCLP3 was exactly this, and I would be inclined to agree. On top of the challenge that comes with overcoming the lack of an undo feature or checkpoint system while designing is keeping in mind that players' brains have to shift gears each time a new type of challenge presents itself. You may have noticed in the dramatic description of it earlier that I listed many different ways you could die. Think about it: a level like Writers' Block may be long, but the entire level is spent doing the exact same thing: pushing blocks in water. Sure, there's a chance for failure every time you get close to that water, but you recognize the danger early on and know what to expect whenever you go for a different chip - because it's the exact same process. On the other hand, Cityblock features an end challenge that's unlike anything that had been seen earlier in the level and presents plenty of opportunities for failure - except in this case, most of them are unknowns. The room is new, and it's hard to know what to expect around that next corner. I hope this post doesn't come across as a scathing reproof of long levels, because long levels aren't inherently bad. Nor is this meant to say that all of our levels should be simplistic and short. It's how we design long levels that ultimately makes or breaks them. So the next time you sit down at the editor and plan out your shiny new campaign level, think about each challenge the way a beginner would approach it. Perhaps your level isn't meant for beginners, and that's okay. But many of the most fun levels out there are the levels that anyone can solve, even if they're not easy. It's how we present the challenges, how we arrange the rooms, how much leeway we give, how many opportunities for failure there are, and how well we place ourselves in a player's shoes that define just how great a level can be.
  49. 1 point
    This is my first ever blog and to be honest I have no idea how the thing works but let's start talking. I've been known as the "level making factory" of the community, at least by some of you. I have made over 500 levels, in which I am a proud of majority of them. You all might think I have really good levels that have a lot of potential, but would you believe me if I told you I was a terrible level designer at first? Well I think everyone can admit to that about themselves... My first ever level set was titled "JoshL.dat" and was created in 2009, before CCLP3 was being voted on. Consisting of 202 levels, which is honestly an awkward total of levels in a set but then again most the levels themselves were awkward too. This set is my only set that consists of invalid tiles. Back then, I had no idea what the Lynx ruleset even was, or even existed for that matter. Because of this, none of my levels got into CCLP3, but a few of them actually made it pretty close in the final voting! After that is when I took a hiatus of level designing for a good 2 years. I returned to the world of CC in the beginning 2011, after discovering CCLP3 was released. I downloaded it and began to play the set and I was amazed with the levels and their designs. Though at the time I never played CCLP2, I did watch most the AVI solutions to the levels. I was surprised how there weren't any invalid tiles in any of the levels. To me, it looked like the return of the Lynx ruleset was a major thing in designing levels, so I began my research on it; reading every detail on the differences from the MS ruleset I was so used to. After several weeks of learning everything on Lynx and thinking of so many level ideas at once after playing CCLP3, that is when I decided to make my own Lynx compatible level set - JoshL2 began in production that spring. After several months of editing and finalizing, as well as with the help of Andrew Bennett for testplaying every level, JoshL2 was finally complete in the spring of 2012. 149 new levels was the count for this set, and every single one of them was compatible in Lynx. I was so proud with the result. But the fun of level making wasn't over for me...shortly after JoshL2 was finished is when I started on another new set of levels but mainly focused on the more difficult side, known as JoshL3. Idea after idea, concept after concept....I decided to finish JoshL3 at 80 levels total, being that it was focused on the difficulty. After this is where I stopped my level designing career, or at least put it on hold for a while. Looking through all my sets I created, I noticed my old JoshL.dat set was still full of invalid tiles and such concepts that don't work in Lynx. That is when I overhauled the set and changed it around to be compatible in Lynx. Over 80 levels were removed entirely, thus JoshL1 was constructed at 120 levels. After this, I thought of probably the best idea for a new level set - a "best-of" level pack. Since I had 3 sets of levels, I took advantage of this and announced the construction of infamous - JCCLP. I didn't want the whole pack to consist of levels from all 3 of the sets alone, I had to come up with brand new ones yet again to make it have a decent variety. I agreed on having a total of 65 brand new levels, and the remaining 84 would be from JoshL trilogy. This level pack took approximately a year to construct and finalize as it was at first for the upcoming CCLP1, but it was mainly focused as a "best-of" level set, only the best of the best levels of my creation were allowed to be in here. This is by far my best creation to this day and I am so proud of it. Although I was short on level ideas after this, I wasn't completely drained out. Yet another level set was about to be created, which would be the next in the JoshL series, JoshL4. I officially ran out of ideas at 65 levels of this set, however, thanks to the idea J.B. Lewis gave me, I merged the 65 levels into JoshL3 to make it another 149 level set. JoshL4 unfortunately, ceased to exist from there on out. There are rumors that I am making another set... but is it true? My factory is temporarily shut down on ideas, but maybe it will produce more ideas in the near future... should a JCCLP2 set be constructed remains to be seen. Only time will tell.....
  50. 1 point
    I have to admit, the old awards system was getting a little dated. One of the things I disliked were the square borders around the images. They looked kind of ugly so in the last two days I changed every award with a smooth corner edge and boy did it make a difference! Shortly afterwards, I had to list every single member's award in notepad to get working on converting them to the new system. This took about 6-8 hours to do. After uninstalling the old system and installing the new one, I wrote down all the awards again one by one and then implemented the new achievements system in. I figured the ones most people would be able to get should be the ones that appear, as anyone including the guests could view them and all they'd have to do is highlight the locked image to see how to get it. The hard awards are still there, but appear in the standard awards column, meaning they don't show up until you get them. Overall, the new award system was worth it, but at the price of having to upgrade the entire board, most of the whole process went pretty smooth I think. Also, the auto awards don't appear to be working yet as the blog award isn't being triggered for some reason, but a future update will probably fix that.
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