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Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/26/2018 in Blog Entries

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 1 point
    This is it, the final showdown with my thoughts. Wait, this is a thinly veiled FFX reference isn't it. HA HA HA HA HA okay this joke is overdone. 46. Synthetic Coral One thing I find quite interesting to play is a field of blocks and water or bombs, and all you have to do is move around, building islands as you go. In particular, Plastic in the Ocean from UC5 directly inspired this- what if instead of having to bridge to the corners, you just had to pick up chips? Ultimately, it's quite easy- no Pentomino Lake without picking up the flippers, that's for sure. Unfortunately, splash delay does seriously hurt the level in Lynx... and I still need to finish CCLP4 in Lynx, right. 47. Blast from the Past Finally, the first level I designed for this set! The only goal I had was to throw back about a decade, with pointless rooms, diagonal walls, and pointless boosting! Unfortunately, the level still ends up being fairly modern in its design, but hey- it's a fun variety level with 12 completely separate rooms with absolutely no interaction between them, nope. Don't even try sending the fireballs and gliders into the bomb room, I definitely didn't plan that to be a useful strategy and it most certainly wasn't forced on an older version of the level. 48. Happy as a Clam I think few levels show my usual design style more than this level. I built the central room first (symmetry, level branching off of one core interesting room) and then the fireball room to the right. The gliders followed (single block+monsters in varied forms, simple collision telegraphed) and the rest of the level followed in the order it gets played. I'm especially happy with the fireball stream trick to get the blue key, and the final tank shuffling puzzle. Unfortunately SOMEONE (Tyler) busted this level and didn't get the full experience... but Shane did because I fixed the level. 49. Confusion Cave My designer note for this level simply reads "Creative One Ways, Part 3?". I'm not sure how accurate that is, but when I tried resolving it well after I'd designed it I was quite confused, so I guess it does what I wanted it to. The highlight here is the fireball room and how it's completely impassible without a block. 50. Opal Shrine For this level, I used the walls of Wall Jumping Up Waterfalls to craft a non-linearly ordered variety level. The very first thing I tried to build in was a very lengthy final block path that would reuse most of the level, but this kept having to be scaled back and nerfed as there were ways around most of it. The initial release didn't require the block path it currently does as I had liked the shortcut, but after Tyler didn't even entertain the possibility of the intended path I took another look at the level and managed to require the oversized loop. In the final form, it's a fun level- I only wish the fireball manipulation was a little more clearly telegraphed in advance, as it's possible to fail right at the end. 51. Despotism Walls from Communism. There are some weird hallway block loops to manipulate a single fireball through most of the level. It's not too interesting to play, but I'm still proud of the fact that I fit a completely different level inside Communism. 52. Outlast Say hello to probably the only original concept in the entire set, because truly original concepts are hard to come by. Original executions, sure those are easy. But concepts? Have you ever seen a room where you had to keep a teeth from leaving a certain range, while also having to leave that range? The left room came first while experimenting with the concept of extending where you could step, and is rigid as a result. The right room followed as a "alright, now you understand it, now apply what you've learned" kind of room. It is possible to extract all 10 blocks, albeit not easily and it's not required in any case. 53. Immersion Circulator Walls from Miika's Hexominoes. While I was skimming through custom sets for interesting arrangements of walls, that level jumped out at me. Sure, it was originally used for a collectathon, but there was some serious potential for reinvention there. Once I stripped the level bare... I had nothing. So I built the outside aesthetic, laid down a few objects to partition the level (most notably the tank guarding two red keys) and just built upwards from there. This is probably the longest level in the set despite only having a 496 time limit. Why 496? Because it's the third perfect number, after 6 and... 28. Naturally, I ensured that's how many chips there were. That sounds like something Miika would do. 54. Navigating Neptune Obligatory blue wall maze with some shortcuts and I made the fireball puzzle first and kept that theming for rooms to open shortcuts. Okay bye. 55. Lebanon So, funny story about skimming through custom sets for interesting walls- Cyprus was a given. I immediately hit on the idea of limiting cloning to make a sardine can and then blockslide multiple blocks off of the same slide... but then actually executing the area took hours and was still broken for quite a while. Eventually though, I had a first puzzle and the tanks always changing (everything up to the fireball+tank room) and had no ideas for the remainder of the level, and it'd been sitting there for a while. Well, I had clone machines in place as partitions, but still. A month or so later Josh and I collabed and I sent him the half finished level. I got back the dodging sections and outer block part a day or so later- not what I would have gone with, but hey- it worked and was pretty fun! Though I noticed a few ways to squeeze out extra blocks from the end and made it required (touching the border is also required!) and telegraphed the gimmick of all blocks having gravel under them early, as it could be seen as unfair without that first block. Then I added my own block manipulation section to reach a hidden hint and called it a level. Time limit is 961 because apparently that's the area code of Lebanon. 56. Monotone I hope you don't dislike invisible walls. 57. Mystery Caves Mission statement: difficult linear campaign level. The first section was meant to have a bit of tangential story to it of a prison, and also set the tone with an "In a Nutshell" style area. In hindsight, it's a little mean to start there and force redoing it every time the teeth+ball room goes awry. I went back and forth on whether that dodging and manipulation was fair, but ultimately decided that it was since you can see what needs doing in advance. That said, the tank button to start the manipulation was the last thing I added to make it a little easier. Then you have a fantastic blockslide puzzle before a really cool ball room and a few assorted puzzles before a fake-out exit. I wonder if anyone will ever die to that walker. Probably not, but the room is lol. 58. Flight of the Prince Entered in the Movie Madness Create, which it won. Inspired entirely by chasing Snape down in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and the gameplay suits this. You see a green flash and something go off the tower, immobile, and then get to move when it dies, just like the story. Then you have around 20 seconds that demand perfection in Lynx and near perfection in MS, with some pinpoint dodging checkpoints and minor itemswapping. I love how carefully tuned this level is to work in both rulesets, something I couldn't manage with Extreme Hold Right Adventure. I do wonder if the design is too mean, though, as you do need to get a decent amount of boosts to even solve the level in MS. Regrettably, I couldn't keep a section in which the glider would merge into a 3 tile gap of pink balls and clone another, blocking the path for Chip. Why? Slide delay- waiting at the upper force floors would allow the glider to delay, bounce off a ball instead of merging in resulting in its death, and Chip could just walk into the fake exit. I tinkered with a few potential fixes, but ultimately settled on just making the slide delay not matter. 59. The Party We Have Never Seen Soundtrack for this commentary. Fire and water have such a lovely aesthetic that I underuse. Open-ended cloning puzzles are such an interesting design that, again, are underused. Sooooo I made one with a semi-open order. Gotta get to the bug on the right first to open the block cloner, then do the three chip challenges before the two socket challenges that subvert the normal flow. Shane picked up on the main trick pretty quickly, likely because I telegraphed it in advance. He also spotted a solution I didn't catch to the upper area, which I'm not unhappy with. Originally I wanted to force bridging around the bomb, but he found a clever way to use the existing blocks to guide a fireball over- nicely done! I'm not sorry for the random force floors on the exit path- good luck J.B., and at least it's untimed 60. A Chip Down Memory Lane And finally, the walls from Archie's RUN OUT OF GAS in a spiritual sibling to Mental Marvel Monastery. Fully intended alternate solution follows, with the description copied below: Everything seen here is intended- I designed the level to have two solutions, and this one to feel busted. But nope- every little detail that juuuust works out is completely intended! That being said, I did not tune any of the monster order or timings for this route. I'm pleasantly surprised by how little waiting around there is here. The overall design goal was to make a level like Josh's Mental Marvel Monastery- a throwback medley, of sorts. Strengthening the connection, I used the walls from Archie's "RUN OUT OF GAS" as my starting point, as Josh used Andrew R.'s "Producing". I also took care to make each part try to feel like something out of CC1- I'm not sure I succeeded, but that's why there are the (few) random pointless bits and certain other design choices. Levels referenced in some way: Nuts and Bolts, Elementary, Tossed Salad, Oorto Geld, Scavenger Hunt, On the Rocks, Lemmings, Seeing Stars, Chipmine, Bounce City (skipped), Reverse Alley, Block Buster, Now You See It, Short Circuit, Torturechamber, Miss Direction, and Alphabet Soup.
  4. 1 point
    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.
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