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Blog Comments posted by jblewis

  1. "I am by no means a master of knowing how the wind turns, so I don't pretend to know how the community feels in five years, or what the next community project should really be."


    Thanks, Miika. This pretty much sums up my feelings on all of this. I think it all comes down to understanding the audience. I remember a time about ten years ago when the community was generally more concerned about locating and exploiting as many bugs in MSCC as humanly possible after the release of the MS-only, invalid-tile-laden CCLP2, with levels aplenty demonstrating these obscure behaviors until the search was exhausted. I don't think anyone really expected the surge of interest in Lynx play that followed CCLP3's release, but that sort of shift in focus seems to happen when a new official set is released, and the makeup of the community is changed over the years. Will CCLP1's release inspire easier, more manageable levels, at least when compared to CCLP3's? I don't know. In some ways, I hope so. New custom sets like JoshL5, The Other 100 Tiles, and the like seem to be already heading in this direction for the most part.


    But this is why I'm not eager to dive head-first into a project like CCLP4. At least not yet. We don't know what kind of levels will be released and submitted for it, especially after CCLP1's release, nor do we know what people will be around to contribute to it. Anything can change, particularly with respect to community preferences after a new official set is released. People will come. People will go. Perhaps we'll reach a point where we can determine what characteristics permeate the general trends in level design and decide the kind of set that best represents what these levels offer, but I don't think that time is now.


    Personally, I believe that the CCLP series's target audience, at least generally speaking, will always include the folks who don't have time to play the game day in and day out and would rather taste the best the community has to offer instead of every custom level set in existence. We test and vote on these levels so they don't have to. It's for this reason that after CCLP3's release, I've come to the conclusion that CCLPs should not include obscenely difficult levels, even if they may feel like a walk in the park to us veterans who spend a lot of time playing custom levels. My honest opinion: CCLP4 and beyond should remain at around CCLP2's difficulty level.


    A few thoughts on some of the other ideas here:


    Veteran Pack: Love the concept. Don't know what to call it, but a smaller set outside the CCLP series that highlights the most deserving extra-difficult levels would be fun for a certain audience. CCVP, maybe? 


    CCLP3 for dummies: I remember in your thoughts about "Old Frog," you mentioned that each of the rooms could easily be its own level. This set could do something similar: break entire maps down into simpler versions, much like the Mission: Possible and Mission: Impossible levels in DanielB2, and provide easier "excerpts" from long campaign levels.


    CCZone-1: Another stellar idea. Like you said, it should probably wait a few more years, but it could definitely work. I think we would need to have a few more competitions encouraging easier (not necessarily smaller) levels and levels that utilize only a handful of game elements, though. Perhaps we should also make sure that competitions based on a template are represented only by the winning level.


    CCLP0: This one really intrigues me - for two reasons. During CCLP1 voting, I noticed that a lot of extremely simple levels that seemed like they would've been ideal for very, very early positions in the set were quite heavily voted down. Because of this and the much greater amount and variety of more difficult levels that were voted highly, this very simple difficulty tier wasn't quite as well-represented in the set. Perhaps a lot of voters found the levels pointless or "filler," which is understandable. But to a newcomer who has never seen the game, I don't think this would be the case if the level was well-designed and allowed them to play around with concepts taught in the tutorials. The good news is that at least for the most part, the difficulty curve of CCLP1 is fairly comparable to that of CC1.


    However, I keep coming back to the war stories told by CC1 players during the early days of Richard Field's CC site and Alice Voith's Chips Plus site. I mean, Richard's solution guide thanked other people for providing him with solutions to levels like Block N Roll and I.C. You! It was a monster challenge for the uninitiated. Thankfully, CCLP1 has resolved a lot of the annoyances, like extremely long block-pushing levels, but a set that's even gentler serving as an introduction to the game might not be such a bad idea. I know I've decried Chuck's Challenge for being far too easy with its tiny, contained levels, but that's mainly because it was positioned on Kickstarter and elsewhere as a "spiritual successor" to Chip's Challenge, in which case it has fallen quite short in a few areas. But the easiness of the game has reportedly been difficult for its newcomers. From that perspective, I can understand why its learning curve has been as gentle as it's been (and hope that more difficult challenges are on the way). A similar set for CC that caps off the difficulty at 3.5 out of a scale of 5 wouldn't be so bad, though I'd hope for greater variety with respect to size and playing length.

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  2. Some others I enjoyed that haven't been mentioned yet (some of which haven't been released in a pack so far): Cross Over, Secret Passages, A (Mostly) Simple Maze, ChipWeave, Amphibia, Where's That Darn..., Jeepers Creepers, Key Farming, Disappearing Mazes, Brickwalled, Brickwalled Again, Double-Double, Juxtaposition, Toggle Task, A-Maze-Ing Properties, Pipe Maze, Through the Looking-Glass, Crosshatch, Slime Cave, Repair the Maze.

  3. The only two "similar" levels that I'd be interested in seeing in CCLP1 together, though not consecutively, are "Brickwalled" and "Brickwalled Again," both of which just happen to be in the Baguette Pack by complete random chance. (No joke!) Both are wonderfully designed blue wall mazes that remove much of the frustration of having to push on every tile in the map by defining much of where the player can go with its bricklayered blue wall layout and slightly open floor tile space. The former is just a simple key-swapper with a few keys, but the latter amps up the difficulty a bit by removing the keys, putting in a bunch of chips scattered around the map, and most notably, adding a few bugs to the mix, which create a challenge that is interesting without being annoying. The open floor tile space allows for some dodging without confining the player to a dead end in a corner if a bug approaches, unlike levels like "Fleep" (Shampoo #14), where the player would be trapped. All in all, I highly recommend these two levels.

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