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ajmiam

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Blog Entries posted by ajmiam

  1. ajmiam
    Level 31
    "Creepy Crawly"
    A level I made primarily for the "whaaaaaaaaat?" factor.  It looks ridiculous at first glance, and then you realize the monsters are circling invisible walls and it's just a small maze.  Even if I'd wanted to make it much bigger, I couldn't have, since you can only have 127 moving monsters in a level in MS mode, and the level currently contains 112.
    Level 32
    "Goin' For a Walk"
    This is basically the obligatory walker level of the set, made at JB's request late in the set's production because I didn't have (m)any walkers levels yet.  (I can't recall if I made this before or after Level 73.)  That's about all there is to it.  I definitely like the other walker level in the set more.
    Level 33
    "Corresponding"
    A puzzle where, as the hint says, you have to figure out which block corresponds with each water space, and there's only one correct set of pairings.  I think it turned out decently but wish it were a little harder.  (For a few of the blocks, it's very obvious that they can only go in a particular place, which significantly narrows down the rest.)
    Level 34
    "Pursued By Shadows"
    There are plenty of monster-dodging levels where you can lure the monsters to their deaths, but not so many where you can send them away only temporarily...hence, this level!  All the teleports in the play area are only enterable from the left or top to ensure that no Teeth will unexpectedly pop out of them at you, and the two Teeth trapped in the top-left corner of the level ensure that you can't use the teleports yourself to escape.  This is one of my favorite levels from this decade.
    In an old version (released in the 33-level preview) I had an opening at (11, 13) instead of (10, 14), which caused Teeth to repeatedly move left along row 12 and drop into the spiral, meaning you'd have to lure them alllllll the way around again and again until the coast was clear.  Ugh.  I'm so glad I changed that for the 63-level preview and the final version.
    As far as the title goes, JB insisted that I use proper titling conventions and make the "By" lowercase, but I thought the title would stand out more if the "By" was capital, so I overruled him.   I'm not sure where I originally heard the phrase, or if I just made it up.  It is a book title and a card in a collectible card game, but I hadn't heard of either of them until I did a Google search just a few minutes ago.
    Level 35
    "The Incredibly Safe Maze"
    Another really silly "whaaaaaaaat?" level, and another way to use invisible walls without a ton of guesswork.  There are monsters, but the maze is safe, so they must be held back by invisible walls...hence you can watch them to find your way through the maze!  The name might have been inspired by the (very friendly and safe) "Incredibly Deadly Viper" from Book 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  Hmm, maybe I should have called this "The Incredibly Deadly Maze". 
    Level 36
    "Infernal Cell"
    A throwback to the four "Cell" levels from Po100T, but instead of force floors between each cell, the monster flows act as 1-way passages within some of the cells.  The gliders and water in the top-right are just there to give the level a bit of visual variety.  The center of the level could be though of as one big cell, but if you treat the socket and exit as walls, it's 4 cells arranged in a 2x2 pattern, which gives the level 36 cells as its level number would suggest.
    Level 37
    "Tanks, Toggles, Traps"
    This was one of the very last levels I designed for this set, kind of as a hole-filler.  The puzzles were designed mostly by playing with different configurations of tanks and toggle walls and seeing how they could be manipulated, and I'm pretty pleased with how the first couple turned out.  However, I couldn't think of too many ways to make them more complicated, so I called it quits after a very easy 3rd puzzle and a 4th puzzle that's very similar to the first 2.  The wall pattern has an interesting aesthetic, where I intentionally made the outer walls a mostly continuous path with no squares, crosses, or diagonal-only connections, and only a single "T"-shape.  Also, unlike most levels, the title took me a little while to decide after I'd finished building it; in the end I went with simple alliteration.
    Level 38
    "Patterns"
    "Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge" inspired me to make this dodging-themed level, as that game had plenty of neat-looking patterns of enemies to dodge--stuff a bit more intricate than "back and forth in a straight line" or "around and around in a rectangle".  For instance, in the video below, look at the section with the oncoming enemies after the slide down the curvy vine, and compare that to the fireball-cloning section in the top-left of Patterns.  It's a little different (3 paths vs 2) but both sections have zigzagging oncoming monsters to dodge.  Anyway, that was one of the concepts I started with...the other was the idea for the bug-and-paramecia section in the bottom-center which I didn't actually know was solvable until I built and tried it.  ("Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy" from CCLP4 has a similar looking section, which may be coincidence, since I didn't play it before designing this level.) 
    I knew some rooms would be harder than others, with the bottom-left and bottom-center probably being the hardest, which is why I let you visit the rooms in any order and skip up to 12 chips (just enough to skip those two rooms, or certain other combinations of rooms).  It's possible the level is harder than I intended, even with the ability to skip chips.
    "Patterns" may not be all that popular, but it's one of my personal favorite levels from the set.  I ended up liking the northeast enough to build Level 44, which is fully dedicated to the concept of avoiding monster "snakes" in mazes.
    Level 39
    "Block Unpuzzle"
    (CCLP4 Level 62)
    First of all, let me say that I'm super happily surprised by how popular this level is!  It was my highest-voted level in CCLP4.  Anyway, my first idea was a reverse sokoban where all the trap buttons are initially held down and you need to UNcover all of them.  But then I thought it would be more interesting if you had to do both parts--the covering and then the uncovering.  The placement of the blocks and buttons was pretty much arbitrary.  All I did was make sure there were no 2x2 squares of blocks (for obvious reasons) and no 2x2 squares of buttons (since then you'd be unable to move those blocks for Phase 2) and that I didn't surround all 8 squares next to the center thieves with the same type of tile (block or button).  I ended up with this setup, tested it, and found it to be possible and moderately challenging, so I kept it.  It was a little bit trickier to design the mechanism that would enforce the two phases of the puzzles.  I was working on something involving a column of traps, a column of bombs, and spamming cloned fireballs horizontally after the first phase, but then realized that constantly-flipping-tanks and traps would be a simpler, more elegant solution.
    Level 40
    "Pneumatic Diversity Vents"
    (CCLP4 Level 63)
    This level is based on the concept of force-floor-and-ice slides that take you from one section to another.  It's named and inspired by a feature in Portal 2 shown in the video below.  (It was originally intended to show up in test chambers, but in the final game only appears once, as a means of travel about midway through the game.)  I like the block puzzle at the beginning, because it's the first instance I can think of where you have to get 2 blocks out of your way by "storing" them in a single space (fill in water, then pack down the dirt and put another block on that space).
    I think this is the best-placed of the secret hints.  It plays off the CCLP3 trope of "don't pick up any items right away because you might need them to deflect monsters".  I definitely didn't want to have this level be cooked if you picked up those chips because that would be pretty mean when the previous levels in this set don't require you to be so paranoid about taking items.  However, the fact that you don't have to be paranoid to solve the level, but do in order to get the secret hint, makes the secret hint a lot less obvious than if you had to be paranoid to do both!  Plus, once you do figure out the secret hint, it's nice that you don't have to redo the whole level...just enough to reach it.
     
  2. ajmiam
    Level 21
    "TNT"
    Just an idea I had for a block-extracting level themed around using explosives (and drills...or something...whatever the keys represent...) to break apart a giant boulder.  I meant for there to be just enough blocks, but it turned out that you could save an extra one if you were really careful near the start, which is fine by me since it doesn't change too much.  Also, I just couldn't resist hiding the exit under a block with the theme of the level being what it was.  
    The level was originally named "Dynamite" (after both the concept and the Taio Cruz song) in the 33-level preview I released, but then another level by that name got into CCLP1 so at JB's suggestion, I renamed this before the final release to avoid confusion.
    Level 22
    "Stress Reliever"
    This is a really silly level...just an excuse to murder a bunch of walkers and blobs.  The title can be thought of as a double meaning, in that you're relieving stress on your part by getting rid of those troublesome monsters, and relieving the stress on the walls of the packed-to-the-brim rooms containing those monsters.  The chaotic ending is there to at least add some challenge...you might want to use the blocks to prepare an exit path for the monsters before you start freeing them.
    Level 23
    "Invisible Plumbing"
    This is, in my opinion, a pretty neat idea for a blue wall maze--you have environmental clues that tell you where you can walk, rather than having to oof on every wall.  In this case, you can see where each path turns and ends, as though you could see the joints and caps on a twisted nest of pipes but not the pipes themselves.  (I may have been thinking about the game "Pipe Dream" from the Windows Entertainment Pack as I built this.)  I kept the time limit low so that you would most likely have to use the visual clues to finish the level, rather than just pushing blindly on everything.
    Level 24
    "Cross-Hatching"
    The idea was to use crossing monster paths to create a sort of maze, including paths that you can only travel through in one direction and some squares that you cannot travel through at all (as they are occupied every 2 moves).  The name comes from the back of a box of colored pencils, where it was shown as the name of a coloring technique:

    Level 25
    "Freeway"
    A very short dodging level inspired and named by a game called "Freeway" for the Atari 2600, which I have on a 30-game compilation disc for the PlayStation 1.  In that game, you have a limited amount of time to guide a chicken across a 10-lane freeway as many times as possible to score points.  So basically it's Frogger except that the river is replaced with more road.  I deliberately kept it simple and only focused on dodging, unlike my Frogger-inspired "Froggy!" from Pit of 100 Tiles.  I made this before the level named "Frogger" by Wes Powers got into CCLP1, so the similarity with that level is entirely coincidental!
    Level 26
    "Plinko"
    This is named after the Price is Right game where contestants drop disks into a board with several layers of dividers on the way down, each of which deflects the disk left or right, until it lands in the bottom and they win a prize depending on where.  So for this level, you need to guide some Teeth down a series of passages, making them turn left or right to fall onto trap buttons.  It's not all that difficult, and the only mildly clever bit is getting the far-left or far-right traps open, where you need to either put yourself in harm's way on the trap button OR stand in the trap while luring the Teeth to release that trap.  Originally this was going to be later in the set, and the time limit was low to make it a mild time-crunch level, but I moved it earlier in the released version (and bumped up the time limit in a later update).
    I realized after making this level that, unlike the game of Plinko, this level isn't very random, so I decided to make another Plinko-themed level, which became Level 73.
    Level 27
    "Serpentslayer"
    This was probably inspired by the ending of "Mud and Water" from CCLP3, where you have to use a Teeth to disrupt circling bugs and reach the exit.  Here I just put that aspect of the level a little more into focus; you have to collect all the chips in order to recruit the "serpentslayer" (a Teeth) to disrupt the "snake" of paramecia guarding the green keys and the exit.  The random force floors and ice corners inside the exit square were just supposed to look pretty, like a treasure horde of emeralds and a big diamond or something...not sure if that really came across.  Oh, and the blue wall maze in the bottom is a mirror image of the passages to the right of it...wonder how many people caught that!
    Level 28
    "Build-a-Bridge Workshop 2.0"
    One of my goals while making this set was to revisit older concepts in a more advanced way...and one way to do that was to tighten up forgiving causal levels into actual puzzles with much less room for error.  Even though the original "Build-a-Bridge Workshop" had a lot of blocks and was very open-ended, the concept lent itself well to making a strict puzzle with just enough blocks to complete.  Admittedly, this is a strange sequel because the aesthetics are so different (grid vs mess), but the core concept of using blocks and flippers to build bridges, so that you can pick up all the chips after losing the flippers, is still there.
    Level 29
    "Hit the Brakes!!"
    It's extremely rare to have to slow down on force floors, so I made a level about it.  Of course, you can't stay in place while holding backwards on a force floor in Lynx on a straightaway, so I put a bend at the end of every path.  Unfortunately that may have made the timing trickier to visually gauge.  This level is short both because it's a pseudo "action level" and there were only so many ways I could think of at the time to use the concept.  
    The title comes from a scene in Star Fox 64 where you switch a train onto the wrong track, careening into a factory and causing a glorious explosion:
     
    Level 30
    "One-Push Sokobans"
    This is a concept I decided to try to build on a whim as a nod to "One Block Sokoban" from CCLP2.  The concept is just as it sounds--each puzzle is solved by pushing a single block a single time.  It's definitely not a difficult level (with a concept like this, it hardly could be), but I tried to make the rooms distinct and unusual enough to make for an interesting experience, and I think it turned out pretty well! 
    I deliberately set up the northwest ice checkerboard so that you can look around and see which way to push the block before making a decision.  The concept in the southeast room might remind you of "Excuse Me", but I actually made this level before "Excuse Me"!  (This was one of my first 33, while Excuse Me was created somewhere in the 34th-63rd range.)
     
    So that's it for the 20s!  In my opinion this decade has a couple nice concepts but is a bit of a lull in the set, with the decades before and after being more interesting.
  3. ajmiam
    Level 11
    "Bodyguards"
    (CCLP4 Level 22?!?!)
    The idea was to make a level where thieves are helpful sometimes and harmful other times.  That's about it.  I guess some of the monsters are kind of interesting to dodge, like maybe the bugs near the top-left, since this somehow got into CCLP4.  And it's not like we were reaching deep down to fill a slot--this was just a few places outside of the Top 149 in voting!  It's an OK level, but it's messy and all over the place and I didn't really do much planning while designing this and I think I had much better levels that could've gotten in instead.
    Level 12
    "Halving"
    I had a few ideas for a maze whose walls change scale as you travel through it, and this is one I ended up building.  The first part is a little bit inspired by a custom level called "Two by Two" which is like Chip's Challenge meets World 4 (Giant Land) from Super Mario Bros. 3.  It's most evident with the squares of 4 chips.  
    Level 13
    "Journey to the Center of the Earth"
    One level I made way back in Levelset 1.ccl was called "Perish Twice" (name taken from a book I saw in my parents' room, which had a poem by Robert Frost on the back about fire and ice).  The level had...fire and ice.  Specifically, you had to avoid sliding into the fire, but you could see it ahead of time.  Then, eventually, you'd get fire boots and not have to worry about it.  Anyway, I made an ice maze with a similar concept here, but used water instead of fire.  It's fairly simple to avoid dying; on a floor tile, you can always see the ends of all of its paths that lead to water, and any paths whose ends you can't see lead to safe ground.  There's only one exception to that rule, which is the floor at (23, 17) having an up path that leads to water at (28, 18), but there the level layout ensures you will see the deadly path before you get to the floor tile it originates from.  (Hence the wording of the hint.)  I'm pretty pleased with how the ice maze portion turned out.  The rest (some thicker water to represent ocean, dirt to represent crust, fire to represent the mantle/outer core, and gravel/chips to represent the inner core of the Earth) was added at the last minute to take up the remaining space and give it a more unique aesthetic.  All that led to a title that makes the level sound much more epic than it really is. 
    Level 14
    "Cross Back"
    (CCLP4 Level 15!)
    I came up with third room first--a block puzzle that must be solved in two directions and requires you to set up the second trip during your first.  (I remember that the idea came to me when I was waiting for my college piano class to start, for some reason--no idea why.)  Then I built the rest of the level around that concept of crossing back through rooms.  I'm happy with how the first room turned out; there are two distinct solutions, one of which leaves a recessed wall unused.  The middle room turned out a little simpler than I'd hoped...it's inspired by a section of Jeffrey's level "Guiding Light" where you have to clone lines of tanks (that cannot be reversed) to direct a fireball.  The title is a small callback to Cross Over from Po100T.
    Level 15
    "Elemental Park"
    (CCLP1 Level 128!)
    There have been plenty of elemental-themed mazes, but not a lot of 4-part overlapping mazes, so I built one.  I definitely like how I was able to make the path of each element mostly contiguous, which sets it apart from something like Triple Maze, while still creating an interesting maze.  Fun fact:  The original version of this level, which I released in my 13-level preview set for CCLP1 consideration, had some chips on the edges of the level, so J.B. edited the level for CCLP1 to move the chips inward and prevent the player from touching the border.  The change was so smooth that I didn't notice until he pointed it out later...so I decided to include the CCLP1 version in the final version of To100T.
    Level 16
    "Parallel Problems"
    A very simple level that I originally built in Levelset 1.ccl, long long ago.  The concept is the exact same; only some minor details like the frequency of the fireball cloning and the number of columns changed, and those only because I lost the original level.
    Level 17
    "Excuse Me"
    (CCLP4 Level 64!)
    This level was inspired by two things:  1) the section in Think Tank where you have to use blocks to force intermittently-flipping tanks down onto brown buttons; and 2) the section in Choose Your Own Adventure from Po100T where you have to use a block to force an intermittently-flipping tank into a bomb.  I thought, what if I made a whole level about that, and made the tank flipping constant to make the theme stand out more?  It turned out pretty well, as it got into CCLP4.  I'm not sure how fair the lower-right section is with the block-pushing based on what you can see, but at least I gave you an extra block.
    There is a room you can access once you get all the chips that consists of a small maze of flipping tanks, but there's nothing essential to get there.  I just included it as an alternate way from the trap room to the exit room.
    Level 18
    "The Road Not Taken"
    The level title and concept are based on a poem by Robert Frost.  In 5th grade, we had to read and write about poetry, including some by Frost, and his name and some of his poems have always stuck in my head.  (My most vivid memory of that class is the teacher praising me for what I'd written about "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" when it was pretty much just repeating her comments about the poem.)  In any case, the poem is about a speaker deciding between taking a well-worn path through the woods or a more grassy, overgrown path that fewer people have taken.  Regardless of the poem's metaphorical meaning, the level treats it pretty literally--at each fork you can choose between a monster-dodging challenge with no fake blue walls (the well-worn, popular path) or a blue wall maze (the overgrown, unpopular path).  The hint also references the poem (using the phrase "the road less traveled by" and the word "divergence" for "fork").
    The dodge required to get past the gliders (where you have to sidestep just as the glider makes a turn below you) is unusual...but not any more strict than dodging a single glider in a 2x2 space.
    Level 19
    "GULP"
    Another extremely simple level from my Levelset 1.ccl days, basically Hunt condensed.  (The old version was also named "GULP"--at that point I randomly capitalized some titles but not others; for example, the Levelset 1 version of Culprit was "CULPRIT".)  At least in this version I made the chip path a coherent shape (a spiral) whereas in the original version, the path zigged and zagged all over the place.  Not a spectacular level by any means, but I'm happy I had some easy and short ones to spread throughout the set.
    Level 20
    "Salmon"
    This is the reverse Rat Race, which I'd been looking forward to building ever since I made Rat Race way back in Levelset 1.  I just made it much more puzzle-y, since "hide in niches and go against the flow" isn't all that exciting for too long as a pure dodging concept, but there are lots of different ways to create said niches.  It would have been Level 23 to match Rat Race, but since I put a secret hint, it had to be a multiple of 10, and 20 was the closest it could be (and also a good place in terms of difficulty).  In retrospect, I like the normal ending with the tank puzzle enough that maybe I shouldn't have let you skip it when you find the secret hint...but on the other hand, aren't you glad you don't have to go all the way up the stream again after reading it?
  4. ajmiam
    Level 41
    "Constant Vigilance!"
     
     
     
    Level 42
    "Life, the Universe, and Everything"
     
     
     
    Level 43
    "Checkmate?"
     
     
     
    Level 44
    "Secret Passages"
    (CCLP1 Level 78!)
     
     
     
    Level 45
    "Periodic Lasers"
     
     
     
    Level 46
    "Teamwork"
     
     
     
    Level 47
    "Touch Force Floor, Get Dizzy"
     
     
     
    Level 48
    "Choose Your Own Adventure"
     
     
     
    Level 49
    "49 Cell"
    (CCLP1 Level 49!)
     
     
     
    Level 50
    "Enjoy the Show!"
     
     
  5. ajmiam
    Level 11
    "Four Corners"
     
     
    Level 12
    "Repair the Maze"
    (CCLP1 Level 22!)
     
    Level 13
    "Dig and Dig"
    (CCLP1 Level 39!)
     
    Level 14
    "Pinball"
     
    Level 15
    "Nitroglycerin"
    (CCLP1 Level 32!)
     
    Level 16
    "The Forever Belt"
     
    Level 17
    "Laser Sweep"
     
    Level 18
    "Cross-Eyed"
     
    Level 19
    "Descending Ceiling"
    (CCLP1 Level 41!)
     
    Level 20
    "Chip Kart 64"
    (CCLP1 Level 64! How appropriate!)
     
  6. ajmiam
    Level 21
    "Through the Looking Glass"
     
     
     
    Level 22
    "Assembly Line"
     
     
     
    Level 23
    "Rat Race"
    (CCLP1 Level 98!)
     
     
     
    Level 24
    "Tree"
    (CCLP1 Level 71!)
     
     
     
    Level 25
    "Maze Maker"
     
     
     
    Level 26
    "Monster Sorter"
     
     
     
    Level 27
    "Hornet's Nest"
     
     
     
    Level 28
    "Easier Than It Looks"
    (CCLP1 Level 131!)
     
     
     
    Level 29
    "Mining for Gold Keys"
    (CCLP1 Level 84!)
     
     
     
    Level 30
    "Froggy!"
     
     
  7. ajmiam
    Level 31
    "Culprit"
    (CCLP1 Level 135!)
     
     
     
    Level 32
    "Combinations"
     
     
     
    Level 33
    "Think Outside the Block"
     
     
     
    Level 34
    "Paramecium Palace"
    (CCLP1 Level 107!)
     
     
     
    Level 35
    "Difficulty Switch"
     
     
     
    Level 36
    "36 Cell"
     
     
     
    Level 37
    "Cross Over"
     
     
     
    Level 38
    "Keyrithmetic"
     
     
     
    Level 39
    "Corral"
    (CCLP1 Level 58...)
     
     
     
    Level 40
    "Courage"
     
     
  8. ajmiam
    Level 51
    "Against the Floe"
     
     
     
    Level 52
    "Escape the Telenet"
     
     
     
    Level 53
    "Hotel Chip"
    (CCLP1 Level 104!)
     
     
     
    Level 54
    "Just Glide Through This Level"
     
     
     
    Level 55
    "Build-a-Bridge Workshop"
     
     
     
    Level 56
    "Roy G. Biv"
     
     
     
    Level 57
    "Brickwalled"
     
     
     
    Level 58
    "Clog"
     
     
     
    Level 59
    "Roads to Victory"
     
     
     
    Level 60
    "Slimy Swarm"
     
     
  9. ajmiam
    Level 61
    "It Snew"
     
     
     
    Level 62
    "Chance Time!"
    (CCLP1 Level 145!)
     
     
     
    Level 63
    "So Close..."
     
     
     
    Level 64
    "64 Cell"
     
     
     
    Level 65
    "Bonus? Rooms"
     
     
     
    Level 66
    "Parallels"
     
     
     
    Level 67
    "Connect the Chips"
    (CCLP1 Level 56!)
     
     
     
    Level 68
    "Monster Swapper"
     
     
     
    Level 69
    "Gate Keeper"
    (CCLP1 Level 97!)
     
     
     
    Level 70
    "Be Quick About It, Man!!"
     
     
  10. ajmiam
    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.
  11. ajmiam
    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!)
  12. ajmiam
    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!
  13. ajmiam
    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"
     
     
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