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ajmiam posted a blog entry in ajmiam's BlogLevel 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.
ajmiam posted a blog entry in ajmiam's BlogLevel 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.