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A while back, in his designer diary notes for his penultimate CC1 set, Josh Lee had posted a number of comments about wanting to create a set based on the walls of CCLP1. Only a few levels were ultimately converted, but the idea stuck with me and came back to mind while playing through Jeffrey Bardon's recent Walls of CCLP4 set. Originally, I was considering making a CC1 set that was entirely based on walls from various levels among all the official CC1 sets, but Jeffrey's hard work proved that there was merit in sticking with one set and going for it, regardless of the difficulty involved in the conversions. On top of that, I hadn't regularly designed for CC1 in several years, so the idea of working from existing starting points was very appealing. I love the idea of designing for CC2, but jumping from no recent design experience to a completely new game felt a bit daunting. This has made the transition much more palatable. At first, I considered the idea of releasing the set all at once at the end of its development, much like Jeffrey did with WOCCLP4. But as I began designing, I remembered playtesting Andrew Menzies' The Other 100 Tiles and giving feedback gradually throughout the course of its construction. I like the idea of iterative releases and continuous feedback over a lump sum release, so I've decided to release this set in about 30-level increments, with the levels in each batch placed after the previous one(s) and arranged among themselves in rough difficulty order. This first release is only 26 levels, but there are some tough ones here, so I'm hoping that the next major release, at 60 levels, will include a few easier challenges. The difficulty of the set will hopefully be moderate to hard. Feedback is very much welcomed and encouraged! Please let me know what you think of the levels, what you'd like to see more or less of, and how the set can improve as time goes on. Walls of CCLP1
162 downloadsOne strange thing about being away from participating in the CC level design scene consistently for several years is that returning to the editor doesn't quite feel as natural as riding a bike for the first time in several years. Design trends shift; even the way people play the game somewhat shifts as well. The last time I made a 149-level set, it was around the time CCLP1 was being produced. I created JBLP1 as something of a reactionary response to my previous level design efforts that made the cut for CCLP3. With that set's high difficulty, perhaps something easier was in order, and it certainly helped that the community was producing a level pack that seemed to be assembled with many similar sentiments at the forefront. Between then and now, we've seen three official set releases, one for an entirely new-to-us CC game, one a Lynx-compatible version of CCLP2, and the fairly diverse CCLP4, which saw many of the design trends seen in CCLP1 evolved a bit further. So with all of that as part of the community's history, and with many designers trying to find their voice in the world of CC2 design, it seemed like as good a time as any for CC1 design to experience a bit of experimental renaissance as well. Perhaps not everything had to be a crowd-pleasing medium-weight level, or a neatly symmetrical design, though those certainly have their place. But there was still that element of where to even start with respect to design. That's when the latest level design trend offered a solution: the Walls Of level. Although Joshua Bone's Walls of CC1 (built for CC2) was the first to begin construction as a full reimplementation of an official level pack, Jeffrey Bardon's Walls of CCLP4 was the first such reimplementation to be fully completed. As a collective whole, CCLP4's walls offered some of the most open-ended redesign opportunities of any official set, and Jeffrey exercised a lot of care in ensuring that he built in concepts that complemented the layouts with which he worked while also giving them a distinct personality of their own. After recording a full Let's Play of Walls of CCLP4, I was energized to begin construction on my own full Walls Of set. CCLP1 felt like the next best thing, and arguably more than CCLP4, it provided a decently wide range of level sizes in addition to wall patterns. If anything, I knew building an entire set out of an official set's walls would stretch me as a designer in ways I wasn't used to, and force me to embrace unconventionality that I wasn't normally so quick to embrace. The first level, Miniature Overture, was built on April 18, 2018, somewhat as a shoutout to Jeffrey's set opening with a layout from an Archie Pusaka level. From there, The Manhattan Project, Open Circuit, and Crown Jewels were built within that one night, and the rest of the set took off from there. Many of the most difficult levels were made within the first third of the set being built, which helped define some degree of expectation of what the difficulty curve could look like (certainly steeper than CCLP4). I took a break after building the 60th level, Just Passing Through, but would return to the editor in September while on a business trip to construct the next stretch of 20 levels, starting with Every Bomb Has a Silver Lining after I thought about building a spiritual successor to Color Coordination. After building level 80, Chip! In! Spaaaace!, I took another hiatus to focus on optimizing, but later came back in the new year to build the remaining 69 levels within an eight-week sprint, starting with A Mine Is a Terrible Thing to Waste and ending with Manaan on February 28, 2019. Looking back, I'm thankful for the various opportunities to get out of my design comfort zone. I probably wouldn't have had the idea for, say, You Break It, You Buy It if I didn't have Present Company to work with. Half the challenges in When One Door Closes probably wouldn't exist if Utter Clutter wasn't such a tightly constructed set of walls that inspired outside-the-box thinking. And the unusual layout of Booster Shots pushed me to use a palette of tiles in some fun ways to create Slick Slimy Slurpee. Every challenging layout crossed off the list felt like a personal triumph and urged me to keep pressing on and continue designing, and I'm so grateful for that. Overall, I'm fairly happy with how the set turned out! A few notes on the distribution: this download contains a .zip file with three versions of the set, much like Josh Lee's Walls of CCLP3 (which was also inspired by Jeffrey's set as well!). The "unlabeled," vanilla version, Walls_of_CCLP1.dat, is the intended way to play through the levels and is ordered mostly by difficulty. Walls_of_CCLP1_A.dat is the "wall order," in which all the levels are ordered by where their originating counterparts appeared in CCLP1. Finally, Walls_of_CCLP1_B.dat is the "design order," in which all the levels are ordered by when their first version was completed. Most updates from this point forward will more than likely be minor. Enjoy playing, and be sure to leave a comment! I'd love to hear your thoughts.