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March 2015 Create Competition - Rulings

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Think you know Chip's Challenge and it's inner workings? Then this competition is for you!

 
For the past couple of years, the March Create Competition has been characterized by a mechanical restriction that has limited the submissions to be 'small', or 'short' or 'simple' in one way or another. While I have a cool new idea in that vein, I have decided to use that restriction next month instead (for reasons that will become clear at the time), so for this month I had to dig up something else. I almost saved this concept for May, but decided it was so intriguing that I couldn't wait to see what you all would cook up now! It's a mechanical restriction that is very wide in some sense, yet very narrow at the same time.

 

Your job is to create a level that is solvable in MS or Lynx, but not both. You may either make a level that works in MS but does not operate in Lynx, or the other way around. If you choose MS, you are free to use 'invalid tiles' and even 'advanced coding', though be advised that I will play the level in Tile World and will judge heavily on the game play, not how unintuitively you can build a level. If you choose Lynx, use some mechanic that is different in MS and yet is not too hard. Whichever you way you go, make the level fun! Make it so the differences in rules arise naturally and don't seem forced. I also encourage you to find something in the rule sets that simply can't be copied in the other in some way. This time I am looking for levels that are of reasonable difficulty and length (not too long), but will play anything you make. If you need an idea for a theme for your level to get started, I suggest you use some element from the latest dream you remember.

 

Notes:

-Submissions are open as long as it is March 2015 where you live!

-Do not make a overly difficult level. Please be considerate of not making the judge work too hard on solving your creation.

-The level must be solvable. If it isn't, an update is allowed but it does take extra effort so please play your levels before sending them.
-The level must be new; it must not have been released earlier.
-Please give the level a name, time limit and set a password.

-You may submit more than one entry, but please keep the levels distinct from each other. Your best two entries is recommended.
-Points will be deducted for late entries, but will be accepted until a notice is posted in this thread.

-Entrants receive the normal prizes: the "You're Winner!"-award, Chip Cup points, and "Tool Box"-award for first time entrants.
-Please ask about other unclear situations.
 

Email and attach your submissions to valeosote at hotmail dot com. I will strive to reply with a confirmation that I have received your entry.

I prefer if you use your username and this competition in the subject. Keep it short and simple, something like: "March Create - Barrack"

 

Let the submissions pour in!

 

-Miika

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Your job is to create a level that is solvable in MS or Lynx, but not both. 

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Your job is to create a level that is solvable in MS or Lynx, but not both. 

 

 

Yes, but isn't that what a lot of designers did in pre-CCLP3 days anyway without even trying to (except when sometimes by accident the level was also solvable in Lynx)?  I mean it's a criterion, but it's hardly a "restriction".  How would the entries be judged?  Place one invalid tile (for MS) or one clone machine block that needs to be moved (for Lynx) and I'm all set.  What more do I need to be trying to do specifically?

 

- Madhav.

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Yes, but isn't that what a lot of designers did in pre-CCLP3 days anyway without even trying to (except when sometimes by accident the level was also solvable in Lynx)?  I mean it's a criterion, but it's hardly a "restriction".  How would the entries be judged?  Place one invalid tile (for MS) or one clone machine block that needs to be moved (for Lynx) and I'm all set.  What more do I need to be trying to do specifically?

 

- Madhav.

"Make it so the differences in rules arise naturally and don't seem forced. I also encourage you to find something in the rule sets that simply can't be copied in the other in some way."

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I've made an MS-only level with a concept that would never work in Lynx and a Lynx-only level with a concept that would never work in MS.

 

The funny part is both were inspired by a different Tyler level.

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A few more days to the deadline! You can still make a level!

 

KeyboardWielder, I first read your comment as a joke on how you often submits levels that only work in one rule set anyway, but I guess you really were asking for some more guidelines. (At least I tried to be more specific than "use the theme of summer to come up with a level" :D ) Sorry that I wasn't able to explain the concept better when I started the competition, and now that I am trying to do so this late in the month, I'm not sure I can hold participants responsible to fitting in with what I will say. Many levels and concepts for levels can be made to work in MS or Lynx, often even without different versions for each rule set. What I was hoping to explore in this competition, were those concepts that go beyond this area. Can you use invalid tiles in a way that the game play is not possible in Lynx? Can you find something in Lynx which can't be replicated in MS? In addition, for me the most interesting cases like this would not just highlight all the differences a designer might remember, but rather find some new interaction I haven't seen before and use that naturally in a level. And I always try to say, that the fun-factor of a level should still be the main focus, no matter what the technical details are. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see and play the submissions, don't you think?

 

Flareon350, I'm sorry to hear we won't get a submission from you. Maybe again next month? ;)

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I still don't get it...  But I'm thinking that perhaps it hinges on the word "naturally".  Do you mean to say that the level should look like it could be made to work in both rulesets, but can't?  Can you provide examples from existing levels, perhaps from CCLP2?  Would my levels "Eraser" and "Touch and Go" be good examples of such a level or bad ones?

 

- Madhav.

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They are good examples of 'natural' uses. You explore things like blue keys being erased by a block without making it feel awkward. Or how you can change the direction a block is sliding on a trap. You are using the features of the rules as parts of a puzzle instead of feeling like the puzzle is just remembering how the game works in the first place. 

 

An 'artificial' example would be to require crosschecking in a place where it wouldn't seem intuitive for someone who doesn't know about how it works. Or you build an unseen mechanism that only works in MS but there could be a way to build it in Lynx too. Or you make a path of hint tiles through a swarm of monsters, allowing passage in Lynx but not MS, when gravel would work in both. 

 

If they were submitted to this competition, Frost Rings would fare well, but After the Rainstorm wouldn't.

 

Hopefully that makes some sense :)

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Ok, competition deadline has passed. I'm trying to do the judging a bit differently than last month. For example, I've posted the levels for you to play now!

 

I will soon post some thoughts on the levels, and then try to get the results up after that. Needless to say, I am pretty disappointed in the quality of the submissions this month, as well as the disregard for many of the rules of the competition, and disheartened by all the late submissions. You all should know better.

 

-Miika

 

EDIT: just wanted to clarify (though it's a bit late) that the last paragraph was a joke on how everybody did exactly the opposite of what I was complaining about. Sorry for the lack of not making the sarcasm clearer. (I didn't get any complaints about this, but was reading it through myself and was utterly confused, so I'm sure someone else was too. I guess the date of posting kind of explains why I would try something like this.)

Edited by M11k4
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Ok people, I have no idea how to judge this competition because of the dichotomy of having two types of levels. I've played all the levels and will try to comment on them, and maybe a solution will present itself. Before I get into that though, I want to explain something I wanted to do, but it didn't quite work out. I was going to post the comments on the levels on April 1st, but my real life schedule was impossible to reshuffle enough to make that work. I would have just bashed the levels and just pointed out all the little annoyances in the levels and made personal attacks on participants hygiene. I had to wait till I had all the entries too. Maybe I would have awarded an overall tie. Maybe in another time line that would have worked, but in this one you'll just have to settle on what comes next.

 

So these are just comments on the levels in the order they are in the currently available version of the set that collects the levels, which is approximately in the order the levels were submitted. I'm starting with Lynx, because those were the levels I played first. Also, I realize I haven't written stuff about February's levels so many of the newer participants in these competitions really can't have a reference of what types of levels I like and what types of things I pay attention to while judging these things. I also tend to point out many minor details about levels that I might build differently myself and many things are just design preferences. (Note also that I personally don't get around to making many levels and am just a mere critic who really might not know anything about level design.)

 

The Keys to Failure - Cyberdog

 The second half of this level is very disconnected from the first, and doesn't seem to have much to do with this competition. Maybe it's a fun way to fill up the level, so at least it's not terrible, so I'll concentrate on the first room and its puzzle, as that is where the Lynx-only stuff lies. So what makes this level Lynx-only is the erasing of two blue keys using the glider and then no troubles with controller and boss glitch (I guess that's what the second half was trying to do, I get it now!). A minor thing that could have been made the objective in the first room clearer (and the mechanism more elegant), was to have the bug behind the socket, instead of a button that releases it. Overall, the level feels just fine; not terribly exciting but not bad either.

 

eXceLleNcY - geodave

 I guess this name comes from trying to confuse me when I need to type it out for the results, nice try! *

I'm sad to see you missed the opportunity to connect the level name to the password, using XLNY or even XLNC. The level itself seems to be a collection of pieces that only work in Lynx. If the only goal was to fit the requirement of this competition, any one of these would have sufficed and the rest seem redundant. Even when playing, the blue key and the glider seem like extra parts that just happen to be there, and the toggling walls could just have well be done with a bug. The solution itself is pretty straightforward, and if you manage to not drown there isn't many things you can do wrong or need to figure out. Overall the level is not long enough to be dislikable, but the pieces don't gel together to make something memorable.

 

Delayed Post - Ihavenoname248

 This is a pretty tough level for its size. It explores the possibilities of re-routing teleports using splash delay. This could be interesting in itself, but I experienced three problems with the execution. Firstly, when a puzzle involves teleports the design should make it absolutely clear to the player how they work and where they take Chip. I don't just mean that they are all visible from somewhere, but that they would work in an intuitive manner. Here they don't, ad the result is that the player really needs to plan out what to do using a map. Secondly, the order of doing things is too strict without being clear as what to do next. This is to do with how complex the parts are. For example, I used the teeth to release the pink ball, but apparently it would also have been possible with the paramecium. Thirdly, this there are elements in the level that just seem to make it more complex without adding to the solution, or otherwise being too complicated. (Like getting the fireball to the bomb at the start, or using a cloner to press the first blue button, when a block pushed onto it would do just as fine.) For any series of puzzles like this, it would be better to narrow it down to the leanest version possible instead of adding all these things just because they fit. Overall the level tries things I have not seen elsewhere, but then again if I had, they were presented in too complex an environment to have interested me enough to solve them all.

 

Attack of the Keys - Chipster1059

 A quick look at this level in the editor made me think I'd be erasing a lot of blue keys, but luckily that was all done for me when playing. The first puzzle in the level is to get a blob to explode a bomb by manipulating some multidirectional force floors. The level would have been twice as good if the fireballs in the traps at the start would have been replaced by walls, so I wouldn't have felt so afraid of them. Just getting out of this first room either felt like luck or required a lot of thinking, and by using walls instead of the fireballs, I would have felt much safer trying either method. After this part the level was pretty fun. The dodging wasn't too difficult, and the pattern created by the monsters was unique to Lynx. The block slapping was nice, though it did go on for a tad too long, and the waiting at the end could also have been a bit shorter (or was the intention to run after the glider? I just waited for it to come around again and head straight up to the exit). Overall not a bad level, but it could have been shrunk down a bit to give it more focus.

 

Sea of Keys - eric119

 Another level with tons of blue keys, but here Chip gets to be the one erasing them. I like the focus of this level, in that it has a clear focus and there aren't millions of things flying at Chip at all times. The puzzle of how to push blocks in a room to get all the chips surrounded by blue keys is a fun one, though here there were a few aspects I didn't think lived up to their potential. Many of the keys were too far to see. And since this erasing keys with a block was a new type of problem to face, I could have used some guidance at the start. (Like I had three blocks, but wasn't sure if I could waste any, and in which directions.) There was only one area with two neighboring chips, and I wouldn't have minded seeing more of those. This all added to a level with a nice concept but one that I had to restart too many times.

 

...so that's how far I got for now, almost half way half of the level. I'll keep bashing your levels later!

Edited by M11k4
Stuff after * were added later.

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eXceLleNcY - geodave

 I guess this name comes from trying to confuse me when I need to type it out for the results, nice try!

 

LOL.  Take the capital letters and put them through one rotation.

 

This also points out my opinion of each ruleset (compare to my other submission).

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Since it's been a week from my last update and because people would miss it easily otherwise, I'm not updating the above post again but adding more comments down here...

 

 Squares - IceyLava108

 This is a fun short level. It uses a lot of block slaps to move a couple blocks around. That's also its problem, it uses it just a bit too much. I like the first half of the first room but it gets repetitive quickly (all four sides work similarly, and you need to go around twice). I like the second room and it makes me feel there is more potential in this theme of thieves and block slaps. It might have been cool if you had connected the two rooms together in a way that Chip would be manipulating the same block throughout the level. Overall I like the length of the level and the design showcased some things that felt nice to play.

 

 Bonfire - IceyLava108

 Of your two Lynx submissions, this one was the weaker one. It requires block slaps to manipulate the direction four slow streams of fireballs. Without the fire, this would be an uninteresting experiment, and I am not sure the block slap adds much. Funnily, I often see long levels with interesting rooms that I feel like would be better off as individual levels, but this one feels the opposite, as I think the idea is not poor but would work best as just one room in a larger level. Overall it feels like an experiment with what kind of weird things block slaps could be used for, and I feel the very first room in 'Squares' uses the idea even better.

 

 Specific Gravity - J.B. Lewis

 This level pulls me in two directions: I want to like it because it has some novel ideas, but I also don't want to like it because it contains some aspects I don't enjoy at all. My main problem is with the strict room order. In levels like this I would prefer I could go explore each room in the order I want, and if I mess up I could try something else before managing to put together a complete solution. I'll quickly comment on each of the rooms. I like the beginning; the timing of manipulating the Fireball works nicely, and you always exit the room with the same direction set on the force floors. I don't like the NE trap room; I feel it is too simple, and the idea could be explored in a more interesting way with more force floors. I don't like the Ice+block room either, and it feels a lot like the NE room except with memory issues. Why are both rooms so easily cooked if you make a mistake? I would prefer more room for error and freedom of experimenting with crazy solutions. I feel the yellow key room is a bit redundant, though it is clever that you shouldn't take the 'gravity boots'; however the setup makes it pretty obvious you shouldn't touch them and there is no place that feels you need them either. I do however like the bottom two rooms, the one with the Walker and then the Fireball; this concept is the star of the level and makes me wish the Fireball maze was larger. Overall I feel the level has some good moments and potential, but with more time and feedback you could've made this into a terrific experience!

 

 Swiped Away - Syzygy

 This is an interesting take on moving blocks around in tight corridors. At first glance it seems like it doesn't differ much from just having a single bomb guarding each chip, which would work just as well in MS; however, there are a few places where the need for a block slap to reach the chip brings something new to the table, in particular the manipulation of the blocks at (14,8) and (20,12). This was a fun discovery, and even more focus on such arrangements would have been welcome. A couple negatives to note: I would maybe have liked this a bit more if it was even smaller and shorter, and don't expect everyone to like this sort of block pushing. Overall I feel the concept is sound (and would work very well as part of a larger level too), and the level managed to find a couple new block maneuvers.

 

 Sub Station Alpha - Syzygy

 This level managed to collect many eclectic rooms together. Though many parts felt like they could be made to work in MS as well, there was always a small reason why in this configuration they didn't. I know it's a trend to justify some sort of guess work in a level by saying the player should window shop more, but my opinion of the start of this level is that all it manages to do is make the player feel stupid if they fail to do that. For me, it would be much simpler and more fun to not make me question what to do with the block (which I don't know has a trap button under it), but rather set it up so that it is clear you aren't supposed to push it down into the bombs. I like the Glider hidden in a blue wall maze. I was careful not to allow the Fireball to erase the blue key, but felt that this tension could work even in a room that was a bit larger. At first the block+trap room had me confused as I didn't know how the traps connected, but it worked out as there was really only one thing to try (though I suspect that the room is not beginner friendly if they don't know about blocks sliding off traps in Lynx). One last note about general level design philosophy: I don't like the use of a teleport here. I would prefer that the upper part of the level were simply moved to the other side of the map and maybe some of the rooms would be rotated or flipped if they fit better. The resulting game play would be more intuitive, as going through a teleport always makes me recalibrate my surroundings and wears me down. Overall I felt the level was fun, but lacked any part that really stood out as brilliant.

 

 Silhouettes de 101 Apparitions - Syzygy

I'm sorry, I didn't play this level. You submitted so many levels and this one looked so involved that I chose to skip it. Another reason for this was that you submitted both MS and Lynx versions of this level, so I was not sure if it was a level that really explored the differences in the rules or just a level that happens to not work in both at the same time. Like for example one difference in the Lynx and MS versions that I see in the editor is the use of Gliders vs Bugs to press some buttons; is the difference in game play really that large that there is a reason not to simply use Bugs here and allow the room to be solvable in both rules? If not, then I feel it doesn't quite contribute well to the theme of this competition. Overall, I'm happy this competition inspired you to make this level, but unfortunately it managed to slip through the cracks this time.

 

 Next time I will move onto the MS levels :) If you've played these levels, or made them, don't be afraid to share your thoughts before I come up with some sort of ranking for the participants. You might notice that complaining about other people's creations can be fun! :P

 

-Miika

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Gee, the messages that I sent with my submissions should have only had Swiped Away and Sub Station Alpha for Lynx, and Serendipity, Skeptic Debunked and Seaweed for MS entered in the competition. You even put in Standard Email Attachment Limit after I had withdrawn it from the competition. I guess that's what I get for telling ya to use whatever fits. And why add all the updates to the compilation? Wouldn't the most recent files do? Do you have something against updating submissions? When I first saw all the updates in the set I had thought you were inspired to make an educational statement about level design, like "Notice how trap placement can affect game play" or something, and have been waiting anxiously for your comments. I guess we'll have to settle for these types of comments instead.

Your comment on Sub Station Alpha - "... but rather set it up so that it is clear you aren't supposed to push it (the block) down into the bombs."

How is it not clear that the bombs are taken out by the ants before you even get a chance to move the block? Besides, you can see when picking up the chips in the popup walls section that the block cannot be moved through the area. Your comment is sort of moot.

"I don't like the use of a teleport here." I didn't really like the teleport at that location either. you made a good suggestion to move the top half of the level to the other side or something. I didn't consider that while making the level because my only goal was to make it unsolvable in MS.

"the room is not beginner friendly if they don't know about blocks sliding off traps"
I did not consider this to be a beginner-friendly-level-only competition.

You may notice that I am not angry, but just questioning your intent. I hope you at least enjoyed playing them. Didn't you?

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Squares - IceyLava108

 This is a fun short level. It uses a lot of block slaps to move a couple blocks around. That's also its problem, it uses it just a bit too much.

 

 Bonfire - IceyLava108

 Funnily, I often see long levels with interesting rooms that I feel like would be better off as individual levels, but this one feels the opposite, as I think the idea is not poor but would work best as just one room in a larger level. 

 

 

 

So... should I have included Bonfire in a room inside of Squares, or...?

 

I didn't really understand that, but thanks for the feedback!

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Hi guys.

 

Syzygy, thanks for being open with your thoughts. I'm sorry for releasing all your levels and versions of the levels without checking with you. It was also my mistake that I included either version of "Silhouettes de 101 Apparitions" as part of the competition. I am also not against updating submissions, in fact quite the opposite, so let me explain what I did with your levels. As you sent them in, I always downloaded the latest versions and, mostly for my own enjoyment, I took a look at the changes and also to make sure you hadn't broken a level by accident. When it came time to close the competition, the set I had compiled for my own use had all your updates and I thought it might be a cool insight for others too, to see how the levels evolved. This is not the final version of the compiled set that I had imagined, but as I rushed to release the levels, I made to the call to include all of the submissions in this first release. As for the way you update your levels by sending in all of them over again when you make changes or add new ones is really the easiest and most reasonable way for me to receive them. I should just use the latest one if I wasn't so interested in the details myself. I did enjoy your levels very much, so when I pick it apart with things like complaining about the first block in "Sub Station Alpha", maybe I am being a bit too picky. When I played it I must have been tired and when I first pushed the block down and into the bomb (as I went there first), I was simply frustrated by my own stupidity; as a result I was not fair to the area in my review of it yesterday. I have yet to write my comments on the other levels, and then I need to figure out how to rank the participants too, so I hope you can still forgive me and still wait for those anxiosly :)

 

IceyLava108, the part about there being too much block slapping in "Squares" was just a reference to how it repeats itself a bit too much; maybe the item swapping would only require Chip to go around the first room just once, and maybe the path in the second room could be a bit less symmetric. What I said about "Bonfire" did not connect with the other level in my mind, but now that you brought it up it doesn't sound like a bad idea. Would you want to make a new level where you combine the two submissions? Send it to me and we can include it as another 'bonus level' in the next release!

 

-Miika

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Through the miracle of computer mastery, I managed to need to write some of these twice (as I did with the Lynx reviews). It would only be fair if you read some of these twice as well, thank you :) Let's get on with it...

 

Ram It Down - Cyberdog

 In the first part of this level, a ram is supposed to be used to stop a block in place and make it easier to redirect a glider into a bomb. Later, transperancy is used so that a glider may erase walls and bombs that get in the way. I like the puzzle with the ram, though the ice slide does not need to be so long and I could see more possibilities in exploring several rams in a single puzzle. In the second room, I feel it is too much to require so many of the chips; maybe three would be enough. You could also add an invisible wall in the first alcove so that the player realizes there are hidden things under the floor without easily cooking the level. Finally, there should be some way to know that there are bombs in the water in front of the exit. At the very least, there could be an alternate way to reach the exit that would take a lot of time and the player could feel smart for knowing how to erase the bombs if they are familiar with the area. Overall I like the use of space in the level and did enjoy parts of it, but it lacked some refining and consideration for how playing the level for the first time would feel.

 

MiSery - geodave

 Yay, block pushing tricks that don't work in Lynx! Here we have the first of the levels that are playable in Lynx but not solvable there. I was surprised to find that some participants found such a situation preferable to what I thought would be more natural, which is to include at least one invalid tile (like exit over exit) to communicate that the level is not meant for Lynx. As I didn't make this a requirement, I don't think I will use it as a basis for judging the entries, but it does remind me that many of us have different views and opinions on level design. The parts I like most in this level are knowing when to take the skates and flicking the blocks, so I guess the level manages to fit the requirements well. The ending and toggle mechanism make more sense to me now that I compare it with its counterpart level in Lynx. Overall, I enjoy the length and difficulty of this level and would gladly play it again.

 

The Power of Slide Delay Compels You! - Ihavenoname248

 This level is golden. There, I said it. The main mechanism is novel, though I did feel like maybe the cloning could be slowed in some other way too. I personally did not enjoy the amount of boosting required in several parts of the level, though I do see that the designer did not require perfection anywhere. Each of the rooms are interesting and the puzzles are very nice. I like that there are two reasons to push the blocks onto the ff in the first small room (both for the slide delay and uncovering chips). The tank room is very good. The transparency one feels a bit tricky, but is constructed in a way that only works in one way. I could have done with one fewer chip to steal from monsters with boosting. I enjoyed little details that couldn't be done in Lynx like having chip on chip at the start. Overall, I like the design of this level and the individual challenges. I find very few things that could be done differently as I am writing this, and I am afraid I am painting myself into a corner when it comes to ranking all the levels. I'm sure I can make up something though, so don't get your hopes up too high, but in any case this is one of the front-runners.

 

Deprogression - chipster1059

 Looking in the editor, this is perhaps the prettiest level submitted this year. Does the game play live up? At least the concepts are fleshed out nicely, where Chip has to first avoid pressing a tank button, then revealing hidden thin walls under chips, then make his way through some pop-up walls before finding the exit in the center lake. I think the first half of the level is built well, but would have liked to have seen more care taken with the ending. The red keys make no sense to me, except for the visual oddity, but they could have been used as stepping stones instead of the popups. Overall, this is a pleasant and short level that explores some visually cool MS only stuff.

 

The Bugs Who Couldn't Think for Themselves - eric119

 This level was a blast! Literally. I have not seen any other puzzle that requires a button to be pressed from a certain direction, so this was a great idea, and exactly what I was hoping this competition would produce. The execution is just right as well, with only one way to make the mechanism work with the tools given. My only complaint is that maybe there could have been a bit more to the level. Perhaps the existing puzzle could have been coupled with something similar because you only managed to wet my appetite with this idea and I would gladly have played another variation. Overall, I loved the concept and just seeing this level made this competition memorable for me.

 

Chips' Challenge - RB3ProKeys

 Ok, so here we have a maze that can confuse you because all the walls are made of Chips. I hold a pretty high standard when it comes to mazes. I think they have a place in CC canon, but for me to really like a maze it has to both be confusing and pleasurable at the same time. A lot of this has to do with the topology of the maze. In this case, there are a good mix of intersections where you can easily avoid going the wrong way and ones where you have to go check just to be sure. Is the maze too long? I think it's fine, even with the backtracking to the start. Would the maze benefit from some additional elements? Maybe, but these should enhance the visual confusion. I might have also included a time limit. The choice not to use one works well for some mazes and can avoid frustration, but including the right time limit can also add to the excitement. Overall, I'm glad this level was not so complicated that I had to try it several times, but I also a maze really has to wow me to be considered a great level.

 

The Second Most Insane Level In All Of Space! - RB3ProKeys

 I am not a fan of 'insane' levels. And what is the name of this level? At least it is very clear from the start that this level is not for me, thanks. One problem I have with levels that use 'advanced coding' is that it is generally unintuitive, I need an editor to really understand it, and I'm not sure if it is working right in Tile World. I'll save my rant for another day, so here I will judge the areas up to the point where I got stuck (the last room). I enjoyed the bug patterns and didn't actually realize while playing that they started on top of each other. However, having two rooms and so much work in the first one, did get a bit annoying when playing the level over. Maybe having some safe spots (particularly by the block which hides a thin wall) would have helped. My least favorite part is the bombs, just because I think it's a lazy bit of design. You need 13 blocks for that area, which adds nothing to the puzzle compared to a quarter of that amount. A similar thing could be said about the toggle + blocks area, but that was manageable. The pink balls were ok, and I liked how the tiles were buried when going to the trap button. Overall, I liked parts of this level but it did not end up being the best experience due to some details (and not being able to solve it in the end).

 

Mining - IceyLava108

 Here we have a level that uses hidden items under the floor. This is a valid way to require MS, since the only real way to mimic this behavior in Lynx is to hide items under blocks, which is much clunkier. This level feels much more open than any level could that used blocks. It advances naturally from one room to the next. The rooms aren't too long and contain a few nice corners that need to be checked for items. I do wonder about the chips and the socket here. Do you want the player to get trapped behind the appearing socket if they haven't found all the chips and just run to that corner carelessly? That would just make me feel stupid, when I rather would feel smart. I guess the payoff could be to find all three chips, run into the corner carelessly and feel smart that you can still get out, but not sure how often that happens in comparison. As it is, there is no reason to go into the corner (if you know it's empty) and thus even the chips in the previous rooms are redundant. Overall, I think the level was alright but some design choices have me a bit confused.

 

Suffocate - IceyLava108

 This level fails to work in Lynx because footwear can't be rehidden under blocks. There is also some puzzling involved here with the order of doing things, and that is nice. Not sure what else to say here really. (Sadly, I never did reach the secret hint.) Overall, a fun short level that on the surface doesn't cry out as something that couldn't be converted to Lynx in some way.

 

Sand Boxes - Syzygy

 Here we have an attempt at using invalid tiles combinations to hide things. These are hard to do and I don't think this really worked. The problem with the concept is that without looking at a map, every wrong step you make, requires you to restart and with a map the concept is almost pointless. There are ways around this and this level touches on some interesting areas, like the yellow key room and the way ff don't work when you first uncover them. Each of the small rooms by themselves in this level are not too bad, but putting them all in the same level and forcing the order they are played in is not fun. Overall, I think this level works as a starting point on what kind of ideas could work and could not work if the concept is explored further.

 

Serendipity - Syzygy

 Here we have another level that can be played in Lynx but not solved there. The reasons for this are: different boosting on ff, walking through ice corners, turning on a trap, and gliders burning. I think the last half of those could have been done equivalently in Lynx, but the first ones feel unique to MS and were the most interesting to me. Overall the level is a fun mix of dodging and gathering items, and I would gladly play it again.

 

Skeptic Debunked - Syzygy

 First off, sorry about including this in the wrong place in the initial release of the levels. I was so preoccupied with naming the different versions of the different levels correctly, that this one was not included in the right position in the set. Hopefully not many people missed it just because of this. Anyway, onto the level. I liked it! The time limit is just 100 seconds and this tells me it won't be a long level even if the starting screen looks daunting with ten buttons and precisely positioned other tiles as well. It turns out the time limit is pretty strict, but that is fine in some levels. The main feature that breaks Lynx play is maneuvering a block withing a toggling wall section. This could be annoying, but I enjoyed it (and the optimizer in me smiled at flicking a block off a wall, and grabbing a chip, saving [2] in the route compared to the same room without the toggles). I did have problem with crosschecking, which I feel could be avoided with more careful design. Come to think of it, such a thing is often avoided by using a bit more space and that's what this level could have used. Maybe having just a bit more time and giving the player some more room would make this an even better level, as it would be a bit more elegant and easier to digest. I did also like the glider and trap and block area which but I don't feel I managed to appreciate it fully because my heart was racing and the time was running out. (I guess that's good thing.) Overall, this level was a breath of fresh air between some longer levels that I was playing even though looking at it now in the editor I would like to see some details simplified.

 

Silhouettes de 101 Apparitions - Syzygy

 Ok, not going to go here. Sorry. Wrong place for this level :P

 

Seaweed - Syzygy

 Oh, I hated this level. Sorry. I thought the time limit was too tight. I don't enjoy the boosting. Basically the only thing that makes it not work in Lynx is boosting right after a teleport, which I don't personally enjoy. I don't like that all the chips are required and you can't return to the start. Even the glider part at the end is visually annoying (which could be the intention). Overall, I felt someone else might enjoy this level but it wasn't my cup of tea.

 

 And with that uplifting commentary, we move on in life! I have now given comments on all the levels but haven't ranked them or the participants. I hope to get those results up soon, but have some other things planned here too. Stay tuned! Hope to also see some comments from the rest of you :)

 

-Miika

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Don't mind me, I'm just using this space to figure out the rankings for this competition using this list of all the submissions. The results might take a day or two to get right, so come back soon for them! :)
 
MS:
Ram It Down - Cyberdog
MiSery - geodave
The Power of Slide Delay Compels You! - Ihavenoname248
Deprogression - chipster1059
The Bugs Who Couldn't Think for Themselves - eric119
Chips' Challenge - RB3ProKeys
The Second Most Insane Level In All Of Space! - RB3ProKeys
Mining - IceyLava108
Suffocate - IceyLava108
Sand Boxes - Syzygy
Serendipity - Syzygy
Skeptic Debunked - Syzygy
Seaweed - Syzygy
 
Lynx:

The Keys to Failure - Cyberdog

eXceLleNcY - geodave

Delayed Post - Ihavenoname248

Attack of the Keys - Chipster1059

Sea of Keys - eric119

Squares - IceyLava108

Bonfire - IceyLava108

Specific Gravity - J.B. Lewis

Swiped Away - Syzygy

Sub Station Alpha - Syzygy

 

Bonus:
School 4 2 Rules - Syzygy
Silhouettes de 101 Apparitions (two versions) - Syzygy
Standard Email Attachment Limit - Syzygy
1200 BPM - random 8
Hidden Agenda - M11k4
Squared Bonfire - IceyLava108 (new)
 

-Miika

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1200 BPM - random 8

Hidden Agenda - M11k4

 

These levels seem to be missing from the released version of the set.  <_<

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1200 BPM - random 8
Hidden Agenda - M11k4
 
These levels seem to be missing from the released version of the set.  <_<

 

Yes, because mine was so well hidden and the other one was just too fast for you to see! I'm compiling a new release of all the levels (splitting Lynx and MS into their own files), which will include both of these and possibly another one that you didn't see yet ;)

 

-Miika

[note: this was posted before I announced the results and new version of the set in my previous message, just to be confusing]

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Results!

 

I ranked all the levels separately according to rule set:

 

Lynx:

Swiped Away - Syzygy

Squares - IceyLava108

Sea of Keys - eric119

Attack of the Keys - Chipster1059

Specific Gravity - J.B. Lewis

The Keys to Failure - Cyberdog

Delayed Post - Ihavenoname248

eXceLleNcY - geodave

Sub Station Alpha - Syzygy

Bonfire - IceyLava108

 
MS:
The Power of Slide Delay Compels You! - Ihavenoname248
The Bugs Who Couldn't Think for Themselves - eric119
Deprogression - chipster1059
Serendipity - Syzygy
Suffocate - IceyLava108
Mining - IceyLava108
Skeptic Debunked - Syzygy
MiSery - geodave
Chips' Challenge - RB3ProKeys
Ram It Down - Cyberdog
Sand Boxes - Syzygy
Seaweed - Syzygy
The Second Most Insane Level In All Of Space! - RB3ProKeys
 

So how do I reconcile these into one ranking for the participants? This is something I didn't really consider when I started this competition. I kind of assumed everyone would just send in one level and I could rank them all in one list even if they were not in the same rule set. However with this many submissions and most participants making levels for both sections, it didn't feel right. Now I will weave the above two lists together in some reasonable way.

 

This means there is a tie for first place! Congratulations to Syzygy and Ihavenoname248! You both made great individual levels and all your levels were still impressive, so you totally deserve this. The next tier is IceyLava108 and eric119, so you are awarded a tied third place. The next place on the lists are held by eric119 and chipster1059, but as eric119 is already ranked, chipster1059 gets fifth place all to himself! Continuing like this, we get the full results, as well as some guys getting some credit for their bonus levels:

 

1. Suzygy & Ihavenoname248__ 13pts each
3. IceyLava108  & eric119____ 9pts each
5. chipster1059______________ 7pts
6. J.B. Lewis________________ 6pts
7. Cyberdog & geodave________ 5pts each
9. RB3ProKeys________________ 3pts
10.random 8 & M11k4__________ 2pts each
 
You have to admit, that competition was a blast! I did some extra work to put together a new release of all the levels here. They should now be easier to try and you should definitely check out the bonus levels too! All comments on any of the levels are still welcome!
 

-Miika

 

P.S. Here are bonus comments for all the bonus levels:

 

 

School 4 2 Rules (both rule sets) - Syzygy
 I like this simple level a lot. It has some hidden information, but not enough to be annoying. Particularly the final area is very well built, where you can figure it out on your first time through in either rule set if you just pay attention. I also like the length of the level, and this level is a fine addition to any custom set.
 
Silhouettes de 101 Apparitions (two versions) - Syzygy
 It took a long time for me to get around to playing this level because in the editor it looks pretty daunting! I have played it now, in both MS and Lynx, and again it took quite long to solve. As with some other long levels, I like many of the individual areas, but the combination is very arduous. If each section could just be simplified simplified simplified, I would like this level more. There was a lot of block pushing (back and forth!) at the starting area, the water-hidden-under-water is pretty mean in the ice area and doesn't add to the later area either, and the other parts are also pretty full of stuff (thin walls in many areas feel cramped). As for the comparison between MS and Lynx (since that's what this competition was about), I think there is more to the idea of having separate versions of a level than I first thought. I prefer the Lynx version (less hidden info), but the MS also presents some fun stuff that are similar to Lynx but still different. Maybe there is design space unexplored in this vein, where you have two versions of a level and make them feel the same but work differently. For this level though, I think the right choice would be to make one version that works in both, just because this is so long, or to split it into several smaller levels that explore the rule set differences in smaller chunks. Overall, I am glad I finished this challenge (thanks for sharing it!), but if a set has more than a handful of levels that look like this, I will probably skip the whole set.
 
Standard Email Attachment Limit (Lynx) - Syzygy
 I like this short level as well. Well, I do think the time limit should be increased just to give the player some time to think instead of having to just try stuff if they want to solve it on the first attempt. Though Syzygy originally made this level for Lynx, he withdrew it from the competition because he "found that a blue button made the level solvable in both and will be including it in my next update for the E-Trilogy set." Overall I think the puzzle is nice and the level was fun to play.
 
Hidden Agenda (MS) - M11k4
 I made this level years ago and I was going to include it in my set funfair0 (where it kind of still is, but not one of the main levels), but I didn't quite like that it was only solvable in MS. I was happy to find a fitting place for it here, among other similarly handicapped levels. The level tries to play around with invalid tiles in a confined space, but I don't think the end result is particularly fun. Finding the solution is probably pretty difficult, particularly if you do not look at a map for some of the hidden things. This was the very first level I ever made with the method "just open an editor and start drawing something" and the first version was ready in about three hours. At that moment I told myself that this sort of designing is very inefficient (at least for me) and I have tried to plan out my levels a bit more carefully since then at least half of the time. I would be very interested in hearing if anyone solves this one or how far you get before you think it's time to move on to other levels.
 
Squared Bonfire (Lynx) - IceyLava108
 Above, I talked about perhaps combining IceyLava108's two Lynx submissions into one, and here is the result. I like how the reduced the number of bombs in the bonfire as well as the changes to the key swapping too. The thief area is still symmetric (which I previously thought could be more interesting if it didn't repeat), but I guess it's not a big deal and it is not easy to keep it a square and not make it symmetric. I think this combination is an improvement overall and pretty fun.
 
1200 BPM (Lynx) - random 8
 I am very happy to see this level. It was submitted a few days late, so that is why it wasn't included in the actual competition. I feel this is a shame and more a shortcoming on my part in rushing to release all the levels. I am still so so so glad random 8 shared this with us, as the level is something truly remarkable. It is by far my favorite level that this competition produced. I would award you the win if it wasn't unfair to the other participants, but as it is I can only justify shared last place. I don't think I will say anything more about the level, so everyone can go and have a look and experience it for them self. 

 

 

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