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December 2015 Create Competition - First Impressions

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We often judge a book by it's cover even though we know there might be more to it than first meets the eye. Taking advantage of this, advertisers don't make bad covers for books they know are dreadful, or dull posters for awful movies, or boring commercials for second-rate movies. No of course not! Can you do the same for your level?


Your job is to create a level that sounds good and looks good at first impression. It does not have to be a poor level, (in fact I'd prefer if it was great), but the ranking for the competition will be based on these three things:

  1.  What you say about your level here in this thread before I play it. Advertise!
  2.  What I think of your level after looking at it for 1 minute in the editor.
  3.  How I feel about your level after playing it for 1 minute or till I die, which ever comes first.

How does that sound? Hopefully this will get you thinking about how a player experiences your creation more than before. If you feel you need a tighter restriction to get you going, consider these things that I enjoy in levels:

  • Chip's Challenge is about puzzles, not just walking around doing stuff. That can be fun too, but even a small puzzle will be better.
  • Use symmetry. Not just repeating an area, but changing something in it to highlight the difference.
  • Keep it simple. If your concept isn't simple, at least keep it elegant. This is not the same as easy necessarily.
  • Think about the playing and solving experience more than just drawing something in your editor.
  • Throw in something Christmassy, it is December after all ;)

When I have the time, I will play through the whole level after the competition and compare my thoughts on the level design with my initial reaction to the level, to see how they line up. (This just might take some time, and I want to provide the results quickly.)



-Submissions are open as long as it is 2015 where you live! I will accept submissions until I judge the competition.

-The level must be new; it must not have been released earlier. Don't share the level before the competition is over.

-Remember to promote your level before people see it. You can start that even before starting the level.

-It would be nice if your level is solvable in either MS or Lynx, preferably both. If it isn't, just hope I don't notice while I'm judging, and when I do notice, I will ask for an update so that the level can be enjoyed even after this competition.

-Please give the level a cool 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.

-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 or wacky things you come up with.


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, even though I will only look at the levels all at once. I prefer if you use your username and this competition in the subject. Keep it short and simple, something like: "December Create - Kylo Ren"


Now get to work! (On the levels, not real work. I don't expect you to do that.)



Edited by M11k4
changed deadline by one year

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So is this create competition mostly being based off aesthetics from the viewing in an editor? That's what I'm understanding.

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"...open as long as it is 2016..." That gives us plenty of time!! :huh:


I will be entering this competition with at least two levels. I think I will make them before adding a description though. But, I will tell you they will be smaller than my usual. I will also tell you that they will be more difficult puzzles than my usual. You will enjoy them immensely.

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It's not 2016 yet? :facepalm:


Yes, basically make a level that looks good in an editor, but I will also test the levels before ranking them. Honestly, this theme comes from not wanting to spend hours upon hours judging the competition, but it doesn't mean I don't think it will result in some cool new levels.


To give you more of an idea what random stuff I might be judging, I looked at CCLP1 with this sort of judging in mind, and here are a few levels that stood out:


#7, Under Pressure: This looks very simple, but the button placement and single glider intrigued me to wonder how it all might work together. After playing it, it did not turn out to be quite as exciting as it was in my head at first.


#10, Graduation: It's quickly clear what this level is about, going linearly through simple tasks. Understanding that this is meant as a review of the game mechanics (partly due to the name), I know this level fulfills its purpose even before I play it.


#13, The Monster Cages: The monsters here are confined but not knowing exactly what interactions Chip can have with them gets me excited to try. Note that they are still placed in a way that isn't too chaotic to scare me away.


#22, Repair the Maze: I see it's a maze, but with a twist. It's a puzzle, I love those! I quickly count the number of keys and where they are absolutely required and am a bit disappointed that only a couple are extra, but still know this to be a fun level on many levels. I get some of the same initial vibe from Sapphire Cavern (#46), but after playing them this one feels more interesting as the use of space fits better with the challenge. It would be hard to say that without playing through the two levels.


#28, The Last Starfighter: This doesn't look too special in an editor, but once I start playing it, I realize it is a level about the experience. The sound effects alone are cool, which is an aspect often overlooked in design.


#31, Quincunx: I quickly see this is a level I won't like. Sure the topology is a bit interesting, but it is only used to collect chips, instead of say a item swapper. At least it's quickly clear that this is a level for a different audience than me, so I am not as disappointed when I do play the level. (Would still rank it low, but would understand if someone else liked it.)


#41, Descending Ceiling: The map tells you exactly what's going to happen. It gets me excited to try how far I can get on each cycle. I won't find out if this is annoying or not until I play far into the level, so the initial impression is pretty positive.


#49, 49 Cell: This looks annoying. Will the monsters be a nuisance? It's hard to quickly tell how the forcefloors restrict Chip's movement between the rooms. At least it has some symmetry, but nothing here excites me to try the level and find out that it actually is pretty fun.


#59, Asterisk: I like pop-up wall mazes and puzzles, so this initially excited me. After playing for a minute, I'm a bit disappointed that the solution was pretty easy. Finding/creating a difficult yet elegant puzzle like this is not a given, so I it's not a bad level though.


#68, Flames and Ashes: I see that it's a puzzle where I need to lead the fireball to the bomb. Such a clear goal and am eager to try the execution!


#75, ToggleTank: This also feels like a dynamic puzzle. Playing it ultimately has me feeling it could be developed further to find more interesting arrangements of toggles and blocks, but the concept definitely got me interested.


#102, Frozen in Time: The levels in this set are getting more complex, so it's harder to form clear impressions of what's going to happen in the level when played. In those cases, most often the impression of the level is "ok so Chip goes there and there and there and does this but I'm not sure what the actual challenge is or if there are some huge complications on the way". It doesn't mean the level will be bad, it's just hard to know this quickly from the map. This level however, manages to surprise me within the first seconds of playing it especially after looking at the map, or even just the starting screen. In that sense the first moments with this level stand out from many others that look similar.


#114, Comfort Zone: This looks really fun. In a way I'm afraid to say that because all the entries to this competition will just be littered with similar setups, but this combination of dodging and logic looks like it could have the makings of something truly awesome.


#122, Jeepers Creepers: This looks like a fun way to build a maze. I can see it provides both reward for being careful and chances to be adventurous with the teeth. I'm a bit scared it fills the whole level, but it would still stand out from a set as a level I'd like to try.


#126, Peek-a-Boo: The symmetry first catches the eye and the use of space has me wondering what type of item swapper this will be. I try to map it out in my head, but miss something and get confused. The complexity is just right to require actually playing it and I know there won't be any big surprises or dodging, so I will feel comfortable I know what I am getting into when I try it.


#130, Dynamite: The objective is clear at first glance and there seem to be more than enough blocks. I know before playing it that I will need to think some, but not be too absolutely optimal, which feels nice.


#140, Automatic (Caution) Doors: This looks like a mess. I mean I don't have a clue what playing this will feel like just by looking at the map. The mechanism is just a bit too complex to really grasp without testing it. Ok, so I test it for a minute. I get it now! But if this was all I was judging the level on, I wouldn't know what puzzles lie ahead. I think my assessment of the level would end up being pretty cautious and I wouldn't be able to appreciate this as a masterpiece.


Hopefully that gives you some idea on what I might be thinking when I first see a level. Granted, these were all levels I already knew, so my perspective with the entries might be very different :P  At least I tried, so you should try and send something in too!

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I have now sent in 2 levels I made in late November for completely different reasons, that both fit the requirement well but also for different reasons. I already cleared this with Miika and it's acceptable to send these in.


Anyway, advertising time!


The first level is a teleporting itemswapper between identically shaped rooms, where every room has a different type of tile as the boundary. One of these rooms is exits that seem inaccessible, and another has bombs- I wonder how these are connected? This level was also made in the span of 15 minutes as a part of a challenge from my younger brother to see if we could make 3 good levels in a half hour. I'd say it succeeded here, but then again I'm not the judge of the competition ;)


The second level has a much more interesting tale behind it. In September I noticed the lack of create competitions being run, and realized some of the most successful restricted the design in some way beyond designing a level with a given theme. These usually meant building a level within a given set of walls- I believe Walls of CCLP2 had the most unique levels created for it of any create! What I noticed was that none of the creates restricted the allowed tiles, so I wondered how that could work out. The first idea was allotting every tile (or group of tiles, in the case of keys/locks and clone buttons/machines) a point value, and then the level would have to be designed within a given total point value. Unfortunately, this ran into a lot of problems without grouping (monsters trumped everything else, mazes trumped other gameplay types, blocks were either too useful or useless for the cost) and with grouping (itemswappers were basically impossible to create, still herding towards maze types but better). Then I had the breakthrough a few weeks ago.




I divided up the tiles into 4 palettes that I thought had a lot of flexibility in how the levels could be designed, with some duplications (exit is allowed in all 4 of course, but chips are only allowed in 3). My brother, mom and I all designed one level with each palette, all going a completely different direction, which showed that interesting and varied concepts and levels could be crafted from these restrictions. Of these, one of my levels stood out from the rest, as everyone I showed it to had a visible reaction upon seeing its design, even those who had never played CC before.


The design takes cues from a pair of J.B.'s levels: one intentionally, and the other noticed after the fact. I will not be describing the design any farther than this, as it would ruin the first impression of the design, but it will leave an impact, of that I can assure you.


End advertising.


So yeah this is also an announcement of sorts that I'll be running a create with the above theme in January (possibly as another super comp, remains to be seen). Should be a fun time :)

Edited by Ihavenoname248
Grammatical fixes.

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Alright I sent in my entry for this create competition. Thank you Miika for hosting this one, I've been dying to enter one that isn't hosted by yours truly for a long time :P


As for the promoting part of the competition...


The level I have made wasn't actually for this competition at first, but I decided to work with the original idea I had and make some adjustments to it for the competition. A couple days ago, I decided to continue working on my most recent CC1 levelset - JoshL6 instead of making levels for my CC2 set, due to a lack of interest it is getting as well as I myself have lost interest in the game (actually it's more of the former but the editor is annoying to use still) Anyway, the level I submitted - it is christmas themed and has no real concept, other than pure collection, which I don't make enough of. Upon completion of crafting this level, I decided to add a bit more to the aesthetics, since it looked too bland with just floor tiles. I wanted more color to the level and a variety of other different tiles, to keep the gameplay of the level fun and not as boring. I also chose to give this level a bit of leeway and provide a vast of possibilities for optimization. Even though I don't optimize myself, I still like to provide this for the ones that love to optimize. :)


If you know me well, you know the levels I make look amazing in the editor and this is no exception! Hope you like it!

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All right, so advertising my levels...


There are two of them.  The first one was actually created without the competition in mind as an effort to bring another set I made to 500 levels (really, it has about 450 right now) but I think it still fits the requirements well.  It originally began as an attempt to tell a story through a single level, without resorting to CCX files and such.  It is a mostly open level with several ways to handle it, and several surprises, none of which should be too cruel.


The second one was actually created with the competition in mind.  I already had a rough idea of how I would handle the concept, but I slightly modified it to fit the map (I was slightly getting used to the CC2 resizable map) and fit the Christmas theme.  The level itself is not very complex and most of the work was done to make it look good and feel Christmas-y.  Pretty much the only thing I am dissatisfied about this level is the title.  I really should have come up with something better than that.


Also, this was written after the levels were designed and submitted.


Um...that's it.

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The visual impact of a level's first few seconds of play can have a big effect on the overall experience of playing through the level, and monster movements can greatly add to that visual impact. A quirky, whimsical title that goes along with the aesthetics also plays a vital role in how the level is experienced. With these statements in mind, I designed my level for this competition. I tried to keep it fairly simple and flexible, but also challenging. Chip will need to keep his wits about him in order to get through this level.

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About my level for this competition:


Titled "Yet", think of it as kind of a spiritual successor to "Still" (which I consider to be the hallmark level of KWests.dat).


It originally started out as a longer concept named "Time to Kill", but during an earlier Create competition which called for levels with a time limit of 60 seconds, I decided to bring it down to a one-minute level.  I couldn't quite decide where I wanted to take the concept then, and so it was never made; but it seemed like it would make a good entry for this comp.


I should mention that the level will be disappointing to solve, and is not amusing but is rather a musing on the "playing and solving experience".




Unfortunately, I didn't get around to clearly deciding how I wanted to make the level this time either, and it is already 2016 where I live, so I have only this advertisement to submit and no actual level to go with it.



- Madhav.

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Do you like puzzles?

Do you like small levels?

Do you like memes in levels?


THEN YOU'LL LOVE MY NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN NEW LEVEL! Now with over 30% more tiles!*


It has rectangles! It has the spirit of Christmas! It works in both rulesets! And you definitely won't certainly never not say you don't not dislike it, because it's 100% pure puzzle! with added level themes


But wait, there's more! Get it when it's released and I'll throw in a BONUS LEVEL for FREE! That's right, FREE!!!!11!@ You don't even have to pay shipping or handling!


That's a $100 value for ONLY A FRACTION OF THE COST! the fraction being 0/100


Don't wait, because this is a limited-time offer.**


Coming soon to a CC Zone near you.


*Compared to a version of the level that uses less than 76% of the tiles used in the current version.

**Not really, I'm just trying to fit in as many clichés as a can.





Edited by random 8
moved footnotes from signature to inside the post
  • Upvote 4

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I originally wanted to use a level or two I had already created, but I looked through and none had a Christmas theme. It seemed lazy anyway, so I decided against adapting a few for use and decided to create a couple. I didn't have any idea what to do until yesterday, but executing the design was much more difficult than I had conceived. One section of the first took about 2 hours to create, so I used a chalkboard to help me organize my ideas and speed up the process.


And then they were finished soon after. 


My first level has you choose your adventure. It has a Christmas theme, it's not very hard, and it has a small time limit, so be quick! 


My second level is small and based upon the Melee level theme. It also has a short time limit and a Christmas theme. It's more difficult than the previous level. 

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It's no longer 2015 where I live. I can hardly wait to obtain the results from this really interesting competition idea. Any idea when the levels will be uploaded to CCZone?

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One of my incentives to use this particular theme for a create competition was so I could record a video of how I judged the competition. Now that video is ready and you can view it below! However, it didn't turn out quite as I had planned it in my mind. The main issue was the length, and even after I edited out half of what I recorded, it is 47 minutes long. There are some production related ideas too that I didn't think of before recording, like when I finally rank the levels, I could have used something more visual. If you are ready to give it a shot, here it is:



So there you have it. And here you have a summary of the results if you watched that or very eager to know:



December 2015 Create Competition - First Impressions

1. random 8______ 15pts Do you even lift? ; The Emperor's New Level

2. chipster1059__ 12pts Infiltration and Escape The Hills in Winter

3. RB3ProKeys____ 10pts No Refunds Last Minute

4. Ihavenoname248_ 8pts Diametric Opposition Connections

5. Cyberdog_______ 7pts Waltz of the Kerosene Fire Fairies

6. Flareon350_____ 6pts Holiday Trail

7. Syzygy_________ 5pts Walk in the Part Twenty Chips Romper Room Midterms Mouse Trap

8. KeyboardWielder 4pts Yet



Congratulations to the winner! On your 17th time entering a competition here, including six previous create competitions (two of which were second place), you have won your first competition here on CC Zone! Well done and am already waiting for your next 17 submissions!


Congratulations also to Ihavenoname248 for winning the 2015 Chip Cup! With these points it is now official and certainly well-deserved. You did an amazing amount of work on Chip's Challenge last year, including reaching 500 MS bolds. Wow! Is there any way you can match that this year?


Also thanks to all the participants! These things would be very dull without you all. Special call out to KeyboardWielder, who becomes the first person to place in a (non-mini) create competition without making a level.


Since settling on the ranking, I have played and solved all the levels. Some of the rankings would change, but not too much. The levels are available in the downloads, updated to match the rankings. Am eager to hear any of your thoughts on the levels, and even feedback on the video. Have a fun 2016!




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Congratulations also to Ihavenoname248 for winning the 2015 Chip Cup! With these points it is now official and certainly well-deserved. You did an amazing amount of work on Chip's Challenge last year, including reaching 500 MS bolds. Wow! Is there any way you can match that this year?

Thanks :D I had a lot of fun working on each of the competitions this year and J.B. was a formidable opponent to be running even with for most of the year. Once he missed a competition though it was mostly a foregone conclusion though...


I don't think I'll be matching the amount of work this year though, since I did go from ~400 to 500 in 2015 (0 to that point in 2014). I'd have to heavily work on Lynx and I think I'll be turning my primary focus to other games for the foreseeable future while cleaning up some initial MS scores. I'm definitely not leaving the community anytime soon though :P


As for the competition results- looks like I got done in by submitting first due to jitters on Connections and missing a minor detail of Diametric Opposition. Ah well, somewhat to be expected with the rules, I'm somewhat surprised I placed as highly as I did after seeing the first impressions!

Edited by Ihavenoname248

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