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Ihavenoname248

May 2017 Create Competition - Simply A-Maze-Ing

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So, hopefully the end of CCLP4 voting hasn't burned you all out! While going through the levels, I noticed that there were multiple different kinds of fun- levels that were fun to play, fun to solve, or both. Many of the best levels scratch both itches at the same time, and this is reflected in Create results. I didn't really realize this formally, however, until Walls of CCLP1, where my simpler level just couldn't go farther due to being simple to solve. I love this sort of level and I think it's underappreciated, so now it's time to focus on it!

 

Your task is to make a maze level. There can be other features to the level- itemswapping, puzzles, dodging and so on, but the focus of the level should be on the maze aspect. You may make your level in either CC1 or CC2, with neither being the dominant or preferred method of entry. Be creative, and make sure it's a fun experience to play!

 

Notes (as usual, shamelessly cribbed from Miika):

-Submissions are open through June 3rd where you live!

-The level must have the main theme of a maze. Additional sections are fine and may even add to the level if used carefully, but I want a maze!

-The level must be solvable, but does not need to work in both MS and Lynx.

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

-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 jbardonjr at charter dot net. 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: "May Create - Tyler"

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I have one maze level made already (Y) trying to get another made as I type this.

 

It's nice to have a simple create competition again, thanks in advance for hosting this!

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Just a reminder that this competition is open for another 2-3 days and I will be streaming my first impressions (and the judging process) for all submitted levels once the competition closes!

 

Get your labyrinths in while you still can!

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Submissions are (un)officially closed! After I get something to eat (and do a couple other things, so about 2 hours from this post), I'll be streaming here so you can watch me get lost in a bunch of mazes- I'll still accept any levels received before I start the stream, but once it's up that's it.

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Download the levels in question so you can play them yourself!
http://cczone.invisionzone.com/index.php?/files/file/624-may-2017-create-entries-simply-amaze-ing/
 
With that out of the way, onto the results!

(9th) The Island - rubenspaans (CC1)
There's nothing inherently wrong with a simple pathing level like this, but it lacked anything to really stand out in this group to me. I did enjoy this level and the asymmetry in the ice area, as well as the "dirt" maze were nice touches. That this is last really speaks to the quality of the submissions more than anything else.

 

(8th) Find the Exit - IceyLava108 (CC1)
Anyone who watched my Josh-CCLP4 LP knows that there are few design tropes I hate more than blue/hidden/invisible walls next to deadly obstacles. This level features a small blue wall maze with ice (a common thread in these mazes) and... deadly obstacles. And yet, this maze took my expectations of pain and suffering of rushing through a 50 second time limit and made the level... actually kind of enjoyable. I think I enjoyed The Island more than this, slightly, but I'm ranking Find the Exit 8th for what it managed to accomplish.

 

(7th) TO MAZE OR NOT TO MAZE - MyDisplayName (CC2)
So. This is my mother. She entered three levels- I'll talk about the other two briefly first. CHIP & MELINDA - THE A-MAZING DUO reminded me a lot of Steam from the original game, in that there are two overlaid mazes with preset crossing points. However, the low time limit combined with having to parse male/female signs forced me to mark it down significantly. You shouldn't need a custom tileset to be able to complete a level! THE KEYS TO UNLOCK A MAZE has nothing technically wrong- it's just a path with some offshoots for red keys with no extras, and gave a very Jungle vibe. It still wasn't all that interesting to play and I have a narrow preference for yet another level with too long of a title. A transmogrifier, railroad and area button sections were the high points, with the low points being a recessed wall "puzzle" and a blue/green wall section with one fake per color. I also had to backtrack a lot, and managing backtracking is a crucial part of maze design. The prior two entries were of the "collect items on the way to the exit" and "get to the exit" varieties, and this is the first "go out and collect" maze on the list.

 

 

(6th) I'm a Maze(d)! - "PASTA!" (CC1)
I don't have much to say here- it's a collection of 9 rooms with mazelike themes, and each one uses a different element. I liked the key/lock room and ice room the best, especially the ice maze that looks more complex than it is. I didn't like the teleport room (too long) or the force floor room (too strict to reach suction boots). I still enjoyed playing this level and ranking this competition has been by the slimmest of margins. My youngest sister's other entry, Get Lost!, is just a wall maze with some red keys and chips. Ordinary.

 

 

(5th) A Fractal Maze - M11k4 (CC1)
Ouch! I really, really liked this level and it pains me to rank this low, but... the mechanism is broken. The gimmick is that you have to navigate an ice and thin wall maze, pressing toggle and tank buttons the same amount of times (but no more than twelve). Blocks that bounce back on ice enforce this, and this was such a cool concept with great execution- the maze is just complex enough to not be fully understood while playing but just simple enough to not be hopelessly lost... but if you've pressed both buttons 4 times, then hitting the fireball cloning button will partial post one ball ahead, desynchronizing them. I avoided this issue by pressing more buttons myself, but this still cripples the level to me as solving the puzzle optimally arbitrarily doesn't work. I did love how this level made traversing the same path feel like progress, though. I think this would have won had the mechanism worked properly- it'd have made my decision quite difficult is for sure. The simpler version, A Simple Fractal Maze, replaces the thin walls with blue walls. I don't think this is a good use of blue walls- you need to see and understand the layout and blue walls obfuscate that.

 

 

(4th) Topiary - RB3ProKeys (CC1)
I don't have much to say here, either. You walk around a green lock+gravel field picking up chips and items from every dead end. What keeps this from being tedious is that there are many smaller loops throughout the structure- I very much appreciate this! You may have to go everywhere, but this is a classic maze done right. Loops are a great way to cut down on backtracking in a maze, and something underused in contemporary CC design these days.

 

 

(3rd) ICE MAIDEN - H2O (CC2)

H2O submitted 10 levels, of which 8 were mazes. I liked 4 and disliked 4, so let's copy the notes for my dislikes.

 

 

Keeping Track (cool railroad maze, I liked it until I realized the glider was needed and pushing one "extra" block cooked the level)
Chip Away (nice concept of one way passages with pink buttons and walls, ruined by extra steps and hidden puzzle)
Come Together (felt like puzzle in hallways- see Twisty Little Passages. Too much hidden information, such as not wanting to pick up chips or needing the bowling ball at the end)
Stop the Clock (really nice concept absolutely ruined by too many gotchas and yellow teleports, turning the maze with 9 states + toggles/tanks into a puzzle akin to Rotation on steroids)
 
A common thread for these 4 levels is that they erred too far towards puzzle compared to maze, and had hidden gotcha moments late in a long level that would force replaying. Keeping Track in particular had a lot of potential- it really didn't need a boot dropping puzzle with the skates past the socket when it's entirely possible you won't have seen the socket/skates or exit/bomb yet by the time you see the glider, and won't have seen either by the time you see the "extra" block. Pushing that block early gives 100 points and a dirty screw, as the glider needs to bounce off of it. That said, I liked how each railroad section in Keeping Track felt distinct despite just being pieces of track on gravel.

And now for some brief comments on what I liked.
Hot Buttons (AN ACTUAL MAZE where 3 button presses allowed, 2 required. Basically ghetto Repair the Maze combined with Chip Be Steady)
In Low Water (thief+bribe maze where the dirt boots become extra at the end, a gotcha moment done right))
Tori (screenwrap maze, really nicely done with a 5x5 introduction, a 7x7 with one wrap, and then a 9x9 to finish. Perfect scaling on the difficulty- basically Ryan's Continuum without the long ice slides as allowed by CC2)
Ice Maiden (small, confusing ice maze split across screen lines with a surprising way to reach the exit.)

 

 

 

(2nd) Transparent Blur - Flareon350 (CC1)
Here we have a force floor maze with thieves and some unreachable yellow keys, until all chips are collected. This is the only two phase maze I received and I had a lot of fun playing it. The only things holding it back from winning outright are the concept of the winner, and the second phase. Zipping around on the force floors with all the loops and retraversing as progress was fantastic... but the level lost its low after picking up the suction boots. As I mentioned onstream, there were just too many thieves forcing a specific angle of approach for each key and the exit. It really didn't need to be locked off, and less thieves to make more loops would have again, made my job very difficult.

 

 

(1st) TOTALLY RANDOM MAZE - 263739 (CC2)
And this is an amazing concept. You have random force floors adjacent to water in a strict, matriced pattern, but some bridges are out. There is one deathtrap that almost brought the ranking down (and likely would have, had 2nd or 5th been patched) but without the deathtrap, it'd be between this and Miika. As it stands- remembering "up right down left" as you navigate is actually really enjoyable, and it's scaled just right to not overstay its welcome. I'm a sucker for levels that have you remember extra information as you play (like Miika's and Rotation) and this does it so well. Congratulations to my brother for taking the win with a CC2 level that basically plays like Lynx!

 

 

So, here's the points breakdown.

 

 

263739: 15

Flareon350: 12

H2O: 10
RB3ProKeys: 8

M11k4: 6

"PASTA!": 5

MyDisplayName: 4

IceyLava108: 3

rubenspaans: 2

 

 

Thanks to all the entrants! I think that mixing CC1 and CC2 worked well here and hope future competitions continue attempting this. We need more CC2 levels!

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I can safely say I was not expecting my entry to get 2nd place, but I'm more than happy with it. That 1st place level deserved the win (Y)

 

Regarding my level - the only reason I didn't include more loops in it was simply just to keep it as a true maze aka have dead ends and include the "lost" factor. Being a create competition looking for mazes, I wanted to at least have a level that stayed as true as possible to how good mazes should be :)

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Yeah, I sent eight entries to make sure to have really easy levels which you cant cook, pure mazes as well as levels with some itemswapping or puzzle elements :)


So it's not a surprise that you didn't like each level equally, yet keep in mind, you wrote:
There can be other features to the level- itemswapping, puzzles, dodging and so on, but the focus of the level should be on the maze aspect.
and
Additional sections are fine and may even add to the level if used carefully, but I want a maze!


I have to clarify that no level includes any hidden information whatsoever in the regard you're suggesting, and especially but not exclusively of cause no hidden gotcha moments which force replying in any way (Y)


Keeping Track: Wasting resources in CC or CC2 is always a bad idea, destroying a block by pushing it into a bomb for no reason is no exception :P
Come Together: There is no hidden information, the chips are used instead of regular walls, to give the player the option to explore the rest of the level, even if they do not solve the puzzle section of the level, yet if you see more chips than you need, and used as walls, most people probably assume that this is the case. You don't need the bowling ball at the end, the one you are speaking of, has to be used to solve the first puzzle, you get another one. You obviously had way too much fun playing / messing around with Chip and Melinda, instead of paying attention at your surroundings or trying to solve the puzzle :facepalm:
Chip Away: There is no hidden puzzle. The answer to your question when playing the level and you pushed the block into a corner, how you were supposed to know, is easy, you just passed by this block twice and both times did not just have full vision of the block, but as well of the corner in which you still pushed it :huh:And even if you cook the level by pushing a block in the wrong direction and making it therefore unobtainable, you can get to this section, the only puzzle part of the level, within 16 seconds (keep in mind, you can collect the chips at the start whenever you want), so you really don't have to replay a lot.
Stop the Clock: I guess you prefer e.g. the level Dirt File from the set Rising, especially since you obviously don't like yellow teleports, but yes, that's what Stop the Clock is about. There are no gotchas, just don't waste the things you get or get access to, and of cause you see the end before having to do anything, you even stared at it for several seconds :rolleyes:Btw. your assumption about the chip is wrong.


 

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There can be other features to the level- itemswapping, puzzles, dodging and so on, but the focus of the level should be on the maze aspect

 

...make sure it's a fun experience to play!

 

 Additional sections are fine and may even add to the level if used carefully, but I want a maze!

Come Together and Stop the Clock definitely crossed the line from maze to puzzle in a mazelike space, and certain other elements of these levels weren't fun for me.

 

I'm just to to quotestrip inside the spoiler...

 

 

Keeping Track: Wasting resources in CC or CC2 is always a bad idea, destroying a block by pushing it into a bomb for no reason is no exception :P

Though you're not wrong, this is still needlessly annoying. The level would have been much stronger without the glider redirection at the end requiring a drastic change in thought process and suddenly timing at the end of the level. Additionally, it wasn't for no reason. What if there was something essential under that block? It happened to be points, so I assumed at the time that it was just a bonus and shortcut.

Come Together: There is no hidden information, the chips are used instead of regular walls, to give the player the option to explore the rest of the level, even if they do not solve the puzzle section of the level, yet if you see more chips than you need, and used as walls, most people probably assume that this is the case. You don't need the bowling ball at the end, the one you are speaking of, has to be used to solve the first puzzle, you get another one. You obviously had way too much fun playing / messing around with Chip and Melinda, instead of paying attention at your surroundings or trying to solve the puzzle :facepalm:

I already knew this wasn't my favorite of your levels- remember, I liked Tori quite a bit by this point. After I realized this wasn't going to be a favorite, I gave it a token effort and moved onto the next. I also tried to see the entirety of the level to see how it would progress- this is the playing/messing around, as you put it. CC2 allows multiple hints so would it really have been difficult to say outright at the start that you don't want to collect chips unless you must? No, and it would have made the level stronger by taking an assumption and making it something known. But you're right, I didn't try to solve the puzzle because it would have been a waste of time in the context of the stream.

Chip Away: There is no hidden puzzle. The answer to your question when playing the level and you pushed the block into a corner, how you were supposed to know, is easy, you just passed by this block twice and both times did not just have full vision of the block, but as well of the corner in which you still pushed it :huh:And even if you cook the level by pushing a block in the wrong direction and making it therefore unobtainable, you can get to this section, the only puzzle part of the level, within 16 seconds (keep in mind, you can collect the chips at the start whenever you want), so you really don't have to replay a lot.

At this point, you ran into the drawback of submitting many entries. Yes, you get more shots to find something I like, but you also don't get quite as much focus on any given level as if it doesn't catch my interest, well, you submitted so many more! I could have foreseen the trap I fell into and should have, yes, but I didn't. You'll note that I did go into the editor and work out how the section would have worked- I had no interest in replaying it at that point and the dynamite at the end was completely unnecessary to pad out the level and create another opportunity for failure. Just because you can add something doesn't mean you should.

Stop the Clock: I guess you prefer e.g. the level Dirt File from the set Rising, especially since you obviously don't like yellow teleports, but yes, that's what Stop the Clock is about. There are no gotchas, just don't waste the things you get or get access to, and of cause you see the end before having to do anything, you even stared at it for several seconds :rolleyes:Btw. your assumption about the chip is wrong.

I asked for a maze and I got a puzzle that is Rotation on steroids. It wasn't going to be the best of your entries and was overly complicated. I don't dislike yellow teleports on principle but they have by far the most complexity of anything in the game, and that complexity needs to be managed very carefully to be fun. This level required thinking of which general area to place the teleport, which state the walls needed to be in, the toggles, the tanks, the traps, which exact tiles so that they can still be retrieved... it was too much, especially when combined with the timer trap. Do you really think I'm going to be able to look elsewhere while trying to track all of that other stuff?

 

 

I hope that explains what my issues were with those levels better.

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Thanks for your reply and feedback  :) 
 


At this point, you ran into the drawback of submitting many entries.
That's true, I was aware of this drawback, and if someone wants to blame someone, of cause that's entirely my fault, yet I hope you had some fun playing through them :rolleyes:
 
CC2 allows multiple hints so would it really have been difficult to say outright at the start that you don't want to collect chips unless you must? No, and it would have made the level stronger by taking an assumption and making it something known.
Thanks for your recommendation, I will make this change in the next version of the level :happy:
 
What if there was something essential under that block?
I generally don't like hidden information where knowledge about it is required to solve a level, so I do not use this type of hidden information in any single level. Neither is there a reason, to assume, the level would be badly designed, nor is it a good idea to destroy a block even if you assume otherwise, before exhausting all other options - but the argument doesn't work anyhow, as you could assume with this line of thinking, that there is fire or something else deadly under the block... :huh:
It happened to be points, so I assumed at the time that it was just a bonus and shortcut.
It's not shortcut, the path has exactly the same length as the one two tiles above, but yes, the whole point of being able to destroy the block is to get a bonus later on.
 
This level required thinking of which general area to place the teleport, which state the walls needed to be in, the toggles, the tanks, the traps, which exact tiles so that they can still be retrieved...
It is the longest level and not the easiest one, I included it more, to offer everything from easy mazes to a slightly tricky yellow teleport one.
Yet I think there is an important mechanic of yellow teleports which most players I saw (except Joshua Bone) seem to completely miss, you can step off yellow teleports in any direction you want, which is important because this means you can retrieve them almost always, except e.g. you are placing both not adjacent to at least a single wall... :cool:

It's actually really hard to cook a level this way, out of the 14 possible combinations if one teleport is adjacent to at least one wall, the other one not, every single one is retrievable, if one is adjacent to one wall, there are 52 combinations which work perfectly fine and just 4 which potentially cook the level etc.

 

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aww. I check in here at least once a week or more and somehow I totally missed this! I would've entered! :(

 

At least I can play these levels and make some comments here if that's okay?

 

How often do you guys run create contests? Is it alright if I run one sometime? Though if I did, I would use a different method of judging; I would not judge them all by myself. I like the format I've seen other places of putting up a poll so everyone can vote.

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Of course- there's no better place to leave comments on the levels than the thread for the competition!

 

Generally, these competitions are ran once a month at most (depending on ideas and what else is going on), so usually 6-8 per year. If you have an idea for a create, then running it is fine- though with CCLP4 (voting) in past months and the release hype + eventual release, I expect you'd want to wait until September or October to start it, to get as many potential entrants as possible.

 

There was a create a few years back that did try community polling for the rankings, but I don't think it went anywhere and the final results were unilaterally decided anyway. Don't let that stop you from trying- but you may need to rank by yourself in the end, anyway.

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