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James

Holiday Create 2017/2018 - Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

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The holiday season is all about spending quality time with family and friends, but who says that need only apply to real life gatherings? 

In this competition, you will be *pairing up with another community member* to design your level as a team! Many amazing collaboratory levels have been produced over the years from community members honing each others' ideas as a team, and the experience of working with and learning from each other while making a great level adds a lot to an already fun experience. If you haven't designed a level with someone else before, this is the perfect opportunity to try it out!

If you are having trouble finding a partner - or don't even know where to begin doing that - try posting a message here or posting a message to the CC Discord server. If that doesn't work, email me and I can try to set you up with others who are looking for a partner. (In the absolute worst case scenario I will team up with an odd-entrant-out to guarantee that nobody gets left out.) 

There will be no level restrictions for this competition: all types of levels are allowed and welcomed. The only "rule", if you will, is to have a strong sense of teamwork with your collab partner when designing your level. (i.e. if you and your partner both create some stuff independently and you lazily copy-paste it all into the same level to create a "collaboration", that effort will be judged much more harshly than a partnership who talked together about their ideas and refined each others' concepts while working together towards a common goal.)

Bonus points will be awarded for:

* Doing a little write-up alongside your entry describing who did what, how the level came to be, and what the process of collaborating was like for both of you

* Giving your level some kind of connection to the holiday season (it doesn't have to be much)

* Having some kind of creative/novel usage of random elements (anyone can stick a few blobs in a room for the sake of giving the player some generic monster to dodge, but can you add random elements to your level in a meaningful way such that they couldn't simply all be changed to other monsters or tiles without detracting from the level?)

Please send your entries to jraanderson at msn dot com (or pm them to me here). I will send a reply confirming that I have received your entry.

Notes:

* I want to keep this open a bit longer than usual due to the logistics of collaborating with another person and how designing these levels will probably take more time than usual, so the preliminary deadline for this competition will be midnight (UTC-8) on the evening of January 31st. I will continue to accept late entries until I post the results, though late entries may be penalized.

* You may submit as many levels as you like, but please only submit one level per partnership. (I'm looking at you, Tyler and Josh!) Please feel free to form new partnerships in order to submit more levels.

* All rulesets are permissible: the level can be created for Lynx, MS (including MSCC-only and pgchip stuff if you want), or CC2 as long as it is solvable.

* Entrants receive the normal prizes: the "You're Winner!" award, Chip Cup points, and the "Tool Box" award for first time entrants.

* Please ask about unclear situations.

Edited by James
edit to clarify that having multiple partnerships is ok/encouraged
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Now that James is surely working intensely on the results for this competition I can reveal how (or at least my suggestion on how) the Chip Cup points for this competition will work.

First place collaborators - 13 Chip Cup points each.
Second place collaborators - 9 Chip Cup points each.
Third place collaborators - 7 Chip Cup points each.
Fourth place collaborators - 5 Chip Cup points each.
Fifth place collaborators - 3 Chip Cup points each.
Sixth and lower place collaborators - 1 Chip Cup point each.

For some not-entirely-necessary reasoning behind this list, read 

 

Usually a competition rewards the winner with 15 Chip Cup points and the lower for other positions, with a combined addition of about 70 Chip Cup points added to the boards per competition if there are enough entrants. We have deviated from this scheme with "Super Competitions" that have lasted two or more months by roughly doubling those numbers, and also adjusting amounts when ties have occurred. I don't want to add a possible 280 Chip Cup points to the boards by counting this as a Super Competition and rewarding each partner the maximum points. We also have the question of whether this will be included in the 2017 or 2018 Chip Cup. I'll explain the suggestion through an example.

Winning entry by participants A and B.
Second place entry by participants C and D.
Third place entry by participants E and B.

A is rewarded 13 Chip Cup points for having been part of creating the winning entry, tying for first place.
Similarly B deserves 13 Chip Cup points, but as (s)he as another entry lower down the list, what happens there?
Both C and D are rewarded 9 Chip Cup points, which is the same amount that a tied third place would get as there are two people who placed higher than them.
For the third place entry, E and B would similarly earn 7 Chip Cup points; however, B already has 13 points so (s)he doesn't get any more from this entry. (A participant's best entry usually only counts.) But now E has not tied with anyone, couldn't they get more points? Maybe, but that gets unnecessarily complicated and I prefer to keep the positions worth a pre-set amount. (I think of the comparison to normal ties as a guideline for the totals, not the definitive rule.)

We could also have gone with a bit higher amounts like 15, 12, 10, 8, 7... but the total could get quite high overall (as you'll see below).

As for the season this counts for, we have usually had a season finishing competition in December, and the first competition to end in the new year has been the first competition of that season. We have considered running a season for for more than a year, but there is another solution to this situation too...


These points will count for the Chip Cup 2017. And the Chip Cup 2018. Yes, this competition both ends the Chip Cup for last year and starts the one for this year. As this was a longer competition than we usually do, participants also in a sense get double the points than normal!

 

With that secret out of the way, it's time to start a couple new competitions...

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Sorry for the delay in posting the results!

We had 4 levels submitted for this competition by 7 unique participants. There were a few additional people who expressed interest in participating, but who unfortunately had to back out due to a lack of time to commit to a competition like this. Overall I'm happy with how things went - everyone who submitted levels seems to have enjoyed the experience and had a lot of fun, which was the point after all :)

I had a hard time judging this one, as all four levels were enjoyable. Without further ado...

4th place:

 

"LEGGO-MY-KEYS" (Chipster1059 and mobius)

This level was fun to play! I liked the blob/blue key dynamic and I liked the aesthetics. I did get the sense that one person entirely designed the northern area and one person entirely designed the southern area - confirmed by the design comments afterwards - but the two areas still interacted well and my enjoyment of the level was not affected by that. I initially thought the southern area was way too easy, but upon reflection I appreciate the fact that it helped create a relaxing feel to the level and allow the player to figure out the point of the level without any stress. Great job, guys!

About the blue key room: my initial solving method was to weave a path that went north, east, and then south around the room that did not open up any blue keys, then releasing the blob afterwards and forcing it through with a block; I assume this is the intended solution, though the ending is a bit awkward. (You either have to wait until the blob advances far enough such that (13,7) is safe to open with enough time to go back and get the block and re-block the path, or you can push the block down to (14,8) and wait for the blob to straggle to the finish on its own.) However, as I take another look at the level just now I notice that you can render the "no blue key" sign pointless by simply opening blue doors with whatever keys you have, so you can actually just burn straight through the entire room from (4,13) to (14,13) - getting the four at risk keys along the way and simply opening four blue doors afterwards - and render the rest of the room pointless.

3rd place:

 

"Holiday Spirits" (IHNN and ElaineSpencer)

This level's aesthetics were very immersing, and the details (e.g. the teeth maneuvering) were all very polished. There was something to do in each area without anything feeling overbearing or overly complex, and the entire level was fun with a great casual feeling. I especially liked how the two designers submitted a levelset showcasing all the intermediate steps in the collaborative design process, which was really cool! I'm not sure if the blob/tank device was an attempt at the "creative/novel usage of random elements" bonus points; while it was cute, it was not enough to get said points =P

There were two things - besides the lack of random element bonus points - holding this level back from contending for #1. Firstly, it sometimes felt like I was playing Yet Another Yet Another Modern-Style Good Chip's Challenge 1 Level at times; while the whole level was solid, it wasn't quite as memorable as the other submissions. Secondly, there was a bust in the original submission (which went un-noticed and un-fixed until I pointed it out earlier in March) which involved being able to obtain an extra red key which could then be used to break-in to the chip socket area from the right and ultimately win by tunneling your way through to (7,29). This was not a huge deal - even with the extra key it was not easy to find a way to the exit, and busts in levels like this that almost dare you to find alternate uses for the keys can actually add to the gameplay experience (IMO) - but it wasn't totally irrelevant either.

2nd place:

 

"CCLP2 #94 (Checkerboard II): 776 (b+10)" by Warwick Anderson and Dale Bryan (unknown date)

After a relentless onslaught by David Stolp in 2004 crushed their previous record of 750 on this level, Warwick and Dale composed one of the most masterful routes of the pre-CCLP3 era. Though eventually beaten again by David Stolp, the 776 stands tall as a tremendous example of block pushing, monster manipulation, macro- and micro- planning, and...wait, what? Not this kind of collaboration? Oh, my bad. But wait, what happened to second place?

1st place:

 

"Four Blocks and a Baby" (M11k4 and Markus)
"THE GIFT OF GIVING" (Ajmiam and Chipster1059)

Has there been a tie in a create competition before?!

M11k4 and Markus created an abstract puzzle level where you guide a walker through a dangerous setting with limited tools at your disposal. Luck *can* theoretically bail you out, but the intended solution doesn't require any. The concept was great, the design was great, the puzzle itself was great, and the experience of solving it was great. I was additionally quite impressed by the fact that I got a submission like this at all! Usually collaborating on a level like this (as opposed to "I'll do this area, you do that area") is quite hard - especially when there is a deadline - and I liked the way the two designers described how they went back and forth with their ideas. Overall, I was really impressed.

Ajmiam and Chipster1059 created a level that had several smaller puzzles, all of which have multiple solutions that depend on what boot you bring into the room with you. Combined with a randomizing feature that gives you different boots every time, the level is different every time you play it. This was an *amazing* example of "creative/novel usage of random elements", and the randomizing feature was spun quite nicely as a gift-giving exchange which was a really cool way of fitting the holiday theme as well. The puzzles themselves were well-designed, the aesthetics were nice, and in a great feat of teamwork the entire level was completed all in the last 3 days after a last-minute partnership! I was really impressed here as well.

I waffled back and forth many times, but was never able to pick between the two levels. In a past create competition Miika said he resolved an effective tie by waiting a bit and seeing which one stuck with him over time as being more memorable, but both of these levels ended up being just as memorable to me. I tried breaking the tie by evaluating teamwork, but both partnerships showed great teamwork. I tried evaluating other factors, but I was never able to come up with anything meaningful. (THE GIFT OF GIVING has more replayability by far, but Four Blocks and a Baby has so much content the first time that it doesn't need replayability. THE GIFT OF GIVING probably appeals to more players overall, but Four Blocks and a Baby probably *deeply* appeals to more players overall. THE GIFT OF GIVING and Four Blocks and a Baby both have terrible Melinda times :P)

Ultimately, I was unable to separate the two in any meaningful way and thus I declare the first ever collab create competition to end in a collab for first place! :chipwin: I suppose all four of you will get 11 points, as per a continuation of the logic in Miika's post. If awards ever come back at some point, you all qualify for the Doppleganger award as well as the You're Winner award (if not already awarded). Additionally, anybody who entered this as their first ever Create Competition is also eligible for the Whatever It Was Called, Somebody Remind Me Award.

Congratulations to all and thank you for participating! It sounds like everyone had fun collaborating with others, and perhaps there will be more such competitions in the future. I will post the levels (and team write-ups) when I wake up.

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9 hours ago, James said:

Additionally, anybody who entered this as their first ever Create Competition is also eligible for the Whatever It Was Called, Somebody Remind Me Award.

The Tool Box Award?

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Wow, thanks James for the great reviews of the levels and for hosting this competition. Doing it again next holiday season?? ;)

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