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April 2018 Create Competition - Pushing New Ideas

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Hellllllo everyone, it's time for another Create Competition! Like the last one I ran where I wanted a maze, this time your prompt is also just a type of level. I want a block themed level! There are a lot of interesting things you can do with blocks and many tiles also complement blocks well, so hopefully we get some interesting puzzles out of this.



1. The level should be new, at the very least I shouldn't have seen it before.

2. Other sections are okay, but the focus should be on blocks.

3. The level can be large, or long, but I value compact clever puzzles highly over an overly drawn out level. If it has a reason to fill the whole map or take up many minutes, that's fine, but don't feel compelled to fill up the entire map.

4. I'd like to see a sokoban (push blocks to destination tiles) in each entry that uses a mechanic that makes the puzzle only* work in CC. As a guideline, if you could make the puzzle in YASC, it probably won't do well here. This isn't a requirement, but it'd have to be a very good level to win without one of these.

5. The level can be made in CC1 or CC2, and if CC1, it must be solvable in MS and/or Lynx. I'm aware that CC2 has multiple different kinds of blocks and many other interacting tiles that allows for a lot more potential here, but levels in both games will have a good chance. Recall that the winning maze level was CC2 but almost 100% transferable to Lynx, and second place was MS+Lynx.

6. The deadline is May 3rd, 11:59 PM or whenever I post the submitted levels, whichever is later. I'll give feedback on any obvious busts or flaws I see when submitted, but otherwise won't be giving thoughts until judging.

7. Submit your levels (limit 3) to either my Discord (IHNN#3459) or email ( jbardonjr [at] charter [dot] net).


For an example of the sort of level that would do well here, Construct-a-Sokoban uses chips and sockets to make a novel sardine can, while Same Game uses CC elements sparingly to craft a masterful puzzle. Josh's Trick or Trap uses recessed walls to up the difficulty of an otherwise simple puzzle, and his Prison Hall uses force floors to create an elegant puzzle. Block Plaza (in WoCCLP4) uses blue walls to make a guiding puzzle, to use one of my own levels. For a level that wouldn't do so well, pick anything in SokobanCCLP for not using CC mechanics, or Traps II from CCLP2, or pretty much any of Tyler's adapted sokobans (MSI excepted for using toggle walls), and so on.


And most importantly, have fun with it!

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And submissions are now unofficially closed!

I've received levels from twelve different participants, so I'd consider this competition a huge success! Now, I know I said I'd stream playing the levels today over on the Discord, but tomorrow evening just works better. So I'll be posting the submitted levels (11+2 CC1, 13 CC2) right before I start the playthrough stream, and you can still get in a last minute level or change before then ;)

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Submissions are now officially closed, with the release of the submitted levels. Fixes are still allowed until I post results.

As for the judging... I'll be starting a stream within about 10 minutes here showing my first impressions of the levels. I will be trying to solve all of them, but I make no promises about actually doing so on-stream (though I will before posting results).

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Thanks again for everyone who entered this competition, the average level of quality here was incredibly high and ranking these came down to the slimmest of margins. Literally any of the levels in the top half could easily have been the winner, and very minor changes to levels could also have resulted in several place changes. Onwards to the results!

12th place:


Destroy My Fortress (CC1) - geodave

Destroy My Fortress has two main problems with it. The first and most obvious is that you need to push one button, then run all the way over to the ice area and move it to a bomb, then run all the way back, and repeat for 13 blocks. The second is that, well, there's nothing really new or special here- it's Protect Your Fortress without the novel end goal of filling up the slide to escort bugs. As I played it, I felt like I already had played the level before even though I hadn't due to the gameplay similarity. What could have improved the level? Flippers somewhere to connect to Castle Moat, perhaps? CC2 version to have the blocks automatically go to the bombs? Though those would both be improvements, I'm not sure that would have been enough to pass...

11th place:


Paradox Sokoban (CC2) - Gavin

Also submitted: Ice Cubes (CC2) and Gimmick Free (CC2)

Paradox Sokoban is YASCable. That said, I'm a sucker for this kind of "disturb the blocks and then put them back" puzzle, but it couldn't hold up compared to what came after. Let me re-iterate: this is 11th place, and I liked the level. This is the standard that this competition resulted in. As for the other submisssions, Gimmick Free is a larger, less interesting version of All Shook Up, and Ice Cubes had a lot of potential. I liked how trying to move ice blocks out of the way resulted in some different thought processes, but both of these were held back by having been previously released.

10th place:


Hook and Warp (CC2) - Bacorn

Hook and Warp is exactly what it sounds like- a hook and yellow teleport puzzle. I appreciated the small scale, as it's a devious, devious puzzle with 2 bi-drectional blocks that need to be moved. Identifying the end positions in the "sardine can" room was easy, but getting the blocks into those positions was far from it and I didn't really enjoy the process of discovery. Maybe that's just my lack of experience with yellow teleports, maybe it's just CC2 being weird with the hook, but I felt like I was just aimlessly trying variations until something worked. Even if it made the puzzle easier, I feel like this would have been a stronger entry if the blocks could be pushed in any direction.

9th place:


Blockbeard's Revenge (CC1) - mobius

Blockbeard's Revenge is a level in 4 parts, each focusing on something slightly different. The strongest part of the level is the lower right, with some interesting dependencies and an ordering puzzle on how to get the dirt block to the fire. I solved it with a CC2 block slap (using 2 tiles instead of 3) but could have taken another directional block down to solve it the intended way. The lower left is interesting, but I'm not sure how you're meant to do it as I used a lot of CC2 block slaps. The top right is another interesting ice block puzzle to blow up bombs without blocking chips, and I enjoyed this. The top left is wut. Is there a logical approach to this? I just aimlessly moved around until the buttons were held down. I can't think of any easy improvements here other than maybe unbusting the lower right and replacing the upper left with a more logical puzzle.

8th place:


The Streets of Minihattan (CC1) - RB3ProKeys

Also submitted: The Commutative Property (CC1)

Firstly, The Commutative Property has 3 YASCable sokobans and a sardine can, and was tedious to boot. I wasn't a fan. Fortunately, the other entry, The Streets of Minihattan was much better. Chip starting on a block meant this wasn't Lynx compatible, which allowed me to take the chip without worrying about the tank. I liked working out which block to use where, and the way the topography changed as I progressed was a lot of fun. The biggest drawback is that nothing really stood out here- I've played thousands of levels, and it just wasn't memorable in the same way as some of the later levels. The best way to improve this level, I think, would be an additional bootless step starting where the exit was, to really emphasize how the topography changed by walking back through it afterward solving the puzzle.

7th place:


Can You See the Block? (CC2) - chipster1059

Also submitted: Wormhole in the Sun (CC2)

I love this idea and I'm stealing it for one of my own levels. Well done chipster for coming up with something really interesting and innovative! That said... it's a straightforward block guiding path. If the level was more involved- a second block, some monsters (yes, I can think of a way to include) or just something more, this would have been a first place contender. Wormhole in the Sun, to me, was a more fun version of Hook and Warp- open with few options to consider and multiple guiding paths. Yellow teleports are very, very hard to use well as they inherently increase the complexity of a level exponentially.

6th place:


Blocko's Modern Life (CC2) - quiznos00

Blocko's Modern Life is... a level with a lot of problems and a lot of potential. The core idea of blocking cloners to clone an ice block into another cloner and repeat is an incredible concept. The hook/recessed wall room is fantastic, other than the nasty trap of needing to hook off the railroad to turn the swivel door. The lower left area would be pretty tedious if it wasn't for the bust, and the upper left could have stood to have a hint showing that the tank was already on an orange button. The two puzzles in the top right I liked- the dirt area tripped me up once, and the final partial post required some thinking about teleports. Wasn't a huge fan of having to blindly enter the horizontal teleport, but the core idea and individual puzzles stood out well enough to carve out a place in the top half. If the aforementioned tweaks were made with no changes to other levels, this would probably have been third. Like I said- splitting hairs on these rankings, and anything in the top half had winning potential.

5th place:


Inpulero (CC2) - H2O

Also submitted: Melinda Test01 (CC2) and Two Worlds (CC2)

Inpulero looks YASCable but isn't. It's "just" a sokoban, but it's arranged cleverly and uses the CC mechanics to twist an otherwise trivial puzzle into something that takes some thought, and one small insight to break the whole thing open. Melinda Test01 is another very fun level based around moving one-directional blocks and I appreciate the construction. Two Worlds is perhaps the most interesting of the three, where the intended solution is to create a path for Melinda to walk on. My solution involved having Chip bounce off of Melinda to make room and I greatly prefer mine, though it does turn the focus away from the blocks a bit. I dont have too much else to say here- these are all good single-focus levels with some stiff competition.

4th place:


Salsa Verde (CC1) - J.B. Lewis

Also submitted: Crown Jewels (CC1) and Rundown Railyard (CC1)

This was incredibly, incredibly close between this and third place. So close, in fact, I almost made it a tie! However, as I was compiling a final order I realized that I preferred the 3rd place level just slightly more. The entire crux of Salsa Verde is the force floor sokoban, and it was an enjoyable process of elimination puzzle to crack. J.B. mentioned that one version of the level had a partial post in the rest of the level, and that probably would have improved it enough to nab third- as it is, everything that isn't the first puzzle just felt like filler. Fun and creative filler with a nice way to reach the exit, but filler nonetheless, and that's why even though I loved the one puzzle, 3rd place edged it out.

Crown Jewels was fun to think about blocks in 1 tile hallways with teleports, which are surprisingly free to move around. Rundown Railyard was too involved for my liking- the top third I liked. The bottom third is okay I guess, though the 7 block sokoban is brutal. The middle third is where the problem lies, with a rigid order of needing to do the top and middle train sections before the bomb chip can be reached, and that middle train section is so easy to screw that you basically need to know several steps before you can even begin, with an unexpected twist that cooks the level if you just try to solve a section one at a time. As Miika mentioned, perhaps if I knew this was as difficult as it was going in I'd have appreciated it more, but as it is, Salsa Verde is still my favorite of the 3.

3rd place:


Mysterious Geoglyph (CC1) - Flareon350

Also submitted: Broken Floppy Disk (CC1) and Block Master (CC2)

And now, you see why this was such a hard decision to make. Mysterious Geoglyph and Salsa Verde are both block and force floor levels, and ultimately I went with this one due to having several good puzzles. I loved the 2 tile wide room, as something with a direct comparison- this one is just better! The teleport puzzle is maybe a little tedious but maybe I just missed a more efficient way to do it. The core nailing puzzle is a legit extraction and final setup that almost reminded me of Metropolis. Now, the aesthetics aren't quite as good as Salsa Verde, but both levels are well worth your time.

Broken Floppy Disc is YASCable, but I find myself not minding due to the dual nature of both sides. It's a really cool concept and some of the shuffling is quite tricky- though the bottom half is the easier of the two. The ending is a bit long, which has been addressed for WoCCLP3. Block Master is almost, almost a home run, with the single best section submitted as its first act. If the level ended after the recessed wall/directional block part it probably would have won. (!!!!) But instead, the level ends with a whimper, with a lot of smaller puzzles of varying quality. The rush hour section in the lower right is engaging, the bribe bait and switch is clever, and the Chip/Melinda sokoban is something I wish was expanded a little farther. The sections I didn't mention? Well, the railroad part is ehhhhh and the straightforward sokoban above it is a weak way to end the level. I still liked it overall, but not as much as Josh's other entries.

2nd place:


Total Eclipse of the Post (CC2) - ajmiam

Surprisingly few partial posts this competition. And here we have a level that takes a simple concept of pushing blocks onto teleports and runs with it, iterating on the idea with new arrangements and some very clever minor asymmetries in the top section that completely change the approach. It's a simple, straightforward level that knows exactly how far to go. So what could top it?

1st place:


Delirium (CC2) - IHNN

Also submitted: Shafted (CC2) and Tiny Isle Reshuffled (CC2)

Congratulations to me for winning- wait, I can't do that? But the partial post that exploits CC2 teleport behaviors and then the hook sardine can, and then my block intro level and then a spiritual sequel with some clever shuffling can't win? I can't just give myself the win? Fiiiiine, the real winner is...


Ode to a Tank for Total Dumies (CC1) - Miika

Also submitted: Ode to a Tank Crossing the Road (CC1) and Ode to a Tank Crossing the Road (CC2)

On the surface, it's a sokoban. Nothing special. In practice, negotiating the tank creates a fascinating reshuffle that's very hard to cook, and water to limit the available block space also works incredibly well. On the stream, I knew this was a really cool level but I didn't realize how much I actually liked it until I started compiling results and it was instantly a top pick. When I divided the levels up further, it was between this and Andrew's level, and ultimately I appreciated the addition of the tank more than the teleport usage, though it was still very, very close.

As for the other submissions, they replace the water with ice. This was, I believe, the only level I didn't work out a solution to on the stream, and I did solve it later offstream. It's a nifty solution that hinges on the layout in a not at all obvious way, and I liked it, too. But the water version is better.

Thanks again to everyone who entered, I know I'm looking forward to seeing what's on offer for Tyler's Create! :)

Final results:


1st: Miika (15 points)
2nd: ajmiam (12 points)
3rd: Flareon350 (10 points)
4th: J.B. Lewis (8 points)
5th: H2O (7 points)
6th: quiznos00 (6 points)
7th: chipster1059 (5 points)
8th: RB3ProKeys (4 points)
9th: mobius (3 points)
10th: Bacorn (2 points)
11th: Gavin (1 point)
12th: geodave (1 point)
0th: IHNN (1 point)

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I started playing levels from this contest:

Total Eclipse of the Post:
very nice repetitive concept and compact design. It was fun to solve.

Hook and Warp: really nice compact one but as with most yellow teleport puzzles, I'm totally stumped!!

Can you see the block: really neat concept, even if it's quite simple!!

Wormhole in the sun: another nice compact level, and challenging

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