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May 2018 Create Competition - Back to Basics

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Sup guys, it's Tyler. I don't think I've run a Create Competition before so I am proud to present my first! For this competition, I wanted to celebrate the upcoming Chip's Challenge 2 three year release anniversary (on May 28th) with this month's theme:

Chip's Challenge 2 - Back to Basics

The CC2 editor was originally tiny, so many of the original CC2 levels are 10x10. It's been 20 years since those levels were designed and making huge levels is enticing, but for this competition I want you to make a 10x10 CC2 level to show how far level design has come and what neat concepts you can pack into a small space :)


1. The level must be your own and not already be publicly released.

2. The size of the level map MUST be 10x10. The level contents can of course be smaller, but CC2 cannot handle smaller map sizes than 10x10.

3. It should be a CC2 level. If you do not own or cannot run CC2, I will allow CC1 levels to be submitted, given that it could be theoretically ported to CC2 (e.g. no taking advantage of CC1's trap connections! :P)

4. The deadline is May 31st, 11:59 PM EDT (GMT-4). PM me on CCZone or Discord (quiznos00#3068) to submit your level(s). You can submit up to 5 levels for consideration.

Have fun!

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Submissions are closed. I have received 20 levels from 6 designers. Results will be posted within a week (I hope!) and I will post all the submissions as a set 24 hours before I release the results.

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Now for the results! Each designer is ranked by what I felt were their best entry, and the levels by each designer are ranked amongst themselves. This doesn't affect the overall outcome, but I wanted to give my thoughts on every level that was submitted.

6th place



#1: Derailed
An utterly simple track level. Choosing the correct train tile rarely requires much thought. It feels like a retread of concepts already seen in the main game of CC2, like #70 (Rail Bowling). I appreciate the unlimited bowling ball ammo though.

5th place



#3 Wheatley's Test
A Portal 2 reference. It's funny, but I don't think it was intended to be a serious entry.

#2: Now That's What I Call Railroading

I either don't understand the point this level is trying to make, or the point it makes is very underwhelming. It seems to be a subversion of expectation level, but no expectations are set because all of the logic elements are hidden. So when I initially played the level, my focus was on getting the mimic Chip to the trap button. The only "trick" is knowing that mimic Chip can walk on exits, and without much else to do, it's a discovery that will come quickly.

#1: Incredible Surreality
Definitely the most substantive of the three levels from ncrecc. It is majorly busted: take the red teleport to get a bowling ball before the left pink door closes, then use that bowling ball to destroy the yellow tank. But the intended solution shown by the provided replay shows the level to be a series of simple teleport tricks that are satisfying to set up. The level goes for a "surreal" design style, but I don't think such a style can be conveyed well in such a small amount of space unless you explicit stick to that design style as a level concept (see CC2 level 130 (Nonsense)).

4th place



#2: Crushing Insects with Hammers
This monster manipulation puzzle is fairly linear so you can put your brain on auto-pilot, especially with the hint as assistance. There aren't many different choices the player can take, but using the boots to redirect the bug onto the bottom right button was a fun exercise.

#1 Shared Closet
I like these sort of level with separate Chip and Melinda sections with a common middle section. This level is not difficult at all, but the gameplay value comes from being optimal about your boot management. The dynamite ending for Chip feels out-of-place since it affects a large portion of the level and allows Melinda to exit in that corner, but the level is a cute exercise.

3rd place



#4: Perfect Crime
An action level! I'll be honest, I don't know what J.B. was going for. The teeth dodging section is easy, and the bug and ball section is monumentally more difficult. But both monster setups don't bring anything new to the table and just feel like filler sections from a larger campaign level. CC2 elements are not prominent either, but the ability to boot drop makes the right section a bit more tolerable.

#3 Prism Prison
This level has so much stuff it's practically a variety level, and I feel it suffers because of that. I enjoyed the block and teleport manipulation puzzles, especially with the toggle walls added in as a twist. The key discarding feels like an unnecessary extra step that one can figure out in a few seconds and the time minus tiles don't make a huge gameplay difference, but if you removed these elements, you are left with a puzzle based on CC1 elements. 

#2: You Break It You Buy It
This is a clever puzzle! It's a concept that has been done before in J.B.'s CC1 set, but this feels like an upgraded version with much more block maneuvering and even monster rerouting... at least in the solution I found. I did not place it as my favorite of J.B.'s submission because again this level could be easily ported to CC1.

#1 Slow Motion Hallway Fight Sequence
Finally, J.B. offers us a level that focuses on CC2 elements! The use of yellow teleports is extremely tasteful; sometimes levels may abuse them by giving the player too many options, but as per the competition rules, this level is 10x10 and is further split into three distinct sections. Each section has its own twist and order of operations and they really show off the richness of CC2's block mechanics. The only qualm I have is that the bottom section may be a bit too tedious. Two blocks per row, or just one row, would have been enough to get the point across.

2nd place



#5: So Classic
When I posted this competition, I really hoped I wouldn't get any Sokoban levels, because it is the most obvious way to create a lengthy level within the confines of a 10x10 space. This Sokoban is not a port as is usual from H2O, but I know H2O is capable of designing more original types of block puzzles that make more prominent use of CC2's elements... as you will see in one of the higher-ranked submissions!

#4: Secluded Waters
There are many "Hamiltonian path" levels out there, but H2O brings CC2 elements to the table with introducing multiple characters into the equation. It's a cool idea, but I feel this level does not require the player to approach the puzzle differently as they would with a single-player Hamiltonian path level. Each character sticks to their corners without any substantial path interactions.

#3: Amber Gambler
A great concept! It's surprising how many weird movement possibilities there are with mimic characters. But I think the first concept is cut too short and coordinating both Chip and Melinda to exit their force floor diamonds is quite awkward. I would have preferred the level be one character moving their mimic character around the whole map.

#2: Blend Together
This may be an unexpected ranking since this was one of the easiest levels submitted. As an introductory two-character interaction level, it gets everything right: clean presentation, a gently increasing difficult curve, and a brand new CC2 concept. Seriously, the blue teleport bar is cool.

#1: Soaked in H2O
Now this is what I'm talking about! This level feels like a spiritual sequel to H2O's entry for last months contest, "Two Minds", but a huge improvement. No tricks thanks to the hint: it's just the player contemplating the block arrangement in front of them, trying to deal with the pros and cons of each type of block: Melinda doesn't need to pack down ice blocks but the ice blocks the fireball from turning, while the dirt blocks need to be packed down by another ice block but offer more movement possibilities for the fireball. It's a brilliant interaction and tough puzzle, but I had to place this entry second overall in favor of a slightly more elegant water puzzle.

1st place



#5: Thermal
A neat new concept but not a fan of the execution. The fireball has limited options and getting the teeth to stay bouncing on ice requires tricky precision, so the level feels more lopsided towards guiding teeth.

#4: Filled Out in Triplicate
I've never found enjoyment in levels where multiple yellow tanks are directed at the same time. There are usually so many variables in these levels that forming a consistent strategy is impossible, like in CC2 #148 (Tank Rush). This level does not fall into that trap but instead falls into the trap of tedium. The individual sections are not difficult and they can be done one at a time, but you must keep a close eye on the other sections to make sure a block does not become stuck. If one will, use some of the thin walls to shake up the tank configuration. Rinse and repeat until the buttons are all covered.

#3: Control Room
I applaud Jeffrey for designing a level where you only use one button. I appreciate that the teeth navigation challenge takes some new risks, like that teeth partial post, but the way you need to switch characters to get the teeth to take a certain path feels inconsistent a lot of the time. Getting the teeth to the top right corner initially stumped me, until I realized you had to switch characters three times while the teeth was crossing a tile. If the weird execution based tricks were minimized this would be an incredible level.

#2: Ruin Rush
Jeffrey is the king of block extraction puzzles. This one was a bit easier than I was expecting but was still satisfying to unravel, and used the weird CC2 mechanic of directional blocks being able to push dirt blocks to a clever effect. The ending where you use the hook to find the exit is a lot simpler and pales in comparison to the first part of the level, which is why I feel that this was not the best of IHNN's submissions.

#1: Iceburn
Jeffrey is crazy. This is another Hamiltonian path puzzle and its symmetrical, but the chips on ice throw a hammer in all the usual strategies one uses to solve these types of levels. There's not much else to say: solve it for yourself and be amazed at the ingenuity.

Final results:


1st: Ihavenoname248 (15 pts)
2nd: H2O (12 pts)
3rd: jblewis (10 pts)
4th: chipster1059 (8 pts)
5th: ncrecc (6 pts)
6th: mobius (5 pt)


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