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M11k4

February 2019 Create Competition - Walls of CC2

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In the beginning Chuck created the Chip's Challenge. Now the game has come to us in many forms and we've filled many empty levels with tiles. Then Chuck said "Let there be Chip's Challenge 2". Chuck saw that the game had fans, so it was eventually released to us on Steam. There was the newsgroup and there was CC Zone — the places for all your CC needs.

One of those needs is the need for a Walls of competition in February. This year it's time to explore the levels of CC2 through this lense. 
Your task is to pick a level from CC2 and use its arrangement of walls to create a new level. You can pick any level from the range #1-#200, then delete anything you want except for any walls, and finally rebuild it into a new level. If you wish, you can also pick another prominent tile in the level and replace it with some other tile exactly.

Not all the levels in the set are ideal candidates for this exercise, but with more levels than the other sets we've used, there should still be plenty of choices available for your ideas. I also realize that there are more types of walls in CC2 than there are in CC1, so you can use your own judgement on what to count as a wall. Random 8 is working on a template set for your convenience, so a large thank you in that direction!

Some basic notes:

  • Make a level or two for playing in CC2 from the walls of one of the levels in CC2.
  • Send in your submissions to me at valeosote at hotmail dot com.
  • The deadline for the competition is March 3rd where you live.
  • The entries will be judged by chipster1059. THANKS!

If you are so inspired, you can also make a CC1 level from the walls, but these levels might not be ranked in the competition.
If you have any questions, speak boldly!

Enjoy!

-Miika

Some technical notes:

 

-Do not make a overly difficult level. A moderate difficulty is fine but then it would be nice if it wasn't too long.
-The level must be solvable in CC2. You may use CC1 boot rules and other such options.
-The level should preferably be new.
-Please give the level a new name, time limit and set a new password. Don't forget!
-You may submit more than one entry, but please keep the levels distinct from each other. Your best two entries is recommended. You may also pair up and collaborate with someone else for your submission, but please only one level per such pairing.
-Points may be deducted for late entries, but will be accepted until the levels are judged. This is usually a couple of days after the stated deadline, but don't count on it; it exists more for the chance to update the levels if there is something really wrong with them.
-In theory, entrants qualify for prizes: the "You're Winner!"-award, Chip Cup points, and "Tool Box"-award for first time entrants.
-Email and attach your submissions to my email stated above. 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: "February Create - Guybrush"

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Deciding which tiles to keep is such a headache, and i feel like these sets keep getting harder in that regard. This is probably the last one i'll do.

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Results time!

There have been a total of five entries from four designers. The ZIP file contains all five entries, the CC1 version of Miika's entry, and a CCS file for use in CCCreator.

First off, allow me to say that PUTTING SEVERAL SPOILERS IN A SINGLE POST IS A REAL PAIN IN THE :teeth: Migration to another software when?

Unranked

 

Oversaturated Contrast

Creator: Ihavenoname248

Walls: In & Out

Since Jeffrey submitted two levels, Miika suggested that I only include his top one in the actual rankings, because there's “no need to depress others how even his second level was better than their first.”

The original was a yellow teleport puzzle. The contest entry is another puzzle-themed level, where rooms are colour-coded.

I'm generally not a fan of colour-coded levels, because switching tilesets can easily break that. For example, thieves are red in Tile World but blue in MSCC; sockets are blue in TW but brown in MSCC. However, this level does not seem like it could be affected strongly by tileset changes.

The blue room has an interesting concept, and the ice block trick required for perpetual cloning of gliders is very clever. However, there are some canopies to hide the purple toggle wall (why does everyone keep calling them pink?). Either way, while the canopies help preserve the aesthetic, the result is rather annoying, especially since there is no magic eye. Until I looked in the editor, I thought that toggle wall was actually a blue key blocker.

The yellow room uses yellow tanks and yellow locks. You have to use the blue room's key thief to dispose of the yellow key after all the locks are open. However, this room also has an annoying trick with directional blocks that makes it possible to cook the level and not realize it until much later. It also contains some pointless speed boots that appear impossible to pick up.

The green room uses force floors, toggle chips, swivel doors and slime. The random force floor trick is pretty clever. The red/pink/brown room has a clever trap puzzle and a nice logic gate mechanism.

This level has bonus flags; some work, others not really. There are five 10-point flags; three are impossible to NOT pick up, one is trivial, and the last one isn't worth the time investment. There are also two 100-point flags; they are slightly harder to obtain than the 10 ones. There is also one flag of 1000, which requires item dropping to pick up. While it is clever, a yellow tank starts on top of it, and by the time you realize the flag's existence, you might have rendered it inaccessible. There is also a x2 flag, which can only be accessed if you drop the time bomb on the right tile at the very end.

The level has three hints (apparently CCCreator counts the designer comments as one ). Of the two that are accessible in-game, only one is actually useful. The other is there for aesthetics and so monsters can't move on top of it, a fact bluntly explained by the hint itself. It might have been better if it had talked about that 1000 bonus two tiles below instead.

While all the "regular" walls are unchanged from the original, the level also uses a LOT of coloured walls for no reason. The one green wall (ghosts can't go through) could have been turned into the OTHER type of green wall (can be real or fake), which was already used twice. The blue walls are pointless. The pink wall could have been a block with a bonus underneath (such a bonus would have been more creative than all the others in the level except the 1k flag). But the yellow room suffers from these extra walls the most, with almost half of the playing area eliminated by these walls.

Overall, the level had some good ideas that were unfortunately hampered by questionable design decisions.

 

4th place

 

Tenure

Designer: M11k4

Walls: Practice (steel walls)

The original level is a simple itemswapper. The contest entry is a blue tank-themed level. The wall pattern is used well, with many of the item alcoves being used for chips now.

This level is the most simple entry, from a design standpoint, and also the most boring. It is the only entry not to feature any bonus flags. Apart from Melinda and steel walls, only CC1 elements are used. Even then, these could easily be replaced with Chip and regular walls and you would have a CC1-compatible level. In fact, the designer made a CC1 version of the level; more thoughts on it below.

The level has a hint, but no hint tile: "some dodging up top and a puzzle below". I am rather annoyed that this was in the “hint” field rather than the “comment” field (clearly a leftover from the CC1 version), but this is just a minor detail. Either way, this is a pretty accurate description of the level. At the bottom of the level is a simple but clever tank puzzle, while the top section involves a lot of dodging. Some of it works, the rest not so much.

The tank motion mechanism is something I have seen in many other levels, with a tank going in a straight line with a blue button at both ends. The player can turn this on or off using a third button. This is something I struggled with quite a bit in CC1 Lynx levels, but CC2 doesn't appear to be as strict when it comes to "pressing the button at the exact tick".

The mechanism is the heart of the level. The bottom puzzle relies on picking the right time to stop it. Some of the chips in the top section can be picked up with the mechanism stopped, but not all of them. And this is where the level falls apart. Most of the dodging involves split-second manoeuvre that are not always easy to predict and are only possible for one or two ticks.

Honestly, I can't help but wonder what this level would have been like if the puzzle theme had been used throughout the entire level. Overall, a decent idea in theory, but poorly executed.

Additional thoughts on the CC1 version

Above, I mentioned how Lynx is more strict than CC2 when it comes to flipping tanks at the right tick. Predictably, playing the CC1 version in Lynx was a massive pain, although that was due to my own lack of skill.

In MS, however, I found myself enjoying it more than in any other ruleset. The fact that moves have to be timed to the tile rather than the tick makes the dodging (and button pressing) much easier. The fact that tanks don't start moving again the moment the obstacle is removed is also a nice thing.

Note that I only played the CC1 version after I had decided on a ranking for the actual CC2 levels.

3rd place

 

Anarcheology

Designer: quiznos00

Walls: Caverns.

The original was an average dodging level that was almost completely CC1 backwards-compatible. The contest entry, while still featuring a few dodging rooms, also has several puzzles and is overall much more varied the original. The original also had a two-tile wide corridor around the entire level; here the corridor is filled with button mechanisms and interesting aesthetics.

The starting room involves bug and ghost dodging. While relatively simple to execute, I admire how the monsters are perfectly synchronized, with the bugs hugging the ghosts who keep them safe from the slime.

Next, we have a simple track puzzle that uses item dropping in a clever way, culminating with giving a ghost some fire boots to clear the way. I love that concept.

Next up, we have perhaps the most creative puzzle of the level, in which you have to guide a teeth into the right trap so a cloned ghost can collide with it. A transmogrifer is provided so Chip can become Melinda and chase the teeth away as necessary. This concept is really amazing.

Another notable section is a three block sokoban that features a clever use of railroad tracks as recessed walls. Also notable is a room where paramecia go through toggle bombs, with a hint explaining that you don't need to pick it up. This section serves little purpose other than confusing the player, and removing it would have had no significant impact (the logic gate mechanism that makes this possible is pretty interesting though).

This level features a total of 2620 points in bonus flags. 300 of these are scattered across the teeth/ghost rooms described above, and are way too easy to obtain. 100 is hidden behind two bugs in the border, and is pretty clever. The rest is protected by teeth; I don't know if they are accessible, but either way, this is pretty awesome.

The walls have been recreated faithfully and, thankfully, no coloured walls were added. Interestingly, some walls have 0-directional blocks and item blockers on top of them here, to contain the ghosts. This is a nice alternative to turning the walls to steel.

Sadly, this level suffers from a major bust. After Chip picks up the railroad sign, he can go through the tracks at (29,24) and (30,24) and enter the teleport at (30,26), bypassing the red lock and thief. This leaves Chip with an extra red key which he can use to exit, rendering the helmet and green keys useless. The ball on tracks protecting the final red key is pretty clever, but Chip never needs to venture in that room.

Overall, it's a very fun level; with the bust fixed, I could see it get in CC2LP1.

2nd place

 

Cold Comfort

Designer: H2O

(Lack of) walls: All Shook Up

The original was an overly-simple sliding level. The contest entry is an awesome block puzzle.

This level is played as Melinda, and her special properties take center-stage. You can push blocks onto gravel, but you won't be able to get them off unless pushed by another block. If you want to push that dirt block into water, make sure you have an ice block handy to remove the resulting dirt. Blocks will slide, but you won't.

All three types of blocks are used here: ice, dirt, and directional. There are two ice blocks. The dirt blocks all have 100 bonus flags underneath (for a total of 500 bonus points), which is decent, although not particularly creative. There are three directional blocks, all of which can be pushed in all four directions; one of them is over the exit.

This block over the exit has to be pushed onto a force floor; under ordinary circumstances, this would kill Melinda as she exits. Fortunately, there is a helmet available, as well as a bribe so you can carry said helmet past the thief. But there is much more to the bribe than it seems at first sight, and this is a really amazing trick.

Another interesting thing about this level is its use of block sequences, and how some blocks can push blocks of other types. The results are not always easily predictable, but it's easy to experiment in this level.

Perhaps the most unusual thing about this level is this: it has no walls of any kind. Regular walls, steel walls, blue walls (real or fake), green walls (real or fake), hidden walls, invisible walls, coloured walls, thin walls, recessed walls, toggle walls, locks without keys, unusable clone machines, sockets, nothing exists here. In the designer's words, using additional acting walls for “walls of” levels feels “a bit cheap”, which I mostly agree with, as you might have figured out from my unranked review.

In this level, instead of walls, you have gravel, which is an acting wall to Melinda but not blocks (a property required to solve the level). The level this is based on, All Shook Up, also lacks walls entirely, and it is not the only official CC2 level that is like this.

But a walls-of level without any walls? Seriously? Two of the other entries helpfully mentioned the level it was based on in the comments field; for the other two, the pattern was instantly recognizable. For this one, however, I struggled to figure it out. I was sure that the gravel, the water, or even the blocks had been copied from another level. I even looked at levels like Reticulating Splines and Identity Crisis for some pattern that might have been copied with different tiles, but the best I could come up with was “fire from Grab Bag” except that Grab Bag already has a decent wall layout.

In desperation, I contacted the designer; the answer was something I had been considering right from the beginning, but refused to accept until it was officially confirmed because of how :blob: it is. It's a wall-less level turned into another wall-less level. There are no other similarities. The most insane loophole ever.

This was honestly the hardest level to rank. I considered ranking it last, but in the end I just couldn't bring myself to: the puzzle is just too great.
 

WINNER :chipwin:

 

Monsterpiece Theater

Designer: Ihavenoname248

Walls: Turning Point (both "regular" and steel walls).

The original featured many interesting puzzles. This version, meanwhile, focuses mainly on dodging, and has a great punny title.

As mentioned in the designer comments, each room focuses on one or more monsters. All monsters are represented except the Chip mimic, floor mimic and yellow tank (and also the blue tank, but that isn't mentioned in the comments). The designer tried to incorporate a yellow tank in the red teeth room, but it didn't work out.

All rooms also contain at least one red key. All the red keys in the level are required to solve it.

All the rooms are fun, but very different. The hardest to figure out was the one with the pink balls. The hardest one to execute was the Interpretive Dance Academy ripoff tribute. The hardest one to get the bonus on was the glider and fireball room.

The Melinda mimic and ghost room was arguably the best, even if it bends the rules a bit: what is that blue wall (the type that doesn't exist in CC1) doing there? Why couldn't you have put a Chip mimic in a trap instead? Or a tank?

The red teeth room provides an interesting take on dropping items to block monsters: while in many cases, dropping busts the level, here it is required. The fireball cloning room was an interesting concept, not too easy but not too hard either. The rover room was surprisingly painless, considering the monster's reputation. Not all the sections are that great (the walker one was pretty boring) but none of them are bad.

This level also has the bet use of bonus flags among the entries. 1000 points worth of bonus flags are scattered across the level, on top of fire and water. The clever thing is that Chip only gets the fire boots and flippers at the very end of the level, so you need to go through all the rooms again to get the full bonus (although, in fairness, the flags are easier to obtain than the keys, so it's not overly hard).

There is also a x2 flag at the end of the red lock room. Casual players can just quickly walk through it and make their way to the exit, but those who want the full 2000 bonus (like me) instead have to retrace their steps through the maze and only pick it up after collecting all the other flags. This is a nice way of accommodating both casual players and optimizers.

Apart from the pointless blue wall I mentioned above, the wall pattern has been faithfully reproduced and used in clever ways. This includes both "regular" walls and steel walls. In the original, the steel walls were mainly used for wires. Here, only one has a wire going through it, and that could have been avoided with an extra wire tunnel. A few others are used to contain ghosts, but the rest are just there serving no special purpose. Not the best aesthetic, but not too distracting while playing, and I appreciate the strict adherence to the rules.

Congrats Jeffrey on your win, and thanks everyone for participating! I hope you will all submit your levels for inclusion in CC2LP1, I can see some of them making it in the final set.

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Nice to see the results! (I must say, any delays in them were due to me and not Chipster!)

I didn't solve the other levels as they used a lot of the fancy CC2 stuff and were too complicated for me.

I do want to reply about my own entry though. I didn't know it mattered where I wrote the short comment. I made the level for three rule sets, so it was simplest to keep it in the hint field. The hint text is also a bit of a misdirect, as the puzzle aspect also applies to the upper area of the level. Or at least that was the idea, which didn't really work out. I was hoping that if the dodging in the upper area was too difficult, you could alter the tank movements in such a way that visiting the top area more than once made it easier. Maybe this works in MS but not really in Lynx or CC2. Had this not been a "walls of" creation, I would definitely have made the upper area also have a simpler way to solve it with maybe some more safe spots. Removing that one horizontally moving tank (on the fifth row) was something I considered, but doing so just took away all the stuff I found interesting in that area, so I left it in. In hind sight, I should have removed the one that was on the third row (or even pointed it in the other direction, giving the player a better visual queue based on the lower tank).
I didn't add any bonus flags either, because I believe not every CC2 level needs to have them. I did experiment with them in the upper area of the level, but decided against them for compatibility with CC1. Perhaps overall my mistake was to even try making such a level. When one tank movement worked nicely in one rule set, the collisions in another rendered it different or even unsolvable.

Thanks for the feedback and the judging!

A big thanks to Ryan for making all these template sets! It does sound like it wasn't always a small task, but they really did help out! I know I was inspired by going through your set, not the original.

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some pointless speed boots...the level also uses a LOT of coloured walls for no reason...the yellow room suffers from these extra walls the most, with almost half of the playing area eliminated by these walls.

I saw that as no different than filling a CC1 walls of level with other acting walls- especially as, given the choice between frame block-> colored floor or colored wall, the wall looked nicer. And really, aesthetic variety was the entire reason why the walls, canopies and, speed boots were added, in addition to the uncommented on monsters on walls! :P

I think that for a future Walls of CC2(LP1) Create, should it happen, there should be some sort of stricter definition for what a wall is and by extension, what you must leave and what you can remove. That, and for wall-less levels leaving something of the original intact in some way, because without that it's just a level that happens to lack walls- and as H2O's level shows, in CC2 it's not that hard to make a level without walls given how many tiles can act as walls in some circumstances.

 

Anyway, some thoughts on the other levels... I think Miika's is really clever for how it uses the walls, even if the level itself is "ordinary". H2O's is a terrible walls of level (leaving the force floors behind would have allowed something interesting, I think) but a pretty neat level on the whole, which is a funny opposite to Miika's entry. I think Tyler probably should have won on both use of walls and best level, but I guess I'll take the win for... having the best bonus? :P 

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