The total level should not take longer than 500 SMW seconds (5 1/2 minutes real time) to beat once you know it (e.g. all the puzzles and where to go and such). Assume that the player is quite a bit slower than you, the creator.
Well, my Level is a Puzzlelevel. I easily beat it 100% and still have 100 SMW-Seconds left. My tester was able to beat it in a similar way, too, but just after he beat the Level two times before. At his first try he died 3 times due to a Time-Up (i set the Timer to 500).
So would it be ok, if I set the time to 0, so that you have less pressure while thinking? Because it may get a bit frustrating to restart the level several times just because it takes you about 100 SMW-Seconds on your first try to figure out, how each puzzle-sections works.
Even if I died about 8 times your level is nicely playable without savestates/rewinds. Well,i think i just give you a short judgement and some statements.
Your level was fun and had a fair difficulty (even if i didnīt understand the "hurting yellow stems"-tip until i ran into one. So the first half of your level is a nice Jump n Run part including a short P-Switch puzzle before you can pass the midway point. The second part features platforming and bullet bills. Not even that the two parts of the level feel a bit "unconnected", I have to say, that the second part is a bit repetitive and monotnous. 80 per cent of all platforms are those vertically moving ones. There just rarely use of other platforms. But even if i have no idea what this "Tails-joke" at the ending should say me, at all your level had a nice length and difficulty, so i give you 21 points.
Well. In contrast to other levels which have very outstanding gimmicks this level has no real one. But especially the beginning had a nice usage of sprites and useing the "rock" as a "bouncing spiny" is a nice idea, too. But i think, your level wonīt "stick out amongst the crowd". As mentioned before the first haalf is "just" "sure Jump n Run stuff" and the second half may get a bit boring (maybe you could use falling platforms / horizontally moving platforms, too). But i think i can gibe you at least 10 points for a very enjoyable first half and second half which (ab)uses the vertically moving platform in multiple ways.
Well, ignoreing those tons of "unavoidable cutoffs" and "incosistency when useing the "dirt squares" this level was a pleasure to look at. Not too bright, but still not a that calm palette as many other levels have makes this level a nice one. You also spent a lot of time in decorateing the ground, which makes even better, i think. But i have to say, that this "ground decoration" is just a plus for the first half. The second half is (as its level-design) quite repetitive in its decoration. "Green leaves and rocks at the ground". Thatīs all. Changeing some dirt-tiles IN the ground (or veiling) would be a nice variety. als the tons of dirt-tiles at the end of the second half (when you enter the pipe to the last room) have a lot of space to have some nice decoration included.
21+10+7 = 38
So at least your level should reach the "better half" but itīs still far away from reaching the "best world". Even if you had to build a new level to include an "overwhelming gimmick" your level still has room to be improved "especially the second half) I think redoing some things here and there could lead to a score between 40 and 48 points.
I hope my review was kinda helpful even if it was my first one and i hope it wasnīt too exhausting to understand my bad english.
Thank you nick and Gbreeze for your feedback. Well... You mentioned some interesting points Gbreeze, so I would like to refer on them:
The secret exit.. was annoying to get. I realized pretty quickly that you had to guide the star through the level, but doing so was annoying. Mostly it's because the star despawns.
The star despawns? I tested the level very often but the star never despawnded. Thatīs sounds strange to me, and I have no idea how I could prevent that.
Actually though, I figured out that you can break the level by grabbing the star right about here and running through it as fast as you can. As long as you have a mushroom...
I know that this is possible. If the player is able to figure out that being fast there and sacrificeing a powerup is enough to reach the secret-exit-cave he is allowed to skip that last star guidance part.
Also, giving the player only two throw blocks here is kinda unforgiving.
Changed that issue (I hope 4 blocks are enough):
This gimmick (punishing tendencies) reminds me of something I would put in one of my kaizo hacks. Not really recommended for this contest.
Well. Now itīs punishing, but not that hard as before. You just have to watch out, not getting hit by the bullet bill (Ground is higher and the bullet bill isnīt necessary to jump out of the pit).
Same goes for these two ambushing sprites. The rock and the chuck both came out of nowhere and killed me. It was pretty annoying to be honest.
Changed the rockīs position and the Chuck. Both should be a bit fairer now:
Why do the reset doors in the next puzzle area keep resetting me here? I have to go back up to the puzzle, and I would rather just spawn right back where the puzzles start.
Donīt be lazy walking up those 2 screens. Do about 4 jumps and youīre in the puzzle again. There are two reasons, why you respawn down there:
1st: The reset-door forces you to be small. Here you can get a powerup again:
2nd: If you "play attentive" you may recognize that on the left thereīs a little hint on what you should do at the puzzle. Of course useing the throw-block instead of the rock works to, but useing the rock is "more relaxing".
Get rid of the munchers here, that jump is too tight for a non-kaizo level.
Removed the munchers. Youīre right. Theyīre just unnecessary.
This area doesn't give you much time to get through everything. I always get hit at the last rock, which actually catches you by surprise too. Of course if you get past that, you get ambushed by the chuck I mentioned earlier.
Thereīs some sort of "Exclamation mark" in the ground which warns you, that you should jump carefully. But youīre right. Even in my tests the timing there was quite close, so due to your advice I removed the last rock:
I didn't get all the dragon coins, since some of them were confusing.
1st dragon coin: If you collect that dragon coin the blue Koopa doesnīt activate the first star block. But thatīs indifferent. This star is for the secret exit and yoshi coins are on the way to the normal one.
2nd dragon coin: The rock is in your way? Just slide and you can reach the coin (but jump carefully)
3rd dragon coins: Usually thereīs a "Charginī Chuck". If you donīt kill him, you can use him to reach that third coin.
4th dragon coin: Just donīt use your powerup while solveing the previous puzzle and one spinjump on this turn block reveals the forth coin.
5th dragon coin: 2 possible ways:
- 1st: Thereīs the hint you can use a throw block to open the turn block. Even if you have to reset the room after doing this, this is a possible methos to reach the dragon coin.
- 2nd: When the blue Koopa kicks the red shell, stop it. Carry it up to the dragon coin. the shell opens the turn blocks. After that you can activate the star block yourself and finish the level...
The brown dirt is too dark, and the dots in it are too bright. Also, there's two palettes that correspond to the green on the foreground, and I'm pretty sure you made them the same. Always make the first one darker and the next one lighter. Also, maybe try to desaturate everything, cause it's pretty bright, but in a bad way. Aesthetics in the cave are much better.
Well. The grass used 2 different green colors (but i admit, just slightly different). I changed the "bright" dots a bit. desaturated them and made them darker. But I canīt image, that this level is too bright for you. The highest saturation value (on the foreground) is "109". I think desaturation would just make the level look like some grey cement mountain. If youīre talking about the background, you may be right, but aesthetics always depend on the person judging them, so i didnīt desaturate, cause my other tester
said, the palettes are nice.
Oh yeah, and I haven't completed the secret exit yet, but I might later. Anyways, besides all that, I enjoyed the puzzles and I thought they were creative
Well. Maybe youīd like to give a short feedback about the secret exit, too (except that itīs annoying to reach it due to a surprisingly despawning star). Iīd highly appreciate it. And thank you very much for you detailed feedback. Have a nice day
+ Created a new "Hint-Room" which is expected to encourage you to destroy yellow TurnBlocks by Spinjumping to proceed.
+ minor changes on the palettes
Well, I guess I will update this Entry once again before submitting it, since i think some parts may be a bit unfair for "blind" players. So if you havenīt played the level yet, youīre invited to do this now and of corse give feedback, if you like.
With an hour to spare, I replayed. The level isn't too bad once you figure it out, but it still has very annoying problems, namely the annoying platforming. The constant powerup filters was unneeded, and the stray munchers and rocks serve no purpose but to artificially add more difficulty to the puzzles. The puzzles themselves were challenging enough; why add tedious platforming? The normal exit is straightforward enough, but the secret exit it was a lot more trickier to figure out. So it's very, very, very annoying to have to go back all the way to the start because I was killed by a stray muncher. Again, those powerup filters were very pointless. The level is a combination of long length, puzzles, and annoying platforming. The puzzles are very well designed, but the existence of the timer, the powerup filters, and the tedious platforming just really makes the experience more of an hour hassle than it is a fun, SMW level. Puzzle levels are hard to make because creators will have to consider to limit themselves in a restricted contest like this; I think the level was close, but in the end, no cigar. On aesthetics, the bizarre landforms largely made the level a little messier to look at.
A tedious puzzle level with tedious platforming. I did not finish this because I do not have the mental capacity to deal with this any longer. I am not having fun, and that's that. A level that needs a warning to the player that "You wouldn't need to use savestates" probably means the level would need savestates.
So after your second review I got 38 instead of 30 points. Thatīs still way too low to be a great score, but itīs exactly what this level deserves. As mentioned in my submission thread this was my first VLDC Entry, so even if there was a Rules thread explaining what weīre allowed to do and what not to, I was quite unsure what would break the rules and what wouldnīt (because 1st: my english skills are as mediocre as my level and 2nd: Iīm quite new to SMW-Hacking and so I had no idea what Jack was talking about when he mentioned "flipping" and "rotating" objects using "YY-CHR"). So I decided to design a level in Vanilla Style, but to "stick out of the mass" I included those complex puzzles instead of creative challenging platforming. Yeah, for those which arenīt used to "uncommon" SMW-Physics the puzzles may be very tricky and maybe even annoying (still I hope, those "Hint-Rooms" I included may help some guys getting the solution for the puzzles). "the bizarre landforms largely make[-ing] the level a little messier to look at" were my way of decorating the level. Whether you like or dislike those landforms depends on personal preferences, I think.
Shortly commenting on three other points you mentioned:
The time-limit: Usually the time should reset every time you enter or re-enter a room to 500 again, so you have basicially an endless amount of time but you should try solving one puzzle and reaching the next one within those 500 "seconds", but usually this shouldnīt be a problem. If the timer didnīt reset, when you played the level, something must went terribly wrong (whether it was a bug, the emulator or whatever)
The Powerup filters: You can collect every powerup and leave this level as a big Mario if youīre able to solve everything first try. But I admit, thatīs quite unrealistic and so going through one of the reset doors means you have to lose every powerup. And yeah thatīs annoying. So in VLDC 10 (if I participate) you will just find BIG reset doors which wonīt force you to be small.
Tedious Platforming: Well I donīt know why the platforming is "tedious". Maybe the part where you have to follow the star to get to the "Secret exit cave" may be a bit boring and the first half of this cave may have a difficulty a bit higher than the rest of the level. But no one else, who played this level(īs final version) complained about the platforming. But who cares, now itīs time to wait for the real judges` scores and comments.
So, Frost, i really appreciate that you gave my level a second chance (even if it costed you an hour) and thank you very much for writing this second review which says more than "this level is tedious and no fun". And no matter whether you will pre-judge again next year... THIS year you did a really great job reviewing and even RE-reviewing every level and writing those (mostly) helpful comments.
Iīd like to have the Background in my Ghost House flashing in different colours. But I was only semi successful. As you can/may see/read in the screenshot below one colour is already flashing (orange, line 0, column 3 in the palettes-window (I encircled it red)). But when I try to copy this "colour" by pressing Ctrl+Left Click and paste it (Ctrl+right Click) it only copies the colour that was selected in the moment I pressed Ctrl+Left. So it seems like I cannot just copy an animated colour.
I could think of solving this problem useing YY-CHR, creating some ExGFX-Files of that Background-Tiles just useing the "animated colour" in line 0, coloumn 3, but Iīd like to have a simpler solution, if possible. In best case, a solution, just useing Lunar Magic. I think it is possible, just to use LM, and haveing the whole (first half) of line 0 in the Palettes-window animated (I opened ASMT (A Super Mario Thing) in Lunar Magic, opened the level called "REVENGE OF THE SWITCHES PRESSED" and there werenīt any ExGFX-Files or anything custom. Just the Ex-animation (or I didnīt notice, that custom stuff was used). Well, nontheless, there the animation is working and it is an good example of what I would like to have as a result.
So, do YOU have any ideas? Let me know, please! Iīd be very thankful for any useful answer.
Wishing you a nice day...
EDIT: Shortened and corrected things
Thank you for thank link, too. I searched for tutorials and read some, but I must simply overlooked that one. Yeah, it sounds, this might be some work, but on the other hand, that way of ExAnimation seems to be very handy and useful, too.
Started Smwhacking a few weeks before VLDC began and now im 34th?
Hmm, Not bad for my first contest-level, but now itīs time to improve, I think.
Also congrats to Luks, Gbreeze, NGB. Really enjoyed playing your levels and you deserve the high ranks. Also congrats to all the other participants, too. This contest was/is a huge embodiment of creativity and i canīt wait for the collab.
I donīt care about my score/ranking, so - for me - it doesnīt really matter, whether the judging is anonymous or not.
But as Gbreeze said, usually judges should be 100% objective. But as long as the judges are human beings they can be influenced by multiple factors, such as previously played levels, whether they had a good day or not or knowing who the author is (and so expecting a quality level (or not)). So I think, to minimalize the influencing factors the judging should be anonymous, too the next years. Even if it delays the Resulst-Releasing it prevents judges from judging levels biased by knowing who the author is.
Sorry for annoying you with following dumb question, but even if I know SMW since 20 years, Iīm a noobish newbie to SMW-Hacking:
Usually the Background is Layer2 or one of the "predesigned" Layer3 BGs (tilesetspecific: windows, fish, etc.). But for example worldpeace (just to mention that well known one) inserted that (usual Layer2) "Cloudy BG" as a Layer3-BG in his VLDC9-Level. Iīve tried this, too, but I failed (Layer3 was completely blank or it was just overwhelming glitchy). So, to help me, I would beg you to:
a) explain how I can insert Layer3 as a normal Background to my level (I already know that it has something to do with 2bpp and 4bpp and that I have to use YY-CHR
b) give me a link to a tutorial, where that issue is explained very detailed. I already browsed through SMWCs tutorial- and documents-sections but everything I read, wasnīt useful concerning this specific "problem".
I hope that you can help me and I apologize for my bad english and for asking that a noobish question, but for now I see no other way, to get a nice looking Layer3-BG inserted in my Level.
Is there any way of fixing Yoshiīs glitchy looking tounge in castles without breaking following conditions:
1st - No ExGFX should be used!
2nd - No ASM should be required
3rd - Super GFX Bypass: SP1 = 0, SP2 = 1, SP3 = 12, SP4 = 3 mustnīt be changed
4th - hopefully i didnīt forget to mention any other important conditions due to my stupidity
So, if you know a way around that strange appearance of Yoshiīs tounge Iīd be thankful for your help. If there isnīt a way around that, I hope my hack will still be accepted (when I submit it )
Sadly ExAnimation isnīt just editing a Map16-Tile. But once you understand how ExAnimation works itīs not much harder than editing a Map16-Tile
Good tutorials learning how to ExAnimate are this (downloadable Document) or (even better) this (SMWC-Thread). This may help you if you want to insert that amazing (if you know how it works maybe not that amazing) efect into your levels.
We all know itīs impossible that the VLDC-Judges will judge every single level in a way that satisfies everyone. Especially the more levels are submitted the judging gets more exhausting (due to the fact that just a few levels are fantastic and 90% are just average or even frustrating).
But yeah, I agree that, if there are 3 categories of judging the judges should try to follow the categoriesī rules. I donīt complain about my level because the judges more or less considered the difference between "sweet, funny gameplay" and "interesing ideas useing Vanilla-SMW-Physics" (ok my level as a puuzle-level more or less forces the judges to jugde this way because i canīt build up a nice flowing level-design if i donīt want my perplex puzzle to be broken). But i saw many examples haveing interesting ideas but not too well designed levels and both categories got lower scores. On the other hand of course a level shouldnīt get a 20/20 in creativity just because there was a nice use of a sprite one time (as The "Flame-Ghosts" in Ignus Fatuus (still i donīt want to expose this level as a 20/20 example)).
To give my opinion about aesthetics: The Vanilla SMW Graphics are ok, i think and so a level building an SMW-like level should get 5 out of 10 points in aesthetics. In lolyosiīs case i would even add 1 point because his way of arranging the smw-graphics wasnīt an outstanding experience as NGBs level but for not useing an edited Map16 his level looked "better" than an average SMW-castle. Yeah itīs hard to explain a subjective thing objectively. And graphics always will be seen differntly by every player. The one likes Wakanaīs Casino-styled graphics the other one thinks itīs too bright and eye-searing. So i guess it would be very hard to improve the aesthetics-judging because 100%-vanilla graphics are always more or less acceptable (if the palettes arenīt changed). But when editing palettes and even Map16 begins the more opportunities are given how someone will accept your changes. So aesthetics always are somehow a luck-based thing.
But to say a word about our judges this year: I think judging that many entries is an amazing amount of work and all our judges did at least a good job on judges (not as fatal as in VLDC7 when underwayīs level almost was a worst-world level), but i still think there were differences in judging-quality. So everything i say now (well, everything i said before may be, too) is just my opinion and you donīt have to like it. You might totally disagree. But I think Koopster was the best judge. I didnīt scan every single comment of him on detail but i got the impression that he was the best judge when it comes to giving points but still discerning the 3 categories. Nimono would be second on my list. he also tried discerning the 3 judgingcategories, but he seems to get a bit inconsistent a bit more often than Koopster (how deserves Daxīs level a 10/10 in aesthetics? Oh yeah, itīs subjective. Please apologize me qustioning comparing it to NGBīs levelīs aesthetic) (Comparing all the levels might me an other interesing point, too so that a 10/10 in asthetic wonīt be given too often as Gbreeze stated before but just to the "best asthetic"-levels. But this would (more or less) include playing/judging all the entries twice and i donīt think any judge would like to put that much effort into it). Back to Eternity and NinjaBoy... Well itīs the same procedure as above but they seem to be even more inconsistent than Nimono. Well, i donīt know much about Eternity, but when watching NinjaBoyīs YT-VLDC9 videos i got the impression, that he lowered the score "immensely" (well no minus30 points in design but maybe minus10 split up to design and creativity) if there were some things that he disliked (too much). But personal enjoyment is just one factor in judging. There are many other different aspects, too, so (in theory) a level should still be able to get about 50 points even if it is very hard if everything else is "perfect".
Errr, yeah enough of me brainstorming and pseudo-rampaging about inconsistency and mixing-up the judging categories. You see my opion isnīt much different from (as best example) Gbreeze. Also i think the idea of the judges discussing the levels may be quite interesing. So this would maybe avoid extreme disparities (26 points total-score difference in my level are notable significant, but i think there were even "greater gaps"). On the other hand this may prevent any level getting a really outstanding score. And when discussing scores of course no judge should try to be too influencing/ to be influenced too much, but as far as every judge is an intelligent person i guess this wonīt be the case (As well as "discussing judgeing" wonīt be the case if i may predict). OK. Iīm done. - FIN