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Feedback and Rules Changes
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - Kaizo Level Design Contest 2020 - Feedback and Rules Changes
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Hey all -

First of all, thank you so much for all of your contributions, creations and comments as part of this year's KLDC. It has been an honor for me to help bring this event back for the first time in three years, and you all have come very, very strong.

Judges are either finishing up or approaching the end of their playthroughs. I don't want to promise an exact date for results, but I'm hopeful to have everything ready to announce by the end of April, if not sooner.

In the meantime...

It is our intent to make KLDC an annual event again, and while I don't want to assume that I will be back to host next year's contest (though I would love to), I do want to take time to hear from you with your feedback and comments about how the event was organized and operated. What you thought was a good idea, what you thought was a bad idea (and why), suggestions for future rules revisions, and other things you feel it is important to share.

Things I know we will address going forward:

- Total level length restrictions. Yes, this is the big one as far as volume of comments, and it's one we're going to address to try and find a balance between not punishing creativity and respecting the player/judges.

- Scoring system. While I still feel that the system we went with (5 judges, Olympic average scoring) is an effective one, we are not married to it. Any suggested improvements are welcome.

This isn't a "Doc defends his choices" thread. I'm happy to provide my rationale, but this exists to make the 2021 contest better, not justify why the 2020 contest is the way it is. I'll hang up and listen.

Thank you all again for making this contest as big and as impressive as it has been!

--------------------
I'm not a doctor.

I wonder what if we could have categories for "Kaizo light" and "Kaizo medium/hard" kinda like how way back in the day we had separate categories for "difficult" and "creative." Tho I'd still say there should be an upper limit.

--------------------
Legacy custom music

I think on the whole, this contest was very well done. My thanks to everyone involved in making it happen!

My main problem with this contest (aside form the logistical problem for judges of level length) is the vagueness of the grading rubric. While I appreciate that this is a creative contest, and as such there is not necessarily a way to structurally assess the creativity or level design elements truly objectively, a lot of judges went into the contest with very differing opinions on what defines good and bad kaizo level design. Kaizo as a genre has always been a place where bad level design practices have been used intentionally, such as infamous 'kaizo' blocks and 'kaizo' traps, and historically many kaizo hacks were made to be frustrating, or humorous to watch someone fail at. I am not saying that there are therefore no bad levels, or poorly designed levels- but some judges approached levels with conceptions that levels should be easy to learn while blind and forgiving to players, which I do not think are necessary elements to define good kaizo level design.

All of this is pretty meaningless though unless there is a solution presented, though. I don't expect the judges to be forced to re-define how they evaluate levels as fun or not, and to suddenly appreciate things they find too frustrating. But I would appreciate a better rubric for 'Level Design' than "Was playing the level an enjoyable experience expected from a kaizo: light level? Is there a consistent difficulty curve to progressing through the level?" While a consistent difficulty curve is a very understandable part, I believe that the 'enjoyable experience' was not well-defined in the context of the complaints I have raised. Since this is such a subjective matter, I would ask that perhaps each judge give a definition of their own of what they think makes a kaizo: light level enjoyable before the contest? As an example of how this might help- I know myself and most likely others would have designed my level differently if I knew that judges would not look kindly upon longer levels, or upon levels where the successful strategy is not immediately apparent.

I don't want to give the impression that I think this contest was bad, or unfair. I think it was a wonderful contest! But the subjective and difficult nature of judging kaizo levels due to how bad level design can be acceptable in kaizo means that I believe more transparency on what is going to be appreciated would be very welcome.

As for suggestions for the future- A Vanilla Kaizo LDC or Chocolate Kaizo LDC would be very fun, considering that Kaizo is generally prohibited from those contests, and it's difficult to compare vanilla and chocolate levels.
How about if we don't get a limit where we can only do light levels? If not Kaizo Hard, how about Kaizo Medium for the next contest?

Like Light, Kaizo Medium is just a little harder but with several midway points

Or you could also do a Kaizo contest with certain things like everyone gets a random number 1 to 10 if person A has number 2 he has to do a water level and if person B has number 3 he has to do a castle and so on

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Originally posted by algae5
I believe that the 'enjoyable experience' was not well-defined in the context of the complaints I have raised. Since this is such a subjective matter, I would ask that perhaps each judge give a definition of their own of what they think makes a kaizo: light level enjoyable before the contest?

Well, VLDCs are done with that exact same criteria. There will always be subjective elements to judging good or bad level design, but jankyness, readability, blind jumps or frustrating setups that cannot be get consistently are aspects that can hinder a level's experience as a consensus. I also do not believe that telling people what they should do is the right way to go.

Originally posted by algae5
As for suggestions for the future- A Vanilla Kaizo LDC or Chocolate Kaizo LDC would be very fun, considering that Kaizo is generally prohibited from those contests, and it's difficult to compare vanilla and chocolate levels.


I double post that.

Have you ever heard of Grabahan?
Grabahanful of these nuts, GOTEM
.

Originally posted by algae5
As for suggestions for the future- A Vanilla Kaizo LDC or Chocolate Kaizo LDC would be very fun, considering that Kaizo is generally prohibited from those contests, and it's difficult to compare vanilla and chocolate levels.

I think that this is a great suggestion and I would triple quote this.
Originally posted by algae5
As for suggestions for the future- A Vanilla Kaizo LDC or Chocolate Kaizo LDC would be very fun, considering that Kaizo is generally prohibited from those contests, and it's difficult to compare vanilla and chocolate levels.

Fourthing that!

While having two different categories for light and hard would be nice, I guess not too many people would agree to have.
I have a Discord server as well!

KLDC2021
OLDC2021


Basically, I believe in peace and bashing two bricks together.
Originally posted by algae5
As for suggestions for the future- A Vanilla Kaizo LDC or Chocolate Kaizo LDC would be very fun, considering that Kaizo is generally prohibited from those contests, and it's difficult to compare vanilla and chocolate levels.

Agreed! #smw{:TUP:}

--------------------








The request for a Vanilla Kaizo/Choccy Kaizo split is an interesting one, and I don't mean that in a condescending way.

Using the last VLDC as a guide, here's what that might look like from a rules perspective:

- 3 sublevels + main level, for a total of 4 levels.
- Your level may not be more than 500 SMW seconds long.
- You can use one full map16 page for FG and one for BG, for a total of two full map16 pages.
- You are not allowed to modify the first 3 Map16 pages.
- You are allowed to use ExAnimation.
- No custom graphics beyond recoloring original palettes
- No custom ASM outside of provided patches

When asking for a Vanilla KLDC, is that what you have in mind? Or are you looking for just a more restrictive form of the rules we had this year?

--------------------
I'm not a doctor.

Originally posted by Doctor No
The request for a Vanilla Kaizo/Choccy Kaizo split is an interesting one, and I don't mean that in a condescending way.

Using the last VLDC as a guide, here's what that might look like from a rules perspective:

- 3 sublevels + main level, for a total of 4 levels.
- Your level may not be more than 500 SMW seconds long.
- You can use one full map16 page for FG and one for BG, for a total of two full map16 pages.
- You are not allowed to modify the first 3 Map16 pages.
- You are allowed to use ExAnimation.
- No custom graphics beyond recoloring original palettes
- No custom ASM outside of provided patches

When asking for a Vanilla KLDC, is that what you have in mind? Or are you looking for just a more restrictive form of the rules we had this year?


Sounds quite good so far.
Personally though I'd change/adjust the following rules:

Originally posted by Doctor No
- 3 sublevels + main level, for a total of 4 levels. - Your level may not be more than 500 SMW seconds long.

Personally I wouldn't be that restrictive with length. I think a limit of 6 sublevels as it has been set for this contest is alright.
No one could've expected that so many participants would exploit that rule to its limit


Originally posted by Doctor No
- No custom graphics beyond recoloring original palettes

That's not very precise. Either way you should prohibit the usage of ExGFX entirely or you could allow the players that arranging (x- and y-flipping, rotating, merging, recoloring, ...) via YY-CHR is okay, as long as we only use the original SMW GFX. I'd be fine with both rules, and the latter could be adjusted as needed (e.g. rotating, flipping is allowed; recoloring + merging not beign allowed etc.)

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Originally posted by Doctor No
- No custom ASM outside of provided patches


Which patches would be included in the baserom?

Have you ever heard of Grabahan?
Grabahanful of these nuts, GOTEM
.

Originally posted by Samuel Zuccati
Which patches would be included in the baserom?

if we're going by vldc11, probably sa-1 and bugfix patches
The big problem of having a kaizo hard contest is that while certainly there are people who enjoy making it (I, for one, enjoy watching it a lot, and I admire creators who make it), I heavily doubt that there will be a lot of partecipants and even then, I doubt we would be able to find the judges for such a contest, given that we are barely able to find mods for that category (we currently have just one)
Originally posted by Doctor No

- 3 sublevels + main level, for a total of 4 levels.
- Your level may not be more than 500 SMW seconds long.
- You can use one full map16 page for FG and one for BG, for a total of two full map16 pages.
- You are not allowed to modify the first 3 Map16 pages.
- You are allowed to use ExAnimation.
- No custom graphics beyond recoloring original palettes
- No custom ASM outside of provided patches


I think these are a good set of rules as well. That being said, these rules are partially meant for the ease of making a VLDC compilation hack, such as the limitation on map16 pages and things like no custom graphics. Personally I think that trade off is absolutely worth it because people seem to really appreciate the existence of a collaboration hack, but if there's no intention to make one with a Kaizo VLDC not all of those restrictions probably are necessary.
Originally posted by Doctor No
The request for a Vanilla Kaizo/Choccy Kaizo split is an interesting one


I really think that KVLDC should be it's own contest, tbh, until now there weren't Kaizo LDCs for 3 years on the site, and normal contests either bans Kaizo or disencourages it. It would be cool to have more LDCs for Kaizo makers

Have you ever heard of Grabahan?
Grabahanful of these nuts, GOTEM
.

Originally posted by Samuel Zuccati
I really think that KVLDC should be it's own contest, tbh, until now there weren't Kaizo LDCs for 3 years on the site, and normal contests either bans Kaizo or disencourages it. It would be cool to have more LDCs for Kaizo makers

What benefits would we have of a separate contest other than being OLDC but harder?
I'm sure we can think of a theme for next year that's not just the one we adopted for a good while, or we can just let people go wild with whatever they have.
Originally posted by Katerpie

What benefits would we have of a separate contest other than being OLDC but harder?
I'm sure we can think of a theme for next year that's not just the one we adopted for a good while, or we can just let people go wild with whatever they have.

Maybe we can have a 24hor Kaizo LDC

Have you ever heard of Grabahan?
Grabahanful of these nuts, GOTEM
.

Originally posted by Samuel Zuccati
Maybe we can have a 24hor Kaizo LDC


That's definitely on the agenda, though likely well apart from the main KLDC, calendar wise.

--------------------
I'm not a doctor.

frankly i am not too sure what the benefits of a vanilla kaizo level design contest would be over the current rules. do people feel it to be unfair that some contestants use asm or other custom elements to their advantage over users who wish to keep things more "vanilla"?

i do like the idea of a 24hoksmw though, with some sort of fun gimmick to throw out there.

furthermore, i really do not see the audience to sufficiently host a kaizo:hard level design contest. i feel the genre's become too niche to garner enough attention to justify its' existence. we'd need a few judges to judge what would probably only end up being a handful of submissions. i apologize to fans of kaizo:hard content, maybe if you guys can rally up and show that there would be enough support for a separate kaizo:hard contest we could reconsider.

--------------------
Originally posted by idol
frankly i am not too sure what the benefits of a vanilla kaizo level design contest would be over the current rules. do people feel it to be unfair that some contestants use asm or other custom elements to their advantage over users who wish to keep things more "vanilla"?


Speaking as someone who designed a 'chocolate' level for this contest, I don't think it's unfair or anything to compete between vanilla and chocolate. But I do think that comparing the creativity and level design of chocolate and vanilla levels is slightly like comparing apples and oranges. The design space of vanilla levels has been far more explored.

As a result, personally I found myself with little to no desire to design a Vanilla level for a contest. And while one might argue that that is because designing a creative vanilla contest level is harder, I would disagree. It's a difference in preparation type- to prepare a chocolate level, you need to spend time outside of Lunar Magic. I spent over 15 hours just coding asm before even doing any work in Lunar Magic for my level. To create a vanilla level, you need to spend more time on the level itself.

I'm not trying to say that in this competition, the vanilla levels weren't creative, or that the judges won't be able to score them appropriately. I would guess everyone going into the contest understood the ramifications of the choice between chocolate or vanilla, and chose as they wanted to present themselves, what best represented their skills or knowledge at the time.

But speaking as someone who chose to make a chocolate level- I would never make a vanilla level for a contest unless the contest required it. And that's why a vanilla KLDC attracts me quite a bit. Honestly, Chocolate KLDC wouldn't feel very different from this KLDC, considering just how many of the entries were already chocolate, so I see less of a reason to do that.
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Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - Kaizo Level Design Contest 2020 - Feedback and Rules Changes

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