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Contest Ideas / Theme Suggestions Thread

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Have an idea for a contest that's burned in the back of your mind? Thought of a neat twist on one of our existing events or a creative theme for our 24-hour contests? I wanna know all the kinds of events people would like to see, so please post your ideas here! If they're really cool, we could even discuss hosting that event with you!

Please keep suggestions somewhat realistic and serious; I don't want to dissuade from silly or crazy contest ideas, but they should also be somewhat reasonable to host. Here's a sample suggestion to give you an idea:

Chargin' Chuck's Super Bowl Show!
Type: Level Design (Standard)
Length: 24-72 hours
Description: It's Super Bowl weekend, and Chargin' Chuck wants some action! Make a level using at least one type of Chuck enemy.
Restrictions: Theme requirement, no resource restrictions.
I have at least two ideas that I've actually lead before, so could be worth sharing.

- SMW Boss Battle Contest -
The idea is pretty simple, and it has a lot of variants that can even be expanded upon. Basically the idea is that you must use a specific boss from SMW chosen by the contest, then try to come up with something unique with it. I was pretty flexable with both contests (one with Big Boo and one with Larry/Wendy); I allowed hex editing, adding uberasm to the arena, using custom blocks, etc.

Honestly it could drop the restriction of working with one kind of boss, and just allow any custom boss from SMW Central. I've had a lot of fun trying to spin new ideas with the noob boss the past year. I am aware that allowing complete freedom would allow for those to simply change a boss so much that it's a new fight, or just create their own boss. I don't see it as a big issue personally, if someone wants to put in the effort to make the next mode 7 god monster, it wouldn't guarantee that it would win against a super well designed Big Boo boss with a super creative idea.

- Beat The Staff Competition -
Okay this one is fairly different compared to any other contest I've seen, and I have indeed ran it once in my own website and it was fun. The big idea is there are essentially two camps of competitors: the staff, and the regular members. The regular members' goal is to score higher than the staff members, and those who get higher than the highest ranked level from the staff team will get a badge.

I say there will probably be three tiers of badges: those who rank lower than all the staff (a sort of participation reward), those who've beaten a number of staff members (you hover over the badge and it says "I beat 7 staff members!"), and the final badge is for those who passed all the staff. Perhaps there could be a fourth badge that's for the 1st place winner of the entire competition, but at that point it's just like a regular CLDC. But I think this could be a cool contest to try out at some point to bring in more of a connection between the two groups.

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I'll bring this up at any chance I get, Cursed ASM Contest

ASM that is functional but is made to be bad in some manner.
Here's an example.
I came up with this list quite a while ago for fun, and fq suggested I put it here, so here it goes.

All 24 hour contests:

Topsy turvy: turn a vanilla horizontal level into a vertical one. You must delete all the objects, but keep all sprites and use the exact sprite locations

M for Mario: all resources, sprites, etc used must start with the letter M

It was all yellow: you can only use sprites that have yellow in them

Path Remake: create an ow without changing the path or level locations (must use a certain submap or choice of submaps)

Vanilla with chocolate chunks: can use custom blocks, but no other resources

Beyond Funky?: create a level that would fit as the final special world smw level after funky

Bad idea: make either a water level or an autoscroller

Diversity: make a level where each sprite is only used exactly once and no more

Reversal: make a half level that can be then played backwards for the 2nd half

Also, make a level based on a fake review/fake judge comment of it (not my idea, I think lazy or ft or someone else came up with this)
'72hoVanilla' or '72hoOldSchool' comes to my mind as a new contest.

Almost all the rules will be the same for both. VLDC rules apply to 24hoVanilla, OLDC rules apply to 24hoOldSchool. If there is no problem, the rules will be the same.


Two entries can be made for a contest. There can be two entries in a hack. The given time could be two months or something. (For example Double Vanilla LDC, Double Old-School LDC etc.)

It may be tiring for the participants and judges, but still, this idea is here to stay.
I couldn't find anything to write :| By the way my Youtube channel
I had some ideas for contests so I guess it would be interesting to share them.

While I'm not particularly knowledgeable in kaizo level design, I still have some ideas that would interest the kaizo creators.

I will probably edit this post if I have other ideas.
Phew. What a post.
24-hour Level Design Contest Series

Bowser's Critical World
Type: Level Design (Standard)
Length: 24-72 hours
Design: Build a level as city themed where located in Valley of Bowser.
Theme Requirements: Airship/Tanks, City/Town, Carnival, Castle, Graveyard/Forest, Factory, Snow, Sky, Volcano/Fire.
Restrictions: No ASM, Sprites, Blocks. Graphics and Music are allowed.

Relaxing in the forest and night
Type: Level Design (Standard)
Length: 72 hours
Design: Build a level as forest themed at eternal midnight with music could fit as calm and relaxing.
Theme Requirements: Spring/Autumn, Forest/Garden, Jungle/Swamp, Temple/Ruins, Palace/Towers, Lake/Rivers, Beach, Sky, Only Night Time with stars.
Restrictions: No ASM, Sprites, Blocks. Graphics and Music are allowed.

*Both 24hoLDC contests, We could be compiled into hack.

24-hour Other Contest Series

In the maze overworlds
Type: Overworld Design (Submaps)
Length: 24-72 hours
Design: Build at least 6 submaps from start to finish with substantially secret exits and make confused. The final submap must have to Bowser's Castle.
Restrictions: No events allowed, Instant path revealed (like absent). This entry must not included a full hack. No main overworlds, Path must have to connected to submaps. Graphics and Music are allowed but no theme restrictions.

24hoSPC - SMW Styled Remix
Type: Music Composition (Addmusic K)
Length: 24-72 hours
Design: Compose a song combine with SMW vibes and any kind of remixes as theme style interested for levels.
Restrictions: 6 Channels Limit, Every commands are allowed. 2 minutes length of song. No instrument and music restrictions.
Tonight.. tonight..

Join Discord server now: DT's SMW Hacking Server

My YouTube Channel: Dispace Troblex

Contact: DT Music and Gaming#8283
48hoReprise: Turn an original SMW level into something better (standard level), custom palettes and custom music allowed. You can't delete anything already existing in the level (blocks, foreground, background, sprites).

24hoYoshi: Create a standard level in which you have to use a single Yoshi in the whole level. You can dismount it for your gimmicks but you must remount it, and you can't ditch it onto a pit or lava (Yoshi must live at the end of the level).

24hoBetaCage: Create a level using the unused layer 3 Beta Cage. Potentially an autoscroller level.

72hoMegaMan: Create an SMW level themed as Classic or X Mega Man series. This contest would require a baserom with some asm included (wallkicks, classic megaman screen scrolling, health bar, etc).
Multiple people have proposed this idea in the past few months following OWDC, so allow me to put it into formal writing:

Type: Overworld Design
Duration: 72-120 hours (whatever feels like a reasonable amount of time to create a main map)
Description: Essentially the 24hoSMW version of OWDC, design an SMW overworld within the allotted period of time. Themes would be picked for each contest, as is typical of 24ho-type contests.
Restrictions: Theme requirement, must be able to traverse overworld without needing to play full levels.

Additionally, a logical extension of this that has also been brought up before:

Type: Overworld Submap Design
Duration: 24 hours (or 48-72 if it feels more appropriate)
Description: Same as 72hoOW, but designing only a single submap.
Restrictions: Theme requirement, overworld must be a single submap, overworld must be completely traversable without having to play entire levels.

Additionally, one more idea that has existed in some apparent form in the past that I feel could go multiple different directions:

Music(al) Level Design Contest (MLDC)
Type: Level Design (Standard)
Duration: ~1-1.5 months, whatever is standard LDC length.
Description: Two ideas could work here:
-One, a set of songs are preselected by the organizers, and contestants will design a level that fits said song. This will make the process easier to judge, but more restrictive on music options.
-The second option, which would be harder to implement but (in my opinion) could be more interesting, would be to allow contestants to select their own song, and then design a level that is very intrinsically tied to the song, either using the song to guide the level design or having the gameplay and music connected in some arbitrary way.
Another thing that could be up for discussion would be using multiple songs in different subareas of the level, assuming they are all related to each other and still tell one cohesive story.
Restrictions: (possibly) require certain song to be in level, level must correlate with a song in a manner more obvious than just "the music fits the level good".

Obviously defining concrete barriers for what constitutes proper musical integration are hard to put into words, much like QLDC's definition of Questionable was. It might be worth borrowing from that and having this contest be judged qualitatively like QLDC rather than quantitatively. In any case, it would require some further discussion, but is definitely something that I think should be given consideration.
Instead of usual 24-hour contests, I should go with this:

Hyper-Dimensional Crossover Contest (HDCC)
Focuses on: Level design
Lasts for: ~1-1.5 months (and this is obvs the typical LDC length!)
What's required: Combining any other franchise(s) with another
Limited to: Anything goes!

Basically, it's a level design contest similar to CLDC, where you can make an SMW level using a bunch of custom resources (it could be graphics, music, ASM, etc.), but there's a twist: You'll have to mash-up between the Mario franchise (or any franchise you could like!) and a your favorite franchise (or two or as many as can be!). It can be either a TV series, a video game series, a comic book series, an anime series or so on—anything goes! Oh, and it runs for almost one to one-and-a-half months—henceforth this the standard length used for VLDC and BLDC!

EDIT (11/04/2021): Bringing this one from this thread:

Mixed Level Design Contest (MixLDC)
Focuses on: Level design
Lasts for: ~1-1.5 months (again, this is obvs the typical LDC length)
What's required: Choosing the level design style for main and sub levels (Old-School, Vanilla, Base ROM or Chocolate)
Limited to: Using only Lunar Magic + few restrictions (Old-School)/original SMW graphics + custom music (Vanilla)/resources found in the base ROM + custom music (Base ROM)/custom graphics, music, ASM, nothing else (Chocolate)

Participants must choose the level design style they'll be using (this applies to both levels and sublevels)—it could be either Old-School (no custom resources, Lunar Magic only = Final Destination), Vanilla (original SMW graphics + custom Map16 + AddmusicK), Base ROM (Same as Vanilla, as well as the assets included in the base ROM (custom blocks and sprites, and graphics from other games)) and Chocolate (anything goes (these include custom ASM and music)).
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Underwater level design contest
Type: Level Design (Standard)
Length: 1-3 weeks
Description: it’s pretty straight forward
Restrictions: your level must be themed around underwater failing to do so is a disqualification, and you can use any resource as long as you can swim in the air it’s fine.
Name-based Level Design Contest
Type: Level Design (Standard)
Length: 24-72 hours
Description: Contestants have to choose one of a few pre-selected level names and design a level that would fit it. Would work best with a batch of unusual names, eg. "Plant Eggshells to Grow Chicken" from Lazy's OWDC (which was the inspiration behind this idea lol).
Restrictions: Theme requirement, no resource restrictions.
Some suggestions I made here that might have a chance of working:

Exchange Level Design Contest - halfway through you hand your entry to another person who then finishes it. (I actually exchanged hacks with Lucas for the heck of it a long time ago, but we never ended up showing progress on each other's hacks.)
Reverse Level Design Contest - have an AI generate descriptions of levels (maybe training it on previous contests' judge comments), and you build a level matching one of them.
Rearrangement Level Design Contest: you must use exactly the same objects as an SMW level of your choice and can only move them around.
Newbie Level Design Contest - only first-time LM users are allowed to enter; oldbies may submit only their first levels if they still have them.

Apologies if those are too silly after all, and also for not thinking too much about time limits and restrictions. #ab{^^;;;}

Behold for...
tribute level design contest

That's it, a level that shows love for another piece of existing media.

Can be held in the duration of a CLDC, as to leave time for the contestants to create their own resource packs.

Of course, since references are open to interpretation, leaving the audience with an anything goes would result in chaos, but if the selected judges provide a list of references they will 100% be able to recognize, + an eventual baserom, + guidelines, that may work.

Example below:

Tribute Level Design Contest
Create a single level that successfully represents your target media.
/20 design, /50 fidelity to target, /30 aesthetics, /100 total.
The goal being to loyally paint a picture of your target, even if the level design as Mario player is not the most palatable.

List of accepted media-
The judges this year are able to recognize:
-Secret of Mana SNES
-Anything Pokemon up to gen. 4
-The movie 'Inside out'
-The books series 'The golden compass' by Phillip Pullman
-Why Kris gets the banana

-Trying to stay closest to the critters and monsters encountered in the target media.
-Trying to adopt the same colour theme as the target media (especially if it is a 16-bit era game).

The list of different targets may go on to offer diversity. The target media can be anything, from video games to books to movies or even memes. Of course, one contestant is to choose only one target, no mix-and-match. If needed, a brainstorm session is held with the community in order to make sure everyone agrees about the possible targets.

Motives for disqualification are similar to other contests such as CLDC.

Beginners who can't express their reference as they would wish (no gfx nor asm creation know-how), are invited to write a txt file to point their intent, but the judging also decides whether the idea was ingenious or not.

I have been working on my own 'pilot' entry already, hope to say more about it soon.

Edit: I realise that kinda overlaps with Klug's idea. My fear with sommething open as proposed, is that the audience or the judge might not recognize the franchise painted by a contestant, which might or might not be a good thing, I don't know.
This may be a bad idea but i try anyways:

Blocks and Sprites: (I may change the name later):

Type: Level Design (Anything)
Recommanded length: 2 weeks (step 1) + 4 weeks (step 2) (see steps)
Description: A contest where the maker makes in 2 steps a level.
-Baserom required (vanilla game with or without quality of life patches) with UberASM
-No entries' global patches.
-Steps' restrictions (See Steps)

Final entries are composed of 2 makers.

It's similar to WhiteYoshiEgg's Exchange Level Design Contest I guess.
I'm still fan judging WLDC2021 (40/60)(updated 19/april/2022)

(Kaizo interruption)
Random Necessity Generator (RNG)
Type: Level Design (Standard)
Length: 2-4 weeks, probably
Description: Participants would be required to create a level using what they get from the Show random link on the SMW resource sections. Each one would have a certain amount of resources you could choose from randomly, such as 2 custom blocks and graphics for 1 background, 1 foreground, and 3 sprites each. Perhaps if a set of random resources someone receives doesn't work well or creates an issue, they could redo the process for a more functional set.
Restrictions: Limit to a set amount of resources

Tubular Level Design Contest (TLDC)
Type: Level Design (Standard)
Length: 24-72 hours, maybe even 1 week
Description: I created this contest idea through the Fill in the LDC Alphabet! thread, where participants would have to make an entry that could fit in well with the eight Special World levels.
Restrictions: Completely vanilla (like OLDC)
What is a Lunar Magic, and can I eat it?
Maybe, a 96 or 100 hour level design contest that's like a 24 hour level design contest but a little bit longer. You have to like follow a theme like you cannot make the level longer, but you can add whatever objects you want and you can use custom sprites or any sprites you want. You get a list of levels from the original game.

Also, maybe a New Super Mario Level Design Contest where you have to design a level in New Super Mario Bros. I think there was one a long time ago, but it might have been on Talkhaus.

Abother Questionable Level Design Contest next year possibly
BRR Contest
Type: Resource Creation
Duration: 24-72 hours
Description: Contestants must create or rip a custom BRR sample/samples within the allotted time.
Restrictions: Perhaps theme requirement? Must work with AMK/BRRPlayer or something, perhaps no SNES samples allowed?

An idea that came into my head out of the blue yesterday, would require some ironing out regarding whether or not to have it be a single sample or a sample pack, but I think some kind of contest that revolves around samples could be neat.

Duration: 1-1.5 Months
Description: Create the best possible Autoscroll level.
Restrictions: No Kaizo, or Troll level entries.

just an idea#smrpg{haha}
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Here are some, 2 similar variations of OLDC I came up with recently:

Legacy Level Design Contest
Similarly to OLDC, you must use older versions of Lunar Magic, however, there is a difference. Instead of being unable to use custom resources, you would be able to, but would only be able to use ones compatible with obsolete tools, such as XKAS, BlockTool, TRASM, AM4/AMM and SpriteTool. Since many of these were removed, a removal archive would likely need to be provided. I don’t really know if one already exists or would need to be found, if one exists at all. The second idea would be somewhat easier

Nostalgia Level Design Contest
This one is similar, but instead of requiring the use of outdated tools, it’d require the usage of resources from a certain time period, taking into account the date it was uploaded rather than when it was last updated.

I might come up with more ideas later. Until then, thank you.
Every dream is but another reality, never forget…

My In-Progress Hack

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