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Mad Scientist ASM Contest 2022 - Results

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ASM Mad Scientist 2022 voting has begun! Download the entries here!

The entries are "Batts", "Henry", "Jimmy", and "Tommy". Like previous ASM contests, you vote by posting here and ranking the entries from favorite to least favorite. Remember, try to not focus on presentation with your rankings but on the functionality and creativity of the sprites. Comments are very appreciated but not required.

Voting ends on Wednesday, October 5th, at 5:00 PM GMT.

Edit:  Heraga has kindly provided videos for each of the entries for you to view instead!

Batts

Henry

Jimmy

Tommy
Jimmy
The moment I saw this sprite I instantly knew who made it. I almost feel dirty voting this first, but it's lightyears ahead of the other sprites. My only real knock is that it feels like it'd be hard to design levels around this sprite, but it nails everything else (also I'm not sure if I could even rate this on potential level design usage when this is an ASM contest).

Author Guess -
NOT Von Fahrinheit and Eminus haha pranked I don't think they'd ever submit to an ASM contest ever that's ridiculous.


Tommy
This sprite I could actually see myself using, it has a really nice function that "expands" on vanilla mechanics in a way that feels organic and fun. I enjoy all the customizability options. Really the only issue is that it plays it too safe, which is why Jimmy gets the upper hand. Regardless, safe sprites are great too, and I plan to add this to my repertoire.

Author Guess -
This has big Fernap energy but it equally has big James energy. Battle of the platforms.


Henry
Technically creative but I could not see a fun usage for this sprite. Everything tried and everything shown in the level is tedious at best and unfun at worst. Spinjumping on something is inherently going to not be great in vanilla SMW on account of how wall collision works. Mario will a lot of the time clip into a wall and fall out of a spin state. This sprite also runs the issue of having things break if you fall through grinders, as the way obstacles are designed with the sprite require the player to break the chain to progress. It also was confusing that some chains went in different directions, which were not telegraphed by the sprite itself like I was expecting.

Author Guess -
Either NerDose or RussianMan but that's predominantly the level vibes


Batts
I could not make this sprite function the way intended. I managed to make it move left but it'd never move right. Boo rings are a tedious sprite, and this implementation feels even more tedious. What is this even a merged sprite of, Boo and Boo Ring? It feels rather under-baked, and the mashup itself feels rather obvious.

Author Guess -
Someone who likes Boos (I don't know).
Jimmy (Perfect)
Tommy (Fantastic)
Henry (Nice)
Batts (Bad)



List Soundtrack - List Hacks

Mega Man X3 OSTs
1. Tommy: Grounded with a block, this is an interesting twist on spinning platforms. Freely spinning and moving, it's a whole other type of movement through the screen. As someone whose favorite aspect of SMW is pure platforming, I'm playing favorites according to my tastes here.
2. Jimmy: The movement and the stagger mechanic are both really interesting and fun. I'm not too sure about it eating baby yoshi or a key in a level but as a boss, it has a lot of potential.
3. Henry: I like that it breaks into regular grinders when pushed too far. Seems like it would be interesting for puzzles, which isn't so much my thing, but I think it definitely could have a place in the right hacks.
4. Batts: Okay, I think this is actually the cutest idea. Boo rings that function as regular boos. For some reason, they seem to have a problem going right? Good entry though. With a tweak to fix the movement issue and maybe different graphics to signify it's facing / chasing Mario or hiding their faces, it would be very useable.

Great entries all around!
#1 - Henry
I quite liked this sprite! The idea of spin-jumping on Grinders to push them around feels quite natural, and lends itself well to some interesting puzzles! The only downsides I see are that sometimes when you land JUST into the Grinder while trying to land on top of it, yet miss, after taking damage you'll see the Grinders move anyway, and that you have no visual distinction between Grinders that go up when bounced on and Grinders that go down, or between rates at which they move- you've left it up to the end user to display that fact. Being able to read at a quick glance what something is going to do is important!

#2 - Jimmy
The Thwompin' Chuck is quite an interesting foe! Part of me wishes it took a bit more from the Chargin' Chuck than just "can move and jump", but it honestly makes sense that as a being partially of massive stone, of course it can't move too quickly. I also like the "boss" variant allowed, though a few nitpicks- first, I do think the shake on the final HP should be removed- I originally thought the enemy was ultimately invincible since it seemed like it was about to hop up yet again! Second, it taking damage from Baby Yoshi feels a bit...not too good given its gameplay purpose. I understand everything matches the way Big Boo works in the base game, but I feel like that could be a potential detriment!

#3 - Tommy
The various spinning timed platforms are an interesting creation. You can clearly use them to assist in bonuses, or make sections where you need to think fast. I like it! I'm not too enthused that there's no real visual way to tell what exactly a platform will do at a glance, though- they all have the same look, so you can't tell if a platform will spin slowly, spin fast, move clockwise, move counter-clockwise, count down slow, count down fast, move its anchor put, or stay anchored to a single location. Even those that move the anchor, have no real way to tell which way the anchor will move, it's left up to the end user. Readability is very important in games!

#4 - Batts
The following Boo Ring felt a bit...broken to me. When it tries to follow you to the left, it doesn't move vertically at all, while when it tries to follow you to the right, it tries to match only your vertical position- but ONLY when you're above it. This makes it trivially easy to deal with when approaching from the right. On top of that, it felt quite speedy when moving to the left; perhaps this was due to the Boo Ring already spinning clockwise, but it will definitely catch players massively off guard and is liable to make them panic.
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- Jimmy: Funny sprite and very silly. I love it. While it's not as highly customizable as Tommy, works well like a very tough enemy. Imagine it being around other enemies.

- Tommy: This one has the most customization of the bunch. Personally, I liked Henry a bit more, but this one has a lot more options and ideas which makes it earn the second place.

- Henry: Fun grinder stuff. Aside from SMW jankiness, has a lot of potential for creative stuff. A really intersting contraption. Didn't got higher due certain grinder scales acting differently from others without a clear indication.

- Batts: Uh...Nice idea, weird execution. Looks like doesn't work as intended. I wish the tracking abilities of the boo ring were better.
#1 Jimmy
My vote goes to Jimmy for the Thwompin' Chuck, for the original idea, and the sprite works very good, and it works as a boss too.

#2 Henry
#3 Tommy
#4 Batts
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Jimmy - Very creative sprite, I love the mechanics.

Henry - Awesome idea, I can see this being used for a lot of creative gameplay.

Tommy - Kind of bland sprite, but still great nontheless.

Batts - The idea is cool, but sprite seems broken.
Henry: This is such a cool idea! The combination of ideas here is ingenious, and the customizability is the cherry on top. I don't want to rank sprites based on "setup potential" or whatnot alone, but I think the versatility this sprite has in terms of being a hazard, a "platform", and helping or hindering by eating things on layer 1 is great.

Jimmy: The attention to detail here with the smooth and expressive animations is spectacular. I also really love how unique the method of defeating the enemy is, it feels very fresh! I really love how you took a seemingly straightforward sprite combination and fleshed it out to this extent.

Tommy: This is one of those sprites that makes me think "how has this never been done before?" I love the idea, and I love the versatility you've given to all the sprite parameters. Both the "boring" and "actual" level feel so diverse even though it's technically all just one sprite.

Batts: This seems like a very neat idea for a sprite, and gives a whole new layer of fun and/or fear to Boo Rings. That being said, I'm not fully sure how exactly the proximity checks for it work. Sometimes it'd follow me from one side only, or it'd only work half the time. (Do multiple Boo Rings use the same freeram/check/whatever for Mario's position?) I think a more intuitive way of communicating how it follows the player would've been cool.


#1 - Jimmy
Besides just looking goofy, I love Thwompin' Chuck's stagger mechanics and the potential for a really unique boss. (Plus I'm a sucker for new breeds of Chucks)
I'm very eager to see who made this, because I'd really like to ask permission to use it in a hack.

#2 - Tommy
I love how much this can add to a platform level. The shorter wait times make things pretty chaotic, but I could also see building an obstacle course around a longer-lasting platform.
The only improvement I could see would be adding a 3-platform variant - it would make it easier to introduce at the start of a level.

#3 - Henry
The grinder scales are pretty neat, although there's only so much use you can get out of erasing blocks with it. I could see using it in some decent puzzle levels in tandem with other gimmicks.

#4 - Batts
I like the concept, but it's not very clear how it works - it doesn't seem to move right at all, and there's no indication for when it starts following Mario.
A few people suggested having the Boos face Mario when they move, but I think it would also be nice if they had some acceleration when they started moving. Having the Boo Ring immediately barrel towards you at top speed is an easy way to make the player panic.
1. Tommy: Simple but very, very effective. There are loads of possible applications for this sprite, and overall this is exactly what I'd want to see out of a contest like this. I would quite happily use this in a level.
2. Jimmy: This is very technically impressive for sure, but I don't find it super fun to fight/avoid as a normal enemy. That said, I DO really like the boss version and I think it could be really fun if the room is set up for it.
3. Henry: I really like the idea of this, although I agree with Heraga in that the usage of it in the level isn't great, which doesn't bode super well for how effectively it can actually be used. Still, it's an idea with a lot of potential and I do think it's a good sprite overall.
4. Batts: Very janky, and not in a good way. I think the whole idea of this sprite is inherently flawed because it's easy for the Boo Circles here to move out of your range, which makes it hard to see where the opening is and can lead to you getting hit unfairly. Just feels bad to navigate through.
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Henry - A really neat and polished sprite that I honestly would love to use in my hack. This combo just fits perfectly and it feels so natural.

Batts - An interesting concept, but I feel like this sprite could truly flourish if it could follow the player in both directions. Or perhaps if it had a smaller boo ring like in Mario Maker, I understand that is probably against the rules but this could be great if given the freedom.

(I'll update this comment later today with the other two, this is all I had time for rn, looking forward to Tommy and Jimmy!)
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“If you are not able to be wrong, you will never come up with something original”
I feel all of my fellow users already have made useful comments.
I'll just add this Thwomp x Chuck fusion looks damn good. Somewhat, it looks like Chuck is possessed by the Thwomp, because of the eyes.

And therefore my ranking:

Jimmy
Henry
Tommy
Batts

sorry, I didn't care much for this boo ring.
1. Tommy
2. Jimmy
3. Henry
4. Batts

Tommy is probably the most versatile sprite. Cool customization options, lots of different ways to use it, fantastic idea that mixes number and rotating platforms seamlessly. My one critique is that you cannot tell which way the platform will rotate nor how fast it will go (easily resolved with graphical edits). It was a tough decision between this and Jimmy for #1 but I gave it the edge due to the numerous possibilities it has with other level elements.

While I really like Jimmy's idea, it perhaps behaves a bit too much like a Thwomp in how the player interacts with it (wait for it to do it's thing, then jump over or run underneath). It's not really worth it to kill it with throw blocks aside from the boss, and it moves really slowly (unfortunately modifying the horizontal movement speed is not a custom option according to the readme). But it's VERY technically impressive, and it has some cool features like earthquakes and the silver P stopping it for some time. BTW Mario on Yoshi can't jump on it even though Mario can spinjump on it, a small oversight.

Henry is pretty neat, but it's not as technically impressive as Jimmy and not as versatile as Tommy. I like how the saws can be turned into normal saws, and that it can be oriented upside down.

Batts is weird, but a nice idea nonetheless. I commend the effort to make boo rings more interesting.
1.- Tommy
Pretty neat sprite, technically, with a lot diversity and possibilities in terms of level design with it, from pretty simple obstacles in standard levels to very precise stuff and why not, kaizo levels. My only complaint (based exclusively on the demo level) is that all the variations use the same palette. I know that it's an easy edit, but it would be nice to see different colors on those that move different than a typical ball n' chain trajectory (e.g. those that move horizontally, vertically or diagonally).

2.- Henry
Another neat sprite but in my opinion less versatile than the first one in this list. This is also technically impressive but in terms of utilization for level design I cannot see that many possibilities with it. In addition to that, this one has the same issue as Tommy; you cannot differentiate which one will move faster or slower, but again, this is an easy graphical fix which I suggest to consider prior an eventual submission to the sprites section.

3.- Jimmy
From the four submissions this is probably the most revolutionary, and technically impressive but as it is in the current state, it is even more limited compared to Henry and Tommy. I only can see this sprite used as a miniboss, a major boss (the one with purple arms/legs), or for mini challenge rooms.

4.- Batts
This is a super interesting idea that some creators definitely would enjoy to use in their hacks. I got the impression that at some moments the sprite doesn't work correctly, but sadly I'm not that smart to explain technically what was wrong. Regardless, it is pretty cool to see this variation of the boo ring.
All of these were really cool! Kudos to the creators.

My order is (top to bottom):

Henry - I felt like these offered the most unique potential of the bunch. The ability to erase blocks, break off, and adjust between the chains felt like there were a myriad of options available to a creative designer.

Tommy - These were the smoothest and just worked so beautifully. I only put these as second because ultimately they are a platform; a really cool, smooth platform, but not quite as unique as I felt Henry was.

Jimmy - This sprite looked SO cool. But ultimately I felt like it was limited in its implementation. A good boss or difficult encounter, but I think I would have liked to see more possible movements for me to rank it higher.

Batts - This one has a lot of potential, but as others noted, I found the movement too confusing (perhaps inconsistent) to rank it above the others, which feel ready to use immediately.
1.batts
2.jimmy
3.henry
4.tommy
sorry for the half assed comments, all these entries r cool and deserve a lot of feedback but i have the head of a dog

tommy: one of the most creative takes on "timed platforms, but different" that ive seen. i can see a lot of wild stuff made with this. this one , is my favorite

jimmy: upsetting. terrible. not terrible as in bad, its incredible. its just morally upsetting. very silly and creative idea. all sorts of good. body horror.

batts: cute, boo + boo ring is a silly smart idea.

henry: messed up. i feel like the upwards ones dont work in the way id expect them to naturally, but thats okay. all the options are cool, but its hard to show Why the sprite would function differently in those situations. the ol telegrapher
Jimmy: I love the idea of this sprite, it is also a good obstacle and very creative, also good job with the graphics. This is not just add some behaviour of other sprite, this mix both in a very literal way using the behaviour of both sprites in a smart way.

Henry: I think it is a very creative mash up and also take some effort merge both. Also looks well implemented and with a lot of options and customization.

Tommy: I think this sprite have a lot of customization and could be a good gimmick, my only issue is that for me this kind of sprites is just "add extra movement to a premade platform", add extra movement to flying sprites is very easy to do in general and also a bit cheap. It looks well implemented but i prefer more creative mash ups that takes more effort.

Batts: This is also the kind of "i just added extra movement to a flying sprite", but in this case is worst than tommy because it doesn't replicate the "ghost behaviour" in a good way, when mario look at the boo ring, all boos in the boo ring should hide their face and stop rotation, not just stop moving in player direction. Also this sprite have less use than the others entries, because as obstacle is too big and is hard to use it in a level without make it unfair and also is not a gimmick that allows you to do a whole level like tommy and henry.

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