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Vanilla Level Design Contest #14 - Rules & Submissions

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Now open to standard and kaizo levels!


We have arrived at the start of another wonderful Vanilla Level Design Contest! So wonderful, in fact, that we're opening the doors for a whole new classification of level to enter.  TheJavabrew and  BD_PhDX will be your co-hosts for VLDC14. The goal, as always, is the same:

Make a level by only using and manipulating the assets found within the original Super Mario World.

This year, both standard and kaizo levels will be welcome to enter. We will have separate judges, and judging, for standard and for kaizo levels, and there are a couple kaizo-specific points that we will be enforcing (see below).

This thread should be used for submissions only. If you want to ask questions or discuss the contest in other ways, please use the Discussion and Questions Thread.


Rules

General Rules

These are the rules that apply to all submissions—there are detailed rules for graphics and music, as well as the Kaizo-specific rules, in sections below.

Allowed — you are permitted to do the following

  • Submitting a Standard or Kaizo level 1. You cannot submit one of each type.
  • Working with up to one (1) partner.
  • There are no time limit restrictions. A level that takes very long to finish on a deathless run may negatively affect your score.
  • Only one (1) exit per entry allowed. It may be any type of exit (goal tape, goal sphere, key and keyhole, exit direct to overworld, etc).
  • Switch Palace Blocks are allowed, though you must include a way for them to be activated in a side level.
  • Collectables, such as Dragon Coins and 3up Moons, are allowed, but not required for judges to get.
  • Overworld changes are allowed, but are not factored into judging in any way.
  • Using any of the functions of Lunar Magic that are available.

Discouraged — you should avoid doing the following, but it's not required.

  • Putting your name anywhere in your submission. Anonymous or pseudonymous submissions are encouraged.

Forbidden — doing any of the following will disqualify you or your team's entry.

  • Not using the provided base ROM (see below).
  • Using custom patches, blocks, sprites, UberASM, etc.
  • Submitting multiple entries.
  • Submitting an entry that is determined to be of low quality or a troll submission.
  • Using Arbitrary Code Execution (ACE) in your submission.

Do not try to look for loopholes or exploits for your entry. We want people to be working in good faith, and if the judges feel you are exploiting the rules, then that could lead to disqualification!

1 Standard levels range from Easy to Very Hard, while Kaizo levels can go from Beginner to Expert. Regarding kaizo difficulty, we encourage you design a level that is completable without tools, considering we are not allowing the retry patch.


Kaizo Level Requirements

In addition to the following requirements, try to follow the Kaizo Guidelines for the hacks section when creating your submission.

  • Level must be in the range from Kaizo: Beginner to Kaizo: Expert and the levels must be completable without the use of tools.
  • Glitches are permitted, as long as they can be reliably executed without the use of tools.
  • Do not exceed a reasonable demand of the player. Judges will have the final authority to determine whether an entry is excessive as it relates to difficulty, and possibly up for disqualification. Any such decision regarding disqualification will be made unanimously.



Graphics Rules

Welcome to everyone's favourite part of the VLDC rules, what you can or cannot do with graphics resources.

Allowed — permitted methods for editing tiles and other resources

  • Using any number of ExGFX files.
  • Overwriting the game's existing GFX files.
  • Editing any Map16 page, including pages 0 and 1.
  • Editing the game palettes, including editing the player palette.
  • Using ExAnimation, including palette animation.
  • Mixing tilesets together to create ExGraphics.
  • Flipping tiles vertically or horizontally.
  • Rotating tiles by 90°.
  • Remapping the colors of the pixels of tiles.
  • Merging two tiles together, once.
  • Merging tiles that were converted from 4BPP to 2BPP, or vice versa, once.
  • Converting tiles from 4BPP to 2BPP, or vice versa, once.
  • Converting 3BPP mode7 graphics (e.g. GFX27 with Iggy and Reznor graphics) to 2BPP or 4BPP.

You can combine these methods, such as merging rotated and recolored tiles.

Forbidden — other tile editing methods that are disallowed

  • Merging already merged tiles. The merging rules are intended only for two (2) tiles being put together, not three (3) or more.
  • Converting a tile that was already converted from 4BPP to 2BPP, or from 2BPP to 4BPP, a second time.
  • Using color remapping to make color into transparency or transparency into color—equivalent to be erasing or filling pixels.
  • Using color remapping to reduce the number of colors in a tile—equivalent to a paint function.
  • Using color remapping to only change single pixels. If you remap a color you must remap all pixels of that color in a single 8x8 tile.


Additionally, we are leaving out the usual list of the base game's backgrounds that have been converted to layer 3. If it fits within the rules above you can safely use an already-converted resource from the section, we will make a good-faith assumption that the resource followed the conversion rules if they are used.

Term Explanations

  • Mixing Tilesets
    This simply means you can take tiles from one graphics file, that have one purpose, and put them in another for another purpose, such as moving sprite tiles into an ExGraphic file to use in the foreground, or combining foreground tiles from two different sets, etc.

  • Tile Merging
    The result of layering two tiles in a graphics editor and merging/flattening the layers to make a new tile. While CHR editors like YY-CHR can't do this in the tool, you can of course do this in an external program and transfer the result to an ExGraphic to use in the level.

  • Remapping Colors
    This means reassigning the color address of pixels of one color address (ID) to another address using a tile editor. Every pixel in a graphic can be assigned color IDs 00-0F, you can use a tile editor to swap colour addresses of pixels. As said above you, cannot use this to reduce the number of colors or swap for transparency (address 00).

  • 4BPP and 2BPP
    4 bits per pixel (bpp) is the format for most Layer 1 and 2 graphics and 2BPP the format for Layer 3 graphics. You are permitted to use an editor to convert from one format to the other format—this is how you can get layer 3 conversions of normally layer 2 backgrounds, for example.

If you would like a more detailed explanation with examples there is this VLDC Aesthetics tutorial from Olga Zuccati.


Music Rules

You are allowed to insert custom music with AddMusicK; the only acceptable version is AddMusicK 1.0.10 for this contest.

  • You can replace the original music files.
  • You can change the user defines of AddMusicK.
  • You can swap or remove sound effects, by updating the Addmusic_sound_effects.txt list.
  • You can use alternative sample groups to accommodate the insertion of a port.
  • You cannot edit AddMusicK's ASM files (outside of the UserDefines) to sneak in other ASM changes.
  • You cannot edit the existing sound effects in any way, such as editing the text files.



VLDC Base ROM

Using the Base ROM is Required


AmperSam is once again providing the base ROM for this contest. It is an SA-1 base ROM with a minimal set of quality of life and bug fix patches applied, a detailed breakdown of what is changed can be seen below.



You can download the base ROM below, either as the ZIP archive that will have all the ASM and resources that were used to build the base ROM or you can grab a ready-to-use BPS patch.

Download Base ROMDownload BPS Only

Current Version: 14.0



Things to Note

To take advantage of SA-1's increased sprite limit you need to set the sprite header to 0x08 in your level, which will allow up to 20 sprites on screen.

The base ROM was built using Lunar Magic 3.40 so this is the version that is recommended to be used when making your level. (It is also the version of Lunar Magic whose featureset we are allowing fully.)

There is an optional map16 file (which hasn't been inserted) in the base ROM package with some extra Vanilla tiles you can take advantage of if you like. (Or you can download the map16 file separately here.)


If you're making a Kaizo level, there is no retry system in the base ROM so design accordingly. Other things to be aware of: the interaction frame rules have been patched and things like cape turnaround are Vanilla (i.e. it isn't guaranteed).



Judging

As mentioned above, standard and kaizo levels will be judged separately. Both categories will use the same scoring sheet, and trophies will be awarded for each category.

Judges



Scoring

Scores will be also separated within the two mentioned categories (standard and kaizo), which the rubric for both will be the following:

  • Design: 60 Points
    How well-designed is the level? Is it overall fun to play? How well does it execute its theme, gimmicks and level setups? Is the difficulty consistent or is it frustrating or boring? Does the level function properly or are there issues such as unintended slowdown?

  • Creativity: 30 Points
    Does the level present any unique or interesting ideas using SMW's resources? Does it have any original, nice setups? Is the theme/gimmick innovative?

  • Atmosphere: 10 Points
    How does the level look aesthetically? Is it polished? Does it do anything interesting with the original game's graphics? Does the music fit? Is the music a nuisance to gameplay? Are there any broken sound effects or samples?
    (Known visual glitches will not affect your score.)

Total: 100 points


Trophies

The Top 3 entries in each category will receive the corresponding VLDC trophies:


The rest of each Top 10 will receive the following trophy:


All other participants will receive this participation trophy:


Our judges will receive this trophy for their profiles:


Please note that disqualified entries will not receive participant trophies.



How To Submit

Your entry must be submitted in the form of a .bps file. .ips will not be accepted. DO NOT SUBMIT A ROM, it will not be accepted and lead to site punishment. It is recommended you upload it to your filebin on the site, then link it in this thread. Use Floating IPS to create your patch, using a clean North American NTSC Super Mario World ROM as a base. If you are unfamiliar with how the patching process works, we have a tutorial on that here.

You must state whether you are submitting a Standard or Kaizo level. Judges may reassign levels during judging, if it is determined it was submitted to the wrong category. Such decisions will be made unanimously.

You are free to update your entry up until the deadline. Edit your post to link to the new file if you need, but don't double post! Duplicate or offtopic posts may be deleted without notice.

You are allowed to make a thread for your level in the contest subforum, but you must post your final level in this thread in order for it to be judged.


Deadline

Submissions are open until Monday, July 01, which means you have about:


Good luck and have fun!

This thread should be used for submissions only. If you want to ask questions or discuss the contest in other ways, please use the Discussion and Questions Thread.

I'm not a doctor.



My entry for our lovely Standard judges.

Version 1.1. (yes, the cute poodle is back)

TONIGHT AND TWILIGHT

collaboration with #Green Jerry
#standard level
C3 Stuff:
Music Request, Graphics, Ports, Mario Kart PC Custom Tracks, Overworld, Mario Kart Tour Fans Club, DT's Music, Clothes and Certificates, MIDI and Coverarts

Tonight.. tonight..

Join Discord server now: DT's SMW Hacking Server

My YouTube Channel: Dispace Troblex

Contact: DT Music and Gaming#8283

A Night in the Moongarden

A Standard Level for Standard Players
Enjoy!!#smrpg{<3}

standard level btw :3
hi i'm making freak city and idk when i'll be finished <3
Standard level entry:

SURPRISED SIGHTS!!!!

#wario{-_-Zzz}
Super Mario Bros 2
Sorry, Tailai#smw{<3}
Day and Night

#Kaizo light level entry
I hope you enjoy this VLDC entry! It's the first level I've ever edited so sorry if there are any visual glitches. #smw{:peace:}
WARIO WORLD!!!
I finally fixed that dastardly issue, hopefully the level is accessible now! #smw{:TUP:}
standard

hope you jhave a miserable time
Teleport Site 1.1

Standard level :)

💪🏻DAILY SPORT LIST💪🏻

- Walking for 10 hours 🚶🏻‍♂️
- Planking for 5 hours 🖖🏻
- 100 push-ups (with pinky finger) 🛌🏻
- Lifting the moon with one hand 🌂
- 2 hours of swimming in a volcano 🛁

😎👌🏻 For a fit body, strong skeleton and impressive muscles! 👌🏻😎


- STANDART: VERY HARD
Now that I've started working, I won't be able to be as active as before. This is really very sad and depressing for me.

WORK IN PROGRESS
▬ good old days 4 (14/? level(s) completed)
▬ dumb 2 - strange levels in my notepad (22/62 level(s) completed)
----------
By the way my Youtube channel
Standard level

Mysterious Mesa
Ultra Vanilla level

Used only the absolute minimum set of resources in LM.
----------

Interested in MushROMs? View its progress, source code, and make contributions here.

The Legend of Mario

Standard entry.

Level: Rise Above It (Updated 6/29 to fix softlock)
Type: Kaizo
Calmful Cavern complete.
Type : Standard

Last Updated : 2024/06/21
I am yoshi9429 enjoying Lunar Magic and Touhou Danmakufu ph3 and RPG Maker MV.
Level Name: Mt. Molestone
Difficulty: Standard Normal/Hard
Collab with Zavok

https://bin.smwcentral.net/u/36361/VLDC14.bps
Welcome to SMW if it was a lot smaller and could actually handle its sprite spam :3

Kaizo: Intermediate btw, but it's probably on the easier end.

This is the first SMW I've designed since KLDC last year and was inspired by my playtest of CircleFriendo's new hack Icarus! Also shoutouts to her for teaching me exanimation! finally got around to learning that lol

Video link!
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