2/6/12 11:30 PM EST Edit: Altered "Functionality" judging category.
2/5/12 8:45 PM EST Edit: Altered "Appearance" judging category.
2/2/12 4:30 PM EST Edit: Clarified Rule 9 about sublevels
2/1/12 2:20 PM EST Edit: Added Rule 9
Welcome to the 5th Annual SMWCentral Level Design Competition! It's hard to believe that this contest has been going on for half a decade, but here we are. I promised myself I wouldn't get emotional!
This year we're planning to return the competition to its original roots. Somewhere along the way, the contest lost track of its original purpose: to showcase that level design is the most important aspect of a level. We're remedying this by making some big changes as compared to previous years. Read on to see the new rules.
1. Lunar Magic 1.91 or older is the only tool/resource you may use for this competition. Use of external, 3rd-party tools will result in immediate disqualification from the contest.
2. No ExGFX will be allowed. Use of the Super GFX Bypass is only allowed with the original graphics files (GFX00-GFX33). Use of a third-party graphics editor such as YY-CHR, TLP, etc. OR the drawing function of the 8x8 editor in Lunar Magic is strictly prohibited. Use of ExGFX files or third party editors will result in disqualification.
3. You may not submit a Kaizo level to this contest. The reasoning for this is that Kaizo level design follows a much different set of theories than traditional Mario level design and as such, cannot be accurately judged using the judging format for this contest. Not to mention, there is a dedicated Kaizo Level Contest that occurs every once in a while that is much more suiting for Kaizo levels.
4. Do not include more than two (2) exits in your level.
5. Do not go over a total of 75 (4B) screens for the whole length of your level.
6. You must include a midpoint in your level if it is more than 16 (10) screens long.
7. You may work together with a partner.
8. Entries must be submitted by 11:59:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5) on February 29th. Any entries submitted after this time will not be accepted. You may not submit any more revisions to your level after this time.
9. You may only submit ONE (1) level. A level shall be defined as a level you enter from the overworld and all of its included sublevels.
These rules may sound harsh but they're actually mostly unchanged from the rules of last year's contest. You're not as restricted as you may think. You can still use custom palettes, map16 manipulation, the BG2 and BG3 options in Super GFX Bypass, Layer 1/2 overlapping/pseudo-layering, and the Exanimation dialog. There's plenty of creativity you can do using just those alone, just don't forget to make sure your level design is good, as that will be scored highest.
The following list is a list of things that you can change that will not affect your overall score:
-Editing the Overworld
-Editing the Title Screen
-Editing the Intro and its message
-Adding and editing a Credits sequence if applicable
Speaking of scores, the judging for this year's contest will be much different from last year. There will only be 3 categories totaling 30 points. The points will be broken down as follows.
Level Design: 20 points
Level Design is the focus of this contest. We all have differing opinions of what makes good level design, but there are certain traits that are just good practice. To go into detail would take up too much space so instead I will just link to the following thread: APPALLED: AxemJinx's Profoundly Pragmatic Advice for Lovely LEvel Design
. This thread contains a series of tips about designing levels in SMW that I feel anyone hacking SMW should be aware of. Don't just try to spoon feed the judges a level trying to show off all these tips, just keep them in mind as you design your level and naturally work them in.
Appearance: 5 points (Altered 2/5/12)
Appearance is how the level looks. Is it well assembled? Is it nice to look at? Unique? Does the appearance add to the level's atmosphere? Is the theme of your level cohesive?
(As of 2/5, a thematic element to the scoring has been added.)
Technical Functionality: 5 points
Technical Functionality is simply, "Does the level work?" If your level has technical issues like sprite glitching/memory, massive slowdown, bad FG/BG starts, bad map16 "acts like" settings, etc., your score in this category will be lowered. If you make sure your level is tested properly, this should be an easy 5 points.
(As of 2/6, this category is no longer a black and white 0 or 5 point category.)
There will not be any judge applications this year. I will be hand-picking judges instead. Judging will begin on March 1 and continue until April 1. Extensions may be decided upon as necessary. In addition, the judges will remain anonymous at least until the judging period begins.
The usual trophies will be given out to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, as well as Honorable Mentions for 4th and 5th places. Now, I don't have spare SNESes like Kieran seems to, but this year, I will be supplying actual prizes to the winners in the form of Steam gifts! The place you get will determine the maximum price of the game I will gift you:
1st Place: $15 or less
2nd Place: $10 or less
3rd Place: $7.50 or less
4th and 5th Place: $5 or less
Prices given in US dollars, we can work out acceptable exchange rates for those living outside the US. If you do use Steam or do not wish to receive a gift on Steam, we can attempt to work out a suitable prize on a case-by-case basis.
When your entry is finished, submit it to your File Bin and link to it in this thread. It is your fault if you host the file offsite and the link is dead by the time the judging period begins. If you are submitting an update to your entry, you must make a new post with the update; do not simply edit your first post.
This thread is not for discussing the contest. Any posts that are not submissions or updates will be deleted.
I believe I have covered everything. I would have had this up an hour ago but I only realized at 11:30 that I still needed to write up this OP. If there is anything missing, I will edit it tomorrow.
I hope you have fun participating in this years contest! I look forward to seeing what levels are submitted!