Tip: A common level trope to avoid is "item babysitting". This involves forcing the player to carry P-Switches, springboards, or other items all around the level. Usually, this doesn't end up being very fun or engaging, so use another level gimmick if you can.
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[Non-level] Any plans for your next VLDC level next year?
This time I felt I was a bit too ambitious and the level ended up being not as good as it could have been, so something simpler next time.
As for themes, I looked at the metal beams in my level and they somehow reminded me of Guts Man's stage from Mega Man, so I'll probably do something like that.
A Kaizo level with tons of custom graphics, custom ASM, custom sprites and bosses, sampled music, and custom blocks.
Either that or not participate. I am at least 80% sure I don't feel like it, but it's far in the future (by which I mean next time I blink it will be that time again) so I'm hesitant to say for sure I'm not gonna participate. If I didn't go with my current idea, I would have had literally nothing else.
I had a few ideas this year that I didn't do, so I'll probably do one next year. My other ideas were a space level that transitions from a space station like level to an alien planet with like weird alien enemies, or a multiple paths level where Mario can enter the dreams of various enemies. I might turn one of my ideas into my KLDC level though.
It would be a challenge for me to build a level that is not Kaizo Hard. But I have a few ideas for the next KLDC.
Well maybe I will make "extra" a Level for VLDC 10
I'm always worried myself about the difficulty when I do a non-kaizo level, usually about making it too easy instead. I think the best way for you to make a level would be to use the same unique gimmicks and stuff in your Kaizo levels, but design a level where you restrict yourself from ever using a savestate, ever, so that you are forced to make it not super difficult. I think you would score pretty high on creativity if you did that.
For some reason it seems like I'm better at making fun, non-Kaizo levels if it's for a personal project or unofficial contest than for an official contest, and yes, I tend to follow that 'dare to be different, not wanting tried and true' philosophy for those too.
It's probably too early to tell but based on comments, which the judges may or may not agree with, I feel like VLDC 2014 (the one where I made Zip Line Adventure) may still remain as my Magnum Opus for VLDC levels, and I find myself hoping I could match the success.
I think both of my last entries were overall slow-paced, so I feel like doing an athletic one next year for a change. Nothing else in mind atm, I'll probably think of something upon the contest's beginning as I always do.