In around 11 days we're gonna have our most important level design contest of the SMW Central. That's it, the 10th Annual Vanilla Level Design Contest, "VLDC X". For who never participated or never heard of, the Vanilla Level Design Contest is an annual contest where users are challenged to design a level that is closer to the original Super Mario World levels, which they're pretty much restricted to use original SMW textures and physics, which is commonly called as a vanilla level or vanilla hack.
Although there's many different meanings and visions of the term "vanilla", which was already questioned been many times in our previous VLDCs, we usually end up with common agreement with how strict should the entries be compared to the original Super Mario World, so we can have a fair balance between authentiability and flexibility for the level designers.
It's far a very big contest, with over 115(?) entries last year and I believe this time we're gonna have much more, if everything goes right. Specially because it's the 10th edition of this contest. It's a whole decade! When the first VLDC went up, I was 8 years old. A kid! I barely knew how to use computers at that time. What about you?!
But yeah, I'm here to bring up this preliminary discussion to we discuss possible changes and new ideas to be applied to this special contest and then we can get in a common agreement before it starts.
Some points that are pretty much obvious to happen are:
- We won't have anonymous judging. Although the idea was nice and all, in practice we just had much more work to do for the little benefit. The judges are reliable enough to make a non-biased judgment.
- Judging scores are gonna be scaled a little more. While the 30/20/10 scheme worked well, there were a considerable amount of ties, with the previous one having to add "tie breakers" as decimal points to determine strategic positions. Instead, we're gonna have a wide score range that is good enough to avoid ties (when merging the 5-6 judges scores), taking in consideration the potential of 200 or more entries. To the scores don't end up arbitrary, we will set up basic scales like: design - 30+ points => excellent, 20+ => very good, 10+ => average, 0+ => poor. and then the remaining 10 points difference will be more comparative to the other levels to get the desired ranking order that the judge wants to. Of course that's still an example, the proper judging system will be determined once I finish picking all VLDC judges.
- Because of some complaints of repeated music from the previous VLDCs, this one we will make an extra effort of making unique music for the contest, just like a new game. That means music from VLDC9, 8, 7, etc. may get replaced by the newer ones depending of the how good these new songs come out. I'm counting with you, musicians!
- More freedom will be given regarding level limits. Expect VLDC X to allow much more map16, graphics and sublevels compared to the previous ones.
And now some questions:
- How strict should we go this time? Force more vanilla styled levels? Less vanilla styled and let some additional features, like upscaling graphics? Look below for more details.
- Should we add or remove some patch from the base ROM, including non-fix ones?
- DQ joke/kaizo/etc. levels?
Together with that, here is some ideas I'm been proposing on the staff forums for the past weeks. Some are obviously stupid and other brilliant, but they're there for discussion!
1 - I can imagine VLDC10 having different level categories. I'm not saying making a contest for desert levels, another for ice level, etc. I'm talking about making categories like "regular level", "run game", "mini-game", "mega challenge", etc, where the author can even participate in multiple categories. And then we can have an even greater bundle, involving multiple kind of levels. For all people's taste.
2 - During the level contest period, there will be a dedicated music requests thread in the VLDC forum, where there will be a poll where people can vote for kinds of music remixes they're interested in. For example, let's assume the poll contains "Athletic", "Ice", "Desert", "Rock" and "Cave". People would vote which one they're interested in having a remix from and then a musician would be able to claim and produce music based on the (partial) voting results.
For example, let's say Rock is winning with 70%, followed by Athletic with 69% and Desert with 42%. Torchkas saw and based on the interest, he does a Rock remix of SMW, later S.N.N. gets interested in making an athletic song and finally at the very last minute Redngreen does a desert song. That way, the musicians won't be idle during the level contest period and at the same time they can produce music that the public is interested for.
3 - mode 0
As most of you guys should know, SMW runs at screen mode 1. Mode 1 contains three layers, where two of them (Layer 1, Layer 2) are 4BPP and the last one (Layer 3) is 2BPP. Mode 0, however, allows four layers, with the major drawback being all layers 2BPP. However, it would allow new ways of designing levels, such as fancy scrolling, independent elements, fake sprites and parallax scrolling. The proposal is to have a Level Mode which unlocks Mode 0 support to the designers.
Pros: Another possibility of level design. Does not require designing new ExGFX, so it's vanilla. Supported by Lunar Magic (by ctrl-f7).
Cons: Not present in original SMW. Not vanilla, because it requires inserting custom ASM to activate the mode 0, upload and control the layer 4 image, requires VRAM realignment. Can't view Layer 4 on LM.
I'm against this one, but just posting because it's an yet another idea I had.
4 - exit unbeaten levels
Super Mario 64 lets you exit unbeaten levels by pressing start and then picking "exit". Or simply start + select. The only requirement is the player must be on ground.
Pros: Considering the player has infinite lives, implementing that on VLDC would be a nice idea, when the player failed at some puzzle or for other reasons. The effects of quitting a level is pretty much same as dying, so the yoshi coins, etc., won't be affected.
Cons: The player must die to account the statistics or replay the whole level, when failing at some puzzle or collecting yoshi coins.
Case: During raocow's VLDC9 LP #3, he managed to beat that lava level, but took the wrong pipe, losing the last yoshi coin. Beating the level would imply having him to replay the whole level, before midpoint and collecting all yoshi coins again. He had the option to die by time uping, but that's boring.
5 - fancy score chart
In VLDC9, by pressing L+R, a small message box appeared displaying the level judging information and level options. While it seemed nice, some people apparently complained because it caused some issues(what issues?) and then a better one would be required.
The proposal is to use SA-1's free BW-RAM space and the unused SNES WRAM to copy half of the VRAM and then create a complete new screen (game mode), being able to implement much more detailed information and advanced options. It reminds of Yoshi Island's pause menu and Roy's pause menu. The idea is to make something similar to Roy's pause menu, except faster (less transitions/animations) and not (too much) vanilla graphics clashing.
Pros: much better than the current menu. The patches needed won't affect the levels because the patches will not be used for the levels itself.
Cons: requires some more advanced patches that are usually used with chocolate hacks (UberASM only?). Pauses will delay a little more. People will complain because there's too much information on the menus (whaT?) (yes I'm paranoic).
Case: should that pause screen be moved to the overworld instead? -- might reduce the amount of available options(???)
6 - timers
It's not recent that people like to measure how many time they take to beat a level. The idea is to put a timer in the level which measures how many time the player takes to beat a level and to get the secret exit. The timer is only displayed after the player beat the level (like Super Mario Maker) and on the OW, so no status bar modification is needed.
Pros: allows users to make small speed runs and compare performance at beating levels. SRAM files could be used to build a database which holds who beat certain levels faster and maybe give a badge for who beat the most levels faster or get into a good mark.
Cons: what is the point of that? it's too many levels, people won't like to measure it nor speed run that. and it would be too few people to be worthy the effort.
7 - fly free region
One thing to be noted is the cape powerup is, if not rarely used, a bit uncommon in VLDC levels. The main reason is obvious: the player can go ahead and skip the whole level by flying over it. For that reason, the level designer would have the option to either allow or disallow flying. So certain levels the player would be able to fly while others not. A symbol would appear in the overworld to indicate if the player can or cannot fly in the level. Message boxes also can be used.
Pros: allows to the cape powerup be used more often in levels.
Cons: not vanilla? SMW never had the option to enable or disable flying. Also it can bring inconsistency to the game?
8 - optional patches
From a list of common bugfix patches, the level designer would be able to enable or disable a certain bugfix to the level. Because bug fix patches can end up "killing" interesting vanilla oddities used, the designer would have full control in what should and what should not be affected from the original SMW physics.
Pros: allows more control to the level designers and different behaviors. People won't complain that "bugfix X was applied and now I can not do Y anymore".
Cons: inconsistency can increase, with some levels behaving different to others. And no, you still can't disable SA-1 in your level, sorry.
9 - sfx sample changes
VLDC allows custom musics. That's a fact. But what should be the limits applied?
It's not really common anymore, but in the past, when smkdan's Sample Tool was present, it was normal to sampled songs end up changing the original SFX. The classic example is Jimmy's YI ports putting YI sfxs in the level as a side effect. To avoid inconsistency, things like that would be banned from VLDC. Also removing original SFX would be banned too, as long it affects the level gameplay.
Pros: will remove sfx sound changes from the level.
Cons: we're simply overcomplicating things that probably will never happen and/or in case it happens it can be safely fixed.
10 - level badges
You know, some levels aren't that great to be between the top levels, but they have something unique to the others that deserves some special award. That's it, level badges.
Currently, VLDC9 shows what are the level placement and also if the level is some judge's favorite level. Together with that, the levels would also get certain special badges, like "most awesome", "most fun", "most creative", "most visually impressive", etc. It's like some kind of Mosts except for the levels. The judges, together, would decide both categories and which levels get them.
Pros: another way of recognizing the best level in some category.
Cons: didn't really find anything against the idea.
11 - apply spinjump fix patch
I don't know about the fix patches, but one thing that is lacking on VLDC9 is definitely Alcaro's spin jump fix patch. It fixes when you try spin jumping over two spiky sprites, for example, and get hurt from them even if you weren't supposed to.
12 - double exgfx files
Self-explanatory. Currently you can use up to 10 ExGFX files per submission, which includes layer 3 graphics and tilemap. The idea is to you allow using up to 20 ExGFX files, which will give the level creator more freedom and variety gfx available for his level. There's absolutely no ROM space-wise nor out of slot risks.
the ideas below are or can be questionable.
13 - graphics upscaling
Basically allow the level designer to upscale (2x,3x,4x,8x,etc.) the original SMW graphics, as long he don't redraw it and don't use any filter other than nearest neighbor (aka leave "pixeled"). The Mass Rotate Tool can do this job.
14 - graphics rotation
Currently it's implied that the level designer can rotate the graphics by 90° or 270° (180° is same as flip y+x).
The idea is to allow the level designer rotate by whatever amount of degress he wants, as longer he don't use any filter. The Mass Rotate Tool can do this job as well.
15 - graphics overlap
Currently you can overlap only two tiles. example. The idea is to allow unlimited graphics overlap.
16 - conditional map16
LM has the conditional map16 feature. Unfortunately, you can't use it because the conditional bits are disconnected from the SMW RAM. The idea is to connect the conditional map16 bits to known SMW RAM address (mostly the same ones connected in the ExAnimation triggers) so the player can take advantage of using LM's newer features but still using vanilla triggers (citation needed).
17 - more exanimation space
Currently you can have up to 6KB of ExAnimation per level. However, you can have up to 32KB+6KB of ExAnimation per level by using GFX60-63. Obviously we can't allow to one use all these space because there's only four 32KB slots. However, we can safely grant more 2KB of ExAnimation for whoever needs it, so in total the level designer can have up to 8KB of ExAnimation per level.
18 - more exanimation triggers
Currently you're restricted to the LM's default animation triggers. The proposal here is to map the 16 custom triggers to SMW's RAM, giving a few more combinations to the level designer.
Some additional triggers would include:
- 0 Collected >= 0 dragon coins
- 1 Collected >= 1 dragon coins
- 2 Collected >= 2 dragon coins
- 3 Collected >= 3 dragon coins
- 4 Collected >= 4 dragon coins
- 5 Player is small
- 6 Player is big
- 7 Player has fire flower
- 8 Player has cape
- 9 Player is in the water
- A Player is mounted on Yoshi
- B No sprites on screen
- C/D/E/F No good found
19 - clean/minimalist status bar
No, we're not editing the status bar. But removing unused counters and therefore making the level cleaner to the player.
For example, "MARIO x infinity" is clearly a constant text. We don't need that and we can remove it. We can also remover the timer from the status bar when the level's timer is set to 0.
Of course, for the first case, since I'm aiming for the two players mode (or more), the "MARIO" text maybe can be kept and replaced with "LUIGI", etc.
For it's that's all. Feel free to discuss and add more ideas for the project. This thread will be open until february 1 for discussion. After that, I will fetch all posts and then start the preparations for the contest, which will happen at february 3. Oh and for who read until at this point, if you're interested in judging the contest, feel free to PM soon as possible and then we can schedule an interview where I will pick the 5-6 judges for the contest.
Depends on what we call kaizo. I really think more than one person should decide what is kaizo, and in the vldcx I think we should take a mixed viewpoint of the users and the judges on what is kaizo. A hard level like swiss hotel or matterhorn is not kaizo, by the way. These levels are insanely hard, yes, but once you can use savestates, they are hilariously easy. Most kaizo hacks here are waaay harder than those levels, and yes even the savestate-less kaizo hacks, like my own hacks. Now, if we'really referring to an actual, legit, muncher filled kaizo level that basically requires savestates, then yes by all means disqualify. If we're talking about a morsel level, than goal orb it. I still think the goal orb idea is whatever but it's the best compromise and the best way to go to ensure that anyone can beat vldcx without abusing savestats.
1. Do we include different level categories?
Honestly, seems weird and unnecessary.
2. Do we create a poll for music and begin remixing early on?
Absolutely, this is a great idea. Should help so much with a quick collab release, and better organization is always a good thing.
3. Do we allow for mode 0?
Obviously not, but still interesting to bring up. Maybe a LM update will some day allow us to use it? Who knows. But for now, allowing it would be a bad idea.
4. Do we allow for exiting unbeaten levels?
Yeah, I don't see why not. Kinda a no-brainer.
5. Fancy score chart?
This is a tough one. I mean, it would be really interesting to see a more in depth score chart to display scoring, but it's also kinda unnecessary, since the current one for the vldc9 was fine. If you're one of those people who got upset when the layers were screwed up from the score display, then I feel like you're nitpicky enough to find something wrong with the new one as well... still, if it isn't too much of a hassle this would be interesting to implement.
6. Do we include timers?
This one seems unecessary, since no one speed runs the vldc's, and if you are speedrunning, you have your own timer.
7. Allow people to disable flying?
8. Allow people to disable or enable certain patches?
Hahaha well I should be all for this one, I certainly want to see the most interesting vanilla gimmicks possible. However, most patches don't rrally obstruct vanilla gimmicks. The only ones that do are the artificial floor patch (to prevent swimming under levels), disabling the silver p-switch through pipe glitch, and a few others I can't remember. Yes, it does create inconsistency though. But at the same time, it sucks if someone wants to make a level but can't because a patch, which isn't even vanilla, is messing up the gimmick.
9. Sfx sample changes
I don't really have an opinion on this one.
10. Mosts but for levels instead.
This seems interesting! But only if we have very few categories. Stuff like "funniest", "most unique", and "least likely to be vanilla" would probably suffice. However, since there would need to be few categories, it also seems unecessary. Also, most people don't play the entries until the entire collab is released.
11. Should we apply spinjump on two sprites fix?
12. Double exgfx files?
Ehh, idk, part of the fun is coming up with cool ways to meet the limitations. 20 exgfx files also seems like an excessively huge amount. My vldc9 level required lots of editing and yychr shenanigans but I barely had to use 10.
13. - 18. Do we allow unlimited overlap, extra rotation, graphics upscaling, and additional exanimation?
No. Not justo because it isn't vanilla, but because it's really unecessary to make a good looking vanilla level. If we wanna see more pretty, aesthetic levels this contest, than someone make a tutorial workshop that teaches users how to make things look cool. But the dudes like Wakana who already know how to make levels look aesthetically amazing don't need all this extra stuff. I can also see people abusing these and fooling people into thinking "wow this is vanilla, no way". Nowe granted, we kinda already do that, but like I said, designing around the restrictions is what boosts creativity. Too much graphical overlap is a big no for me as well. Part of the fun is noticing where the top levels took their graphics from. Like "oh this tree is made of ghost house tiles" or whatever, not "oh this tree barely looks vanilla".
19. Simplified status bar?
I really had no problem with the infinity sign on the status bar, but I don't really care if it was taken away either.
Should've filtered out the clearly stupid ideas, like mode 0 and fly free region.
Graphics upscaling, rotation and unlimited overlap are also things we really don't need. People already make amazing looking levels with the stuff we can do, and aesthetics aren't even supposed to be the focus of this contest to begin with. Besides, rotation in particular is extremely stretchy.
More ExAnimation triggers and conditional map16 are also pretty stretchy from vanilla. Allowing more ExAnimation, ExGFX files and map16 to be used is entirely your call since you'll be the one to get a headache if this becomes a problem, but I also don't think we need that at all.
I don't think bugfixes per level are necessary, we have a good selection of bugfixes already imo, besides the double spin glitch fix.
I still think dividing the contest in categories is overcomplicating things for very little gain. This is a contest for people to make a cool vanilla level the way they want, and having to fit it under one of these categories sounds lame in my opinion. Besides, how would the judging work? Would this basically be a lot of separate contests with winners for each category??
Basically echoing what I have been saying in the staff forum, our current rules and limitations are perfectly fine. People are happy with the way the contest works as far as I'm concerned. You should keep your innovation gas to the compilation hack~
That said, I like most of your compilation ideas. I'm especially looking forward to a new score chart, and I hope we can make it work like a SMA2 status screen in the overworld like I've been suggesting.
As for the level badges idea, I'm gonna echo myself from the staff thread once again - as long as they're not arbitrarily decided, but reflect on the actual categories (highest average score on Design, Creativity and Aesthetics) and judge favorites, this idea is nice, but we'll have to see if they wouldn't just make the winners get multiple badges. Maybe this won't be a problem if we get a wide variety of entries.
I'm not really sure if I agree with most of these suggestions, basically solely because there's already a ton of controversy over whether or not SA-1 should be allowed and adding stuff like the Mode 0 and certain patches and stuff would cause even more controversy. And there's a bunch of stuff that kinda seems unnecessary to me, like more exanimation triggers. I guess I'll just type a response to each?
1 - idk. It seems a bit unnecessary to me and would probably put more strain on the judges in an already large contest.
2 - y. this could be a nice way to replace the bleeh remixes like the here we go and athletic ones
3 - No. Reason mentioned above.
4 - Yes, no reason not to do this.
5 - Ditto.
6 - Would be neat. Some people might think it'd be useless and no one would use it but I honestly think having the timer be there would encourage individual level speedruns.
7 - No. It's definitely not vanilla, on top of it most likely creating inconsistencies between levels. It'd be like if level makers were given the option to change the P-Balloon controls for their level or something.
8 - Not sure. Again, it could create weird inconsistencies. I think a better way to just do this would be to apply only a few patches (spike top one, the dolphin graphic one, etc) and let level designers design around the remaining bugs. It's more fun to design around limitations like that.
9 - seems pretty unnecessary.
10 - wynaut
11 - No. If I was making a romhack I'd apply this patch since it's kinda annoying but I've heard the arguments for keeping it and I agree with them. I don't think any patch that could cut off any creative opportunities (i.e. stacking pirahnas on top of each other to disable spinjumping on them (example not stolen from ft029 totally not stolen completely original)) shouldn't be applied to the rom.
12 - I guess? I'm all paranoid that this would cause even more random tileset smashing together and stuff but it's really just paranoia tbh.
13 - I'm in favor of this. One of the rooms in VLDC8 chromatic palace did this and it was let by so I don't see why it shouldn't be allowed in the normal contest.
14 - Against, mostly because there's pretty much absolutely no reason to rotate it by any degree other than 90/180/270 because there's just not much point to it. You can't edit vanilla tiles to look better with the rotation so this will only just leave people with tiles with useless black space surrounding it or levels which just use bizarre like, rotated sign corners as an aesthetic choice which is just dumb.
15 - This seems really unnecessary. Two tiles overlapping is already a lot and overlapping even more will probably make the tile unrecognizable garbage mess.
16 - I don't actually know what conditional map16 is so I can't say anything about this lol
17 - Seems really unnecessary. Idk.
18 - Ditto.
19 - I mean sure? You could copy JUMP's status bar or something that one was pretty okay.
A few other thoughts:
- Don't disqualify joke or kaizo levels. For the former, I'd say to not disqualify them because it's always fun imo to just start the contest with a few shitposts before getting into the meat of the contest. For kaizo levels, it was said during VLDC9, but there's always an audience for those kinds of levels. By including them you could welcome people to try and beat them and you get stuff like Someguy tasing the one VLDC8 kaizo level which was just like "wow what". And with the advent of green doors in VLDC9 there's no harm in just including them but orbed.
- I think the restrictions from VLDC9 were fine and we shouldn't really get that much more strict or that much more lenient.
- Maybe let users request that their music not be changed if it's not absolutely necessary if you guys are going to replace VLDC remixes? I'm dead set on using the fire 2 remix for my level and I'd be disappointed if it got replaced . Idk how others feel about this...
- Maybe include the VLDC remixes in the base rom for convenience? I was thinking about this for a while but I just realized a few minutes ago that all the song names will just appear as Not Used for everyone
- Maybe have some sort of reward for getting all the DCs in the game? I'm just listing random ideas at this point.
I'm pretty sure Vitor is aware that most of these ideas are just not going to work or make things too complicated (this is a vanilla design contest lol). #2 and #4 are the only ones that I don't think are offensive. Even #10 isn't that great because it might clutter up stuff--it's better to have a few special levels than like 35 levels that all have assortments of badges.
DQ'ing kaizo/joke levels is kind of in the middle for me. Some jokes can be kind of funny, others frustrating... some levels that are there to make a point (Zyglrox Odyssey) are actually quite fun and creative if you have enough patience (me).
About status bars: I would like to point out that the graphics for the infinity always looked like a sideways S to me.
I don't see any issues with the current L+R score thing. I think it's pretty neat. Also, some people derive enjoyment from seeing layer 3 getting demolished in the process, which is nice.
ANOTHER PATCH THAT I THINK IS IMPERATIVE: You know how sometimes you jump on a football, ninji, green parakoopa, or podoboo, and you get hit for no reason? I cannot think of any gimmick that could use that, so fixing that would cause no harm at all.
- How strict should we go this time? Force more vanilla styled levels? Less vanilla styled and let some additional features, like upscaling graphics? Look below for more details.
- Should we add or remove some patch from the base ROM, including non-fix ones?
- DQ joke/kaizo/etc. levels?
-Do you really want to get into the "what is vanilla" argument again?
-No L/R scrolling (for... reasons >.> <.<)
-Yes (I'm personally fine with kaizo levels but I don't think they'll be judged fairly)
different level categories
I'm okay with this.
dedicated music request thread during level submission
All for it.
I like the idea but it doesn't fit the contest.
exit unbeaten levels
This is also cool, but I'd like to note that this doesn't fix your case scenario because the level would still have to be played through again.
fancy score table
Go for it. The problem with the VLDC table was it resets layer 3 whenever you open it.
This is a cool bonus feature that doesn't affect the level itself. I'd say yes.
no flying per level
Doesn't fit the contest.
turn off certain bugfixes per level
The idea is cool but in practice can just end up with frustrated players.
sound effect changes
Custom music was allowed because people were tired of hearing the original music. I don't think this is true for sound effects. It's unnecessary.
badges for different categories
I think this will lead to more participation. I like this idea.
more general bugfix patches
double the ExGFX file restrictions
If the ROM can hold it I don't see why not.
This is dumb.
This is also dumb.
unlimited graphics overlap
Two tiles is plenty in my opinion. Three is pushing it and isn't even required in 99.9% of scenarios.
I don't know what this is so...
more exanimation space
I personally love exanimation and have been limited by the 6KB files in the past, so my answer is obviously yes. However, very few people actually hit the limit so this won't affect a whole lot of people.
more exanimation triggers
I mean, you could but who would use them? I'd maybe use the Yoshi ones but that would take up a lot of slots.
1) It'd be neat to keep the top 3 winners overall, and have community choice winners for each of those categories.
3)this means nothing to me. i dont know anything about layer 4. i get that this contest is all about stretching the definition of vanilla as far as it possibly can but i think we should draw a line in the sand somewhere. i say no despite being uneducated on what it would do.
4)yes. people want to try every level. let them quit if they start a level, see if its something they want to play, and leave if it isnt
5)seems dumb. do we need to fit the entire judge's comments into the level to make sure the player understands why it got the score it did? i dont understand what the problem is with the current system (tho finding a way to fit the judge's entire username into the box would be important)
6)I was actually talking about the idea of speedrunning VLDC9 today. Seems like it could be a lot of fun. I approve of this idea, except if it's too complicated to figure out. maybe if there's downtime in production
my level gimmick is a glitch so I'd like to make sure it isn't patched out
9)lol did anybody change the sfx in VLDC9? seems like a non issue but yeah lets uh, not change the sound effects!
10)see 1), they can just be a part of best world tho I'd imagine
12)if somebody actually requires 20 ExGFX files for their level im going to fucking kill myself.
That is huge list of suggestions but I really want it to be like last year.
This is up to the host, and it's fine as long as the judges aren't confused.
re level categories:
I feel kinda iffy on this because it might be hard to put levels into certain categories. It feels unnecessary imo.
re music requests: yes
re mode 0:
we don't need another layer, really. I'm voting no on this one.
re exit unbeaten levels:
Levels that make you get stuck would likely be rated low anyway, so yes
re score charts:
I would prefer to have them in the overworld. However detailed or ASM-y they are is up to the host, and I don't mind either way.
Feels unnecessary. Speedrunners have their own timers, so I feel like it's not worth the effort for those interested. Likely no unless there's lot of popular support for this.
re fly free region: no. Level designers should design around being able to fly as it's a vanilla necessity that was present in the original SMW.
re optional patches:
The only case I remember with this was the pea spring being fixed messed up GBreeze's level, and that was resolved. Honestly though, the patches used in VLDC9 was fine imo since they fixed behavior oddities that never came up in the original SMW, so no. (I also don't like the inconsistency that comes with this) (Also why use the endless climbing glitch when you can use nets??????)
re sfx sample changes:
I don't really care for music that unintentionally changes sound effects. So no bans I guess.
re level badges: sure, up to the host really
re spinjump fix:
I don't think a level would utilize the hurt-by-overlapping-sprites glitch that well (apparently you can overlap piranha plants so you can't spinjump on them but like... why, tbh), so I don't mind applying it. yes
re more exgfx files:
A E S T H E T I C (but really I don't think we need them. soft no)
re graphics upscaling:
I'm kinda iffy on this; usually nearest neighbor upscaling doesn't work out well imo. Personally no.
re graphics rotation to any degree:
re unlimited graphics overlap:
why? it'll get way too ridiculous imo lol so no
re conditional map 16:
not sure what this entails (probably no)
re more exanimation space:
more A E S T H E T I C (again, don't think we need them. soft no)
re more exanimation triggers: soft no for same reason as above
Anyway seriously my biggest gripe that isn't just piling on the "x idea doesnt work for the contest" is with level categories.
The badges idea is a really cool idea but having badges be a thing kind of obsoletes the whole idea of level categories. Badges only also removes the massive overhead that splitting a massive contest like this into 3,4,5 sub-contests. It also removes the issue of trying to submit one level that fits more than one type of level. How would that even be viable?
I mean, if we wanted a "puzzle level" category, we could just have a "best puzzle" badge, and just have any and all level categories be implicit rather than explicit. It would work so much smoother, and not be unnecessarily arbitrary.
tl;dr +1 to badges, completely against level categories.
we could just have a puzzle level contest instead.
At least, that's the thing about these far-reaching categories that confuses me. Feels like the focus should be on platforming levels, and have community votes for their favorite aesthetics, gimmicks, design, etcetc. Having categories/badges for "best puzzle level" or "best mini-game", for example, seems strange because those clearly dont belong in this contest? Maybe puzzle levels do, i havent played vldc9
have community votes for their favorite aesthetics, gimmicks, design, etcetc.
The puzzle level one was just off the top of my head, but that objection holds true for categories as well.
Community badges won't work at all, since there's no way that more than a handful of people will play every single entry. You're basically asking everybody entering the contest to be a pseudo-judge, and that's not feasible.