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Rules and Submissions

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One of the most awaited events has finally started! The 10th Annual Vanilla Level Design Contest, "VLDCX", is here! For those who are new, the Vanilla Level Design Contest is an annual contest where users are challenged to design a level using tools that will be close to what the original Super Mario World allowed. Contestants are restricted to use the original SMW textures, sprites, and physics, commonly referred to as vanilla. As per the recent VLDCs, the term "vanilla" is used loosely all for a most fun ruleset. The event is split into two parts. First, the contest. The users will submit their levels and those will be reviewed by our judges. Second, the compilation. We will have an overworld contest dedicated to VLDC. Once that's done, all levels will be merged into a single giant hack, the VLDC compilation ROM.

The Base ROM

We've provided a base ROM for you to build your levels in. This ROM has a few patches applied that fix bugs that Super Mario World never allowed and bugs that were overlooked.
The ROM also has the SA-1 Pack applied. The reason for this is because it makes the game run faster and makes it able to handle more sprites, yet doesn't add any gimmicks that wouldn't fit in the style of the original.

The base ROM includes everything needed to start designing your level: The Shared Map16, SA-1 Pack and the fix patches.

The following fix patches are used:

While more patches will be added to the compilation ROM, the above ones are the only who will actually affect the individual level gameplay.

Patches not included in base ROM, but will be used in the final compilation ROM:
Walljump/Note Block Glitch Fix v1.5
Feather Autoscroll Freeze Fix
Spike Swim Fix
Horizontal Scroll Fix

Download Base ROM
Reminder: Use the latest version of Lunar Magic with the Base ROM to avoid major glitches.

General/Design Rules:

The rules are pretty simple and straightforward.

  • You can use up to 7 sublevels + main level, for a total of 8 levels.
  • You can use up to 64 secondary exits to connect your level and sublevels.
  • Try to keep your level's length under 600 SMW seconds. That's around 6 minutes and 40 seconds of active gameplay. Always assume the player will take slightly more time to complete the level than yourself.
  • You can use one full map16 page for FG and one for BG, for a total of two full map16 pages. Use page 0x3 for FG and page 0x42 for BG.
  • You are allowed to change the player palette to match your level atmosphere. However, you must change the player palette for both Mario and Luigi.
  • You are allowed to use ExAnimation.
  • You are free to use switch palace blocks.
  • You are allowed to include a secret exit.
  • You are allowed to include yoshi coins.
  • You are allowed to include 3-up moons.
  • Please specify the above three in your entry in the welcoming message box (000-1).

Graphics Rules:

As a vanilla contest implies, you can't edit or make new graphics in your level. However, you can do the following operations with the original SMW tiles:

  • You can use up to 20 ExGFX files, including layer 3 files.
  • You can mix tilesets together.
  • You can color remap (recolor) tiles. Note that every instance of a color in a individual tile must be remapped. So for example, if you want to remap color 1 to 2, every instance of color 1 must be replaced by color 2 in that individual tile.
  • You cannot use recoloring to reduce the number of colors in a tile, which is to say you cannot remap both colors 2 and 4 to color 4, for example. The exception for this rule is when converting 4BPP to 2BPP, for usage in layer 3.
  • You cannot recolor a color into transparency. You also cannot recolor transparency into a solid color, but that's easy to get around with tile merging.
  • You can flip and rotate tiles by 90°.
  • You can merge 2 (two) tiles together, but you cannot merge two (or more) merged tiles.
  • You can use YY-CHR to convert 4BPP graphics (Layer 1/2 tiles) to 2BPP (Layer 3 tiles) by copy-pasting them.

Music Rules:

Custom music is allowed. You can use up to 4 different songs in your entry.
You can note if you want sound effect echo enabled or not.

Just like last year, music provided with SPC1000 might not be inserted because of their very large insert size. Also note that if your music is a nuisance to gameplay, you can get points deducted from aesthetics.
Here is the music from VLDC7, VLDC8 and VLDC9.


Last year, we tried anonymous judging. We decided that this year, we're going to allow the judges to look into the forums. Most judges will probably not interfere with any of the threads, but it's easier for us to manage, and it allows the judges to participate in providing music and joining the overworld contest.
To meet the judges, go to this thread.

Scoring and Prizes:

Design and Execution: 50 Points
This category focuses on fun, more specifically the execution of ideas, the flow of the level, and the execution of difficulty. The ideas should be concise and well thought-out. The flow of the level should be consistent and purposeful. The difficulty should not be frustrating or boring.

Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 30 Points
This category focuses on the creative usage of SMW's resources, either or both in gameplay and/or graphics, as well as the innovation of existing ideas or the presentation of new ones.

Aesthetics and Polish: 20 Points
This category focuses on a level's look and overall polish. The level should be pleasing to look at (with appropriate and non-grating music), with effort into ensuring the overall quality of the level.

For a total of 100 points.

The top 5 entries will get the badges below, besides a game prize from a list they can select from.


Submit a zip or 7-zip file containing:
  • Your entry as .bps file. The .bps file should be based on a clean Super Mario World ROM, and either be created with Floating IPS, or use unheadered ROMs as both source and target.
  • All ExGFX files you created as .bin
  • The map16 pages for BG/FG you made as .map16
  • The levels themselves exported as .mwl
  • Any custom music as .txt and .brr
  • The shared palette, in case you edited the player colors
  • Your level's name in a .txt, as well as the message box text when necessary

Submit your level in this thread. You can make a thread about your level, but it will only be actually judged and included in the collab hack if you post your zip file in this thread.

If you're updating your entry, EDIT YOUR POST! Double posts in this thread will be deleted.


Participating in this contest does not guarantee that you will also make it to the final collab hack. We may remove any level from the collab or make it skippable as we see fit.
Reasons for these could be: troll submissions, violation of the rules, unreasonable difficulty (to the point the judges cannot play it) or broken levels.
In the end, the decision will be up to the VLDCX team, as well the judges. This is not up to discussion.

Also, since we're using SA-1, remember to set the sprite header in #lm{sprhead} to 10 so that you can use the More Sprites Patch, which increases maximum sprites to screen to 20.


March 27th, 18:00:00 UTC


You are allowed:
  • to work with 1 partner
  • 1 main level and a maximum of 7 sublevels
  • a maximum of 64 secondary exits
  • a maximum of 20 ExGFX files (for graphics and layer 3)
  • to mix tilesets together, recolor, flip and rotates tiles. You can as well merge/overlap two source tiles into a single one.
  • one map16 page for your FG and another for your BG.
  • to use custom music
  • to create a thread to showoff your level

You are not allowed to:
  • change the first 3 pages of the map16
  • use ASM of any kind, aside from the ones included in the Base ROM
  • use the 8x8 editor, YY-CHR or any other tool to modify the graphics beyond what has been allowed
  • partial recoloring
  • truncate colors
  • add transparency to tiles (other than when converting from 4BPP to 2BPP)
  • edit the original GFX
  • submit an old level you released somewhere else previously

That should be all. Happy hacking!

Posted it quickly so it's out of the way and now I can concentrate on that new JRPG I got today.
Dolphin Beach (6th update)

Doesn't have secret exit.

third submission

1 exit.
e: Can I have SFX echo enabled for this level?
Hi, I'm a signature!
Hack Thread
Hack Testing Status: Available.
Layout by Koopster.
Mars Colonization
1 exit
No dragon coins
No moons

edit: updated

e: updated
e2: updated again

Area 51 (Very NEW update)
Note: I just add more level 25.
My hacks:
Bowser's Castle (finished)
Bowser's Castle 2 (finished)
Super Mario World - Mushroom Revolution (Work in progress)
Layout by Koopster
God have mercy in my soul.


EDIT: Broken links due to the Dropbox, try these:

Abstract Road
Userbar made by Green Jerry

Level mechanic indecision, hold on...
3rd Update and Renamed to Mushroomwave

Note that the ROM has edited Music, like custom Title Screen Music, Death Music, P-switch Music and Goal Music. it's from my other Hacks, and i don't think it really matters.

Also, the Name on the OW says "Aesthetic Land" that's false
It is Mushroomwave

Video (outdated)
Layout by Erik557
Worst World, here I come. End-game VIP difficulty.

Inspired by Leiras's VLDC9 entry.

Also, thanks to ft029 for testing if puzzle can be solved without already having knowledge about its solution.
Koopa Troopa Beach

The level revolves around Koopas and their shells, which can be either decorative, dangerous, or maybe even useful.

UPDATE: Decided to make the foreground shells different colors from the sprite shells. If a shell is teal, orange, pink, or purple, it's a block.
Quintesson Judge: Silence, or you will be held in contempt of this court!
Hot Rod: I have nothing but contempt for this court!
- Transformers the Movie (1986)

Not a fancy link but hey here is my entry.
It's a simple athletic level. Not too over the top.

EDIT: I might change my entry seeing as we have like a month left.

e: now with fixed ow message (secret exit yes, dragon coins yes, moon no)
With this being my first entry ever and being that it is the 10th annual VLDC, I'm proud to present Absolute Frenzy!

Version 1.10 download

This took 10 updates to make me satisfied but I finally did it.

Final update, with a detail, I changed the name of the level...
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