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[Fan Judge] Not GlitchMr's (Non)-Anonymous Level Judging
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - The 10th Annual Vanilla Level Design Contest - [Fan Judge] Not GlitchMr's (Non)-Anonymous Level Judging
Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 » Link - Thread Closed
Level list (feel free to use CTRL+F if you are looking for a particular level):


By the way, if you updated your entry, feel free to notify me in either this thread or Pyro's thread. Unfortunately, it's hard to notice an updated entry. I do plan replaying all levels after deadline, so that my scores will be comparable to actual judges' results (just to avoid complaints after results that I rated a particular great level low because it was completely different), but that will be too late for changing entries.

As a non judge who never judged, I decided to make non reviews of levels, because why not. It works about the same as Frost's judging thread in VLDC9, I suppose.

A new thing this time is a video of me playing this thing. Unfortunately, I had problems encoding videos (for some reason Snes9x 1.54.1 only encodes two frames for me), so all I have is videos that can be played with Snes9x 1.54.1. Still should be useful.

yogui - ONE EFFORT MOUNTAIN
Design and Execution: 40/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 25/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 14/20
Overall: 79/100
Level video
I HOPE I WINNNNNNN

A bit more seriously, this level nicely used tile 1F0 (level title is actually a reference to 1F0, in event that level title is weird). There were entries in VLDC before that made varying uses of 1F0 such as fast line guides or sprite-only blocks. However, what this entry did was actually NOT hiding 1F0 as some other block, which allowed for various ideas about 1F0 to be experimented with.

The level starts in a relatively safe environment with a warning shot in form of Paragoomba which bounces onto 1F8 blocks and never gets down (until reaching the end). This does inform the player about how 1F0 works on sprites momentum. Player trying to jump on Paragoomba won't be affected by 1F0. However, the player doesn't have to jump.

If the player won't decide to jump, the first real encounter with 1F0 by means of player jumping into it is in a dangerous spot.



Player may think that 1F0 does work on Mario, but that's not true and as a result may be surprised by falling through a platform. I think the section could be improved by putting munchers somewhere below Koopas to decrease penalty of a failed jump from death to loss of a mushroom. This is odd, because the section just after it has no penalty.

Then there is a section where player can get stuck (the only real way to go forward is to die) if Mario spinjumps both of paragoombas. Not sure how could you go about fixing that issue, however.



Obstacle with spinjump and Koopas is not clear. The spinjump vertical speed reset mechanic is rarely seen, and it's reasonable that the player may not be aware of it.

The last Dragon Coin is very dangerous. It's easily feasible to die to it, which would require restart from Midway Point. It may be worth considering lowering the penalty for getting Dragon Coin, considering Dragon Coins are intended to be optional, to encourage player to get Dragon Coin without being punishing.

Bouncing Chuck is somewhat surprising with how quickly it moves, barely giving player any time to react.

Line guided part seems weirdly designed. It explicitly tells the player to press R, and demands player to follow coin guides that aren't all that useful. Overall, it seems like weakest part of a level.

The level looks nice, but when goal point is hit, layer 3 is visible and doesn't fade.


Luansilva12 - DOLPHIN BEACH
Design and Execution: 12/50 18/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 17/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 16/20 14/20
Overall: 45/100 49/100
Level video
Level video (version 2)
Aesthetics, the level. So early in contest, and yet, this level looks pretty. That said, some of changes felt like done just for sake of change (in particular tides, it probably wouldn't have hurt to use regular water or underground tileset water).

In terms of level design, it felt a bit random. None of obstacles was put with rest of level in mind (other than one instance of bouncing Koopas + Koopa at top of a platform). The dolphin platforms pretty much do nothing, considering there is safe area reducing penalty of those jumps to zero, making them meaningless.

Bullet Bill shooters are easily hardest part of a level, but that's due to how they work (in this level, player needs to jump through their fire range), rather than having any interesting set up done with these.

Dragon Coins are badly placed. I don't think it's possible to get them all in a ROM as provided, and in final ROM, they would require beating the level twice. I think a good way to deal with this problem to make the bonus room pipe not move Mario past Midway Point, but instead move player in area nearby that pipe, so that it's possible to collect all Dragon Coins if you follow that pipe.

Update (v2):

The update does change the point where secret room pipe exited from, so now you can get all Dragon Coins in a single run. However, it also did introduce a new issue.

As it happens, where the exit pipe is, you can jump over the cliff and get stuck.



Also, here is a similar issue that I missed while testing initial version.



That's all for now, because there are no more entries.

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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
There are two more submissions.
Hi, I'm a signature!
Hack Thread
Hack Testing Status: Available.
Layout by Koopster.
M A R I O W O R L D - #1 LUDWIG'S DOMAIN
Design and Execution: DQ/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: DQ/30
Aesthetics and Polish: DQ/20
Overall: DQ/100
Level video (doesn't beat the level)
You know, if you make a hard level, at least make it interesting.

That said, your level doesn't say if whatever it has those: secret exit (no), dragon coins (no), moon (yes), and it changes graphics of cement block, so I don't feel bad about just saying "DQ" everywhere. If this level wouldn't violate rules of a contest, it would get 0 in design however. This is pretty much precision spike dodging with nothing else that SPYIKES! did much better. Not even a good Kaizo level. Also, why use ice physics??

Oh, and you forgot the candles in second part, although you may as well make a new level. You have two months, have fun.


As for other entries, they will be played tomorrow. I don't feel like playing more levels after this garbage.

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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
kind of stupid question, but how do I open the .smv file? just opening it in snes9x does nothing.
glad someone is doing this again, looking forward to see your opinions on the different levels #tb{:]}

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My Youtube channel

Currently working on:
Project C

Finished project:
Originally posted by NGB
kind of stupid question, but how do I open the .smv file? just opening it in snes9x does nothing.
glad someone is doing this again, looking forward to see your opinions on the different levels #tb{:]}

Open the ROM with the game, and open "File" > "Movie play..." option. Then select a file with a movie.

Speaking of, I probably should upload BPS files somewhere, so that the movies can be played even if authors update the levels, but I don't think it's that big of a deal, considering movies are mostly for level authors.

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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
Well, I hope you have fun playing all those levels over and over again. Maybe you can do it well.

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GitHub - Twitter - YouTube - SnesLab Discord
msi810 - Mars Colonization
Design and Execution: 7/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 21/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 10/20
Overall: 38/100
Level video (takes 1 hour)
GOAL SPHERE
To begin with, this level is way too long and hard. Everything feels very precise (which isn't that fun to deal with). That's really the biggest problem with the level. I think moving sprites/blocks by one block in order to help player with jumps could really improve the level noticeably. It currently feels like you barely manage to jump on Ninjis and Thwomps.

First section (level 105) is mostly fine, but it is too long and some parts are a bit too precise (but something that some small sprite/block movements could help with).

I think you could cut the entire line guided section with saws (screens 0C-0E of level 0FF). This section is frustrating and really feels random to execute. The pipe at the end of section requires the player to preserve momentum by not hitting the pipe, and then do tricky timed jump onto another platform.

The moving platform on screen 11 of level 0FF sometimes doesn't spawn. It may be related to me despawning it (or spawning it too early) due to my moveset in order to get on platform on screen 10. Screen 12 of level 0FF appears to be sometimes impossible when the platform runs away faster than expected (you cannot really land on it before it despawns). You may want to consider a platform that doesn't run away right away, but rather when you stand on it (sprite 63, feel free to ignore glitches in Lunar Magic, the sprite is still usable with correct X position).

Third section is the shortest, but it's also the most ridiculous one. While other sections demanded a lot of precision, this one demands even more. Player needs to move pretty much perfectly. I think this section could be removed due to its huge difficulty spike. Instead, hidden 1UP mushroom could be used to bring player to middle of second part, or something like that (if the first part would be shortened to match length of second part split into two).

1F0 line guides followed by actual line guide provide a drop during which player cannot jump. Dying due to that feels cheap. You may want to put actual line guide part (not necessarily the graphics however) one block higher to prevent sudden height spike causing Mario to fall.

I did like however the use of Thwimps. While it's not the first (Moon Temple in VLDC9 also did use Thwimps on 1F8), this is sufficiently unique to boost creativity score a bit, and it was used in more interesting ways than Moon Temple.

Decorations in this level I believe actually harm it. Monty Mole dirt is needlessly confusing, and the level would be better without those (at least it would help with making level feel less busy). Palettes do a really great job at representing it is Mars, there is no need to overdecorate it, especially in a hard level like this. Platform should follow line guides, not sit one block above (this can be fixed with Map16 to put line guide graphic above 1F0 block).

It may be a good idea to put a proper life farm in a level, considering I did game over a bit (until I realized Yoshi's Island 2 can be used as a lifefarm).


And because Hobz submitted me his level, and I had no other levels to do.

Hobz - Crowded Airspace
Design and Execution: 44/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 30/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 15/20
Overall: 89/100
Level video
I'm not sure why you decided to put an almost impossible six tile jump right at beginning of a level, considering rest of a level is more fun than that, but whatever. I suppose that's what "work in progress" means ;).

In a way, the level reminds me of certain nightmarish JUMP level, but I think it did a much better job than that one. The patterns are much more interesting. It does feel somewhat spammy, but that's what you get when you have a level calling itself "crowded". At first, the level seemed very hard (I almost wanted to type GOAL SPHERE), but after only a few deaths, it became quite fun, actually.

What impressed me is that level had a new mechanic that I never have seen before. I think the introduction to it in secret room was quite neat, however I understand that player may not have seen that secret room, so it's necessary to explain that mechanic in a message box. Oh well.

The secret path is ridiculous, but considering it's just a shortcut, it's probably fine. Speedrunners are gonna have fun with that one however. I'm pretty sure they will manage, however. If you follow past the secret path pipe, one of corner tiles is not solid. It's not a big deal, but it's still an issue. Also, you may want to put a moon on secret path (perhaps instead of 1UP) to point out that this isn't the main path.



Speaking of issues, this Fuzzy likes to despawn when coming from the right. Considering that player needs to spinjump on it (or get hurt), this is an issue. I believe it can be fixed by moving Fuzzy spawnpoint to the left, so that it won't despawn coming from the right.



Also, I have a recommendation to have some sort of life farm on overworld map, so judge won't have to repeat the level from beginning in event of GAME OVER. While I did manage to do this without getting game over, I don't expect all judges to be able to do so.

Also, just adding that your intro message should follow the format in base ROM. Currently all I see is a message saying that if I get stuck, it's my fault (which is probably leftover from MaGL3, because I didn't see any place where you could get stuck). Due to this, I only played normal exit. If there is secret exit, feel free to tell me.


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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
LHB - VERY DANGER LIFTS
Design and Execution: 29/50 33/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 21/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 17/20
Overall: 67/100 71/100
Level video
Level video (v2)
A fully autoscrolling level is inherently a risky move (which does help the score), but I'm not sure if it worked out for you in the end. Level has really interesting obstacles when not waiting for autoscroll, but there also are lots of moments where player just waits for autoscroll to catch up.

Not a fan of obstacle with two line guides moving around a circle and Lava Lotus. Due to the screen moving downwards, it's likely that player will be outside of screen visible area, which because of platforms hitboxes trying to keep you on platforms makes falling down extremely annoying and likely to lead to death. The obstacle in question is much more difficult than any other obstacle in a level too.

UPDATE (v2):

Update fixes the obstacle where the player doesn't see visible area in a way that pretty much ensures that game area is visible, so it got 4 extra points in design category. The level still has problems with moments where player just waits for autoscroll, however.


PMH - AREA 51
Design and Execution: 9/50 15/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 0/30 10/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 1/20 12/20
Overall: 10/100 37/100
Level video (1 rerecording because the recording was continued from the middle)
Level video (v2)
The first time I played this level, I entered the pipe, and this happened.



So, what happened is that Mario while entering a pipe moves horizontally, and the screen used for warps is determined by higher byte of Mario X position. As it happens, Mario may sometimes go so far into a pipe that Mario is on screen 1 when warp happens, and because no warp was defined for that screen, Mario enters the bonus game.

How do you fix this issue? Simple, define warp for screen 01 too. Generally, when you have a warp pipe nearby screen boundaries, you should define a warp for the other screen too.

The only reason why I continued is that while I was making screenshot of a level (for the level header), I went into a pipe for some reason, and actually saw actual level. This wasn't recorded, so I had to continue already done recording. And in recording, it took me MANY attempts to finally access the proper level.

Also, your level patch should be called "PMH.bps" according to the contest rules.

Okay, now for level itself.

First of all, the cement block wall at end of first room and second room is ugly. There are more natural ways to end a screen. In fact, you probably would better of just using screens you need (the scrolling ends on last screen with any objects) to avoid having to put an impossible to pass obstacle that is supposed to prevent player from going further.

The rooms in a level are pretty much unfocused (it does feel like your first level, which is fine, but I cannot give many points for that). Level is composed of two different parts even, which is usually not a good level design. The most threatening obstacles are Monty Moles used by themselves, but that's due to how threatening they are at overworld map speeds, rather than interesting level design. In the spotlight room, you have a goal point which causes a flashing effect. Don't use goal points when you have spotlight enabled.

Feel free to play VLDC9 or JUMP if you need to learn basics of level design. Those hacks have really well designed levels. Don't give up, beginnings are always hard.


And now for an update (v2)

First of all, there is only .bps file in your ZIP file. There should be more files, so that your entry can be inserted, check out the rules thread to know which files you need.

I'm actually impressed. I was coming to the level thinking that you only would fix the screen exit, but that's not the case. I mean, you did fix it, but you also did more, which I approve. Level did get noticeable improvements. It still does feel like your first level, but it's not as bad. There are actual interesting set ups (which I somehow I'm surprised I don't see in all levels submitted to this contest, sounds like a thing you sorta must have in a level). That said, there are still issues.

The obstacle in your level with Sumo Bros combined with Pitchin' Chuck is quite useless, because player can simply jump over those, nothing stops player from doing so. There are many solutions for this problem, some worse, some better. The part with floating platform feels like a blind jump, because player doesn't see what's ahead (it's also somewhat of a problem with spotlight effect which reduces visiblity, there is a reason why it was only used once in game - it's not a good idea to make an athletic level with spotlight, as it's hard to see where the next platform is).

That said, there is a deeper problem with the level. Super Mario World is a game that first introduces a concept, and then expands and evolves on it. This lets the player know how elements work, and then plays with it, allowing to make quite tricky obstacles after player is familiar with those. This level on the other hand introduces a concept, and then never returns to it. Your level has many different concepts, but nothing really that would make it feel consistent.

You are doing really well however, I'm impressed about how much better the level is. Next step could be Reverse Design: Super Mario World book analyzing the level design in Super Mario World or playing Super Mario World ROM hacks (my suggestion would be Super Mario World Remix due to its simple, and yet really neat level design style) or Super Mario World itself.

And most importantly, have fun. Experiment with designs, until you find something that is fun :). And then go with it, because why not.


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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
Roberto zampari - DARK CLOUD CASTLE
Design and Execution: 36/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 15/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 14/20
Overall: 65/100
Level video
First of, your patch should be called "Roberto zampari.bps" or something. The rules do say that patches should be called after usernames.

My ears! Who made this Mega Man 7 - Wily Stage 1 port? At least it's not terrible after intro, but that intro...

Two in one deal. The level is made of two parts separated by a Midway Point. The first part is full of relatively easy obstacles that require player to wait. The second part however does have action.

In the first part, many of obstacles like Lil' Sparkies, pencils, expanding blocks, Mega Moles, Bowser Statues, even Dry Bones somehow make player wait for cycle where getting past them is completely safe. The only exception to that rule are math platforms, which actually are the most interesting thing in the first part (the second set of those is a very neatly made obstacle). I think the first part could be possibly redesigned to not pretty much demand player to just wait pretty much everywhere. The last Dragon Coin in a level (which has its own room), despite being in second half also does feel like part of first half.

The second part does introduce moving platforms which noticeably change the level. The obstacles don't require waiting, but player still needs to think about how to pass an obstacle. Well done :). However, I think the obstacles could be more creative, as it feels that you reused the same obstacle over and over. I do however think that spotlight is needless, as the room wasn't really designed with it in mind.

Boss is really not needed. Your level is harder than SMW levels, which makes the boss feel anticlimatic.


toad64 - Abstract Road
Design and Execution: 20/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 25/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 8/20
Overall: 53/100
Level video
This patch should be called "toad64.bps", as patch names have to be named with usernames. Also, Top Secret Area is useless. The final ROM will have Counter Break applied, so there will no way to get power-ups before the stage.

I think the level would be better of not changing Mario's palette. The abstract graphic style used for Mario causes player to be hard to distinguish from background which is also abstract. Scrolling background in mushroom parts is really distracting. Moving elements call for player's attention, which is something you don't want to do with background. You may want to consider making background somewhat darker, so it won't look like foreground.

The cave section is odd. Vines look like regular vines in abstract style, and yet they do hurt the player. I think the level could be redesigned to have solid blocks instead of vines. Sprite only blocks (red "?" blocks) are quite useless, they don't do anything important (wall moving enemies in this level are relatively unimportant), and potentially confusing (as player may wonder what do they do).

Secret exit doesn't do anything other than requiring a tricky jump (that I'm not even sure if it's possible without tanking a hit). It probably should be removed as it doesn't bring anything to the level (other than forcing the level to be played twice).

The variety sort of a level is an unusual choice which usually doesn't work for the levels that try it, as it usually causes level to not focus on anything, and unfortunately, I think the same applies here. There are four different levels focusing on completely different things, but nothing is focused on well.

That said, I think this level is an improvement from Abstract World in VLDC9 that was full of terribly bad levels.


IronFoxGaming - YOSHI'S ISLAND 1
Design and Execution: 0/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 4/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 0/20
Overall: 4/100
Level video
I hope a good level wins!




... what did I play... like there is too much effort for a joke level (especially in terms of graphics, you did mix tilesets and all that, the result doesn't look that great, but you did manage to do that), and yet, this is an unplayable mess. I honestly don't know how to review this thing (I know the scores, but I don't how to review this thing).

This level doesn't have any focus. Like, any. There is some very confusing level design, very weird paths, a goal room that is just a goal sphere, a fast autoscrolling room with epilepsy ExAnimation in it (yes, really, why...), a P-Switch whose usage is really confusing.

I'm not going to point out any issues. I was going to, but there are way too many.

At least coin animations are nice, but that doesn't give your level any points anyway, when I would like to give negative points to this.


Rest of the levels are going to be rated later, because I'm scared of "aesthetic" level. I was going to stop at previous level anyway due to that, but the fact it was so bad convinced me further to do so.

Also, to clarify, I only accepted Hobz's entry on PM because there were no more entries to do, and I wanted to play something. It's unlikely I will play a level you submitted to me on PM, unless somehow I manage to do all submissions.

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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
I was busy recently with real life (right...), so this time I write a single review.

Super Stiviboy - AESTHETIC LAND
Design and Execution: 8/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 12/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 3/20
Overall: 23/100
Level video


Well then, this is Gambly Night 2. Much more fair than the original, however (I didn't die unfairly to anything). Until I realized that I didn't die to anything because there is nothing to die to. Well, okay, I died once in video, but that's because I pressed a key that caused emulator to lose focus. The level uses single enemies that are very easy to avoid, it doesn't combine anything to create memorable obstacles.

As far aesthetics go, I honestly expected worse. I saw the original screenshots, and I thought this was ugly, but I have to admit, this does look better when playing. That said, the decorations are busy, and if the level was any harder, they would probably cause deaths. Decorations aren't the main point of a level in level design contest, level design is.

Coins were used as enemies, which isn't that good of an idea because coins normally aren't enemies. While I did realize they work as footballs, player may not notice it. Similarly, the flashing rock doesn't look like Thwomp, and did cause me to get hit on both runs (you could argue I should be able to determine Thwomps by them flashing, but everything was flashing in the level).

Slow autoscroll in the final section demands the player to wait for quite a while for a door while absolutely nothing is happening. There is not much to the level, as far level design goes. I did play the level twice, just like any other level I reviewed, and both runs go pretty much identically. Essentially, purple prose, not a level. Even palettes are mostly purple, so it fits.

(oh, and I'm offended by "JUMP" text in a level, this level would be quickly rejected if you were to submit this to JUMP collab)


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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
Wind Fish - Bowel Relaxation
Design and Execution: 23/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 14/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 16/20
Overall: 53/100
Level video
Are you worried about Worst World? No need to worry, your level is not that bad. Although, it is quite average. It feels like a safe level, but safe level doesn't really impress me - to get a high position, you need courage to do something fresh. Strictly speaking, the rules don't allow editing original graphics, even if you did it purely to have a different "Nintendo presents" intro, so you may want to restore original GFX00.bin. Somewhat unfortunate, but that's how it goes.

The level design of this stage is quite confusing. You put some obstacle (standard challenge), only to put an easier version of it later on which makes obstacle feel boring. The later player is in a level, the easier it is (even considering just enemies layout) which is just weird. The level does nicely introduce Swoopers and invisible coin block gimmick by making a warning shot at beginning in a safe environment.

The last Dragon Coin is quite pointless. It's a completely safe slow swim below the level that takes a while. The invisible coin block on the path on Dragon Coin is somewhat useless, as it doesn't do anything in a level (player won't go that path, as you can just leave water at the point where Dragon Coin is).



Secret exit is weird and out of place, but it made me laugh, so here is that. Swooper Boo enemy is not clear, because I don't expect Boo to act like Swooper, which does make for cheap damage that doesn't feel fair to player.

Aesthetically, it's Hotel. It's nothing unique, this particular graphic set does meet the requirements of aesthetics that weren't used in original game, but it's not really innovative now. That said, it doesn't look bad, unlike some of stuff people do with tileset mixing, so it's fine. Not sure why replace Koopas with Buzzy Beetles. Buzzy Beetles don't work the same way as Koopas (that's why they are a different enemy). I know that you cannot use actual Buzzy Beetles (because Spinies), but that's not an excuse to replace Koopa graphics with Buzzy Beetle graphics. Buzzy Beetle also sometimes flashes red color (tile 3C9 and 3E1). This is a weird unique pixel even in original graphics, so it's not against the rules, but you still may want to fix that.

There is some cut-off in your graphics. It's minor, probably unnoticeable, but I somehow noticed it, so pointing it out. In short, your floor tiles don't line up with ceiling tiles (mostly noticeable in area around door that leads to a Dragon Coin). It can be easily fixed however by doing small changes in Map16.


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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
After having fun trying to find my thread on thread list, I'll continue my probably bad reviews. It was my first time trying to review levels (I'm learning more than anything), and I honestly am surprised to see my thread stickied. I hope that my reviews will be useful, even if they may be hard to decode.

You may have noticed that I do focus more on gameplay (level design) in my reviews. I do admit I don't really like how Vanilla Level Design Contest did change into Aesthetics Contest. However, despite my attempts to review levels fairly, I can see that aesthetics levels are in fact getting lower scores. That's because such levels tend to have poorer level design so far, perhaps due to busy decorations forcing much simpler level design (or something else, I can only theorize). That said, I did see a few of pretty levels with really good level design in VLDC9, and I'm looking forward to playing those (those can be still contestants to win, even for me).

I'll skip one entry because it's way too hard, literally impossible and all that (I may return to it later), and go straight to Gamma V's entry.

Gamma V - YOSHI'S ISLAND 1
Design and Execution: 14/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 22/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 17/20
Overall: 53/100
Level video
By the way, this entry's patch should have been called "Gamma V.bps" to follow the format mentioned in contest rules. It's easy to miss that, but it's probably better to follow whatever is written in Rules thread.

This level is aesthetically confusing, mostly due use of Koopa shells as solid blocks. I do understand that was an intent, but it mostly comes off as fake difficulty to me. Player has no idea if a given shell is a solid block or an actual shell. However, I liked use of Yoshi's House treetops as trees.

Most of enemies in the level are single Koopas over which player can easily jump. The only exception are two instances of kicker Koopas which I really don't like - as blue Koopa is placed just beside shell, the shell is kicked instantly offscreen and player gets barely any time to react. I liked the set up used for fourth Dragon Coin however.

Secret exit in this level feels pointless. It's pretty much entering an arbitrary pipe in a level. At least the puzzle in bonus section is pretty neat (even if really simple).


1UPdudes - NET SO FAST
Design and Execution: 19/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 23/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 13/20
Overall: 55/100
Level video
Back when I was playing the level I planned to mention "I would complain about nets being solid, but considering it's the case for entire level and it's well introduced, so it's probably fine" in review, and just after that you throw a regular net at me differing only by color. This is not good enough of a hint, considering that: the player may not know the color of original nets, the player may not be able to recognize red color from pink color well, the player may not expect suddenly appearing real net. You, as level designer shouldn't betray player's trust. If nets are solid, they shouldn't suddenly become non-solid. I do like the use of nets if I were to ignore that you used non-solid nets in this level.

As far the level design goes, it's pretty much just waiting, waiting and more waiting for obstacles that player can deal with. And dealing with obstacles is pretty much jumping over those. Well, not quite, there were three obstacles I liked: two flying Koopas over a pit, a saw with platform for last Dragon Coin (other than that it's very easy to enter pipe without seeing anything beyond forcing to replay this level), and a quite neat kicker Koopa obstacle. Thank you very much for not putting Koopa directly beside shell. Other than that, there is just waiting and jumping over obstacles.

By the way, a good autoscrolling level can be made. For instance, check out Butter Bridge 1 (SMW), Parachutist Plains (VLDC9) or LHB's contest entry. Those levels manage to keep themselves interesting while being fully autoscroll.


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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
I appreciate the review. I'll admit the level is a mess, hence the level name. #tb{:p}

Also, I can't get any of the videos to work. Do you need an exact configuration or something?
Layout by Erik557
Hi.
Originally posted by Wind Fish
I appreciate the review. I'll admit the level is a mess, hence the level name. #tb{:p}

Also, I can't get any of the videos to work. Do you need an exact configuration or something?

First of all, download Snes9x 1.54 from Tools section. You need the same patch as I used to provide video (if you don't have it, I can provide it). Then, you need to extract the ZIP File (Snes9x doesn't open ZIPs, but the files are otherwise quite big for file bin). Open the ROM, and select "Movie Play" option with a movie extracted from archive.

If that doesn't work, then I probably screwed up somewhere. The video does play for me, but I play Snes9x on emulator (Linux version of Snes9x doesn't support recording videos, so I use a Windows one), so that may be a reason. Do you get errors when trying to open a video, or does video desync?

Aeon - CHURRASCADA
Design and Execution: 42/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 25/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 17/20
Overall: 84/100
Level video
Oh dear, this level is hard. Obstacles (well, Blarggs) are placed really cleverly and are all a threat (in a way, it's Kaizo-like design, which I like). The level however does in fact increase difficulty of its obstacles gradually, not unlike Super Mario World. Aesthetics are simple but really good. An only issue I have is floating Blarggs, but that may end up hard to fix without destroying the level design (which is really good), so I'm letting it pass. The level does try to keep itself fresh (in particular noticeable in background) while staying within Super Mario World aesthetics. Which is good, especially in a hard level like this.

I'm not exactly a fan of third section (with goal). It feels like the room was tested to be played in one particular way (rushing forward without stopping). If player stops for something, Koopas for instance may be a little bit too high, which causes player to die. Similarly, I have a problem with the method used to get to secret exit path. The only hint that it's here is useless Blargg, which I'm not sure if it's that good of a hint (although, to be honest, I don't know how I would feel about that secret method if I hadn't watched the video of it first, I really should stop checking threads in this forum... nah). I feel like secret exit portion could be improved by having 1UP checkpoint before it, to avoid having to repeat the first room, although then it may be a bit too short. The second section feels much easier with cape, which is somewhat of a bad idea when player only gets cape on first attempt through second part, so if player has problems with that room, they will have harder time by dying in it.

That said, I really like this level, and looking forward to improvements.

OTHER: I don't get the level name. I think it's a portmanteau of some words somewhat related to a level, but that's about it. Also, one of deaths in video is caused by me losing emulator focus again. Argh...


nahuelescoba - YOSHI'S ISLAND 1
Design and Execution: 16/50
Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 17/30
Aesthetics and Polish: 6/20
Overall: 39/100
Level video
This is quite clearly one of your first levels, even the message box says so. Speaking of, get rid of this message, why highlight that?



Why I was able to tell so? Well, due to flat terrain (which you should really get better at) and enemies placed mostly randomly. That said, the level has something going for it - the obstacles were placed in a rather interesting way, even if this is just a coincidence. I for instance liked the Koopa chain at beginning of a level giving a player opportunity to get a 1UP - reward by fun. Chargin Chucks near a turn block wall with power ups was an interesting obstacle (you should be less generous with power ups in your level design however, if you spam power ups it's hard for player to die in other way than instant kill, such as bottomless pit).

However, I think the Bullet Bill wall is badly designed - Bullet Bills are really fast, so player doesn't get much time to think, and just jumping to avoid ground Bullet Bill will cause player to jump into another one. The level is really short (as you mention in message box), which works against it. Dragon Coins are also too well hidden - I think enabling "Vertical Scroll at Will" would hint that there is something on top of note block tower.

That said, I like what you have so far. Looking forward to much better levels from you. Try to experiment with land structures to have a more interesting level layout. Good luck, either way on your way and don't give up - beginnings are hard.


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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
Originally posted by GlitchMr
First of all, download Snes9x 1.54 from Tools section. You need the same patch as I used to provide video (if you don't have it, I can provide it). Then, you need to extract the ZIP File (Snes9x doesn't open ZIPs, but the files are otherwise quite big for file bin). Open the ROM, and select "Movie Play" option with a movie extracted from archive.

If that doesn't work, then I probably screwed up somewhere. The video does play for me, but I play Snes9x on emulator (Linux version of Snes9x doesn't support recording videos, so I use a Windows one), so that may be a reason. Do you get errors when trying to open a video, or does video desync?

OK that worked. I didn't think the emulator version would make much of a difference, but it does. Thanks!
Layout by Erik557
Hi.
Thanks for the review. I made a pretty simple level and I think your review sums it up pretty nicely.

As for the whole betrayal of trust thingy I do feel as that's a tad exaggerated.

I made it so the player starts on the nets they can walk on as an instant "Oh I walk on nets?". As for the climable ones I put the Net Koopa's on for some more clarity in how they function. Once again I do see how it can be a sudden change and throw the player off but I thought that the people who play hacks and participate in these types of contest would be familiar enough with how SMW works.

End note I'll take your feedback into consideration when the next contest rolls round. I'll also be looking forward to any later reviews you do. Cheers :)

I was submit a update of my level. Can someone judge this?

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Click here to check out my CLDC entry (video)
Layout by Koopster
Originally posted by 1UPdudes
Thanks for the review. I made a pretty simple level and I think your review sums it up pretty nicely.

As for the whole betrayal of trust thingy I do feel as that's a tad exaggerated.

I made it so the player starts on the nets they can walk on as an instant "Oh I walk on nets?". As for the climable ones I put the Net Koopa's on for some more clarity in how they function. Once again I do see how it can be a sudden change and throw the player off but I thought that the people who play hacks and participate in these types of contest would be familiar enough with how SMW works.

End note I'll take your feedback into consideration when the next contest rolls round. I'll also be looking forward to any later reviews you do. Cheers :)

I suppose that's fair, perhaps I focused a bit too much on that part (although I still think it's bad design). I'm focusing a level from various points of view, including new players experience who didn't play ROM hacks before. VLDC is a flagship collab of SMW Central and I know of players that played it as their first ROM hack, and they deserve good experience so that they won't give up just because a level was unfair. This is also why I replay levels without advanced mechanics, such as Up/Down swimming if level encourages using those (examples of such levels in this contest: CHURRASCADA, Abstract Road) to see how different level plays when player isn't aware of such a mechanic.

Each unfair death is a potential rage quit moment. The goal of level designer is not to defeat the player, but rather want to let them overcome the challenge they set before them. Even if that challenge is very difficult - I don't think the player would give up just because of hard, but fair challenge - where they can easily see why they failed and can see alternative approaches to a problem. Main point of video games after all is to have fun. If a game is not fun, then it's not a game. Having to, say, repeat the same 2 minutes 60 times just to die to an obstacle again is not fun.

By difficult, I mean something like Dark Souls. This game is difficult, but not unfair. Every character follows the rules of the game (there are no invisible walls preventing attacks from distance, invincible characters, everything works the same way all the time), and if player dies, it's player's fault, death was completely fair, and there were ways to avoid it. Or for a different example, VVVVVV where if player dies, they respawn a place just before they have died, and they can try a different strategy without having to repeat 30 seconds that are already known well. In terms of ROM hacks, Super Mario World Remix managed to do this extremely well - the levels are extremely difficult, but fair, and if player dies, they can see why, and call tell how to avoid dying (seriously, play Super Mario World Remix, it's really well designed, you can tell it was made by professional video game designer).

My goal with those reviews is to point out issues that may affect enjoyability of a level, resulting in a better final result. I'm following the overall video game standards, not whatever SMW standards may exist - VLDC is not just for SMW experts. While this is a competition, there will be a playable end result. I don't want this to be SMW Central Production that ended up pretty much unplayable for most of people due to unfair levels starting from World 2 or so (not difficult, there is a difference).

Originally posted by PMH
I was submit a update of my level. Can someone judge this?


I will try to play it when I will have time. Thanks for notifying me however :).

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Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
Thanks for a follow up. I understand all of your points and thoughts.
It's quite interesting in how deep you go into the aspects of level design and overall your feelings towards the final outcome. Major props to that.

:')

Next VLDC I'll make a Net So Fast 2: Net Faster

Actually I only fix the screen exit, why did you impress with my level? Are you tried to make me happy?

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Click here to check out my CLDC entry (video)
Layout by Koopster
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Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - The 10th Annual Vanilla Level Design Contest - [Fan Judge] Not GlitchMr's (Non)-Anonymous Level Judging

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