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VLDCX - New Leaders, the Overworld, & World X.

To go completely off topic, I've been hearing my level had a secret exit. It doesn't. Yes, there's a keyhole in the level, but it went unused due to a concept me and a few members from a certain group wanted to implement, but ultimately we just didn't do it.

But yes, the moon in my level is stupid hidden. I'll take the blame for that one.

...

To go on topic, I feel Vitor should work on the full VLDCX as a side project. No need to drag the hype, since it's still a slim chance he will stay for the entire thing. Then again, third times' a charm, right? But if it were to happen, I say players should only beat 50 levels, in any order, to unlock World X (if there is a World X).

I feel that the Top 50 VLDCX Levels should be treated as "the demo" just in case the full thing doesn't come out.
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Originally posted by Daizo Dee Von
Yes, there's a keyhole in the level, but it went unused due to a concept me and a few members from a certain group wanted to implement, but ultimately we just didn't do it.


Tell me more about this group and how much of an influence they had over the level.
About contest time: I usually take about 3 and a half weeks to make my levels, plus a couple more weeks to playtest, bugtest and polish, and that's with a lot of time being spent into it since VLDC's usually happen during my summer vacations, where I've got literally nothing else to worry about.

So yeah, for all those people who strive to be on top, I think 7 weeks are fair.
Originally posted by leod
Some levels, like puzzle levels, just have a longer amount of time you spend in the same life, while another level might be 100 seconds long per-life but takes 500 attempts and 7 hours to beat.
These are extremes, but everything inbetween is viable and has been submitted, which is why in-game time capping is not a good idea.

"Oh all the submitted levels do that anyway so it's not a good idea to impose a time limit." is not a very good argument. Why would you not make sure that actually is the case by doing it anyway? It's not convoluted to implement either. Just, 400 seconds, reasonably use up to 300 at most. Don't reset time between sections and bam there you go no effort and no one's going to complain. Hell people are probably going to thank you and the others working on VLDC11 for doing this.

Screen limit, though, is a bad idea. You can get through many screens in a short amount of time if the level's built like that. It's definitely a more intrusive limit than limiting time is.

Originally posted by leod
VLDC11 is already not planned to happen early next year, so it's too late for that one!

RIP.

I can't react over this because I had a feeling that was going to be the case anyway. I was just hoping that it wasn't just set in stone because of......well, you're gonna have to tell me why but you do kinda explain later on.

Originally posted by leod
I've only seen a single person try to use percentages and I'm not even sure it was in this thread, the discussion has pretty much always been about nice clean numbers.
We just aren't sure where to put the limit, which the judges might be able to help us with once results are out.

I am not the person to weigh in on this but I think it mainly depends on how many people normally sign up. I mean this won't even come to play if we don't have too many entries. Only thing I can really say is I have heard VLDCX imposed some limits on making the level, and the magic number of submissions for 11 should not do the same.

Originally posted by leod
It's not like we're so terribly overworked that VLDC11 just can't happen, we'd just rather do other things that aren't VLDC to take a break from the lack of non-VLDC related things.

Suit yourselves dooooods. I can understand the need, I just hope the next VLDC goes by without hitches like this.

I wouldn't mind a collab. In fact in the long run every moment of people working with others to make levels is a win for a, well, game design community. Only things I'll say now is I hope it's a great time, and I hope it's on time.
Originally posted by DarkMatt
"Oh all the submitted levels do that anyway so it's not a good idea to impose a time limit." is not a very good argument. Why would you not make sure that actually is the case by doing it anyway? It's not convoluted to implement either. Just, 400 seconds, reasonably use up to 300 at most. Don't reset time between sections and bam there you go no effort and no one's going to complain. Hell people are probably going to thank you and the others working on VLDC11 for doing this.

That was not my argument.
Your layout has been removed.
Originally posted by DarkMatt
[stuff on level length restrictions]


The problem with hard level restrictions is that they both restrict ideas and don't really solve the problem.

You can restrict screens to some arbitrary number and that kills my perfectly legitimate idea to have a level you have to run through the whole time. You can restrict in-level time to some arbitrary number and people who would make levels that take longer than that shorten their levels, but make them harder to compensate, so playing still take roughly the same amount of time.

The simplest and most effective method is to just put "don't make your levels too long" and let the judges handle it. If people need guidelines then we can recommend a specific time/screen length. But hard rules on those make the contest worse.

(kill extra checkpoints though)
I still think restricting it to no secret exits is the easiest and most effective way solving the problem.

The designer can make the reward of the extra room/path whatever a moon/dragon coin instead, and ultimately does not restrict their design decisions at all.
Super Mario World 3: The Koopas Strike Back
Super Mario: Grand Journey
This is a level design contest, not a mini hack design contest so I don't see why a timer limit is bad in this case. I'm pretty sure any idea, no matter how creative it may be, will overstay its welcome if the level takes more than 500 SMW seconds to be beat. But if you really, really want to expand on it further you can just run a secret exit with alternative obstacles and etc., provided it's still a good secret exit though (not too lengthy and actually well hidden).

e: actually a lengthy secret exit wouldn't even be possible with a timer limit so there's that too.
It's like you all just decided to ignore the existance of puzzle levels (like that star escort mountain shit level from 8), which will take different people different amounts of time and may not even really be long but rather are just tough nuts to crack.
Or the fact that, again, levels can still take 30 minutes to beat even with a 500 second timer, just by virtue of being more difficult.

It solves none of the problems.
Your layout has been removed.
Then what was I suppose to get from this, leod?
Originally posted by leod
These are extremes, but everything inbetween is viable and has been submitted, which is why in-game time capping is not a good idea.


Furthermore, this is an opinion, but the levels that take longer than 3 minutes (give or take) to complete are the puzzle levels? Yeah no, they can go. I never played one I liked. I dunno what other people think, but I don't think I'd be missing out on much if I didn't get the long, convoluted, unrewarding, glitchy puzzles I've gotten out of the VLDCs so far.

I mean I thought about Ghost Houses and how a time cap can be an issue, but if a level like that takes forever because you keep going around in circles then I think there's bigger issues with the level then just taking too much time.

Originally posted by Noivern
The simplest and most effective method is to just put "don't make your levels too long" and let the judges handle it.

The situation you'd run into then is people having to ask the judges to define what "too long" means, and not to mention "too long" is subjective. One person might put too long at 1 minute and another at 5. Just saying "please don't make it too long" does not give people any idea what "too long" actually means.

Hence defining an actual concrete rule instead of just an arbitration that people can have a problem with. Rightfully so at that, if it becomes a problem to them.

Simplest sure, but assuming they know what you mean by "too long" is not the most effective.

I mena go ahead and let in the levels that take up way too much time and effort like oh say Matterhorn or Woah Radicola from VLDC9. After all I can't logically force you to adopt a failsafe against levels like that. But the least I want you to understand is that, if you think this is an actual problem, solving it is simpler than you may think.

---------------

Meanwhile I'm split on banning secret exits. On the one hand it's hard for levels to give me a satisfying secret exit, with many falling into the pitfalls of "being placed at the end of the level", and "being notoriously difficult to get". On the other though, I do know of good secret exits in contest levels so it is possible. I'm arguing for a time limit because it wouldn't take out anything we look forward to, but a secret ban? I want to see people give me great incentives to play a level twice. I don't want to see that dream die.
Originally posted by leod
It's like you all just decided to ignore the existance of puzzle levels (like that star escort mountain shit level from 8), which will take different people different amounts of time and may not even really be long but rather are just tough nuts to crack.

Puzzle levels are usually short in length so even if you don't make it in time it won't take long to reach the area you got stuck from either main or midway entrance. Also, midway entrance resets the timer, so if you die you get that bonus.

Quote
Or the fact that, again, levels can still take 30 minutes to beat even with a 500 second timer, just by virtue of being more difficult.

It solves none of the problems.

Having no enforced timer rule didn't really stop people from making near-kaizo levels (and sometimes lengthy too to make things worse), so not enforcing it doesn't solve anything either. The assumption that people will automatically make their levels harder because they're under a timer limit is just that: an assumption.

Lastly, I was thinking a timer of around 600 SMW seconds (6 minutes maximum of gameplay) and I think it's long enough for people to not feel the urge to make NES hardness nor long enough for judges to wish to die.
As a person who has created and plays full puzzle hacks, the longer ones can be a chore if you don't know what to do.

HOWEVER, that's only because the need to find solutions in a puzzle level will itself take time, and the player might just be standing there, thinking over how to do it. That wastes time.

But even then, 400-600 seconds is probably more than long enough.
Want to see my Super Mario Timeline?
Originally posted by natnew
As a person who has created and plays full puzzle hacks, the longer ones can be a chore if you don't know what to do.

HOWEVER, that's only because the need to find solutions in a puzzle level will itself take time, and the player might just be standing there, thinking over how to do it. That wastes time.

But even then, 400-600 seconds is probably more than long enough.

It's mainly why I don't like puzzle levels: unless it's a really good puzzle a good amount of time is going to be spent just having to look at and surmise what can be done and what the correct answer is, and with the small screen of SMW this is going to at least take a little bit if the puzzle's pretty large. Or even worse yet, the puzzle is presented in such a way that it's very like or even certain that you have to solve the puzzle through trial and error.

And then there's the puzzles that exploit glitches that the player may not know, and then they do a poor or blunt job introducing those glitches. That makes an already awkward puzzle to do awkward to learn.
Originally posted by DarkMatt
Originally posted by natnew
As a person who has created and plays full puzzle hacks, the longer ones can be a chore if you don't know what to do.

HOWEVER, that's only because the need to find solutions in a puzzle level will itself take time, and the player might just be standing there, thinking over how to do it. That wastes time.

But even then, 400-600 seconds is probably more than long enough.

It's mainly why I don't like puzzle levels: unless it's a really good puzzle a good amount of time is going to be spent just having to look at and surmise what can be done and what the correct answer is, and with the small screen of SMW this is going to at least take a little bit if the puzzle's pretty large. Or even worse yet, the puzzle is presented in such a way that it's very like or even certain that you have to solve the puzzle through trial and error.

And then there's the puzzles that exploit glitches that the player may not know, and then they do a poor or blunt job introducing those glitches. That makes an already awkward puzzle to do awkward to learn.


Yeah, most puzzles don't really have a place in a "normal" style hack anyway (like this one), they're better suited for their own hacks (They fit better into Kaizo, but not always)

Back on topic, I think the time limit should be a generous 600. This number is large enough that even longer levels should be fine, but it stops the obscenely long levels as was seen this year. Also, secret exits should be allowed, but the judges shouldn't need to find them if they don't want to. It lets the good levels do whatever while stopping the bad levels from abusing this power (same goes for time limit).
Want to see my Super Mario Timeline?
Originally posted by DarkMatt
Then what was I suppose to get from this, leod?
Originally posted by leod
These are extremes, but everything inbetween is viable and has been submitted, which is why in-game time capping is not a good idea.

Exactly what I said, that these different types of levels exist and will always exist because people just like to make different kinds of levels.
And because of that, applying a rule that only really helps with one type of level (straightforward platforming) to all types of levels is undesirable.

Originally posted by DarkMatt
Furthermore, this is an opinion, but the levels that take longer than 3 minutes (give or take) to complete are the puzzle levels? Yeah no, they can go. I never played one I liked. I dunno what other people think, but I don't think I'd be missing out on much if I didn't get the long, convoluted, unrewarding, glitchy puzzles I've gotten out of the VLDCs so far.

Puzzle levels aren't identifiable just because they take time, there's plenty of non-puzzle levels that take time, or mixtures of platforming and puzzling (which VLDC9 actually has a few of), so I would say no to that first question.
But yeah, that's just your opinion, people who make these sorts of levels obviously enjoy them, so we shouldn't exclude them arbitrarily just because someone else might not.

Originally posted by DarkMatt
Originally posted by Noivern
The simplest and most effective method is to just put "don't make your levels too long" and let the judges handle it.

The situation you'd run into then is people having to ask the judges to define what "too long" means, and not to mention "too long" is subjective. One person might put too long at 1 minute and another at 5. Just saying "please don't make it too long" does not give people any idea what "too long" actually means.

Hence defining an actual concrete rule instead of just an arbitration that people can have a problem with. Rightfully so at that, if it becomes a problem to them.

They could just have someone else playtest it and go from their feeling. From what I've been able to tell, the levels that truly are too long have been pretty much unanimously called so by third parties, it's not a hidden property visible only to judges.
And if you want to argue that, well, the entirety of judging is subjective. We don't have the power to objectively judge SMW levels, which is why we try to hire multiple judges from different level-design backgrounds (and, at times, subcommunities) just so we get as much diversity in their subjective opinions as we can.

Level length judgement is one of the more consistent things between them, funnily enough.


Originally posted by DarkMatt
I mean go ahead and let in the levels that take up way too much time and effort like oh say Matterhorn or Woah Radicola from VLDC9. After all I can't logically force you to adopt a failsafe against levels like that. But the least I want you to understand is that, if you think this is an actual problem, solving it is simpler than you may think.

In my personal opinion, it's an issue we should tackle on the judging scale, not on a restriction scale, simply because it's such a subjective and level-type-dependant thing that we can't possibly make an actual good one size fits all rule against it.

And just from experience, the people who aren't entering for the first time are usually pretty good at picking up on trends and common complaints, so I feel like they'll already put more attention towards not making their levels a marathon by the next contest just from reading this discussion, the meta discussion about this discussion that's happening in chatrooms and, I hope, the judge comments once those are out.

I'd hope the same for secret exits, since ultimately they are just an extension of the length issue.




Originally posted by Gloomy
Puzzle levels are usually short in length so even if you don't make it in time it won't take long to reach the area you got stuck from either main or midway entrance. Also, midway entrance resets the timer, so if you die you get that bonus.

This is all kinds of backwards. At this point you would just be limiting in-game time for the sake of limiting in-game time and ignoring the actual goal here, which is reducing real-life time.
Restarting at a midpoint with a fresh 500 timer doesn't erase the time it took you to get there.
Telling people that their puzzle levels just have to include people dying from timeouts if they're not fast enough, only because of some arbitrary rule that you don't even seem to have a goal with given that response, is stupid.

Originally posted by Gloomy
Having no enforced timer rule didn't really stop people from making near-kaizo levels (and sometimes lengthy too to make things worse), so not enforcing it doesn't solve anything either.

Okay..? But not enforcing is the default. There's no reason to switch if that doesn't change anything.

Originally posted by Gloomy
The assumption that people will automatically make their levels harder because they're under a timer limit is just that: an assumption.

Not an assumption I made. Difficult levels already exist.




Originally posted by natnew
Yeah, most puzzles don't really have a place in a "normal" style hack anyway (like this one), they're better suited for their own hacks (They fit better into Kaizo, but not always)

I feel like how well a puzzle is introduced and its mechanisms are taught to the player is just as big a part of good level design as anything else.
So yeah, I'd agree that a glitchy puzzle that makes use of mechanics the player has never seen before is bad. Which is why it should introduce them to the player first, so they have seen it and can apply it.

Also, VLDC is still just as much contest as it is collab. Puzzle levels can't really be told they don't fit into a "normal hack like this", because they are an entry to a contest that has no other levels for context.
The collab is just something that is then made out of the contest entries, so you can't blame a level for not fitting in with the rest.
Your layout has been removed.
Originally posted by leod
This is all kinds of backwards. At this point you would just be limiting in-game time for the sake of limiting in-game time and ignoring the actual goal here, which is reducing real-life time.

Quote
only because of some arbitrary rule that you don't even seem to have a goal with given that response

Quote
There's no reason to switch if that doesn't change anything.

Limiting in-game time reduces real-life time provided the designer doesn't make their level harder to make up for it, which like I said, can be avoided with a generous timer. I can't make this goal any clearer for you.

Quote
Restarting at a midpoint with a fresh 500 timer doesn't erase the time it took you to get there.
Telling people that their puzzle levels just have to include people dying from timeouts if they're not fast enough (...) is stupid.

A puzzle level with a timer isn't any different from a platforming level, where you have to repeat sections due to dying, either from obstacles or from the timer as well. In fact, it's also less likely for you to die from a timeout in a well designed puzzle level than in basically any platforming level with decent difficulty where everything is against you.

I can see that your point was that a timer helps disencouraging puzzle levels to a degree, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're automatically less viable than a platforming level just because of that, considering what I said about platforming levels still being less forgiving.
Originally posted by leod
Exactly what I said, that these different types of levels exist and will always exist because people just like to make different kinds of levels.
And because of that, applying a rule that only really helps with one type of level (straightforward platforming) to all types of levels is undesirable.

Says who? Because I'm talking about what it means to be a vanilla level, and how we can best make levels vanilla.

At this point should we even consider what being vanilla means? Are the people who are arguing for more limits arguing for no reason because you're stubbornly insisting there should be no more limits?

If you're going to draw the line at how restricted submissions should be, at least make it obvious in your posts. So far I think you just don't want any new rules for the sake of not wanting any new rules, which feels like you're not even considering the pros and cons of what I and others are proposing. It's getting frustrating.

Originally posted by leod
This is all kinds of backwards. At this point you would just be limiting in-game time for the sake of limiting in-game time and ignoring the actual goal here, which is reducing real-life time.

We're talking about these because we want to improve the quality of submissions. That's where I figure the others are coming from, (I might be wrong and if I am I'm sorry for the assumption.) but speaking for myself, I'm trying to convince you of my point because I want to see a higher quality in user submissions. Does that just not matter to you?

But no seriously I feel like you're flipflopping over this topic. Here's an example:
Originally posted by leod
I personally think that making it clear that the collab will be a best-of in the future would make for higher quality entries, but at the same time it'd also be less entries, so I guess it just depends on which of the two we prioritize.

Originally posted by leod
Also, VLDC is still just as much contest as it is collab.

Here you're open about either or in one post but in the next you say it's both.

So which is it then? Should we be treating this like a collaborative effort or a competitive effort? You can't just say both. Just spitballin' here but I'm pretty sure participant attitudes for a contest and those for a collab are very different, so just trying to insist it's both will cause a lot of contradictions of what to expect out of VLDC, like this one, where you've been implying you might want to make this more a collab but you're insisting it's both so ???????

I'm sorry that I'm taking a more critical tone but I'm getting the feeling that you are being difficult right now for not very good reasons! I'm not even gonna get to the rest of your post if I still feel like you're not even interested in what I'm saying. We need to get on the same page before I continue.

---------------

Oh I almost forgot this sorry!

Originally posted by Noivern
You can restrict in-level time to some arbitrary number and people who would make levels that take longer than that shorten their levels, but make them harder to compensate,

...Who does this? Like, I sure do HOPE people don't just, instead of making poorly spaced out levels, make poorly difficulty-balanced levels instead. I really hope there aren't examples because that doesn't feel natural at all.

Lemme deconstruct this. Hypothetically, I'm a person who makes 5 minute long levels and there's an arbitrary time limit in a contest, which, when I notice and do some simple math, understand that I make levels longer than this. What would be my response to this?

Well, in my shoes, I would of course question why. The next question then is do I ask people on here, or just assume I have to? If it's the former then with a strong reasoning behind the expected submissions of VLDC, I'll understand that and do that. If I assume and just cope for myself, then there might be an issue.

But then in the former case people are telling me what they would like to play, or what their goals are, which makes VLDC more of a collaborative effort. (Which would be good.) I might even ask a bit more like "how do I make shorter levels?" or even good levels? That way we can learn a bit more about level design and get a better placing than getting the dubious honor of Straight to the Worst World.

Now if this was the latter case, I might not get the point of the time limit, and this is where I think your point has merit. I might just compensate for not-as-long and make it something else, like harder, or hopefully more engaging, but harder will probably happen. I might hold a grudge or get mad that I can't make the level the way I want, and I might even go so far as to demand my level be included in the contest because it's discriminatory against the way I make levels. However, I would have to be really, really, REALLY self-opininated to do that.

And we don't need those kinds of people. We really don't.

The concern you have Noivern relies mainly on people being unbelievably petty, and if they are then I think they have bigger issues than not being able to submit for a contest. Like again, for your concern to be a reality, I would have to, be narrowminded, have the world revolve around me, not understand the intentions of VLDC, and believe everyone should cater to me. These are all negative qualities people shouldn't have in the first place, and I'd rather they get left out because they have problems than allow them to make a level exactly the way they want, when survey will tell you that not a lot of people likes their philosophy, and in turn their level, in the first place.

And that's why I think your example is unrealistic. This all goes back into the "Do we want better levels in the next VLDC?" question that we've been pingponging around, and I'm going to focus on that because the main reason why I'm here is because I want to offer my input on how to make VLDC better. That's pretty much it. I don't really care about the hows and whys so long as we give something a try. The worst thing that can happen is if we just keep on keeping on and then complaining about the results of next VLDC being just as bad or even worse later. That would just be awful.
Originally posted by Gloomy
Limiting in-game time reduces real-life time provided the designer doesn't make their level harder to make up for it, which like I said, can be avoided with a generous timer. I can't make this goal any clearer for you.

Well yes, of course it does. For platforming levels. Which I never disagreed with. It's just not true for any other kind of level.

Not to mention I literally explained how you were going against the goal you just stated you're going for in the post you quoted.
Forcing player to restart cause the timer ran out in a type of level which can't be conceivably designed around the timer because people take different amounts of times to figure out things or pass certain types of obstacles = longer game-time with no gain.
Some people got stuck on the blue switch palace in VLDC9 for actual 15 minutes taht I experienced live on stream. It took me personally around 2 minutes to figure out. This wouldn't have gone any faster for either of us if there was a 600 SMW-second timer, it wouldn't have affected me while the streamer would've died to it multiple times in the middle of puzzle solving.

And re: midway "time bonus" (since it doesn't seem like you accepted that part), that's still ass-backwards. You design your level to be beatable in one-shot and tying in the midway as "hey look, extra time!" is silly.

You know what has a forced timer? Super Mario Maker. Puzzle level designers in the SMM scene literally have to place midpoints in their levels just because of the forced 500 second timer, even in levels that can't even really kill the player. Just because in the first time trying to figure puzzles out, they will definitely eat up all that time, meaning the midway time refresh is actually required for a big part of the people playing it, even though there most definitely are people that will beat the level in one go (I'd try to find CarlSagan42 and GrandPoobear attempting to beat the same puzzle level where Carl does it in 5 minutes and Poo needs 7 hours, but I don't think this is really something that needs empirical proof).
Now while SMM obviously has a lot more puzzle mechanics built right into it, some people make truly enigmatic shit in SMW that rivals that in complexity.

Originally posted by Gloomy
A puzzle level with a timer isn't any different from a platforming level, where you have to repeat sections due to dying, either from obstacles or from the timer as well. In fact, it's also less likely for you to die from a timeout in a well designed puzzle level than in basically any platforming level with decent difficulty where everything is against you.

Except one of them is designed to be that way (the platformer level) and gets its entire gameplay purpose from avoiding obstacles, while the other would straight up be better off without the arbitrary timer that stands entirely outside of the designed challenge (the puzzle level in which you die to a timer).

If your puzzle level is any kind of challenging, there just will be people that take an extraordinarily long time to get anywhere, which does not cut down on real-time in any way and is already frustrating enough in a puzzle level where getting back to where you were is relatively quick, as opposed to, say, a level that is a mix of platforming and puzzling, where dying to the timer thanks to a tough puzzle will force you to replay portions of the platforming arbitrarily. I think Matterhorn was like this?

Non-platforming centric levels are absolutely 100% more shafted by a forced timer than platforming centric levels where the timer isn't designed as a part of the challenge (see "rising lava" levels as a modern counterpart to the timer), that is literally something written in every game design book you can buy.




Originally posted by DarkMatt
Says who? Because I'm talking about what it means to be a vanilla level, and how we can best make levels vanilla.

At this point should we even consider what being vanilla means? Are the people who are arguing for more limits arguing for no reason because you're stubbornly insisting there should be no more limits?

I actually have no idea what this is in response to.
I'm pretty sure that chain of conversation stemmed from something I said, not something you said, and within our exchange that your quote of me came from the argument of what it means to be a vanilla level didn't come up.

Also don't know what you mean by "says who?"... What do you mean? Who says that we don't want to exclude types of levels that aren't 100% platforming from the contest?
If that's the question, the answer should be pretty obvious. Everyone who enjoys those playing or making those types of levels, and who did not find their existance in previous VLDCs to be a detriment.

But yeah, no idea where the rest of those paragraphs came from or what exactly they're based on and responding to...

Originally posted by Darkmatt
If you're going to draw the line at how restricted submissions should be, at least make it obvious in your posts. So far I think you just don't want any new rules for the sake of not wanting any new rules, which feels like you're not even considering the pros and cons of what I and others are proposing. It's getting frustrating.

Just because your point is not a good one that doesn't mean you have to pretend like it's not being considered. I've quite frankly been responding to everything that came my way, all my posts in this thread post-announcement have been gigantic.
I don't know how you can pretend like I'm not considering pros and cons, the simple fact is just that the cons (alienating entire level styles) much outweigh the pros (the single type of level that is not alienated being forced to improve).

By what I've been saying it should actually be pretty obvious that I personally don't think that any pros could outweigh those cons, if you restrict the sort of level people may want to enter by implementing rules that reduce their chances of success while boosting those of another type (potentially), you've already lost in hosting a free-for-all theme-less contest.

There's probably a way to make this fairer out there while still imposing an actually tangible restriction, it's just definitely not a hard timer (or screen) limit.
And if we don't find one, then worst-case a big fat disclaimer and harsh judgement in that area will probably do, since a lot of the offenders of "god this level is too fucking long" are long-time community members who are sure to read it.

Originally posted by DarkMatt
We're talking about these because we want to improve the quality of submissions. That's where I figure the others are coming from, (I might be wrong and if I am I'm sorry for the assumption.) but speaking for myself, I'm trying to convince you of my point because I want to see a higher quality in user submissions. Does that just not matter to you?

That's... a really bad reply to a quote of me arguing that a suggestion would not achieve the goal we are trying to achieve?
Like, a literal example of me trying to attain higher quality submissions, just without excluding a bunch of them at the same time?
Again, as I've said earlier in this post, a potential increase in quality for platformer levels is never worth a potential decrease in quality for level types that aren't that.
"Potential" because of course by far not every level entered into VLDC9 suffered from being too long, and people may not fall for the same trap next time, meaning it's not something that just magically increases quality across the board.


Originally posted by DarkMatt
But no seriously I feel like you're flipflopping over this topic. Here's an example:
Originally posted by leod
I personally think that making it clear that the collab will be a best-of in the future would make for higher quality entries, but at the same time it'd also be less entries, so I guess it just depends on which of the two we prioritize.

Originally posted by leod
Also, VLDC is still just as much contest as it is collab.

Here you're open about either or in one post but in the next you say it's both.

So which is it then? Should we be treating this like a collaborative effort or a competitive effort? You can't just say both. Just spitballin' here but I'm pretty sure participant attitudes for a contest and those for a collab are very different, so just trying to insist it's both will cause a lot of contradictions of what to expect out of VLDC, like this one, where you've been implying you might want to make this more a collab but you're insisting it's both so ???????

I really don't understand how that is contradictory? People enter a competition, which we then later make a collab out of. Meaning we want people to be able to enter the competition to get their best efforts compared to other people's and have a good contest, and then we make a collab out of it.
The collaboration has always been secondary to the contest in our eyes, with the only restrictions placed on the contest in the name of the collab being those that make it physically possible to create the collab (map16 page limits, graphic file limits, level number limits, etc.).

It's been universally stated that people entering the contest just to be in the collab aren't as appreciated as people actually giving it their best in the contest, because it's first and foremost a contest. And then we make a collaborative hack out of it after.
However, that doesn't mean that these people who primarily enter to be in the collab don't exist, and, given the information that only the best levels make it into a collab, would either quit or try harder to make it there, thus in both cases increasing overall quality by either reducing the amount of bad levels or turning their bad level into a better level through effort.

Which one I prefer between more competitiveness and more entrants, I didn't give a stance on. I was just explaining the consequences of this becoming a best-of instead of a free-pass collab might have.

Originally posted by DarkMatt
And that's why I think your example is unrealistic. This all goes back into the "Do we want better levels in the next VLDC?" question that we've been pingponging around, and I'm going to focus on that because the main reason why I'm here is because I want to offer my input on how to make VLDC better. That's pretty much it. I don't really care about the hows and whys so long as we give something a try. The worst thing that can happen is if we just keep on keeping on and then complaining about the results of next VLDC being just as bad or even worse later. That would just be awful.

I think that is just where the contest + collab mix kind of falls flat. In a collaboration, we can have quality control out the ass and restrict everything to our liking to get a great result.
But VLDC as a collab just isn't that, instead it is/was a collaborative effort to make a game out of all the entries that our biggest annual event got, where we can't alter the results after the fact, our content is already laid before us.

Which is where my main point comes from: We shouldn't place hard restrictions that un-level the playing field for different types of submissions just to make the collab a better game. If you want that, you'd have to make a collab with quality control from scratch... or make a best-of and just disregard the bad entries. We're shooting for the latter because then we still get to make all of the great entries to the contest into a playable experience, one which is actually surprisingly far-reaching outside of the realms of SMWC.
Objective improvements to the formula would be very welcome, but as I've been arguing, the single example you've been kicking back and forth for 2 pages just isn't one.

So to sum those last few paragraphs up, we shouldn't place rules that un-even the playing field in the name of the collab experience, because VLDC is first and foremost a contest with the idea of being as unrestrictive as possible within the restricting made-up definition of "vanilla" we've developed over the years.
If you want to argue vanillaness, just don't, we know, it's the reason OLDC exists. The name is just tradition now.
Your layout has been removed.
Originally posted by leod
And re: midway "time bonus" (since it doesn't seem like you accepted that part), that's still ass-backwards. You design your level to be beatable in one-shot and tying in the midway as "hey look, extra time!" is silly.

You're labeling this as if anyone would go as far as encouraging people to use the midway as a device to reset the timer, which is so frowned upon in the SMW scene that I have yet to see someone having done it before. And even if someone dares to do it they're probably aware that that would cost them a good chunk of their score.

But that doesn't matter anymore, because I browsed through Noivern's judging videos and apparently the issue with levels taking long was mostly due to difficulty, and I was under the assumption that a good number of them was due to (also) having no self imposed time limit but the vast majority of them already had a timer of 600 and below, so I guess I was argumenting for barely any reason, lol.
Well, there goes the hope of my level being in the hack.
Maybe someone with lots of time on their hands could put the rest of the entries into a-...
Who am I kidding... :(
... It also looks like this has blown up the thread, at a quick look.
*Insert witty footer here*