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***CLOSED*** VLDC11 - Rules and Submissions

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Link to all submissions:

Update 1/27 @ 12:30 PM EST: Clarified the rule about no tile recolors.
Update 1/27 @ 1:30 PM EST: Added a Layer 3 Addendum in the second post.
Update 1/27 @ 5:30 PM EST: Clarified the rule about disallowing setting the Timer to 0 seconds.
Update 1/29 @ 3:00 PM EST: Additional clarification restricting resetting the Timer using the time bypass functions.
Update 1/29 @ 9:45 PM EST: Additional clarification about converting from 2BPP to 4BPP and applying the recolor rule exception to this case.
Update 2/10 @ 1:30 PM EST: Updated submission requirements concerning Lunar Magic 3.02.

Welcome to the 11th Vanilla Level Design Contest! We skipped one year to get ourselves back on track after the long and arduous effort spent hosting, judging, and managing VLDCX. With a new update to Lunar Magic, making it more powerful than ever before, we figured it was the perfect time to dust off the VLDC name. When I hosted the first VLDC all the way back in 2008, I never imagined this contest would develop into the huge name it is today. I couldn’t be more pleased to be back on staff and able to host it once again. I hope you all have fun participating.

This thread should be used for submissions only. If you want to ask questions or discuss the contest in other ways, please use the Discussion and Questions Thread.

A Quick Note About Collabs:

We do not have any plans to make this contest into a collab at this time. With multiple other collab projects still unfinished as of right now, we cannot afford to undertake another one at this time.

General/Design Rules:

Please read the rules carefully, as we have made changes to the previous VLDC and OLDC rulesets in order to make this ruleset. New rules or major rule changes will be denoted with a “***” preceding them.

  • You may work with up to one (1) partner.
  • You can use up to 3 sublevels + main level, for a total of 4 levels.
  • You can use up to 24 secondary exits to connect your level and sublevels.
  • ***Your level may not be more than 500 SMW seconds long. Always assume the player will take slightly more time to complete the level than yourself, and remember that the 500 seconds is a total from beginning to end and doesn’t count dying and restarting at the midpoint.
  • ***You are NOT allowed to set the Timer to 0 to try and get around the 500 second limit.
  • ***You are NOT allowed to reset the Timer when switch sublevels by using the Time Bypass to get around the 500 second limit.
  • ***You are NOT allowed to have more than one (1) exit to your level.
  • You can use one full map16 page for FG and one for BG, for a total of two full map16 pages.
  • ***You are not allowed to modify the first 3 Map16 pages. Like I said earlier, there are no plans at this time for a collab, but if those plans ever change altering the first three map16 pages will make assembling a collab much more difficult.
  • You are allowed to use custom palettes.
  • 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, but if you do you should include a side level that allows the player to activate them.
  • ***You are allowed to include yoshi coins and 3-up moons, but they will not be required collectibles for judges this year.
  • You may alter the overworld map in your submission but doing so will have no positive or negative effect on your level’s score.
  • This is more a recommendation than a rule, but I recommend you don't include your name inside the level or intro screen message box, that way judges are less likely to know who made the level when they play.

We’ve chosen to restrict multiple exits this year because more often than not they drag down a level’s overall quality by adding length to a level but rarely any depth. In all the contests I’ve judged, a level with two or more exits will almost always score lower than it would have if it only had one exit. We are continually experimenting with our contest rulesets, and this year we want to see how this change especially affects levels.

Graphics Rules:

Like in previous VLDCs, you can’t make new graphics or import rips. You can still manipulate vanilla graphics in a variety of ways, but read these rules closely because we’ve changed some things since VLDCX:

  • You can use up to 10 ExGFX files, including layer 3 files.
  • You can mix tilesets together.
  • You can flip and rotate tiles by 90°.
  • ***You cannot recolor tiles (with the exception of recoloring for Layer 3, see below). Edit: Clarification below.
  • ***You cannot merge tiles together.
  • ***You can use YY-CHR to convert 4BPP graphics (Layer 1/2 tiles) to 2BPP (Layer 3 tiles) by copy-pasting them. You may also do the reverse and convert tiles from 2BPP to 4BPP. These are the only instances where you’re allowed to recolor graphics.

In short, you can mix, flip and rotate tiles, but you can’t recolor or merge them. This simplifies the graphics rules significantly and we hope it pulls some emphasis away from aesthetics and more towards level design.

*Clarification on recolors: When I say no recolors, I'm talking about specifically opening the graphics in a graphics editor and rearranging what palette numbers the tiles use. For instance, shifting the colors on the cave tileset to use the second half of row 2 so you can have grassland and cave on the same row without looking bad. You can still change palettes for tiles through the Map16 and make custom palettes for your levels.

Update: We've provided a list of approved Layer 3 SMW backgrounds you can use from the Graphics section in the post below this one.

The Shared Map16:
We are using the exact same shared map16 page that VLDCX used for its base rom so if you’re familiar with that you’ll know exactly what you’re doing. To save time and another explanation on my part, I’ll just copy what was said about the page from the VLDCX threads:


You should be familiar with what most of these tiles are - and if you don't, check their "Act as" setting and play around with them -, but it's worth noting a few things:

The highlighted part uses BG3 and palette 1 instead of the usual FG3 and palette 2 the ground tiles and a few bits from the ghost house tileset use. So if you want to mix two different tilesets, please prioritize utilizing BG3 so you can make use of this page instead of doing it in your own page and filling up space unnecessarily.

Also, the purple triangles are there to indicate that every tile in the two bottom lines is tile 1EB, the tile that you put below a triangle to make it function.

Music Rules:

As in the past, custom music is allowed. You can use up to 4 different songs in your entry and you can enable sound effect echoes if you choose.

Here are the soundtracks from VLDC7, VLDC8 and VLDC9 if you wish to use their music in your level.

The Base ROM:

Like VLDCX, we’re providing a base rom to work from. It includes a variety of fixes and patches to make a more stable level-building experience. It also includes the SA-1 Pack to make the game run faster and allow more sprites to exist at one time. ***Submitting a level that was made without using the base rom will result in a disqualification!

The following fix patches are used:

We are also including Infinite Lives in the base rom to make judging and playing levels easier.

Download the VLDC11 Base ROM
Reminder: You must use the latest version of Lunar Magic 3.0 with the Base ROM to avoid major glitches. [LM is currently at version 3.02]
Update: LM 3.02 released on 2/9/19. You may continue using 3.01 or update to 3.02 if you desire. Both versions will be acceptable for submissions.

Also, since we're using SA-1, remember to set the sprite header in #lm{sprhead} to 0x08 so that you can use the More Sprites Patch, which increases maximum sprites on screen to 20.


The four judges for the contest will be FPzero, Ryaa, FrozenQuills, and Morsel. We also have two backup judges lined up in case they are needed. There won’t be a “Meet the Judges” type of thread for this contest to discourage participants from making levels specifically for the judges. Instead, we want to encourage everyone to make the levels that they want to make and have fun doing so.

Scoring and Prizes:

Design: 60 Points
How well-designed is the level? Is it overall fun to play? How well does it execute its theme, gimmicks and level setups? Is the difficulty consistent or is it frustrating or boring? Does the level function properly or are there issues such as unintended slowdown?

Creativity: 30 Points
Does the level present any unique or interesting ideas using SMW’s resources? Does it have any original, nice setups? Is the theme/gimmick innovative?

Aesthetics: 10 Points
How does the level look aesthetically? Is it polished? Does it do anything interesting with the original game’s graphics? Does the music fit? Is the music a nuisance to gameplay? Are there any broken sound effects or samples?

The total score will be out of 100 points.

The Top 3 entries will receive the corresponding VLDC trophy (seen below) and a game prize of their choosing from our big list of game download codes.

The rest of the Top 10 will receive the following trophy:


You must submit your entry as a .bps file. .ips files will not be accepted. You can put it in a .zip or 7-zip archive if you want. For ease of submission and judge access, you should upload it to your personal File Bin on the site. 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.

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

You are allowed to make a thread for your level in the contest subforum, but you must post your final level in this thread in order for it to be judged.


March 20th, 2019, at 17:59:59 UTC


You are allowed:
  • to work with 1 partner
  • 1 main level and a maximum of 3 sublevels
  • 1 exit
  • a maximum of 24 secondary exits
  • a maximum of 10 ExGFX files (for graphics and layer 3)
  • to use custom palettes
  • to mix tilesets together, flip and rotate tiles.
  • 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:
  • modify the first 3 pages of the map16
  • make your level longer than 500 SMW seconds
  • set the Timer to 0 seconds
  • to reset the Timer when changing sublevels
  • to have 2 or more exits
  • 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
  • recolor tiles (with the exception of doing so for converting from 4BPP to 2BPP or the reverse)
  • merge tiles
  • edit the original GFX
  • submit an old level you released somewhere else previously
  • submit a level that was not made using the provided base rom

I hope you all enjoy participating in VLDC11! Happy hacking!
Layer 3 Addendum:

The following is a list of approved ExGFX downloads specifically for people looking to use the Layer 3 versions of existing SMW backgrounds without having to create them for themselves. Credit goes to Berk, Hayashi Neru, and Tobio.

Hills 2:
Ghost House:
Starry Sky:
Ludwig Battle:
Castle Pillars:
Big FG Bushes:

These will count against your 10 ExGFX files limit, so only use the ones you need.
my entry

i hope

u enjoy
ONCE AGAIN! i fix it my level entry WITH NO EXGFX! AND FINALLY I EDIT WITH THE BASE ROM! anyways here
Here is my entry.
(Update: Changed the layer 3 tides to high and low. And added the sun to the background.)
Hack progress: World 1: Complete, World 2: 100% Complete, World 3: 20% Complete, more worlds planned. NOTE: I am NO LONGER planning on updating or finishing this hack, as I completely lost all motivation to make SMW Hacks. Demo
Here's my entry: Rocky Forest

It uses Tobio's layer 3 bushes.

Last update: 2019-2-5

Here's my entry, Deep Soda Sea:
oh hi there, how are you doing?
Plumbing Job

2/10: added coins to indicate powerup at the beginning of the level
Originally posted by enan2017
ONCE AGAIN! i fix it my level entry WITH NO EXGFX! AND FINALLY I EDIT WITH THE BASE ROM! anyways here

Please set the time limit to 1 to 500 seconds. This level's time limit is 600 seconds.
A perfectly average submission. Probably nothing memorable about it.

But I hope you like it anyways.
My entry for VLDC11: Koopa Kaboose

Satisfied with how it turned out and there's nothing more I want to do with it sooo...there ya go.

Edit: UPDATED 3/14/2019
Layout by RanAS, modified by yours truly.

i hope i win

Jokes apart, I'm new around here, so... yeah? Anyway, that's my VLDC11 entry:

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