Update September 24, 2019 @ 11:40 AM EST: Lunar Magic 3.10 was released today. You may continue to use 3.04 or update to 3.10 for your level.
Update August 26, 2019 @ 9:10 PM EST: The Base Rom has been updated to v1.03. The Changelog has been updated in the second post.
Update August 21, 2019 @ 12:00 PM EST: Please do not use ZSNES to test your levels! It does not work with SA-1 roms very well and will likely result in crashes!
Update August 20, 2019 @ 2:45 PM EST: lx5 has given me two .map16 files that will fix a couple unintended errors with his enhanced vanilla blocks. There is no need to update your base rom, just import these two files to Map16 Pages 0 and 1. The files are located here and here. (These files have been included as of Base Rom v1.03)
Update August 18, 2019 @ 9:30 PM EST: The Base Rom has been updated to v1.02. The Changelog will be in the second post. Additionally, you may now use Map16 Pages 8C-8F for custom backgrounds, as preventing their use was an oversight on our part that prevented users from making slight edits to premade backgrounds without copying them due to graphics banks stuff.
Update August 17, 2019 @ 8:45 PM EST: Clarified some fine details in the Graphics Rules regarding tile merges and tile recolors.
Update August 17, 2019 @ 12:00 AM EST: The Base Rom has been updated to v1.01. The Changelog will be in the second post.
Welcome to the Base Rom Level Design Contest! This contest, or BLDC for short, is something I’ve been planning on and off for the last year and a half, and although it was delayed longer than originally anticipated to make room for other contests, I’m happy to finally present it to everyone. So let’s get right into what BLDC truly is.
The core of BLDC is right there in its title: The base rom itself is the heart of the contest. We will provide you a base rom with tons of resources you can choose from to build levels. We’re talking new sprites, blocks, patches, and graphics that you’ll be allowed to use to make levels. The catch is that the vast majority of these custom additions are either things from other 16-bit Mario games, or variations on SMW elements. We didn’t want to start including totally random stuff, so the additions here were hand-picked to really help enhance the usual Mario experience. Most importantly, you won’t be allowed to add anything that’s not in the base rom or resource archive to the rom (other than custom music). This ensures everyone has an equal set of resources to work with.
I want to give an enormous shout-out to Major Flare for helping me put together the base rom, and another one to bebn legg for helping me go through and document a ton of things.
You might be thinking that this sounds a bit like a VLDC, but enhanced, and you wouldn’t be far off thinking that. It kind of occupies a spot somewhere between VLDC’s limits and CLDC’s full freedom to do whatever you want, but I think that’s where the fun will come from. BLDC will give us a chance to host a VLDC-like contest, but with new custom resources that will allow everyone to take their level designs to new heights! So with that all out of the way, let’s get into the fine details of the contest!
By the way, 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:
Like with VLDC11, we don’t currently have plans to compile this into a collab hack. However, it was designed with that eventual possibility in mind, so it could happen in the future. Time will tell.
Please read the rules carefully. This contest may be similar to VLDC11 in some aspects, but the rules will vary significantly.
- You are not allowed to add any new resources to the rom. You may only manipulate what is already included with it. The one exception is custom music, to be expanded upon later.
- You may work with up to one (1) partner.
- You can use up to 3 sublevels alongside your 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 600 SMW seconds long. Always assume the player will take slightly more time to complete the level than yourself, and remember that the 600 seconds is a total from beginning to end and doesn’t count dying and restarting at the midpoint.
- You are not allowed to bypass the 600 second limit in any way. This includes exploits such as setting the Timer to 0 and resetting the Timer when switching sublevels.
- You are not allowed to have more than one (1) exit to your level. You can use any type of level exit available, but you may not use more than one.
- 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 6 Map16 pages. This means no modifying Map16 pages 0x0 through 0x5. Again, there are no plans at this time for a collab, but if those plans ever change, altering the first six Map16 pages will make assembling a collab much more difficult.
- You are also not allowed to modify Map16 pages 0x80 through 0x8B. This is where all of the Map16 for inserted custom backgrounds has been added, and modifying this area will break those backgrounds. Please use Map16 pages 0x8C and higher for your custom backgrounds.
- 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.
- 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, so that judges are less likely to know who made the level when they play.
These rules are very similar to VLDC11’s rules, because fundamentally, the general type of levels you’ll be making here are like those you would find in a VLDC. The big difference comes down to the details and the resources available to you.
If there are any rule updates or clarifications as the contest goes on, a changelog will be posted at the top of this post.
Even though we’re providing a bunch of new graphics to work with, there are still graphics rules to follow. You’ll only be allowed to use and manipulate the graphics found in the original SMW and in the ExGFX files provided. Think VLDC-style graphics manipulation but with new assets. Read on for the fine details:
- You cannot draw new graphics. You must only manipulate what’s provided to you in the original SMW or the ExGFX files we supply.
- 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 can recolor tiles.
- You can merge tiles together.
- You can merge recolored tiles.
- You can use YY-CHR or another tile editor 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.
- You can't merge already merged tiles. Merging is intended to be only two tiles being put together, not three or more.
- You can't recolor tiles in a tile editor to adjust which colors are transparent. That goes way too close to straight up redrawing tiles if you're allowed to change around what's transparent in it or not.
- You can't recolor tiles in a tile editor to reduce the number of overall colors it uses. Similar to the last point, being able to reduce colors on a graphics that much can basically give the same result as drawing new tiles.
In short, with those few exceptions at the bottom of the list, you pretty much have full freedom to manipulate the graphics found in the base rom. Mixing, flipping, rotating, recoloring, and merging are all allowed, just like they were in VLDCX.
The Shared Map16:
We are using the exact same shared Map16 page that VLDC11 and VLDCX used for its base rom so if you’re familiar with that you’ll know exactly what you’re doing. The only difference is that it’s been moved to Map16 Page 0x5 for this contest. 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. Palette 2 uses the ground tiles and a few other tiles from the ghost house tileset. 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.
Custom music is fully allowed. You can use up to 4 different songs in your entry and you can enable sound effect echoes if you choose. However, if you want to use custom music, you MUST use AddmusicK and make sure you insert the sound effect files we supply. Additionally, if you want to use sound effect echoes, you will need to use UberASMTool to do it. We’ve provided codes for the tool for you to use. Do NOT add additional codes.
Here are the soundtracks from VLDC7, VLDC8, VLDC9 and VLDC11 if you wish to use any of the VLDC OSTs in your level.
The Base Rom:
Submitting a level that was made without using the base rom will result in disqualification!
The following fix patches are used:
- 5-Up and Goal fix
- Double Spinjump Antifail
- Line Guide Acts-Like Fix
- Line-Guided Rope Length Fix
- On/Off Layer 2 Generator Fix
- Piranha Plant Fix Patch Fix
- Spike Top Ceiling Cling
- Time Up Fix
- Vertical Level Layer 1 Priority Fix
- Yoshi Coin Fix
- Yoshi Swallow Timer Fix
- Wiggler Score Fixx
- “Takes 5 Fireballs to Kill” fix
- $13FB Game Crash Fix
- Magikoopa Palette Correction Patch
- Explosion & Yoshi Immunity Fix
- Thwomp Sprite Fix
- Goal Timer Bonus Fix
SA-1 has been applied, as well as the More Sprites Patch. We are also including Infinite Lives in the base rom to make judging and playing levels easier.
The number of custom resources added are too many to list here, but let me give you a sample of some of the bigger things you’ll have at your disposal.
- lx5’s Powerups Patch
- GreenHammerBro's SMB3 Screen-Scrolling Pipes
- Better Creating/Eating Snake Blocks
- Donut Lift Blocks
- Hammer Bros, Boomerang Bros, Parabeetles, Coin and Muncher Sprites, Wave Boos, Pendulum Sprites, Fire Magikoopa, Goomba Tower, Ghost Doors
- A huge number of different custom platform sprites
- A wide variety of Super Mario All-Stars graphics.
- Certain Super Mario Maker 1 and 2 SMW tilesets and decorations.
- And much much more!
“But FP, what about X sprite or Y graphics? Why isn’t that included?”
Well, we tried to include a lot of things that were evolutions of existing vanilla sprites and graphics. In the case of sprites or ASM
, conflicts sometimes arose and we had to make decisions between which items we wanted to include. For example, while we really wanted to include Sprites on Platforms, we were unable to make it work properly in the time we had available to build the base rom. In other cases, we simply ran out of time to include more items because we had to focus on testing to make sure what we had already was working properly. In the future, should we run BLDC again, we will definitely consider adding additional new sprites, graphics, and more.
Speaking of conflicts, let me make a quick note about the status bar. For BLDC we will be using a modified version of the vanilla status bar, not any kind of custom or sprite status bar. This does mean that certain layer 3 backgrounds will have issues with the status bar, but there was no other way for us to insert a sprite bar without conflicting with some of the larger custom items we’re using.
Download the BLDC Base Rom Archive (v1.03) - Updated August 26, 2019
Reminder: You must use the either Lunar Magic 3.04 or 3.10 with the base rom to avoid major glitches. - Updated September 24, 2019.
Also, since we're using SA-1, remember to set the Sprite Header in to 0x08 so that you can use the More Sprites Patch, which increases maximum sprites on screen to 20.
Additionally, do NOT use ZSNES for testing! It is not very compatible with SA-1 roms and you will likely experience a variety of crashes if you test using it!
The four judges for the contest will be Noivern, Teyla, Sinc-X, and S.N.N. We also have a backup judge 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 the resources that have been provided? Does it have any original, nice setups? Is the theme/gimmick innovative?
Aesthetics: 10 Points
How does the level look aesthetically? Are the palettes pleasing to the eye? Is it polished? 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 brand new BLDC trophies (currently being worked on) and a game prize of their choosing from our list of game download codes.
The rest of the Top 10 will receive a BLDC Top 10 trophy (also currently being worked on).
You must submit your entry as a .bps file. Submitting an .ips file will result in disqualification! You can put your .bps file 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 created using a clean Super Mario World rom, using Floating IPS.
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.
October 15, 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 of any type you choose
- 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, rotate, recolor and merge tiles.
- one Map16 page for your FG and another for your BG.
- to use custom music
- to create a thread to show off your level
You are not allowed to:
- modify the first 6 pages of the Map16 (pages 0-5)
- make your level longer than 600 SMW seconds
- set the Timer to 0 seconds
- to reset the Timer when changing sublevels
- to have 2 or more exits
- insert anything that isn’t already included in the base rom, except music
- use the 8x8 editor, YY-CHR or any other tool to modify the graphics beyond what has been allowed
- manually edit the graphics that have been provided
- 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 BLDC! I’ve been really excited to introduce this contest to the site, so let’s make it a good one. Happy Hacking!