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playin thru entries in reverse order with half-assed feedback

gonna rank on a scale of a-f, good ol grade school style. figured it'd be fun to see what other folks did for bldc since it's a new contest and all.

Maruhai
complete waste of time. it's just yoshi's island 2 with the punchy sprite spammed everywhere, with incorrect graphics to boot. hope it gets disqualified.

F
ft029
lovin the incorrect graphics for the sideways springboard. i know the graphics seemingly arent included with the bldc baserom, but man i had a rude awakening at that first springboard (propelled me right into a firebar). the level as a whole is a series of under-explored gimmicks, each one showing you have the knowledge and skill to be able to turn them into something great, but ultimately compiled together and clearly rushed.

the section with the flying chainsaws was pretty great, but it's too bad it required a forced hit. great use of the sequential platforms, too bad the levels just so rushed otherwise.

B
Erik & Dakras Hayashi
these graphics are way too cluttered. there's not a single moment of breathing space as each 16x16 tile is seemingly something else. while the aesthetics of a level aren't the Crux Of A Level, it helps when they don't distract from the level by having all the fg be of similar colors, including the parts that are solid and the parts that are not.

some areas with the giant urchins and the layer 2 forced me to take a hit because i had to wait for the setup in front of me and had no safe place to stand. the second half feels so incredibly messy - urchins that clip through blocks and suddenly teleport a block below combined with huge fish launcher where most the fish don't even have a hitbox and emit a horrible consistent spammed sound make a really unfun experience.

this level is clearly untested, there are random green koopas in some areas that don't do anything, and urchins that glitch out or don't function at all.

D
kamekku14
this level also shows some signs of untesting - while less egregious than some others, stuff like fuzzies that instantly spawn and fall out of their lines, or a platform you need to free with on/off flinging off the line when i hit the on/off block show some wear and tear.

this level feels pretty harmless. a kinda bland aesthetic, and gameplay that feels very safe. you offer quite a few raccoon tails, but they have little functional benefit. this level isn't really sure if it wants to be an athletic level or a regular romp, so the romp sections are abrupt, and the athletic sections are abrupt.

C
Hobz

this is just a kaizo level. like full on unapologetic kaizo. it's well done, sure, but it's the wrong contest to submit it to. i wouldn't be surprised if it gets disqualified.

F
Ryaa

this is a very interesting level, especially with how rushed it is. i kinda dig the fake windowing, especially for an autoscroll level it makes things much easier to focus on. i felt the first half of the first autoscroll section was pretty decent, but the second half went too spammy with the blue koopas, especially when getting hit by a blue koopa when jumping is certain death. teleport blocks at the bottom would've been nicer than having to die.

the fast autoscroll was, an issue with most uses of it, too fast. it was pretty easy to fuck up a jump and immediately die. also it was pretty easy to miss the star, and i had to tank a series of blue koopas at the end that were clearly supposed to be an enjoyable "murder-all" moment.

oh, and i'd put teleport blocks at the end of the fast autoscroll instead of a pipe. you have to time entering it and with everything going on, i imagine it can be easy to die at the end of the level because you didnt enter a pipe quick enough.

C
Flagpole1up

these foreground graphics are way too distracting, especially since they're nearly the same color as the clouds in the background. the clearly fucked up graphics for the invisible coins are also distracting. there are big landmasses with solid black outlines (the green land) that i can just pass through the sides of, and many-tiered cloud foregrounds. the animations for the one-ways are also broken, which impeded my ability to tell what the fuck those things were when i played. it looks like you somehow got rid of the exgfx60 animation?

the level design is very linear, i spent most of it just propelling and holding right. you offer so many of the mushrooms and give the player enough room to skip most the jumps, it ended up being a pretty bland experience.

D
BootaNoBijuu

this is a pretty spunky level! it's got some great personality, especially for your first contest entry. the graphics are on the funkier side of things, but nothing too bad. i'd avoid putting enemies in the background though, like the ninjis you have on the houses. this is especially bad when you already have established in your level that ninjis come in more than one color (the regular ninjis, and the reskinned monty moles as a grayer ninji).

the second half is a bit messier than the first. some of the cat wall climbing areas were too claustrophobic with the circling blue koopas, and it ends with a blind drop into a lotus. the cat boxes are also pretty hard to see against the rest of the graphics, as it's the same brown and of a very similar design that you used for the walls and floors. i missed out on a cat suit or two in your forced powerdown sections (what did those add, anyways?), and then had to backtrack.

best of luck in this contest and in future ones you enter, though!

C


anyways i have a headache so im gonna not play levels and ill come back sometime
If you touch the sideways spring from bellow it teleports you LUL
beef

ToxicRave
i felt this was a very creative level marred by a reliance on precise jumping combined with ice physics, and some weird oversights. much of this level felt like it relied on enemies moving in an exact way each time - especially in the vertical sections with how you timed the grinders. however, i found on more than one occasion i got myself into a position where i had to take a forced hit (an example of one is in the picture above). i saw more than one mega mole get clipped into a wall when i thought they were intended to go into the lava pockets.

while i really liked the platforming in this level, i felt the ice physics didn't compliment it at all. it's not the fun kind of tricky to jump over reflecting podobos over and over with ice physics, or slipping into a flying chainsaw by accident. the level was already challenging by virtue of the setups you chose and the leniency you allowed for the player to get around them. i also felt the first section (having to race the bowling ball) was harder than anything else in the level lol.

i also died once trying to get into the pipes at the end of one of the vertical layer 3 sections. this isn't really the fun kind of death, nor is it a very satisfying "challenge" to get into a pipe. i would've suggested using teleport blocks instead.

but, you showed a lot of creativity here combined with a good understanding of how sprites work and how to make an interesting experience.

B
Mariotag1
i'd argue this level showed next to no understanding of level design, and very little to no testing. just analyzing the screen above: that is the only case of viewable land in the entire level, elsewise it's just completely open spammed with random sprites (like so). it's its nearly 200 seconds straight of an empty void with a floor and a ceiling, and random sprites just tossed in at a whim. in case you're wondering where the fuck i am in the goal picture - above the screen! i got clipped into the ceiling by a random turn block bridge (of which i have no clue what purpose it serves), and got to spend a comfy time just fastforwarding through the level.

also, there were quite a few amazing flying hammer bros who didnt spawn on their platforms. this level is just a mess through and through.

F
yogui
this is pretty fun, but very obviously rushed. the timing on some things in the first section are just a little too tight (especially some of the unnecessary banzai bills, weaving around the pendulum firebars in an autoscroll can already be kinda tough). in the screenshot i used, i entered the blue pipe just a cycle too late and i never came out the other side, so i had to reset.

i thought re-using the end of the first section in the second section without autoscroll and layer 2 smash was super creative, though. more could've been done with the layer 2 smash to benefit using the propeller mushroom for, but it was still pretty fun platforming.

B
Blue Leaf
this was a super creative level! very nice use of the punchy sprite, the first section was a blast through and through. it had some tight but satisfying platforming, and a creative use of the bldc resources - i appreciated your use of the goomba tower as a four-wide obstacle you had to go under, it was a nice alternative to regular hurt blocks).

the second half was a little bit messier. the entire last half relied on a bit of a janky gimmick - janky less-so in design as it is in playability. i had trouble staying on the platforms or gauging when they would go high and when they'd go low, and i'm not too sure what sprite you used (was it the directional timed platforms set to just go down immediately, then you kept them alive with punchies and 1f0?), but when they overlapped i sometimes got pushed off them entirely.

that in mind, the level overall still felt very strong. best of luck to ya in this contest!

A
ECS.98
this entry is a bit of a shame. i think it was flawed conceptually - it's a puzzle level of sorts, but the puzzles are all very simple. the platforming in-between is also very simple, and there's little punishment for actually failing to complete a puzzle. bubble mushrooms are offered every other screen, and the platforming in-between never feels too threatening. with that in mind, actually dying in this level feels like a harder task than it should be.

some minor nitpicks: the grey wooden circles as a graphics replacement for the thwimps didnt look good. i assume you did this because you really wanted to use thwimps and the rotating platforms together, but it still compromised the recognizeability of the functions of the mosaic thwimps. plus, why would one wooden circle not be touchable by the player, but the grey variant hurts? it's important to have distinguished enemy graphics that are consistent. the screen i used to show this level off had the fishes glitch into the ceiling. also - why do you keep doing pipe exits to non-pipe entrances? like, every single exit in this level is a pipe exit, but the player never comes out of a pipe after.

this levels length felt dreadful, especially given that the setups didn't really warrant its length. some were way too overly simplistic (just standing in one spot and timing mosaic thwimps, or the p-switch setup thats just standing in the same place and firing bubbles three times in a row with no enemies). the last section felt especially unnecessary - gimmicks involving layer 2 moving with the camera have been heavily milked, and this one didn't really use it for much at all. i felt guiding the jumping koopa with the water was the most interesting setup of the level, but the rest here was very forgettable.

D
EternityLarva
i felt this level was a rather enjoyable experience! there was a lot of creative use of on/off switches to progress in the level, nice usage of bldc resources, and the graphics were pleasant on top of everything. loved the little fire effect! and the graphics for the donut blocks were very cute.

i felt this level ran just a bit overlong - the entire last section added very little to the level. the smm2-esque tracker blocks are pretty interesting, but weren't used for a whole lot. i dug all the little subrooms, and i liked that secret room of a million question blocks. this level just had such cute charm.

B
Teows & Mr. MS
this entry didn't set the bar for ambition very high. it feels like a regular romp in a regular slightly-chocolate hack. the graphics were alright, although the background scrolled oddly. with the ice physics i was able to play the last half just by sliding and jumping on enemies as if it was 1-1 of storks.

for a hack, this would be a pretty alright level. but in a contest it's important to have levels that have that "oomph" to be memorable.

C
I figured it wouldn't go well.
Thx for playing it at least.
Please pardon the eye.
Glad I won't have to be a judge ever. Mot of the levels I've ragequitted on early stages got something above C smh.
Great job idol, you have much better gaming skills than myself.
Thanks for playing my level, idol! I wonder if there wasn't ANY abstract levels submitted in this contest. LUL
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Well, i better start answering to the threads i want to answer before the results come out and this forum gets archived lol
So here we go!

First of all, thank you so much for the feedback Idol! It's pretty detailed, and very fair, and you made me see things about my level that i hadn't seen very clearly before.

Second of all, yea, i'm writing another book on a post, lol.

Originally posted by idol
ECS.98
this entry is a bit of a shame. i think it was flawed conceptually - it's a puzzle level of sorts, but the puzzles are all very simple. the platforming in-between is also very simple, and there's little punishment for actually failing to complete a puzzle. bubble mushrooms are offered every other screen, and the platforming in-between never feels too threatening. with that in mind, actually dying in this level feels like a harder task than it should be.

some minor nitpicks: the grey wooden circles as a graphics replacement for the thwimps didnt look good. i assume you did this because you really wanted to use thwimps and the rotating platforms together, but it still compromised the recognizeability of the functions of the mosaic thwimps. plus, why would one wooden circle not be touchable by the player, but the grey variant hurts? it's important to have distinguished enemy graphics that are consistent. the screen i used to show this level off had the fishes glitch into the ceiling. also - why do you keep doing pipe exits to non-pipe entrances? like, every single exit in this level is a pipe exit, but the player never comes out of a pipe after.

this levels length felt dreadful, especially given that the setups didn't really warrant its length. some were way too overly simplistic (just standing in one spot and timing mosaic thwimps, or the p-switch setup thats just standing in the same place and firing bubbles three times in a row with no enemies). the last section felt especially unnecessary - gimmicks involving layer 2 moving with the camera have been heavily milked, and this one didn't really use it for much at all. i felt guiding the jumping koopa with the water was the most interesting setup of the level, but the rest here was very forgettable.

D

Alright, let's start with adressing stuff.
The D got me a bit by surprise, but i gotta say it's justified by what you wrote. I knew from the start that my level wasn't that great, i wasn't really satisfied with how it turned out, and your review kinda confirmed my worries. I mean, even though i don't agree with everything you wrote, again, your feedback was fair and pretty accurate.

About it being "Flawed conceptually", i actually had planned to make a puzzle level before, but the problem is i didn't know if i'd be able to make an interesting pure puzzle level with this gimmick. I mean, when you look at the concept, it's very simple, shoot a bubble, hit something, and there's only so much i can do to add complexity to a bubble shoot (such as adding obstacles to pop the bubble or using water). If i was going to do a puzzle, the complexity would come from adding extra steps to each puzzle (such as the Shell to Urchin puzzle), which was something i was worried to base the entire level around.
So i decided to go with a platforming-puzzle hybrid, which is a pretty common style in contests. And it seemed to have worked out, at least from the feedback i received before, which was very positive in regards to the platforming, and that's why i decided to keep the platforming-puzzle style. (This is also why i said your review was a bit of a surprise, as so far the feedback, especially regarding the platforming, had been positive)
The difficulty was never meant to be that high, exactly because i needed to give the player a Bubble Flower everytime there was a puzzle around, otherwise the puzzle just couldn't be passed. That's also why i didn't make the platforming too hard, and the threat is mostly the danger of falling on pits. With that said, i don't think difficulty should be that much of an issue, it's just intended to not be a threatening level...

About the minor nitpicks, yea, i know there is the issue with the Thwimps graphics. Actually, you put it just right when you said "i assume you did this because you really wanted to use thwimps and the rotating platforms together" lol, because yea, i really wanted to use them, but that was mostly due to how limited my sprite choices were. Honestly, this was the first time i made a custom SP04 file, and i don't know if i just hit the jackpot of incompatibility, or if assembling such a file is just that hard, because by just picking the Urchins and Rip Van Fishes made everything incompatible with them! It was really hard to try finding a sprite with a similar behavior to the Mosaic Thwimps and immunity to bubbles (there's the Urchin, but it takes 1 year for each movement cycle), so i just decided to go with the Thwimps for a lack of better sprites, even knowing the graphic "replacement" would likely be mentioned as an issue.
This was also after i had already given up on using other sprites with different behaviors because for each of them i ran into a different issue that just wouldn't allow me to use them the way i wanted. (And the fact A LOT of sprites are vulnerable to bubbles, so my choices were quite limited)
The Fishes glitching into the ceiling is just SMW and its weird clipping mechanics, this actually isn't the only occurence of this (in the third section, where we have to scroll the water into the Fish in order to bubble them, they can also glitch into the wall). I just couldn't see a way to fix this, giving them more empty space doesn't work because they just jump randomly and can still go into the ceiling anyways, and if i gave more open space there, the setup wouldn't even work...
The pipe exit thing was a previous less-than-ideal attempt on "anti-cheesing" the level. Remember when i asked on Discord for a way to filter carryable sprites to prevent the player from taking a Shell to other setups? The non-pipe entrance was what i used before to prevent the player from carrying the Shell through the entire level. But then i forgot to change it after i got a solution to that.

And now we come to the big boy of the issues, the length lol
Yea, i ended up making the "level that doesn't know when to stop" of the contest, even though that was really not my intention.
I had a lot of problems with making this level, and one of the biggest was not really having much time to actually work on it. In the end i had to rush quite a lot of this level, and trying to quickly put out a "complete" version of the level before the contest deadline did lead to stretching the length far more than i had intended to, especially with the fact that i had some problems with making the third section, and i ended up using some filler setups just to finish it in time. I was still meant to make an update to try shortening it and taking out or replacing some of the less expressive setups but i didn't really have the time to do it before the deadline hits. That and i also didn't have any time to get some feedback on the level in its "complete" state (which ended up being the final version). So i was left with this rushed version...
The setups being overly simplistic was also another problem, i guess i had some issues with working with a power-up that, for me, was completely new, and i ended up trying to make too many introduction/simplistic setups, to the point where i wasn't able to fully develop the gimmick as i should. In fact, my initial plans for this level were to start directly with the moving layer 2 and making active use of water in the bubble setups, but i ended up doing the first section exactly for it to be a kind of "introduction" to the gimmick and the Bubble Power-up itself, which ended up adding to the level length quite a lot.
The last section was quite clearly the most affected by me rushing the level, as it was pretty much rushed in its entirety. I really wanted to make this section because it was supposed to be the highlight of the level ever since i started planning it, but in the end the other sections were stretched so much that i couldn't work on this as much as i needed to. There's also the fact that working with Variable Layer 2 is really hard to make everything align correctly and still not allowing the water to be in places it shouldn't to prevent breaks, and in the end i'd say at least half the interesting ideas i had for this section didn't really work due to these issues, so i ended up having to put some filler setups there just to complete this section in time (The koopa guiding was one of the interesting ideas that did work, and i was pretty happy with that one!)

Overall i'd say i'm not really happy with how this level turned out, it doesn't quite come up to my standards i have for my own work (yea, i'm really perfectionist with the stuff i make lol). I wish i could've had more time to work on it because i really couldn't put the amount of effort and testing i usually put on my projects.
I had a lot of problems with making this level like the sprite incompatibilities, some of the resources (or even vanilla sprites) not working like i imagined they would and having a hard time with working on setups with the layer 2, and these really affected the end result.
The level suffered quite a lot from some of the decisions i made (such as making too many introduction setups), especially because by the end it was a bit stressful with how many problems i ran into while making it and i kinda just wanted to finish it in time for the deadline.

... Welp, that's pretty much it lol. Again, thanks for the feedback!
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