Levels are due the first minute of March 9th EST
- First place - 20 dollars on Steam, GoG, etc. Plus a neat red username on the talkhaus!
Second place - 10 dollars on Steam, GoG, etc.
Third place - 5 dollars on Steam, GoG, etc.
Official "I've Received Your Level" list
So, here's the official thread for the 2014 Make a Good Level Contest - X! Judged by myself, Quill, and Sturg! I'm starting the sign-up thread a bit early this year!
The contest will run until Midnight, March 8th (the first minute of March 9th). That is more than a full month to make your level if you sign up early! You can sign up all the way until the deadline.
- Please welcome Sturg as the third judge! Also please welcome Willhart, who will be leading the design of the hub. And Blivsey who will be assisting him!
- If you are a new user (less than 5 posts or so), your PM may be flagged as spam. Please email (Horikawa.Otane@icloud.com.) instead to be safe. Or do both.
- A casual reminder that the deadline of March 7th is when you must have your levels in to me by. It isn't the sign-up deadline (there is none)
- Level name difficulty does not equate to the difficulty of the level itself.
- The theme of this one will be Madlib Level Names! I will generate a level name for you, you will then use that level name as an inspiration for your level. The level content is entirely yours to decide, but the level name will be generated.
HOWEVER, unlike last year, there's another little caveat. You'll also be handed random characters. You can ONLY use characters provided in your list, in your level. Meaning if you are handed "Mario and Peach," you can either use Mario, Peach, or both, but CANNOT use Luigi or any others. Fitlers will be placed in the hub. You can include characters not on your list as NPCs.
However, if you're not using lunadll or anything hackish, please feel free to develop in A2XT, vanilla SMBX 126.96.36.199, etc.
Here are the relevant downloads:
- SMBX 188.8.131.52 (unless you want to develop using something else or use Lunalua/lunadll)
- Wohl's Much Better SMBX Editor
- Semi-official MaGL X2 Devkit (required for lunalua stuff)
- New SMBX Custom Graphics Pack by Squishy Rex
- Squishy Rex's Custom Graphics Pack V1.7
- SMBX Custom Graphics Pack v3.1-Final
- Mudkips Graphic Pack
- Fan of SMBX's Graphics Pack V184.108.40.206
- Horikawa Otane's Fake Exit Star Graphic
- Please suggest any other graphics packs and I'll include them here!
The rules are as follows:
- One or more exits using the SMB3 exit star. A secondary secret alternative star is also acceptable (this secondary star will not be required for advancing in the collaborative tower)
- IF YOU NEED TO USE FAKE STARS, USE THIS SPRITE INSTEAD OF PASTING A BUNCH OF REAL EXIT STARS. It replaces a rupee.
- Be smart with your music choices. Since this will be LP'd by raocow at some point and YouTube uses some smart algorithms to detect certain vocal music tracks, just be sure you're aware of that and choose songs accordingly. Basically, avoid the latest Beyoncé hit singles, etc.
- You CAN use any gimmicks you like, including LunaLua stuff should you see fit and can get it to work consistently
- Make a comment here, send me a PM, or, alternatively, send me an email at Horikawa.Otane@icloud.com with your request for an Easy, Medium, or Hard level name.
- Wait for your list of five generated level names and two characters.
- Pick the level name you want to make from the list
- Design a level around that name and at least one of the characters you provided. You cannot include characters you were not given (as playable characters. NPCs are fine), but you may use both of the characters you were provided if you like.
- Make sure your level name is in the format Username-Level Name.lvl (spaces are fine)
- Host your finished level on Mediafire, Mega, or any other file hosting service. Make sure the level is zipped up with the required custom resources like music and graphics that you use.
- Send me the link via email or PM
- If you are a new user (less than 5 posts or so), your PM may be flagged as spam. Please email instead to be safe. Or do both.
Level Name Difficulty Difference
- Level name difficulty will have a small impact on score. Easy levels will be an additional +0 to final score, Medium will be an additional +1, and Hard will be an additional +2. Difficulty is based on how hard the target level will be to create based on the generated level name. Generally speaking, the harder the level name, the longer and more complex the generated name. However, the difficulty difference is severe and you will find the harder levels will have much more difficult levels to make than the easier ones. If this is your first time, take an Easy level name and you'll still have an excellent chance to win. The point difference is primarily to differentiate between ties.
Judging Criteria (out of 100 points)
- Uniqueness: 20 points
Fun Factor: 40 points
- Personal Fun Factor: 20 points
How much fun you think someone else will have with this level: 20 points
Graphical Choices: 10 points
Use of Character: 10 points
Adherence to the Level Name: 10 points
- Don't use mother brain unless you're sure you have a way for her to be fun. 99% of the time she isn't.
- If you feel the need to implement a Luna Tower-style midpoint, or the use of artificial multiple midpoints, chances are your level is too long and will be penalised for it. It is best to keep the midpoints at one. Only have a long level if you can keep it fun throughout and remove the feeling of "dragging"
- Really, avoid the Touhou music. It's almost never used well.
- Avoid "flat" landscape unless it makes sense (for example, a house). If you must use it, fake texture with objects like statues, etc.
- Avoid spamming enemies.
- Custom graphics are important. I'd say the default would be to use them. Only use vanilla graphics if you have a reason to do so (level name, theme, etc).
FAQ (Mulligan information here)
- I HATE MY LEVEL NAMES/CHARACTERS. CAN YOU GENERATE ME SOME MORE?
- Yes, but I will penalise your final score for each mulligan. You can mulligan one (either name or character set) for a -3 penalty or both for a -5 penalty. This is about forcing you to be creative. I will be culling lists by hand when they are generated to remove entirely unfair lists, should they arise. This shouldn't come up.
- I WANT TO ENSURE I DON'T GET A SPECIFIC CHARACTER!
- You may sacrifice 3 points to guarantee you will not get a single character. You can do this multiple times - so, if you sacrifice 12 points, you can guarantee getting a specific character.
- DO I HAVE TO USE THE LEVEL NAME/CHARACTERS AT ALL? I HAVE THIS GREAT LEVEL NAME/CHARACTER I WANT TO USE!
- Nope! Feel free to use your own. Just be aware, you'll lose out on the 10 points for adhering to it. Also, some judges may take issue with you flouting the rules and let that impact how fun they view your level, how the composition was, and how creative they felt you were. Feel free to ignore it, but I can basically guarantee you won't win. Think about it like losing a full letter grade on an assignment.
- CAN I WORK AS A TEAM?
- YES! Just make sure you tell me who was involved in the submitted level so I can credit all of you!
- UMM I DON'T WANT A FILTER IN THE HUB FOR MY LEVEL
- There will a switch placed in the hub to turn off the filters. This may be an end-game bonus, however, to ensure the levels are played as-intended.
- WILL MY LEVEL BE RP'ED BY ATTRACTIVE INTERNET CELEBRITY rAOCOW
- All the other MaGL contests have been, even the bad levels. So I'd assume so.
- THIS IS MY FIRST TIME DESIGNING A LEVEL AND I AM SCARED.
- Give it a try! SMBX is super-easy to use and even if you fail, I guarantee you'll learn. We're an accepting, loving community and we embrace failures just as much as successes!
- CAN I USE LUNADLL/LUNALUA
- Yes, but if it isn't used well, you may be penalised under the "fun" categories.
- WHAT DO YOU GET IF YOU WIN?
- Cash Monies, entry in a custom user group (on the talkhaus), and special username colour (on the talkhaus). WOAAAAAAAH!
- CAN I USE ASMBXT SPRITES
- Of course!
- HOW CUSTOM CAN I GET WITH MY LEVEL?
- As custom as you like - please, go nuts!
- I CAN'T USE LUNADLL/LUNALUA, SO WON'T I LOSE?
- Certainly not. Hardly anyone can use it. And besides, it will likely only ever get you points in uniqueness. If your level is more fun, you'll beat them out. And if it's super-creative, you could beat a Lunalua designer out who is less creative. I wouldn't worry about this.
- REALLY, NO TOUHOU?
- ...It's allowed, but be aware it's rarely used well. Nothing's banned here. Use it if you think it's appropriate for your level.
- I HATE MY LEVEL NAMES/CHARACTERS. CAN YOU GENERATE ME SOME MORE?
- Thanks to Shemp for the links =).
To the Right, Hold on Tight: An analysis of SMB's 1-1 and how to make a tutorial that doesn't look like one. For some reason the author has a fear of capital letters though.
Super Mario Bros 3 Level Design Lessons: Part 1 is analyses of all of World 1, showing how to construct a difficulty curve and make tutorials that don't look like tutorials.
Part 2 of the above: Brief analyses of some levels of Worlds 2-8, showing more advanced design elements.
Learning From The Masters: Level Design in The Legend of Zelda: Essentially this argues that good non-linearity is really not non-linear at all, just linearity that uses tricks to appear non-linear: keeping a linear core prevents the player from being too lost, while a non-linear shell prevents the player from feeling railroaded. This is adaptable to Mario design: some SMB3 levels, as mentioned in Part 2 of the Level Design Lessons, use similar design aspects with flying.
The Most Misunderstood Game of All Time: While this is largely a discussion of the intricacies of Doom and why people fail to "get it", it makes one very relevant point for Mario: in a game where the enemies have only an extremely rudimentary AI - which definitely applies to Mario's "walk left" enemies - placement and combination of these enemies are everything. One enemy in the right place can be far more of a challenge than loads and loads of them placed randomly.
Lessons in Color Theory for Spyro the Dragon: Insomniac Games artist John Fioritio discusses how Spyro uses colour to create emotions, make key parts of the level stand out both from the background of the level and from each other, and prevent the player from being lost (which is much more relevant to 3D platformers than 2D, but is an interesting read anyway).