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DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

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sky_lark

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Post Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:13 pm

DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

Add your thoughts
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We have FOURTEEN entries for this month's contest! So awesome. In this thread, discuss the various entries and provide feedback. Please be civil and post helpful, constructive criticism. Remember, the last call for edits is via PM to me on Saturday, January 10th at 4:00pm EST!

» Chill | RET
» Gift | RET
» Into the Storm | RET
» Judaistic | RET
» Protovision | RET
» Ring of Fire | RET *levelgen
» Split Pea | RET
» Terrible Trio | RET
» Yellow Dog | RET
» Ball Pit | CTF
» Snowball | CTF *levelgen
» SnowFlake's Wild Ride | CTF
» Speed Tech | CTF
» Spinners | CTF


You can use this code to format your reviews (just copy/paste):

  Code:
[color=#FFBF00]» Chill |[/color] [color=#99FF99]RET[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Gift |[/color] [color=#99FF99]RET[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Into the Storm |[/color] [color=#99FF99]RET[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Judaistic |[/color] [color=#99FF99]RET[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Protovision |[/color] [color=#99FF99]RET[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Ring of Fire |[/color] [color=#99FF99]RET[/color] [size=85][i]*levelgen[/i][/size]
[color=#FFBF00]» Split Pea |[/color] [color=#99FF99]RET[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Terrible Trio |[/color] [color=#99FF99]RET[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Yellow Dog |[/color] [color=#99FF99]RET[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Ball Pit |[/color] [color=#99FF99]CTF[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Snowball |[/color] [color=#99FF99]CTF[/color] [size=85][i]*levelgen[/i][/size]
[color=#FFBF00]» SnowFlake's Wild Ride |[/color] [color=#99FF99]CTF[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Speed Tech |[/color] [color=#99FF99]CTF[/color]
[color=#FFBF00]» Spinners |[/color] [color=#99FF99]CTF[/color]

Level creators, stay anonymous! If you'd like to respond to or request feedback, please PM me and I'll post on your behalf.
Last edited by sky_lark on Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:29 am, edited 3 times in total.
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amgine

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Post Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:02 pm

Re: DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

so did we meet the minimal number of different entrants for the bonus ?
Bitfighter Forever.
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sky_lark

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Post Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:46 pm

Re: DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

Yes!

By the way, server is up courtesy of Raptor! We should have reliable hosting for tonight's party. If you can't make the party but still want to add your thoughts, definitely swing by the server sometime and take a look at the entries! Voting will also be up sometime late tonight.
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raptor

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Post Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:52 pm

Re: DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

I will attempt to start this (I'll edit these as I remember them / test them again):

» Into the Storm | RET
» Split Pea | RET
This was good level, in my opinion. Difficult to return with a flag when you have it, but otherwise plays solidly. Also fordcars defended it well with cloak... got me almost every time.
» Judaistic | RET
A religious level! Simple, yet plays fine. Consistent in its theme.
» Ring of Fire | RET *levelgen
I think I would say that this level is generously adorned. It has very, very different gameplay than all the other levels, especially due to the puzzle-like entrance - which I think was very creative. I like the assymetry.
» Chill | RET
I really like this map. It has good style, complete with hidden paths through the forests and frozen walkways (despite my misgivings on SlipZones). This is a good map to defend.
» Gift | RET
Another religious level! Simple, plays OK. Plays well enough opposite its Jewish brother mentioned above.
» Protovision | RET
» Yellow Dog | RET
This was a decent, solid Retrieve map. It required team-coordination and provided good old-fashioned bitfighter play.
» Terrible Trio | RET
» Spinners | CTF
I have to admit that after playing this level a number of times, I found actual purposeful creation in the design... much like conspiracy thoeries start to make sense after you delve into them for long enough.
» Snowball | CTF *levelgen
An ambitious levelgen that does some very interesting things that are not readily available from the Lua API. It was quite creative to make the killer snowballs out of ResourceItems and to manipulate the cloaking module. However, this level is impossible to get into with an overzealous snowballer (I'm looking at you Little_Apple)
» Ball Pit | CTF
I think that this level acheived its purpose.. whatever that may be. I can't help but wonder if the story on the edge gives insight into the mind of the author. The burst turrets are mean.
» SnowFlake's Wild Ride | CTF
It's fun to storm this level and take over the owning team's turrets before they can. Difficult to defend.
» Speed Tech | CTF
Simple map that is true to its theme. This levels plays tricks on your eyes and makes it seem larger than it is. There is an exploit that allows the owning team to get the flag onto the spawning walls.
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sky_lark

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Post Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:19 pm

Re: DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

Here are my reviews. There is a LOT of talent here -- do not be dismayed by however the vote turns out! I would strongly recommend everyone take feedback and turn their levels into whole levels, which I think will be a lot of fun to revisit and compare.

» Chill | RET
Creativity: 5/5 | Competitiveness: 4/5 | Aesthetics: 4/5 | Fun: 5/5
Chill is a really cool "narrative" level, featuring a kind of cabin and forest. The neat aspect in play here is the trees and how some are walls and others are lines. This results in unexpected surprises, because it's hard to remember the exact locations of the fake trees and real trees. You kinda remember the general locations but will often bump into a branch, or even worse, an asteroid. The asteroids lasted a surprisingly long time and were really effective at times. The middle base was interestingly quite defensible. The slip zones made it a little tough to get inside, the bouncer turrets posed a strong threat, and the entrance was bottlenecked. My only suggestion here would be to add a loadout zone and maybe change the name to be something more compelling.

» Gift | RET
Creativity: 5/5 | Competitiveness: 4/5 | Aesthetics: 5/5 | Fun: 3/5
My goodness, Gift is a gorgeous level. In ten years of playing this game I may have never seen a prettier level. This is just one of those levels that inspires you! And gameplay-wise, it's not bad either. We had some close games in our session tonight. Interestingly it's hard to defend the zones, but not the players. It seemed the strategy would be to grab flags and hold them, because you could flee around the island barriers and due to the small arena, any reinforcements could kill you off quickly. But once the flags were down they were very hard to defend. Still, it made for a fun and beautiful match! I would love to see this expanded into its own full level.

» Into the Storm | RET
Creativity: 4/5 | Competitiveness: 4/5 | Aesthetics: 5/5 | Fun: 4/5
Wow, I love the natural design of Into the Storm. It just feels super clean and smooth. The curved walls are a treat to look at. There's nothing to distract you from the objective, but that is also a downside to the level: It's really hard to score! There are no defenses other than the barriers, and no loadout zones to defend your team with. Nonetheless this remains one of my favorite levels and I was able to adapt it to pretty much every other Retrieve level.

» Judaistic | RET
Creativity: 5/5 | Competitiveness: 5/5 | Aesthetics: 4/5 | Fun: 3/5
I love the textual design of Judaistic. Someone clearly put a lot of work into carving the texts and menorah perfectly. I like the external fence design, and how the stars jut out into space, although to be honest they also seem a bit wonky. Maybe scale them down a bit? Gameplay-wise, this is one of the best levels in the pool. The base is easily defendable, featuring bottlenecked pathways perfect for mining, and a pair of terrifying turrets. With one defender in play it would take me 5 or 6 rushes just to get out with a flag! Something I would suggest would be to move the spawns closer toward the back of the base, it can be frustrating to barely escape with a flag only to have the enemy spawn in front of you. Great work!

» Protovision | RET
Creativity: 4/5 | Competitiveness: 5/5 | Aesthetics: 4/5 | Fun: 4/5
Protovision is super sleek and minimalist, which I like a lot. It reminds me of a space station! I'm a big fan of this genre. The middle pocket area is very cleverly designed, it's perfect for baiting enemies and darting around them, but it can also be used as a guard-post. I like the asymmetry of the back barrier and smart placement of spawns (they're all off toward the back, so there are no cheap kills). It just feels like a very simple, enjoyable level. I could definitely see this expanded into an asymmetrical retrieve level. Nice work.

» Ring of Fire | RET *levelgen
Creativity: 5/5 | Competitiveness: 3/5 | Aesthetics: 5/5 | Fun: 5/5
Ring of Fire features a pretty cool levelgen and gate mechanisms, one gate being a sort of maze and the other, a revolving door. The revolving door is super effective and I picked up on it right away! The maze took me a minute to get, but I think it uses the teleporter dynamic outputs levelgen I wrote about before (hopefully the author used my guide! haha). I think you try to get to the teleporter but while only crossing on red, so if you hit white or gray the teleporter output "locks" you out and you have to start over and reset it. This is really cool but one thing I would suggest is to make this function a little clearer, I know I and Little_Apple were confused for a while. With that said, the design is awesome! Super clean and fancy, great job. Looking at the level file there also appear to be some easter eggs hidden inside...

» Split Pea | RET
Creativity: 4/5 | Competitiveness: 5/5 | Aesthetics: 3/5 | Fun: 4/5
Split Pea is fun to play! It's a little crazy with all the resource items, but those act as helpful dynamic defenses. The spawn mechanic is very cool, and I like the niche aid kit station. It was surprisingly underused in our games! The rounded edge is basic, but rather unique actually. The downside is that this level is also pretty hard. Even with all the resource items, barriers, and turret scurrying into and out of the base is very easy. Fun-factor though, it's a great entry.

» Terrible Trio | RET
Creativity: 3/5 | Competitiveness: 4/5 | Aesthetics: 3/5 | Fun: 4/5
Despite its name, Terrible Trio is not terrible! I was at first disgruntled by the speedzones because I thought they exploited the defenses too easily. My play session earlier tonight disproved that. The speedzones were perhaps the most integral parts of the level! They allowed us to very quickly reach the enemy base and add pressure. The laserbeams located just inside the speedzones meant that if repaired, they would prevent enemies from wreaking havoc with the speedzones, which was cool. It was still a little hard, since once the laserbeams were destroyed the enemies could exploit your own speedzones to get away quickly, so I might recommend adding some more defenses. But it plays surprisingly well overall, so good job!

» Yellow Dog | RET
Creativity: 3/5 | Competitiveness: 5/5 | Aesthetics: 3/5 | Fun: 4/5
Yellow Dog really nailed the strong base concept. It's certainly one of the most defensible levels in the pack, and is a good mix of cover for both offense and defense, but is not overwhelming. The goals are close enough together that they can be guarded by a single player, and the barriers are tightened to not allow the testitems to float freely, which I really like. It's fairly barebones, but that's not necessarily a bad thing! It's clean and plays well. I could see this expanded with some kind of middle area layout and be pretty fun.

» Ball Pit | CTF
Creativity: 5/5 | Competitiveness: 3/5 | Aesthetics: 3/5 | Fun: 5/5
Ball Pit is a silly level! But it's actually quite clever too. The resources item act as an ever-shifting defensive set, with the burst turrets constantly shifting everything around. With a chasing defender it can actually be quite difficult to get in and escape successfully. No clue about the text, I imagine it's a reference of some kind haha. The purple color is also pretty unique, not a lot of levels changed team color. Of course, the best part of this level is destroying all the lasers and letting the flood of resource items out. That's not particularly productive but it's certainly amusing...

» Snowball | CTF *levelgen
Creativity: 5/5 | Competitiveness: 3/5 | Aesthetics: 3/5 | Fun: 5/5
Snowball is the other level that utilizes levelgen aside from Ring of Fire. It's a pretty crazy script, too! Players get (a) unlimited cloak and (b) a manned turret firing resource death items. The turret is pretty overpowered, but boy is it a cool script! I definitely had a lot of fun reigning terror upon my intruders. The level also really captures the title well which is nice. Probably one of the more creative levels in the pool, very solid job!

» SnowFlake's Wild Ride | CTF
Creativity: 3/5 | Competitiveness: 3/5 | Aesthetics: 3/5 | Fun: 4/5
I want to get off of Snowflake's Wild Ride! Just kidding, I couldn't resist the reference. This is actually a pretty decent level, despite being barebones. The defenses are its strongest aspect, if repaired to their fullest they can post a serious challenge to enemies. The teleporters get to circumvent the laserbeams which I don't like, but they also funnel enemies right into a crossfire, so they're not all bad. As far as the CTF levels go, this one plays pretty well too! It does feel a little empty to me, and the teleporters ought to be reworked, but it's certainly not a bad level either.

» Speed Tech | CTF
Creativity: 4/5 | Competitiveness: 4/5 | Aesthetics: 3/5 | Fun: 4/5
Speed Tech is a cool, futuristic type of level that plays around with traffic control. Players spawn on the polywall then move off to the side to access the level. They can only move one way off of the polywall, then can use three channels but due to speedzones are encouraged to use the external channels for outgoing traffic and inner channel for incoming traffic. It's a cool idea and might work better on a full level, but for most of the level halves players seeking the flag could outrun someone who spawned on the polywall and had to race in the opposite direction to get off of it. Opening up both sides of the polywall might improve this. I do like the atmosphere of the level and sleek design, and something that happened by accident was a bunch of resources flooded the half. I actually think this made the level better by adding friction to the tight channels. It was pretty fun to push around and get pushed around by waves of resourceitems. Nicely done!

» Spinners | CTF
Creativity: 3/5 | Competitiveness: 4/5 | Aesthetics: 3/5 | Fun: 4/5
I think Spinners is the "Airlock" of this month's contest! It's received a lot of playful jabs for its, ahem, bizarre design. While certainly unconventional, it's fun to play! The lasers are damn tough to breach given their short regen time, so you pretty much have to surrender yourself to the blender if you want in. I had fun looking around for the most vulnerable locations in the fence and reformatting my gameplay intentions. I also like how the level could work in both retrieve and CTF, I chose CTF since there weren't many CTF levels submitted, but props to the author for coming up with that idea.
Last edited by sky_lark on Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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thread

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Post Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:49 am

Re: DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

I really liked Snowball, but I found out that I can steal my opponent's flag and hide it in the turret thingy... Then there is no way to get it out.
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Quartz

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Post Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:07 pm

Re: DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

» Spinners | CTF Make the projector regeneration time a little longer maybe?
» Ball Pit | CTF Why not spread the resource items around from the map start rather than them all spawning in the very center?
» SnowFlake's Wild Ride | CTF Get rid of the Asteroids.
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sky_lark

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Post Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:54 pm

Re: DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

Thanks to raptor for posting complete reviews, and to thread and quartz for contributing thoughts. Please add more! Hearing how everyone perceives different levels is one of my favorite parts of hosting contests.
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Quartz

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Post Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:02 am

Re: DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

sky_lark wrote:Thanks to raptor for posting complete reviews, and to thread and quartz for contributing thoughts. Please add more! Hearing how everyone perceives different levels is one of my favorite parts of hosting contests.

I'm not gonna lie, for me it is apparently REALLY hard to rate half maps. I began with the intention of doing full ratings but it just wasn't happening for me. My apologies.
Exploits of Quartz and bobdaduck - Pleiades Maps
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raptor wrote:sometimes I think getting Quartz to use plugins is like getting my mom to use a computer
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sky_lark

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Post Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:26 am

Re: DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

I'm not asking for anyone to rate these levels, just add their thoughts. I understand that there may not be much to go on, but a sentence or a few words is enough. As a levelmaker, I can assume what's good and bad about my level, but I don't know for certain. To receive feedback from people telling me what they like and dislike, what works and what doesn't work, even in only a few words is really helpful.

And at the end of the day, it's interesting to see how people perceive different levels. What I consider to be ugly or boring may be awesome and exciting by another user!
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Quartz

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Post Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:08 pm

Re: DISCUSSION: December 2014 Level Design Contest

Err, yeah, I meant reviewing, not rating. My bad.
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