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Jul-Aug 2020 Contest Discussion

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sky_lark

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Posts: 2003

Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:00 pm

Post Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:33 pm

Jul-Aug 2020 Contest Discussion

Thanks to everyone who submitted levels! We had a terrific showing, with eight users submitting 25 levels, including eight levelgens, and ALL game modes represented! The Blitz level design contest aside, many of our contests in the past have only received half that, so this is awesome to see. :)

The levels with their gametypes, levelgen denotation, and screenshots are below. Screenshots are updated (if applicable) following the final revisions as of Sunday, August 16th.

The Levels (*Denotes has levelgen)
"Updated" refers to the level receiving at least one revision.

  • Battering Ram 2 - CTF - Updated
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  • Bubblegum Wars Two, 2* - ZC
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  • Cannons 2 - Survival - Updated
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  • Castle Lords* - CTF - Updated
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  • Colossus II* - Survival - Updated
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  • Conquest - RET - Updated
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  • Curlier Q - CTF - Updated
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  • Curly-Q-Revue - CTF
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  • Epic Mini Soccer - SOC - Updated
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  • Honeycomb Break-in* - Core - Updated
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  • Intermission 3.0 - BM - Updated
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  • Mini Curly Q - CTF - Updated
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  • MULTIBALL - SOC - Updated
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  • Pac It In - RAB - Updated
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  • Palaces - HTF - Updated
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  • Pansexual Speed Dating* - NEX
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  • Revenge 2: Back with a Vengeance - RET - Updated
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  • Revenge for the Emperors Revenge* - Co-op - Updated
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  • RTwP* - Core - Updated
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  • Sequel! Figure Eight! - CTF
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  • Sharks & Minnows - Survival - Updated
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  • Skynet is Pleiades - Core - Updated
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  • Spaceship Siege* - CTF - Updated
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  • War 2098 - HTF - Updated
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  • Zombies Survival II - Survival
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Feedback Template

  Code:
[color=#FFA500][b]Battering Ram 2[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Bubblegum Wars Two, 2[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Cannons 2[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Castle Lords[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Colossus II[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Conquest[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Curlier Q[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Curly-Q-Revue[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Epic Mini Soccer[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Honeycomb Break-in[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Intermission 3.0[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Mini Curly Q[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]MULTIBALL[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Pac It In[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Palaces[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Pansexual Speed Dating[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Revenge 2: Back with a Vengeance[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Revenge for the Emperors Revenge[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]RTwP[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Sequel! Figure Eight![/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Sharks & Minnows[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Skynet is Pleiades[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Spaceship Siege[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]War 2098[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Zombies Survival II[/b][/color]
Last edited by sky_lark on Thu Aug 20, 2020 2:34 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Skybax

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Post Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:09 pm

Re: Jul-Aug 2020 Contest Discussion

Wait “Survival” is an official gametype now? Sexy
raptor wrote:Sorry Skybax, I hijacked your signature so I could post lots of info.
Whittling While wrote:Does this mean I finally get quoted in someone's signature?
watusimoto wrote:Who are the devs around here?!?
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sky_lark

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Post Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:15 pm

Re: Jul-Aug 2020 Contest Discussion

Haha no they're not all official gametypes, I just felt like Survival was a better way to describe the levels than Core, which is just there for the win resolution
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sky_lark

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Post Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:13 am

Re: Jul-Aug 2020 Contest Discussion

Screenshots and reviewing/feedback template added to original post! Thanks for y'alls patience.
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Quartz

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Location: Washington State

Post Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:34 am

Toxic Player Critiques Local Maps

Battering Ram 2 - CTF

Playability: 1/5 - Defending actively hurts your teams’ attackers … attacking actively hurts your teams’ defenders … you could argue this calls for excellent coordination but that level of coordination on this small of map, there’s just no window for it, so it’s just frustrating. Actually scoring feels like a fluke more than an actual accomplishment.
Aesthetics: 4/5 - It’s very clean.
Relatedness to OG: 2/5 - Honestly it has very little to do with the original and more to do with those “push of war” maps that have been done time and again. Multiple lanes was the point of Battering Ram, and this has just one.
Fun: 1/5 - Possibly the most frustrating map of the entire contest, and as you’ll come to see as you read on, that is quite the feat in my eyes at least.

Overall: 2/10 - Really bad, but thanks for making the map look clean and uncluttered at least.

Ideas for Improvement: This could be better if the spawns were further away from the center.

Bubblegum Wars Two, 2* - ZC

Playability: 4/5 - This map actually warrants two flags … I feel like one flag would just result in massive dogpiles. This keeps the action going, and in more spots than just one. Nicely done.
Aesthetics: 5/5 - Synthwave AF bro. Dope.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - I’m flattered, thanks and good work!
Fun: 3/5 - The score was confusing. Overall entertaining enough, just a bit chaotic for my tastes.

Overall: 8/10 - One of the best maps in the contest, good work!

Ideas for Improvement: Maybe just have all the goal zones start off as neutral. I don’t see the point in having them associated with teams, as it’s quickly made irrelevant and makes the scoring confusing.

Cannons 2 - Survival

Playability: 4/5 - It does what is sets off to do, for the most part.
Aesthetics: 4/5 - Pretty clean, decent use of barrier maker artwork. Nice.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - Giving this a 5/5 because it took hamster’s idea and brought it into Bitfighter. Asteroids instead of Test Items that were simply there to be annoying works great. Smart idea to remake it with Bitfighter’s new mechanics.
Fun: 2/5 - Very little interaction with the other team makes it very un-fun.

Overall: 5/10 - I didn’t enjoy it very much but I appreciate what it set out to do.

Ideas for Improvement: No clue.

Castle Lords* - CTF

Playability: 2/5 - It’s Castles. It’s basically built around the idea of “break the game with impenetrable forcefields with Engineer.” It plays baaaad.
Aesthetics: 4/5 - Looks great. I could do without the text items in the center of the fortress, maybe even remove the flag designs too. Too busy.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - It’s every bit as awful as the original, maybe even worse because of the obnoxious storm. Good job?
Fun: 2/5 - Only good thing about it is the hedge maze and turning the storm on and off.

Overall: 4/10 - Pretty but bad. Pretty bad? We’ll go with that.

Ideas for Improvement: Castles is a fundamentally flawed map idea. The original was made just to test the limits of Engineer, and we quickly found out its limitations were few – too few, in fact. So … don’t do Castles maps, that’s my idea for improvement.

Colossus II* - Survival

Playability: 3/5 - It’s a survival bitmatch, so it plays well. I don’t particularly like the spawners being these massive blocks inside of the arena. Also, burst turrets.
Aesthetics: 4/5 - It’s a clean sky_lark map. That almost always means it looks great, but doesn’t do anything super bold. Nothing wrong with that, I have plenty of maps like that myself.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - It’s like the original but a bit less confusing. Nice.
Fun: 3/5 - I sort of have survival fatigue.

Overall: 7/10 - It’s good but nothing earth-shattering.

Ideas for Improvement: Remove the spawn chambers from the map and actually bother to design the rest of the map.

Conquest - RET

Playability: 2/5 - If Red team has even one person dedicated to repairing the right turrets (i.e. BURST TURRETS), the invading team is done for.
Aesthetics: 5/5 - Really really good.
Relatedness to OG: Gonna have to come back to this because I have no idea.
Fun: 2/5 - I have emperor’s revenge fatigue.

Overall: 3/10 - Pretty and solid concept but not at all fun.

Ideas for Improvement: Remove half of the turrets, remove all burst turrets, remove engineer, and you might have a fun map.

Curlier Q - CTF

Playability: 3/5 - It’s Curly Q so it basically works. Issues come in when you start repairing projectors.
Aesthetics: 3/5 - It’s symmetrical, looks fine, but doesn’t do anything spectacular. I think it could look a little cleaner still.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - Yup this is Curly-Q.
Fun: 3/5 - It plays OK. If anything the broken projector - fixed speed zone interaction is sort of funny, but it does ruin things. I do think the middle is very clever – you can trap your foes in there with hostile turrets if you repair things correctly. But it takes using your brain a little. Nice!

Overall: 6/10 - It’s OK.

Ideas for Improvement: Make the speed zones non-fixed, and redesign things such that them being non-fixed doesn’t break the map. We did it in the Zap! days, you can do it too. Also, remove the bloody burst turrets and the pointless seeker turret. Also, I know the self-repair is at least slow in this map, but at that point, just don’t use it at all.

Curly-Q-Revue - CTF

Playability: 4/5 - It’s Curly-Q without a boring center.
Aesthetics: 5/5 - By far the cleanest map in the contest. My only complaint is the base is a super thin barrier because … no reason at all? Kinda clashes with everything else.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - Yup this is Curly-Q.
Fun: 4/5 - I never much liked Curly-Q but this actually improves it a little bit with a rather fun center area.

Overall: 7/10 - Decent.

Ideas for Improvement: Maybe give the speed zones exiting the base a tiny bit more speed so you always hit the second speed zone … assuming that’s what you want.

Epic Mini Soccer - SOC

Playability: 4/5 - I can’t decide if this is the best or worse usage of slip zones ever.
Aesthetics: 3/5 - I can’t really give this many positive or negative points because it’s literally Soccer01 with the scale tool and rotate tool. I do like the decision to make the slip zone transparent, so you get the 3/5 for that.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - Yup it’s Soccer01 but even more cancerous. That said, I appreciate the decision to make it small, with a short timer and small score limit, because the map would be TRULY arduous if otherwise. Thank you.
Fun: 4/5 - Sorta already covered this. It works better than it has any right to.

Overall: 7/10 - It actually works.

Ideas for Improvement: If the slip zone could somehow be made more pretty – like, wrap around the edge of the level in an aesthetic way or something, that would be neat. The box as is isn’t too bad, but it could be improved. At the very least, maybe rotate it to be the same angle as the map itself is canted?

Familiar Soccer - SOC

Playability: 3/5 - It’s a small soccer map, so it’s contained chaos. Not a bad game design but nothing special either.
Aesthetics: 3/5 - Yes congrats on making the goal zone areas a little more pleasing, I guess.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - Uhh well it’s clearly Soccer01. Not that that’s a good thing.
Fun: 3/5 - It’s a small soccer map, so it’s contained chaos. Not a bad game design but nothing special either. Thanks for keeping the score and time limit low.

Overall: 4/10 - I don’t hate it but I don’t like it. The bare minimum effort brings this down to 4/10.

Ideas for Improvement: Fundamentally flawed because it’s nearly the laziest map ever. I got nothin’.

Honeycomb Break-in - Core

Playability: 3/5 - I mean, it works.
Aesthetics: 1/5 - You made so few edits to Skybax’s map that it’s basically plagiarism LOL.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - Uhh well it’s clearly Honeycomb Breakout.
Fun: 2/5 - Mehhhhh.

Overall: 3/10 - Actively frustrating thanks to the self-repairing projectors and penalized defense.

Ideas for Improvement: Remove the self-repairing status on the projectors, maybe add one or two NORMAL turrets next to each core for defense, to compensate for the fact that this level actively punishes players for trying to set up defenses.

Intermission 3.0 - BM

Playability: 3/5 - It works. As far as making a completely-slipzoned map goes, this is not as interesting as Soccer01 slipzoned.
Aesthetics: 2/5 - Only things added are text and a nice-looking transparent slipzone.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - Uhh well it’s clearly Intermission.
Fun: 2/5 - Snooze.

Overall: 3/10 - Not feeling it! Intermission 2.0 made me laugh, but this is just like taking a joke and killing it by repeating it.

Ideas for Improvement: Fundamentally flawed because it’s nearly the laziest map ever. I got nothin’.

Mini Curly Q - CTF

Playability: 1/5 - It’s obviously a troll map. So many bad design decisions in one place – it’s almost schizophrenic.
Aesthetics: 4/5 - Looks good, although the repeated speed zones are an eyesore.
Relatedness to OG: 4/5 - You remade Curly-Q and made it a schizophrenic nightmare. Good job??
Fun: 1/5 - So unfun it hurts. The slipzone corridor? The speed zone cannon? The speed zones with too much acceleration? The burst and seeker turrets? The high score limit and max (for this contest) time limit? Just yikes!!

Overall: 1/10 - A true nightmare of a map that I hope I never have to play ever again.

Ideas for Improvement: Remove basically every issue I listed in the “fun” category … and you’ve basically removed the entire map, so I guess it’s fundamentally flawed, GG!

MULTIBALL - SOC

Playability: 3/5 - It’s chaos and it mostly works. Mostly.
Aesthetics: 4/5 - Looks pretty clean, and I do dig the “MULTI BALL” text.
Relatedness to OG: 4/5 - Judging by the goal zones and description, this is also a highly-edited Soccer01. At least it wasn’t super lazy. It’s almost too loose though.
Fun: 2/5 - The fundamental issue is you basically search for an un-guarded goal zone and just spam goals there and call it a day. There’s very little interactivity. In fact, the more you can do to avoid interacting with other players, the better you’ll do.

Overall: 5/10 - It’s OK, and amusing.

Ideas for Improvement: This would probably be better with just two teams to force interacting, although I know that’s a very big change.

Pac It In - RAB

Playability: 1/5 - Horrid.
Aesthetics: 2/5 - Not good.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - We all know and hate the dozens of Pacman maps. Add this one to the list – it fits the bill perfectly.
Fun: 1/5 - Horrid.

Overall: 2/10 - At least it’s original, and I like the loadout zone.

Ideas for Improvement: Fundamentally flawed. The exact thing that makes the map stand out is what makes it cancerous.

Palaces - HTF

Playability: 2/5 - I’m really not sold on the scoring areas being kept separate from the actual fortresses themselves.
Aesthetics: 4/5 - Pretty good! The auto-quartzing isn’t excessive. Also, people often struggle to make maps with 120 degrees of symmetry actually symmetrical and you managed. The circular palisades look very cool. This only loses a point for that eyesore of a scoring area.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - It’s Castles and actually tries something a bit different. Changing Castles to HTF is probably genius.
Fun: 3/5 - It’s a’ight.

Overall: 5/10 - Honestly I think I respect this more than I actually enjoy playing it.

Ideas for Improvement: Main issues: 1) you can’t interact with most of the flags, which is a bummer considering simple “keep away” tactics tend to be a winning strategy on HTF. I’m OK with different tactics being required if there’s something better in its place, but there’s nothing here. 2) burst turrets.

Pansexual Speed Dating* - NEX

Playability: 5/5 - Probably the most playable of the speed dating maps.
Aesthetics: 4/5 - Mostly good, but the spiral of speedzones is an absolute eyesore that should’ve been kept further away from players.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - Speed dating maps are supposed to be random, hectic, small, and with 80’s cartoon references. Check, check, check.
Fun: 4/5 - The “decepticon” ships are exactly as annoying as they probably set out to be. It hampers the fun factor a bit but that’s probably the point.

Overall: 8/10 - Unironically one of the best maps in the contest somehow.

Ideas for Improvement: Move the speed zone spiral further out from players, because it’s a real eyesore.

Revenge 2: Back with a Vengeance - RET

Playability: 2/5 - It’s playable, I just hate everything about it.
Aesthetics: 2/5 - It gets exactly one point over minimum for the amusing visual noise of turrets firing outside the playable area.
Relatedness to OG: Gonna have to come back to this because I have no idea.
Fun: 1/5 - Small, bottlenecked, uninteresting, unnecessary use of teleporters, and bloody burst turrets. No no no no.

Overall: 2/10 - This map legit triggered me.

Ideas for Improvement: The outside turrets can sometimes fire seekers that actually hurt the players. Most of the time they’re completely ineffective though. It’s not a good inconsistency.

Revenge for the Emperors Revenge* - Co-op

Playability: 4/5 - It’s about as playable as emperor’s revenges can get.
Aesthetics: 5/5 - Excellent usage of thematic elements. Nice and original work.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - The genre’s been done to death but this is somewhat fresh – a tough feat.
Fun: 4/5 - About as fun as emperor’s revenge can get, with lots of reasonably clever problem solving and tons of amusing text.

Overall: 9/10 - One of the things I’ve always wanted in dungeons, emperor’s revenges, etc. was some sort of thematic elements at play on top of clever mechanics. This has both. Excellent work.

Ideas for Improvement: Calm down just a little bit on burst turrets. (Really necessary in that first room?) Otherwise great!

RTwP* - Core

Playability: 4/5 - Only loses playability for the random stationary core and all of the relatively easy impenetrable-defense-with-the-right-projector-placement areas around it.
Aesthetics: 2/5 - You literally lifted everything from RTS. Cheap.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - It’s very obviously RTS with six teams.
Fun: 5/5 - I actually enjoyed this, even the broken elements. bobdaduck figuring out how to trap enemy teams was hilarious, but horribly broken.

Overall: 7/10 - I had fun despite myself.

Ideas for Improvement: Fix the invulnerable projector spots.

Sequel! Figure Eight! - CTF

Playability: 3/5 - Uhh, well, it works.
Aesthetics: 3/5 - On one hand there’s a lot of ugly elements, and failures to be properly symmetrical (those projectors though), on the other hand that teleporter lineitem design is SO COOL!
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - It’s clearly Gibbed! Figure Eight.
Fun: 3/5 - Pretty generic CTF map.

Overall: 5/10 - Pretty generic CTF map.

Ideas for Improvement: Fix the uneven projectors and remove the lineitems from running exactly through the center of turrets … that’s never a good idea.

Sharks & Minnows - Survival

Playability: 5/5 - Pretty genius. Congrats on coming up with an actually new concept.
Aesthetics: 3/5 - It looks decent.
Relatedness to OG: Gonna have to come back to this because I have no idea.
Fun: 3/5 - Loses points for how exceptional of a strategy it is to body-block people, and it encourages the minnows to kill one another.

Overall: 8/10 - Super cool and original concept, just kind of frustrating to play.

Ideas for Improvement: The only reason this can’t be a two-team map (and be less toxic as a result) is the lack of proper team distribution… You’d have to rework the gate system entirely, but…

Skynet is Pleiades - Core

Playability: 3/5 - To be fair the original doesn’t play well either, unless you sic a ton of bots on the map and watch what happens.
Aesthetics: 4/5 - It may grab other peoples’ elements but there’s also tons of edits to those elements too. Nice work.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - The name is confusing, probably should’ve just named it Pleiades is Skynet 2.
Fun: 2/5 - Only fun when you have a large quantity of players (when?) or a ton of bots.

Overall: 5/10 - Pretty much like the original but a tad worse in playability. I love the team names!

Ideas for Improvement: Don’t put Kate in the game ever, ever again.

Spaceship Siege* - CTF

Playability: 4/5 - It pretty much functions how it’s meant to.
Aesthetics: 5/5 - Very clean with lots of decorative elements that fit right into place. Excellent work.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - Congrats, you made a hamster map not suck.
Fun: 2/5 - Another map I wanna like playing but just … don’t. It’s way too tough on attackers. Burst turrets are completely unnecessary. The slipzones are cleverly-placed but ultimately make attacking way too tough, again.

Overall: 5/10 - Balance the attack-defense fairness ratio a bit and you’d have a solid map on your hands.

Ideas for Improvement: Remove the element I complained about in “Fun.” As is this is way too stacked in favor of defenders.

War 2098 - HTF

Playability: 2/5 - Way too many defenses. These bust-in maps are getting excessive and even worse-balanced.
Aesthetics: 4/5 - Clean with some clever elements. Nice.
Relatedness to OG: Not familiar with the source material.
Fun: 2/5 - I like the concept – HTF maps where you grab a neutral/hostile area and call it yours’ with a new flag are cool – but the execution is mostly mediocre as there are waaaay too many defenses. Also several burst turrets for no reason. I like the variety of options available to defend e.g. asteroids, preventing passage, etc.

Overall: 4/10 – Not as fun as it should be for the aforementioned reasons.

Ideas for Improvement: Trim down on the turrets and projectors and remove self-healing in most instances. Use burst turrets VERY sparingly, I’d argue only the turret dead-center of the map should be special, and it should probably be a Triple Fire instead or something.

Zombies Survival II - Survival

Playability: 3/5 - Plays like the original but worse.
Aesthetics: 2/5 - There’s no mistakes, but it’s not at all pretty either.
Relatedness to OG: 5/5 - It’s obvious what it is.
Fun: 2/5 - I think I have survival fatigue. I don’t like that you can’t bunker down well at all. I don’t like humans killing each other very much.

Overall: 4/10 - The original was a lot better.

Ideas for Improvement: Like Sharks & Minnows, the only reason this can’t be a two-team map (and be less toxic as a result) is the lack of proper team distribution.
Exploits of Quartz and bobdaduck - Pleiades Maps
19-year-old Quartz mad about lawn removal
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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Posts: 2003

Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:00 pm

Post Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:59 pm

Re: Jul-Aug 2020 Contest Discussion

Since this contest accepts revisions I'll just solely give some general suggestions for each level on things that folks can consider for possibly improving their levels. Then after the revision period ends on Saturday I'll add some proper reviews with my thoughts. :)

Side note, I'll be sending Raptor some levels tonight (Tues Aug 11) for possible upload in the server in advance of tomorrow's party, so if you have any revisions you'd like to be in before then, send me level(s) before then! The official deadline for revisions isn't until Saturday at ~6:00pm Eastern though.

Sky_Lark's Suggestions for Improvement

Battering Ram 2
  • Remove the wall in front of the turret - I'm guessing it's probably there to block it from shooting the testitem, but I can't imagine that makes much of an overall effect, whereas the wall mitigates its effectiveness quite a bit.
  • Shorten the time and score. I think a game to 4 or 5, with a time limit of 3 minutes, could be good.
  • You can consider adding a second channel to add more strategy/diversify the level a bit, but that could also dampen the general appeal and simpleness factor of the level. One alternative to try is to just shorten the channel somewhat, to make it easier for players to get through.
Bubblegum Wars Two, 2
  • I might suggest decreasing some of the zones to make scoring touchdowns a little less tedious. You could also reduce the number of flags to one, but two flags has some nice "fun factor" and a bit of uniqueness since most zone controls are one flag-based. I do think a one flag level can be balanced easier since you don't need two players performing well to score touchdowns, but
  • There's not a whole lot of time to repair turrets since there's so much go go go in the small spaces and desperation of not letting the opponents have both flags, so it doesn't get used as much as it could. Making the turrets recharge (slowly, perhaps) could help with this.
Cannons 2
  • I'd suggest lowering the kill score limit to make it clearer that the goal is more to survive than strictly to kill other players and rack up kills.
  • I might also suggest either lowering the number of asteroids and/or shortening the distance between the two bases, to make launching the asteroids feel more impactful instead of just trying to not get killed too often haha.
Castle Lords
  • I might suggest turning on restricted engineer, so bases couldn't be made into such fortresses as they were in our playtests. The resourceitems knocked you around a fair bit, so it was difficult to break into strong bases.
  • I'm not sure if there's a way to limit the amount of resourceitems inside the base, but it definitely felt like it was a bit too chaotic in there at times. Trying to set up defenses, or escape after stealing the flag, was pretty tough at times with all the resourceitems.
Colossus II
  • Having the spawns integrated into the level was interesting, but kinda made it tough to quickly gauge how each team was doing. You had to first find where the remaining portal for each team was, then discern which number it was. A levelgen could help for this, or some line art, or possibly redesigning where the spawns originate from in the first place.
  • The cores are pretty strong - I get that it's to ensure there's still competition due to a jailbreak, but they take an awful long amount of time to kill.
  • There's not much interest or need in going to the corners of the level. Most of the action is concentrated in the middle areas, for better or worse. I think it's because there seems to be more natural interest with killing enemies than hiding (presumably due to the game time) so folks tend to hunt each other out instead of trying to just survive like in Zombie Survival.
Conquest
  • Needs some balance tweaking with some of the turrets and spacing to make it easier for blue to make progress.
  • Possibly add some clarity that blue doesn't just need to go after one flag at a time - can try to sneak by and diversify targets to make it tougher for red to defend.
  • Bobdaduck had a good point that it wasn't quite clear if a flag goal was capped or not - the arrows help, but only to an extent. So maybe touch up the flag goals a little bit.
Curlier Q
  • I think size is the main issue here - the speedzones are effective for combating this when unblocked, but when a laser is repaired, they can force players to traverse quite a ways. I felt like it was nearly impossible to catch up to a player once they were ahead, unless I was near our portal.
  • The hallways leading up to the flag were quite long, maybe adding in some arrows here or resizing them could help.
  • Turrets felt pretty powerful. Made it difficult to take the flag and escape. I like the idea behind it as they are an effective defense for stopping flag escapees, but with the level being large, lives become very valuable and it's tedious to have to face a tough set of turrets after traversing the whole level.
  • I might suggest increasing the number of resourceitems to six instead of four, and spread them out a bit so they were easier to get to and place.
Curly-Q-Revue
  • Like in the above, hallways feel a little long - I get that this was a part of the original but it feels tedious trying to either escape down the long hall or attack a loaded base.
Epic Mini Soccer
  • Sizing feels a tad small. Might suggest increasing scale by 10-15%, or adding in some other components to differentiate it more from the original(s).
Familiar Soccer
  • I get that it's a joke on the original two hours scale thing (multiball had this joke as well), so take my feedback with a grain of salt, but there's really not that much going on here to differentiate it from the original(s).
Honeycomb Break-in
  • Much like Curlier Q, size is the big drawback here. If it's smaller or easier to get around faster (perhaps speedzones on the edges? or teleporters in the middle?) gameplay would be more compelling I think.
  • Cores could use a couple turrets for defense help while players are off destroying other cores.
Intermission 3.0
  • Reduce the score limit to 6 or 7 imo - the level isn't terribly serious, and it can be tricky to get kills with the slow-mo effect.
Mini Curly Q
  • A way to slow down or brake could help make the game feel a bit more controlled.
  • An easier way into each base could help with catching up to a player racing along the speedzone paths.
  • Consider fewer repairables in order to put more emphasis on the laserbeams in the middle, which seem to have the greatest impact.
MULTIBALL
  • My biggest issue here is I didn't know whether to try to stop the soccer balls from coming in, or go out and attack with the other soccer balls. You could add one-way speedzones or larger or fewer wall barriers to lean the level one way or another. Then again maybe this is part of the strategy having to choose.
  • I might suggest modifying the look of the loadout zones a bit to look less like goal zones - it definitely tripped me up the first couple playtests realizing that we only had to defend one goal instead of three.
Pac It In
  • Fewer soccer balls. They have some interesting strategic concepts and mesh well in small, curved spaces, but if they sandwich a player can be very difficult to get past. It also wasn't clear what the game mode actually was right away.
  • Conversely, more resource items making it easier to engineer and block paths could help amplify the automatic loadout feature.
  • Portal endpoints should be a bit further away from the opposing portal to make it trickier to just go in and out of portals to get away.
Palaces
  • The big issue here is the team colored flags, which turns the level from a thoughtful build-a-base level into a mad dash to cap flags first. You could try just sticking with neutral flags and putting them in the middle, or switching the mode entirely to CTF. Retrieve could also be interesting with team colored flags, and would ensure the game was still super competitive with lower number of players.
Pansexual Speed Dating
  • Keeping the nexus open for a few seconds longer would be helpful - there were definitely several times I had loads of flags and was just a second too slow to reach the middle. I get that this probably increases the chaos, but it'd be nice to have it be easier to score, too.
Revenge 2: Back with a Vengeance
  • Weaken the turrets a bit as they make getting into the opponent's base much harder than it needs to be. The burst turret especially is pretty brutal.
  • The seeker turrets on the outside are very clever for being difficult to kill yet still highly effective, but they also are pretty distracting, and might be better off just removing and polishing the walls.
Revenge for the Emperors Revenge
  • Various tweaks here and there to make the gameplay feel more enjoyable and clear on what to do. There's a lot of focus on the narrative, but since the time is capped at 5 minutes there ends up being more pressure to just try to go go go instead of having time to read the text and understand the concepts.
  • Bringing resource items along from the very start is tedious, and this most often just results in them getting left behind and the challenges brute forced to beat. More resource items, or resource items spread out, could help with this.
RTwP
  • I am not sure how I feel about the engineer unrestricted aspect - on one hand, it's a nice throwback, and feels triumphant to lock down a couple cores. It also makes getting in via cloak & waiting super rewarding when it's finally accomplished. On the other hand, a foolproof base becomes pretty much just either a waiting game, or "cheating" via the portal trick which feels questionable ethically given people are working really hard to build their bases. I might give restricted a shot and see if that helps.
  • More spawns would be nice - while the strategy of locking folks in bases is clever, it also makes for a pretty frustrating time, and means you can't ever really leave your spawn too far if you don't want to risk getting screwed.
Sequel! Figure Eight!
  • I would suggest removing the portal delay, even going the other way to remove any portal delay at all. It's hard enough as it is to chase flag stealers, and that means they're basically home free if they hit the portal.
  • I wouldn't mind seeing some more base defenses. The turrets are kinda useless since it's so easy to get in and out. I might suggest making the neutral laserbeams a recharging team laserbeam and then adding neutral laserbeams along the speedzone paths to make those tougher to easily flee on.
  • I understand the resource item count is debated in this community, and there can be value in having low numbers of resource items, but for me personally, having to hunt around to find resource items (after they get lodged from their positions) to build with makes me less inclined to stick with engineering and more just focused on doing other stuff.
Sharks & Minnows
  • This and Zombie Survival could really benefit from a levelgen where all players were on the same team until they died once, which I believe is possible to create with levelgen (not sure though). In lieu of that, I would say the biggest issue is that zombies/sharks can camp the entrance areas for the humans/minnows to get into. A single mine or ship can be devastating. So opening up those lasers to add more room could help. If this skews balance too far the other way, then a bottleneck earlier on in the level could help.
Skynet is Pleiades
  • The big issue here is just how giant the whole level is. One thing to consider would be a portal on the outside of each spawn area that led to the front of that respective base to attack.
  • It would be super cool if once you destroyed a team's last core their players joined your team - but I'm not sure if that's feasible with the current core balancing mechanics.
  • I also might encourage readable text for the portals - I understand it might not fit with the theme as much, but it took me a considerable amount of time to realize there was some strategy with the portals and they weren't just random emitters.
Spaceship Siege
  • The on-off gate script broke both times we played, but also worked just fine when playtesting with one or two people later. So idk.
  • Opening up some room in the lasers to make the level a bit easier could help. Although if the script works that should help a fair bit too.
  • Consider making the lasers NOT repairable, in order to really incentivize destroying the lasers. That's a fun part of any Bridge level, and with the level only being 5 minutes, it's not like it's going to be a huge lasting effect.
War 2098
  • There's a lot of clutter going on, and it distracts from some of the bigger concepts like the asteroid flinger thingy and the testitem gate.
  • Similarly, a lot of the turrets and laserbeams were pretty strong, and made it quite tough to advance in some areas, along with the limited space.
  • It wasn't entirely clear that the testitem gate turrets should be repaired, in order to make them stop access by the other team, or that they could be destroyed once repaired if the opponent went around and into the gate from the other side. Try to make that clearer?
Zombies Survival II
  • Bases feel a bit closer together and more cramped. I might suggest having more external areas connected through a tunnel like the last zombies survival had.
  • Humans have a two part challenge to not only survive, but also reach & destroy cores. The last part can be "abused" by the zombies by building a crapton of items at that area and just playing keepaway. One way around this might be to have two or three exits, with gated laserbeams preventing access by zombies, and core timer preventing premature access by humans. (They might not open at exactly, the same time, but it could be pretty close.) Then have each of those exits lead to one singular portal, which leads to the core room. So in essence, the first player to reach one of these portals would get to the core room first and get to enjoy their dub, but it's not as brutal for them to have to beat out an onslaught of zombies waiting for them at the end.
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Santiago ZAP

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Posts: 316

Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:05 am

Post Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:58 am

Re: Jul-Aug 2020 Contest Discussion

Battering Ram 2
REALLY good level, its fun, well balanced, has a lot of strategies and feels kinda better than the original imo, voted!

Bubblegum Wars Two, 2
the art is amazing, just as the snowball potential, if your team manages to lose the first touchdown you pretty much lost


Cannons 2
/idle

Castle Lords
its kinda annnoying? the levelgen's interesting just as the unrestricted engineer, but i just cant get to like it as much as the other castles sequel

Colossus II
voted, this one's ripe with strategies, feels like an alternate gamemode entirely

Conquest
gooooooooooooood, reminds me of arctics build a base and that one map that's a like a dungeon where one team defends and the other attacks, voted

Curlier Q
2big, attacking the base is kinda annoying

Curly-Q-Revue
really nice, but

Epic Mini Soccer
epic

Honeycomb Break-in
man defending in this map is incredibly annoying,
the map is too one sided, where if one person from your team decides to defend rather than attack you pretty much lost.


Intermission 3.0
it almost made me laugh

Mini Curly Q
FUG this one was my favorite, its not the most balanced or competitive map, nor the one with the best art, but hoooooly heck
even tho i've lost every single time i've been here, bouncing all around the map, or getting random kills from going into the turret, or just out of nowhere the enemy flag carrier just POPS right into your base, god i love this map, please do not balance it. voted.


MULTIBALL
the turrets make it really hard to get balls to the enemy side, so interaction between the two teams seems almost non existant, unless you cloak to the enemy base, which ehhhhhhh

Pac It In
good art, theres too many resources/balls which makes chasing the rabbit almost impossible, add that and the absurd rabbit scoring system and it ends up being quite unfair

Palaces
campiest map in the contest, but also one of the most entretaining, 5 mins is way too low of a timer for this map, but that was the rule, so no judgment here. voted

Pansexual Speed Dating
i likes the random ships just invading the whole map, if it was just when the nexus opened it would've been a blast, but other than that it is kinda just another circle nexus map

Revenge 2: Back with a Vengeance
gureto mappu, but i have no votes left fam

Revenge for the Emperors Revenge
i love the storyline tbh, would've voted if i had more than 5 votes

RTwP
trapping people in their base is worse than dying with no cores :c would've voted

Sequel! Figure Eight!
hey its figure eight but with another circle

Sharks & Minnows
had no idea what was happening in the first time, good concept, but being a shark is way harder than it is in arctics map being a zombie

Skynet is Pleiades
god this made me laugh, the names are god-tier by the way
SANTA GO ZIP
land_karl
took me longer than i want to admit to realize who SEMI-ARID was


Spaceship Siege
creative, fun, but a bit frustrating!

War 2098
didn't know what was happening 70% of the time, but when i did, it was fun, but i hard already lost. voted

Zombies Survival II
right is too campy, still fun tho, zombies have a decent chance invading bases this time
:zapdance: :zapdance: :zapdance: :zapdance: :zapdance: :zapdance: :zapdance: :zapdance: :zapdance: :zapdance: :zapdance: :zapdance:
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sky_lark

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Posts: 2003

Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:00 pm

Post Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:16 pm

Re: Jul-Aug 2020 Contest Discussion

Thanks Quartz for super detailed reviews and Santiago for the pretty colors! Great to hear both your thoughts.

Earlier I made some suggestions for improvements. Now that the revision period has passed, I've made some proper reviews for each level with my thoughts! These reviews include the final versions of each level.

Battering Ram 2
This level got a bit of flak early on, but I honestly didn't mind it. There's some fun strategy with stealing the flag, going into the channel then dropping it, letting teammates on the other side of the testitem grab it. I will say the update makes it much more winnable for an imbalanced team, which is a good thing. It's very simple, and sometimes simple is good!

Bubblegum Wars Two, 2
One would think the two flags would make it pretty much impossible to score touchdowns but actually in all the games I've played, teams have been able to score touchdowns. It's counterintuitive to think about, but I think maybe it lets folks split up the zones, with one flag-runner going after one half of the level with the other going after the other. With this in mind you don't even need to possess both flags for very long, just long enough to capture all the zones in one half. So it's doable, possibly more doable than one flag might be, believe it or not.

There are some interesting subtleties: Testitems fit well into crevices in the walls when shot at by turrets, making it an extra fun challenge to score goals in those zones. I love thoughtful testitem design! The middle is packed with energyitems, seemingly breaking an unwritten level design rule to limit the amount of energy/first aid items in one area. But as it's a heavily congested zone, it ends up being great for flag-runners to stave off attacks by enemies. Levelgen letting the turrets start one way then end up neutral when destroyed is super subtle, and doesn't seem to make a huge impact given the go-go-go nature of the level, but still fun to play with.

Cannons 2
Clearly just a simple novelty level. It's short and a nice break from the competitiveness of most of the other levels. Sure, /idle is a cheat code to win, but it's more fun trying to frantically dodge asteroids while firing them across the way at your opponent.

Castle Lords
Beautiful artistic work here with the edges of the hedge maze in the middle and trees on the outside, the snowflake on-off trigger, and unconventional but pleasant complement of colors. I don't love the Unrestricted aspect as I feel it stagnates offensive attacks from players trying to bust in to enemy bases, especially since players already struggle to advance with the onslaught of resourceitems. The portals in the hedge maze, while necessary given the Unrestricted aspect, lessen the satisfaction of building a strong base and halting enemies. I would prefer to see removal of the portals and Restricted engineer.

Otherwise, the level feels very polished and fun. There's no hunting for a resource item, they're readily available. Getting knocked around by the resourceitems is hilarious and makes for a great equalizer. The hedge maze is a perfect middle: Players can simply bypass it if in a rush, but also take shelter in it if needing to avoid enemies.

Colossus II
Definitely came a long way in the revisions period. The spawns-inside-the-level concept is interesting but not ideal for this level given how much room they take up. The new revisions have made the level much more intimate, with fewer places to hide, and stressed the importance of winning the middle and capturing the loadout zone. The jail is intriguing as a last ditch effort to try to stop core destruction, but it can be easily camped. I'd like to see either more entrances for unlocking or more safety in the unlocking entrance to make it harder to camp. Could also try using thread's on-off gates...

Conquest
Also considerably better after revisions. The balance is flipped now, with the attackers (blue) having the edge against the defenders (red). This is how it should be, with red having quick access to resource items to build extra defenses and level the playing field. There are a lot of interesting strategies that both teams can use to pursue their team goals. The artwork is extensive, but might be a bit too much, and might be distracting. One intriguing subtlety is the tight corridors of much of the level effectively limits where teleporters can be engineered, making it much more difficult for either team to create a long-distance teleporter and gain a significant advantage.

Curlier Q
As Curly Q is one of the better original Zap levels, I am pleased that it received multiple remakes! I enjoy the hostile turrets in the middle and the importance of repairing laserbeams remains critical here. I also like the limited resource items. Ultimately, this level just suffers from its massive size. If players follow the speedzones from start to finish or use the portals then it's not too bad, but if players get knocked off midway due to repairing or engineering then players have to travel quite far. It also becomes quite difficult for a player who died to catch up. Reducing the size by 50% or so could make a world of difference here. I'd also like to see the bases' turrets a little less brutal, escaping with the flag is very tough, more than it needs to be.

Curly-Q-Revue
Where Curlier Q is big and bold, and Mini Curly Q is a chaotic clusterfuck, Curly-Q-Revue is chill and minimal Curly Q. It's a nice, peaceful design with plenty of curves and limited distractions. It has an interesting take on the speedzone design, choosing to stray from the boing-boing nature of original Curly Q into a more straightforward, simple speedzone escape. This is interesting because puts more emphasis on player combat than on repairing laserbeams to stop enemy flow. It's definitely a simple but creative take on the original Curly Q!

Epic Mini Soccer
Epic is right. When paired with spybug launches, burst launches, or double tap boost, players go flying! The recycled design of Soccer01 might dock points for originality, but as the saying goes, if it ain't broken don't fix it, right? Simple, straightforward, fun as hell.

Honeycomb Break-in
An interesting re-imagining of the Honeycomb classic! Much like Curlier Q, the issue that pitfalls this level is simply the size. Everything so spread out means attacking players can't quickly return if their defenders needs assistance, and it makes it difficult for a trailing team to catch up. It does mean that once an attacker dies, defense is given a temporary bit of relief, but the lack of turrets or other defenses around each core makes them quite tricky to actually defend. The levelgen, much like Bubblegum Wars, is subtle - the emitters can be removed entirely when destroyed - and presumably to help clear space for engineering objects. A clever touch to make engineering on the fly a little easier.

I would like to see this level resized a bit, as well as swapping out some of the hostile laserbeams around the cores with team laserbeams. That could make defending easier, as defenders could quickly rush to their cores without having to find an open path.

Intermission 3.0
Last contest we had Intermission 2.0, so of course now we need Intermission 3.0! The big change here obviously is the Epic Mode, and it's a good addition since the level itself is not particularly exciting. Mostly the level just serves as a brief opportunity to stretch or grab a snack, so it's understandable that there's not a lot going on inside the level, but I might suggest making it a little smaller so it's more intimate and thrilling.

Mini Curly Q
Another level to receive considerable improvements with the revision period. The craziness was clearly toned down a bit, as well as making it easier to get off the speedzone track if desired. There's still a lot of chaos with the manual speedzone turret and the slip n slide leading into each base, but it's more of a controlled chaos. The strategy of stealing the flag is interesting: Using the speedzone to race into the base takes away some of your control, but it gives you the best chance of not getting stuck or killed on the slip zone if enemy fire pushes you back. The laserbeam in the base blocks the quickest way out, resulting in a decision needed to be made about whether to gamble with the slip zone or try to escape through the speedzone. The level is obviously pretty silly, so folks who prefer calmer competitive action are probably not fans, but for those of us who dig the chaotic nature, it's good fun.

MULTIBALL
Great work by the author to fix this level up in the revision period. As hilarious as the four team madness was, it felt really luck-based, as you never really had a respite from the soccerballs and had to pick and choose whether to try to defend or attack. WIth two teams and a slight redesign it's more feasible to play defense. All of the games we've played on the redesign have been super close down the stretch, which is awesome to see! PS. The stenciled Multi Ball in the walls is slick, that must've taken quite the effort to create.

Pac It In
This level also improved drastically with the revisions period. Soccer balls acting as de facto testitems are an interesting concept, given their smoother and smaller shape. But in the original version there was just too much of them and it resulted in players easily able to burrow themselves away and camp with the flag. With a lot of those removed it's much more feasible to get after the flag-carrier. The automatic loadout switching is super interesting, but not terribly useful in a level like this, so I'd be more interested to see it applied in other types of levels.

The resource items are also interesting, being able to basically engineer obstacles on the fly, but in practice players are too often without energy to actually use them, so I'd suggest either adding more energyitems or just ditching engineer. Could also try making this a team rabbit, but probably with a lot fewer resourceitems. I do think it's important to keep some junk flying around so flag-carriers have a fighting chance to stave off some enemies.

Palaces
Beautiful artistic design and the build-a-base aspect keeps me coming back to this level, but I'm really not a fan of this race to capture 1-2 flags game type. It means that as soon as one team caps one flag, the chances of other teams catching up to them plummet. You have to get both flags, and quickly, both to overcome the scoring difference and to beat out the team who got the first flag from getting the second flag... not terribly likely. I far prefer game modes where you can plausibly catch up after taking a hit.

The fact that it's three teams also adds a bit of luck to the equation: Unless pressure is applied to all bases equally, there's a good chance one base is going to have much more time and energy to build up defenses than their opponents. Or conversely, if one base gets pummeled by both other teams, that puts them at a severe disadvantage. Obviously this isn't a fault of this level -- it's an inherent issue with 3+ teams -- but it does feel especially impactful here given the stakes of being able to build a strong base.

That said, I do really respect the strategy thinktank involved. If you focus solely on attacking, you give yourself the best chance to be the first team to cap flags, but you also leave your base wide open for anyone to get flags from you. So you need to build your base up somewhat, but if you focus too much on that then you leave yourself at a disadvantage to getting the flags. It's a terrific, stressful (in a good way) real-time thought exercise. So I definitely want to like this level more!

Personally, I would suggest either switching the game mode to retrieve, or keeping HTF and switching the team flags to neutral flags (just spawn them in the middle). These give more opportunities to folks to catch up after being down initially, so it's not the end of the world if someone manages to breach a weak spot in your defenses and steals a flag. Alternatively, keep everything as is but switch it to two teams. This would require some shifting of the level design obviously, but would alleviate the inherent balance issues of a three team level.

I think it would also help to switch the core timer to an enclosed core with a turret destroying a team laserbeam instead. This has a couple advantages: It allows players to enter and exit the base without having to suicide, and it also means the cores are roughly opening at the same time, instead of opening faster if someone is shooting at an enemy's core.

Pansexual Speed Dating
This level has received a fair bit of flak but to be honest I actually really dig it. Sure, it's a little chaotic, but it's not chaos all the time. There are breaks in between moments of insanity. The circular design is cool, as is the line and nexus art. It's just a really fun level. I would prefer a couple modifications: A loadout zone, so I didn't have to die if I build up a lot of flags and need repairs or cloak, as well as a slightly longer period to cap flags (like 2-3 seconds longer, it's pretty difficult right now to cap flags and that can be frustrating to score).

Revenge 2: Back with a Vengeance
This is one of the few levels that I think actually worsened with the revisions period. The primary mechanic of this level is the craziness of repairing the middle and amusingly blocking your enemies on other sides of the channel. But with the laserbeams no longer being able to be repaired, it's mostly just whoever can get to the middle/other side first. It's just a race and so whichever side has better balance tends to be the side that wins. The laserbeams also take forever to recharge so they're not really that impactful at all. I would like to see this level go back to its roots and return the repairable middle lasers. The burst and external seeker turrets were removed, so it should be easier to get into the opposing bases now than in the original version. Embrace the mechanic!

Revenge for the Emperors Revenge
Much like Conquest, there's a lot going on art-wise, but I think it works well here, given the nature of co-op and being able to go at your own pace. 5 minutes is obviously not much time for an Emperors Revenge level, and this does seem a bit big for the timeframe. So I might suggest axing one or two of the challenges or reducing the amount of distance needed to travel. Using engineer to help with the various challenges is an interesting idea, but in some ways it hurts more than it helps, such as getting in the way of travelers on the wall in the wall-riding challenge. Still, the flexibility of being able to use it in various ways to help defeat challenges or just avoid using it entirely is cool.

RTwP
One of the most popular levels in Bitfighter's rich history gets a sequel! And this is really well designed for the most part. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about six teams vs four teams, but the circular design is really cool, and even though the bases are all actually copies of one another, because they're tilted at varying degrees it makes it feel like it's a brand new challenge every time you enter a different section of the level. It's interesting because with other levels the level being sized large is a drawback, but for here it's arguably an advantage as it gives folks more time to build stuff to defend against incoming attackers.

I'm certainly torn about the Unrestricted aspect. On one hand, it feels rewarding to create an impossible-to-enter base. On the other hand, once you get used to the design, creating an impossible entry is not terribly difficult and can be conducted rather quickly. So then it's just about cloaking and praying an opponent crosses a laserbeam, or using the portal trick to hop on a wall, which to me feels rather unethical for this kind of level. It might be worth giving Restricted a try.

It's also rather concerning since players can be trapped in spawns with the careful placement of just two laserbeams. I never even dreamed about this tactic until bobdaduck and quartz tried it on me and arctic. It's clever, but also pretty problematic. Fortunately there's an easy fix: Just sprinkle some spawns outside of the main base. They don't need to spawn very far, just enough to where trapping all possible areas becomes impractical if not impossible. That, or switch to Restricted engineer.

Sequel! Figure Eight!
Ahh Figure Eight, I had lots of good memories on this level! Great to see it get a sequel. This for the most part plays a lot like the original, but the speedzones to get out of the base are nice touches, and the line art is a nice minimalism. I dig the color scheme too!

I would like to see the portal delays be switched the other way, to virtually no delay instead of a delay. Reason being if someone goes through the portal after stealing the flag they already have a high chance of scoring, and the delay virtually guarantees a score. No delay keeps the portals competitive instead of being overpowered. It would also be nice to get a loadout zone in the middle, to be able to switch up modules quickly, as well as maybe 2 more engineer items, so it's not QUITE as brutal trying to find resource items for creating defenses.

Sharks & Minnows
An interesting twist on the Zombie Survival core team switching concept. I think this actually works even better than Zombie Survival as you don't need to go hunt for cores after surviving a few minutes, they're right there at the end. The revisions also improved this level quite a bit, making it tougher for zombies to camp the laserbeams and changing the zombie spawn so humans have a better chance. Like Zombie Survival, much of the human's chances for success depend on whether they'll fight each other or not. It would be cool to stack all the humans on one team against one zombie, but I figure that might require a bit of levelgen work to make happen. Overall a really fun level that I want to play several times in a row.

Skynet is Pleiades
Huge shoutout to the creator for taking on the enormous task of asymmetrical bases and differing numbers of cores! That's certainly something that we don't see very often in Bitfighter, and it's really interesting and fun. I love all the different bases being different, there are obviously some balance issues with some bases being stronger and others weaker but the team switching helps mitigate those issues somewhat. My only real gripe is the size of the level, as if you end up spawning on the opposite side of where you need to go, it can take quite a while to reach the other side. Speedzones could help with this.w

Spaceship Siege
A futuristic take on the classic Hamster Bridge level. There are a lot of little subtleties about this level that make it unique, but the fundamental concept of enemies snaking through laserbeams while teammates can fly right over them remains. Hamster really was a genius of his time. This isn't exactly an easy level - neither team is going to rack up a bunch of scores - but there are some interesting features within each base that opponents can use to aid teammates and make it faster to enter or exit the base. One minor annoyance is that the levelgen doesn't always seem to take effect right away, and usually needs at least one restart to get working. I'm not sure if this is just a levelgen issue or bug with the game, but it's something to keep in mind for future play-throughs.

Things I would suggest for improvement would be widening the channels somewhat so players can traverse through the laserbeams a little easier, as well as improving the middle of the level. I understand the testitem gimmick is to for players to fly through and force folks chasing them to have to go around, but in practice a lot of times you aren't being actively chased by an enemy and don't really need it. It kinda feels out of place and might be better suited for a different type of level.

War 2098
Much like the original Endless War, there is a constant battle for control of each 'territory'. The HTF aspect however ensures that it doesn't just come down to who flips more goals at the very end of the game. There are a lot of interesting side features on this level: The fight for the middle to open up (or cut off) access to a shortcut portal is obviously the clear attraction, but there's also an interesting swinging gate at the bottom that's controlled by destroying/repairing turrets. Once converted, a player must go all the way to the opponent's base in order to change ownership of the swinging gate. As interesting as this feature is, it's a bit complex, and would probably benefit from changing it to a simple laserbeam control switch like the middle shortcut portal has, to make the objective of the gate clearer for each team.

The asteroid flinger is fun and also interesting because you don't necessarily want to fling asteroids against your opponent's side if that's where your teammates are headed. You might actually want to fling them to your side to make it tougher for attackers to make headway, and just keep the middle shortcut portal open for teammates to avoid travel through the asteroid section. Interestingly, despite the relatively high score, most games on this level have been super close in score, with the very first game we played finishing a thrilling 400-398 to top off a late comeback!

Zombies Survival II
Many levels have tried the Zombie mode over the years, and this is certainly one of the best executed. The core team switching makes it very smooth to switch to the zombie team. It does take a little getting used to to understand it all: You not only have to survive, but you also have to destroy cores once the timer reaches 1:00 in order to achieve true victory. But once you understand that it's a lot of fun. There's some interesting dynamics between humans, as it's in their interests not to kill each other, but can you necessarily trust them from not killing you? That's the question.

One of the strategies I've found most effective is to keep sensor enabled all the time, both as a human and as a zombie. As a human to see the zombies coming, and as a zombie I'll pair it with cloak to both find hiding humans and sneak up on that. Switching out shield is a risky trade-off, but the positives of not being surprised have been tremendously helpful. I'm thankful for this level series for reigniting my interest in the sensor module and have since started using it more and more in other levels, such as when I have a flag and need to survive for a decent bit of time and want to see cloaking enemies before they attack.

I do think the access to cores can be improved to make it easier for humans to win. As it is zombies can camp that side with engineered items and make it very tough for humans to bypass them and destroy cores. I think it could be interesting to have multiple entrances guarded by core timers that lead to portals. Each of these portals can lead to a single, one-time use portal, which then leads to the core destruction room. The core timers would also need laserbeams for each team to ensure zombies couldn't enter. I think this method would make it much more difficult for zombies to camp the core rooms and give humans a great chance of winning should they survive the necessary amount of time.
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sky_lark

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Post Thu Aug 20, 2020 2:38 pm

Re: Jul-Aug 2020 Contest Discussion

Updated the screenshots in the original post to reflect the final versions of each level! viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3135&p=28485#p28485
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