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Old 07-07-2012   #46
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Yeah, so I only ended up spending one day on my map, which was just enough to remind me how much fun mapping is. Maybe next contest?

Industrial Valley Zone Act 1 by Zipper - 3/10
I take it you're new here.

Your forms were really hard to read. You picked dark against dark with your textures, so there was rarely a clearly defined edge to make sense of. One alternative, which I heard from SSN, is to use a clearly different flat from the walls. Another technique is to pick a foreground texture and use it to differentiate the important elements from the walls of the room around it.

There were a handful of times you had a room which would change in the middle of your use of it. Parts would rise, water would drain. Those rooms had springs in them which were intended for use after the change, but they were still available before. Sometimes that led to cheap deaths, other times I just got confused. There was also at least one patch of springs that overshot the destination. I trust springs to give me a safe landing. These did not. The room with draining hurtwater wasn't iconic enough for me to realize, after the water drained, that I was still in the same place.

Also, you used death pit a lot. I don't think all those places were challenges which needed to have death as a penalty to failure. Think about which penalties go where.

If I were to leave you with one thought, remember this: Everything you put down in a map is important. It's important because you're making me play through it. Why do you want me to play this challenge? Why do you want me to go through this room? What do you want me to gain from playing your map? It's not a question you can answer in a day.

Azure Temple Zone by Mystic & Prime 2.0 - 7/10
I didn't like this map. The problem, for me, is finding out why.

At first, I thought "I'm not enjoying this because I don't like hard maps." And, of course, this shut up my prying mind for a while. Then I remembered that I really, really enjoyed Egg Rock. Then I thought, "This map might be hard in way that's not as fun." But at first, I didn't know in what ways the map could be better. As the map went on, I noticed these:

I want checkpoints more frequently. I don't like replaying sections that I've already conquered.

I want more time to master the gimmicks. I felt like I had barely enough time to figure out what was going on before you tried to kill me with it. I didn't have time to get comfortable with it. I might have felt better about each challenge if I had already mastered the gimmick before it was time to man up and avenge all 30 lives (at least) that you had taken from me.

I don't like being submerged for the entire level. At the very least, it's easier to grab air by breaking the surface than by waiting for an air bubble. I also feel constantly sluggish underwater, which I want to break free of sometimes.

This is more of a mindset difference, so it's less tangible. I consider gimmicks to be interesting ways of traversing throughout a level. I think you use gimmicks as obstacles that keep a player from succeeding. The latter seems more frustrating to me.

The visuals were also a mess in software. You made a point to pick different textures for different elements, but the lighting and the colormap smushed it all together into one gelatinous (gelespious?) glob, especially at a distance. I played the map mostly in software. I went back into OGL to see how bad it was there, and the problems cleared up nicely. Which is odd, because you and Prime only posted screenshots in software. I'm surprised you didn't catch it yourself.

Sonic's Schoolhouse by Boinciel - 6/10
The answer should've been 6 for all three.

Frozen Hillside Zone Act 2 by Blade - 8/10
There's a lot of polish here. Good socs, lots of spritework, lots of texturework, and the gimmicks are really nice. I really, really liked the music too. The rising snow could've said hello for a few more times and it would've been welcome, though the second and third times would've needed a little variety.

When I loaded up the map, my first thought was, "Oh great, a Blade map." But as I was playing it, I did notice all the original things you put in this map that were new for it. I think what's going on is that you have one aesthetic style for outdoor maps. I think it would be really, really cool if you could change aesthetics for each zone. The indoor area was a nice aesthetic breather because it wasn't all outdoor-map-sy. You make a lot of organic maps.

Also, one last thing. You have a lot of gimmicks here, but I'd like to see them more integrated into the structure of the level. Most of the socwork didn't change the gameplay drastically from the norm. Your gameplay always feels neutral to me because the gimmicks don't change the gameplay enough from the norm.

Chemical Facility Zone Act 2 by CoatRack - 8/10
Everything here is really nice. Really well done.

I'd like to see the bouncy slime used a little bit more; it's really fun. The time challenge was too hard for me. Also, I don't really think you should expect most players to intuitively know the trick with the water physics near the end.

It still feels really standard, though. I wonder, what extra could you give it to add that little kick it needs?

Lightless Labyrinth Zone by ShadowHog - 8/10

I didn't like getting lost (which happened too much, especially in the lower route), and I didn't like dieing to the boss. Everything else was brilliant.
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