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Old 03-01-2012   #21
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Because it's not a straight port. He took the layout from another game and made an SRB2 stage. That rule was intended to prevent you from porting Doom maps (which has been done).
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Old 03-01-2012   #22
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Anyway, I've reviewed through all the levels, and now I'm willing to give out my votes.

Match Rotation

Pac Man Zone by EternallyAries Red X - 5/10
There's quite a lot to say about this little map, my good friend Aries. First of all, out of the other match maps, it had surprisingly good playability long with reuseability. You took the port very close at hand, and you did a good job on that! It feels retro, to say the least. However, once again, it a whole bunch of random monitors, which are not a good idea for match, it creates an imbalance. (The WRMs and SRMs are there for a reason.. :P) Secondly, theres simnply a lot.. of well, rings. Lots of weapons rings and normal rings. I even saw the rail card twice, so something's telling me there probably more than one of every card in there. It's an interesting design Aries, but the item placement is a little off. Keep trying aries!

Oiler Outpost Zone by Katmint - 2/10
Well, this map was relatively.. small, despite having a lot of paths to go. On the other hand, you did get the theme well, I liked how you planned out the theme. There's not a lot of details though, and the pitfall from the oil rivers was not expected at all. I thought it was going to be some oil fall with a pitfall at the end. There's no room for sonic in this level really. However, I have to admit you tried to make an effort with it. Maybe add a little more room and some more detail and it could actually have some ground :)

Generic Field Zone by csmgiw - 3/10
Well, this level felt really open for not much of use. There was a lot of unused space in this level, along with a very small trace of rings that only appears to be somewhat fluent in the upper area. And that upper area must be reached by a series of small springs, followed by jumps. By looking at that, any player could be perhaps bombed or railed by someone below or above by then. Especially since the rail is above that upper area on a tall tower. There's also a second rail panel on a ledge that only Tails and Knuckles can get to (I tried using the red spring with Sonic, didn't work) So now Knuckles and Tails have a rail card at their disposal. I couldn't find some of the cards, but I don't mark score down for missing cards, because I honestly think missing cards can be a map feature too. But other than that, it was mostly an under-detailed and flat meadow with nothing to see really. Try adding more detail to the maps and make use of space next time? :)

Techno Rush Zone by KO.T.E - 6/10
This map.. first of all, has a lot of jumping, probably too much in fact. It kinda makes it hard for players to aim and shoot players while. I also saw the massive use of squares in this level (Reminds me of my joke called Square Zone) I liked how it was designed overall, but it was mostly hard to play in and navigate. All that jumping kinda bummed out the flow of the level.

CTF Rotation

Jungle Ruins by Kuba11 - 6/10
The first thing I noticed was the insane amount of detail in such a small space. It was so much that I could barely understand the level, ending up falling into little holes as well as hitting obstacles. The obstacles in this level as well as all the detailed kind of obstructed my view, as well as obstructing the flow of the whole level in general. However though, it also did well fitting the theme of the level, as well as making good use of its design with things like lava falls and water falls, and all that sorts. I could imagine some players lagging to Notre Dame on this level though. It has a neat use of using the colormaps to portray the theme. I mean, it's a really nice level! It's just too clustered to make sense of it.

Rush Flower Zone by Spherallic & KO.T.E - 8/10
This is more of a CTF level. I looked around and saw a lush atmosphere that was inviting, as well as not too clustered or heavily detailed. So, I hopped in the game. It flowed very well too! The immense detail was not obstructive, but rather constructive. It had a lot of places to go, as well as plenty of playability to it. It leaves a lot of options open for the player to go, which really helps a CTF level that finds it hard to hold the flag due to space. I also found this map is very vertical and dynamic, something you don't see every day! It's also got a nice balance of rings ans weapons, I found myself getting a lot of ammo though. The only issues I found really was how I sometimes found it hard to navigate my way back. All the rooms looked similar, meanwhile I tried looking for pointers as to show me which way was the base. Unfortunately, I couldn't. But other than that, this is a spectacular CTF level, great job!

Single-Player Rotation

On a personal note, it was really hard to judge this OLDC for this division, both maps were stupendous!
Sapphire Coast Zone, Act 2 by Blade - 9/10
Not going to lie, this was a beauty of a level. It had a perfect balance of movement, as well as a pretty atmosphere, with a nice music to go along with it! I found my self bouncing all around the place and exploring every nook and cranny of this level. It had a lot of secrets in it as well as a sweet balance between the enemies, difficulty, and the level itself. I did find a bunch of those rope hang wheel walls, I don't mark maps down because of little errors like that. But it would be advised to do a search for that kind of stuff before submitting :) One part those, I kept getting kind of lost in, it was around this fence. I hopped back over the fence, thinking it was the way through, as a fence is seemingly an obstacle that you must pass, to find out I was back where I started. However, the enemies were very interesting (Even though I've seen them before) I also noticed, that taking that shortcut over the fence from the start pretty much skips most of the level, turning it into a stubby one. But overall, this level is tremendous, a lot of work went into it, and a lot of points you'll get for it!

Egg Mansion Zone by KO.T.E - 10/10
Please be proud... This is the only 10 someone's gotten out of me. I wanted to end my judging with a very high note, so I chose this level last. I want to express how amazing it is now. But before I do that, I just want to get the little con out of the way, which is in honesty, VERY minute. The only little problem I had was trying to figure out a puzzle in a room, where I had to use a spring to get up with. I never though something would be like that. But aside from that, the fact of wanting to be at the top kind of drive me to the springs, which I found amazing. The number of gimmicks in this level is astounding, probably a lot more fun to play than the actual SEGA games, for once. It has many, many tricky puzzles and gimmicks that are not too hard on the player, along with a massive array of custom textures and pictures. Eggman even taunting you at some mistakes as well as traps made me actually smile, for all the detail you put into this level was phenomenal. I even went to the piano hoping walking on it would play something. (Of course it didn't, but it was a silly thought :P) I loved the use of all the textures, as well as the overall design of the level. IT felt like a true to blue Egg Mansion. Oh yeah, I also found the custom ghost enemies to be very nifty, how they only appear when you get somewhat close to the,. Probably one of the most creative custom enemies I ever saw in a level. This level in itself is creative! I had too much fun playing this level. This is, by far, my favourite single-player/coop map of all time. I couldn't imagine any other level that could top this.
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Old 03-01-2012   #23
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Single Player:
Sapphire Coast Zone, Act 2 by Blade - 7/10
This level, like the first act, is very well made. Branching from the level's layout to the details. But, there are a few quirks in it I would like to point out. Most of the level has a great design, but there is this one canopy area with a sharp left turn that is easy to miss if you aren't careful. And the mushrooms are a bit annoying to get on, maybe make them a bit shorter? But all in all, this is a good level with a few quirks that need to be worked out.

Eggmansion Zone, Act 2 by KO.T.E - N/A
Well, after around 2 years in the works this level finally got finished. But the question is, was it worth the wait?

The concept of the level was to be unlike any other level in SRB2, or Chaos Domain for that fact. In the fact that the level was going to be only a gimmick feast, but when I gave out a demo to some others, I quickly found out that was a horrible idea and I should be shot for trying it. I proceeded to delete the whole level, besides the starting area so I could work with a clean slate. Keeping in mind I wanted the gimmicks to play a large roll in the level, I also tried to add in platforming to help keep a balance so it wouldn't be like the first version. But what you got here, was about 2 months of solid work.

Now, for the socced items. For the most part, I hadn't planned to do anything special or any pony related things. But thanks to me being stupid and staying up stupidly late, I threw in a pony just for laughs and showed it to some people in a IRC channel. When the saw it they couldn't quite tell what it was at first, but when they realized it they wanted me to make it do more. So I started to come up with a plan oh what it could do, for the most part I got it done for this contest. While there is still some unfinished stuff yet to do, I am glad to see that some of you found the last part of the secret without me telling you guys about it first.

Now for the ghosts, if you thought they was annoying now. You should have been in the test server when I first added them in, so many deaths was had thanks to them. The original plan for these guys was to act like the ghosts in Sandopolis Zone and float around and attempt to attack out, and killing them would only keep them away for a little bit. But there was on feature I didn't get working that I wanted to try out, having them clip through walls in a attempt to hunt you down. Although seen how annoying they can be now, it might be a good thing that DIDN'T work. But anyways, to make sure I could get them close to how Sandopolis' ghosts, I made sure that SRB2 had the right sound for when they died. And luckily it did have the sound, that way I wouldn't have to bloat the filesize even MORE than it already was, seeing that in a rush to get my stuff done I had forgotten to remove another sound effect that was ment to be used in the piano room.

So yeah, this level may be a love/hate one for the community. But I had no idea it would have received such high scores on the first day, I was close to not even entering this level into the contest because I was worried of how much of a range of opinions there could be.

Multiplayer:

Match:

Pacman by EternallyAries Red X - 5/10
Even though you used "?" mark boxes, this level still turned out to be fun. But the map as a whole is a bad idea, mazes just don't work well in SRB2. But if you have enough people this can be fun, since there will be more encounters leading to some insane firefights.

Oiler Outpost Zone by Katmint - 1/10
Let's see what we have here, cramped hallways with little room to jump. Random dead ins that lead you into a vat of oil, that will kill you if you fall in. And weapon ring ammo is hardly see, if at all. Not to mention the fact you hid one of the weapon rings in a hole that is almost impossible to see without dying at least once. All in all, I did not enjoy this level.

Generic Field Zone by csmgiw - 3/10
Well, this level played better than I thought it would have, but you did make some pretty nasty flaws. First off, only one weapon panel for each ring, not two. Second, don't clump the ammo right next to the weapon rings, makes it way to easy to horde all of the ammo and leaving other scampering around looking for some. Third, grass pegging, use it. It will help show where one floor ends and where the next one begins. And last but not least, add some cover for players, the map is wide open making the rail ring quite OP if someone knows how to use it. But other than that, it's a okay first level.

Techno Rush Zone by KO.T.E - Rush/Job
Rush Sea Zone, coming maybe soonish!

Capture the Flag:

Jungle Ruins by Kuba11 - 6/10
This level has great potential, but it has some nasty flaws that really hammer it down. First off is something I have been accused of, overly powered colormaps. Now, I love to use color maps to help the mood of the level, so I know why you did it. But this color map is waaaay to strong, I kept finding myself jumped by other players since I didn't see them coming thanks to it. If the color map was lighter then it might work out better, but as it is right now it is really killing the level. Second, you have too many small pillars sticking up everywhere, making escapes from the bases with the flag a real pain. Even though I love detail just as much as you, there is a point when you can add in too much detail, the pillars are a prime example. Third, You need to rework the bases, the flag area is waaaay too easy to camp. I can't count how many times a player has jumped out of one of the pillars or trees and shot me thus taking their flag back. Gets really annoying after awhile, a good way to fix this would be to make the flag be in a special little room made just for it, and not be in the huge room it is in now. But other than those flaws the level was quite nice, fix those things up and I'll be looking forward to playing this level again.

Rush Flower CTF by Spherallic & KO.T.E - Maybe Not/A Rush Job
Techno Rush CTF, most likely not coming soon!
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Old 03-01-2012   #24
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Ok Fawfulfan. I know the level sucks and all that. Like I said before I made the level really quick. HINT HINT by any chance?

Anyway I did notice I added a bit to much cards. After you mention it Kitoko. Maybe ill edit this level again sometime later or something.

And for all those who thinks about putting down the damn Pacman level and telling me to look at level designing 101. You better notice I did make the level really quick and plus that I made 10 times better maps then this type of level. Mostly my race maps or my Super Mario map that did not make it into this OLDC sadly.

So maybe think about what you say before you tell me my map is bad or shitty or something because I can indeed make better maps. just made this one within an a hour of mapping from the real game to this. Hinting this is just a port. Go look at the Pacman stage from the real game and open this map up from the DB editor and you see its the almost the same as the real in game map.

The real game is flat and only a maze and teleports from left to right. Just like my Pacman map.

So anyway the map is a great spamming map as I found out. =P
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Old 03-01-2012   #25
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Just because you made the map quickly doesn't excuse the map from being bad. In fact, making the map quickly likely contributed to exactly how bad it is. They are perfectly allowed to tell you just how rubbish it is and why. That's kinda the point of the OLDC.
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Old 03-01-2012   #26
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Okie dokie. My way to note is to give a note, and to write a review which contains what I liked and what I didn't, and also, the building design according to the level design 101, for the "serious and traditional maps". I hope my opinions can help to improve your design. I'm a TAILS player, so here Tails reviews, and I played the multiplayer levels alone.

SINGLE PLAYER
Spoiler:

Eggmansion Zone, Act 2 - KO.T.E - 9/10

Woah - what a wonderful work. You're much better than me for dark atmospheres. Also, thanks for giving me back the memories of Sandopolis Act 2, level which I never completed when I was younger, with these ghosts and these Sandopolis sounds. I don't like castle themed levels, but this one is a "mystical castle", which change everything hum -
I searched everything on this level to find ponies somewhere : I think I heard Pinkie's voice sometimes, and.. I found a kind of "crazy pony" inside a ghost (by killing it) in the last part of the level (you know, where there are invisible platforms.).
To come back to something more interesting, this level sure is creepy. And yes, the sunset colormap wasn't usefull, you're right. It could breaks the atmosphere. The new features like the textures or the ghosts are properly used, which means it makes the map more positive. The gameplay, linked with the creepy theme, is just incredible and lovely - and contains a good rate of difficulty. It was hard to fly with my fox because of these random ghosts, that's what I like. Also, a scary thing comes from the Eggman paintings. This is a traditionnal detail, but so wonderful for this theme. It's written in my design notebook.
Your note actually is 9,5, but I can't use half numbers. The only small bad thing is its size. I can finish it in about 2:40. But, it's really a small small problem, you know, a medium-size map with an amazing potential is much better than a 8:00 map with... 150 sectors. 150 platforms.
Great job here KO.T.E, I guess you'll never stop to be great.

EDIT : Oh, there's a secret boss ? I used SRB2DB to find the room. I like this boss. Bouncing rings aren't creepy however.
EDIT2 : This was based on Cupcakes ? - Oh..ok.

Viridity Woodland Zone, Act 1 - Metal Fighter - /10

This map isn't in the pack so... my apologies.

Sapphire Coast Zone, Act 2 - Blade - 7/10

Unlike the first act, this one is longer, smoother, and has more jungle. In my opinion. Well, you reduced the quantity of special things (new sprites), but if there's one thing that I dislike about the ennemies is the one with a spring on its back. I mean, I can quickly progress by running and bouncing on the spring. I'll never say that you're bad at SOCs, because it's so wrong, but I don't think these bouncing badniks are useful in this level, I mean they help to progress. The sectors textures fit, however, they're pretty.
Let's say that the thokers can fall into the water if they don't look at the main pass (difficulty - positive), but is this level supposed to have a "first level feeling", or an "extra level feeling" ? If it's a first level feeling, then badniks needs to be at least 20% simpler. These thokers can also use the springs of these ennemies to climb the platforms. You can keep the bee, it is hard, but it looks to the bees of Sonic 1, Sonic CD or the sonic fan games.
Some more things on my notes can be found on the Act 1's review. I don't feel having others important things to say, but I know you want to solve some problems which were in the 1st act. "Good level".



The music of your level, KO.T.E, looks to a remix of Sonic Heroes music, and yours, Blade, looks to the music of the first level of a sonic fan game. Both are pretty, can you give me their names, if you can read this - please ?


MATCH MAPS
Spoiler:

Pac Man Zone - EternallyAries Red X - 8/10

Yes, 8. Before killing me, please let me explain what I had behind the head. I agree that this map hasn't a lot of sectors, I won't say that it takes time to build, and I promise that this note isn't related to the maker. But, Aries, you was a genius by providing this idea. On my view.
His idea was to reproduce the level of pacman (there is only 1 level in the classic pacman, the one of the NES). So, of course, to maximise this old school theme, he musn't add some "recent" things (excepted the music, but well, we can't add a custom one), and for some weird and random reasons, and with a lot of luck, the pacman level has an amazing gameplay for fights. I'm absolutely positively completely super-duper sure that bloody fights can take place here. It's also possible to spend to offensive or defensive by hiding in the maze. Now, there's no confusion for me. Because in this level, you aren't supposed to know where you are. You are supposed to RUN into the maze, and having skills or using surprise attacks (especially with the rail) to kill your ennemies. This is the awesome gameplay I saw, it's a strategic building, as strategic as Meadow Match, for me. I'll now spend to the items : well, I have nothing to say about the weapons. I think there was a small problem for boxes and rings, however... it should be hard to place them by keeping a geometry logic. Rings are placed in all the paths, okie, and they're "lines of rings" to look more to multiplayer stages rings. Too many rings, but well... maybe the main idea of the rings was to place as many rings as "white balls" in pacman ? (At least, the begginers of fights won't be killed so easily)
I promise the idea is gorgeous anyway. We can never stop running here.
To make a level, we must build sectors, of course, but deeply, the thing which will possess the level is the idea, situated in the maker's heart.

Oiler Outpost Zone - Katmint - 6/10

This dark-desert-base-level is a little close and short, it's bad side come especially from its size, and also that... these impasses are dangerous. There's one in the base near to the scatter, one in the bouncing ring room, and one at the end of the canyon. This means the gameplay looks to a line : we can go at the end of the line, but to go at the other end, we must run along the line. A match must look to a kind of loop, because being in this situation (being chased by a player, toward the impass) is uncomfortable.
Otherwise, the oil leads to a death, but a fast one (it hasn't the "sand block effect"). I noticed that there was a hole of oil which doesn't kill... and this gave me an idea for you : hiding under the oil, and even make a secret path to go back to the base or to the canyon, from this oil hole, and this could transform your map into a loop. But well, I don't know the other people opinion. Let's skip.
The problem is that it's very close, and that canyons and factories aren't. Also, maybe you can add some "polluted area" effects, it's supposed to be a level with powerful oil factories, anyway ~
The atmosfear is pretty.

Generic Field Zone - csmgiw - 5/10
How wide, how wide... it's nostalgic for me, I don't know why.
Okie then, this wide area is divided into two fighting areas. The upper one, the lower one. These sectors are sectors built like "big stairs", pretty famous in the nature theme. I looked the map in SRB2DB, the map looks to Koopa's shell, the sectors are its scales. But that's not only what I noticed ! The sectors of the lower part aren't sectors which have a height which increases, no. The sectors have the same heights...but you used FOFs above ? I don't know why, increasing the sector's height is much easier.
Like a lot of mountain-themed levels, these walls are flat - and the mountain isn't flat. I know it's impossible to reproduce a mountain with all its rocks bumps on its side, but adding some FOF to give a "bump" impression, if you have the time about the quality of the decoration, is still good. Oh, also, my flying fox reporter noticed that the waterfall's root comes from nowhere. Looking the top of the waterfall makes the waterfall looks to a big water block.
The sectors number is quite low, so I'll spend to items : the rings are just randomly placed. You must draw lines of 3, 5, 10 rings if you want, but please, regroup them. You should also put more boxes in corners, and there are 2 rail pannels. You should remove the one who is the easier to take, because the rail is the best weapon in large areas like this one.

Techno Rush Zone - KO.T.E - 6/10

A basic rushed level, so... because it's not your real potentiel, I won't get deeply.
The sectors are correcly made between height/quantity etc...
Items are also placed, like always, in some interesting corners ;
This THZ themed level just needs ideas, challenges and originality to be transformed into one of your good works.


I'm sorry, I won't have time to note the CTF maps..

EDIT : Jazz Jackrabbit... I heard of him somewhere. Thanks Charybdizs.
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Old 03-01-2012   #27
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Sapphire Coast Zone, Act 2 by Blade - 8/10
Awesome in so many ways. The design is brilliant and it's visually one of the nicest looking maps I've ever seen in SRB2. Some of the gimmicks are really neat, like using the spring robots to get rings and take shortcuts. Overall, great work!


Eggmansion Zone, Act 2 by KO.T.E - 8/10
So many times I said to myself "oh that's cruel", but the good thing is that the interesting stage design and amount of secrets and kept me coming back for more.
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Old 03-01-2012   #28
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Just out of curiousity, isn't the Multiplayer pack supposed to have "mtf_" instead of "mf_"?
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Old 03-01-2012   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zipper View Post
Just out of curiousity, isn't the Multiplayer pack supposed to have "mtf_" instead of "mf_"?
Circuit was removed, so not anymore.

oh right, circuit is "r"
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Old 03-01-2012   #30
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t stands for Tag, not for Circuit.
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Old 03-01-2012   #31
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OK, I'll do the single player maps now, and I'll vote for the multiplayer maps later.

Single player:
Sapphire Coast Zone, Act 2 by Blade - 8/10
I really enjoyed playing through this level. The gimmicks were well executed, and the visuals are delightful, with tiny details everywhere. The custom enemies are also nice, especially the one with the spring, like the enemy in Sonic Chaos/Sonic Triple Trouble, as it could be used to reach secret areas with Sonic. I just felt it was a bit short. I also found several graphic glitches, such a missing texture, a texture that should not be seen and at least one pillar that suddenly transforms into sky, which doesn't look very nice when you fly there with Tails hoping to find some secret. Overall, nice level.

Eggmansion Zone, Act 2 by KO.T.E - 9/10
Nice concept, I don't remember any haunted mansion level in any Sonic game except for that one in Heroes. The environment really gives off that creepy feeling you're going for. It took me a while to understand that the things in the beginning of the level were trees, but that's probably just me. They do look creepy, though. I loved the gimmicks you used, like the mirror room and the fake walls. The pony also freaked me out on my second playthrough, as it spawned right in front of the screen (On my first playthrough, I barely noticed it, though. I only thought "What was that?").
The ghosts are a bit annoying, like in Sandopolis (slightly less annoying than in Sandopolis, though), as they keep spawning, making it hard to get through some parts. That does give the level some challenge, but it also annoys the player. I loved the paintings, the purely cosmetic and the ones that have some influence in gameplay. I'd recommend warning the player of certain hazards. On my first playthrough, I killed myself 3 times: I jumped into the chasm in the beginning, outside the mansion, I got a ring and jumped into the red water, only to find myself unable to get out, and I jumped off the level in the final area. If you warn players of that, or make it so the player can avoid dying after falling into the hazard (putting springs in the red water, for instance), you help the player feel like they weren't punished for exploring. Of course, you may also want to mess with the players, seeing some of the gimmicks you used and the level theme, in which case I have no problem if you leave these there.


Match:
Pacman by EternallyAries Red X - 1/10
I'll believe other users when they say you did a good job porting the map to SRB2, because I won't be able to see for myself, seeing as this map has zero height variation and I'm playing as Sonic. I believe you know everything I have to tell you, so I'll be short. Confusing, doesn't play well, bad monitor and weapon placement. Thanks for the joke, but I'd rather play real maps in this contest.

Oiler Outpost by Katmint - 3/10
Too small, and not too much diversity. It makes you feel cramped. I also don't like the textures you used. These inside walls are a bit ugly. Also, I dislike these oil death pits. Besides the fact we're used to oil behaving as quicksand or as a sector with lower traction, making us jump into them when we don't expect to die, they seem to be placed in the most perfect place to kill players. That slows down gameplay, as we have to dodge the pits as well as other players. Plus the music doesn't fit; the bulk of the level's metallic, not desert-themed. There's not enough desert for that.

Generic Field Zone by csmigw - 4/10
I think the layout might be good... but it needs more details. More scenery, whatever. To make it less Generic. Plus, the level looks ugly, and there's water coming from nowhere. Plus, Zipper was able to get off the map, so either there's no thok barrier, or there's a problem with it.
Techno Rush by KO.T.E. - 6/10
The best map in this contest's match division. It's still generic, and would need more work to be a good map. Maybe expanding it would help... As well as adding some more points of interest. Great work for a rush job... But let's have less of these, please.

Capture the Flag
I'll do these in an instant.

Last edited by JMS; 03-01-2012 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 03-01-2012   #32
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I'll be voting soon, but as of yet I haven't played Sapphire Coast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Internet Explorer
The music of your level, KO.T.E, looks to a remix of Sonic Heroes music, and yours, Blade, looks to the music of the first level of a sonic fan game. Both are pretty, can you give me their names, if you can read this - please ?
Since they're probably in bed right now, I'll answer this one myself.

Eggmansion's music was actually not a remix at all, but a song from an old PC game called Jazz Jackrabbit 2. The song is right here

As for Sapphire Coast's music, it was actually part of the Japanese Sonic CD soundtrack. Quartz Quadrant Good Future, actually.


On a different note, that'ssssss a very nice bosssss you have there, KOTE. ;~;

Last edited by Charybdizs; 03-01-2012 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 03-01-2012   #33
MascaraSnake
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Voting time! Only single player for now, maybe I'll play the MP maps later.

Scores for easy tallying:
Sapphire Coast Zone, Act 2 by Blade - 9/10
Eggmansion Zone, Act 2 - 6/10

Reviews:
Spoiler: Single Player

Sapphire Coast Zone, Act 2 by Blade - 9/10
I think I also gave the first act a 9, but in retrospect it's probably an 8. This one, however, is better. Every room has a purpose, the platforming is basic but a lot of fun, and generally messing around with the stage and looking for all those awesomely hidden items is incredibly entertaining. It's missing the mind-blowing gimmick that made FHZ1 so perfect, so I can't give it a 10, but other than that and a slight path imbalance I have absolutely no reservations. I won't go in-depth because I play-tested this extensively beforehand.

Eggmansion Zone, Act 2 - 6/10
28 fucking megabytes. You gotta be kidding me. That's what happens when you include not one but two custom tunes, one of which is ten minutes long because instead of having a loop point, it just repeats itself six times. Now on to the level itself. To me this is proof that people are willing to accept any gimmick as long as it's packaged in a visually appealing map. Maybe I'm just picky, but I didn't enjoy most of the supposedly awesome tricks in this level. And since the level was more or less a long string of one such gimmick after another, I'll just elaborate one by one:

The intangible moving platform that you have to "transform" is executed really badly. The intangible button seemed like a nice idea at first. Bearing the level theme in mind, it shouldn't come as a shock to the observant player that such a conveniently placed button is fake. My reaction upon discovering that I had fallen for the fake button was: "Oh, what a silly goose I am! Should have seen that coming. Now let's find the real button." This would have been a nice way to introduce the "things are not what they seem" theme of the level. There's just one problem: Things are what they seem. The button isn't fake. It's intangible, sure, but falling through it and into the spring pit transforms the platform anyway. This is utterly inconsequential and ruins the entire point of having a fake button in the first place. If you trick the player just to reveal that the trick was a trick in itself, you give him a "well, this was stupid" feeling. Which isn't what you want to be the player's first impression of a level, since this is the first gimmick he encounters after all.

Finding the exit behind faux-solid walls with conveniently placed arrows is a gimmick that just doesn't work (not to mention that a spring hidden inside a pillar of solid wood just doesn't make any sense physically). Either the exit is blindingly obvious (like in your case), in which case it's boring, or it's too hard to notice, in which case it's frustrating. This is why you should only use this gimmick for entering optional paths or for hiding secrets. You actually hid a few secrets that way, but even there you either went for blindingly obvious mismatching textures or completely invisible secret passages that nobody would ever figure out. Is it so hard to drop subtle hints, like the X on the floor before the monochrome SPZ room? Speaking of secrets, there were a few cool ones in your level, but (excluding the stuff hidden in monochrome SPZ) this level probably had less power-ups than SCZ2 despite being substantially longer. My idea of a mansion is a large, sprawling place with stuff hidden around every corner, so this kinda disappointed me. On the other hand, what was there was mostly well-hidden.

The lower path at the beginning is mostly rubbish. The gargoyle pushing is just a completely unnecessary, out-of-place and unimaginative DSZ ripoff. When I complained about this in an early beta, you told me that this was meant as an introduction for more complex gargoyle puzzles to come later in the map. Well, they never came. What came instead was a mirrored version of SPZ1 with a monochrome colormap. What's the point in that? How about more original material instead of filling the gaps with a previous map that has zero thematic relation? I wouldn't have objected as much if you had at least provided an interesting twist on the level, but no. I guess you went for an "illusion/bad dream" feeling by progressively lowering the light level and having ghosts appear, but if that was supposed to be scary, it wasn't. Apart from making no sense whatsoever in the context of a mansion level, this segment is also boring because SPZ1 isn't very good in the first place.

The left path at the second split is also mostly rubbish. Although the "bookcase door" gimmick itself is neat, I didn't like how you implemented it. Thanks to the way the room was set up, I spent a good deal of time running around the bookcases in circles, looking for the moving bookcase. It was obvious that it had to be somewhere, but the room threw so many things at me that it was hard to find. You should remove the stand-alone bookcases in the middle of the room so that it isn't as maze-like. Add a table or something instead. Then came the ERZ-textured invisible walls. Besides this gimmick being lame and totally obvious (all you have to do is "find" the hole in the barrier, which is not very challenging at all because the hole is in plain view), I also have to wonder what you were thinking when using those textures. They look absolutely out of place, completely unlike anything you would find in a dungeon of a spooky mansion. I did appreciate the pools of blood that added at least some challenge and the "hidden" shield that required at least a bare minimum of thinking to get to, but I'd still scrap the room if I were you. It's too obvious to be entertaining. The weird slow-motion crushers near the end of the other path baffled me. What is supposed to be the challenge here? Because the crushers are so slow, you can hop across them almost any time you want.

The only really good one of these "trick" gimmicks was the one with the mirrors, because it actually required you to think in order to progress, whereas all the other supposedly clever tricks boiled down to pretty much finding the exit. Unfortunately, the gimmick just disappeared after you had introduced it so delightfully with the mirrored floor, so it failed to reach its full potential. In the end, maces, chains, moving platforms and crumbling platforms provided most of the actual fun, despite the focus of the level lying on something entirely else. There's a problem if the "breather" rooms are more entertaining than what is supposed to be the main attraction. But of course, I'm grateful for interspersing all the slow-paced puzzle stuff (or rather, it would have been slow-paced if it hadn't been so obvious) with some delightful action sequences that force you to think fast. Rooms like these are where your real talent lies. You still haven't figured out to integrate moving platforms into the level architecture though. Inexplicably floating squares aren't very elegant.

Although the crushers and moving spikes in some of the corridors were certainly preferable to empty hallways, they felt tacked on in a way that the blue orb machines in CFZ certainly didn't. They are neither original nor is there much of a connection to the theme. You can have crushers, spiked or not, in almost any level. It's not like I didn't enjoy them, but I think it's worth noting that you would resort to such generic traps after excelling in the "hallway gimmicks" department in your last level.

I also have a few other nitpicks. First off, the ghosts are a good idea, but there's this one room with the swinging chain where they respawn in the most infuriating location ever: Behind your back while you're swinging on a chain and are unable to shake them off. Even though it created a neat timing challenge once I had figured out what was going on, it annoyed me to no end at first. They also make incredibly annoying sounds that repeat over and over, driving me insane. Then, the teleports. Although teleports at least aren't completely out of place in a mention, it's still obvious that their only reason for existence is your unwillingness to connect the paths properly. Seriously, every single one of the paths ends with a teleporter putting you back on track. If you have to do this, either disguise the teleports or give them a sense of purpose. ERZ does this with flashy visual effects. Maybe you can do something similar for your level, because a block that comes out of nowhere and teleports you is very disruptive.

The way you shoehorned Pinkie Pie into the map was immensely annoying. I don't have anything against pony references per se, but what I ask of references in general is that they're creative and fitting. Ponies for the sake of having ponies create the impression that you want to shove your fandom of the show in everybody's face whenever you can. Oh, and Pinkie spawning right in front of me so that I run into her is disruptive to say the least. And of course there's the hidden boss, which is a pretty good example of how not to SOC bosses. Randomly teleporting to unpredictable places and then shooting bullets at the player from there is frustratingly cheap, as is dodging rapid weapon ring attack while trying to approach the boss to make a hit. An offensively high number of hitpoints makes the fight tedious, especially since the attack pattern never changes.

As much as I value creativity, I ask that the result entertains me. As much as I like effective theming, it's not enough to cover up the alarming weakness of some of these gimmicks. I dislike about half of the level, while the other half consists mostly of the "normal" stuff. If it weren't for the fact that most of the bad gimmicks are inoffensive, this would get an even lower score. As it is, I still basically enjoyed the whole thing but it's a definite step down from Chemical Facility or even Stronghold Forest. Fast-paced action is your forte, not messing with the player.
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Old 03-01-2012   #34
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Match:
Pacman by EternallyAries Red X: 2/10
Oiler Outpost Zone by Katmint: 1/10
Generic Field Zone by csmgiw: 2/10
Techno Rush Zone by KO.T.E: 3/10

CTF:
Jungle Ruins by Kuba11: 2/10
Rush Flower CTF by Spherallic & KO.T.E: 3/10
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Old 03-01-2012   #35
Blade
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Eggmansion Zone, Act 2 - KOTE -7/10
-Mirror Room was the best gimmick in the stage.
-Like others have said, the teleporters felt tacked on.
-The fake switch near the start could have been done better.
-Good length.
-The secret was cool, but it needs work.
-Ghosts are too annoying.

I might do MP if I catch a netgame.
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Old 03-01-2012   #36
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I'd just like to point out that for match votes to count, you need to, well, play them in a MP mode. With other human beings. You may want to gloss over the MS, find a netgame, and re-evaluate your critiques. That way, your points will be averaged in at the end of this week, alongside the others. Just some friendly advice!

Last edited by Spazzo; 03-01-2012 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 03-01-2012   #37
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Just to add on to Spazzo's post since you didn't notice the text. I have bolded it for you.

"To vote, play a few games of each stage in a division in the intended gametype for judging, and give each map in the division a vote from 0 to 10, no decimals and with 5 as average. You can not vote on your own map, but if you vote on the rest of the stages in a division the lowest score on your map for that division will be dropped. For votes to count, the voter must vote on every map in a division (excluding their own entry if they have one). Votes where the voter obviously did not play the level in its intended gametype, or where the voter did not play the multiplayer maps with other real players will be discarded. Please be as unbiased as possible for the author or the look of the map. It's all about how good the map plays, nothing else. For reference, the scale is as follows:"

The whole point of the contest is to play the maps in the intended gametype with actual people. It wouldn't really be a contest if the multiplayer maps were played like single player. Now you know! :)
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Last edited by Sonict; 03-01-2012 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 03-01-2012   #38
Latius
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Scratch what I did say. I'm changing all of my votes to Abstain. That is, I'm not going to vote, seeing as the likelyhood of me playing vanilla SRB2 in MP with others are slim.
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Old 03-01-2012   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystic View Post
Because it's not a straight port. He took the layout from another game and made an SRB2 stage. That rule was intended to prevent you from porting Doom maps (which has been done).
I'm not entirely sure I see the distinction. Given the vast differences in gameplay between Doom and SRB2, the layout's about the only thing that'd remain intact from a port.
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Old 03-01-2012   #40
742mph
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Well, here go my votes.

Single Player

Sapphire Coast Zone Act 2 by Blade: 7/10

The visuals are excellent, and I like the custom enemies quite a lot, but the level itself lacks any real gimmicks besides the bouncy mushrooms. Also, it would be nice if the stage included several different but related environments to make it more interesting. Sections inside the lighthouse or completely underwater would've been quite fun.

Eggmansion Zone Act 2 by KO.T.E: 4/10

Another case of the gameplay not living up to the visual quality, but this one is much more extreme. Most of the things in this level that are actually a threat to you are extremely cheap, such as those fast-moving ghosts that pop out of nowhere and are very hard to see coming. Not only that, but this stage has few enjoyable gimmicks besides the mirror room, and unlike Sapphire Coast, which is clearly a first stage, it doesn't have an excuse. Also, are those teleporters really necessary? You get points for the secret and the few fun obstacles there are, though.
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