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Old 06-15-2008   #1
FuriousFox
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Default Official Level Design Contest: May/June

Welcome to the official level design contest topic. Please read the following if you're interested in entering the contest or are just curious as to what the rules and regulations are.

There are four divisions, match, capture the flag, circuit and single player. Here are the important parts of each type, for those who would like the specifics:

Match stages are arenas for players to fight. 32 deathmatch starts are necessary to randomize the spawning, but if the stage loads and runs okay, itís an acceptable entry for the match contest. You should also have a Player 1 Start to keep the level from crashing if loaded improperly.

Capture the Flag stages are arenas for two teams to battle it out. They must include a red team and blue team base with a flag, and should include 32 deathmatch and 16 red and blue team starts. There should also be a Player 1 Start to keep the level from crashing if loaded improperly. It is generally better to make the map symmetrical to be absolutely sure that it is fair for both teams.

Circuit stages are race tracks designed for Race mode. They should include a Circuit mode finish line and several Star Posts to ensure the stage runs properly. Please use the Star Post Activation sector type to make sure it's not possible to skip the Star Posts, and do not use enemies in Circuit mode. There should be a Player 1 Start at the starting point.

Single Player stages are designed to play in 1 player, and have to include a start and end, and obstacles in the way. Generally, itís a good idea to give the map support for Cooperative and Race mode, but itís not necessary.

The full rules of the contest are as follows:

1. All levels must work correctly in their selected mode. Support for other modes is suggested, but not required. Levels will be judged in Match, Capture the Flag, Circuit or Single Player, depending on the contest youíre entering.
2. The map may not have been publicly released before. In other words, if you have released the level on the Addons section or on the forums, you may not enter it. However, if itís unreleased, that is just as good as being completely new, and is a legal entry. Basically, don't fix up an old map and enter it, make something new.
3. The map has to be your own work. If you base it on another map, that's fine, but a straight port or slight modifications are against the rules.
NEW RULE 4. One submission per category per person. This means that you can only enter one map in each division.

For the match, circuit and capture the flag contest, there is another rule in place:

5. Custom textures, music, SOCs, and other lumps other than a header and the map itself are not allowed in the Match, Circuit and Capture the Flag contests. These levels are going to be combined into a single WAD file, so in the interest in getting the entries out on time, you have to be creative with what you have.

Submissions are to be sent to my e-mail at FuriousFox@gmail.com.

Submissions need to have "Contest Submission - May/June" as the subject line, and contain the name of the stage, your nickname, and the contest you are submitting the map to in the e-mail body. If you do not give me a nickname, your e-mail's given name and e-mail address will be used to attribute the file. For multiple maps in one e-mail, make sure to put the information for each map included. I prefer attachments, but links in the body of the e-mail are also alright provided they are to your own webspace. No SendSpace, Rapidshare, or other similar file hosts. Files hosted on such servers will not be included. Note that maps that are considered unplayable will be rejected.

The contest submissions period ends on July 1st, 2008 at 12:00 AM GMT. (June 30th, 2008 at 7:00 PM EST). Any submissions that are late will be possible to get in if you get them to me before the judging starts, but if youíre late, youíre taking a risk that you might have to wait for the next contest, so please get your file in on time.

Judging will consist of voting on the message board. Any member can vote, giving a number for each map from 0 to 10, zero being the most abysmal piece of crap ever, and ten being total perfection. You cannot vote on your own map. To encourage voting, if an entrant votes on everyone elseís map in the contest they are entered in, the lowest score on all of their entries will be dropped. (Example: If someone enters a single player map and votes on all the other single player maps, their lowest score is dropped.)

Judging will start the instant the files are uploaded, and continue until a week after they were uploaded. The exact time when voting will end will be shown when the files are uploaded. At that point, all votes will be averaged and the map with the highest average in each category will be declared the winner.

The section on the Addons section for showing contest winners is still under revision, but the winners will get special treatment on the website.

All entries are welcome, from beginners to advanced level designers. Even if you donít win, this is an excellent way to get feedback on your stage to help improve. Collaborations are allowed, and testing is encouraged strongly. There is no limit to the number of entries you can have, but I encourage you to limit yourself to 3-4 so each map can get the attention it deserves. Quality over quantity.
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Old 06-15-2008   #2
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Yes now I can enter my map!
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Old 06-15-2008   #3
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OK, why only one submission per category per person? Are you trying to heighten the quality of maps we get?
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Old 06-15-2008   #4
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Uh, the old contest sticky isn't archived yet.
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Old 06-15-2008   #5
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Well, at least this doesn't stop me from entering Elemental Mansion Zone Act 1. I've spent a decent amount of time on it. Several hours each day for a month and a half. This time, though, it's less linear, and it's a LOT less flat. I took JEV3's advice on removing non-linearity (having the level cross itself).

12357 vertices, 14083 linedefs, 26090 sidedefs, 1454 sectors, 3234 things.

The level of detail is definitely an improvement from Poison Prison Zone, but still not nearly as much as I'd want it to be. However, the framerate (as well as ZenNode) only allowed me to put so much detail, so, meh, whatever. But then again, I feel like I'm not good at judging visuals, so, I'm not exactly sure how good my map actually LOOKS.

Well, it's sent in now, after some eternal tweaking.

Oh, BZ4, gonna send in FFZ2? Hope it's not so utterly bland gameplay-wise like FFZ1. Cool gameplay gimmicks is what made NSZ1 better than NSZ2 and FFZ1, in my mind.
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Old 06-16-2008   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRB2WikiSonicMaster
OK, why only one submission per category per person? Are you trying to heighten the quality of maps we get?
Either that, or to possibly even the playing field for those who only entered ONE map in an attempt to win their category.
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Old 06-16-2008   #7
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One per catagory?
Well at least we have the topic now.
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Old 06-16-2008   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuja
Quote:
Originally Posted by SRB2WikiSonicMaster
OK, why only one submission per category per person? Are you trying to heighten the quality of maps we get?
Either that, or to possibly even the playing field for those who only entered ONE map in an attempt to win their category.
Um, entering only one map actually INCREASES your chances of winning, Kuja. Think about it.

EDIT: Added specs count to one of my above posts. Hey, it shows that I put effort. :D
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Old 06-16-2008   #9
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Thought about it...

You believe that people will likely favor a map more if only one map from one person is entered, correct?

Well, look at it this way. If Random Person A flooded a CTF division with lots of mediocre maps, and Random Person B entered just one map that came across as slightly better, can you honestly say that Random Person B has an increased chance of winning? Keep in mind that people can be opinionated about their voting, as we all have different tastes in level design.

EDIT:Actually, I don't even KNOW why. I'm just speculating, mind you.
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Old 06-16-2008   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuja
Thought about it...

You believe that people will likely favor a map more if only one map from one person is entered, correct?

Well, look at it this way. If Random Person A flooded a CTF division with lots of mediocre maps, and Random Person B entered just one map that came across as slightly better, can you honestly say that Random Person B has an increased chance of winning? Keep in mind that people can be opinionated about their voting, as we all have different tastes in level design.

EDIT:Actually, I don't even KNOW why. I'm just speculating, mind you.
They won't favor it BECAUSE of there being only one, but a large quantity from one user is usually going to result in a JanFeb07 or a NovDec07.
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Old 06-16-2008   #11
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I'll give you that. But it's not exactly a rule of thumb either, is it?
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Old 06-16-2008   #12
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Oh, snap! I'd better get to work on Limestone Lake!
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Old 06-16-2008   #13
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Trust me. You'll never see any levels from me for a while.

Pity. I've got too many ideas. I just don't have the time.
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Old 06-16-2008   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuriousFox
and do not use enemies in Circuit mode.
Wait a minute. Isn't that, like, common sense? Have we had any other Circuit entries besides Battle Woods Zone Act 1 and 2 that used enemies?

By the way, what's scary is the fact that both of them got a higher score than Caustic Fortress Zone. O_O

Quote:
Originally Posted by FuriousFox
It is generally better to make the [CTF] map symmetrical to be absolutely sure that it is fair for both teams.
Wait, isn't that ALSO common sense? The only time I've ever seen an asymmetrical CTF stage in a contest is Basilica Battleground Zone. I've never played it, but I'm pretty sure I'd not want to.
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Old 06-16-2008   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRB2WikiSonicMaster
Oh, BZ4, gonna send in FFZ2? Hope it's not so utterly bland gameplay-wise like FFZ1. Cool gameplay gimmicks is what made NSZ1 better than NSZ2 and FFZ1, in my mind.
Sorry, I'm keeping it in the extra 2-3 months in development because I believe in actual quality. In any case, I've practically lost hope in this community for telling me things that actually help, so I'm not rushing to finish it just because of the contest. :/
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Old 06-16-2008   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueZero4
Quote:
Originally Posted by SRB2WikiSonicMaster
Oh, BZ4, gonna send in FFZ2? Hope it's not so utterly bland gameplay-wise like FFZ1. Cool gameplay gimmicks is what made NSZ1 better than NSZ2 and FFZ1, in my mind.
Sorry, I'm keeping it in the extra 2-3 months in development because I believe in actual quality. In any case, I've practically lost hope in this community for telling me things that actually help, so I'm not rushing to finish it just because of the contest. :/
K, I'll wait, then. It's a good idea to spend more time on your zone. However, you imply that levels have to have four to five months of effort to actually be decent. This has been proven false several times:

Aero Shrine Zone Act 1 It really has quite the replayability, surprisingly.
Gelespious Mountain Zone It's a lot more fun when you start exploring. There's one anti-Sonic area I found, but it's not really THAT hard.
Nuclear Sunset Zone Act 1 I'm pretty sure you didn't spend four to five months on this.
Los Gehts Zone Rushed, but fun. Still shouldn't have been rushed, though.

As for ignoring everyone, maybe you shouldn't. At least listen to Mystic, if nothing else. I now look at FFZ1 and think, "Why did people think it was good? Why did I think it was good?" Because, instead of actually fixing the root of the problem, which was extremely dull and confusing gameplay, you filled it with detail. And the confusing gameplay...kills replayability.
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Old 06-16-2008   #17
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Not all of those months on FFZ1 were spent making the level. Quite a bit was just not working on it when I didn't have any ideas. It's not that I'm neglecting it, I'm just not rushing it.

Also, screw gameplay. I honestly just think levels should be enjoyable. And if you're not enjoying FFZ1, your loss.
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Old 06-16-2008   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueZero4
Also, screw gameplay. I honestly just think levels should be enjoyable. And if you're not enjoying FFZ1, your loss.
http://ssntails.sepwich.com/mb/viewtopic.php?t=8321

*cough*

FFZ1 is majorly flawed in the complete lack of direction given to the player. There are all these areas to explore with no flow, and frequently, even when the player does explore the area they find nothing hidden for their effort. It would work great as some kind of Zelda dungeon or other non-linear game style, but it doesn't really work well in Sonic.

Your statement reeks of "if you don't like it, don't download it", and is detrimental to both you and the community at large.
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Old 06-16-2008   #19
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So, let's put that into a different light:

I don't like Mystic Realm. Despite the large amount of content, I don't like the difficulty and the sheer reek of making levels to fill up the seven zones. If I enjoyed Mystic Realm, I assure you I would be enjoying SRB2 more than I am now. It is truly my loss.

As far as FFZ1, I acknowledge those problems exist. I'm learning from them and I'm going to make my future levels differently. However, I'm not going to change FFZ1 until I feel like it, due to the massive amount of stuff I'd have to change.
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Old 06-16-2008   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueZero4
So, let's put that into a different light:

I don't like Mystic Realm. Despite the large amount of content, I don't like the difficulty and the sheer reek of making levels to fill up the seven zones. If I enjoyed Mystic Realm, I assure you I would be enjoying SRB2 more than I am now. It is truly my loss.

As far as FFZ1, I acknowledge those problems exist. I'm learning from them and I'm going to make my future levels differently. However, I'm not going to change FFZ1 until I feel like it, due to the massive amount of stuff I'd have to change.
There is nothing wrong with the whole fill-up-the-seven-zones thing. It means he was basically creating a new Sonic game. Difficulty was definitely the idea behind the mod, so it wasn't a whole let's-create-it-out-of-thin-air thing. He knew some would like MR, and that some would not.

You said that you weren't going to change FFZ1 a while ago, but if you want to now, go ahead! :D Oh, let me tell you what was really making it confusing, and I SO wish I had said this before: springs allowing you to go backwards in the level. They suggest that you should go forward. Fix that and FFZ1 would get better by quite a bit. Then, you should probably put some interesting gameplay gimmicks. How could it not help? :D

And the presence of the arrows from NSZ1 and NSZ2 was a good idea, and should have been in FFZ1. They didn't look out of place in the slightest. In FFZ1 (and FFZ2), how about making a flowery arrow wall texture or something? Adds more custom content! Of course, I'll leave it up to you how you want to make such a texture, I am just not that great at making my levels look good. Then again, ZenNode and lag prevented me from putting a lot of detail in EMZ1. Framerate is more important than detail. -_-
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