January/February 2015 Voting

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Welcome to the January/February 2015 SRB2 Official Level Design Contest voting topic!

To vote, play a few games of each stage in a division and create a list of all the maps in the division, arranging them from best to worst with no ties. If you are voting on a division that includes your own entry, you should list your own map as the best regardless of your opinion on the quality of your own map. Although it's not required for votes to count, it's very helpful to make comments about what you liked and didn't like about the map, so the author can improve for future attempts. Please separate your comments from your votes, though, to make it easier for us to tally the scores at the end.

Voting will end March 15, 2015 at 7 PM local time in the Eastern time zone of the United States. Like the entry deadline, this counts the United States's daylight savings time between March and November. Votes submitted after this time will not be counted in the tally, so if you want to be counted, don't vote at the last minute.

After the voting period ends, the votes will be tallied. For each vote, the map they ranked first gets n-1 points, second place gets n-2 points, third gets n-3, all the way down to n-n (zero) points for last, where n is the number of maps in the division. Each map's points are added together to create that map's final score, and the map with the highest score wins the division. Should there be a tie, the votes are calculated again with only the tied maps included. If this still fails to break the tie, the tie stands and both maps are winners.

The entries are as follows:

Single Player
Shaped Mountainside by Kitoko Disqualified for not loading on new game
Quickman 2 by Zipper
Sapphire Summit Zone Act 1 by Savordez
Castle Rush Zone by Knux576

Forest Isle Zone by That2rb2DUDE

Capture the Flag
Flipside Station Zone by RedEnchilada
Thunder Tower Zone by Zipper

As before, "reserved" posts will be infracted as spam.


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Prime 2.0

srb2win.exe -file oldc15-1\scr_sapphiresummit1.wad
srb2win.exe -file oldc15-1\s_castlerush.wad
srb2win.exe -file oldc15-1\s_quickman2.wad
Stick all SP entries in a folder named "oldc15-1" and put the above text into a .txt file and then rename it to .bat, and you can run it to load SRB2 with the first file on the list, followed by re-loading SRB2 with the next one as soon as you close. Change "srb2win.exe" to "srb2dd.exe" if you wish to use the directdraw version, and add -opengl to each line to use openGL, etc.
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Quickman 2 > Castle Rush > Sapphire Summit > Shaped Mountainside (don't care if its disqualified still gotta tell kitoko whats wrong with it)

bad hastily written reviews (To be edited later):
Quickman 2: 9/10
Most fun I've had with a mod since quickman 1, but 1.Walking speed is too slow and 2. Touhou is for weebs

Castle Rush: 6.5/10
I enjoyed it, but it's too cramped, also in the tree with the staircase, I thought it was a secret area, but it's what another path leads to. Maybe make that more obvious.

Sapphire Summit:6/10
I liked it but it was too short, also the end sign location isn't obvious enough.

Shaped Mountainside: 4/10
I liked the texture choices but it has LOTS of problems, ones that come to mind: My friend pointed out there are WAY too many point monitors. The levels layout is confusing, Arid Canyon works as a tall level because they always made it clear where you're supposed to be going. Once, I ended up looping back around near the start because I had no idea where to go. Also there's metal sonic at the start for some reason. My friend thinks the music doesn't fit as well.

---------- Post added at 10:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:55 PM ----------

Uhhh, you mislabeled the ctf-match packs as 2014.
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My work is never done yet
Quickman 2 > Sapphire Summit 1 > Castle Rush

Quickman 2 by Zipper: 8/10

An impressive demonstration of the potential of SRB2's engine to emulate other game genres (moreso than Quickman 1 was, anyway). The controls are much more precise this time, and the game's general feel is quite reminiscent of actual 2D platformers. In fact, if I saw gameplay footage of this without knowing what it was, I'd probably be more inclined to identify it as a simple Game Maker platformer than a SRB2 mod. I also appreciate that you gave us infinite lives this time around, although the removal of mid-level checkpoints is frustrating until you've memorized the level well enough to get through it in one try.

There are a few technical issues, although I suppose that's inevitable given that this is a 2D sidescroller running on an engine originally intended for a FPS. Bat Bash sometimes fails to activate in situations involving getting hit/mercy invulnerability, and Yin-Yang and enemy death explosions are liable to get stuck in walls and jarringly teleport up and out of them. The sprites of characters and terrain also shift slightly relative to their hitboxes depending on their vertical position. This problem could be mostly taken care of by having solid surfaces drawn like they actually are in 3D, if at the expense of reminding us that this is SRB2.

Sapphire Summit Zone Act 1 by Savordez: 7/10

A nice, simple platforming level with plenty of exploration and alternate paths and decent use of the rope-hang and waterslide gimmicks. The layout is so open-ended that it gets a bit confusing at times, however - maybe shift the positions of the rings so they form more player-guiding trails? Hiding the End Level Sign among those rock pillars was a nice touch aesthetically, but I actually wound up missing it after exiting the waterslide path and going back down one of the other paths in search of it, so making its location more obvious would be nice.

Castle Rush Zone by Knux576: 5/10

Again, it's mostly simple platforming, but with a few crushers and spring chains thrown in every now and then. (Speaking of the crushers, it's odd how they don't play sounds when they slam against the floor like all of the other crushers do. Fixing that shouldn't be too hard, though.) The indoor castle sections can get too cramped for comfort with their low ceilings and narrow platforms, especially that little staircase-thing about a third of the way through. They also don't offer as much in terms of exploration as the outside areas, which is disappointing. The giant death pit right before the castle entrance is rather jarring visually, but not much of a hazard given how easy it is to jump over. I would suggest replacing it with a shallow moat of slime.
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The Crime Slime
Sonic Team Junior
Kart Krew™️
Quickerman > Sapphire Summit > Castle Rush > [REDACTED]

Will likely write brief reviews for these/adjust placements once I beat Quickman: the Squeakquel.


Neighborhood Memer
Single Player
Castle Rush Zone by Knux576
Quickman 2 by Zipper
Sapphire Summit Zone 1 by Savordez

Castle Rush Zone by Knux576
Most of this level's about 1.5 - 2 years old. I just found it a few days ago, added a proper ending and submitted it. I'm quite a lot better at mapping now, but I could still use the criticism. I recommend trying both paths, as they're both very different.

Quickman 2 by Zipper - 8/10
Quite a nice level. I love the lua script and the boss is awesome. My only complaints are that the graphics break at higher resolutions and the level design is a flawed in a few places. Other than that, great level!

Sapphire Summit Zone 1 by Savordez - 7/10
The music's nice, the visuals are nice, and overall this level's good fun. It's a bit on the short side, but that's not much of a problem.

Capture the Flag
Thunder Tower Zone by RedEnchilada
Flipside Station Zone by Zipper
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Absolute territory where
Kart Krew™️
Quickman2 > Sapphire Summit1 > Castle Rush

Quickman2, by Zipper

Alright so I firstly thought I was gonna play Megaman again but... :3
I really liked how you made the level feel like if that was really a 2D platformer (No 3D depth). Visuals were basically awesome. My only complaint is the fact that the level design is A BIT repetitive sometimes, and also that I lost most of my lives because of the enemy knockback, but that's just because I suck I guess :P
Even tough I have a question, was I playing an SRB2 mod or a hacked exe hidden in the wad that tried to act like SRB2? =P

Sapphire Summit1, by Savordez

"Very nice, very nice indeed". The level design was really good and it had really nice visuals (the end sign for instance :P)
My only complaint about it would maybe be the fact that the Checkpoints are broken (The second one was already activated when I came to it.). Other than that, there's nothing much to say actually. Keep up that good work =)

Castle Rush, by Knux576

I liked this level. My only complaints would be that it is a bit short and that the name didn't really fit the level. I thought this level was gonna be a kind of "mach speed" thing. There's also the fact that the level is a bit cramped. Talking about cramped levels, ACZ burds are a really bad idea in there, I mean they are really fast and they can rape you whenever they want if you don't see it coming.

Shaped Mountainside, by Kitoko

While this was sure disqualified, I still want to make a review of it:
The level design was pretty good, but sometimes confusing. I din't really know where to go around that section after the first cave.
Talking of that cave, please don't take exemple over MysticRealm's enemy placement. The cave was a total rape, between those turrets and all those other robots. That was pretty nice on the other sides.

...Match coming later.


Quickman 2 > Sapphire Summit 1 > Castle Rush (> Shaped Mountainside)

Quickman 2
Well, going into this I wasn't sure what to expect, as I absolutely hated the last one because the level design was rubbish. I was pleasantly surprised as you've fixed most of the issues that plagued the last attempt while improving on the controls in basically every way. The moment the Mega Man scrolling triggered I knew something special was going on here, as the implementation was just so much better than before. When I saw Freudia you also totally sold me on the boss right from the start, as I absolutely loved Rosenkreuzstilette, to the point of even having a physical disk of Freudenstachel =P

That's not to say it's without its flaws. In particular, the area with the enemies on little platforms above a pit desperately needs a checkpoint before it, as I died several times there and it's an extremely long slog back to that point from the very start, which almost caused me to give up on the map entirely. The water section has some serious rendering problems that make it both look bad and made me really confused about what was going on until I landed and jumped and realized it was supposed to be water. As I said in IRC, the fact that it's Mega Man made me not realize that I even had the weapons until after I had beaten it, since I incorrectly assumed I had to beat a boss to obtain a weapon, but I'd chalk that up to human error, and the stage plays fine even without knowing you have other weapons at your disposal.

Sapphire Summit 1
This is the clear winner of the "Actually plays like SRB2" contest here, but it has some major issues. There is way too much detail in the floor, with tons of little gaps in the floor and sections with tons of different floor heights for no reason, particularly underwater. If there's not supposed to be platforming in an area, I should be able to just run from one side of the platform to the other. Don't make me constantly have to jump over "scenery" that just gets in the way. Your level gimmicks are rather badly implemented. You introduce the rope pulleys but don't do much of anything with them, which is probably for the best as the rooms you use them in have rock textures that have the same colors as the ropes, making them hard to see. You also have a useless waterslide that uses a different kind of current from the water right next to it. If you're going to have water with a current, please be consistent in which mechanics it uses. Don't use the basic shield monitor unless it's the ONLY type of shield you're using in the stage. Finally, the end of the stage is incredibly abrupt and placed in a hidden spot in the middle of the room, which is an incredibly bad idea. You should always place the end of the stage in a clearly visible location with solid ground and no way to walk around the end level sign.

I know that's a lot of criticism to take in, but I did legitimately enjoy this stage despite the flaws. The stage has a nice amount of reward for exploration, with some fun secrets like the Tails emblem area and the 1-Up and emblem you have to jump over water with a reverse current to reach. The whole thing just needs a coat of polish and some better usage of the gimmicks you chose to put in.

Castle Rush
I know this is dated, but man is it obvious just from playing it. This level reminds me very strongly of the maps that came out right when 2.0 was released, where players suddenly felt like they had to use all the shiny new features but the stages still played exactly like 1.X. The result was a ton of stages that just used a hodgepodge of every enemy, texture, and miscellaneous thing in the game. You've got the old 2.0.X slime, basically every texture ever to grace CEZ, and a rainbow of rock textures that would be right at home as a Christmas decoration. I wouldn't be surprised if you use literally every type of enemy in the game. Why are there multiple exits, too?

This map is in desperate need of some focus. Select some enemies, textures, and concepts to build around, and build the stage around them instead of just throwing in everything and the kitchen sink. Create some gimmicks and use them to provide some level variety. Remove anything that doesn't fit with the design.

Shaped Mountainside
Disqualification aside, this map is quite bad. The main problem is that the entire stage is just filled with useless crap everywhere. Absolutely every platform has so much useless scenery that the small bumps in the ground make just walking around a chore and there's so much visual clutter you can't even see. Never mind killing the framerate completely. Every corner is filled with every type of monitor including the ones that should not be used, such as the basic shield and score monitors. The stage is so full of extra useless shit that it drowns out everything else, just leaving the entire stage to be a giant mess of junk with no rhyme or reason to it. Even worse, the core stage underneath all that garbage is a bland stage with no gimmicks at all, or even any real secrets or stuff to do as far as I can tell.

The main thing I take away from this is that you seem to believe more is always better. More textures. More detail work. More scenery things. More monitors. More enemies. More platforming. The reality is that the opposite is more often the truth. You want to do more with less. Make a sweeping vista with some scenery, but not so much so that you can't see what's important and where to go. Place some items for the player to find, but not so many that they lose all meaning and purpose. Get the player to do some platforming, but not fifteen jumps in a row with no variety. There is such a thing as overdoing it, and this map is the poster child for it.
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Maybe out of retirement?
Quickman 2 > Sapphire Summit > Castle Rush (> Shaped Mountainside)

Is it 2009 again? Did I miss something? Discounting Quickman, the only indication that this is a 2.1 contest are the pity shields and score monitors in Shaped Mountainside (and just to finally make it clear that this is not a good idea, I added a section to Level Design 101). It's not like I want everyone to do crazy Lua shenanigans and total conversions (I hate that I have to place Quickman first), but a little creativity would be nice. I get that aside from Zipper, you guys are all fairly new to level designing, and I can't fault you for starting out small, but now that you did the obligatory "1.09.4 map", I wanna see what else you can do.

I'm still debating whether I should do reviews this time. Mystic pretty much said everything I have to say.

Monster Iestyn

Sonic Team Junior
Kart Krew™️
犬夜叉;765915 said:
One stage in vanilla SRB2 violates this rule. Can you figure out which? ;)

Yeah, though that one stage is only available through Record Attacking menus anyway. =V


Qiuckman 2 > Sapphire Summit > Castle Rush

obvious choice is obvious

Offtopic question but little on topic:Can we make a Server on OLDC master server category with old OLDC wads?

Llitechiel ꙮ

Oh, What a Flopnik!
Single Player only:

Quickman 2 - Zipper {3/3}
Sapphire Summit Act 1 - Savordez {2/3}
Castle Rush - Knux576 {1/3}
(Shaped Mountainside - Kitoko {0/3})

Everyone before said the general gist of what I wanted to say, so probably no reviews from me this time.
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Sapphire Summit > More Quickman > Castle Rush

Sapphire Summit:
As said before, the ending isn't that well done and the stage is pretty short, the rope hangs could use some work too, but aside from that, it's a decent level. I had fun playing it for sure. Just work on the enemy selection and make a bit more clear which path to go, I like the amount of secrets but it got confusing sometimes.

Quickman 2:
I really don't know anything about Touhou (so reading Mystic's post with strange German words amused me) but I can see the connection to the first Quickman. I see you improved some of the mechanics.
I liked having checkpoints too, I actually made it through the level. Well, until I got to the boss...
The level design was a bit rough and not that interesting, but the boss, although I couldn't beat her, was really well done.

Castle Rush:
Not that special and with some design issues (multiple exits, a bit boring design). Since this is an old project I think it's okay.
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