September/October 2014 Voting

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Welcome to the September/October 2014 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 November 15, 2014 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
Ring Valley Zone by RedEnchilada
Mud Mines Zone 1 by "Lat'" and Ors
Haunted Heights Zone by EvilEnternity3000

Dark Mansion Zone by BlasterGuy
Moonlit Island by Spherallic
Burning Oak by Brawl

Capture the Flag
Industrial Starlight Zone by BlasterGuy
Evilflower Zone by Zipper, SpiritCrusher, Badz, Spherallic, RedEnchilada and r543
Eggflagsion by CoatRack

All divisions are now up and voting has now begun. As before, "reserved" posts will be infracted as spam.


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Prime 2.0

As always, the content of the load-each-map bat:
srb2win.exe -file oldc14-3\sc_ringvalley.wad
srb2win.exe -file oldc14-3\scr_hauntedheights.wad
srb2win.exe -file oldc14-3\scr_mudmines1.wad -opengl
Move the SP maps into a folder named oldc14-3, and then copy the text above into a txt file in SRB2's folder before changing the extension from .txt to .bat. Running this will automate the loading of each wad, with only one being added at a time, with the next loading up after you close SRB2. Mudmines is meant to be played in openGL, but you can remove " -opengl" from that line if you prefer not to use that renderer for that map.
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Congratulations to Zipper, RedEnchilada, Spherallic, SpiritCrusher, Badz, Spherallic and RedEnchilada.


Single Player

Haunted Heights > Ring Valley > Mud Mines

Haunted Heights
okay you win now please never enter the oldc again

Ring Valley
Never played DK64 before, still enjoyed it though. There were a lot of split paths and areas to explore.....when this was back in beta. Then I subconciously created an optimal path and made the gameplay completely linear for myself :(

The boss was hilarious but a little unpredictable, I honestly don't know how long the Deton attack lasts, or how you can CONSISTENTLY knock him into the ball in his pinch phase, or HELL, I don't even know which way the ball is going to swing! Don't take these as negativities though, they're neutral at worst.

Mud Mines

I'm going to get murdered for this but, I LIKE the level up mechanic, it subtly encourages you to do more of what you should already be doing and rewards you for it. Then again said rewards are....a little controversial on how they affect gameplay so I can understand the hate.

The level design itself was by no means awful, but some parts really brought it down. Generally speaking, you tried to cram in too many level themes in there: cave, factory, greenery, a little bit of mountain, and that just stopped me from understanding what the level is supposed to BE. Not only that, but since you focused on so many themes most of the gimmicks felt half hearted and underutilized. For example, the mud that slows you down did nothing more than be an annoyance at parts and do NOTHING of significance at other places. The red floor was uuuuuuuuugh but enough about that. You added two button hunts in the most unfitting places, though I guess button hunts are regarded as unfitting EVERYWHERE nowadays.

Platforming segments, for what they're worth, while simple, felt decent and not flat at all, the mud path in the split path had some damn creative jumping patterns in it, and I'd like more of it as long as it wasn't overly confusing.

All in all, this level is far from the best but I wouldn't go out of my way to call it bad, because it isn't. I'd give an "average" to it. I'm sure your future levels can get better.

Moonlit Island > Dark Mansion > Burning hello, welcome to the world of pokemon!

Moonlit Island

Do I need to say anything? It's pretty, it plays good enough (you murdered my FPS though) and it's better than the other maps. The only problem is the map is slightly Sonic-unfriendly, at least when there's 200+ ping on the line.

Dark Mansion

I get that you tried to make this feel like a real mansion, but realism doesn't account to playability. This thing is flatter than a pancake. There are no good covers so your best bet is to thok madly. The side paths just lead to some bonuses, after getting them you need to go back the way you came from, you know, the way that your chaser is ALSO going to use! That discourages actually daring to go for bonuses, making the map more linear than it already is.

the painting secret was lol though, 2 strong random monitors

Burning Oak

actual thought process when playing this


Evilflower > Eggflagsion > Industrial Starlight


If the kitchen path actually went somewhere, I didn't notice it. Hell it took me 7 minutes to FIND the kitchen path itself. The design there is a mess, hard to see, harder to navigate. Other than that, the flag could use to be a little more defendable, but I guess the ring boxes already give more than enough ammunition for a team to defend attackers. The mid area felt a bit flat, table not withstanding. Maybe a few bookcases (in the dining room, for some reason) or at least a source of better elevation would've been nice.

Industrial Starlight
Did you really just waste all your energy making a pretty looking base then go "OH GOD I FORGOT TO PUT IN THE MIDDLE PART"? Because this is exactly what it looks like. The bases are annoying with lasers and crushers everywhere trying to make your life miserable, my OWN safe haven is trying to kill me. The middle area is obnoxiously bland, and the weapon distribution was poor, although that's the fault of not HAVING a mid area where you can put rings in.

So yeah, un-flatten whatever you've done, make bases actually accessible to their own team, and throw some actual content in there and you'll be off to a better start.
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Monster Iestyn

Sonic Team Junior
Kart Krew™️
Single Player:

Haunted Heights Zone
Ring Valley Zone
Mud Mines Zone 1


ms reflec beat stan
Single Player
Ring Valley Zone by RedEnchilada
Haunted Heights Zone by EvilEnternity3000
Mud Mines Zone 1 by "Lat'" and Ors

Ring Valley Zone by RedEnchilada - banana
My map! It's heavily inspired by DK64, including all of the custom graphics, so I fully expect divided opinions. I mostly made the map as aesthetics practice, because I got tired of "the map looks awful, but it's Red so that's expected"; it's quite obvious that the rest of the level came second to that. There are a bunch of little hidden alcoves, containing everything from some rings to a shield to an emblem in each! Please nitpick every little aesthetic detail when you review my map, because I really want to improve in that department.

Mud Mines Zone 1 by "Lat'" and Ors - C+
If you're going to have a level-up script, do something more interesting than increasing a few stats. Heck, you could give Sonic a homing attack at its highest level and use that for some secret paths, as an example! That could be really cool.

As for the level itself, I thought there were a lot of good ideas here, and some of them were fairly well-executed. Some, on the other hand... weren't. The biggest offender is the left path with the bouncy room, where you have to bounce through a ridiculously difficult series of bouncers over a death pit, in lighting that's impossible to see anything in when using the software renderer. (I'm aware you can't run software and thus design in OGL, but get a playtester who can use software. It'll help a lot in the long run.) This turns out to be an unfun exercise in frustration. The right path is a lot better, but you could've used some texture variation, possibly giving the parts of the ceiling that could crush you a different, more ominous-looking flat? Other than that I did like the room quite a bit. The room before that section was a tad monotonous but nothing was really wrong with it.

The outside room after this was a big disappointment to me, because it looked like it was going to be an expansive room with multiple exits for more branching paths. You did expansive well enough, but the single exit was kind of a letdown after that. I don't mind the button hunt, but give the rest of that room a purpose, possibly by adding another path split here.

The factory area is probably the strongest part of the level, particularly visually. I enjoyed the electric floors lighting up an otherwise dark (but not unplayably so) room as an effect, and the visuals otherwise were quite nice. The gameplay was also quite interesting, with the layered platforming, and nothing really felt cheap or obtuse. I will say the very end of the map was silly, though; a button opens a door, but then the proper path is to go the other way into darkness that somehow has an end sign in it. Darkness is the worst when a level suddenly ends within it.

Overall, I think some of the biggest problems are that the gimmicks don't get fleshed out well enough. You have slowdown mud, but you do nothing with it outside of the crushing room and it feels like a wasted opportunity. Bouncers get very little use; an optional shortcut through a room followed by an exceedingly difficult path, then nothing. The factory segment was cool, but was over too soon. Try to work on making the level a cohesive whole, instead of a series of rigidly-defined sections of gimmick. Hell, nothing says you can't have mud in the factory!

Also, that sky floor near the start irritated me immensely.

Haunted Heights Zone by EvilEnternity3000 - A+
Far and away the knockout winner of the contest. I'm so glad you finished in time. I wasn't particularly a fan of how the dark the timed platform rooms were, and how easy they were to cheese as anyone but Sonic, and the level could have stood to be a bit more nonlinear (there are almost no alternate paths), but otherwise perfect. Yes. You deserve to be a dev more than I do.

Moonlit Island by Spherallic
Dark Mansion Zone by BlasterGuy
Burning Oak by Brawl

Dark Mansion Zone by BlasterGuy - D
The map is about four times as big horizontally as it should be, and the layout is fairly confusing even without factoring in the low light levels in segments of the map. The long dead-end corridor is also a horrible trap, and the texturing makes no sense. That said, at least you didn't place a non-random nuke this time, so it's not awful! Just size down and/or brighten a lot of your rooms and rethink some of the connections and this map could actually be decent.

Moonlit Island by Spherallic - A-
It's unfortunate that anything open and remotely pretty slows to a crawl in SRB2, because this map is gorgeous and dropping to 13FPS when I look across the island is an absolute shame. I'm pretty sure some jumps like the ones to the Rail would be difficult in control lag, but the rest of the map is fairly simple to navigate and flows well. I appreciate all of the little visual details that I'd never even dream of putting into any of my maps, and although the map is surrounded by a giant pit, it never feels cheap because the only areas where you're really in danger of getting shot into one are the areas that lead to big bonuses.

Burning Oak by Brawl - F---
This map is a work of art

Capture the Flag

Evilflower Zone by literally everyone
Eggflagsion by CoatRack
Industrial Starlight Zone by BlasterGuy

Industrial Starlight Zone by BlasterGuy - D-
The base itself wasn't too terrible, honestly. While the flag room is a mess (the elevator makes it too easy to get stuck in a firefight, and the colormap is a terrible idea), the room directly outside it is actually pretty fun to fight in. The issues come with every other part of the map; for starters, why do I need to engage in difficult platforming over a death pit for a Bounce panel (arguably among the weaker weapons) when the Scatter panel is easily accessible within a base? Why is there a grey insta-death floor instead of something easier to figure out from a glance, like a death pit? You use those through the rest of the level, too. The use of fans (a slow method of travel that leaves players as standing targets for the entire ride up) followed immediately by a spike pit to guard a weapon also kind of bugs me a little.

However, the biggest problem is that you have nothing between the bases but a giant flat void of emptiness. You need to be spending a lot more time working on your non-base map area in order to make something that actually feels like it had effort put into it, rather than being a giant blank spot that exists solely to increase the size of the map.

As for technical issues, your damaging floors need to be set up to return the flag when it hits the ground. The sector special for that applies to the entire sector it's tagged to, so you'll need some intangible, invisible FOFs to do the trick.

Evilflower Zone by Zipper, SpiritCrusher, Badz, Spherallic and RedEnchilada - weh
In lieu of leaving a comment, I'm going to link our concept art.

Eggflagsion by CoatRack - C-
<@MascaraSnake> Ah yes, Red is proudly upholding the tradition of tearing his CTF competitors a new one

The more I try to play this, the less I can tolerate its flaws. It's unfortunate, because the map could've been really good if it wasn't plagued with a few atrocious design choices. For starters, the map is very difficult to navigate; you have an alternate path completely separated from the main path (as in, you're committed to taking one once you leave your base) that's hidden behind a random painting where the only indication of its existance is a few diagonal springs pointing straight into it, and even the Bounce ring room is hidden in a room whose lone entrance/exit is through a tiny corridor tucked away in a pit in a dark room.

However, the biggest unforgivable flaw by far is the paintings. Every single painting can be hidden in, making the player hiding impossible to see and allowing for incredibly cheap ambush tactics on unsuspecting players who suddenly get shot by the walls. This is the worst with the entrance to the aforementioned alternate path, since the painting doesn't appear (and thus block one's vision) from inside, but the presence of SEENAMES makes every other painting incredibly unbalanced toward the person hiding in them. I don't know what you were smoking when you made that, but it's awful and drags the map down hard.

As for other flaws, there are a lot of areas in the map that are quite honestly too dark to play in. Most of the alternate path has this issue, but even right outside the bases on the main path is too dark, especially considering the aforementioned Bounce room. Also, making Sonic players slowly climb a ladder to get a weapon ring is bad and makes them free points for the entire arduous climb.

I feel like I'm being too harsh with my rating, so don't take the D+ to mean the map is unsalvagable. It just means the few flaws it has, all of which can be fixed, take the map from potentially really good to completely unenjoyable to play.

(Also, I've seen someone carrying the flag get hit and drop it straight out the window in the base once. Not that that's a flaw or anything, just thought it was hilarious and wanted to point it out.)

Evilflower Zone by Zipper, SpiritCrusher, Badz, Spherallic and RedEnchilada

Votes are final but reviews are still being written while I articulate what exactly I liked/didn't like about each map.
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A.K.A. TheSonicMaster580
Here's my vote on the list of levels:

Single Player Levels:
-Haunted Heights Zone by EvilEnternity3000
-Ring Valley Zone by RedEnchilada
-Mud Mines Zone 1 by "Lat" and Ors

Match Levels:
-Dark Mansion Zone by BlasterGuy (Me)
-Moonlit Island by Spherallic
-Burning Oak by Brawl

Capture the Flag Levels:
-Industrial Starlight Zone by BlasterGuy (Me)
-EggFlagsion by CoatRack
-Evilflower Zone by Zipper, SpiritCrusher, Badz, Spherallic, and RedEnchilada

That was my vote on the levels.


I didn't have time to play all of the levels but this is my voting for the multiplayer maps this far:


Moonlit Island by Spherallic
Burning Oak by Brawl
Dark Mansion Zone by BlasterGuy
Moonlit Island is a decent map, too many pits in some parts but it's ok.

Burning Oak and Dark Mansion are both not as good as normal match maps, let's start with Burning Oak:
I placed this one higher than Dark Mansion because it's that broken that it's funny and not boring. The bottomless pit doesn't work, there is ring spam(and weapon ring ammo) everywhere but no normal weapon ring powerups. Another big problem is that the map is a giant cliff, so most of the time when you get hit you will fall down into that non working pit...
There is also another issue if you turn off the skybox.

Dark Mansion
This map is huge and empty, which makes it very boring. Was this a hangout map at one point ? Some rooms don't make sense, so this is a castle, but why do some rooms look like a lab ?

Capture the Flag:
Evilflower Zone by Zipper, SpiritCrusher, Badz, Spherallic and RedEnchilada and r543
Eggflagsion by CoatRack
Industrial Starlight Zone by BlasterGuy
Evilflower Zone

This map has some really nice details but the paths got a bit confusing.

Industrial Starlight Zone
This map is full and empty at the same time. The first base room was ok, a bit annoying that the crushers are there and that the belts help the other team to rush into the base than keeping them out. The room after that was very empty. From what I've seen, the map is in a U shape(the ends are the both bases) with some alternate paths in the middle. I don't think that this layout was a good idea.

Single Player
Haunted Heights Zone by EvilEnternity3000
Ring Valley Zone by RedEnchilada
Mud Mines Zone 1 by "Lat'" and Ors

Can a moderator please fix the credits for Evilflower Zone ? I helped with that map.
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Maybe out of retirement?
Wow, the map order really decides itself this time around! That is, except for CTF, but since I worked on Evilflower Zone, that's also decided for me. Whee!

Single Player:
Haunted Heights Zone by EvilEnternity3000
Ring Valley Zone by RedEnchilada
Mud Mines Zone 1 by "Lat'" and Ors

Haunted Heights Zone - 8/10
Well, this is pretty fantastic. The only big complaint I have is how linear it is. I have been playing this level pretty obsessively ever since you started handing out betas on #srb2fun, and after a while the lack of a major non-character-specific path split does start to make itself noticed. The mini-split after the first room is so inconsequential that it might as well not exist. The stacked paths in the room after the factory are nice, although the lower path isn't easily visible from the entrance, so it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of players don't even notice it. Your map is very fun, but barring character choice, it's pretty much the same experience every time you play it.

Another thing that contributes to this is your approach to exploration and placing power-ups: You rarely actually hide stuff. Almost all of the power-up monitors are in plain sight from the main path and require tricky platforming and/or clever thinking to get to. Not that that's bad, quite the opposite! I love it when people place items like that, but it shouldn't come at the total expense of hiding items in places the player won't even come across without actively exploring. SRB2 is a game that heavily encourages and rewards exploration, and any custom level that doesn't abide by that will feel like it's missing something.

Moving on to more specific issues:
  • I didn't like how long and tedious the way back up was if you fell down at the first set of vertically moving conveyor belts. They're a moderately difficult challenge that a lot of players will probably mess up a few times, and around the fourth or fifth time it starts to get annoying that you have to climb up all those stairs just to get another try. You should probably put a spring below the conveyors instead.
  • The disappearing platform rooms had a similar problem. While it was a very wise decision to have the pits teleport the player instead of kill them, I really think they should teleport you to the last safe spot, not the very beginning of the section.
  • Speaking of the disappearing platform sections, the hole in the ceiling that you are teleported out of in the first of these is so close to the edge of the pit that if you're pressing forward, you'll fall right back in. Might wanna move it back a bit.
  • I thought the spikeball "crushers" were a very neat idea, but apart from the one that guards a monitor, you didn't really use them in particularly interesting ways. The ones that were placed in a row didn't really work because the gaps between them were so large that you could just walk through unthreatened. I think if you placed them closer together, it could actually make for a really interesting gimmick.
  • The factory section felt a bit sparse and unfinished. The room with the slime "jets" in particular was pretty much just an empty square.
  • The teleport at the end of Knuckles' path could have been obscured better. In fact, I wonder why you used a teleport at all when the rooms are right next to each. You could have just had the player fall down a chute or something.

But enough of the nitpicking; let me add a few words about what makes this map such a big achievement: It's a complete package. We might be past the days where custom maps are just a repackaging of the content that SRB2 already offers, and custom scenery and enemies are becoming more and more common, but custom enemies that are actually thought-out and integral to the level design are still a rare sight. Plus, your gimmicks might not be exactly new, but the ways in which you combined them certainly are. As far as I'm aware, you're the first one in this community to do vertically moving conveyor belts. It's strange if you think about it; conveyor belts and vertically moving platforms are some of the oldest gimmicks in this game, so you'd think somebody would have thought of combining them by now, but apparently you are the first. Either way, it's an immensely fun combination, and it only gets better when you add maces to the mix. The same goes for the disappearing platforms, which I've never seen used so creatively in SRB2.

Prime 2.0 said that if this level were part of SRB2 proper, nobody would bat an eyelash. He might be quite right about that.

Ring Valley Zone - 5/10
For what it is, which is a training ground for visual design, it's a success. It does look very nice, although in a few spots I think you cluttered things up a bit too much with all those flowers. Gameplay-wise though? Eh. It's nicely done and all, but it's 2.0's special stages all over again. Collecting rings is just not very interesting on its own, and while the level layout was pretty decent, you did little to spice up this dull activity. At least the old special stages incorporated some additional challenges besides the main objective of "collect rings and don't lose them". So in the end it was kind of fun for two or three playthroughs, but there's very little to make me come back to it once I've seen everything. The boss was pretty sweet, although the attack with the Deton noise was kind of uninteresting. Also, getting Eggman to hit himself in the pinch phase, as much as I liked the idea, seemed to be mostly dependent on luck.

Now go work on ACZ2.

Mud Mines Zone 1 - 4/10
This was a disappointment. While Floral Road had its issues and wasn't exactly packed with interesting design, there were a few nice bits in it that I thought showed potential. This, however, doesn't only make all the same mistakes that Floral Road did, it also does away with all of the interesting stuff and adds a few new problems of its own. The level design this time around was just completely bog-standard and trite. Way too many rooms could be accurately summarized as "a bunch of platforms", and again they were so open and flat that all the "exploration" was painfully obvious. Not that it would have made much of a difference, since you didn't try to hide much besides tons of ring monitors.

By far the biggest offender on the "rote platforming" side was the outdoor room where you press a button to open the factory entrance. There is NOTHING interesting about this room. It's just a dull, monotonous mass of gray platforms, with a confusing path layout and an unnecessary button hunt. There's nothing technically wrong with the platforming, but it has all the creativity and appeal of a staircase. I could have made a room like this in fifteen minutes, and judging from the visual glitch in the ceiling, you probably didn't take much longer. In general I get the feeling that you didn't spend an awful lot of time on this map.

The factory segment at the end was probably the best part of the level. While it was way too dark in some places (never go below 128 in Software) and the platforming was still very basic, at least the context for it was more interesting than just "a bunch of platforms". Still, there were some issues with this section: You had a habit of placing the next platform in places that are hard to see/reach from the current one, which often obstructed the flow. The corridors that connected the rooms were way too tiny and cramped. And the button at the end was pointless and only served to draw the attention away from the path to the goal, which might cause the player to unintentionally backtrack.

There were actual gimmicks this time around, but sadly they did more harm than good. The custom Crawla was pretty much a complete waste of resources. Crawlas are fundamentally uninteresting enemies since they're so easy to avoid (especially the way you placed them), and giving them two hitpoints doesn't change anything about that. The mud that slows the player down was equally pointless, only acting as a slight nuisance instead of an actual challenge. When combined with the floor crusher though, it was downright annoying. When the floor is moving up, you can only move forward very slightly by mashing jump, which is extremely irritating and impossible to properly control but pretty much required by the level design. It's fine to obstruct the player's movement, but not like this. In the same section, the safe spots were very hard to see, since the small indentations blend in with the uniformly gray ceiling.

The bouncy mud is a better gimmick in theory (although the visual implementation is kind of lazy - why would mud be bouncy?), and some of its usages were okay, but the way it was used in the left path of the path split was downright unacceptable. Again, the rooms are too dark to properly see the next platform (which is often indistinguishable from the pit), and too often it's hidden behind a corner or a pillar that you could hardly see it even in a brighter room. By the time of my second bounce, I'm already hitting the ceiling, so there's no good way to avoid the bouncy ceilings, which makes this section infuriatingly cheap. At the end, where the whole ceiling is bouncy, it becomes a game of luck. To add insult to injury, the last star post was several rooms prior, forcing me to redo a substantial part of the level each time I die.

The unnecessary custom ring boxes and the level-up feature are still there, although apparently you got the message regarding the last one now, so I won't ramble on about that. Overall, despite my harsh comments, I wouldn't call this a terrible map or anything. Most of it was fairly decent, solid but not very creative. It's only the disastrous implementation of the gimmicks that drags this below average. I'm sure that if you take this as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, your next map will be a lot better.

Moonlit Island by Spherallic
Dark Mansion Zone by BlasterGuy
Burning Oak by Brawl

Moonlit Island:
There's really not much feedback I can give you on this, because there's not really anything wrong with it. Surely you can make good Match maps in your sleep by now. It didn't lag for me, although I heard it did for others, and while I hate the idea of "dumbing down" maps for framerate considerations just as much as you do, I guess you don't really have a choice when it comes to multiplayer maps.

Burning Oak:
Explaining to you what's wrong with your level would be like telling the Shaggs how to play their instruments. Your maps are so hilariously weird that they almost become enjoyable. Almost. I guess you're not quite at Shaggs level yet.

Evilflower Zone by Zipper, SpiritCrusher, Badz, Spherallic, RedEnchilada and r543
Eggflagsion by CoatRack
Industrial Starlight Zone by BlasterGuy

Evilflower Zone:
Clearly it takes six people to make a CTF map! All joking aside, while this was originally supposed to be an "each person makes one room" thing, it ended up being mostly a Red/Zipper collaboration with smaller contributions by the others. Aside from participating in the general tossing around of ideas, I made the room with the house in it, because it's not a massive multiplayer collab if I'm not sticking a house somewhere. Also, play it in race.

While I think he is being a bit harsh, I'll refer you to RedEnchilada's review, which covers everything I have to say about this map.
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Llitechiel ꙮ

Oh, What a Flopnik!
Probably should've visited the multiplayer stuff this time around since there's twice as much as the SP division, but I digress.

Single Player only:

Haunted Heights - EvilEnternity3000 {3/3}
Ring Valley - RedEnchilada {2/3}
Mud Mines 1 - "Lat'" & Ors {1/3}

Ring Valley - RedEnchilada

I like how very exploratory this is, urging you to find some of the remaining rings in one area and trying to keep them to save up for the next, all the while avoiding the badniks. Speaking of enemies, I don't find the custom enemy particularly interesting or well-integrated into the other badniks and their style. It's your own project, but I do suppose you could ask for somebody for spriting needs? I'm not one for critizing, though. The second time I went through this, I spent around some 5 minutes trying to get an idea of where to go in the middle part of the stage, until I realized I forgot to jump down in that section, where I had like 100 rings to boot. The sun flares are a nice touch, I find. Eggman doesn't require much effort to beat him, and he does well as a boss. Besides some slightly confusing level design and custom enemy design, a nice stage and gimmick to go through.

meanwhile i don't get the sudden fascination with donkey kong in these places, and not just this in particular

Haunted Heights - EvilEnternity3000

An excellent Halloween-themed entry overall. You sure do well with the horror stuff, I see. The light platforms are tricky to time without putting effort to it as Sonic, albeit that isn't particularly degrading here. I enjoy the enemy designs and the miscellaneous sprites, and the skybox is something to awe at. Great choice of music, since I like Sonicesque a lot. I can't really say anything else that would devalue this; my favorite entry for this OLDC!

Mud Mines 1 - "Lat'" & Ors

Guys, you probably shouldn't have released this for OLDC as early as you did. There's more than several touchups that could have improved upon. I've experienced a fair share of some glitches, graphical oddities, and just not-thought-out level design that would lessen my liking for this. The RPGish level system works fine, but does that really help my time in THIS stage at all? The custom crawlas don't do much, but have I mentioned glitches? Whenever I knock the custom crawla the first time at an edge, their second form just stays there in the moving animation, absolutely still. It's stuck there, being vulnerable. I don't get the logic of the bouncy "mud" either. You both could've done more detail, too; the stage is very bland all around. At least the button pushing was kept to a minimum, I suppose...


merry late halloween i guess
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My work is never done yet
Haunted Heights > Ring Valley > Mud Mines 1

Haunted Heights: 8.5/10. The visuals were both original and aesthetically pleasing, the gimmicks were clever and implemented well for the most part, and the custom enemies presented a significant challenge without being frustrating. The cave sections were just a tad dark, but I suppose that's appropriate for a Halloween-themed level. Because the flashing light platforms only last a few ticks after the next set flashes on but before they disappear, they frequently acted as more of a memory game than a platforming challenge, but again, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, and I'm immensely grateful that you didn't punish us with instant death for falling off of them. Other than that, I don't have any problems with this level that qualify as anything but nitpicks. Good job.
(for god's sake why doesn't ANYONE check for maincfg errors before they submit stuff)

Ring Valley: 5/10. Aesthetically, it's just a Green Hill-style area at sunset, but occasionally punctuated by an obnoxious flare effect which is decently impressive programming-wise but not pretty or realistic-looking in the slightest. In terms of gameplay, it's fine at first, with the ring-collecting gimmick starting out straightforward and non-frustrating. After the first third or so, though, the rooms start getting more and more confusingly laid-out to the point where there were two separate cases when I found the emblem hidden in a room before I found its 'normal' exit. The one right before the boss is by far the worst offender in this department, as not only is the ring gate at the far bottom of the room, which is exactly where you'd least expect it to be, but the highly visible bridge near the entrance tricks you into thinking it's the way out and you have to get around the bars covering it somehow. In regards to the green springy enemies, you're almost guaranteed to get hit the first time you try to fight one because there's no way for you to know that you can't jump into it from below or simply let it jump into you while you're charging a spindash. Thankfully, they're pretty slow-moving horizontally, so most of the time you can just outrun them if necessary. The boss' attack pattern is hard to decipher, but he's unlikely to kill you since your spilled rings don't disappear, and especially because of the bug during his pinch phase where he can accidentally remove his own shield. Speaking of the shield, you should probably set DISPOFFSET = 1 in its object configuration so it'll always render in front of the boss instead of sometimes in front and sometimes behind.

EDIT: If what you most wanted to experiment with was visuals, RedEnchilada, let me be more specific regarding that: You succeeded in not making the level ugly, except for the unnatural-looking lens flare, but there weren't any aesthetic details that really caught my eye in a positive way... well, except for how the boss swings the wrecking ball around, but that was more a matter of good programming, I would think.

Mud Mines 1: 3/10. The visuals aren't particularly eye-catching and the custom enemy is just a Crawla with more health, but those flaws are entirely irrelevant when compared to what is by far this level's biggest problem: the complete and utter absence of anything resembling a reasonable difficulty curve. The level starts out about as hard as THZ1, with few hazards besides the enemies and the completely unthreatening movement-slowing brown mud. After the player chases down the first large red button, though, you instantly knock the difficulty up to far-past-ERZ levels by presenting them with a two-room bouncy castle challenge from hell. All of a sudden, the level goes so dark it's difficult to even see the outlines of the dark red mud platforms against the black of the instant death pits which you punish the player with for making even a single mistake, and the mud platforms themselves have barely been present up to this point, so you can't possibly expect the player to have the kind of intuitive knowledge of their mechanics necessary to be prepared for this kind of challenge by the time they reach it. The fact that your character isn't even guaranteed to bounce if they're too close to the edges of the platforms is particularly jarring, and it's at least half the reason I lost six lives just trying to get past the first of the two rooms as Sonic during my first attempt at this level. After my second Game Over in a row, I said "screw it" and attempted to cheese my way past the section with Tails... and then I promptly Game Over'd with him, too. Knuckles and his wall-climbing abilities were enough to get me through, but only because they prevented me from having to interact with the section's gimmick entirely. Thankfully, the map never reaches that infuriating level of difficulty again, but it is kind of a jerk move putting the exit of the very large room after the bouncy cave on the opposite side from the button that opens it and not compensate with anything more than an extremely vague red arrow on the floor. Also, I'm kind of confused as to why that bizarre Sonic Heroes-like level-up system is even here, as the level isn't designed around it in the slightest, and I suspect it could do more harm than good for players who aren't carefully watching their ring count due to the sudden and potentially confusing changes in speed, handling, and the like while they're in the thick of the action. You don't have to remove it entirely, though; a console command to turn the system on and off would work fine.
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Larz T

Too many gimmicks in this OLDC in my opinion.

Single Player Division
*all single player levels were played as Sonic
Ring Valley Zone by RedEnchilada
At first I wasn't really on board with the whole idea as rings being the main macguffins here, but somehow you made it work. With the level design complimenting the gimmick and the Ring Depositories, I can safely say that I had a good time playing through this. Although the lens flare was a little distracting, thank goodness you made it weather or not to have the lens flare off or on. I didn't really care that much for the new enemy but the boss was pretty fun and I applaud you for incorporating the physics for the wrecking ball even though it took some time to get used too. Nevertheless, it was a pretty interesting map. Especially with the visuals.

Mud Mines Zone Act 1 by "Lat'" and Ors
"USE SOFTWARE AT YOUR OWN RISK!" The first thing I asked myself, "Why do I need to use Software at my own risk? That's kinda weird." Once I start up the level I can see why. The level is okay design wise but it's all ruined with the lighting. I understand that you only work in OpenGL and not in Software, that's fine. You just need to accommodate for software players because it's really unfair for Software only players because the whole level is either very dark or pitch black all together and it's annoying and not fun at all. To be honest, I did not complete the level which I know that's not fair, but honestly I lost all my tolerance I had after the fork in the road near the first checkpoint and that one building with the pipes that was pitch black. Both of the gimmicks in the fork in the road were awful in execution and very hard to navigate through because it was dark. I'll stop beating a dead horse here and end my review for this level. In the future, try to accommodate for software players first and then do some cool things with OpenGL.

Haunted Heights Zone by Evilgasm
What can I say? This level was 2spooky4me. But seriously, I had some trouble with the level at first but after my second or third playthrough, I enjoyed the level and it's theme (even though we're a day late). If there's one thing I can say about the level is the disappearing and reappearing platforms. Maybe after the little breather the player has before moving on to the next set of platforms, maybe have another teleporter teleport the player back to the midway section of each pattern to make it less repetitive. Other than that, that's all I have to say for the most part. Hope you have something up your sleeves for the next OLDC.

1st. Haunted Heights Zone
2nd. Ring Valley Zone
3rd. Mud Mines Zone Act 1
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Singleplayer only as I don't play multiplayer:

Haunted Heights > Ring Valley > Mud Mines

Haunted Heights: Visually, this level is awesome, as expected. Gameplay-wise, it's pretty fun too. Let me just name some nitpicks I have with this level:

- There was one little texture inconsistency in the level where a wall wasn't climbable although having a texture that was climbable in another part of the level. This is very minor though.
- The enemies are a little too common and a little too strong. I generally dislike projectile badniks though.
- While Knuckles' path is specifically designed not to be skipped with climbing, the rest of the level isn't. This leads to a huge difficulty spike in the middle with Knuckles, at least when you're trying to skip everything by climbing.
- Conveyor belts in Knuckles' path are a bit problematic due to Knuckles sliding after gliding when touching the ground, which doesn't really seem to work with conveyors.

Apart from those flaws, a very nice level with awesome custom content.


Ring Valley: Gameplaywise everything has been said I think.
Visuals are nice and look great, but here are the nitpicks you wanted:
- If it wasn't that impressive, I'd probably say the lens flare immediately has to go. It really doesn't fit IMO, but it's quite an achievement.
- The boss arena had some visual glitches with the white flower flats which sometimes were displayed above the player.
- The sky of the boss arena looks kinda dull.


EDIT: +0,1 points because I like spinach.

Mud Mines: This was quite good, but not as good as the competition. Some visual glitches and mediocre gimmicks prevent this from being better than the other levels. It was also a long level, which you might want to change if this is going to be a three-act zone.
The gameplay was solid though.

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Shadow Hog

Haunted Heights > Ring Valley > Mud Mines


Haunted Heights: Caco-lanterns.

Okay, now that the Doom fan in me is finished squealing, the actual stage is decent enough. Plenty of tricky jumps and interesting uses of existing gimmicks, like conveyor FOFs that bob up/down or those dark caves with the Appear Blocks everywhere (incidentally, it was nice of you to include a warp back to the checkpoint instead of outright killing players here, although it seems inconsistent when other areas with tricky jumps show no such mercy).

Only nitpick: if this was an actual Genesis track, you could've just included the VGZ file and saved space over the OGG. SRB2 does support those now! (If it wasn't, though, I suppose that can't be helped.)

Ring Valley: Seems decent enough. I do have an odd gripe with the choice of music; not that Fungi Forest is bad, but Grant Kirkhope's whimsical musical style sort of clashes with the rest of the music that could play in the game, be that speed shoes, invincibility or the 1up jingle. That said, if it weren't for that aforementioned stylistic clash, it'd be very fitting; you managed to turn SRB2 into a Rareware collectathon, and it actually kind of works. I thought a stage centered around collecting rings was just fine, in all honesty! Bonus points for making rings not peter out of existence after five or so seconds like they normally do, something I was surprised to find out; helped the OCD "must keep all rings @_@" in me satiated.

I actually wasn't too fond of the boss, though. Just struck me as more annoying than anything else, particularly when he starts shielding himself and you have to start lining yourself up with two moving targets at once, being sure not to hit the one that'd hurt you but at the same time hitting the one that doesn't hurt you into it. It's not bad, I suppose...

Mud Mines: Okay, so I must confess, I didn't finish this one. Not entirely sure why I stopped; maybe disinterest in dealing with either one of two high-risk paths, where I could choose jumping over bottomless pits atop bouncy platforms (which leaves me at the mercy of air control) or making my way through a room with a constantly-ascending crusher floor (where the safe spots don't see too well-marked; I found a few spots with ring boxes, but figuring out where to go from there seemed frustrating). These aren't wholly bad, mind you, I just wasn't in the mood to see them through. Maybe later...

Zipper said:
Or is it


KartKrew Dev
Sonic Team Junior
Kart Krew™️
Single Player Division

Haunted Heights > Ring Valley > Mud Mines.

I may write extensive stuff soon, considering its only three maps, but I'd just like to say something. Haunted Heights Zone and Mud Mines Zone both use music from Karl Brueggeman. It'd be nice if you guys actually maybe credited him somewhere in your maps, the guy definitely deserves it.


Haunted Heights > Ring Valley > Mud Mines

Haunted Heights
Wow. Lemme get that out of the way before all the nitpicking I'm going to do. This stage is absolutely amazing and I loved every second of it. I even bothered to get a perfect, which should give you an idea how much I was enjoying myself. There are a bunch of things which could definitely be improved, though:

  • The only significant path split is the character-specific one. The entire stage is otherwise linear. It would be even better with some more path splits for extra replay value.
  • Near the start you do a brilliant trick with pumpkins and the cacopumpkins, but you never even repeat a large amount of the pumpkin scenery, missing a huge opportunity to make us all paranoid about the scenery objects for no reason =P
  • I actually think having the timed light area throw you back when you fall is too generous compared to the difficulty of the rest of the stage. There's plenty of warning of what's going on, so give them a full pit. Another possibility is having it throw you onto another (harder) path when they fall instead of giving them another shot at it.
  • There doesn't seem much point in having both slime and water. Why not just make it all normal water or purple slime to keep consistency with the main game?
  • Right after the path split there's a section where you have to jump past spikeballs onto a conveyor and then back. That conveyor moves WAY too fast, and the secret route with the 1-Up and tons of maces there is actually far easier than the main route. It could probably use a nerf, or at least help with the visibility of the platform that you're supposed to jump to after that.
  • At the end of the stage, you can land on the horizontal beams below the conveyors with no apparent method back up other than intentional suicide.
  • It would be nice if you granted the emblem radar at some point, as I can't find the first and third emblem for the life of me.
Obviously, I absolutely adore the stage even with all those nitpicks, and I would have been hard pressed to not give it a 10 in the old system, so way to go regardless. This is a HUGE step up from your last map, which was already pretty good.

Ring Valley Zone

I actually quite liked this, but my OCD ring collection compulsion doesn't require much encouragement already, so that kind of thing doesn't bother me. The scenery is fine, although I think you went overboard with the thing scenery in many places.

  • I absolutely love how you changed the Buzz AI. It's very reminiscent of Rareware's style, and it works extremely well in gameplay here too.
  • The new enemy is really cool but doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the stage very well.
  • You have a distinct lack of shields in general. Considering the focus on ring collection it would have been nice to have at least one unhidden on the main route, even with the changes to ring dropping.
  • The boss is absolutely amazing, although the attack where he makes the ball home in on you is lame even with the sound notification, and should probably be just removed. His movement could probably use to be a little less random as well. Otherwise this boss just makes me smile all over and I want to use it in the game proper somewhere =P
Mud Mines Zone 1
This is a real mixed bag. Parts of the level design are actually fun and remind me of what I liked about 1.X. Other parts of the design are completely baffling and awful and I cannot imagine how such things slipped through into the final product.

  • You should never intentionally make your map only playable in one renderer. While it's totally okay to suggest playing in one renderer or the other because it's hard to make things look good in both, it's not okay to make your stage so dark that the stage is practically unplayable in software. I don't know if you said to use OGL or not but I certainly never saw it, so I had to handle tons of horribly cheap deaths to things I literally couldn't even see coming. You should never go below light level 140 except for sections you're intentionally trying to make it hard to see in.
  • Your level up script is terrible. Delete it. It actively makes this stage worse than it already was by disrupting muscle memory for absolutely no gain. I'm basically always level 3, and even though my statistics are better than normal SRB2 I'm never happy about it because it throws off all my normal jump arcs.
  • Why on Earth are you using button hunts as stage progression? Didn't we all learn back in 1.X that that was a bad idea? In one case you even force the player to backtrack significantly to continue the stage after hitting the button, and it's not entirely clear where you need to go even with an arrow appearing on the ground. If you know that there's a problem enough to make an arrow appear in the stage, why not just change the layout so buttons aren't necessary?
  • The first bouncy section is atrocious. Not only is it so dark you can't see three feet in front of you, it's over a pit and you're basically blind jumping into your death. I eventually gave up and just flew across as Tails. Even worse, you don't have a Star Post in front of it, so if you die you have to repeat a tedious button press each death.
  • The whole mud gimmick is just pointless and does nothing.
While I know that's a lot of negative to take in, this stage is honestly not all that bad. The basic platforming here is totally fine, and you're clearly thinking about how to make gimmicks that work. The problems appear when your gimmicks don't work out well like the pitch black bouncy room and the awful level up script. Why not think of a more relevant use for mud that actually does something to gameplay?

Legendary Emerald

Custom User Title
Haunted Heights Zone > Ring Valley Zone > Mud Mines Zone

Haunted Heights
I don't know what to say about this stage that hasn't been said before. It's beautiful, unique, and a very fitting send-up to my favorite videogame stage theme, horror/halloween. I do wish there were a lot more alternate paths, though. As it stands, only Knuckles can explore off the main path.

Edit: Oh, there's one other thing I need to point out. With skyboxes turned off, the level does not display correctly, and is almost unplayable. I typically play SRB2 with skyboxes turned off because they are too system intensive for me. The skybox in this stage doesn't impact performance much at all, so it isn't as much of an issue as it could have been, but there should still be some way for the skybox-deficient to play the level without seeing textures stretch and blend together all over the place.

Ring Valley Zone
I'd actually been thinking about how a Rare style collect-a-thon game could work in the SRB2 engine, and this is a pretty good demo of what that type of game type could be like! The level itself isn't particularly great, but it does have lots of room to explore, and I do genuinely love hunting for rings, so I enjoyed it. It also looks pretty nice for a grassy level, though the lens flare looked much better in the animated gifs than while playing it.

If you continue with this gameplay style, or better yet, create a full map pack based around item collection, I'd suggest adding an actual health meter so that rings can't be lost. Emblems can be used for Jiggies/Golden Banana stand-ins, and unlock more stages. You could do so much with this concept if you really go full hog with it.

Mud Mines Zone
As of writing this, I still don't think I managed to beat the level. I'm sure if I gave it a few more goes, I could beat it, but it just isn't fun enough for me to make the effort. Which isn't to say the level is terrible; for the most part, it's above par. But there are some issues that really drag it down. Key among them are the terrible lighting in software mode, and the level-up system. I'll just quote Mystic now because yeah, there's no way I can say it better:

  • Your level up script is terrible. Delete it. It actively makes this stage worse than it already was by disrupting muscle memory for absolutely no gain. I'm basically always level 3, and even though my statistics are better than normal SRB2 I'm never happy about it because it throws off all my normal jump arcs.
Above all else, the one thing I absolutely hated in Sonic Heroes was the level-up system. It made all the glitched-out deaths even harder to stomach because I'd need to level up all over again just in order to have the same attack power I had by default in Sonic Adventure 1 and 2. And this wad manages to have an even worse level-up system.

I love the way Sonic controls in 2.1; everything about him feels perfect, which is what makes SRB2 such a joy for me to play. When you mess with that delicate balance of acceleration and speed, even just the tiniest bit, it throws off my entire game.
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Up Down, All Around!
Here are my votes for the match division.

Burning Oak Zone
Moonlit Zone
Dark Mansion Zone

Further more:

Burning Oak Zone by Brawl

Now with this map I admit that I was trying to do something different, kind of making a map where you go around a tree. It failed in many aspects unfortunately.

Moonlit Zone by Spherallic

I enjoyed the theme of the map. The moon was very stunning!

Dark Mansion Zone by BlasterGuy

Name doesn't lie! It's quite dark. Too dark in my opinion. It was very big, empty in fact, and also could have used more rings.
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