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snacks.dat
#1
hi,

i'm just starting to get into level design, so i wanted to post 10 small CC1 levels i made last week to try to get myself into the swing of things. they are ordered by time of creation, not by difficulty. feedback would be greatly appreciated.

[edit 2/2: latest revision of snacks.dat attached to this post]


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#2
this time, with the attachment


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.dat   snacks.dat (Size: 2.63 KB / Downloads: 22)
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#3
Hello there!
I solved and optimized all 10 levels of this set under the MS ruleset.  Here is what I think of the levels, and the best times I got on them.


Level 1.  Bloc Quebecois
What was the purpose of the block clone machines?  I solved the level by moving the blocks with boots underneath straight downwards, and then stepped through the fire to turn the last block around and open all three traps.  Speaking of that last block, the chip under it is not required to open the socket, but that doesn't really matter as the chip is unavoidable.

My Best Time:  95 / 100  seconds


Level 2.  Dallas Toggle Tournament
Did you mean to not give this level a time limit?  It seems that every other level in this set has a time limit, so I'm not sure why the exclusion on this level specifically, since it didn't seem particularly harder than the rest of the levels.  In fact, I managed to solve it in just 1 in-game second, with only 2 presses of the toggle button.

My Best Time:  [998] / [999]  seconds


Level 3.  Key Moves
Here we have one of my personal favorite CC concepts: the "trap door".  I enjoy levels where the collection of keys must be minimized, and I think this level does its job quite well for how small it is.  The only thing I could really complain about is how the sockets leading to the exit aren't visible from the start, so you don't have a real scope of how far the level goes on.  This is only a minor issue, though, as I figured the level out with just a few attempts.

My Best Time:  95 / 100  seconds


Level 4.  Hot Pursuit
When I was younger, I always had a strange passion for these types of "Chase Race" levels.  In hindsight, I don't know why, because usually all you do is run straight in one direction with the occasional 90 degree turn.  Even the suction boots in this level don't really make much of an impact on me, since the hint makes it blatantly obvious that they are not to be collected.  The upcoming section can be viewed from the starting area, so perhaps the challenge here should come from "window-shopping" the lower room and determining that the suction boots are a trap.  That may just be my opinion, however.

My Best Time:  93 / 100  seconds


Level 5.  Blockport
Quite a well-made little level we have here, almost like a little mini Deserted Battlefield.  These "blocks everywhere" genre of levels always seem to fall under "looks complex, but feels like it would have a rigid solution" in my eyes, and this level is no exception.  That, however, is exactly what can make a level like this fun to play, and this one I think stands very well due to the fact that the whole level can be seen from the start.  One might argue that there is no way to tell if something bad like a fire tile could be hidden under one of the blocks, so perhaps a brief hint would be beneficial.

My Best Time:  92 / 100  seconds


Level 6.  Tank Destroyer
This level is heavily busted, because two blue button presses on the same move cancel each other out.  If Chip simply goes LLURU from the start, he can win in less than one in-game second.  Even disregarding that, though, the chip socket can be opened without collecting any of the 3 chips, and the suction boots could also be skipped in MS with a backwards boost off of the left force floor.  To fix these issues, I would suggest: (1) setting the "chips required" count to 3; (2) changing both force floors to point upwards; and (3) removing both of the blue buttons by the exit and having the tank be controlled externally by another monster, for example, a pink ball outside of the player's view that presses a blue button every 2 moves.

My Best Time:  100 / 100  seconds


Level 7.  Elements Placement Exam
Here we have a slightly larger all about the "elements" of Chip's Challenge: water, fire, ice, and force floors.  Despite its haphazardous design, I think it's a neat little level, and a fun ice boosting challenge for more seasoned players.  May I ask if there is any pattern to the placement of the tiles in this level that I do not see, or is it simply a case of carefully constructed randomness?

My Best Time:  97 / 100  seconds


Level 8.  Entomology
What a strange level this is, and one I barely even remembered the second it exited my mind.  The bug is not challenging to avoid as long as you don't get greedy with collecting the ice skates, and making it drown at the end doesn't really feel like it makes the level stand out any more.  This may be my least favorite in the set, because I just don't see the point in it.  Maybe I would appreciate the level a little more if you could explain your thought process when designing it.

My Best Time:  95 / 100  seconds


Level 9.  Blue and Brown
Fortunately, we have here quite a nifty little level right after the last one; I'd go as far to say this level may be my favorite.  The level's progression is deceptively difficult, and it even had me stumped for a bit.  After I worked out the solution, optimizing it as well proved to be a blast!  I would like to see more levels like this - small, compact, yet also deceptively hard levels - from not just you, but from Chip's level designers in general.  It seems to be quite an underdone genre; I can think of only 3 levels in official sets with a size of 9x9 or smaller, those being Tiny (CCLP1 #17), Breathing Room (CCLP1 #72), and Once Upon a Troubadour (CCLP3 #50).  Perhaps we'll see more small levels in CC2LP1, as CC2 levels seem to often be smaller than CC1 levels, perhaps due to the added customization of level size parameters.

My Best Time:  183 / 200  seconds


Level 10.  Greek Fire
And here we have a classic, but admittedly overdone concept - a fire and water double-maze.  This level seems a bit larger than all its predecessors, being a whopping 32 tiles tall, but overall the level just seemed lacking in ideas.  After the first half of the water section, it just felt like I was replaying the same level twice.  Even the section afterwards with the fire boots I wouldn't say is enough to be the level's "saving grace", as the concept of a double-maze like this has been done more times than any of us could count on our fingers.  That's not to say I was necessarily bored while playing, though, but there certainly were more interesting creations from previous levels.

My Best Time:  214 / 250  seconds


My total score for the set is  38,140  points.  I achieved all of this (optimizing the set and writing this lengthy post) within the span of a few hours.  I hope my feedback will prove beneficial for improving your future designs.  Given enough time, I believe that anyone can sit down and do great things with a level editor, and I hope you will eventually put out something incredible.  This set is a great start, because as I mentioned earlier, small levels such as these are quite an underdone category of levels, and I enjoy seeing levels like this every once in a while.  No need to constrain yourself within one specific design style, though - never be afraid to experiment creatively!  If we didn't have creative experimentation, then we wouldn't have creativity, and without creativity we wouldn't have originality.

Overall, thanks for creating a fun and easy to pick up little micro levelset.  It's not every day a new levelset comes out, especially so from new level designers, so it's always nice to see fresh faces.
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#4
awesome, thanks so much for your feedback. there's a revision to this levelset at the bottom of this post based on the feedback i've received here and on discord.

(31-Jan-2020, 9:28 PM)Indyindeed Wrote: Level 1.  Bloc Quebecois
What was the purpose of the block clone machines?  I solved the level by moving the blocks with boots underneath straight downwards, and then stepped through the fire to turn the last block around and open all three traps.  Speaking of that last block, the chip under it is not required to open the socket, but that doesn't really matter as the chip is unavoidable.

yeah, this level is definitely busted. the idea here was that you would be "forced" to push the block into the water, but that didn't work out. i actually think the intended solution for this level is interesting, so i've made an attempt to fix this level.

(31-Jan-2020, 9:28 PM)Indyindeed Wrote: Level 2.  Dallas Toggle Tournament
Did you mean to not give this level a time limit?  It seems that every other level in this set has a time limit, so I'm not sure why the exclusion on this level specifically, since it didn't seem particularly harder than the rest of the levels.  In fact, I managed to solve it in just 1 in-game second, with only 2 presses of the toggle button.

i decided to make this level untimed since i am personally not super comfortable with monster manipulation. i'm not happy with how this level turned out, tbh, but i know my judgment isn't perfect and duds are still part of the learning process so i wanted to get other people's thoughts on it anyway.

(31-Jan-2020, 9:28 PM)Indyindeed Wrote: Level 6.  Tank Destroyer
This level is heavily busted, because two blue button presses on the same move cancel each other out.  If Chip simply goes LLURU from the start, he can win in less than one in-game second.  Even disregarding that, though, the chip socket can be opened without collecting any of the 3 chips, and the suction boots could also be skipped in MS with a backwards boost off of the left force floor.  To fix these issues, I would suggest: (1) setting the "chips required" count to 3; (2) changing both force floors to point upwards; and (3) removing both of the blue buttons by the exit and having the tank be controlled externally by another monster, for example, a pink ball outside of the player's view that presses a blue button every 2 moves.

thanks for the advice on un-busting this level! a few people in the discord also told me this level is ridiculously busted in several ways, which is a shame because i thought i was being clever with this concept. on the bright side, though, i did learn this advanced technique about tanks that i can maybe use to solve other people's levels, which is nice.

(31-Jan-2020, 9:28 PM)Indyindeed Wrote: Level 7.  Elements Placement Exam
Here we have a slightly larger all about the "elements" of Chip's Challenge: water, fire, ice, and force floors.  Despite its haphazardous design, I think it's a neat little level, and a fun ice boosting challenge for more seasoned players.  May I ask if there is any pattern to the placement of the tiles in this level that I do not see, or is it simply a case of carefully constructed randomness?

i tried to make it in such a way that someone who wasn't super experienced with ice/force-floor movement would end up collecting all 4 boots in clockwise order. you can of course fudge it with clever and well-timed use of ice and force-floors to finish the level faster, hence why i called it a "placement exam." i had this concept in my head of an elemental maze where you can start by choosing any boot but then you're forced to collect the rest of the boots in a prescribed order. it has proven to be a tough concept to execute properly, so i might spend more time designing levels like this until i get it right.

(31-Jan-2020, 9:28 PM)Indyindeed Wrote: Level 8.  Entomology
What a strange level this is, and one I barely even remembered the second it exited my mind.  The bug is not challenging to avoid as long as you don't get greedy with collecting the ice skates, and making it drown at the end doesn't really feel like it makes the level stand out any more.  This may be my least favorite in the set, because I just don't see the point in it.  Maybe I would appreciate the level a little more if you could explain your thought process when designing it.

i imagined this level would be part of a larger itemswapper, which is probably where it should have stayed since it doesn't seem to be interesting on its own. i sort of got a little too excited when i figured out that you can exit before the bug drowns, but that alone doesn't make the rest of the level all that interesting in retrospect.

(31-Jan-2020, 9:28 PM)Indyindeed Wrote: I would like to see more levels like this - small, compact, yet also deceptively hard levels - from not just you, but from Chip's level designers in general.  It seems to be quite an underdone genre; I can think of only 3 levels in official sets with a size of 9x9 or smaller, those being Tiny (CCLP1 #17), Breathing Room (CCLP1 #72), and Once Upon a Troubadour (CCLP3 #50).

also vague dream (cclp3 #33)! the deceptive difficulty of blue and brown was also vaguely inspired by bummbua banubauabgv (cclp1 #142).

i will say the whole reason i did these small levels was because of a piece of advice i read from bill wurtz who said that a good way to get into making stuff is to start as small as you can and then work your way up. it was super useful to test concepts out in small levels that i may want to use in larger levels in the future, and i enjoyed poring over the details of these small levels (whether they were successful or not). i think i will continue to make small levels in the future even as i become more comfortable designing levels of all sizes.

as promised, attached are the revisions to snacks.dat. my final semester of college starts tomorrow, so i'm thinking this will be it from me for now until i have more levels to show off. here's the list of changes:
  • bloc quebecois - removed the block and water tiles at (4,4) and (5,4); changed fire to a recessed wall; increased chips required to 1
  • key moves - increased chips required to 8, by suggestion of flareon on discord
  • tank destroyer - made the changes indy suggested in this post


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.dat   snacks.dat (Size: 2.65 KB / Downloads: 18)
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#5
I solved all 10 levels of your updated set, and optimized using SuCC. Here are my thoughts and best times, taking a page out of Indy's book-

Bloc Quebecois- The partial posting puzzle has a good touch to it. Tried to bust it, but failed.
Best time- 92/100

Dallas Toggle Tournament- What Indy said. There's not much to do here. You could add a slight element of danger, like replacing the glider with a fireball and adding water, or even better, make the level such that you have to guide the glider to multiple spots before you direct it to the bomb. I can go on, but you probably get the idea.
Best time- [998]/[999]

Key Moves- Good concept, though seen frequently. Feels a bit trivial though. Maybe try expanding on the concept in the future, key levels are cool :)
Best time- 95/100

Hot Pursuit- I'm usually poor at these kinds of levels, though that is my personal problem. Concept was implemented pretty well, I liked the suction boots and the alternate routes being present.
Best time- 93/100

Blockport- Decent block puzzle. Maybe add in a chip for an added challenge (as long as it's not under a block), but that's entirely up to you. For a beginner, it's a good introduction to sokoban levels.
Best time- 91/100

Tank Destroyer- A nice melee level with an itemswapper touch to it. Will be interested in seeing how you explore the concept further. Using blocks to manipulate monsters is always interesting, as you did with the tank.
Best time- 93/100

Elements Placement Exam- A good way to explore elements, and to some extent, boosting. Also useful for people who are beginners at optimization.
Best time- 96/100

Entomology- An odd level. The green button isn't even necessary tbh.
Best time- 95/100

Blue and Brown- Neat little block puzzle. Would fit in great as a part of a good variety level. Well designed, with multiple different solutions, none of which seem trivial.
Best time- 185/200

Greek Fire- Very frequently used concept. Not the biggest fan of mazes personally (though there are others who are), and this is kind of generic. Adding decorations and aesthetics could make the level feel a bit more interesting though, and there are a lot of ways to convert a simple maze into something unique.
Best time- 213/250

Overall, your set could be a good starting point for beginner players, as you've covered a lot of basic concepts here. Try exploring more advanced stuff, like nails, partial posting, and monster manipulation, and maybe club it with a couple of your current levels to make a full level that could provide quite a fun gameplay experience. We're always open to help, and we too are still learning. Looking forward to seeing more levels from you. Perhaps you could submit for CCLP5, if you're interested. Good luck :)
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#6
I gave some general feedback on Discord, and this is a fun set that I have also optimized with a total score of 38,080. Times for each level are 92, [998], 95, 93, 92, 94, 97, 95, 186 and 214.

The improvements to levels 1, 3 and 6 are welcome changes that definitely make things more interesting- you have a good instinct for how to put things together and I'd love to see what you can do with some larger maps going forward.
My CC1 levelsets: (25, 150, 149, 149, 149, 149, 60, 149, 43, +2 = 1025 total)
25 levels.dat | Ultimate Chip.dat | Ultimate Chip 2.ccl | Ultimate Chip 3.dac | Ultimate Chip 4.zip | Ultimate Chip 5 | Ultimate Chip 6 Walls of CCLP4 i^e
IHNN-Ultimate: 147 of my best levels (through UC5), plus 2 entirely new ones. May be overhauled soon.

My CC2 levelsets: (100, ???)
IHNN1 | IHNN2

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