Sméagol

Super Mario Maker 2 challenge - June challenge has started!

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All right, I posted this idea in the general MM thread of having a friendly monthly competition of everyone making a Mario Maker level based on the same theme. 

The challenge

  • A monthly challenge to create a Mario Maker level.
  • Anyone who wants to participate, makes a level based on a theme, decided on beforehand by the winner of the previous challenge.
  • The theme will usually be two chosen Mario Maker elements, but can be any restriction.
  • Only one entry per participant, and no revisions once you've uploaded your level, not until after the challenge at least.
  • Deadline will be roughly a week. The challenge starts the first saturday of the month, and ends on Sunday of the next week.
  • Don't upload your level until the next weekend, so all levels can be played at the same time.
  • Participants and other forum members who play (all) the levels can vote on a winner.
  • Oh and I thought it would be a fun way to sneak in some site promotion by mentioning NE in the description.

Theme
For the first challlenge I went with two Mario Maker elements to build a level around, this seems to be the sweetspot for Mario Maker levels to focus on, but the theme can be any restriction you can think of (within reason). But it's more productive to keep things simple.

Voting

  • Vote for the level you like the best. You have one vote.
  • You can't vote yourself.
  • Players can vote too!
  • In case of a tie ehh, I don't know. Initial idea was to have the players tied race a level not made by them, but now I think of it, it's easier to just check the actual hearts they got on their levels and compare.
  • Winner gets to decide next theme

Current challenge

June challenge: SWIMMING!1!1!1!1!

The deadline for creating a level is on Sunday, 14th of June!

Past challenges

February challenge: Bob-Ombs & Donut Blocks
Winner: Glen-i
Level: Spooky Explosive Donuts
ID: 
B4H-KKT-K6G

March challenge: Spikes
Winner: RedShell
Level: A Seriously Spiky Situation
ID: J3F-RSG-PCG

April challenge: Auto scroll
Winner: tie between RedShell & Sméagol
Level: Autoscroll Antics (RedShell)

ID: 784-4ND-5MF
Level: TLOZ: The Scrolls of Time (Sméagol)
ID: WGG-6VS-2HG

May challenge: Super Mario Bros. 2!
Winner: Sméagol
Level: Just Another day in Subcon
ID: VLM-KSN-SFF

 

Edited by Sméagol
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February challenge: Bob-Ombs & Donut Blocks

The entries:

Bangin' Doughnuts! (Dcubed ) ID: 37B-93X-8HF
Spooky Explosive Donuts (Glen-i ) ID: B4H-KKT-K6G
Our Donut Is Not a Hole (Sméagol) ID: D1K-PB6-9CG

Spoiler

 

The votes:

Bangin' Doughnuts! (Dcubed) [2] Sméagol /  Glen-i
Spooky Explosive Donuts (Glen-i) [4] DCubed / Redshell / Nicktendo / londragon
Our Donut Is Not a Hole (Sméagol)

Anyone reading this and still playing Mario Maker: go play the levels and get your votes in!

 

Edited by Sméagol
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So I’ve played your level now @Sméagol.  It’s not bad overall, but there’s a few unfortunate things that drag it down a bit... Firstly, you have a very long vertical platforming section without a real way to regain your lost progress from falling down.  Combined with some very tight jumps? It can get a bit frustrating getting your way back up; probably could’ve done with breaking this section up a bit somehow (be it with a warp door, a pipe, one way doors or even vines); also could’ve probably done with one more mushroom along the way as it’s a pretty gruelling challenge.

 

Second... I’m not sure I actually beat it in the intended way? I actually couldn’t figure out what to do at the end with the vines and bombs; I ended up getting up there without getting hit, got a Super Leaf from the block that would normally give you a mushroom and just flew up to the top? Surely that’s not the intended strat!? (If so, that’s a huge potential soft lock right there).

 

Finally, there were a few blind jumps here and there in the vertical section, where the camera wouldn’t quite go up high enough to show you the cannons before they shot bombs into your face; bit annoying, but I know first hand how hard it is dealing with the limitations of Mario Maker’s camera system, it’s really easy to let these things slip by.

 

I really enjoyed it overall though, despite those issues (and the ridiculously strict timer that you rightfully mentioned!).  There’s some great ideas here and I love what you did with the donut blocks & pipes (as well as the foreshadowing with the donut block in the big vertical section; good job there!) and the cannon directional trick.  Good stuff.
 

Overall though, I’m gonna have to vote for @Glen-i’s level though, just because of those issues and overall missing bits of polish.  I actually think that your level is more interesting than Glen’s, but Glen’s is more fun overall.  Iron out those kinks, make the level a bit kinder to the player and I reckon you’re onto a winner with it though  :peace:

Edited by Dcubed
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Man, @Sméagol I am just stumped on this jump. No idea how I'm supposed to get enough momentum to continue.

EDIT: Never mind, complained on internet, did it soon after. That's really difficult to do considering how far you could potentially fall down if you miss.

Edited by Glen-i
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I'm potentially interested in this now that I understand a bit more of what it's all about. :)

Super Mario Maker 2 is something which I haven't touched since it came out, I only played the single player campaign and have not tried anyone's levels yet. :blush:

I'll give the Donut levels a play soon and who knows... for the next challenge I might even make a level. :D

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Nope, sorry. @Sméagol That jump is just making me angry now. I'm not having much fun anymore.

The theming is nice and consistent and the attention to detail on making sure each airship has those fire thrusters is nice and all. But that same attention to detail has killed me after making that ridiculous jump 4 times now because the momentum I needed sent me barreling into the fire and the only time I made it past that, I got blindsided by a Bullet Blaster and had to go back to doing that jump again.

I have to give my vote to @Dcubed, his is difficult in places but it's not as punishing for messing up, thanks to the well used "reset doors" and the last puzzle on that is amazingly clever and one of the best use of Bob-omb's I've ever seen.

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OK, I just tried all your levels. @Sméagol I like the concept, but the platforming becomes way too tricky for my liking. Also, your checkpoint flag should appear earlier I reckon. Couldn’t reach the end.

@Dcubed, very creative ideas as usual. I like how it’s split into little sections too. Couldn’t get past the part with falling donut blocks before the checkpoint flag. If you’d have just put the checkpoint by the entry pipe instead, it would’ve given more incentive to keep trying.

@Glen-i, an enjoyable level overall. I like how there are multiple routes with varying challenge. It was fun destroying the wall on both routes and your checkpoint flag was well placed. The little bonus area just before the goal was a nice touch too.

My vote for this theme goes to Glen-i for Spooky Explosive Donuts:peace:

I would’ve liked to have taken part by creating a level too, but I still haven’t got my Mario Maker mojo back really. :hmm: Maybe on the next one...

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Thanks for the feedback @RedShell.  Reason why I put it after the jump instead of before was because there’s a large gap in-between that checkpoint and the next and I didn’t want to make the player have to pull off that jump more than once (and Mario Maker unfortunately has a 2 checkpoint limit; if I could’ve had a 3rd one I would’ve).

 

If you do fancy giving it another go; pro-tip: Wait until either the 5th or 6th block cycle (you’ve no doubt noticed by now that I made it so that the cycle changes each time), your best chance is easily the 5th or 6th one!  Also the difficulty curve throughout the course is non-linear on purpose; so don’t worry, there’s a nice reprieve after that tricky jump!

Edited by Dcubed
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7 minutes ago, Nicktendo said:

Damn, posted in the OT.

@Glen-i, a winner is you (from me)

Just wondering, did you do the bottom Route or top Route?

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10 hours ago, Dcubed said:

So I’ve played your level now @Sméagol.  It’s not bad overall, but there’s a few unfortunate things that drag it down a bit... Firstly, you have a very long vertical platforming section without a real way to regain your lost progress from falling down.  Combined with some very tight jumps? It can get a bit frustrating getting your way back up; probably could’ve done with breaking this section up a bit somehow (be it with a warp door, a pipe, one way doors or even vines); also could’ve probably done with one more mushroom along the way as it’s a pretty gruelling challenge.

 

Second... I’m not sure I actually beat it in the intended way? I actually couldn’t figure out what to do at the end with the vines and bombs; I ended up getting up there without getting hit, got a Super Leaf from the block that would normally give you a mushroom and just flew up to the top? Surely that’s not the intended strat!? (If so, that’s a huge potential soft lock right there).

 

Finally, there were a few blind jumps here and there in the vertical section, where the camera wouldn’t quite go up high enough to show you the cannons before they shot bombs into your face; bit annoying, but I know first hand how hard it is dealing with the limitations of Mario Maker’s camera system, it’s really easy to let these things slip by.

 

I really enjoyed it overall though, despite those issues (and the ridiculously strict timer that you rightfully mentioned!).  There’s some great ideas here and I love what you did with the donut blocks & pipes (as well as the foreshadowing with the donut block in the big vertical section; good job there!) and the cannon directional trick.  Good stuff.
 

Overall though, I’m gonna have to vote for @Glen-i’s level though, just because of those issues and overall missing bits of polish.  I actually think that your level is more interesting than Glen’s, but Glen’s is more fun overall.  Iron out those kinks, make the level a bit kinder to the player and I reckon you’re onto a winner with it though  :peace:

1] Yeah, that would require some redesign I'm not sure how to do (well, I may have one idea now). I cannot litter the space with more fail-safes, more platforms to catch you if you fall on the intended one, it kind of defeats the purpose of a vertical section in the fist place, and you risk accidentally coming up with a lot of cheese. Simple solution would be more checkpoints, but I don't have those. It also just makes it visually too cluttered. Well the vines you mentioned may be a good idea.

2] Yeah, like I suspected, I need to redesign that big airship a bit for both the puzzle and the softlock. That was indeed the softlock I was referring to (making the vines go up), and after some more testing it wasn't that hard to fly up there (initial testing made me lose the power-up quickly while trying to get there). It already was the trickiest section to create.

Spoiler

You have to stay beneath and left of the canon twice. One time to spawn a bob-omb, you have to follow it until it triggers the vine to go down (unfortunately it needs to stay on screen otherwise it doesn't trigger). Second time to destroy the blocks, you need to hit it at the right time.

Funnily enough, I initially didn't try flying through the airship, but flying outside it was what I used for the speedrun route. That's what I spent a whole morning on, trying to get that super leaf there.

3] The blind jumps you have to explain, because I never really had a problem with. I didn't put those coins on the cannons for nothing :P. But yeah, if you gan give me more specifics, please.

9 hours ago, Glen-i said:

Man, @Sméagol I am just stumped on this jump. No idea how I'm supposed to get enough momentum to continue.

EDIT: Never mind, complained on internet, did it soon after. That's really difficult to do considering how far you could potentially fall down if you miss.

You've found out now, but yeah, that was exactly the jump I was considering making easier, seems I'm right. Obviously I personally liked the idea of jump even trickier than all the others, but this may have been one of those lines I crossed.

A few things though, after watching your video. This may be my Mario maker experience, but I know exactly how high and how far Mario jumps, and I'd never try to jump from where you tried to jump, intended route would have been clear. This in itself may be indication that I should try to think of people not knowing that but.. here's some designer insight for you: Nothing about that platform is coincidental. It wasn't there initially, and I only placed it there as a compromise. I knew that jump was hard, so I placed it there as one of the few fail-safes. Like I said earlier, I don't want too many of them, since they clutter things, and as you see, serve as a distraction. It's too close to the big airship for my liking, but I knew I had to have something there. It's place is exactly where you get if you failed the (intended :p) jump. it's size and placement is exactly such, that you can't use it to cheese the jump I want you to make (as far as I know) (which in itself, in hindsight, like I said before, looks like a line I crossed). It has nothing on it to indicate this isn't a place you need to be (follow the coins! :p) Oh and it needs to visually match the rest.

6 hours ago, Dcubed said:

Thanks for the feedback @RedShell.  Reason why I put it after the jump instead of before was because there’s a large gap in-between that checkpoint and the next and I didn’t want to make the player have to pull off that jump more than once (and Mario Maker unfortunately has a 2 checkpoint limit; if I could’ve had a 3rd one I would’ve).

 

If you do fancy giving it another go; pro-tip: Wait until either the 5th or 6th block cycle (you’ve no doubt noticed by now that I made it so that the cycle changes each time), your best chance is easily the 5th or 6th one!  Also the difficulty curve throughout the course is non-linear on purpose; so don’t worry, there’s a nice reprieve after that tricky jump!

That jump was the most difficult for me to in your level. I was a bit annoyed to have to redo that p-switch race each time I failed that jump. unlike Redshell, I figured you had your reasons for putting that checkpoint after it instead of before. I finally did that jumping immediately left, and go for the middle donut blocks. Speaking of the p-switch race.. It was incredibly annoying if you failed a jump at the beginning and already know you're not going to make it. If I failed the jump, it means I'm in the water, and it's annoying to still have to go to the end regardless. Having a 2nd reset door in the middle (and having the exit door on the ground) would help.

8 hours ago, RedShell said:

OK, I just tried all your levels. @Sméagol I like the concept, but the platforming becomes way too tricky for my liking. Also, your checkpoint flag should appear earlier I reckon. Couldn’t reach the end.

Similar to DCubed's response: unfortunately I only have 2 CP's available, and only one for each area. It originally was placed earlier (right after the pipe), but since the first section is relatively easy, and the vertical section is pretty big, I placed it higher so you had to redo less stuff once you've reached it. If I had more CP's.. I would have used them.

 

So yeah, to conclude, like I suspected, I should redesign the big airship a bit, make that jump easier, and perhaps make it easier overall with more and / or larger platforms. I'll update and reupload later. Thanks for the comments everyone!

Oh one more thing, @Dcubed, since you're the only one here who's reached the boss, any comments on that?

Edited by Sméagol
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Oh and another thing..

What we're going to do right here is go back, way back into time. When we're still playing Mafia games..

I'd like you to bold votes (and on a single line) so it's easier for me to see them! :p Please? Thanks!

Edit:

@Glen-i is currently in the lead with 3 votes:

The votes:

Bangin' Doughnuts! (Dcubed) [2] Sméagol /  Glen-i
Spooky Explosive Donuts (Glen-i) [3] DCubed / Redshell / Nicktendo
Our Donut Is Not a Hole (Sméagol)

And this makes me realize I haven't set a cut-off date for voting, but there is no rush. Technically we only need it when we start talking about a second challenge, and we need the winner to decide the theme. Like I mentioned, I personally hope we do this monthly (anything faster could lead to burn-out), so I'd bring this up somehere after the first week of March.

 

Edited by Sméagol

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50 minutes ago, Sméagol said:

A few things though, after watching your video. This may be my Mario maker experience, but I know exactly how high and how far Mario jumps, and I'd never try to jump from where you tried to jump, intended route would have been clear. This in itself may be indication that I should try to think of people not knowing that but.. here's some designer insight for you: Nothing about that platform is coincidental. It wasn't there initially, and I only placed it there as a compromise.

See, I looked at that layout and thought to myself "He can't really expect me to perform that jump when I could potentially fall really far down"

One tile is almost no room to build up momentum, seeing that there was no way to approach that particular donut block from the left so you could build up momentum, I assumed there was something I was overlooking. Hence 15 minutes of failed attempts.

Before that jump, I actually thought the level had a steady difficulty curve, even if it started quite high. But that particular jump was such a difficulty spike, I thought there must have been an easier way.

Predicting player behaviour is especially hard, some people are gonna think around problems in ways you'll never imagine some people will. And that might leave some people frustrated when what is needed to be done has that little room for human error.

Take @Dcubed's Cave of falling Donuts you and @RedShell mentioned about his level.

You're not the only one to realise that it might be easier to just use the middle donut blocks to get across the gap. I tried it on my second run-through after he uploaded it online and it was much easier. I'll admit, despite the fact that Dcubed's intention of having donut blocks that fall at a different rate serve as the solution was quite clever. I just did that little trick instead.

This is why I like the idea of having multiple routes in some of my levels, I did it quite a bit in the original Mario Maker. You don't have to be a super expert to complete my levels, but those who show a bit more finesse and skill are rewarded with more challenge and some (meaningless) 1-ups for getting through it.

I find it adds much more accessibility to my levels so more people can get the satisfaction of completing my level. The downside is that it effectively cuts my checkpoints in half as I need to put one on each route.

Now, that's not to say that a challenging level is inherently worse than my process, there's a kind of player for each kind of level. But don't be surprised if that clear rate gets even lower than the average clear rate.

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Played all 3, finished one. I’m not a great 2D Mario player, so difficult or convoluted levels put me off. If I’m dying 20-30 times I’m not having fun. With that;

D-Cubed - Bangin’ Doughnuts!
The way the first bobombs you have to wall jump to dodge it upon using the door what a nightmare.
Some really inventive puzzles, but just too fiddly for me to enjoy. Repeating the same puzzle over and over is one of the reasons I don’t play MM much. The falling blocks jump to get to the checkpoint finished me.
That’s a criticism of my skill and patience though. Didn’t finish the level because it was too hard, and frustrating to go back through the whole thing again, to yet die at the same falling block point. I can see how to do it, just don’t want to repeat the whole level before it 10 times to get the timing down.

Gleni - Spooky Explosive Donuts
Short , sharp and sweet. Not too difficult, but enough challenge. Bobombs everywhere. Great fun passing the controller back and forth after one death, to see who could finish it first.

Sméagol - Our Donut Is Not a Hole
Unclear level progression from the outset, way too many fiddly jumps. You get to the extreme right in the opening section, and nothing, so I have to double back, forget it. Oh, drop bobombs down a hole, no, yes.
Didn’t finish level because I don’t know where to go, my son rage quit this one, he was furious.

So my winner was;
Gleni
Close though with DCubed, very inventive.
My son’s winner was;
Gleni

Sorry Sméagol I can’t bold the winner’s name on Tapatalk.

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@Glen-i I don't think I've ever done completely alternative routes, but I like putting alternative platforms for the more skilled players on the same route, aka the speedrun route. This level just barely had any.

Like I said, personally I love that difficult jump, but I can see how this may put other people off. I could make it simply easier like I mentioned, or take the vine idea from DCubed, maybe I'll do both or some other alternatives.

As for DCubed's falling donuts.. It's actually the height that makes the jump hard. I've dealt with falling donut timing before, but so far only with horizontal jumps. I think making the height difference one tile smaller makes a huge difference. I did notice the varying spawn speed, but thought it was weird and it was too slow to make a big difference. My biggest issue was that it was easy to fail (not that in itself directly), and you had to do a very slow section before it.

But yeah player preferences also plays a huge factor, like I said, I thought your easy route was way too easy. Happen to do that one first, and when I reached the goal, I was like "that's it?", then restarted to check out the other paths. I really felt I barely had to do anything to finish the level.

Edit: This is where I should stress I don't consider myself some kind of pro player, far from it. Mediocre at best. Can't do shelljumping and the likes. It's funny that I'm completely contradictory in that I like to create hard levels, but can barely play them (unless I created them of course).

31 minutes ago, londragon said:

Sméagol - Our Donut Is Not a Hole
Unclear level progression from the outset, way too many fiddly jumps. You get to the extreme right in the opening section, and nothing, so I have to double back, forget it. Oh, drop bobombs down a hole, no, yes.
Didn’t finish level because I don’t know where to go, my son rage quit this one, he was furious. emoji23.png

Haha. My level has issues, but I'm not going to apologize for that particular one. Must be simply lack of experience, because (especially the first section) should be obvious. Since there's only one way to go. Further to the right is just empty space, where you obviously shouldn't jump, and if you followed the coin (which is there for a reason) you should have noticed the green pipe.

As for your son. Muhahahh REVENGE

Seriously, tell him that's payback for his insane walljumping parkours. Difficulty is relative, since even with Mario platforming players can have different skills, and it's obvious that he's better at walljumping, and I'm better at tiny platforms. But I can objectively say that to me (again, since it's also relative), his level is far far more difficult than anything I've ever done, except for maybe a harder version of one particular level I've done which I haven't even uploaded. Because I have attempted that level an insane amount of tries (or at least, that very beginning of it), and much more than the anything I do in my own levels (because I obviously still need to test it, and eventually play ot to clear it). Things that takes that many tries during testing get taken out. And you know.. At least my level has checkpoints and places where you can rest. :p

 

Edited by Sméagol
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So it looks like Glen-i is the winner so far (you guys like your easy stages huh?).

 

Unless @S.C.G or @RedShell turn the tide that is ;) 

 

Shall we set the next challenge date for the 29th of February? (That'll then run for a week up until the 8th of March?)

 

If so, @Glen-i will need to choose the next theme (and the two course parts to focus on).  Perhaps I can whip up some fancy leaderboard graphics too before then for funzies? (Maybe even keep a running tally of overall votes alongside the number of weekly wins?)

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I wasn't kidding when I said I wanted/ hoped to do monthly challenges, since I fully expect more and faster challenges to lead to burn-outs / fatigue quickly. I had a look at the SMM2 level thread (I totally forgot we had a separate thread for that), and found out you've been mentioning the wrong people @Dcubed.. There were several others which I haven't seen making new levels anymore. My favourite list in Mario Maker comprises almost entirely of NE people, and it's telling there are barely any new levels in there. Hopefully, besides @RedShell, we see @Ronnie, @GenericAperson, @Aneres11@Mike and @ViPeR coming back to make new levels, and participate in the next challenge! At the moment it seems it's just me, DCubed, and Glen-i still invested in this game.

That being said, I also, in hindsight, would have prefered a cleaner date, not some where in the middle of the month, so maybe we can do the next one earlier to time it around the beginning of the month. That way we can do each challenge say, every first Saturday of the month.

Also doesn't mean you can't make any other levels in between. ;) In fact, I made 2 already. They're VS levels though, of course they're hard, and the titles should tell you if you want to try them out. :indeed: The idea behind those levels initally started simply out as me wanting to do a single screen multi lane race, so all players can watch each other while playing. Which resulted in me only having 2 tiles available for each lane. But I had incredible fun coming up with set-ups that work with a 2 tile height (so much I want to do a regular level doing that).

Which make me realize themes for the challenges don't even necessarily have to be 1 or 2 chosen elements, but can be any restriction you think of.

I don't think anything is going to change the outcome, so @Glen-i seems to be the winner (Redshell already voted, and I overlooked @londragon's son's vote, so Glen-i has 5 votes)

So I would propose 7th of March as the date for the March challenge, however, I didn't realize this year was a leap year, so 29th is almost the first Saturday of March. We could do the next one then as an exception, but I really suggest waiting a whole month for future challenges.

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Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.  Start of the month made sense to me; but this year happens to be a leap year... so... close enough :p 

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17 hours ago, Dcubed said:

So it looks like Glen-i is the winner so far (you guys like your easy stages huh?).

I distinctly remember you dying 5 times on the same section.

Anyway, for my victory speech, I will quote a very wise and humble person: My Mii.

YaaaaaAAAAAAyyyyy!

So I've gotta think up two fun parts to utilise by the 29th?

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I booted up the game yesterday, and tried all three levels. My focus wasn't there though, so I finished Glen's level with the easy route, but gave up on DCubed and Sméagol's level. So I'm not going to vote, but just wanted to say thanks for putting these levels together! I'll give them a go another time and see if I can finish them all!

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1 hour ago, Glen-i said:

So I've gotta think up two fun parts to utilise by the 29th?

Or:

4 hours ago, Sméagol said:

[..]

Which make me realize themes for the challenges don't even necessarily have to be 1 or 2 chosen elements, but can be any restriction you think of.

But yeah. Probably wise to keep it to yourself until then, otherwise I'll try to come up with stuff before that.

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So I had another go at both levels again...

And finished neither :D

Sorry @Dcubed, that jump is just far too hard. I got fed up of starting over again and just gave up. 

@Sméagol, I got much further into your level. I like it a lot, but unfortunately, the punishment for death became too much in the end and I ended up just giving up again. I did do that bit @Glen-i posted first time though :heh:. Cool idea, but I was a much bigger fan of the Kebab Skewer level. Punishment was much less severe and I'm not much of a fan of vertical levels anyway. 

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Sorry Smeagol, I don't know if I have Nintendo Switch Online at the moment so I don't know if I can take part in this. Been a while since I committed to playing Mario Maker in a way and still have a level I wanted to finish. Thanks for the tag though.

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@Glen-i, time for the reveal!:bouncy:

I'll make an "official" post later today, after you've revealed the theme (afternoon or evening), and also update the OP.

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Righto, I want all our levels to focus on Spike (The enemy).

And not just that, but I don't want you using any other enemies. I think Spike is a pretty versatile tool, and we should see what nonsense we can make him do with the various other aspects.

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