Author Topic: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?  (Read 400 times)

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Offline Flopsy

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Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« on: February 04, 2021, 04:37:32 AM »
Edit Simon: The idea is good, here's the new main topic:
Topic: Multiplayer Map-Making Contest




I remember this being mentioned in the Lix sessions we just had but it seems like nothing has emerged.

I know there's a NeoLemmix contest going on and it's about to enter the playing phase in the next few days. I think once the playing phase has been in effect for long enough such that everyone has played the levels, it might be a good time to start this contest.

I'm not sure how this multiplayer contest will be conducted, would we have set criteria like how the NL contests are conducted? And also how would the playing phase be done, would we all get together to play the multiplayer levels and someone would record them being played for everyone to see?

I've not seen any topic about this so if there is already one, I apologise :lix-blush:
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 07:39:09 PM by Simon »
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Offline Simon

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2021, 05:26:51 AM »
Right, I haven't posted anything for this yet. The editor allows undo, and Lix 0.9 physics will stick for a while, therefore it's a good time to prepare the contest.

I had in mind to foster 5-player and 7-player maps. Then geoo suggested on IRC that we can have several prompts instead of only one theme:
  • Make a map with at least a 5-player and a 7-player variant.
  • Make an asymmetric map that still yields balanced results. (Between stronger players?)
  • Design an all-or-nothing map where the winner will ususally have many more lix saved than second place.
  • Design something really novel. E.g., race maps were groundbreaking when Rubix made his first one. Arty made a diplomatic map. What else might be sleeping in design space?
I'll happily have several rules. You're making a lot of new maps and should enter several. Are there other interesting rules?

Playtesting will likely happen in sessions as usual. It's also possible to play more games separately, we can coordinate small games on the fly, e.g., via IRC.

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Offline IchoTolot

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2021, 12:07:52 PM »
I would be up for it and I think instead of a regular playing phase we could have like 2-3 lix sessions where we especially focus on the contest maps.

I think having multiple rules to choose from is a good idea to diversify the resulting maps and also make making an entry easier.

Quote
Design an all-or-nothing map where the winner will ususally have many more lix saved than second place.

This is a very tough rule to satisfy and may result in maps submitted for this rule that accidentally not satisfy it.

Quote
Make an asymmetric map that still yields balanced results. (Between stronger players?)

This would need throughout testing even before submitting.

Quote
Make a map with at least a 5-player and a 7-player variant.

This could be a very good rule as it also tries to fill in a gap in the current lix map pool.


I would suggest another rule like this one: Make a map where your path to the exit crosses with exactly/at least/no more than X players.


Offline Flopsy

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2021, 10:14:08 PM »
Well right off the bat, I think a good rule would be:

Create a level which has no symmetry and the entrances and exits are inconsistent (definition could be worded better). Like "The Great Lix in the Sky" by amanda (3-5p) or the recent "Lucky Sevens" by Flopsy (7p).
I feel like if we have more people working on levels like this, we might have a success story because my "Lucky Sevens" was referred to by some as garbage :lix-blush:
Perhaps that is what you meant by asymmetric above?
This would also tie in quite nicely to the 5 and 7 player rule someone suggested.

Nessy also suggested to me that a one of each skill level like "Cowabunga on a Beam" by Arty.

Also suggested was "Wafflem style" - make a level where it is X of everything (or almost everything) and there is 1 of at least one skill instead of X (the skill where 1 is given must be a skill which would be strong in the level given). A little hard to enforce and judge but I think it is a good condition.

Quote from: Simon
Design an all-or-nothing map where the winner will ususally have many more lix saved than second place.

Is there any examples of a level which already exists which follows this rule rather well. I find this hard to picture myself.
For some reason geoo's map "Selective Rescue" comes to mind because you either save most of your Lix's or barely any.

Quote from: Simon
Design something really novel. E.g., race maps were groundbreaking when Rubix made his first one. Arty made a diplomatic map. What else might be sleeping in design space?

I quite like this rule, I feel like it would yield little entries but it might get great entries from what does make it.

Quote from: IchoTolot
I would suggest another rule like this one: Make a map where your path to the exit crosses with exactly/at least/no more than X players.

That could apply to pretty much any level which isn't very linear, I feel like that we would have to enforce a high amount of crossovers if this was considered.
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Offline geoo

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2021, 11:01:44 PM »
Quote from: Simon
Design an all-or-nothing map where the winner will ususally have many more lix saved than second place.

Is there any examples of a level which already exists which follows this rule rather well. I find this hard to picture myself.
For some reason geoo's map "Selective Rescue" comes to mind because you either save most of your Lix's or barely any.
Maybe a better way to put this "all or nothing" idea would be to say that in most games you'd save either almost no lemmings or
close to the full amount of lemmings you start with (or even more if you steal).
Maps where you bunch your crowd are likely to fit in this category. Selective Rescue would be a good example I'd say, or Stepping
Stones
, Pancake compression, Downward reduction, maps like that.

Quote
Make an asymmetric map that still yields balanced results. (Between stronger players?)
This would need throughout testing even before submitting.
Maybe a better way to put it would be:
Make an asymmetric map where no player seems to have an obvious advantage.

Would this be in spirit of Flopsy's suggestion
Quote
Create a level which has no symmetry and the entrances and exits are inconsistent (definition could be worded better).
or do you deliberately also want to cater for unfair maps?

I would suggest another rule like this one: Make a map where your path to the exit crosses with exactly/at least/no more than X players.
And you'd fix an X and a comparator to get a specific rule for the contest?
But doesn't that number depend the path that you (and each other player) chooses (and I assume "share a segment with" would qualify as "crossing" a path)? For example, Vertigo or Along the Fabrics of your clothing make players share segments of their path rather than crossing, so I think that should count. And for the latter, if everyone goes up, there is no crossing, but if everyone goes down, everyone shares a path with everyone else basically, so I'm not sure what X would be for this level.

Quote
Nessy also suggested to me that a one of each skill level like "Cowabunga on a Beam" by Arty.
Yeah, levels with low skill counts might deserve some more exploration. Nothing I've tried so far or have seen has really worked out too well, but maybe it's worth revisiting.


I think in general, considering this is especially for getting some novel maps of types we're short of or lacking, I'd say the rules should serve more for inspiration than categorizing.
So if a rule doesn't allow you to make a 100% certain call for each level whether it belongs or not, that's probably fine, as long as level authors follow them in spirit (even if maybe the level turns out a bit different than intended). In particular, I think it's good if the rules prompt authors to think about certain aspects of a level, and try to imaging how a level plays out:

From my experience, if you take a bunch of terrain pieces and slap together a nicely symmetric map with a generous generic skill set and everyone having their path to the exit (that may overlap), often these maps end up giving way to very similar gameplay where you build a route and then defend it from other players while your lixes stream to the exit. Depending on how and how much the routes overlap, this might even end up somewhat tedious if you get a constant back and forth of someone breaking your route and you fixing it again. Starting out with "what do I want to achieve", imagining the gameplay and building to achieve it yields larger variety I'd say. Some of the resulting maps might be utter garbage if they don't turn out as intended (I have a dumpster full of those, though sometimes they can be salvaged), but you also get the really good ones like this, so I think it's good to promote such a more analytical approach for the contest.

I'd also allow for multiple submissions per category (not sure about submitting one level to multiple categories if it fits), to encourage more content.
I guess there could be a vote-off for each category, and an overall one, as usual?

Offline Flopsy

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2021, 12:27:26 AM »
Quote from: geoo
I think in general, considering this is especially for getting some novel maps of types we're short of or lacking, I'd say the rules should serve more for inspiration than categorizing.
So if a rule doesn't allow you to make a 100% certain call for each level whether it belongs or not, that's probably fine, as long as level authors follow them in spirit (even if maybe the level turns out a bit different than intended). In particular, I think it's good if the rules prompt authors to think about certain aspects of a level, and try to imaging how a level plays out:

From my experience, if you take a bunch of terrain pieces and slap together a nicely symmetric map with a generous generic skill set and everyone having their path to the exit (that may overlap), often these maps end up giving way to very similar gameplay where you build a route and then defend it from other players while your lixes stream to the exit. Depending on how and how much the routes overlap, this might even end up somewhat tedious if you get a constant back and forth of someone breaking your route and you fixing it again. Starting out with "what do I want to achieve", imagining the gameplay and building to achieve it yields larger variety I'd say. Some of the resulting maps might be utter garbage if they don't turn out as intended (I have a dumpster full of those, though sometimes they can be salvaged), but you also get the really good ones like this, so I think it's good to promote such a more analytical approach for the contest.

I agree we need to be lenient with this contest in general, it can't be as strict as the NL level contests on the forums. Mainly because as geoo says, a multiplayer level may turn out differently to those who play it as opposed to what the author intended.

A good point which comes out of this also is the multiplayer levels are going to need some rigorous testing from multiplayer session matches. I think it is very doubtful that the level is going to be perfect first time and tweaks to the level which aren't complete transformations of the level (and spirit) itself should be allowed during the "playing phase".

For this reason also, it would make sense to allow multiple submissions in the same category because you could submit the same level in multiple different disciplines (like my 4 versions of "Dude Where's my Exit?!" in the last session we had.)

I think the voting should be as the NL level contest, breakdown by category then the remaining levels enter an overall vote off.

Quote
Yeah, levels with low skill counts might deserve some more exploration. Nothing I've tried so far or have seen has really worked out too well, but maybe it's worth revisiting.

Perhaps the one of each skill rule might be a good additional category for the contest then?
It is a challenging level type to do but I'm game!
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Offline Simon

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2021, 04:26:25 PM »
Quote
Maps where you bunch your crowd are likely to [be all or nothing]. Selective Rescue would be a good example I'd say, or Stepping
Stones, Pancake compression, Downward reduction, maps like that.

Selective Rescue is not all-or-nothing: Usually, many people save 19/20, 20/20, or 21/20, with first and second place ending very close. Of course, occasionally, somebody saves nearly 40/20, and will win far ahead.

Downward Reduction, Pancake Compression, maybe also Ghetto Wars are all-or-nothing. You rarely fight over single lix in the endgame. I think this is the hallmark of all-or-nothing: There is no grindy endgame.

Stepping Stones is nearly there: Usually, somebody will pull clearly ahead in the late middle game, and the other side will nuke. Occasionally, it produces single-digit-lix endgames.



Yeah, I'm happy to have many categories, including few-skills-of-many types. It's also fine to enter several maps per rule. The point of the contest is to promote mapmaking and exploring the design space.

Let's collect some more ideas for a week, and then publish a collection of rules on Sunday, February 14th.

I'd be happy to sponsor some prizes. Or does that get in the way of allowing many entries?

-- Simon
« Last Edit: February 06, 2021, 04:31:26 PM by Simon »

Offline geoo

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2021, 01:08:25 AM »
Selective Rescue is not all-or-nothing: Usually, many people save 19/20, 20/20, or 21/20, with first and second place ending very close. Of course, occasionally, somebody saves nearly 40/20, and will win far ahead.
It's not by the original definition, but it is by the adjusted (and more literal) one I posted, i.e. most of the time you save either (almost) all of your lix or (almost) none of them.
The original definition would maybe better summarizes as "winner takes it all", which doesn't apply here as multiple players may save their whole bunch.

Quote
Perhaps the one of each skill rule might be a good additional category for the contest then?
It is a challenging level type to do but I'm game!
I'm wondering if 1-of-each might be a bit too restrictive, but something like no more than 5 of any skill would still capture the same spirit but allow for a bit more flexibility.


On a different note, what would be a good format for the contest that allows iterating over the level? I think it's almost essential to test and revise your level a few times to get good result. Voting obviously should be on the final version, but I guess submissions could be updated at any time, after organized playing sessions or even ad-hoc sessions before the submission deadline.

Offline Flopsy

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2021, 11:32:24 PM »
Quote
I'm wondering if 1-of-each might be a bit too restrictive, but something like no more than 5 of any skill would still capture the same spirit but allow for a bit more flexibility.

Group Therapy is a great example of a level which is a good 3 of everything level, I think allowing up to 5 would be a good idea also.

Quote
On a different note, what would be a good format for the contest that allows iterating over the level? I think it's almost essential to test and revise your level a few times to get good result. Voting obviously should be on the final version, but I guess submissions could be updated at any time, after organized playing sessions or even ad-hoc sessions before the submission deadline.

This would be like how the NL contest takes place effectively in the playing/update phase. I think the only handicap is we are going to be hard pressed to test maps which require more players except at specific arranged Lix session times.
Even our scheduled session today only managed 8 players maximum at any time so imagine trying to get that amount together without it being pre-arranged :lix-suspicious:


I think a Race map rule would be a good option, especially after my success of The Krypton Factor race map today. I may have got lucky but I think we have a potential gold mine of levels yet to be discovered here :lix-smile:

Additionally, maybe add a requirement on this rule that requires there to be a route building section at some point in the level (like the bottom level of The Krypton Factor race map)
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Offline Simon

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2021, 06:19:22 AM »
Yes, the playing phase should be long, with many chances for fixing.

Route building is one way to make fresh race maps, I'll encourage it, but maybe not absolutely require it, there might be other novel ways.

After work today, I will go through this topic again to gather the ideas, then post a fresh topic to start the contest. This will be within 24 hours.

-- Simon

Offline Dullstar

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2021, 03:07:29 PM »
For the first go around with it, I'd suggest keeping the rules fairly loose (I'd say the first one, to make a map with at least a 5- and 7-player variant, is the only proposal that really qualifies - the others would be much too hard to make for someone's first Lix multiplayer level, I think - especially asymmetric maps and all-or-nothing maps). Maybe just have people submit many levels, with fewer rules than levels you're allowed to enter. I'm not suggesting we should never use the more complex ones - but I'd suggest holding off until the second time we do this to try them out. Then, once the format is a bit more well understood and more people have had a chance to foray into making Lix multiplayer levels, more complex rules should have a better chance to be successful.

Incidentally, my interpretation of the phrase "Make an asymmetric map that still yields balanced results. (Between stronger players?)" would be a map that is biased against specific positions, where the stronger players would go, while the weaker players have the easier positions... but there's no engine support for that right now, since there's no way to guarantee who gets what position. For that type of map to work, I think you'd need to be able to assign players to specific start positions (this wouldn't need to be required for players to do - it could merely give the players who've selected positions the ones they've selected, while randomly distributing the remainder as usual).
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 03:17:26 PM by Dullstar »

Offline Flopsy

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2021, 12:48:55 AM »


I assume you're referring to this level in particular Dullstar, this is pretty much the most simplistic definition of the contest rule I feel.

It's hard to know which one are the easiest hatches on this but I think the yellow, black and green routes are possibly the easiest.
yellow - can build a high route to their exit but just has to worry about the reds (possibly the greens) and the trap.
green - has to go left and avoid the black exit but it's harder to build a high route, will meet the reds, yellow near their hatch and maybe the blacks.
black - has a harder route but might be free of sabotage until their exit, it's unlikely the blues will be a problem.
red - has to go down but there are no diggers (big problem!)
blue - it is possible to go under the red exit but it takes a lot longer than going over it. Can sabotage black hatch near the exit but it might be too little too late by then.

We could still include some of the "harder" rules for the more veteran players but perhaps discuss some easier rules for a bit longer unless Simon already has an idea of some easier ones to add.
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Offline geoo

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2021, 03:43:05 PM »
I would say asymmetric or all-or-nothing is quite loose as well. As discussed before, it's more the intention and the thought process that counts than how the level actually plays out in the end.

In particular for asymmetric maps, I think my rewording ("Make an asymmetric map where no player seems to have an obvious advantage.") is even more open,
and I think the map Flopsy posted is a good case in point here:
Pretty much everyone agrees here that this maps is a bit unfair, but it's not clear who exactly has an obvious advantage.
For example, while Flopsy mentioned black, green and yellow, I would count red to be at a slight advantage.
Black has a short route to their exit, but as soon as someone attacks them it's game over, and their best bet is lurking near their exit and stealing green and yellow lixes.
Either way, even if we agree the map is unfair, it's certainly not obvious who has the advantage, so this map would still qualify.

A counterexample would be an old 2P map I used to introduce one or two new players to the game, called uphill battle.
The level is a slope with a block in the middle, and one player has to go up while the other has to go down the slope.
We would play a few rounds (if I started at the top, we simply restarted), and while at the beginning I had the edge, after
a few rounds it was even and in the end I didn't have a chance anymore after the new player figured out the map.

Of course, to simplify everything, the rule could also simply be "Make an asymmetric map."

Though in a sense, even symmetric maps are most likely unfair for anything more than 2 players:
If you start next to a strong player, you have a disadvantage compared to someone who starts next to a weaker player.


Maybe one thing to do is to simply pick just a few rules, and then have an open category for anything that fits neither, just in case?

Offline Simon

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Re: Lix contest for multiplayer levels?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2021, 06:26:03 PM »
Right, I'll make the rules cordial recommendations, or introduce a category where anything goes. The point is to promote map-making and find unexplored places in design space. As a prize, everybody will win a postcard by me. Or something else in case somebody isn't willing to share address, I'll think of something.

Dullstar's idears are excellent, even though most really need more engine support first.

Will post the thread after sleeping!

Edit: Contest topic posted.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 06:59:04 PM by Simon »