The Level Designer Contest (LDC) is an event in the Runouw Forums where users make levels and judges decide which level is the best.
How an LDC WorksEdit
Once it is time, a staff member is chosen to host an LDC, and they start a thread for it in the Level Designer forums (for SM63) or in the Competitions forum of Last Legacy's Site (for LL) or at a special place (for e.g. a Runolympics or Holiday LDC). The first post specifies the topic for the contest, the deadline for entries to be submitted, a link to the Level Designer, and a link to the Vault thread. You should read this post in its full length. Within the first couple of weeks of the contest, judges are chosen by the host from users volunteering in the thread or through PM. Any deadline extensions, either for individuals or for all contestants, are edited into the first post as well as posted in the thread normally. After all judges are done (this sometimes takes only a week, sometimes up to a month if we have many entries), the results will be posted in a fancy results post, with shiny colours, dramaspace and whatnot, and the judges will also post their reviews, and after some further talk or discussion, the LDC topic will be brought to the Graveyard, waiting for the next one to begin.
Normal users aren't allowed to create their own contests, by reasons stated in this post. They can only host an official LDC upon invitation of staff and as a special gift; the only exception so far being Emelia K. Fletcher's 25quared contests, which happen nearly annualy after the first ones being a great success. But still, if you have an awesome concept for a new sort of LDC, talk with the staff first. You can also suggest things in this topic (for SM63, an offshoot also exists on the LL site).
- Your level MUST be made for the contest, from scratch. No level started before the contest will be allowed.
- Your level must fit ONE of the themes AT LEAST. If it doesn't, you might get disqualified.
- Level series are allowed, but have a maximum of 5 actual levels. The levels must all be related. Usually the maximum length is even lower by discretion of the staff / the host.
- Collaborations between two designers are allowed, except if a special theme (e.g. 18th LDC, Freestyle) forbids it (this will be mentioned in the OP).
- Please avoid or limit any profanity or anything that may shock younger players.
- Post your levels in the Vault Thread mentioned in the first post of the contest (unless there will be another way to submit entries, which will be explicitely explained in the main topic). We ask that you post them in code tags and don't link them to the portal, so it's clear which level code shall be judged (and no edits can made after the deadline).
- You can make a reservation post in the Vault, stating that you want to enter, and post your level later. You can keep editing it in the Vault until the deadline; but once it's over, you must stop editing, else you will be disqualified (any delay of a few minutes or an hour at most should be tolerated though).
- You can ask the host for an extension if something unexpected came into your way and you can't fully finish before the deadline. If you provide a good reason, you might get a few more days. The upper limit for extensions is usually stated in the main topic. If many people lag behind, the deadline might be extended for everyone.
- If you judge, the seeked deadline for judging is two weeks, or about 1 day per entry if it's more. You should have an account on the Discord chat, and join the #ldcjudgings channel to discuss with the other judges.
In most LDCs, you can get a maximum of 20 points, but the style of scoring can vary between contests. The standard format, used for all SM63 LDCs, is shown below.
- GAMEPLAY: --/10 - Was the level fun to play, worth playing? Or was it boring at moments? Was there any story line that actually contributed to the mood of the level? Or did it ruin the very level? Was the platforming good? Was it too frustrating or too easy?
- GRAPHICS: --/5 - Are the choices of tiles and items coherent and do they add up to a beautiful overall picture? Or is it the same kind of tiles all over the place? Or are there certain things that are really off? Is there a good amount of décoration, like plants, rocks or fences? Are there uncorrectly used tiles (cutoff) or messily placed items?
- OTHER: --/5 - You start with 3 points here, and points are added or reduced if any notable thing is good or bad in a level. Added points are mostly for original content, good music choices or the lack of loading time and/or in-game lag. Reduced points are for unfixed bugs, lag, loading time, bad music choice.
Last Legacy LDCs have been using different scoring scales thus far. In the 3rd LDC the distribution was 25/50 points for Fun, 20 for Graphics/Scenery and 5 for Other.
For the Gameplay category (formerly called "Fun"), you should have a well-balanced difficulty in order to get a high score; not too easy, not too hard, and recommendedly the difficulty also being in accord with the general atmosphere (since there is a difference between a grassy landscape and a fiery volcano or a castle). Generally there should be interesting stuff, let it be puzzles, speedrace sections, or platforming mechanics and all that. Low scores are usually given to levels with nothing interesting to do, if they're too short and/or simply unoriginal, and there wasn't much effort put into it in general, or it failed at executing what it wanted to do and therefore became too hard to be comfortably played.
For the Graphics category, you should let your tiling and your item placement be as accurate as possible to fit a given theme and make the level look like something original. The most fundamental recipes for success are tile mixing and decorative item placing. For the tiles, use the possibilities of the designer to its full extent. When creating natural landscapes, make good use of the slopes and ceiling stuff. When having brick structures, use different colours and let them blend well together, and background tiles can also be useful. For items, decoration is very important to make the level look natural. It's not only plants, it's also rocks, fences and arrows at places where it fits. Also try to embed gameplay-related items like blocks or logs into the scenery in a fitting way, to improve it even further.
For the Other category, every judge has different guidelines of what he gives / subtracts points for, and how many points it is, so there's not a foolproof recipe for constantly getting high Other scores. Generally, try to be inventive and innovative, and choose a music that you feel pleasant with while playing the level, and hope the judges also see the innovation and like your music. Bugs can be avoided by sufficient playtesting in most cases. Lags and loading times can occur also to the best levels; in fact, the more décor you have, the bigger your loading time will be. You shouldn't neglect décor considering the Graphics category, but you can at least try to use it effectively and not overload your level with it. Lags can be generally avoided by making transitions not too large and not placing too many enemies, but still might happen in tall levels.
These tables display the Top 10 of LDC's medal-wise and score-wise. For the medal table, every medal (from regular AND mini-LDCs) is counted with 6th place = 1 point, 5th place = 2 points, ..., 1st place = 6 points. For the Score table, all available scores of all LDCs are summed up (this unfortunately excludes the early LDCs where we lost the full results)
|1st||Volkove||89||1st (9th, 15th LDC, 2nd mini-LDC)|
|2nd||~MP3 Amplifier~||69||1st (19th, 21st, 23rd, 26th and 30th LDC)|
|3rd||MessengerOfDreams||60||1st (10th, 16th, 18th and 29th LDC)|
|4th||Star king||44||1st place (12th and 29th LDC)|
|5th||MICrophone||32||2nd place (3rd, 6th and 9th LDC)|
|6th||Krazy321||29||1st place (2nd and 5th LDC)|
|7th||KABOOM||27||1st place (28th LDC)|
|8th||Buffooner||25||1st place (20th LDC)|
|8th||Vendai||25||1st place (10th, 16th LDC, 4th mini-LDC)|
|10th||24murph||22||1st place (1st and 2nd LDC)|
Every LDC has its own thread, along with its vault thread starting by the 14th LDC. Here are all past LDC topics.
- Hot and Cold (The Lost LDC)
- Bowser's New Castle
- Desert Oasis
- Unfinished Level
- Ruined Treasure (LDC)
- Garden (LDC)
- Runouw (LDC)
- Galaxy (LDC)
- 2012 (LDC)
- Alternate Dimension (LDC)
- Beach (LDC)
- Pure Platformer (LDC) Vault
- Earth and Sky (LDC) Vault
- Musical Moods (LDC) Vault
- Winter (LDC) Vault
- Freestyle (LDC) Vault
- Death (LDC) Vault
- All Things Mario (LDC) Vault
- Storytelling & Cave (LDC) Story Vault Cave Vault / Combined Results
- Fire (LDC) Vault
- Science (LDC) Vault
- Jungle / Forest (LDC) Vault
- Hot & Cold 2/Bowser's Newest Castle/Another Desert Oasis (LDC) Vault
- Conflict (LDC) Vault (anonymous)
- Water (LDC) Vault
- Urban (LDC) Vault
- Grasslands (LDC) Vault
- Finale / Ultimate Battle (LDC) Vault
All titlecards, winners and more statistics can be seen in the Hall of Fame.
Sometimes, for holidays or other events, there are Mini Level Designer Contests.
- Halloween 2010: Halloween
- Winter 2010/2011: Winter/Christmas/Hanukkah
- Halloween 2011: Halloween 2
- Halloween: 2012: Halloween
- The 25quared Contest Vault
- The Carvery Contest Vault
- The Second 25quared Contest Vault
- The Third 25quared Contest Vault
- The Fourth 25quared Contest Vault
- Runolympics 2015 SM63 LDC Vault
- Runolympics 2015 LL LDC Vault
- Superyoshi (Suyo) created the first LDC on the old forums as the "First Unofficial LDC", around the same time he became a mod. After this fact, and the fact that Niklaw (Demonik) and Runouw R L approved of it, it became the First Official LDC.
- During the 3rd LDC (and then really cemented by the events of the 8th LDC), Volcove successfully submitted the first multipart entry. (Technically, fourinone asked the question, but never took the opportunity. Suyo agreed, then added it to the rules.) As a result, this started the rule restricting how far you are allowed to split your entry.
- LDC #14 was the first to use a Level Vault for submitting levels, created by MoD as inspired by -OJ. A Level Vault is a topic separate from the original LDC topic for level codes. Nothing else can be posted in it.
- The 2012 Halloween Mini-LDC had only 1 completed entry, made by MP3 Amplifier. She automatically won.
- LDC #20 was the first LDC to obfuscate the identities of the judges. Up until the results, the judges went under the pseudonyms ~Mario~, ~Luigi~, ~Yoshi~, and ~Wario~.
- LDC #21 was the first (and thus far only) twin contest. There were two completely different contests run with different rules, and the winners of each were combined into the final winner of the 21st LDC.
- LDC #26 was the first LDC to be completely anonymous. The identities of the judges and the entrants were unknown to everyone except the host, -BY, until results were published.
- The third Last Legacy contest was hosted on lastlegacy.us rather than on runouw.com.
- The first official mini-LDC for LL was hosted during the 2015 Runolympics.