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Jumpman level design contest

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I'm going to put this out there, as someone with opinions about Jumpman (and one of the contest judges :) ) — 4 simultaneous bullets is a a crutch that makes a level harder but usually not more fun. A level should be able to stand on its own merits with zero, one, or two bullets.

 

Keep this in mind: in Randy Glover's Jumpman, most levels had 0, 1 or 2 bullets. None had three, and only one (Grand Puzzle III) had four.

 

-Kevin

Edited by Savetz
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Elevator looks cool, (homage to Donkey Kong? :) ) but needs a lot of tweaking, it is very awkward to move around....and please... PLEASE...the up ropes going into nothingness are not effective...they act as slaps in the face for no strategic value.

 

Flow is very important, and yes, +++ on Kevin's points. The goal is to have a level that flows well, and is possible to finish without losing a life...playing the level on slower speeds will help with debugging that particular issue...

 

I always try to make sure that my levels are playable at slow speeds, as well as speed 2.

 

-Thom

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Would be nice to get access to the graphic elements like the Robots, Bats, Tank etc but I do realise that those require coding chops as opposed to just enabling a location to point to that character map, maybe after that is sorted it would be possible to add your own 'foes' like the Fire seen in the C64 etc but bit by bit obviously and ironically...

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Only thing I'd request from Kevin/Playermissile, is a little video showing the mini-assembler/hex editor for writing custom code, showing the vectors, and assembling a bit of custom code.

 

-Thom

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The mini-assembler is cool and all, but for development I'd recommend an actual assembler like ca65. You can insert the assembled object code using File -> Insert File... at the cursor location. As I get more time and we learn more about the custom code in the existing levels, I'll have some examples.

 

Eventually I'll have hooks in Omnivore to deal with custom code, but it will be several weeks before I get time for that. For now, in Omnivore, you can right-click on a peanut and set a trigger function. I think a safe area for your trigger function is somewhere in the 2e00 - 2fff range unless your level definition gets huge. There are gaps in the 2940 - 2bea range, but at this point I'm not sure if there's anything implicitly called in that area.

 

Check out Kevin's Fadeaway example level.

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Only thing I'd request from Kevin/Playermissile, is a little video showing the mini-assembler/hex editor for writing custom code, showing the vectors, and assembling a bit of custom code.

 

-Thom

 

Here you go. This video shows how to do custom code that runs when you take a particular peanut, when you take every peanut, and that runs constantly during the level.

 

 

Kevin

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New version of the editor that includes error checking for peanut locations, flagging invalid locations by changing the affected peanuts to a big ol' X.

 

https://github.com/robmcmullen/omnivore/releases/latest

 

It won't let you drop peanuts in the red zones between valid grid squares now. Any grid locations that have multiple peanuts also get flagged. It will prompt you with an "are you sure?" dialog if you try to save a level with any of those conditions.

 

If I forgot to mention, you can change the grid offset in the Add Peanut mode by holding down the mouse while the pointer is over the red grid border and moving it.

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I have reverse engineered and completely commented the custom code of two levels (The Roost the Ladder Challenge). We know how to do levels with Players now!

 

I learned a ton in documenting these levels, and will be releasing an updated version of the Reverse Engineering Notes very soon. But for now, you can read my code comments: After you unzip, open this file in Omnivore, then in the Hex Editor Window, in the Segments pane, choose 17: Roost and/or 19: Ladder Challenge. You'll see the code and comments in the Disassembly pane.

 

Randy Glover is a genius. Setting one byte is all you need to do to make JM fall to his death. Change one other byte to change the enemy graphics to animate. One other byte to change any Player's Y position, there's no fussing with copying the Player around memory.

 

Jumpman-2016-commented.zip

post-803-0-90783600-1471484403_thumb.png

 

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If you haven't checked out the level editor in a while, I've added some new commands to make it even easier to create levels. For instance, in this latest 0.13.6 release:

 

https://github.com/robmcmullen/omnivore/releases

 

you can mirror objects to help create a symmetrical playfield. I'm also finishing up a level with custom code, and I'll contribute the source and Makefile for use with ca65 (the assembler that comes with the cc65 project).

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Thanks for the level Jeff, just going to have a play of it now (finally, 2 mins of free time)...

 

Was going to try and design stuff but I'm dog tired and in too much pain with all the running about regarding my daughter..

 

I'd love to have some time to try the editor out and thank Rob and Kevin for the amazing hard work on getting the levels editor and notes out..(Kevin needs to work on reading his cue cards :) (re the advanced code techniques video)) :)

 

As I've said before, a Spelunker or Bruce Lee editor would be amazing :)

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I listened to the latest Player/Missile podcast and thought it was about time I try the Jumpman editor in Omnivore. Sadly, the editor gives me issues when running under Windows 7. Omnivore opens fine, but starting the Jumpman editor makes Omnivore throw out an error message (which I can continue past, only to encounter more error messages). The program never actually crashes, but I can't get started. I'm using the latest release of Omnivore (0.13.8 ).

 

I tried the "Jungle" level. It's very hard! I only could beat it using save states. Is it possible to beat "Jungle" without dying at least once? I've been playing Jumpman since the early 80s. I'm far from a master of the game, but some of the jumps from rope to rope on the "Jungle" level seem near-impossible to make correctly every time. I guess my Jumpman skills just aren't up to the task.

 

There hasn't been a posting to this thread in a month. The contest Jumpman Level Design Contest is supposed to end in two days. There aren't even close to 32 levels that have been created-- at least not publicly (maybe most people are emailing their levels?). Is the contest still going to end in two days? Any contest status updates? How many levels have been received so far?

 

Adam

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Yeah, I'm disappointed with the number of entries — but Rob is going to be here in Portland this weekend for PRGE, so I think we're going to review the entries that we do have. We might have to make a bunch of our own levels in order to release a Jumpman 2 — but I'm still interested in doing that. It'll just take longer than with more entries from the community.

 

—Kevin

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Hey Kevin, I'll probably see you at PRGE but I will try and dig into this after the show. New job has been keeping me busy. I'd be happy to help with a few levels.

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Thanks to Rob sending me a few personal messages here on AtariAge, I was able to open the Jumpman editor properly. I had to use:

 

File -> New -> Jumpman Level

 

Seems easy enough... once I knew. Hopefully this will help someone else.

 

I'll see if I can design a level before tomorrow. There's nothing like waiting until the last possible moment to get inspiration, right?

 

Adam

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For inspiration, I just played through all 30 levels of Jumpman using Altirra and save states. I haven't seen some of these levels in a really long time (probably since the 80s). The only reason I saw them back then was because I usually played on Random (yes, I played a lot of level 12, "Robots II"). Some of the levels in Jumpman frustrated me today. For instance, in order to pass level 22 "Freeze" (without dying), I used the cheats to turn off collision detection. Then it simply became a matter of running around collecting "peanuts." I also had collision detection off for level 23 "Robots III" (which I think I've only seen, maybe once or twice-- I'd totally forgotten about it). Amusingly, I had collision detection off when I got to level 29 "Going Down?" Jumpman fell right through the platform/elevator (what's it called?) when I landed on it. Oops!

 

I also "solved" Level 30 "Grand Puzzle III" so that I could see the second part of the level (which I never knew even existed!). I wrote solved in quote marks because I only was able to get to the second part of level 30 (is it called level 31?) after watching Kevin's video:

 

Cool video, Kevin!

 

I'm glad that I played through Jumpman-- I've wanted to do that for about 30 years or so. I guess I could have done it anytime since emulation was introduced (save states can be very useful, right?), but it's this Omnivore Jumpman level designer (and this contest) that finally made me do it. I made my first level and tried it out under emulation. My first attempt at creating a level is awful, but the fact that my level (yes, my own level!), as bad as it is and as dysfunctional and broken as it was bound to be... well, Kevin and Rob-- it's just crazy-cool to see it up there on my own Atari screen! You'd have been hard-pressed to tell twelve year-old me in 1984 or so that I'd make my own Jumpman level.

 

I'm looking forward to making my own levels, despite pretty-much having missed the contest deadline. Jumpman has been around for over 30 years-- I don't see any reason to allow some silly deadline to stop me from creating Jumpman levels for the next 30 years.

 

Can you tell I'm excited?

 

Adam

 

 

 

 

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Here is my Jumpman level (sans platforms!). It's been tuned-up (a bit) so that it can be finished without frustration (and without losing a life). This level is called "Give 'Em Enough Rope." I consider its difficulty level to be easy-to-intermediate. A skilled player should be able to solve it the first or second time quite easily.

 

I came up with the level's title while laying in bed, wide awake, two night's ago. That's what inspired me yesterday to try to create a level. All I knew was that the level would have the player jumping from rope to rope collecting bombs (uh, "peanuts"). Here's a glimpse of the level:

 

post-4925-0-89022500-1477085019_thumb.gif

 

I wanted more than six ropes, but I guess, according to Kevin's video, that six is the limit for number or ropes per screen. Give the level a download and tell me what you think:

 

Jumpman Level (Give Em Enough Rope).zip

 

Here are a couple of notes on this level:

 

1) Help, I'm falling! - Having trouble jumping from rope to rope? Can't quite make it? Remember to press in the direction of the rope when you jump. Also, you can move left and right when climbing on some ropes. This can be helpful when preparing for your next jump. You have far more power over controlling Jumpman than you may realize.

 

2) "Peanut" Spaces - I didn't know when I first created this level that "peanuts" collected from a rope would leave a small blank space behind. These spaces can throw-off Jumpman's ability to climb or lower himself on a rope (i.e. it's possible to fall)-- so be careful out there!

 

Thanks for making the Omnivore editor, Rob! Thanks for making the how-to video, Kevin! Thanks for making Jumpman, Randy!

 

Adam

 

 

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We had a great time at Portland Retro Gaming Expo and had fun reviewing the Jumpman level design entries. Thanks to everyone who took some time to play with Omnivore and make a level.


We got fewer entries than we would have liked (admittedly, we would have liked 5,000), and zero custom-code entries.


The winning entry, in our expert opinions is: Puzzler by @Goochman. It captures the flavor of Randy's original Jumpman. It was fun to play and figure out.


We'd like people to continue experimenting with the level editor and making new levels. We discovered that 85% of the original Jumpman levels had custom code — a much bigger percentage than we expected. The creative possibilities available with custom code is part of what makes Jumpman unique and really fun.


We especially encourage more levels taking advantage of custom code, and we intend to make the process easier. To that end, both Kevin and I are finishing up some sample levels and shortly we'll release the source code for both so you'll have examples to work from. Also, I am finishing the build system that is based on cc65, and will release that as well. Longer term, I'd like to have an assembler built right into Omnivore.


Congratulations to @Goochman! And thanks to all the participants; we enjoyed playing all the entries. When we collect enough entries to fill out the 32 slots, we'll release a new version of Jumpman.

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Thanks guys. I may get back to designing a few more levels in the hear future. Just not alot of free time the past few months.

 

Thanks for making the editor available.

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