|violetclm DOM Episodes I...||Violet CLM||Custom / Concept||9|
"Genshin Over it" - VDom1.j2l Additional artwork: Toxic Bunny (wide pillar from Chateau) Custom weapons: Seren (Firework) Music: Gates of Infinity by Neurodancer This level was the genesis of the pack: its background is from Genshin Impact's loading screen, which looked so cool I knew I wanted to use it as the background for SOMETHING: then later a DOM level contest got announced and I realized this was my chance. (Initially I used the loading screen's daytime palette, but playtesters worried the level was too bright, so now everything is sunset-colored.) Using other Genshin backgrounds and other official JJ2 tilesets for more DOM levels only came along as an idea later. There aren't a lot of dedicated DOM levels out there, but some of the most successful are those that put a lot of distance between the start position and any control points, providing a lot of room for people to split into either defenders or attackers, which in turn makes the gamemode feel somewhat closer to Assault than a weird Team Battle. I adopted this strategy with some very basic layout and eyecandy work, and because this made some of the more vertically-focused weapons seem pretty powerful, I decided to use powerful vertical weapons EXCLUSIVELY and also give players all the ammo they wanted. Focus on fighting and nothing else. Two of these weapons are among the more commonly used customs, and I think some of my choices in later maps are more obscure, but whatever, being a hipster is not a 24/7 job. Before I made the level I assumed it should be impossible to go from one tower to the other, but I abandoned that idea and I guess it's fine this way, less predictable, you can be guarding a chokepoint perfectly but someone else can still climb up the OTHER tower and capture the gem above you, whoops! Gotta go up and fight them to the death! ============================================ "King of Wuwang Hill" - VDom2.j2l Additional artwork: zapS/Olsen (cave edits from Carrotus Fix 1.5) Custom weapons: PurpleJazz (Fusion Cannon) Super powerful spring code in this level and the next: Seren Music: Spooky Forest by wagman1 There's only one control point here, but it warps to one of eleven varyingly-defensible spots scattered around the level every time it changes color, as inspired by the King of the Hill mode from the game "Knight Club +". This is one of those scripts that should be simple but isn't: JJ2+('s angelscript api) doesn't actually allow you to move control points, so instead what I do is move EVERYTHING ELSE, including all players and bullets and other objects, every time the control point changes hands. Whee! I'm not sure why this level approximates being symmetrical other than that being a little easier to design. Some spots the control point can end up are much easier to defend against other players than others, but that's the luck of the draw for you. At one point this level used PJ's Super Toaster too, but it didn't really add much (sorry), so I replaced it with a seeker powerup because Umbaman points out those don't get much use nowadays. There were v-poles but playtesting convinced me that was a bad idea, just an invitation "hi PLEASE KILL ME WITH SEEKERS while I CAN'T MOVE." Wuwang Hill is a kind of weird area in Genshin Impact in that there's this random haunted village somewhere in Liyue but it doesn't get commented on much. (It's also horribly unpleasant to navigate, especially if a bounty sends you there and you've got a time limit!) But it's good that it exists, because I made this level spooky-themed kind of arbitrarily to go with the warping control point mechanic (its original name was "Ghoul Jewel"), and then only later realized I could name it after Wuwang. Making the Labrat torches all-blue helped with that. ============================================ "Labmoratory" - VDom3.j2l Custom weapons: PurpleJazz (Bubble Gun, Mortar Launcher, Lightning Rod) Music: Monologues by Marko Kettunen A lot of this pack involved me being stubborn and trying to come up with a bunch of different "Domination, but........" ideas, and here's one that's probably pretty obvious: Domination, but the control point is behind a coin warp! I'd tried something similar already in an edit of Minmay's Bank Robbery level "Oil," and it felt all right but still, y'know, was clearly a Bank Robbery level, so here I tried the same thing but in an original layout and with coins EVERYWHERE instead of in team-specific areas. (Actually NONE of these levels have team-specific areas, really, so there's probably some more design space I can still explore in that direction someday.) Beyond the coin idea, this level revolves around the mortar launcher weapon pretty closely, there's a lot of open space at the top and there are coins to pick up there but it's really easy for people to drop mortars on you!! Down below in the second floor it's safer but hopefully the rewards aren't as plentiful, I dunno, I may have gotten the numbers a bit wrong there, but there's definitely a different feeling between the two floors. Though the first bit of actual layout I made in-editor, not just in-head, was the two giant springs on either side that give you lots of lightning rod ammo and are designed to let Jazz/Lori sweep overhead and utterly carpet the top floor in electricity, another death-from-above sorta deal. The third custom weapon, though, was informed almost entirely by theme instead of layout, oh well. This map is set in the "Golden House" building in Liyue, which is the mint where all the world's money is made! Wow! And-MINIMAL SPOILERS-the fight you do there involves WATER POWERS as well as (PURPLE) ELECTRICITY POWERS. So that meant it had to be the bubble gun. I think it works okay because there are lots of walls for the bubbles to bounce off in the second floor, and I like how I handled the powerup (get it practically for free if you use the coin warp, or otherwise use those giant springs I mentioned earlier), but it's still not as close a gameplay fit as the other stuff. You shoot a bubble underground, woo, maybe someone gets hurt, meh, it's not as dramatic. Anyway though I do like the walls here, this pack doesn't include a whole lot of layer 4 experimentation because I was trying to match tilesets to Genshin areas, and for all that the coin idea matched with the mint, nothing really corresponded to LABRAT (oh wait NOT TRUE I unlocked a much better thematic match dungeon AFTER making this level, oh nooooooo), so here I had to make sort of weird golden earthen wally doodads instead of featuring Labrat's normal metal floors. The pipes in the background don't make much sense but whatever, they're cheap. ============================================ "City of FreeDOM" - VDom4.j2l Additional artwork: Obi1mcd (banners from Palmtree Plaza) Custom weapons: PurpleJazz (Tornado Gun), szmol96 (Petrol Bomb) Music: Midnight by Dragonking This concept went through multiple iterations! First I thought about making a DOM level where each time a team captured a control point, that control point got locked away permanently and everyone had to fight for the next one instead. That seemed like it would run into problems of diminishing returns, though, not to mention being hard to understand. This gradually became a completely vertically symmetrical level with three tiers-a city, a vertically symmetrical sewer, and a flipped version of the city-and you could only enter each lower tier if your team controlled the tier you were leaving. Making the level ACTUALLY vertically symmetrical was too hard, though, so all three tiers ended up using unique layouts, and I threw out the team locks at the last minute because the strategy seemed complicated enough already without players worrying about weird script stuff too. There are several places where I made sure to have two parallel routes to avoid having too many chokepoints for defenders, but the sewer zone could probably use more work on that front. :( As for theming, Colon was a pretty obvious match for Mondstadt, the first big city you encounter in Genshin. And I got very lucky in finding two custom weapons that were good gameplay matches for the layout but also corresponded well to the powers of two Mondstadt characters, Jean and Klee. Thinking about how Jean's powers work by spreading other elements around led me to edit the petrol bombs' flames so they can be carried by the tornado bullets... it's probably not the most useful thing ever but it's extremely cool! I like the freeze enemy pickups at the bottom tier, providing an obvious target for the tornado guns to push your opponents at, and maybe the rest of the level should have more stuff like that, oh well. Generally though your infinite weapon 1 shouldn't be the most useful thing ever or why would you bother with other ammo? ============================================ "Teapot DOM" - VDom5.j2l Additional artwork: Blade (crystals, lily pads, and geometric shapes from Aztec 2) Custom weapons: Naps (AntiGrav Bouncer) Music: Seaside by Purple Motion / Plant This is pretty (nature tilesets!!) but I think it may be doomed to be the worst level of the pack, or the least interesting anyway. It's pretty much just a big level with four rushed mini-arenas and no obvious gimmick. Which isn't to say there's no gimmick at all! The start positions move around when you die so you're always going to respawn in a quadrant that your team controls, unless there are no such quadrants and then you spawn in the middle. Attacking takes much more work than defending. But there's no sense telling the player about it, because they don't really need to know, do they? Die, respawn SOMEWHERE, get back to work! Combining bouncers with Naps' reverse bouncers was fun but I'm kind of worried they're actually too strong, if someone were playing this level seriously? You heal up and get the powerups in the center and it seems you could mount a pretty darn vigorous defense in any of the four diagonal tubes, making opponents almost dead before they even got close to the gem you're defending. And remember attacking takes a while to pull off. Bleh. But it's pretty! Pretty late in Genshin's story, you go inside an old woman's teapot and enter a weird green/orange world full of floating rocks and lily pads and glowing bridges. So yeah, obviously that's what Psych should be, right? I even got lucky with the Teapot=Hatters thing! The glowing bridges are used to connect a series of round rocky platforms, but transplanting that sort of layout into a 2D game seemed like it would let players fall from one area to another instead of using the bridges. But there's also ANOTHER dungeon that's in the same kind of setting but with a thick brown fog beneath you, so I surrounded the JJ2 level's arenas with brown fog that instakills you, and that solved all my problems. The background here is one of the only screenshots I took myself instead of grabbing off of google image search, and let me tell you, it wasn't as easy as it should be because Genshin's photo mode (which normally lets you hide the player and UI and stuff) ISN'T AVAILABLE IN DUNGEONS. I mean, wtf. But I made it work! Hahahahaaha ============================================ "Archonpelago" - VDom6.j2l Custom weapons: Smoke (Phoenix Gun) Music: ABYSS by Obscene So I wanted to get all these levels done on or before February 19th, so I could spend the 20th playtesting and revising them and then get them on J2O before the 21st, when the DOM contest's second deadline elapsed. (Granted, I already submitted the first two levels a month ago and am not allowed to submit any more, but it still felt like a good SYMBOLIC deadline.) Unfortunately making VDom5 took kinda FOREVER??? because it has so much layout and so much graphical work (had to make those glowing bridges!), so by the time it was done I had hardly any time to make this final level before the 20th. And yet even though I rushed out the layout and did minimal editing... I think it all... works? Like, this is GOOD? I think? It's a return to the same basic idea as VDom1, running an obstacle course between the start and the control point, and health mostly at the start and not at all at the end, but this time with the level itself providing a lot more obstacles, not just the other players. This level is extremely (consciously) similar to the race level "Archipelago" by Ragnarok and I didn't have time to ask him if this was okay but I hope it is!!! Because Archipelago is a good level (and much bigger than this one)! Rag's level lets you swim though of course but here the water is hurt pits because all these levels are pit levels of one stripe or another, and if you're frozen when you fall in you just die, no warp for you, dead. I did briefly consider trying to mimic Genshin's swimming physics instead but couldn't convince myself that would add anything so I didn't. There's a lot of water in Genshin but mostly it's just there to serve as a border around the world, occasionally you find a random big ship and climb on board but tbh the ships are never as cool in practice as I want them to be while trying to get to them. But there is this one incredibly metal area, Guyun Stone Forest, where the rocks are actually a series of GIANT SPEARS that the ROCK GOD threw from space to DEFEAT OTHER GODS in a GOD WAR. So yeah okay that felt like a good theme/layout idea, you can see most of the sand walls are kind of slanted to look like those spears, though I also added in some wooden structures for variety. Schwarzenguards count as gods I guess. I considered various weapons that might fit that theme of stuff falling down from the sky, Smoke's "Zeus Artillery" or PJ's Mortar Cannons again, but none of them felt as fun as the Phoenix Gun, which is a bird that shoots an obscene number of fireballs! (OBSCENE. That's a joke!) I gave it very few pickups because it's ludicrously overpowered in this layout but it's so darn cool. Then most of the other ammo was even more stuff that flies far and fast, because, like, I've played the real Archipelago, it involves chasing people. And toward the end there's a blaster powerup that you get in a very very cool way, it's not useful for the rest of the map but it might help you once you reach the end and want to kill everyone around you! A skilled player can set up a very strong defense of the control point in this map, but, like, am I really going to say that a domination map shouldn't allow the possibility of domination??
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.