So given that there's a new contest coming, and considering that I haven't flamed some poor random staff member in too much time (namely joey; fuck you joey), I've thought about suggesting some kind of rubric in order to have consistency between the judges' reviews. This is mainly because everyone, undeniably, has different priorities. Some care about graphics more than others, some review the gameplay, and some actually make the musical choice have a massive impact on the final score for some reason. I'm sure those previous examples are merely hypothetical
, but still, I'd like to suggest the following to balance every rating out.
On a serious note, let's get started on each core point of a level: Visuals, Gameplay, Creativity, and Music, I'll be givin' them the value I believe they should have, and I'll try to justify my choices.
Suggested Value: 10 points
While the music of a level is not exactly something that has a huge impact on the overall experience, it's still a factor that needs to be taken into account. A level can be much more enjoyable if there's some sick jams in the background, it adds a lot to the atmosphere and it can portray the main essence of the level. It can pump up the player to act quickly, or it can relax the player into taking their own time when travelling through an area. Of course, like I said, it's still not a big enough factor to have a very significant impact on the score.
Suggested Value: 20 points
Keep in mind that a level does not need custom graphics to be good. However, that does not mean it can't be nice to the eyes. A bland landscape could make the level feel empty and soulless. Visuals are the first thing people are going to naturally judge a level for, because it can portray two things; the general ambience/objective of the level, and the amount of effort someone put into searching some unorganized graphics pack for 5 hours in order to find stuff that can be recolored (this effort still counts!).
Visuals do a great job of maintaining a player's interest, and to have them look forward to what the level has to offer. However, they're not as essential as the following points.
Suggested Value: 45 points
This is without a doubt the most important aspect of a level. Someone won't get to appreciate a level's creativity/artistic value if they can't be bothered to get past some awful level design, and most importantly, they won't have fun.
In my opinion, the funnest kinds of mario levels are the ones that let you just take your own pace, without being thrown into some crazy race against some instakill thing. That being said, it's obvious that everyone has different tastes, some judges could like speedrunning through a level while others would just love to finish a level while being at 100% on collectables. But while every judge has a subjective opinion of their own, they'll likely be similar to eachother, meaning that the gameplay should be good enough to balance each side out. After all, community contests are about determining which level can please people the most.
In short: Good level design is important when giving a level a good score.
Suggested Value: 25 points
The reason this is independent to the Gameplay aspect of a level, is because a level can have some cool ideas behind them while still being garbage in terms of execution. There's definitely some great design concepts out there, however they may be astonishing in paper, but there's the chance that they just fell flat.
This is still an important factor to consider, because players can get excited when they get caught off guard (fairly) by some cool gimmick, meaning that they'll be motivated to continue their progress to see what the heck some lad has in store to surprise them.
However, It's probably the most subjective factor out of the rest, because some judges have experienced more gimmicks than others, meaning that some of them could give out a high score because it's new to them, while the rest could just go "meh i saw this ten billion years ago in another level", which is why it can't have too much of an impact on the overall score. But it's still objective enough to be relevant in a submission's rating.
TOTAL SCORE: 100 points
Anyway, what do you guys think? I'd like to hear your opinions on this. even if your suggestions involve shoving this concept up one of my orifices, I'd love to hear which one would be the best for that matter. Everyone's input counts! (except joey's, because fuCK JOey).