As this will likely be the last real contest Massassi holds, especially for Jedi Knight, I wanted to leave a note here. I wanted to thank everyone who participated, as well as donated to make this happen. With a total prize pool of $611, the contest turned into something far more meaningful than I ever imagined. A special thanks to: EAH_Triscuit, Lord_Grismath, JediKirby, Andrew_L, Zloc_Vergo, GHORG, Emon, Elmo, GoY, and MrRavenX for donating to make this a success. These levels do well to capture the heart of classic Massassi. I hope that even in the distant future, people will find these levels beautiful and entertaining. Well done, gentlemen.
In the interest of file size, I've not bothered to pack all these into a single zip. You may find each level individually by clicking on their title.
The Lost Mercenary - Elmo
Our victor by a landslide comes in with a polished level that garnered rave reviews by our judges. Here is some of the things they had to say:
"This visual design here is just fantastic. Everything looks and feels great and is well finished. The little scripted sequences were a joy to play through, especially the trash compactor. It was just all so well done. I also liked the pacing that was enforced by making Kyle move at a normal, sane speed."
"Whoa, I didn't know FGR submitted a level... wait, this is Elmo! Wow! Where do I begin? Maybe with the only negative I can think of; this mission is relatively short, but the longest so far. It mostly feels short because at the end you'll be wanting more. Certainly the most modern and complete feeling. You are even treated to a typical Star Wars intro complete with scrolling text. Usually this annoys me but this level keeps it short and sweet and brings you right into the action. The archi and textures are great, but the lighting deserves a special mention. Full marks. Puzzles were great with a very ANH feel ;) Difficulty: Yes. I was low health through this whole mission. The "boss" fight at the end was particularly challenging. I think what really brought the difficulty up a notch was the player cannot run. Some may poopoo this move but honestly I think it was a great change, one that should have been implemented into standard JK. Kyle runs way too fast making fighting 100 stormies in the open a piece of cake. With your running speed brought down to a realistic level you've actually got to take cover and plan your shots. Story was downright subtle but effective. This level may just get 1st place."
"Beautiful architecture and textures. Good use of stock JK voiceovers. I found the slower movement/faster jumping annoying. Rather bland story. I gave you second place because the levels really were very pretty."
The Fall of JuzSoft 2 - Grismath
In a solid second place, Grismath's level is a project that has long been waiting for release. An enormous project, but didn't quite have the spit-shine to make first place. Here's some of what the judges thought:
"Fun to see this finally released and get a chance to play through it. Not that well polished but doesn't really matter when you get to blow up kak's soup. Reminds me of all the old levels that would do interesting with scripting instead of just another generic imperial base. Good times."
"This looks oddly familiar. Probably because an early beta was posted 4 years ago. In any case, this level has evolved quite a bit since. This is perhaps the most ambitious of the projects being several levels deep. The story and reference to the forum regulars is quite entertaining. Difficulty is pretty high due to absence of power-ups. The puzzles were fun (if not obvious). Some neat cog work throughout too. My biggest gripe about this level pack is it's generally unpolished feel. I often encountered unflagged floors, dflt mat, and a few bugs. One that stands out was that I was invisible after defeating the shielded droids. I also had to use 'eriamjh' more than one to get myself untrapped from 3dos. The whole affair felt a bit like a beta test, which is a bit unacceptable considering how long this episode has been in the works. Whoever did the voice for the crazy stormtrooper on the first level did a great job. Apart from that, nobody else seemed to care much. Perhaps that was on purpose as this episode has a light-hearted approach and shouldn't be taken too seriously."
"King Grismath. You just blew the competition out of the water. Lots of voiceovers, good storyline, etc. While I felt the voice acting was better in Darth_Alrans's level and the visuals were betters in Elmo's, your levels simply had the length and best general quality of everything. However, you really need to finish the city section ;). First place from me."
ATST Factory - Darth_Alran
And bringing up the rear with a simple, but solid level, Darth_Alran takes third place. The judges had some words to say:
"This is really the kind of stuff I expected to see from this contest. Simple, well done, fun to play, not really over the top or pushing boundaries in any substantial way. Just a good JK level."
"Short but sweet. Archi reminiscent of old school JK with a lot of thoughtful polish (ie little bay for mouse bot). A lot of cog work went into this and it shows with little bits of flare here and there including an amusing R2 unit. Just enough ammo and enemies to make this difficult. I like the fact there was no bryar pistol too. No easy far away kills. Decent voice acting and entertaining mission. Wish it was longer!"
"Storyline was alright, the architecture and theme was great. Good voice acting. The problem was simply that the level was too short! It took me about 5 minutes to beat! Plus, the enemy placement was a tad boring. I gave you 3rd for being well polished, but I debated between your map and Ogel's for quite some time."
The Other Contestants
The Bounty - Ogel45 & Darth Dan
The honorable mention of the contest, this was the only submission worked on by two editors. The judges had some words to say:
"These feel like classic JK SP levels that would have been submitted years ago, pre-2000. Gameplay got tiring as it was mostly key hunts and killing waves of enemies, but the massive size of the levels made them rather enjoyable. Feels like the authors just made whatever they imagined. A fun nostalgia trip."
"Massive. I can tell a lot of work went into this. It has the same nostalgic feel of Spaceport - circa 2000 level design, architecture, textures. While it's large and offers over an hour of game play, it's extremely repetitious. At least Spaceport had some puzzles. There are virtually no puzzles in this adventure. You basically just shoot everything until you find the right key. This really causes the level to just drag on, to the point where I was tired of killing mindless stormies and tuskens. I kept asking myself 'What exactly am I doing?'."
"I wanted to place you in but I just couldn't. I really liked your level, it had a great atmosphere. I loved the scale of it, felt like a huge Nar Shadaa. It was very fun. But there were so many mistakes.. weird textures, one door was bugged, a lot of floors with surface flag set to 4 instead of 5, etc. If the texturing was better and the entire level was smoother, I'd have given you a higher score. Also, no boss fight."
AtPHC - JM
Assault the Planetary Hydro Cannon. JM's level had the art, but was a victim of time. His description says it all. The judges had some words to say though:
"This was interesting and felt like the end of KotOR 2 when you're just plowing through waves of enemies. I'm not sure what happened with the switch at the top of the level, it seemed to just reset the level. Sorta assuming it just wasn't finished. Architecture was neat and it was fun to play."
"Unfinished. What a bummer because the level was beautiful; great mats, archi, and well placed enemies. Neat atmosphere. But short with no story, objectives, and an abrupt end (complete with dflt mat). No vote. Can't have any unfinished levels winning now. Maybe worth an honorable mention."
"Outstanding visuals, but obviously you didn't really complete the level. Not much else to say."
Spaceport - Reid
The judges had this to say about Reid's level:
"These feel like classic JK SP levels that would have been submitted years ago, pre-2000. Gameplay got tiring as it was mostly key hunts and killing waves of enemies, but the massive size of the levels made them rather enjoyable. Feels like the authors just made whatever they imagined. A fun nostalgia trip." [Ed Note - Emon's response was for Ogel45 and Reid's submissions.]
"A fun challenging level circa 2000. By today’s standards this level lags behind. Large boxy rooms, largely repetitious texturing, bugs, and even some dft mat. The story isn't really baked into the game either leaving you wondering what the heck is going on. All that said, I still had a fun time blasting through it. Lots of enemies and sparse power-ups still made this an entertaining challenge. But the quality and game play could only compete in the year 2000."