Image Credit: BlazingVictini
Hey, sackfolk! Mark Hall is back with another special LBP Context Contest for LittleBigPlanet 3’s 8th birthday. With prize crowns, rare LBP caps, and potential team picks on the line, knowing all the details is essential. Let’s get you up to speed on this second LBP Context Contest, ‘Missing Marble’, so you can get creating!
- The context contest begins today, November 18th, 2022.
- Submissions close on February 1st, 2023.
- The contest is organized by Mark Hall and not by the official LittleBigPlanet team.
- Mark Hall is Principal Level Designer at Sumo Digital.
- The contest takes place on LittleBigPlanet 3 PS4/PS5 via the official servers run by Sony.
- You must include the hashtag #LBPCC2 in your submission to be considered.
- Winners will have a chance to receive rare prize crowns, LBP caps, and a potential team pick!
What is LBP Context Contest #2: Missing Marble?
This contest is a unique one compared to other level creation contests run in the past. Instead of creating a whole new level, creators are encouraged to modify an existing template level by dressing it up with a new theme. Creators who create the best ‘context’ for the level are the winners!
https://t.co/qdAdK2UGUe The second Context Contest is finally here!!! And with it an extra special template level some might find vaguely familiar 😉 thanks again to @BlazingVictini for helping put together the announcement video! Good luck and have fun creating everyone 🧡🤎— Mark Hall (@hallm3lbp) November 18, 2022
The Context Contest series is run by Mark Hall, Principal Level Designer at Sumo Digital, the company that led the way in creating LittleBigPlanet 3 and Sackboy: A Big Adventure! Although Mark Hall works for Sumo Digital, the contest itself is run by him personally, and is not officially sponsored by the official LittleBigPlanet team.
However, there’s no denying that the official LBP team has their eyes on the contest. Rare prize crowns and caps are up for grabs, and team picks may also be available for winners. These rewards mean that LBP Community Manager Steven Isbell is working alongside Mark Hall to make this contest a success.
Contest Theme: Swoop’s Missing Marble
The general theme of the contest surrounds an unusual fact about LittleBigPlanet 3’s story mode. In the story, Sackthing must find the missing marbles of each of his comrades, Oddsock, Toggle, and Swoop. Oddsock and Toggle both have three marbles to track down, while Swoop only has one.
Unique Game Mechanic: Gravity Zones
LBP Context Contest #2: Missing Marble features a unique gameplay mechanic that’s similar to the original mechanic introduced in the first contest. This gameplay mechanic involves gravity zones which disable gravity so long as Sackthing remains inside them.
This concept isn’t new. In fact, it’s been previously seen in TheRealEpicPro’s LBP Reconnected submission, Gravity Rush, which you can learn more about at our Reconnected results post.
Creators are encouraged to dress up these zones and the environment around them. They can also move gameplay pieces around too so long as it fits well with the original gameplay theme.
A transcription of the guidelines in this image is provided below.
Here are some guidelines that you’ll need to know to participate in LBP Context Contest #2. Mark Hall provided these instructions in create mode inside the blockout level:
[You can add] all the materials, decorations, and stickers to [the template] OR you can start from scratch and make your own!
…more points will be awarded for creators that consider Bunkum Lagoon and its inspirations when choosing their new theme.
Judging will be done primarily on how well you realize the new location so you don’t have to change anything about the level design if you don’t want to. Please feel free to make changes though if you wish.
In its current iteration, the level can be beaten in a single score combo. Remember this whilst making edits. Feel free to remove the score chain angle…or edit/remove the race entirely if you have other ideas.
Remember to publish your entry with #LBPCC2 somewhere in the title.
Mark Hall has also provided the following helper words to assist creators in fitting the theme of Bunkum Lagoon:
Make sure you aren’t using copyrighted content. However, in the past, Mark Hall has explained that anything used in LBP DLC is fine. As stated above, remember to include the hashtag #LBPCC2 in the title of your submission!
In the level, Mark Hall explains that submission levels will be judged on:
- Context of Mechanic
- Relevance of Bunkum Lagoon
Mark Hall explains in the level notes that there will be two winners: Best Use of Template and Best Original Level. That is to say, the best submission that decorates the existing template, and best submission that creates an entirely new level.
There are some special prizes up for grabs! According to BlazingVictini in the video below, runner ups in each context contest category will receive rare LBP caps, the same caps that Steven Isbell recently gave five codes out for free to five lucky Sackfolk.
Mark Hall Q&As
To help creators preparing for the Context Contest, Mark Hall did some Q&As on Discord. We’ve provided some highlights of the questions and answers below. Click or tap to open each dropdown menu to see Mark’s answer.
LBP Union Q&A
Mark Hall answered questions at the LBP Union’s Discord server for the Context Contest. These are some highlights from the Q&A:
Is there a limit to how much we are allowed to do so? Are we allowed to make an entirely different level?
Yep! There’s a whole Winner for Best Original Level even for people that don’t want to use the template for their third Bunkum Lagoon level. And people are more than welcome to make changes to the template too. However people that use the template are only eligible for Best Template Level
Should the submitted level be an all in one level, or is it allowed to link to a second part via Level Link?
If you feel like you need to split it sure go ahead
Can people submit multiple different levels for the contest? If so, what are the limits?
Absolutely if you feel like you are able! But I wouldn’t want you to overwork yourself haha
Can I swap out Pinky with a custom character
Of course! Please change up Pinky’s dialogue, change her to a different character, add a second character if it helps enforce your location for bunkum lagoon
Can we change the gameplay style for the context contest? Like instead of platforming could it be top down or other?
Are we allowed to use items for DLCs that have been delisted. Like items from the Pirates of the Caribbean DLC?
Of course! Please use any create stuff at your disposal
Are we allowed to edit the logic of the gravity zones?
If, say, a user uploads two levels for the contest, one original and one based off of the template, what category would that user be eligible for?
One would be judged in the Original category and the other for the Template category
Do you have any tips on keeping the level thermometer down for submissions?
You could try using the Dynamic Thermometer, the template level should work out the box if you turn it on.
Other than that, I’d recommend working with a limited palette of materials, decs and stickers.
How do you judge the levels fairly for the contest?
I think the various judges will play the levels and rate them on a scale in various categories.
How did you become the host of this event?
It was after the LBP servers came back I wanted to launch a contest that would get people back in the game. I thought a contest where I provided a template would encourage the most people, many who enjoy decorating and struggle with level design. But it was a big success and I wanted to do another to celebrate LBP3’s birthday
If we have friends are they allowed to help with the level?
Hi! You can work in teams of 2 if you wish, both people will get caps and crowns but only the person who publishes can get the team pick.
Mark Hall did the first Context Contest Q&A over at the LittleBigWorkshop Discord server. Here are some highlights of the event:
What was your process of looking for ideas and how did you eventually arrive at the gravity zones theme?
Haha great minds think alike how did it come about? I had attempted to remake it a while back but the initial blockout done by my lead Jack was….not fully realised so I had to make quite a few changes to make it art-able. But when I realised the lbp3 birthday was coming up I thought it was a good fit and persevered with it
I saw the chaos video you had on twitter for stress testing, were there any weird breaks to navigate when blocking out the level.
Haha that was actually for another level I didn’t end up using. And the mechanic did break but only when playing online. This level was fine, it’s pretty standard platforming, nothing super complex
If you edit the original level, is that still considered part of the ‘Best Use of Template’ category?
Yes, if you do use the template but make edits you will still be in the Best Use of Template category. Original Levels will start from scratch.
Do you have to stick with a theme?
Hey! Yes, you should stick to the idea of coming up with a third location for Bunkum Lagoon.
Regarding the template level, I was wondering if it was acceptable to essentially break it up into two levels. The reason for this is that I’m heavily considering creating an intro cutscene with it, but I don’t want it to take up the thermometer space of the playable sections.
Hi there! If you want to make an intro cutscene that’s fine. You could turn on dynamic thermometer or make a new level, I guess I’d maybe make both playable off your earth so people don’t have to watch the cutscene everytime they wanna take on the challenge
What kind of theme would the third level be like?
That’s up for you to decide! Bunkum is a rather odd place! You’ll find some helper words in the template level next to the rules that could inspire your location. Things like “nautical”, “surreal” and “Venetian”
So as i’m sure you’ve seen mentioned here the sponge conveyors have been a little cantankerous, have you any tips to avoid them breaking or repairing them?
I think the breaking comes from constantly rewinding when unpaused. They’re pretty easy to fix so just re-emit the reference if they break and you should be good
Are we allowed to loosely base our levels on scrapped content from any LBP game?
If you feel like that would suit a third location for Bunkum Lagoon than sure!!
Does the template level have too be bunkum lagoon related or can it be changed to any theme?
Yes it should relate to the overall theming of Bunkum Lagoon, but the location should be brand new Bell Tower and Inside A Whale are two very different locations so you can go wide with a third but still fits neatly with those two.
Are we allowed to use characters other than Sackboy for the level?
Sure! If you feel like that could be relevant it always did bother me in the story mode that once you rescued the heroes they didn’t show up in levels again after
How will entries which follow a similar theme be marked against one another? Will there be penalties for unoriginality or will they be pitted against one another?
Not necessarily, it’d go more towards execution of the location. I wouldn’t dock points I don’t think.
Are we allowed to have two level entries for the contest? since there seem to be two categories of winners? like the one with the level template and the completely original level or do we have to only enter for one of those categories
If you feel like you can undertake two levels than sure go for it! Up to you!
It seems like you had many ideas for a CC2 before deciding to use fickle mistress for it instead could you say what some of these ideas were, Mr. Hall?
Haha I might use some in the future. One was a Changeling character that went between Sackboy & Oddsock. I did a lot with that but stringing all the gameplay together just didn’t feel right
Can we use unused voice lines?
Lines?? Like stickers or voice lines? I guess if they’re not hacked in it’s okay?!
Can you add monsters or more hazardous obstacles?
Sure! Please feel free to make any gameplay changes you want
You mentioned here that the blockout was originally started by Jack, I had always assumed it was a solo endeavour! Was work on the level carried out by any other sumo folk? If so, who?
The level goes back a long time in lbp3 development and was iterated multiple times. Jackofcourse was the one that did the version from the alpha build which I used as reference. It needed a lot of rejigging to get it ready for you guys.
Are we allowed to use custom or Story-based powerups in the level for the contest?
Sure thing! Sackboy would have all his powerups in his Sackpocket in the adventure. If you wanna use any please do.
What is your opinion on modded decorations and such? Are they allowed as long as they don’t include noticeable non-LBP DLC copyrighted stuff?
Please don’t use modded content if you can.
Can unfinished levels be entered?
They can be entered but obviously will be judged on their current state not what they could be.
Good Luck to All Contestants!
Remember, anyone can participate in LBP Context Contest #2 on LBP3 PS4 and PS5! What are you planning on making for the contest? Let us know in the comments below!