Time to end Bryon's domination over this thread.
For starters, I'm EllipticGeometry on YouTube. I was reminded of Gish by the contest announcement. I decided to install Gish again and play around with it a little. When I looked at the contest later and saw there was still an empty slot, ultimately I entered.Edit: I forgot to mention the playlist I created of my entries. It contains all the videos linked to below except the combination lock. If that's how you like to watch me, go ahead.Level 1 - "Break In"
I did a few test runs and figured I could do it, once I figured out what should go where. So I started recording and got myself a video. What happened on the middle path was quite amazing and I got the pro pick as a result, but believe me, it was a total fluke. Finally I created a YouTube account, and off I went.Level 2 - "Gears, Gears, and Really Hot Pipes!"
The first hard level. It took me a while to explore the entire level without succumbing to burns, and then find a good path. At first I thought it might be possible to drop down to the part hidden behind the launch pad. I figured, if I do whatever in the unexplored part of the level, I can come back for health, and then skip to the end. But there was just too much hot pipe to make that path work, and I found out the level was too linear to make it useful.
Time wasn't a problem at all. Score was harder, because you're playing with a lot of hot pipes to get all the amber. I did consider getting a score multiplier with the baddies, but didn't try it to date.Level 3 - "Brea??"
The first one with multiple challenges. So I just completed them all in one run.
I needed some time to figure things out again, this time to see what all the switches do and how I can use them.
But really my main problem came after the elevator: the peristaltic hallway, as I call it. That thing was frustrating
. I could barely keep up because it was so fast. Worse, if I used the 4k path with the large amber, it started further to the left and was even more intense. I even tried surviving being crushed, but no luck. I also wondered how it worked, because having some knowledge of the editor, I knew pistons could only start in a phase that's a multiple of 90 degrees. Somehow I didn't connect the dots though, and I kept looking for solutions. Maybe if I avoid this switch, I can do that. Maybe I can gain more speed with some 'obvious' trick. Nope.
I felt really stupid when I realized my mistake. It turns out each hallway element is triggered by an area switch covering the shafts. Hence why the 4k path started earlier (it starts higher up, where the switches aren't shared with the other shafts) and was faster (starts earlier in the hallway at the same speed, leaving little room to speed up, and it's longer and as a result also faster). The solution was simply not to drop down as fast as I can. You can see I didn't even need to 'sticky-tap' down the hallway in my run. Once I got that down, it became pretty easy to do it all and claim the Plantronics box.
Afterwards I realized completing all the challenges isn't as hard as it sounds. I believe challenge 2 is the only one that isn't required by and doesn't naturally combine with challenge 5.Level 4 - "Follow that 'Train'"
More exploring, but mostly waiting for a cart! I went for the super challenge right away. I ended up recording all three paths in the given order, in one take (which I admit needed a few tries). The first two challenges are implied by the super challenge, and it would be hard to miss 3 along the way. I also managed to spread challenge 4 over the three runs.
The first run was quite easy once I found that 'crevice'. Not much to say.
I started the second run with my "pushing heavy block" impersonation which I thought was funny. I took the block with me to open an early path back to the cart. It wasn't necessary, but it felt more complete. Hint: don't try to climb the shaft above the 2x2 health if you opened the path. For a change from Portal 1, the ceiling
will kill you (the block that was in the way is in there under high stress, and you will experience that first-hand when you touch it). The part following that was surprisingly hard. It requires jumping over pipes and to the ceiling, and jumping isn't very effective on a 'soft' cart the same way you don't get very high jumping on the couch or your bed (disclaimer: I am in no way responsible for injuries or damage, or any other problems you cause).
The third run is where I dropped down to the bottom path. I started by going down the elevator, and then taking a quick detour to get the amber. Then I went right back to get the secret amber in the dungeon. Meanwhile the cart arrives, and it's time to help it on its way again, as it tends to land nose down. After taking it up the large elevator, you can see me putting pressure on the drive wheel. Any blocking of the wheel will make it reverse, and that saved me some time there. At the final elevator I pretended to wait for the cart as usual. But just before the cart arrives, I hit the switch, making it fall upside down. For added shock value, I proceed to exit the level (I did my best to hide the opening on the first run), and shoot right through the ball room on my way back up. I actually planned to take the alternate exit at the left of the room, which is where I ended up on all my practice runs, but I landed on top again this time.Level 5 - "Not exactly a Lamborghini Gallardo..."
This one was pretty fun. Most of the goals were pretty easy, although number 6 stumped me for a while. xCeptDB's path was actually the first one that I found. And it was so easy I thought it wasn't supposed to happen. I ended up recording challenges 7 and 8 like xCeptDB, except I used the switch to open the 'legit' path. Later I realized that I was probably supposed to find the Plantronics box first by letting the cart hit the switch. Then you would wonder how to finish fast for 8, because the cart is clearly too slow and those pipes are impassable, and find the pit. The main problem with that is that the pit is way too easy to find early on.
So nonetheless, for my video I did the painful thing and passed the pipes twice, going back using a trick I originally developed for the peristaltic hallway to accelerate rapidly. When I arrived at the Plantronics box, there was still enough time to take it with me. There, eat that.
Later I made an alternate video
where I completed challenges 1-6. Challenge 6 was just brilliant! Don't forget to watch the score while I wait for the fast cart and describe the switches. Later in the video, where I move the motorcycle, there is a kind of road on top where a working motorcycle would land. Would be interesting to get up there, but I didn't bother.Level 6 - "Gish Launcher"
Ah, level 6. A pretty sloppy start, but I learned to ignore that in level 2, to just finish things instead. One thing I learned in this level is that those gears are better at killing you than launching. It took me long enough to find a decent launching strategy, and it still wasn't very reliable. The big wheel above the lab was helpful though, in that it readily reverses direction.
Then I found you can take the pet out of its glass box. I was instantly determined to save the pour soul and take it to the end of the level. And I can tell you, that was hard
. The physics just refuse to let you carry things in confined and slippery spaces, which were abundant in this level. But I succeeded and I'm proud of that.
Of course I also took the Plantronics box. This time I only dropped it down to a corridor next to the exit, though. It just doesn't fit if you take it with you, and it would clog the other exit if you pushed it down the corridor like xCeptDB did (he didn't go down to the furnace later). Anyway, good enough to claim having taken it to the exit, as it's right there in that corridor.
I wasn't sure what some things meant, like the keys and the power source, and I completely failed to identify the latter. Instead of taking the power source, I took the relatively portable 'ammo' of the cannon, and I put the heavy box in its place. I climbed into the cannon and blew a hole in the wall. I managed to take the block through it pretty easily. It needed some pushing to enter the furnace, but it did eventually. In fact you can enter the furnace yourself, but you're completely stuck there, and I had a pet to save. Would be an interesting loophole in the rules.
When the furnace was out, I could finally dedicate my attention to the pet. Just getting it past the hole blown by the cannon was hard enough, with limited space, a very slippery floor, and controls that tie Gish's rotation axis to his movement axes. Eventually I found a way, but then it fell down at the other side. Grrr. There's actually some amber there, but I didn't care to get it. Then, finally, the endgame. I spent so much time finding a 'reliable' way to get the pet on the platform. You can actually see Gish doubling back because the controls thought that was the rotation I wanted. At least it only took a minute on my final run. And I mean, I saved that pet! Level 7 - "I'm sure she'll understand..."
I was right that we'd see Brea again. I decided to go for challenge 7, while visiting the treasure rooms in the level with hot pipes! It was hard to visit the first treasure room while retaining enough health to survive the lava later in the level. I think the highest I ever got was 63% or so, so I was in excellent shape with 60% on this run. I immediately dropped to 57% after some carelessness near pipes, but that's still great.
The second bad guy under the drill usually gets crushed, but I lured it away from its death. Seems it was suicidal though, because it jumped into the second treasure room where it fell to its death. Then, lava. It was really hard to jump down cleanly to minimize damage, especially considering I didn't have much health to spare. The block train following that was quite amusing. You should definitely check out xCeptDB's video, because he clearly isn't afraid to jump in front of a train.
Where I arrived at the Plantronics box, I was wondering whether it's easier to maneuver with some rope still attached, or without. The rope is really heavy, probably heavier than the box, so if the box happens to enter the corridor rope first, the combined center of mass can pull everything else in. I think this challenge was created just for me. Fun to see a little nod like that.
Unfortunately I had to sacrifice my prize box for the first time, but it was for a good cause: Brea!
The endgame was pretty tough. Not only did I only have 4% health left, and some lava to come, but I also wanted to take Brea with me. I failed to throw Brea on top of the drill, but I could still shove her and barely have enough time to enter the middle myself. My health dropped to 1% during descent, and luckily that was the last time I took damage. Near the end, there's a 2-high corridor, which could house 2-high Brea in theory. There's just no way to get her in, let alone pull her in completely, so I had to let go. Level 8 - "Race to the Finish"
This was very straightforward, after those involved plans on large levels. After gauging the level I went for another 'improv' run like the first level, meaning I started recording early and used the first qualifying footage. I even had time to take Brea with me within the time limit, restoring the box-taking tradition. But most importantly, finally being reunited with Brea!
I didn't go for challenge 4, where you make your own version of the level. I was still fairly proficient with the editor (in fact, I made a programmable combination lock
during the contest), but I didn't feel very creative at that moment and was ready to go to sleep (finally a level that was released before
bedtime in my time zone, so I could finish it early). I was also busy doing other things, so it never happened. I did play xCeptDB's version
later when he created his own. If every level were like that, nobody would complete anything!
In all, it was a fun contest. It was fun to play all these new levels and race with others. That is itself a prize!
P.S. For those that saw my video about Gish performance after having been backgrounded: I hear it only affects Macs, and a solution is in the works. That's all I know though, so don't hold your breath waiting for a release.