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Distance Advent Calendar 2016 Finale (???)
BY THE NUMBERS

This year's event has featured, to date:
You should definitely check out any of those you've missed over the past month! Except maybe the meme. You aren't missing anything there.

FINAL ROUNDUP

To recap the 3 releases since the last post, we've gathered up 3 DAC contributors to write some words about them, hot off the presses!

#22: Radical Highway - fzeroman

Skirmisher: Traditionally, fzeroman has been very good at building levels that evoke a sort of PSX/Dreamcast vibe, graphically speaking. Here, he's tried his hand at a Sonic Adventure 2 level straight out of that era, and it fits Distance like a glove, while retaining its Dreamcast nostalgia. If his rendition of Scrap Brain Zone was the Distance equivalent of a Sonic Generations remake, Radical Highway is almost a straight-up port as far as the looks go!

#23: The Night Before - Qubic

Siddey10: This level sees players put behind the wheel of a mouse-sized Refractor. Race along the narrow toy roads, through a vent and into the attic. Watch out though, as normally small insignificant objects become a very real threat at this size!

#24: Automobile Annihilator - fzeroman

Plasmawario: Automobile Annihilator is a track that differs from fzeroman's usual designs. Much like Car Crusher, it is purely a destructive and merciless track that is certainly not for the faint-hearted! While it is almost absent in aesthetics, its abundant use of obstacles and advanced transfer/maneuver techniques makes it quite unsuitable for beginners, but it should offer a nice exercise for the more veteran/experienced players out there. If you’re looking to test your skills and/or just want to torture yourself for a bit for whatever reason, then this track will suit you nicely.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

To mix things up a bit on this, the 24th of December, we thought we'd gather up a few folks who took part in the 2016 Distance Advent Calendar and see what thoughts they had on the whole thing.

I participated in the DAC last year with Pathogen. Looking back, I would put my best effort on the new simples if the Creativity update came out earlier. But all good things requires more time. I decided to challenge myself by making 2 levels this year but I got too lazy that I finished the two levels just before it was due. I did put my best efforts on it and it paid off with Natural Gift as it was well received in the community. I may be too burnt out to continue work on levels for a while, but when the annual DAC event comes around every year, I would love to contribute again. It’s a good event and you should participate in it every year to show that you love this game.

Plasmawario (The Factory)
Being able to participate in DAC, for the first time, this year was indeed an honor. Watching as all these truly outstanding tracks being uploaded by amazing/talented people daily, and even forging a track myself, was an exciting yet semi-stressful experience. Being able to witness some of my top-favorite track creators upload masterpieces sort of intimidated me a little. Nonetheless what came up certainly baffled me across multiple levels. On top of that, I'd also like to take the time to compliment the Tag Tournament. As it was the first one I was around for, the fight for victory was, needless to say, adrenaline-pumping and truly a battle-of-the-ages. The tag arena itself was grand and clearly showed that it had heart and soul poured into it. To wrap it all up I am blessed for being apart of this outstanding community. I look forward to next year's DAC and Tag Tournament as well as any future events that may take place.

Being a part of DAC this year was a blast. It was certainly fun work on a level for you guys to enjoy, and battle for that top time. I’d certainly suggest going and playing PPPaul’s level Particular Journey though if you haven’t already done so. That track has inspired me to work more on learning the particle system for future creations.
I’d also like once again to thank those who worked on the tag arena (Tournament 2016 Neo) for the tournament. It was an amazing arena to battle on, and I certainly can’t wait to see what they have planned for the future.

KnightBane (Noah) (Disorientation)
This was the first DAC I’ve been around for, and it was a pretty awesome first one to be around for! The tag tournament was loads of fun, and extremely well put together. There were so many amazing tracks created by the community, and I made my first track ever to try to help out. It was a lot of fun! Though making a track can also be pretty stressful. But I think all my hard work was worth it in the end for the masterpiece, if I do say so myself, Lamp Realm! (timawesomeness approved.)
In all seriousness though, thank you all for making my first DAC a great one! I hope there will be many more just as great as this one.
(p.s. Lamp Realm wasn’t actually my DAC track)

I started playing Distance shortly before last DAC, and lacked the level editor experience to actually participate. I’m glad that this year I was actually able to be a part of it and put something out. Although I didn’t contribute much in terms of levels, Widening Transfers being the only thing, I have always managed to help others by testing their levels. I am glad I was able to contribute to DAC this way and make it all the more memorable by helping to improve others' maps.

Working on the calendar this year has been extra special for me. My Christmas this year has involved vacation planning and being all over the place. And that's why. Because even in my absence and lack of publishable levels, the calendar has pretty much run itself. Through the very passionate community. This event has become tradition. And as someone who has stuck around for a while. And as the founder of DAC. That's all I could ever hope for from the Distance community. Stay awesome people! Stay awesome Distance.

Skirmisher (oops, I didn't release anything this year...yet)
This year has been a wild ride for me in general, but the Distance community has been a constant throughout it, and DAC was a great reminder of the community's continued presence. I had to take care of DigiPen final projects and exams during the event, but I squeezed in a good amount of time for Distance stuff, and I had a blast writing cool things about DAC levels in my post a couple weeks back. Speaking of which, there were so many cool levels this year!!! I continue to be blown away by all the creative minds at work uploading things to the Workshop. Last but not least, shoutouts to Refract for saving the day with the emergency tag tournament build, and for completing what seemed like an impossible task by publishing the Ghost Update :D I'm very happy that this December has gone so well for Distance!

'TIL NEXT TIME...?

That's pretty much all of Distance Advent Calendar for this year! I say pretty much, because I believe there will be a couple presents waiting come Christmas morning...

As far as future plans, the tag tournament will definitely become a more frequent thing (again...). I can't make any promises yet (the resident tournament planners Krispy and Splaysh are busy with holiday things), but the best case is that we get another one in a couple months! We'll see.

To keep in touch with the community, join the Discord server[discord.gg]! Every Saturday at 11 AM PST, we have a little thing called Speedy Saturday that's basically a free-for-all 2-hour multiplayer session. Drop by sometime!

That's all of the community correspondence you'll get on here this year. Keep an eye out for the Distance devlog that Jordan's been working on at Refract; it should drop any day now! Be the first to know about it by signing up for email updates at http://survivethedistance.com.

However you're spending it, I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the year!

-Will (Skirmisher)

DEVNOTE: This was an incredible month. Equally impressive and inspiring. Thanks again to Skirmisher for wrapping things up so nicely. Those closing thoughts were quite touching. Seeing the community come together creatively is absolutely my favorite part of creating Distance, so I can't think of a better way to end the year. Phenomenal work to everyone involved! -Jordan

Distance Advent Calendar Week #3 Roundup
Newsletter sign-up: http://survivethedistance.com/

DISTANCE ADVENT CALENDAR - WEEK 3

Of course the update is not the only fun thing happening this month. Distance Advent Calendar (DAC) is entering its final few days! Thanks to Krispy, Skirmisher, and Ashamael for writing the last three DAC posts. Now it's my turn to give some thoughts on the latest DAC releases.

Don't know what Distance Advent Calendar is? Check out the announcement post!

#15: Join - Backgrounds'

Another classic Backgrounds level, employing an incredibly imaginative use of in-game assets to create a hostile, alien environment. A bit brutal gameplay-wise which forces you to slow down quite a bit, but as a side effect it's easier to take in the detailed visuals. I'll be excited to examine of the various sculptures up close in the editor at some point.

#16: White Land GX - Phimeek

A really cool concept and great execution from Phimeek. Instead of remaking a level from F-Zero GX, this level is an attempt to create a snowy environment as the GX designers might have created. Great high-speed gameplay with an intense sense of speed, solid consistent visuals, and the snowy feel is icing on the cake.


To focus on the Ghost Update launch, no level was released on day #17. Quite a magical day for me seeing 7 months of work finally released an official package. Thanks again to everyone that has been cheering us along all year as we took on the ridiculously most ambitious projects in this project yet. It was great to finally celebrate a proper release with everyone.

#18: Challenge Pack #2!

Impossibility was an escalating nail-biter. Far from the hardest Challenge level I've played, but I did start to sweat as the difficulty continually ratcheted up. Quite a bit more tame in Sprint mode, but once you've got it down optimizing a ~1 min run in Challenge is quite fun.

Super Super overall contained an intriguing idea: fusing high speed flying with a key/unlock puzzle level. The downside of course is that our level editor by doesn't really support puzzle logic, so Backgrounds was forced to be creative. Admittedly I struggled to solve the puzzle myself, but thanks to the replay system I could find a solution. In any case the visuals were mysterious and impressive once again.

#19: Frostbyte - Arch Fluctuation

Tons of great experimentation to be found here. I loved how the visuals kept changing, keeping you on your toes throughout. I struggled a bit with the narrow/sideless road sections, as well as a few tight, obstacle areas, but the ending made up for any struggle I endured.

#20: Euphoria - JTrevail, Arch Fluctuation, Phimeek, MCrekna1, Siddey10

Minimalist yet really fast and intense. Great level to race ghosts over and over again to get the perfect time. Hard to beat the sunset feel in a level that constantly flips you around. Gives a great sense of up and down perspective.

#21: Suburbs - Krisha

I was really caught off guard by the great dynamic city feel in this level. Simple yet extremely effective environmental effects. Also loved the "casual drive" gameplay. Plenty of speed, yet it feels like a Sunday drive at the end of the day. Another great one for a player like me to play again and again versus ghosts.

Keep up with the latest DAC releases on the Workshop! At least one new level daily!

I can't wait to see what few levels get released this week. I challenge you to take on my ghost for each of these levels and see how bad you can crush my times. See you (hopefully) soon with this month's devlog!

- Jordan (@torcht for more frequent dev updates)