Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

This site tracks individual level times, overall scores, records, and statistics for Chip's Challenge 1, Chip's Challenge 2, and the three fan-made Chip's Challenge Level Packs CCLP1, CCLP2, CCLP3, and CCLP4. Traditional full-game RTA speedruns are very rare and are not covered on this site; leaderboards for those can be found at speedrun.com.

James Anderson (email) is the webmaster and updates the scores. Tyler Sontag (email) has administrative access, and he is responsible for a large majority of the code that has dragged this website (kicking and screaming) into the 21st century.

Please self-report your scores on the CC Zone discussion forum. Scores can be reported elsewhere - on the Steam discussion boards for the game, on YouTube, via email, via Skype group chat, via a blimp carrying a personalized message above my house - but there is no guarantee I will see any reports that are not on CC Zone, and it is to the benefit of the community to have all score reports located in one place. (Especially if you have a new record to report.) There are no requirements to get your scores on the scoreboards; all are welcome.

(The level of proof required for your scores will vary: casual scores will be accepted on good faith; good scores may require submission of your Tile World save file; great scores will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.)

Our community originated in the summer of 1996 on an MSN bulletin board where everybody knew each other primarily by their real names. It wasn't until 2016 when we finally joined the modern Internet and transitioned to a modern Internet message board - calling a Usenet newsgroup home for most of the intermediate 20 years - and so it has always been standard to use real names on the scoreboards.

However, using your real name is not necessary at all: many players go by online usernames, abbreviated names, or even completely made-up names. If you are reporting scores for the first time, please let me know what name you would like to be known as.

The main discussion forum for the game is CC Zone, although a lot of discussion (especially related to high scores and how to get them) actually takes place on Skype in group chats (analogous to Discord channels). These chat rooms are open to join regardless of experience with the game; add me on Skype ("jamesa7171") and I can add you to them.

The main "resource hub" for the game is Mike L's site.

Game questions

The original Chip's Challenge ("Chip's Challenge 1", or "CC1") was released on the Atari Lynx handheld gaming system in 1989. In 1992, Microsoft ported CC1 to Windows for inclusion in Windows Entertainment Pack 4 (and later, the Best of Windows Entertainment Pack). The Microsoft port ("MSCC") contained all the CC1 levels, but it featured a surprising number of rule and gameplay differences compared to the original Lynx version. In 2001, Brian Raiter started developing Tile World ("TW"): a free open-source emulator that lets players play official or custom levels under either "MS" rules or "Lynx" rules.

As time went on, the community produced three quasi-official level packs to complement the original game: Chip's Challenge Level Pack 2 ("CCLP2") in 2002; Chip's Challenge Level Pack 3 ("CCLP3") in 2010; Chip's Challenge Level Pack 1 ("CCLP1") in 2014; Chip's Challenge Level Pack 4 ("CCLP4") in 2017. These four packs are comprised of the best custom levels at the time (determined via community voting overseen by a community-nominated staff) and in terms of importance they are generally considered on par with the original game. All four of these packs can be played in MSCC or in either TW mode (although CCLP2 in TW's Lynx mode requires a special modified version of the pack known as CCLXP2).

Finally, CC1 was re-released on Steam in 2015 ("Steam CC1", with rules similar to Lynx) by original creator Chuck Sommerville. At the same time, Chuck also released his long-awaited sequel Chip's Challenge 2 ("CC2") featuring never-before-seen levels that make use of all-new tiles and gameplay elements. ("CC1" is also sometimes used to refer to levels that use the original tiles and elements; e.g. "I still enjoy designing CC1 levels".)

Scores are tracked for all six official and quasi-official level packs: CC1, CCLP1, CCLP2, CCLP3, CCLP4, and CC2.

For CC1 and the four CCLPs - all of which use the original tiles and gameplay elements - there are two scoreboard categories each: "MS" (for times achieved in either MSCC or TW's MS rules emulation) and "Lynx" (for times achieved in TW's Lynx rules emulation). Since CC1 also has an official Steam release, there is a third "Steam" category (just for that set) for times achieved in that version. Finally, since CC2 introduced additional ways of scoring points, there are two categories for that game as well: "score" (for high level scores including all bonuses) and "time" (for high times, as usual).

Scores achieved in the original Atari Lynx version are not tracked. Scores achieved in other, lesser-known versions of the game (such as the Commodore 64 version or the ZX Spectrum version) are not tracked. Scores on CCLP1, CCLP2, CCLP3, or CCLP4 achieved in one of the Steam executables (possible via porting the levels to CC2 format) are not tracked.

(MS has always been the "standard" ruleset for serious/competitive play, but in recent years Lynx has gained a significant following. Most of the differences between MS rules and Lynx rules are explained here and here.)

Here are a few general rules to abide by:

  • Scores must be achieved on the original level pack file(s) with no edits. (There is one exception: adding time limits to untimed levels. This is discussed later in this FAQ.)
  • Re-skinning the game with a custom tileset is allowed as long as it does not provide any unfair advantages (e.g. making invisible walls visible to the player).
  • Keyboard/mouse re-mappings are allowed as long as the new mappings abide by the rule "one input = one output": one key press is allowed to move Chip once or click the mouse once or move the mouse once or pause or un-pause the game.
  • RNG manipulation is not allowed; you must have no prior knowledge of what a random element will do before playing a level.
  • Pausing the game whenever desired is allowed. The only thing that matters is the final value of the in-game timer.
  • The "fullsec" patch for MSCC is allowed. (This patch guarantees the "full first second" and provides an easy way to toggle between even step and odd step.)
  • The "long first second glitch" in MSCC is not allowed. (Please use fullsec!)
  • Your overall score will be calculated based on your best individual level times, period. You do not need to have all your scores in the same score file, and it does not matter if you achieved some scores in TW and some in MSCC.

MSCC docks 20% of your level bonus every time you die or restart without either switching to another level between attempts or re-opening the game. Overall score calculations on this site disregard those penalties and always credit the player with the full level bonus.

Although the game logic of MSCC - including all of the common glitches and even most of the obscure bizarre behaviours - has been faithfully replicated in TW, the gameplay experience is not exactly the same. While almost all scores will require exactly the same amount of skill in either TW or MSCC, there are a few exceptions: Tile World's MS mode responds to held arrow keys instantly, unlike MSCC (making scores easier to achieve in TW on a few levels like Tunnel Clearance and Keep Trying), but Tile World also runs slightly faster than MSCC does (making scores harder to achieve in TW on a few levels like H2O before 273K and DOUBLEMAZE). Additionally, the general input timing of the game is different between MSCC and TW. (TW timing is widely considered more user-friendly, but some players prefer MSCC's timing so it's a bit of a wash depending on your personal preferences.)

Technically these differences could all be considered significant emulation errors (and many speedrun communities have banned emulators for far, far less), but we only care about emulation errors in game logic rather than "emulation errors" in the overall gameplay experience. In this light, TW scores are considered on par with MSCC scores as long as whatever route you use in TW is also a valid route in MSCC. (In general, you will never have to worry about this unless you are attempting an advanced route involving mouse clicks on an old version of Tile World.) It is important to note that this is a one-way street: any route that is valid in MSCC does not have to work in TW, and indeed there are currently two levels where the best route can only be executed in MSCC (pending a future TW update).

  • The main resource for the game is the public TWS (hosted by David Stolp), which is a public library of solutions for CC1, CCLP1, CCLP2, CCLP3, and CCLP4 that you can download and replay in your copy of Tile World. Not only will these solutions show you how to achieve fast times, they will also naturally introduce you to many of the tricks and ideas used by players to craft fast routes. (Most of the public TWS solutions can also be found on YouTube - with annotations of varying degrees of helpfulness - on the ChipWiki YouTube channel.)
  • Jeffrey Bardon created a video to explain some of the more non-obvious game mechanics in MS mode that are relevant to high-level play. The Chip's Challenge Wiki may also serve as a helpful resource in this regard.
  • Ask! Our community is very friendly and we excitedly welcome all players regardless of skill level or experience. The fastest way to improve is probably to join one of our Skype groups (see "Where does the community call home?") and ask for tips and advice!

Chip's Challenge - because of its tremendously deep potential for level routing and its relative lack of emphasis on execution (on most levels) compared to other games that are speedrun competitively - has always had an awkward relationship with public videos of world record times. In the past virtually every single level had videos of world record times available, but competition died a slow and painful death under this arrangement. Records on individual levels became somewhat pointless - on most levels a stampede of players would immediately tie any new record as soon as a video was posted - and overall score competition became a bit of a farce, with many players simply copying every world record video and passing all the players who were busy spending time and effort creating those routes in the first place. Many top players became disillusioned and regretfully left to find games that were more fulfilling.

To avoid these problems - and to deliberately promote the importance of route-building, since this is at heart a puzzle game after all - the modern standard is that videos are not required when reporting new records. Most levels still do have WR videos available (and the ones that don't all have very good videos available), but the very best routes are typically kept unreleased by record-setters in order to keep challenge and competition in the game. Some players (especially those who have speedrun other games before) are incredulous when they first hear about this - "how do you verify records?!"; "what do you mean you're keeping your awesome trick/route secret?!" - but it is a time-tested practice and it becomes clear after gaining some experience why we do things this way.

Site questions

The world record time on a level is called the "bold time" for that level. (Usually shortened to "bold", or even just "b".) If there is a theoretically possible time that has not been achieved (e.g. because it requires extraordinary luck), that time is called the "Melinda time" for that level. The overall score you would have in a set if you scored bold on every level is referred to as the "Melinda score" for that set.

An "unconfirmed" score is a bold that has only been scored by one player. (i.e. a solo world record) To "confirm" a record is to achieve a time that was previously unconfirmed. To "partially confirm" a record is to achieve a time in-between an unconfirmed record and every other score. As an example: The bold on level X is 400, held by many players. Player A scores a new "unconfirmed" record of 402. Player B "partially confirms" the record by scoring 401. Player C "confirms" the record by scoring 402.

Tile World automatically records scores for untimed levels as though they had time limits of 999. (If you use MSCC, please use these alternate versions of CC1, CCLP1, and CCLP3 where all untimed levels have 999 time limits.) Untimed scores count towards bold counts and average level rankings, but they do not add additional points to overall scores. Untimed scores are displayed on this site within brackets. (e.g. [700])

Select any level in any set to view every player's score for that level. Tied scores are listed in the order they were scored in (with the exception being CC1 MS, since most of the relevant data from decades ago was never kept). The progression of the world record for that level will be shown on the right-hand side. Use the buttons above the two tables to view a map of the level or to toggle between MS/Lynx/CC1 Steam and Score/Time as appropriate.

"Public time" displays the highest time available on video (or in the public TWS) for the level in question. Ratings from 1-5 stars are displayed for both the amount of skill and the amount of luck required to score the public time. If there is a Melinda time for the level in question, it will be displayed here too.

Certain levels will have additional information displayed here. (example)

Select a levelset (and category) to view every player's overall score for that set. The set's Melinda score will also be displayed above the top table.

The bottom table displays the world record time for every level in the set in question as well as information about who set and confirmed each record. If a world record time has been achieved by two or more players, it will be displayed in the Confirmed Time column and the Unconfirmed Time column will be empty for that level. If a world record time has been achieved by only a single player, it will be displayed in the Unconfirmed Time column and the second-place time for that level will be displayed in the Confirmed Time column. Sometimes you will see records attributed in the manner "Player 1 and Player 2"; this occurs when multiple players have agreed to share credit for a record they worked on together. (In this situation there is no "Confirmed By".)

You can click on a level number in the bottom table to go directly to the individual page for that level.

Select a levelset (and category) to view the world record progression for every level in that set. For CC2 levels, historical information about confirms and partial confirms will also be displayed.

You can click on a level title to go directly to the individual page for that level.

CC1 Lynx and CCLP2 Lynx scoreboards came into existence well after those sets were heavily optimized in MS. Since on some of these levels the bold can be obtained by directly copying the optimized MS route, the question of record attribution for the Lynx scoreboards is a bit tricky. [Will complete this answer after CC1 and CCLP2 Lynx scores are properly up on the site.]

Select a levelset (and category) to view every level in that set ranked by the number of players who have the bold on that level. This gives a practical ranking of all bolds from easiest to hardest (although recent records and untimed levels may not be as difficult as the list shows). The checkbox will remove unreleased routes from the table and list routes with videos only.

There are three overall highscores, all of which rank players based on their performance across all of CC1, CCLP1, CCLP2, CCLP3, and CCLP4 (in either MS or Lynx). (For CC2, rankings are based on a combination of the "score" and "time" categories.)

Overall highscores "by score" is a ranking of every player by the sum of their four overall scores. (Since there is only one official CC2 level pack at this time, the CC2 overall highscores "by score" does not currently display anything interesting.) "Public score" above the table refers to the score a player would have if they successfully matched every time recorded on video. "All bolds" is the Melinda score. "Known theoretical max." is the Melinda score plus any Melinda times.

Overall highscores "by bold count" ranks every player by the number of bold times the player has matched across all four sets combined. (For CC2, the ranking uses an aggregate of score bolds and time bolds.)

Overall highscores "by average level rank" ranks every player by the average of their rank/place on every individual level. (A player who has bold on every level will have an ALR of 1 because they average 1st place, and a player who is 10th place on every level will have an ALR of 10 because they average 10th place. An ALR of 2.678 means you average 2.678th place across all levels.) (For CC2, the overall ranking is based on an aggregate of score ALR and time ALR.)

The overall highscore tables can be sorted by individual columns; just click on the text at the top of the desired column.

Select a player to view every score, time, statistic, and ranking on file for that player.

The top section of the scorecard displays overall scores, bold counts, and average level ranks (and their respective rankings) for every set and category. (This is the same information displayed on the overall highscore tables.) CC1 statistics and CC2 statistics are displayed in separate tables.

The "bolds" section of the scorecard displays statistics regarding the number of bolds the player has achieved and the amount of skill and luck they required. (Every bold route has been given a rating from 1-5 on both of those attributes.) The default setting is to treat unreleased bolds as a separate category with skill and luck ratings of "N/A", but the checkbox above the table will toggle the stats to include skill/luck ratings for every level (for unreleased bolds, the site will use the skill/luck ratings for the corresponding public time). Stats regarding the number of untimed bolds, mouse bolds, and MSCC-only bolds will also be shown.

The "overall" table at the bottom of the scoreboard allows you to view that player's time (and for CC2, score) on every single level. The default view shows every time/score at a glance in a compact view, but clicking on of the set buttons above the table will display more detailed information including level names, skill/luck ratings, individual level rankings, bold data, and public time data. [Insert comment about the colour scheme after that gets updated.]