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Don't Fear Anyone Edit (By Chris Marks)
Most architects I know of like having the forum members test their hold while it's in progress, to make sure everything's solvable and that there aren't any trivial solutions. This is a process called beta testing, and how long it lasts is directly proportional to the size of your hold.
The big question now is "how do I want people to view my hold?" This is set through the "who can edit your hold" section of the main Build screen. There are three options there:
Only You means that nobody else will ever be able to open your hold on the Build screen. The only way for them to see all the rooms is to play through them, one by one. This is a good way to keep your secrets secret from those who haven't uncovered them on their own.
You And Conquerers means that nobody else can open your hold on the Build screen until they've finished playing it. Once they've had the satisfaction of beating the hold, they get to take a look and see if there's anything they missed on the way by. This is how King Dugan's Dungeon is set up.
New to DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold is You and Masters. This mode is similar to the one mentioned above, except it requires that the hold is conquored and that you have found and completed all of the secret rooms in the hold.
The last mode is Anyone, which means everyone else can load up your hold in the editor and see exactly what you've done without having to work for it. This may seem like giving away your trade secrets; why should they get to see what you did without going through it first? And why do playtesters always prefer that you use this mode on your hold when it's being tested?
The reason is very simple. If we can edit your hold, we have access to all the rooms, and can play them whenever we see fit. This makes the testing process much faster, and much easier. If there's a room people just can't get past, they can use the editor to play the other rooms on the level, and then go to subsequent levels. They can find out why the room is too hard, and offer suggestions on how to make it more reasonable.
If you have secrets you don't want revealed, you may be hesitant to use this mode. After all, what's the point of a secret if everyone already knows about it? And you're right. If you want it secret, people shouldn't be able to see it without playing and discovering it. How do you get around this obvious pitfall?
You simply don't include the secret in the hold you give out for testing. Create a second version of the hold that you'll give out for the testers, and drop the secret features you don't want them to know about yet. If it's a room that's hidden, remove it. If it's a level, drop it. If it's a secret path that lets you bypass rooms, change it to not be navigable. This keeps your secrets from being discovered, and keeps the testers happy.
Chris Marks goes by the nickname DiMono in the forums. He is also attempting to get himself into as many places on the website as possible. Chris also contributes to DiabloII.net as the author of the column 'Behind the Veil'.