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Mattcrampy
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icon Holds Al Dente (+4)  
Anyone who's looked me up on the highscore table will know that I'm not a hardcore DROD player. I like the puzzles, sure, but it's only rarely that I like to knuckle down and step through hundreds of possibilities and trial-and-error my way to the end of the room. No, for me the enjoyment of looking at a puzzle and intuiting the solution, trying to work out where the solution lies, working out the steps involved. I like my puzzle solving like I like my pasta, in bite-sized chunks with meaty goodness wrapped inside. And that's what this contest is all about.

This Is What We'll Do

For this contest, I want you to make a DROD hold that can be completed in one hour or less.

The Rules

1. To enter, post between one and three holds to this topic before:

Local Time:10-23-2006 at 01:00 AM

2. If you submit more than three, only the first three will be counted. You can edit your post(s) to change your entry (or entries), or you can post new versions and delete the posts containing the old ones, up until the closing time.

3. Any DROD element is fair game, including characters and spiders. Keep in mind that your hold should be able to be finished by a not-very-good-player in an hour, so think carefully before you put those guards in.

4. When the deadline has passed, I'll lock the submision thread, and all entries in it at that point will be considered.

5. Entries will be voted on and judged in the usual way (out of ten in a gigantic poll). Voters will be asked to vote on simply how 'fun' your hold is. Players can only vote on their experience in the first hour of play. If you have this really clever puzzle that no-one manages to solve in an hour, people have to vote on the hour they spent banging against it and not the feeling of satisfaction they get when they crack it.

6. Your hold can be as long or as short as you like. You probably don't want to put content in the hold that players aren't ever going to see, however you can (and probably should) put in content that some players may want to see while others may not.

7. Any materials that aren't included with the game must be completely your own work, or you must be able to prove to me that you have permission. (Getting the permission-holder to PM or e-mail me is okay. You'll need to remove the spam from that e-mail address.)

8. We might compile the best ones into a 'Lunchbreak Special' hold, especially if they're only a few rooms. Please mention in your entry post if you're happy for your hold to be used in this way.

The Sweet Smell of Success

After everyone's voted, each entry will have an average score. The author of the highest scoring entry will win one hundred rank points and a copy of DROD: The City Beneath an item of their choice from the Prize Pile. The second and third placers will win 50 and 25 rank points, respectively.

You can only win one prize, no matter how many entries you have. If you get first place, you can't win third as well - the third prize will go to the fourth-best entry.

Also, everyone who participates in this contest as their first will receive 10 rank points. Contests are fun! Really!

Thoughts

If you were really keen on winning this one, you might want to go back and have a look at what sorts of rooms people complain about. For instance, making a giant labyrinth is not the best way to endear your hold to people.

It's been remarked on in the past that it's a lot easier to make a hold that's terribly hard than it is to make one that's easy but interesting. Making a hold that's hard will ensure that you'll get a couple of really high votes and a bunch of really low ones because people simply aren't able to finish it in the hour.

It's easy to drop a whole bunch of monsters in a room, but that's not all that satisfying. It's not so tough to make a tricky trial-and-error room, but it might take the player too long. The best way to make a room that's satisfying but can still be solved is to give it a lynchpin - something you can do to the puzzle that makes the rest of the steps you need to take to solve it obvious. A good example of a lynchpin is the Master Intellect Room on level 7 of King Dugan's - the lynchpin, for those that have played it, is what you do with the queen. Once you work that out, the rest of the room isn't that hard.

Adding characters, story and context is a good way to make the hold 'more fun' without slowing the player down.


So, that's the contest. Who's going to step up and give us some DROD ravioli?

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[Last edited by Mattcrampy at 10-11-2006 09:28 AM]
10-04-2006 at 11:28 PM
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coppro
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I already have an idea.

Does anyone notice that I tend to make my previews during contests?
10-04-2006 at 11:30 PM
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Chaco
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So, let me get this straight: It has to be under an hour long and easy, but after that it's basically make it as good as possible?

In which case I shall immediately begin creating ideas.

EDIT:

Mattcrampy, you haven't been playing DROD enough. The Master Intellect room is on Level 7.

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[Last edited by Chaco at 10-04-2006 11:32 PM]
10-04-2006 at 11:32 PM
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mrimer
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quote:
Chaco wrote:
Mattcrampy, you haven't been playing DROD enough. The Master Intellect room is on Level 7.
Urp...that can't be the reason... Both Erik and I gave this a read-over before posting. That vaguely uneasy sensation in the back of my mind as I read that sentence never gelled into a concrete issue :blush

This is a neat contest idea. :thumbsup

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10-04-2006 at 11:57 PM
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coppro
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I don't think a count of 7 is healthy, but *coughstickycough*.
10-05-2006 at 12:04 AM
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Jatopian
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quote:
Mattcrampy wrote:
You can only win one prize, no matter how many entries you have. If you get first place, you can't win third as well - the third prize will go to the fourth-best entry.
What did meritocracy ever do to you (besides the obvious)?

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10-05-2006 at 01:10 AM
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NiroZ
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Hmm, I might give this contest a try, however, I would really like to know two things.

1. Any tips for keeping the hold short? As after the 50th time you have run thougth a room, its very hard to think how long it will take someone else to do.

2. Are we supposed to make entirely new holds for this contest, or can grab rooms/levels/holds that we have made previously?

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10-05-2006 at 01:19 AM
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coppro
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Hey waitddaminute! Don't we get a submission topic? I really want to submit my hold privately, because there is a scripting widget that might tip people off onto getting my idea.
10-05-2006 at 01:21 AM
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techant
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icon Re: Holds Al Dente (+1)  
Wow finally holds at my speed.... :fun

I will not only enjoy making the hold(s) for this contest I will enjoy playing them too. :thumbsup

P.S. Thanks Mattcrampy for giving Erik a break form contests I think he needed one.

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[Last edited by techant at 10-05-2006 01:57 AM]
10-05-2006 at 01:55 AM
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Mattcrampy
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Submission topic's up now. I knew I was forgetting something.

quote:
NiroZ wrote:
1. Any tips for keeping the hold short? As after the 50th time you have run thougth a room, its very hard to think how long it will take someone else to do.


As I mentioned, use lynchpins - try and pare down the puzzle to the barest minimum needed to hide the lynchpin. Throwing a whole bunch of roaches in there that aren't part of the puzzle will slow your players down. Make it as simple as possible, but no simpler.

quote:
2. Are we supposed to make entirely new holds for this contest, or can grab rooms/levels/holds that we have made previously?


I'd prefer you to make new holds, but if you have old rooms that can be altered for the contest, it's not like I can really stop you.

quote:
So, let me get this straight: It has to be under an hour long and easy, but after that it's basically make it as good as possible?


It doesn't have to be easy, but if you make it too hard you'll make it too long. One puzzle that takes an hour to crack is certainly ok, if it's a really great puzzle and people actually can solve it in an hour.

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10-05-2006 at 04:26 AM
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eytanz
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Not that I'm likely to participate in this contest given how busy I am right now, but still - how should one interpret "can solve in an hour"?

Say I have a hold which has an unrequired room which cannot be easily solved in an hour, but all the other rooms combined can be. How should it be judged?

Similarly, if I had a hold where I could choose one of two puzzles, each of which quite long, but solving only one is enough to conquer the hold?

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[Last edited by eytanz at 10-05-2006 05:13 AM]
10-05-2006 at 05:12 AM
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Mattcrampy
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quote:
eytanz wrote:
Not that I'm likely to participate in this contest given how busy I am right now, but still - how should one interpret "can solve in an hour"?


You should interpret it thusly: I will ask people to play for only one hour, and then rate the hold regardless of how far they got. You can make a hold that is more than an hour long, but players won't see all of it.

It may be smart to put non-required puzzles/non-linear puzzles into the hold, because it compensates for differing skill levels by giving better players more to do.

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[Last edited by Mattcrampy at 10-05-2006 05:37 AM]
10-05-2006 at 05:36 AM
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Rabscuttle
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I have an idea and will be entering.
10-05-2006 at 07:55 AM
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bomber50
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I also have an idea and I will be entering as well.
10-05-2006 at 12:18 PM
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Ezlo
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I'll probably enter something to keep my contest record going. ;)
10-05-2006 at 01:19 PM
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Jason
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Me too! ;)

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10-05-2006 at 01:28 PM
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Doom
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Good timing, I'm not particularly busy right now. Will make something...

[Last edited by Doom at 10-18-2006 11:51 PM]
10-05-2006 at 03:59 PM
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Dali
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quote:
Doom wrote:
Good timing, I'm not particularly busy right now. Will make something...


Lucky you are. Me I'm busy but will try to build when I have time.
I think people should vote on originality and other things, included in this
thread
10-05-2006 at 05:06 PM
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Mattcrampy
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quote:
Dali wrote:
I think people should vote on originality and other things, included in this
thread


If originality is important to you, by all means take it into account. I'm not going to ask everyone to take originality into account, though - being original and yet accessable is hard.

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10-05-2006 at 05:28 PM
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tokyokid
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Ah, what the heck, I'll probobly enter something! After all, my puzzels aren't extremely hard, but not too easy either... this is just at my level! Nice idea!
10-05-2006 at 10:20 PM
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bomber50
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One question...

Can the hold consist of more than one level?
10-06-2006 at 12:26 AM
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NiroZ
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quote:
bomber50 wrote:
One question...

Can the hold consist of more than one level?

As many levels as you want as long as it fits into a hour.

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10-06-2006 at 01:22 AM
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Chaco
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Somehow I think Spider Well inspired, or at least influenced this contest... it's a hold that fits this idea really well.

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10-06-2006 at 01:29 AM
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Mattcrampy
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I was actually inspired by the IF awards. It's a contest run in the text adventure community with similar rules.

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10-06-2006 at 04:03 AM
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Jacob
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I'm in. It's been a while...

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10-06-2006 at 03:05 PM
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goldenlion
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I was wondering if you were channeling the IF contest with the rules. I like the "play it for an hour" and rate it system, as it keeps things managable. I've played through the IF entries a couple times and done ratings. It's a good system.

If I can find the time, I'll design my first hold for this contest. Now I just need to come up with a few puzzle ideas...

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10-06-2006 at 05:13 PM
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Mattcrampy
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We've already got two entries, so the water is officially boiling!

Although one of them's a labyrinth. But hey! Experimentation is good.

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10-06-2006 at 10:30 PM
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Chaco
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Joke entry, huh?

Well, mine's coming along, but I have indeed found that it is extremely hard to build an easy yet fun room when you've played DROD for a while like me.

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10-06-2006 at 11:27 PM
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Mattcrampy
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quote:
Chaco wrote:
Joke entry, huh?


No sah! Not a joke entry, as far as I can tell. I won't say any more - you can all find out for yourself when you play it!

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[Last edited by Mattcrampy at 10-07-2006 03:54 AM]
10-07-2006 at 12:22 AM
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NiroZ
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quote:
Chaco wrote:
Well, mine's coming along, but I have indeed found that it is extremely hard to build an easy yet fun room when you've played DROD for a while like me.

Indeed. The worse problem is that you don't know if other people know the same tricks as you, as that can significantly speed up/slow down a room.

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The rising of the milky way - Carl Sagan.

10-07-2006 at 01:47 AM
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