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Mattcrampy
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icon Holds Al Dente 2008: A Second Serving (+4)  
It's February, and it looks like the DROD Number contest is going to extend well into February. I don't know about you, though, but I like a balance of flavours to my contests, and we haven't had an architectural contest for a while. You know what I really feel like, though? I'd really like some pasta.

When cooking pasta, you want to try and get it to be "al dente" - it's been cooked just the right length, not too hard, not too soft. I want you to make a hold that's al dente.

This Is What We'll Do

For this contest, I want you to whip us up a hold, in the DROD 3.1 editor, that can be completed in one hour or less by a player of moderate-to-lesser skill. You may use any capabilities of the DROD 3.1 editor, including image walls/floor/pit, but the hold must be entirely your own work, or you must be able to prove that you have permission from the author of the work. (A PM or email from the permission holder, or a license from the holder that authorises your use, such as a Creative Commons license, is acceptable.)

Entering

Once you've built your hold, run through it, made sure it's able to be completed and put the garnishes on, deliver it to this submission topic before:

Local Time:02-25-2008 at 12:01 AM (this is your local time)

Only your first three submissions will be counted. While a chef would never remove a dish from a diner in order to fix it up, you're allowed to edit your entry up until the closing time. Entries will not be accepted after the submission topic is closed - be warned.

As part of your post, you must specify whether or not you wish to be included in the compilation hold, and if you have any special instructions for inclusion. Your hold must also be set to 'anyone edit'.

Tasting

The entries will be randomly divided up into multiple tables - judges are not asked to judge every table, especially considering the onerous time requirements. Judges will be asked to play each entry for a maximum of one hour on the tables they've decided to judge. They will score based on how fun the hold was. In addition, judges who did not complete all the required rooms will be asked to score out of the percentage of the required rooms they completed - for example, a judge who believes they only finished half the hold will be asked to judge out of 5. (Secret and other non-required rooms will not be taken into account for these calculations.) The top entries from each table (depending on how many tables there are, but at least three entrants) will advance to the final, where they will be judged using the same criteria.

Prizes

The winner of the final will be dubbed the Iron Chef, and will be awarded 100 rank points and an item from the Prize Pile. The second-place entry will receive 50 points, and the third place will receive 25 points. Sergenth, as the Iron Chef from Holds al Dente 2006, is ineligible to win any prizes, but will win 100, 50 or 25 rank points for defending his title and scoring higher than the new Iron Chef, second place or third place, respectively. In addition, entrants who have not participated in a contest will be awarded 10 rank points, in accordance with the ancient traditions.

A compilation hold will be constructed containing all completable holds whose authors have given us permission to use their hold. Holds that score below a certain threshold will not be highscorable, but will be included for completeness.

Good luck!

Advice

* Additional art, music or story is a great way to bump up the 'fun' of a hold without making it any more time-consuming. Be warned that this can backfire if players don't like your choice of music or find your story annoying.
* Try non-traditional DROD puzzles - 2006's winner contained many puzzles based around following coded instructions, and one of my favourite holds from 2006 contained one endlessly repeating room that needed to be entered from the appropriate direction.
* Build your hold in such a way that players understand how big it is. Some ways you could do this is to make it non-linear (so players can see every room before they need to beat any), or make it symmetrical. This'll boost your score if players can't complete the hold in an hour.
* Use branching paths and non-required rooms (or, as the 2006 winner did, rooms that are extremely difficult to clear that you only need to traverse) to give your hold a bit of meat for the more accomplished players, without sacrificing succinctness.
* Don't fall into the amateur trap of using too many roaches to make your point, especially as part of a puzzle. It takes people longer to solve and doesn't add anything to the puzzle.
* Make sure you place your checkpoints carefully (and generously) - if people screw up on a difficult puzzle, having to redo half the room is time they could have spent on a new puzzle.

Advice from the 2006 Winner

Words of Wisdom From a Winner for Winners -- On How to Win More.

I can remember when I decided to enter and win the first "Holds Al Dente" contest. At first, there was no personal intention of even participating. This all changed when I read a mentioning of one of the entries -- it was about a very special labyrinth... a MAZE AL DENTE!

What could possibly make a maze fun? An impossibility! I was perturbed! We all remember, and experience trauma in remembering the maze level in King Dugan's Dungeon. In fact, I had assumed that the DROD community had an informal armistice covering maze production.

So how does one make a maze seem like fun for the better part of an hour (and win)? "Perturbed" became "bemused". That very question launched me into a four day blur of hypothesizing and rough-draft creation of what became, my winning entry.

I drew from my entire gaming experience and realized that so many games are mazes filled with fun elements. Knowing my audience well, I made sure that the premise and challenges were geeky -- simple Boolean logic then became "Goolean" logic, because humor is so vital to winning any sort of contest (see the Mellenfral tour guide in Tahnan's entry from the last Holds Al Dente contest).

Overall, my choice of an "Al Dente" experience was something one would need to chew on for a few bites before figuring out what one was actually chewing. This is why most of the new elements had no direct explanation when they were introduced, but tiny hints were given liberally all throughout... or just received by experiencing the obstacle over time! I also wanted each room to offer a unique obstacle, or at least a novel mix of previous obstacles. And near the middle, you find out that you had gathered some clues without even knowing it!

However, this year is different. The community in DROD, still composed of brainiacs that thrive on frustration, now faces the complex wizardry of DROD 3.0, which has already allowed us to create worthwhile things far beyond bare, mental challenges.

Not to say that a winning hold needs thousands of lines of scripting. Just do something neat, new, and worth playing. Take one simple idea, and make five or ten wildly different variations on that theme. Reward the player each time they seek, try, memorize, conquer something... and finally, understand the meal you've presented to them. Then don't forget to surprise them after they think they've understood everything.

Good Luck and Win More!

-Sergenth

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[Last edited by Mattcrampy at 01-31-2008 11:54 PM]
01-31-2008 at 11:51 PM
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Mr. Slice
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This sounds like something I would want to join. And that's what I'll do. Join.

I suppose I can whip some tasty pasta for you.

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02-01-2008 at 12:00 AM
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Tahnan
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quote:
Sergenth wrote:
...humor is so vital to winning any sort of contest (see the Mellenfral tour guide in Tahnan's entry from the last Holds Al Dente contest).
[blush] You like me! You really like me!

quote:
Good Luck and Win More!
I believe the phrase you want here is: Allez cuisine!

My free time is somewhat limited these days--I haven't even had a chance to think about the January contest--but my honor requires entering here. (Perhaps the "Return to Mellenfral" I've been toying with? Hmm.)
02-01-2008 at 04:21 PM
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techant
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icon Re: Holds Al Dente 2008: A Second Serving (0)  
Ok, I have TCB 3.1.0.54 is that going to qualify if I build using it.

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02-03-2008 at 12:58 AM
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Jatopian
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It should. It is the version of the future and all.

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02-03-2008 at 03:36 AM
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techant
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quote:
Jatopian wrote:
It should. It is the version of the future and all.


Well we had some down grading issues a while back and I didn't want that. :w00t

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02-03-2008 at 04:42 AM
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bflatjeff
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I'd like to enter this but still have very little experience with the editor, plus the new 3.0 possibilities... but I'll definitely be voting (judging?). Maybe I'll just be the actress that says, "Mmmm, tasty!"

BbJ

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02-03-2008 at 07:48 PM
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Mattcrampy
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quote:
bflatjeff wrote:Maybe I'll just be the actress that says, "Mmmm, tasty!"



Someone has to be!

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02-04-2008 at 12:24 AM
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calamarain
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The Voicefinder Department is at your service. We have several minions at your command ready to say "Mmmm... tasty" in a wide variety of different voices, from childishly innocent to downright creepy.

Mmmmmm... tasty.

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02-04-2008 at 11:40 AM
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Sillyman
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MMMMM... tasty! Boing! Badoing! Boingboingboingboingboing! Boingoingoingoingoing! *gets stomped on*

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FNORD
02-04-2008 at 05:23 PM
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hartleyhair
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Is a joint entry allowed?

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02-04-2008 at 07:49 PM
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Sillyman
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Yeah, is a joint entry allowed, if we split the points and decide who gets the prize pile item if we win?

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FNORD
02-04-2008 at 09:34 PM
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Mattcrampy
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You can do joint entries, and it's up to the entrants how they want to split any prizes they win.

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02-04-2008 at 09:52 PM
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Mr. Slice
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I've already made my pasta, just no one has tasted it yet! :weep

When do we actually sample them though?

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02-04-2008 at 10:15 PM
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Sillyman
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After the deadline, of course.

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FNORD
02-04-2008 at 11:00 PM
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Mattcrampy
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Yeah, the only download you're going to get in the submission topic is from me. I'll distribute them publically once voting starts - we do it this way so people can feel confident that their clever ideas won't get pinched by someone.

There's merit in doing it the other way - opening it up to everyone and have people try and 'trump' the previous entries - but this contest in particular encourages novelty, so it makes more sense to have it secret so novelty is properly rewarded.

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02-05-2008 at 12:45 AM
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Mattcrampy
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We've got three entries so far, so it looks like the judges are going to have a pretty easy time of it.

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02-11-2008 at 12:47 AM
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Mr. Slice
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Even if I got the worst score, I'll still win 3rd place.

I don't want anymore entries because of this.
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02-11-2008 at 01:00 AM
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Beef Row
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quote:
Mattcrampy wrote:
We've got three entries so far, so it looks like the judges are going to have a pretty easy time of it.


Well, there ARE two weeks left, right?

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02-11-2008 at 01:31 AM
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Sillyman
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Yeah. Me and Hartleyhair WILL be submitting a hold for the contest. In fact, we're 3/4 of the way done.

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02-11-2008 at 07:12 AM
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Rabscuttle
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quote:
Mattcrampy wrote:
We've got three entries so far, so it looks like the judges are going to have a pretty easy time of it.


I'm still working on my DROD number representation!

(and by "working on", I mean "thinking that I should maybe do one")

[Last edited by Rabscuttle at 02-11-2008 07:21 AM]
02-11-2008 at 07:20 AM
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techant
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I have been sick for the last week but I have intended to get an entry in.

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02-11-2008 at 10:22 AM
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Jeff_Ray...
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Three days rush! I'll see what I can make out of three days of work. I'm in.

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02-22-2008 at 12:19 AM
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Mr. Slice
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I already have a hold in there.

I could easily make another one, with me having no school/work at this period.

A third one would be hard to do, but I might make a third one.

If all three of our entries win, do we get 175 Rank Points and something from the Prize Pile?

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02-22-2008 at 01:19 AM
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NiroZ
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no, if you win 1st 2nd and 3rd, you are awarded 1st, and 2nd and 3rd go to someone else.

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02-22-2008 at 03:32 AM
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Mr. Slice
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Disappointing. So, if you win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, you get first, fourth place gets second, and fifth gets third place prize. Interesting.

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02-22-2008 at 03:56 AM
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Rabscuttle
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Yes, only your highest ranked hold is eligible for prizes.
02-22-2008 at 04:01 AM
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Mr. Slice
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Which takes us back a step. Will you even get a good-ranked hold?

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02-22-2008 at 04:06 AM
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Rabscuttle
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um, huh? I'm not sure what you're asking now. I mean, I guess all the holds submitted could be really bad?
02-22-2008 at 06:20 AM
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Mr. Slice
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Never mind about that. I have my second entry in!

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02-22-2008 at 05:54 PM
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