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Insoluble
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icon Hold submission checklist (+4)  
Dragon Fogel, Nuntar, and I were discussing this in chat and figured it would be of use to the general architecture community. There are a lot of little details with hold construction that are easy to forget about. A lot of these details will be caught in beta testing, but you should be on the lookout for them yourself as well since beta testers can't catch everything. They are not things that the HAs will block a hold for, so its very possible that one of these issues will make it through with your hold when it gets published. Please feel free to add things to this list. I'll try to update the OP as suggestions are made. So without further ado, here is a list of things you should double check before submitting that awesome new hold to HAs.

Unintended Solutions and Optimization Exploits: A lot of more advanced DROD players will try to exploit whatever tricks they can to get the high score in a room. Some of these tricks are unintuitive to newer players and architects. here are things to watch out for.

[_] Can conquer tokens be hit by doubles?: Placing a Beethro double (mimic, decoy, or clone) on a conquer token will hit the token, awarding the player a score for the room on that turn. This often either makes high scores for that room trivial or makes solving the room trivial. Double check that no Beethro doubles can be placed on a conquer token. If they can, you can put the token on a open yellow door, trapdoor, or force arrow to prevent it.

[_] Can rooms be entered from the "wrong entrance"?: A lot of puzzles can be broken by simply entering the room from a direction that wasn't originally intended. Watch out for sneaky ways to exit and reenter a room from the "wrong" entrance.

[_] Can rooms be "uncleared" after the green doors are down?: This is a subset of the above. It is often possible to drop the green doors in a room, then "un-conquer" the room. You can do this by cutting a tarstuff baby off of a blob, or by hitting a seeding beacon. If you have green doors blocking the exit to a room, the player can use this exploit to exit the room then re-enter from the direction of the green doors. If the door is at the edge of the room, this won't be a backtracking issue and can lead to trivializing the room.

Scripting and challenges: Scripting can be very complex, so I won't go into everything here. But below are some common over-sites that won't always be caught in beta testing.

[_] Do challenges award every time you enter a room?: Make sure to put a check for clean room at the beginning of your challenge scripts. otherwise they will continue to award every time the player enters that room.

[_] Do challenges award even if the player gets stuck?: The last thing most challenge scripts check for is if the player has cleared the room. But sometimes the player can clear the room and get the challenge in a way that gets the player trapped. Make sure to check for this and try to add an additional check at the end of the challenge.

[_] Do scripted monsters re-spawn even if the room is cleared?: Similar to the challenge scripting above, make sure to have a check for clean room at the beginning of the script. But be very careful if there are seeding beacons in the room, since you'll want the scripted monster to reappear if the challenge is re-set.

[_] In general, did you remember to end scripts if you don't want them to repeat?: Don't want that cut scene to repeat every time the player enters the room? Make sure to use an end command then!

[_] Does the player role reset when it is supposed to?: If you are using a custom player role (i.e. other than Beethro.) make sure to check that it gets set back to Beethro when done. Be vary careful of multiple ways to exit a room or level with custom player roles since it can easily break whole levels if the player plays through it in the wrong player role.

[_] Does the player weapon reset when it is supposed to?: Similar to above but with custom weapon settings. If you set the default player weapon to anything other than Really Big sword, make sure that it gets set back!

Other considerations:

[_] Are your empty rooms marked non-high score-able?: Technically this is something to check after your hold is approved by HAs, but so many people forget this that I wanted to include a reminder here. If your hold has entrance rooms without any monsters, or other rooms that you can't enter and exit in one move but contain no monsters or conquer tokens, please make sure to mark them as not high score-able. You can do this in the My Holds area of the forum once your hold is published.

[_] Music: If you have a cleared room that contains wubbas and certain other elements, puzzle music will play instead of ambient. If this bothers you you can force it to play ambient using scripting.

[_] Version check: Does your hold rely on features or behaviors that are only present in the latest build? (i.e. pushing a brain to stop brained movement does not work in versions of 5.0 before build 6060.) If so, it may be a good idea to make an explicit reminder on the hold page.

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12-19-2015 at 07:15 PM
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Chaco
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icon Re: Hold submission checklist (+2)  
Some more suggestions that I think are pretty standard:

[_] Make sure the editing privileges are what you want them to be - typically they stay on Anyone Edit for a lot of Architecture versions, but you will probably want to change them to You and Masters or similar before the hold actually gets promoted. Just mention this to the Hold Admins and we'll definitely give you a chance to make the change whenever you want. Additionally, if you upload a pack of demos then it's definitely okay to make the first HA submitted version You and Masters. We have ways of progressing.

[_] Aesthetic issues (scroll typoes, stairs facing the wrong way, floor tiles, walls or pits out of place, room boundary misalignment) will not prevent your hold from being promoted, but it's good form to check these things a few times during the submission process.

[_] When you submit a hold, the Long Description field corresponds to the text that's in the Holds board thread post, like this. There's only limited opportunities to edit this due to the current state of the interface, so make sure you're happy with it.

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12-19-2015 at 07:50 PM
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Dragon Fogel
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icon Re: Hold submission checklist (+2)  
Some other points I wanted to bring up. A few of these were mentioned in the original discussion, but didn't make it into the first post.

General:

[_]Do you have any decorative stairs in your hold, such as one for NPCs to go down? Be absolutely sure the player can't get to them, especially if the stairs exit the hold due to not having a particular destination set. I've seen a few holds where the architect overlooked this. One way to mess up is by having an NPC escape and hit an orb to close the door, but if you leave the room and return the NPC is gone and the door is open, so the player can reach the stairs.

[_]On a related note, make sure that all the stairs are set to go where you want them to. Stairs that end the hold will be marked as orange in the editor, so it's fairly easy to find any of those in places you didn't intend to put them. But you'll have to search more thoroughly to make sure that your stairs don't go to the wrong level, or the wrong entrance on the right level.

[_]Also! Do all of your level entrances either have texts written for them or have "Show Entrance Description" unchecked? Unless you're happy with the player seeing "Entrance 23" when they switch floors, you should make sure you didn't overlook any. You can see all the texts at once when you select a destination for a stairway, so make sure you check that they're all what you want them to be.

Scoring-related issues:

[_]When a room has a Conquer Token, the player's score will be based on the turn they stepped on the token. If you want players to be challenged in getting a good score, make sure they can't step on it (or, as mentioned, place a double on it) too early.

[_]If a room gets a one-move demo, it will automatically be marked unscorable once somebody clears it that way. This is not a problem for empty rooms, but it can be a problem in two cases. One, a conquer token that can be hit on Turn 0 or 1. Two, if a room can be exited while uncleared and the only monster is on a room edge the player can enter on. Be careful of this.

[_]Players trying to optimize rooms don't like it when there's a force arrow on a room entrance, because they have to restore to a previous room to change their weapon orientation. So either don't do this, or set up the room to force a particular orientation early enough that it doesn't matter. For instance, you could place oremites on the room entrance (assuming the player weapon isn't set to a stick).

[_]Any demo that passes through a Hold Complete Wall or a Master Wall will be marked invalid. This is generally not a problem; however, if you have such a wall in a scored room, a player who passes through it and gets a faster score will have their score for that room removed, because the system will check the new score and then reject it because it passes through the wall. Maybe this will be changed on the recording end someday, but in the meantime I recommend avoiding this. The safest option is to mark the rooms with the walls unscorable.

[_]Finally, a fairly obvious point: if you have a room that can't be solved, be sure to mark it unscorable. This will eventually be taken care of by Schik if you don't do it yourself, but there's no need for you to add to his workload.

Scripting:

[_]This is a bit of an obscure issue, but it's worth noting. If you make a room and you want the player to clear it, make sure that you have at least one regular monster, conquer token, or active seeding beacon in the room. If you don't have any of these things, then even if you generate monsters on Turn 0 or have scripted characters with Required Target, the room will count as clear the moment the player enters it. This means that the player can immediately leave and have the room count towards the blue door. Additionally, it means that the player can only get a score the first time they enter the room, because if they go back in the room already counts as cleared. Don't do this! If necessary, put a monster in the room and use an Attack Tile command to destroy it on Turn 0.

End Command:

This is technically part of scripting, but the End command can cause trouble in enough ways that it warrants its own section.

Here's the thing: When the End command is used, it removes the character it's on permanently. They won't run their script again at all unless you load an older save. This can cause big issues if you're not careful! Here are some of them that I've seen.

[_]Failed challenges. Don't use End when the player fails the challenge condition! If you do, they won't be able to get the challenge even if they leave the room and come back.

[_]If you have a scripted character in a room that does things while the player is conquering the room, and you want to stop its actions, you probably shouldn't use End. If you do, the player can get to that point in the room, then leave without finishing it and redo the room without the script going. This may render the room unsolvable or lead to unintended solutions. So, try not to do it.

[_]Seeding beacons. Since these allow rooms to be replayed, obviously you shouldn't use the End command on anything that you want to be relevant on additional runs. Unless you're intentionally doing something to take advantage of this behavior for some weird reason, this probably means you shouldn't use the End command for anything but dialogue. Challenges are also safe to use it on once the challenge is awarded, but you might like to have the notification pop up every time the player does it anyways.

[_]The End command takes effect immediately and will stop any script commands after it. So if you have an End command, make sure the script isn't processing it before other important commands, such as awarding a challenge. This is the cause of a currently-unobtainable challenge in Pass the Hold Around.

[Last edited by Dragon Fogel at 12-19-2015 09:00 PM]
12-19-2015 at 08:48 PM
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Dischorran
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icon Re: Hold submission checklist (+2)  
[_] Add more checkpoints.

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12-20-2015 at 01:59 AM
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martz
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icon Re: Hold submission checklist (+2)  
quote:
Dischorran wrote:
[X] Add more checkpoints.
Fixed ;)

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12-20-2015 at 10:52 PM
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LeoS
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icon Re: Hold submission checklist (0)  
Another thought on the topic of checkpoints: it's a nice touch to be able to return to a fully completed level (for manual secret-hunting, or for simple mimi-map aesthetics) so,

[_] please add a checkpoint at or near the level's exit stairs.
12-24-2015 at 02:48 AM
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adS
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icon Re: Hold submission checklist (0)  
quote:
Insoluble wrote:
[_] Can rooms be entered from the "wrong entrance"?: A lot of puzzles can be broken by simply entering the room from a direction that wasn't originally intended. Watch out for sneaky ways to exit and reenter a room from the "wrong" entrance.

[_] Can rooms be "uncleared" after the green doors are down?: This is a subset of the above. It is often possible to drop the green doors in a room, then "un-conquer" the room. You can do this by cutting a tarstuff baby off of a blob, or by hitting a seeding beacon. If you have green doors blocking the exit to a room, the player can use this exploit to exit the room then re-enter from the direction of the green doors. If the door is at the edge of the room, this won't be a backtracking issue and can lead to trivializing the room.


I don't think these issues should always be "fixed".
Sometimes it is much harder to leave the room through a different door and leave a monster alive than solving the room the intended way. For optimizers this may be a real challenge.

So in case this leads to a shorter solution and is far from obvious please leave it for the optimizers.

The same for "unclearing" rooms.

Best wishes and a Merry Christmas,

adS


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[Last edited by adS at 12-25-2015 09:25 AM]
12-25-2015 at 09:25 AM
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Dragon Fogel
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icon Re: Hold submission checklist (0)  
Not everything on this list is intended as a firm "do" or "don't". I've taken advantage of some of the room-breaking exploits myself and had a lot of fun doing so, but I'd say it's better for the architect to think about these things and decide for themselves if they want to take that risk.

Maybe that could be clearer in the original post, though.
12-25-2015 at 10:18 AM
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adS
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quote:
Dischorran wrote:
[_] Add more checkpoints.


Well - add more useful checkpoints.
There are many rooms with nonsense checkpoints.

A checkpoint should not require a detour.

Place a checkpoint on doors or after doors you must pass.

Best wishes,

adS


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12-25-2015 at 04:57 PM
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Nuntar
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I would say the important rules for placing checkpoints are:

* Place checkpoints so they divide the room up logically. In most rooms, the player has to do a sequence of tasks, even if the room isn't split into discrete sections. Let the player save before and after each main task.

* Start-of-task checkpoints should go before the point of no return (stepping on whatever locks you into doing that task right now, such as a fuse end, pressure plate, trapdoor...). If you put a checkpoint on a pressure plate that unleashes a horde of monsters, for example, it's of no use to the player who wants to restore and try stepping on the plate with a different sword orientation, at a different time relative to the spawn cycle, or to do the room's tasks in a different order altogether.

* Consider the restrictions the room imposes on the player. If there are certain squares you mustn't step on because of Evil Eye gazes, then a checkpoint on a "bad" square might as well not be there at all.

* There is such a thing as too many checkpoints. It used to be very rare, but people complained about not enough checkpoints so much, and now some architects try too hard. Generally, try to avoid placing unavoidable checkpoints in passages that have to be traversed several times -- then when you want to restore, they end up wasting the time they were supposed to be saving.

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12-25-2015 at 05:49 PM
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Dragon Fogel
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icon Re: Hold submission checklist (+4)  
So a fact I stumbled on today that seems worth mentioning here.

Remember how I noted that master walls and hold complete walls invalidate demos?

Well, that also applies if you exit a room and the next room has one on the tile you walk into. After all, if the master wall weren't down and you tried that, you'd get the message "Moves bumping into a closed master wall are not allowed".

So, if you have a room that you want to be scorable immediately beyond a master wall, don't put the wall on the edge of the room!
04-14-2016 at 06:25 AM
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Dying Flutchman
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quote:
Dischorran wrote:
[_] Add more checkpoints.


A question for all optimizers out there: I like to place checkpoints just outside the main route through the room. I think optimizing should be difficult and as a player, you could choose to check, but lose a move, or to take more risk of having to replay a room but gain a move.

Is this ok, or just annoying, or just irrelevant considering that many of you use unlimited undo anyways.

Btw: just stumbled org this topic. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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06-16-2018 at 02:48 PM
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navithmastero
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icon Re: Hold submission checklist (0)  
I think most optimisers would prefer to have checkpoints at easily accessible spots (this isn't always easy to judge, but maybe try not to deliberate put them out of the way) so that they can go back to an earlier bit without having to optimise the whole of the room in one take.

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06-16-2018 at 06:52 PM
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Dragon Fogel
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I'm not really an optimizer myself, but I've definitely seen some of them complain about checkpoint placement.
06-16-2018 at 08:09 PM
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Nuntar
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In fact, optimisers complaining about checkpoints was the main reason why there's been an outbreak of checkpoints on pressure plates, fuse ends and other "points of no return"; these are often the only tiles you can be certain the player will step on.

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06-16-2018 at 08:31 PM
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