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Caravel Forum : DROD RPG Boards : RPG Architecture : Rock Candy Mines (A small hold with an optimization focus)
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Chaco
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icon Rock Candy Mines (+2)  
Well, it's time for another DROD RPG offering.

The basic motivation for this one is to make a really small, really tightly-designed hold that still has interesting optimization choices. The hold should be tractible, easily kept in memory, and routing should be both easy to plan out and easy to experiment with.

No DROD puzzles, plot, or other complications here for the most part. Just pure statistics and planning. Four levels between you and the goal.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

LAST UPDATED: September 22nd, 2016

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[Last edited by Chaco at 09-22-2016 07:14 PM]
07-31-2016 at 11:27 PM
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Nuntar
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icon Re: Rock Candy Mines (+2)  
So, on my first run, I'm taking the same approach as in my Test of Mind videos: looking around and making sensible choices, but not doing too much calculation or save-and-restore gameplay.

Slew Gray Man:
72 HP, 31 ATK, 16 DEF, no keys (score 204)

Slew Gel Baby:
100 HP, 68 ATK, 40 DEF, 2/0/0 keys (score 482)

Mid-third level, at no really significant point, but these are nice-looking stats:
888 HP, 88 ATK, 77 DEF, 1388 GR, 0/1/0 keys

Checkpoints in L3 4S and L4 3N look like Citizens.

Slew Red Guard:
132 HP, 124 ATK, 92 DEF, 3/0/0 keys (score 929)

Slew Pirate (after making remaining score-positive trades):
1055 HP, 243 ATK, 167 DEF, 3/3/0 keys (score 1832) Time: 1 hour 35 minutes.

Overall impressions:

Decent short hold, nice for a relaxing break. The hardest parts were getting the sword on Level 2 and killing the gel baby boss, but even there, I felt there was plenty of leeway, and simply making sensible trades to end up with the keys and HP I needed was enough to get through. I liked that the gel baby boss requires shifting focus to amassing HP.

Level 3 was weaker than the others, as I was able to get the large ATK cache almost immediately (though I decided to get a little more ATK first to make it cheaper), which immediately allowed me to one-shot rock golems, making getting the shield equally trivial.

The end of Level 4 could have been much more interesting if there were more choices involving Seep and Waterskippers, making the 220 and 230 ATK thresholds of importance -- as it was, I only had to think about getting all the ATK for the boss, not about what order to tackle the enemies in. Also, the last two levels could have done with some more interesting choices involving shield gems -- in Level 3 they only show up in 2S1E, which is a matter of "once you have the shield, just get all the gems", and in Level 4, they are only in two rooms, and the ones in 2N2E are not viable.

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[Last edited by Nuntar at 08-01-2016 01:29 AM]
07-31-2016 at 11:53 PM
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superluminal
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icon Re: Rock Candy Mines (0)  
Very nice little hold! It feels distinctly "Chaco-like". (I'm familiar with your style from playing Fetch the Pie.) It's also a fair bit easier, mostly because it's shorter.

I'll come back later to post scores and make more comments. The checkpoints in levels three and four aren't set to the right graphic.

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08-01-2016 at 12:50 AM
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kieranmillar
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icon Re: Rock Candy Mines (0)  
Well if there's a short RPG hold for testing I'm sure I can find a bit of spare time out of my busy schedule to have a play ;)

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(07:23 PM) Pearls: Kieran is correct.
08-01-2016 at 08:58 PM
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kieranmillar
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icon Re: Rock Candy Mines (+3)  
Here's my first attempt scores. Very little save/load with the only major save/load being checking out the central shaft of level 3.

=====
Entrance Shaft
=====

HP 123
ATK 31
DEF 16
no keys
Score 206

=====
Turnabout Bore
=====

HP 149
ATK 68
DEF 39
Keys 2/0/0
Score 480

=====
Ice Veins
=====

HP 571
ATK 124
DEF 91
Keys 1/0/0
Score 929

=====
Jawbreaker core
=====
HP 4547
ATK 243
DEF 174
no keys
Score 1850

On the whole my feedback mirrors Nuntar's in a number of ways. Levels 1 and 2 were excellent, levels 3 and 4 were still good but as the bosses have such high DEF compared to the attack you end up with it felt like once you got the main equipment / gem cache the rest of those levels were a bit routine requiring you to hoover up all the gems out of necessity. Also level 3 felt to me like it had a key glut with nothing to spend them on until the next level.

Interestingly I went for the shields first in levels 2 and 3 over the sword / attack cache and my scores ended up very similar to Nuntar's so those options seem well balanced to me. The 3 yellow door for 4 yellow keys trade was an awesome decision that I thought about perhaps more than I should have, ended up getting it right after entering level 2 with the help of the evil eyes in the entrance room of level 2 blocking a key each.

I left behind the attack and def gem in level 1 in the room with the mud baby, looks like Nuntar grabbed those but left behind an earlier attack gem behind a green door. Pretty cool that not getting some gems appears optimal at first glance, very rare to see that, however I did end up at -1 ATK behind attack thresholds a whole bunch throughout so maybe next time I'll have to see if I can grab all the gems and see if it is still worth it.

I think my bigger score at the end than Nuntar's is pretty much just better end game optimising. Although I was quite lazy with it I did quick math and spending all my keys was still optimal. I did get those 2 defence gems in level 4 behind two green doors, but in the end it seems I only barely broke even on it, maybe less than 1 score point profit. There's no way you want to consider getting those before the equipment though, no chance! Maybe put the brain with the gems rather than locking behind another green door (which is useless, when I first reached the room killing the brain wouldn't even save me 800 HP even if you ignore the huge cost of spending 3 green keys that early)

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(07:23 PM) Pearls: Kieran is correct.

[Last edited by kieranmillar at 08-01-2016 11:35 PM]
08-01-2016 at 11:34 PM
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Someone Else
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icon Re: Rock Candy Mines (+2)  
Gray Man:
HP: 12
ATK: 31
DEF: 14
GR: 214
Keys: 0/0/0

Gel Baby:
HP: 134
ATK: 66
DEF: 37
Keys: 1/0/0

Red Guard:
HP: 32
ATK: 123
DEF: 89
Keys: 4/0/0

Pirate:
HP: 98
ATK: 238
DEF: 164
Keys: 0/0/0

I really enjoyed this! I got the shield first in Level 2, and the sword first in level 4, and never spent keys to get shield gems. I got none of the gems behind green doors on level 1. I also did no scorepoint optimizing; each of those scores was my first attempt at the boss. I loaded only one major save: I went back to the beginning of level 4 when I was almost complete.

Overall, I also felt that Ice Veins was the weakest level - I don't feel like I made (m)any choices there.
08-12-2016 at 04:22 PM
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Chaco
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icon September 22nd Update (+3)  
Alright, after working on some other projects I've returned in earnest to this one, with a new updste!

I'd recommend starting the hold over from the beginning since, among all the changes I made I did change a green key -> +1 ATK trade in Entrance Shaft 1S6E to make it slightly more tempting, given the hold's emphasis on key hoarding.

Turnabout Bore is unchanged, but there's been a few trades moved around, tweaked, etc. in Ice Veins and Jawbreaker Core. Most significantly, Ice Veins has a few more yellow and green doors in it to encourage getting some resources and weighing how quickly to go directly for the big rewards compared to gathering small rewards to prepare better for them. Jawbreaker Core also has a few trades changed, and most significantly a new room 1S to reward people who hoarded keys up to that point (or can quickly gather them in Jawbreaker Core while putting off upgrades).

So, it might feel like a whole new experience, but it's still pretty much the same hold but better. Try it out!

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09-22-2016 at 07:17 PM
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Nuntar
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icon Re: Rock Candy Mines (+2)  
Trying out the new version. I didn't take any notes on what order I did things in when playing the old, so I'm doing the same thing of going by instinct and a little calculation.

Slew Grey Man: 116 HP, 32 ATK, 16 DEF, no keys (210)

Slew Gel Baby: 4 HP, 69 ATK, 40 DEF, 4/0/0 keys (505)

Slew Red Guard: 241 HP, 122 ATK, 77 DEF, no keys (847)

Slew Pirate: 522 HP, 253 ATK, 178 DEF, 4/0/0 keys (1852, 1:08)

Pretty good. It felt quite a bit easier this time around, though I think that's mostly just because going in knowing that playing by instinct was enough to get through, I felt a lot less pressure about the decisions I made. In the last level, I played a bit carelessly because I really wanted to get everything from 1S, but there was enough leeway that I could get away with it. Regarding 1S, it's a very nice addition! I got the yellow cache fairly easy after entering the level, but it was quite tough to save up for the green cache, which I only did after getting the sword and shield.

I like the improvements to the fourth level a lot: there are more choices and they are interesting. The third still feels rather lacklustre; I did it the other way round this time, but I still just waded in, got the big caches, and then cleaned up.

One thing that feels odd at the end is that there aren't many ways to use yellow keys (short of going back to the earlier levels, but the remaining trades there weren't score-positive anyway). I wonder if you could add a couple more goodies behind yellow doors? That would add more interesting choices about when to take them.

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[Last edited by Nuntar at 09-23-2016 03:30 AM]
09-23-2016 at 01:59 AM
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Chaco
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icon Re: Rock Candy Mines (0)  
Alright, after revisiting this hold after a bit of a break in development, I don't think I'm interested in tweaking the hold anymore. I think the difficulty balance is fine as it is, and would just like to publish the hold as a useful reference point for any future RPG holds I might build.

Since nobody's pointed out any Urgent Problems, I have gone ahead and submitted the current (September 22nd) version to the Hold Administrators.

Thanks for testing!

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11-27-2016 at 09:44 PM
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