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azb
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icon The Blank Dungeon (0)  
I am also still working on King Azb's Arena, for those still interested, but unfortunately I have lost a large amount the later rounds because I had my computer replaced. :~(

On a more positive note, I have also started a chronicle a la the original canon, but with a few unique plot points that will reveal itself as the story unfolds. This one is the first in the series, and is like KDD in that it uses (mostly) AE only elements and focuses more on puzzles than plot development.

The only thing that is not an AE element is the custom boss at the end, although it is reminiscent of an old friend...

Let the tale of Bongthro Budkin, a thrice removed cousin of Beethro, begin!

JtRH, and not AE, is the minimum version requirement for this hold due to the last level.

Edit 1: Checkpoints adjusted in Second Level West and South Wing and Third Level 2N. Also added green door for backtracking issue fixing.

Edit 2: Added extra checkpoints in Levels 6-9 to ease tedium.

Edit 3: Made changes across the entire hold.

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[Last edited by azb at 03-09-2018 09:19 PM]
03-03-2018 at 02:38 PM
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Nuntar
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I gave this a bit of a try, got as far as Third Level 2N. This room is no fun at all when all the checkpoints are on the inside of the snake so you can't reach them for a few hundred moves, by which time the roaches have piled up so much that it's easy to get stuck and have to start over. Also, there is a backtracking issue in this room: if you go further west without clearing it, it cannot be solved from the west entrance.

Up to that point, it wasn't too bad, an okay selection of horde rooms. First Level 1W is a pretty good puzzle where you have to work out which queens to kill first to make it possible at all; but it's much harder than the other rooms on the level.

As for Second Level, the west and north branches weren't too bad, but the eastern branch felt a bit much, when even the first room is a hard slog, and it just gets longer and harder with each iteration. On the south branch, only the third room is interesting; the mimic part is exactly the same in all three, and you don't even have to think about using the obstacles for leverage, given that Beethro has freedom of movement of the entire room.

Checkpointing is iffy throughout. It feels like you placed checkpoints where they are mainly for symmetry, rather than thinking about where the player needs them; e.g. in First Level 1W you can't reach some of the checkpoints without going outside the walls and attracting a bunch of roaches that you might prefer to leave where they are. In the Second Level mimic rooms, it doesn't matter too much here because the initial placement of the mimics doesn't affect anything, but as a general principle, you should get into the habit of putting checkpoints NEXT TO potions, fuse ends, pressure plates etc., not on them.

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03-03-2018 at 09:41 PM
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azb
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I followed the advice of placing checkpoints near the mimic potions so players would not be stuck placing when restarting to the checkpoint, and made the checkpoints in 2N of Third Level more accesable.

However, the checkpoints in the majority of other rooms I had opted to leave as-is, as ultimately "good" or "bad" checkpoint placement is often, but not always, dependent on playing style. It may be just me, but I find the checkpoints in First Level 1W, for example, easily accesable and the problem of roaches slipping would occur no matter where the checkpoints were moved.

Also, of course, the major backtracking issue in Third Level 2N has been fixed by the addition of a green door.

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03-04-2018 at 12:15 AM
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Nuntar
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So I got a bit further. Third Level 2N wasn't actually that bad once I realised I needed to switch directions midway. The remaining two rooms were fine, pretty simple.

Fourth Level was the best so far, some interesting rooms and not just large hordes. Unfortunately 1N spoiled the mood with over 100 monsters that you have to kill by standing in one place and holding down the battle key.

Fifth Level isn't much to my tastes; trapdoor grids with only a few holes never really present much of a puzzle. The goblin room was much more interesting and challenging, but really? No checkpoints at all? There are a few other rooms with this problem, but this is where it really stood out.

I only did about half of Sixth Level before giving up. Some of the rooms are fine, but too many are just "here's the same room again but even longer". The checkpoint in 1N1W / 1N1E is meaningless, so effectively the room has none, and it's a really hard room.

Still, in spite of my complaints there are some okay rooms here, and I'm glad you're taking feedback into account, so I hope this will get a bit more polished before release :)

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03-04-2018 at 03:13 AM
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azb
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While I may have stated many checkpoint placement complaints boil down to playing style, I noticed the lack of checkpoints in Levels 6-9 myself after you pointed it out. :blush

I will, however, leave the actual puzzle aspect of the rooms as-is because the "symmetrical variation" of the rooms are intentional - Eighth Level features rooms like that as well, albeit not entirely featuring tar a la Sixth Level.

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[Last edited by azb at 03-04-2018 11:06 AM : Clarification]
03-04-2018 at 11:05 AM
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azb
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The puzzle style of this hold is intentionally fighting-tactical and not lynchpin, and the simple symmetry of many rooms are intentional if you meant "polished" to mean aesthetically pleasing - keep in mind this was created mostly in AE, which has a limited palette of décor.

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03-04-2018 at 11:11 AM
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Insoluble
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This is an interesting homage to King Dugan's Dungeon. It has a lot of subtle nods to the original. But I have to agree with Nuntar that this hold is sorely undercheckpointed. Many rooms with monsters contain no checkpoints at all. Preferred checkpoint may be dependent on play-style as you say, but I can't think of a single case where having no checkpoints at all is somehow easier than having at least one. Since the hold is mostly horde based, I doubt there is anything I'm doing that would qualify as a room break, but I attached demos anyway in case you want to see.

Some thoughts:
First level Good introduction. This definitely has an Architect's Edition feel to it right from the get go. The Entrance and 1E have no checkpoints still. 1E could probably use one at the top and one at the bottom.

Second Level I like how this was so reminiscent of KDD level 6. The Entrance and 1W have no checkpoints and could probably use at least one each. I also agree with Nuntar here that 2S is not significantly different feeling from 1S since you can just do both parts of the room separately. For 3E it felt a bit extreme to have to back across the room a third time and having just the one orb open all the doors feels like it could get the idea of the room across just as well. On the whole I think the wraithwing, eye, roach queen, door theme was done well here and all four branches felt different from each other even though they used the same monsters.

Third Level These were some fun snake rooms. Because I am an insufferable show off I did 2N1E without using the tar and 2N1W without using the crumbly walls. Actually that last one was probably just as easy not using the walls since there is a super convenient kill spot on the eastern wall. I wouldn't say these constitute as "breaks" (and it would even be in keeping with the style of KDD to keep things like this in), but you could always make the entrances to these rooms 2 tiles wide if you'd like to prevent this. It would be quicker to list the rooms in this level that do have checkpoints than to list the ones that don't. I'll probably stop mentioning checkpoints now, but please do go back and add some in to the rooms that contain absolutely none.

Fourth Level I love how the structure of this level is similar to that of KDD level 10. The inaccessible orb in the exit room as also a really nice touch. If you are making this in the JTRH engine of course you won't be able to put vision tokens in, but that's not really so bad now that players can hit F3 for puzzle view.

Fifth Level This level was pretty straightforward up until that last room which was a bit of a difficulty spike. I liked it though, it was an interesting room. I will say that it's pretty straightforward to kill all but the last 8 or so goblins in the entrance. I'm not sure if you want to prevent that somehow or not. the room is still possibly if you don't just wait in the entrance, but it's more difficult that way.

Sixth Level I found these fun on the whole. Did you intend to include a trap door gate in 2S? As it stands there is no reason to drop the trapdoors and the timer feels like it was designed with dropping the trap doors as required.

Seventh Level This is the level I thought was the most difficult of the bunch. It feels very similar to a lot of holds released back in the Architect's Edition days. I will say that brained wraithwings are notoriously difficult to predict. That being said, 1E and 1S were lenient enough to not feel overly tedious. 1S1E though felt like a bit of a chore. It took quite a bit of mindless fumbling to stumble on an approach that let me survive. Dealing with the goblins was interesting, but the spiders didn't really add anything to the room other than forcing me to brute force guess my way through the first 30 or so moves.

Eighth Level This one was quite fun. I thought the rooms were interestingly laid out and lent themselves to some strategic planning before jumping in. I really liked the two mimic rooms. So much so that I did them both twice (since they can both either be done top to bottom or bottom to top). The Serpent rooms felt maybe a bit too easy for this stage in the hold. 1S on the other hand felt a little bit too chaotic. 92 brained wraithwings in a relatively open room is really only approachable with mindless brute force.

Ninth Level This was a really nice way to end the hold. I like the homage to the neather here. I also especially like that the scripting was easily predictable in every room. Great level! I would only ask that you avoid putting the force arrows right on the entrance of 1N1W and maybe move them in to column 36 instead. Force arrows on the entrance are super annoying for optimizers.

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03-05-2018 at 03:37 AM
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azb
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First and Second Level: Added checkpoints.

Third Level: Added force arrows to entrance and exits of rooms in order to prevent unintentional serpent kills.

Fourth Level: Added checkpoints in rooms near the end.

Fifth Level: Added checkpoint to last room.

Sixth Level: Added trapdoor gate to 2S.

Seventh Level: Replaced spiders in 1S1E with roaches.

Ninth Level: Removed force arrows at entrance to 1N1E.

Thank you for the feedback! Many of the problems have been fixed accordingly. :)


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03-09-2018 at 09:18 PM
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Chaco
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icon Re: The Blank Dungeon (+1)  
This is a pretty neat horde tactics hold - I think it could use a bit more polish, but it's got some interesting difficulty in parts so it isn't entirely mindless chopping; it needs some good tactics and overall strategical approaches in order to get things to be manageable. Some of the rooms just take a long time. It kind of reminds me of another AE-era hold, King Reubus' Palace.

Here's some extra Architecture-forum-type details I noticed while playing through the hold. Attached are my demos for levels 1 through 6. (Note that none of this matters for Hold Administrator review; I thought I'd just mention these kinds of things to be nice.)

* First Level 1S doesn't have a green door, so you can leave the level without clearing the room. Might or might not actually be a problem.

* The evil eyes in Second Level 2N can actually make the room easier since the horizontal-pointing ones can provide cover.

* Fourth Level 1N is strangely easy, after having to solve the difficult room 1E. No other approach aside from the dead-simple "hide in the entrance and mash Q/W" will work.

* Fifth Level 1S1E's checkpoint is at the start of the room and barely saves any work at all. Better locations for checkpoints would be along the four edges of the rectangle, and maybe an extra one on the east side of the central wall square.

* The extra checkpoints in Level 6 1N1W and 1N1E are nice, but there's none inside the tar mother areas themselves, which is where they would be most useful. Similarly 1S1W's single checkpoint is way out in the middle of the room, and I spent the most time on the sides of the room instead where I was less likely to get surrounded and could cut through the hordes straight ahead instead of at an angle.

* Level 6 2E has east exit passages, but there's no room to the east. You could fill in the two squares in the eastmost column, which would block that non-exit but still allow the east blobs to spawn tar babies there.

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[Last edited by Chaco at 03-11-2018 09:16 PM]
03-11-2018 at 08:20 PM
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