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Xindaris
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icon Escape From Monster Jail! (+3)  
So...
This is my first effort at a "serious", multi-level RPG Hold. It has some scripting stuff, some "puzzles" inside it, hopefully some interesting decisions.

Right now the hold is incomplete. The final level, "Warden's Office", cuts off where the player would enter the "endgame section" (which requires fighting all the previous "main bosses" if everything is working correctly).

There are 3 'real' score checkpoints (one for each "major boss" basically) and one 'provisional' one you get for stepping on the scroll in the beginning of the endgame, Warden's Office 3N. For the purposes of helping balance the endgame well and rebalancing all that's here if needed, I'd love comments and scores, and especially to know what people's stats are as they reach that provisional scorepoint (since this will represent the kind of stats people might have on reaching the endgame part).

Anyway, hope this silly thing is fun. And uh, when you let people out of their cells make sure to get out of their way because pathfinding is hard and RPG characters just can't do it.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 11-26-2018 08:56 PM]
09-28-2018 at 10:36 PM
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Nuntar
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (+2)  
Escaped 400-B: 787 HP, 54 ATK, 31 DEF, 3/2/0 keys (score 452).

Defeated Flesh Golem: 533 HP, 94 ATK, 39 DEF, 1/1/0 keys (score 630).

Final stats: 2385 HP, 182 ATK, 114 DEF, no keys. This is on entering Warden's Office 2N; can't go any further as the hold requires me to have a lot of keys that don't exist. I'll post comments tomorrow, it's very late now.

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09-29-2018 at 12:26 AM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (0)  
Keys that don't exist???
Did you go to Block 296-A? There's a fork at the end of the Terminus.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 09-29-2018 01:17 AM]
09-29-2018 at 01:16 AM
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Midootje
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (+2)  
Escaped 400-B: 390 HP, 54 ATK, 33 DEF, 231 GR, 4/2/0/0 keys.

Defeated Flesh Golem: 18 HP (on purpose), 102 ATK, 41 DEF, 1088 GR, 2/3/0/0 keys.

Final stats Warden's Office 3N: 1882 HP, 191 ATK, 132 DEF, 1099 GR (to be used at the stat gem shop, currently the price is 600 GR), 0 keys.

While I like secret hunting, is it even possible to beat the Shadowman without finding the Wooden Shield, since its room contains so much more valuable items?
My grievance with Block 296-A and the Warden's Office is that there are not enough yellow and green keys to go around. Even if you optimise perfectly, there's currently just not enough keys in the hold to get all the stats behind doors (and I'm not even talking about HP, I'm fine with leaving that behind). This feels pretty unsatisfying, because you end up having to choose which stash you're going to get and which to leave behind, while normally they'd all be worth the keys. It's different from puzzles in which you end up having to choose, because in that case you know the choice is inevitable. This case, however, just makes some sections with doors and stats feel redundant, because they might as well not exist along with the missing keys.

This is not to say I don't like the hold; I actually quite liked it! Waiting for the right time to get the 'free' extra keys in the Warden's Office makes for a fun trip around the hold. There are also many ATK thresholds (and a few DEF ones) which make optimisation a worthwhile endeavour.

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09-29-2018 at 10:04 AM
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Nuntar
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Second attempt:

Escaped 400-B: 202 HP, 54 ATK, 31 DEF, 4/2/0 keys (score 448). The lower HP is simply because I'm waiting on killing the Spider in 1N3W until I have the +2 DEF from the next level.

Defeated Flesh Golem: 126 HP, 96 ATK, 45 DEF, 3/3/0 keys (score 708).

Final stats: 2542 HP, 202 ATK, 129 DEF, 65 GR, no keys

* * *

I'm going to be honest, I didn't enjoy this much. The third level (I'm counting WO and 296-A combined as the third level, since you have to flip between them) sets such a high value on keys, once you discover this you have to go back to the beginning and reoptimise. In particular, on my first playthrough I spent a key in 400-B 1N2W to get the sword early; realising this was a bad decision, I spent a long time searching for ways to get enough stats to defeat the Mud Baby without spending a key here (and, of course, without spending a key in 1W which is just as bad). Then I remembered the guy in one of the cells who gives you 3 ATK; suddenly it became easy and I was getting the sword just as early as before.

Knowing where the shield is, after getting the sword I only had to kill a single roach to get one key to reach the shield. So I had both for most of the level, making everything very easy. 3W and 1N1E have several choices that look like they are intended for before you get the equipment, but there's just no incentive for tackling these rooms early when the equipment is so high-value (and you get all the free stuff together with the shield). Similarly, the doors versus cracked walls in 1W were never really choices. The ability to spend keys for the purpose of breaking a fuse is an interesting idea that I haven't seen elsewhere -- but you simply can't afford to do it, and you get to open those walls almost for free very soon afterwards.

As Midootje said, the secret room containing the shield is absolutely required; without it, the boss does about 2000 damage and there's no way to get enough HP. This means that the choices involving the mirror in 1W aren't choices either, but traps.

On to Level 2. Another required secret room. Everything is too expensive before getting the sword, so that has to be first (which would punish the player if they didn't have enough HP, but since the first level is so easy, at least that's unlikely). The sword immediately makes Antlions free, which gets you to 80 ATK for Mad Eyes. At least there is a clear progression here; you need to hit 80 ATK in order to tackle 1N1W, and it turns out to be required to do this room before the Flesh Golem, since there are no other sources of HP (except for the shop on the first level, but when you have to spend a key to enter the shop at all, that's also pretty much a trap).

On the plus side, navigating 1N1W was an interesting puzzle.

On my first playthrough, I went into 296-A first and didn't discover the shield until much later. This time I got the shield straight away, which maybe made 296-A easier than you intended. At least, Neathers and Super-Neathers became free pretty quickly.

Level 3 was much better than the first two. Not much was free, enough choices led to HP refills that I never felt in danger of getting stuck, and there were lots of interesting choices about the order to tackle everything. Also, knowing from my first playthrough about the keys-for-free-keys choices, it was interesting to plan for when to get these.

The Cultist is a big problem, though. No matter what you do, he's going to cost about 2000 HP, requiring the large potion in WO, and yet again it feels like the hold is punishing me for spending keys on the "wrong" things.

In short: There are too many doors compared to the availability of keys, and many of these doors cut the player off from information they need to plan their choices. Level 1 in particular has too many "trap" doors where it may be tempting to spend keys but this will leave you stuck later. HP is very tight and this makes the hold very difficult, but not in an especially fun way. I would prefer there to be more HP behind monsters, so you are always confronted by the choice between taking the HP early or trying to save up stats to make it cheaper.

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09-29-2018 at 01:25 PM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (+1)  
Thank you very much for your criticism, I'm definitely going to end up with a better hold for it.

My strategy in Terminus was to get the sword last, after the mud mother was free. This means doing 1N1W almost "first", after grabbing a few stats to make it cheaper. After 1N1W antlions are free, which then lets me build up to a free mud mother pretty cheaply. I can't say whether my way is better than yours, though.
No matter what I did in the first level I always had enough stats to kill regular eyes for free, which meant that most of the cost in 1N1W is from mad eyes hitting you along the way. That strategy is a bit close on HP, though, depending on how I did things prior to it.

I do disagree about Terminus's secret room being "required", however. The main profit to it is just a couple of keys, which you can definitely survive the later levels without.

I'm trying the following for this update:
-Scatter the stats and potions from the first level's hidden room to just all over the place in that level instead, in a more or less random fashion, and adding just one potion so the reward of the secret room is almost entirely the shield. I'm trying to incentivize some of the key uses that would've been kinda "obviously bad" with my placement but I don't really know what I'm doing here.
-Shuffle things a little more and add some more keys and potions in places, and make a few existing potions one size bigger.

I'd like to know how these changes to the first level cascade on into the rest of the hold before I make any changes to the later levels, but the final goal will be to have enough keys to grab all the stats in warden's office, IF the player is reasonably efficient with key uses. My original idea was that you have to pick which stats you want and decide which of the options are most valuable for whatever set of keys you have, but your feedback suggests this is unsatisfying and nobody wants that.

EDIT:
I tried playing the whole hold after the above changes with no hidden room entry allowed. I was inspired to add one more two-yellow-to-one-green-key trade to 296-A 1W but otherwise found it quite doable. So, the latest version has that one new trade added in addition to the above.
(My general assumption is that the easiest/most optimal path will take one through all secret rooms, but that completing the hold without any of them should be possible.)

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 09-30-2018 08:13 PM]
09-30-2018 at 07:05 PM
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Midootje
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I've replayed the hold, and I must say, it's way better now. The changes you made to the first Level look very solid. Even the mirror room now gives some reward for using it one way first, then another way later. Nice!
The secret room could even do without that large potion, the shield itself is rewarding enough (overpowered even; there are a lot of rewards behind roaches that instantly become free).

Stats at the end scroll: 4529 HP, 203 ATK, 135 DEF, 1 yellow key, 21 GR (killed some Tar Babies that didn't block anything to get enough for the last upgrade).

Okay, so at the end of the hold I ended up with 1 spare yellow key (could be exchanged for some HP), and ONE green door with 6 ATK behind it that I could not open. Could you do me a HUGE favor and include exactly one more key somewhere in the hold? I don't really care how much it would cost, I would get it regardless. I'm a stat hunter, and what drives me to play and replay holds is to end up with as much ATK/DEF as possible at the end. With the recent changes, I thought I could do it in this hold, but there is exactly one key missing to get everything (the last standing door is green, but there are still some 2 yellow --> 1 green key trades left, so either an extra green OR a yellow key would make this possible). I would be eternally grateful for this change, because it would make the difference between a very fulfilling experience (being able to 'solve' the hold, getting everything out of it that you can) and a rather frustrating one (I just can't help thinking there HAS to be a way I can do better if I can't get everything available. It's probably a personality thing, but I think most people who enjoy RPG games experience this).

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[Last edited by Midootje at 10-01-2018 09:54 AM : Separating chunks of text]
10-01-2018 at 09:53 AM
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Nuntar
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Endgame stats record: 2175 HP, 205 ATK, 139 DEF, no keys. Sorry Midootje, but except for the choices in Terminus 1W, I got every gem in the hold.

I think this still needs reworking. With the extra keys for free in Level 1, I was able to power through to the stats from Warden's Office very early, making many choices in Level 3 less interesting. I would suggest moving the extra keys to Level 3 and putting them behind additional monsters, so there are choices about when to go for them; then maybe add some monster -> HP trades or other sources of HP to make sure there is still enough health available for the Cultist.

The biggest problem is still that I can get the sword and shield very early, yet most of Level 1 seems to be balanced around the player not having them yet. To be precise, there's a single roach that gives 2 ATK and a key, which can be traded for 3 ATK + GK, and using the GK to open 1W gives you 200 HP, which is already enough to kill the Mud Baby. I've had a go at playing the level without taking either of those trades, and got pretty close; but it was an interesting challenge to attempt. This suggests to me that the right balance might be to keep those trades but reduce the ATK gain from both -- maybe with some minor tweaks elsewhere. This would incentivise choices such as going for the gems in 3W before the sword, even though they would be free if you waited.

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10-01-2018 at 01:18 PM
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Xindaris
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New Update:
400-B: Removed 3 yellow keys and the potion in the hidden room; removed 1 attack from the "obviously necessary roach" in 1N1W and split the 200 HP of the potion in 1W into 4 50-health potions, one in the original location and the other 3 replacing the removed keys (I'm pretty sure? I did this like 5 minutes ago and am already forgetting exactly where things were put!). I find the combination of these two at least makes it more difficult to quickly grab the sword. For reasons of my own, I really want releasing that one prisoner to still give 3 gems so that there's big incentive to free him.
296-A: Added the 3 keys removed from 400-B to this level, 2 behind "new" monsters and 1 behind the 2W roaches to make the "let briar eat gems" choice there more tempting. Added a bunch more health in various contexts and ways, including increasing the potion behind a yellow door in 2E to a big-size, since in my own playthroughs I never took that one, and putting a medium behind the fegundo so that if a player can get stats that make (fegundo damage - mud baby damage) > 150 it'll actually be better to kill the "harder" monster. I think it's possible to get such stats but haven't actually tested; putting a big potion there would feel like way too much though.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 10-02-2018 03:27 AM]
10-02-2018 at 03:23 AM
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Nuntar
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quote:
Xindaris wrote: putting a medium behind the fegundo so that if a player can get stats that make (fegundo damage - mud baby damage) > 150 it'll actually be better to kill the "harder" monster. I think it's possible to get such stats but haven't actually tested; putting a big potion there would feel like way too much though.

From ATK 190 to 199, the Fegundo gets only one hit on the player, the Gel Baby two, so the Fegundo is actually the cheaper of the two monsters.

At ATK 200 and above, both monsters only get one hit, so the Fegundo is more expensive again, but only by 80 (the difference between the two monsters' ATK).

Both Midootje and I finished with ATK just above 200, but we got all or almost all the available gems and chose ATK from the shop every time, so both scenarios are plausible.

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[Last edited by Nuntar at 10-02-2018 12:21 PM]
10-02-2018 at 12:15 PM
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Midootje
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quote:
Nuntar wrote: Sorry Midootje, but except for the choices in Terminus 1W, I got every gem in the hold.
Where did I waste a key then I wonder? I played through again, trying to preserve every key possible, but I always end up with 1 yellow key where I need 2, after killing the Fegundo/Gel Baby. I never took any HP behind doors, so can you imagine any place where I've wasted a yellow key?
Edit: my last statement is not true. I released the Prisoner who gives 150, then 400 and then 1000 HP. Did you perhaps not release him?

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[Last edited by Midootje at 10-04-2018 12:26 PM]
10-04-2018 at 12:22 PM
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Nuntar
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I didn't. One yellow for 150 HP is clearly not worth it, and I didn't know about the rest :P

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10-04-2018 at 05:57 PM
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Midootje
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quote:
Nuntar wrote:
I didn't. One yellow for 150 HP is clearly not worth it
I would be very inclined to agree, except he gives 150 HP in 400-B, 400 HP in Terminus, and 1000 HP in Warden's Office ;)

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10-05-2018 at 11:29 AM
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Xindaris
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Who's downvoting Nuntar? This is helpful information!

I was hopeful that the fact both prisoners continue to give you stuff throughout the hold if you free them would be a good hint if you only freed one of them, that freeing the other might be more profitable than it initially appears. Also I didn't know that a key wasn't worth 150 HP, but I think in the current build making that trade can get one to the mud baby a bit earlier than almost anything else. So maybe it'll be more useful now?

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 10-05-2018 03:23 PM]
10-05-2018 at 03:23 PM
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mauvebutterfly
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The thing about the yellow key for health trade is that a single yellow key gives you the same number of points as 400HP (10 score in either case), so unless the hold forces you to play with really low health numbers such that you absolutely have to make that trade, players will tend to avoid trading a key for 150HP.

If the trade is forced, then there's not really much point in having it be an option in the first place, and if the trade isn't forced, players will hold the key both for the score and for any potentially better trades in the future.

I know when I'm playing a hold, I won't trade a yellow key for health even if it's going to boost my score. For instance, 1000HP behind a yellow door will stay there until either I absolutely need that health for something, or I'm just about to hit a scorepoint, at which point I'll make the trade to inflate my score. Having extra keys is just too frequently useful.

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10-05-2018 at 07:14 PM
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Xindaris
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Well, I certainly don't want the currently "health" prisoner to also give out stats; that's what the "stats" prisoner is for. And an amount like 400 HP in that first level is rather huge, so I can't really boost how much health that character gives out either. I guess they could hand the player back a yellow key at one of the later points so it gets "refunded", although there's still the "small" matter of the player not knowing about further rewards their first time through.

Any better ideas on what I should do about this?

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 10-05-2018 08:38 PM]
10-05-2018 at 08:37 PM
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Gordius
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One way to incentivize people to release the prisoners is to develop portions of the story that are dependent on it. If the health prisoner sees you release the stats prisoner and then says "Hey, I know something you're going to want to know. I'll tell you if you let me out," the player is more likely to do so. And if the prisoner later says "Maybe I'll see you again as we make our way out of here," then the player is less likely to revert back to where they hadn't released him after hearing the story.
10-07-2018 at 02:35 AM
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mauvebutterfly
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Another possibility is to just be okay with not having all the prisoners released. Again, you're running into an issue of presenting a non-choice as a choice.

If releasing all the prisoners is mandatory, just put a blue key in each cell and 3 blue doors to the exit or something. If it isn't mandatory, then people won't do it.

I guess another possibility is to have the final scorepoint split into two: "Escape" and "All rescued" or something like that. That way there becomes 2 separate paths that people will play, although it runs into the issue that the most optimal path might be to wait until the end of the hold before releasing the third prisoner, which would negate the purpose of this approach.

(I should probably actually play through this hold so that I can give more direct suggestions, but I'm still trying to catch up on some other testing at the moment.)

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10-07-2018 at 08:52 AM
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Xindaris
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@mauve: It's not that I'm not okay with not releasing the prisoners; in fact I think it may clarify the issue to say it's my intent to have a separate "challenge" scorepoint at the end of the hold for escaping without releasing either of them. But for that to be a meaningful challenge I'd like to encourage the player to release them both the first time around, or at least make the player who does so feel rewarded.

The issue to me is getting the response of "150 HP ain't worth it" from a player playing the hold for the first time and then maybe they never find about about the further rewards on their own. So I think probably some dialogue changes as per Gordius's suggestions would work best. This hold has a bit of a paper-thin "plot" as it is, but maybe I could shift those hints about the Shadowman off of the scrolls and into the prisoners' dialogue. If a player accidentally releases the Shadowman first it still won't be obvious to them that he carries a blue key (I think), so the HP prisoner could mention that slightly crucial info and then say "I'll let you have more of my stash if you help get me outta here" or such.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 10-07-2018 03:59 PM]
10-07-2018 at 03:55 PM
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Xindaris
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UPDATE:
-Modified scripting in Block 400-B Entrance so that the two "free the prisoner" cutscenes won't punish the player for standing in the wrong spot by hanging indefinitely (the "free the Shadowman" one might still), and altered prisoner dialogue to encourage first-time players to at least see what they both have to say (and possibly notice the added hint that potion prisoner will give more potions later).
-Added a yellow key to 296-A 2N which requires killing both "tough monsters" in the room to access, so that according to Midootje's description it should now be possible to free both prisoners and take all stats from early Warden's Office.


Feels nice to do something here again after such a long break. The next step is to refer to what various stats were reached and try to build an endgame that'll work for some different possible situations the player might find themselves in.

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10-26-2018 at 09:57 PM
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Midootje
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That Block 296-A 2N change really helps a lot ;) I can now safely grab all stats and end with a perfect 0/0/0/0 keys. It's also nice to see that the Mud Baby for the Wooden Sword is no longer a freebie (or was that in a previous version already?).
Final stats: 4194/209/135 with 156 GR to spare. Excited to see what the Warden's level is going to be like!

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10-27-2018 at 08:48 PM
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Xindaris
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UPDATE:
-Changed the design of Terminus 119 1N1W slightly after realizing that if you only have the final column left of the briar/mirror zone, it wasn't actually possible to extract the two remaining mirrors. The new configuration makes it possible for a player who fights "Too many" of the eyes to still get one prize by taking two mirrors, as was originally intended.
-Realized I forgot to add maps to Warden's Office and 296-A; added said maps.
-Built the final section of Warden's Office. This was built and tested using some "worst case scenario" stats: The minimum of health, defense, and attack that I had from a combination of a "no prisoners" route, a "no secrets" route, and a "standard" route played fairly recklessly. I also didn't backtrack to purchase more stats or health while testing, either; given the copious amounts of greckles you get from the monsters present it'd be preposterous to expect an optimizing player not to at least do one of those things. The final section is therefore pretty generous with stats and health; I'm concerned it might be too generous and would love to have some feedback on it. This also includes adding in the final room's dialogue and scorepoints for regular clear, no-prisoner clear, and no-secrets clear.
-Added some decoration to early Warden's Office matching that of late Warden's Office.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 11-05-2018 08:06 PM]
11-05-2018 at 08:04 PM
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Nuntar
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (+3)  
Cultist: 1127 HP, 184 ATK, 152 DEF, 1/0/0 keys, score 1414

Escaped!: 5633 HP, 284 ATK, 220 DEF, 1/0/0 keys, score 2230

At the end I had about 300 GR left over, and had bought 12 gems from the store, as well as the Bronze Shield. I never opened the health store.

I think this now plays really well all the way through to the end. My impression on arriving in the new section was that there were lots of good choices to be had, but all of them had the potential to become even better, so that it was very difficult to decide which to go for first -- which is really exactly the feeling an RPG level should be aiming for.

My only slight complaint is that going back to the store in 296-A felt a bit of a chore, especially given an autosave point en route that I had to step round, preventing ctrl-move.

Also, the tar mother room was a bit strange, as it seems unlikely for it not to be free by the time the player reaches it.

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[Last edited by Nuntar at 11-06-2018 12:14 AM]
11-05-2018 at 11:17 PM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (+2)  
My "bare minimum stats" testing suggested each stab of the tar mother would cost 50 HP, which seemed a decently tough price at the time. Now I suppose the problem is that I like the idea of the room but a gel mother would both be more annoying to cut, and actually impossible to even damage now that I look at it due to how much higher a scaling it has. If I can figure out how, maybe I could create a moderately tougher custom mother on tar instead...

I wonder if it'd be a good idea to add "shortcut stairs" in, say, WO 1N and maybe 296-A 1E so going back and forth is less of a chore once you've spent the first couple of blue keys. It'd be easy to lock that behind a black or red door that opens once you reach WO 1N since there's no accessories to break that sort of thing with, after all.

EDIT; UPDATE:
-Replaced tar mother eyes in WO 5N1W with "tar spider", a custom "tarstuff mother" entity with slightly tougher stats to make the room not as immediately free.
-Added a shortcut between WO 2N and 296-A 1E for general convenience purposes. Also sort of a "non-stat reward" for the player who opens the first two blue doors in WO.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 11-06-2018 02:13 AM]
11-06-2018 at 01:33 AM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (+1)  
Extremely minor update:
Changed the door to the shortcut in 296-A 1E to a red door to make it easier to distinguish from the black ones the brain closes; changed the behavior of the door in 2E so the player can step on the button without closing it, as this is kind of annoying to run into while ctrl-moving to the secret shop.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 11-08-2018 04:28 PM]
11-08-2018 at 04:27 PM
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kieranmillar
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (+5)  
I played through this hold and recorded it with my commentary.



My commentary was more what I was doing rather than comments about the hold in general, so I will type up some more thoughts.

If fixing the bug with the shadowman getting stuck on the player's sword is difficult to fix, consider moving the player 2 squares to the East at the start of the cutscene, then he will not be in the way.

The Warden's Office full of numerous key trades was interesting, it was cool that the ability to change 2 yellows into a green and back again was available, I can't remember if I ever did it but it's nice that the trade goes both way, given that getting all of the stuff you want leaves you with exactly zero of each key type so you can't get yourself stuck by making the trade.

Very nitpicky, but in RPG they are Hidden rooms not Secret rooms. Also once you have seen one you will never again be told it is a hidden room, even in future playthroughs, so would be nice for the bonus scorepoint to be reminded which rooms you aren't allowed to enter. Maybe it's obvious and this is actually unnecessary, I've not tried it yet.

I find 2nd level 1N1W to be a bit awkward, I'm sure there is some nice simple set of moves that makes it reasonable to do it before I have enough defense to make the mad eyes deal no damage, but I doubt I would enjoy trying to find out what it is.

I really appreciate the shortcut between the Warden's Office and Block A. One minor annoyance, before you open the shortcut as the two levels are linked by staircases on the same screen you can't Ctrl+5 between them, so I think it would be nicer if one of them was actually on a different screen on its own, say to the East or West.

I enjoyed that you found ways to distinguish skeleton keys from blue keys.

The bonus scorepoints proves to me that there's a ton of leeway and flexibility here.

If I were to judge one level as the weakest, it would be the second level which didn't really have a lot going on and was more focused on strange puzzles. Block A was the strongest in my opinion, many interesting and tough choices there while rewarding nicely for playing well.

[Last edited by kieranmillar at 11-18-2018 10:09 AM]
11-18-2018 at 10:08 AM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (+2)  
Thanks for the video and comments, kieran. You pointed out one leak at least that I want to fix, and I agree with some of your other criticisms, as will be seen in the rest of this post.
The "Altars" in the final boss room essentially unlock challenge scorepoints; the -5000 REP for killing the warden is just a silly "plot" thing since REP doesn't actually do anything in this hold. And I know they're called hidden rooms, the altar just sort of...calls them both.

I feel like the weird puzzles lend greater variety than nonstop pure stat-trading; at least it's my opinion that it obfuscates the cost of some things in an interesting way. I feel like it might be a matter of taste, but I just want to leave Terminus more or less as-is, barring a major complaint about its stat distribution or whatever (which there really hasn't been). It's good to know, however, that a player who doesn't enjoy the eyeball room can basically save it until it's free and then deal with the "puzzle" separately from worrying about how much HP it costs to do so. And if a player is trying to optimize scorepoints, then surely they've already worked out the "puzzle" by then and understand how to calculate its price.
Anyway,

UPDATE:
-Finally realized I could teleport the player by setting the _X and _Y variables, and used this to finally settle the Shadowman cutscene issue. He "blasts the player to the east" if the player is in any position where his sword might be in his path.
-296-A 1N1E: Kieran's video pointed out an unintended path; you're supposed to have to traverse that east island disarmed. Removed an offending tile of land to fix.
-Terminus 119: Split 2N into 2N1W and 2N1E so that ctrl-waiting has an unambiguous effect. The net result is that it will take longer to reach the stairs the first time, but then it's possible to ctrl-move which will hopefully make up for this? I didn't want to "favor" one of the stairs over the other by putting one of them in 1N and one of them not, and my sense of symmetry was annoyed by the idea anyway.
-Added a scroll with a dumb poem on it to each hidden room to remind players which ones were hidden.

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11-18-2018 at 09:16 PM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (0)  
Forgot to mention one more tiny tweak in the previous update: The pressure plate in 296-A 2N1E that has Neathers and Super-neathers on it now has an Open connection with its door instead of a Toggle, as kieran suggested in the midst of his playthrough.

But I'm not posting for that reason; instead I am posting to announce that I intend to submit this for HA within the next few days. So if anyone has a strong objection to that, please voice/post it here soon.

EDIT:
Actually, now that I think of it, I'll post a tiny update too, removing the dumb "trap" orb from Terminus 1N1W (10, 2) because honestly it's kind of pointless/annoying and doesn't contribute anything real to the puzzle at hand.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 11-23-2018 07:49 PM]
11-23-2018 at 07:47 PM
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Xindaris
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File: EFMJ Walkthru.txt (18.4 KB)
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (+1)  
Partially-complete challenge scorepoint walkthrough attached for HAs.

At the moment I have covered the no-secrets route. Plan to add no-prisoners route soon. Also an imcomplete walkthrough for "both at once" which turned out to be a terrible idea for me.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 12-03-2018 08:37 PM]
12-01-2018 at 04:24 AM
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mauvebutterfly
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icon Re: Escape From Monster Jail! (+1)  
I was doing HA work on this, but thought I'd post here first since I don't think you're notified by HA chat. At least, that's what I remember being told. CaravelNet is an arcane beast sometimes.

Anyway, general thoughts: balance was really good. I liked that the prisoners felt very useful and were well worth rescuing early on. I also liked that the secrets had costs to get to that initially made getting them an investment. I really liked the random puzzles throughout this floor. It was very satisfying to apply general DROD ability towards RPG in a way that didn't feel obtrusive or forced.

As for the scorepoints, I can confirm that they are all possible. In fact, I activated both altars on the same run, although that took quite a bit of doing, obviously.

Final stats after defeating warden without releasing prisoners or using hidden rooms:
HP: 3321
ATK: 248
DEF: 150
GR: 2132 (bought out the health shop and shield; nothing left to spend on)
REP: 382
no keys

I appreciate how the final scorepoints were scripted, so that I didn't have to worry about any particular method overwriting another. You get all scorepoints you qualify for. Very nice! Since I can confirm that a "both at once" playthrough is possible, is that a scorepoint you would like to add? It feels different enough from doing either other scorepoint individually that it might be worth doing.

Honestly, this feels like one of the best RPG holds I've ever played, although I admittedly haven't played too many of them.

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01-27-2019 at 12:04 PM
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