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Caravel Forum : DROD Boards : Architecture : Parity & Flow (A hold about making it to the end)
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Xindaris
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icon Parity & Flow (+1)  
Well, it's time I get this looked at by somebody other than myself. This is a highly linear hold centered on a few particular ideas:
-Getting through a maze of rooms whose traversibility changes depending on whether they're clear or not (as in, open/closed green doors)
-Interesting room and/or level shapes
-The vague concept of "flow" employed in various puzzles
-Each level being heavily focused on a particular monster type: roaches, Rock golems/giants, then eyes
-Taking the opportunity to make puzzles about not clearing the room and/or using the fact that you can/must leave a room uncleared to proceed
-Needing to do some extra trickery both within individual rooms and in your overall traversal of the level in order to unlock each level's secret room

The basic concept for this was thought up around the time my very first hold was nearing completion. I had intended to make this much longer, and still have some more ideas of how to expand on this concept, but at this point I kind of want to try releasing the "first four levels" as a "Phase I" and then maybe build more levels into a second hold later. The first three levels I built are the "normal" levels, and the fourth I stuck into postmastery as it's a very different experience and design concept.

I appreciate that this might be a bit more difficult to test than a normal, open-style hold, but hopefully some people will take a look anyway. I think there are checkpoints everywhere, but maybe I forgot some or a few are ill-placed. There are some rooms (such as level 1 2S) which I'm not entirely sure about, and I could definitely use feedback of the form "I wish this room was taken out and replaced" among all the rest.

I made an effort to describe this within the hold itself also, but each level has a "map room" which shows the overall layout of the level, and if you push special command on the scroll in the map room it will reveal all the rooms in the level via a special cutscene. I originally thought the latter to be too much trouble, but came to the conclusion that it's too big a quality-of-life feature to not include, and anyway I don't want dumb "gotchas" where you go a long way around, find you needed to clear an earlier room, and need to walk all the way back to be a part of the hold's difficulty--so letting the player see all of that ahead of time is ideal.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 03-11-2024 03:29 PM]
10-27-2019 at 08:16 PM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (0)  
Minor update: Fixed a tiny thing that was missing in the map key in the postmastery challenge level thing.

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10-30-2019 at 02:58 PM
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KituU
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+2)  
Hi, played it.
Fascinating ! very very nice !
Love the maze of rooms puzzle theme.

Demos and some comments

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11-16-2019 at 02:08 AM
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Xindaris
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Thanks for taking a look! I'll go through the demos a bit later, but for now:

-I'll put some serious thought to making a new room in roach crossing 2S.
-You found a dev scroll I forgot to remove in roach crossing 2S1E. Since it wasn't supposed to be in the final version of the hold, I didn't bother keeping it short enough for a player to read. I'll get rid of it next update.

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11-16-2019 at 05:02 PM
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Xindaris
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Okay, had time to actually look through things now. A few particular responses-

Click here to view the secret text


And so,

UPDATE:
-Roach Crossing: Removed dev scroll from 2S1E
-Starry Eyes:
--Leak fixes in 1S1W, 1S1E, 3S
--Added challenge to 4S1W
--Added checkpoints in 3S

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 11-17-2019 06:47 PM]
11-17-2019 at 06:38 PM
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Xindaris
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In my passing through "things I should probably get to HA status", I remembered this thing. It seems KittuU is still the only person who's tested any of it other than myself, which is not ideal. If anyone's willing to give this crazy hold a shot, please let me know what you think!

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02-17-2024 at 06:21 PM
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Red-XIII
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+1)  
I tried to play it, but even though the concept is lovely, I got lost in the overall chaos. As KituU, I didn't understand the map room at all (actually, after 1 hour I got it a bit, but still too late, as I had to redo some rooms to continue/go back, which I personally do not like at all).
Maybe you could add scrolls in each room which tell you where to go? If the hold is supposed to be linear, it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Alternatively, you could add an option such that if you press the special command, wherever you are, it shows a custom made map of the level, where in each room/box, there is the information you provide in the "maproom". This way, if I have no idea where I am or where to go, I can immediately see what am I supposed to do in the room where I am.

I attached a demo for roach crossing 1W, as I didn't use the SW orb (what's that for?).

I don't think I'll be able to test this hold in its entirety, but let me know if you need specific comments on some rooms and I can test some of them.

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02-18-2024 at 10:59 AM
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Xindaris
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Hey, thank you for taking a look.

I don't want to tell the player what the correct route is, because the entire point of the hold is the overarching puzzle of figuring out the correct route to reach the exit room with the blue doors down (or with all rooms clear, if you want to reach the secret). It'd be like me putting a scroll at the start of a room with instructions on how to solve the entire room. The hold is supposed to be linear in the way that, say, a kaizo Super Metroid romhack might be linear, rather than in the way that Super Mario Bros is. (It's a little more generous than the former, of course, since you don't ever have to go back to a previous level). I perfectly well understand that people won't like this, but I feel like that's a "taste" issue and not a "quality" one. And I certainly won't mind if someone in the future posts a guide to the correct route for players who just want to do the room puzzles; I'm open to the idea of doing that myself. I just don't want that to be in the hold.

I don't know how I could visually design the map room to be any clearer than it is, honestly, but pressing special command on the scroll in the map room reveals the entire level's map for you, which also provides the same information the map is supposed to convey (aside from where level warps go, I guess, but that's only an issue in the 3rd level, and those warps follow an extremely clear logic anyway). Did you notice that you could do that? I could try to emphasize that a little more.

The orb in 1W can hold onto the roach for you while you put the rock golem in place. It's not strictly required, but it makes the room slightly easier, which feels appropriate to me for being one of the earliest rooms in the hold.


EDIT: Separately, I've had a look at level 1, 2S, as I promised to ages ago.

Update: Replaced 1: 2S with a new room of similar shape but very different puzzle. Moved old 1: 2S to the "scraps" section of postmastery.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 02-18-2024 08:10 PM]
02-18-2024 at 07:45 PM
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Red-XIII
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+2)  
Xindaris wrote:
I don't know how I could visually design the map room to be any clearer than it is, honestly, but pressing special command on the scroll in the map room reveals the entire level's map for you, which also provides the same information the map is supposed to convey (aside from where level warps go, I guess, but that's only an issue in the 3rd level, and those warps follow an extremely clear logic anyway). Did you notice that you could do that? I could try to emphasize that a little more.
......
Update: Replaced 1: 2S with a new room of similar shape but very different puzzle. Moved old 1: 2S to the "scraps" section of postmastery.

I decided it to give it another try and I'm happy that I did it, as the "maze" wasn't that bad actually. I had to redo 2E four times ans 1S2E twice, but that's ok (I rewatched my solution for 1S2E :P).
About the map, would it be possible to enable the special command anywhere and when you press it the little map (attached) appears on the screen? This way I don't have to look for 1N everytime. Either case, after playing and observing it a bit, I kind of understood it, but it would have been more convenient if there was some way to make it super clear. Maybe it's just me that didn't get it immediately.

I couldn't manage to get the secret, probably because I didn't clear 1S? I didn't use the staff, so I guess I need it to exit south and clear the room?
Also, how can I clear 'entrance' if the seeding beacon is not accesible?

I loved the new 2S, quick and fun.
1S1W, terrific room, is it intended to use roach queens and roaches to help you?
1S1E, not my favourite type of room but way easier than I originally thought, so nice.

Level 1 I would say it's around 6 difficulty, which made the rooms, for me, REALLY enjoyable.

I attached also all of my demos.

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02-20-2024 at 07:23 PM
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Xindaris
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I'm glad you gave it another try, and really glad you enjoyed it a little more this time! The 'little map' image is a good idea, I think, but it might not be scalable as the next two levels are each bigger than the last. Maybe I could use image overlay and some screengrabs of my own to make it work anyway? I'll see if I can figure something out.

I tried to clarify this in the map-room text, but I understand if the wording is confusing: The secret room opens if all clearable rooms are cleared. There are essentially three categories of rooms: (1) Required, (2) Non-Required Clearable, (3) Not Clearable. The third category will always have an unreachable seeding beacon (except for the map room, which has an unreachable conquer token instead). The exit opens if you beat the required rooms (of course), while the secret opens if you beat all but the not clearable ones. In the first level, the entrance is not clearable, while 1S is clearable. As you've guessed, the solution to clear+exit south (at least the one I'm aware of) involves using the stick.

Other, individual-room comments:
Click here to view the secret text


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[Last edited by Xindaris at 02-20-2024 09:57 PM]
02-20-2024 at 09:50 PM
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+1)  
Thanks for the clarification!

I was going to wait to post again but sadly I am stuck and I cannot continue, could you give me progressive hints?
Click here to view the secret text


I attached the demos for roach crossing 1S (discovered the trick by accident), 1N1E and RG 1E. Boy you were not kidding when you said 1N1E was harder, that roach queen was escaping and running like hell. Still, I liked it, but my opinion might be biased since I love roach queens and pressure plates.
RG 1E is a nice introduction to the level.


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02-22-2024 at 06:56 PM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+2)  
Level 2 1S1E is pretty tricky. Let me know if I'm doing the 'progressive hints' thing right.

Click here to view the secret text


Your solution to level 1 1N1E is certainly faster than mine, which sits in the center of the room waiting some 10 spawn cycles to have a lot of roaches coming in from the west. But KittuU's demo is amazingly slick, killing the queen after only 2 spawns.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 02-22-2024 10:59 PM]
02-22-2024 at 10:52 PM
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+1)  
Thanks for the hints, as soon as I read the second one, I got it immediately, nice linchpin.

I am currently stuck on 2S (for one door!) but I completed the eastern part of the level. For 2S, I know what to do, but I still have to find the correct configuration. Parsing the room was pretty tough, but I appreciated the red lights turning on indicating that I failed.

2E: quick and fun room.
3E: pretty tough manipulating the golem here!
1S3E: once I found a good configuration, room was pretty easy.
2S3E: execution was ok, but understanding the room was hard! I liked the briar linchpin.
2S2E: after I cleared it I realized that it should have been the last room to complete which made me look a bit stupid. Room was ok, medium difficulty I'd say.
2S1E: favourite room so far, I loved it. I didn't use 4 golems.

I attached my demos.

Overall, I think there are few checkpoints in all of the rooms (2S2E especially). Why not adding checkpoints in the areas of the room where you know for sure the player will go because it is part of the solution? For long rooms it is tedious to use UU to go back where I want, and if I restore to the checkpoint sometimes I go all the way back to the beginning of the room.


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02-28-2024 at 06:03 PM
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Xindaris
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Honestly, I never know for sure what to do with checkpoints on my own (other than "put some in"), so I have a tendency to place them where it "looks good" to me aesthetically rather than having a good understanding of where they're actually useful. I absolutely need help seeing where there's not enough or what a good place for another one would be.

2S is...kind of an insane room, looking at it myself. Other than "green good, red bad", I don't think there's much of a rhyme or reason to how the plates are all connected--I can't see any way to know that other than clicking around while trying to solve the room. I probably just made arbitrary connections, then tested and tweaked repeatedly until I felt like the puzzle worked.

Anyway,

UPDATE: More checkpoints in the east side of level 2.

Glance around for me please, and tell me if one (or more) of the rooms is still lacking, or especially if you have a specific recommendation for a tile to add one to.

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02-29-2024 at 03:20 AM
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Red-XIII
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+1)  
I slowly made progress and managed to almost complete level 2 (I chose the wrong route obviously). For 2S, I think there is no clear solution but several combinations that can work, which I think it's ok. Here's some comments and demos.
Overall, I think the west rooms are a bit easier than east rooms,

Click here to view the secret text


I glanced at the other rooms and the checkpoints seem fine.

I think I'll play level 3 from the editor.

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03-09-2024 at 10:07 PM
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Xindaris
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I took a look through those demos; nothing looks unintended to me. I'll add those recommended checkpoints in the next update.

Level 3 honestly has just a few of my favorite rooms I've made. I think I remember needing to get someone's help with making an enforcement mechanism or two functions properly...if I left a note somewhere of who helped me, I should probably add that to some credits somewhere. Adding credits should be something I do just as it's going to HA, and I'm saying that here to remind myself to do it.

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03-09-2024 at 11:41 PM
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Starry eyes comments (this level seems way harder):

Entrance: I immediately woke the EE at (15,16) and used the roaches to unpress the press the multi use plate. Then went to (16,17) and the rest was trivial. Intended?
1S1W: Pretty sure I broke it. I took the temporal token, waited a bit doing nothing, then I pressed the pp at (9,14) and cleared the rest of the room. After rewinding, I went out of the hallway and just waited for the projection to clear the room. Might need a checkpoint at (11,19).

Would you consider making a temporary hub to access all levels in this testing phase? I cannot record demos from the editor, so I had to create a copy of the hold, but the demo is not recognized when I export it in the original hold (as expected). This is just me being lazy since I don't want to redo most of the rooms in level 2 :~(



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03-10-2024 at 11:38 AM
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Xindaris
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Neither of those sound intended or possible to me; I'll definitely need demos. So...

Update:
-Some checkpoints added in level 2
-(Temporary!) stairs in the map room of level 1 that go to level 3's entrance.

EDIT:
Actually, I think I figured out what was wrong in Entrance and probably fixed 1S1W even without knowing exactly what was done. And I found another, different potential leak in 1S1W and went ahead and fixed that too. So, append to the update above:
-Leak fixes in Level 3 Entrance and 1S1W.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 03-10-2024 06:59 PM]
03-10-2024 at 06:49 PM
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+1)  
Oh, in my description of what I did I forgot to add something, sorry. What I did was:

Click here to view the secret text


This solution is now prevented, I think I solved it the intended way now (see demos), though I woke the SE eye to make it easier.

Entrance is probably still broken. Also, you might want to put the checkpoint NOT in the evil eye sight.

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[Last edited by Red-XIII at 03-10-2024 09:02 PM]
03-10-2024 at 08:54 PM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+1)  
Honestly, even the intended solution to the entrance is not very hard; there are easy places to just pace E/W while you kill the roaches even in the "restricted" area the eyes are looking at. It locks off the rest of the entire level, so it should be fairly easy and open. I do want the room to introduce the idea of eye-sight-restricted movement, but I think even players who find your solution will still get the point. So I'll let it stand as-is. That's a good point with the checkpoints though, so I'll fix that.

1S1W is still broken with your new solution, though. It somehow didn't occur to me that eyes could be lured back east onto the firetraps. But that's fixable with some force arrows, so now it should enforce what's intended. To more directly describe the solution intent:
Click here to view the secret text



So, update:
-Checkpoints changed in level 3 entrance
-More leak fix to 1S1W



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[Last edited by Xindaris at 03-11-2024 03:35 PM]
03-11-2024 at 03:34 PM
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+1)  
Yeah I thought that the solution for 1S1W was like you said. I just had to maneuver the mimic more carefully.

I kind of completed the west part so here's some demos and comments.

Click here to view the secret text


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03-11-2024 at 09:36 PM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Parity & Flow (+1)  
While it's not intended to absolutely require restoring at any point, it's the nature of the hold to sometimes trap a player in a room and force him to beat it to move on. But I can certainly add another seeding beacon to allow returning to 2S2W from the west. That said, 2S3W probably looks harder than it is. The timeclone isn't needed for most of the room, and at least two options of which eye to stab are valid in solutions.

Aside from that, I'll add the recommended checkpoints.

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03-12-2024 at 02:41 AM
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