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Caravel Forum : Other Boards : Crystal Shard Games : What's All This About? (Explanation of SubTerra invasion.)
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ErikH2000
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There's this guy, Pieter Simoons, and he wrote a really cool game called "SubTerra". It's almost as good as DROD. ...well, no, let's not be sacrilegious. It's quite good however, and Pieter's about to release it as freeware after a nice shareware career. I have also heard rumors that there is a SubTerra sequel coming very soon.

Pieter's site is hosted on our server now. You can see it at http://www.crystalshard.net. We've offered him a spot on the forum and he'll serve as moderator for this new board. You might see some SubTerra players heading over here soon. They seem like nice people.

An obvious question is where and when can we play SubTerra? I think Pieter will be putting the freeware version on his site pretty quick and will probably announce it right here.

-Erik

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05-10-2005 at 08:53 AM
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Mattcrampy
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You sniped me, Erik!

Incidentally, is Pieter's relationship with Spiderweb going to expire soon? I noticed that there's a board dedicated to SubTerra on Spiderweb's forum.

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05-10-2005 at 08:57 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
Mattcrampy wrote:
You sniped me, Erik!

Sniped you? Not sure what you mean. Anyhow, I know you like a good surprise almost as much as a juicy rumor. ;)
quote:
Incidentally, is Pieter's relationship with Spiderweb going to expire soon? I noticed that there's a board dedicated to SubTerra on Spiderweb's forum.

It'd be interesting to hear from Pieter on that. I don't know what is going on over there really.

-Erik

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05-10-2005 at 09:00 AM
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Mattcrampy
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From this Internet dictionary I found lying around:

quote:
sniped, n. the act of posting a message (commonly, on an internet forum) ahead of someone who has taken longer to post the same thing. I was going to finish off the quote, but I was sniped.


Matt

[Edited by Mattcrampy at Local Time:05-10-2005 at 09:15 AM]

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05-10-2005 at 09:13 AM
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Radiant
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Hello!

I would like to thank the Caravel team for this opportunity.

Jeff Vogel, the great guy behind Spiderweb Software, has decided to focus on his core business (i.e. RPGs, not puzzles). While he has been kind enough to keep hosting SubTerra for awhile, DROD.net would allow for greater versatility, and accessibility to puzzle fans. Not to mention the sequel :)

Crystalshard.net is now functional except for the download links - a feature I intend to fix in the next couple of hours.


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05-10-2005 at 05:50 PM
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SKWERLL
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Is it still going to be hosted on spiderweb's games section (I'm at school so I obviously can't check if the link works, but I just checked and the link was still there), or is Jeff gonna take it off?

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05-10-2005 at 11:54 PM
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MasterGiga
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Ah, yes, welcome Pieter! I always welcome a nice challenging game. I'm sure it'll be very interesting. (And it'll probably stump me early in the game...that just seems to be happening a lot.)

By the way, this whole idea of hosting SubTerra (which I'm guessing will have something to do with something below the earth's surface...) Anyway, its cool. Once I saw the new board, I was like, "Um...interesting."

Well, let me shut up now. Can't wait to play the game! :D

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05-11-2005 at 06:54 AM
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b0rsuk
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Once again, what makes it differ from all these *dash clones floating around the net ?

Rocks&Diamonds probably has more elements, and certainly more levels (but graphics are ughly)

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05-11-2005 at 01:36 PM
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silver
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"once again"? it's a short thread, and I don't see you posting in it before. use of "once again" when continuing a conversation from another board or a PM conversation or something only serves to confuse readers and make you seem confrontational. speaking of, why the confrontational attitude?

-- anyway --

what makes it different is that it's "our" *dash clone and now an open source now :)

the elements in 1.0 seemed fairly well balanced to provide a wide variety of challenges without driving me mad with options. and yet some really surprising things are available. for example, one of the levels is a functioning binary calculator (the "easy" mode just involves figuring that out and making it go. the "hard" mode of it involves running through the mechanism while it's calculating without disrupting it).


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05-11-2005 at 03:31 PM
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Radiant
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Ah yes, what makes it different...

Well, you're probably aware that 90% of all Dash clones are poorly implemented copies with the same objects and elements as the original Boulder Dash. In my honest opinion (and believe me, I've played over fifty different ones) there's only three or four Dash clones really worth playing.

Funny that you should mention Rocks 'n Diamonds, since it is a direct clone of Emerald Mine, and the original R&D package did not include any original levels.

I would actually state that SubTerra has about equally much elements as Emerald Mine. Not counting such things as alphabet walls, of course, since they're functionally identical to steel walls. And including several things that EM does not have.

What makes SubTerra better is the level design. Play it and see, it's really very interesting. Not to mention challenging. And it has several difficulty modes. I dare you to hit the Hall of Fame :)


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05-11-2005 at 06:31 PM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
Radiant wrote:
What makes SubTerra better is the level design. Play it and see, it's really very interesting. Not to mention challenging. And it has several difficulty modes. I dare you to hit the Hall of Fame :)

I agree. The levels are really well done, although I am adding a few to my hate list as I go. (@!#$% Atlantis!) Thankfully, with the level navigation system, it is not so hard to avoid playing levels you don't like.

A few details I appreciated in the game design that are reminiscent of the "DROD" philosophy:
* Pieter specifically excluded "hidden" elements found in other games--like walls that appear when you bump into them or seemingly solid squares you can walk through.
* You can view the entire level before beginning play.
* Lack of a time limit to complete levels. Yes, there is a timer that counts down, but you can ignore it if you like. (I think it just gives you bonus points.) So unless the level is specifically designed to push you along, you can slow down and think things over.

Also, this seems to borrow heavily from Chip's Challenge, which is quite a different game than Boulder Dash. So you shouldn't look at SubTerra as just another BD game. I would think something like 80% of the original CC levels could be created in SubTerra, with some minor differences.

I do find the mixing of "side view" and "topdown" confusing at times. It feels like the gravity is pulling down for some elements and forward for others. I guess, if I need a non-abstract explanation: some of the objects are floating in the air and aren't affected by gravity. It's just hard to remember which ones at times. I.e. crates are topdown, rocks are sideview.

-Erik

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05-11-2005 at 07:33 PM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
silver wrote:
the elements in 1.0 seemed fairly well balanced to provide a wide variety of challenges without driving me mad with options. and yet some really surprising things are available. for example, one of the levels is a functioning binary calculator (the "easy" mode just involves figuring that out and making it go. the "hard" mode of it involves running through the mechanism while it's calculating without disrupting it).


That was a cool level, but I wonder how functional that calculator is underneath the hood. Next thing gives away how to complete the level...
Click here to view the secret text


Hmm. I suppose I should go back and analyze it, but... I better run off and analyze some other stuff today instead so I can earn some money.

-Erik

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05-11-2005 at 07:39 PM
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Radiant
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You can play the game in easy mode or in hard mode. Easy mode is just that - grab a percentage of gems and head for the exit. In hard mode, you have to grab more gems (often, that means all of them), head for the special (red) exit, AND do it all in the time limit... not for the faint of hand :)

Gravity is somewhat distorted, I agree... the way I usually view the game is that it's on a gentle slope, so round objects roll down (i.e. rocks) and square objects have too much friction.


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05-11-2005 at 07:40 PM
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J.L.
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quote:
Radiant wrote:
Gravity is somewhat distorted, I agree... the way I usually view the game is that it's on a gentle slope, so round objects roll down (i.e. rocks) and square objects have too much friction.


You should play this game called Sid & Al's Incredible Toons (a spinoff of a better known game called The Incredible Machine). In its gravity model, mice and cats are affected by gravity, and elephants and dragons aren't!
05-13-2005 at 04:32 AM
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Sim
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I can't wait to play the full version. I downloaded the demo a while ago and really liked it. I'm sure it won't tear me away from DROD too much though :)
Incredible Toons was a great game too, and also quite tricky.
05-13-2005 at 07:00 AM
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