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Seven-Point-Ninety-Ninth Level commentary

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Mar 16th, 2019
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  1. Hi! I'm Delpolo, some dude whose only completed hold is King Dugan's Dungeon (in Archictect's Edition)! Basically what I'm saying is that clearly this kind of contest is the only chance I'll get at actually having experience with the subject involved, hahaha.
  3. For whatever reason I really like Tar in DROD, but it certainly seems like it's very much a love-or-hate thing. KDD in particularly doesn't seem to treat Tarstuff very well, what with that one Eighth Level Septence South, Thrice East room with three Tar Mothers you need to very carefully clear, or that entire level with all the mazes hidden under Tar...
  5. In any case, I still only really have experience with Tar, but Mud and Gel seem pretty appealing to me! At a glance, Gel seems pretty hard to design around, since you really need to be mindful of how you design gel shapes to be clearable; meanwhile, in theory Mud should be even simpler than Tar, since every blob of mud has a corner, and thus it should always be clearable, right? So Mud should be an 'easier' mechanic than Tar? That kind of thinking is what led me to wanting to design a level around introducing Mud, as well as let me play around with Mud and discover (the hard way) how puzzles with Mud work.
  7. The first issue: where in KDD should I introduce it? This wasn't too hard to decide, but it still had some implications. Since mud is 'simpler' than tar, I wanted this to take place before the first Tar level - Eighth Level - but I also didn't want it to be too early since that would mean being forced to lower the level difficulty (in order for my level to flow well if actually inserted into the 25-level hold) as well as being limited in what elements I can use (since level elements are slowly introduced in KDD; for example, I can't use Goblins since those are introduced in Fourteenth Level). In the end, I decided to just place it right before Eighth Level, so that to complement Mud I can potentially make use of Roaches and Roach Queens, orbs and yellow doors, invisibility potions, Evil Eyes, trapdoors, Mimics, and Serpents. However, I cannot make use of Spiders (10th level), Goblins (14th), and Brains (20th).
  9. The second issue: what level theme should I use? I want to use a DROD:AE theme to match KDD, but I don't want to repeat a theme that was recently used in the floors 7 and below, and I also didn't want to use a theme that would be repeated soon in floors 8 and above... and obviously I don't wanna use Sanctum since that's unique to 25th level. After doing some quick math, I settled on Cliffs: it's used earlier in Third Level, and later in Fourteenth Level, meaning it has the largest gap theme-wise.
  11. As such, welcome to...
  15. Seven-Point-Ninety-Ninth Level
  17. The Entrance
  19. It's the first room! Since the contest limits us to 15 rooms, I didn't wanna waste too many rooms, like KDD sometimes does (with puzzle-less corridors to connect rooms or whatever), and so I decided to put a basic Mud tutorial right in the first room. You can cut round edges! You can't cut flat sides or inside corners! Mud babies behave like Roaches! It seems like contest rules also demand you put a staircase back to the contest hold hub (if people wanna take a break and try other entries), so I included one there. Thank goodness it's lore-friendly thanks to being the stairs from Seventh Floor!
  22. Once West
  24. I wanted to make a room similar to Eighth Level Once East, where you cut through Tar to rescue - er, slay a bunch of Roaches. However, it's easy to cut through Tar, whereas Mud limits you to only cutting round edges, which made designing a similar room (without just letting you hug walls to go around, or asking you to clear the entire room of tarstuff) a bit awkward... In the end, after placing an initial Mud Baby target, I ended up making holes in the Mud to make cutting through feasible (and filled them with breakable walls), and also extended the floor edges a bit to make it impossible to just cut around the mud. Unintended but neat challenge: the room can be cleared without breaking any walls!
  27. Once South
  29. You can basically carve Mud from the outside in... so here's a Roach Queen puzzle where you need to catch them in a corner of Mud! I'm pretty sure only a single diagonal direction works as a solution in this room? There might be another if the room were rotated but the vertical-over-horizontal preference seems to limit it here. In an earlier version I had the orbs right next to the center yellow walls, but I wanted to prevent eggs from being spawned and interfering with the puzzle so I put yellow gates over the entire area (that can't be closed), but I found that no matter the configuration there was still an unintended solution if the queen spawns an egg on the few non-gate tiles... I ended up putting the orbs all the way in the corners instead, to make it harder for Beethro to use Roach spawns to circumvent the puzzle, but I'm pretty sure it's still possible... Oh well.
  32. Once South, Once West
  34. It's the introduction of Mud Mothers! Basically a scaled-down version of Eighth Level Quarce South, I guess. Unlike Tar, as long as the overall shape of the walls around the Mud is convex, you generally just want to hug the walls and safely circle around to the closest corner to the Mother, and then carve your way in to them... Thankfully this shape isn't concave and they're fairly close to the corner, so it's a pretty straightforward tutorial.
  37. Twice South, Once West
  39. Unlike with Tar and Gel, I'm pretty sure there are no fancy multi-stab maneuvers you can do with a Mimic (or a few), so as a quick Mimic puzzle I instead decide to do one where you need to use Mud as an obstacle to get the Mimic to the end, and occasionally carve a few corners as extra walls... which means being careful and not cutting any of the easily-cut Mud unintentionally, of course.
  42. Twice South
  44. Not too complicated of a room, but I expect people to fall into the pitfall of 'I can just rush to the Mud Mother and slay her before any mud grows!' and end up completely trapped inside mud. I initially planned for people to circle around clockwise, just barely getting safe above the wall when it grows, but I found that circling counterclockwise around the bottom was both easier and faster, plus is the only option if you hang back and let Mud grow... Well, I guess that's fine.
  47. Twice South, Once East
  49. Serpents! They were in the Seventh Floor, after all. This is a room where there are no dead-ends to kill Serpents at first, but there are also no dead-ends to kill Serpents if all the Mud is cleared; you either need to clear mud in such a way as to leave a 1-wide dead-end naturally, or use a Mud Baby to block a 1-wide passage. Making 1-wide passages is one case where using Mud is way harder than Tar, hahaha.
  52. Once South, Twice East
  54. Evil Eyes can see through Mud! That's... basically it, it's just a careful horde-clearing room otherwise. Silly challenge: clear the room without awakening any Evil Eyes and hearing their voice clip!
  57. Once South, once East
  59. Again, if you try to rush to the Mud Mother (and ignore the Wraithwing) then she'll still spawn before she's killed (thus creating an unreachable Mud Baby down below)! A simple lynchpin, but the first example of preventing Tarstuff spawns: because you can't actually reach the red door from the inside and clear out all the Mud, you need to have the Wraithwing block the two Mud Baby spawns at turns 30 and 60, and then rush back to the Mud Mother and slay her before the Mud reaches that 1-wide corner at turn 180 and creates a Mud Baby you can't reach. Only solvable from the east entrance!
  62. Once East
  64. Efficient Mud-clearing, showing off another application of Mud Mothers: timers and time limits! Gotta reach and slay all the Mud Babies inside the Awakened Mud blob before 120 turns pass and the Mud Mother blocks the way to the last Mud Baby. Unlike with Tar, you can't just beeline to the trapped babies, and actually have to clear from a corner...
  67. Once North, Once East
  69. Secret room! Very similar to Once East, except this time you're also not allowed to move downwards once you start clearing mud, and the timer is a bit more strict.
  72. Once South, Thrice East
  74. As another Mud-only room, here's more Mud clearing with a Mother! This was inspired by KDD's Eighth Level 2S2E where you're expected to clear each mini-room before proceeding, except that you can't always completely clear out each section of Mud and occasionally have to backtrack a bit, and so you have a (very generous) resettable timer before the way back is irreversably blocked.
  77. Twice South, Thrice East
  79. I think the only remaining element introduced earlier in KDD that hasn't been used yet is Invisibility Potions? So here's a straightforward room where you sneak between Mud Mothers to reach a Mud Baby across the room without letting mud grow even a single time and block the way. Silly challenge: don't cut any Mud or kill any Mud Mothers until the Mud Baby chamber!
  82. Twice South, Twice East
  84. A harder Mimic room! This time, while stuck in the small constrained area, you need to use the regularly-spawned Mud Babies as obstacles to make your Mimic inch its way to the Mud Mother room, while said spawned Mud Babies attack you in your small area. The first few spawns are easier (since the bottom-right blob doesn't spawn babies at first), but once your Mimic is far enough that you need to concentrate on it earlier, more enemies start bothering you in that spare time afterwards, which is cute. It's probably the least obvious room gimmick...
  87. Once South, Quarce East
  89. It's the level exit! And also, if you imagine for a second that Mud/Tar Switchers affect the entire level instead of just the current room (not that you can even backtrack to check), then Beethro is the reason no one else can ever come back to this floor again! If someone comes up from the exit stairs then the red door blocks them (and even past that, the round edges of the Tar), and if someone enters the floor from The Entrance then the 2x2 Mud-turned-Tar can't be cleared. Good thing maps don't include the floor, huh?
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