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crakerz
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:48 pm    Post subject: The Cyanide Campaign Reply with quote

Description:
The Cyanide Campaign: The first two missions

CZ01: Mission: THe Crossroads
An ACME spy sat has been shot down over Icarus. Andy's mission is to find the crash site, and download critical info. Intel is hazy, at best (and who completely trusts intel, anyway?).

This level was designed with an emphasis on tactics/strategy, rather than brute strength. Resources are limited, as are the units available. There are two major and four minor "secrets" in this level, at least one of which is "new" in concept, and one rather funny (to my sick sense of humor). If someone wants more info, read the text file. This level may not be as slick as some of the others listed here, but I had fun with it!

There are also three "win" levels, depending on the time it takes to complete the level.

Another "new" concept I've used relates to Mission Briefing. I personally really hate having to click through a bunch of ecoms at the start of every mission (yeah, I know, save it after that point, but I never remember! Sad ) In this case, the info has been dropped in an "Info Beacon" (Surveillance Center), and Andy can access it or not. After 10 seconds, it is destroyed. So access it the first time, and then ignore it after that. Very Happy

There are some new elements, as mentioned above. If you have a question, please PM me, or post here if it doesn't spoil things Wink

CZ02: Mission: The Invaders
Just who were those mysterious forces that attampted to wipe out our intrepid hero Andy at the end of the Crossroads? Well, that's what ACME wants to know - and you are the one for the job!

This one is a slugfest, but strategy and tactics will still prevail.

Each level can be played on its own. However, if you finished The Crossroads level, and then jumped directly to this one, and you finished in less than 60 minutes or 45 minutes, you got a bonus. That bonus will transfer to this level.

More to come, possibly.


Author:
CrakerZ
Warfare, Inc. Forums

Link to Mission Pack Download Page

History:
+>version 1.0a Released 2004.02.18 12:30PM (20 downloads)
+>version 1.0b Released 2004.02.20 6:00PM (1 downloads)
-Moved/Fixed Boundary to 1,1,62,62
-Created Zip file to include text file
-Updated Description Above
+>version 1.1a Released 2004.02.23 7:45PM (65 downloads)
-Updated to beta version 1.1
-Reduced Triggers
-Corrected ecom Text Errors
-Updated spoiler file
+> Version 2.0 Released 2004.03.10 2:45pm
-Added New level: The Invaders
-Updated Descriptions above
-Updated Spoiler text file
-Updated/adjusted The Crossroads
-Recompiled with Released Editor v1.0
+> Version 2.1 Released 2004.03.12 11:30am
-Partial Fix of Replicator Bug in The Crossroads



Cyanide.zip
 Description:
The Cyanide Campaign: CZ01: The Crossroads, and CZ02: The Invaders

Download
 Filename:  Cyanide.zip
 Filesize:  24.1 KB
 Downloaded:  49368 Time(s)


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Last edited by crakerz on Mon May 03, 2004 10:34 pm; edited 15 times in total
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Donw35
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is either a realy good level or I am missing something ...

Can't finsh the level..
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crakerz
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 3:16 pm    Post subject: Spoilers Reply with quote

EDIT NOTE: I DELETED THE TXT FILE FROM HERE. IT IS NOW INCLUDED WITH THE LEVEL IN THE ZIP ABOVE.

Here is a txt file with info and spoilers (it had to be .zip, because of the extension restrictions they put on here). If you need more info, let me know.

Yes, this is a tough level. I built it to challenge at different levels. If it helps, my beta testers were able to complete it after two or three trys, one of which did it under 45 minutes her fourth time around.

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Last edited by crakerz on Fri Feb 20, 2004 6:57 pm; edited 2 times in total
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SoLan
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 3:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Spoilers Reply with quote

crakerz wrote:
If it helps, my beta testers were able to complete it after two or three trys, one of which did it under 45 minutes her fourth time around.


Am I the only one who thinks a level starts to get boring on the third try? I have tried this level three times (not including the one when I accidentally got Andy killed very early in the level) without finishing it, and now I am ready to try something new. Confused

OK - I'll give it one more try - this time on "Easy"! Wink

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crakerz
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comment, Solan.

Sorry, but as I said in the first post, I didn't make a difference between easy or hard. I always play on hard (as I bet you do, too) so I never really thought about it, I must admit. I have on other levels I'm building.

I am not as good as you are. I usually take a few more tries than 3 to finish a level. That's why I made this one hard(er), so experts can play it and feel challenged. Took me a few trys to complete, and I built it! (Guess that means I really suck at this game!)

I've played your first two last night, and they are very nice. I was waiting to post until I had a chance to finish the last one. Overall, your levels are excellent, very slick layout, good attack logic, very challenging. I do have a few questions/suggestions about them that I will post when I finish.
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scottlu
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a general comment on difficulty, not your mission crakerz, because I haven't played it yet. We spent a huge amount of time tuning difficulty of the built-in missions, for the most part tuning difficulty *down* because of play testing feedback. We found that seemingly innocuous changes in a mission could change the difficulty significantly. We found that our mission designers thought a mission was less difficult than the play testers did Wink. We found that if a mission is too hard players weren't finishing them. Those things said we also found that what was easy to one player can be hard to another, and vice versa. Difficulty is hard to get right!
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crakerz
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said, Scott.

In all levels I've tried to design, difficulty was, well, difficult! And that's not even taking difficulty *levels* into account!

I can see designers' viewpoint being different from players'. They know more about the dynamics, the logic, and the flow of a level.

I hope to get better at it, that's for sure.
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SoLan
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, crackerz, I didn't really mean that as criticism of your level - more as a general observation when you mentioned your beta testers had to have three tries before they could finish. I am not very good at this kind of game, and I don't like levels that get too hard or levels where I can't figure out what I have to do to get to the end. I like levels that I can finish without recharging my device. Maybe I'm just not very patient. Wink But I know there are people who can never get levels that are challenging enough, and I really think there should be levels for them as well. That is part of what makes user created levels a good thing, isn't it. Smile

I have been thinking that maybe we need some kind of labeling of the levels we upload that says something about how hard they are? Like saying this is an "Expert" level as opposed to an "Intermediate" level and so on. Maybe we should also say if the levels are "mainstream" levels or levels that have other kinds of challenges than the ones found in mainstream levels (meaning the levels that came with the game)?

Tuning difficulty is difficult (!). I have found that I need to let someone else have a go at the level before I can start working on that. I try first to make the difficulty somewhere close to what would be "Normal". When I am happy with that I tune it down a bit for "Easy" and up a bit for "Hard". I also make sure that at least one of the beta testers can finish the level at "Hard" (even though I can not - and that says a bit about how good I am at this game! Wink).

Now to your level: I played it through on the fourth try. I could swear setting difficulty to "Easy" made a big difference! Wink You said you wanted to do something other than what you find in the levels that came with the game, and you really have. The cloaking thing was a different kind of challenge. I haven't read the readme file yet, but I did figure some things out for myself. I think you succeeded in making a different kind of challenge.

I personally find it a bit confusing when game elements are used in a different way from what you are used to. The hedge that you could not pass was a new thing for someone who is used to walking straight through trees. Smile I also get a bit unnerved when units pop into existence without any clue to where they come from. I think maybe there was a sort of explanation in the Ecoms, but I am not sure that I got it. Since this level has some elements that may be new to the user, the Ecoms need to be very clear. I may be stupid, but maybe you could ask someone else if this is something you should look into.

The only thing that I would suggest you change in the level is what appears to be an auto-repair feature for the human player. I noticed that my buildings would start to repair by themselves. This can be really annoying if you don't really want to save the building, but you really need the cash. Confused

I think you have been much better at coming up with something new in this level than I have in mine. I think my levels are very "mainstream", meaning not really containing any surprises. Part of what makes this one new, is the way you challenge the limitations of the editor and the game engine. Finding ways to do that without getting the player all confused is a challenge. I think you should keep that up. Smile

I also noticed a bug in the game while playing this level. I guess I should post that in the OS5/ARM beta forum as well. I had taken a Cyclops down to the bottom of the screen when it suddenly disappeared. Then it started to blink (disappearing and reappearing). The Cyclops was then partially hid by the status bar at the bottom of the screen.

I would recommend this level to anyone who wants a different kind of challenge in the game, although I think it would benefit from showing a bit more mercy on the "Easy" setting. Smile

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crakerz
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the indepth, SoLan. Great insights.

I agree with the label idea. I have several other levels that are not mainstream at all (though I like to think this one is, even with new elements).

I think you should post your comments on testing in the FAQ forum; good stuff.

As to the bug you found, it has already been talked about. It is a result of the size of the map. The map is 64x64, and the boundary is set at 0,0,63,63. I had problems when it was at 0,0,64,64 and I thought changing it fixed it, but I guess I need to change it a little more.

The hedge you mention is simply walls covered with trees. I really liked the effect, even though it ate my scenery budget.

Units being spawned out of sight was hard, especially since I decloaked, and used up so much scenery on my hedge. I tried my best, though. Laughing

The repair option is something that I hadn't noticed. Mine don't self-repair. If you are talking about an "acquired" structure, maybe the self-repair is a carryover. I'll check it out. If you don't want a building, sell it! Wink

I swear the difficulty doesn't do a thing, but I think I may rewrite to include it.

Please let me know more details (PM, please) specifically regarding your ideas on ecoms. I tend to not want to give things away to much as I like to discover them myself (hey, maybe that could be part of the difficulty thing!), but I don't want to confuse, either.

Read the readme, and let me know (PM) what you think about some of the elements you might have missed. I like your insights.

I really appreciate the feedback, SoLan, thanks. I hope you didn't think I was being critical in return, just a little confused myself Very Happy
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SoLan
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crakerz wrote:
Units being spawned out of sight was hard, especially since I decloaked, and used up so much scenery on my hedge. I tried my best, though. Laughing


The units "coming in from the sides" and those spawning in the trees were OK. The ones I didn't like were the ones spawning in plain sight at the NE and SW crossings from the north to the south. They seemed to just pop into existence. Shocked

crakerz wrote:
I swear the difficulty doesn't do a thing, but I think I may rewrite to include it.


I believe you, but I swear it made a difference! Wink

crakerz wrote:
Please let me know more details (PM, please) specifically regarding your ideas on ecoms. I tend to not want to give things away to much as I like to discover them myself (hey, maybe that could be part of the difficulty thing!), but I don't want to confuse, either.


The part about discovering things for yourself makes me wonder if your level isn't really a sort of crossover between an RTS and an RPG...? Maybe that is part of what I meant when I talked about "mainstream" WI levels.

Using different Ecoms to tune the difficulty is easy, and it may help a lot in this level. I also use Ecoms to remind players to do stuff if they seem to have forgotten. If they haven't done something in say five minutes of starting, I send them an Ecom. Most players will never see it, but those who are "doing it all wrong" will get a clue.

crakerz wrote:
I hope you didn't think I was being critical in return, just a little confused myself Very Happy


Just re-reading my own post and seing that it might be misunderstood. Smile

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crakerz
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoLan wrote:
The units "coming in from the sides" and those spawning in the trees were OK. The ones I didn't like were the ones spawning in plain sight at the NE and SW crossings from the north to the south. They seemed to just pop into existence.


Yeah, those bugged me too, but they had to be there to effectively block the pass. The thing is, you shouldn't see them "pop" if you decloak first. They are created before then, unless you attempt to access the pass before then.

SoLan wrote:
The part about discovering things for yourself makes me wonder if your level isn't really a sort of crossover between an RTS and an RPG...? Maybe that is part of what I meant when I talked about "mainstream" WI levels.


I kinda thought this game already was a crossover. Very Happy

SoLan wrote:
Using different Ecoms to tune the difficulty is easy, and it may help a lot in this level. I also use Ecoms to remind players to do stuff if they seem to have forgotten. If they haven't done something in say five minutes of starting, I send them an Ecom. Most players will never see it, but those who are "doing it all wrong" will get a clue.


I agree, more ecoms may help in any level (I hate 'em, personally Very Happy ). I actually have several, such as one that warns about the jammer if it isn't discovered in so many minutes, and ones that appear if (for example) something is destroyed that shouldn't have been. One thing I really liked about your levels was the minimal use of ecoms in the beginning. (What did you think of my beacon idea? )

I have one non-mainstream-type level that I know I will have an extensive explanation for, written out and zipped with the level.

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darrinm
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 12:37 am    Post subject: A note on difficulty Reply with quote

Great discussion guys! I'm up to my elbows coding multiplayer right now so I haven't had a chance to try this level but it sure sounds fun. I look forward to the challenge.

I want to clarify the difficulty levels. Like you've learned you can test difficulty in a mission to trigger actions to make it easier and/or harder. BUT even if you don't do this, the player's difficulty choice influences a few factors of the game. Here's how it works:

Hard
- no special advantages or disadvantages (this was our internal default setting for most of the development of WI)

Normal bonuses
- decreased build time for player structures
- increased armor for player structures & units
- player can see if enemy is low on power or credits

Easy bonuses
- all Normal bonuses
- increased player unit firepower
- increased value for player's Bullpup Galaxite deliveries

The design concept for the easier difficulty settings was to crudely simulate the advantages that more skilled players have to give less skilled players a boost in ways that wouldn't throw the missions out of wack.

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PhillipEarl
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VERY CREATIVE! This level is quite possibly the most creative level I have seen to date! At one point, I thought it was too easy, as I made my way to the crash site without losing more than one or two units. Of course, I lost that one. It really hit the fan in the end, and I was completely unprepared! Very Happy

Replayability is a common problem with "puzzle" levels in anything, since the game play gets rather predictable once all the secrets are out.. (by the way, I didn't read the spoiler until after I'd played). Nonetheless you've created an extremely enjoyable level. You might need to be a bit more obvious about the nature of the game play, though. I started playing thinking that since brute force was not an option, tactical thinking was more what you were after. As it turns out, my thinking needed to be a bit more than tactical. Thus, it might be a good idea to label the type of level along with the difficulty.

By the way, I loved the way you started this level. Dropping Andy in and starting play before the mission briefing immediately hooked me on this level!
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crakerz
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments, PhillipEarl.

I agree with you about replayability with puzzle levels, though I think all levels are that way once beaten. I tried to alleviate that a little with better rewards for better times, but with a great player like yourself, that doesn't mean much Very Happy . Of course, the purpose here was to push the envelope during beta, while still having fun.

SoLan made similar comments about game play. I would ask you to elaborate (in PM if too much info about teh level is needed) on the nature of the game play, for my edification, please. Also, we could use some more ideas on "types" of level labels.

One last thing: If someone hasn't downloaded the newest version (v1-1) they should. The last two had serious flaws that were a result of an issue with the editor (too many triggers) that made certain important aspects not work.
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PhillipEarl
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
SoLan made similar comments about game play. I would ask you to elaborate (in PM if too much info about teh level is needed) on the nature of the game play, for my edification, please. Also, we could use some more ideas on "types" of level labels.


In retrospect, I don't think it was fair to call your level a puzzle level. To many RTS gamers, the word puzzle has a certain connotation: BORING. Your level is DEFINITELY not boring! Very Happy I think Solan was right to say that your game blurred the line between RTS and RPG, and that makes for a pretty exciting challenge.

With regards to level types, here's a few random thoughts from a frequently clouded mind....

Level types could include (but not be limited to):

Action - Apocolypse now... You're given lots of troops/resources in the beginning (or at a given time) and throw them into battle like Daddy Warbucks throwing money!

Strategy - build a base, collect galaxite, build an army, form a plan, make things go boom in an overwhelming but orderly fashion...

Tactical - do the best you can with limited resources, choosing your battles and strategies carefully to keep the atrition rate among your troops down as much as possible.

Role Playing - centered around advancing a plot... certain events occur specifically with that in mind, and have no effect on the overall outcome of the game otherwise.

Puzzle - your troops against inanimate objects. Usually involves minimal immediate risk, unless connected to the consequences of not solving a given problem.

General - all of the above

I know, I know. Any good level incorporates most, if not all, of these qualities. By classifying a mission as any given type, you're simply saying that it has more characteristics of one type than the others, and that's not to say a game can't be, say, a Tactical/Role Playing mission.

Anyway, that's my thoughts on mission types. Hope they help!
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