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[SPOILERS] Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8)

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Nabe
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[SPOILERS] Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8)

Postby Nabe » 3 years ago

Heya. I'm just trying to polish up Level 7, and in trying to figure out where it should lie on the difficulty curve, I'm playing through the finished dungeons in order. So, I figured I might as well take some notes. Here's the first three.


Level 0 (Wizzrobe's House):
Perfect. I think it's a wonderful primer for the tone of the game. I enjoy how hard the boss is in its intended room, and that you have the option to cheese him by fighting him in other rooms or just leave. I'm glad it doesn't have custom music (there wouldn't be time to appreciate it anyway), since the familiar Z1 dungeon music encourages the player to invade this guy's home. I do wonder how significantly using something like the Link's Awakening town theme would change the impression you get.

One small thing, is the Rupee at the end supposed to be in the chest? I see the Flag 10 there which suggests that's the case, but when playing it initially I thought it was (plotwise) taken out of the open chest for some reason. I was also intrigued by the locked chest, because the tile is a boss key chest and unopenable, which is mysterious. And that's cool, but it could leave the player thinking they need to come back and bomb everything later to find something they've missed, and being disappointed when they don't find anything. It doesn't really matter either way, just a first impression thing.

Level 1 (Wyvern Cavern):
This is a comment on the first few dungeons in general: I like that they all use basic dungeon tiles, but in a way that gradually shows a new player that Zelda Classic isn't just vanilla Zelda 1. I think this dungeon in particular has a strength in its use of familiar Z1 room layouts and obstacles, which sets up expectations for New Player X that are then broken when they get the Roc's Feather or encounter the Fire Gleeok. It's a good bit of simple fun that you have to walk around all the water on your way through the dungeon, and then get the small pleasure of jumping over it on the way back.

A small idea here, feel free to ignore. A new player familiar with Z1 might also get the impression that the ladder is going to be the dungeon item as they traverse the dungeon, and I wonder if there's any way you could hint that that might be the case, or otherwise play with the player's head using design to further engender that response. Thinking of raocow in particular, I don't think he has much idea of what can be done in this engine, so I think every opportunity at creating and subverting player expectations should be taken.

I like the use of ringleaders that are differently-coloured or harder enemies. It works as a simple visual gimmick to break up monotony a bit. I also think that it encourages the player later on to pursue the boss strategy of attacking Aquamentus first rather than the smaller enemies, because other rooms set up that expectation.

About the final boss, I think it's great. It's standard Zelda 1 clashing with the "new" ability to jump, and the added enemies and shots encourage the player to get friendly with the Feather to keep off the ground, which I think is the optimal strategy.

I do think a couple bats would be good in the sideview section, probably in the second room, just to break up monotony. Getting used to sideview platforming is important, and rooms with no enemies to break up action are great, but it's a little dry.

Setting "Never Returns After Death" on the Fire Gleeok enemy type would be kind. Obviously this depends on whether or not someone else used one and wants them to come back from the grave... but I think that would be a design fault. Realizing that both of these guys come back to life is a frustration that diminishes the value of the Heart Container. My two cents.

One more small thing re: warps and the name of the dungeon appearing all the time. There's a flag in DMaps ("Always Display Intro String") that makes it so that the text only appears the very first time you enter the DMap. I personally have this turned off in Level 7, and chose to reiterate the title of the dungeon above the minimap instead. Up to you -- although it would also be good to discuss whether we all want to do small things like this for the sake of visual consistency.
Also! I took the liberty of fixing that one discoloured door in the Dropbox version.


I don't know who created their dungeon first, but was it intentional to give Level 1 and Level 2 the same CSet? I don't thinkkk so. I don't think it's a problem, and in fact I think it can serve to subtly reassure the player that they're welcome to beat levels 1 and 2 in whatever order they like. But they do feel a little same-y.


Level 2 (Tar Pits)
Congrats, I've been humming this theme all day. All of your music is great, but something about this is a real earworm.

The bomb hint is good. It's missing a period if you are the sort of person to care.

I had to open up the quest editor to realize that the dark room was a dark room, rather than just a Guy room with no Guy. Now, getting this across would also be accomplished by bumping into one of the blocks and saying, "oh, wait a moment, there's something here" which I didn't do, because I went straight for the doors. It's okay as-is, but if you want to "fix it" I think you can just change the walls and doors to the same CSet as the other combos. Of course, maybe you intend for it to look like an empty Guy room, and if that's the case then I salute you, because it is funny that way if you discover the secret afterwards.

Another dark room bit, and this is more of a bug. If you push the block on the right leftwards before pushing the other block, and keep pushing it leftwards, instead of stopping like you might expect it actually ABSORBS the other block and keeps going. I am going to guess that this is probably not intended behaviour. You can reset it by leaving the room, but it's probably cooler to fix it in ZQuest.

The shop is amusing, but I think it encourages the player to waste their money on bombs when they're about to encounter an unlimited supply in the boss room. If it's anything like Z1, at this point the player is probably rationing their rupees, but if they have low bombs (and since they likely know the boss is coming up) they'll feel justified on filling up. Leaving this shop to just hearts would be cool, but it also strikes me as a good spot to sell the Blue Candle -- player sees a dark room, player splurges on candle and backtracks, player gets use out of the purchase right away and gets reimbursed on part of the price.

The boss is very good. I love the initial confusion when you drop a bomb like a normal Dodongo, and it shoots a ton of fire at you instead of being hurt. The previous Dodongo encounter helps to set that up as well. (Small note, I think that Dodongo should drop a bomb on death since you can get in from the other side.) But when you figure out that you need to stick in a bomb on his fire breath, my personal experience was that it was unclear you had to slash him, and kept feeding him bombs for ages. This loses the player nothing but time since they have infinite bombs, but that also means there's nothing to stop a dummy (i.e. me) from doing it forever. If possible, changing his colour when he's stunned would make it clear, since that would differentiate his behaviour from that of normal BS Dodongos.
if i'm picky it means i love you
Last edited by Nabe on 02 May 2014, 03:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8)

Postby CodeGorilla » 3 years ago

Nabe wrote: Level 2 (Tar Pits)
The boss is very good. I love the initial confusion when you drop a bomb like a normal Dodongo, and it shoots a ton of fire at you instead of being hurt. The previous Dodongo encounter helps to set that up as well. (Small note, I think that Dodongo should drop a bomb on death since you can get in from the other side.) But when you figure out that you need to stick in a bomb on his fire breath, my personal experience was that it was unclear you had to slash him, and kept feeding him bombs for ages. This loses the player nothing but time since they have infinite bombs, but that also means there's nothing to stop a dummy (i.e. me) from doing it forever. If possible, changing his colour when he's stunned would make it clear, since that would differentiate his behaviour from that of normal BS Dodongos.
That does seem like a decent idea. As the person who made the boss, I'll look into doing just that; that said, it's been months (maybe almost a year) since I did anything with it, so I don't know how easily it'll come. >>;

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Re: Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8)

Postby raekuul » 3 years ago

The intent with the double fire gleeoks is to come back (much) later when you can actually maybe handle them. You don't need to kill either one in Wyvern Cavern in order to win. And in order to do that, I had to play with the flags to make sure killing Aquamentus didn't remove either of them.

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Re: Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8)

Postby Nabe » 3 years ago

raekuul wrote:The intent with the double fire gleeoks is to come back (much) later when you can actually maybe handle them. You don't need to kill either one in Wyvern Cavern in order to win. And in order to do that, I had to play with the flags to make sure killing Aquamentus didn't remove either of them.
Mhm, I absolutely understand. It serves its purpose perfectly the first time through, and its fire attack seems to always be well-timed for the run to nab the key, so that it's imposing without being too dangerous.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think I could ever beat these things in a row. :P I think dying to the second one is a reasonable thing to have happen even in late-game, and that the frustration of dying at full strength and having the first one reappear again severely diminishes the reward. If you're coming at it when you first encounter it or sometime in early game, of course you've earned that frustration.

There's another aspect, separately. You might reasonably expect the first Gleeok to drop something cool on death, if you don't know how the engine works. So, say at any point that you kill the first one through skill or luck. Using bombs on this thing is one strategy, so there's a reasonable chance you're out of bombs after beating this first one. Nothing drops on death, and a bombless player either assumes it was only there as a frightening obstacle after all, or assumes there's a bombable wall but has no bombs. If it's the former, they leave, and even if they decide later that they might have missed something, they come back to find the Gleeok alive again and get struck with a bout of discouragement -- that's not fun. And if it's the latter, what do they do? They head towards the exit of the dungeon, hoping for a bomb drop from an enemy, but what probably happens is they leave and go buy bombs. They come back to find a living Gleeok standing in front of the bombable wall, a wall that they just "earned" in place of any other reward. That's especially not fun, because they understand the trick but have to go through the ordeal again despite that.

I think having the Fire Gleeoks permanently die when killed is the best solution to both of these problems, if you see them as problems. One compromising solution would be to stick a replenishing bush somewhere near that first boss room that drops bombs -- not in the room itself, because its presence would distract the player the first time through and cause them to question whether or not they should try to fight it. A different compromise would be to make that bombable wall an invisible walk-through or even a visible open door. But those options all change the dynamics of the situation you've set up quite a bit, while I don't think having it perma-die changes anything.
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Re: Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8)

Postby Doctor Shemp » 3 years ago

The issue with having infinite bombs in the first dungeon is that the player may not have the bomb bag yet, since it's in level 2. Maybe if the bushes were behind a bombable wall? Oh, and Wizzrobe's House should have custom music. I just guess that build doesn't.

I'll address the criticisms of level 2 in a patch. Don't expect it soon though: most of my free time is going towards beta testing A2XT.

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Re: Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8)

Postby raekuul » 3 years ago

I'd be fine with making the wall behind the first gleeok into a fake wall.

I'm not sure how to make it stay dead on death without it screwing up/getting screwed up by the final Aquamentus fight for the plot coupon, though. Suggestions would be appreciated.

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Re: Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8)

Postby Nabe » 3 years ago

raekuul wrote:I'd be fine with making the wall behind the first gleeok into a fake wall.

I'm not sure how to make it stay dead on death without it screwing up/getting screwed up by the final Aquamentus fight for the plot coupon, though. Suggestions would be appreciated.
I don't think that the wall needs to be changed as long as the thing stays permadead. If a player plays this game and has somehow never played Zelda before, the second dungeon teaches them that walls can go boom. The fake wall would just ensure that someone with no bombs after beating the first Fire Gleeok doesn't feel cheated being unable to proceed and having to re-fight it when they come back with bombs.


If you go into the enemy list and hit Edit on the Fire Gleeok, there's a Flag called "Never Return After Death" that causes the enemy to do just that. Any enemy type flagged this way will never ever come back. Not if you leave the dungeon, not if you die, not if you save and reload. It also has no effect on the dungeon boss, and vice-versa. (I make a habit of not trusting this engine when I think I know how it works, so to make sure just now I added the flag, went and beat one of the suckers, saved and reloaded, then beat the boss and saved and reloaded again, and everything behaved as expected.)

The only caveat is that this will have to affect all enemies of the same type (Gleeok, Fire, 4 Heads) used anywhere else in the game, once we merge all the quests. But I don't see that being a problem for the rarely-used super-fiery-death-gleeok anyway.


Overworld note: I love this fire-breathing Octorok.
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Re: [SPOILERS] Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Postby Doctor Shemp » 3 years ago

I have a feeling that I included a "super-fiery-death-gleeok" in the pit of trials (Destroyer's Shrine). I kind of ignored everything I knew about good dungeon design when making that in order to make the be-all-and-end-all of difficulty, up to and including borderline unfair difficulty. It's beatable with max hearts, magic, and every single item in the game, and with only minimal skill too, but doing it with less than that will be extremely difficult (at least to me).

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Re: [SPOILERS] Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Postby Nabe » 3 years ago

Doctor Shemp wrote:I have a feeling that I included a "super-fiery-death-gleeok" in the pit of trials (Destroyer's Shrine). I kind of ignored everything I knew about good dungeon design when making that in order to make the be-all-and-end-all of difficulty, up to and including borderline unfair difficulty. It's beatable with max hearts, magic, and every single item in the game, and with only minimal skill too, but doing it with less than that will be extremely difficult (at least to me).
No, all's well! You didn't use Fire Gleeoks at all. Just a lot of normal ones.
Doctor Shemp wrote:Oh, and Wizzrobe's House should have custom music. I just guess that build doesn't.
I've added the music on Dropbox and in the qst. Caught myself humming this today as well.
Actually, I've switched out the qst because the one on Dropbox was an outdated version.
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Re: [SPOILERS] Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Postby Nabe » 3 years ago

Level 3 (Leever Nest)
I love the atmosphere. I enjoy that the rooms are still simpler shapes reminiscent of Z1 like in Levels 1 and 2, but mixed up with a lot of new stuff and a lot of sand. Visually it looks very good and makes good use of the classic tiles.

Some rooms could stand to lose one or two enemies, particularly the kill rooms with the sand conveyors which tended to drag on a few moments too long.

There is one room with a push block and stairs immediately under it. And this is cool, but the player is liable to step on the stairs as they're pushing the block and then be really confused about why they've just warped to another screen. IMO it would be cool to move those stairs to another square on the screen just to avoid that confusion.

Is the version on Dropbox up to date? I seem to recall some talk about a marking on the floor in the mirror room to make it clearer where Link needs to stand. I do think that would be helpful, particularly since resetting the Whistle involves leaving to the previous room and pushing that block again. Love this puzzle though, and the Wizzrobes showing you the ropes.

Even if you never got a custom boss (although I think that you will), I think that Black Leever with a couple edits of his stats would be just fine.


@Shemp, your music here is good but after 40 minutes I began to think it might need more variety or an extra drum. YMMV.
There are a lot of Wizzrobes in the main dungeons! I can't help but wonder if we should write the Wizzrobes into the plot.


Level 4 (Gargoyle's Domain):
Great dungeon. I was sure I had sequence broken to avoid the Bow, but you managed to stop me, haha.


Here follows a long list of notes on small polish stuff:

- The keys should be level-specific.
- The particular tile you have to stand on in the fairy room without Wallmasters to get healed is a bit unclear, and the room itself seems empty so I wonder why she's chilling in the corner anyway.
- Your holes are water! NBD, simple fix, just sort of amusing, especially if you play it with flippers.
- The room before the compass room, and the one with the Pols Voices and all the shutters, would probably benefit from ensuring that their enemy occupants never come back to life.
- I love the little sideview area. Is the door leading to it supposed to be an open bombed wall? If so, using a different or custom tile would make it look clearer to the eye.


Does this dungeon have a custom boss in mind, or is Manhandla it?
Cannot help but notice that there's some enemy overlap going on here, particularly the Vires in 3/4 and the Gibdos in 3/4/5, but also L2 Stalfos in 4/5. The Vires in 4 are particularly fitting, Gibdos I think work best only in 3 (as long as a couple are removed in 3 as well), and the Stalfos are okay straddling 4 and 5 but could really be reduced in either.
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Re: [SPOILERS] Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Postby Nimono » 3 years ago

Can you give me some examples of rooms in Leever's Nest that could stand to have enemies removed? I tend to go overboard on enemies in an effort to not make something too easy that people just blaze through it...

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Re: [SPOILERS] Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Postby Grounder » 3 years ago

Obvious the Wizrobes are hired assassins under the orders of Pily, who is too frightened of a different engine type to attack Sheath herself.

This was supposed to be HER game, goshdarnit.
Why don't you eat me?

I am perfectly tasty...

AND I'LL STEAL YOUR SOUL! :twisted:

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Re: [SPOILERS] Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Postby Nimono » 3 years ago

Grounder wrote:Obvious the Wizrobes are hired assassins under the orders of Pily, who is too frightened of a different engine type to attack Sheath herself.

This was supposed to be HER game, goshdarnit.
Wizzrobes are my favorite enemy~ (And yet looking at my dungeon, you'd think it was Leevers!)

Except blue ones. Hate those high-health jerks.

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Re: [SPOILERS] Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Postby Doctor Shemp » 3 years ago

A while back I updated the Tar Pits and Destroyer's Shrine in response to the criticisms in this thread, and to change the text to the new overworld smaller font style, and then completely forgot to upload them. So now I've done so, to the dropbox.

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Re: [SPOILERS] Dungeon Playthrough Notes (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Postby Nabe » 3 years ago

I'll check it out today, as well as Lejes' flipper dungeon stuff.

Destroyer's Shrine seems pretty easy with all the op gear :P Hard to tell otherwise.
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