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Tutorial 2: Design your caves with the Construction Kit

 
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Arno
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:20 pm    Post subject: Tutorial 2: Design your caves with the Construction Kit Reply with quote

Version: 1.1, 25-08-2007

The second Tutorial describes how to design your own Boulder Dash caves using the Boulder Dash Construction Kit. This time a lot of details are discussed so the post has become a bit long.... Coffee

The main menu

When the CK has started you enter the main menu. It gives 3 options, see the picture below:
- Edit an existing screen;
- Create a new cave;
- Create a new intermission.



Use joystick in port 1 (or keyboard) to switch between the 3 options, and the fire button to select one of them. The first option gives the possibility to load and edit a field that you've made previously, but let's assume now that you want to create new a cave/intermission, and you choose the second/third option accordingly. Then you enter the Build mode with a clean field (filled with dirt) so that you can build your creation from scratch.

Note: A cave is a 22x40 field (including the border). An intermission is a 12x20 field, which fits in one screen (no scrolling needed) and usually appears as a bonus field between two caves.

Edit the play field

You can design the play field of your cave by selecting items from the Palette at the right side of the screen (using the fire button), and inserting the items into the field (again using the fire button). The result may look like this:



By pressing the F key you enter the Full Screen mode (not for intermissions). Here you can select which part of the cave you'd like to edit.

When you hit the restore key (= page-up key when using the VICE emulator), you return to the main menu. Your cave is lost then, unless you have saved it!

The following items can be selected from the Palette:

- Boulder
- Diamond
- Magic Wall
- Wall
- Titanium Wall - This is much like a Wall, but is undescructable and it has some different physical properties.
- Growing Wall - This type of wall grows to the left or right when there is Empty Space.
- Rockford Doll - Should be protected against fireflies and butterflies, otherwise you die as well!
- Firefly
- Butterfly
- Amoeba
- Slime
- Hidden Outbox - Outbox that looks like a Titanium Wall, even when it's unlocked.
- Outbox
- Inbox

Note: Only 1 Inbox, and only 1 Outbox can be placed into the same cave. The Exit can also be placed on the border (left and right), but the other items cannot be placed there, except for Titanium Walls.

Note: Amoeba and slime cannot be used simultaniously. However if you really want this, you should use Lord Diego's Effect Kit instead.

Apart from the Boulder Dash items, the Palette contains some other useful icons:

- Use the 'Line' next the the Inbox (or press the L key) to make lines of the same item in your cave.
- Use the 'Die' (or press the D key) to fill the cave randomly with the item that is currently selected.
- Use the 'Eraser' (or press the E key) to insert Empty Spaces in your cave.
- Use the P symbol (or press the P key) to hide the Pallete or bring it back.

Set the cave properties

By using some of the other icons on the Palette, you can adjust the settings of your cave. Select the 'Clock' symbol (or press the V key) to enter the Value mode (see picture):



- Cave Delay - I'd recomment to use 7-9 for caves and 3-5 for intermissions.
- Cave Time - If you keep 000 here your players will have a cave time of 999 seconds (and a lot of bonus points after completing the cave). So my advice is to always set a nonzero time.
- Diamonds Needed - The number of diamonds that is required to open the Outbox.
- Diamond Value - Points gained per diamond. I mostly take (500 / Diamonds Needed) rounded off, so that the players will always get a bonus life before or just after the required diamonds are collected.
- Bonus Diamond Value - Points gained per diamond, after the required amount has been collected. Usually a higher value than Diamond Value, unless all the available diamonds are required. In those cases this number can be left 0.
- Slime Permeability - When this is 0 the boulders/diamonds fall through the slime immediately. When it's > 0 this takes a random while (with an expected duration dependant on the chosen value between 1 and 9).
- Amoeba Time of Growth - After this time the amoeba starts growing rapidly, until it suffocates (and converts to diamonds) or it reaches its maximum size of 200 units (and converts to boulders).
- Magic Wall Milling Time - The length of time that a magic wall converts boulders to diamonds (and vice versa) after it has been turned on by the first boulder/diamond.

Press the arrow-up key (this is Delete key in VICE) to leave the Value mode. (BTW - any menu in the CK can be left in this way.)

By using the C symbol (or pressing the C key) you can adjust the colours of the cave. For C1 ... C4 there are 16 colours available; for C5 only 8 colours.

Test your cave and save it

Use the T symbol (or press the T key) to play your cave. This feature works only if you have placed at least an Inbox and an Outbox into the field.

After playing and testing your cave you can finetune the map and cave properties when necessary, to make it harder or easier, or just "to put the dots on the i".

By using the M symbol (or pressing the M key) you get a menu with options to Load or Save a field. When you choose 'Save' you must decide whether you want to save on tape or disk, and after that you enter a name of your field. After pressing Return (Enter) your cave will be saved. The CK adds '.cav' to the name if your field is a cave, and '.int' if it's an intermission.

When you choose 'Load' in order to load a previously saved cave, you don't need to type .cav or .int after the name, but you first tell the CK wether you wish to load a cave or intermission.

Some tips and tricks

We end this Tutorial with some useful tips:

- In some cases you may prefer to start with a cave that is initially not filled with dirt, but filled with another item - empty space for instance. Unfortunately the CK has no "fill" option or something like that. To avoid the need to fill the cave manually each time, you can save a copy of the filled cave, and start by loading that one.
- At times you feel inspirationless, and lacking original ideas for new caves, try to start a cave in a different way than you use to do. For instance start with setting the colours and think of a nice "theme" that fits the atmosphere defined by the colours, instead of first designing the cave and then choosing the colours.
- Always keep paper and pencil with you when you sleep or work. When you dream (or daydream) of a good cave or intermission, you can draw a sketch as soon as you wake up, so the idea won't be forgotten because you simply didn't have the time work it out immediately. Believe me, my best ideas for caves all arose that way!
- Most important tip: ALWAYS SAVE YOUR CAVE FROM TIME TO TIME, EVEN WHEN IT'S STILL IN CONSTRUCTION!! It happened to me previously that I incidently pressed the restore (page-up) button, and the cave was gone forever! I took the time to rebuild it, but it was never so good as it was before... Also some of my caves got damaged because I pressed the D key (Die) by accident (BTW - sometimes this made the caves even more interesting than they were Laughing). Anyway, you can avoid big disappointments by saving in-process versions of your caves.
- Finally there are 2 annoying bugs that could also destroy your caves. If you load/save a cave and you see strange coloured bars for a short while, then it's a good moment to reload the CK, because it will shortly crash. The other bug manifests at irregular times when you try to load/save a cave. In these cases the CK crashes BEFORE the loading/saving process starts (also the animations of the BD items seem to be reversed). The only way to avoid that your cave is completely lost, you must save your work regularly, and if needed, return to the most recently saved cave.

Well, that's it. Any questions? You're welcome to ask them here, or by mail! And of course the BD freaks are welcome to post additional tips or information. Yesss

Next Tutorial will be on packing CK caves with Deluxe Packer... stay tuned! Smile
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Last edited by Arno on Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:13 am; edited 3 times in total
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RTADash
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arno wrote:
some of my caves got damaged because I pressed the D key (Die) by accident

I hate how the D key is right next to F. Often, I move my finger over to go into fullscreen, and then I end up with a lot of random crap ruining my cave. Sad Usually once I'm done with my random objects, I pause the emulator and pull the D key out of my keyboard Twisted Evil . Then, if my desired cave name contains a D, I put the key back in...

BTW, instead of fullscreen mode, I've become accustomed to calling it "frame mode" because you move the frame around the screen to select the part of the cave you want to edit.

You nodding smiley is making me dizzy...Turn it off! Laughing
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Sendy
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've messed up with the D and F thing several times Laughing

Another tip: Save a quick snapshot of your work frequently in case the program crashes or you get a bug! This is alt+S to save and alt+L to load in WinVICE and takes no time at all since you don't need to specify a filename (the snapshot is stored in the emulator session).

I also use this when I'm experimenting heavily with the design, and I want to make a bunch of radical changes that I may or may not like.

It's also useful in making playtesting quicker (eliminating time spent on silly-mistake-deaths), but be sure that you can complete your cave without 'cheating' if you want it to be fun to anyone other than a BD master.
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RTADash
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sendy wrote:
It's also useful in making playtesting quicker (eliminating time spent on silly-mistake-deaths), but be sure that you can complete your cave without 'cheating' if you want it to be fun to anyone other than a BD master.

Once I save a version of a cave, I make sure I can complete it succesfully at least 3 times in a row (no saving in the middle) before "admitting" it into the game. Xyes Xyes Xyes
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LogicDeLuxe
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RTADash wrote:
Once I save a version of a cave, I make sure I can complete it succesfully at least 3 times in a row (no saving in the middle) before "admitting" it into the game. Xyes Xyes Xyes
Good idea. I usually went on right to the next cave, once a cave worked out as intended. This is probably the reason why my Crazy Dream caves vary a lot in difficulty. I'll definately give this a try, when I make my next game.

Snapshot is no option for me, as I design my caves on a real C64. I develope my tools on an emulator though.
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Arno
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RTADash has send me a video in which he constructs Cave I from RTAD6 using the Construction Kit.

I think this is a nice demonstration video to show how to work with the CK! Download it here (WinVice 1.19 or 1.20).

Thank you, RTADash!! Very Happy
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ravenxau
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the great tutorial - 5 minutes after reading it, i have designed and played my first cave!!!
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subotai
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you already checked out Marek's CLCK. It's also a great tool.

Arno wrote:
Next Tutorial will be on packing CK caves with Deluxe Packer... stay tuned!

That one is missing, isn't it? Wink I already thought about writing such a tutorial, but I have not much experience with this packer.
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ravenxau
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

subotai wrote:
Have you already checked out Marek's CLCK. It's also a great tool.


I did try it - but working under emulation, BCK just seems a bit more natural to me - even if it's not quite as efficient .
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