Mini-Mapping Contest #19 - Results

Riki

Arena Moderator
Level 26
Joined
May 18, 2018
Messages
372
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Contestants were to choose one of the arenas submitted in the Level Design Contest #1 - Boss Fight Arena to create one or more bosses as part of one or two boss fights.




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  • 1st place: 750 experience points
  • 2nd place: 600 experience points
  • 3rd place: 450 experience points
  • Entry: 150 experience points
  • Judge: 25 experience points per entrant
The three winners will receive an award icon representing the winning entry.



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GameplayHow well made was the actual boss fight? Was it an engaging fight where various tactics had to be employed to defeat the boss? How was the balancing?/40
TechnicalWere the triggers well made, and leak free? Was there any lag? How smoothly did everything run?/25
UtilizationHow well were the arenas utilized? Were the map mechanics used?/25
SoundsWere fitting sound effects and music used in a good way? Was the soundscape immersive?/10
/100



  • Judgement: 70%
  • Poll: 30%
FinalScore = (30*Reached_Votes/POSSIBLE_VOTES) + (70*Average_Judge_Score/POSSIBLE_SCORE)








GameplayGreat hero design cramped by an empty map, zombie spam and an uninteresting boss.
From the start you're greeted with a fairly nice tutorial, where grinding zombies is the only way you can progress your hero level and item build. Sadly, this far overstays its welcome as there are easily hundreds of respawning zombies on your way to the boss "arena". But before we touch on the bad, I want to congratulate Cokemonkey11 for the really neat hero design, quick and reflexive gameplay is my jam, and being able to stance switch to mash zombies faster was great... until your removed the whole rogue part of the rangers kit versus the boss...
The boss sat still in a very thin tunnel, occasionally side stepping and casting fairly neat corpse rain (Just fyi this caused me some terrible unit order lag, see Technical), this first phase had no more abilities other than a melee knockback and the earlier mentioned corpse rain and side step. The major problem was the overall design of this fight, you're essentially stuck in ranger form against this boss for both phases (which is a total shame!) because you can only damage the boss when you use the 10 second cooldown ability, silver arrows, and getting anywhere near melee range of the boss was a death sentence.
After several minutes of kiting and slapping the W key he runs through a sewer portal into the a second section of the map (Awesome transition! I wonder what awaits me...), only to run and ignore more hordes of zombies and once again fight the boss with the same mechanics, but with one new bullet styled hell ability. More W key slapping so I deal more than 1 damage to the boss with 25k hp, I sidestep the bullets and kill the boss.

Some feedback:
  • Having fast paced hero combat is great, but please try to minimise the order targeting of abilities if they're in a combo / chain. Using some of the new mosue natives to "smart cast" abilities would have made this feel 100x better
  • Stance switching was pointless against boss
  • The large empty map populated with zombie spam was not fun, especially with the only mechanic to kill them being the same short duration ability used to harm the boss
17/40
TechnicalNo terrible memory leaks here, but the bosses corpse rain ability caused some serious unit order lag. I suspect you're using dummy units and are creating them under the player's control instead of the AI. Please either use special effects for the corpse rain, or have the units be created under a different player.
Oh also, I loved your little animation for the 360 arrow shot.
18/25
UtilizationA large empty sewer, populated only with zombies and the titular Katydma. Lack of environment interactables harmed gameplay here, so too did the unecessarily large hordes of zombies. Second arena was a bit better, but even then it suffered the same problems. The final boss running through the portal to phase change was a great touch.12/25
SoundsSounds where you'd expect them, boss had a cool death sound and would sometimes grunt upon casting or taking damage.6/10
53/100




GameplayWow, the first boss reveal was amazing! It had me laughing and enjoying that fight for the initial handful of times I died, because oh boy does the use of music and enemy choice carry this first phase. The boss spawns penguins up to a maximum cap (Which scale based on his missing HP%) and fires out so many angels you think you've stumbled into an angelic rave party. I loved the reveal, I loved the enemy choice but I hated both boss fights. See, you're a melee character versus a boss that summons a horde of bodyblocking penguins, killing them is pointless as they are immediately resummoned and the boss can just path right over them. But you? Oh boy. You better pray to those head banging angels that the penguin spam doesn't block you into a corner, because you'll eventually run out of mana and die. This first fight is you essentially smacking life drain when low, smashing your q key for off cooldown for the crit and praying to god the boss doesn't cast his instant kill ability multiple times in a single cast (He fired two several times at me :| ). Oh, and don't forget about giving Arthas some serious cardio, because you'll be edging around the moshpit of penguins trying to avoid a surrounding that makes you wish that they were just a horde of weak zombies. And finally, those angels? They ministun the area they appear in constantly, so getting trapped by those penguins is even more of a death sentence than a heavy metal pit.

But.. after easily 30 attempts I finally get the boss down and he retreats through a door, a long hallway, a floating pit of ice, another long hallway and finally a teleporter. Kael talking smack while you walked by and slapped him was great, but that continuous, long ardous treck through the first area, a door, a long hallway, a floating pit of ice, a long hallway and finally another teleporter? That broke my soul harder than frosty broke my body. I was done.

The final fight involves the boss continously summoning exploding, ranged penguins and a continously respawning frost golem who slows you down and deals 1/5th of your hp in a single smack. The goal here is to kite all of these while spamming heals and hoping you dont run out of mana, all while destroying the four pillars around the map. This stuns the boss and gives you time to wail on it (earlier it was teleporting around the place, still summoning angels and squaking)... You are able to deal about 10% of the bosses HP in damage while stunned, and then he gets up, respawns the enemies and the pillars and makes you wish you were instead having a dental appointment with the local mafia.

It broke me. The penguin won.
25/40
TechnicalNothing amazingly super technical happening here, everything works as expected and there were no memory leaks.22/25
UtilizationThe theme man, the theme was awesome. Well done!19/25
SoundsYour choice of sounds were perfect. They really enhanced the play experience.10/10
76/100




GameplayMy soul battered and bruised from the king of ice, I moved on to Heaven and Hell.
Here, the game greets you with a nice simple tutorial and an awesomely redone UI and high quality assets.

Your flavour of abilities were amazing, well done! But the mechanics and how they felt to use were painful. I found myself frustated every time I had to select an NPC to interrupt their cast with Q, I found myself malding every time I tried to throw a fireball only for something to enter in its way during the large cast time, and I found myself genuinely cackling with glee whenever I cast Meteor.
See, Meteor is the only ability that allows you to move and cast, essentially allowing you to dodge attacks while still outputting damage and killing mobs. The others have you standing still for 2-5? seconds casting a spell that can get interrupted / slowed every time you take damage.

The first boss was a fun fight, although one of the laser traps never stopped firing and the boss body blocked me, so I couldn't leave the other way and was essentially death trapped. But otherwise, it acted as a fine introduction to your system and its mechanics!

The second fight was where I seriously wished warcraft 3 (and by extension, your implementation) was far more responsive so I could easily interrupt abilities and dodge skill shots but honestly, the whole system is extremely innovative and thought provoking.
30/40
TechnicalExtremely impressive on a technical level, the UI's feedback is great and its design suits the world that you've crafted. As for some constructive feedback, perhaps put some tooltips on the orbs and gems above the ability bar? As well as work on an easier way of targeting enemy units for the interrupt, while techincally not technical, I was fighting against my warcraft 3 instincts to reselect my main unit every time I selected an enemy.23/25
UtilizationArena utilization was perfect. Angel fight for an angelic arena with environmental effects and interactives, and a fallen angel fight for the blood pits and enemies that suited the arena. Well done.25/25
SoundsSatisfying. All the abilities sounded perfect, arcane barrage was pure bliss to hear every time I cast it. While I'm awarding full points for it, I would've loved to have heard some more smack talk from the bosses throughout the fights, I'm always a fan of a sassy boss.10/10
88/100








I liked the "trolly" nature of this entry and the spell composition seems fine, but the difficulty is high and it overall feels unpolished. For example your spells don’t get reset on revival, you can’t skip the cinematics and if you don’t activate the first revive, nothing happens when you die. The pattern of the first boss was quite easy to understand, except for the stun lock with healing/revive animation. I would have liked the boss fight but it was just simply too hard to enjoy. Also I’m fairly certain there is a bug in 2nd stage of the first boss, where the missile is double casted (also double sound) and it 1-shot me through the protective shell multiple times. The first stage is very doable, but in 2nd I’m just getting mauled by the big mass of small penguins and either run out of hit points or mana eventually. Maybe this would be fine if I could re-enter the 2nd stage after revive, but no, I have to watch two unskippable cinematics every time just to fight the boss again. Also no revive before the 2nd boss fight? That’s just cruel. Speaking of the 2nd boss - the fight seems easier, just even longer than the first one. The main benefit is that you have penguins around the arena all the time which you can use for healing, which don’t attack, unlike the first boss. So just focus the 4 crystals and then hit the boss while stunned. Seemed easier than first, but I didn’t finish it because it seemed to take forever with the only change being more golems spawning.
Overall I would have expected more interesting ways to fight/beat the boss, given the funny theme, rather than them just being big damage sponges. The difficulty kinda kills it.

GameplayThe bosses have some decent patterns which are telegraphed to the player. The spells had to be used accordingly. However the fight mostly turns into constantly having to heal yourself with drain, and hitting the boss with your Q damage bonus. The first boss seems almost impossible.30/40
TechnicalGame ran smoothly except for some minor bugs. The GUI triggers seem a bit messy.20/25
UtilizationBoth areas were used for fitting boss fights, but the rest is just filler.17/25
SoundsSome custom music and sounds, which didn’t always fit.7/10
74/100



This is the entry I was most confused with. You are thrown into the map without any hints on where to go or how to approach the boss, and constantly masses of zombies spawn around you, when you move. Your normal attack has been removed - which is already confusing - and then your spells are separated on 2 “pages”, for seemingly no reason, because they would have all fit on one command card. If you miss a zombie with your first two spells, it’s game over. If you run away, even more zombie spawn. Once you understand this, that zombies only spawn when you move, it becomes a boring choice between moving little and killing all, or just running past. Once you level up, running past seems like the only useful option because the dropped loot is random, mostly weak and drops on death. The second strategy however causes there to be so many zombies that they don’t move anymore, probably including bosses. They also don’t follow you because they still have a guard position. The only way to heal is to activate the bloodlust, which can be cancelled during cast. But it’s not obvious that it was cancelled. Many times I cast it and then cast another spell, only realizing after that I didn’t get any lifesteal. Also lifesteal seems very small if you’re higher level in “late game”, so in the end it didn’t seem all that useful nor reliable.
In general I was asking myself the whole time “Where is the Boss?” and “Why do I have to do this boring grind?”. It just doesn’t seem like a good fit to me for a “boss fight”-map to expect the player to grind and die a bunch on some creeps beforehand. The terrain is “open” and thus it is not obvious where to go. Most of the map’s elements, such as a dungeon and a mine entry were simply unused and therefore confusing. I pushed a bunch of pressure plates, but had no idea what they even did. I wandered aimlessly until I finally found the boss, and all he did was stay in one spot and cast two spells in succession. Then the second stage was mostly the same spells with an extended effect. The blood missiles’ collision was very hard to judge due to unclear visuals. It seems the only useful spell to damage the boss is the volley with silver tips. Together with bugs like zombies right in front of my hero not being hit by my arrows and terrible pathing, it overall made for the least enjoyable experience.

GameplayThe boss didn’t move much and mostly spams spells. The only tactic seemed to be running around and attacking with a volley.25/40
TechnicalThere is no cap on max zombies, causing massive unit slow downs. Otherwise the map ran smoothly.23/25
UtilizationMost of the map seems unused, just spawning zombies. Boss areas don’t utilize anything terrain specific.15/25
SoundsNo custom music nor sounds, map seems a bit silent.5/10
68/100



This is for sure the entry with the best presentation - almost everything seems custom, including the UI. It includes a training area at the start and some additional hints to get started. Due to the custom UI in addition to animations and sound, the spells of the boss are very well telegraphed and understandable. The player’s spells are a nice mix of reaction, skill and aoe based effects. Overall I had the most fun with this entry and it was the most polished one. I only noticed a few bugs, like my Q not working when I was right next to the 2nd boss, and sometimes bosses seemed to be stuck in some “do nothing” state, where they didn’t attack me, making the fights a bit easier in those cases. In the first arena the boss can completely block a bridge, which screws up the pathing a bit. I didn’t find out immediately that the hero also has a normal attack, because there is no auto attack. It seems rather weak compared to the spells though. The balance seems a bit random, because the bosses act randomly. For example, once the first boss came to me at the start of the fight and didn’t cast many spells, or only hammer time which I can disrupt. On another attempt the boss didn’t come close to me and instead did the “wheel of death” 3 times in a row. This made the fights way easier or harder.
Overall I enjoyed this entry the most. It excels not only visually, but also in gameplay and thus I had fun trying to beat it.

GameplayThe bosses have different spell sets, and all of them are well telegraphed and visualized. You have to employ various tactics including using the terrain. The balance might be a bit random.37/40
TechnicalEverything ran smoothly and seemed polished.25/25
UtilizationWhile the areas were utilized well in theme and gameplay, many parts seem to not have any use of the player going there.23/25
SoundsWell made and fitting custom music and soundscape.10/10
95/100








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Assigned Staff: @Riki

Contest | Poll
 
Level 14
Joined
Jul 3, 2015
Messages
43
Oh wow results published four days after the polling? Now that's impressive!

Congratulations to FeelsGoodMan for getting that shiny gold! Kind of a shame we didn't get more submissions for this contest but oh well.

I'm really, really sorry for the difficulty of my map and breaking Boar's poor soul. Please forgive me! The first phase of the boss fight wasn't supposed to fire his insta-kill move two times in a row so I should fix that. He was supposed to cast it three times in a row!
 

Cokemonkey11

Code Reviewer
Level 28
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
3,413
Thanks very much both @Boar @Frotty for reviewing these swiftly (and from chatting with Frotty I have to say thanks for trying my map 3 times to finally fight the boss without getting frustrated by the grinding...)

Obviously I have my own idea of how this judging could have gone, but I must say that having read the long form descriptions, I really feel that both judges played my entry enough to understand some of the details and design aims, and IMO this is one of the best judging feedbacks I have seen on any hive contest. Really, thank you, because I spent a lot of long nights making some small details work here and it's very satisfying when judges actually check the entries.

I'm sorry there weren't more entries competing, hope to do this again some day. Congrats @FeelsGoodMan !

being able to stance switch to mash zombies faster was great... until your removed the whole rogue part of the rangers kit versus the boss...
The design goal here was that the player should be forced to: (1) use rogue Q ability to dodge corpse rain in part 1 and escape the hard-to-dodge bullet hell in part 2, and (2) have a decision model when to use rogue W + E to recover health, i.e when to play aggressive vs try to recover.

Just fyi this caused me some terrible unit order lag
I am really sorry to hear that - I only tested on my machine and had one other playtester @Overkane . In future I will try to get more playtesters with wider range of machine specs

getting anywhere near melee range of the boss was a death sentence.
The boss has a strong melee attack which always interrupts his other abilities, but the design goal here is that the player should be able to Roque A in to trigger his interrupt and then Q out to escape during his cast time. To be clear, this is the only way the player can interrupt the boss's channeling abils. Also, you shouldn't need this capability to win the game (even on hard mode)

If you run away, even more zombie spawn.
This is partially true, but misses some of the design. Zombies become revivable after a timer, unless you fully slay them (with silver bolts or mutilate). New zombies spawn beyond your field of view probabilistically as a function of where you've already explored (In other words, fewer zombies spawn when you backtrack or after player's death).

your spells are separated on 2 “pages”, for seemingly no reason
There are a few reasons: (1) reusing hotkeys in a familiar way for AoS players (2) thematic separation/mental model of what is archer stuff vs melee stuff, and (3) I had a plan for various passive abilities that could be earned which fill the remaining slots on y=1, but didn't implement this in time.

lifesteal seems very small if you’re higher level in “late game”
You should be able to easily recover 100% HP with rogue W + E, even with no items, but you need to be surrounded by zombies to fully pop E.

In general I was asking myself the whole time “Where is the Boss?” and “Why do I have to do this boring grind?”. It just doesn’t seem like a good fit to me for a “boss fight”-map to expect the player to grind and die a bunch on some creeps beforehand.
Yes, I have implemented more of an "Action RPG with a boss" map rather than just a "go to boss" map. My read of the prompt and theme is that I should interpret that how I want to make a game that I'd want to play.

However, I think the real feedback here is that the gameplay before the boss isn't fun. It shouldn't feel like a grind. I thought the probablistic drops would enforce the player to kill zombies for limited time before moving on.

I pushed a bunch of pressure plates, but had no idea what they even did.
The first one opens the gate to the boss fight. If you get subsequent pressure plates then you level-up (this is the only way to get level 6+). I would have liked to add mini-bosses or thematic creeps and more interesting drops at these pressure plates, but didn't have time.

There is no cap on max zombies, causing massive unit slow downs
This is not true, there are multiple "soft caps" to the number of zombies, and there is also a hard cap. I accept though that there are too many.

No custom music nor sounds
There are over 25 custom scripted sounds, not sure what went wrong with that 🤷‍♂️

1. Have feedback from at least two playtesters
2. Lean towards providing hints and quest directions rather than letting players discoveIr everything from zero, including for ability combos/tactical techniques
3. Have a better way to understand how long grinding may last, and make for sure that the grinding parts have enough content to keep things a little fresh
4. It is worth spending extra few days implementing the last 20% of features that otherwise wouldn't make the cut
5. Avoiding footguns (like ending channel effects early) is a must
6. If some elite playtesters can win the game in <10 mins and feedback that the map is too easy, then maybe take this with a grain of salt and keep the map on the easier side to avoid frustrating people who are here to have fun
(Maybe more, I am still thinking)
 
@Cokemonkey11 @WinterSnow Thanks for the congratulations guys.

By the way I did play both your maps extensively. Here's some feedback if you don't mind;

@Cokemonkey11 The zombie part was kinda grindy like the other people said, but I didn't find it particularly hard. The first time I played it I tried changing between stances, but quickly found out that just going purely ranged was better. I kept killing zombies, looking for good ranged weapons, and then when I had a nice full ranged item set I went and literally facerolled the boss. At that point zombies posed absolutely no threat, so they weren't a hindrance in the final stage at all. I found the rogue abilities not that useful since I had to be at close range, and I was a lot more comfortable keeping my distance.

@WinterSnow As already pointed out the humor in your map was great and on point. I really enjoyed it, but sadly I failed miserably at the first boss. I guess I should have focused more on killing the boss, but I absolutely sucked at dodging the angels and then found myself in an evil circle of running, using the heal ability, trying to land an attack on the boss and then back to running and healing again. I'm not a very good player by no means, so take my feedback regarding this with a grain of salt.
 
Level 12
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434
@Cokemonkey11 @FeelsGoodMan @WinterSnow you guys put some crazy effort into your maps, congratulations on the awards!

@Frotty Yeah, great to see we had very similar scores!

@WinterSnow I think I hate penguins now. I was streaming the whole fight to a group of mates and now I'll never live it down how it took me over 30 tries to beat up a penguin chungus.

@Cokemonkey11 By "Unit Order Lag" I'm talking about the delay caused when there's lots of units being created or moved, it just makes orders take a little bit longer to start and it was noticeable during your boss fight. Some further notes based on the points you raised:
The design goal here was that the player should be forced to: (1) use rogue Q ability to dodge corpse rain in part 1 and escape the hard-to-dodge bullet hell in part 2, and (2) have a decision model when to use rogue W + E to recover health, i.e when to play aggressive vs try to recover.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the rogue Q ability was a unit targeted teleport, right? During the fights I just found it easier and perhaps more optimal to just walk around firing silver arrows at the boss.
The boss has a strong melee attack which always interrupts his other abilities, but the design goal here is that the player should be able to Roque A in to trigger his interrupt and then Q out to escape during his cast time. To be clear, this is the only way the player can interrupt the boss's channeling abils. Also, you shouldn't need this capability to win the game (even on hard mode)
Ah yeah, see I didn't want to interrupt the channeling abilities as they gave a good uptime on damaging him, and for the record losing 50%~ish of your hitpoints from the bosses melee swing was a really, really good way of discouraging me from trying any other melee rogue shenanigans.
However, I think the real feedback here is that the gameplay before the boss isn't fun. It shouldn't feel like a grind. I thought the probablistic drops would enforce the player to kill zombies for limited time before moving on.
Yup, that was good design. The item drops and experience cap mechanic was a good way of saying "You're done here, carry on". While I appreciate the way you had the zombies spawn based on fog and LOS, the actual gameplay experience of there being so many wasn't the best. And finally, about that difficulty problem you brought up? The boss wasn't that hard. I died a few times trying to do some melee tricks with rogue and then just ran in circles shooting it with arrows, waiting for that silver arrow cooldown to come off. It wasn't hard, it was just a time sink with such a large HP pool.
Honestly, I would've loved to see the boss fight be far harder, less hit points and have zombies be an important mechanic during its fights.
 
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I'll just draw attention to the fact that @FeelsGoodMan has a Succubus icon.
Clearly he seduced his way to victory.
I thought higher of the judges but I don't blame them too much I'd go for FGM too if he didn't burn all my love letters:
I would never do such a thing! Besides, I wasn't able to choose succubus as my icon before after winning this contest.
 
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