The Dink Network

Castle of Lore

Original autumn tiles. From the COTPATD project.
March 3rd, 2003
Score : 6.3 fair
I guess it would be good form to explain the history and myself
a little about why things are as they are, and why they don't
get fixed.
Okay Castle was the first dmod I ever did for the dinkiverse. It
was quite a long time ago when my coding and software design
styles well.. weren't very well thought out. It was first quite
a bit larger, but later re-did the whole thing. The storyline
would be the only thought out part in the game, but it does
have many weaknesses. Like previously stated it has a strong
start, but since I didn't quite plan the plot twists or general
getting to end stuff most of it was thrown together on the fly.
Therefore, a lot of the quests just happened to appear, very
inconsistent story-telling. The d-mod became a race to figure
out exactly how to end it later on. It caused many setbacks in
release dates and was three months late on the first very bugged
version of Castle. When finally released the second town
couldn't even be finished let alone the whole game. Just then
a good friend decides to send a virus causing me to reformat.
Reformat = bye bye source code (Yes backing up would have been wise)
So the project just stood still for a very long time. Finally
an answer to the problem, Gary's Decompiler. This inspired a second
build which worked a little better then the first, not quite so many
bugs and a few coding and story fixes insued (mostly grammatical and
Save anywhere and refill health bug. Hehehe yes it's a bug I was
doing extensive testing and needed to be invincible and be able
to save at certain key points so that I could return to them after
implementing fixes. Then a quick compile and distribution. D'oh forgot
to take out the escape script which I used.
Midi's were also a planned out part of this dmod. Took me quite a few
hours deciding what fit where and sometimes I would get annoyed and
just add something in fast. What can I say I was 16 and in a rush.
The rushed aspect left some spots which could've have faired with
better music.
As for some of the annoying puzzles, they were intentionally
made a little complex e.g. The door puzzle in the frozen dungeon/
ice dungeon/ odd looking brick wall dungeon lol. I actually forgot
the method to those doors for a while and got pretty annoyed with
trying to test my way through the game. Thought I would fix it in
the next release but decided against it. As for the slayer maze
I thought I had made it both easy and difficult since I could make
a straight run through 18 times out of 20 without getting hit
by a slayer, but it helped that I knew the fastest route.
This leads into overpowered monsters and bosses. Balancing was an
issue from the beginning as everything was still new and beta-testing
wasn't as easily arranged as it is now. Basically I wrote the game
alone and tested alone and balanced alone. A lot of the monsters
were actually toned down about 20% from the initial release. Didn't
want to make the game too easy so it turned out I made it too difficult.
Now the question of the many bugs. The knight bugs were a pain since
I was new to the scripting language. I had knowledge in c++ and still
didn't quite get used to it. So when I thought of how I was going to
actually have dink be the same knight when he reloaded after a save
was quite difficult. I turned out to try and use complex checks in
the escape file (a very big mistake). If I had given it more thought
I would have noticed that the game checks for what weapon was
equipped when it saved. A big D'oh on my part for that one.
Hardness bugs in frozen dungeon. I had maxed out on the number of
lines I could add from DinkEdit and didn't even realize it. I know
it now, but back then it eluded me for a long time.
There are some other various bugs which I couldn't actually
reproduce so no comments there.
I think I rated myself too well for what I think of my own work
but I'm privy to the context with which it all happened so I
graded myself up a bit.
Authoring resources in those days were very limited and pretty well
everything was some sort of pioneering. It was a rough time
for authors back then. Except for those who were especially good
at working with the scripting language. So here is my history/review.
A few other points while i'm bored and have nothing to do. The
big question, "If this is all so apparent then why not fix it" the
answer is this. It will be updated somewhat when I have the time
but it really isn't important to do so. The dmod has been out
so long it would have to be a total revamp of everything to
even have it halfway up to par. By my guess it was played for 10 mins
and then was forgotten. Therefore, it is better to continue on
larger projects which have been in the works for years rather then
smaller ones which are long past retirement.