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Ordeal Pillar [v1.2] [COMPLETE]

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Feb 27, 2018 at 2:03 PM
Eevee Enthusiast
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Join Date: Mar 26, 2014
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#21
DEMO...? No! This is the real ordeal

@SeasonsOfDestiny - That's the biggest Cave Story mod I've played in a long time... Bravo! Ahhhh, it's too good... I need to make a list of my favorite CS mods... This deserves a spot.
I'm not great a writing reviews I think. Let's see, bugs first...

Oh! Ran into one bug off the bat. At the start of the game, after the gate to the Ordeal Pillar opens up, there is a text along the lines of, turn away ye lacking of courage. At this point I had Sam run back to the cave and sleep. lol.
However, apparently the gate closes after you leave the area and won't open again. D: Kind of fitting I guess, but had to do a new game to continue x)

Other than that, I think there were some slight spelling errors later in the game, but I was just enjoying the experience and didn't want to exit and check them... Ah well, gives me an excuse to replay sometime ;)


Great job! I liked the demo, and the completed version 1.0 was even better. Tasty dialogue, never boring thanks to the interesting main character and writing style. (thank you for adding skipflags though!!) I like how the stone statues talked with spaces. Creative.
Graphics wise, I'm a little put off that Sam didn't get a non-Quote portrait, but that's about the only issue I had. Plenty of expressions though!

Excellent looking map design. Gotta hand it to you.

Enjoyed the custom music right off the bat. Can't recall if the demo had all of those...? If not, good work, that seemed like more custom music than I usually see in a mod. (lol falling down the pit for instance, made even dying worth it...)

What else...
Hardest ordeals... spikes and moving blocks 2. Not so hard, but kept making little mistakes that forced me to restart. I felt like the boss at the end, crying GRAHH!
Easiest ordeals... probably the reflexes ordeal. Still fun. Could have faster ticks!

Didn't try getting the bad endings yet, and kept the gun powered down and got the crab. What a twist at the end. x) Oh, dad... Ha... ha...hGRAHHHH!!!

PS - Something random: I artificially made some of the bosses harder whenever there was a red crystal or orb. I wondered if had to avoid hitting the main body and just focus on the crystal/orb. So, I ended up spending a lot of extra time carefully aiming. Was thinking dad might be a statue or something.
The only other change I would make... missiles drop way too many hearts... that really took away from the difficulty imo. Thought those battles were way too easy thanks to them...
I was tempted to point out how this isn't really a demo anymore, but I see you beat me to the punch. ;)

Really glad you liked Ordeal Pillar! As for your feedback:
- Yet another bug that I'm surprised that nobody (myself included) encountered until now. Given how small it is, though, I'll just quickly patch it when I have time and then update the v1.0 download link instead of uploading a separate version.

- The Speed/Endurance levels seem to have been your hardest. You'll probably like that I also finally moved the Press in Trial 3 (you know the one) into a more merciful position. I might also look into messing with the hitboxes of forcefields and see if that will let me make them not bouncy (leads to some funny clutch moments, but generally a pain), but no guarantees on that working.

- The missiles drop a fair amount of hearts, yeah; I don't think I can change the drop rate outside of ASM. I kind of intended for that to happen, though, given how much damage some of the bosses can do. The lightning that strikes when you break a power core does 10 damage, Tullia's blocks do 8 damage, Serenus's copies do 5 damage if their lunge connects, a lot of Balbinus's attacks do 10 damage... It gives the player a chance to recover between phases if they end up taking a nasty hit or two.
 
Feb 28, 2018 at 3:30 AM
Soup Man
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Join Date: Jul 15, 2014
Location: Soup
Posts: 617
Age: 3
#22
The following notes have been written along my journey into Ordeal Pillar. They have been written as I went along, and not afterwards.

And so, we begin our journey, into

Text Scrolling Simulator 2018.

I mean Ordeal Pillar.

Dialogue, dialogue, and more dialogue. Inspecting a pointless object can give you paragraphs of it. Whenever you actually get to play the mod, its ludicrously hard, and whenever you die, guess what. You have to read the dialogue again. Yeah, you put in skipflags to have it read faster, but its still a waste of time. Then there's the fireball se- oh I mean the "Warm Handgun" section where you light torches. Great concept, terrible execution. When you light a torch, it displays this beautiful cutscene using <CMPs that upon watching it for the first time is pure eye candy. Then you have to watch the first torch go out. Then the second one. The cutscene is incredibly slow and I'm just sitting here wondering when I can actually play. This happens for every torch you light. The sad part is that there's a FAO and (presumably. correct me if i'm wrong) a TRA right before/after them, so why not just do a FAO and FAI if you've already seen the cutscene. It doesn't help that the fourth torch you need to light is in a tricky position behind a bunch of instant death spikes. Seriously what am I supposed to do? At this point it looks like there aren't going to be any new or fun mechanics, and the game punishes you for killing enemies. If I were to quit right here I would say this mod was terrible, but thankfully I won't because I have seen your updates and it does look like you've spent a lot of careful time and effort on this mod, which is something not a lot of people do. I'm just disappointed that you spent more time on flashy CMPs than doing important things like making the mod more enjoyable. Speaking of important things, artwork is very important. The artwork in this mod is incredibly bland. The minute you open the mod, you get a title screen that looks like it was made in microsoft paint. The main character looks like he has cataracts, and the first cloudy background you see is 100% stagnant. Making it move wouldn't even be that hard either, just remove the sun, change the background scroll type to 5, and ask someone to make a 10 second asm hack to make the background scroll slower. Now that I've got that out of my system, let's go back to the "Warm Handgun" trial. Once you figure out how to do the fourth torch, you'll find the last two are incredibly easy, although they're surrounded by death spikes (you sure do love your death spikes, huh). So you go on, and your handgun, like the machine gu- I mean- crud I forgot the name... And your handgun, like the machine gun but different, also disappears into a burst of light. You get another life capsule, and- the text after it uses TURS as if I had a skipflag so I missed the oh so important lore. Great. I also nearly forgot to save because I didn't see the bed, because it blended in with the wall so well. For the love of cod just use save points. Waiting for the screen to fade in and out is a pain. You have to do a lot of waiting in this game. Seasons in the time it took to make this mod and all its fancy CMPs you could have just written a book.

The third trial involves you running away from more enemies you can't kill. I'm beginning to notice a pattern. This section is incredibly painful because it's nearly impossible to do it in one try, or even two. Firstly, the blocks that you fall through are a mix of the background color and the foreground, so as I'm running for my life its a bit difficult to notice. Then the section where you have to jump on the press to get over the bouncy wall is also hard because you don't realize what you're supposed to do until it's too late. Also, if you accidentally run into the wall, it pushes you right under the press. Now that I know where most everything, I noticed you reused the same presses, which is actually an incredibly cool concept, but I don't think it makes up for everything else. At the part where you're about to get crushed between two pillars, I had no idea you were supposed to shoot the blocks beneath you, even though they look different. This is because I didn't have anywhere near enough time to look at my surroundings deeply and think of what to do. Yeah, the trial is called speed, but no one is that quick thinking. You can make a lazy excuse like "it's about going through it multiple times to know what to do so you do it better", but it is implied our protagonist only has one life, so this excuse would be just that, an excuse. Then you go on and name the fourth trial "reflexes". What am I in for now? Oh you just jump fast when you hear the roaring sound. Maybe you got the names mixed up?

Now that I've gone through the save room for a fifth, err, fourth time, I realize the object placement in the room is really throwing me off. I know it's a minor complaint, but the chest being in the middle makes me want to sleep in the bed first, but then I'd have to get the item every time I died. When you do get the item first, you usually forget to save at the bed and have to redo the previous trials. Now, once you get into trial 5, that's when the mod actually becomes fun. The fight with the angel is by far the best part of the mod I've experience at this point. It was fun, and I could actually do something. The sad part is that it was literally just the doctor fight with an annoying change (you had to shoot the crystal instead of the doctor, which is bad because it's always behind him). I'm also not entirely sure why the angel statue goes for the second power core even though it wants you to kill it? It just doesn't make much sense to me. Afterwards, you get treated to the top, where you can get a gift or not get one. The obvious choice was to not get one, because it's a cliche and is used in almost everything, so I went with that. Apparently there's more of the tower, and your dad's in there. So, let's just hope section 2 is better than the first part. I also don't really understand why the angels all talk with heavy spacing between their words. It seems kinda pointless and is just a waste of time in my opinion. I've also noticed that the trend of everything having at least two NODs of dialogue hasn't stopped.

The sixth tria- I mean the first ordeal (?) has you killing the stronger enemies and sparing the weaker ones. The problem is that the weak ones die in one hit, so this trial is incredibly time consuming. It's not fun, killing the same enemies over and over. I got to the very last room too, only to accidentally hit a small enemy when I was killing the larger one. It doesn't exactly help that if you die twice you have to watch a stupid cutscene, then watch the first cutscene again. Resetting the game every time you die is faster. This entire mod is just time consuming. Anyway, if the smaller enemies are just going to die anyway, what's the point of not shooting them? This section gave me a ton of trouble, especially the section with the birds, as I kept accidentally letting go up the up key and shooting a smaller enemy to my left. It doesn't really help that your weapon's range is so far, and the fact that half the enemies in this area jump right over your shots.

The second ordeal has you do the same thing as in the second trial, but it starts off in such a way that I didn't know I was supposed to shoot the torches with my normal polar sta- handgun. After figuring it out, the second part of the trial is even harder because of the torch on the top right. This one is in a very tricky spot and requires a lot of experimentation with the fireba- warm handgun. It doesn't really help that if you die you have to watch a cutscene, then go through to process of turning you handgun into the warm one again. I actually couldn't figure out how to get past this part, so I used cave editor to move the torch into a more reachable spot, and while I was doing it I noticed a ton of other terribly placed torches and had to fix those as well. What a mod. Seriously, why are they like this? They're incredibly hard to reach, and you have to be incredibly lucky to do so. Opening the game up again and reliving the dialogue gave me another question. Why is the character talking so calmly as the walls are practically closing in on him? I can just imagine him sitting there, making a drawn out speech about whether he wants to turn his handgun into the warm handgun or not, as the darkening walls just slowly envelop him. The dialogue is far too long and drawn out. This guy doesn't even seem concerned about the walls of darkness about to crush him. Imagine if you just removed the <KEY before the part where he modifies his gun. You'd die before you even change the guns out.

So I managed to get past the second ordeal, and onto the third, and my cod it's horrible. You have to run through a hallway of bouncy blocks that throw you everywhere, so without perfect precision, you get smashed. Then you have to jump onto one tile wide platforms made up of said bouncy tiles while over a sea of death spikes. What a fun and interesting challenge. Guess what, after you make it through, you have to do it backwards. Why? Just why? I want to like this mod, I really do, but please... Pixel perfect jumps and death spikes do not mix, as you have (probably. if my memory servers correctly) said yourself when talking about my mod #4. By sheer luck, I somehow managed to complete this ordeal after 30 minutes of pure agony.

Due to the TUR that you put in instead of normal text for some reason (even though I didn't die yet?), I accidentally skipped the name of the fourth ordeal. So it's the same as the fourth trial, which goes along with the pattern, but this time you have jump in certain directions. What really caught me off guard was that it said to only react to the fourth sound, so I ignored the first one entirely, and died. Great. I'm supposed to react to the fourth one after the first one. That's not complicated at all. And even after you get through it, you have to make a near pixel perfect jump up to the next section of the ordeal. What fun. It also barely gives you any time to react, which is especially hard during the segments where you have to count the number of sounds. I actually had to mod through this one too.

You also misused the word "affect" in the part where the angel is talking about how Geovanni cut the stones. Also nice pun, instead of Giovanni it's Geovanni hahahahaha. Anyway it's kind of hard to not miss grammar errors when the angels talk so slow. Also the angel drones on and on for way too long. Honestly if you were to remove all the pointless dialogue I could beat this mod in under 30 minutes.

Anyway, I made my way to the fifth ordeal, and found myself in a rather fun boss battle, only to lose control of the block critter and fall into the spike. Also, you don't really need to say "Suddenly, the mysterious voice returns." It's kinda implied. Anyway, I really liked this section (except for the fact that the critters can fall off the stage), until I had to go through the same boss battle four times. Yeah, it's a neat concept that was done entirely with TSC, but you really couldn't think of something new? Some invincible beetles (at least that's what I think they are) in front of a big beetle isn't exactly that fun four times in a row. You can just stand on the smaller beetles and spam bullets onto the big one. I also adore how half of the blocks on this tower are floating even though it is implied he constructed the tower by hand.

After you reach Geovanni, you have to go through some more agonizing vanilla boss fights (whose bosses have way too much health) after choosing a weapon "that you've used in the pillar" (one of which was not in the pillar). Seriously these bosses are hard. The fact that you have to beat 4+ bosses with a measly 30 health is terrible. I had to mod the game again to get through this segment. The bosses themselves are nothing special. Simple vanilla reskins. Whenever they die they drop some painfully slow dialogue, one in particular mentioning a "Marcus". Who exactly is Marcus? Do I need to dig deep into the Ordeal Pillar lore? Was Marcus really the angel's ex-husband from the future? I don't know. It's all just pointless. Anyhow, after I kill all the bosses, it just becomes a "run away before the place falls apart" stage. No non-vanilla final boss. It's just Balrog, Toroko, some Ravils, and Ballos, and you have to beat them all with under 30 health. So after you leave, the player remarks about smelling fresh air, but he was just outside minutes earlier. And so, the worst dad in the world shoves his son into his jacket and gets a move on. Wonderful.

So I beat it. It was a decent mod. It had a lot of potential. If you ignore the painful dialogue and wait times, it's a solid mod. The problem is that those make up most of the mod, so they're hard to ignore. What really disappoints me is how hard you tried to avoid ASM. You went as far as making the timer for the last section solely out of vanilla assets. This would be fine, except for the fact that there are several timer hacks already in existence. The bosses were all vanilla, minus the two that were slightly changed, and a lot of this mod could really be fleshed out with ASM. Changing a single number in the game's code (that number of course, hopefully being the later boss' health values) could have made this mod much more interesting and fun. The only positive thing I can really say about it is that the areas look really nice (except the stagnant backgrounds) due to tile placement. The actual gameplay is mediocre at best, and the story is too drawn out and I think at the end of the day you just tried too hard. I really wanted to like this mod, but after spending 5 hours on it I can come to the conclusion that I don't.

Good mod.
 
Last edited:
Feb 28, 2018 at 4:22 AM
Eevee Enthusiast
"All your forum are belong to us!"
Join Date: Mar 26, 2014
Location: Somewhere with Wi-Fi
Posts: 550
Age: 21
#23
The following notes have been written along my journey into Ordeal Pillar. They have been written as I went along, and not afterwards.

And so, we begin our journey, into

Dialogue Simulator 2018.

I mean Ordeal Pillar.

Dialogue, dialogue, and more dialogue. Inspecting a pointless object can give you paragraphs of it. Whenever you actually get to play the mod, its ludicrously hard, and whenever you die, guess what. You have to read the dialogue again. Yeah, you put in skipflags to have it read faster, but its still a waste of time. Then there's the fireball se- oh I mean the "Warm Handgun" section where you light torches. Great concept, terrible execution. When you light a torch, it displays this beautiful cutscene using <CMPs that upon watching it for the first time is pure eye candy. Then you have to watch the first torch go out. Then the second one. The cutscene is incredibly slow and I'm just sitting here wondering when I can actually play. This happens for every torch you light. The sad part is that there's a FAO and (presumably. correct me if i'm wrong) and a TRA right before/after them, so why not just do a FAO and FAI if you've already seen the cutscene. It doesn't help that the fourth torch you need to light is in a tricky position behind a bunch of instant death spikes. Seriously what am I supposed to do? At this point it looks like there aren't going to be any new or fun mechanics, and the game punishes you for killing enemies. If I were to quit right here I would say this mod was terrible, but thankfully I won't because I have seen your updates and it does look like you've spent a lot of careful time and effort on this mod, which is something not a lot of people do. I'm just disappointed that you spent more time on flashy CMPs then doing important things like making the mod more enjoyable. Speaking of important things, artwork is very important. The artwork in this mod is incredibly bland. The minute you open the mod, you get a title screen that looks like it was made in microsoft paint. The main character looks like he has cataracts, and the first cloudy background you see is 100% stagnant. Making it move wouldn't even be that hard either, just remove the sun, change the background scroll type to 5, and ask someone to make a 10 second asm hack to make the background scroll slower. Now that I've got that out of my system, let's go back to the "Warm Handgun" trial. Once you figure out how to do the fourth torch, you'll find the last two are incredibly easy, although they're surrounded by death spikes (you sure do love your death spikes, huh). So you go on, and your handgun, like the machine gu- I mean- crud I forgot the name... And your handgun, like the machine gun but different, also disappears into a burst of light. You get another life capsule, and- the text after it uses TURS as if I had a skipflag so I missed the oh so important lore. Great. I also nearly forgot to save because I didn't see the bed, because it blended in with the wall so well. For the love of cod just use save points. Waiting for the screen to fade in and out is a pain. You have to do a lot of waiting in this game. Seasons in the time it took to make this mod and all its fancy CMPs you could have just written a book.

The third trial involves you running away from more enemies you can't kill. I'm beginning to notice a pattern. This section is incredibly painful because it's nearly impossible to do it in one try, or even two. Firstly, the blocks that you fall through are a mix of the background color and the foreground, so as I'm running for my life its a bit difficult to notice. Then the section where you have to jump on the press to get over the bouncy wall is also hard because you don't realize what you're supposed to do until it's too late. Also, if you accidentally run into the wall, it pushes you right under the press. Now that I know where most everything, I noticed you reused the same presses, which is actually an incredibly cool concept, but I don't think it makes up for everything else. At the part where you're about to get crushed between two pillars, I had no idea you were supposed to shoot the blocks beneath you, even though they look different. This is because I didn't have anywhere near enough time to look at my surroundings deeply and think of what to do. Yeah, the trial is called speed, but no one is that quick thinking. You can make a lazy excuse like "it's about going through it multiple times to know what to do so you do it better", but it is implied our protagonist only has one life, so this excuse would be just that, an excuse. Then you go on and name the fourth trial "reflexes". What am I in for now? Oh you just jump fast when you hear the roaring sound. Maybe you got the names mixed up?

Now that I've gone through the save room for a fifth, err, fourth time, I realize the object placement in the room is really throwing me off. I know it's a minor complaint, but the chest being in the middle makes me want to sleep in the bed first, but then I'd have to get the item every time I died. When you do get the item first, you usually forget to save at the bed and have to redo the previous trials. Now, once you get into trial 5, that's when the mod actually becomes fun. The fight with the angel is by far the best part of the mod I've experience at this point. It was fun, and I could actually do something. The sad part is that it was literally just the doctor fight with an annoying change (you had to shoot the crystal instead of the doctor, which is bad because it's always behind him). I'm also not entirely sure why the angel statue goes for the second power core even though it wants you to kill it? It just doesn't make much sense to me. Afterwards, you get treated to the top, where you can get a gift or not get one. The obvious choice was to not get one, because it's a cliche and is used in almost everything, so I went with that. Apparently there's more of the tower, and your dad's in there. So, let's just hope section 2 is better than the first part. I also don't really understand why the angels all talk with heavy spacing between their words. It seems kinda pointless and is just a waste of time in my opinion. I've also noticed that the trend of everything having at least two NODs of dialogue hasn't stopped.

The sixth tria- I mean the first ordeal (?) has you killing the stronger enemies and sparing the weaker ones. The problem is that the weak ones die in one hit, so this trial is incredibly time consuming. It's not fun, killing the same enemies over and over. I got to the very last room too, only to accidentally hit a small enemy when I was killing the larger one. It doesn't exactly help that if you die twice you have to watch a stupid cutscene, then watch the first cutscene again. Resetting the game every time you die is faster. This entire mod is just time consuming. Anyway, if the smaller enemies are just going to die anyway, what's the point of not shooting them? This section gave me a ton of trouble, especially the section with the birds, as I kept accidentally letting go up the up key and shooting a smaller enemy to my left. It doesn't really help that your weapon's range is so far, and the fact that half the enemies in this area jump right over your shots.

The second ordeal has you do the same thing as in the second trial, but it starts off in such a way that I didn't know I was supposed to shoot the torches with my normal polar sta- handgun. After figuring it out, the second part of the trial is even harder because of the torch on the top right. This one is in a very tricky spot and requires a lot of experimentation with the fireba- warm handgun. It doesn't really help that if you die you have to watch a cutscene, then go through to process of turning you handgun into the warm one again. I actually couldn't figure out how to get past this part, so I used cave editor to move the torch into a more reachable spot, and while I was doing it I noticed a ton of other terribly placed torches and had to fix those as well. What a mod. Seriously, why are they like this? They're incredibly hard to reach, and you have to be incredibly lucky to do so. Opening the game up again and reliving the dialogue gave me another question. Why is the character talking so calmly as the walls are practically closing in on him? I can just imagine him sitting there, making a drawn out speech about whether he wants to turn his handgun into the warm handgun or not, as the darkening walls just slowly envelop him. The dialogue is far too long and drawn out. This guy doesn't even seem concerned about the walls of darkness about to crush him. Imagine if you just removed the <KEY before the part where he modifies his gun. You'd die before you even change the guns out.

So I managed to get past the second ordeal, and onto the third, and my cod it's horrible. You have to run through a hallway of bouncy blocks that throw you everywhere, so without perfect precision, you get smashed. Then you have to jump onto one tile wide platforms made up of said bouncy tiles while over a sea of death spikes. What a fun and interesting challenge. Guess what, after you make it through, you have to do it backwards. Why? Just why? I want to like this mod, I really do, but please... Pixel perfect jumps and death spikes do not mix, as you have (probably. if my memory servers correctly) said yourself when talking about my mod #4. By sheer luck, I somehow managed to complete this ordeal after 30 minutes of pure agony.

Due to the TUR that you put in instead of normal text for some reason (even though I didn't die yet?), I accidentally skipped the name of the fourth ordeal. So it's the same as the fourth trial, which goes along with the pattern, but this time you have jump in certain directions. What really caught me off guard was that it said to only react to the fourth sound, so I ignored the first one entirely, and died. Great. I'm supposed to react to the fourth one after the first one. That's not complicated at all. And even after you get through it, you have to make a near pixel perfect jump up to the next section of the ordeal. What fun. It also barely gives you any time to react, which is especially hard during the segments where you have to count the number of sounds. I actually had to mod through this one too.

You also misused the word "affect" in the part where the angel is talking about how Geovanni cut the stones. Also nice pun, instead of Giovanni it's Geovanni hahahahaha. Anyway it's kind of hard to not miss grammar errors when the angels talk so slow. Also the angel drones on and on for way too long. Honestly if you were to remove all the pointless dialogue I could beat this mod in under 30 minutes.

Anyway, I made my way to the fifth ordeal, and found myself in a rather fun boss battle, only to lose control of the block critter and fall into the spike. Also, you don't really need to say "Suddenly, the mysterious voice returns." It's kinda implied. Anyway, I really liked this section (except for the fact that the critters can fall off the stage), until I had to go through the same boss battle four times. Yeah, it's a neat concept that was done entirely with TSC, but you really couldn't think of something new? Some invincible beetles (at least that's what I think they are) in front of a big beetle isn't exactly that fun four times in a row. You can just stand on the smaller beetles and spam bullets onto the big one. I also adore how half of the blocks on this tower are floating even though it is implied he constructed the tower by hand.

After you reach Geovanni, you have to go through some more agonizing vanilla boss fights (whose bosses have way too much health) after choosing a weapon "that you've used in the pillar" (one of which was not in the pillar). Seriously these bosses are hard. The fact that you have to beat 4+ bosses with a measly 30 health is terrible. I had to mod the game again to get through this segment. The bosses themselves are nothing special. Simple vanilla reskins. Whenever they die they drop some painfully slow dialogue, one in particular mentioning a "Marcus". Who exactly is Marcus? Do I need to dig deep into the Ordeal Pillar lore? Was Marcus really the angel's ex-husband from the future? I don't know. It's all just pointless. Anyhow, after I kill all the bosses, it just becomes a "run away before the place falls apart" stage. No non-vanilla final boss. It's just Balrog, Toroko, some Ravils, and Ballos, and you have to beat them all with under 30 health. So after you leave, the player remarks about smelling fresh air, but he was just outside minutes earlier. And so, the worst dad in the world shoves his son into his jacket and gets a move on. Wonderful.

So I beat it. It was a decent mod. It had a lot of potential. If you ignore the painful dialogue and wait times, it's a solid mod. The problem is that those make up most of the mod, so they're hard to ignore. What really disappoints me is how hard you tried to avoid ASM. You went as far as making the timer for the last section solely out of vanilla assets. This would be fine, except for the fact that there are several timer hacks already in existence. The bosses were all vanilla, minus the two that were slightly changed, and a lot of this mod could really be fleshed out with ASM. Changing a single number in the game's code (that number of course, hopefully being the later boss' health values) could have made this mod much more interesting and fun. The only positive thing I can really say about it is that the areas look really nice (except the stagnant backgrounds) due to tile placement. The actual gameplay is mediocre at best, and the story is too drawn out and I think at the end of the day you just tried too hard. I really wanted to like this mod, but after spending 5 hours on it I can come to the conclusion that I don't.

Good mod.
You didn't have to write a veritable essay on why you hate almost everything about the mod. You simply could've cut out the middle man by telling me that you didn't like it and what errors I could fix. I'm sorry, but I can clearly tell that you weren't going to give the mod a chance from the very beginning, so I don't really think it deserves a proper response of my own.
 
Feb 28, 2018 at 4:34 AM
Soup Man
"All your forum are belong to us!"
Join Date: Jul 15, 2014
Location: Soup
Posts: 617
Age: 3
#24
You didn't have to write a veritable essay on why you hate almost everything about the mod. You simply could've cut out the middle man by telling me that you didn't like it and what errors I could fix. I'm sorry, but I can clearly tell that you weren't going to give the mod a chance from the very beginning, so I don't really think it deserves a proper response of my own.
That's fine. If you don't want to know how to improve your mod you don't have to.
 
Feb 28, 2018 at 5:01 AM
Bonds that separate us
Forum Administrator
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Aug 20, 2006
Location:
Posts: 2788
Age: 29
#25
Okay noooooooope no we're not even going there this is over move along I'm serious
 
Feb 28, 2018 at 5:04 AM
Eevee Enthusiast
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Join Date: Mar 26, 2014
Location: Somewhere with Wi-Fi
Posts: 550
Age: 21
#26
Okay noooooooope no we're not even going there this is over move along I'm serious
Thank you.

As for the essay, I will try my best to fix some of the problems that were brought up. One that immediately springs to mind is lowering the <WAIs in Trial 2.
 
Feb 28, 2018 at 5:37 AM
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#27
Here.
 

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Feb 28, 2018 at 6:14 AM
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#28
I appreciate your suggestion for using <DNA to remove all the smoke made by the <CMPs in Trial 2, but that's also virtually the only thing I could glean from your review. The fact that you gave up not even a quarter of the way into the mod as well as you calling it "unpolished" certainly hurts your case.
 
Feb 28, 2018 at 10:38 AM
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#29
I appreciate your suggestion for using <DNA to remove all the smoke made by the <CMPs in Trial 2, but that's also virtually the only thing I could glean from your review. The fact that you gave up not even a quarter of the way into the mod as well as you calling it "unpolished" certainly hurts your case.
Uh.
Hope this helps...?
 

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Feb 28, 2018 at 3:41 PM
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#30
Uh.
Hope this helps...?
I would have preferred if you just put it into some spoiler tags; those are much easier to read. Still, here's my response, with what you said being in bold:

-You could improve your dialogue.
Given how you seemed to either misunderstand what was being said (see: your example regarding the "cold feet" line) or overreact for the sake of the review (see: your reaction to every other part of the intro text), I don't really plan on it.

-The challenges are poorly explained and/or their names don't quite relate to what you have to do in them.
I believe I was quite thorough in explaining the focus of each Trial and Ordeal. Not only do their titles hint at what you have to do for each one, but you also get a short description that drops what are practically instructions onto you. The notes you find near the beginnings of the Trials give you further guidance.

-Progression isn't satisfying, and often feels punishing or simply under-rewarded. The mod does indeed feel like an ordeal. But, this kind of ordeal is no fun.
You are fighting for your life through a tower whose inhabitants and challenges all want to either kill you or worse. Not every single level or encounter will be concluded with fanfare and a shower of goodies; it would go against the very mood of the setting if I were to do so. As for rewards, the Trials each give you an additional +5hp to bring you up from your starting 5hp to 30hp and the Ordeals each give you more of the Pillar's backstory; I will admit that the latter will not be as impressive to those who don't care for story in mods, though.

-The break from format in Trial/Ordeal III isn't well conveyed(?)
Again, I believe I was rather clear. Before, "messing up" consisted of doing something the Trial/Ordeal didn't want you to do, which was usually an action that wasn't immediately fatal to yourself. Now, "messing up" consists of being smashed by a massive block of stone, which is something that is understandably fatal to yourself.

-Things in the map design are often not explained by the map design very well.

If I were to make the shootable blocks any more cracked than they already are, they would be more dark blue than white. If a player were to see a single layer of cracked blocks standing between them and freedom, I would think that their first reaction would be to attack it.

-"Warm Handgun" doesn't really summarize the Warm Handgun very well in name-form. How about "Torchlight" or "Torchwick"? Something to do with torces, or lighting? Lighter? Firestarter? Firecrackler? Discount Bubbler: Crackler.

I was trying to follow a common naming convention of *adjective* *gun* for each of the weapons seeing as the protagonist probably wouldn't immediately come up with a unique name for each of them. I might be tempted to change that in the future, but for now I'm not convinced that it's a change that needs to be made.
 
Feb 28, 2018 at 4:50 PM
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#31
Italics.
-You could improve your dialogue.
Given how you seemed to either misunderstand what was being said (see: your example regarding the "cold feet" line) or overreact for the sake of the review (see: your reaction to every other part of the intro text), I don't really plan on it.
I marked every instance where I said something that was not entirely true, did not express my actual opinion, or was simply exaggerated

-The challenges are poorly explained and/or their names don't quite relate to what you have to do in them.
I believe I was quite thorough in explaining the focus of each Trial and Ordeal. Not only do their titles hint at what you have to do for each one, but you also get a short description that drops what are practically instructions onto you. The notes you find near the beginnings of the Trials give you further guidance.
Not really a big issue I suppose. I just pieced that together from what I wrote.

-Progression isn't satisfying, and often feels punishing or simply under-rewarded. The mod does indeed feel like an ordeal. But, this kind of ordeal is no fun.
You are fighting for your life through a tower whose inhabitants and challenges all want to either kill you or worse. Not every single level or encounter will be concluded with fanfare and a shower of goodies; it would go against the very mood of the setting if I were to do so. As for rewards, the Trials each give you an additional +5hp to bring you up from your starting 5hp to 30hp and the Ordeals each give you more of the Pillar's backstory; I will admit that the latter will not be as impressive to those who don't care for story in mods, though.
You don't have to make the design itself feel unrewarding, punishing and unfun. Rewarding the player does not mean 'showering them with goodies,' but what the player expects from playing a game is a reward for playing the game. Like, getting to use their skill to overcome a greater challenge. That's usually the reason why these kinds of things are at the end of a game, they're the test of all the skill the player has built up. In this case though... we're working with new skills the audience may have very little experience with.
Again, a 'reward' does not have to be "Hey, congratulations, here's a really cool item," the same way that telling a player about something doesn't have to be 'hey this thing exists.' Sometimes even a big red arrow is better.
A designer has tools far greater than words and simple give-and-take to reward and communicate with a player. Giving a player something new and awesome is at the heart of reward, but it's not the only way to do it. Just think of some small but more meaningful way to reward the player. The Life Capsules do not feel meaningful because you're not constantly fighting. Perhaps there are more enemies later, but the only ones I saw were at the start... before I started getting Life Capsules.
Something cool would be to turn the Life Capsules into a suit of armour that slowly changes the way the player looks as you're equipped with each new piece. You could change it as you wish to fit the tone of The Pillar, and it would provide some incentive to get to the next room.


-The break from format in Trial/Ordeal III isn't well conveyed(?)
Again, I believe I was rather clear. Before, "messing up" consisted of doing something the Trial/Ordeal didn't want you to do, which was usually an action that wasn't immediately fatal to yourself. Now, "messing up" consists of being smashed by a massive block of stone, which is something that is understandably fatal to yourself.
As I suspected when I wrote this, this one was an error on my part. Please disregard it.


-Things in the map design are often not explained by the map design very well.

If I were to make the shootable blocks any more cracked than they already are, they would be more dark blue than white. If a player were to see a single layer of cracked blocks standing between them and freedom, I would think that their first reaction would be to attack it.
They're underneath the player, and it's a time limited situation. By the time i realised I had to do something it was too late. If you'd just used the default sprite I might have seen then and understood a little fast what it was I must do. It's something to consider.
 
Feb 28, 2018 at 10:49 PM
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#32
Might as well try it
 
Feb 28, 2018 at 11:21 PM
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#33
Really liked your mod there!

On my first blind playthrough, I had chosen the latter on the Pinnacle, which allowed to play the Ordeal parts of the game, and really chose the Crab Statue route that lead to the final bosses and the escape section of the game--before the escape, took the statue head. I think I got the best ending first...

On Ordeal II, the first room torches can be lit up by the Worn Sidearm prior to converting to the "Torch (fireball)" weapon. I suggest moving the blank and hittable NPCs in the dirt, then after the conversion, use a <MNP on those NPCs to move them back to their rightful places.

Thank you very much for your utilization of my "High Temper" ORG music, by the way.
 
Mar 1, 2018 at 1:11 AM
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#34
Really liked your mod there!

On my first blind playthrough, I had chosen the latter on the Pinnacle, which allowed to play the Ordeal parts of the game, and really chose the Crab Statue route that lead to the final bosses and the escape section of the game--before the escape, took the statue head. I think I got the best ending first...

On Ordeal II, the first room torches can be lit up by the Worn Sidearm prior to converting to the "Torch (fireball)" weapon. I suggest moving the blank and hittable NPCs in the dirt, then after the conversion, use a <MNP on those NPCs to move them back to their rightful places.

Thank you very much for your utilization of my "High Temper" ORG music, by the way.
Thank you!

- Yeah, you did get the best ending, though the bad ending is even worse in terms of gameplay loss than Cave Story's considering that it effectively cuts the game in half.
- The way those torches work in Ordeal II is actually intentional. The player can get the Warm Handgun right away if they try to interact with the torch in the middle, but I wanted to let them have the option of trying to light up the other reachable torches before spawning the sparkle on the middle torch to let them know that it was interactable. A bit odd to light them up with bullets instead of fireballs, yeah, but you can do the same in Trial II due to having both the Worn Sidearm and the Warm Handgun at the same time.

Also, do you just mean that you had the ORG made for you, or did you actually make it? Asking because I had originally found "High Temper" in one of Safu's ORG folders.
 
Mar 1, 2018 at 3:58 AM
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#35
Also, do you just mean that you had the ORG made for you, or did you actually make it? Asking because I had originally found "High Temper" in one of Safu's ORG folders.
For the record, this was in the forum thread "Tribute Site Submissions: ORG files, pxtone, etc." Here is my post in this thread. It is already available in the Fan Works section of the site for download here.

Yes, it's my original creation back in 2009. Free to use. Since submission, this ORG is now exactly 9 years old! (March 1)
 
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Mar 1, 2018 at 2:00 PM
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#36
For the record, this was in the forum thread "Tribute Site Submissions: ORG files, pxtone, etc." Here is my post in this thread. It is already available in the Fan Works section of the site for download here.

Yes, it's my original creation back in 2009. Free to use. Since submission, this ORG is now exactly 9 years old! (March 1)
Huh, strange. In that case, I'll make sure to fix the credits before I post the next update. Thank you for letting me know.
 
Mar 1, 2018 at 7:45 PM
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#37
The Ordeal Pillar v1.1 update is live! It reflects a good amount of the feedback I have received so far, fixing issues like Trial 2's transitions taking too long to finish and the beds being easy to miss when in a hurry. I also made sure to include a couple short messages or tutorials to help explain some mechanics the player might not immediately understand. Be sure to give it a look!
 
Mar 10, 2018 at 5:01 PM
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#38
I really enjoyed this mod, and the difficulty was actually my favorite part! I would love to see more mods do things similarly. Keep it up!
 
May 8, 2018 at 7:45 PM
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#39
I am happy to announce that Ordeal Pillar's v1.2 release is out! Thanks to Dunc's Ordeal Pillar stream that took place last night (the VOD of which can be found here), I came away from it with a myriad of small errors to fix and general quality of life updates to include. A particularly important update that I feel is worth mentioning outright is that a solution for the bouncy force field problem has finally been found! Significantly less platforming shenanigans will be had in relevant levels now.

Oh, and the stream also spawned a pretty cute piece of fan art, courtesy of @Slither:
 
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