|Vault of Ceramicus
|22 Nov 2014
|12 Oct 2014
|ush (maxi re-mix)
|07 May 2000
This level was made for Treylina’s PRECIOUS BOOTY contest. My aim was to go for a level that’s fun to play with a smaller party of 2 to 6 players, since many of the good Treasure Hunt levels are especially fun with bigger parties such as for JDC events. For that reason, expect more cramped areas and precise jumping.
The level may be a tad hard to get into, as there are multiple ways to aim for a big gem score. You can just go traditional and hop around picking up gems, but the biggest score is the vault in the bottom area, which is especially tedious to open but the prize is well worth it! There is also a coin warp in the center that holds less gems than the vault but still an okay score to grab in your greedy hands.
The maximum possible gem score is around 535 including the super red gems. You may want to experiment with maxplayers VS maxscore, depending on player’s knowing the level and individual skill. But this seems to be a good start:
Recommended amount of players: 2-6.
Recommended maxscore: 250 for 2 players, 200 for 3 players, 130 for 4 players, and around 100 for 5-6 players.
1: Added small platforms above to make the exit less obscure.
2: Heightened 2 pillars in the vault area below to make it easier to jump out.
3: Swapped all Gun9 and Gun9 blocks with Gun8 to preserve intended vanilla compatibility.
4: Some very noticable tilebugs were fixed.
5: I found the original music file Pezrock.s3m and included that instead.
1: Now really preserved vanilla compatibility by replacing Gun8 and blocks with Toasters.
2: Enabled the right music and included the tileset (sorry for the inconvenience).
1: Fixed masking so that Lori doesn’t get stuck in 1 tile vertical stick platforms (thanks ThunderWalker!).
2: You can now jump through (One-Way) vertical sticks as long as there’s no ‘ceramic’ ground beneath them. Again to prevent getting stuck.
3: Made the hidden seekers on both sides easier to find (look for bushes sticking out of the wall).
One of the few rare times – or even my first – time that a treasure hunt level absolutely amazed me. We have much fewer uploads recently to J2O, but those that are uploaded have a tendency to be good!
EDIT: You can get stuck at 48,66 under the platform near the sucker tube!
This level is awesome!
This level is more of a race than it is of a treasure hunt, and not a fair race either, because you have to know precisely what to do. Breaking into the vault always determines the winner, and that happens within half a minute of a match. The reward is too disproportionately greater than anything else in the level.
This level made me pretty happy
Vault of Ceramicus is a tall level that takes a while to traverse around upwards. It’s cramped in a few areas, with lots of tubes. There’s a coin warp reward near the top, and a room at the bottom with lots of gems, that you can reach with TNT and a flying carrot.
Props for thinking outside of the box. I think levelmakers should experiment with treasure more, as there’s so much hidden potential.
It looks alright, for the most part.
Slaz failed at making this level work for a smaller party, which was apparently his goal. I can confirm this by playtesting it a couple of times. I don’t think he realised it’s not about forcefully slowing players down, but mainly the size of the map. Even the recommended maxscore isn’t so great. At 5-6 players with 100 as the goal, whoever reaches the gem vault first will automatically win. Which brings me to this point;
Going for the gem vault is worth way more, than aiming for the coin warp. Not only does it take less time, but is a much larger reward. In other words, the rewards are completely imbalanced.
The gem vault isn’t that hard/risky to reach. It may take a few tries and require knowledge of the flying through tubes (press down through a tube while you’re using a flying carrot) and large TNT hitbox trick. But the reward is so high and most players aren’t going to stay at the bottom area, since there isn’t much reason to (small amount of gems and no useful ammo), further reducing the risk. Not to mention the reward is so high, that any gems you may lose from getting shot are miniscule in comparison.
To put it shortly, I think the vault reward is too high. Everytime I or someone else manages to reach to vault, the winner has pretty much been decided at that point. And at that point it becomes less treasure hunt, and more level and mechanic knowledge to win (also, whoever reaches that point first).
The coin warp becomes useless once all the gems are collected in the room. I think a respawning tube of gems would’ve been better, as they would always give the coins a purpose.
The nature of the layout (highly vertical and forcefully slowing players down) makes it difficult to catch up to others, or hit them. Useful ammo is a little lacking, too. As a result, the pace of the map slows down.
A lot of areas look the same, especially the middle area. Part of the reason is the vast amount of tubes sticking out there. When you’re falling down, it’s not easy to see which tube direction goes to where. I think it may have been more intuitive to have the tubes sticking out from where you can enter from, which is far easier/quicker than trying to read small arrows.
Overall, I think this level is okay, but with notable flaws when you play it for a while. It may work better with a larg(er) amount of players.
@Cooba: Haha, J2VF was a level group me and NOKA started late in 2003, but it didn’t last very long. You and DS used to be in as well, so I hope remembering it doesn’t hurt too much. :P
I silently revived it last year since I began some new attempts at JCS, as I thought it’d be fun to release my levels under that old tag. For now it’s just a one-man group though. xD
@ThunderWalker: Thanks again for reporting that bug. That and other masking errors should be fixed now.
@Treya: Wow, that’s lots of cons VS pros.. Anyway, the vault reward was designed with ‘mechanic knowledge’ in mind, and I’m fully aware that it was a risky choice to surround the entire level around it. For weapons, well, in my playtests (with 4 to 6 players) the bouncers and hidden seekers did the job quite well, while ice was pretty much ignored. However, I fully agree that the final level size far exceeds the intended ‘duel-style treasure level’ I was going for. At least some people liked playing it, and in the future it could be a great addition to event playlists instead. Thanks for the 7 though, it’s a fair and good score (compared to the overrating-nature that haunts J2O lately)!
I played this online today. It’s a nice level, but it’s so big! You’d need a lot of players to make this play well, as we were with about 6 people and I often went for minutes at a time without really interacting with other players.
The level looks really nice, though it’s a bit “bumpy” in its design – you don’t necessarily get stuck, but you’ll be jumping rather than running most of the time. This is of course in part due to the level’s vertical layout. On the one hand the many obstacles and the vertical gameplay make it hard to get away from others, on the other hand they also make it hard to actually shoot someone. The inclusion of TNT is a nice touch that has the opportunity to mitigate this.
As for the gems, I think the amount is just about right for the gem limit of 150 or more we played with. Things tended to get a bit eventless in the later stages of the game as most gems were gone from the level and people were hard to find due to the level’s size, but that might be different with larger numbers of players.
All in all a good level, but it’s kind of stuck in the “big JDC event levels” niche. Taking on a level of this size is commendable, but for casual treasure servers a smaller level would probably work better.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.