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How to Create your Perfect Castle


by undeadfortune

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MERIDELL - There seems to be a new “hot” trophy around that all trophy hunters, and spotlight hunters, like myself is after. No, the gallery spotlight is a bit too old, and the pet site spotlight has been around for some time also. I’m talking about the Escape from Meridell Castle Spotlight! Yes, move over Hannah, and watch out Tyrannian Mini Golf, it seems Valrigard the Draik has a new fan club. In this article, I’ll point out helpful tips to remember while working on making that perfect castle, from enemy monster placement, to the castle layout. I’ll try my best to help newcomers start a castle, and veterans finally decide what exactly they want to have happen in their castle.

Getting Started / Using the Editor

To start, you have to know that EFMC (What I’ll call Escape from Castle Meridell from now on) doesn’t map like Hannah and the Pirate Caves. While Hannah had users download a semi-simple mapmaker, while EFMC has a built in one on the Neopets web page. Where you may ask? Check on EFMC’s game page. To get started, click “Castle Editor.” Now, a new window has to pop up, so make sure your browser is not set to block this. Once this new window is open, you’re all set to start mapping… that is if you know how.

On the left side of the window, you’ll see some neatly placed icons with pictures. On the right side a black grid ranging from ten squares across, to eighty squares tall. That’s a lot of space to fill, but once you get the hang of the editor, placing objects, and creating your castles layout will be no problem. To place something on the grid, first click the icon you want on the left side. If you’re just starting a castle, you’ll want to click, “Middle Piece Platform.” This is the basic rock type piece that the Draik can stand on, and if you choose to, later on have the Draik fly up. Once you’ve selected an icon, the editor will acknowledge this by showing your selected icon in the “Selected Tile:” picture. If this is the correct tile you wanted, start clicking on the grid!

Pretty cool huh? You can place “tiles” anywhere you want in the grid, except for where Valrigard needs to start, and where the “Middle Piece Platform” tile has already been pre-placed. Now that you know how to work the tile selection process, start experimenting with the different tiles. This will help you figure out later on, how you want your castle to look.

Different Tiles / Tile Placement Tips

Now that you have the hang of placing tiles, what do some of them mean, you might ask. Well, I’ll give you a quick rundown on the different tiles, and how they work the best. A “staple” that seems to be making its way into castles is spikes. Spikes will end the game the moment the poor Draik touches them, so of course they’re great to use. Spikes are best placed along Middle Piece Platform’s or along the very left and right of the grid. Make sure you always align the spike correctly, or it’ll look out of place.

Another great set of tiles to use is the “Belt” pieces. When used correctly, these sets of tiles can cause users real problems, especially when used along side Spikes or Enemies. The belts pull or push the Draik, depending on the ones you used. You can tell which set of pieces you used, and what they’ll do in game, by the direction they’re moving. If the belt is moving towards the left, they will pull towards the left. Moving towards the right will pull towards the right. Try having Spikes at the end of the belt AND above the belt for a real good trap.

Bone Stacks are great for changing the look of the castle. Players don’t want to be bored with nothing but empty space throughout the castle, so toss in some “Bone Stack” tiles to spice things up. One key thing to keep in mind while using the Bone Stack though, is players can move through them, so don’t think they can double as a wall. Try using them in corners, or maybe as an entrance to an additional pathway for the player.

Lastly, try and use Cell Windows and Candles from time to time in large empty spaces. This creates a better effect for the player, and also makes your castle look better. Even use the Cell Door if you have room. Empty space in the map should be little to none.

One key thing to remember before making a level is whether you’re going to have a normal map where players go straight up, or if you’re going to try the new way. Many have found using the new way helps to make maps twice as long, and in a sense, they do. To do this new way of mapping, you have to split the map in half with Platform tiles. By doing this, you’ll force players to go up one half, and then work their way down the other. After a while, you can decide for yourself if you want the line more towards the right, or the left wall.

“Goodies” / The Yellow Door

Ahhh, the good old Yellow Door. Without one of these, no one can ever end your map! These must be placed at the end of your level, or players will be able to simply go through the map within a few seconds. Unlike the Hannah and the Pirate Cave door; these can be accessed without collecting all the stars in the map.

Stars look nice, and can be added to maps, but in truth, are not actually needed. Its best to place stars along the path the player is already taking, and not give them a choice to just go off to one side and collect nine plus of them. Grouping stars always looks better, so try and make the stars in little sets of four or nine and so on.

The next goodie is the Blue Orb (Since the editor doesn’t really give it a name). These Blue Orbs can help to make your map harder, if used correctly. When a player grabs one of these orbs, their energy meter will fill to full. With these, you can force players to fly farther distances upwards, and have users grab these on their flight up.

Bad Guys

Ahhh, now for the really good stuff. You can make a successful castle without using any enemies at all, but for most people, no matter how great a layout you have, will become bored. Yes, people enjoy hitting things with their swords. In this section, I’ll give a quick rundown on, “Bad Guys of EFMC.”

I’ll start with bad guys that HAVE to be placed on platform tiles. If not, they just don’t look / work correctly. Spikeys and the Purple Grarrls must be placed on platform tiles, because, these enemies tend to spend most of there time walking / spinning on the floor. Both of these bad guys can die, if the player hits them with the sword, so don’t think they’ll cause anyone too much trouble.

Next are the flyers. Bats and Flamers are programmed to go on a set path in a back and forth motion. Flamers will travel up and down, while bats will fly from left to right. Bats, unlike Flamers, can and most likely, will be killed by the player. One key thing to remember though is if you place a star in the path of the flyer, the enemy will fly the path as if the star is still there when the player fly’s over it.

Lastly, you have the Cannon, Acid Blob and the Spike Ball. All three of these enemies cannot be killed, and sometimes tend to cause the most trouble for players. The cannons work great in pairs, since they both will fire a cannon ball at the player, and two cannon balls at once is sometimes harder to deal with. Acid blobs must be placed below platform tiles, or, like spikes, will look weird.

Now you may of noticed the Spike Balls, and wondered what they do. Like the Purple Dino, they travel along the ground, but cannot be killed. One cool thing about Spike Balls is that they can be places in mid air. By doing this, you can create a non-moving enemy, but one just as deadly as the normal Spikes.

Final Comments

I just want to say, good luck to everyone whose making an EFMC map! Mapping is a great way to show others a talent you have, and to build your level for a game you enjoy playing. I myself enjoyed Hannah and the Pirate Cave since the day I joined Neopets, and making maps for it is something I do all the time. With practice, and a little bit of luck, anyone can get their map in the EFMC spotlight!

 
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