Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress

Discussion about Rocks'n'Diamonds, Boulder Dash, Supaplex, Emerald Mine and any other BD hybrid.

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Steffest
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Re: Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress

Post by Steffest » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:05 pm

Hi Rap,
It only took me 20 months to notice you mentioned my name :-)

I've been in contact with Sandancer of EMC GB , his real name is Bryan Waters, I could pass you his email address if you want.
I thought it maybe would be nice to do a little article on the most active EM Clubs, this year marking the 30th anniversary of the game and all.

Recently there's been another update on emeraldmines.net - there are now 590 disks online that qualify as classic "Emerald Mine Disk" (and about 100 other types)
Including some that are not yet in the Rocks'nDiamonds EMC levelset (like Head Mine, or Pawn Mine to name a few)

Speaking of Missing Mines:
Holger, I noticed you have 3 levelsets in your EMC collection from disks that I don't have:
  • kings update 1,2 and 3
Holger, Do you happen to have the original .adf files for these?
The intro text and screens are part of their charm and - believe it or not - I still have an original amiga I occasionally play on :-)

Apart from those I think the only ones that are still missing are
  • Amiga Mine 6 - 11
  • Bobby Dash 2
  • Crazy Mine 2
  • Eagle Mine 18
  • Revenge of the Yams 3-6
  • Sky Mine 9
  • Through The Chaos Caves 19-21
Cheers!
Steffest

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Holger
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Re: Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress

Post by Holger » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:25 am

Hi Steffest,

great to hear from you again! :-)
... this year marking the 30th anniversary of the game and all.
Now that you wrote about it... indeed! :-o :-)
Recently there's been another update on emeraldmines.net - there are now 590 disks online that qualify as classic "Emerald Mine Disk" (and about 100 other types)
Wow, that's quite impressive!
Including some that are not yet in the Rocks'nDiamonds EMC levelset (like Head Mine, or Pawn Mine to name a few)
You're absolutely right -- there really should be a *big* update on that level collection for R'n'D, mainly due to the substantial updates on your web site, with lots of new EMC disks not yet contained in the EMC level collection for R'n'D.
Speaking of Missing Mines:
Holger, I noticed you have 3 levelsets in your EMC collection from disks that I don't have:
  • kings update 1,2 and 3
Holger, Do you happen to have the original .adf files for these?
Unfortunately, I only have the plain level files for these three sets from the "Emerald Mines CD-ROM", but not the corresponding ADF files. :-(
Apart from those I think the only ones that are still missing are
  • Amiga Mine 6 - 11
  • Bobby Dash 2
  • Crazy Mine 2
  • Eagle Mine 18
  • Revenge of the Yams 3-6
  • Sky Mine 9
  • Through The Chaos Caves 19-21
I've checked my EMC archive again, but unfortunately, these are all missing in it, too.

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RAP
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Re: Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress

Post by RAP » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:00 am

Oh, Steffest, hey! On the email thing from Sandancer, maybe? I could just use the questions I wrote up years ago and pick out the info. I think you can handle the blog article on Emerald Mine Club, if you haven't done so already.

Holger, is there a list of levelsets in the Emerald Mine Club that are duplicates of an earlier levelset? I'm asking this because I'm curious to know how many unique levels are in the collection, and wanted to play levelsets that are not just recycled. This would also help me narrow down the redundancy and focus on playing the more unique levels.

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Re: Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress

Post by filbo » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:49 am

There are levels which are precise duplicates; levels which are duplicate except for some text stamped somewhere (level number and/or levelset name); levels which are logical duplicates, e.g. take level A, replace all grass with sand, replace all steel walls with some other undiggable wall, etc. It's easy enough to compare and find the first sort; hard to propose a general algorithmic method of detecting everything that a human would conclude is a dupe.

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Holger
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Re: Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress

Post by Holger » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:06 am

When "compiling" the Emerald Mine Club" level collection (running a Perl script that does all the work like extracting the game content from all these ADF, DMS, LHA etc. archives, converting graphics, detecting engine version, creating the graphics that match the engine type etc.), I also automatically check the levels from the currently processed level set to all levels of all previously processed level sets (by using a hash from the level data).

This makes it easy to detect exact duplicates of levels, and the script's output then makes it easy to spot level sets which are completely (or mainly) identical to other sets. (This is especially helpful to detect duplicates of level sets that I received or found under a different name, which sometimes happens.)

As I'm planning to update the Emerald Mine Club level collection anyway, I could post the logfile of the processed sets here, so you can look for yourself how unique or duplicated certain EMC sets are.

But this will still take a while; currently I'm working on a complete re-release of the Supaplex collection. But the EMC collection will hopefully follow soon (and still this year, hopefully). It will get completely new artwork, too, so it will look and feel more or less exactly like the original game, not like a "playing in R'n'D" experience anymore (plus an extra row to contain the tape recorder buttons, to have the additional features of R'n'D available also when playing the game in "classic look")...

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RAP
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Re: Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress

Post by RAP » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:21 am

Well, I beat Ace Mine II, after that very long delay of fixing the tapes with blindtyping ":ft" without the quotation marks. Ugh, those later levels can be annoying to beat to no end. Level 60 is a prime example of trying to get into the contents but it's prime time trial and error on the outer layer that's roamed by spaceships; that just encourages people to just look at the level editor to see the contents to just cut down the annoyance, or switch to a different graphic set, such a convenience of today that wasn't present back then. I'll probably get to beating the paused levelsets or beat some new ones, partially for completion and for inspiration for level ideas, and post the proof tapes and update stuff in the topic whenever possible.

rocksndiamonds_2018-02-04_23-18-15.png
Ace Mine II, level 60, oh the irritation of trying to get through the first layer of the impassable fake grass that's surrounded by spaceships!
rocksndiamonds_2018-02-04_23-18-15.png (245.59 KiB) Viewed 336 times

Before moving on, it was rather curious to see that the last 10 levels were done by No One Inc, levels 71 to 80 to be specific; in fact, it was said so in the intro text of the levelset, and in level 71 itself. A substantially different take on the creation of those levels, much more loose than the first 70 levels of the levelset. It's generally more fair than the later levels that were made by Ace-Ware.

Anyways, one of the things that was hanging in my mind the year tracking of the individual levelsets from the Emerald Mine Club. Let's check this link from the Emerald Web: http://emeraldmines.net/default.asp?act ... oads&id=10

For instance, according to the database for Baby Ghost Mine, the release year is "199?", but in the same page, the second screenshot says "(C) 1993!" at the bottom right. So which is it? I can only assume that this type of data was already filled, as most of the date of the older submitted levelsets came from the older Emerald Web, which is at the time, was operated under AMI Sector One, here's the mirror link of the same levelset: https://www.exotica.org.uk/mirrors/ami_ ... tmine.html

Steffest, can you explain what determines if the year is valid or questionable with using the question marks, especially when it comes to the receiving of the recent new Emerald Mine Club levelsets from your website recently?

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Re: Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress

Post by Holger » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:06 pm

A little note regarding the EMC disk creation date (year) which I also use/document in the Emerald Mine Club level collection for R'n'D: In cases like this where it's not clear, it often helps to look at the file date of the levels contained on the original Amiga disk file (ADF). For this level set, most level files have a date of 2020 (probably caused by an internal clock that was set wrong for whatever reason -- stock Amiga 500 did not have a battery backed internal clock these days!), but a few level files do have a (probably correct) date of July 1993! So the year on the screenshot apparently is correct.

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Re: Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress

Post by Steffest » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:55 pm

@rap:
1993 is the year of the "player": the engine that plays the caves, which is not necessarily the year the caves where designed.
as Holger said: the file date of the levels is 2021, which is obviously not correct.
So I just settled for a question mark: "somewhere in the nineties".
But to ease your mind: 1993 is probably correct so I changed it on the emerald mine site.

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Re: Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress

Post by RAP » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:34 am

Update! I've decided to put the results of the Emerald Mine Club levelset completion progress in a form of a spreadsheet, due to certain circumstances in being restricted from editing my posts. It might be subject to errors. Here it is:
2018 02-Feb 13 (part 3 of 3) [has spreadsheet].zip
Due to uploading only up to 3 files per post, this one contains the spreadsheet. Contains levelset tapes of: Ace Mine 2
(121.01 KiB) Downloaded 15 times

Here are my thoughts on levelsets I played and solved:
ACE MINE 2
  • After years of inactivity, mostly from being from playing this levelset, I came back and decided to finish this off.
  • Interesting note: the first 70 levels (level 0-70) are made by Ace-Ware Inc., while the other 10 levels (level 71-80) were made by No One Inc.
  • No One Inc's levels are much looser than Ace-Ware's.
  • LEVELSET SOLVED: ACE MINE 2 (2009 12-Dec 24 = 2018 02-Feb 04): 0-80, 81 levels solved
BOND MINE 3
  • Decided to plow through because the way level 49 was rendered and interpreted in the game (an empty space in the outer Steel Wall borders) didn't have much of a a gameplay effect.
  • Before progressing on, in my first post in the topic and some of the other posts, I mis-spelled the Bond Mine series as 'Bomb Mine', whoops!
  • LEVELSET SOLVED: BOND MINE 3 (2012 07-Jul 30 = 2018 02-Feb 08) 0-80, 81 levels solved
BOND MINE 1
  • Dunno why, I stopped playing this levelset.. I was like 7 levels away from finishing up the levelset, I suppose loss of interest.
  • This levelset differs from the other levelsets made by the same person in that it's more looser and less structured (and well less repetitive) than the later levelsets where it seems cut and pasted.
  • LEVELSET SOLVED: BOND MINE 1 (2013 12-Dec 23 = 2018 02-Feb 05): 0-80, 81 levels solved
BOND MINE 7.5
  • There were attempts of one-off levels that deviate from the standard fare by the person (I forgot which levels exactly, didn't typed it down), but they were too few of them.
  • Level 15: That thing is wow. The first section is the main difficulty of this level, basically, you have to extract the Spaceships safely and send them into the acid, the big bugger is that those particular Spaceships are behind a series of Emeralds both the top and bottom side, while the very top of it consists of Boulders. So if even one single Emerald is destroyed by the Spaceship's explosion blast, you gotta start over. It takes about 5 minutes to clear that very part of the level, by then, hope that you cleared the rest of the levels, or it's a do-over! I had to do this more than 10 times, about a third of it finishing that section and screwed up the in the other parts of the level.
  • There's Level 18: second last part, there's a section where there's 3 Boulders in a seemingly innocent room, and it's complete trial and error on whether you pass or not since some of those those empty spaces are actually invisible walls!
  • However, the weirdiest level I came across out of all the Emerald Mine Club levels is level 44, which according to the level text, is not made by De Bond themselves. as it says, "Original El En Vic Cave". The main thing about this level, Fake Acid everywhere! It's disguised as Acid, but can be run under by the player (objects that go into it make the Fake Acid disappear!). It's also quirky that it can't normally be found in the level editor in Rocks'n'Diamonds, is this like a bugged exploit that's used as an element? Anyways, this is high city of trial and error, wow! There's also one other element that I can't even retrieve, that first Boulder you encounter that somehow pushes itself to the left!
  • Speaking of this levelset...where's Bond Mine 7? This one has only 45 levels (counting only the singleplayer levels). Is it just Bond Mine 7.5? It's not found in the collection that I downloaded from here: https://www.artsoft.org/RELEASES/rocksn ... b-2.1.1.7z - Whereas checking the Emerald Web website, there's an entry here: http://www.emeraldmines.net/default.asp ... ads&id=460 - Is Bond Mine 7 a thing?
  • LEVELSET SOLVED: BOND MINE 7.5 (2018 02-Feb 09 = 2018 02-Feb 10) 0-44, 45 levels solved
DIAMOND MINE
  • Meh, nothing too special, just very loose and full of trial and error that's the usual plaque of most of the Emerald Mine Club levelsets
  • LEVELSET SOLVED: DIAMOND MINE (2018 02-Feb 12 = same) 0-80, 81 levels solved
BOULDER DASH C64 1,2,3,4
  • Made by No One Inc.!
  • Slightly more interesting than most of the rest of the Emerald Mine Club levelsets, basically, play levels that were made in Boulder Dash but with Emerald Mine elements!
  • Some of the graphical stuff has been altered to try and resemble the look and detail of Boulder Dash in an Emerald Mine-like way, such as dressing up those blue arch portal exits as Hidden Exits (even though they're still destroyable unlike Boulder Dash).
  • Certain levels had been altered by the amount of required gems due to Diamonds being worth 3 points or that Amoeba can't turn into gems when trapped.
  • Level 80, the last level is a marathon of obstacles in a linear fashion. I'm a bit surprised that it's stitched up levels from the respective Boulder Dash games, several of them all in one level, as seperated by Quicksand (which is represented as a blue slime). It's like as if stitching up obstacles and challenges like that in sections in Emerald Mine is a thing for these levelsets in general.
  • LEVELSET SOLVED: BOULDER DASH C64 1,2,3,4 (2018 02-Feb 12 = same) 0-80, 81 levels solved
Here are the tapes:
2018 02-Feb 13 (part 1 of 3).zip
Contains levelset tapes: Bond Mine 01, Boulder Dash C64 1,2,3,4, and Diamond Mine
(164.97 KiB) Downloaded 13 times
2018 02-Feb 13 (part 2 of 3).zip
Contains levelset tapes of: Bond Mine 03, and Bond Mine 7.5
(162.98 KiB) Downloaded 13 times
2018 02-Feb 13 (part 3 of 3) [has spreadsheet].zip
Due to uploading only up to 3 files per post, this one contains the spreadsheet. Contains levelset tapes of: Ace Mine 2
(121.01 KiB) Downloaded 15 times


And here here some notable levelsets that I stopped playing or skipped (the rest of that recent data is in the spreadsheets):
BD4
  • I played this game was I was younger! I don't know how far I reached in the game, but I wanna say between 50-60.
  • One of the things that's changed that doesn't occur in the original game is the inconsistency of timers in levels, because some of the levels have a strict timer. Younger me would've died first time by the lack of time rather than being smashed by a boulder or harmed by an emeny! There are some that would make levels impossible to solve, such as:
  • Level 8, I know for a fact that the Yam Yams that are in the outer borders, they would be rendered as immovable harmless walls upon entering the level, not actual Yam Yams. I know this because I played it when I was young, and that would be much more harder for my younger self (made a tape and replaced the outer-wall Yam Yams with just Steel Walls).
  • Level 18...there is no feasible way to even beat the level properly as the amount of given time is too short, thus making it unsolvable (I made a tape with at least twice the amount of time!).
  • Level 34...that's actually a reused level from an Emerald Mine Club level. I don't know where though.
  • Level 38...that seems like another reused level, as it doesn't seem like the level creator's style of the previous levels.
  • Level 42, what an evil level... check literally everything that could be used as a trap against you before moving on!
  • Decided to stop because of those stricter time limits, there is no way those levels are strict on the timer.

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