Author Topic: Journey to Perfection  (Read 5677 times)

Offline BobJustBob

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2012, 09:48:59 PM »
It depends on just how crazy the crazies are. Crazies are what I call you people who like really difficult games.  :)

If water escapes get added as an easier version of lava escapes, is anyone going to play lava escapes? It seems like lava escapes would need better rewards because otherwise why would anyone play the permadeath version? But maybe there really are people who would risk permadeath for no good reason, in which case those people would probably get upset if the hard versions went away entirely.

I think adding easier alternate mission types is the way to go, as long as you make the existing harder types give better rewards. Then people like Terraziel get the difficulty and consequences they like, while people like van Buren get the opportunity to try out new missions as well as the incentive to improve at those kinds of missions so they can move up to the harder versions with the better rewards.

Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2012, 10:52:54 PM »
For what it's worth, I have to argue against the terminology being tossed around. 'Hard' is being used as if it were equivalent to 'failure means instant death'. That's not a measure of difficulty. Learning calculus is hard, but if you get a problem wrong your professor doesn't instantly headshot you.

Take another hard platformer, Super Meat Boy. If every time Meat Boy died, he got teleported back to Meat City where his glyph had to be transplanted into Meat Guy, who then had to trek back across the overworld to get back to that screen and attempt it again (hopefully he saved enough upgrade stones!) would that in any way make the game harder? Of course not! It has zero impact on the difficulty, which comes solely from the actual platforming skill test. All the rest of that is just adding some inconvenience and a time sink.


Offline Penumbra

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2012, 10:55:28 PM »
But the problem with "Journey to Perfection" isn't that you fail in one hit, that's what makes it fun. The problem is that I have to warp home before playing it, which is annoying. Letting me get hit more times or having the lava just be water robs from the challenge.

The problem isn't that they are too hard.


Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2012, 10:58:38 PM »
The problem isn't that they are too hard.

That's exactly what I'm saying! It's not hard or easy at all. It's just inconvenient. It's a risk vs. reward system where the risk is that you might have to waste some extra time beforehand to swap glyphs, or afterwards if you fail and are forced to swap glyphs.

Offline Penumbra

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2012, 11:02:29 PM »
The problem isn't that they are too hard.

That's exactly what I'm saying! It's not hard or easy at all. It's just inconvenient.

Yes, post collision. We're on the same page, Bob.  :)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #35 on: March 18, 2012, 11:56:35 PM »
Learning calculus is hard, but if you get a problem wrong your professor doesn't instantly headshot you.
Hmm, coulda fooled me.
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Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2012, 12:17:13 AM »
Hmm, coulda fooled me.

You think you're going to save money going to a reasonably priced community college, but you always end up paying for it somehow...

Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2012, 12:28:17 AM »
Strongly agree with Bob and Penumbra. A lite version should have the same challenge as the hardcore version, but work in such a way that you can try it again and again if you have to.   Anyway glad to see that is not just my issue.

Offline zebramatt

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2012, 05:05:04 AM »
What about rather than having a 'lite' version of the harder missions (or as well as, because more missions is never a bad thing), you instead had x 'practice runs' per mission? An optional way of taking on a mission from the world map, which gave you 0 reward and used up one of your x for that mission, but allowed players less confident in taking on a mission to try it a couple of times first before jumping in for real?

Or, taking the idea from another angle, a way to tackle the mission for real but with no risk of perma death and only a fraction of the reward.

Although that second one does feel rather the same as introducing lite versions of missions - but I think the problem for me, there, is that if they're completely separate missions you have all the problems of them seeding in that fashion. For instance, for someone one or more lava escape missions may seed before they ever see a water escape. And then, even if they tackle the water escape first and succeed, so take on the lava - dying in the lava mission may have the exact same consequence it does now for them; they'll simply never play lava escapes again. (Which admittedly may not be a problem from a game design standpoint, if the argument is that they have the kiddies version to play with instead - but it's not much different to hiding lava escape entirely from people at lower platforming difficulty settings.)

Offline zebramatt

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2012, 05:15:00 AM »
Or maybe both of these just need to be plain-out altered.  Heatsuits make you invulnerable to lava, but don't aid your movement in it.  This would be helpful for a number of places, where falling in the lava isn't therefore going to be death-in-5-seconds, but rather making you super easy prey for monsters.  That wouldn't really make the lava flats any easier, for instance, but it would turn the existing lava escape into the proposed watery escape pretty much in one go.

And then just changing JTP to be the "guard your buddy" type of mission where he's at one-shot risk and you're not, and we've got ourselves another mission that is more in keeping with the general spirit of the game, while still retaining the hard challenge of actually completing these things.

The stakes are lower, making things less tense in a lot of respects, but that's... well, that's in keeping with the rest of the game, too.  "Death is supposed to be the culmination of a series of mistakes," as I keep saying over and over again.  And right now even the existence of lava without some defense (heatsuits not protecting you at all) is counter to that.  Heatsuits could even just reduce the damage from lava by something like 100x, so instead of 5 seconds to escape you have 500 seconds, which is 8.3 minutes.  If you can't get out in 8 minutes, then you pretty much have it coming to you. ;)  That would keep the tenseness of "lava always damages me," while making it so that lava isn't such an instantly-deadly threat.

Thoughts?

Having said all that, I think on second reading I'm all for simply changing the core missions themselves.


As an aside, personally I don't buy that perma death is remotely necessary for difficult platforming challenges to remain fun. Super Meat Boy, Mario, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Shinobi even - all remain compelling, challenging and fun without any sort of perma death mechanic. (Admittedly in Shinobi 3DS one can play on the hardest difficulty setting which does, in fact, have a perma death mechanic... but it's optional and adds an additional layer of replayability more than anything.) In Metroid, death is somewhat more permanent - if you die you return to the last save - but getting there is anything but instant, and all it costs is time.


Offline Terraziel

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2012, 09:03:28 AM »
I'll start by saying that I think the current missions should be left alone and intermediate ones added, as opposed to just changing the current missions.

The water escape idea is pretty much exactly what I was going to suggest, going on the logic of "an acid water flood is threatening a cache" so unsurprisingly it gets my vote.

The changes to Journey missions...well I don't know about anyone else but I despise escort missions, and you already have a form of them in rescue survivor missions. That said having something else doing the dying is about the only obvious way of doing a light version of the Journey.

Now as a more overall point.

Strongly agree with Bob and Penumbra. A lite version should have the same challenge as the hardcore version......

I think this thread is getting complex, because personally, I don't think you do agree with them, Penumbra at the very least seems to be concerned with the "hardcore" versions getting simplified, not the light versions.

To comment on BobTheJanitor's point here, no the risk or lack thereof doesn't change the difficulty of the challenge at hand, but it does change the difficulty of the game over time though (assuming briefly that people didn't just switch to cannon fodder) the difference between the two would be one would have a long term impact, your character dying in a lava escape loses you that character and whatever investment you have built up there, simply losing the rewards for a water escape does not.

At this point the tediousness and dubiousness of glyph swapping is travelling old ground, so it doesn't really need going over again. suffice to say it does break the system.

A lite version should have the same challenge as the hardcore version, but work in such a way that you can try it again and again if you have to. Anyway glad to see that is not just my issue.

Now this could just be misinterpretation on my part, but the question that this raises in my mind is, Where is the failure? If you can just try again and again at the Same mission till you succeed then you are guaranteed to succeed eventually, or get bored and give up obviously. I have no issues with lite versions of the missions reducing the risk, but removing failure is a tad much, rather at the very least it is unbalanced.

I mean don't get me wrong I understand where you are coming from, very few if any games gives you only a single chance at completing a platforming challenge but that is because they as linear games have to to let you continue through the content, in AVWW's case however failure IS an option, if I fail at any given mission (even if I die) my game continues and I simply have to try another mission.

....What if the maps for the "water escape" (or whatever is decided on eventually) mission were made from hand-crafted interchangeable portions? That way you have the ability to learn the portions of the map through failure or success across multiple missions, rather than within one mission.

A lite version should have the same challenge as the hardcore version......

Now after all that, it comes down to this point. What even IS the challenge? what is the core thing you are trying to keep?

Offline x4000

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #41 on: March 19, 2012, 09:18:19 AM »
All right: I've made my decision on how to proceed.  Thanks for all the feedback, guys.  Here's what's going to happen:

1. I'm going to be changing the existing lava escape and journey to protection missions in subtle ways to remove the risk of instant death, but not to remove any of the existing challenge or to create intermediate versions.

2. For lava escape, the two changes are both super simple:
a) Heat suits will reduce the amount of damage you take from lava by 10x.  Meaning you have 50 seconds to live while in lava (more if you've upgraded your health at all with health stones), but you'll hardly be able to move.
b) If you have been submerged in lava for 5 consecutive seconds, you lose.  If you die, you lose.
(Note: when the mission is failed, the lava instantly and quickly starts receding, so you should have ample time to get out of the lava itself; the risk of death is still very much here, because you can't dodge enemies effectively while stuck in the muck of lava, and if you get stuck too long and don't figure out how to get to a ledge as it's receding you'll die; but you can still defend yourself, and it's not remotely an instant-death sort of thing).

3. For Journey To Perfection, there will only be two very simple changes:
a) You'll be (thematically speaking, not visibly) holding a glass bauble or something similar to that.  Some sort of little magical doodad of something important that you're carrying.  If any player character takes any damage during these missions, their glass thing breaks and thus the mission is instantly lost.
b) Your ability to one-shot enemies is retained, but their enhanced damage to you is removed (it's just not part of that whole "perfection" bit).
(Note: this is just as hard as the existing version, in the sense of it being challenging to win.  But it doesn't preclude practice or learning mastery.  And it doesn't require lots of extra trekking or encourage rampant glyph swapping or whatever.  Also, your risk of death on these missions is the same as on any other mission, and perhaps a bit more than usual because of all the monsters here.  But it's not an instant-death sort of situation if you've got featherfall on in particular, and that's the key difference).

4. I'm really not inclined at this point to make a "lite" and a "hardcore" version of these, because that's inherently fragmentary to the playerbase, and the hardcore versions wouldn't actually be harder, they would just be more penalty-plentiful.  Everything else in the game actually just changes literal difficulty, not the severity of penalties, when you change difficulty levels or go into some dangerous area, etc.  And that's definitely how I want to keep it.  There will always be some people who prefer some parts of the game to others, and that's fine, but having basically differences in scales of penalty is not fine.

So here we are.  This is what we're going to implement.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 09:41:44 AM by x4000 »
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Offline Terraziel

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #42 on: March 19, 2012, 09:30:50 AM »
Ok, fair enough.

The only possible issue I see with the lava escape one is that waiting around for the mission to end, assuming you fall in, could be tedious, what with being slowed and blinded.

Offline x4000

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #43 on: March 19, 2012, 09:33:08 AM »
Yep, I think that could also be the case, yeah.  It may need to have a condition of "if anyone has been in lava for 5 seconds, then you fail."  I think that would be better, actually.  Then you could skirt into and out of the lava some, but you wouldn't have a free pass with it.  And then I could make the reduction in damage from lava only 10x, rather than 100x, come to that.  Striking more of a happy medium.

Will edit the post above to reflect these ideas, thanks. :)
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Offline Penumbra

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Re: Journey to Perfection
« Reply #44 on: March 19, 2012, 09:36:49 AM »
This sounds perfect to me! These missions all had a time-sink component built into them at the beginning as far as I was concerned. Now you have moved the time-sink to the end, and only in the case of failure! All the challange seems to be preserved while leaving death as the "series of mistakes" penalties. I will now be able to leave the platform and action difficulties up high all the time, and that is awesome.

About the heat suit immune to lava change, is that only lava escape missions? Or is that property just moved from the advanced to the basic version now?

Edit: Ah, that works too.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 09:38:26 AM by Penumbra »