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The Evolution of "Classic" Gameplay. Where to go from here?

#31 User is offline HedgeHayes 

Posted 22 October 2018 - 08:30 AM

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What do you mean by "locked rolling jump"? I know jumping from rolling state its different from doing it from a running state, but I don't know how it works internally; I always thought it was a result of the physics and not a flagged state, which seems to be what you're saying.

Anyway, there's a difference between enjoying the spindash-less game and wanting it to be the standard: the difference gives personality to the first game, but having the spindash in the second one was a great relief. I also think the ability to enjoy that difference is linked to the level design: the spindash is not that necessary in the first game, while it was really necessary in the second one thanks to the changes in the level design style. It's more like enjoying the extra "difficulty" (ok, it isn't that hard, but it's still harder) as long as it happens in an acceptable level, which I see varies a lot from one person to another.


#32 User is online Neo 

Posted 22 October 2018 - 09:10 AM

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View PostHedgeHayes, on 22 October 2018 - 08:30 AM, said:

What do you mean by "locked rolling jump"? I know jumping from rolling state its different from doing it from a running state, but I don't know how it works internally; I always thought it was a result of the physics and not a flagged state, which seems to be what you're saying.

It's totally a flag. When you jump out of a spin, the left and right keys are disabled until you land. Sonic 3 lifts this lock when you use a double jump ability, and CD doesn't have it to begin with.

#33 User is offline HedgeHayes 

Posted 22 October 2018 - 02:38 PM

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Oh, ok, that was all then. I thought there were more tweaks to how rolling jump worked compared to the standard one besides a direction lock. I indeed noticed that back in the day, but I probably thought it was related to inertia or something like that.


EDIT: Forgot I had something else to say, this time on topic.


After reading some discussion about bosses on the Mania bugs thread, I thought it would be interesting to discuss here how could they be handled, since there's a bit of controversy about them:


-First, we have bosses like those on Sonic 2, easy to beat through the dropped rings invincibility, something many people find not fun because there's no challenge.


-Then, we have these Mania bosses that have you waiting a lot between each hit, which are not funny when you have nothing else to do but wait.


-We also have things like auto-scroll and auto-run bosses, which bring side effects that aren't really fun most of the time.


To me, it looks like they have to add those behaviours in battle and movement to give the boss some advantage to fight against the player, risking the flow of gameplay in the process, unless they are as easy as the eggmobile in mushroom hill, or the time between hits is reasonably short but still not spammable. I always thought Big Arms had a good design choice in protecting most of it save for that open in the front, so you had to aim right and you didn't have a second chance to try again if you were hit or were slow since it crossed the screen rather quick. It's not the best boss in other terms, but they did that right and gave insta-shield a good reason to be available.


I would evolve the bosses or at least improve their quality by giving them smaller weak points but giving the player frequent chances to try and hit them while the bosses do their dangerous stuff so hitting the hitbox isn't always a good idea or at least not something easy to abuse through the dropped ring invincibility. Or you can have a boss on a separate act with a basic shield monitor and no rings, but making the bosses better so they can be fun and challenging without crippling the standard gameplay should be the best.
This post has been edited by HedgeHayes: 22 October 2018 - 03:37 PM

#34 User is offline Kharen 

Posted 22 October 2018 - 04:21 PM

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I've said before, the easiest way to fix the problem with abusing Ring invincibility would be to tweak how dropping Rings works. You know how with Mania (and I think Chaotix), some of your rings fall into the foreground when you get hit? I think it was to solve the thing where you get hit with 200+ Rings and you only see like 50 appear that you can pick up? Do something similar, but use it so that the number of Rings dropped is the number of Rings collected, divided by 2, and subtract 1 more.

Basically, let's take somebody with insane Ring-collecting skills, who is somehow able to re-collect every single Ring they drop when they get hit. They're putting in no actual effort on the boss battle, figuring that they can abuse the Ring mechanic to never die. Let's say they start the fight with 50 Rings. As they get hit, the most Rings they could recuperate would be...

50
24
12
6
3
1
0

The key component here being what happens when you're down to less than 10 Rings. The average player is only going to manage to grab maybe two or three Rings at most when they get hit, so while you can still rescue yourself for a while by grabbing dropped Rings, you're quickly going to end up with no Rings left to possibly re-collect. You can't just keep saving yourself forever, but the Ring mechanic hasn't been completely removed. Even better, this new system would only make a major difference in boss battles. Most players wouldn't even notice the new system if they get hit while going through the actual level.

It would make it much easier to design a boss that actually has challenge to it, without turning it into an unfair one where you only win by abusing the Ring system, and without doing what Sonic 2 did and forcing the player to fight the final boss with no Rings at all.

#35 User is offline Modern 

Posted 22 October 2018 - 05:27 PM

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View PostKharen, on 22 October 2018 - 04:21 PM, said:

I've said before, the easiest way to fix the problem with abusing Ring invincibility would be to tweak how dropping Rings works. You know how with Mania (and I think Chaotix), some of your rings fall into the foreground when you get hit? I think it was to solve the thing where you get hit with 200+ Rings and you only see like 50 appear that you can pick up? Do something similar, but use it so that the number of Rings dropped is the number of Rings collected, divided by 2, and subtract 1 more.

Basically, let's take somebody with insane Ring-collecting skills, who is somehow able to re-collect every single Ring they drop when they get hit. They're putting in no actual effort on the boss battle, figuring that they can abuse the Ring mechanic to never die. Let's say they start the fight with 50 Rings. As they get hit, the most Rings they could recuperate would be...

50
24
12
6
3
1
0

The key component here being what happens when you're down to less than 10 Rings. The average player is only going to manage to grab maybe two or three Rings at most when they get hit, so while you can still rescue yourself for a while by grabbing dropped Rings, you're quickly going to end up with no Rings left to possibly re-collect. You can't just keep saving yourself forever, but the Ring mechanic hasn't been completely removed. Even better, this new system would only make a major difference in boss battles. Most players wouldn't even notice the new system if they get hit while going through the actual level.

It would make it much easier to design a boss that actually has challenge to it, without turning it into an unfair one where you only win by abusing the Ring system, and without doing what Sonic 2 did and forcing the player to fight the final boss with no Rings at all.

IIRC the game caps rings dropped at 20, and any excess rings are removed entirely, so you might have to factor that into your math a bit.

#36 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 23 October 2018 - 02:06 AM

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Sonic Rush made the rings fly away faster with each hit, maybe that should be enough.

Regarding the bosses, the player should be taught in an obvious way what they're going to do and what their weak point is... before they land a hit or kill the player by doing something unexpected, as tends to happen in Mania. How to accomplish this includes slow-but-steady attacks, reusing mechanics that the player just got familiar with throughout the level, etc.

I mean, let's have a look at Sonic 1's bosses:
  • GHZ: Boss just moves left and right, with a very predictable swinging ball (the player just came from learning that this game is all about well implemented momentum).
  • MZ: Lava to avoid but there's some safe land on the other side that I can reach in case that the boss comes. You'll no doubt jump out of the way as soon as the boss announces a fireball drop.
  • LZ: By now it's pretty obvious that you can drown in water and should move to the surface ASAP.
  • SYZ: The player has just avoided some nasty pits and now he's safe thanks to those strange blocks. Say... I wonder what's so special about them--OH CRAP, gotta finish this quick!
  • SLZ: Seesaws without a spiky ball? Oh, there's the spiky balls.
  • FZ: The four presses have similar designs to those scattered through the level, so the player is expected to know that they're going to try to stomp him. Also, you can see the electricity coming towards you from a mile away.


Then in Sonic Mania you have things like:
  • A mid-boss fight where the enemy suddenly throws stuff at you without a chance to avoid if you didn't jump beforehand, and where you can all of a sudden get crushed by a familiar gimmick that never crushed you before.
  • A returning Sonic 2 boss which you've already been taught that can harm you if you touch even his legs... except that now you can just go through them unharmed.
  • The weather boss: You just can't know how to avoid the "heat" and "wind" attacks if you haven't already seen them. The former goes too fast for the player to notice that they can take shelter, and the latter requires you to latch onto a metal pipe that not only never appears before in the level, but it's also non-functional during the rest of the boss battle...


I could probably keep going, but you get my point. I don't mean that this is a problem with all the bosses, but it is a big problem in an otherwise almost flawless game.
This post has been edited by ICEknight: 23 October 2018 - 07:15 AM

#37 User is online Laughingcow 

Posted 23 October 2018 - 02:46 AM

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When it comes to bosses, there is a quote from Koji Igarashi that sums up my mindset:

Quote

The boss programmer should be able to defeat the enemy without taking a single hit. That's how you know the boss was developed correctly, and it clearly demonstrates signals for how to defeat it.

It's the baseline for balance and the bosses in Mania fulfil that. Likewise, bosses are suppose to be BOSS. Every hit must be avoidable but said evasion should NOT be so damn easy. I'm not asking for Ghosts n Goblins but I still like to feel accomplished when I beat a boss.

#38 User is offline Flygon 

Posted 23 October 2018 - 03:38 AM

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The issue is that the way to avoid being hit is not being telegraphed well. And it becomes easier/more obvious for people to just tank hits with rings instead.

#39 User is online Laughingcow 

Posted 23 October 2018 - 04:57 AM

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View PostFlygon, on 23 October 2018 - 03:38 AM, said:

And it becomes easier/more obvious for people to just tank hits with rings instead.

That is a non issue in that using post-hit invincibility to kill a boss is a valid strategy for those that suck. Of anything, the existence of such lends credence to make the bosses harder in that most cases have an easy option available.

Thinking about it, I don't see how boss design discussion actually pertains to evolving the classic gameplay. This is more quality control but whatever.


#40 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 23 October 2018 - 06:19 AM

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View PostLaughingcow, on 23 October 2018 - 02:46 AM, said:

When it comes to bosses, there is a quote from Koji Igarashi that sums up my mindset:

Quote

The boss programmer should be able to defeat the enemy without taking a single hit. That's how you know the boss was developed correctly, and it clearly demonstrates signals for how to defeat it.
It's the baseline for balance and the bosses in Mania fulfil that.

Do they, when playing as Sonic alone and without power ups?

I haven't found a no-hit boss run that didn't exploit things like the shields, Tails' carrying ability or Ray's flight.


EDIT: Also, I'm pretty sure that Igarashi didn't mean that it's fine when the player has to know the boss' attacks beforehand (or react to them before they even start).
This post has been edited by ICEknight: 23 October 2018 - 06:45 AM

#41 User is offline DigitalDuck 

Posted 23 October 2018 - 07:20 AM

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View PostModern, on 22 October 2018 - 05:27 PM, said:

IIRC the game caps rings dropped at 20, and any excess rings are removed entirely, so you might have to factor that into your math a bit.


The classic games cap rings dropped at 32.

View PostICEknight, on 23 October 2018 - 02:06 AM, said:

Then in Sonic Mania you have things like:
-A mid-boss fight where the enemy suddenly throws stuff at you without a chance to avoid if you didn't jump beforehand, and where you can all of a sudden get crushed by a gimmick that never crushed you before.
-A returning Sonic 2 boss which you've already been taught that can harm you if you touch even his legs... except that now you can just go through them unharmed.
-The weather boss: You just can't know how to avoid the "heat" and "wind" attacks if you haven't seen them beforehand. The former goes too fast for the player to notice that they can take shelter, and the latter requires you to latch onto a metal pipe that not only never appears before in the level, but it's also non functional during the rest of the boss battle...

I could probably keep going, but you get my point. I don't mean that this is a problem with all the bosses, but it is a big problem in an otherwise almost flawless game.


I'd disagree that the game is "otherwise almost flawless", but the bosses are by far the biggest problem with the game. From OOZ1's "hey you stood in the wrong spot even though there was nothing to indicate there was a wrong spot, you're dead now" to FBZ2's "will flying into the bumper actually hit the boss, or will you simply pass through it and die to the spikes opposite? GUESS!" to CPZ2's "oh I know you wanted to play Sonic, but here, play Puyo Puyo instead!" the number of even acceptable bosses in Mania can be counted on one hand.

The game would be improved by simply removing the bosses. And I'd go as far to say that's true of Sonic in general - while there are good bosses scattered throughout the classic games (most of S1, ARZ, HCZ1, ICZ2, MHZ1, and SSZ-K) most of them are just not fun and require you to either wait years for the boss opening to appear, or just rely on post-hit invulnerability to actually move on to some more gameplay.

Why not do away with bosses entirely? They're just needless padding.

#42 User is online Laughingcow 

Posted 23 October 2018 - 07:47 AM

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View PostICEknight, on 23 October 2018 - 06:19 AM, said:

Do they, when playing as Sonic alone and without power ups?

Yes. Unless you'd like to point out a boss with an inescapable attack like the Final Boss of Ninja Gaiden 1 (who prevents no-hit runs thus pissing off many people).

Quote

EDIT: Also, I'm pretty sure that Igarashi didn't mean that it's fine when the player has to know the boss' attacks beforehand (or react to them before they even start).

Interpretation is not an argument. And the quote in question specifies "Boss Programmer" who would know the boss in and out.

You may not realize this but your argument breaks down to "make bosses easier/simpler" to which I will point out that is the philosophy of Modern Sonic and a large reason his games are forgettable. Again, bosses are suppose to be BOSS. You should not dumb them down (or any aspect of the game for that matter) because someone sucks at the game. Hell, Nintendo has an elegant solution with the Luigi cube of Shame because they know making things too easy is no fun.

#43 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 23 October 2018 - 09:24 AM

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View PostLaughingcow, on 23 October 2018 - 07:47 AM, said:

You may not realize this but your argument breaks down to "make bosses easier/simpler"
No, there's a difference between making things easy and making things fair for the player.

View PostLaughingcow, on 23 October 2018 - 07:47 AM, said:

View PostICEknight, on 23 October 2018 - 06:19 AM, said:

View PostLaughingcow, on 23 October 2018 - 02:46 AM, said:

When it comes to bosses, there is a quote from Koji Igarashi that sums up my mindset:

Quote

The boss programmer should be able to defeat the enemy without taking a single hit. That's how you know the boss was developed correctly, and it clearly demonstrates signals for how to defeat it.
It's the baseline for balance and the bosses in Mania fulfil that.

Do they, when playing as Sonic alone and without power ups?

I haven't found a no-hit boss run that didn't exploit things like the shields, Tails' carrying ability or Ray's flight.
Yes.
Well, I don't think so.
This post has been edited by ICEknight: 23 October 2018 - 09:56 AM

#44 User is offline lupinsmask 

Posted 23 October 2018 - 06:03 PM

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View PostDigitalDuck, on 23 October 2018 - 07:20 AM, said:

The game would be improved by simply removing the bosses. And I'd go as far to say that's true of Sonic in general - while there are good bosses scattered throughout the classic games (most of S1, ARZ, HCZ1, ICZ2, MHZ1, and SSZ-K) most of them are just not fun and require you to either wait years for the boss opening to appear, or just rely on post-hit invulnerability to actually move on to some more gameplay.

Why not do away with bosses entirely? They're just needless padding.


Removing bosses which I do not support nor do I see as "padding" would equal less for Eggman to do. He would rarely be seen, his appearances similar to segasonic arcade or the game gear games minus the large/super badniks.
This post has been edited by lupinsmask: 23 October 2018 - 06:04 PM

#45 User is offline Kharen 

Posted 23 October 2018 - 07:42 PM

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While reading through this, I had an amazing idea. Right now, the traditional setup is that Act 1 get's a fully-automated robot as the boss encounter, while Act 2 is a fight against Eggman in whatever his latest Eggmobile attachment is. However, other than physically seeing Eggman at the cockpit, there's no real difference as far as the fight itself. You could color in the cockpit so it's a solid piece of metal, and it would just be another robot.

What if the robot-type bosses stay the same, since they're pre-programmed to do a set thing, but Eggman gets treated sort of like Mr. Freeze in Arkham City? In that game, only Takedown attacks would deal damage to the boss, and all of the different Takedown attacks relied on some aspect of the environment. For instance, popping out of floor grates for a sudden strike, or gliding down for an aerial assault from a high perch. The catch with Mr. Freeze's boss battle was that each time you hit him with a Takedown, he would adapt so that you couldn't do that again. He would freeze over the floor grates so that you couldn't enter them anymore, or fill the air with enough ice particles to prevent Batman's cape from letting him glide.

Now, let's apply this thinking to an Eggman encounter. On the normal difficulty, he just cycles through his attacks like normal. However, on a harder difficulty, he starts applying a similar strategy. If a particular attack manages to hit the player, you can expect that attack to appear *slightly* more often. If the player manages to land a hit during a specific move, Eggman will either stop using that move after getting hit twice (maybe he assumed the first time was a fluke, and the second time gets him to realize that repeating this is a bad idea), or he'll gradually decrease how often that attack is used.

Now the player has a variety of ways to do the fight. Maybe a skilled player will just trump every attack Eggman's got and fly through the fight. A less-skilled player could get the idea to intentionally take a few hits from an easier attack and sacrifice a few Rings to goad Eggman into thinking that using that attack is a winning strategy, and the player will be able to trick him from using the more dangerous attacks. If Eggman starts out only using two or three different moves, and replaces each ineffective one with something else as the fight goes on, it would equate to a much more natural progression of the fight instead of just "phase 1, phase 2, phase 3".

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