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Rings. Coins. Lums. Which aspects work, which don't, and why? Just to open discussion on gathered items in 2D platformers.

#1 User is offline Deef 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:20 AM

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I recently bought Rayman Origins which got me thinking about this topic again.

This thread is about creating some discussion on the fundamentals of items that you gather. Fundamentals like... you can lose rings but not lums.... only coins carry across levels... lums don't give lives but the game has infinite lives... etc. I am after some ideas on how to make collecting a ring feel better to the player, so this post is looking at the parts of rings/coins/lums that make a player want to grab one that he sees.

If not a discussion of fundamentals, this thread is also just a place to throw any ideas around and bounce them off each other. What else might rings do that isn't too cheap? That is, if anyone else is interested in such inanity heh.

Well here's one guy who was; a blog from 3 years ago about game fundamentals. On this particular page he has written about rings, comparing them to Mario's coins and finding fault with their handling of suspension, positioning and survival.

Back in the day it was completely common for a platformer to have something to gather strewn all over the place. I always thought there must be some cheap psychology to it and not much more, like either constant reinforced support throughout the game or simply a way to increase play by there often being something to jump at, even if trivial. But there was always some justification for gathering those items even if the justification was a 2nd priority to simply having them there. Different games justified them in different ways, so collecting items feels different in those games.

I thought I'd compare rings, coins and lums and see how it goes from there. For these comparisons I am making the assumption that no-one cares about the score (seriously I can't even remember if Mario games had a score), and I am ignoring the gameplay of just wanting to collect as many as possible if the game doesn't even acknowledge the effort. The games I refer to in this post are the classic Marios, classic Sonics, and Rayman Origins (I haven't played the original).

_____________________


Coins

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· In my opinion coins feel like the most worthwhile to collect, largely due to their low quantities. Repeatedly headbutting a block for its coins doesn't feel too stupid in a Mario game.

+++ : A huge positive with coins is that collecting one is never, ever meaningless. The coin you collect is still counted after the level, is never un-counted, and counts towards something that never stops functioning.
+++ : Collecting coins is never, ever necessary. No problem ignoring them, but if you collect one it is only a good thing.
+++ : Coins come with variety. Silver coins, outline coins, bubble coins, POW items, coins that fall, bricks that give coins, bricks that turn into coins.

--- : I can't really think of a single negative to coins that is in terms of coins. I could say that they don't do certain things, but they would be things coins aren't trying to do. Coins keep it real simple.




Rings

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+++ : The biggest plus for rings I think is that they directly affect the game as it plays; you can drop them and there is need to chase them. Fairly unique among platformers and for me this particular aspect always made rings so much funner than coins.
+++ : When it is a matter of health, finding rings is more satisfying than finding coins.

They make the game really easy as the player is permitted to screw up, over and over again. This means:
+++ : that there is quite a strong statement that the fun of the game comes not from staying alive, but from playing around freely.
--- : that bucketloads of tension are thrown out the window if the player doesn't about the quantity of rings carried.

--- : In terms of their main function (protection), the more rings you collect the more meaningless they become. 1 ring is all you need, 32 rings is all that will make a difference, but after about 10 to 15 it's easy to stop caring. This means that for the majority of rings collected, the motivation actually switches to that of coins: extra lives. But done in an arguably worse way.
--- : When you finish a level, every single ring you collected that was greater than 50, 100, or 200 turns out to have been a complete waste of time. I think this particular issue with rings is quite significant and that we don't notice it so much perhaps because it's simply what we're used to. But it sits at the back of the player's mind reminding him that if he isn't going for an extra life, that ring in the sky is completely meaningless. This also reinforces the part about the more you get, they less they're worth. There are 292 rings in Emerald Hill Zone act 1, but if you have 200 you may as well stop noticing them.
--- : Apart from the 10 ring monitor and lightning shield shenanigans, there is literally no variety in collecting rings. Not even moving in the air. They're really quite lifeless.



Lums

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A quick description since not everyone has played Rayman Origins. Lums are little yellow critters with eyes and arms, found floating around, or by killing enemies, or escaping from pieces of scenery that you attack or touch. In the latter case they are contained inside bubbles that can deliberately position themselves away from you as well as float upwards before popping, bringing a time limit to their retrieval. Apart from being something to gather lums have nothing in common with rings or coins, as Rayman Origins uses infinite lives. You collect lums purely to win electoons, required to unlock 10 particular levels which in turn unlocks an extra level that shows no mercy. Electoons also unlock optional skins. In most levels, finishing with 150 lums grants you 1 electoon, 300 gives you 2. Gaining 300 is never a huge challenge. Once you earn an electoon you can't go back and earn it again. If not gaining electoons, lums have no meaning apart from setting records.

+++ : Lums have character, loads of it. So much that in some levels you know the music is the lums singing.
--- : Can be a bad thing too. Collecting a king lum makes me embarrassed if someone walks in the room due to all that burbling.

+++ : They are collected in a few different ways: enemies, floating, and released bubbles.
+++ : They move around in pleasant patterns.
---- : Some patterns just mess you about, making you question if it's worth collecting some.

+++ : The game acknowledges and records the maximum you have collected in a level.
--- : This is literally the only endgame of lums.

+++ : King lums temporarily double the number of lums gathered, creating a kind of "Bonus Time START!" scenario. While it applies to the player's progress this is a bit of extra fun.
-+- : It is often still surrounded by the tension of the level dangers though. Can be a good thing but not always.

--- : I think lums are pretty terrible at filling the role of something to gather. Their positioning and discovery is fine but their reason for existing has a use-by date. Lums are an n-times-only affair before there is no reason to collect them at all apart from records/completionism. And for the majority of Rayman's levels, n is something like 5, if that. Five or less tries at most levels before lums lose all meaning.

--- : Farming. You have to farm lums. It's a mechanic that the game is built around and that's fair enough; the game is long enough to handle it and lum collecting doesn't push into frustration. It does push into trivial though, I assume in order to avoid said frustration. There isn't a good middle ground; the gameplay isn't built to keep a player happy despite repeat failures, but is built to avoid repeat failures. So farming them is what you do. It's a chore you have to do and thus every lum that floats out of your grasp or every heart you lose (costing you 5 lums later) or every king lum that you mess up isn't compelling, only boring. I just generally dislike farming put into a game if the farming itself isn't the focus of the game. Even in Rayman it's not the focus. I enjoy the game but collecting lums is the last thing I want to do (and the last thing I complete).

--- : Basing gameplay on a mechanic that eventually stops being a mechanic raises its own questions about replayability, compared to games that are played without such a mechanic being used to compel the player. This point is really straying away from the topic though. Rings don't do this so it's not worth dwelling on.


_____________________

Having written all that, a few more things to consider:

· Bashing lums is all well and good, but it's worth remembering that the life-gaining feature of rings and coins also becomes quite meaningless to a player. Consider Episode 1 with the ridiculous triple digit lives counter. Not to mention that lives really stopped having much significance years and years ago; today's gamer has absolutely no interest in ever being told they have to start the whole game again. However it is at least something, a something that always exists; there's always a free life to feel good about when you earn that reward. Who runs out of lives in Sonic 3? Now who likes the free life ditty when you get 100 rings in Sonic 3? Exactly. I believe that simply having a reason to collect a collectable is more important than the reason itself.

· In the classic Sonics, there is the player who wants to enjoy and complete a level, and the player who wants to gather a lot of rings and make it to the end without losing them. These guys are playing very different games; the latter meeting a tension that the former barely notices. Mario and Rayman don't have this distinction.

· Needing to reach the end of the level with 50 rings was a method of creating that tension, a method that became less and less significant over Sonic 2, then 3, then Knuckles where even 20 rings could get you access to the crappier bonus stage. It's funny that the bonus stage that awarded you the most rings was, itself, now the biggest reason to get rings in the first place.

· Even if you removed the catch-your-dropped-health mechanic from rings, that is still a hell of a lot of "hearts" floating around the levels.

· Stereo chiming was the business.


_____________________


Can anyone think of a motivation for ring collecting that works like coin collecting? As in, suspended across levels, always having meaning, and still completely optional.

Any good ideas for changes to rings that don't completely mess up the game as we know it?



_
This post has been edited by Deef: 03 April 2012 - 08:50 PM

#2 User is offline Tyty 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:30 AM

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All collectables in video games really carry a huge point to them. Guiding the player where to go without being too hand-holdy. That's why Mario games never need a tutorial level. It's not that everyone ever knows how to play Mario, it's that they know angry-face-guys = bad, coins = good. So they follow coins, which in many games are put so that they guide players over jumps.

Rings in Sonic serve essentially as health, but they're put about usually at the arc of Sonic's jump, causing the player to go after them. I've also noticed them onscreen, but not in my path, signifying "Hey, try to get here dude!"

Now I don't know much about Lums, having not played Rayman Origins... but I've seen some videos of it. You can notice too, that they're strewn about where they want the player to go, and to show the player things. Jumping at that vine makes it swing in an arc, getting all the Lums!

They all work very well at their original goal. To guide the player while masked as a reward/requirement. Rings have an added bonus though if Super Sonic is in the game.
This post has been edited by Tyty: 03 April 2012 - 11:30 AM

#3 User is offline Strife 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:41 PM

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This is something I've had difficulty with as far as my personal projects are concerned. I like the idea of collectables in games, but I can't always figure out if they have any practical purpose beyond score or health. Sometimes you have to think outside the box, or consider what role collectables will play when you're thinking about the overall gameplay. Can the player use powerful special attacks? Maybe collectables are needed to activate it, or keep it activated (as is the case with Super Sonic). Alternately, collectables could be saved and later used as currency to purchase powerups or extra features - as was the case with the Sonic Adventure series, where you could use rings to buy stuff for your Chao.

Oddly enough, there are times where I find a strange satisfaction in picking up collectables simply because they exist and look pretty. For example, there were a crapload of trinkets, treasures, sweets, and food in James Pond 2 that ultimately only increased your score, but they were still a pleasure to collect en masse because they looked so appealing. So, I think part of it also lies in presentation.

#4 User is offline dsrb 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:14 PM

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Rings are almost pointless. Yeah, they look and sound quite nice, and you need at least one to survive—but that's just it: you only need one, and neither enemies nor level designs pose very much of a challenge for the most part. This brings me around to me usual gripe that the classic games are just too easy. But I don't know if that's due to a major part of their marketing being towards children? I'd probably have appreciated the easiness back then. Having said that, Mario games are more challenging, and they share the same desired audience.

Which takes us to Mario. As I still have to get around to playing most of the 2D games, I can't comment too much—but what you say about coins seeming more appealing and rewarding is true, even if I only care a little more about collecting them! The 3D games make coins highly desirable through another method, by using them as health-replenishers (or just have a quick swim, amirite?). Super Mario 64 used coin-collection (100 units’ worth of any coins, and also 8 red) for one star two stars in every world (painting), and it worked quite well; it didn't seem cheap, and the challenge was always rewarding.

Rayman Origins’ Lums are both good and bad. Trying to get all the Lum-activated Electoons is challenging but just achievable enough and doesn't feel cheap, as the mechanics seem quite sound. I also found it fun to collect all the Lums in Rayman 2: The Great Escape, although the gameplay was fairly different. Back to Origins, unlocking the medal for collecting over 350 also isn't too bad. Where I start to get annoyed is where there's always one Lum you miss, and although it doesn't matter to the Electoons or medal, if I know I could theoretically get a better score (through painstakingly trying to perfect my gameplay, probably approaching TAS territory), it just bugs me a bit.

As the ends of my last paragraphs indicate, I'm fine with being a sort-of-completionist—collecting all of these, time-attacking that, P.S. related: Sonic 2 Retro Remix rules—, but I find it hard to care about perfect scores, always trying to increase my coin or Lum count by one or whatever.

Edit: Mario derp
This post has been edited by dsrb: 03 April 2012 - 06:37 PM

#5 User is offline Deef 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:32 PM

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@Strife, I agree about James Pond 2 as well heh. It's weird how there is so much different junk everywhere and you just wanna grab it. But I imagine this is only the case because of the variety. Not something I want to implement in a Sonic but a good point anyway.


@Tyty, that's a good point I had completely forgotten about while writing the OP. The blog I linked to mentions it as well, and in other articles he bullets a few points about coin positioning that:
· encourages interaction without producing threat
· creates optional challenges
· provides guidance on where a player can go
· sets the difficult tone of later levels with less or harder to reach coins. Note that this is the only positioning factor that depends on the reward.
· slows the player down

But this is all positioning. I'm more interested in the reward aspect that gives the positioning meaning. I probably should have noted that in the OP; I'm thinking more about why the player would go out of their way to collect them than I am thinking about why they should exist.

Still, the positions of collectables are largely the whole point anyway. Or at least "phase 2" of collectable design.

One interesting thing about coins I think is that they are implemented so well, yet justified by something that is really losing meaning; lives.

Lives used to be 2 things:
· Chances to complete the game.
· Something you can only earn once. Back in the day you could never go back and farm lives.

Nowadays, extra lives:
· Are nothing more than chances to complete a hard part, thanks to level saves or infinite continues. (Sonic 3)
· Can be harvested effortlessly anyway. (NSMB)

Classic Sonic and Mario games both use 100 items for a free life but for coins there is no other reason to collect them whatsoever. So what happens to coins when you put infinite lives into a Mario game? I guess then it just comes down to positioned guidance and optional, unrewarded challenge. Collecting a coin in Mario 1 was a much bigger deal than in NSMB, where in 3 minutes you can do 1 invulnerable run through level 1-1 and come out with 7 or 8 more lives.


@dsrb, yes but I was only thinking of the classic Marios, where coins provide not a thing more than extra lives for every 100 you get. If you think rings are useless, what about these coins? That's what I was referring to when I said that coins feel like the most worthwhile to collect, which shows that even without health functionality, a collectable can always be a good thing in the player's mind. Therefore rings should be able to feel a bit more rewarding than they do, imo.

I agree with pretty much all you say about lums. Although I find the large majority of the lum-activated electoons to be bordering on the edge of not challenging enough, in a game that doesn't want to make things more challenging, and simply game filler, hence my rant in the OP. Lums aren't that bad though and I get the completionist thing. The game does that well enough since there are enough levels and enough challenge in collecting all medals to satisfy in this regard. But they still have that underlying issue that rings and coins don't: unless you are replaying a completed level to collect every lum, you may as well collect zero lums. This is the kind of thing I think about when questioning the fundamentals of collectables. Rayman's approach is fine in Rayman, but being obligated to collect rings and then seeing them become meaningless later is not something I'd like in a Sonic game.

As for missing that one lum... I'm still at a point where I glare at the keyboard angrily instead of feeling like it was my fault.

Btw, you played NiGHTS?




Anyway, any suggestions for improving the feel of collecting rings in classic Sonics?

Completely random idea:
· Less than 50 rings = shield is only a power, not a shield.
· More than 50 rings = the shield's free hit ability is enabled.
Could be played with but I wonder if it's fundamentally a bad idea.
This post has been edited by Deef: 03 April 2012 - 04:08 PM

#6 User is offline .Luke 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:12 PM

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This was a great read! I had never considered the real differences between rings and coins before as Deef pointed out.

On the topic of more recent 2D games, I always felt like Sonic Rush made the rings less pointless than they were in the classics. (Outside of extra lives earned from collecting 100 of them or simply to survive.) As you took more hits from badniks or bosses, the rings you had were more likely to scatter farther away from you, sometimes even forcing the player to collect new rings instead to reset that amount of repulse. Sonic Unleashed later on in the series gave rings more purpose by allowing them to refill your boost gauge partially, only removing 15 rings from the counter upon taking damage. (Or emptying it completely if you had less than 15.)

It would be nice to see fan games toy with the concept of "rewards" from the amount of rings you collected, because I will admit the current system does make playing Sonic games fairly easy compared to Mario, who can only take two hits at a time; which puts the player under a lot more pressure to avoid touching enemies. (Whereas in Sonic games I usually just crash halfheartedly into badniks without a care in the world. xD) The only way to otherwise extract a challenge from Sonic games is to make harder layouts, so all of Knuckles' hidden paths in Sonic 3&Knuckles were pretty tough on my first try. :#

#7 User is offline dsrb 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:24 PM

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View PostDeef, on 03 April 2012 - 03:32 PM, said:

@dsrb, yes but I was only thinking of the classic Marios, where coins provide not a thing more than extra lives for every 100 you get. If you think rings are useless, what about these coins? That's what I was referring to when I said that coins feel like the most worthwhile to collect, which shows that even without health functionality, a collectable can always be a good thing in the player's mind. Therefore rings should be able to feel a bit more rewarding than they do, imo.
Sure, and I should have edited (which I thought of doing) to clarify that I have played some of the 2D Mario games: Super Mario Land, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, New Super Mario Bros., and, er, Yoshi's Story (lul). As you know, in those games, coins not only earn lives but also unlock things like bonus houses, slot machines, etc.—so, as you've said, they do provide a more tangible reward than just an increase to the points counter, which I almost completely ignore in Sonic games (I used to go for Perfects in the S3&K special stages, but I can never be bothered now).


Quote

I agree with pretty much all you say about lums. Although I find the large majority of the lum-activated electoons to be bordering on the edge of not challenging enough, in a game that doesn't want to make things more challenging, and simply game filler, hence my rant in the OP.
Actually, I've only got to the second level of the second world in Rayman Origins, so I didn't feel qualified to comment much on its difficulty. I think freeing all the Electoons will be fun, as will doing the basic time-attacks; but I'm not so sure about the medals and cups. I can see myself replaying levels a few times, but I won't make much more effort and so I don't foresee too many perfect scores.

Quote

As for missing that one lum... I'm still at a point where I glare at the keyboard angrily instead of feeling like it was my fault.
I'll just have to glare at my Wii and its glorious non-HD version of Rayman Origins. :P I dare say there's a fair chance I'll pick up the Xbox 360 version for my flatmate's console one day.

Quote

Btw, you played NiGHTS?
Naturally! I love it. I'm not really great, but I put in a fairly good effort when I want to. The Panzer Dragoon fansite The Will of the Ancients started a high-score competition for Spring Valley a few years back, and for a few brief moments I had the title in my hands; I like to think I contributed towards stirring things up. :) I beat it later, with my current best of 433,200—not world-record material, but still something of which I'm quite proud.

Quote

Anyway, any suggestions for improving the feel of collecting rings in classic Sonics?
I'll have to get back to you on this! Good thread.

#8 User is offline Deef 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:15 PM

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@Luke
Is that true about Sonic Rush? I noticed it and had wondered, but never really checked. I like the idea anyway, if for only making it impossible to abuse 1 ring.

It sounds like you play a Sonic game like I do heh, but that's an aspect I think is important. Sonic games are about flying about enjoying the ride, not being afraid that you're going to die all the time. It would be hard to implement that kind of tension into a game where you are able to move multiple screen-lengths per second. So I think the very kind nature of rings is a deliberate thing, that's part of the feel of a classic Sonic. As it is, the player still doesn't like ever getting punished, but imagine if it was 2 hits to die... Stressville.

So I would like something that makes rings more important, but for that something to not be tougher survival (though the point about Rush isn't bad). I would also like it to not feel like farming, and that's the real dilemma I feel when trying to think of rewards. For example, if you collect 1000 rings you get a reward. Great, so now go play a whole zone 3 times. Blegh. That's the thing about the extra lives of coins; a free life is unquestionably a good thing, but not something you go and farm for, or if you do it isn't prolonged.


@dsrb
Aye, so no Mario game where coins do nothing at all except bring lives? I think it's safe to say that a Mario 1 coin feels more important than a NSMBWii coin.

Hooray for some NiGHTS lovin' hehe. My Saturn is on the other side of the planet so no idea what my scores were like. Actually I played Christmas NiGHTS a lot more... absolutely love it.

I could write about the difficulties of different stages in Rayman but it would be too much off topic. I will say one thing for you though; don't worry it's not a spoiler, but a bloody necessary tip. In the 2nd last level (you'll recognise it because you're running on falling brown pipes from the very start), frigging LET GO of the run button for a second. Origins has a derpy control where holding the run button is capable of reversing your left and right for a while and you don't know this, because there is no need at all for it in the entire game, except one part, one single jump, right at the end of the game after you've played 60 or 70 levels with no mention of it. For a Sonic player who is used to getting their lefts and rights co-ordinated properly with running up walls, it's the most annoying thing ever. Where exactly do you let go of the button? The place where you die about 20 times in a row because you fall right while pressing left. Yeah... there. >_<
[/off topic]
This post has been edited by Deef: 03 April 2012 - 05:30 PM

#9 User is offline BystanderLC 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:55 PM

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Super Mario 64 and Sunshine had it to where you collect 100 coins, you get a star.

I've always felt that Sonic doesn't die by getting hit any more. I've rarely gone out of my way to collect rings since in Sonic Generations, you get rings for a good rank anyway.

I like the idea of having a high score for the ring/coin. I've gone out of my way a few times to try and collect the most.

I did hate the idea that even if you collect so many rings, they're gone by the next act. Although, it's still nice to see that I survive with over 100 rings. That's amazingly rare.

#10 User is offline Some Dude's Hand 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:58 PM

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Very detailed analysis. Here's an idea for rings:

Add another part to the HUD that shows "ring energy." The ring energy works just like the rings counter in the classic games, but will only store up to 10 rings. When you collect a ring, it is added to both the ring energy and the rings counter. If your ring energy is already at 10, the ring will only be added to the rings counter, which will be turned into a sort of coins counter that gets carried over through the game and grants an extra life every time 100 are collected.

#11 User is offline .Luke 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:48 PM

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I'm guessing only the gauge would be affected by hits instead of the counter? Outside of your lack of details, I think it's a great idea! It'd definitely work out pretty well for speed-runs and saved games. 8D The score tally might have to be rebalanced if ranks are achieved in each zone, though, or only add up the amount of rings you racked up through the level.

View PostDeef, on 03 April 2012 - 05:15 PM, said:

@Luke
Is that true about Sonic Rush? I noticed it and had wondered, but never really checked. I like the idea anyway, if for only making it impossible to abuse 1 ring..


It's definitely true, but most noticeable in a boss-fight since you're getting hit a lot. It really helps to not grab all the rings across the arena in one sitting. xD

View PostDeef, on 03 April 2012 - 05:15 PM, said:

It sounds like you play a Sonic game like I do heh, but that's an aspect I think is important. Sonic games are about flying about enjoying the ride, not being afraid that you're going to die all the time. It would be hard to implement that kind of tension into a game where you are able to move multiple screen-lengths per second. So I think the very kind nature of rings is a deliberate thing, that's part of the feel of a classic Sonic. As it is, the player still doesn't like ever getting punished, but imagine if it was 2 hits to die... Stressville.


Haven't really thought about it that way before. It's definitely one reason why Sonic games are always relaxing for me to play. There's nothing else quite like all-out, reckless and fast-paced pin-ball antics. ^^ The kind of tension in Mario games would definitely be a buzz-kill, which is something I think Sonic Team were careful to avoid; the whole point was to create an experience completely unlike Mario anyway.

View PostDeef, on 03 April 2012 - 05:15 PM, said:

So I would like something that makes rings more important, but for that something to not be tougher survival (though the point about Rush isn't bad). I would also like it to not feel like farming, and that's the real dilemma I feel when trying to think of rewards. For example, if you collect 1000 rings you get a reward. Great, so now go play a whole zone 3 times. Blegh. That's the thing about the extra lives of coins; a free life is unquestionably a good thing, but not something you go and farm for, or if you do it isn't prolonged.


Never liked the idea of repeating the same levels in one session for extra stuff, personally, so I have to agree on the subject of free lives. (And the bonus stages in SMB3 made racking up extras even easier!) That's also why I wasn't terribly crazy about Rayman 1's level progression; too much backtracting for electoons! At least the sequel got it right by simply collecting enough lums as you progress through each level.

#12 User is offline Elratauru 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:19 PM

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On a collection side of gameplay...What do you think about past Rare games, like Banjo or DK64. Those were the masterpieces of collecting stuff back in the day, from Notes, to Jinjos, to Skulls, to Golden Bananas, and of course, Nintendo and Rare Coins needed to finish DK64.

Posted Image

Donkey Kong games always had that kind of collectible that you could find in a level, KONG letters or Animal badges as an example.
This post has been edited by Elratauru: 03 April 2012 - 07:19 PM

#13 User is offline Deef 

Posted 03 April 2012 - 08:17 PM

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View PostSome Dude, on 03 April 2012 - 05:58 PM, said:

Very detailed analysis. Here's an idea for rings:

Add another part to the HUD that shows "ring energy." The ring energy works just like the rings counter in the classic games, but will only store up to 10 rings. When you collect a ring, it is added to both the ring energy and the rings counter. If your ring energy is already at 10, the ring will only be added to the rings counter, which will be turned into a sort of coins counter that gets carried over through the game and grants an extra life every time 100 are collected.
Thanks for a reply that really has a go at the topic. It's an idea along the right lines. I'm assuming you mean the ring energy returns to 0 if you get hit, but the ring counter doesn't. Why only 10 rings? People are used to dropping up to 32. You want to increase the difficulty of survival? Actually your idea is really 2 separate ideas. One being about survival and the other being about suspension. To consider them separately I'll just imagine the ring energy counts every ring as well, instead of having a limit (well it may as well have a limit of 32 anyway, it makes no difference afterwards).

Basically you're suggesting that Sonic does the Mario and one function of rings becomes a literal copy of coins. This would mean rings never count over 100 anymore (thus blowing anyone's joy of ring attacking, not that I'm too fussed), plus it would mean free lives are more common. I think the main problem is that collecting 100 rings can easily be done in less than 1 act, so if the count can carry over (as well as there being no 200 ring limit for lives anymore) it could feel a bit like free life spam. The solution to that is to either decrease the number of rings, or increase the amount required for a free life. I would say 500 isn't too large. Otherwise if the game instead reduced the number of rings this would be a change to survival and gameplay as well, plus things would be feeling pretty Mario-ish now.

Your idea is basically what I'm after; something that lets rings carry over. Or SOMETHING that makes every ring matter, no matter how close you are to the end of the level. Lives are the most traditional idea and probably the easiest thing to shape a game around... but I dunno. It breaks a few traditions too (it would feel weird seeing your rings wrap from 100 back down to 1), and is kinda messy I guess. Plus all this adjustment to a new life-earning system when, in 2012, infinite lives are pretty much the norm.

As for the ring energy that can only drop 10 rings, I think it's just less fun to have less rings bouncing around. Also I'm wary of changes to survival in Sonic; I think it's stupidly easy to avoid death-by-attacks for a reason. Personally I think that rings should be made to feel more worthwhile by increasing the value of rings in their own right, not by increasing the chance of death.



View Post.Luke, on 03 April 2012 - 06:48 PM, said:

The kind of tension in Mario games would definitely be a buzz-kill, which is something I think Sonic Team were careful to avoid; the whole point was to create an experience completely unlike Mario anyway.
Yup.

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Never liked the idea of repeating the same levels in one session for extra stuff, personally, so I have to agree on the subject of free lives.
Yeah, so we need a reward that is like lives, in a game where that role is already taken. ...


View PostElratauru, on 03 April 2012 - 07:19 PM, said:

On a collection side of gameplay...What do you think about past Rare games, like Banjo or DK64. Those were the masterpieces of collecting stuff back in the day, from Notes, to Jinjos, to Skulls, to Golden Bananas, and of course, Nintendo and Rare Coins needed to finish DK64.

Posted Image

Donkey Kong games always had that kind of collectible that you could find in a level, KONG letters or Animal badges as an example.
Back then I really liked it. Banjo presented all its collectables so well; always clear for the player and every damn thing had the perfect amount of character. Really loved that stuff. However I still really don't like the idea of farming in a Sonic game, because that's what you did with most of these things, no? Basically Rayman and his lums. When I go back to Banjo nowadays I do feel a bit meh about it. I honestly think all that collection business was partly due to that particular time in gaming, where 3D platforming worlds were still working themselves out and needed to dump all that collection into a level in order to make a game out of it. Just my theory heh.

Things like DK Coins, Jinjos, Rare Coins, Skulls, etc, are really a different topic; more like Red Rings. This thread is just focusing on the common, humble, plentiful gather-able items and a way to make rings feel better to collect.



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This post has been edited by Deef: 03 April 2012 - 08:24 PM

#14 User is offline Jayextee 

Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:44 AM

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Simple suggestion; rings carry over from one act to the next. 100 rings will reset to zero but give you a shield (by the way, either remove these or make them very sparse). If you have a shield and get 100, invincible (make these sparse too).

Shield also carries over, like Super Mario or Fire Flower would.

Also, if there weren't like five hundred fucking rings on every level this would work.

#15 User is offline Deef 

Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:40 AM

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Yeah they're both good ideas, rings and shields I mean. Honestly I never thought of rings literally carrying over at all until last night and then you pop up and write it anyway. Yay the thread is working.

Because it's not like you don't start an act and get some free rings handed to you, guaranteed, every time anyway. So who cares about that 4 seconds of being vulnerable? And yeah totally agree about the shields too. When it comes to shields vs Mario suits I think suits win in practically every way, so I'm all for copying their ideas with shields.

The ideas of 100 = shield, 100 + shield = invincible... I like it. :) It does mean that when you hit 100 two things happen at once, unless free lives are removed.

Something to work with. Ta. :)



Hmm when you think about it, it's not that Sonic levels have more rings than Mario levels and coins, it's that they have more space. No?
This post has been edited by Deef: 04 April 2012 - 12:08 PM

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