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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.

#16 User is offline Jayextee 

Posted 04 April 2012 - 04:14 PM

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Glad to help. Forgot to mention getting rid of the whole extra lives thing. I mean, they should be well-hidden in levels. WELL. HIDDEN. You know, like one per act maximum, and none through score bonuses; make them worth something too. ;)

#17 User is offline P3DR0 

Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:41 AM

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Quote

--- : Can be a bad thing too. Collecting a king lum makes me embarrassed if someone walks in the room due to all that burbling.
Fuck whoever walks into the room. When lums sings, I sing along with them.

The cool thing about the lums instead of the rings or coins is that you have some motivation to get 'em, because at the final score if you get X number of lums (Normally 150~300) you get extra electoons which helps you unlock extra characters and some parts in the game (like the treasures one) quickly. So if you're in to complete 100% of the game, you have to colect the most of them as you can.

Coins and rings only had the extra life feature into them which feels cool, but after you get 10~20 lifes you kind of feel like you don't need to farm 'em anymore, so colecting rings or coins start to be less than necessary. But lums, from the beggining of the end feels like a necessary task, and it may be just me, but I really feel like I need to get all of the electoons in the game. So lums are more than necessary.
This post has been edited by P3DR0: 05 April 2012 - 10:42 AM

#18 User is offline Deef 

Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:41 AM

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Ah they're a bit too babyish for me. It really lets loose in the end credits when they kind of break down into a long baby gurgling solo. Anyway, it's only a way to point out that added character is usually a good thing (I think the shields vs suits comparison illustrates this well too) but it can push the player's taste too far if it tries. Neutral items skip the benefits of character but also skip the risk.

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The cool thing about the lums instead of the rings or coins is that you have some motivation to get 'em
You mean obligation; the player knows that he will never get something he wants if he doesn't collect them every chance he has. I think if something isn't choice then it isn't a reward, just a task. The difference is borderline semantics yeah, since the player doesn't really have to play the last 11 levels or collect the other skins, but I think it's a real and important difference nonetheless. I could accept that losing out on the skins wouldn't hurt a player too much, but you have to agree that missing out on 11 levels is a disappointment the player wants to avoid.

Not that a focus on completing tasks is a bad thing. As mentioned in the OP, farming lums is a mechanic that the game is built around and handles pretty well. While you are going back for more electoons, Origins plays how it's meant to. The player takes on the challenge of every lum, it works, the lums are the game. Finishing without 300 lums isn't an irritating disappointment like Sonic and 100 rings, it's the game the player signed up to.

But let me ask, how many times do you replay a level in Origins if you don't need to collect lums? Everything beyond the 2 electoons has nothing to do with the intrinsic value of lums. To refer to the OP again, "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."

So:

1. Collecting stuff is a task, not a spare layer of gameplay the player can choose to enter and exit.
2. If the gameplay is focused on completing tasks, it becomes exposed when those tasks are removed. I don't like how once I have the trophy and medal, I feel little interest in replaying especially the platforming levels. Viewed in their own right they have very few secrets, are very linear, and most of them are very simple. Lums are the principle justification for this.

Compared to replaying a Sonic zone, the difference made by how much focus is put on collection is quite a big one.

Personally I don't like a platforming game that depends on farming to make the player want to play it. I feel a bit patronised instead of free, but that's just me and arguable I'm sure.

Coins provide coin-collecting challenges just as readily, except they aren't obligatory.
And they always come with a reward even if small, instead of losing all meaning once the job is done. I think any small reward is better than obligation-or-nothing.

Quote

Coins and rings only had the extra life feature into them which feels cool, but after you get 10~20 lifes you kind of feel like you don't need to farm 'em anymore
Too true. As I said in the OP it's especially noticeable in Episode 1 with the ridiculous triple digit lives counter. Not to mention the role lives have in general these days, when continues, level saves and backtracking for easy farming are the norm. But again in the OP: " I believe that simply having a reason to collect a collectable is more important than the reason itself."

I believe this because if you take an empty screen and chuck in a floor, a character, a collectable and an optional obstacle, there are 2 questions in the player's mind:
1. Do I have the skill to reach it?
2. What does it get me?

We want the player to play, more. We want the player to go out of his way to get that collectable.

Question 1 soon becomes meaningless as the player's skill grows. If this was the only question that existed then player's would run on by feeling no need to prove something they know they can do.
Question 2 is what keeps things going. There has to be something that says to the player "that 4 seconds of your time was worth it." Definitely yes there is the matter of balancing effort and reward here, but as long as there is something that is guaranteed to leave the player better off than before, you're already a leap ahead of having no reward at all. As long as the reward is unquestionably being better off than before, even if small we can ask the player to consider more challenges than no reward at all.



_
This post has been edited by Deef: 07 April 2012 - 06:58 AM

#19 User is offline Some Dude's Hand 

Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:47 PM

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I need to fix up this "ring energy" system I thought of.

View PostDeef, on 03 April 2012 - 08:17 PM, said:

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.

To prevent too much extra lives, how about doubling the ring requirements after a life is granted? (ex. You get a free life at 100 rings, but then you need 200 rings to get another one, and then 400, etc.) And scratch the idea of wrapping. It feels good to see your rings counter show every ring collected so far. It gives the player a powerful feeling, a sense that they've come a long way.

View PostDeef, on 03 April 2012 - 08:17 PM, said:

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).


The ring energy limit could be larger. I see where 32 came from, but for a currency meter, doesn't 32 seem like a random number? How about rounding it off to 30?

#20 User is offline TheInvisibleSun 

Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:52 PM

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View PostSome Dude, on 11 April 2012 - 01:47 PM, said:

View PostDeef, on 03 April 2012 - 08:17 PM, said:

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).


The ring energy limit could be larger. I see where 32 came from, but for a currency meter, doesn't 32 seem like a random number? How about rounding it off to 30?


He may have used 32 because that is the max number of rings that could be visibly lost in the classics, I believe.

#21 User is offline Some Dude's Hand 

Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:15 PM

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View PostTheInvisibleSun, on 11 April 2012 - 01:52 PM, said:

He may have used 32 because that is the max number of rings that could be visibly lost in the classics, I believe.


Well, I knew that. 32 might be a good number from a technical standpoint (easier to handle in hex), but I chose 30 because imo that sounds like a better fit from the player's perspective. You know what? I'll stick with 32, because most people already know that 32 is the limit for lost rings. Whatever makes people happy.

(On an unrelated note: Heh, one trial post wasted on a small change to an idea that may never be used.) :v:

#22 User is offline Star and Moon 

Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:52 PM

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That was very interesting. (I'm sorry but I haven't read all the comments so I may say what someone else has already said.) One +++ to collecting rings that you forgot to mention is that if you have more then one, and you get hurt, it is easy to recollect them if you in a place that is barren of rings, or if you are trying to walk across lava. But in some games they don't have that feature, which makes ring collecting kind of pointless. But it still would be better if collecting rings had more meaning. One thing I really liked in Sonic Boom (The ROM hack, not the old fan game) you could preform several moves, each which cost a different amount of rings to preform, that makes rings have more meaning. I think they should have that feature in the game, or maybe they should just put the chao gardens back in, or both.

#23 User is offline Deef 

Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:25 PM

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@Star and Moon
I actually see that as pretty much a negative, Star and Moon. I do acknowledge that taking the focus of a Sonic game away from the tension of life management is a deliberate and positive thing, but I also believe that simply exploiting the infinite drop & catch mechanic to pass dangerous areas really messes up how much the designer can control the player. That's why in the OP I wrote "They make the game really easy as the player is permitted to screw up, over and over again." as a positive and a negative.

Turning rings into fuel or currency for special moves does place meaning back into rings, but also heavily changes the focus of the game. So the value of this idea depends more on how much the game designer wants to do that, than it does on its own merits.




@Some Dude's Hand
Hmm. So if you scratch the wrapping immediately everyone is going to ask "WELL HOW HIGH DOES IT GO!O???1" I find that hilarious heh, just the thought of getting hit by a simple little Coconuts and dropping seventeen thousand, three hundred and forty-two rings. Oh the rage lol.

Yes I realise I just considered this in terms of the rings the player can drop, not in terms of the untouchable and suspended ring counter you said. But mmm, even if it's not 17,000 that you're carrying, I still like the idea of running around with over 500 rings not just as a rare exception. This makes the point pretty clear too; 500 rings in Sonic 3 means absolutely nothing. If there's something that makes 572 rings feel 100 rings more meaningful than 472 rings, then I would say something is going right. I could legitimately accept a classic Sonic game with such a counter as a better thing than the way Sonic 3 works. I very much like the idea of being afraid to drop 572 rings. Oh the tension. On the downside however, oh, the tension.

Anyway, sc-sc-scratching the wr-wr-wrapping is a nicer way to do it, I agree. It would just need a bit more thought. What is the limit, what happens at that limit, etc. The increase in ring requirements for extra lives isn't a bad idea either. A little evil-mmo-player-manipulation-ish, but still.

The non-wrapping thought also leads to the new concern of farming worries; something I'm really not fond of one bit. To avoid the feeling of farming, the reward has to be something the player will not feel disappointed to not receive. Yep; the reward has to be definite, but not actually craved. That's what irritates me about coins - the harder you look at them the more they do everything right. I honestly don't think the original design of Mario's coins went through a huge range of options for what they do; I think they just kind of pulled a Homer and coins are so right because they are so simple. (However I do think it's likely that coins are applied to the levels better than rings are as well, but I haven't really looked hard at this.)

Tangenting a little there, so I'm just saying that they're good and interesting suggestions.


Oh, as for the number 32, well what I was really saying is that it makes no difference what number you assign to this "ring energy." Think about it. The amount of rings it "holds" doesn't mean or do anything in your idea, unless I'm reading it wrong but I think I have it right. There's no reason at all for the HUD to even be any different to how it is already in Sonic 3, since it works like rings and you just get hit and drop them all still. That's why I questioned the "10" in terms of survival, because the only sense I could make of it was if you were suggesting Sonic only visibly drops 10 rings. To that I say, no, it would be better staying as 32 dropped rings, while the "ring energy" itself doesn't even have a place in the HUD; it's just the number of rings you have collected and not yet dropped, like always. It's the "ring counter" that would be different; some other counter hidden up the top tallying up hundreds and hundreds of ever-collected rings. (Oh, there is one reason for only going up to 10/30 - not having to bother with rewards for rings carried. But I think that is just less elegant.)

In considering your suggestions I have made them sounds more convoluted than they really are. It simply comes down to: "Add another counter than isn't affected when rings are dropped, and is suspended always, and thus works just like coins."

Clearer terms I think are "rings collected" and "rings carried." Rewards would have to be considered for both in the interests of elegancy. But yes, this is the basic solution to the problem posed. Rings collected take the best of Mario's coins. Rings carried take the best of Sonic's rings.


So putting all your ideas together and ending my unleashed ramble:
· Rings collected is a counter that suspends across levels and doesn't wrap at 100, but at something higher.
· Use increasing ring requirements to temper life haemorrhaging.
· Rings carried works as normal.


Adding my interest onto that:
· Rings carried are also suspended, allowing for monster painful drops (that are still making me laugh).

Lol, enter bullet time, slow fade into black and white, slow the music into a drawl.... you just got financially destroyed. Honestly though, I could really play with this idea as much as it sounds like I'm destroying something I'm trying to take seriously.



· · ·

I plan on rewriting the OP with a much fuller analysis, while I still haven't settled on any main solution that I like. To be honest I'm more interested in that analysis than a solution at the moment; it's distracting me. And I keep thinking of new points I have to make a note of, I wanted to have posted it already.

#24 User is offline Some Dude's Hand 

Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:11 PM

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View PostDeef, on 11 April 2012 - 07:25 PM, said:

@Some Dude's Hand


Yes, you've grasped what I was trying to say. I should've used the "rings collected" and "rings carried" terms, as that seems to make my idea clear. As for the limit on the "rings carried" counter, why not make it adjustable in the game menu? (by increments of 20?) Like choosing your difficulty, but with a twist. A low limit means less tension and more of a focus on survival, while a high limit is vice versa. And just for farts and giggles, I'll incorporate the idea of massive ring drops: By beating the game with a certain amount of "rings collected," you can choose to make your "rings carried" counter top off at higher numbers, with an absolute limit of... 1,000 rings!:eng101:

...'k then. I'd like to take a shot at this "uncraved reward," but I'll let the others speak out on that. I feel I've been lol hedgehogging this thread, so I'd like to see what else these creative minds can offer.

#25 User is offline Deef 

Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:44 AM

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But what does the limit to "rings carried" actually do? Only affect the amount you can drop?
You suggested increments of 20. What possible difference is there between carrying 40, and carrying 60, and carrying 80?

Oh, and regarding the uncraved reward and the reference to coins, I was referring to the free lives. That's what I was writing all about, yet I forgot to actually say what I was referring to. Free lives are a reward that always exists, but that the player won't feel disappointed when passing up chances to earn that reward. Thus, the player won't feel a kind of "farmy" or "negative motivation" (ie, to avoid disappointment) to collect them. All about controlling expectations.

Apart from lives, which are indeed getting more and more meaningless, I haven't thought up a great uncraved reward. BUT simply having the reward is definitely more important than the value of the reward itself, so it shouldn't be too hard.

Thanks for the continued interest heh. Today going up the skilift I thought to myself "I am taking things in a videogame about a blue animal wayyyyyyy too seriously." Srs bsns.
This post has been edited by Deef: 12 April 2012 - 11:46 AM

#26 User is offline Some Dude's Hand 

Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:45 PM

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Well, by letting the player choose how many rings they can carry, they can choose the balance of tension and survival that fits them. A new player might choose a small limit because it's easier to keep and reclaim all their rings, but an experienced player might choose that option too because it makes it harder to get through tougher levels without dying. Conversely, a new player might choose a higher limit as it lets them screw up a lot and still have rings, while an experienced player might choose a higher limit as it makes it harder to keep and reclaim all their rings. There are no truly "hard" or truly "easy" settings, just settings that seem hard or easy to you.

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