Saturday, September 27, 2014

Kirby Kid's Advice: Inkjet interplay

Here's another one stripped out from Kirby Kid's precious feedback:

the double ink jar obstacle could be tuned better so that the player waits less. the rhythm/timing challenge here is pretty complex (two objects moving and attacking at different rate). Also when the ink rises jumping into these jars is difficult when they go under the ink.
Pas évident, hein, les doubles encriers ? Selon Kirby Kid, ça vaudrait la peine d'en ajuster le rythme pour que le joueur ait moins besoin d'attendre. Effectivement, si on essaie de passer en force ou en vitesse ce genre d'obstacle, ça se finit généralement dans une mare d'encre. Même pour moi. Dommage pour un jeu de course ?

Yeah, that's quite true, I have to admit. Whenever I fail myself at *deline's level, that's in the only part she has not been involved in: the double inkjets. Same for the later level. I hadn't bother this far because I'm not that good at video game, so it sounds natural to me when there's some place where I often fail.

Now, there's one easy way I could increase the chance the player goes through such challenge: allow him to undermine it. If only Bilou had the opportunity to stun inkjets by throwing him a dumblador, that would ease moving through. You wouldn't need to time your jumps because inkjet would stay in-place.

Mais je coince un peu: je ne vois pas bien à quels ajustements procéder. Permettre de simplifier le challenge, ça oui. Il me suffit de permettre au joueur d'assomer les encriers qui resteraient alors gentiment sur place, sans plus jeter d'encre. On redescend à un mode plus simple avec un encrier immobile et un mobile, une seule source de goutelettes. Mais est-ce bien à ce genre de solution que Kirby Kid pensait ?

You wouldn't have to fear droplets either. Of course, when there's two of them, only one would be disabled that way, but that would still be better than trying to hop here and there to dodge droplets.

L'autre explication possible, c'est qu'avec leur façon de monter et descendre depuis le début du niveau, mes encriers se trouvent dans un état trop imprévisible au moment où le joueur les rejoints. Le moindre petit retard accumulé et il n'y a plus moyen de se fier à sa mémoire: il faut obligatoirement observer les encriers, repérer le rythme de leurs tirs (qui dépend de la distance qu'ils parcourent) et se faufiler entre les gouttes.

Now, the point I cannot solve is whether that would be solving the "tuning" issue mentioned by Richard. But what could I tune better ? Inkjet's speed doesn't seem too fast, they typically throw once moving up and once moving down. The moment when they'll prepare their blow is constant related to the moment where they turn back, so you *can* learn it from observing, but it will be harder to use this knowledge from one inkjet to the next, since the position of your platform compared to their turn-back position is variable.

Comparativement, tous les Marios sur 8 et 16 bits n'auraient activé le comportement des encriers qu'après que Bilou s'en soit suffisamment approché. En dosant la vitesse à laquelle il avance, le joueur peut alors "manipuler" leur comportement et les forcer à adopter un schéma qui est plus à son avantage. J'avoue, c'est surtout une technique de speedrunner, et j'aurais tendance à la trouver plus perturbante qu'amicale, mais au moins ça donne une possibilté de contrôle bienvenue dans ce genre de situation.

One thing that differs from typical Mario games, is that inkjets are active as soon as the level starts. In comparison, all 2D Mario games built before 1995 were technically limited to a dozen of active sprites. Anything that was moved offscreen from a sufficient distance was "deactivated" and monsters -- but also moving platforms -- start activating when the screen approach them. Here, the player will see them at a random initial position because their position depends on the number of frames spent to get there. Comparatively, in Mario, you'd see them at a position that only depend on how fast you were moving when approaching them. Is this what I'm missing ? 
The ink is interesting to avoid in the air. Once it hits the ground, the player has successfully dodged. If the ink hurts on the ground, the player just waits around for the coast to clear.
This has been easily fixed. Now the ink only hurts in the air, no longer on the ground. For the "rush" type of game, this is definitely not deconstructing any of the challenge.


Kirby Kid said...

Nice article. Your suggestions would help. But you can simply not let the ink jars move up so high and down so low. You can also give the player more air control when shot out of the jar (or more air control in general for the whole game). That should help a lot.

PypeBros said...

NB: increasing the delay-before-shoot rather than reseting-it might give more interesting behaviours.