Who is Victor?

Does anyone know?

There's a new map up by "Victor" called "a labyrinth". I must say that I love the design and concept overall, but there are so many serious issues with it. It could be a nice level if he polished it up, but I have no idea who he is. Does he read the forums? Does anyone know?

@cheleball, on Mar 4 2007, 08:03 PM, said in Who is Victor?:

There's a new map up by "Victor" called "a labyrinth". I must say that I love the design and concept overall, but there are so many serious issues with it. It could be a nice level if he polished it up, but I have no idea who he is.

"a labyrinth" is my first attempt at creating a sketchmap, any suggestions regarding how to fix serious issues or polish it up or other suggestions would be great.

Thanks, Victor

It's a very nice little level (or is that big?). The first bug I noticed was that the outer dark brown walls are not big enough. Also, I recomend you make those really long walls into several small ones or puting the "Tile" flag on. Also, the blinking lights are to streched in my opinion. But other than that it is an great level.

This post has been edited by FireFalcon : 05 March 2007 - 08:11 AM

Hey Victor! Welcome to the forums. 🙂

I guess I'll start with serious issues, since they're the most important.

First, you should always provide some outward (i.e., visible) sign that signals the player to the presence of force fields. The main scenario does this with glowy arrows, or glowy things on the walls. The convention established by the main game is that blue is for regular force fields and red for super force fields, but I see no reason why you couldn't invent your own convention as long as you stay consistent.

Second, there are many many places where the back side of walls is accessible to the player. This is bad because the back side of a wall, when touched, pulls the player's ship through the wall, doing damage the whole way. One of the worst offenders here are the part where you must blast your way through a curvy path filled with missileable blocks to a passage filled with force fields. There are also numerous passages in the top corners that are composed of single walls, with not backing. If you're not very careful with your flying, then through the walls you go.

One way around this is to give the walls an extra1 value of 0 instead of -1. However, this has the side effect that super pellets do not bounce off the walls, which is really bad for business in your level since super pellets is all you have at that point.

Another way is to make the walls not solid, and hedge them with thinner invisible walls. This way you can maintain the look and still get proper collision behavior. Note, however, that if you make the walls too thin, or the back side of one wall is too close to the front side of another, then player will be able to ram through the walls (they penetrate to the level of the opposing wall, which then pulls them through).

You should also take care that the left or right sides of a wall are not exposed. Basically, don't let the player touch any side of a wall but the out-facing side. Turning on "show contact boxes" in the editor helps identify these problems.

The other issues are less serious because they don't really affect gameplay that much, but when taken together add up to maybe one or two serious issues.

  • Powerups should have an extra2 flag so that they are given marker rings (unless you want to make them inconspicuous, of course). Any glowy things around them should have the same extra2 so that they are deactivated when the pickup is picked up.

  • There are a few places where glowy wires do not turn off when the switch is deactivated.

  • You don't have enough background sprites around the edges, so the player sees blur. If this were in the main playable area it would be a serious issue.

  • Powerups in boss areas should be behind a boss door 2 so you can't pick them up until after beating the boss. For example, when you fight the ma flicker, you can grab the green gun and run. Of course, after a while your framerate starts to tank, which causes you to die when you try to take on the narrow passages filled with enemies. (Yeah, this happened to me. :p)

  • Color upgrades should have the proper color, unless, again, you want them to be inconspicuous.

  • You should try really hard not to scale wall sprites up or down by more than around 20% (just a rough guideline); otherwise they look bad. There are three lengths of wall povided to allow you to do this.

  • Your walls look "chunky", again because of the scaled-up wall sprites. Having to repeat long walls over and over can be tedious, but it produces much more aesthetically pleasing levels.

  • IMO (this is just personal preference), a switch should open a door to an area that can't be accessed any other way; otherwise, especially in a level like yours where one part of the spiral looks much like another, players may be left wondering where that door was they opened if they've already been to the area in question.

Whew. I hope that helps a little. Again, let me say that I like your level (otherwise I wouldn't have taken the time to type all that out) and I would love to see it improved so it becomes more playable.

@firefalcon, on Mar 5 2007, 05:09 AM, said in Who is Victor?:

It's a very nice little level (or is that big?). The first bug I noticed was that the outer dark brown walls are not big enough. Also, I recomend you make those really long walls into several small ones or puting the "Tile" flag on. Also, the blinking lights are to streched in my opinion. But other than that it is an great level.

Thanks for the suggestions. Have added an extra width of dark brown background all the way around and re-adjusted the size of the blinking lights. Resizing the walls will take a bit longer, thanks for the tip about the Tile flag... for some walls turning Tile flag on not only made them tile but the tiling included an unacceptable visual gap between tile segments... but turning Tile flag on does make it easy to see which walls are stretched too much and need to be redone.

The "a labyrinth" sketchmap is too large to attach here in the forums, so I won't be uploading the next version until I have made all/most of the fixes you and cheleball have suggested.

@cheleball, on Mar 5 2007, 01:46 PM, said in Who is Victor?:

Hey Victor! Welcome to the forums. 🙂

I guess I'll start with serious issues, since they're the most important.
...
Whew. I hope that helps a little. Again, let me say that I like your level (otherwise I wouldn't have taken the time to type all that out) and I would love to see it improved so it becomes more playable.

They help alot! Thanks very much for taking the time to post all your detailed suggestions and especially the how-to-notes and different ways some of them can be implemented. A couple are done already, but I plan to do almost all of them before posting a next version.

Quote

IMO (this is just personal preference), a switch should open a door to an area that can't be accessed any other way; otherwise, especially in a level like yours where one part of the spiral looks much like another, players may be left wondering where that door was they opened if they've already been to the area in question.

This is the only suggestion I may not implement fully... I deliberately used a few doors in this non-conventional way so that not only would new areas open, but also new possible routes thru the labyrinth would also become possible. And I wanted there to be at least some (initial) confusion about where people are ... that's part of what makes it a labyrinth 🙂

Even before any doors are opened there are two routes into the center of the labyrinth (with a couple of variants), a couple get you to increased shields and pellets before you reach the center, and a couple get you to the center first. Although one star is at the end of the shortest route thru the labyrinth, one can pick them up in any order...

Thanks again for your detailed suggestions they will really help me make the next version look and play more like a WasteLand sketchmap should... and that is very much what I intended. And your comments have also helped me realize more about what my goals for the sketchmap are, which has given me some more ideas on other ways to improve the sketchmap too...

Overall, it's quite a nice map. Apart from what has already been mentioned, I only found a few minor problems:

1: Demon Flickers- small flickers with 4x normal HP, which are a side-effect of your having given some Large Flickers the Small Flicker AI. They take much more work than usual to kill, and are extremely lethal if they hit you. This may well be intentional, however, and it's only really a problem the first time you run into one of them.

2: The Giant Flicker Boss has two sets of wings, when it really only needs one. This isn't really much of a problem, but I suspect that the wings are much deadlier than normal if one should be so unlucky as to get caught in them.

3: The missile supply seems extremely limited given that there are places where they are required to pass. After looking at it carefully in the editor, it looks like they are only required at one point in the level, but on the first play-through I was hoarding them carefully because I wasn't sure if I would actually have enough to finish the level (this was partly due to the annoying habit of rocks to prioritize dropping shields, even if I was at 199%, so I almost never even reached the full load of 5 missiles).

Edwards

I hav one or two things to add:
- don't have mines next to walls, such the player could be close enough to make them explode when he's the other side of the wall, this makes them pretty annoying since the player usually can't destroy them before that.
- don't overuse triple turrets. They are quite deadly enough as it is.
- in complex critters with parent-child links, make sure the centers of all sprites are exactly on top of each other (unless the parent sprite can't rotate).
- y'know doors can have orientations other than vertical or horizontal
- if you really meant this behavior of one-sided walls in the top right and top left parts (which is possible since you always oriented them the same way, with the result that if the player is not careful, he's pulled away from where he wants to go), then you could replace them by force fields.

Otherwise, that's all. I was pretty frustrated by the map, but I guess this was intended

Hi Edwards:

Thanks for the specific suggestions...

RE:

Quote

a side-effect of your having given some Large Flickers the Small Flicker AI.

I just used the default script for those "253 enemy large small flier(2)" objects, which have "ENEMY: small flicker attack" as their default script. They are deadly, perhaps the most deadly thing on the map if you run you more than one at a time especially if your shields are running low. The moment I see one, I pull back firing at it and any that follow it until they are gone, and repeat as I more cautiously move forward.

RE:

Quote

The Giant Flicker Boss has two sets of wings, when it really only needs one. This isn't really much of a problem, but I suspect that the wings are much deadlier than normal if one should be so unlucky as to get caught in them.

I simply modeled it on the one in the game - the wings are deadly if you get tangled in them, but its quite easy to stay back/clear of the boss which is pretty easy to kill as bosses go...

RE:

Quote

The missile supply seems extremely limited given that there are places where they are required to pass. After looking at it carefully in the editor, it looks like they are only required at one point in the level, but on the first play-through I was hoarding them carefully because I wasn't sure if I would actually have enough to finish the level (this was partly due to the annoying habit of rocks to prioritize dropping shields, even if I was at 199%, so I almost never even reached the full load of 5 missiles).

That's pretty much as I intended regarding missiles. There are a number of places on the map where its easy to blast a few stones and "top off" your shields, and then transform a few more stones into missiles. What I do is fire on stones one at a time, absorbing ones that transform into shield power first, then firing on remaining stones to get additional missiles. Doing that allows one to easily keep 2-4 missiles on board which is generally enough to make it through any hard stone barriers on the map. In the next version I intend to make the use of missiles a tad more optional...

I intend to modify the map enough so that it will be new not just fixed and polished... so regardless of my comments above, everything on the map is up for review/update, and I've added all of your suggestions above to the do/review list for updating the map.

Currently I'm still updating the walls per suggestions from cheleball & FireFalcon above, which has turned out to be real time burner 🙂

Hi Zacha Pedro:

re:

Quote

I hav one or two things to add:

Thanks for the specific suggestions, have added them all to the do/review list.

Quote

- don't have mines next to walls, such the player could be close enough to make them explode when he's the other side of the wall, this makes them pretty annoying since the player usually can't destroy them before that.

Definitely will fix this...

Quote

- don't overuse triple turrets. They are quite deadly enough as it is.

Am reducing the number of turrets in general and using a tad more variety in the next version.

Quote

- in complex critters with parent-child links, make sure the centers of all sprites are exactly on top of each other (unless the parent sprite can't rotate).

Done

Quote

- y'know doors can have orientations other than vertical or horizontal

Good point I'll fix those that are annoyingly/needlessly v/h...

Quote

- if you really meant this behavior of one-sided walls in the top right and top left parts (which is possible since you always oriented them the same way, with the result that if the player is not careful, he's pulled away from where he wants to go), then you could replace them by force fields.

I did align them that way deliberatly for just that effect, but that was mainly because I was tired of doubling all the walls and wanted to get the map "done" LOL ... there will be no single sided walls in the next version.

Quote

Otherwise, that's all. I was pretty frustrated by the map, but I guess this was intended

The only "frustration" intended was the labyrinth/maze attributes, and hopefully the title warns players accordingly 🙂 But I also deliberatly made the walls narrow so that one could see to the right and left to both get a taste for what is ahead and to make it somewhat easier for players to build their own mental picture of the map as they went along.

Thanks again for the feedback.

I've uploaded a Labyrinth in the Wasteland ver5.1 - a solo star quest adventure filled with familiar Wasteland friends. Requires some shooting but only moderate flying skills.

Special thanks to cheleball, FireFalcon, Edwards, and Zacha Pedro for all their helpful/specific suggestions posted in this thread regarding fixes and improvements for a Labyrinth ver4.0 .

Read more about it, post suggestions and bugs, here a Labyrinth in the Wasteland ver5.1

This post has been edited by VictorVS : 16 March 2007 - 08:42 PM

Log in to reply