Green and Yellow block "rebalance"

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Lewa
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Green and Yellow block "rebalance"

Post by Lewa » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:38 pm

I'm currently testing a (rather significant) change to the way how the green (jump) and yellow (speed) "power up" work in the game.

Both of those blocks had major issues which i wanted to fix for a long time.

A short summary:


Green (jump) block:

The issue with the green block was that the jump multiplier (a value which increases your jumping power by a certain amount) was active (after you jumped off a green block) as long as you didn't touch the ground.
This made it possible to basically touch a green block once and then jump from block to block while having this effect active.
The main issue with that is that a single green block allowed (in a lot of cases) to take significant shortcuts in a lot of maps (which in addition to that were mostly rather easy to pull of.)

This of course had also an impact on the mapdesign. As a mapdesigner you were forced to design the maps in a way so that players weren't able to abuse them for easy shortcuts. (This meant that you often had to place them in wide open spaces without nearby blocks.)

The (experimental) fix for that is to make this block only active for the first jump. If you jump again (as an example of a wall) you loose the jumping multiplier. (You can still get the jump boost back if the jump off a green block again.)

This video illustrates both cases (the current version and the experimental changes)




Yellow (speed) block:

The yellow block had a similar issue. Once you started running on this block you were able to maintain (and even recover) your speed gain as long as you were able to hold your speed above 86.4 km/h.

This also had implications on level design because you always had to assume that players could potentially use a single yellow block to get this speed boost and run through the map in one go.

The experimental fix for that is that the player now slowly looses speed (if he is above 86.4 km/h) as long as he isn't running on a yellow block.
This video illustrates the changes:



Both changes have (in my opinion) positive feedback on the game:
  • As a mapdesigner you have far more control over how those blocks are used and can restrict areas more easily (Map balancing is way easier)
  • Those changes open up potential new routes and alternative pathways which players have to take into account. (Example: Do i jump from a green block to a white block and do a walljump or do i need to jump from a green block to a green block in order to make it?)
  • Green and yellow block placement now has a more significant impact on the routes of the map than before. (Example: Previously a single yellow block was enough in order to gain and maintain the speed boost. Now you need to use predefined pathways made out of yellow blocks in order to maintain that speed. > More decision to the player. Do i need to take the yellow path? Or is there an alternative route which can be faster even though i loose the speed boost?)
Of course, now it's possible that some of the alpha-maps (made in the alpha version of the game) will not be playable if those changes are implemented. This is unfortunate, but i think that this change does make the game more balanced and increases the the number of possible routes on maps (and thus i'm willing to take this step.)
However, the final version will still be compatible with the old maps. (But it will display a warning that those maps may not be playable due to those changes.)
You can also load your old .ecmap files into the map-editor and export it as a new .cmap file. This will get rid of the warning message.

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Re: Green and Yellow block "rebalance"

Post by BlueCrescentMoon » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:20 am

After I read this I thought about my old maps. A large amount of them rely on the ability to keep the jump over time. This would ruin at least half of my maps I worked on. I'd hate to see them not playable after this happens like you'd said. The running boost I think it fine, I don't see any reason why that shouldn't be implemented, the only maps I can think of that would be effected is the initial map you made for the menu, and the long straight you made in another level where you had to jump off. I'd hate to see the multi-boosted jumps go since it's a large part in a few of my maps and make the game feel a little bit faster that it already was. I know it would give us better ways to keep players from exploiting our maps and gives us more tactical choice of where things go, but it also limits us greatly. I was planning on releasing a map today and hearing this upsets me because this is one of the best linear maps I've created but it requires wall jumping with multi-boosted jumps. Couldn't there be a compromise between the two?

I'd love to see the changes but I also want to make sure my maps are still playable. Most of them will become incompatible because they relied on this very thing to get from point A to point B.
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Lewa
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Re: Green and Yellow block "rebalance"

Post by Lewa » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:11 pm

After I read this I thought about my old maps. A large amount of them rely on the ability to keep the jump over time. This would ruin at least half of my maps I worked on. I'd hate to see them not playable after this happens like you'd said.
Yes, it's unfortunate that some of the maps aren't going to be playable anymore.
This is sadly something that can happen during development. :/
I tried to make sure that the physics and gameplay is set in stone before the first alpha is released. (But as with many things in game development, stuff might be changed. Even in the last minute.)
I'd hate to see the multi-boosted jumps go since it's a large part in a few of my maps and make the game feel a little bit faster that it already was. I know it would give us better ways to keep players from exploiting our maps and gives us more tactical choice of where things go, but it also limits us greatly.
The issue here is that this can very easily be used as a big exploit in the game.
I noticed while building the maps that this gave me far too much restrictions as to where i was able to place green and yellow blocks.
(Place them too close to a second block/building and the player might be able to skip a lot of the map.)
I noticed that my mapdesign suffered badly due to that problem.
The same goes for the yellow block.

The only solution to this problem was either A) placing the green blocks very far away from other blocks or B) trying to close up the area around the block in order to avoid letting the player using it as an exploit (which often had negative impact on the mapdesign. At least in my case.) Sometimes it wasn't even possible to avoid all exploits. In such cases i had to get rid of the block entirely. (Which ment that i wasn't able to implement certain parkour-szenarios in my maps.)

I was aware of those issues for a long time. But i never knew if (and how) i should takle them or leave them be (and simply build maps which try to avoid those issues as best as possible.) But after a lot of consideration i came to the conclusion that it's in the games best interest to fix that as soon as possible before the game gets its final release. It's better to loose compatibility with a few maps in alpha/beta stage (i also had to fix some of my maps) and in return you get a far more balanced game going forward. (And we have to remember that once the game gets its final release, i'm not able to do such major changes to the physics of the game ever again.)
I was planning on releasing a map today and hearing this upsets me because this is one of the best linear maps I've created but it requires wall jumping with multi-boosted jumps. Couldn't there be a compromise between the two?
It's still possible to do those multi-boosted jumps in the game. You just have to add a few green blocks on those spots where those jump boosts are nessecary.
Take this map as an example (from the singleplayer alpha):
[+] Spoiler
Image
This map got "broken" with the new changes. You simply can't jump of the walls continously while retaining the jump-boost from the first green block.

However, this can be easily fixed:
[+] Spoiler
Image
Simply color all blocks/walls which the player should be able to use for the mult-jump boost in the color green.
You don't need to do major changes on those "broken" maps in order to make them playable again. Simply recolor the affected blocks to green and the issue fades away.
And even on those screenshots you can clearly see that you can somewhat "control" the flow of the map by simply recoloring a block from white to green (and vice-versa.) The player still has the ability to take advantage of the jump boost while you as the mapdesigner can control the area in which this is used. (And in my eyes it makes even more sense to do it this way. Now players can clearly see where you can perform a jump boost by simply looking for green blocks.)
I'd love to see the changes but I also want to make sure my maps are still playable. Most of them will become incompatible because they relied on this very thing to get from point A to point B.
It will be possible to load your .ecmap files into the new version of the game and export them in the new mapformat. (Of course you have to do some tweaks to the map in order to make them playable. > recoloring some blocks to green.)

Going forward, you can make sure that your maps will be playable if you use green blocks on every spot where the player can jump off a wall while retaining the green jump boost.


Note however that i'm still experimenting with those changes. So it's not 100% set in stone yet if this makes it into the final game (although i'm all for it. Just want to make sure that i cover it from all angles.)

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Re: Green and Yellow block "rebalance"

Post by Dr Gains » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:19 pm

Im for this change. I know some of my jumps will not work now, but the edits Ill have to do seems kinda small. I was eventually going to make a map with that constant speed boost effect, glad I havnt yet now. Should actually open up some doors to new material.
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Re: Green and Yellow block "rebalance"

Post by Artain » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:00 pm

Can't you just allow map-makers to turn it on in the map editor??? I can see that it can break the map if it is either on or off, but it really just depends on the map
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Re: Green and Yellow block "rebalance"

Post by Lewa » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:45 pm

Artain wrote:
Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:00 pm
Can't you just allow map-makers to turn it on in the map editor??? I can see that it can break the map if it is either on or off, but it really just depends on the map
Do you refer to being able to switch between both physics? (the old way the blocks workde and the new one?)
I would like to keep the game consistent without splitting the whole game into two different playstyles.

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Re: Green and Yellow block "rebalance"

Post by Artain » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:09 am

Lewa wrote:
Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:45 pm
Artain wrote:
Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:00 pm
Can't you just allow map-makers to turn it on in the map editor??? I can see that it can break the map if it is either on or off, but it really just depends on the map
Do you refer to being able to switch between both physics? (the old way the blocks workde and the new one?)
Yes || Tak

[/quote]
I would like to keep the game consistent without splitting the whole game into two different playstyles.
[/quote]

Okay, although I would disagree because that would mean there would be two "pro" levels. Also, you'd have to test it out to see if it makes you feel the difference. Whatever you want
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Re: Green and Yellow block "rebalance"

Post by Lewa » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:48 pm

Artain wrote:
Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:09 am
Okay, although I would disagree because that would mean there would be two "pro" levels. Also, you'd have to test it out to see if it makes you feel the difference. Whatever you want
Maybe i misunderstand something, but that's exactly what i want to do.
There is going to be only one way to play the game (the changes which i showed in this video.) Players aren't going to be able to switch to the old playstyle.
All maps have to be build with the new playstyle in mind. As a mapmaker you don't have to worry about which underlying physics you want to support.

All alpha maps are pretty much legacy content from this point on (and can't simply be played on the new game version). Older maps have to be specifically ported to the new version (by opening the .ecmap file in the editor of the final game) and making appropiate changes to the map geometry in order to make the maps playable again.

If someone wants to play with the old physics (which are somewhat broken in regards to the game-balance), they will have to stick with the alpha.

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Re: Green and Yellow block "rebalance"

Post by Artain » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:12 pm

[/quote]
If someone wants to play with the old physics (which are somewhat broken in regards to the game-balance), they will have to stick with the alpha.
[/quote]

Meaning, someone will most likely post a download of the old alpha, got it.
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