View Single Post
Old 11-01-2011   #13
Mystic
チェン!
Administrator
 
Mystic's Avatar
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo Chaotikal View Post
However, I do hope this does not become grounds for disqualifying would-be controversial maps (see: Nimbus Ruins) strictly due to someone's bias. I've always considered the contest less of, gasp, a contest and more of a forum to post your work with the safe knowledge that it will get played by a lot of people. If we start axing controversial maps before they have a chance to get wildly differing opinions, then I think a vital part of the OLDC will be lost.
The ONLY maps that will be rejected on this basis are maps where the author clearly made a bad stage deliberately. The perfect example is RedEnchilada's entry for circuit this contest. It has no merit, and he knows it. He made no attempt to make a good stage and is just making a shitty stage for the lulz. That kind of thing is not acceptable. Any stage where the author made any good faith attempt to try to make the stage fun will not be rejected on these grounds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo Chaotikal View Post
While it's true that what goes into making a good Match or CTF stage is much more formulaic, it's also always a partial crapshoot -- something in the gut of the map maker that he or she thinks will work for the gametype. Unwritten, or maybe unwritable rules, if you will. Circuit is nothing but a more extreme example of this. A lot less hard science goes into making a good Race map than a Match map, but this is not inherently bad.
The major difference here is that nobody can agree on what a good circuit map is. There are many match and CTF maps with overwhelmingly positive opinions. There are almost no circuit maps with that kind of feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo Chaotikal View Post
Hell, I would argue the same thing goes for Single Player levels, as well. You can try to distill what makes Egg Rock 2 so awesome, and you might come up with several valid points, but at the end of the day what caused the stage to make the leap from "great" to "embodiment of Christ" is simply the natural talent Nev3r has in making a flowing, well architected experience. That's something you can't break down into bullet points. And that is not a bad thing.
While I think ERZ2 is most definitely more entertaining than the sum of its parts, I can most definitely break down why ERZ2 is fun. It mostly has to do with clever gimmick design and engaging the player in interesting ways. If you want a long, detailed explanation, I'd gladly give it to you if requested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo Chaotikal View Post
So essentially what I'm saying is that yes, you're right. People end up praising Circuit maps where there are glaring flaws and reject others simply due to something rather trivial. It's not as easy to put the author on the right track as it is for Match or CTF, it may very well be impossible. But I say that's the way the game works.
I read this to say "circuit is a flawed gametype, because that's the way the game works". If you want to have fun playing a flawed gametype or creating content for it, feel free, but I don't want to continue to encourage new level designers to consider the gametype for their work. I would rather encourage newer level designers to try their hand at a better gametype.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo Chaotikal View Post
First of all, I always considered Circuit to be more of a bite-sized Single Player. The stages are smaller and more linear due to the lack of abundant alternate paths, so it's easier for a newcomer to jump in and reach a level of proficiency close or equal to that of long-time players. In that respect I don't think it's the gametype's fault that a lot of the stages produced boil down to mere thokfests -- personally I yearn for more Thunder Factory and less Frozen Night.
Personally I consider circuit to be time attack with latency and without any depth. Why not just make a single player stage and play time attack on it? With time attack there are all sorts of interesting considerations to make on which route is the best and potential sequence breaking to go along with the gameplay of thokking like a madman. There is of course only one optimal choice in time attack, but figuring out what that choice is can occasionally be quite compelling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo Chaotikal View Post
Next, Match is a deep, strategic gametype while Circuit has no depth and boils down to multiplayer time attack. Oh no! Wait, why is this a bad thing?

If there's one thing that attracts me to the Circuit gametype is the very fact that it has very little depth to it. In order to play a good game of Match, you need to a) round up a decent number of players (8 is recommended, 6 at the very minimum) and b) ensure that they're both experienced in first-person shooters with WASD and mouselook control AND the specifics of SRB2 Match's strategic gameplay. The game isn't fun if nobody hits you, and it's also no fun if nobody dodges your shots. With Circuit, on the other hand, all the player really needs to know is the layout of the levels and how to handle the player character, both of which are already assumed for Match as well. This leads to Circuit being a much easier game to set up, because it is very inviting to anyone strolling around the Master Server and therefore easily amasses lots of people with varied skill levels, which can then make the shift to Match or CTF after a consistent group of players has been established. There's a reason I always, always start a netgame with Circuit.
I think you're using depth and complexity as meaning the same thing, whereas I am not. Depth is how many relevant choices the player gets to make in gameplay. Complexity is how many rules the player has to understand to fully appreciate the gameplay. These are not necessarily the same thing. I'll use four games to illustrate my point:

The Zelda franchise is both deep and complex. There are tons of decisions to make and a massive amount of rules the player needs to understand about the gameplay structure. By the end of the game the player is managing a massive inventory while making complicated decisions to solve complicated problems.

Tetris is deep and simple. There are a ton of decisions to make, but the rules of the game are incredibly easy to understand. Nobody is going to have any problems figuring out what's going on, but the game remains very interesting because despite the simple ruleset, there are tons of options of how to approach your problem.

The Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises (and many other JRPGs) are shallow and complex. While there are a massive amount of rules the player needs to understand in order for their party to have optimal statistics, in actual practice there aren't a whole lot of choices in the gameplay itself. You just keep attacking with your strongest attacks, healing as necessary, until whatever you're fighting dies.

Tic-Tac-Toe is both shallow and simple. There are few decisions to make and very simple rules. In such situations, the game quickly stagnates into repetitive game states because the lack of choices prevent any variety from entering the gameplay, and there isn't the complexity of the rules to hide this behind an RPG statistics system.

Now, with those examples, let's apply this to SRB2. SRB2 has two layers of rules complexity, as you've pointed out above. Our single player game has one set of mechanics, while out match weapon system adds an extra layer of complexity on top of that. More complicated rules, as mentioned earlier, create a longer learning curve before the player can fully comprehend what's going on and can be a barrier to entry for newer players. Now let's look at our gametypes in particular:

Single player mode is deep and relatively simple (Obviously, not even close to as simple as Tetris, but compared to the rest of our modes, it's by far the easiest to understand). While the physics ramifications of the tools the player are given are complicated, the rules themselves are relatively easy to understand. The player has a lot of decisions in how to go about approaching their goal, though, with non-linear stage design, multiple character abilities, and lots of stage-specific mechanics to play with.

Match mode is deep and complicated. All of the gameplay rules from single player carry over into match, while also adding a weapon and ammo system. The gameplay itself provides a ton of choices to the player as well, because even though the player's movement options are slightly restrictive compared to single player, the complexity of using the right weapon for the situation adds more than enough to make up for it.

Capture the flag mode is deep and even more complicated than match. The addition of teams, team rings, and all the CTF mechanics adds even more complexity. CTF provides and absolutely massive amount of depth because of all the various methods of accomplishing your goal, as the addition of an objective other than just attacking other players reintroduces a lot of the movement tricks from single player that aren't viable in match.

Finally, circuit mode is shallow and simple. The gameplay rules are the same as single player, with the exception of time being the most important thing. However, because of the emphasis on speed, there are absolutely no choices for the player to make. All of the decisions to make in single player are thrown out of the window because the player is encouraged to go as fast as possible. You play as Sonic, take a linear path, and whoever executes thokking the best wins. Thus, all the games of circuit end up feeling the same, like Tic-Tac-Toe once you figure out how to play optimally. While in circuit it's possible to mess up on reflex while it isn't possible in TTT, the decision tree is completely non-existent.

This is why I say circuit is a subpar gametype. Each game ends up working out exactly the same way, and while it can be an amusing diversion for a small period of time, it will quickly become stale once the players in the game figure out the stage layout because nobody gets to make any decisions. There are no cool sequence breaks like in time attack, no stage exploration and variety of character abilities like in single player, and no player interaction like in match and capture the flag. Every game is exactly the same, leading to the winner being determined by latency or someone making a stupid mistake while thokking.

Last edited by Mystic; 11-01-2011 at 10:44 PM.
Mystic is offline