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Old 04-12-2020   #1
Magnemania
 
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Default Elemental Shield in Techno Hill Zone

I do not like this monitor.



And I'm not a fan of this one, either.



The Elemental Shield monitor has bright red and bright blue in it, indicating that it protects against fire (red) and water (blue). When I see a shield monitor suspended over a giant, flashing, color-coded hazard, I assume that the shield can be used to protect against that hazard.

And that was how I learned, on my first playthrough, that what I had thought were heating coils were, in fact, purely electrical. And that seems like an awkward way to teach the player that, especially given that the Magnetic Shield does protect against them.

I would not have minded testing the elemental shield/hazard floor interaction and losing my shield if I acquired the shield in a separate context, but in this situation, it feels like the game tricked me into losing my shield. It especially hurts if I gave up a shield to get the elemental shield.

This feels a bit worse if the player falls for the next trick in Act 2.



The player gets an opportunity to exchange their shield that doesn't protect against the environmental hazards for a shield that gets them wonderful, wonderful rings.



Only for half the characters in the game to be forced to lose it in order to press this button.

This is more to point out a problem than to suggest a fix, but this seems like it'd be a lot more intuitive, at least in Act 2, if the Magnetic Shield and the Elemental Shield were switched here.
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Old 04-12-2020   #2
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Honestly, all of the later Act 2 monitors are rather dumb. You've already pointed out that the magnetic shield is literally useless to half the roster due to forced loss, but then there's the Whirlwind that's just behind some random corner-covering wall on the space directly after. All it does is let you skip the chems with a rather awkward jump off the pistons in case you already fell for both the above tricks... but then you need to know it exists, period, and there's little to no reason to run into the corner of such a short corridor anyways. I didn't even know about it until I saw a speedrunner use it.

I'unno, man, sometimes I wonder if this act's shields were only placed because of legacy placement instead of being there for a meaningful purpose.
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Old 04-12-2020   #3
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That electric monitor is pretty baffling. Honestly, I'd say that it feels like a relic from an earlier level design where you could have kept it longer, but as far as I can remember it's always been followed by that button puzzle.
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Old 04-12-2020   #4
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I had the exact same misconception as you when I grabbed those monitors for the first time. It would make so much more sense for an attraction shield to be in those places, since that's the shield that protects you from these electric hazards. Since THZ is the only zone where I tend to favor the elemental shield, I feel it wouldn't be a bad idea to swap the two shields you pointed out with existing attraction shields, like having an elemental shield where the attraction shield used to be.
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Old 04-13-2020   #5
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Great points made.

The placement feels like a test for a missing lesson. There needs to be an earlier room that does what's been suggested, of placing elemental around lava and electric around coils to teach the player the difference between the two, before showing them in the wrong context as a test.
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Old 04-13-2020   #6
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Agreed.

Especially on THZ2. You could easily swap the Magnetic shield and Elemental Shield locations and it would be fine.

As for THZ1..? Honestly i would replace it with a normal Ring Box or just remove that item and Pilar entirety.
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Old 04-22-2020   #7
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Default Another stupid shield placement

So, I was exploring around other maps and found something extremely dumb that made me think of this topic:


Yeah, you see this right. A magnetic shield underwater, placed in vanilla Deep Sea Zone 1.

Why?
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Old 04-22-2020   #8
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You're supposed to collect the invincibility monitor up ahead so you can grab the shield without it fizzling out. I made a bug report about it and that was the explanation given before it was marked as invalid.
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Old 04-23-2020   #9
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While I do agree that the magnetic shield is weirdly placed the elemental one is supposed to be harder to reach
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Old 05-06-2020   #10
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Reminds me of when I decided to explore the area directly behind where you start in DSZ1. I made it to the top, wondering what I'd find hidden. Take a look for yourself, and see what's there.
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Old 05-06-2020   #11
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Originally Posted by flarn2006 View Post
Reminds me of when I decided to explore the area directly behind where you start in DSZ1. I made it to the top, wondering what I'd find hidden. Take a look for yourself, and see what's there.
The Eggman monitor? Yeah I feel like it's just a minor troll from the devs (even if exploration should be rewarded)
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Old 05-06-2020   #12
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The attraction shield in THZ2 predates a change that makes it pretty useless. It probably should have been changed but we forgot about it. The elemental shields, however, are on purpose, because there's another type of game design at play here: risk-reward gameplay. By placing them in locations that are risky, we cause the player to see the hazard and go for it anyways, which causes them to blame themselves when they get hit and lose it immediately. Should attraction be used more in THZ2 now that the electric hazards are being used more? Probably. It's just important to remember that the level design wasn't all created at the same time, so it's not entirely surprising that some items aren't in optimal locations.

However, on the other items pointed out, I'd like to note that one thing that makes our game more interesting is having a variety of items, some of which are better or worse in different situations. It's actually okay for items to appear both in locations they're suited for and locations they're not. It's important for some alcoves and places to explore to not have anything, or even have a joke Eggman monitor there, or the actual secrets will lose their luster. If you find something every time you look around the corner, then looking around the corner no longer has any meaning. Intermittent reward is the key.

I'll also note that the DSZ1 Eggman monitor has been found and talked about a lot. It's doing its job admirably. I think far less people would have been remotely interested in that secret if it had just been a shield or rings or whatnot. The most important thing here is to be fun, and being tricked occasionally is fun and amusing for a lot of players.
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Old 05-06-2020   #13
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Even if a hidden eggman monitor is mechanically useless for the player, it's still an acknowledgement of their exploration, and says they don't have to worry about trying to go there in the future. I feel if there was something nice up there behind the start of DSZ1, it would mess with the flow of the map by encouraging a knowledgable player to turn around immediately and go grab the goodie whenever they start the level, especially if they're going for score or ring count.
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Old 05-06-2020   #14
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It basically is an acknowledgement from the developers that yes, we thought of that too.
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Old 05-06-2020   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystic View Post
The elemental shields, however, are on purpose, because there's another type of game design at play here: risk-reward gameplay. By placing them in locations that are risky, we cause the player to see the hazard and go for it anyways, which causes them to blame themselves when they get hit and lose it immediately.
The player is not properly hinted towards what the risk is prior to attempting the challenge. There would be no problem here if the shield was suspended above a spike bed or any sort of obstacle that wasn't flashing the same color as the shield itself. As it is, the implied challenge is "hit the flashing red shield without missing the monitor and landing on the flashing red hurt floor; the reward for going out of one's way to perform this challenge is immunity to the flashing red hurt floor via your flashing red shield."

Or...are you considering "guessing that the flashing red obstacle is elementally electric" part of the risk assessment?
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Old 05-06-2020   #16
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Maybe there's a colorblindness issue going on here, but the electric floors flash between yellow and red, for an overall yellow-orange look. I haven't seen many players get hit there and go "come on I should be immune". It may be that we need to teach elemental resistances better, though.
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Old 05-06-2020   #17
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I like the first elemental shield monitor the OP pointed out in THZ1. I find it rewarding to collect without getting hurt, or maybe even without losing too much momentum. You can jump sideways off one of the conveyor belts higher up in the factory area and bounce on the shield to land on the opposite side with an identical conveyor belt, then progress through the zone as usual. Techno Hill has some fun things you can do with the elemental shield, like trick Buzzes into approaching the fire trail or diving into the slime.

The elemental shield monitor pointed out in THZ2 is both harder to collect (except as Fang) and much less useful, especially since not long after there's an attraction shield followed shortly by a hidden whirlwind shield whose existence is drilled into my mind. The monitor is good for collecting the emerald token under the slime, but not really much else.

The Eggman monitor behind the start of DSZ1 is kind of underwhelming, but I can respect its inclusion. It kind of feels like telling the player to stop wasting their time in the starting area and go explore the zone, which makes sense because there's an insane amount of exploration potential in this zone.
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Old 05-31-2020   #18
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I like this shield. It just pretends you to drown and being burned (maybe). If you don't like this shield, just ignore it. Opinions are opinions.
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Old 05-31-2020   #19
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The thing is, you have to use the character abilities.
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