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Are levels needed?


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@GroovyBee: I know you mentioned game levels in another thread, as this game seems to have as well. Is it really necessary in the Contest?

 

Personally I found such features lame. I mean, they may make "Consumer Joe and Housewife Betty" happy, or may be beneficial for programmers debugging, or judges evaluating, but I don't think they have a place with the Hardcore Gamer - the only target audience I would want to please in the end - cart/contest or no cart/contest. I think this sucked with older Atari 2600 games, and I think they finally realized this in later releases. (Who really cared for those 112 features/levels, or "games" as they were called, in Space Invaders anyway?)

 

I personally liked how games like Space Armada, Tron Deadly Discs, Night Stalker, etc, had a natural difficulty curve (including Shark! Shark! on a more micro-level) - if you want to see that advanced feature, you have to EARN your way there. For example, I remember it was an awesome experience to work, and finally make, my way towards the "orange dudes with the sticks".

 

IMO, this is why later generation games also developed an "ending".

 

I could submit a game with such a feature, to ease in evaluation purposes, but I could not do that for the "real game" with any good conscience. Hopefully it's not compulsory.

 

So endeth my Rant. (I have a feeling some are already not liking me here.... :P )

Edited by GroovyBee
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No requirements are made for the internal design in games to be entered into the contest.

 

You can be so original as you like, so if your game doesn't have "levels" then it's right.

 

The only requirement is to follow the rules to submit games http://atariage.com/forums/topic/240012-intybasic-programming-contest-rules/page-1

 

We need to be clear on the rules so there is a lot of text, just so people doesn't "escape" by the corners ;)

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HI Oscar. Pleased to meet you. And thank you for IntyBASIC. :)

 

I wouldn't mind submitting a game version with a level choice at the beginning, just for ease in evaluation. Or maybe submit more than one if so. Still thinking of it. :)

 

But I would have to have different levels in the first place to give people a choice... (working on it...)

 

I hope this post (that was actually moved from another thread I was hijacking - at least arguably and accidentally) doesn't offend anyone. I was mentioning this out of experience.

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HI Oscar. Pleased to meet you. And thank you for IntyBASIC. :)

 

I wouldn't mind submitting a game version with a level choice at the beginning, just for ease in evaluation. Or maybe submit more than one if so. Still thinking of it. :)

 

But I would have to have different levels in the first place to give people a choice... (working on it...)

 

I hope this post (that was actually moved from another thread I was hijacking - at least arguably and accidentally) doesn't offend anyone. I was mentioning this out of experience.

 

Every post wrote with questions and good spirit is welcome right here. :)

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I personally liked how games like Space Armada, Tron Deadly Discs, Night Stalker, etc, had a natural difficulty curve (including Shark! Shark! on a more micro-level) - if you want to see that advanced feature, you have to EARN your way there. For example, I remember it was an awesome experience to work, and finally make, my way towards the "orange dudes with the sticks".

 

 

You know, that's what "levels" are. Anything that shows progress and keeps the player interested and coming back for more is a level. What I would totally recommend against is making a single screen game, say, that just restarts when you finish it -- no progress, no advancement.

 

Also, if all you do is make the game twice as hard on every iteration, then you'll lose me rather quickly. Like you said, unlocking a new enemy, weapon, or new area; or discovering a new game-mechanic is what keeps players interested.

 

Also, an "ending" is not a bad game mechanic, depending on the game. If you're making an adventure type of game then you better reach some sort of resolution where the player can feel satisfaction of his accomplishment, at least to some degree. This does not mean the game must end right there (unless it is a really large game and it's time to stop), but it does mean that there should be some sort of reward for the player. Rewards come in many shapes: a new weapon, a new location, more points, an extra life -- and yes, even a nice closing epilogue to the story.

 

I don't know who you are specifically targeting, but your comment about "Consumer Joe," "programmers debugging," and "judges evaluating" was a bit condescending; and it seems to me that your "hardcore gamer" generalization actually means "people like PuzZleR who hate X and Y in a game but love Z." That's a rather narrow audience.

 

In any case, like nanochess said, there are no requirements or restrictions on game mechanics and design. Just keep in mind that if whoever judges your game is not teh h4rdc0rz like you, then they will judge accordingly. ;)

 

Good luck!

-dZ.

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You know, that's what "levels" are. Anything that shows progress and keeps the player interested and coming back for more is a level. What I would totally recommend against is making a single screen game, say, that just restarts when you finish it -- no progress, no advancement.

 

Also, if all you do is make the game twice as hard on every iteration, then you'll lose me rather quickly. Like you said, unlocking a new enemy, weapon, or new area; or discovering a new game-mechanic is what keeps players interested.

 

Yes indeed. There should be something to "look forward to" in your commitment. Some of the classic Mattel games for the Intellivision were just like that. This is the game I believe in. And I don't personally like overly hard games, especially with a steep difficulty curver, and especially more so when it's only a faster, and faster, and faster similar next level. Yes, you lost me too there.

 

 

Also, an "ending" is not a bad game mechanic, depending on the game. If you're making an adventure type of game then you better reach some sort of resolution where the player can feel satisfaction of his accomplishment, at least to some degree. This does not mean the game must end right there (unless it is a really large game and it's time to stop), but it does mean that there should be some sort of reward for the player. Rewards come in many shapes: a new weapon, a new location, more points, an extra life -- and yes, even a nice closing epilogue to the story.

 

I love endings. I'm from the NES/SNES generation, where such concepts in home games took off, and got more "adventurous", and somewhat broke away from the score-as-many-points-as-possible mindset (which kind of was better meant for the arcade). Yes, some "ending games" had points, but I always felt the two together were conflicting.

 

Arcade games started having endings too, but it wasn't the same. It was just an overly difficult game most of the time, with an infinite continue mode, to keep you shoving coins.

 

Of course, endings in games became much more feasible when there came the ability to put more content into a game, for more "adventure". If you were more limited, like in the Intellivision's era, then it's quite hard to accomplish this, and easier just to tally a score instead.

 

Nevertheless, the Intellivision did accomplish this feeling of an "adventure" in a small space, on the same playing surface, but introducing subtle, or not so subtle, new game mechanics, new enemies, or new enemy attacks, etc, without resorting to just speeding it up over and over. This was neat for its era, for what it had to work with.

 

A bad example to me were some of the Imagic games. Yes, graphically stunning, but game play was too repetitive after a while. It only got faster and faster mostly, and more frustrating not fun, and the difficulty levels offered at the beginning felt kind of silly - kind of choosing your torture.

 

They did try something in Swords and Serpents, and this would have been the breakthrough. However, you do know what happened in the end - NO ENDING. They ran out of space. There's even a funny story of these kids finding the programmer's name in a directory, calling him up in the middle of the night after hours of searching for an ending, and cursing at him when he told them there IS no ending. Funny story.

 

 

I don't know who you are specifically targeting, but your comment about "Consumer Joe," "programmers debugging," and "judges evaluating" was a bit condescending; and it seems to me that your "hardcore gamer" generalization actually means "people like PuzZleR who hate X and Y in a game but love Z." That's a rather narrow audience.

 

Yes, it was a bit harsh, and it was opinion. But let me explain. :)

 

I do believe offering difficulty levels at the beginning makes finding bugs quicker for programmers, and evaluating different aspects of the game easier for judges. Not being mean to them.

 

But, honestly, IMO, if you want to know the ending of a book or movie before you read/watch/commit to it, you're not a serious book or movie lover. If you channel surf all the time on your TV, but never watch anything, you're not serious about any program. If you don't watch sports games live or on TV, and just want to know the score at the end, you're not as serious a sports fan.

 

Just like wanting the difficulty levels at the beginning of the game. Same concept in my opinion.

 

And, honestly, in all my gaming experience, I have never, ever, enjoyed such a game, or ever felt rewarded for reaching something in it, when difficulties, or "new features" are offered at the beginning. It makes me feel like they're treating me like a consumer looking for a "quick fix". I kind of find this insulting or condescending somewhat. :)

 

Again, as I mentioned earlier in this thread. I'm only basing it on my experience, and how these games make - me personally - feel, and didn't mean to offend anyone.

 

 

In any case, like nanochess said, there are no requirements or restrictions on game mechanics and design. Just keep in mind that if whoever judges your game is not teh h4rdc0rz like you, then they will judge accordingly. ;)

 

Good luck!

-dZ.

 

Ah, I have not been able to complete what I wanted before the contest. I only really found out about it mid-November when I browsed back here after a few months. I will submit something, but it's only an idea.

 

It's only one level for now, and only a sample.

 

Winning wasn't my objective, so I will continue it. My goal indeed is to create something similar in concept to Tron Deadly Discs, Vectron, Space Armada, Night Stalker, very much in the Mattel style - a game that starts out easy and inviting, but introduces a new twist on you every couple of levels, something that keeps you engaged for long periods of time. This is the concept I've always believed works best for the more technically limited games of this era. This is what I want to re-create in my Intellivision projects.

 

And if the judges don't like it, they're more than fully entitled to their opinions. :)

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I do believe offering difficulty levels at the beginning makes finding bugs quicker for programmers, and evaluating different aspects of the game easier for judges. Not being mean to them.

It's fine to believe that, as long as you accept that that is not the reason games are designed that way. At least most games. I know plenty of programmers who put an insane amount of scaffolding in place in order to be able to test different aspects of the game; and none that would just wimp out and just make the game easy just for that.

 

 

But, honestly, IMO, if you want to know the ending of a book or movie before you read/watch/commit to it, you're not a serious book or movie lover. If you channel surf all the time on your TV, but never watch anything, you're not serious about any program. If you don't watch sports games live or on TV, and just want to know the score at the end, you're not as serious a sports fan.

 

So... you are just averse to "warp" selectors in games, or something like that? OK, that's fair.

 

 

Just like wanting the difficulty levels at the beginning of the game. Same concept in my opinion.

 

That depends. The progress and rewards in some games can be more intricate than mere difficulty level. In such cases, letting an advanced player play the game in a more challenging way may give them an additional incentive to re-play, rather than getting bored of starting from easy and working their way up every single time.

 

I guess that for a simple game that only offers increasing difficulty as a reward, then skipping ahead is sort of cheating. However, to each his own, I say.

 

My game lets you practice any level at any difficulty, except the Boss Level, which must be earned. I think this is a fair balance. In practice most people don't use the Practice Menu, and just go for Adventure Mode. I've noticed that the Practice Menu is used mostly by very skilled players, when they are trying to work out a pattern or strategy to beat a level in a higher difficulty -- yet they still need to play the game in Adventure Mode through all levels to get a good score.

 

Like I said, horses for courses.

 

My goal indeed is to create something similar in concept to Tron Deadly Discs, Vectron, Space Armada, Night Stalker, very much in the Mattel style - a game that starts out easy and inviting, but introduces a new twist on you every couple of levels, something that keeps you engaged for long periods of time. This is the concept I've always believed works best for the more technically limited games of this era. This is what I want to re-create in my Intellivision projects.

That is certainly one type of game that works good on vintage consoles. ;)

 

-dZ.

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