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Poll

Which game should we build in?

D1/2
1 (7.1%)
D2X-XL
3 (21.4%)
D3
10 (71.4%)

Total Members Voted: 14

Voting closed: February 12, 2011, 01:17:50 PM

Author Topic: Crowd-source level building  (Read 78966 times)

Offline Shroudeye

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #195 on: March 29, 2011, 10:07:23 AM »
...As for when the alien portions start and stop, I was more thinking about having the original mines tunnels be there, and then the new alien portions be kind of interwoven in-between those original tunnels, on occasion overlapping when the old tunnels have suffered more damage, or parts of the old mind have collapsed and sections are no longer accessible...I haven't been entirely sure how to accurately portray the interweaving of the newer aliens tunnels with the old...I'll attempt to produce a brief but overall view of the entire mine for my next sketch.
Right now what we just need is an overlay of the level's layout, then we can start assigning rooms to editors. We can discuss, poll, and determine the details later; where everyone can submit their ideas, sketches, models, even *.orf's/*.oof's*d3l's, etc... But we need to have a FUN-to-play layout first.

And, if you are concerned about "big" papers, you still have the Printscreen&MS Paint (Or better?) combo at your disposal...;)

Offline Scyphi

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #196 on: March 29, 2011, 03:12:10 PM »
Oh, I have better all right, I have Photoshop CS5, so new I've hardly used it yet. ;)

But I don't think I would need that even. I'm thinking that I'm just going to grab a nice angular screenshot of the actual level from within something like DLE-XP and then make modifications as necessary.

Once I do that, however, I'm going to go right back to sketching as before, because that's actually kind of fun. :)
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Offline Shroudeye

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #197 on: March 29, 2011, 04:04:32 PM »
Oookay. Keep 'em comin' Scyphi!

Offline Scyphi

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #198 on: April 14, 2011, 03:49:30 PM »
Keepin' 'em comin' (albeit a little late) :P

Full view to read my notes. Sorry the mine is all in bits and pieces, but I just couldn't find a decent enough view that included the whole mine, so I was forced to break it into pieces. This isn't a complete and detailed diagram either, this is just the basics to give you the idea, as well as a few new ideas I came up with while putting this together. If I need to get more detailed, I'll do it with each individual portion as needed via sketches, like the ones I was doing before.

Hopefully this is what you were asking for, Shroudeye.

BTW, that "lounge" seems to be officially named after you now, as it's a mighty convenient name to refer to it by, and have everybody know what we're talking about. :D
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 03:53:35 PM by Scyphi »
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Offline Shroudeye

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #199 on: April 14, 2011, 10:21:26 PM »
YES that was what I've been asking, Scyphi; good work!

The "bits and pieces" approach can actually help us: We need to divide the mine, and assign different parts to the level builders, right? So, now we got those parts, I think we can start building some of them...

If you don't mind, I'd like to start this division sequence: as there is a part that has been named officially after me, shall I start working on that part?


Offline Scyphi

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #200 on: April 15, 2011, 06:19:18 AM »
Okay with me. :)

EDIT: Looking back through what I jotted down in those notes, and seeing I noted that a blue key at the very least was required, I realized that's not actually as necessary as I first thought. The blue doors simply need to be locked, so to keep the player from venturing too far into the mine too easily, but they don't necessarily ever have to be opened. I expect that once the player has gained access to the alien tunnels, those tunnels would allow the player to bypass the locked blue doors and gain access beyond anyway. It's for this same reason that I declared yellow and red keys wouldn't be so necessary. Maybe what we could do is have these doors locked in the typical manner (Blue/yellow/red access denied), hinting to the player that keys could be required, and lure them into looking for a key, only to not find any, because they aren't anywhere in the mine. So they'd be wasting time looking for one, but a new player to the level obviously wouldn't know not to look for one. :D

Instead, what they would need to do is to find a way to unlock that one door I have labeled as locked near the start (I'm thinking some kind of switch somewhere). Once they have, then they will gain access to the alien tunnels in the room beyond that would, within reason, lead them to wherever else they need to go.

A reminder that we still need to decide on whether or not to do a classic-style exit tunnel escape, or a teleporter-escape. Again, I put a vote in for the teleporter, as I think that'd be fun if done right.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 06:34:48 AM by Scyphi »
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Offline Shroudeye

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #201 on: April 15, 2011, 07:10:27 AM »
...So they'd be wasting time looking for one...

AND, getting frustrated. Confusing a player, especially misleading him/her will end up he or she start recalling the designers name(s) with some obscene words, with only one reason: wasting their time. We are making something, that people interact for a certain period of time, with a purpose of having fun.

Just put yourself into their place: What would you felt, if you were hunting for some items (like access keys in our example) for a few minute, half of an hour, or so; just to realise that they aren't as much necessary, and not even existing?

We should hint the players to the right way. If those access doors going to be sealed without any key, allright they can. But the hint we should give is to "look for a way in", not "look for a key" if there is none.

Edit: BTW, where is everyone? its just two of us talking?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 06:35:13 AM by Shroudeye »

Offline Shroudeye

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #202 on: April 16, 2011, 06:38:21 AM »
(I'm double posting to avoid confusion, by separating my two posts that are telling different things.)

Regarding to level end: It depends on how we are to end the level.
Teleporter, by its nature can be used as a "cliffhanger", that the player would not know where he/she is going by ending the level... It can lead to safety, or right into the alien realm...

But if it is going to lead into safety-back to the carrier/base/etc. we assume the player is launched-, using the good old exit sequence can be better, which is a sufficient yet simple reward for beating the level.

An alternative, if you are going to end in the safety, yet still want to use teleporter: The player *Begins* by teleporting to surface from some "teleporter room" (Preferably in a cutscene), and teleports back to the same room in the end...

Here are some ideas of mine for exit, and of course, open for further discussion... Maybe we should add more ideas, and vote them?

Offline Scyphi

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #203 on: April 16, 2011, 08:02:09 AM »
Quote from: Shroudeye
AND, getting frustrated.

I really kind of doubt they'd be looking around for THAT long. We're already expecting the player to be familiar level already, so they should already know the likely places to look for a blue key. And it's not like there's going to be that many places they could look for the key too at that point. And I think it highly likely that in their searching they'll find whatever means they need to unlock that one door that's keeping them out of the alien tunnels (it's not like it's going to be hidden). Once they see that the key isn't in the usual places and that the alien tunnels lead around the blue doors without needing to open them, I'm confident they'll catch on that keys aren't at all necessary, and once they learn that about the blue door, they'll probably quickly catch on the same for the yellow key, and you can't even get at the red door with our plans. So I don't think there's going to be much chance for a lot of frustration to get generated with the player. But if you want to be assured of this, we can hint towards this in the mission briefing (but of course not flat out tell them, that'd make it too easy). That way, if any unnecessary frustration is generated, it'd probably be because the player didn't pay attention to the briefing (I mean, I've seen that happen repeatedly in levels, especially D3 levels, where players get stuck and frustrated with a level, because they didn't read the mission briefing and didn't know what they were supposed to do) and we can pin the blame on that.  ::)

As for the teleporter, I was thinking that the player would come across it in passing earlier in the level, and while doing so, Guide-Bot scans it and makes several deductions about it, and conclude that it could be used to escape the mine. Then, later, when the mine is geared up to self-destruct (again) and you need to get out of there, I figured there would be something you needed to do to get the teleporter going, and maybe we can make what we need to do the player having to stop and "set" the teleporter to take you to the surface. I would think that alone would be sufficient to circumvent any confusion, but I'm not at all against throwing in a cutscene of the player arriving safely on the surface. In fact, we can do that no matter what we do, just because it seems like the natural thing to do.

If the classic-exit-tunnel escape, though, there are several ways we can do that. We can use the original exit tunnel, but we would have to address somehow that it's been cleared for use (because it quite clearly caved in after it got used the first time). If so, I was thinking that maybe your mission sponsors (I was thinking Red Acropolis or the CED...maybe both working together) sent some service bots down there to clear the tunnel in advance. Or maybe that can be part of the mission objective, you having to stop and clear the tunnel yourself through some means, OR clear the way for something else to come and clear the way.

But we don't really have to use the original exit tunnel. We could just have the player be forced to go back out of the mine the way he came in, or maybe the aliens built an alternate tunnel that could be used to escape. Or maybe some other, hidden, portion of the old mine is now accessible to the player that could be used to get to the surface.

See, this is why I keep bringing the subject up. There are so many ways we could handle the exit, we're going to have to decide on which one we want sooner or later, so it might as well be now.

The more I think about it, the more partial I become to the teleporter idea. I think we could have a lot of fun with that. :)
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Offline Shroudeye

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #204 on: April 16, 2011, 04:03:52 PM »
...I really kind of doubt they'd be looking around for THAT long. We're already expecting the player to be familiar level already...
Actually we can't be sure who will be playing the level. It can be some newcomer, who doesn't even played the other 2 Descents (i.e, I got D3, before I got D2). And if we do not give any hint to the player, be it a newbie or veteran, it will cause confusion. I'll explain by walking through current scenario:

1-Player encounters the blue door(s) and can't get past them. Here we "tell" him/her (Passively, if not actively) to go and look for the key.
2-Player starts searching the blue key:
 2a-If the player is a Descent "veteran" (Like us, who knows the mine from heart): he/she will go to the big room for the key, couldn't find it, turns around confused, and starts searching the other places, including the terrain...
 2b-If the player is a Descent "Newbie", or simply forgot the layout: he/she will go hunting the key, possibly returning to terrain area in the process...
And of course neither can find the key in the end.

Now, at either case, the player starts to get bored, and may soon quit. If he/she is a tough nut, and continued onward, there is more to come:

3-The player somehow finds the switch that opens the locked door near the entrance, shoots it and unlocks the door. Sooner or later (depending on how we notify him/her), the player understands that the actual goal was to shoot the switch and open the door; but not searching the key, as opposed to what we "told" him. Which, will lead into frustration.

It doesn't matter if the area is small or big; if the player gets bored for some reason... GAME OVER.

Briefings may not be the best option to go, as the players tend to skip it. Also, our sponsors aren't know well about the mine, as they want us to investigate, no? So we somehow have to lead them, in GAME. We can have it with some hard scripting... I'll explain this after a while, on another post, as right now I got to go to sleep (Its 3am here, and I got a lotta stuff to study!)...

Offline -<WillyP>-

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #205 on: April 16, 2011, 06:43:01 PM »
Perhaps the door could be 'damaged' so when the player gets the key, guide bot tells him the door is damaged and he needs to go look for a part.
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Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #206 on: April 16, 2011, 09:08:51 PM »
Another version of WillyP's idea that doesn't require the removal of the alien tunnels' role (I like the alien tunnels):

Maybe when the player gets to the big room where the key used to be the guidebot will tell the player that the key doesn't exist anymore (maybe sort of like "Don't you remember you took the key out of the mine during First Strike?"... but obviously in such a way that he could have been mistaken that there was an actual existant key a few minutes earlier), and to find another way.  You just need to find a way to force the player to the blue door before they find the key room - maybe have rockfalls blocking all the shafts leading into that room, and a switch in the room with the door that destroys the rocks..

It sounds like it would be simple to script.  Of course now we need to find a way to stop the player from shooting the switch before they shoot the door.  I have a few ideas to make it plausible, or at the very least player-intuitive.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 09:14:28 PM by wazzazzle »

Offline Shroudeye

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #207 on: April 17, 2011, 02:49:46 AM »
Actually I just got an idea here, thanks to WillyP AND Wazzazle ;):

When the player enters the mine, the first thing he/she will see is the locked door ahead of the entrance. As the player approaches that door, the Guide-bot scans the door, and detects some anomalities (Star Trek, anyone?). Also, there are some alien wires, which goes down to the big room beneath, which strongly implies that this door may be unlocked from somewhere down there. Yet the shaft leading down is blocked by debris, forcing player to go to the either room with a blue access.

Accessible through one of the rooms with blue access, there is another door leading to the big room. So, we damage that door. The Guide-bot tells the player that the door is broken, needs replacement parts to be opened.

The parts are located in the other room with the blue access, which is a dead-end (The one accessed thru a tunnel with brown bricks). We arrange it such, so the player goes a little close to the blue door, which is damaged-beyond-repair, and has some opening. The Guide-bot will tell the player that it detects more anomalities beyond the door, which implies a possible connection with the first one. Also, the player will see a part of what is behind the blue door (a huge lava pit, easy to remember) from there, and marks it as a visual reference.

The player goes back, repairs the door leading to the big room, and enters the big room. Of course there is no key, but there is an alien tunnel, and our alien wires coming from the door above goes into this very tunnel... So the player marches down the tunnel, traces the wire, finds and activates the switch/device, and unlocks the door.

Note that I've never mentioned any kind of key to the player. The only player who may think about the key is the one that played the original level before, who hits that intact blue access (which vaguely tell "Access denied" and not even talk about the key), and assumes its existence, judging by the location and the color of the lights. Yet he/she will be vague, as we didn't supported his/her assumption.

Backtracking, the player enters the Pinky room, which now connects to the lava pit behind the blue doors. So the player (If somehow assumed that there are keys) finally understands the keys aren't necessary (in fact not even existing), but by connecting the bits and pieces we provide, and solving the puzzle; instead of blindly searching the key and stumbling upon that switch.

Now if there was any vague confusion before, it is forgotten; and thanks to the obvious achievement, we got our player.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 06:55:40 AM by Shroudeye »

Offline Scyphi

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #208 on: April 17, 2011, 06:53:29 AM »
Hmm...

Well, I'm not entirely sure if I'm completely sold on this particular solution to the problem, but I suppose it's something. Probably my biggest complaint is that it seems overly complicated.

I actually kind of like wazzazzle's solution better. Just have the player come up to a blue door, try to open it, get the classic "Blue Access Denied" message, then a few moments later, have GB follow up by saying that you're probably going to have to find another way around, doubting any keys would be found anywhere in the mine. Seems much simpler IMO.

I DO want to take the chance to point out, again, that the switch to open that one locked door wouldn't be that hard to find. In fact, I was thinking of sticking it not far from that blue door in the room with the brown bricks. With that in mind, it was my theory that the first thing the player would do upon finding blue doors with no key in sight is to check for any doors he hadn't opened and explored behind on his/her map. Eventually seeing this one locked door hadn't been explored behind until it is unlocked (which again shouldn't be hard to do, I see it as the player flying past it, seeing switch and hitting it, because that's what you do with switches) and opening it to look behind it and seeing more (alien) tunnels to explore, and perhaps thinking the key is down those tunnels, proceeds to explore them. As he/she does so, however, they find these alien tunnels lead them to the places past the locked blue doors, and quickly realize that these tunnels circumvent the entire need of finding a key, and would switch gears to focus again on finishing the mission, seeing no need to keep searching for a key he/she doesn't really need anyway. That was my thinking behind it.

HOWEVER, I did completely forget to keep the terrain in mind while thinking my way through all of that, so I guess I am forced to admit that you're probably right Shroudeye, we need some kind of failsafes to prevent or at least avoid player frustration. :)

Quote from: Shroudeye
Briefings may not be the best option to go, as the players tend to skip it.

As for this, I'd say it'd be the player's own fault, not the developer's, for that. I really think it's kind of pathetic, if I may say so, when players start single-player missions with briefings and don't bother to read the briefings, especially in D3, when, more often than not, vital mission information is provided in those briefings. That's why the briefings EXIST in the first place. I can't tell you how many players I've seen who get unnecessarily lost or stuck in a mission they're playing, simply because they didn't read the briefing and thus didn't know what they needed to do (I wasn't kidding about that earlier). Not only that, but I also think the player would be robbing themselves of the full SP gameplay experience by skipping over it like that.

...

Okay, I'll get off my soap box now, but I just wanted to make that point clear. :P
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Offline Shroudeye

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Re: Crowd-source level building
« Reply #209 on: April 17, 2011, 07:31:43 AM »
Actually, My idea is roughly like the Wazzazle's idea. By cutting that vertical tunnel, the player is forced to take the other ways around, which eventually end up with blue doors. Also, now the only access to the big room is thru the room with blue door.

The door repair puzzle, and the location of the switch behind it has a sole purpose: it makes sure that the player goes and sees through the busted blue door and visually marks the area behind, BEFORE player can unlock the upper door.

So after unlocking the door, proceeding through, and recalling the area he/she just saw, it will be easy for him/her to understand that the keys aren't necessary at all.

I guess what made it look complicated was that I running through some smaller details...

 

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