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Healing Items and Stuff

Edit: (11/20/2013) It's the Planetside 2 first year anniversary. On that note, if you tried the game and were turned off from it due to it running like shit, I recommend trying it again. The game has had a huge overhaul on its back-end and has improved its performance for nearly everyone, and they're doing 2 more, smaller, optimization passes on the game. It's also going to be on the PS4, again as a free-to-play game, and you won't need PS+ to play it.

The other day after shopping, I found about a quarter of a burger left outside. Well the top bun anyway. It had been out for awhile, which was made apparent by the bread being hard. I saw a grackle close by and tossed it over to her. She happily skittered over and grabbed it. That happy mood was quickly replaced by very visible frustration at the bread being hard. She shook it and threw it on the ground twice. I waited and watched to see what she would do next.

One thing that grackles know how to do is put hard food in water to let it soften, such as dog food. However, bread can be a pain in the ass for them to eat when it's wet. There were plenty of puddles around for her to use, which I figured she'd use, but that's not what she went for. Instead, she grabbed the dried bread and flew in front of a parked car, then placed the bread in front of the left front tire. What's interesting to note is the setting is a parking lot, so there were plenty of parked cars around. She didn't just put the bread in front of any random car though, she chose the one car among the rest in the area that had someone sitting in it.

So after putting the bread in front of the car, she went to the side, looked up at the car, and started chirping at it.

Healing Items
Short segment here. It's worth noting that when playtesting, I don't ever use healing items. If I can't get through a segment without the help of healing potions, then the level has to be edited. (Technically I have to be able to perfect run a segment, but when doing a full run through an entire area, that is disregarded due to human error. The healing potion clause always applies though.)

I've mentioned that DT3 will be the last fan-game (or game with sprite-rips) that I'll do. It'll also be the last of its scale that I'll make, at least alone anyway. DT3 is massive, its main quest is definitely bigger than DT1, and that's not mentioning DT3's side content. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it would be a lie to say this wasn't an oversight. I prefer smaller games honestly, both in playing and making I've found. Really, I think games should be smaller for the most part, MMOs aside. I feel games typically explore their gameplay well enough within 5-8 hours. The rest seems like filler or copypaste content. DT3 isn't any different, to be honest. I've tried to bring something unique to each area, and not just in the visuals. If I were in the mindset I am now 2 years prior, DT3 would be a bit smaller, but at this point, it would hurt the project to cut it down. It certainly explores each of its Ability Sets extensively, especially on the end game chapters.

On the note of games being shorter, this is a huge topic, and not one I know how to fully address. In some cases, more content can be better, even if it's more of the same type you've come across before. I'm pretty sure we could have gone without level... we'll pick 5-2, or 6-1 in the first Mario game and it wouldn't have felt any different than it did... or would it? It's hard to really figure out, “Is this better with or without this content? Does it add anything to the experience? But does it take away something without its presense?”

I know if I were to start cutting existing content, the Sky Castle in Gate 3 would be the first to go. Next would be a few misc. maps in Gate 2, and I know of 2 or 3 maps in Gate 5 that I'd remove. That's speculation though, I'm not removing existing content that currently works.

Chapter 14 is getting fairly close to being done. Just a few more gameplay scenarios to script and it'll be ready.

As for unique content for each new area, the end game certainly does this better than the rest of the game.


GamingNerd said...

Hey there.
The two recent twitter screens look nice. Where are the graphics ripped from? The first tileset with the elevator seems to be based on Megaman Zero (which in case you didn't know is also known as MMZ), the second one with the dark tileset is unknown to me though. It looks kind of fantasy and less technology based. From which game is it? It seems like the visuals in DT 3 are superior to the first two games).

NegativeZeroZ said...

Arin recently told a story on Game Grumps about crows in Japan learning how to use vending machines to buy drinks, but it seems he mixed up his stories, the vending machines I found on Google seem to be designed especially for birds to use. It's still interesting though. Maybe someday "bird brain" will be a compliment.

I knew you played through individual rooms with no damage, but playing through an entire area organically and being able to do it without healing items makes sense. Not everyone will just mulligan bad runs and save after every room.

At what point do you decide it's taken too many tries and it needs to be toned down, or do you just do a no-death run of a section? Also, how do you handle balancing in areas with instant death?

ano0maly said...

I never used healing items for my "proper" run of the game. (I did once in the demo playing Gate C, but decided to stop and replay the gate.)

The consumable items in DT3 are too cost-prohibitive, and you can only hold two, so it feels like you want to save it for absolute last resort (like the single heal you get at the end of Cave Story).

ZephyrBurst said...

To GamingNerd:
The elevator one is indeed from MMZ, it's the Resistance Base. (Not what I used it for.) The other is from a Castlevania game, though I forgot which one off the top of my head.

Egoraptor probably got it mixed up with the Crow Machines made by Joshua Klein, who did a ton of research on crows and how they think. His whole thing is creating systems that mutually benefit both us and crows. More on him here:
The "bird brain" saying came about during a time when people thought birds were dumb, but in the last 20 years, we've been finding the opposite, especially in the case of parrots and corvids.
On something in that video (if you watch it). The thing about Betty (the crow) and why that was so amazing are New Caledonian crows naturally make and use tools in the wild, but only of material they're used to. In that test, the researchers messed up and only left that copper wire, which those crows don't have any experience with. It's an example of crows being able to take knowledge gained from one concept and being able to apply it to something else, which wasn't thought possible with birds at the time.

On that last bit, it's not based on number of tries, or no-death runs, considering pits and Megaman spikes. I have no real process for that other than just feeling it out. If it doesn't feel right, I change it.

To Ano0maly:
NNZ's suggestion for quite some time is to put healing items back into chests again, and apply the DT1 rules of it giving money if you have a full inventory, which I've rejected so far. Though I'm finding that might be a good method to go with to mitigate the cost a bit, which I don't want to decrease too much. Potions carry a penalty, which is cost. That said, if it happens, I'd be replacing some of the existing chests with potions instead of new chests altogether. The game isn't designed around them, but they were put in for those who are having trouble with 'that one part'.

NegativeZeroZ said...

I can't get enough of those "researchers screw up and discover something cool by accident" stories. My schooling has given me the jaded opinion that science has become all about generating data to prove what YOU think, and every time something cool is discovered by accident, I can't help but grin.

Turning healing items you didn't need into money was just a neat idea DT1 had and I wondered why you didn't seem to like it anymore, since it was one of the things in DT1 that made me think "so somebody else DOES understand how annoying that is!"

Potions carry the double-penalty of being a huge drain on money and if you didn't have one, guess what, you get to backtrack and re-do a bunch of stuff to get back to the part you were struggling with. Putting an Energy Drink (what Life Fluid is called now) in a chest here and there would help keep "that one part" from breaking the flow too much for less skilled players and reward more skilled players who aren't using them.

I also suggested putting some equip items in chests like DT1 put its beads in chests, usually in hidden maps. I don't see what your aversion is to letting the player have so many equip items, since you're limited to using less than a handful of them at one time. Plus it's way less fun to grind for things than to explore and find out that really hard hidden map just earned you a pretty sweet item. And like TheVulpineHero1 said on the talkhaus, you can't stop people from grinding, it won't work. All you can do is make it less necessary by offering more fun alternatives. How you do that is your call, but that's my 2pence.

NegativeZeroZ said...

ZephyrBurst said...

Awesome, I'll post that on the next blog post for those that don't check the comments.

Anonymous said...

If you hate long length games, you should HATE Pokemon X/Y

ZephyrBurst said...

I don't mind lengthy games, when appropriate. Pokemon is definitely one of those games where I'd be weirded out if I was suddenly finished with it all after 8 hours. I just feel that for a lot of games, 4-8 is all you need to explore its gameplay.

Henry said...

Well 4 hours is a bit too short for games though, except they are

- any Megaman Game
- Contra Game
- older Mario Game
- Sonic Game

So yeah, 4 is definiately too short for most games... but 7-8 is appropriate.

NegativeZeroZ said...

Those are games that were made before games generally had save systems, so the game had to be short enough for a kid (who probably practiced a lot) to beat it in one sitting. They also all had limited lives to augment difficulty and their playtime.

I don't mind being able to beat a game in one sitting as long as the pacing is adjusted for it. If it's satisfying by the end, I think a shorter game length can work. There's too much emphasis on "the game costs $60, so I better get 60+ hours" these days, in my opinion. Especially if they end up just taking a traditionally short-length genre of game and either putting way too much of the budget into multiplayer, or making it a grindfest, in the name of reaching that 60+ hour "bar" set by JRPGs. :S

My Distorted run of DT1, deaths edited out, is about 8 hours. DT2, by contrast, is about 45 minutes long, but it's by no means just a shorter DT1. It was very different, and the shorter length, I think, worked well for what it was. DT3 is more like DT1 than DT2, and since it's going to put actual effort into tying up the trilogy (both in story and gameplay), I think it's normal that it will be a bit longer.

ZephyrBurst said...

I feel the quantity = quality idea that seems to be so prevalent in games needs to end. The game time is a completely irrelevant number. For example, after finishing a game you enjoyed, a game that felt complete. Would you sit back and say, well that was only 3 hours, it should have been x hours, so I'd deduct x points from its score.

I see this type of thing all the time in reviews. Granted, not critic reviews, I'd never be able to take someone serious if they did that. I feel game length is arbitrary and should only be as long as necessary to tell the narrative and explore the gameplay.

Amnesia: Machine for Pigs had people saying things like, it's only 6 hours, not worth the $20. Which feels like a total BS concern when that game did all it needed to. Compare length to cost with movies, and nearly all games give you more in that regard. $15-20 for an hour and a half. Not to mention Blu-rays are usually more.