Author Topic: Progress to next level without getting back to menu  (Read 1488 times)

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Offline Forestidia86

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Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« on: May 20, 2020, 05:24:41 pm »
I think I've seen two players that had the feature wish to progress to the next level without getting back to the menu for a better flow.

Problem is that this could introduce again level end dialog menu. Probable solution would be to always progress unless escape or other button is pressed but that could annoy players that only want to play single levels. A solution to that could be to give the option to play all levels (in a folder).

Offline namida

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2020, 07:53:00 pm »
Why is an end-of-level dialog seen as a bigger problem than an outright return to the menu?

Offline WillLem

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2020, 03:16:41 am »
Problem is that this could introduce again level end dialog menu.

What Namida said - how is this more of a problem than returning to the main menu? I'd say it's vastly preferable.

Probable solution would be to always progress unless escape or other button is pressed but that could annoy players that only want to play single levels.

Also, I think there does need to be some sense of closure after each level given the taxing nature of the game. End-of-level dialogs achieve this perfectly, and give the player the option to either progress to the next level, or return to the main menu.

A solution to that could be to give the option to play all levels (in a folder).

This is a better idea than a Play-All that must be cancelled, for sure. However, I'd still suggest end-of-level dialogs even in this case.

Maybe a discussion of people's preferences generally could open up some ideas.

Mine would be (in order of preference):

1. End of level dialog with level stats and the option the progress to next level or return to main menu - by far the best option. Offers feedback, provides downtime between levels, and above all - gives the player the choice of what to do next.
2. An initial option to either always progress ("Play All Levels") or always return to main menu. If the main menu could be adapted to provide stats on the level just played, this might be a good option - but I'd still suggest using end-of-level dialogs for continuous play.
3. Always return to main menu - this is the Status Quo. It's very jarring and gives no feedback on your performance of the level. Not ideal.
4. Always progress to next level - the least ideal. I'd get tired of the game very quickly if this were the case.

Offline Forestidia86

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2020, 11:37:01 am »
3. Always return to main menu - this is the Status Quo. It's very jarring and gives no feedback on your performance of the level. Not ideal.

You actually get feedback to your performance below the preview screen where else the level information is written and the checkmark indicates that you've won the level. But I agree that this information could be made eye catchier. Improvement for LastGameStats is discussed in connection with problems with smaller resolutions.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 11:44:13 am by Forestidia86 »

Offline WillLem

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2020, 01:59:18 pm »
You actually get feedback to your performance below the preview screen where else the level information is written and the checkmark indicates that you've won the level. But I agree that this information could be made eye catchier. Improvement for LastGameStats is discussed in connection with problems with smaller resolutions.

Ah yes, fair enough - I didn't notice that straightaway. Making it more prominent would be a good thing, for sure. It would be good if it could show time taken/best time as well.

Having said that, I noticed that Lix doesn't have a timer - I've posted my thoughts about this here to keep it topic-relevant.

Offline RubiX

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2020, 06:38:49 pm »
So after watching Youtube: WillLem plays lemforum/Lovely 6-10, the one key agreement for me here is about the single-player flow.     I really like that Lix did evolve from multiplayer to also having singleplayer capabilities, but I always felt it should be able to flow from one map to the next, but most of all the reason Lemmings was so compelling to me is that I like being 'locked' from just selecting levels at any time until a map is beaten,  and also having no way of cheating myself through it...(For Example: something like editing my profile to cheat my way past a map I might get stuck on.)   I remember getting so stuck on lemmings levels, that 'if' I was given the password to the next map, or some simple-enough way to bypass a level, I bet I would have used it! but instead persistance got me through the entire game, however long it took.  I am so glad I never had any way to pass a map without beating it.
   
This may all sound wierd, but I like the feeling of 'If I want to progress, the only way is to play.  Does anyone else actually completely understand what I am getting at, or think it's silly?   I know it is easy for someone to reply:  "if you dont want to cheat, then don't cheat"     
Something about having NO way to cheat feels great and the only way a game can really flow and have my pure attention.
   
(I understand that having a lock/password type system can't be any easy task to do, as it would mean level packs would need to be bundled as its own data file to keep levels hidden from any type of viewing or manipulation from within the directory)




Being 'stuck' on a level is what compelled me as a kid to just keep playing each level until I beat it.     With the ability to just skip ahead or select any other level actually gives me very low enthusiasm to play the communities maps.    (Which is probably really wierd for you guys to read, as most Lix players know I made a big level pack, but a lot of the reason for my map-making in Lix is that I absolutely love the ease and speed of the editor)   IT IS A FUN EDITOR

Me not playing a lot of community maps has nothing to do with 'not wanting to play their levels' but it has everything to do with the real feeling of accomplishment and reward that I spoke of above.




Thiswas not a rant or a way for me to ask to design a lockable singleplayer progression system, this post was just something I've always been wanting to talk about, regarding why lemmings is the most memorable game of my childhood and I know the reason why.   
It all came down to persistance and reward.  THIS kept me playing the game until it was beaten.  Same for ONML and Lemmings2 the tribes in full gold medallion.


« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 02:18:11 pm by Simon »

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 08:41:17 am »
Quote from: WillLem
- Always going back to the level select screen breaks game flow quite a bit
Quote from: RubiX
With the ability to just skip ahead or select any other level actually gives me very low enthusiasm to play the communities maps.

Reply by Simon:

Interesting that this comes up.

It's been years since we discussed this on the forums, and it's a complex topic.

Reason for why we don't have an end-of-level screen in 0.9.31:
(A) Old level -> end-of-level screen -> preview -> in next level
(B) Old level -> menu -> click next level -> in the next level
Here, both A and B take two clicks to get from the old level to the next level. When you want to do anything else but play the next level, B is faster than A. Thus B is never slower than A, and sometimes faster.

The immersion came up several times. When we had an end-of-level box, github #55: Keiya wanted a button to play the next map. Anyway, enough material to move to separate topic.


End reply by Simon.



(Remainder of this post is by ccexplore.)

Here, both A and B take two clicks to get from the old level to the next level. When you want to do anything else but play the next level, B is faster than A. Thus B is never slower than A, and sometimes faster.

That is true but I don't think this efficiency is usually the focus of the people who want a transition from one level to the next, or who complain the level selection menu as "breaking the flow".

It's quite possible that the problem isn't even necessarily going back to the level selection menu per se, but merely that the level selection menu doesn't feel enough like playing the game.  This may sound confusing but let me point out an example in another game.  Super Mario Bros (1) does level-to-level transitions, rather like Lemmings 1.  Super Mario Bros 3 on the other hand, has an "overworld" map, and you always end up on the overworld map whenever you complete or fail a level.  It's up to the player to move Mario from one level to another in the overworld and then press a button to enter the level, the game doesn't directly enter you into the next level when you complete a level.  The overworld map in many ways is really just a level selection menu in disguise, modulo some arguably minor differences (eg. you still have to solve certain levels first before you can get to other levels in the map--though a level selection menu can be coded to enforce similar restrictions).  Yet I don't believe most people who played that game complained about the overworld as "breaking the flow", perhaps due merely to the fact that it still vaguely feels like you're within the universe/world the game is set in.  That despite the SMB3 overworld experience is really nothing like the in-level experience--sure you can walk Mario to different levels, but you can't do things like jumping or stomping enemies or any other such things common in-level.  The overworld experience is highly locked down and barely a shell of the true in-level experience.

I could be wrong about Super Mario though.  Maybe lots of people did find the SMB3 overworld unnecessary and annoying, I don't know.  Though if I recall correctly, they did keep building on that overworld concept in subsequent Mario games, to the point that by the time you got to for example Super Mario 3D (or whatever it's called when Nintendo 3D was available), the "overworld" is actually a lot more like the in-level experience and far, far less like a glorified level selection menu.

Unfortunately, despite all this talking I don't really feel like there'd be a good answer to this issue for Lix.  It feels like the most likely answer for Lix is either "tough if you don't like the menu", or maybe a softer "here's a user-settable option to make it more like SMB1/Lemmings 1, with an end-of-level UI that lets you go directly to next level without seeing the level selection menu".
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 02:47:43 pm by Simon »

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2020, 08:50:27 am »
Indeed, I'd ask people to think about more other games outside of Lemmings with a level-selection experience, and whether you feel having such an experience is problematic, and if not, whether it's mostly because the level selection still has nice "game-y" graphics.  Or perhaps it's because those games still retain progressive unlocking of levels, rather than all unlocked on the outset like Lix has?

Many puzzle games like Angry Birds have a level-selection experience that is decidedly glorified menu, it looks and works nothing like the in-level gameplay.  I think to better get to the heart of the matter, people who've also played such other games should be able to articulate whether they feel such games also have same problem as Lix, and if not, which differences make it okay for those games to do their glorified level selection menu.

It's ok to say that you just want it more like Lemmings, then at least you make it clear and honest that the problem for you is primarily Lix not evoking enough of the nostalgia you'd like to have when playing any lemmings-like games, versus other possible reasons.

Offline Forestidia86

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 06:04:13 pm »
I appreciate to play level by level for the harder levels and had no need to play it in order or to progress without getting back to menu. So I could conveniently try out different levels and look which one looks most promising to solve. I imagine doing Hopeless in order as something extremely tough.

Being barred from levels one could solve seems not always optimal though that applies more to Rubix' unlocking suggestion (though I can understand the wish for the motivating powers of achievements).

I often have looked as well through the screenshots if a level looks inviting to play (at my current mood) and it was good that no order was "forced" upon me.

For a creator and especially for community packs it doesn't seem an easy task to get a natural order of levels as another point.

For easy/moderate levels that one can solve in short time, yeah, there it seems more fast paced to progress without getting back to menu but at least in my opinion that doesn't apply for hard levels where you sit at for quite some time.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 02:19:23 pm by Simon »

Offline namida

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2020, 09:42:22 pm »
I think it's worth noting that, especially in the context of a game, "minimal number of clicks" isn't always going to feel the nicest to the user. It's generally not expected that game UI will be super-optimized in the same way eg. a productivity app might be, and might even feel awkward and artificial if it is.

Offline Simon

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2020, 11:25:50 pm »
If the push is really this strong, I can reconsider the end-of-level box.

Still, I should first make it much more catchy in the level browser, printing the results where the preview would be. We can then argue how much this helps for the flow.

-- Simon

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2020, 12:41:12 pm »
It's a pretty good point that even in games that do put you back onto some form of glorified level-selection menu once you're done with current level, it does seem like almost all of them do present an end-of-level screen or dialog of some sort first, before thrusting the user back to level selection.  More generally, most games do something to celebrate the user's success; even the games that don't have a separate screen or dialog, will generally still enact some "end-of-level sequence" (like Mario with the flagpole and entering the castle and sometimes fireworks, in Super Mario Bros 1).

While in theory you can combine the end-of-level UI with the level selection UI, most games don't do it.  Even from just a UI design perspective it does feel a little like trying to cramp two different functions onto the same screen.  It's not surprising that some players may even have missed seeing some of the information being displayed that they were only expecting to see in a end-of-level screen, given the slight overload.

Even the efficiency argument seems a little less obviously meaningful on a closer look.  Assuming an end-of-level dialog/screen would have options to restart current level or go to next level without needing to go back to selection menu, then the extra click would only be for following 2 cases:

1) Player wants to go to a different level than the current or next one.  Maybe he haven't even decided yet which level he'll try next.  So the slight extra time from the one extra click may well be insignificant relative to the amount of time spent browsing/finding the next level to play.

2) Player does want to go to next level, but also wants to see the information displayed about the level before starting to play it.  This means spending a little time reading.  Again, that amount of time may well dwarf the slight extra time from the one extra click.

In other words, for the cases where an extra click is forced upon the player, is the player actually likely in all that of a hurry anyway?

Ultimately different people will also feel differently.  For some people, the mere fact that they finally solved the level, or finally got some improved solution or challenge to work out, is plenty enough satisfaction, they don't need the game to then go out of its way to stop and congratulate.  And thus for those people it's perfectly fine if the game just brings you directly back to level selection menu whenever level's done.

Offline WillLem

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2020, 03:53:12 pm »
Quote from: RubiX
the reason Lemmings was so compelling to me is that I like being 'locked' from just selecting levels at any time until a map is beaten,  and also having no way of cheating myself through it... I like the feeling of 'If I want to progress, the only way is to play. Does anyone else actually completely understand what I am getting at, or think it's silly?

I totally understand this. I think it's similar to wanting to play the game without Framestepping/Skill Shadows/other player-assists: it's a different sort of challenge, and adds another dimension to the game.

Removing the need to execute a perfect builder placement, for example, or indeed beat a level in order to progress to the next, removes a valid part of the game's aesthetic, and therefore removes a reason to enjoy it. However much it may serve the game's other aspects, some players are undoubtedly going to notice the absence of these things.

It's ok to say that you just want it more like Lemmings, then at least you make it clear and honest that the problem for you is primarily Lix not evoking enough of the nostalgia you'd like to have when playing any lemmings-like games, versus other possible reasons.

It's not always about nostalgia - sometimes it's simply about "no - don't get rid of that, that's a good part of the game!"

Since this will always be subject to debate, it's easy for people to back up an argument to remove certain elements of the game by claiming that any argument to keep that element is merely related to nostalgia. I've encountered this a number of times, and it's very rarely the case. I don't play NeoLemmix, SuperLemmini or Lix for nostalgia - I've got the Amiga emulator for that. If I make a suggestion for any of the modern engines, it's because I genuinely think they will improve that engine!

In the case of Lix, for instance, it's more that being presented with an end-of-level screen including options to return to menu or progress would genuinely be a preferable UI experience than always going back to the main menu each time. Not because Lemmings does this, but because it's a useful and enjoyable game experience. Anyways, probs best to continue this particular discussion here.

More generally, most games do something to celebrate the user's success; even the games that don't have a separate screen or dialog, will generally still enact some "end-of-level sequence" (like Mario with the flagpole and entering the castle and sometimes fireworks, in Super Mario Bros 1)...
Ultimately different people will also feel differently.  For some people, the mere fact that they finally solved the level, or finally got some improved solution or challenge to work out, is plenty enough satisfaction, they don't need the game to then go out of its way to stop and congratulate.

I like being congratulated, particularly if it was a difficult level! Lemmings is a game which has a lot of potential to take on the flagpole-and-fireworks idea. At the very least, it's good to see the stats and reflect on your performance. Lemmings needs it downtime, as well: it can be quite an intense game.

One idea I've had is that the end-of-level screen could involve a gif animation of the Lemmings/Lixes arriving home, maybe having a picnic, or a party, or a rave, whatever! Maybe there could be different ones on some sort of rotation. This could, of course, accompany the usual stats/what-to-do-next options.

I certainly agree with ccx that number of clicks is absolutely not a factor for this sort of thing. Sometimes, I'm in no rush to move on to the next level and I might even just close the game screen and do something else. Other times, I'm in a hurry to move on and I spam click to get through the screens! (This is perhaps more relevant to the Amiga version, which takes its sweet tie loading the screens and moving on at its vintage pace.......!)

Offline Simon

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2020, 03:21:25 pm »
Quote
it's a different sort of challenge, and adds another dimension to the game. [...] However much it may serve the game's other aspects, some players are undoubtedly going to notice the absence of these things.

Certainly.
Lix doesn't force an order of levels on you. Clones had unlock-all as option.
Lix doesn't force costly resets when you misplace a builder.
Lix doesn't have player-variable spawn interval. The level author shall set it best.
Lix doesn't have the slider.
Lix doesn't have the laser blaster.
Lix doesn't have the fan.
Lix doesn't have 3-D levels.
Lix doesn't play strong chess against you.
Lix doesn't cut your pineapple into slices.

Where to draw the line besides relying on taste?

I'm happy with redesigning end-of-level. I still doubt that an unlocking system will pull enough weight to warrant the effort.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 05:15:25 pm by Simon »

Offline WillLem

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Re: Progress to next level without getting back to menu
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2020, 06:09:18 pm »
Lix doesn't cut your pineapple into slices.

I know, right...? What are we going to do when we want PiƱa Coladas mid-game? :crylaugh:

I'm happy with redesigning end-of-level. I still doubt that an unlocking system will pull enough weight to warrant the effort.

This is good news. And I'd probably agree about the unlocking system to be honest.