Poll

Which option would you personally use for time up behavior?

Do nothing (besides alerting the player to the time running out)
7 (58.3%)
Pause the game, but do not exit
2 (16.7%)
Exit the game
2 (16.7%)
I would leave the default setting, whatever it is
1 (8.3%)

Total Members Voted: 12

Author Topic: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour  (Read 2864 times)

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Offline Crane

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[SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« on: June 30, 2020, 08:36:04 PM »
I apologise but I think this has been discussed before, but I can't find the topic in question.

I would like to suggest two new configuration options for the engine:

1. Three 'radio' buttons (the circular boxes that you can only choose one of) for choosing the engine's behaviour if you run out of time:
  • Exit level (original behaviour - takes you to the score screen)
  • Pause (game pauses at 0:00, allowing you to step back or restart etc.  You can unpause if you like, which leads to...)
  • Continue (what happens currently - timer turns pink, the level continues playing, but lemmings can no longer exit)

2. A "on/off" option for if a sound effect should be played if you run out of time: (e.g. a boxer bell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvvTacquttk - this would play even if "Exit level" is selected above)

Thoughts?

ADDENDUM: A combo box (drop-down list) instead of radio buttons might be a better design choice if space is limited.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 08:45:30 PM by Crane »

Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 10:21:52 PM »
I'm open to options around "does the game pause?" and "does a sound play?", but I'd need to see very strong demand for the old behaviour before I consider bringing it back - the "I'd personally use this most/all of the time" kind, not the "It'd be cool to have the choice" kind, and I'd even be wary of running a poll because it wouldn't allow the distinction between NL users who prefer the old behaviour vs the crowd who just expect that NL should behave exactly like DOS L1 without giving any actual consideration and/or trying it out. In fact - now I'm wondering if "all lemmings are dead", especially in cases where the save requirement hasn't been met and the nuke hasn't been activated, should have a similar behaviour to time running out - in that it doesn't automatically exit gameplay (a warning sound is likely less necessary there).
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Offline Crane

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 10:40:44 PM »
It's tricky because a lof of the time it's down to preference.  The warning sound for running out of time is mostly to supplement the 'continue' behaviour when you might not be paying attention to the timer (even though you should be!), while pausing allows you to stay in the level to make corrections, while the "exit level" option is for those who do want to mimic the original game in a few ways, but is otherwise not enforced and would never be the default option (I would personally opt for the "Pause" option to be default).

I'm sure there might be some contrived argument for the "Exit level" option, although I do agree it's not ideal when put alongside the fine tuning abilities of NeoLemmix.  I suppose it's just my philosophy in a way... give people the choice.  If the answer is a flat 'no' though, then I'm happy with the compromise of a "Pause when timer reaches zero" checkbox.

Offline Simon

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2020, 12:05:26 AM »
I sympathize with the argument that a level should always be solvable, and pause as it becomes unsolvable. Main reason is simpler presentation, no need to interpret what pink means.

Exploration of the unsolvable state is also very nice. This avoids weird pauses; the meaning of the pauses isn't 100 % obvious at first.

If you can explore past the time limit, should you also be able to assign arbitrarily many skills, making the skill count negative? I remember Icho felt strongly against exploring with negative skills. Is the feeling against negative skills stronger than any feeling against exploring past the time limit?

On losing all lemmings, should the game act differently than on reaching the time limit?

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« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 12:33:31 AM by Simon »

Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 02:02:16 AM »
Quote
If you can explore past the time limit, should you also be able to assign arbitrarily many skills, making the skill count negative? I remember Icho felt strongly against exploring with negative skills. Is the feeling against negative skills stronger than any feeling against exploring past the time limit?

I would argue that continuing after time runs out is more useful than continuing after skills run out, as well as that if it's possible, avoiding doing so may require a bit more focus (especially once the player becomes used to the feature existing) than acknowledging being close to out-of-time. Also - running out of skills prevents you assigning more of that skill; but gameplay never terminates just because you ran out. If you run out of skills before the last lemming exits, he can still walk to the exit, and still counts as saved. If you run of time, either gameplay terminates (classic / SL behaviour) or lemmings become unable to exit (modern NL / pre-time-limit-cull Lix behaviour) - time running out is directly a loss condition, unless you've already won before it happens; running out of skills is not.

However, I certianly wouldn't go as far as to say this outright means the feature is unworkable or a bad idea; just that I see it as needing to meet a slightly higher bar than the time limit.
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Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 06:31:10 PM »
+1 for pause on reaching time limit: it makes it clearer that something has happened and requires user input/acknowledgement before continuing with the level (a "TIME'S UP!" graphic wouldn't go amiss here either*).

Just the bell sound and the timer changing purple aren't really enough here, I feel. A player may have their game sound turned down, and may simply not notice that the timer has changed colour.

*It could even present a dialog: TIME'S UP! with 2 options: CONTINUE PLAYING or EXIT TO MENU... just an idea. Tbf, the game just being paused pending user input would be enough.

EDIT: Thinking about it, a player may just assume that they accidentally pressed pause... maybe a TIME'S UP! graphic is the way to go. It wouldn't necessarily have to present the suggested options, it could just be that it requires user input to then continue the game.

Offline Simon

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2020, 08:08:44 PM »
Yes, a blatant text on pause-on-time-exceeded is good. It's better than a dialog, and better than the uninformative pause.

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Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 08:14:07 PM »
Let's suppose someone is back-stepping and playing quite close to the time limit's expiry. Should this message be constantly popping up every time they cross it?

If not, what should the condition be? How far back in game-time should the player have to go? Or perhaps the better angle, how much real-life time (even if the game is paused, perhaps) must pass before it pops up again? I would assume if the user exits out to the postview screen, this resets it for sure, of course.

Maybe a mixed approach - "Continue", "Exit", "Continue and do not warn again until you have exited to postview screen" as the options. The third one needs a snappier caption, of course. Even here I feel there should be a very small tolerance - perhaps don't show it again until the user's gone back to at least a point at which 5 seconds were remaining (or to Frame #0, if the time limit is shorter than 5 seconds).
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Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2020, 02:20:07 AM »
Maybe a mixed approach - "Continue", "Exit", "Continue and do not warn again until you have exited to postview screen" as the options. The third one needs a snappier caption, of course. Even here I feel there should be a very small tolerance - perhaps don't show it again until the user's gone back to at least a point at which 5 seconds were remaining (or to Frame #0, if the time limit is shorter than 5 seconds).

+1 for CONTINUE and EXIT prompts.

Mainly because if it just pauses and says "TIME'S UP!" with no interaction prompts, the user may simply press Esc, not realising that they can continue if they wish. This wouldn't have to be presented as a Windows dialog box, it could have its own graphic and custom buttons (consider that an offer to make these if needed).

As for "should the prompt appear again?", my vote would be that if a player selects CONTINUE, the prompt shouldn't appear again at all, and current behaviour would suffice (i.e. play continues, bell sounds, timer turns purple): at least the player is both a) aware of the time limit, and b) aware that they can continue playing to try and beat the time limit. Also, since that is a current behaviour of NL, people already know what it means. Newcomers would learn what this behaviour means very quickly having already been prompted.

If it's decided that the prompt should appear again albeit with the option for it not to, I'd suggest CONTINUE WITHOUT PROMPT as a snappier button label :lemcat:
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 02:26:08 AM by WillLem »

Offline Proxima

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2020, 03:06:44 AM »
I think it's important to strike a balance. The new user needs to be informed of what's going on; but the regular user shouldn't feel like their time is being wasted. Pause on reaching the time limit, sure (with an option to disable this), but let the player continue by unpausing as normal. You could put the words "Time's Up!" on screen, with "(unpause to continue)" in a smaller font beneath, and have them disappear if the user unpauses or frameskips. No need for a separate "Exit" prompt -- the user presumably already knows how to exit play of a level if they want.

I don't think we should worry that the user might have the sound muted. We already have sound cues for crucial information, such as offscreen lemmings dying; the player knows that if they mute the sound, they do so at their own risk. (That said, the bell is pretty annoying on levels where you are trying to optimise the last couple of seconds and have to hear it repeatedly, so I'd agree with having an option to disable it.)

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2020, 01:41:49 PM »
You could put the words "Time's Up!" on screen, with "(unpause to continue)" in a smaller font beneath, and have them disappear if the user unpauses or frameskips. No need for a separate "Exit" prompt -- the user presumably already knows how to exit play of a level if they want.

+1

I agree, particularly with no EXIT prompt being required.

TIME'S UP! (UNPAUSE TO CONTINUE), or even just TIME'S UP! (CONTINUE) would be sufficient. After continuing, I again suggest revert to current behaviour until the level is exited.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2022, 10:12:35 AM »
Reading over this as-yet-unresolved topic again, I'd propose the following:

1) "All lemmings are dead" behaviour mimics "Time's up" behaviour, playing some sort of "level failed" sound and changing the lemming count to a red "0" but keeping the level active. I think people have been wanting this for a long time, especially for "1 lemming" levels.

2) The alarm (and "level failed", if accepted) sound should be F2 optional.

3) "Pause when timer reaches zero" should be F2 optional.

4) On second thoughts, I don't think it's necessary to show a "Time's up" graphic (with continue button). Ideas around its implementation don't seem to fit nicely with the way NL works, and it would just create extra faff. What I would propose here, though, is something which would provide a clear visual cue that something has happened, whilst also masking the wierd "bunch of exiting lemmings" thing that occurs after time has run out (which tbh has always looked like an unintended glitch or bug).

After the time has run out, a clock icon appears over the exit, like this:





5) Something that came up during a conversation on Discord: If a level's save requirement has been met, there are still lemmings in the level, and the time has run out, currently the level continues to play. Presumably this is so that players can go back to try and save more for talisman and/or challenge purposes, and whilst that's great, it does mean that players have to manually Esc or nuke the level to finish it during normal gameplay. Since they have actually completed the level, ideally it should finish when the timer runs out.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2022, 10:54:37 AM by WillLem »

Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2022, 01:34:37 AM »
I've put a poll up about what option people would use.

To be very clear, some form of "allow continue playing" will remain an option, and in all likelihood the default option. That feature is not going to be removed. It also has to be considered - there will likely be one-off cases where a player wants to continue playing even if they usually set their option to "exit on time-up", so how to achieve that has to be considered (it may be that the answer is "don't; it's their problem, they can change their settings", but I want to at least give some thought to this).
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Offline Simon

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2022, 05:51:37 PM »
On running out of time before winning: I'm 50:50 on whether I prefer pausing or continuing. I'm sure that I don't want to exit here.

On losing all lemmings (before winning, before nuking): I want to pause. Again, I don't want to exit here. I'll wager that once people get used to this pausing, most will never want to go back to exiting. And would rage, like I do, when play exits here. Icho tells me I shouldn't fast-forward that much into losing, but I tell Icho he's merely not used to the correct program behavior, which is to pause. :lix-evil:

I don't know what I want after winning in either case. Probably exit? Lix has no challenges for you after you win other than improving the highscore, and exits here. But NL offers talismans prominently enough to consider them here. I've never attempted them, let's hear from people who play with them.

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« Last Edit: November 20, 2022, 08:35:49 PM by Simon »

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2022, 07:26:23 PM »
I agree with Simon regarding when losing all lemmings before winning and before nuking and mostly on running out of time before winning: I agree exiting isn't a good solution, but I'd lean slightly towards pausing instead of being 50:50; I think the main case for continuing would just be if I feel like I'm close and just want to see how far off I am. This might be a reasonable case for having an option. Regardless of whether or not there's a pause, I think WillLem's suggestion for a time-up exit graphic should be implemented.

After winning, generally I'd say end the level. There may be specific times where it might be desirable to try to improve the save rate further, but I'd argue most of the time you just want to beat the level. I mean talismans exist, but I think it's better to have the most convenient outcome for the most common situation (and you can always add options if it's controversial).

For the purposes of the poll, I have responded under the assumption that it's a failed attempt at completing the level.



On a related note, situations where you've beaten the level but there's some random blockers left on the map that clearly can't be saved (at least not without rewinding and trying something different) so you have to manually terminate the level. While perfect detection of this situation wouldn't really be feasible, it should be possible to detect many situations where it's definitely not possible without risk of false positives and automatically clean things up: If you have walkers, you might be able to do something, and if there's some close enough to each other you might be able to free one with a bomber, but otherwise the only thing you can do besides manually ending the level is to use the nuke, the exact timing of which no longer matters as long as there's enough time left (because blockers don't move). It would be convenient to end the level automatically (probably using the nuke just because theoretically it could result in more saves under very specific circumstances, whereas just ending the level will never result in more saves) in these cases where the game can be absolutely certain there's nothing else you can do to get more lemmings to the exit.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 07:55:56 PM by Dullstar »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2022, 06:08:05 AM »
While perfect detection of this situation wouldn't really be feasible, it should be possible to detect many situations where it's definitely not possible without risk of false positives and automatically clean things up

Hmm. I like the idea, and it could also be applied to levels with remaining neutrals which can't possibly be saved. However, allowing the engine to determine what's possible might open up a huge can of bugs, as well as being potentially quite jarring for those who prefer to be more in control of the gameplay. Such behaviour, even if implemented, definitely ought to be optional. How about this:

There may be specific times where it might be desirable to try to improve the save rate further, but I'd argue most of the time you just want to beat the level. I mean talismans exist, but I think it's better to have the most convenient outcome for the most common situation (and you can always add options if it's controversial)
...
On a related note, situations where you've beaten the level but there's some random blockers left on the map that clearly can't be saved ... It would be convenient to end the level automatically (probably using the nuke just because theoretically it could result in more saves under very specific circumstances, whereas just ending the level will never result in more saves)

These can both be addressed with an "Autonuke when level is complete" option in the F2 settings. So, if the save requirement has been met and either time has run out or there are unsaveable lems onscreen, the nuke is applied.



To be clear, here's what's being suggested:

A) Save requirement is met | There is time remaining | There are saveable lems remaining onscreen = Continue playing as normal
B) Save requirement is met | There is time remaining | There are unsaveable lems remaining onscreen = Continue playing as normal/Autonuke then Exit the level (depending on user preference)
C) Save requirement is met | There is time remaining/Time has run out | No lems are remaining onscreen = Exit the level
D) Save requirement is met | Time has run out | There are lems are remaining onscreen = Continue playing as normal/Autonuke then Exit the level (depending on user preference)

E) Save requirement is not met | There is time remaining | There are lems remaining onscreen = Continue playing as normal
F) Save requirement is not met | There is time remaining | No lems are remaining onscreen = Pause/continue playing (depending on user preference) the level and indicate that there are no lems remaining (suggestion: red 0 beside lem count)
G) Save requirement is not met | Time has run out | There are lems remaining onscreen = Pause/continue playing (depending on user preference) the level and indicate that time has run out (suggestion: clock face over exit)
H) Save requirement is not met | Time has run out | There are no lems remaining onscreen = Pause/continue playing (depending on user preference) the level with both indications applied

So, the above would add 2 options to the F2 menu:

- Pause when level is unsolved and time/lems have run out (with the alternative being current behaviour, i.e. continue playing)
- Autonuke when level is complete (with the alternative being current behaviour, i.e. continue playing)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2022, 06:23:58 AM by WillLem »

Offline Simon

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2022, 12:25:00 PM »
Yes, separating cases is necessary for the various ways of losing.

I don't see how you want to distinguish between savable and unsavable lemmings. I accept that when all lemmings left alive are blockers. Is that worth the hassle of defining extra rules?

Is your autonuke always compatible with nuke routes?

Do you view the autonuke as automatically generated player input (and thus write the nuke command into the replay) or do you view the autonuke as game physics (and thus not write the nuke command into the replay)?



namida: Topic mixes two concerns:
  • Pause or continue on running out of time,
  • Pause instead of exit on losing all lemmings.
#2 (don't exit on losing) feels 10x as important as #1 (do X after time limit). Shall I move #2 into separate thread? Have you sliently accepted the importance of #2? I don't see #2 in your replies so far.

#2 surprised darkshoxx on stream. He fully expected to be able to rewind after losing all lemmings. I believe exiting on losing is a leftover from Lemmings 1 where it was the only possible way to fix the attempt. Do not exit here!

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Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2022, 07:47:05 PM »
Let's rule out any distinguishing between "saveable" and "unsaveable" lemmings, except for the special case of zombies. This one is simple because zombies are never saveable - they cannot exit and cannot be transformed to a state where they can. Anything else, such as a blocker, needs further checks to confirm if it really is unsaveable or not. Even a neutral blocker requires "do only neutral blockers, who are not overlapping teleporters, remain?" Whereas "do only zombies remain?" is already tracked, and will always be tracked as part of calculating the remaining alive lemming count.

Let's also be clear that, I'm not going to implement every option that simply "might" be liked. If there is no or little interest in a particular behavior in practice, it doesn't need to be added, especially if it only saves a single button press. Poll results show no interest at all in the exit behavior; not much for pause either but not outright nothing.

Distinguishing between "player has nuked" and "player has not nuked" is worthwhile to consider as a special case. There is always the option to add a delay of a few seconds after the last lemming dies, to handle rewinding in nuke solutions.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2022, 08:23:10 PM by namida »
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Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2022, 12:20:56 AM »
I don't see how you want to distinguish between savable and unsavable lemmings. I accept that when all lemmings left alive are blockers. Is that worth the hassle of defining extra rules?

Tbh no, it isn't. I'm probably not in favour of the engine attempting to handle this sort of thing, I just added it into the suggestions for the sake of completeness. I've now retracted this and updated the suggestions below.

Is your autonuke always compatible with nuke routes?

Hmm. Not sure what you mean...

Do you view the autonuke as automatically generated player input (and thus write the nuke command into the replay)

Yes, since I suggest that it be a user-configurable setting. It's essentially just performing the nuke so the player doesn't have to. It's probably only necessary in cases where time has run out and lems remain onscreen (as a way of ending the level iff the save requirement has been met before time ran out). If the idea doesn't gain any support or traction, I'm not too fussed about pushing for it. I'm more interested in helping to get the "times up" and "no lems remain" behaviours sorted.

Let's rule out any distinguishing between "saveable" and "unsaveable" lemmings, except for the special case of zombies

Agreed, consider it retracted. Below is an updated version of what's being suggested, just to aid further discussion from this point.

Poll results show no interest at all in the exit behavior; not much for pause either but not outright nothing.

Yeah, I'd probably say -1 for pause. Level should continue, but with a clock graphic over the exit/red 0 if lems have run out. If it's an easy enough thing to make the game pause though, maybe it can be user-configurable?



A) Save requirement is met | There is time remaining | There are lems remaining onscreen = Continue playing as normal
B) Save requirement is met | There is time remaining/Time has run out | No lems are remaining onscreen = Exit the level
C) Save requirement is met | Time has run out | There are lems are remaining onscreen = Continue playing as normal/Autonuke then Exit the level (depending on user preference)

D) Save requirement is not met | There is time remaining | There are lems remaining onscreen = Continue playing as normal
E) Save requirement is not met | There is time remaining | No lems are remaining onscreen = Pause/continue playing (depending on user preference) the level and indicate that there are no lems remaining (suggestion: red 0 beside lem count)
F) Save requirement is not met | Time has run out | There are lems remaining onscreen = Pause/continue playing (depending on user preference) the level and indicate that time has run out (suggestion: clock face over exit)
G) Save requirement is not met | Time has run out | There are no lems remaining onscreen = Pause/continue playing (depending on user preference) the level with both indications applied
« Last Edit: November 30, 2022, 03:18:52 AM by WillLem »

Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2022, 04:04:49 AM »
Is there any real need to distinguish between the cause of termination (ie: time ran out vs no lemmings left), if we make "nuke has been activated and no lemmings remain" a special case?
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Offline Proxima

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2022, 07:06:28 AM »
Sorry for not replying sooner; I have had very low energy recently and have been sleeping a lot. And now the points I wanted to reply to have started to pile up.

I don't know what I want after winning in either case. Probably exit? Lix has no challenges for you after you win other than improving the highscore, and exits here. But NL offers talismans prominently enough to consider them here. I've never attempted them, let's hear from people who play with them.

I consider "player has met the save requirement, but may want to continue play to save more lemmings" much more important than talismans. For one thing, saving as many as possible is the main aim of the game; for another, it potentially applies to all levels except those where 100% is required, whereas talismans are relatively rare.

These can both be addressed with an "Autonuke when level is complete" option in the F2 settings. So, if the save requirement has been met and either time has run out or there are unsaveable lems onscreen, the nuke is applied.

Namida says later that it would be too complicated to check if all remaining lemmings are really unsaveable. Doesn't this kill the "autonuke" idea, by removing the only use case where it would have an advantage over either exiting or continuing? Once time is up, nuking remaining lemmings has no gameplay purpose and is just a colourful way of transferring the player to the post-level screen; but this would be very annoying for speedruns, and annoying for "Just a Minute"-type levels where you might be playing close to the time limit and trying out different skill assignments just before the end.

Is there any real need to distinguish between the cause of termination (ie: time ran out vs no lemmings left), if we make "nuke has been activated and no lemmings remain" a special case?

I can see the case for treating them together, so long as there is a configurable setting for whether to continue or exit. Continuing would be the default and the friendliest option for casual play, but you definitely want exiting when no lemmings remain for speedruns.

However, "time is up" and "no lemmings are left" are very different things and I think we should discuss what we want for both cases separately. I think new players would be confused if the game just keeps going when no lemmings are left, expecting something to happen; they might not even know how to rewind or move on if they haven't looked at the hotkey setup yet.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2022, 12:34:59 AM »
Namida says later that it would be too complicated to check if all remaining lemmings are really unsaveable. Doesn't this kill the "autonuke" idea, by removing the only use case where it would have an advantage over either exiting or continuing? Once time is up, nuking remaining lemmings has no gameplay purpose and is just a colourful way of transferring the player to the post-level screen

Agreed. I'm not overly enthused about the autonuke idea myself, tbh. I just thought it could be one way to solve the problem of "I have solved the level, but it is still playing because the engine carries on after time has run out". There may well be other, better, more preferable solutions (e.g. just simply exiting the level immediately upon time running out would be sufficient).

I can see the case for treating them together, so long as there is a configurable setting for whether to continue or exit. Continuing would be the default and the friendliest option for casual play, but you definitely want exiting when no lemmings remain for speedruns.

+1 for this.

I think new players would be confused if the game just keeps going when no lemmings are left, expecting something to happen; they might not even know how to rewind or move on if they haven't looked at the hotkey setup yet.

And +1 for this as well. NeoLemmix is a complex enough engine that most players realise it's capable of advanced gameplay quite quickly, but it's still worth taking into account players who may be unaware of its capabilities. This is why the engine should very clearly display that something has happened if the default behaviour is to continue playing (which is currently is in the case of "time's up".)

If it is important to look at the different cases separately, then here's my take on it:

No lemmings remain:

If the level is solved, the game should exit. Otherwise, a level like Tailor-made For Blockers would theoretically never end, even after nuking.

If it isn't solved, then play should continue with a clear red "0" next to the lem count. This gives the player an opportunity to rewind back into the level and try again without having to completely restart.

Time has run out:

Again, if the level is solved, the game should exit IMHO. If I'm speedrunning (or even just playing normally), then I want the level to end if it's solved and time has run out. Otherwise you end up stuck with the purple timer counting up for no reason. This is what sparked the idea for a way to automatically end the level in this case.

However, I also see Proxima's point about wanting to play for more saves, and it is an important one. This is where user config comes in; if it becomes an option (A: Always exit when level is solved and time has run out, or B: Always continue playing when time has run out), particularly one that's toggleable from within gameplay, then players can switch this behaviour on and off depending on what type of situation they're playing in (A: for casual/speedrunning, B: for challenges/talismans/etc).

If the level isn't solved, then current behaviour is ideal. All I'd add is the clock graphic over the exit, to make it extra clear that lems can no longer exit even though play is continuing. Maybe lems should walk past the exit as well, rather than getting stuck mid-exit-animation; this would have the added bonus of leaving them in play.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2022, 12:50:43 AM by WillLem »

Offline Simon

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2022, 04:29:06 AM »
Interesting use case where you want to optimize a winning solution even more, and you're working close to the time limit or close to death of last lemming. Yes, we should support that. I'll have to sleep over it more. User option sounds considerable. Lix doesn't support it. Proxima, has Lix annoyed you in the past by exiting on winning attempt? (Lix N/A because Lix has no time limit, and I imagine that exiting on winning attempt is most annoying on time limit, and less on last lemming to die.)

Pausing on death of last lemming (rather than continuing on death of last lemming) makes it easier to frameskip back: You can't overshoot into death during fast-forward because it pauses. At least that's the design reason in Lix, where you have turbo-fast-forward and nothing interesting can happen after last death. NL weakens it with the zombies, but rarely we want to watch and examine those past death of last good lemming. Thus, I still recommend to pause here. Continuing feels slightly worse, and exiting is brutally worse.

I like the big clock that WillLem wants to paint over the exit. Glaring, but still reasonably unobstrusive. Adequate display of of winning/winnable/losing status of the attempt is important and delicate. Let's avoid mere color-coding of numbers, that's at best a supplement.

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« Last Edit: December 01, 2022, 04:44:25 AM by Simon »

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2022, 07:50:29 PM »
For what it's worth with the autonuke suggestion it's more of a "regardless of time remaining" sort of thing and I think we'd accept that it won't detect EVERY situation and only go for the obvious ones where there's clearly nothing else you can do except rewind. This would require only blockers remaining, because with nuke solutions the exact time you press the button can matter if there's still moving lemmings in the level (blockers only + no bombers/walkers means no regular skill assignments are possible and no lemmings are capable of movement). Using the nuke instead of exiting without it has two advantages: 1, if it's a nuke solution, you can still potentially win, 2, the animation takes time so if you're intending to rewind you can, and if you aren't you can just hold down the skip forward button.

With time up specifically (actually, honestly, all failure conditions), I still think Simon's solution of pausing is the best one. But there should definitely be an option to just exit if the level is already beaten. That said, I can see a situation where you might be interested in testing how much time you need to save to pass the level or observing zombies, so the user should be able to unpause if there are any lemmings at all remaining (although ideally if you're, for instance, holding down the skip button ideally you'd need to release and press again).

Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2022, 11:10:48 PM »
Here's a proposal. Let me know what you think of it, and in particular, if you would personally want a setup that this does not allow for.

Firstly, bring the behavior for "no lemmings left alive" in line with the "out of time" behavior, with the exception of a different sound effect. There would be a special case where, if "no lemmings left alive" occurs after the nuke has been activated, the game exits - possibly with a short delay first to give an opportunity to rewind.

Secondly, allow two options for what occurs in either of these cases - either "pause the game" or "do nothing" (or more accurately, "play a sound but otherwise do nothing"). The former (ie: pause the game) would be the default setting. I expect most people would change to use "do nothing", but (especially in light of the next point) this would be a more newcomer-friendly default.

Thirdly, if the user has the "pause the game" setting, then when such a pause is activated, flash a message saying "No lemmings left - Nuke to exit" or "Time is up - Nuke to exit" in place of the usual data above the skill panel. This could also be intermittent, ie: alternate every few seconds whether this message or the usual stats are displayed. Only activate this message once per play attempt (the primary purpose would be to help new players figure out how to exit). This message disappears when the game is unpaused, rewound, or advanced via framesteps / skips.

Some finer points need to be considered here. For example - let's say that a user who has the "pause" setting, activates the nuke, then the time runs out or the last lemming dies while the nuke is counting down. Do we still want to pause in this case, or just immediately exit? Another case to come to mind - let's say the user (who still has the pause setting) triggers such a pause, then framesteps backwards, then does something else and runs out of lemmings/time again, do we want to pause a second time? (Perhaps a workaround for this latter case is to provide a way to change the option while in-game.)

I would also consider whether "every lemming has been saved" should perhaps be a special case where the game would just exit. I'm leaning against it, but feel it's worthy of consideration.
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Offline Simon

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2022, 02:22:34 AM »
user (who still has the pause setting) triggers such a pause, then framesteps backwards, then does something else and runs out of lemmings/time again, do we want to pause a second time?

If out of lemmings: Yes, pause again. Same reasoning, I don't want to fast-forward into nothingness.

If out of time: I have no feeling for this, I'll likely set timeout behavior to (sound effect and continue). In particular, if I choose the combination (pause on losing all lemmings) and (continue on timeout) I expect the game to pause when, after I've run out of time, all lemmings have exited. Reason: We have no more lemmings but haven't won the level despite satisfying the save requirement.

I appreciate this concern about clear communication to new players. Regardless of whether the default is to pause or to continue, we're breaking away from every other Lemmings-like (besides Lix, but we don't expect new players to know Lix). It sounds sensible to always give the player something to do: Either lemmings left alive to click on, or a large text that you should rewind/nuke/Esc/etc.

You're pointing to several delicate design questions, and I don't have full answers ready yet, especially around the nuke. What do others think?

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Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2022, 07:24:23 AM »
To clarify Simon, you are saying you'd want to have seperate settings for out of lemmings vs out of time? (Or different fixed behaviors, same diff)
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Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2022, 08:13:55 AM »
bring the behavior for "no lemmings left alive" in line with the "out of time" behavior, with the exception of a different sound effect. There would be a special case where, if "no lemmings left alive" occurs after the nuke has been activated, the game exits - possibly with a short delay first to give an opportunity to rewind.

+1, I like this. Would be good to have the opportunity to try this out in an RC to see how it handles.

flash a message saying "No lemmings left - Nuke to exit" or "Time is up - Nuke to exit" in place of the usual data above the skill panel ... Only activate this message once per play attempt (the primary purpose would be to help new players figure out how to exit). This message disappears when the game is unpaused, rewound, or advanced via framesteps / skips.

I like this, too. Flashing the message intermittently brings attention to it, as well. I'd still suggest the "clock over the exit" + "lemmings walking past rather than exiting" behaviour in the case of a timeout. The latter of these suggestions has the added bonus of allowing play to continue after time has run out (i.e. for trying other strats, etc).

let's say that a user who has the "pause" setting, activates the nuke, then the time runs out or the last lemming dies while the nuke is counting down. Do we still want to pause in this case, or just immediately exit?

Exit is preferable here. "Nuke always = exit" is easy to understand, consistent, and gives the player complete control.

let's say the user (who still has the pause setting) triggers such a pause, then framesteps backwards, then does something else and runs out of lemmings/time again, do we want to pause a second time? (Perhaps a workaround for this latter case is to provide a way to change the option while in-game.)

I agree with Simon that always pausing if lemmings have all been lost is preferable, no matter how many times it happens in a single playthrough; my only caveat would be that this should only happen iff it's the applied user setting. If a user has chosen "continue + sound" behaviour, then it shouldn't pause at all. Meanwhile, allowing the setting to be in-game toggleable is always a good thing, and I'd personally make a hotkey for it if playing a level which demanded multiple re-tries.

I would also consider whether "every lemming has been saved" should perhaps be a special case where the game would just exit. I'm leaning against it, but feel it's worthy of consideration.

Could you elaborate on this? I can't see any reason to continue playing a level in which all lemmings have been saved other than to try and satisfy talisman conditions related to skills, time, etc. Under normal playing circumstances, the level should exit and the player can go back in to try for other talisman solutions having reached the goal of 100%ing the level. Or, of course, continue playing through the pack (the most likely gameplay scenario).

Exiting the level is not always a bad thing. It brings about a sense of achievement, and provides the player with information about their gameplay (how many lemmings have been saved, what their time records are, etc). If all lemmings have been saved, exiting is definitely preferable in order to bring about a sense of "full stop, new paragraph" to the gameplay.

I appreciate this concern about clear communication to new players. Regardless of whether the default is to pause or to continue, we're breaking away from every other Lemmings-like ... It sounds sensible to always give the player something to do

Exactly, this is the crux of the matter here: giving the player as much information and control as possible in order to reduce confusion and improve flow.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2022, 10:36:43 PM by WillLem »

Offline mobius

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2022, 10:59:56 PM »
the option for "exit the game" I'm assuming actually mean "exit the level"? basically what the original game does? Honestly I'd be fine with this over anything else. I never had a problem with the level ending when you failed for whatever reason, but I understand why the changes were made. In Lix the level doesn't end if all lix die or exit but you haven't solved it. That's okay with me.

Gotta say I really don't care for that big clock appearing over the exit. Just seems out of place. The timer/bell going off was a good enough indication for me.
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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2022, 12:12:40 AM »
Here's a proposal. Let me know what you think of it, and in particular, if you would personally want a setup that this does not allow for.

...

Secondly, allow two options for what occurs in either of these cases - either "pause the game" or "do nothing" (or more accurately, "play a sound but otherwise do nothing"). The former (ie: pause the game) would be the default setting. I expect most people would change to use "do nothing", but (especially in light of the next point) this would be a more newcomer-friendly default.

The problem with this proposal is that it doesn't allow "just exit" in any circumstance, even with a user option. And if we're going to lose the ability to do different things on no lemmings left and time up, then to be honest, that would push me further in the direction of wanting "just exit". Just a Minute-style levels where you need to assign skills and experiment close to the time limit certainly exist, but they are not that common -- indeed, levels with no time limit outnumber time-limited levels by a wide margin.

Quote
Thirdly, if the user has the "pause the game" setting, then when such a pause is activated, flash a message saying "No lemmings left - Nuke to exit" or "Time is up - Nuke to exit"

I would prefer the message to say "[hotkey] to exit" (obviously using the player's currently assigned hotkey -- maybe fall back on "Nuke" if they don't have a hotkey assigned for exiting).

Offline Simon

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2022, 01:34:14 AM »
allow two options for what occurs in either of these cases - either "pause the game" or "do nothing" (or more accurately, "play a sound but otherwise do nothing").

To clarify Simon, you are saying you'd want to have seperate settings for out of lemmings vs out of time? (Or different fixed behaviors, same diff)

Ah. I interpreted your "allow two options" as: Provide an option for timeout (that can take one of the two values), and provide a second option for losing all lemmings (that offers the same values).

If there are two options, yes, I'll set them to different values: Pause on losing lemmings, continue on timeout. If there will be only one option that applies to both timeout and losing all lemmings, I'll set that single option to pause.

Lix's "pause" on losing all lix is really a full blockade against any further physics updating. When you're out of lix but haven't won, you can't frameskip forward (will instead do nothing). When you're at physics update #400 and activate the 10-second skip (forwards by 150 updates), but the last lix will have died (and will have finished animating, and all traps will have finished animating) by update #440, Lix doesn't skip to update #550 (= #400 + 150) but instead to #440.

doesn't allow "just exit" in any circumstance, even with a user option.
that would push me further in the direction of wanting "just exit"

Right, exiting can be a reasonable third value for the option(s).

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Offline Dullstar

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2022, 12:33:25 AM »
I think it's extremely important to consider whether the level has successfully been completed.

My rule of thumb for options is that while ideally you don't just add an option for everything to avoid clutter/feature creep I'd rather have too many options than not enough options. It may not be ideal but you can always hide stuff behind an advanced options menu if you're concerned about it getting overwhelming -- complex options menus are okay because you generally tweak the settings until you like them and then you don't touch them again for a long time.

If the save requirement has been met, I think always exit is the best default, regardless of whether this was due to time up or due to losing all lemmings, assuming the typical play session goal is to "Just beat the level." Having an option to pause/continue can be useful for optimization, but it would be annoying as a default or worse, the only setting. Don't go too extreme with this though -- seeing how many lemmings you can save beyond the requirement is common enough that the level should not fully terminate until it is no longer possible to save lemmings without rewinding.

If the save requirement has not been met, I think pausing is the best all-around option, because exiting gets annoying when you just want to go back a little bit and there's already a hotkey to fully restart the level, though different situations may have different considerations:

 - If there's no lemmings left (including zombies): A full blockade on physics updates as described by Simon for Lix just makes sense here if you're not going to exit. Nothing interesting can happen. There is nothing useful to observe that requires physics updates as all traps are either fully continuous or triggered (i.e. there's no way to use good timing to slip past an otherwise continuous trap so no need to study trap timings). The full blockade minimizes the amount of rewinding we have to do because lemmings we immediately begin reappearing as soon as we begin rewinding.

 - If time is up: I personally prefer pausing to continuing here, but I think it's reasonable to want to continue and unpausing should definitely be allowed in case you're close and would like to let it play out to see how far off you are. I do think they should enter the exit even if they don't count, though you can consider what the best way to visually communicate that they don't count is. Since the motivation to continue is to see how far off you are, you don't want the lemmings waltzing right past it and making it all confusing. In any case, I am of the opinion that the current solution for time up is too subtle, which is why I like the clock overlay idea.

 - If the save requirement can no longer be met (but there are still lemmings left): My preference for pausing is weaker here: it's a potential solution to quickly notify the player that the level can no longer be solved without rewinding, and if the option were present I would definitely at least try it out. But it may be worth considering as a generalized case for time up behavior too, because if the time is up and the save requirement is not met, then the save requirement cannot be met and the chosen option for this scenario could trigger regardless of what it is, eliminating the need to consider time up behavior separately.



Proposed options: All of these should have the following choices unless otherwise noted: End Level, Continue, Pause
1) Level end behavior if save requirement has been met: Default to End Level.
2) Level end behavior if there are no more lemmings: Default to Pause, replace Continue with Continue if zombies present. Losing all lemmings including zombies should always fully halt physics updates if the user has chosen not to automatically end the level.
3) Behavior if the save requirement cannot be met*:  Default to Continue.
4) Nuke always ends the level regardless of other level end settings: True/False. No strong feeling on what the default should be, but if I were forced to pick I would probably go with True as the default to mimic the way it's used in the original game.

Add new hotkeys: Rewind to last controllable lemming (assuming there isn't already one that jumps to a lemming loss), and Rewind to Time Up.

I would probably personally run 1) End Level 2) Pause 3) Pause 4) False.

*This setting is intended to account for both losing too many lemmings and for running out of time. It's basically an attempt to generalize the case for all levels, not just those with time limits, because I feel like time up is basically just another variant of soft-locking the level into a guaranteed-failure-without-rewind state.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2022, 12:48:14 AM by Dullstar »

Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #32 on: January 01, 2023, 03:46:18 AM »
Modifying the earlier proposal based on feedback:

Firstly, prevent any further frame advancement once all lemmings, including zombies, have died or exited. (For aesthetic purposes, if the lemming is killed by a triggered trap, this would take effect from the frame the trap's animation finishes. The current "exit on no lemmings remain" behavior already takes this into account, so the support is already there for detecting the condition.)

Secondly, allow two options, set seperately for each condition, for what occurs when running out of lemmings or running out of time - either "pause the game" or "do nothing" (or more accurately, "play a sound but otherwise do nothing"). The former (ie: pause the game) would be the default setting. I expect most people would change to use "do nothing", but (especially in light of the next point) this would be a more newcomer-friendly default.

Thirdly, if the user has the "pause the game" setting, then when such a pause is activated, flash a message saying "No lemmings left - Nuke to exit" or "Time is up - Nuke to exit" in place of the usual data above the skill panel. This could also be intermittent, ie: alternate every few seconds whether this message or the usual stats are displayed. Only activate this message once per play attempt (the primary purpose would be to help new players figure out how to exit). This message disappears when the game is unpaused, rewound, or advanced via framesteps / skips.

Fourthly, add another option - wording needs improvement, but "automatically exit if save requirement is met and time is up or no lemmings remain". Not certain that this needs to be two seperate options for each condition.

Some finer points need to be considered here. For example - let's say that a user who has the "pause" setting, activates the nuke, then the time runs out or the last lemming dies while the nuke is counting down. Do we still want to pause in this case, or just immediately exit? Another case to come to mind - let's say the user (who still has the pause setting) triggers such a pause, then framesteps backwards, then does something else and runs out of lemmings/time again, do we want to pause a second time? (Perhaps a workaround for this latter case is to provide a way to change the option while in-game.)

I would also consider whether "every lemming has been saved" (ie: 100% has been achieved, including cloners if applicable) should perhaps be a special case where the game would just exit regardless of settings. I'm leaning against it, but feel it's worthy of consideration.
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Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2023, 11:34:00 PM »
prevent any further frame advancement once all lemmings, including zombies, have died or exited

So, NL would pause?

allow two options, set seperately for each condition, for what occurs when running out of lemmings or running out of time - either "pause the game" or "do nothing" (or more accurately, "play a sound but otherwise do nothing")

:thumbsup:

when such a pause is activated, flash a message saying "No lemmings left - Nuke to exit" or "Time is up - Nuke to exit" in place of the usual data above the skill panel

+1 for "Nuke/[Esc]" rather than just "Nuke," where [Esc] could be swapped for [whichever button the user has mapped to exit the level].

Only activate this message once per play attempt (the primary purpose would be to help new players figure out how to exit). This message disappears when the game is unpaused, rewound, or advanced via framesteps / skips.

Hmm. I'm in two minds about this. I like the idea, but I feel that it should display/flash continuously rather than just flashing up once and then not again. Reason: a player might unpause, rewind or framestep without actually seeing the message properly and then think " wait, what was that message that just popped up...?"

The message should just remain displayed (whether flashing or not) during any time that the level is unsolvable. Once it becomes solvable again (due to rewinding to a suitable point in the replay, etc), then the message disappears.

wording needs improvement, but "automatically exit if save requirement is met and time is up or no lemmings remain"

No need for this to be a per-condition option. Suggested wording: "If no time or lemmings remain, automatically exit if save requirement is met."

let's say that a user who has the "pause" setting, activates the nuke, then the time runs out or the last lemming dies while the nuke is counting down. Do we still want to pause in this case, or just immediately exit?

Let the nuke countdown & animation finish, then exit the level. The nuke being acticated should essentially have as much bearing as pressing [Esc], i.e. the level exits no matter what.

Another case to come to mind - let's say the user (who still has the pause setting) triggers such a pause, then framesteps backwards, then does something else and runs out of lemmings/time again, do we want to pause a second time?

I would say yes, assume that the player always wants their preferred behaviour, even if it happens multiple times.

I would also consider whether "every lemming has been saved" (ie: 100% has been achieved, including cloners if applicable) should perhaps be a special case where the game would just exit regardless of settings.

+1 for exit in this case, but having it as an option would be better.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2023, 04:23:43 AM by WillLem »

Offline Simon

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2023, 01:23:31 AM »
Quote from: namida
flash a message

namida's proposal to flash the message: I assume this comes from the lack of screen real estate in the status bar.

Right, we shouldn't prolongedly hide status bar information merely to show "no lemmings left, rewind or exit". The status bar fields are important.

Flashing by itself makes text difficult and slow to read. But I have no good suggestion besides completely new and elaborate ways of display the text. NL never had to display such long texts before.

Quote from: namida
runs out of lemmings/time again, do we want to pause a second time?
Quote from: WillLem
yes, assume that the player always wants their preferred behaviour, even if it happens multiple times.

Yes, pause a second time, even if it happens multiple times.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: January 13, 2023, 01:37:19 AM by Simon »

Offline mobius

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2023, 01:31:24 AM »
this is why I personally prefer time out= same mechanic as ending level from all lemmings dying or otherwise. Level ends with options to either rewind or restart. The message there can display exactly *why* the level failed or ended.
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Offline Dullstar

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2023, 11:56:07 PM »
I would also consider whether "every lemming has been saved" (ie: 100% has been achieved, including cloners if applicable) should perhaps be a special case where the game would just exit regardless of settings. I'm leaning against it, but feel it's worthy of consideration.

I don't think 100% needs special behavior; it can be covered under the save-requirement-met behavior because 100% always passes the save requirement. I figure if you've turned off exiting when the save requirement is met, you're probably trying to optimize anyway.

Offline mobius

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #37 on: January 20, 2023, 01:49:02 AM »
this may be unrelated or warrant its own topic but I think I'm beginning to prefer the game not ending/going to title screen on timer running out so much I'd prefer it that way for any fail; whether all lemmings die or whatever.

When playing a level, trying many things restarting/backtracking a lot; going to the menu screen and having to going back just gets annoying and feels unnecessary.
everything by me: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=5982.msg96035#msg96035

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Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Options for "Time Up" behaviour
« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2023, 01:25:40 AM »
this may be unrelated or warrant its own topic but I think I'm beginning to prefer the game not ending/going to title screen on timer running out so much I'd prefer it that way for any fail; whether all lemmings die or whatever.

When playing a level, trying many things restarting/backtracking a lot; going to the menu screen and having to going back just gets annoying and feels unnecessary.

Can you elaborate a bit on/clarify this a bit more please, I'm not sure I understand exacly what you mean. AFAIK the game never exits all the way to title, it just goes to postview if the level has ended for any reason... ???