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 2865 times)

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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.

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« 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... ???