Author Topic: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc  (Read 935 times)

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Offline IchoTolot

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[DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« on: December 06, 2020, 04:45:47 PM »
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2) Water can stop Laserers just as much as steel can! :lem-mindblown: Good to know! This makes it much easier to reign in.

With this in mind, I definitely think the Laserer's range should not be limited.

No. You misunderstood what happened there. I cloned the laserer late so the cloned laserer had a shorter range as he did not have much steam left anymore.

EDIT: The point of the trick was to show how to shorten a laserer as a normal one would have lead to the top group drowning.

If a limit is enabled on the laserer's range I still would make it long. Probably around 140-160 pixels - so roughly standard level height.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2020, 05:01:50 PM »
Thanks a lot for the correction, IchoTolot; I changed this in my post now so that people don't get confused. ;)

So I guess that means the Laserer's range is indeed already limited, and it just rarely comes up in a standard-height level?
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Lemmings Open Air, my newest release and follow-up to World Tour, 120 levels
Paralems (Old Formats), a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems (Old Formats), a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for (very old) NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2020, 05:26:08 PM »
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If a limit is enabled on the laserer's range I still would make it long. Probably around 140-160 pixels - so roughly standard level height.
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So I guess that means the Laserer's range is indeed already limited, and it just rarely comes up in a standard-height level?

There are three effects in play here - a time limit, a distance limit, and a cutoff when the laser is not doing anything useful anymore.

The distance limit is 720px on each axis (ie: the laser would end 720px to the right and 720px above the starting point - or to the left if that's where the lemming is facing). If the laser reaches this length, it simply doesn't travel any further - it would "cut off" in midair in a large enough level. This limit is basically futureproofing in case we get wrap and is intended to be "infinite for all practical purposes" - if, before the Laserer goes stable, I decide "wrap is not going to happen", I will remove this limit (but obviously not the others).

The time limit is 5 in-game seconds. No matter what, even if you were able to (perhaps with frantic use of faller-stoners) keep creating new terrain in his path so he never reaches steel or empty space, the laserer will stop after 5 seconds.

Finally, the cutoff is invoked on any frame where the the laser hits something it cannot destroy (steel / a wrong one-way), goes beyond the level boundary, or reaches its maximum length without hitting anything. When this happens, the remaining time is instantly cut to about half a second (I don't remember exactly) - note that this would carry over to cloners, because it works by changing the remaining time - unless it is already lower than this. The laser then ends soon after as a normal "time's up" ending.

While the laser is remaining, the impact point is essentially calculated each frame independently; the "hit" isn't a moving object of its own like projectiles are. As I previously mentioned, this is most notable when using Cloners, or when turning a Laserer with a (later-placed) Blocker; but could also be seen if you were to add terrain in the laser's path while it's firing.

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2020, 05:33:43 PM »
Ok, with all these rules to the laserer's range I think a clear distance limit would be best. :P

That way it's easier to predict and understand.

I would still propose something AROUND 140-160 pixels on one of its axis. (So 140-160p high and wide)

I remember Proxima throwing in 80 pixels, but that's way too short in my book. 120p is the minimum I think it should have.

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2020, 05:41:52 PM »
I am not opposed to a meaningful (rather than "for technical purposes") range limit in and of itself, not sure how I feel about the exact numbers - I do feel it should be a bit longer than that. It's a laser, after all. :P

Should the time limit be shortened in such a case? Kept as is? Perhaps abolished altogether (ie: if you can keep a constant-enough stream of stoners or something, you could theoretically keep a laserer going forever - of course this would be near impossible in practice)?

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2020, 05:48:42 PM »
I am not opposed to a meaningful (rather than "for technical purposes") range limit in and of itself, not sure how I feel about the exact numbers - I do feel it should be a bit longer than that. It's a laser, after all. :P

Should the time limit be shortened in such a case? Kept as is? Perhaps abolished altogether (ie: if you can keep a constant-enough stream of stoners or something, you could theoretically keep a laserer going forever - of course this would be near impossible in practice)?

No timer, only range if its possible. Exact number is highly debatable of course. L2 also solved it with a range limit as I recall.

This way the workings of the skill are easy to understand, predict, and teach and things like cloning a laserer who is already going has easy rules as well and you can clearly predict how much gas the cloned one still has.

The laser still must recognise if it's only hitting steel/the edge of the level though.

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2020, 06:01:19 PM »
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The laser still must recognise if it's only hitting steel/the edge of the level though.

I would also group "reached max range and isn't hitting anything" in with this.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2020, 06:16:10 PM by namida »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2020, 10:13:34 PM »
No timer, only range if its possible... This way the workings of the skill are easy to understand, predict, and teach and things like cloning a laserer who is already going has easy rules as well and you can clearly predict how much gas the cloned one still has.

Yay! Icho and I agree on something :thumbsup: :lemcat:

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2020, 12:27:40 AM »
If Lemmings 2: The Tribes is already working with a range limit alone, then I'm also completely fine with that! :thumbsup:
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Lemmings Open Air, my newest release and follow-up to World Tour, 120 levels
Paralems (Old Formats), a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems (Old Formats), a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for (very old) NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2020, 12:47:22 AM »
A range limit should be sufficient. With both the time limit and the range limit, it's a bit hard to reason about the range, and it would take a very long time to figure out, particularly as it's so large that the level boundary will nearly always be hit before the maximum distance.

This is a game where walls can be climbed only if they're smooth, a lemming can learn to swim in an instant while it is drowning, and holding an umbrella makes lemmings fall slower. I'm not concerned about trading off gameplay for realism, and as I mentioned in the feedback thread, I thought the current design of the Laser Blaster encourages a lot of steel usage. My levels are typically 184 pixels tall, which fits exactly on my screen with no vertical scrolling in low-res mode. The default is a bit smaller than that - 160, I think? While I think a large range is good for the skill, I don't think it should be so large that steel and one-way-arrows are the only way to stop it in a small level. Proxima's suggestion of 80 pixels would thus make it cover half the default level height. Maybe a bit more than that, in the 100 to 120 pixel range?

That said, maybe before we make any changes to the range, we should start with some sketches of different proposed lengths.

EDIT: I'd also add that with the current effectively-infinite range implementation, the Laserer drops from my top 2 to competing with the Granadier for which skill I'd cut if I had to choose one.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 12:56:47 AM by Dullstar »

Offline Proxima

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2020, 02:01:23 AM »
I don't feel the best qualified to speak in this topic because I dislike the laserer and it's unlikely I will ever use it, no matter what is decided about it. Still, as I will certainly be playing levels with whatever new skills get accepted, I have an interest in helping to ensure we get the best version we can.

I agree with everyone above who said the laserer should have a fixed range limit. Firstly, it's much easier to understand and learn; just as one develops an intuitive grasp for how far a bridge stretches or how far a fatal fall is without always having to check, players would develop a sense for how far a laser stretches. You think that's not important because of skill shadows? Think about the phase of looking over a level to try to work out a solution. You don't want to have to go through the laborious process of sending lemmings all over a level to test exactly where you can reach and where you can't.

An even more serious issue: the time-based limit means that it's possible for other skills to affect how far a laserer will reach, by affecting how much terrain is in its path. If we legitimise that, then it's a puzzle space that people will want to explore -- and that will require levels to be mega-large when this interaction is the only reason for them to be mega-large.

I'm sticking with my view that I prefer the laser to have a short limit, which still enables all the interesting things you might want to do with it, but without things getting out of hand.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2020, 02:48:14 PM »
I agree with everything Proxima said, except the bit about the short limit (and, of course, the bit about it being something he wouldn't use - I would definitely use it!). We don't want it to be too short, because then it feels somewhat stunted.

The Laserer is a powerful skill, for sure: that's one of the most exciting things about it. And given that one of the main arguments in favour of it is Shimmier interaction, then both longer tunnels and the ability to cancel a Shimmier from range are use-cases we need to keep in mind when debating the range of this skill.

Since the default level height is 160px, I'd prefer to see the laser be able to reach at least that far. However, since most people seem to be favouring a shorter range for the sake of smaller levels, and perhaps a more visible limit, I could perhaps come round to Dullstar's suggestion of 120px.

Ultimately, though, I think we need to see some images of the various ranges side-by-side before arbitrarily stating numbers.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2020, 12:43:43 PM »

Figure 1: Mockup of different laserer ranges. The range is measured from the base of the lemming's foot vertically, and directly in front of the lemming horizontally. The displayed values are the vertical/horizontal distance (they are equal), not the hypotenuse, mostly because it's easier to measure that way. I adjusted the brightness/contrast of the underlying level to make it easier to see the markings. The level is made in the stable version of NL for access to the conveniently 16x16 L2 styles. The level is the default size of 320x160.

Looking at this, 80 pixels may be a bit short. However, I think both 100 pixels and 120 pixels would provide a good amount of power while not being excessive in small levels.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2020, 01:01:08 PM »
120 seems good for me! :thumbsup: Maybe one could also argue for 128 pixels, i.e. twice splat height (2x64 pixels). But since the laser is diagonal anyway, I'm not sure whether that would be relevant. For a strictly vertical laser it would be, because then you could place a Stoner exactly in the middle, and it would be relevant whether the lemmings splat from falling through the shaft or not. But in this case, they're going to walk down the shaft, so the only thing that does matter is the distance of empty space covered by the Laserer (assuming the lemmings from above will fall down from that height).
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Lemmings Open Air, my newest release and follow-up to World Tour, 120 levels
Paralems (Old Formats), a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems (Old Formats), a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for (very old) NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2020, 01:31:10 PM »
A 128 pixel range leads to it being easier to measure in most cases as it confirms to the 16x16 block grid.

So I think 128 pxels would be a good range to try out. :)

Also for any terrain that is being created inside the beam while the laser is still going on, I would say it gets destroyed immediately with no effect on the laser beam.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2020, 01:37:31 PM by IchoTolot »