Author Topic: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc  (Read 937 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?
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Pit Lems (Old Formats), a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
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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.
Quote
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:
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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).
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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 »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2020, 01:43:22 PM »
Quote from: IchoTolot
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.

Thanks for supporting my suggestion, IchoTolot! :thumbsup: I didn't actually expect anyone to take it seriously, but you made a good point I hadn't thought of. ;)

Quote from: IchoTolot
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.

:lem-mindblown: I had never thought of that either!

Good thing the Laserer has a 45° angle, so it doesn't line up with the Builder perfectly like the Fencer does. Otherwise, I would already have seen the levels coming where you fry away an entire Builder staircase as the lemming is building it, playing a new twist on the old "flying Builder trick" (where you constantly dig away the staircase to make the Builder "fly sideways" without leaving any terrain behind).
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 WillLem

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2020, 09:18:03 PM »
+1 for 128px

#TEAM128 :lemcat:

Offline Proxima

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2020, 09:22:05 PM »
128 allows a lemming at nearly the bottom of a 160-tall level to affect terrain nearly at the top, or, with suitable terrain, to carve a path all the way up there, with a single skill usage.

I still think that 80 is a good length to choose to prevent the skill being overpowered, though I could get behind 100 as a compromise (or 96 if you want a mutiple of 16).

Offline WillLem

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2020, 09:41:11 PM »
128 allows a lemming at nearly the bottom of a 160-tall level to affect terrain nearly at the top, or, with suitable terrain, to carve a path all the way up there, with a single skill usage.

How is this any different from being able to do the same with a single Fencer?

Also, surely making the skill as powerful as possible is a good thing. A shorter range just means that if a designer wants the skill to be able to affect terrain near the top of the level, then other changes to the layout, or multiple uses of the skill (more potential for backroutes), are necessary.

Offline Gronkling

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2020, 09:51:32 PM »
I also think it should be fairly short, as I think destroying terrain from a distance without requiring a lemming moving is already incredibly powerful, and it letting it reach across the vertical span of a regular level increases it's overpoweredness.
I'd be happy with 32px-64px
« Last Edit: December 23, 2020, 10:29:18 PM by Gronkling »

Offline Proxima

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2020, 09:55:38 PM »
How is this any different from being able to do the same with a single Fencer?

I'm not saying that being able to ascend that high with one skill is inherently bad. I'm just trying to get across a sense of how powerful this skill is.

Quote
Also, surely making the skill as powerful as possible is a good thing. A shorter range just means that if a designer wants the skill to be able to affect terrain near the top of the level, then other changes to the layout, or multiple uses of the skill (more potential for backroutes), are necessary.

If you have a short-range laser (or bridge or platform) then you can create the effect of a longer one by putting two or more together, as you point out. The other way around doesn't work: if you have a long-range laser and need it to be shorter, there's nothing you can do except expand the terrain. And while that is always available as a solution, I'm worried that it will lead to a glut of mega-large levels that didn't need to be mega-large.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2020, 10:31:35 PM »
If you have a short-range laser (or bridge or platform) then you can create the effect of a longer one by putting two or more together, as you point out. The other way around doesn't work: if you have a long-range laser and need it to be shorter, there's nothing you can do except expand the terrain. And while that is always available as a solution, I'm worried that it will lead to a glut of mega-large levels that didn't need to be mega-large.

Fair point, I can see where you're coming from with that; i.e. levels needing to be much bigger to attenuate the skill is a concern, for sure.

Regarding supposed "overpoweredness", though; there is such a thing as a skill being too "underpowered" as well, so that it sees little (if any) use at all (think Swimmer, Disarmer, and to some extent Shimmier - the latter of which will likely see much more use if the Slider skill happens). All of these skills are far too reliant on level design to be any use beyond what's intended, meaning that they only really lend themselves to use in very prescriptive, by-the-numbers levels.

My main concern with an underpowered Laserblaster is that it will be too similar to the old "lazy workers" gimmick (which stopped Bashers, Miners, Builders, etc. short of where they would normally reach, in effect giving their range a limit). This is just yucky and frustrating, and I'm really glad it's not a thing any more. Let's not re-introduce it via a woefully limited skill which has way more potential by being closer to the "overpowered" end of the spectrum.

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2020, 11:23:36 PM »
In the next update, I am going to try the following. Anything not explicitly mentioned here will stay as is for this update - it does NOT mean it is not up for discussion, nor that the behavior in previous builds is ruled out; all it means is "this is what we'll try out in the next update". I do not in any way expect this will necesserially be "final".

Range will be limited to 112px on each axis. (Not just as "a compromise between both suggestions" - 96 felt too short, and 128 is still infinite in practice on a default-height level unless fairly close to the bottom.)
Time limit will be abolished.
Reverting to walker will happen if, for 10 consecutive frames, nothing useful is achieved (due to max range, exiting level boundaries, or hitting indestructible terrain).
Reverting to faller will still happen, as it does now, if the ground under the laserer is removed.

Offline Gronkling

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2020, 11:28:12 PM »
A shorter range doesn't make it useless, it still lets you effect terrain from across gaps and from a distance without requiring you to need to have a lemming directly there. It's use with a shorter range would make it less of "another tunnelling skill" and make it more unique I think. (I don't think my suggestion will make it through tho since mine is the shortest by quite far)

And shimmiers and swimmers are super useful ;) I love both these skills compared to some other new ones

Offline WillLem

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2020, 04:44:53 AM »
And shimmiers and swimmers are super useful ;) I love both these skills compared to some other new ones

I love them, too :lemcat: All the skills are awesome, really. We all know that, right? :lem-shocked:

I particularly like the Swimmer, which is why I think it needs to be able to exit water from underneath; this would give it much more scope as a movement skill.

Meanwhile, Shimmiers have become way more useful recently with the potential addition of the Slider and the Laserer. Before then, I have to confess that I found it difficult to find creative ways to use them (from a design POV) beyond simply "being able to move across gaps in the floor, providing that the ceiling is low enough". I have seen some very creative uses of the Shimmier, though, particularly in NieSch's levels.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2020, 05:11:38 AM »
I'm good with testing out the 112 pixel range as namida has implemented. I really do think going lower than 80 would be an excessive nerf and would begin to reach the point where you'd have to begin specifically shaping terrain to bring the laserer within range of the thing you want it to hit without making it obvious to the player that that's what you're doing.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2020, 01:56:36 PM »
Now that wrap isn't happening, why not simply have an (effectively) infinite range for the Laserer, i.e. to the edge of the level screen, however big that happens to be? That's by far preferable to seeing it arbitrarily stop halfway through a block of terrain.

It would also render the "large levels" concern a moot point, since there would be no need to inflate the level to allow for a larger (but still limited) range.

And, as far as attenuation goes, there are plenty of ways to achieve this from a design POV (OWWs, steel, water, enforcing the need to use terrain at a higher part of the level [so that the player would cancel the skill at the correct point], simply not having terrain beyond where it's needed, etc.), whereas giving the skill a limited range is as good as forcing attenuation to a point which may not be useful to player or designer.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 07:08:21 PM by WillLem »

Offline Proxima

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2020, 02:21:14 PM »
Now that wrap isn't happening, why not simply have an (effectively) infinite range for the Laserer, i.e. to the edge of the level screen, however big that happens to be? That's by far preferable to seeing it arbitrarily stop halfway through a block of terrain.

Because gameplay is far more important than flavour explanations of why something happens. Why is a builder able to create bricks out of thin air, but no more than 12? Why does a climber (or slider) insist on climbing (sliding down) every wall they encounter? I don't really care; what matters is that they are great and well-designed skills for use in puzzles.

Quote
It would also render the "large levels" concern a moot point

...and in its place, you have levels that are forced to be covered in steel, to prevent one skill from ruining the puzzle. When that happens, isn't it maybe a hint that the design of that one skill is the actual problem?

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2020, 03:04:01 PM »
I can only really test the new range after I came back from my hometown.

But I really wouldn't go lower than 112.

Currently the laserer has the following things distinguishing it from the fencer:

- Double the elevation.
- Speed.
- Range to the point it can go through multiple floors / Independance from the terrain in the middle.

Limiting the range to 80 or even around 40 as Gronkling suggested would nearly completely take out the 3rd point as it would being to struggle to go through a wall and its main selkling point the range would fall away. I think this is missing the main point of the skill!

It and the projectile skills provide a new feature all the other skills don't really have until now: Range. We should rather adding more than less of it.

If we take it away we will inevitably go close to the existing stuff again and that's why I'm very much against larger range/arc reductions to these skills.

We should be a bit bolder in terms of range/arc and go a bit out of the box if we want something different from the existing skills. Otherwise we just end upwith another fencer/bomber/builder.

112 seems good for the next test. I highly would advocate against a further reduction and rather go upwards by 16 pixels or so if a change is happening, but I still think there should be a limit.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 03:15:22 PM by IchoTolot »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2020, 03:07:49 PM »
Why is a builder able to create bricks out of thin air, but no more than 12?

Builders have rucksacks, which are big enough for 12 bricks ;P

Anyway, that's not really the point. A laser arbitrarily stopping halfway through a block of terrain just doesn't look or feel right. When it continues to the edge of the level, that seems to make more sense and be generally more satisfying, even putting aside "flavour explanations".

...and in its place, you have levels that are forced to be covered in steel, to prevent one skill from ruining the puzzle.

Steel is not the only way to stop a Laserer. Here's that list again:

2) One-way walls
3) Water
4) Designing the level so that the terrain beyond the part which needs lasering needs to be used for something else, so the player is compelled to interrupt the laserer (with, say, a Walker or any other cancelling skill) - this could even form part of the puzzle
5) Simply not having terrain beyond the part which needs lasering at that particular point in the level

So there are at least 5 4 ways to attenuate an effectively infinite laser. I'm sure people cleverer than me could come up with even more.

Furthermore, is it not the case that all levels need to be designed such that the skills presented can be used in a manner that is intended? No skill is exempt from this, all are prone to backroutes, and all skills can potentially cause design difficulties.

It and the projectile skills provide a new feature all the other skills don't really have until now: Range. We should rather adding more than less of it.

Amen! 8-)
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 07:07:55 PM by WillLem »

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2020, 05:20:19 PM »
Sure, steel isn't the only way to attenuate an unlimited-range laserer, but it's the most straight-forward. Most of the alternatives are steel-with-extra-steps. One way walls over a large area are even more visually intrusive than steel. Water is basically just making a steel area that's also deadly, and personally I wouldn't expect water to stop the laserer considering that the reason water stops other destructive skills is because all lemmings in water either drown or become swimmers. I'd also add that this implies the use of upside-down water, which, if you want to do that, more power to you, but I have a strong preference in my own level design for avoiding (I prefer keeping the water realistic, so I choose to make sure my water pits are contained and surrounding terrain can't be removed, either through the use of steel or by making sure no destructive skill can reach). Simply not having terrain there affects how designers have to shape the level. I'll concede that the option of requiring the terrain to be used could be done in an interesting way, but I think the the design hassle from the other situations is not worth the puzzle potential. Besides, there's no reason a shorter-range laserer can't also be used for this purpose, and would put the burden of accommodating this on puzzles that intend to use this behavior, rather than on levels that don't.

As far as thematic concerns go, there's no reason it has to be a laser, either. Maybe it uses the destructive force of high-pressure water to carve a hole in the terrain!
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 08:24:45 PM by Dullstar »

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2020, 06:26:11 PM »
Quote
Furthermore, is it not the case that all levels need to be designed such that the skills presented can be used in a manner that is intended? No skill is exempt from this, all are prone to backroutes, and all skills can potentially cause design difficulties.

For what must be the hundredth time now, "prone to causing backroutes" is not a binary, it's a spectrum. Yes, every skill can cause backroutes, that doesn't negate the fact that some skills (or some specific implementations thereof) are far more prone to it than others.

Quote
3) Water [can stop the laserer]

No idea where you got that from...

Offline WillLem

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #32 on: December 24, 2020, 06:59:25 PM »
For what must be the hundredth time now, "prone to causing backroutes" is not a binary

To be fair, I never said it was a binary. I just said that every skill can cause backroutes, which is true; I didn't quantify that statement to any extent. Saying "all planets are big" is a true statement, even before you begin comparing their sizes relative to one another.

Yes, every skill can cause backroutes, that doesn't negate the fact that some skills (or some specific implementations thereof) are far more prone to it than others.

Again, where in my previous statement did I imply that this is not the case?

However, to discuss the point (since you've brought it up again): in any level, any given skill's proneness (or not) to backroutes is dependent entirely on:

a) the layout of the level
b) the skills provided

It is impossible to say "skill X will definitely cause a backroute in any level."

And, whilst it may be possible to say "skill X is more likely to cause a backroute than skill Y," even with that statement - more information is needed (specifically, the two points just listed).

What I'm getting at here is that a skill's backroute proneness is, in fact, impossible to quantify without giving actual, irrefutable evidence which demonstrates it. All we have to go on at the moment is anecdotal stuff, which could be misremembered.

For instance, Bashers rarely come up as an example of a backroute-prone skill, but that's because it's relatively easy to block a Basher backroute, so such cases are not likely to be remembered. Walkers, however, are much more difficult to predict and design a level around; I can imagine that levels go through several fixes to guard against Walker behaviour, so therefore such cases are far more likely to be remembered and discussed, giving a falsely inflated impression of their "backroute proneness".

Finally, if something has come up "hundreds of times", it's likely because it hasn't yet been brought to a satisfactory conclusion ;P I haven't yet been convinced that any one skill is more likely to cause a backroute than any other skill, due to lack of evidence. No amount of being told that's the case is likely to change my mind. It does, however, keep it open to being changed, with a compelling enough set of examples.

Quote
3) Water [can stop the laserer]

No idea where you got that from...

Ah, my mistake. I made an ass out of u and me, there :forehead:

OK, so there are 4 ways to attenuate an (effectively) infinite laser :eyeroll:
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 07:12:09 PM by WillLem »

Offline Proxima

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2020, 07:36:56 PM »
For instance, Bashers rarely come up as an example of a backroute-prone skill, but that's because it's relatively easy to block a Basher backroute, so such cases are not likely to be remembered. Walkers, however, are much more difficult to predict and design a level around; I can imagine that levels go through several fixes to guard against Walker behaviour, so therefore such cases are far more likely to be remembered and discussed, giving a falsely inflated impression of their "backroute proneness".

If it's relatively easy to block a basher backroute, but walkers are much more difficult to predict and design around... then what's false about the impression? It feels like you are stringing words together without really thinking about what they mean :P

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #34 on: December 24, 2020, 08:50:39 PM »
I do agree with Proxima here: when I think of a skill being backroute prone, I'm thinking of "How likely is this skill to give me a hard time fixing backroutes?". Basher backroutes are incredibly easy to block because they often just involve adjusting terrain by a few pixels, switching for a different destructive skill that would still work but would be sufficient to break the backroute, or adding a bit of steel/OWW, and the best options are usually pretty obvious. They are also usually easy to predict as well, in no large part thanks to the range limitations. Walkers are a lot harder to backroute proof against, because of the sheer number of different ways they can be used: it's very difficult to think of every combination of walker placements someone could use to backroute your level, so it's no wonder that they quickly gain a reputation for being a backroute prone skill: at the end of the day, I have such a hard time predicting backroutes with them that I really don't have any choice but to send the level out and see what people do with it, because I'm terrible at thinking of all the possible ways someone could try to use it. That doesn't mean the skill shouldn't exist, but when we're designing new skills it's important to consider what traits will help the skill do its job while also not making it so powerful it's hard to use without breaking your level.

I think for this reason a range limitation is just flat out good design, even if Proxima and I disagree about what, exactly, that limit should be: with no limit, the skill becomes difficult to plan around, and may in many cases require designing the entire level around compensating for its power. Giving it a limit allows us to control this power more easily, while still allowing the skill to carry out its job. Furthermore, this limitation makes the skill unique compared to bashers/miners/diggers/fencers while also not making it outright better*: a basher/miner/digger/fencer will go forever until a lack of terrain causes it to stop. A range-limited laserer cannot be stopped by a lack of terrain, but also can't go as far as a basher/miner/digger/fencer potentially could. This makes it unique yet similarly-powered, because the laserer trades the keeps-going-until-it-gets-stopped nature of the basher/miner/digger/fencer for the ability to be stopped by fewer things.

*better in terms of how useful it is for the player in comparable situations once you've accounted for the angle and stuff, not in the sense that level designers should never use the other skills ever again when they're not committed to a specific angle

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2020, 09:17:13 PM »
If it's relatively easy to block a basher backroute, but walkers are much more difficult to predict and design around... then what's false about the impression?

I'm referring specifically to the number of times backroutes appear as a result of a skill's abilities, not how easy it is to fix the backroutes that they do cause. My argument here is that quantity is not necessarily a determining factor as to a skill's "backroute proneness".

But yes, it's just a case of crossed wires, since I used "how easy is it to fix the backroute" to argue the case for [a skill being more likely to be remembered as "backroute prone" even though it may not have actually caused more than any other skill].

It seems though, that "how easy are they to design around?" is in fact the contentious point here, rather than the "number of times" they cause backroutes. Dullstar elaborated this neatly enough, so there's nothing else to be said there. The question becomes: well, OK, it may be more difficult to build a level to make it "Laserer proof", but - is it worth the extra effort? That's a different discussion entirely.

My answer is, absolutely yes! I'd rather have an (effectively) infinitely long laser which always reaches the edge of any given level, with the trade-off being that I occasionally have to put a bit of steel (or whatever) in to attenuate its power (if needs be). But, that's my opinion, and opinions aren't always helpful in these sorts of situations. What we need is someone better at putting an argument together to be on my side and make a good case for an (effectively) infinite range, but I can't see that happening either. So! Que sera, sera... :lemcat:
« Last Edit: December 26, 2020, 08:27:54 AM by WillLem »

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #36 on: December 25, 2020, 01:07:19 PM »
I rather block more backroutes/get creative with blocking backroutes than having a more limited skill. :8():

I am still for a range limit, but with the current 112 pixels I think it's at the absolute minimun it should be and would rather increase it by another 32 pixels than decrease it further.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #37 on: December 25, 2020, 08:34:47 PM »
Definitely no further range decrease, I agree with IchoTolot here! ;)

Does anyone happen to know what the range limit for the vertical Laser Blaster in Lemmings 2: The Tribes is? Given that the game even has increased splat height, the vertical distances covered in that game are generally much higher than in your average NeoLemmix level. Despite the vertical / diagonal difference, this would be a great point for orientation.

Forgive me if somebody already defined the L2 range limit before and I just overread it ;) .
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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #38 on: December 25, 2020, 09:29:10 PM »
It's 113 pixels measured from base of lemming's foot to top of laser in L2.

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #39 on: December 26, 2020, 09:36:59 AM »
Great to know, thanks, Dullstar! ;) Then 112 seems exactly appropriate to me! :thumbsup:
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Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #40 on: December 27, 2020, 04:31:00 PM »
There is still the thing with the cloned laserer now.

Currently it seems whenever a laserer is getting cloned the cloned lemming is a fresh laserer with the full 112 pixel range.

I would expect that he only gets the leftover range of the original laserer.

Example:

A laserer is getting cloned. The original laserer already pierced 22 pixels of its range. As a result the cloned laserer only gets a 90 pixels range and not the full 112 pixel.

Offline Proxima

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #41 on: December 27, 2020, 04:35:07 PM »
Great to know, thanks, Dullstar! ;) Then 112 seems exactly appropriate to me! :thumbsup:

That's really a non sequitur, because the typical L2 level height is much higher than the default 160 pixels for NL. So if anything, that's an argument in support of making the laserer height shorter for NL.

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #42 on: December 27, 2020, 05:27:18 PM »
Quote
There is still the thing with the cloned laserer now.

Currently it seems whenever a laserer is getting cloned the cloned lemming is a fresh laserer with the full 112 pixel range.

I would expect that he only gets the leftover range of the original laserer.

Example:

A laserer is getting cloned. The original laserer already pierced 22 pixels of its range. As a result the cloned laserer only gets a 90 pixels range and not the full 112 pixel.

This does not make sense to me in light of how the laserer actually works. The laserer doesn't have a concept of "used range" or "current position", only "max range".

Each frame is independent. As I have mentioned before - it should be thought of that on each frame, one laser is fired, and the individual laser has infinite speed (but a 112px range cap). On the next frame, the lemming fires an entirely new laser, unaffected by the previous frame's one.

The only thing I can think of that would work kind of like your idea, is to - on the frame where the lemming is cloned (or, presumably, this would also apply to a lemming turned around by a blocker), a new range cap is set, which is equal to the max range minus (furthest OR current-frame - and there would be good arguments for either of these) distance of old laser. However, to me this just feels like adding an extra rule, that only applies in less-common situations, for little reason. Laserer's behavior is "fire until 10 consecutive frames of no useful impact". A cloned basher or miner doesn't stop when the original lemming runs of terrain - like those, the Laserer keeps going until a specific exit condition is fulfilled. Sure, there is a range limit, but the way I see it, this limit should be thought of as comparable to (as examples) the basher's terrain check range, not comparable to the builder's step count.

The most important thing to keep in mind in general: In the current implementation, each frame of the laserer's action has no memory of the previous frame EXCEPT for the purpose of calculating the "10 consecutive no-effect frames". So - anything carrying over range to cloners / turned-around laserers, would either be introducing a new edge case rule, or alternatively would require a major change to how the laserer works. The former seems like a bad idea, so let's rule that out right now. The latter could be considered if there's enough support; this would essentially mean the laserer just becomes a third projectile skill but with a straight-line trajectory + different termination rules + is copied when cloning the lemming.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2020, 05:49:18 PM by namida »

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2021, 08:56:42 PM »
Does anyone else have feedback on the Laserer-Cloner situation?

And, any further input on the Laserer physics after V5's changes? (There were no further Laserer changes in V6.)

Finally, is there anyone at this stage who would be opposed to the Laserer making it into NL? The Laserer is now confirmed. Physics are still up for discussion, though.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 07:50:53 PM by namida »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #44 on: January 12, 2021, 02:45:51 AM »
Does anyone else have feedback on the Laserer-Cloner situation?

I agree with your above post; it makes far more sense for the laser to clone for the full range. To my mind, it's a static skill, i.e. it is fired from a single point, so cloning a Laserer at point A should result in a laser emitting from point A, and ideally continuing for the full range.

If anything, an idea might be to only allow the new laser to travel as far as the distance remaining on the first Laserer's laser. That way, both clones would finish lasering at the same time (this would make sense if the laser shooter has a finite "power source"; the clone would only have as much power remaining as the original) - but, it should definitely emit from point A. And, if this would be loads of work to implement, I'm fully behind the idea of the laser simply continuing, as a basher or miner would (this would make sense if the laser has infinite power, but a finite range).

Finally, is there anyone at this stage who would be opposed to the Laserer making it into NL?

I would be opposed to the Laserer not making it into NL :lemcat:
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 02:52:44 AM by WillLem »

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #45 on: January 12, 2021, 09:32:00 AM »
The Laserer is fine as it is by me, and should definitely make it into NL! :thumbsup: No need for changes physics-wise!

We can discuss the graphics / sprites at a later point, I guess. ;) The current one gets the job done, the beam is just a little "thin" in my view for the width of the tunnel it creates. Maybe we can use a diagonally-tilted version of the L2 animation eventually.
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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc
« Reply #46 on: January 12, 2021, 05:24:21 PM »
If anything, an idea might be to only allow the new laser to travel as far as the distance remaining on the first Laserer's laser. That way, both clones would finish lasering at the same time

Laserers don't have a "distance remaining" in the first place. And they time they take to laser depends on how much terrain is in their path, so a laserer and his clone may finish at different times even if cloned on the very first frame.

I think the current cloner behaviour is fine and is the most consistent solution possible.

Quote
Finally, is there anyone at this stage who would be opposed to the Laserer making it into NL?

I still dislike the laserer, but no more than I dislike other skills such as the glider and swimmer. It's okay. If other people like it and want to use it in puzzles, then it should stay.