Author Topic: [DISC][PLAYER] Laserer range / etc  (Read 939 times)

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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

Offline Dullstar

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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

Offline WillLem

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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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Offline Dullstar

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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.

Offline Strato Incendus

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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 »