Author Topic: Accessible Clock Option  (Read 238 times)

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Offline Forestidia86

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Accessible Clock Option
« on: October 03, 2021, 01:48:30 PM »
Nepster Lix has 3 Outtakes levels that have time requirements in the title. The question is how to make them viable.
There is an option meant for debugging to turn on phyus and FPS. phyus (physics units) count like a clock, currently start in singleplayer at 45 phyus and first lix spawn is at 60 phyus, 15 phyus are 1 second. So as a rather hidden option there is already a clock in the game to give some legacy support.

This question was topic of an IRC (#lix) discussion, which is included at the end of the post.

The spirit of the game is to have no skill external requirements like a clock. Nevertheless is it not fully against this spirit to have a counting up clock, especially since there is already a phyu counter. Having a proper clock option would only make it more accessible but could lead to time limit desires. I think it is worth the risk.

In my view if it is introduced there should be the option between no clock, normal clock and phyus.
Normal clock should start at first spawn for overarching compatibility. (Though maybe there are reasons to do it otherwise.)

(If it is implemented there could be a need to adjust the time requirements in Nepster Lix levels according to the start of the normal clock.)

Full discussion w/ further details of possibilities and problems:
Code: (IRC discussion) [Select]
[14:18] <F_> Nepster has 3 levels in outtakes with time requirements in the title, question is if the phyu count is added to the title to help tracking if it was successful.
[14:20] <F_> Problem is that phuys are not shown by default.
[14:21] <F_> Further problem is if it is wanted to discourage such possibilities of external challenges like beat levels in such and such a time.
[14:27] <@SimonN> Hi
[14:28] <@SimonN> Yeah, time limits in titles are in seconds, and the engine measures in phyus that are nowhere shown.
[14:29] <@SimonN> My hunch is not to support this further. But Proxima likes a general clock (counting up) in seconds. Thus there is weak argument to support this kind of level.
[14:30] <@SimonN> The fear is: When clock is too prominent, people will make time challenges, and then the engine should support those.
[14:30] <@SimonN> The absence of the clock is really a nudge away from making time challenges.
[14:31] <F_> I understand, yeah that's a legitimate concern. On the other hand it would show the desire for such chanllenges.
[14:31] <@SimonN> Hmm
[14:32] <F_> It is a deliberate decision which had it's reasons I can understand. Time limits can be used in some cases very detrimentally.
[14:33] <@SimonN> It's hard. I cut it in one go with cutting variable spawn interval, and the focus was always on cutting VSI.
[14:34] <@SimonN> No clock means less things to worry about.
[14:34] <@SimonN> Frees space in the panel.
[14:34] <F_> yeah by default
[14:35] <@SimonN> Well, technically, there is a clock whenever you have the tweaker open, it shows the current phyu.
[14:35] <F_> The phyu counter on the other hand is in some sense a clock though it's mainly meant for debugging.
[14:35] <@SimonN> And that, yes
[14:35] <@SimonN> We have to reel Proxima into the discussion.
[14:36] <F_> yeah, it's generally the question if there should be a forum post for broader discussion or not
[14:36] <@SimonN> Time in seconds is also ill-defined. In 2009, time ran from 4 seconds before first spawn. Then later, it ran from 2 seconds before first spawn.
[14:37] <@SimonN> Makes sense to warm it up again, yeah
[14:37] <F_> Well that's not different for the phyus either?
[14:37] <@SimonN> Phyus always have first spawn at 60.
[14:37] <@SimonN> Singleplayer merely starts at phyu 45 and multiplayer starts at phyu 0. It's all smoke and mirrors
[14:38] <F_> ah I see
[14:38] <@SimonN> Reason for this: I didn't want to break replays that count in phyus and assume first spawn at phyu 60.
[14:38] <F_> okay
[14:38] <F_> You could start the clock with spawn.
[14:39] <@SimonN> Pre-placed lix are interesting feature and need a decision for how long before first spawn they start walking.
[14:40] <@SimonN> It's possible to nail it all onto first spawn. Everything before is just eye candy.
[14:40] <F_> I see yeah.
[14:41] <@SimonN> In NL, pre-placed lemmings walk from start of time, which is ~4-5 seconds before hatches open.
[14:41] <F_> In that case it would just have to move to when that happens.
[14:42] <@SimonN> Yeah, difference between stragglers walking and first spawn is not so big in NL either. We may as well remove all difference and have stragglers start on first spawn.
[14:43] <F_> one possibility
[14:44] <F_> This depends in the end what the feature is ought to offer. But it is not implemented yet.
[14:46] <F_> If a clock is reintroduced then I would want the option to decide if phyu or time or no clock is shown. If you have to feature to disable clock then it would be an argument against supported timed levels.
[14:56] <@SimonN> Hmm. No clock by default, and you can choose to see phyus (with first spawn at 60) or seconds (with first spawn at ?, probably 0.00)
[14:57] <@SimonN> And trophies will always save with phyus, but display nothing/phyus/seconds according to clock on end-of-singleplayer.
[14:57] <@SimonN> * according to clock option.
[14:58] <@SimonN> I have a soft spot for no clock, because it clearly shows what the game is about.
[14:59] <F_> hmm
[15:01] <F_> That sounds like a good compromise. My perspective comes from level maintainance, how to make them viable.
[15:01] -__:#lix- lemmingsforums.net: Re: Different Types of Levels [Proxima] <https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=5787.msg93908#msg93908>
[15:02] <@SimonN> Level archaeology >_>;;
[15:02] <F_> yeah
[15:05] <@SimonN> Brushing and polishing them.
[15:06] <@SimonN> It's sensible and supports the general idea that Proxima wants the clock even for normal play.
[15:07] <F_> In a hidden way it's in already with phyu count, it just makes it more accessible. (Which can on the other hand in turn wake up desires.)
[15:08] <F_> I think it's worth the risk, but it's your decision and of the community.

Offline Simon

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Re: Accessible Clock Option
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2021, 07:24:43 PM »
Thanks for summarizing the IRC discussion!

Would love to hear Proxima's ideas on this. He wanted a clock the most.

I'm imagining to continue with purely physics updates internally, but expose the printing of these in the UI through a three-valued user option:
  • Hide clock, except during replay tweaker. This is the default.
  • Minutes/seconds/fractional seconds, tared to 0:00.₀₀ at first spawn.
  • Raw physics updates, with first spawn at physics update 60 as usual.
And the effect of this option is that, whenever we would print physics updates, we instead print nothing at all, or the physics updates converted to minutes/seconds/fractional seconds. In detail:
  • Trophies would always save the physics update of the winning save, and the physics update of the final save. The formats themselves need no change to seconds; the formats always work with physics updates exclusively.
  • In browser or in end-of-level screen, trophies would print with/without these times depending on the option.
  • During play, the clock in the status bar counts the time upwards.
  • The replay tweaker will always print physics updates in some way, even when clock is disabled. This needs more thinking. Either we default to phyus for the tweaker, or we make yet another option. It would be nice though to kill all birds with one option.
  • If we introduce stragglers a.k.a. pre-placed lixes a.k.a. loose lixes that don't spawn from hatches, but are already in the level, I think I'll freeze them until first spawn. Then we keep the guarantee that anything of interest will only happen from phyu 60 a.k.a. second 0.₀₀ onwards. This would be different from NeoLemmix's stragglers who immediately start walking ~4 seconds before the hatches open.
I don't want to re-introduce time limits. Nepster's level titles are soft challenges and the game itself merely gives you the clock to track them yourself.

The reason for me to reconsider the clock is both (these three Nepster's levels) and (Proxima's desire to somehow record and improve the singleplayer solution times, even when they're not part of the winning condition). I already track the number of skills used, and it's only for flavor in the displayed trophies. People like to speedrun/optimize/tinker with all kinds of stuff, thus why not expose the physics updates which the game already uses everywhere internally.

-- Simon