Author Topic: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger  (Read 6283 times)

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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2023, 08:09:23 AM »
EDIT: Moved from Projectiles should kill Zombies & Pop Balloons



I once jokingly suggested a Gunner skill in the joke-skill-ideas thread. That skill could only kill Zombies and nothing else. The point of that being a joke suggestion was to illustrate that skills this narrow usually aren’t worthwhile. Just consider the fact that we’ve already dropped the Runner again, which still would have had more puzzle utility than a dedicated Zombie-killer skill.

This is also why I’ve joked about SuperLemmix turning into Worms. Because if the focus of levels or even entire packs becomes just to kill the Zombies to get a talisman, with the challenge of getting the crowd to an exit merely being an afterthought, we’ll fundamentally change what the game is about at its heart. And a skill like the Gunner would pretty much require such a massive shift in order to be worthy of inclusion.

Regarding the Bazooker, I’m a little more open — though it’s ironically perhaps THE most Worms-like skill, alongside the Grenader (even more so than the Batter, actually). I can see some utility in having the knockback effect at a distance. Hence, in contrast to the Gunner, the skill could also be useful on non-Zombie levels. However, I don’t think we can assess that before we’ve tried out the Batter.

The crucial point is how easy it is to control the knockback effect — which becomes even harder in Classic Mode. A Bazooker would require projection shadows after impact, so that the player can anticipate where the explosion would knock the lemmings getting hit by it. Therefore, the skill shadow for the Bazooker would have to consist of both the arc for the projectile itself AND of what happens after impact.

Meanwhile, for the Batter, that skill shadow would just be the arc of the skill itself, since it directly flings the lemmings around, as if the lemming itself were the projectile (thinking in Spearer / Grenader logic here).

Finally, the fact that it’s hard to control a knockback effect is probably also a reason why, even though we have two kinds of Bombers in SuperLemmix (timed and untimed), WillLem hasn’t introduced the L2 difference between Bomber and Exploder / the Lix difference between Knockback Bomber and Exploder yet. ;) A Knockback Bomber would require the same projection shadows as the Bazooker on impact, but at least it wouldn’t additionally require a skill shadow for the projectile arc — because there is no projectile with the Knockback Bomber.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2023, 01:52:25 PM by WillLem »
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2023, 11:03:44 AM »
Quote
Would people prefer this to a regular Batter? Or, is there enough reason to have both?

I would prefer the Batter, since the Bazooker is essentially no different from a Grenader - especially given that the Grenader can also kill Zombies now.
The only difference between Bazooker and Grenader is that between Exploder and Knockback Bomber in Lix.
With the primary difference between Grenader and Bomber, in turn, being the Grenader's range and the fact that it's not lethal (then again, the Bomber in Lemmings 2 isn't lethal either).

Also, I think the Batter should be able to hit Fallers.
:D Would be a cool way of saving them, by flinging them out of harms way. Because being flung would reset a lemming's fall height, wouldn't it?
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Offline Floyd Brannon

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2023, 01:49:21 PM »
I agree the bazooker and grenader are too similar. But what I have in mind is a skill that fires in a straight line. The l2 bazooker actually fires in an arc like the grenader. I figured if bazooker was used it would be changed to a straight shot. Similar to how the laserer was direction changed.

I would not recommend losing the spearer for this straight shooter. I suppose a straight shooter would also have similarities with the basher, but at a distance to open paths and such. The knockback would make it more interesting and unique. I wouldn't replace the spearer, but possibly this could replace the batter. I imagine you could fire at close range to have the same batter effect. But by firing at a distance you would gain the bat ability at a distance. And have destructive damage to terrain which batter wouldn't do. And kill a zombie too. And save a fallers by shooting them, which does seem very fun.

The gun suggestion would never do. But fulfilling batter, gun, and zombie killer as a bazooker is more possible.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2023, 02:36:11 PM »
I can see some utility in having the knockback effect at a distance. Hence, in contrast to the Gunner, the skill could also be useful on non-Zombie levels. However, I don’t think we can assess that before we’ve tried out the Batter.

The crux of both ideas is how to fling lemmings - this isn't something the codebase currently supports, so it will have to be written in completely from scratch.

We currently don't have a way for lemmings to detect each other (which is most likely what we'd need for a Batter to work) - they can only detect solid pixels, trigger areas (which are drawn to a specific physics map per-trigger-type - this includes Blockers), and as of 2.5, airborne projectiles.

This last one currently offers the most possibility in terms of a skill that lemmings can react to rather than perform themselves - a ranged batter (in whatever form it might take) would actually be an easier starting point, currently.

EDIT: With that said, the "Bat" itself could simply be another projectile type, albeit one which doesn't travel along an arc; the more I think about it, that's probably how I'll approach it (i.e. add the Bat to the projectile list). So the question still remains of which we'd prefer - ranged or non-ranged.

A Bazooker would require projection shadows after impact, so that the player can anticipate where the explosion would knock the lemmings getting hit by it. Therefore, the skill shadow for the Bazooker would have to consist of both the arc for the projectile itself AND of what happens after impact.

It's almost certain that "flung" lemmings will not be getting skill shadows, we need to let go of that idea.

From a programming perspective, it would require the ability to simulate multiple lemmings simultaneously, drastically eating into rendering and processing resources. Not only that, but we would need to know which lemmings to simulate; for all other skills with shadows, this is determined by hovering the mouse over the lemming - the renderer then simulates what would happen if that lemming were to go ahead and perform the currently-selected skill at the point of assignment. For flung lems to have a skill shadow, we'd need to know which lemmings would react to the (ranged) Batter at the point of contact (which in both cases would be some time after the assignment itself) and then simulate their path, in order to generate a shadow.

Even if my programming skills could stretch to this, I'd be against the idea of projecting the path of flung lemmings anyway; making it this predictable would encourage the scenario of (ranged) Batters being performed in a very specific spot whilst the other lemmings are also in very specific spots - not much fun for either level designers or players, particularly if we make it so that lems can be flung in different directions.

Far better, then, to just know that the flung lemmings will land in a general area rather than a specific spot; this is the only way to keep the skill playable, IMHO.

The gun suggestion would never do. But fulfilling batter, gun, and zombie killer as a bazooker is more possible.

I agree this does seem like the better way to go with it, i.e. still works at close range, but also works at a distance; best of both worlds. Or, more to have to manage/be aware of from programming, designer, and player perspective.

Thoughts on this? Suggestions? I need a bit more input on this before making a decision, probably about 50/50 on it currently.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2024, 02:28:41 PM by WillLem »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2023, 03:58:02 PM »
The thing about the Bazooker is that, if it’s an exploding projectile that also has a knockback effect, it will also affect the lemming using the Bazooka himself — which is precisely what happens in L2, and that’s what I always found makes this skill particularly annoying to use. Because rather than merely flinging other lemmings around, the Bazooker always literally backfires in the player’s face.

If we could make it so that the Bazooker does not fling himself around when firing at close range, he could indeed be used just like a more versatile Batter. (Much like Grenaders at close range act as non-lethal Bombers). In fact, given how hard it might be to time the Batter without a skill shadow, having the Bazooker, with a skill shadow for the projectile (just like for Spearers and Grenaders) might actually make it easier to e.g. apply them to Fallers.

In order to act like a Batter, the Bazooker would have to explode when merely coming in contact with lemmings, irrespective of whether it comes into contact with terrain or not. Of course, the same is necessary in order for the Bazooker to act as a Zombie killer skill. For example, if you want to shoot Zombie Floaters with it (is this also what the Grenader does as of version 2.5? Meaning, does the grenade explode when hitting a Zombie in mid-air?).

There is also the question how much damage the Bazooker would do to the ground underneath, if shot at a perfectly horizontal angle, but low enough above ground. In such instances, it might make a dent or crater into the ground, too.

With these things in mind, I could see myself supporting the Bazooker over the Batter as well. Especially if it’s also easier to code into current SuperLemmix than the Batter. :D
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Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2023, 04:50:41 PM »
My thoughts...

I like how several people can bring shape to an idea like this. The gun was a funny idea that I couldn't imagine being accepted, however I'm ready to coin the term "Gunslinger" if this comes back around.

The batter seems useful in some scenarios. But, this straight firing bazooka idea seems pretty tight. I like everything I'm reading about this. He can bash through a wall at a distance. Save a falling lemming. Kill a zombie. Bat lemmings over walls, stop blockers, maybe even pop balloons. He should be wearing sungasses too.

I don't think the L2 bazooker flings himself if he aim at something far away. I don't think he should ever bat himself no matter how close he is to the detonation.

The bazooker is starting to sound more useful than the batter.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2023, 05:36:37 PM by jkapp76 »
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Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2023, 05:49:56 PM »
is this also what the Grenader does as of version 2.5? Meaning, does the grenade explode when hitting a Zombie in mid-air?

Yes, that's correct. It still needs further testing to ensure 100% reliability; I had to release a hotfix which relaxes the projectile check slightly, increasing the chances of the checks returning true and making something happen.

If we could make it so that the Bazooker does not fling himself around when firing at close range, he could indeed be used just like a more versatile Batter
---
There is also the question how much damage the Bazooker would do to the ground underneath
The gun was a funny idea that I couldn't imagine being accepted, however I'm ready to coin the term "Gunslinger" if this comes back around.
---
this straight firing bazooka idea seems pretty tight. I like everything I'm reading about this. He can bash through a wall at a distance. Save a falling lemming. Kill a zombie. Bat lemmings over walls, stop blockers, maybe even pop balloons. He should be wearing sungasses too.
---
I don't think he should ever bat himself no matter how close he is to the detonation.

My thoughts here are that the Grenader already fulfils most of this; if we add to it the ability to fling lemmings upon detonation, we've basically got an as-proposed ranged Batter minus the horizontal trajectory.

I stated elsewhere that having a straight horizontal trajectory for a ranged skill isn't necessarily a good thing - it means it will only really be useful on a flat plane. Besides, level layout can and should always take skill movement into account. So, do we need the horizontal movement? If the answer is "not enough to change the Spearer and Grenader's arc to horizontal", then the answer is... "not enough".

The Batter still has a reason to exist, though, since it doesn't destroy surrounding terrain and doesn't backfire at close range (yes, we can make it so that the thrower lem isn't affected, but... would this really make sense, visually and conceptually?). It keeps its usefulness as a "move other lems without doing anything else" skill. But, do we still want it if the Grenader can already be made to do everything that we're proposing a ranged Batter should do?

Maybe we don't want the Grenader to fling lems, and keep that action to the Batter. If so, then maybe we could make it a lem that fires some sort of "soft" projectile (like a nerf dart or yo-yo or big boxing glove, something like that), enough to move lems around like a Batter but not so much that it results in destruction of surrounding terrain - again, we can leave that to the Grenader.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2024, 02:32:35 PM by WillLem »

Offline Proxima

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2023, 06:20:06 PM »
I think you're overthinking things a bit. Not all ideas are good, and even good ones may just end up not fitting in.

The Batter as-is and the Grenader as-is are good skills. The question should be "are they improved or worsened by these changes?", not "is this a good place to include the idea of a ranged flinger?" If that leaves us without a ranged flinger then that's okay; if you have a hard limit of 30 skills and already have 25 then you can't fit in everything that gets proposed.

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2023, 07:15:48 PM »
If we repurpose the grenader a bit, we could modify the grenade arc so that it begins horizontal, then continues into the same original arc. This should allow the grenade to easily work as a batter without tossing over their heads, but still work about the same as a grenade?

Who knows, maybe a flying cookie could achieve such a lift.

(forgive the terrible artwork here)
« Last Edit: August 04, 2023, 07:27:56 PM by jkapp76 »
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2023, 08:44:28 PM »
I strongly advocate against any changes to the Grenader. :evil:

As WillLem said, strictly horizontal arcs aren't that great. If another skill is added, while the Grenader stays the same, then it's a different story. But if the Grenader's arc is flattened, it becomes much weaker, in my opinion.

Similarly, adding knockback to the Grenader would also make it worse, in my view,
simply because you could no longer throw a grenade into a crowd (say, for example, to free the Blocker holding them back at the end): Now you'd always have to worry about the grenade flinging random lemmings from the crowd elsewhere, possibly to their deaths.

In fact, this is precisely what often happens in L2: The Tribes,
with skills like the Knockback Bomber, Bazooker, Mortar etc., and is part of what, in my view, makes L2: The Tribes such a frustrating experience.

So, once again, I stand by my principle: I'd rather see no flinger skill added to SuperLemmix at all than to see changes to the existing skill of the Grenader, merely in an attempt to somehow fit the Batter's function into an already existing skill.

As you can see, this time my argument isn't even "existing content", but much more generally, "overall annoyance caused by knockbacks".

Knockbacks should never be a byproduct of a skill that you would often rather use for something else. If we do decide we want any kind of flinger skill, that should be the skill's main purpose.

This is a completely new mechanic, as far as NeoLemmix / SuperLemmix is concerned. Which is another reason why it shouldn't be tagged on to something that already exists in the engine.

The beauty of the Batter - or a dedicated Knockback Bomber, or the Bazooker we're currently contemplating - is that they would only or at least mainly be used to fling lemmings around. Rather than wanting the skill for something else, with the knockback often backfiring in the player's face.
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Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2023, 09:43:49 PM »
I think you're overthinking things a bit

I'm glad you've replied to this because we do need a bit of balance, but this has to be one of the least helpful comments it's possible to make in the middle of a focused discussion. The concept of "overthinking" is absurd: you're either thinking about it, or you aren't. If you are, then that process can go on for a short time or a long time before a decision is made.

I would say "overthinking" only really applies if the thought process is still continuing after a decision has been reached. At that point, yes, it's not desirable to do any more thinking. Since we haven't yet reached a decision, then thinking needs to happen, in whatever quantity individual people within the discussion feel is appropriate.

As you can probably tell, I don't like being told I'm overthinking things ;P I do mostly agree with your viewpoint, though - i.e. does the idea really need to be pushed further, or is it perfectly fine as it is? This is what we're trying to answer.
 
Not all ideas are good, and even good ones may just end up not fitting in.

Agreed, hence the discussion ;P

The Batter as-is and the Grenader as-is are good skills.

Again, agreed. I'd personally be happy to implement the Batter in its originally proposed form, but people seem to think a ranged Batter might be a better idea. Rather than create a separate topic or introduce another possible skill to the list, it seems better to introduce the idea into this discussion.

If we repurpose the grenader a bit, we could modify the grenade arc so that it begins horizontal, then continues into the same original arc

Strongly disagree here. The idea isn't bad, and it would definitely allow the skill a bit more versatility, but it would also make no real sense and is counter to what we expect from a classic lemmings skill: one action, one direction.

I strongly advocate against any changes to the Grenader ... if the Grenader's arc is flattened, it becomes much weaker, in my opinion.

Agreed, I don't really think we should change the Spearer or Grenader.

Similarly, adding knockback to the Grenader would also make it worse
---
Knockbacks should never be a byproduct of a skill that you would often rather use for something else

Again, agreed, the idea of adding "knockback/flinging" to any of the detonation-based destruction skills isn't an idea I like at all, tbh. Moreover, this is also the reason why I wouldn't want to give the Batter (or a ranged variant thereof) any terrain-destruction ability; it just feels too messy of an idea.

If we do decide we want any kind of flinger skill, that should be the skill's main purpose.
---
The beauty of the Batter - or a dedicated Knockback Bomber, or the Bazooker we're currently contemplating - is that they would only or at least mainly be used to fling lemmings around

The "mainly" here is what's de-railing the current proposal a bit: we need to be 100% clear on what we want the skill to do. If fling lemmings*, then that should be all it does - no destruction crater**.

The question, then, remains: do we want this skill (i.e. lemming flinger) to be ranged or not? I'd honestly be happy with either. Let's agree to focus the discussion back onto this particular question, and rule out any proposals of any skill that both flings lemmings and destroys terrain.

*It could still kill Zombies - this can be seen as an equivalent action to flinging a regular lemming.

**Spears and Grenades being able to kill zombies and pop balloons is an exception to this, and has been made because it doesn't add too much complexity or unexpected behaviour. It's a clear action with a clear result, which can be judged just by looking. For the reasons that Strato mentioned regarding Bazookas & Flingbombers in L2, combining terrain destruction and lem flinging is one of those "steps too far" that L2 took; let's not go down that route.

Offline Simon

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2023, 11:21:02 PM »
Ranged batting reminds me of the L3 hadouken. The hadouken flies faster than walkers walk, kills enemies on contact, ignores lemmings (you'd change this), vanishes on terrain contact, and never changes terrain.

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Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2023, 12:35:50 AM »
I'd like to hear more discussion about a ranged batter.
It seems more interesting to me. So many sound good.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2023, 03:13:33 AM by jkapp76 »
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2023, 08:46:28 AM »
What do you mean by “ranged Batter”? What we’re currently discussing the Bazooker could look like? Or something entirely different? ;)

If the range works in a perfectly horizontal trajectory, the only upside to a non-ranged Batter (who also hits his target from a horizontal angle) would be that it works over a longer distance on flat terrain. Meaning, if the current platform is particularly long, you could launch a Bazooka from one end of the platform to bat a lemming from the other end of the platform across a gap.

Conversely, if the terrain the Batter is standing on is an upwards slope, there basically wouldn’t be a difference to the non-ranged Batter, because the projectile couldn’t fly far to begin with. And if you’re launching the Bazooka on a downward slope, it might fly right over the to-be-batted lemming’s head.

These are the limitations of a horizontal projectile arc.

If, in turn, the Bazooka follows the same trajectory as the Spearer and Grenader, then there would be no difference between the Bazooka and Grenader, aside from the Bazooka flinging lemmings around. In other words, as said before, the Bazooka is to the Grenader what the Knockback Bomber is to the Bomber / Exploder.

If we instead decide that the flinger skill should not destroy terrain (for the reasons WillLem has explained), then the Bazooka would not destroy terrain, which would feel pretty weird to me. :lem-mindblown:

With the Batter, meanwhile, it’s more obvious why it wouldn’t destroy terrain (well, unless somebody confuses the Batter for the L2 Club Basher. :D Which, coincidentally, could be used as the sprite for the Batter on the skill panel?).
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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 jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Batter/Flinger
« Reply #29 on: August 05, 2023, 06:21:05 PM »
Yeah, by ranged batter I mean the bazooker, or anything similar that is brought up here.

I do like the horizontal long-range batter skill of the bazooker... but I wanted to bring just one more up here. I started thinking about this last night when I saw Floyd's first post in the (projectiles pop balloons) thread. He threw out the name Boomeranger. I doubt he had all this in mind, but as said in the above post there are a few disadvantages of the bazooker being strictly horizontal. So, what if we considered a boomeranger that completely ignores all terrain. It just flies in a horizontal line over everything, then curves around to cover a bit more ground and flies off the screen?

This would hit lemmings only and fling them. It would cause no damage to terrain. It would work just like a batter up close. It would hit any lemming in a straight line. Then turn around and fly away. It could also use the current thrower animation too.

If we insist we want terrain damage the bazooker might be better.

Maybe this is a terrible idea, I'm not sure. But I wanted to dwell on the boomerang skill for a minute here.

« Last Edit: August 05, 2023, 06:26:16 PM by jkapp76 »
...Jeremy Kapp