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#1 Posted by Acegikmo 4 years 7 months ago
Acegikmo
Flowstorm Developer
100% complete
100 Forum posts
8 Levels
12 Levels awarded
Hello!
We got a comment on our Kickstarter that's very worth discussing :)



Checkpoints are primarily used as objectives to pass before going into the finishline, especially in non-linear levels such as Detour, Oscillatory and Frictionaut, to allow more open levels.

Allowing respawning would be great for exploring a level for the first time, as well as great for new players who want to learn to play different parts of the level.
I imagine respawning at a checkpoint would put your rocket at the center of a checkpoint, facing in the direction you previously passed the checkpoint in, so that they work sensibly in open levels.

As with most changes, it comes with design challenges:

#1. Respawning when playing for fuel is free, since time stands still while not accelerating. It might even be advantageous, since you will more likely than not spawn at a higher position than what you passed it in, essentially giving you more space to exploit gravity for gaining momentum

#2. Respawning means instantly removing all your momentum, which might be an advantage where you want to pass a checkpoint, and then break or turn back. This means that the responsibility that you had to mind your velocity is pretty much gone, so you can charge down into checkpoints extremely quickly, instantly respawn, and carry on. This might be something level designers should mind when creating levels though, and might even be interesting in itself, even though it's a bit counter-intuitive.

A possible, though a bit ugly solution to #1 would be to simply disable the fuel timer on respawn.

What do you think? :)
#2 Posted by Wing 4 years 7 months ago
Wing
77% complete
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I think you could count the amount of respawns in a run, so that you can then organize the results based on that too (with fewer respawns being better)

as in, if I get through a level without respawning in 30s, and a friend gets through respawning once, but in 29s, I'd place higher than my friend.
#3 Posted by Ravidge 4 years 7 months ago
Ravidge
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They have a decent function as it is, I see no reason to change it. They are a little odd in linear levels like Pilot and First Steps, where they could be removed and you wouldn't change anything. But I don't know if you plan on using checkpoints for anything fun in the future...
So either you delete them from levels where they're irrelevant, and everyone is happy. Or keep them and use them for whatever future features may appear involving them.

Personally I use them as handy markers to use in conversation if nothing else; "I shoot the grenade just when I pass the 2nd checkpoint", "The segment between 1st and 2nd checkpoint is the hardest!", "I just had the best checkpoint exit on Frictionaut".
But in the future there could be room for features that compare peoples splits between the cps, see where you gained and lost time in comparison to your own or someone else's run.

If the fundamental problem is "it's too hard to complete levels" then checkpoint respawning is a bad solution. There are many other, better ways to make the game easier.
#4 Posted by Acegikmo 4 years 7 months ago
Acegikmo
Flowstorm Developer
100% complete
100 Forum posts
8 Levels
12 Levels awarded
It might be taking unnecessarily long for a new player to learn and get through a level, so checkpoints would be a good way to get them more motivated, as they have part-goals to achieve, without having to restart from the beginning.

It could be a good way of easing the learning curve, without making the game easier :)
#5 Posted by Ravidge 4 years 7 months ago
Ravidge
100% complete
14 Forum posts
14 Levels
3 Levels awarded
If you want a smoother learning curve, then just make more easy levels. And I mean Easy (with a capital E). Starting with stuff that is basically "hold up-arrow and win", and then go from there, in tiny steps. It's way more motivating to complete a dozen childishly easy levels than it is to fail and have to use checkpoint respawns to get anywhere on a slightly harder level.
When people talk about hard games, they don't refer to anything of 'beginner' difficulty. It's always the Expert, Master, Black, Dark, Pro or whatever the developer chose to name their toughest difficulty. But the good "hard" games always have them, these piss-easy levels that everyone can complete, and usually lots of them to get you rolling and hooked on the gameplay and feel, before knocking you out with the near impossible challenges later on.

I said this before, and we kinda came to the conclusion that you had limited screenspace for the levels in this alpha. Which you could actually increase pretty easily by just making another branch in the level selection where before presenting you with the levels, you get to choose a difficulty first.

As for learning the map, a way to look around without actually flying your ship would be a lot better. Just the ability to pan the screen around somehow.
Flowstorm is a lot about momentum and the speed. If you "learn" the map by having checkpoint respawns in your route, the path you're learning only works if you actually do those respawns in your race times. Speed is hugely important when learning because it directly affects how much time you have to rotate your ship in every situation, and by resetting your velocity to zero by respawning you don't get a feel for that at all.

Part-goals seem redundant in a game where the levels are like 10-15 seconds long. Just get those Medals you mention in the about section in asap, couple those with a bunch of levels grouped into several difficulty categories and you'll soon have people feeling great about "Getting 100% Gold" in the beginner category.
#6 Posted by SirTitsMcGee 4 years 7 months ago
SirTitsMcGee
50% complete
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Hi Acegikmo, I'm James from Kickstarter :)

Thanks for the awesome, informative reply! I definitely understand why the checkpoints don't have the functionality that I mentioned. It would be rather annoying to lose all of the momentum I have built up. I can definitely see this game sucking up weeks upon weeks of my time! It's already taken quite a lot of my time, and there is only 8 levels!

I don't think that disabling the fuel timer after respawn would be necessarily ugly. It would just be one of the things that you are not allowed to do if you want to get a fuel score!

Perhaps a (sort of) fix for scenario 2 would be to give a 5 second penalty on the race timer?

Thanks for being an awesome dev team! I've upgrade my Kickstarter pledge to $25 from $10! Obviously, there is a possibility that the Kickstarter wont be fully funded by the end of it. If this happens, will you still go ahead with development, or would that mark the end of Flowstorm? :(

Thank you very much,

James Decker!
#7 Posted by Acegikmo 4 years 7 months ago
Acegikmo
Flowstorm Developer
100% complete
100 Forum posts
8 Levels
12 Levels awarded
Glad to see you on the forum James!

If the Kickstarter fails, it wouldn't mark the end of Flowstorm, but it would most likely mean that the game will not be developed for much longer. We'd probably wrap the game up as it is and call it finished, which is something we really don't want to do. Another alternative would be trying to find investors or publishers, but it might be difficult if we have a failed Kickstarter campaign behind us, even if it only fell flat because of lack of publicity.

Thanks a bunch for the extra pledge anyhow!
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