Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Propose new game/software design concepts or new game/software ideas. They can be as whimsical as you like, just be careful you don't ask someone to make it for you...
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R-Tape
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Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Post by R-Tape » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:07 pm

We have less time for Speccy games these days, and a google times more distractions. Most people play in an emulator with snapshots, hacking is easier than ever, and POKEs usually appear within a few days of release.

Is it even worth trying to design a game around a limited number of lives anymore? Should game authors acknowledge this and include an infy lives option on release? Or is it yielding too much to the leg jiggling ADHD of the lazy (or modern) player?

I suppose the hackers would get bored...
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Re: Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Post by Ralf » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:23 pm

I release and will release my games without built-in cheats. Let hackers have some fun as you said.

When creating games I also make some dirty map of game if it is more than one screen game. I also don't publish it and allow people who like
map making to have fun.

But yes, we have less time, motivation and worse reflexes than in our teenage days. So my opinion is: use anything that will help you have fun and will keep you plaing the game - saving, pokes, maps, walkthroughs, rollback. Some people may call it cheating but who cares :) The ultimate goal is that you had great time and how you'll obtain you it's your choice.
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Ast A. Moore
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Re: Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Post by Ast A. Moore » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:04 pm

R-Tape wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:07 pm
Most people play in an emulator with snapshots

Is it even worth trying to design a game around a limited number of lives anymore?
See what I did there? ;)
My answer is no. Tough tamales.
It also lifts the responsibility from the developer to put some effort and design well balanced gameplay.
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Re: Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Post by MatGubbins » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:21 pm

If Manic Miner was released today on a console - save game after each level, acheivment points for killing the Kong Beast etc.... No, let's just send them back to level one and start again, there would be riots and a low score from the magazines.

If Portal was released back in our day, Chell has 3 lives. Dead and back to the start screen. Yup, fine with that, bung the cube on the button, through the door, level 2.....

It is up to the player if they want to cheat, use snapshots or rollback features. I admit, I do use them, but I will try to play each level normally - unless it's one of those games that everything is jumping on the player and the reaction time is faster than than I can handle.
Maybe we are older and don't want to learn how each level works, to seek how that level was crafted, the laser fire and jump timings, the movement patterns of the nasties and the different optimal routes to complete it in the fastest time possible.
They called it skill in our day.

Built in cheats for new games, it's an option that is too tempting to use.
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Re: Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Post by Hikaru » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:52 pm

Some people just habitually use POKEs all the time, even if the gameplay consists of 'pressing X to win'. Otherwise, the number of people willing to cheat can be seen as a means of telling whether a game has reasonable difficulty and/or whether it is achieved using fair means. Or alternatively, whether you're targeting the right audience.

Hacking and disassembling is easy these days, but hardly anyone would be bothered if they found out they had to disassemble an entire game. :roll:

Things like 99 lives and especially built-in trainers are just plain wrong.
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Re: Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Post by R-Tape » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:34 pm

Ast A. Moore wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:04 pm
It also lifts the responsibility from the developer to put some effort and design well balanced gameplay.
Hmmm don't agree. Developers could accept that the game will be played with snapshots and design it with that in mind.
MatGubbins wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:21 pm
Maybe we are older and don't want to learn how each level works, to seek how that level was crafted, the laser fire and jump timings, the movement patterns of the nasties and the different optimal routes to complete it in the fastest time possible.
They called it skill in our day.
True, I like the idea of developing the skill but just repeating things already done many times can become metronomic. The player needs to get good enough to solve the challenges you describe at least once in order to progress.
Hikaru wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:52 pm
Things like 99 lives
I'm guilty of this with Biscuits in Hell (well 128 lives anyway), but the game is very, very hard. I don't see a problem, a lot of Yerz's games do this and I just file it under 'a fun experience' rather than a massive challenge.

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IMO restricted lives are a hindrance to many games. The new Xelda is just about okay because there are energy top ups and the action part of it is fairly pedestrian, but it'll take around 3 hours to solve the puzzles - how many people playing 'on bread and water' will bother to complete it after being forced to restart? How many people have completed one of the adventure styled Egghead games without snapshots? Jonathan puts a lot of effort into anti hack measures (and I love the ideas from a programming point of view!), but these are big, challenging games that few people will want to repeat everything if they spoon that tricky jump yet again.
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Re: Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Post by Sokurah » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:50 pm

I think that the number of lives in a game should depend on the type of game.
If the game is about motorskills and precision then a set number of lives is suitable, but if it's a rapid-death type game then unlimited or perhaps 99 is good. Depends on the game. Figure out what suits it.
Bottom line is that the game should be challenging but not punishing the player ... too much ;)

With the 128K version of Vallation I made the game a lot easier (perhaps too easy?), as I thought many people would already have played through the 48K version so they might not want to be dragged through the pain of the first 4 levels again before they got to the new stuff. I'm even awarding extra lives every time a level is completed.

I also made it much more challenging for the hackers (speaking to you, Mr. All-Caps :lol: ). Sure, it's possible to find all the usual POKE's, but anyone trying is going to work a lot harder to find them. Just a bit of fun to do for me ;) :D
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Re: Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Post by Juan F. Ramirez » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:56 pm

Definitely not!
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Re: Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Post by Ast A. Moore » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:02 pm

R-Tape wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:34 pm
Developers could accept that the game will be played with snapshots and design it with that in mind.
Of course, but then such games will hardly be playable on real hardware.
Take Einar’s Pixel Quest, for instance. It took me a few days to complete both games in the series. Would I even bother with them if I didn’t have an emulator? Well, no, because the games were designed with the emulator in mind and only the emulator.

Snapshots and rollbacks already give players the option of frequent save points, so why take away the full experience by essentially incorporating them in a game?

As Sokurah noted, it should depend of what kind of games we’re talking about. Some—Pixel Quest—don’t even have the concept of lives or energy or even scorekeeping. For others, these are essential elements that make them enticing.

A cheat mode is a viable alternative. Give the player invincibility but limit the number of levels or points awarded, for instance.

Another alternative that may address your original concern of the lack of time for playing is making shorter, simpler games. Something one could spend a few moments to learn and return to it every once in a while and perhaps even complete in a few minutes after mastering the basics. A sprint rather than a marathon. That’s the approach I took with Yankee.
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Every man should plant a tree, build a house, and write a ZX Spectrum game.

Author of A Yankee in Iraq, a 50 fps shoot-’em-up—the first game to utilize the floating bus on the +2A/+3,
and zasm Z80 Assembler syntax highlighter.

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Re: Should every new game be released with an infy lives option?

Post by Ralf » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:42 am

You should remember that it's actully quite hard to guess if game will be hard or easy for gamer.

You don't know what he will be using - keyboard, joystick, some pad... Will he be playing it in emulator, real Spectrum with rubber keys or on on small mobile phone with tiny keys.

Should we assume that if it's a game for Spectrum then he should be playing it on real Spectrum??? I'm not so sure about it.

I also saw many times so guy losing all lifes on first screen of the game where your reaction was "wtf? how can be so lame?" ;) Players can foten surprise you.

And another thing - in most cases when you write a Spectrum game you are a single man doing coding, design and testing. You don't have testers. Sometimes you don't want testers - you want to do your game your way and not hear some guy complaining, nagging and telling you to do your game his way ;)

The problem is that while making a game you play and test it hundreds of times so you learn it ,you memorize it. It becomes easy for you and you are no longer able to take point of view of a guy who sees it for the first time.

So it's not east to make game easy but not to easy. My answer is - do it your way and let player play it his way.
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