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Author: krotomo
Game: HATPC Reborn
Date: Saturday, February 18, 2017 - 2:52 pm

[?] Karma: 0

Description:
Here's my attempt at making a level one for HATPC Reborn. It's definitely not perfect, but I do think that it is a step up from HATPC's first tutorial which doesn't even properly explain the game's controls.

http://droidfreak36.com/HATPC/0_2_7/index.html?cave=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.interguild.org%2Flevels%2Flevels%2F65418.txt

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jebby
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Saturday, February 18 2017, 4:18 pm EST
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9/10
Amazing!
This is a really well thought out tutorial! I especially like the "look before you leap" area and heart/gem placement. Those difficult-to-access ladders to get to the heart remind me of early levels in Rayman where you can see vines that you can't access yet, but can reach later in the game when you have more powers. I like the "I wonder how you get there" feeling that is replaced by "I'm super smart!" when you later figure out the mechanics to reach those hard-to-reach areas.

A few bits did seem a bit random (like the crates lying around), but I guess they were to help give the feeling that you're in a real pirate cave with old loot and smuggled goods left by marauders who had been there previously.



(this is also more motivation to bring event support to CaveGen)


krotomo
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Saturday, February 18 2017, 4:27 pm EST
Baaa Majesty, Sheep Lord Kroto

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I'm glad you liked it! The wooden crates being everywhere was an atmospheric decision but also to introduce the bashing of wooden crates to a player who has never played HATPC. This idea is pretty important to get across considering almost every trap or puzzle involves breaking a type of wooden crate.
DroidFreak36
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Saturday, February 18 2017, 7:00 pm EST
Jace's Archivist

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Interesting level. A few comments though:

I don't think it really fits into the idea I have for the HATPCR campaign, for a few reasons:
(1) I think I want to introduce mechanics slower in the HATPCR tutorial, more like the way portal introduces portals and the portal guns slowly. The tutorial should be less of a front-loaded "here's everything you need to know to play the game" and more like a series of puzzles that gets progressively more complex.
(2) I'd like to bring more of a story flair to the HATPCR campaign as I mention in this thread. As I mentioned there, I think the actual first level will be Hannah initially entering the caves. And instead of being directed at the player from the dungeon master, the tutorial messages would be written from Hannah's perspective as she tries to figure out what's going on along with the player.

Another thing to note is that this tutorial would probably be much more difficult for newcomers than the original tutorial. Unlike the original tutorial 1, it's fairly non-linear and gives no hint at how to discover certain mechanics. Crate-bashing, ladder climbing, ladder jumping, and platforms are all totally unexplained, which seems like a lot of mechanics to dump on a new player without any hints. Sure, they could probably figure out out, but I think figuring out the mechanics should be made easy and figuring out how the mechanics fit together to let you solve a puzzle should be the challenge.




http://www.droidfreak36.com
krotomo
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Saturday, February 18 2017, 9:28 pm EST
Baaa Majesty, Sheep Lord Kroto

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Okay, I can see where you're trying to go with the main levels more or less. I wanted to keep the messages at a minimum- tell the player about the basic controls and mechanics (arrow keys to move and to pan the screen, space to jump, treasure) and let them figure out the rest. I assumed that if told to use arrow keys to move and space to jump, the player would be able to figure out ladders and ladder jumping on their own, and I tried to scatter enough crates around that the player would naturally wind up bashing them. But I think what you say makes sense; because HATPC can have incredibly complex traps and puzzles, it might not be worth it to waste time in the campaign having the player figure out the basic mechanics on their own.

As for the tutorial messages, I feel like the tutorial messages themselves should be reworked if you want to have Hannah be the one talking. At the moment, the tutorial messages pause the game and cover the screen, breaking the immersion of the game. They also cover Hannah entirely, so it's a bit awkward to have Hannah be the one talking if she's not even visible on screen.

I personally love the idea of the first level being Hannah entering the caves. It definitely adds more of a story to the game rather than Hannah just being in a cave for some reason from the start. However for this to work, you would need an above-ground background. Maybe you could take a couple from Aeon? They're roughly the same quality as the one in HATPC.

One thing I don't quite understand is how you would introduce the mechanics slower. This level pretty much only introduces moving, jumping, ladders, treasure, and looking down. Definitely quite a few mechanics, but very simple ones that aren't hard to grasp. I think it's a bit risky to introduce mechanics too slowly, as the player is bound to get bored if you dedicate entire levels to jumping only, ladders only, etc. Not to mention that you'd have to have a crazy number of levels, or a few really long ones, to introduce the full game. If I were to continue making campaign levels with the pacing I used in this one, I'd have 4-6 more that would go further in depth on crates, ladders, steel crates, etc. before even considering introducing arrows or boulders. What kind of pacing are you thinking of for these levels?

I could be that the pacing of this level is too fast though. I feel like the pacing of this level isn't too fast, but at the same time I'm already familiar with the game. It might be better to have people who have never played the game before play some tutorial levels to see how quickly they catch on.
DroidFreak36
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Saturday, February 18 2017, 10:40 pm EST
Jace's Archivist

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Quote:
As for the tutorial messages, I feel like the tutorial messages themselves should be reworked if you want to have Hannah be the one talking. At the moment, the tutorial messages pause the game and cover the screen, breaking the immersion of the game. They also cover Hannah entirely, so it's a bit awkward to have Hannah be the one talking if she's not even visible on screen.


Yeah, I'm considering reworking them. As-is, it looks like the tutorial messages were messages left posted in the caves since they're written on burnt parchment. I can probably reformat them to either pop up in a chat bubble above Hannah's head or in a box at the bottom like dialog in a Pokemon game.

Quote:
I personally love the idea of the first level being Hannah entering the caves. It definitely adds more of a story to the game rather than Hannah just being in a cave for some reason from the start. However for this to work, you would need an above-ground background. Maybe you could take a couple from Aeon? They're roughly the same quality as the one in HATPC.


I'm already on it. I'm talking to a friend of mine who does graphic design and he's putting together an above-ground background that matches the style of the original background almost exactly.

Quote:
One thing I don't quite understand is how you would introduce the mechanics slower. This level pretty much only introduces moving, jumping, ladders, treasure, and looking down. Definitely quite a few mechanics, but very simple ones that aren't hard to grasp. I think it's a bit risky to introduce mechanics too slowly, as the player is bound to get bored if you dedicate entire levels to jumping only, ladders only, etc. Not to mention that you'd have to have a crazy number of levels, or a few really long ones, to introduce the full game. If I were to continue making campaign levels with the pacing I used in this one, I'd have 4-6 more that would go further in depth on crates, ladders, steel crates, etc. before even considering introducing arrows or boulders. What kind of pacing are you thinking of for these levels?


You left a few things off of your list of things this level introduces. Here's a list of blocks and mechanics that it introduces by my count:
Moving
Jumping
Ducking/Looking down (arguably two different things, but related of course)
Treasure
Door
Platforms
Platform warping
Ladders
Ladder jumping
Spikes
Wooden crates
Metal crates

That's a lot more than I'd like to introduce in one level. More even than the original tutorial level 1 covered, since you added platform warping, spikes (or at least, the ability to die to them), and looking down. In the very first level, I'd plan to introduce little else besides the basic movement (ducking and jumping included), the exit door and maybe one or two block types. And my plan is not to dedicate an entire level to introducing a mechanic, rather I'd introduce a mechanic, and then make levels which utilize and demonstrate the mechanic along with the other mechanics. Don't think of it as a tutorial, think of it as a campaign that gradually increases in complexity. It's the difference between the original HATPC tutorial that throws a ton of mechanics at you at the start and one like Portal where you spend quite some time with the single portal gun, solving actual puzzles and getting actual story elements as well. The goal is to make it not feel like a tutorial, but just feel like you are playing the game.




http://www.droidfreak36.com
krotomo
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Saturday, February 18 2017, 11:06 pm EST
Baaa Majesty, Sheep Lord Kroto

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Okay, when you put all the mechanics in a list like that I can definitely see why that would be a lot to take in for a new player. As for how you would structure the game, by adding new mechanics to old ones and making each level more complex, I definitely agree with that approach. My explanation "jumping only, ladders only" was definitely worded poorly. What I meant by that is that things like jumping are fairly basic concepts that most people will grasp quickly, ladders as well, so I felt that it didn't make sense that you would create an entire level where all you do is jump, because after three or four jumps the player will have probably understood how jumping works. But it is true that this level throws more at a new player than is reasonable. My issue wasn't with the approach, simply with the speed at which mechanics were introduced. And after thinking about it more, jumping does have more depth to it than simply hopping over a gap- there's things like how high you jump, how you control movement mid-air, etc. So I can see why you would want to dedicate a full level only to basic movement, because if a player does not have those mechanics down, then they could potentially lack the foundation on which the rest of the game would be based on.

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