Tips for a well designed hack

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Tips for a well designed hack

Post by wizzrobemaster on Fri 3 Feb 2017 - 3:16

What are some good tips in terms of good vs. bad game design?

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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by SunGodPortal on Fri 3 Feb 2017 - 19:13

-If you have the player go through something ridiculous be sure to have some extra hearts or a fairy close by. By doing this, you can get away with having stuff in the game that is super challenging without it feeling unfair.

-Keep back-tracking to a minimum.

-Don't try to be too clever and if you do, be kind enough to give the player a heads up about it like in Puzzledude's Quest.

-Unless you're doing some sort of "kaizo" hack, never force the player to use glitches in order to progress.

Well, that's all I've got for now.
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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by wizzrobemaster on Fri 3 Feb 2017 - 19:36

I never intend to use glitches unless they are unavoidable (which I define as a bug). Bomb jumping is never used in my hacks because that is crossing the line (i.e. similar to the bomb jump in Majora's mask with Zora Link).

I intend to add shortcuts in my dungeons and to fix the backtracking issue, I relocated the Death Mountain Ocarina warp to Spectacle Rock (this is the one warp point that still bothers me to this day) to make it easier to get Ether.

As for required items and resources, I place magic if the boss needs it (why are there arrows in the room before battling Mothula, who is immune to them?)

As for trolling door ways, those are also gone. The Armos room in Ganon's Tower is probably one of the most obnoxious examples.

I also intend on having short cuts that lead to the boss room. I could have locked doors that require the big key (Ice Temple could have used one).

I also make it that items are much less dependent and mainly act as tools. I plan on making every dungeon item in the DW optional while the LW dungeons are mandatory.

The Pegasus Boots are optional, and Sahasrahla gives you the Moon Pearl (I tested the game and no paradox or unwinnable situation seems to occur, but forgetting it in the Tower of Hera can be a bit punishing).

I also plan on adding secret caves that require the shovel and act as a shortcut to otherwise unreachable locations.

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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by SunGodPortal on Fri 3 Feb 2017 - 21:05

I personally like bomb jumping (if bomb damage is turned off or hearts are placed by to compensate for the unnecessary damage that you are forcing onto the player) because it's making clever use of a natural mechanic that exists in the game. For me, pixel perfect bomb jumping is where it crosses the line. Especially if you still have pit damage in your game.
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Unfair vs. bad game design

Post by wizzrobemaster on Sat 4 Feb 2017 - 18:54

What is the difference between unfair vs. literally bad game design?

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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by SunGodPortal on Sat 4 Feb 2017 - 19:54

Staff note: I merged these two topics as I didn't think they were different enough to warrant more than one thread and the topic from the new thread had already been mentioned in the existing thread.
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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by wizzrobemaster on Sat 4 Feb 2017 - 22:06

Some examples in ALttP are the Ice Rod situation, the falling rocks on Death Mountain. no magic drops from the bosses that are required to be defeated with them, Trolldorm's absurd knock back and the pit knocking you down 2 floors, the Mothula bug, Chain Chomps and Beamos, backtracking to Death Mountain to get Ether with no in game hint of its location (i.e. only exists in the manual), the dark room in Turtle Rock (probably the most poorly designed dungeon in the game), way too many deadrocks on death mountain, RNG based heart pieces (the treasure chest mini-game and digging game) and poorly distributed resources (why do you get arrows before Mothula).

Some of the issues were fixed, others can be fixed, and the rest either require ASM or completely hardcoded. Thanks to Conn's Book of Mudora buff, I can warp away Beamos (which requires a simple hex edit), but it still has a few bugs and it would be nice if Link was invincible when using it.

As for Trinexx, edit the sword beams damage class to 2. It will stun both heads. Do not use the damage class that will damage all hardcoded enemies such as Red Eyegores and Bubbles because the peg Switches will be destroyed if hit.

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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by qwertymodo on Sat 4 Feb 2017 - 22:13

wizzrobemaster wrote:As for Trinexx, edit the sword beams damage class to 2.  It will stun both heads.  Do not use the damage class that will damage all hardcoded enemies such as Red Eyegores and Bubbles because the peg Switches will be destroyed if hit.  

Better not to edit the damage class of the weapon, and instead edit the damage class on the enemy. Granted, that would make Trinexx also vulnerable to both canes as well, but that would probably be far less problematic than changing the sword beam to a whole new damage class.
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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by SunGodPortal on Sat 4 Feb 2017 - 22:44

wizzrobemaster wrote:no magic drops from the bosses that are required to be defeated with them

You are aware that the bottles in the game can store potions for refilling your life and magic, right? You can either bring some to be prepared, or you can accept the consequences. Also, it's so easy to get magic by just freezing something and then busting it with your hammer. There's really no excuse for running out of magic in the vanilla version of this game.

Trolldorm's absurd knock back and the pit knocking you down 2 floors

That's part of the challenge and the game also gives you a ton of hearts on the previous floor to facilitate multiple tries. I also don't recall ever falling down 2 floors so this has to be a very rare occurrence.

backtracking to Death Mountain to get Ether

Use the flute or just start your game at the old guy's place. This isn't a big deal.

Most of your complaints on this site are more about personal preference than "design flaws", as you put it. If I had to guess, I would say that you sit around and play this game until you invent some excuse of a "design flaw" in order to have a fictitious problem to solve because in actuality you have next-to-no useful ideas to implement in this game.
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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by wizzrobemaster on Sat 4 Feb 2017 - 23:05

This is one reason why I consider Fire Emblem Thracia 776 to be the worst entry in the series. Not only does it easily punish the player for its trial and error set up, but it is way too dependent on the luck factor in comparison to other titles. It is difficult for the wrong reasons.

When it comes to fairness and the quality of the game design, A Link Between Worlds is actually the better game in comparison to ALttP, but its lower difficulty and recycled over world map hurts the design for being considered too easy and unoriginal. It should have had ALttP as an unlockable or a second quest, but I digress.

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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by wizzrobemaster on Sat 4 Feb 2017 - 23:07

The GBA port added the 9th warp which made it more convenient. Saving and quitting adds to the death counter in the native version while the GBA port removed the old man's place. even from the warp point, getting hit by deadrocks are falling boulders is easy.

As for Trolldorm, the 2 flights of stairs is more of an annoyance than a challenge. I don't have an issue with its health resetting. The boss itself is annoying, but does feel rewarding when beaten unlike most bosses in 3D Zelda.

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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by Puzzledude on Sun 5 Feb 2017 - 6:26

wizzrobemaster wrote:What are some good tips in terms of good vs. bad game design?
Best tip ever is my "seminar" on this:
https://www.zeldix.net/t831-puzzledude-s-seminar-on-romhacking#9236

While it is deliberately pessimistic, it is incredible how accurate it can get.

At the end of the day "good" vs "bad" game design is a matter of taste, however most players tend to think the same regarding not liking these features in a hack: trial and error, glitch abuse/exploit, perma stuck, save state dependent hack, glitches in the hack, difficult bosses, high HP of enemies that also deal a lot of damage with one hit etc. Any "good" hack should not have those.

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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by wizzrobemaster on Sun 5 Feb 2017 - 7:02

I oppose the use of glitched and exploits because I find those to be mistakes in the game design. They are either program side effects or unavoidable oversights (unlike consistency errors that are technical goofs instead of flaws such as having misplaced exits that do not hurt the game design). I have no reason to make extremely difficult bosses, trial and error gameplay I am not really that good at making, loathe perma stuck/unwinnable missions, and massive difficulty spikes such Twilight level difficulty in Hyrule Warriors (Wii U) will make it too tedious. I noticed that PW seems to be filled with  artificial or unfair difficulty.  

Anyway that seminar topic is the one written in a pessimistic dialect, then I read it before. That is where I started re-thinking if posting my hack was a good idea to avoid carting.

Jirard the Completionist seems to be Mario masochist because he really enjoys Kaizo levels.

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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by SunGodPortal on Sun 5 Feb 2017 - 18:32

Puzzledude wrote:At the end of the day "good" vs "bad" game design is a matter of taste, however most players tend to think the same regarding not liking these features in a hack: ...difficult bosses...

IMO difficult bosses are good only if it doesn't take a good deal of time to get back to one after you die. If a game allows you to save just before the boss, then I don't mind a high level of difficulty. Having to play through an entire level again just because you didn't automatically know the very obscure methods needed to kill certain bosses is indeed bad design (especially if you have no inventory to back you up).

Some of the levels and bosses in the game Odin Sphere can be incredibly challenging when first playing the game (and some even after knowing exactly what to do and having a good deal of supplies to help you through it) but one thing that keeps the game fun is that if you die it automatically starts the level over with the supplies you had when you first came into it. The same applies to the boss battles. If you get slaughtered, you don't have to go through the trouble of sitting through the title screen, reloading your save file and then playing back to the part where you died. This wouldn't work for every game as it would make some games too easy. But in this case I couldn't imagine dying after 5-10-15 minutes of a boss battle, having to reload my save file, play all the way back to that point and still feel like I was having a good time.

Being able to save right before the bosses is also a life saver in the Persona games that I've played where a boss battle can take up to like 20 minutes. Unfortunately, in those games you do have to see the title screen and load your save file like a tool.
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Re: Tips for a well designed hack

Post by wizzrobemaster on Mon 6 Feb 2017 - 6:44

As obnoxious as Trinexx was because of the ice Rod fiasco, ironically he also was the most merciful when you died if you took the exit from the rest stop.  You can also use the Magic Mirror that leads you to a cave full of fairies. the GBA port was even more generous thanks to the 9th warp and the boss dropping magic bottles.

Agahnim on the other hand was the most difficult to reach in Ganon's Tower, but he was probably the least dangerous DW boss. The Ice Temple's room change then GBA port became more annoying to reach the boss because you could not shortcut with the Cane of Somaria.

Although off topic from this comment, but the Japanese version on the SNES had a design flaw in the Tower of Hera. One of the pits was too close to the wall, which could lead to floor level issues. The American release fixed it.

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