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 Post subject: How Many Lives Are Right
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 11:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:40 pm
Posts: 155
I've played a number of levels that I would have rated higher if it weren't for one factor. The designer only gave me one life. It never ceases to amaze and annoy me when I come across a level that initially has visual appeal and challenging play but only one life, when it clearly will require more. Although it may be beatable by a very small percentage of the players, the majority will walk away, give it a very low rating and not replay.

In many cases one life may be appropiate. Like the tutorial levels, and some of the art levels. But for many other levels, it seems to me that the designer should have given more careful consideration to how many lives they set. I'm probably preaching to the choir here, as most of the designers who post here do a good job at assigning a fair number of lives to challenge the player and give them a fair opportunity to win. But I'm posting this in hope that some of the newbies will at least read this and give it some consideration.

It is a waste of time and talent to design a level that is complex enough to require a number of lives to defeat, and then only give the play one shot at it. If designing a level that is impossible to beat is your goal, that is not difficult to achieve, and it doesn't reflect any talent. You're only guaranteeing you will not get much notice or respect for your design capabilities (or lack thereof).

In contrast, I have played levels that weren't all that clever in design, having 10 pounds of parts in the proverbial 5 pound bag but gave infinite lives. They were at least more satisfying because ultimately they can be beaten. And that, after all, is what my goal is.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 11:23 am 
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 8:43 pm
Posts: 87
I agree that the number of lives definitely impacts a level's rating. I, personally, start with 3 lives and work from there if that is too easy or too difficult. If I can beat a level I create without dying, I will give players 3 lives, and then usually an additional life for every time I die up to a max of 6 or 7 depending on the level. If I die more than 3 or 4 times, that means the level is generally too difficult for even some of the most hardcore players. That being said, I don't post levels if they can't be beaten unless it's for a tutorial, or a piece of art, but it will always say that in the title.

The world keeps a balance, through mathematics, defined by whatever you've added and subtracted.
Atmosphere, Godlovesugly
It's better to be choking your chicken in hand than to be tossing your rocks off in a bush.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:39 pm 
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 1:38 pm
Posts: 144
I fully agree that giving only one life on a hard level defeats the whole purpose. Sure, it could still be a realistic challenge for hardcore players, but it's no fun for most people. This is yet another problem that could be solved by not allowing levels to be publicly playable until the creator has beaten them. Granted, the player might be hardcore enough to beat their level with one life, but then they should label it as a hardcore level, or something like that.

When I design levels, I'm never quite sure how many lives to give. Next time I actually have time to sit down and do one, I'll try Redsatori's method.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:50 pm 
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:52 am
Posts: 77
I hate those levels with one life as they invariably have either ship following lasers, uber tiny weapons you can't destroy, a completely enclosed core, or some other other nonsense like way too many weapons. Mission Impossible in the recent postings in one such "macho" level. I could almost survive doing my bottom edge/corner trick if it weren't for some annoying spread launchers on the other end of the thing.

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