N v1.5 Poll: Episode Highscores

Talk about the classic version of Metanet Software's amazingly popular freeware platformer right here!

Can we omit/remove episode highscores from N v1.5?

Yes (I care more about level highscores)
63
37%
No (I care about episode highscores)
59
34%
Don't Care
50
29%
 
Total votes: 172

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Postby golf » 2010.06.26 (05:05)

raigan wrote:
zenoxman wrote:Keep episode highscores. The fact that the time limit carries between levels would be useless if the game just became isolated levels. But it'd still be nice if v1.5 let you resume your progress within an episode.


Just to be clear, there will always be episodes -- it's just a matter of whether they should have associated highscores, or whether episodes should be more of a "singleplayer only" experience and leave the highscores for single-level speedruns.

Definitely we want to add some sort of "resume" option; we don't know exactly what we're going to do yet though (i.e per column? per account? etc.)


I think this is as good as any place to put a thought of mine, and looking at raigan's last post added another question to my short list. There's been a lot of talk (or so it seems to me) about save states in the middle of episodes, and it generally seems to be agreed as a good idea. I was thinking today about how that would relate to episode highscores, and I think if anything it would be an overall improvement, provided there are restrictions. I think that being able to save, quit, and come back and restart in the middle of an episode would increase the competition for episode highscores, which currently is far behind the amount of competition for level highscores. However, this would really only work if your only options when opening N v1.5 are to resume an episode, or start another episode/level while erasing the current save state. In other words, if you pause at 00-2, if you come back and start at anything else other than 00-2, you lose the progress through the episode so far, and cannot resume again from that point.

The question I have comes from raigan's parenthetical comment. The "resume" option, being per column/account/whatever the final decision is: Are you looking at a set number of resumes? That's kind of what it sounds like, and I don't see that as being a good idea. If you include a resume option (sounds like what we've called a "save state"), it should be unlimited. I don't see any reason to limit the number of times you can pause the game in the middle of an episode. If you have a desktop, you can already do that by just hitting pause, or leaving the level loaded but unstarted, and minimizing N. So why put a limit on the times that you can save/resume when closing the program?
[16:24] <@golfkid> I'm pretty sure I will literally scream if I die on the last column of 78-4 at this point
[16:25] <trance> Oh, yeah. That level.
[16:29] <@golfkid> lol
[16:30] <@golfkid> It looks so simple
[16:30] <@golfkid> But it says "NO! I will rape your sanity!"


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My Accomplishments:
Completed N; Completed Nreality on 4/11/08
598 top 20 scores in N 1.4 as of 6/28/14 (498 level scores, 100 episode scores, 2nd position in top 20 rankings); reached 100 on 12/14/2008; 300 (half of all possible :D) on 11/9/2009; 400 on 12/2/2011; max of 598 on 2/3/2013; tied for 0th in top 20 rankings on 2/26-27/13

4 current v1.4 0ths (9th position in 0th rankings); First v1.4 0th: 63-3 at 1:20 pm, 3/24/2008

current level score: 71079.200 (6th position all time); 60k seconds on v1.4 6/17/08; 12th to 70k at 11:30pm EST, 12/24/2011; 6th to 71k at 5:50 pm EST, 9/29/2012

current episode score: 34276.650 (4th position all time); 100k seconds total level score (Metanet and NReality) on 2/4/08


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ska on my 129-1 innovation wrote:I thought about that but couldn't chimeny fast enough when trying. Congrats

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Postby raigan » 2010.06.26 (13:40)

About resumes, I didn't mean a limit on the number of times you could resume, but a limit on the number of simultaneous resume "bookmarks" that are active: a single one for each user, or a bookmark for each column?

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Postby golf » 2010.07.04 (02:38)

Sorry for the delay in reply, but I have been away for a week on vacation without internet. It makes sense what you're saying now, and I would suggest/prefer only having one resume at a time per user, for the reasons outlined in my earlier post.
[16:24] <@golfkid> I'm pretty sure I will literally scream if I die on the last column of 78-4 at this point
[16:25] <trance> Oh, yeah. That level.
[16:29] <@golfkid> lol
[16:30] <@golfkid> It looks so simple
[16:30] <@golfkid> But it says "NO! I will rape your sanity!"



spoiler

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My Accomplishments:
Completed N; Completed Nreality on 4/11/08
598 top 20 scores in N 1.4 as of 6/28/14 (498 level scores, 100 episode scores, 2nd position in top 20 rankings); reached 100 on 12/14/2008; 300 (half of all possible :D) on 11/9/2009; 400 on 12/2/2011; max of 598 on 2/3/2013; tied for 0th in top 20 rankings on 2/26-27/13

4 current v1.4 0ths (9th position in 0th rankings); First v1.4 0th: 63-3 at 1:20 pm, 3/24/2008

current level score: 71079.200 (6th position all time); 60k seconds on v1.4 6/17/08; 12th to 70k at 11:30pm EST, 12/24/2011; 6th to 71k at 5:50 pm EST, 9/29/2012

current episode score: 34276.650 (4th position all time); 100k seconds total level score (Metanet and NReality) on 2/4/08




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ska on my 129-1 innovation wrote:I thought about that but couldn't chimeny fast enough when trying. Congrats

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Postby PONTO » 2010.07.05 (20:53)

I voted "don't care", but i think I'm now leaning more towards the option of removing the highscores for episodes. First, it means storing twice the data for every user profile and online whereas the run won't simply be as pretty. The essence of highscores, I think, is to show the best the players can do. The endurance aspect would make some sense to test if the player could only die once per episode, in order to highscore, but I think we all agree that would be too unforgiving. Since you can repeat each level on a highscore run countless times, it is often just a matter of patience, until you get a score that is decent and then moving on. If a retry option is to be implemented and the ability to save in the middle of episodes too, then episode highscores would have even less meaning, and it makes more sense to add those than to keep episode highscores.
If M&R are to keep the episode highscores, though, then I would suggest to have them be the sum of the highscores for each individual level (minus 4*90.000, in order to count the starting time only on the first level). They would still be sort of useless, though.

Oh, and the gold would still make sense to have, both for the highscorers and the regular players, as the concept of beating five levels in a row would still exist.

EDIT: By the way, about how many episode "checkpoints" a user would be able to have, I have always thought of the feature as... having the user quit N and save and the next time he opens the game, he's right there at that level, no menu, no nothing. That would keep the spirit of having to do everything in a row, but it may be a bit unelegant/unforgiving.
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Postby raigan » 2010.07.06 (15:22)

PONTO wrote:Since you can repeat each level on a highscore run countless times, it is often just a matter of patience, until you get a score that is decent and then moving on.


This is our feeling too; probably we should explain a bit better why ep highscores are a pain that we would like to avoid:

One goal for the new version is to support user-made levels and episodes as "first-class citizens", i.e they would be just like the built-in levels and episodes, with highscores/etc.

One problem this creates is that, unlike the built-in levels, user-made levels may be duplicated across many user-made episodes; this leads to "bloated" highscores where e.g if a popular level is used in 100 different user-made episodes, the episode highscores will contain 100 versions of highscores for that particular level.

In contrast, if we only allow level highscores, then we always know that 1 level = 1 set of highscores, which is nice and simple and compact.

Also, with no ep highscores, the cost of user episodes is basically nothing -- each episode is just a set of 5 indices into the set of levels and takes up very little room, so users can freely make as many episodes as they like without bloating the database. In contrast, supporting ep highscores means that each ep will take up 4-5x the space of a level.

Since, compared to making a level, making an episode will be very easy and fast, we'd like to make sure that if people love them and each user has their own set of custom episodes, that this doesn't become prohibitive.

Another option that's possible is to try to reconcile both camps on this issue and support episode highscores for only SOME episodes; the built-in levels would obviously have them, and if there are established user-made episodes (a-la Legacy) then we could add those as they arrive. But, the problem here is that it's somewhat inelegant and awkward to have this special case.

I should mention that we have no idea what the cost of anything will be, possibly we're being pessimistic and these days server space is so cheap that it will be a non-issue. Regardless, we'd rather start with no ep highscores and add them later when it turns out that hosting is cheap, instead of having to take them down because they're too much of a burden; we have nightmares about receiving $1k/month bills :)

Anyway, I guess we'll see how this pans out -- there are far more decisions like this than we had counted on, but I'm hoping we can navigate a path through all of the conflicting constraints that will appease everyone :)

thanks,
Raigan

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Postby golf » 2010.07.06 (18:12)

Thanks for the reply raigan, its comforting to know you two are still working hard on this project. My thoughts on your post:

raigan wrote:user-made levels may be duplicated across many user-made episodes; this leads to "bloated" highscores where e.g if a popular level is used in 100 different user-made episodes, the episode highscores will contain 100 versions of highscores for that particular level.

Maybe this is just me, but I'm really only worried about the built-in episodes for highscores, and don't really care whether or not user-made episodes have them, mainly because I don't plan on playing them all that much. Also, there are some levels already in the game (83-3 Bricklayer, 95-2) that have 5-10 different routes (versions) of highscores in 20 or less scores posted and available to see. And, if its a popular level, the best routes will be discovered relatively quickly and adopted from one episode to the next. Although I think I see your point that there will be similar runs being spread out across a lot of server space, and I can appreciate not wanting that.

Another option that's possible is to try to reconcile both camps on this issue and support episode highscores for only SOME episodes; the built-in levels would obviously have them, and if there are established user-made episodes (a-la Legacy) then we could add those as they arrive. But, the problem here is that it's somewhat inelegant and awkward to have this special case.

I guess this sums up nicely my favored option. Definitely keep the built-in episode highscores, while keeping the option of user-level episodes open, but not firmly decided one way or another to see how many user episodes are made after the initial rush/backlog from 5 years of mappacks.

we have nightmares about receiving $1k/month bills :)

If it comes to that point, I would rather get rid of all episode highscores and save you from having such nightmarish bills, even though I greatly enjoy having those highscores.

But in the end, its your game and will be your decision, and we will always have 1.4 to continue episode highscoring.

Edit: Another preference of mine I thought up. I would rather not have any episode highscores than the cumulative level scores, if it comes to that.
[16:24] <@golfkid> I'm pretty sure I will literally scream if I die on the last column of 78-4 at this point
[16:25] <trance> Oh, yeah. That level.
[16:29] <@golfkid> lol
[16:30] <@golfkid> It looks so simple
[16:30] <@golfkid> But it says "NO! I will rape your sanity!"



spoiler

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My Accomplishments:
Completed N; Completed Nreality on 4/11/08
598 top 20 scores in N 1.4 as of 6/28/14 (498 level scores, 100 episode scores, 2nd position in top 20 rankings); reached 100 on 12/14/2008; 300 (half of all possible :D) on 11/9/2009; 400 on 12/2/2011; max of 598 on 2/3/2013; tied for 0th in top 20 rankings on 2/26-27/13

4 current v1.4 0ths (9th position in 0th rankings); First v1.4 0th: 63-3 at 1:20 pm, 3/24/2008

current level score: 71079.200 (6th position all time); 60k seconds on v1.4 6/17/08; 12th to 70k at 11:30pm EST, 12/24/2011; 6th to 71k at 5:50 pm EST, 9/29/2012

current episode score: 34276.650 (4th position all time); 100k seconds total level score (Metanet and NReality) on 2/4/08




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ska on my 129-1 innovation wrote:I thought about that but couldn't chimeny fast enough when trying. Congrats

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Postby Rule » 2010.08.09 (21:31)

O oops, I accidentally hit the wrong option, I selected, no keep them. but you can remove them. Userlevel highscores are great :)
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Postby Lancer873 » 2011.03.28 (03:30)

If you guys would really rather, then I suppose I'm fine with that, but I would definitely prefer it if you kept them in. I like being able to watch my full episode's run-through in the replays rather than clicking each individual level's replay.

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Postby ShadowMagic » 2011.07.13 (14:57)

i like the idea, but how?? Time, Gold, ...What?? I dont know how to get a highscore, but i love the idea
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Postby mercuri » 2013.02.11 (16:51)

The solution is quite easy: every user made episodes is just a bunch of text that chains other levels from the authors (hidden/delisted if he wants). It's something like:

user-made-episode-1.txt
0 1666
1 1444
2 1312
3 4414
4 5151

where the first number is the position in the episode and the second one is just the level ID or whatever (NUMA number?). This way, when you play an user made episode, you are just playing user levels linked to each others.

Don't remove the highscore on episode!
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Postby james_S » 2013.09.22 (23:29)

Hi, sry I don't understand- whats meant by highscores level by level?
Obviously each map in the game should have its own highscores saved -because one can have extra affection for some maps ..obvioussssly :s
The 'n Tower' was not built in a day. There were some remakes


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