News: 11 March 2016 - Forum Rules
Current Moderators - DarkSol, KingMike, MathOnNapkins, Azkadellia, Danke

Author Topic: Taking Things Away In Hacks  (Read 1549 times)

ultimaweapon

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
    • View Profile
Taking Things Away In Hacks
« on: May 15, 2018, 01:34:52 pm »
I've seen a lot of so called hard-type hacks, and most have the same theme - take some important item away. My questions is, why do hackers feel that's the best solution to make a game harder is to take something important away?
Trust in the Heart of the Cards

FAST6191

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2374
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 01:53:19 pm »
I recall a discussion around here about "hard" games a while back and part of the discussion was what makes a hard game.

Some said grinding counts. I find this odd as it takes no real skill, mathematical prowess, knowledge of the game or similar.

The subject of the second sentence in the line above is where I tend to find difficulty in games.

Some consider luck in things. I prefer to showcase a mastery of a system.

Anyway to add such things in hacks, or otherwise generate them if this is one of those "greater than the sum of its parts" situations, is hard.

Removing an "important" item though may remove an "easy mode" type item which in turn means people have to master systems, pay attention to numbers and otherwise know what they are doing then great. Occasionally it still makes for a grind, grind and grind some more type situation but just because you are hacking a game does not mean the result will be good.

Starscream

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 449
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2018, 04:31:21 pm »


Some said grinding counts. I find this odd as it takes no real skill, mathematical prowess, knowledge of the game or similar.


It think that depends on how the game is structured, it can be a bit more complicated if efficiency is a factor, which I would think it normally is. E.g. I recently decided to stop playing Disgaea 1 because the post game content requires too much time to be worth it, unless opting for a play style and focus I would not consider fun.


magictrufflez

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 522
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2018, 08:47:13 pm »
Well, sometimes it depends on what it is that's being taken away.

For example, FF6 Brave New World takes away a number of things that technically makes the game more difficult--the level cap is lowered to 50, the number of stat boosts you can get from espers is capped at 25 (you could technically get up to ~80 per character in the original), and a number of really over-powered gear like the Merit Award were removed. It does a lot of other things that balance the other way too, like its heavy rebalancing of enemy power.

Good hardtype hacks do multiple things that are well thought out and mesh well together--equipment access in some games really needs to be managed better (FF15 is a perfect example of what NOT to do--I got endgame weapons relatively easily in Chapter 3), and easy RPGs often have some deficiency in stat balance, whether with the heroes or the enemies.

Bad hardtype hacks tend to just focus on jacking up enemy stats, nerfing hero stats across the board, or some combination of both. The absolute worst offender on this in my experience is the SoM Hardtype on this site (the one with my very negative review) that forgot that damage levels of incoming attacks determined a sprite's hit animations. Thus, heavily weakened heroes could no longer stun lock a lot of enemies, but much more powerful enemies had a pretty easy time stunlocking you with devastating attacks that could kill everybody in short order.

I mostly play RPGs, where there's really a lot of room to tinker with game systems, but I know a lot of other games there aren't as many ways to tweak the game outside of restricting access to items that make the game easier. I mean, LTTP would be a lot more difficult late-game without the blue/green tunics, but not remotely impossible. Every SMB game is also beatable without certain powerups available (I'm not sure, but I think you could come close to 100% in SMW without the cape).

ultimaweapon

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2018, 11:04:48 am »
Well, sometimes it depends on what it is that's being taken away.

For example, FF6 Brave New World takes away a number of things that technically makes the game more difficult--the level cap is lowered to 50, the number of stat boosts you can get from espers is capped at 25 (you could technically get up to ~80 per character in the original), and a number of really over-powered gear like the Merit Award were removed. It does a lot of other things that balance the other way too, like its heavy rebalancing of enemy power.

Good hardtype hacks do multiple things that are well thought out and mesh well together--equipment access in some games really needs to be managed better (FF15 is a perfect example of what NOT to do--I got endgame weapons relatively easily in Chapter 3), and easy RPGs often have some deficiency in stat balance, whether with the heroes or the enemies.

Bad hardtype hacks tend to just focus on jacking up enemy stats, nerfing hero stats across the board, or some combination of both. The absolute worst offender on this in my experience is the SoM Hardtype on this site (the one with my very negative review) that forgot that damage levels of incoming attacks determined a sprite's hit animations. Thus, heavily weakened heroes could no longer stun lock a lot of enemies, but much more powerful enemies had a pretty easy time stunlocking you with devastating attacks that could kill everybody in short order.

I mostly play RPGs, where there's really a lot of room to tinker with game systems, but I know a lot of other games there aren't as many ways to tweak the game outside of restricting access to items that make the game easier. I mean, LTTP would be a lot more difficult late-game without the blue/green tunics, but not remotely impossible. Every SMB game is also beatable without certain powerups available (I'm not sure, but I think you could come close to 100% in SMW without the cape).

I agree that the bad hard types are far from being balanced. I'm into RPGs myself, and I have yet to find any hard types that really keeps things balanced and make it worth playing.

Sometimes, I don't necessarily want a hard type. I just want a new experience from a game I love. Change enemies behavior, add new enemies, new weapons, modify how you level up, weaken some attacks but make others stronger, etc..... so many things that can be done. Not enough of it is being done in my opinion.
Trust in the Heart of the Cards

FAST6191

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2374
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2018, 11:54:26 am »
Outside of randomisers which barely count here and various entries of final fantasy tactics I am not sure I have seen such hacks, obviously total conversions don't count.

I wonder though how good such a thing would be. For a pen and paper thing "you all know the setup for the world, we will however be deviating from it" for film/tv/cartoon/books I have seen work well enough but this is not that. Similarly you occasionally get a time travel/dark world in the main quests of a game and it can be amusing. As a pure stats type tweak it is hard to see it regenerating appeal.

On the other hand I guess people like that nuzlocke thing ( https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Nuzlocke_Challenge ) in pokemon.

Isao Kronos

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1149
  • Dogman
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2018, 09:10:39 pm »
personally I'd say a good policy would be to find a way to make the game harder but to compensate add more tools for "excellence" rather than limit the hell out of the player's stats/gameplay/etc

Spooniest

  • Restricted Access
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3067
  • Madge, I want your body! 'harry your a beast!11'
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2018, 10:35:38 pm »
...What if you presented the appearance of taking the thing away, but only hid it behind a thing, that looked like a thing that the player didn't expect, that leads to another clue, that leads to more clues, that leads to the original thing? The 'trail of bread crumbs' approach.

Also, AI routines from these 90's games were rather simplistic compared to what is possible now... if the logic of enemies is like, say, Track Player Position x>Attack When x=N>Defend if RNG= or greater than N, etc, stuff like that... you know, then take the AI and give it another variable it can work with. Make it one step more intelligent.

Maybe it's possible also to redesign existing mazes to have different solutions that a player would not expect, based on the force of habit of having gone through the dungeon the old way so many times. The 'dern you muscle memory' approach. Don't make a harder maze, just a different one.

Here are ideas. I hope it helps.

ultimaweapon

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2018, 07:30:01 am »
...What if you presented the appearance of taking the thing away, but only hid it behind a thing, that looked like a thing that the player didn't expect, that leads to another clue, that leads to more clues, that leads to the original thing? The 'trail of bread crumbs' approach.

Also, AI routines from these 90's games were rather simplistic compared to what is possible now... if the logic of enemies is like, say, Track Player Position x>Attack When x=N>Defend if RNG= or greater than N, etc, stuff like that... you know, then take the AI and give it another variable it can work with. Make it one step more intelligent.

Maybe it's possible also to redesign existing mazes to have different solutions that a player would not expect, based on the force of habit of having gone through the dungeon the old way so many times. The 'dern you muscle memory' approach. Don't make a harder maze, just a different one.

Here are ideas. I hope it helps.

I like those ideas, and that would definitely work.

I don't like a lot of these Super Mario Bros hacks because they were created with speed runners in mind, so they require so many advanced tactics to get through even the 1st levels that I just rage quit. It's not even worth playing. To me, it's always better when a game stays true to the original but offer a new experience instead of crazy stuff just to make it hard.
Trust in the Heart of the Cards

FAST6191

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2374
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2018, 10:55:43 am »
I don't know if I can go with that.

You will not catch me playing the "I know the glitches" speedrun type hacks but at the same time having something that "stays true to the original but offer a new experience instead" is rather limiting and may even prevent me from fixing problems.

I think a description of where I am heading by way of an example is in order.
DOTA/MOBA style games.
The original thing was a mod to a RTS game. Being a mod it then ended up with a load of obscure mechanics (last hitting, bunching NPCs...) that you would not reach as an analysis of the mechanics.
When it came time for devs to make standalone things they asked the community and got back a lot of things like the above. Foolishly they implemented that.
Couple that with the only real sense of accomplishment is your level/stats and a low player count and game mechanics meaning every player really matters and from where I sit it is no wonder that game/genre is such a horrible place to be. I don't know if the gameplay style ever saw someone take a more top down approach but having found myself clicking through videos in recent times then none of the popular ones seem to have.

Normally we see this in games as a poor clone of an already flawed game, or if you prefer why do you not have something that equals or exceeds Mario Kart, Pokemon or Smash Brothers -- any of those have been done better before but it seems most seem to want to clone them rather than

Similarly the other week I was playing a flash type thing along the lines of hard Mario. It would have indistinguishable blocks be traps, invisible walls and so forth. You then basically had to iterate your way through the level. Did not find it gratifying to play at all, and on the flip side I will play something like Super Hexagon or Super Meat Boy for hours. A simplistic reading of that might be I don't like being cheap shotted but it goes further than that.

Limiting yourself to something which "stays true to the original but offer a new experience instead" then risks missing out the lessons the above examples should teach us. Throw more variables I have to keep track of than I might be able to do in real time or in general (do you play the end game of civilisation or total war as carefully as the earlier rounds, can you even keep track of things as well as you might have in the earlier parts?) and do things along those lines.

ultimaweapon

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2018, 01:00:13 pm »
I understand what you are saying. If someone can create something that is better than the original, then I am all for it. For example, if someone can take Double Dragon 2 for the NES and make it more like Double Dragon Advance thus being better than the original Double Dragon 2, then I'm all for it. DDA has more moves and a more fluid control, and well balanced gameplay. But it someone takes Super Mario Bros and make it harder than Super Mario The Lost Levels because you need the glitches or advanced tactics.... no thank you.
Trust in the Heart of the Cards

Spooniest

  • Restricted Access
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3067
  • Madge, I want your body! 'harry your a beast!11'
    • View Profile
Re: Taking Things Away In Hacks
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2018, 06:19:04 am »
The idea of challenge in a game is not the only way to keep the player playing...I dunno...there is the implication of reward (you better know how to emotionally reward someone with an ending if you promise a good one), there is the idea of discovery of a new land (I have warm fuzzy feelings about 1-1 through 4-4 in SMB, it gets irritating after that. I've come to think of it as heading onto the frontlines of Bowser's territory at that point), there is the idea of going to environments you normally wouldn't get to go into (I have never been very deep in a cave, but SMB1 gives you the general feel of it in 1-2, nor have I swum through aquatic ruins of a city, which I probably will never do, but Sonic 1's got me covered).

You can do more to keep a player into your game than throw down the gauntlet. I mean, unless you are designing a Gauntlet game. Then you gotta throw down the Gauntlet. Yeah. But uh...not all games are Gauntlet.