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 Post subject: Re: Lizard
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:52 am 
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Sumez wrote:
I can get behind the idea that learning how the entire world is connected is the "true" progress of the game, and it is my favourite aspect of it. I am kind of confused however, why you'd even have the password system then. I guess this is not the place, or at least it is definitely not the time, to discuss that, but it seems to me that it serves little other purpose than confusing and misguiding the player.

Well we are discussing it. Sorry if my last statement seemed like it was trying to shut down discussion. I probably shouldn't have said it that way. I've had good conversations and bad, but here it's been mostly good.

Sumez wrote:
None of that really has anything to do with my core issue, though, which is the coins. I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm coming hard down on it, but it just seems like a schizophrenic implementation of a collectible system.

The un-collectability of the coins is antagonistic, for sure. They are designed to look like other coins at first, but eventually realizing that you can't keep them changes that a lot, right? That's what I meant about what I said about the passwords applying to coins as well. They do a thing that is partly familiar and partly not, and realization the latter part is a bit disturbing for most people. I was very interested in how someone recovers from that. You make a choice at that point about how to proceed (or even to stop).

Giving up on collecting all the coins is a perfectly valid choice. Giving up on collecting any at all is just as valid. Depends on what part of getting them is good for you. Similar to the way that the "final" part of the game is something some players won't find naturally, it's okay to me if they experience an "incomplete" version of Lizard. This is also why I made the ending stats give you a coin count but not a collected percent; I didn't want it to be insisting that the player is missing something. On the other end of it, some people have found all the coins, and some people think they've found them all but haven't. I wanted the best way to find out to be by comparing notes with other people.

So, it does create problems for the person who wants to collect them all. It's hard to remember what you've collected. It's hard to find them all. It takes some endurance to even get them all. There are ways to overcome it, though. If you can't remember, you can take notes. If you can't do it in one sitting, you can leave your NES on overnight. Some people have done these things. Some people have done it with no aids at all. Some people have decided not to do it. Some people have cheated to do it. Some people are waiting for a YouTube video to appear that shows them someone else doing what they want to see.

Sumez wrote:
I ordered copies for a bunch of other guys over here so that we would save money on the shipping and custom fees, and whenever I hand out a copy for each of them, I've been warning them not to spend time going for the coins on their first playthrough, and it just makes me a little sad that I have to tell them that. I guess that's the gist of my issue. Everything else is really great.

That's actually wonderful to me. You've had a real reaction to the coins, and you're sharing it with others. I appreciate hearing about it.


The only "incomplete" Lizard playthroughs that are disappointing to me is that occasionally someone goes in totally blind, finds and beats one boss, and thinks this was the entire game. A few more people have done this than I expected. :P I can casually drop hints about the scope of the game in the form of clips in the trailer or screenshots or vague description (or just hope someone is there to tell them), but every once in a while I've seen someone do this. It was an expected consequence of how I wanted the game not to tell you where to go. Like to everyone who has asked me for an automap, to tell you where you've been, to tell you where to go-- that's the complete opposite of what I wanted this game to be.

Especially interesting when I see people discussing the game and deciding an automap doesn't exist because it'd be technically hard to do on the NES. It's not really that hard to accomplish, and I sketched and implemented various forms of one over the course of development to try it out, but I decided that it was much more valuable to not have the game tell you where to go. In many ways this also leans together with the passwords and coins and ephemeral state of the world-- if I implemented an automap it'd be a completely different game for which I would absolutely have wanted to include a battery save, and coins that save. Everything would be different. All of these choices have consequences, and many of those consequences are a net negative for some players, but I couldn't really have it both ways. :S


That's another reason I'm worried about explaining my own intentions. I think for some people it might be better for them to believe I did something a certain way because it was "too hard to do it on the NES" than for them to think that I did something with purpose, because without that crutch to lean on they might think I'm a very mean person. :S I'm not sadistic, and I don't want people to suffer, but many of the ways I intended for one kind of person to enjoy the game will be painful for someone else. If I'm honest I can't say this isn't a deliberate choice that I made, but I don't really want to go out of my way to tell someone who is having a bad time with my game "yes, I wanted this to happen." Maybe that does seem mean? If someone comes to me with a question, though, I usually want to try and answer.


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 Post subject: Re: Lizard
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:58 am 
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rainwarrior wrote:
Some people are waiting for a YouTube video to appear that shows them someone else doing what they want to see.

You're not going to be one of those publishers who asserts copyright against people who make such videos, are you? I seem to remember Atlus applying a progressive disclosure policy to public videos of Persona 5, allowing them to be made up through in-game early July at first and then through mid-November later on.

rainwarrior wrote:
Like to everyone who has asked me for an automap, to tell you where you've been, to tell you where to go-- that's the complete opposite of what I wanted this game to be.

Another way to think about it: Lizard represents a landing operation. The player character couldn't bring that much tech with him into an initially unfamiliar world. But once the character establishes a beachhead, more resources will become available in sequels.


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 Post subject: Re: Lizard
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:45 pm 
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tepples wrote:
You're not going to be one of those publishers who asserts copyright against people who make such videos, are you? I seem to remember Atlus applying a progressive disclosure policy to public videos of Persona 5, allowing them to be made up through in-game early July at first and then through mid-November later on.

I have always encouraged streaming or making videos or sharing my game in various forms. I officially encourage anything except piracy. I actually think embargoes on streaming are a very stupid business decision in most cases.

I haven't played Persona 5 but I feel like how specific you are being about these "in game dates" is a spoiler in itself. Kinda like anything you try to say about it just draws more attention to it... ...which is not unlike the design problem I was describing with Lizard. I very much believe in the value of surprise. Trying to decide what to put in a trailer or screenshots was a bit agonizing.

rainwarrior wrote:
Another way to think about it: Lizard represents a landing operation. The player character couldn't bring that much tech with him into an initially unfamiliar world. But once the character establishes a beachhead, more resources will become available in sequels.

Well, that would be an interesting interpretation of Lizard, but probably not compatible with the actual game's ending.

I have zero plans for a Lizard sequel, though. I don't have any idea for a meaningful continuation of it, and I don't really like sequels anyway. I want to make something else. I have 3 other NES game ideas i'm excited about, and they're each in a different genre.


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 Post subject: Re: Lizard
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:22 pm 
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I'm not really sure what to make out of your thoughts on the coin collection, and the intricacies of it. I can totally see why it's amazing from the point of view of a game designer, as people take on the quest of discovering some of the true secrets of the game, and the way it affects the community, much in the same way many NES games came out in a time when people couldn't just look up stuff on the internet, and even magazines had a ton of misleading information.
one of my favourites was following the entire flow of the lava as a stone lizard, from the top of the volcano - I know you don't have to o all the way to get the coin in the bottom, but I loved that it's possible

However, the way it's set up, the only way I see a 100% coin collection being realistic for me is exactly through community effort, which isn't particularly satisfying for me personally as it would essentially be what you hinted at - wait for a YouTube video showing me all the coins, and just follow that. Alternatively I could dump the game and play it in an emulator (which I guess is what the majority of the people who bought the game are doing anyway, or via the Steam version which as I can tell actually does save your progress!

Hell, as a mildly experienced NES developer I'm sure it wouldn't take me more than a few minutes to whip up a LUA script that lets me set the Lizards position with my mouse cursor to quickly scour the entire game for secrets (which I have a theory would turn up a few interesting things, as I have an impression that you really dig that stuff). But I was hoping for a more low tier personal experience of playing the game on an NES via the classic rules and just find a coin one at a time having fun with that. I really enjoy taking notes of coins that I need to get later, and areas where I theorize there is something to be find - but of course that won't work if I can't save my progress. Of course, as you're making clear, that's just not how you designed your game, and I'm not going to tell you how to make your game... but I really feel the game misses out on a potential here, that's ripe for the taking. Even just a smaller goal of something rewarding from finding just a few coins. I'm sure it could be done without compromising the sense of mystery.

rainwarrior wrote:
Well we are discussing it. Sorry if my last statement seemed like it was trying to shut down discussion.

Sorry, I was the one trying to make that argument - I really didin't feel like discussing wether the game should have a password system with the things I said in mind, because the game is finished, and you have made your own weighed descision. I just wanted to share my thoughts on it.

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Like to everyone who has asked me for an automap, to tell you where you've been, to tell you where to go-- that's the complete opposite of what I wanted this game to be.

That would have been horrible.


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 Post subject: Re: Lizard
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:49 pm 
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Sumez wrote:
However, the way it's set up, the only way I see a 100% coin collection being realistic for me is exactly through community effort, which isn't particularly satisfying for me personally as it would essentially be what you hinted at - wait for a YouTube video showing me all the coins, and just follow that. Alternatively I could dump the game and play it in an emulator (which I guess is what the majority of the people who bought the game are doing anyway, or via the Steam version which as I can tell actually does save your progress!

Yes, I really do understand the gulf between the ease and appeal of collecting individual coins, and the methodical difficulty of collecting all of them. You're not alone in feeling this gap of effort is too wide, and I am sorry that this is a disappointment. It isn't really something I'd want to go back and change, I'm happy with the way this is, but I do have some sympathy for the player that wishes it wasn't quite this way. I never considered it to be a task for every player to complete, but maybe it was a little more cruel than intended by making the task so obvious as it is.

As for whether it could be a community effort, I consider that an important avenue for it, but only one of many. I've talked to many players who have found all the coins (and some did do it on an NES), and many others who decided it wasn't worth trying. People have managed it on their own, but I do also hope that community stuff can provide a way to close that gap for people that want it to be a little easier to accomplish. Also, I know a lot of people don't like the idea of using cheats, but I wanted that to be a viable option too. Was especially important to me that it have built-in cheating, so that external hardware like a game genie (or emulator) would not be necessary. Of course, hacking is a fine approach too. ...but I consider any way you want to play it valid. It's your game to play.

You don't have to dump it yourself (unless you'd enjoy doing that); I do provide download/steam keys for any cartridge purchases on request (normally through the official lizard at lizardnes.com e-mail).

The PC version's resume feature makes it an imperfect port, but it seemed a necessary compromise to keep it viable vs. using an emulator, and/or providing something like a suspend/resume functionality like most modern gaming devices have. (There's also an option to turn this feature off, too.)


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