Level Feedback Requested

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Level Feedback Requested

Postby harborpirate on Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:57 pm

It seems like the difficultly level of the different levels actually matches pretty closely with the list of how many pieces it takes to solve a level.

I'm not advocating the order be changed or anything. Many users will figure out that they can approach the levels in any order they want anyway. I just found it interesting how closely that the list was starting to match my perception when I played through the first time. Some levels shocked me with their appearance, but after the initial "what the heck" moment it turns out often that a solution wasn't hard to come up with or implement. Meanwhile some levels like Awash are deceptively hard problems.

I'm going to sort by the pieces to solve as they currently stand and give the benefit of the doubt to the original order on ties:

1. Learn to Play - 0 Pieces (orig. #1)
2. Easy As Pie - 0 Pieces (orig. #2)
3. Rolling Away - 0 Pieces (orig. #3)
4. Around the Bend - 0 Pieces (orig. #11)
5. Reach Up - 1 Piece (orig. #4)
6. Mind the Gap - 1 Piece (orig. #5)
7. On a Roll - 1 Piece (orig. #8)
8. Mission to Mars - 1 Piece (orig. #18)
9. The Wall - 2 Pieces (orig. #7)
10. Full-Up - 2 Pieces (orig. #9)
11. Higher - 2 Pieces (orig. #10)
12. Junkyard - 3 Pieces (orig. #6)
13. Up the Hump - 3 Pieces (orig. #12)
14. Up the Stairs - 3 Pieces (orig. #14)
15. Big Ball - 3 pieces (orig. #15)
16. Down Under - 3 Pieces (orig. #17)
17. Handling - 3 Pieces (orig. #19)
18. Tube - 3 Pieces (orig. #20)
19. Four Balls - 5 Pieces (orig. #16)
20. Back and Forth - 5 Pieces (orig. #21)
21. Awash - 6 Pieces (orig. #13)
22. Unpossible - 8 pieces (orig. #22)

I think thats quite close to how difficult the levels actually are.

Awash in particular is a very challenging level, I think second hardest may be appropriate. Without question its harder than Up the Stairs, Big Ball, Down Under, and Handling. There just aren't any "aha" tricks to make it easy. That avalanche of different sized balls has an amazing ability to find the weakness of any machine and either pin it down or send it to oblivion. It refuses to be brute forced, and requires at least some cleverness. You can't just build a dozer with regular wheels and chug up the slope the first time. I'm almost certain it took me more attempts to solve it the first time than any other level. I also love the look of it, its aesthetically pleasing and quietly says to me "whatever you have in mind, I will crush it". Maybe thats just my experience talking.

Junkyard may be out of order in the list above. Its a rather easy puzzle but it at requires at least a Club or a Car, which are both 3 pieces minimum. Its probably the biggest exception on this list in my opinion, since I don't think it is very hard to come up with a car design that solves it. Of course, now that I'm familiar with the Club I wouldn't go any other way.

Around the Bend may be out of order too, but it probably just needs to be fixed so there isn't an orange ball you can cheat off of to start with. If it weren't there, it would probably be a 2 or 3 piece solution, although a very cleverly placed stick might get it to one. I may have to try that now... Confirmed, it can be solved with one stick even if the orange ball weren't in there. If you're mean/clever, you'll switch the orange ball to be out of the start box but in the way on the right of the platform. Its pretty darn easy as is. #7 without the orange ball seems about right, coming just after On a Roll.

Mission to Mars might benefit greatly from having the goal be at least a quarter as much higher on the map than the start box. I think it would slip much further down into the harder category in that case. As it is now, I agree with the post in the other thread that even though it may look hard at first, in the end it turns out to be quite easy.

I'll be curious to see what others think.

Let me also take the chance here to say that I really enjoy this game. Its great! [Edit]I'll have to go in and find the link you mentioned.
Last edited by harborpirate on Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Difficulty Level and Fewest Pieces to Solve

Postby pacifist on Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:33 pm

hmm interesting.

I hadn't thought about moving awash. But you're certainly right. It is very missplaced.
I'd be interested in hearing the oppinion of other players before I predjudice the thread with my specific thoughts on where it should go.

I'm also curious to hear people's oppinions on Up The Hump. Which is my least favorite level. Or other levels people don't like.

The level list is far from final. I believe I'll be looking to promote some clever user made levels to the list and de-list some of the less interesting current levels.

Here is a call for oppinions for: the propper place for Mission to Mars, the propper place for Awash, other levels you think are miss-ranked, and levels you don't like.

I would also like oppinions from registered users about which user-made levels would be good for promotion. I want a few more easy levels and a few more levels near the top of the difficutly scale. User levels will only be added to the official list with the creators permission. Creators will be given credit along with a personal link on the credits page. Don't think of this as a contest though. The chosen levels will be chosen by me, and I am capricious and unwise.
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby pacifist on Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:40 pm

A quick adendum to my own post:

I like that around the bend can be completed with no pieces despite the fact that it is so far up the list. I personally find nothing as much fun as feeling I've beaten the level designer. So as a level designer I try to make sure a few levels are easily breakable.

And I will quickly mention that my paypal account does accept credit-card payments ;) it's the "Don't have a PayPal account?" link on the left.
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby TheBob10a on Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:40 am

Support This game
Thank you for playing Amazing Contraption.
When you buy the full version ...


Amazing Contraption? Is that a typo? :P
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby TheSwitchfoot on Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:16 am

Okay. I think Awash was a hard beginning to the second page. After I'd strolled across the first page, I was suddenly bashed in the head and completely stopped by awash. I think it kind of stopped me from trying to figure out any other levels as well.

I can't speak for Mission to Mars because I never tried to figure it out, I just sat there, thinking, wtf? And then when I saw all of the other solutions I saw it was very easy. I don't know how hard it is, when you put into consideration how long each person takes to even come up with an idea. Some people instantly do so, while others may never, like me. Actually, the same applies to pretty much every level after Big Ball, except maybe Back and Forth. For me, even the title made it clear what I had to do. It was all a matter of tweaking. however, it was a good level in that it had numerous different solution methods, from a car, to a big machine, to three different machines, etc. It's probably just me, but I think it deserves to be a little towards the front.

I didn't particularly like up the stairs, as it was extremely easy to be right after one of the hardest levels. Yes, the falling balls did add challenge, but I don't think it was enough. I'm not sure what'd be best for it. But since you said you'd like to leave some levels that are easy, I think it's alright.

SO I think Awash should be placed towards the back, Mission to Mars is alright where it is, and Up The Stairs should be pushed towards the front. I also think Back and Forth should be placed towards the front.

Lastly, I'd appreciate use-made levels being brought into the list =)
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby pacifist on Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:25 pm

TheSwitchfoot: I agree with everything you say. Different people definitely find different levels hard and easy.

I hadn't thought about bringing Back and Forth farther down the level list. Does anyone else find it too easy?

TheBob10a: eh, hehe, yeah the game may have been called Amazing Contraption at some point in beta.
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby harborpirate on Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:21 pm

Nominations after having played all the user levels:

Here are my criteria for nominating a level:
1. Solvable.
2. It should be somewhat difficult, but fair.
3. A good design idea should eventually solve it with tweaking.
4. The scale should fit nicely with the others (not huge).
5. It should be different than the official levels in some meaningful way, especially in the problem it presents to the player.
6. It should present the player with a variety of options to solve it.
7. It should be an interesting level that I want to solve. This is a bit of an personal aesthetic thing. This includes the overall look of the level itself, realism such that there aren't random balls or sticks that defy gravity hanging permenantly in the air, and if possible a "wow" factor that just blows you away.

Cave Escape. http://FantasticContraption.com/?levelId=112 Already there are a wide variety of solutions to this puzzle. One piece designs, two piece designs, powered ramps, etc. It makes the machine go out and up, which none of the current levels do. Handling does to some degree, but this makes the machine reach up far more and gives a wall to use. Its a reasonable challenge (probably about 10-15 attempts for me). Its not vulnerable to clubbing or catapulting into submission, which I think is a positive since it forces even veterans to think a bit before building the exact same machine again. I think the level looks nice as well.

I'll take another look through, but on the first pass Cave Escape was the only obvious candidate. I think it could replace Up the Hump perhaps, which I'm not very fond of - or perhaps Around the Bend since Down Under is very similar but without the help from the side walls.
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby Volcano on Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:08 am

there's 12 levels un the first page and 10 in the second, just add 2 levels to the second page.
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby pacifist on Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:53 am

Some of the tutorial levels are going to be coming off, they are getting their own page, so that will open a few slots.

I completely agree with you on Cave Escape, it's brilliant. In fact I've already started integrating it into the new tutorial. Which reminds me... I should contact MetallicDragon to see if they mind me using it.
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby alan2 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:30 pm

I've been working my way through the user levels, but people are making them faster than I can beat them!

Two of my nominations for bumping up to official levels:

Crap. This is the perfect early level. Simple, a little difficult, and a million ways you can finish it. Just look at some of the solutions.

Avalanche - I thought this was hard, and required an original solution. It would be a good 14ish level.
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby Speedemon on Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:46 pm

alan2 wrote:I've been working my way through the user levels, but people are making them faster than I can beat them!

Two of my nominations for bumping up to official levels:

Crap. This is the perfect early level. Simple, a little difficult, and a million ways you can finish it. Just look at some of the solutions.

Avalanche - I thought this was hard, and required an original solution. It would be a good 14ish level.

Thank you for nominating Crap! (that sounds funny) The name should probably be changed (or maybe not)
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby UglyShirts on Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:24 am

I found cave escape to be pretty fun!

My solution:

http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=17935
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby TheSwitchfoot on Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:56 am

I like the new tutorial, btw. I think it was pretty through. except at one point you spelled despair dispair =) But yeah, how many new levels will we be seeing?
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby Micah on Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:36 pm

I agree that awash should be moved up. I had just started and gone through all the previous levels when I hit awash. It was difficult enough that I hit the Forums to try to find a solution. Incidentally I found myself looking up the solutions to all the later levels too so I was unable to face those levels without a preconceived notion of how to do them.
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby MetallicDragon on Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:18 pm

Wow, I didn't think one of my levels would become so popular. I think it's cool you're using Cave Escape in the tutorial.


Hmm... now I need to come up with more good levels, I think. I've seen some of the other levels people have made, and some of them just make me cringe. Things like the "falling" levels seem more about tweaking than making an actual contraption, and others are simple walks across the terrain. Others still make the build area too small or too large, or don't consider possible easy ways to beat the levels that would circumvent most of the difficulty... of course, it's always great to see a level "broken" by the players, but it shouldn't be too easy, either.


On another note, I think to extend the life of the free portion of the game you could add some levels that teach you some advanced techniques such as chaining wheels to make catapults, or making the contraption out of several unconnected parts. Also, a note on the first page, or at the end of the tutorial, that says you can play any level in any order might help, as I was afraid of leaving the page and losing all my progress.
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Re: Level Feedback Requested

Postby electronic12345 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:32 pm

5 year bump
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