What to do when people get stuck?

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matt
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What to do when people get stuck?

Post by matt » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:31 pm

I was looking over our metric data, and we had a user who died 19 times on the first inmate. Fortunately, he/she managed to figure the enemy out and get through the rest of the level without TOO many deaths. Still, there were other outliers that got stuck for a while on a particular enemy encounter including someone who died 27 times on the second set up...

What do you think is the best thing to do in this situation?

The things I can think of are:
1) Pop up a help message, but I really don't want to do that.
2) Cut the enemies in general if you die too many times. I'm not sure how people would feel about that, but it is easy to do and solves the "stuck" aspect of it. I imagine if you are dying 10+ times on each enemy, you really haven't figured out how they work.
3) Make them easier after a certain point, so they maybe don't detect you from as far away. I'm not sure how much that'd help because it seems like this person might just have been running or something and not realizing the importance of walking.
4) Do nothing and expect that someone will write a walkthrough/Steam game guide for the person to turn to if they are genuinely stuck.

Thoughts?

Thanks for your input!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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miumiaou
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Re: What to do when people get stuck?

Post by miumiaou » Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:18 pm

I prefer the fourth solution (I mostly do that when I'm stuck on a game) but I think the first and second solution are not to be think of, it's not great for the immersion and some people will feel frustrated if there's no more enemies

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: What to do when people get stuck?

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:01 pm

Oh wow, that is a lot of times to die. My first thought was maybe it was someone who was REALLY committed to beta testing, but I've run through most of the levels a lot and the most I've gotten myself killed intentionally by a single enemy was like 9-10 times.

I don't consider any of the enemy encounters very difficult, especially compared to a lot of other games, so I'd also be in support of just leaving it as is. I think the majority of gamers are conditioned at this point to look something up if they get stuck.

Cutting the enemies after 10+ deaths is another option, dying that much must mean you're really not going to get it.

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matt
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Re: What to do when people get stuck?

Post by matt » Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:48 pm

It's hard to figure out what people were really doing from metrics. Maybe we don't record the smartest things, but I dug deep and I think one person who died a bunch of times played up to the asylum, died a lot, and then started from the beginning again, then stopped at the same point... I think part of the problem is that the metrics I was looking at doesn't show the number of people who didn't die at all, so my statistics are skewed, but I'm just puzzled about what these people are doing.

I think at the very least, I can change up the final puzzle in the asylum level 5 deaths after the hint. I think at that point, you definitely aren't going to get it. For the other enemies, I'm not so sure what the tricky part would be. I guess maybe understanding their behavior?
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

ranger_lennier
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Re: What to do when people get stuck?

Post by ranger_lennier » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:34 am

Maybe they didn't figure out for awhile that the inmate couldn't see you, but could hear you if you ran. You could make the enemy disappear after a certain number of deaths, but if the player hasn't figured it out, they'll just run into the same issue with each future encounter.

I think the fourth option is fine. Pretty much any game that's even slightly popular will quickly have playthrough videos, guides, and FAQs available. And if the player is still stuck, there will be forums where they can ask about it. This is a big change from when I was first playing video games in the NES era, where if you didn't have a strategy guide or magazine with the solution, you could get hopelessly stuck on a game puzzle. As it is, I will often spend quite a bit of time on a puzzle trying to figure it out on my own, and actually wouldn't like it if the game automatically told me what to do or made a section easier. I do feel a real sense of accomplishment figuring out a difficult puzzle, or practicing enough to make it through a tough battle or challenge. But if I really can't figure something out, I'll look it up eventually. I love Portal 2, but I don't know if we'd ever have figured out the puzzle in the co-op mode where you have to have the two characters collide in mid-air.

This isn't the first time where you've mentioned wanting to reply to or ask about someone's feedback or metrics. Maybe for the next beta build you could let the player optionally provide an e-mail address to contact them.

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AironNeil
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Re: What to do when people get stuck?

Post by AironNeil » Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:53 pm

I'm mostly a fan of the 4th option myself, the enemy encounters aren't hard at all compared to other games and I feel like if you do too much hand-holding if they're stuck it'll break immersion. If I'm really stuck on something in a game I mostly look it up anyway, and I imagine that's what most people will do if they get stuck on an enemy in Neverending Nightmares.

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matt
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Re: What to do when people get stuck?

Post by matt » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:23 pm

I'll probably do the 4th option with a few exceptions. I think with the final inmate puzzle, if you fail too many times, I'll just move the inmate because at least for that, if you aren't getting it after a certain death count and the hint, then you probably won't.

I might drop out a few more enemies here and there (like in a setup in one of the new levels), and I already do drop out the Lydia in the dark hallway in Together at Last just because I think the player knows how to avoid her at that point and the surprise of seeing her with the lights out only works once.

I appreciate all of your feedback!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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