Author Topic: Donkey Kong Remixed  (Read 37754 times)

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Offline Sock Master

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2015, 01:11:17 PM »
If anyone wants to try out two of the stages in DK Remix, I have cobbled up a ROM that will fit into MAME's DK ROM map.

http://users.axess.com/twilight/sock/dkremix/dkrdemo.zip

Just replace the 4 normal program ROMs in DK with these 4.

I *think* I might have finally ironed out the last bugs that were bothering me, but one of them happens too infrequently for me to be able to tell for sure yet.   ..or my effort to fix it caused more bugs.   We're getting at that dangerous stage in game development...

I would really appreciate any feedback if the bugs below or any other bug is spotted, and also some feedback on the difficulty/unfairness level of the game...

-Spring Barrels stage:  On some rare occasions, fireballs have got stuck and floated upwards or downwards on the right hand side of the screen, seen happening on the bottom two girders.   It seems to have had something to do with freezer mode.   I *think* I got it fixed now, though, but I'm not 100% sure.

-Rivets Elevator stage: There was some glitchiness concerning elevators being too close to platforms, causing jumpman to float if jumping while standing at a point where it counts as being simultaneously on top of a platform *and* an elevator.    I moved the elevators a few pixels outwards and I'm pretty sure it's fixed now.

Lastly,  I added a DIP Switch setting for Hard difficulty.   What it does is change the internal difficulty maximum to 7 instead of 5 (plus added code to handle internal difficulties 6 & 7, which are faster elevators, faster fireballs, faster spawn timers, a new type of wild barrel, stuff like that..)     So, the difficulty progression at the "normal" dip setting is more like regular Donkey Kong, but in "hard" things get faster and more chaotic beyond level 5.

To try out "Hard" difficulty, set the dip switches to "1 coin/3 credits" (then reboot).   To play at "normal" difficulty, set the dip switches to "1 coin/1 credit"

What I would really like to know about the hard difficulty setting is... is it more chaotic, more challenging...  but not over the line impossibly hard?   I want it to be fun, not aggravating;  a way to extend interest in the game once a player is used to the normal difficulty.

Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2015, 01:14:25 PM by Sock Master »
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Offline marinomitch13

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2015, 02:31:21 PM »
This version of DK looks incredibly awesome. Thanks for all the hard work you must have put into this.  Kreygasm

At the risk of coming across as ungrateful (which I definitely am not), I have one suggestion, but I have no idea if this would be too hard to implement: Jumping onto ladders (by holding the "up" direction while passing in front of them in the air). Is there any feasible way this could be an additional ability like jumping with the blue hammer? I think it'd add some crazy new survival strategies of partially jumping over fireballs to avoid them in tough situations. But, then again, maybe it'd make the game too easy.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2015, 02:38:56 PM by marinomitch13 »
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Offline Sock Master

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2015, 03:45:12 PM »
That is a nice idea.  Just thinking about the implementation kinda makes me worry that it's going get real complicated  because of the way climbing ladders works.  (technical - functional ladders can only start and end in lengths of 4 pixel divisions.  Jumpman can only get off a ladder on that 4th step of the climbing animation.  ladder checks are only on ladder ends.  ...a mid-air ladder grab loses those alignments so some sort of computation will have to happen to 'wind' the animation and position to the correct 'step'.)

I could try some experimenting with it and see what happens. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. maybe it's cool and fun, or maybe it breaks the game or gameplay.
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Offline marinomitch13

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2015, 03:51:09 PM »
Lol! Yeah, that makes it sound tough. You're a boss for even considering messing with it. Thanks again for making a sick game!
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Offline Sock Master

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2015, 06:40:38 PM »
I had a go at it and kind-of sort-of got something working, but every step I take towards making it work unravels another 3 or 4 glitches.

I guess I'll quit, but it was an interesting experiment to try.   The code is a bit too dependent on climbing and jumping being unrelated logic.
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Offline ChrisP

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2015, 02:20:51 AM »
I've been playing this. Fun!

My impression, without even having played the 4 other new boards, is that this game is going to be hard to kill screen. I attached an INP (MAME .158). On 3+1 settings, I got to the 10th board (L10). One L3 barrel murder, a total my-fault on L7 barrels, a very rough spot on L8 rivets, and another "I need luck" on L10 rivets. I actually did better on a previous game, but I kinda liked this run.

The new barrel board is tricky but 100% survivable with correct decisionmaking, until and unless fireballs come into play (In other words, same as DK). I want very badly to jump onto the spring like a trampoline and watch Jumpman fly up, and then run back down and do it again, and again, but obviously that wouldn't make sense in terms of gameplay. I wouldn't change a thing on this board.

The new rivet level might be a tad too screwing-prone. I've come up with my own basic standard strategy for it, but there is some super-nasty randomness that can create "dependent on luck" spots that are going to be tough to fade no matter how good you get. But with 3 rivet variations in Remix, this board will only appear 7 times over the course of 21 full levels (right?), so maybe it's OK as is.

I would make one urgent request: for the love of what is holy, please remove "internal difficulty 3" wild barrels from the game completely. Whether DK, D2K, or this variant, these are an absolute scourge, and were the single worst design decision made by the original creators. These particular wild barrels are nothing but an aggravating waste of time that steal lives in a completely unfair, luck-dependent manner, even when all best practices are followed, and they should be banished from the code. On Remix they're even worse because the new barrel board layout means that the player must spend more time getting to the top, hence giving DK more time to throw them. Some small amount of luck-dependent randomness in DK is good, but the L3 cheat-missiles simply take it too far.

Just curious, how hard would it be to create two additional ROMsets, each with 2 of the new boards? If that's like a 20-30 minute job that you could do easily, I would urge you to. Then we could fully playtest this. Personally, I'd like to give the springs and pie factories a shot to see how things shake out up through L21.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 02:30:39 AM by ChrisP »
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Offline Sock Master

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2015, 06:52:30 AM »
Thanks, ChrisP!

I haven't checked the .inp playback yet, but if anyone does or posts any, there is a version number written in the readme.txt of the demo download file.  I'll guess this .inp was from V1.4, but I'll try the others if it's not.   The playback will only play correctly if it's played on the same rom version as it was recorded.   I guess anyone posting  .inp files should include the version # along with the file.    (I'm mentioning this because I already changed the rom since I announced it because I finally figured out the floating fireball bug and fixed it.)

New barrel board - yes!  I die more often than the original barrel board, but it never feels like I was cheated.  It's simply more chaos to assess simultaneously needing quick decision times.

Rivets board - Yes, it only appears every third rivets board.  If there is a particular bad-luck situation, there may be a way to reduce it's probability.   Maybe by changing the ratio of fireball spawn points, or adding/removing/moving a ladder to guide, restrict or increase mobility of the fireballs (or Jumpman)

Wild barrel type 2 - hmmmm.  It hadn't occurred to me that it might be good to eliminate something that is part of the original DK.    an idea...  I have already added a wild barrel type 4, but it only comes into play when internal difficulty >6 when dip switches are set to "Hard" mode.   Maybe I can swap the two.   People can try playing the hard dip switch setting and decide if the new wild barrel type is less murderous and maybe I can swap type 2 and type 4.   type 4 is a hybrid.. it randomly switches between type 2 and 3 each bounce.

Yes, it would be possible to make other test demo roms.  It's not a 30 minute job to do, though.   I have to pore through the code eliminating code that is unnecessary to the included levels until it all fits into DK's original ROM size.  This one took some effort to shrink enough to fit.  It is a good idea and I think I'll do this in a few days, or when we decide these two boards are a-ok.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 08:56:55 AM by Sock Master »
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Offline ChrisP

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2015, 04:16:19 PM »
To be honest, while I thought right away that the idea for Remix was cool and the boards looked interesting, I wasn't sure how into it I was going to be when it came down to actual gameplay.

But it only took a half hour or so of playing and I was totally hooked. :)

So, while it's always hard to put a finger on stuff like this in a conscious way that can be articulated, all I can says is that I found it hard to stop playing this last night, so you are definitely doing a lot of things right here!

My only fear is making sure that there's a balance between randomness and player control. In my opinion, this is actually one of the strengths of D2K: while the refinery board has a "clock" problem, other than that, Jeff built that game (whether accidentally or knowingly) such that there's fewer ways to get unfairly screwed over than there are in DK.

I would say that something needs to be tweaked on that rivet board. Again, nothing major to adjust, it's just that I'm finding myself dying there too often, in ways that I don't feel like are my fault.

Here are a few suggestions:

- Initial firefox spawns on the top two girders are a good idea, but how about setting it so that they can't REspawn up there if smashed? That whole area is pretty hairy if you have to deal with them at all, but when you manage to smash one or two, and then they just respawn up there instantly, you're still going to have a very hard time clearing those last rivets and I feel like you're too much at the mercy of their decisions.

- Another option would be to let them respawn wherever, but put another "elevator switcher" up at the top, maybe by Kong. This way the player could actually get down into the lower portion again if necessary, to lure top-spawning firefoxes down through the broken ladders, or to go back for the hammer if you weren't able to get it the first time. As it is now, once you've jumped off of the elevator into the upper area, you're stuck there. If you have no hammer, and there are 2 (or even 1) firefoxes, you're pretty much relying on the game to be nice at that point, especially since you're forced to take the rivets in a certain order (top right must go before any on the left).

- I feel like I am a sitting duck too often when standing on the two collapsed girders. The player is forced to walk back and forth across that corridor to flip the elevator switcher and then get onto the right side to go up, but it just seems like the firefoxes have too much of an upper hand if they get on there with you. You have to jump over them, or just pray and hope that they go away. Here's what I'm thinking: there are three ladders that disappear when the girders collapse (two below the first, and one in the middle between the first and second). Might it be possible to leave shortened versions of at least one ladder, so that the player has at least some means of getting from the top to the ground? As it is now, if you start on the ground, a jump will take you from ground to the first, and another jump will move you from the first to the second, but once you're up, you can't get down. No way to jump or climb down, and walking off the side will kill you too. I just think there needs to be a way to not be completely stranded and exposed there with a yolo-jump being your only defense. (I know you can actually jump onto the left side elevator from the switcher platform, but that is VERY dicey and will usually be totally unhelpful if firefoxes are swarming the left side.) Geez, you might even consider, instead of ladders, simply putting another hammer next to the elevator switcher. The player just needs some kind of defense/avoidance option there.

Basically I would say to not be afraid of making that board seemingly "too easy." It's already pretty complex as it is, and has a lot of forced linear-ness to it, which is one of the complaints about the D2K levels. Consider how easy a regular DK-style rivet seems, when everything goes well, versus how nasty they CAN be when the game is doing its worst. I would say don't worry about letting the layout "breathe" a little more, and just trust in the evilness of the fireball subroutines to create plenty of awful situations on their own. :)

- I am in favor of anything to get rid of the Level 3 wild barrels. ;D I am not exaggerating when I say that the wild barrels on L3 and L4 very nearly caused me to stop playing DK forever. I would be interested in other player input on that, though. Mostly so that I can hear unanimously that nobody wants them (right??)

I would very much like a few players, in particular I'm thinking Dean and Ross, to try this version and give their feedback.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 04:53:44 PM by ChrisP »
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Offline Sock Master

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2015, 05:47:58 PM »
Thanks Chris,

I know if I've been playing it throughout development and also going back and forth between original DK, that if I haven't gotten sick of playing it yet it's probably alright.  When I first started making stages, some of them were kind of "meh" at the beginning.   It's all the back and forth, trying different ideas, tweaking things that eventually made it get better.

Though I do worry about the odds of someone being able to reach the kill screen.   I think I got the balance between chaotic random and survivability on most of the boards, it's just the elevator rivets and the new pie stage that struck me as being a bit unfair.   The other collapsing rivets board seems fair to me, especially after jumping-hammers were added.

I'm looking for easy tweaks or changes.  Something that doesn't require bending the existing game logic too much.

Elevator switch directions again - yes.  I was considering something real simple.  Once you step onto the 4th floor, the elevators just reverse automatically right then.    No fuss.

Spawn locations - This might be a good idea.  I'm thinking about how I might be able to do this in a logical way.. how would the game know when *not* to spawn fireballs somewhere?  RE-spawn is not in DK's vocabulary.  All spawns are the same.    Maybe that elevator switch is the answer.  Once you reach 4th floor, the game could set a flag and reverse the elevators.   If that flag is set, use a cut down spawn locations list.
(Interestingly, there's a bug in the original DK.  It has a list of 16 spawn locations.. but a math bug makes it never use half of the list.   I fixed that bug in DKR and fireballs spawn using the full list on the classic rivets stage.   I could conditionally re-introduce that bug effect on this rivets stage to give it two ranges of spawning points.)

Sitting duck zone - I can't think of any way to make ladders like that work.   I've been a bit stumped by this problem as well.  There is that lower right platform beside the fallen floors, and if I just trim one floor tile off it so the two are not connected... but this causes problems if fireballs fell from the sky, then they'd really be in the way because they can't get off there.
There is *a* way off.  You can set the elevator direction so left side elevators travel downward, jump onto an elevator then from there onto the floor before the motor kills you.   A little tricky to pull off, but it is a way to get off there.    (it is also possible to step or jump off the right side elevator and onto the base floor.)

Level 3-4 wild barrels - I'm convinced the original programmers thought these were less dangerous than the homing-missile barrels.    L1-2 = gentle random, L3-4 = more random, L5+ = seek to kill.   Maybe just a slight modification to the 'formula' would make them easier without losing the original intention - maybe something similar to halfway between L1-2 & L3-4?
DKRemix has an optional 4th barrel type if you set one of the dip switches to murder mode.  They start occurring at internal difficulty 7.   I don't think anyone else has playtested this mode yet.
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Offline marinomitch13

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2015, 06:19:57 PM »
I would make one urgent request: for the love of what is holy, please remove "internal difficulty 3" wild barrels from the game completely. Whether DK, D2K, or this variant, these are an absolute scourge, and were the single worst design decision made by the original creators.

I respectfully dissent.
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Offline ChrisP

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2015, 06:26:19 PM »
How did I know that Mitch would say this?  FailFish

You have up to 500 words to defend the presence of these things in a game that is now played as a test of skill/focus (as opposed to simply eat quarters). Go!
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Offline Adam_Mon

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2015, 07:09:18 PM »
Played a few hours today, some streamed and some offline, I found that rivet board to be very fun and addictive.

Its 3am so I wont go into too much detail for now, until I've played some more tomorrow.
re: the top right rivet... there definitely came a few scenarios where I was faced with a freezer who would hang out on the top girder and to the right of that right side rivet. I found the real difficulty here came from the fact there was only one ladder to use and it was being occupied by the freezer in between freezing cycles.  this often lead to timing out if the freezer would not move away, since freezers cant be jumped while stationary it kinda leaves you waiting around and hoping for a break that all to often doesn't come.

Some solutions to try combat this problem already exist in the game currently.
I found that by grabbing the left hammer and getting as many smashes as possible to try keep the fireballs away from the right side you can (hopefully) conserve the right hammer for freezers that take control of that upper most right ladder..

You can use that hammer to jump up and smash trough the floor in an attempt to clear the freezer(s) I attached a highlight below. in the clip I didn't manage to get the freezer since he was keeping to the far right but I got his buddy and it demonstrates that you can get smashes and clear a path to that right rivet..

Of course this is only helpful if you're in a position to save that hammer for later.. (but if you have to use that second hammer to help clear fireballs away on the elevator switch level and you have one or more freezers up top and only one ladder you run the risk of being in a bad position).

http://www.twitch.tv/double_entendres/v/15944388

a second possibility to dealing with this is to look to regular DK, If we ever encounter one or more freezers on the top right of the rivet board we always have the option of utilizing 2 ladders, so if a freezer occupies one we can take the other and pull the rivet and then make an escape.

This option doesn't exist  in this remix rivet board since we only have one ladder there, so if a freezer decides to hang out here we basically have to wait while the clock ticks down (which I think ticks down faster since the internal difficulty is set higher after lvl 5 right?)

So one option might be to include a second ladder at that right rivet which would significantly (I'm assuming) reduce screwings and also maintains some of the difficulty since it would also be usable by the fireballs.

In fact there is a central ladder right under kong that jump man can't use since it would result in climbing right into kong himself resulting in death.. theoretically (and again I'm assuming) that could maybe be moved to the right? so it would resemble the ladder set up on regular DK and give us a second option to combat an otherwise potentially impassable scenario?

but if the ladder is moved I'm not sure what would happen with the floating fireballs that use that central ladder to drop down? so maybe that's not a great option.

To be honest I like it how it currently is, I enjoy the fact that you have to consider conserving the right hammer to deal with potential fireballs up top, this adds an element of strategy, and you can pretty much use the left hammer then take the elevator down and keep smashing with it to clear a path to the switch and of course you have the falling girders which are just as useful as the hammer..

Basically I personal wouldn't change much at all, that particular board can be very difficult and I keep reminding myself that its (I think only 7 times someone said?) that the stage appears in a real game with all the lvls included ...maybe I got that wrong??

so yeah I'll echo what Chris said and hope that others try it and chime in, Hopefully Dean catches wind of it and gives it a go, I know he wanted to play it but couldn't run coco.. Very good design so far and I also found myself wanting to keep playing..

I'll give feed back after I play some more tomorrow
Great work!
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Offline marinomitch13

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2015, 07:32:09 PM »
How did I know that Mitch would say this?  FailFish

You have up to 500 words to defend the presence of these things in a game that is now played as a test of skill/focus (as opposed to simply eat quarters). Go!

If you practice dealing with them (the best way being the WBH) and come to know their precise nature, you will almost never run into an unsurvivable situation. This is the same thing as saying that if one develops the necessary techniques/knowledge, the game becomes one of skill and focus.

Having watched the DK Remixed YT video, I have a hard time seeing how the 1/16th chance of one of these WBs during a particular section of the new barrel boards is in anyway harder than the WBH -a version of DK that one could consistently survive if not for the first few barrels being type 2. Worst case scenario, I like the idea of people being forced to lay low for the internal difficulty to change.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 08:02:51 PM by marinomitch13 »
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Offline ChrisP

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2015, 08:20:34 PM »
If you practice dealing with them (the best way being the WBH) and come to know their precise nature you will almost never run into an unsurvivable situation.

"Almost never" my butt. Kappa

Depends on where you are when he decides to throw one (like the middle ladder, or under the top hammer when you jump to grab it *shudder*), and whether or not it's one of the type that literally follows you wherever you go once it hits the girder directly above you. I just think that it's incredibly cheap, unreasonably difficult, and not an aspect of the game worth preserving.

However, for me, I would say that it comes down to which of the three barrel board types that the final version puts on L3. If it's the standard DK barrel board, I'll grimace and bear it. :) But they were annihilating me yesterday on the Remix L3...
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7/28/2013   Coin 35,947   903,700   22-1
8/16/2013   Coin 35,948   694,100   17-6
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Offline Sock Master

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Re: Donkey Kong Remixed
« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2015, 08:46:53 PM »
There's an updated version of the playtesting demo up.

It has some tweaks to the rivets stage - the elevator automatically reverses again once you step on the 4th floor.   Fireballs no longer spawn on the top floors once you've reached them.   Elevators move 1 speed slower on rivets (I figured I'd give this a go simply to make it easier to get on and off them, but they continue speeding up to max as the game progresses so it only makes a difference the first time you see the level)

Any change that doesn't seem to help may easily be removed again.


Adam, exactly :) The top hammer is placed so it can be used to clear the fireballs up top.
  I could add a ladder up top, but it would have to be to the right of the rivet.  If a ladder were placed left of it, it would become possible to pull DK's floor before pulling the floor below it.. which makes an end-of-level bug because the collapsing floors mechanic forces level design to have DK's floor dropped last.

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