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wodinoneeye

How hard should the 'Easy' difficulty level be ????

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I have been playing 'Far Cry' recently (third time thru it at 'Easy' difficulty) and was puzzled at how hard playing many of the situations were. Im not that bad and I didnt appreciate having to play the same savepoints a dozen times to beat and progress onto the next part of the game. I started going back and playing the same set of locations on the 'realistic' (hardest) difficulty setting and again was puzzled by it not being all that much harder. The NPCs dodge around a bit more but not all that much else that I could notice. The scenarios that cause the most problems are ones the 'big goons' with the rocket launchers (that have an area effect to do damage) and usually there are a number of them in a limited area so that you get caught in alot of crossfire. They seemed to fire the same whether in hard or easy mode -- and the savepoints are the same (far apart). They didnt eliminate some of the opponents (to make it easier). They (enemies) dont seem to fire any more accurately (maybe a little more damage). The powerups seem to be the same.... In the easy setting some do stand around waiting to be shot quite a bit more (especially if there is blocked visibility -- foliage). They didnt add additional savepoints (which would could have helped). It confuses me what they thought an 'easy' difficulty should be (I consider that a complete lamo should be able to play thru with only a few repeats at the easiest level). What opinions have people heard about a proper difficulty range spread for games??

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Original post by wodinoneeyeIt confuses me what they thought an 'easy' difficulty should be (I consider that a complete lamo should be able to play thru with only a few repeats at the easiest level).

You already have a good idea of what an easy difficulty setting should be, why do you allow the obviously unbalanced difficulty settings of a popular game to erode your opinion?
Just set the same kind of objectives for the other difficulty settings and try to playtest them with many players; don't use yourself as a yardstick.

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Every game genre is different. It depends on the developer to find out how difficult it should be. For instance, in Doom 2 the hardest difficulty level is challenging on just the first level. I actually prefer for most RPG games and FPS games that a difficulty slider bar is used, because face it sometimes in games a mission on normal mode in some games can seem nearly impossible or just frustrating enough that you wanna just finish it and move on with the story.

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Easy should be easy enough a casual gamer can complete the game without too much difficulty. It sounds like Far Cry got this one wrong. I quite like the levels in Quake II – easy mode omits some monsters, and everything does less damage.

Basically, you were right, ignore this game which doesn't get it right ;).

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I thought the Realistic setting was much harder. I couldn't do anything on that setting, especially on indoor levels. As I recall, the enemies were muc more responsive to your actions, much more powerful, more armored, and possibly more accurate. And yeah, those big, hulking, rocket-spewing trigons were freaking impossible (remember stepping out of that broken elevator... right into the path of two of them?).

The easy mode, in my opinion, was a little too difficult, and probably should have been considered the normal mode. That said, I didn't have too much trouble with it on easy (more correclty, it was the difficulty I wanted to play the game at), but I think that you're about right on how tough an easy mode should be.

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FarCry was never meant to be a proper video game anyway. It's a fluke. I like it, but it's a fluke. F.E.A.R. is the same way. Once you get the hang of fighting the bad guys, you can do it indefinitely, and if you don't get it, you're meat.

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I kinda liked how BF 1942 handled this with the AI bots (yeah, lame, I know, but at the time I only had dialup). You had a couple of different settings that you could change about to determine how 'good' the AI was. I spent a bunch of time tweaking the settings trying to see how high I could get them before not winning most of the time. It was enjoyable since playing a game where the AI far outnumbered your team, but was quite stupid, was very different from a game where you had even teams, but the AI was 'good'.

I'd like to see that taken to the extreme, though. The three or four settings that BF 1942 had didn't really give *that* much freedom. So mabye letting the player tweak their damage, enemies damage, enemy frequency, enemy accuracy, how good the enemy is at spotting you, etc. could be fun, especially if you can set anything to very high settings. It might be interesting to play bots that have terrible aim, but spot you really easily (and then overwhelm you with numbers by calling in the helicopter).

Would be more work playtesting, though.

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Its very different in different games. I like it to be a bit hard so i cant just do anything and still beat the levels.

in old doom2 the hardest setting is kinda hard... I played far cry on above normal and though that was just right. Easy was to easy for me.

in hitman2, the easiest setting lets you do anything (for example run around and just massacre EVERYBODY with a small handgun which spoils the game).

when you make the game, you tend to play it a lot and know how it works so its gonna be easy for you. My plan (before playtesting with others) is to set levels so for me they are:
EXTREME: i have to plan and concentrate to make it.
HARD: i have to concentrate but i progress without to much sweat
MEDIUM: way to easy
EASY: silly

This makes a good start for other players.

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Generally, I rank them this way:

Easy: A trained monkey could do it, and if you just want to sit down and win at something, this is what you want.

Normal: If you've never played this game before, but know a thing or two about similar games, you should be able to figure it out without too much frustration.

Hard: Once you get the hang of the game, this keeps you on your toes.

Super Hard: If you've memorized every enemy's spawn point, could draw the maps by hand down to the tiniest detail and are able to calculate damage per second on the fly, do this for an added challenge the eightieth time through the game.

Halo had it just about right.

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I did some more testing at the most difficult level and found that it (again) wasnt that much more difficult than the 'easy' (easiest) level. Hardly realistic when you get sprayed with bullets many times and still survive.

I would have had the 'hardest' level have almost no powerups (healkits/armor) and had the weapon hits almost fatal (3 good ones and your dead) to force a much more
realistic game requiring the player to have to make use of the terrain (flank and rear attack moves) and think out the tactics much more (and use the alternate weapons like the grenades etc..) to avoid closerange firefights.


Something else I also noticed was that many of the explosive type weapons (cannon, grenade launchers, rockets) really didnt work as well as you would think they should (especialy when the enemy fired rockets WERE quite effective).
Long range (yet accurate) hits with there did nothing (like the LOD mechanism wasnt doing the damage effects) and in other cases the projectile collision wasnt done right (nailing the big goon trigons in the chest with the rocket launcher or the grenade launcher did nothing - many passed right thru). The 'easy' level would have been ALOT easier if those weapons did work properly.

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I disagree with that. I don't think difficulty settings should change the game. I've always abhored the normal/hard/"realistic" difficulty scale some games use.

If realism's what you're after, you have to do things with the game to allow the player to manage risk, rather than managing damage. With a health bar, there are chances you take, dice you roll, knowing that you've got enough to gamble with. In a game like Rainbow Six, where you can get popped by a single bullet, you have a totally different task ahead of you.

It's an entirely different experience, and a challenge setting can't and shouldn't have that kind of effect.

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Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I disagree with that. I don't think difficulty settings should change the game. I've always abhored the normal/hard/"realistic" difficulty scale some games use.

If realism's what you're after, you have to do things with the game to allow the player to manage risk, rather than managing damage. With a health bar, there are chances you take, dice you roll, knowing that you've got enough to gamble with. In a game like Rainbow Six, where you can get popped by a single bullet, you have a totally different task ahead of you.

It's an entirely different experience, and a challenge setting can't and shouldn't have that kind of effect.




How is it 'changing the game' ??? It is just making the 'hard' level actually hard. It likely would be extremely difficult to fight thru the entire game in that mode (some people like a real challenge). I didnt say I was removeing the current not so hard 'hard' level or the not so easy 'easy' difficulty levels.
Most people might play my 'really hard' level to see what realistic difficulty was like.

AND if you consider THAT 'a different experience' then the players would be getting a bonus for the same price (again, some people appreciate getting their money's worth when they buy a computer game....)

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Using the math I would say:

Risk = penalty * (challenge / skill)

By choosing to engage in an action you assume a risk. All games that involve reflexes (FPS fall into this category) have each gameplay loop adjusted over a time frame. After the time frame expires the player should has succeeded or lost. In Far Cry this can be how long can I survive in open fire (a "easy" playing player does not have the necessary skills to always be in cover and "negotiate" the environment to his advantage at low speed)? The answer is - take a newbie player (your dad, grandfather, a minesweeper player), ask him to play the game and see how many seconds does he need to take the proper decisions. That is easy.

Hard is: I have less than 1 second to kill that enemy or get cover.

This time restriction cannot be applied to all kind of games. But difficulty is a matter of restrictions and risk.

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I haven't played, and have no interest in playing, Far Cry, but I think God of War did a very nice job with the difficulty levels. In general, difficulty levels should be pretty consistent:

easy: An amateur gamer should be able to complete this.

medium: An amateur gamer will have a hard time with this, while an experienced gamer will find this pretty nominal.

hard: an experienced gamer will have a hard time with this, but should be able to complete it.

super-hard: as difficult as you want it to be, honestly.

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Original post by SirisianI actually prefer for most RPG games and FPS games that a difficulty slider bar is used...


I like this idea alot. Getting yer ass handed to ya? Pause and slide it down a bit. Of course there would be contraints (no vanishing enemies, slide only goes up while in NiGHTMaRe MoDe, etc), but moderate dynamic adjustments would be a nice addition to any game.

Quote:
Original post by wildhalcyon
I haven't played, and have no interest in playing, Far Cry...


That's unfortunate :-). Up until the mutants turn things to suckage, it's actually a lot of fun. Maybe not so innovative now, but when it first came out it had some fairly remarkable aspects.

IMO, definitely worth a bargain bin purchase if you've never played it. The toolset/sdk is also interesting to play with, might give you some ideas for your own endeavors :).

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Original post by spartanx
Quote:
Original post by SirisianI actually prefer for most RPG games and FPS games that a difficulty slider bar is used...


I like this idea alot. Getting yer ass handed to ya? Pause and slide it down a bit. Of course there would be contraints (no vanishing enemies, slide only goes up while in NiGHTMaRe MoDe, etc), but moderate dynamic adjustments would be a nice addition to any game.

Quote:
Original post by wildhalcyon
I haven't played, and have no interest in playing, Far Cry...


That's unfortunate :-). Up until the mutants turn things to suckage, it's actually a lot of fun. Maybe not so innovative now, but when it first came out it had some fairly remarkable aspects.

IMO, definitely worth a bargain bin purchase if you've never played it. The toolset/sdk is also interesting to play with, might give you some ideas for your own endeavors :).



I got my copy for $10 -- previously I didnt feel like paying more since I wasnt sure it would run on my oldish laptop (Nv440Go 64meg...).

I do like the way the game gives you many options for tactics and usually many paths to approach the objectives (including bonzai rushes that often work and bypass alot of tedious sniping). The vehicles were well done, but I wish they could have had the ordinary structures more 'destructable'.

The mutants werent bad unless there were alot of them (many times I switched thru all 4 guns using up all the ammo and still had more of them coming...)

The 'easy' difficulty didnt stop me (tho I wish I hadnt had to repeat certain savepoints so many many times -- which is what a proper 'easy' would prevent).
The 'realistic' level which they call 'just hell', isnt. They could have made it alot harder (maybe the AI to coordinate or control more NPCs simultaneously was beyond them or would have been too much of a load on the CPU). There are alot of other factors they could shift to add difficulty and it still puzzles me why they didnt.

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I think that easy mode is supposed to be simple. Its main purpose is to get you used to the game controls and such

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I think that easy mode is supposed to be simple. Its main purpose is to get you used to the game controls and such

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I think that easy mode is supposed to be simple. Its main purpose is to get you used to the game controls and such

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Quote:
Original post by wodinoneeye
Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I disagree with that. I don't think difficulty settings should change the game. I've always abhored the normal/hard/"realistic" difficulty scale some games use.

If realism's what you're after, you have to do things with the game to allow the player to manage risk, rather than managing damage. With a health bar, there are chances you take, dice you roll, knowing that you've got enough to gamble with. In a game like Rainbow Six, where you can get popped by a single bullet, you have a totally different task ahead of you.

It's an entirely different experience, and a challenge setting can't and shouldn't have that kind of effect.
How is it 'changing the game' ??? It is just making the 'hard' level actually hard. It likely would be extremely difficult to fight thru the entire game in that mode (some people like a real challenge). I didnt say I was removeing the current not so hard 'hard' level or the not so easy 'easy' difficulty levels.
Most people might play my 'really hard' level to see what realistic difficulty was like.

AND if you consider THAT 'a different experience' then the players would be getting a bonus for the same price (again, some people appreciate getting their money's worth when they buy a computer game....)
wodin - it would require a much more integral change to the game than increasing enemy damage, for example. Obviously, both change the game, but the two are very different.

It's really fun when the difficult settings are actually different, too. Perhaps there are entirely new challenges or new puzzles, or different types of enemies. Even if it's just like playing the Master Quest version of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, you really appreciate the new stuff.

I'm really having trouble thinking of good examples. Anybody think of any?

Also, lacorp, click the 'edit' button on your posts, then the "Delete? To delete this post, check this box." checkbox, and then click the Make Modifications box. That should get rid of your triple post + apology :P

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I guess I usually think of it like this:

Easy - you just want to go through the game and get the story.

Normal - This is how the game was 'intended' to be played.

Hard - You've played it once on normal and while you enjoyed it, you want something more challenging... or you play games more than 20 hours a week and find most 'hard' levels to be pretty easy, even the first time around.

Very Hard - You need to get out of your mom's basement, at the age of 27 you really should have a job (other than pizza delivery) or a girlfriend (no, watching La Blue Girl for the 19th time this week doesn't count).

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