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Breaking Levels
Forum Index - SMW Hacking - Works in Progress - Kaizo Hacks - Breaking Levels
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So I've noticed the recent lobbying over producing unbreakable Kaizo levels, it's taken that if a level is breakable, whether or not the break is easy or hard to achieve, it's a bad thing and must be fixed. I ask, why is this? If a level is unbreakable, then yes, that does reflect positively on the level designer's part, they've made a good level that takes into account every variable, nice solid level structures and designs..

But then what? Is it a bad thing that the player can skip over a section? Sure, it may cause the player to miss some material, but that's the player's fault, as is the case with skippable cutscenes. In addition, if a level is unbreakable, that makes all the TASes of it virtually the same, breaks can be what make a TAS very interesting and unique, showing off the prowess of the TASer, and in my opinion, doesn't say anything bad about the designer, it was just an oversight.

Of course, if the break was as simple as shell-jumping over a maze, there may be a problem. But even if the break requires wall-jumping and block duplication, both are taken in the same way as a bad thing. Shouldn't there be a subjective line, based on the observer, of how bad a break should be for the level designer to make a fix for it? Would it be best if the level designer were to choose which breaks to fix and which breaks to let live, or are they already obligated to fix all of them?

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What makes a break so interesting is, whether or not it is a part of a kaizo hack, vanilla hack or just about anything you can think of, is that it wasn't intended.

In my opinion, (I am a TASer), hacks would be boring if they DIDN'T try and fix breaks. If they kept an option open, every TASer would do it. What is a lot more impressive is when a TASer pushes the limits of the game by doing what the designer thought was impossible. After all, it wouldn't be called a break if the designer didn't try and fix all the abuses possible!

What I do find irritating in hacks is things like "Counter Break" or "Anti-Walljump" patches in ordinary hacks (I understand for kaizo hacks because they have a much larger restriction on what should be possible in certain circumstances), but in hacks that aren't Kaizo... what the fuck is the point?! Yes, it can be broken, but about 5% of the SMW community is even going to try.

Take ASMWCP - I had a few videos of the beta version, frankly, being broken to all hell, and SNN commented saying "for god sake.. counter break?" or something to that extent. I didn't really care, but why bother to restrict a TASer pushing the boundaries of a game? That's what we're here for after all.

Designers shouldn't make it so their hack is COMPLETELY unbreakable, unless you really, really want it to be restricted to a few sets of rules (as an example, Puzzle hacks and Kaizo hacks). But then again, a designer shouldn't build their hack around the TASers idealogy.

Hmm.. I've just realised I'm on both sides of the argument. I guess it entirely depends on context.

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I entirely agree with where this is going.
If we made our hacks 2 or maybe 3 years ago noone would care about break in the hack but now breaks seem to decide the quality of the hack (well this is the impression I'm getting).
Anyway I believe that if a game designing company produces a game that has been beta tested and bugs are still found then they shouldn't have to mess with the game, once its released its released no going back. (imo)

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REMOVED
I feel like I'm...partially...the cause for people to start considering breaks to be one of the most important things in Kaizo hacks.

My viewpoint has always been that the problem with breaks is that they give players alternate options to beat certain sections/levels/hacks. There is nothing wrong with that in regular hacks, multiple paths are often actually a good thing (although usually breaks don't have quite pretty graphics, flying under the stage or spinjumping through the ground are examples of this). But in Kaizo hacks the creator wants the levels to be fun while making them hard. If a player can find an easier break that'll generally dent the hack as a whole, and the playing experience.

Obviously this isn´t the case for all Kaizo hacks, and the key sentence in the above paragraph is that the breaks should be easier that the regular level. But there´s plenty to say to at least try to prevent the most obvious breaks (<--- extremely subjective), I wouldn't enjoy a Kaizo hack that'll let me skip most of it's levels.

'But you choose to break it, you can also just not perform the break.' Very true, and if levels are well-designed I personally play through them they way it was supposed once and once with breaks. But, to make a small comparison, if you have a key to your door you also don't climb through the chimney, right? If a level creator would like it if players used certain paths then it'd make sense if the levels were constructed in a way that prevented other paths.

Also if there are no breaks that generally shows that the creator has thought well about the design, which encourages me personally to play the level.

To sum it up: in regular hacks breaks shouldn't be an issue at all. In Kaizo hacks it'd be important to know as the creator what breaks there are. They don't really need to be fixed if there is a proper alternative; if the levels are still fun there's no need to change anything. But for a lot of levels breakfixes would add to both the difficulty and the amount of fun for the player.

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Of course you should fight fire with fire, you should fight everything with fire.

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I think that small and simple breaks should be fixed at least after someone tests the hack. When a break is complex or difficult to pull off, it brings a certain sense of achievement to the player, sort of like the feeling you get when you finish a marathon in first place. Sure, I suppose some breaks can be rather boring like jumping over the level and skipping the whole thing, but other ones can be quite entertaining.


I don't really call a hack "bad" just because it has a break. Actually, I've broken all of my favorite hacks (Super Trick World, for instance). The only hacks I consider "bad" are the ones with repedative tricks like jumping between munchers.

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If designers don't try to prevent breaks, breaking isn't an accomplishment anymore. The friction is caused by a fight between the designers and the TAS'ers. It is very understandable if the designer feels humiliated when they see their levels get broken, it means they lost the fight. I think they should react like when they lose any game: try to learn from their mistakes and eventually make a new hack for a rematch. This will get disrupted if people manage to make unbreakable hacks but I don't think that will ever happen.

I have also commonly been in a situation where it was hard to determine which solution was intended and which one was a break. I ended up doing it in a way which was less fun than what turned out to be the intended way.
Originally posted by Osiris
If designers don't try to prevent breaks, breaking isn't an accomplishment anymore. The friction is caused by a fight between the designers and the TAS'ers. It is very understandable if the designer feels humiliated when they see their levels get broken, it means they lost the fight. I think they should react like when they lose any game: try to learn from their mistakes and eventually make a new hack for a rematch. This will get disrupted if people manage to make unbreakable hacks but I don't think that will ever happen.

the situation you just described is a lose-lose situation for the designer. either it's breakable, so they lose, or it's unbreakable, so everyone loses?

i would have to go with Kaizoman666's standpoint. as a player, it feels great to successfully pull off a difficult yet interesting break, even in my own levels. as a designer, if the break is much more difficult to pull than the intended path, even if it''s faster, i leave it in.

breaking a level is more like a tradeoff than a battle: how much are you willing to mangle your level just to make sure the player does what you want him to?

walljumps, though, are not cool. they're the one thing that i just hate.
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