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GOG's Jazz 1.3: Fix maps for 100% enemies/treasures

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Apr 22, 2021, 04:29 AM
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GOG's Jazz 1.3: Fix maps for 100% enemies/treasures

New thread, to separate the sprawling 100%-ability research from GOG's Jazz 1.3: Fix bugs, add Versions. It's possible that we postpone 100%-ability for a separate patch.

Known problem levels in Jazz 1.3:
  • Tubelectric 2: Uncollectable out-of-bounds treasure near top, 80 % to the right that is nonetheless necessary to achieve 100%.
  • Nippius 2: Love & Thunder's research says that there are >= 3 uncollectable cones near end of map, plus maybe uncollectable treasures in the early spring shaft. Needs more research.
  • Battleships 2: Two paths that both eventually prevent backtracking. With complex tech, you can get more than intended from either side, see image below. Needs discussion.
  • Maybe Deserto 2, haven't researched yet. Possible interaction of lizard-spawning sparkles with the 100% enemy counter?



See also: Full atlas map of Battleships 2.

This is Battleships 2. I've drawn the two paths with their entries (yellow L, yellow R) and subsequent exclusive zones, which I'll call LEZ and REZ, marked by yellow boxes.

Before the R, you can backtrack. You can jump at least 4 blocks high where I wrote "Jump possible". You can damage-boost off the rightmost generator's fireball to ascend even 5 blocks high where I wrote "Damage boost possible". This makes the REZ really small.

Thus, what do we even mean by 100% in Battleships 2? Do we require elaborate backtracking with the damage boost? It's not hard, but you must leave that one generator alive, so it's unobvious.

What does the score counter do/print when we kill/collect more than the hardcoded 100% value for a level? It's certainly possible that we overlook such tech.

More tech: In the bottom-right-hand corner of the LEZ, there is a generator. You can kill this generator even when you choose the right path (i.e., you just came through REZ). Jazz can stick himself deep enough in the left wall to shoot RF-Missiles through the wall, killing the generator on the far side, inside the LEZ. (This is not an issue in Battleships 2 if we expect the player to pick the left path for 100%.)

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Last edited by Simon; Apr 22, 2021 at 04:58 AM.
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Personally, I would say that 100% should be designed to be possible for average players who are simply quite familiar with the game, so having weird tech necessary to achieve 100% would not be the right choice, if you ask me. If an average player decides to try such weird tech, then they are rewarded with the extra points and the satisfaction of having done it, but they aren't sort of "forced" to do so if they're a completionist aiming for 100%.

For the unreachable treasures in Tubelectric, Deserto, and Nippius, I think it should be fairly simple to reduce the 100% thresholds and ensure 100%ability.
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Tubelectric 2: Yes, the good fix is to lower the treasure count; let's also remove the out-of-bounds treasure because we're editing this file anyway. Then it will agree with the auto-counter.

Nippius 2: Since the path doesn't branch, I'm considering to rearrange the treasures. Otherwise, players will agonize over the visibly missed cones. One possibility is to put the cones in a vertical line directly over the rightmost spring, if you deem that within the map's spirit. Or we can reduce the row of 5 to 1 cone; maybe reduce it to 2, but that's a trickier stunt.

Battleships 2: Thanks for the opinion. I'll have to sleep over it, and over the findings. I like the spirit that 100% should be doable without weird tech, but it will dilute the meaning of "100%". It's also conceivable to change the map to clearly allow/disallow certain backtracking, but allowing to discover the tech in the unedited map is really cute. Hmm...

This weekend, I'll play Nippius 2 and Deserto 1+2, to come back to your research and questioning of the cones in the spring shaft.

-- Simon
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Tubelectric 2: Yes, the good fix is to lower the treasure count; let's also remove the out-of-bounds treasure because we're editing this file anyway. Then it will agree with the auto-counter.
Personally, I would leave the out of bounds treasure alone, and only change the 100% numbers. It's not like anyone is going to run into it in normal gameplay; if they're running cheats, though, I say let 'em find an extra item. It's just like the messages written outside the bounds. It's an easter egg.

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Nippius 2: Since the path doesn't branch, I'm considering to rearrange the treasures. Otherwise, players will agonize over the visibly missed cones. One possibility is to put the cones in a vertical line directly over the rightmost spring, if you deem that within the map's spirit.
That's a valid solution too. The purist in me wants to preserve the level's original layout, but if 1.0, 1.2a, and vanilla 1.3 are in the goodies anyway, it's not like we're erasing the original, and it's only a minor change.

So, yes, I agree. Good call.

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Battleships 2: Thanks for the opinion. I'll have to sleep over it, and over the findings. I like the spirit that 100% should be doable without weird tech, but it will dilute the meaning of "100%". It's also conceivable to change the map to clearly allow/disallow certain backtracking.
For me, the meaning of "100%" is the maximum number of items a player could collect in a single playthrough. It's a constructed idea, it exists in the design of the level itself, so it shouldn't bend to obscure, unexpected behaviour that take a certain mastery of the mechanics to achieve.

But, that's just my view. Either way, I would resist changing the layout of the level.
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Personally, I would leave the out of bounds treasure alone, and only change the 100% numbers. [...] It's an easter egg.
I'm good with this. After all, the out-of-bounds treasure is not misleading.

Quote:
Nippius 2 [...] So, yes, I agree. Good call.
Thanks! I'll edit Nippius 2 then, but I'll wait until I'm done researching the spring shaft.

I haven't spent much time on the spring shaft yet, I'll do it this weekend at latest. I'd like to either collect all treasures in the spring shaft or prove it impossible. I conjecture that it's possible and merely very annoying.

The main trick is to bonk Jazz's head on the central rocks to cancel short the spring flights. It's also possible to hold Down+Jump when you ascend through a bridge tile (= a semi-solid tile that Jazz can pass upwards, but where Jazz will then sit on like on any other ground) to convert the spring flight into a regular jump, but you still need to bonk Jazz's head on rocks at other times.

I'm not sure if speed shoes are good or bad for the endeavor; precise maneuvering with speed shoes is nothing short of weird science. The benefit of speed shoes is to be able to jump to lowermost central rocks without taking a spring.

Quote:
"100%"
It's a constructed idea, it exists in the design of the level itself, so it shouldn't bend to obscure, unexpected behaviour that take a certain mastery of the mechanics to achieve.
I would resist changing the layout of the level.
After sleeping over Battleships 2 several times, I've come to agree with you. We shouldn't change the level's tile layout. Changing how exactly the path forks feels like too intrusive a change.

Go ahead with your proposed editing of enemy/treasure numbers for 100%. I'll happily test your level to check that 100% is possible without advanced trickery, and I'll also test how the engine reacts to scoring over 100% on your version.

-- Simon
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May 12, 2021, 06:42 AM
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Sorry I haven't come back to this in a little while.

Here's a version of Battleships 2 with the 100% completion numbers adjusted. I believe this should provide 100% completion if you take the non-tech route that contains the most items.
If you can test it for 100%ability and non-broken sound (since I know J1E occasionally breaks sounds), I'd appreciate it a lot!

This leaves Nippius 2 and Deserto 1.

I ran Deserto 1 through J1LES, removing the extra items in the unreachable area. Oddly, the item numbers didn't change. This suggests to me that Epic already accounted for the unreachable items in the original completion percentages. If you could test this for me, I would appreciate that.

As for Nippius 2, remember that we want to be careful to not require any kind of tech to get 100%. Bonking Jazz's head at the speed he's going, especially with the speed shoes, is very, very difficult. I would say it makes it pretty much impossible to get the topmost four ice creams in the second part of the springs part, the top one in the third part, and the top three in the last part. I think you could MAYBE get one or two of some of these, but I'm sceptical. I would also suggest removing 5 further items from the tally to account for the only very small likelihood of getting all four ice creams at the very bottom spring while still bonking your head so you can get all the items in the second section, and the very small likelihood of being able to get both sets of 3 ice creams above the springs in the third section.

To illustrate this, here's some crudely-drawn notes on a map of the spring tower section:

The ice creams circled in red are ones I suspect are impossible, those circled in yellow are ones I suspect are very unlikely, and I've numbered each section to assist in understanding my explanation above.

In addition to all of this, I would remove 3 or 4 items to account for the impossible-to-obtain ice creams at the very, very end of the level.
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Any progress on your end?
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Apologies for the pause. Thanks for your development and research!

In April, I've tried a couple times to get all spring shaft cones, didn't manage to get them all. The yellow cones should be no problem, you can jump over a spring without landing on the spring. But your red cones are problematic indeed. I haven't spent the necessary time yet to conclude (im)possibility, I still think it's possible. But even if it turns out possible, the cones are extremely nasty. Compared with the damage boost in Battleships 2 (a stretch to require for 100%), the Nippius 2 spring shaft is worse. One little mistake and you have to reset the map.

This Sunday, May 30, 2021, starting 16:00 UTC, I'll stream the 100% research on twitch.tv/simonnaar. Do you have a twitch account to join the chat? IRC will do in a pinch, let me know. Does the time suit you? I could start earlier if you need.

For that research stream, I'll prepare an 1.3 with your Battleships 2 100% fix, and with the other fixes from the bugfixing thread.

-- Simon
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This Sunday, May 30, 2021, starting 16:00 UTC, I'll stream the 100% research on twitch.tv/simonnaar. Do you have a twitch account to join the chat? IRC will do in a pinch, let me know. Does the time suit you? I could start earlier if you need.

For that research stream, I'll prepare an 1.3 with your Battleships 2 100% fix, and with the other fixes from the bugfixing thread.

-- Simon
Hi.

Sorry I didn't sign on, I only just read this message. (I've had a busy weekend)

How did it go?
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Hi, you can watch the vod for the next 14 days. I'll write down the essence here within this week!

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Research for Nippius 2 from the 2021-05-30 vod. (Other research will come in other posts.)

Nippius 2 spring shaft: All ice-cream cones in the spring shaft are collectable in a single run without dying, even your red-circled cones. It is weird science.

My method: Don't shoot the speed shoes as Jazz passes by them. Instead, run through the zig-zag at normal speed. When Jazz passes beneath your painted green "1", jump high towards the left wall. At the peak of the jump arc, use TNT to collect the speed shoes. Jazz can then spend the full time of the speed shoes in the spring shaft. Jazz can jump to all rocks in the center, and collect all cones, even your red ones.

I tested this only on Hard. I don't know if the jump height differ between Easy/Medium/Hard speed shoes; I merely know that the running speed differs: 8/10/12 pixels per frame compared to the 6 pixels per frame without speed shoes.

The method works even when you start the level after dying, without weapons. There are 2 TNT above the entrance that Jazz can collect.

It's possible to streamline the item placement. E.g., remove all of your red-circled cones. The yellow-circled already feel like too intrusive a change; a player determined to 100% the map will get them even without weird science. At most he'll need a few tries. Thoughts?

Nippius 2 ending: If you edit the cones near the exit signpost, don't just remove 3 or 4 of the 5 -- rearrange all 5 to keep Jazz 1's style. Jazz 1 item placement tends to make cool bunches in a pattern, rarely single items. I still encourage to make the line-of-5 vertical instead of horizontal, and move them rightward, over the rightmost spring.

-- Simon
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Hi. Any new progress?

My thoughts on the above:

Nippius 2 spring shaft:
I agree that the red circled ones should definitely be removed. I still think the yellow ones are unfair/unreasonable, especially the ones in the section I labelled as number 1.

Nippius 2 ending:
Okay. Let's try that when we've agreed on what to do in the spring shaft.
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Hi. Any new progress?
yellow ones are unfair/unreasonable, especially the ones in the section I labelled as number 1.
Why? Do you find it hard to swivel away from the level 2 spring after the level 1 spring bounces you into the level 1 yellow cones?

Dreempipes 2 is a new candidate for 100% examination. It has at least 2 unkillable turtles on top of the final pipe towards the exit sign.

Deserto 2 in 1.3 on Medium, I didn't get 100% on my first and only try during the stream, I should re-examine. E.g., it's possible that enemies don't spawn, depending on our particular movement.

Deserto in Jazz 1.3 (probably both levels 1 and 2) has the sparkling spawners on Hard and Turbo difficulty, and I should re-examine. I know from your Battleships 2 mod that killing more than 100% is no problem, it behaves like 100% during end-of-level scoring.

This 100% research will certainly slow the release of Gog patch 1. Do you want to fix all 100% bugs at once in patch 1? I don't have much time either way. We've already produced lots of new stuff that I still want to document on my Jazz page. There are at least 3 yet-undocumented version differences (good-1.2 lacks falling leaves in Jungrock, 1.3 puts a blue spring in Exoticus 1 near the halfway checkmark, 1.3 has no Deserto 1/2 spawners on Medium), I found new speedtech, ...

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Why? Do you find it hard to swivel away from the level 2 spring after the level 1 spring bounces you into the level 1 yellow cones?
Yes.

You bounce very quickly, so the timing is crazy narrow. Similarly, getting all the collectibles on the left-hand side of level 3 without getting launched up so you can't get the ones on the right is very difficult. (Though the choice of the left-hand ones over the right-hand ones is arbitrary)

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This 100% research will certainly slow the release of Gog patch 1. Do you want to fix all 100% bugs at once in patch 1? I don't have much time either way. We've already produced lots of new stuff that I still want to document on my Jazz page. There are at least 3 yet-undocumented version differences (good-1.2 lacks falling leaves in Jungrock, 1.3 puts a blue spring in Exoticus 1 near the halfway checkmark, 1.3 has no Deserto 1/2 spawners on Medium), I found new speedtech, ...

-- Simon
I've been thinking about this too.

We've got the core playability fixes ready, and we've had them ready for quite some time, so I think we should move forward with that as patch 1. I would imagine and hope that GOG is willing to accept a second update later that fixes the 100%ability which may take ages and would delay these key, playability fixes if we waited to do it all at once.

So, yes, I think we should just get the first patch out and say "This patch restores the game's first 6 episodes to how they played in the initial versions before the CD revisions broke these levels in various ways (especially Orbitus 2). We have several other smaller things to fix in regards to many levels being impossible to get 100% completion on, which may take some time, so we'd like to do a second patch down the line to fix those issues, which may be several months away."
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Yes.

You bounce very quickly, so the timing is crazy narrow. Similarly, getting all the collectibles on the left-hand side of level 3 without getting launched up so you can't get the ones on the right is very difficult. (Though the choice of the left-hand ones over the right-hand ones is arbitrary)
Thanks. It's good to have your opinion on these. I found them nice challenges and they didn't randomly fail the section for me, I wouldn't have considered them.

It's probably good then to cut the yellows from level 1, and to cut either single cluster of yellows from level 3. With the overall reasoning: It's okay to have people remember the section from playing and failing 1-2 times, but It's bad to have finnicky design when you can't backtrack.

Quote:
yes, I think we should just get the first patch out and say "[...]"
All right, I'll focus then on documenting the changes for patch 1 (both for webpage, for GOG, and for players), writing release notes, and eventually playing through the entire 1.3 + patch 1.

On the worry that a second patch gets ignored: I have a similar worry with the 1.0/1.2 goodies; It feels like patch 1 is the single opportunity to get important stuff in. The answer to this is good politics, thanks for the well-formulated proposal where we explain that there will be more patching in a few months.

-- Simon
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Thanks. It's good to have your opinion on these. I found them nice challenges and they didn't randomly fail the section for me, I wouldn't have considered them.

It's probably good then to cut the yellows from level 1, and to cut either single cluster of yellows from level 3. With the overall reasoning: It's okay to have people remember the section from playing and failing 1-2 times, but It's bad to have finnicky design when you can't backtrack.
Happy to be helpful.

Yes, that sounds good. Try it out, and we can both test it out to see how it feels.

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All right, I'll focus then on documenting the changes for patch 1 (both for webpage, for GOG, and for players), writing release notes, and eventually playing through the entire 1.3 + patch 1.

On the worry that a second patch gets ignored: I have a similar worry with the 1.0/1.2 goodies; It feels like patch 1 is the single opportunity to get important stuff in. The answer to this is good politics, thanks for the well-formulated proposal where we explain that there will be more patching in a few months.

-- Simon
Alright!

I don't think extensive notes are necessary, and only the levels we're adjusting will need testing before we send it to GOG (they probably have their own internal testing anyway?), but I appreciate that you want to be thorough. Still, I'm anxious to get this out as soon as possible.

I think as long as we're upfront about there being these other issues we want to fix, there's no reason for them to say no to a second patch to come in a few months. Ultimately, the GOG people want to work with us to create a good experience (they did say yes to a first patch, after all), so I don't think there will be any difficult politics or anything, provided we're upfront about our situation.
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Any news?

I was hoping we could get this patch out within just a couple of months of us starting, but it's been over a year now. I think we're way overdue for just calling it and sending out patch 1. The smaller fixes can be addressed later.

If there's anything I can help with to speed this along, please say so.
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So, there are two possibilities here. Either you're too immediately busy right now and can get back to me soon, or you're long-term busy and won't get back to me any time soon and will presumably understand if I press on further without your help.
You haven't been online in a couple of months, so I'm unsure if you'll even read this.

Either way, I had some time tonight, and I did some work on this.
Here's a fixed version of Nippius 2. Now possible to 100% it. I erred slightly more on your side in regards to the ice creams I'd outlined in yellow than I did in our earlier debating I think (the image demonstrating which cones are reasonable/unreasonable is gone, so I'm not certain).

I investigated Dreempipes 2 and discovered that the level's 100% quotas do indeed fail to account for the two unkillable turtles, so here's a fixed version.

I also checked out Deserto 2; it's fine in regards to 100%ability on medium, hard, and turbo. On easy, it's impossible to do it because the enemy that shoots fire doesn't appear on easy, and the 100% completion quotas are shared between easy and medium, so this enemy that only appears on medium and up is required to 100% the level. I'm more comfortable with easy being impossible to 100% complete on this level than I am with medium on this level allowing you to get 100% completion without actually having 100% completion. So, I would err on the side of leaving this one as-is.
As for the enemy-spawning sparkles, they (and their spawn) don't count towards 100% completion (or maybe they do but their spawn don't; I was in a hurry in the last stretch of my testing of the level on hard since I nearly ran out of level time), so aside from 100% speedrunning research, I don't think this matters.

Personally, I'm ready for us to ship the patch. If you don't respond in a few days, I'll assume you don't have time for further input and I'll ask Violet to send what I have so far. Worst case, you respond just after I do this with some complaints or news, and we can ask to do a second patch, which we had discussed doing anyway.
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