Author Topic: Articles on technical concepts  (Read 6507 times)

Glowsquid

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Articles on technical concepts
« on: October 17, 2016, 05:06:18 PM »
Yesterday, I was reading Pikipedia and I was pleased to find high-quality articles about things like randomized elements in the Pikmin games, frames and how the dungeon room generation in Pikmin 2 works. While having an article called "Randomness" may look kind of funny at first glance, all of the things I linked provide a perfectly informative explanation of how the Pikmin games work.


This then lead to me thinking that gee, the Super Mario Wiki's coverage of technical concepts is kind of lacking. Articles about gameplay concepts that aren't explicitely named in the games are few and far between, pratically orphaned in term of link, and tend to be somewhat inept. The wiki doesn't need to be hyper-technical and explains what half A-presses are or how the game calculate hit boxes each frames, but I think there's a lot more room to cover broader gameplay concepts than what the wiki has now. Obviously, the Mario franchise is huge and covers disparate type of games so articles about very broad subjects like frames or randomization are likely not feasible or desirable, but I think there are some subjects that could be perfectly viable and interesting. Examples I have in mind include:

Statistics: Explaining what each statistics in Mario Kart and the sport games mean, hidden stats, how the stats listed in the game don't alway line up with reality, etc.

Sequence Breaking: Explaining what a sequence break is and provide examples of sequence breaks in Mario games.

Unwinnable: Explain what an unwinnable state is, details the kidn of tricks Mario game uses to prevent the player from being stuck in an unwinnable state and examples of unwinnable states in the games.

Rubber Band: Explain what Rubber band is, how it works in Mario Kart and the other Mario sports games, and the various iterations of the "Rival" system in Mario Kart.

In mind, the wiki should be as useful to the speedrunner as it is to the Deep Mario Lores nut, but, what do u think
Rest in peace, Walkazo.

Time Turner

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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2016, 05:37:53 PM »
I'd be on board with the articles on rubber banding and statistics, since they're clear mechanics of the games that were put in place by the developers, but having articles specifically for Sequence Breaking and Unwinnable states is an unnecessary extension of the glitch articles. Rather than being intentional design choices, they're either unintended consequences of the game mechanics or the result of unpredictable player action. Dividing the glitch lists into sections, like the SM64 page, and listing examples of unwinnable states and sequence breaking there would be more useful imo.

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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2016, 06:20:17 PM »
but having articles specifically for Sequence Breaking and Unwinnable states is an unnecessary extension of the glitch articles.

But they aren't always glitches, and listing every instances of those as glitches is incorrectly using the term. If I use Lanky Kong's punch attack to clip through a physical barrier and get access to a world, that is, yeah, sequence breaking using a glitch. But if in Super Mario Sunshine, I use a very precise series of wall kicks to reach a warp pipe without the intended item, that's not a glitch. The physics and controls work as intended, I'm just using them in a creative way.

Likewise, an unwinnable state is not always the result of bad programming. They can be intentional, even. If for example, in a game, I'm supposed to press a switch on a platform to progress, but instead I fall off the platform and there's no way to get back to it, that's not a glitch. Some would say it's bad design, but again, it's not a programing problem. And as written in the OP, the article can be more than just a list of examples: it can also details what tricks the games put in place to prevent the player from making the game unwinnable.
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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2016, 08:04:42 PM »
I know for a fact we have a very in-depth article on the Mario Kart 8 stuff like Mario Kart 8 item probability distributions and Mario Kart 8 drivers' and parts' statistics, so having in-depth articles is already in the beginning states right now.

I'm a bit mixed on the whole unwinnable states though. We sorta mention this in the Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time dungeon (and even so, according to the instruction manual, if you die you can choose to return to Peach's Castle, so you can get out of that state in theory) but Mario games usually don't have these types of things. I'm also not too enthusiastic about bring up a Snaking article here, it seems to be more in-line with StrategyWiki and it's an unofficial term that was coined up by fans and we usually don't cover unofficial things like that. Same deal with rubber-band, has it ever been officially coined?
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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2016, 08:16:54 PM »
I think there's no harm at all in covering these technical elements and they would make for quite an interesting read, if we can structure them properly.


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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2016, 08:19:00 PM »
I'm also not too enthusiastic about bring up a Snaking article here, it seems to be more in-line with StrategyWiki and it's an unofficial term that was coined up by fans and we usually don't cover unofficial things like that. Same deal with rubber-band, has it ever been officially coined?
I'm not entirely sure what "Snaking" is, but I don't think fan names are a particularly big deal. After all, the wiki uses conjectural names for subjects worth covering, so using a term that's already popular isn't that big of a leap.

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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2016, 08:20:09 PM »
Snaking is basically abusing mini-turbo boosts by flicking the control stick left and right rapidly.

Here's a video on it

RIP B. "Walkazo" Dalziel. December 16, 1991 to March 27, 2016.

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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2016, 09:30:29 PM »
I think it's a great idea. If we have a use for all these terms on articles, having our own pages on them would be very beneficial. Like the Easter egg article: having this Mario-centric page to explain a technical concept with examples from games that we actually cover, is so much better than individually definining it every time the word is used, or even linking to a Wikipedia definition which uses non-Mario examples.

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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2016, 09:02:46 AM »
I was planning to cover the statistics and item probability distributions of the Mario Kart games using in-game data, I began with Mario Kart 8, now I'm with Mario Kart 7, if we manage to obtain the in-game data for the other games I might continue (MKW and MK: DD statistics are reliable, although now that I have seen that sometime the files have in themselves the headers for each stat I would like to continue directly looking at in-game data even of those games to see if those headers are to be found, which might be more informative for the unknown stats), this will take me a lot of time so for now I'd say I will just cover the Mario Kart games, I don't even know if I will be able to do other kinds of technical articles (ok, I tried extracting the stats of two 2016 Mario & Sonic games, but those are menu stats, not in-game stats).

Regarding rubber banding, there's actually an official patent from Nintendo describing it (this should be MK: DD rubber banding).

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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2016, 11:46:39 PM »
Should we have [[Category:Technical concepts]]?



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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2016, 08:59:37 PM »
Well, I'll be interested in helping out with these pages. I mean, I've certainly got some good examples to illustrate the 'unwinnable' page, like the following:

Unwinnable by Mistake

The keys in the ScareScraper often don't spawn in Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon, meaning the round is unbeatable due to a programming glitch.

Unwinnable by Design

Lots of Yoshi's Island DS levels have sections which are unwinnable by design, usually due to the player messing up a tricky platforming section. For example, if the player doesn't have enough eggs to push the egg powered platform to the end in Yoshi's Island Easter Eggs, the only way out is if Yoshi commits suicide on the spikes.

Unwinnable by Insanity

Getting locked out of the Naval Exhibit in Treacherous Mansion in Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon.  This occurrence (caused by having a ghost knock away the item on the switch at the same time as Luigi opens the door behind it) is extremely unlikely to happen unless the player intends it to.

I'm guessing the page would also explain the difference between an 'unwinnable game' situation (where the whole save file is virtually bricked) and an 'unwinnable level' situation (you can exit or die, but completing the level is now impossible). The former is very rare in the Mario franchise (outside of massive, massive sequence breaking via glitches and hacks), the latter comes up in games with poorly designed/excessively cruel levels (like Yoshi's Island DS).

If the former needs an illustration, maybe this could help:



Sequence breaking would be fun to write about too.
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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2016, 01:09:55 PM »
I made a draft for a page about the concept of 100% completion here. I know it's not anywhere exhaustive, but I planned to lead people add the game they're more familiar with. What do you think?
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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2016, 02:59:19 PM »
Looks good so far. I'll be willing to add my own entries if possible.
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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2016, 04:05:12 PM »
Rest in peace, Walkazo.

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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2016, 03:52:17 PM »
Should we include a nav template for this and perhaps a new category?

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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2017, 07:57:04 PM »
So err, did anything happen with this? Or did we decide that adding pages for this stuff was a bit tedious/unnecessary?
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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2017, 08:15:56 PM »
They'll be made as people are compelled and/or inspired to make them. Trying to rush them out will only result in rushed articles.

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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2017, 09:13:11 PM »
Or did we decide that adding pages for this stuff was a bit tedious/unnecessary?

When wiki projects die or don't take off, it's rarely a conscious decision. This thread has been on the back of my mind but between IRL commitments my other wiki plans, and the lack of strong concensus in this thread as to what should warrant a page and what form it should take, it just hasn't been a priority.

Ultimately though, as we say in French, your best waiter is yourself. If you have a strong idea of what , say,an Unwinnable should be organized and what content could go on there, then by all mean I invite you to start it.
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Re: Articles on technical concepts
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2017, 10:55:03 PM »
Sorry if I revive this thread, but I came across a borderline situation: the actual stats of the playable characters in Super Mario 3D World.

If it were for me I might even make a page reporting these stats along with an explanation of the stats we already discovered, but while actual stats are very important in RPGs and competitive games such as Mario Kart, this information is related to 3D platform games and is thus very specific and might be mostly useful for Tool Assisted Speedruns. I don't even know if normal speedrunners might be able to use it.

So, I'm wondering: should we make a page also for these stats, or just report a summary on the main page adding then the link to this table I just made at the beginning of this post?
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 11:19:13 PM by Mister Wu »