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  To die, or not to die...that is the question...  (Read 16329 times)
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Offline bahuman

Junior Member





« Reply #60 - Posted 2006-06-29 13:20:31 »

The downside, as I see it, is that I would like to have the freedom to play the kind of character I want to play- if I want to play a bowman but I'm rubbish with the archery interface then I'll never be able to advance as the type of character I want to be. You end up only playing characters with your own physical skills, which doesn't give much for the whole role-play aspect...

You assume correctly that the easiest way to require skill for certain weapons is to require skill in aiming, and leading the target, and timing your shot. This may have the disadvantage that you will draw in some of the FPS crowd. It is usually -and I'll remain polite- a much more vocal, and much harder to please crowd.

But there are other ways. One other way to require skill from the actual player, is to replace the entire "fight" with an appropriate analogy. If I may return to the Magic: the Gathering analogy: players also shoot fireballs, wield swords, and send lesser creatures into the battle. Only they do it in playing the necessary cards. The skill lies not in aiming the weapon. Rather, the skill is in knowing when playing this weapon will do the most damage possible. Of course, your RPG will suddenly become more turn-based, and possibly less interactive.

Perhaps there are other analogies for a swordfight and a gunfight, that will attract the RPG playing crowd, and still require ACTUAL skill, rather than artificial skill numbers. For example: in Monkey Island, a duel between pirates consisted of the two duelists shouting insults at each other  Cool
Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #61 - Posted 2006-06-29 13:27:52 »

As others have pointed out, the ability to explore other oportunities, even things you are incapable of doing otherwise, is a key attraction of many games. 

Twitch-and-click games ( most FPS ) already fill the niche of putting the focus on the PLAYER's skills.  The fact there there is not much RPG evolution in FPS games speaks to the fact that the players that enjoy and excel in those games are not interrested in much else out of the game than challenges of their personal skill.  RPG games generally do have a combat interface that is designed to get your adreneline up as well, but for the most part in an RPG a fifth-level fighter played by a Mountain Dew chugging teenager is still going to get his but kicked by a twenty fifth level figher played by an eighty year old lady .  There is not as much of a chance that the 80-year old would be a match for that teenager in an FPS ( no matter how much Dew she was drinking  Grin ) but there is no reason to penalize or limit someone's advancement in an RPG simply because of ther real-life limitations, nor place unfair rewards on them due to their real-life advantages. The key thing to remember about an RPG, is that it is a ROLE PLAYING game first and foremost. 

Getting killed in an FPS where you have no real "investment" in your in-game persona beyond items and weapons you have collected is not that painful.  Permadeath of an RPG where you have evolving a CHARACTER for weeks or months is a different issue completly ( OOTP ).
Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #62 - Posted 2006-06-29 13:38:36 »

But there are other ways. One other way to require skill from the actual player, is to replace the entire "fight" with an appropriate analogy. If I may return to the Magic: the Gathering analogy: players also shoot fireballs, wield swords, and send lesser creatures into the battle. Only they do it in playing the necessary cards. The skill lies not in aiming the weapon. Rather, the skill is in knowing when playing this weapon will do the most damage possible. Of course, your RPG will suddenly become more turn-based, and possibly less interactive.

I have played a couple CCGs as well and agree that it's often HOW or WHEN you play a card that decides success.  A couple games I tried were so collection-focused that a fairly new player had no chance against anyone that's been around a while.  Those didn't get my interrest.  Ones that allowed creative uses of combinations and taking advantages of other card's weaknesses were far more appealing.  Not only were  you able to succeed even when new, but you could never allow yourself to get too cocky just because you had some of the best cards.  Someone else could always take you down.

As mentioned in a few other places the game I'm specifically discussing around is an RPG styled along the classic Pirates! games by Sid Meir.  It did involve player skill for many combat issues.  Two specific examples:

When sailing, you had to understand how your specific type of ship behaved under each wind direction and speed and how to use that correctly.  If the weather was in your favor and you knew what you were doing, a medium or small sized ship could outsail the massive war ships either escaping or, if good enough, doing heavy damage to them while avoiding many of their shots.

When sword fighting, you could just madly click the "thrust" button and hope you win, but if you understood the combonations well and your character's in-game skill was high enough, you could out-duel your enemies with little injury to yourself.

So in these ways about 60% of your success is completely in-game based ( your character's ship or sword type combined with their skill at sailing, gunnery, fencing, etc. ) and about 40% player based ( your understanding of the sailing model, timing the reloading of your cannons, picking the appropriate fighting options, etc ).
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Offline bahuman

Junior Member





« Reply #63 - Posted 2006-06-29 14:06:55 »


As mentioned in a few other places the game I'm specifically discussing around is an RPG styled along the classic Pirates! games by Sid Meir.  It did involve player skill for many combat issues.

So there you go. My main point was: if you demand REAL player skills, you don't need to keep track of  "levels". And you'll avoid the level grinding.

- One set of real skills is the "twitch" factor so often scorned by non-Quake players  Cool Grin
- Another set of skills is the card-playing, but setting rules for that is a science all by itself, as you point out.
- The sailing you mention, is not so fast-paced as to become a twitch game, although I guess the swordfighting might come close. Any person-to-person fight might become a click-fest, unless you find a decent analogy (the insult duel?)
- In your pirate game, if the cannonneers (sp?) are PC's, they would need to have some basic skill to hit a ship half a mile away. But with the reload times of a cannon, it'll never turn into a twitch game.
- Trading is a player skill "par excellence". If a PC can sucker another PC into paying too much for the shipload of rhum, ... well ... good for him and bad for the other  Smiley

To the people who say that players will always want to compare their accomplishments with each other... what better comparison is there than your wealth ? If you can afford 10 fregates, I'd say you're pretty well accomplished in the game. If your fleet is big enough and you can block the port of a city long enough to starve all people inside, the governor won't need to see any of your personal "stats". He'll gladly marry his beautiful daughter to you  Cool
Offline Breakfast

Senior Member




for great justice!


« Reply #64 - Posted 2006-06-29 14:33:53 »

The card-based combat is good though- it is an easy way to give you versatile and tactical combat- I think a lot of Japanese RPGs use this kind of thing, but I don't know because I don't really have any consoles, except for a scratched almost beyond usability GBA.

I've just distracted myself with the combination of card combat and Monkey Island's insult fencing...
Offline dsellars

Junior Member




Need to write more games


« Reply #65 - Posted 2006-06-29 15:43:13 »

Quote
When sailing, you had to understand how your specific type of ship behaved under each wind direction and speed and how to use that correctly.  If the weather was in your favor and you knew what you were doing, a medium or small sized ship could outsail the massive war ships either escaping or, if good enough, doing heavy damage to them while avoiding many of their shots.

Very OT but I remember circling my little Pinnace around a Galleon for *hours* slowly wearing it down, knowing just one  lucky hit from it would take me out...  ah those were the days Smiley

Dan.
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #66 - Posted 2006-06-29 21:54:12 »

Really this is the twitch v. strategy argument.

RPGs all evovled from strategy games.  Introducing twitch elements can be interesting, but also can be expereince limiting or destroying.

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Offline OverKill

Junior Member




Java games rock!


« Reply #67 - Posted 2006-06-30 07:27:29 »

The card-based combat is good though- it is an easy way to give you versatile and tactical combat- I think a lot of Japanese RPGs use this kind of thing, but I don't know because I don't really have any consoles, except for a scratched almost beyond usability GBA.

I've just distracted myself with the combination of card combat and Monkey Island's insult fencing...
There was a magic game quite some time ago where you, in order to create magic spells, had to combine elements together.
While it was more an iso runaround game with max 3 spells I really liked the idea.

If you want to do something where you mix player skill and character skill why not really do something like that?
Say in order for your character to do something you must enter numbers into the numpad.
But you character should also be independent so you could add a delay for when the character pools the keypresses.
The delay reduces the more you play (i.e. character gets better at accepting your commands)
So even a pro gamer's new char will only perform at a certain level but might advance faster then a noob gamer.
Offline bahuman

Junior Member





« Reply #68 - Posted 2006-06-30 07:44:42 »

Really this is the twitch v. strategy argument.

RPGs all evovled from strategy games.  Introducing twitch elements can be interesting, but also can be expereince limiting or destroying.

I would like to state -once more- very clearly:
just because you demand real player skills doesn't mean you're introducing twitch elements. There are other skills, besides reaction time and accuracy of mouse movement. Tactical insight, intelligence, proficiency with card games, ...

throwing dice, on the other hand, requires not much skill.
Offline OverKill

Junior Member




Java games rock!


« Reply #69 - Posted 2006-06-30 08:35:46 »

Really this is the twitch v. strategy argument.

RPGs all evovled from strategy games.  Introducing twitch elements can be interesting, but also can be expereince limiting or destroying.

I would like to state -once more- very clearly:
just because you demand real player skills doesn't mean you're introducing twitch elements. There are other skills, besides reaction time and accuracy of mouse movement. Tactical insight, intelligence, proficiency with card games, ...

throwing dice, on the other hand, requires not much skill.
I agree to some degree. But it really does sound like requireing 'player skill' = 'twiching'.

I play GW and I think it might be what you are talking about.
The more players play the better they become. Knowing combinations and what effects what is a very big advantage.
Twitch skills mean nothing in GW. You will not win because you can bunny-hop better then the rest.
One FPS player can do a lot of damage against multiple opponents, one GW player is bait.

Designers would have to watch out just how they make the game.
In GW the comp does your aiming for you.
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Offline Breakfast

Senior Member




for great justice!


« Reply #70 - Posted 2006-06-30 16:15:27 »

The insult fencing thing was slightly relevant in that the game mechanism was that you picked up new skills (  insults/witty retorts ) in combat with different opponents- I think new combos/spells/tricks that you can learn as you encounter them or find other characters to teach them to you is a fairly good way of giving character development without the traditional level grind, although it gives an advantage to players with good trainers in their guilds  ( this is not really a problem - in real life people trained up by their guilds had an advantage ) it can be very well balanced.

Of course, if you want to keep it from being too twitchy you will probably want some degree of turn-basedness to your combat.
Offline bahuman

Junior Member





« Reply #71 - Posted 2006-06-30 16:21:10 »

Of course, if you want to keep it from being too twitchy you will probably want some degree of turn-basedness to your combat.

Agreed. PvP combat tends to become twitchy, unless you install some counter-measures, like turn-based combat.

All this about levels vs. skills, was just a reason to say "if you eliminate (or diminish) the importance of levels, permanent death of a character can be a reasonable punishmentCool
Offline OverKill

Junior Member




Java games rock!


« Reply #72 - Posted 2006-07-05 13:51:24 »

Nice column on gamasutra about level based progression:
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/column_index.php?story=8344
Offline endolf

JGO Coder


Medals: 7


Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #73 - Posted 2006-07-05 18:45:38 »

Hi

Quote
don't make a sword too high level to use, make it too expensive to buy. Or make there be magic that is too sophisticated to learn, or technology that requires a lot of training before use.

And that is almost exactly what I was talking about. I talked it over with kev a few year back and decided this was the way to go.

Least someone out there agrees with us/me Smiley

Endolf

Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #74 - Posted 2006-07-05 19:20:41 »

It was a good pointer, Overkill, and it's nice to see many of us here already thinking "outside the mold".  There are still a lot o fthings to consider when weighing the option of permadeath in a persistent-world game, but I think minimizing "leveling" and eliminating level-grinding in any form would be critical to keeping players from becoming too frustrated if they loose their character ( or deside to retire their character ) and need to start again.
Offline OverKill

Junior Member




Java games rock!


« Reply #75 - Posted 2006-07-06 06:51:14 »

Why not wait with permadeath until your game is running?
Then you can see just how people play your game and you can react to it.
Permadeath might be used if people constantly get killed.

You could have a AD&D like ressurection system where every time people got ressurected it cost them 1 point of constitution which, in AD&D, could not be modified compared to current 3rd Edition Rules.
As con also determined your HP and other factors, if people keep dieing thier characters become increasingly weaker.

What I also liked about the column and what GW does is to spread out the skill-tree.
People do not become high level chars and are very destinctive based on their attributes and skills.
And this is why I say wait with the permadeath because in GW it is not very uncommon to be overwhelmed by an enemy as each char is a specialist.
Funny thing is, people don't really die much in GW. Often when one player dies, it means he won't be the only one.
Offline bahuman

Junior Member





« Reply #76 - Posted 2006-07-06 09:21:05 »

Quote
No more high-level ice creams,
high-level ice creams are cruel, especially in this weather! Shocked

Quote
Levels, I argue, are just a lack of imagination.

+1  Grin
Offline Breakfast

Senior Member




for great justice!


« Reply #77 - Posted 2006-07-06 13:48:19 »

Quote
Why not wait with permadeath until your game is running?
Because if we can gain anything from this thread it is that the decision to have permadeath in your game affects every single aspect of game play pretty much.

It is surely the first decision you should make...
Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #78 - Posted 2006-07-06 14:56:12 »

Quote
Why not wait with permadeath until your game is running?
Because if we can gain anything from this thread it is that the decision to have permadeath in your game affects every single aspect of game play pretty much.

It is surely the first decision you should make...

Absolutely.  Key concepts are critical to understand and define before going too far.  It would be like saying "why not just write the game and then decide if magic will be a part or not".

Although this thread has tangetted a little and has discussed several genres of game, options such as resurrection, spells and other extreme life-keeping options are not appropriate to the genre I am exploring at this time.  Because those traditional "options" are not available to me, the issue of permadeath, character aging / injuries, and eventual forced-retirement are important decisions to make up front in order to establish almost all other aspects of the game design. 

I know this thread has grown many heads and I hate to drag things along any more than needed, but so far there has been some terrific insights, suggestions, recommended-reading and such presented here.  All of which I have found tremendously helpful given the fact that I have very few people in my personal circle to have such discussions with and we often have similar perspectives so there is not always much dissenting opinion.
Offline OverKill

Junior Member




Java games rock!


« Reply #79 - Posted 2006-07-06 15:08:41 »

You guys are not reading what I am writing.
I wrote PERMAdeath. i.e. Should players stay dead?
I think it is more of a ballance thing then anything else because I hope it will not be the focus of your game.
It will not hurt your game because you have not yet decided on it.

But if you try and force something from the beginning it might hurt more then help.
If you design your game only to later figure out death happens more then you thought, it will definetly hurt the game.

And the comparison to yes/no magic is a pretty poor counterargument at that.
If this is how we decide to continue the topic I'd rather not participate.
Offline bahuman

Junior Member





« Reply #80 - Posted 2006-07-06 15:24:01 »

I wrote PERMAdeath. i.e. Should players stay dead?
I think it is more of a ballance thing then anything else because I hope it will not be the focus of your game.
It will not hurt your game because you have not yet decided on it.
Ah, but I think we established it will actually hurt your game. If an experienced gamer died because of something out of his control, and he is forced to do a lot of level grinding before he can start enjoying the game again, he will probably be very frustrated and is very likely to quit playing. That is not what you want. So you can't introduce permanent death at a whim; the core design of the game must support it.

Quote
If this is how we decide to continue the topic I'd rather not participate.
Roll Eyes Tongue Grin
Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #81 - Posted 2006-07-06 15:55:58 »

I think the decision about permadeath is absolutely a critical decision.  As mentioned above if, thru certain events, a character is forever lost to a player then all other major mechanics in the game ( character creation, capabilties of new characters, rate of progression, etc ) needs to be designed with that event in mind.  If you design a system that assumes a player will have the ability to respawn in some way then you can allow for a different progression model than one that assumes players will only keep the same character for a limited duration and then either retire the character or loose it thru death.  The models of character generation, progression, reward, etc are all very much dependent on factors such as the durability of characters.

I believe my  yes/no magic comparison is completely relavent because, again, it is a critical aspect of game play and can dramatically tip the game balance if it is introduced later.  In fact, many suggestions in this thread for allowing a game to exist without permadeath have revolved around magical / supernatural events.  So by direct relationship the decision on allowing magic in a game has an immediate and direct influence on many other critical decisions ( "If we have magic, can't we allow resurections?" ).  If in some way you found that example insulting then I apologize for the misunderstanding.  However, I do stand by its relavence.
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #82 - Posted 2006-07-06 19:51:12 »

Really this is the twitch v. strategy argument.

RPGs all evovled from strategy games.  Introducing twitch elements can be interesting, but also can be expereince limiting or destroying.

I would like to state -once more- very clearly:
just because you demand real player skills doesn't mean you're introducing twitch elements. There are other skills, besides reaction time and accuracy of mouse movement. Tactical insight, intelligence, proficiency with card games, ...

throwing dice, on the other hand, requires not much skill.
I agree to some degree. But it really does sound like requireing 'player skill' = 'twiching'.

I play GW and I think it might be what you are talking about.
The more players play the better they become. Knowing combinations and what effects what is a very big advantage.

The flip side of this is that its also a barrier to new players. Im *trying* to play GW right now but Im stuck on a few quests because I havetn figured out the right magic combination of pwoer to select and use.

I could try seraching the net or buying a Brady book, but that kind of defeats your point, right? The only skill Im really developing then is my google skils...


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Offline Mr_Light

Senior Member


Medals: 1


shiny.


« Reply #83 - Posted 2006-07-06 20:40:29 »

Jeff you poor lad, or just old I don't know  Grin

just give me a ring and I'll walk you trough it's not about google its a social thing, some quests require you to have some ppl in your group.

you should be able to always do pvp I'd sugjest ppl getting stuck doing that as it useally reveals your weaknesses quickly.

It's harder to read code than to write it. - it's even harder to write readable code.

The gospel of brother Riven: "The guarantee that all bugs are in *your* code is worth gold." Amen brother a-m-e-n.
Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder




Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #84 - Posted 2006-07-07 00:29:52 »

The flip side of this is that its also a barrier to new players. Im *trying* to play GW right now but Im stuck on a few quests because I havetn figured out the right magic combination of pwoer to select and use.

Me too!

Offline bahuman

Junior Member





« Reply #85 - Posted 2006-07-07 07:36:45 »


The flip side of this is that its also a barrier to new players. Im *trying* to play GW right now but Im stuck on a few quests because I havetn figured out the right magic combination of pwoer to select and use.

I could try seraching the net or buying a Brady book, but that kind of defeats your point, right? The only skill Im really developing then is my google skils...

The real question in my mind is: are you frustrated in your search?
Would it be more frustrated to you if you just needed to level up? (leveling up has an association with brainless monkey-work to me, but at least you can see your progress, and you know you'll get there in the end)
Offline Eli Delventhal

JGO Kernel


Medals: 42
Projects: 11
Exp: 10 years


Game Engineer


« Reply #86 - Posted 2006-07-12 17:43:38 »

I'm not going to lie – I like an easy video game. Perhaps it's because of the inherent writer/lover of stories that I am, but I generally like the ride way more than challenge I may recieve. Parts where I die over and over really piss me off, and can get me yelling at the computer. Normally I am an incredibly mellow person, but god damn I hate repetition. Having to do an entire game over again, rather than just the level or since the last save would no doubt make me shut off the program and delete it forever. I get enough challenge in the sports that I play and life in general, video games are supposed to be a release.

But I understand where you (and many other people, my brother for example) are coming from. It's just a different way of thinking. Therefore, I think the option should be there, rather than it neccesarily being there.

The Escape Velocity games by Ambrosia Software are a good example, if you've ever played (by all means DO SO ambrosiasw.com if you haven't). It sounds a lot like the Pirates game but you are in space instead of on the sea. If you die and have bought an escape pod, you lose everything on your ship but keep all the credits (money) you had. If you don't have an escape pod, you're dead entirely, but can load your save. However, when you first start up the game you have the option of checking the "Strict Play" box, which makes loading a save impossible if you die, unless you had an escape pod – better for hardcore players. The escape pod vs. lifeboat question still remains, but I can at least see in a space setting that an extremely tiny escape pod would be difficult to track or sensor, and a cloaking device or something like that would be cheap over an area as small as a closet. (we do have radar resistant stealth planes in real life, remember?)

In the game I am making, an RPG, characters come and go incredibly quickly, and you can acquire absolutely anything on your team. Because of this, the game constantly autosaves, disallowing the option to go back to a past save. So it's very probable a lot of your characters will die – permanently. We included this for largely the same reason as what you are talking about: nobody EVER uses the "retreat" option in an RPG. Ever. We want players to actually run away from battles they think they will lose, and monsters will also run away from players. Rather than the mindless "YAR! YOU RETREAT, I HIT YOU IN BACK, THEN YOU GET AWAY! YAR!" way of retreating, the party's distance from the creature slowly increases until the chasing creature gives up. But if they are faster than you, you're screwed, or if they have bows.

I believe you ask an incredibly valid question here, but there is no right answer for it. It all depends on balance, and what's most fun. Realism is not always fun.

See my work:
OTC Software
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