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  game balance, costs & benefits  (Read 5959 times)
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Offline 65K
« Posted 2012-03-15 20:13:53 »

Let's say a character who evolves during a game has to pay for every benefit he gets, like:
- stronger but walks slower
- more destructive gun, but lower shooting frequency
- the more powerful he gets, the more he is feared by his opponents, but ... what could be a drawback for this ?

Offline sproingie
« Reply #1 - Posted 2012-03-15 20:20:07 »

I've long believed that given the power levels people get to in RPGs along with the industrial quantities of slaughter involved in exercising it, there wouldn't really be a lot of combat eventually.

"You see what he did to the last 100 minions we threw at him?  No way I'm fighting him, I quit!"

Speaking of powerful and slow guns, that particle rifle in ME3 is just tits on a bull.  I think I took out more husks whacking them over the head with it while I waited for it to cool down.  Great to give to a teammate tho, since they ignore smoke, so that bright blue beam is a big "SHOOT HERE" pointer.

Offline Archibald

Junior Member


Projects: 1



« Reply #2 - Posted 2012-03-15 22:22:01 »

What's the point of evolving if you never improve overall? There has to be a net gain, otherwise there is no point.

There could be some drawback for evolving, like if you are low level vampire you are just merely a stronger human, when you evolve you start to fear sun and things like that but your power becomes enormous (so the drawback is minor compared to the gain).
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Offline 65K
« Reply #3 - Posted 2012-03-15 23:00:07 »

Right, basically evolving should improve your standing and it should be necessary to win the game.
But I thought I could/should improve the chances of weaker players in introducing (minor) drawbacks. David vs Goliath.

It's no RPG, but has some game play variables of course.
I want to keep things simple, but still, I got no clue how to approach this game play and balance task in an effective way. I have a tool for balancing the AI decision finder with the help of scatter plots, but that is not sufficient.

Feels like programming is a peace of cake in contrast.

Online theagentd
« Reply #4 - Posted 2012-03-15 23:36:13 »

What's the point of evolving if you never improve overall? There has to be a net gain, otherwise there is no point.

There could be some drawback for evolving, like if you are low level vampire you are just merely a stronger human, when you evolve you start to fear sun and things like that but your power becomes enormous (so the drawback is minor compared to the gain).
Team Fortress 2 anyone? All items are pretty much equally good. Some are situational, some have funny drawbacks, e.t.c. You don't need to actually get stronger to evolve. Just the ability to choose between all these different items and find the one that fits your play style the best works just as well as leveling in my opinion. God, Demoman + Claymore + Shield + Boots = the funniest thing I've ever played in a game I think.

Myomyomyo.
Offline aazimon
« Reply #5 - Posted 2012-03-17 14:49:40 »

If the "upgrade" doesn't improve anything, the player is not going to upgrade. If the gun is more powerful, but doesn't shoot as often, I'll keep my crappy pea-shooter, thank you.
I wouldn't call it an upgrade in this situation. What advantage does the player get in this situation? If the enemies don't get stronger, then the "win/loose upgrade" may work. But the challenge of the game would quickly fade.
Online theagentd
« Reply #6 - Posted 2012-03-17 15:54:30 »

If the "upgrade" doesn't improve anything, the player is not going to upgrade. If the gun is more powerful, but doesn't shoot as often, I'll keep my crappy pea-shooter, thank you.
I wouldn't call it an upgrade in this situation. What advantage does the player get in this situation? If the enemies don't get stronger, then the "win/loose upgrade" may work. But the challenge of the game would quickly fade.
What if the upgrade is a silencer? For someone who likes to play more stealthily that's a great upgrade.

Myomyomyo.
Online UprightPath
« Reply #7 - Posted 2012-03-18 00:46:18 »

Remember, upgrades should not be taken in a vacuum! You have to think about how the rest of the game works.

1) Do special abilities base their damage off the maximum damage of your weapon?
2) Do you have a stagger/knock back mechanic that would make hitting an enemy harder better for you?
3) Do enemies have a hard damage soak? Like they always take 10 less damage from each attack?
4) Is there an option/method by which you can different tactics like hit-and-run or retreating? If you're stronger/have better defense do you need to use these?
5) Like thegentd said, are some of the upgrades less 'stat' based and more game play changing?

Offline Damocles
« Reply #8 - Posted 2012-03-18 01:49:31 »

Advanceing in a game does not mean you need to get more powerful in relative numbers (in relation to the normal opponents)
But that the player gets more choices, and also needs more choices.

For a positive feedback of actually improving, "old" opponents should be easy to conquer (like killing the goblin from the beginning with one stroke
if the player goes back to the starting area)
But the normal oponents at this level should not be easier, rather harder to conquer.

What I would do is giving the player more options, such as tactics or weapons / counters to choose from.
Whereas the opponents need to have additional tricks, and attacks. Or they simply act smarter.

Scaling up the AI in terms of tactics will never make the player feel cheated. (but NOT making them shoot with 100% accuracy, but rather
making them use more cover, tricking the player into a trap, etc)

---
Quote
- the more powerful he gets, the more he is feared by his opponents, but :
Also needs to live up to the higher expectations.

Something like "Oh, there he is".
And if the player hides, they taunt you
"That cant be him, he is not such a coward, so Ive heard"

Or more practical, the more the player is feared, the harsher the counterreaction will be (enemies retreat, and
then attack in a larger group)

Offline gbeebe

Senior Member


Medals: 5
Projects: 1



« Reply #9 - Posted 2012-03-18 03:59:02 »

I completely understand what 65k is saying.  I thought about this in a Street Fighter scenario.  Maybe your custom character starts out with flat speed, strength, etc...  As you progress you can better fit your character to your style of game play, Increasing one aspect at the penalty of another (each level up, allows you to move x aspect points).  Some prefer fast players with combo moves, others the big brutes, and then there's the lamers who prefer sitting in a corner throwing shuriken the whole time.

I think it's a good idea, as long as it doesn't become a game of rock-paper-scissors (strength beats speed, speed beats stamina, stamina beats strength).
 
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Online UprightPath
« Reply #10 - Posted 2012-03-18 04:07:02 »

I'm sorry, I just have to, gbeebee...

Ryu: "HADOKEN! HADOKEN! HADOKEN!.."
Blanka crouch walks closer.
Ryu: "Oh no, he's getting closer, I better do something! HADOKEN! HADOKEN! HADOKEN!"
Blanka stops next to Ryu and does his shock attack.

Ahem. But yes.
Penalties that are just there because they fit your play style, or the way that your character has progressed can be useful. Even if it's not a "penalty", but just not having that stat having progressed. Like if you're pouring all of your stat ups of whatever type into your attack, so that you can curb-stomp an opponent, but you've got a glass-jaw if you get hit, can be fun.

Just so long as gbeebee said and it doesn't become a rock-paper-scissors or a min-maxing issue. I hate games where you can do a min-max build and really be a shitty player, but still get through it just because you've built your character correctly.

Offline 65K
« Reply #11 - Posted 2012-03-18 09:40:55 »

Thanks all for your interesting opinions, more are welcome.

Game play is most important. Nevertheless I will probably need to switch to OpenGL for a fancier field-of-view appearance. Undecided

Currently, AI characters are less inclined to attack stronger players, but still get mad after getting hit by players.
They have a basic level of aggression, and a natural desire to survive by seeking power-ups when they get too weak (unless the most aggressive maniacs Grin ).
All in all, I'd prefer a good portion of tactical elements, but it should stay relatively simple (the urge to finish this is getting stronger every day), but still be fun.

Offline Archibald

Junior Member


Projects: 1



« Reply #12 - Posted 2012-03-18 12:32:00 »

Team Fortress 2 does not have character upgrade but character customization. It is fine, since arcade games basicly do not need character progression because there is player's skill progression. The same mentality won't work with RPG through.

Currently, AI characters are less inclined to attack stronger players
Do not make the mistake of trying to make AI behaving like a human player. Players do not desire this and it will break the game. Google for Sid Mayer's game design videos (I don't remember where exactly I saw this, so I can't drop the link) he explained this topic more.
Offline _Al3x

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
Projects: 1


Indie Games FTW!


« Reply #13 - Posted 2012-03-18 12:41:19 »

Weaker enemies may try to avoid the player (remember Diablo 2? remember those little guys that came in groups but when you killed one of them, the other run away in fear?), but there could be a special "mini-boss" minion that would cause the weaker to attack the player no matter what. Maybe by using extreme fear upon them or simpler mind control.

Other weaker enemies my still chase the player because they are mindless, like zombies.

Other enemies won't be enemies until provocation, like neutral animals or creatures.

There could be some sort of level of intelligence or sentient, where medium to high levels make creatures try to stay alive, thus attacking the player but running away if they see that they won't win. This may change if they are in groups.

But all of this resumes in AI programming, the best the AI, the more epic the feeling while playing the game. Variety WILL assure that the players will keep playing the game because it stays FUN.
You don't want every enemy to be stronger than the player nor weaker, a good mix is always fun Smiley

Offline Archibald

Junior Member


Projects: 1



« Reply #14 - Posted 2012-03-18 12:48:31 »

You can't make weaker monsters flee from the player, this will make the game unplayable Smiley I have seen this "reasonable" monsters idea numerous times on the roguelike dev usenet group, still, it was never implemented in roguelikes. This concept simply is always dropped after you test it. It is no fun to chase a goblin.

The Diablo 2 little guys is a special case, since it is just one monster type that behave like this, so it more like adds to the mood. The majority of monsters are still coming and wait till the player kills them, which is their true purpose and hidden desire Smiley
Offline 65K
« Reply #15 - Posted 2012-03-18 18:42:10 »

Do not make the mistake of trying to make AI behaving like a human player. Players do not desire this and it will break the game. Google for Sid Mayer's game design videos
Found it, quite interesting.
But indeed, my intention was to make the AI as smart and thus, human like as possible...
That adds even more aspects to consider.
My last major game was Crysis 2. But I only played it a couple of times, one reason was the really dumb opponent behaviour. Totally destroyed the whole plausibility to me. Good example to rant about modern games being nothing but graphics demos...

Offline _Al3x

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
Projects: 1


Indie Games FTW!


« Reply #16 - Posted 2012-03-18 20:08:09 »

Would you mind sharing the video's link please? Thanks Smiley

Offline 65K
« Reply #17 - Posted 2012-03-18 20:14:10 »

Here is one: http://www.gamespot.com/sid-meiers-civilization-v/videos/gdc-2010-keynote-address-sid-meier-6253563/

Offline sproingie
« Reply #18 - Posted 2012-03-18 21:04:41 »

I said if it were realistic, everyone would run away.  Realism is not fun, and yeah, chasing down fleeing enemies is never fun.  Those blowdart pygmies in D2 were the single most aggravating thing ever, but they were more about being hit and run.  The generic imp whatchamacallits they put in every color of the rainbow (the ones that say "Bish bosh!") would also flee, but for like a couple seconds before coming back at you.  This is more to provide a little more dynamism to the enemy movement, otherwise everything looks like a big clump of pixels.

In DOW2, Orks run away when you kill their leader, but again they're only doing it after they're already done for.


Offline Archibald

Junior Member


Projects: 1



« Reply #19 - Posted 2012-03-20 14:51:48 »

It would be easier if you would say what kind of game you are making. Because if it is multiplayer focused FPS the of course making bots behaving as humans is highly desired (becasue you need to use these bots only when there are no real players), but if you are making a platformer or RPG it would be a kiss of death (because the monsters are the source of loot and not playing partners).
Offline 65K
« Reply #20 - Posted 2012-03-20 18:50:43 »

The basic game idea was stolen inspired by the classic game of Paradroid, with variations like a multiplayer option.
* You float through a level of rooms
* There are hostile droids of various classes, from losers to killers
* You can kill other droids or try to take them over, the latter allows to step up the power ladder (which is actually a must for winning)

Offline Archibald

Junior Member


Projects: 1



« Reply #21 - Posted 2012-03-20 22:15:08 »

No brainer then, you should not make them like humans (because if they were like humans whenever you face 2 of them you should surely lose which is very unplayable for a game where you are supposed to kills dozens or hundreds of these).
Offline 65K
« Reply #22 - Posted 2012-03-20 22:35:19 »

No brainer then, you should not make them like humans (because if they were like humans whenever you face 2 of them you should surely lose which is very unplayable for a game where you are supposed to kills dozens or hundreds of these).
Hehe, did you play my demo ... that's exactly what's happening now.
You start shooting one of them, another one passes by, notifies the battle and happily joins in. And you're done after a few seconds.

But, whats the solution then, making them dumb on intention ? How can still achieve some kind of strategy game play ?

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