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why not hide the numbers?


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#21 Jiia   Banned   -  Reputation: 592

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 08:12 AM

It sounds like your solution would be to just throw out games entirely and build virtual real life. It's ambitious [smile]

I'm curious to hear how you would deal with pain or body damage. How does the player count the bullets in his gun? Can he take off his armor vest and look at the cracks to see if it's too damaged to help? Does he search all of his pockets for extra room before stashing a new weapon?

Games normally throw out most of the tedious things that are tied to real life.

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#22 tolaris   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 08:15 AM

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Original post by hymerman
the way i see it, is that in a FIRST PERSON game, everything should be done in the first person- including skills, and ways of representing attributes.

How are you going to determine the most basic character attributes -- speed, stamina, strength, and a number of others? These will have to be the character's attributes, not the player's attributes, because the player doesn't for example bleed when their character gets a leg slashed off, and thus would have theoretically unlimited hp (if the player is never hurt then neither is the character, if the character's attributes are supposed to rely on the player's attributes and skills)

And if the character's attributes are character's own, you need *some* way to tell the player *what* they are, because otherwise the player has no way of knowing that.

edit: also, i was under impression the point of RPG is to experience life of character that *ain't* you. In other words, it's perfectly okay to have the character with their own set of attributes and skills -- that way a player who in reality isn't the master of swordfighting, or the world's top burglar or renowned artisan, or anything else ... is given opportunity to experience how it is to *be* someone different than themselves.

#23 joew   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3634

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 08:25 AM

The game Everquest did not show the amount of mana/magic you had as a numeric value only a percentage... and this 'feature' was one of the single most complained about aspects in the game for years.

#24 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 08:48 AM

One of the things I'd also like to do in an RPG (even text based) is to have player intelligence play more of a part than skills. Instead of having higher skills allow you to pick locks you might see the following.

When the user starts on the first tumbler of the lock, a "click" is sent to the player to indicate the correct unlock position and requiring user input to stop working on that tumbler. Higher skill will both make the click occur sooner and allow them a longer period of time before the user has to respond.

With this, the user gets an input of their skill relative to the lock. I doesn't matter what their skill level or what the lock level is, just the relation.

#25 Unwise owl   Members   -  Reputation: 158

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 09:08 AM

About hackers in a MMORPG: It can be somewhat solved by only sending the necessary information to the client. Example given: You only send the information that a specific item is a "light dagger", while its actual numbers are stored at the server. You only send the HP percentage to the client, not the actual HP data for the client itself to make the calculation (a simple division like this won't slow down a server). And really, while you can argue that doing a calculation X on a client would off-load the server, would you want to even in a MMORPG where the numbers are shown? If the client is allowed to do the calculation there is always a possibility for a hacker to modify the procedure; it doesn't really matter whether the data is shown or not.

In essence this means the relationship between the client and server resembles this:

Server sends Client: Character X wields weapon Y at location Z, where X has health percentage H.
Client: Knows graphics ID and animations of weapon Y and character X as well as the relevant names, but not any numbers.
Server: Knows numbers, but only use them for calculations of its own and never tell forwards that to client.

Of course, non of this works for a local RPG, but that's no problem actually. Security issues in a single player game are not as relevant for the reason that if a hacker wants the real numbers beneath, he will get them. It will he ruin (or enhance) his own experience, BUT he does not force this upon anybody else, as in a multiplayer game where this will put other players at a disadvantage.

#26 makeshiftwings   Members   -  Reputation: 394

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 09:09 AM

It's always weird when people write about wanting to hide numbers in an RPG from the player. RPGs are very popular mainly because they have the numbers in them; that is what makes them RPGs. Sure, you can claim your own fancy idea of what a "true RPG" is, but generally, the game magazines and fans consider an RPG to be a game with stats that you can control in it. There are plenty of other genres that don't use lots of stats... an RPG without any stats is basically an adventure game, like Zelda. But if you as a developer want this complex numerical system that only you can see, and you're just going to try to frustrate your players by making them figure out all the formulas on their own, then it's not going to be a success. When I play a game that requires any kind of tactical or strategic thinking, I want to know what each stat is for and how it affects me before putting any precious level-up points into it. I don't want to increase my strength from "sort of strong" to "sort of a little stronger than sort of strong", and have the tooltip tell me "being sort of strong means maybe you can lift things that are sort of heavy, sometimes". I would see it as being purposely vague just to artificially introduce needless complexity as a fake gameplay element to stop players from knowing how to play well. Kindof like the concept of "security through obscurity" in application development.

#27 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 09:09 AM

I agree with the original poster, numbers should be more behind the scenes or something you can pull up in a stats menu etc. I believe we see numbers as much as we do because of the holdover from paper RPG's & laziness on the part of gamer designers to convert that style of play to something more resembling a 3D video game.

The numbers should be represented by corresponding animations and/or sound effects to the action being performed whenever possible, & when not you could use any other sort of UI graphic to represent progress, such as a health or progress bar etc.

For example, the number system used for the breaking down a door scenario could be used behind the scenes to cue up different animations & sound effects of the door cracking, splintering, & finally breaking. Also, the number system used to determine a char's ability to break the door in the first placed could be represented by things like physical attributes & weapons or objects used -- a midget with a small hatchet would obviously take longer to break down a door than a giant troll with a massive sledge hammer would.

An example where varied staged animations wouldn't work would be something like representing the time it takes to hack a computer or pick a lock etc. Obviously the sound of keystrokes or lockpick tools don't change much from start to finish, so these kinds of animations are better represented by a progress bar or other similar visual display.

The actual numbers are still present in these examples, because they are necessary for any game... the difference is that further steps have been taken to represent those numbers in a visual and/or audible manner that is more appealing & entertaining to the player... And isn't that what making games is all about?

#28 Symphonic   Members   -  Reputation: 313

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 09:22 AM

Quote:
Original post by Grim
Numbers break the immersion? I wouldn't say so. You need to use your imagination more and see what's beyond the numbers. Usually games are so full of abstractions anyway so I really don't see why the use of numbers for the sake of simplicity is so evil and loathsome. As I am quite fond of saying, "a good game is like a spreadsheet". But that's just probably me... [grin]

This is sort of skirting the issue of what kind of game you're trying to provide your players. If I want my players to have a number-crunching game where they endeavour to squeeze every last bit of effectiveness out of their characters, I cannot in good conscience hide the only piece of valuable information that they can have.

But the way I see it, if your game is only about numbers, why didn't you make a text based MUD? If all those fancy visuals are just candy-coating, then you haven't done your job as a designer - the visuals are there to communicate game state.

Just because it's difficult to show that your armor is damaged in an 'inspection' screen where you get to look at the actual damage it's sustained and decide for yourself that it needs repairing, doesn't mean that that isn't worth a thousand times more than a simple Durability: 17/160 stat is.

Of course, that's something that needs to be balanced against play time, as Grim said, it takes longer just to read "mindstaggeringly phenomenal", so if you're going to put in equipment inspection, you don't want your players to have to do it in the middle of combat, because they'll be burning lots of valuable time.

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You don't know that you have 376 hp, and your opponent has 12,439 hp, all you see is that you're at 88% health, and he's at 23% health, and you're thinking, hey, maybe I can take this guy.
In this situation this kind of attacks will surely lead to many deaths of players. And also lot of anger. I was thinking of use of some kind of consider options. Yeah, guy is at 23% health. Then click onto consider button. Game say: It is too dangerous.


This is actually a really good example of why visual representation is so important (and why ambiguity is so much fun). If your character is a low-level warrior, and has 88% health, and you're sizing up a stone dragon with 23% of its health left, it shouldn't take too much brain power to decide that you're going to loose bad. On the other hand, if you were sizing up an oponent, who just happened to have been playing the game for three years, and intentionally dressed his master assassin in rags, and equipped a basic knife (that doesn't even glow) then that's a wonderful moment of deception. I'm not suggesting that the only thing you get to go on is your opponent's health (aside: I don't even think you should see your opponents health, but that's a different discussion), but if your opponent decieves you into thinking you can take him, that's a whole fabulous new world of PvP that your game has made possible.

The whole first-person/third-person argument seems like a cheap cop-out to me. Don't forget it's all about the game, you're not going to make an RPG with many jumping puzzles first-person just to excuse the fact that you're hiding the character's stats from the player. Similarly, you don't want to convert your first-person shooter to third-person just so that players aren't confused by the fact that there are bazillions of stats to be tuned.

There is no universal rule that says "In a game with deep and complex mechanics you must show players all the numbers that affect their performance." But that doesn't mean that you can be lazy and just refuse to communicate things to the player. Imagine if every sword, no matter how powerful, or how fast, or how unbreakable, was just called sword. My rule of thumb would be, communicate everything the player needs to make a decision, to within a degree of ambiguity that keeps things exciting.

So as Superpig said, representing all of these things is solvable if you put some effort into it. As a designer you'll follow your gut when it comes to what you think is a good decision for the game. If you decide that you don't want numbers (or even, you don't want alot of numbers), don't go around calling your high-end equipment stuff that can't be effectively differentiated like stupendously flabistulated and impenetrably ethereal.

If you're going to take out some numbers, decide how much ambiguity you want introduce as a result; and based on that design a system to communicate with the player that fulfills your needs.

#29 rmsgrey   Members   -  Reputation: 153

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 09:42 AM

A related issue is that most of us have a fairly good "common sense" understanding of the way the real world works - we spend the first half-decade or so primarily figuring out the world. Unless you have the player's character dropped in a totally unfamiliar world, then it's not unreasonable of the player to expect to have that sort of grass roots understanding available somehow. One way of doing that is to publish the underlying mechanics and let the player reason his way through. It may be possible to find a way to let the player understand their way through instead, but I've no idea how you'd manage it.

#30 hymerman   Members   -  Reputation: 221

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 10:05 AM

Quote:
Original post by Jiia
It sounds like your solution would be to just throw out games entirely and build virtual real life. It's ambitious [smile]

I'm curious to hear how you would deal with pain or body damage. How does the player count the bullets in his gun? Can he take off his armor vest and look at the cracks to see if it's too damaged to help? Does he search all of his pockets for extra room before stashing a new weapon?

Games normally throw out most of the tedious things that are tied to real life.


indeed, perhaps i am talking about a virtual real life. as tolaris and makeshiftwings said, RPGs have been defined already, and what i'm proposing doesn't really fit in with that.

anyways, as i said, pain and body damage, like speed, strength and anything else out of the actual player's control, would have to be adequately communicated to the player, since they have no way of knowing what their abilities are in these respects. this doesn't mean we have to resort to numbers again, just that there has to be some way of the user knowing, without much trouble (or at least, with as much trouble as can be expected in reality...). and as for the 'bullets in a gun' issue someone mentioned, most guns don't tell you how many bullets they have left, that's something games players have come to expect though. perhaps we should leave this to the players to figure out? after all, they're the ones that have been shooting, they should know roughly...

Quote:
It's always weird when people write about wanting to hide numbers in an RPG from the player. RPGs are very popular mainly because they have the numbers in them; that is what makes them RPGs. Sure, you can claim your own fancy idea of what a "true RPG" is, but generally, the game magazines and fans consider an RPG to be a game with stats that you can control in it. There are plenty of other genres that don't use lots of stats... an RPG without any stats is basically an adventure game, like Zelda. But if you as a developer want this complex numerical system that only you can see, and you're just going to try to frustrate your players by making them figure out all the formulas on their own, then it's not going to be a success. When I play a game that requires any kind of tactical or strategic thinking, I want to know what each stat is for and how it affects me before putting any precious level-up points into it. I don't want to increase my strength from "sort of strong" to "sort of a little stronger than sort of strong", and have the tooltip tell me "being sort of strong means maybe you can lift things that are sort of heavy, sometimes". I would see it as being purposely vague just to artificially introduce needless complexity as a fake gameplay element to stop players from knowing how to play well. Kindof like the concept of "security through obscurity" in application development.


i don't really think you get what i'm talking about here. it's not about hiding the formulas and introducing needless complexity- the players shouldn't have to figure out how the game does things behind the scenes. current games that display stats generally do so because there is a system in place behind the scenes that doesn't relate to real life particularly well- if the game mechanics were better, the user could apply their real life knowledge to the game and be successful, rather than adopting a strategy specific to the game. obviously, this only works up to a point- the player would need to be guided if they were in a world unlike our own.

Quote:
The whole first-person/third-person argument seems like a cheap cop-out to me. Don't forget it's all about the game, you're not going to make an RPG with many jumping puzzles first-person just to excuse the fact that you're hiding the character's stats from the player. Similarly, you don't want to convert your first-person shooter to third-person just so that players aren't confused by the fact that there are bazillions of stats to be tuned.

There is no universal rule that says "In a game with deep and complex mechanics you must show players all the numbers that affect their performance." But that doesn't mean that you can be lazy and just refuse to communicate things to the player. Imagine if every sword, no matter how powerful, or how fast, or how unbreakable, was just called sword. My rule of thumb would be, communicate everything the player needs to make a decision, to within a degree of ambiguity that keeps things exciting.


again, i think you're misinterpreting what i'm saying. choosing the viewpoint isn't just done to show or hide statistics. i'm saying that depending on what type of game it is (first or third person), different amounts of data should be communicated, and control methods should be changed. the very fact that the games are in different perspectives means that the interactions with and views of the world should be different.

and the second point of yours i'd like to address: honestly, in real life, how would you know how much more powerful a sword is than another? perhaps it'd be a bit more shiny? maybe the guy you bought it from told you how powerful it is? now, i don't see why this shouldn't be the way things are done in a game. in reality, you don't have a label attached to everything telling you it's statistics and an identifier, most swords look pretty similar. you only get an idea of how 'powerful' they are through use.

but of course, as i said at the beginning of this post, perhaps i'm looking into this a bit too much- there is a difference between an RPG and a life simulator :)


#31 hymerman   Members   -  Reputation: 221

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 10:07 AM

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Original post by Symphonic
This is actually a really good example of why visual representation is so important (and why ambiguity is so much fun). If your character is a low-level warrior, and has 88% health, and you're sizing up a stone dragon with 23% of its health left, it shouldn't take too much brain power to decide that you're going to loose bad. On the other hand, if you were sizing up an oponent, who just happened to have been playing the game for three years, and intentionally dressed his master assassin in rags, and equipped a basic knife (that doesn't even glow) then that's a wonderful moment of deception. I'm not suggesting that the only thing you get to go on is your opponent's health (aside: I don't even think you should see your opponents health, but that's a different discussion), but if your opponent decieves you into thinking you can take him, that's a whole fabulous new world of PvP that your game has made possible.


and i'd just like to say that i very much agree with you on this one. i'd love to see gameplay like this!

#32 streamer   Members   -  Reputation: 415

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 10:13 AM

Quote:
Original post by hymerman
and i'd just like to say that i very much agree with you on this one. i'd love to see gameplay like this!


I'm writing a game like that [smile]



#33 nefthy   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 10:16 AM

wow, did't ment to start a flame war here. Stats seem to be some kind of religion. Anyhow, I'm not much of a game developer and especialy not good at marketing. I come from the pen'n'paper RPG wich eventualy brought me to computerbased RPG. That said, let me share my pen'n'paper RPG experience with you, since I think it has much resemblance to computer RPG.

At first there was D&D shortly after followed by AD&D. Now the games where full of numbers and rules (with some real wiked formulas). It was fun to play in a hack and slay fashion and brag about how you killed that powerfull dragon that would give you 5M XP. It was fun to do power gaming (stat maxing or how you want to call that), atleast for a while. Wenn you reached the point of having to face gods to have a real chaleng, it actually grew quite boring... So we stopped doing power gaming, and made better stories that hat chalenge beyond combat and rewards beyond gold and arms. And it was cool to find a magic sword because it you would be unique and it would be a challenge to get it (you could't buy them in shops anymore, nore where you on steroids whith TONS of healing potions). You could tell a story how you got it and that was far more important that the advantage you gained by using the sword.

But revelation came as I joined an other group of players to play a short story based on a system that is called Adventure. Adventure universe is based on stories like indiana johns, capten nemo and stuff like that. Now we played the whole adventure with almost no die throws, trying to realy impersonate that characters. Stats didn't matter. Even if we failed at something we tried to discribe it in a cool way. (You get even some sort of XP reward in adventure for beeing cool ;) And now that was FUN. And since I've played many sessions where stats where of secondary importance that where way more memorable than the equation solving we did when we where 15...

What my question (bad formulation I have to admit) was all about, was why do we only have the sort of gameplay I discribed for AD&D* and not the one I described for Adventure. I don't wan't to imply to drop hack'n'slay style games all together. They surely have their place (and a client base) as has a good hack'n'slay ad&d story once in a while. Hoever, there have been MANY of this around. So why not try a different aproach. And since we now have the technical means to make results visual and adiable, why not do so? Why should we not try to make sceens have the thrill of reading a Tolkie Story, instead of everything just beeing numbers. If you do the job well the player will know that a sword is special (It won't fall of a random orc spawned around the corner... random tresures are another sin of pen'n'paper RPGs IMHO).

And I thought of the stuff I said earlier.. yea your right semi transparent objects and aren't the way to go. But there are ways to visualize results.

Now if the term RPG doesent fit this... then pretend I used an other name of you choice.

* Not that you can't play AD&D (or however they call it now) in some other fasion. I have just asossiated it with this kind of gameplay due to my personal experiance with it.

#34 Symphonic   Members   -  Reputation: 313

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 10:58 AM

Quote:
Original post by hymerman
Quote:
The whole blah blah blah keeps things exciting.
more blah

and the second point of yours i'd like to address: honestly, in real life, how would you know how much more powerful a sword is than another? perhaps it'd be a bit more shiny? maybe the guy you bought it from told you how powerful it is? now, i don't see why this shouldn't be the way things are done in a game. in reality, you don't have a label attached to everything telling you it's statistics and an identifier, most swords look pretty similar. you only get an idea of how 'powerful' they are through use.

This is very fair, and certainly, from a player's perspective how cool is it to pick up a sword that an enemy dropped, go to the town blacksmith, show it to him and he tells you "wow, this is a well balanced sword, and has a nice sharp edge to it!" and you're thinking, cool I got an excellent sword, so you go out into the wilderness and first monster you hit with it explodes into flames... That is as much exploration as travelling for hundreds of hours to see the five corners of the game-world is.

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wow, did't ment to start a flame war here. Stats seem to be some kind of religion.

Don't worry mate, this isn't a flame war.

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What my question (bad formulation I have to admit) was all about, was why do we only have the sort of gameplay I discribed for AD&D* and not the one I described for Adventure. I don't wan't to imply to drop hack'n'slay style games all together. They surely have their place (and a client base) as has a good hack'n'slay ad&d story once in a while. Hoever, there have been MANY of this around. So why not try a different aproach. And since we now have the technical means to make results visual and adiable, why not do so? Why should we not try to make sceens have the thrill of reading a Tolkie Story, instead of everything just beeing numbers. If you do the job well the player will know that a sword is special (It won't fall of a random orc spawned around the corner... random tresures are another sin of pen'n'paper RPGs IMHO)...

Well, think of it like this, a game is a series of interesting questions(or decisions, depends on who you ask, I'm going to use the question analogy for now), the quality of the game is a matter of just how interesting the questions are, but in the end what a game designer is trying to do is ask you some questions that evoke a response of some kind - typically a response that the designer himself enjoys.

So hack&slash games ask the question of optimizing your avatar for the destruction of computer controlled drones (and occasionally other players' avatars). I think we digressed from your question in exploring the possibility of players trying to answer questions that aren't well formed (ambiguity in the game's communication with the player). If I'm reading this right, you're talking about games which ask questions that are deeper and more emotive, about characters that aren't necessarilly god-crushing thunder-beasts, but are instead just embarked on a quest that's challenging and interesting on many levels (in particular, the human interaction level).

Why don't games like that exist? they're bloody hard to make.

#35 Jiia   Banned   -  Reputation: 592

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:07 AM

I think a lot of people are confused about the topic. Or maybe only I am. I thought we were talking about hiding the actual internal logic of the game. Display bars, percentages, or worded descriptions are no different than numbers in this respect. They are all conveying the same information in different forms through non-realistic methods. I think the argument is that the player doesn't need to be given interface information regarding the statistic at all. Instead, that we should design the game so that the game world itself provides all of the feedback that's needed. My argument is that some things, a lot of things, cannot be fed back to the player this way.

Quote:
Original post by hymerman
..and as for the 'bullets in a gun' issue someone mentioned, most guns don't tell you how many bullets they have left, that's something games players have come to expect though. perhaps we should leave this to the players to figure out? after all, they're the ones that have been shooting, they should know roughly...

It's about the fact that a human person could pull the clip out and count them. Or just judge by the weight of the gun. These things cannot be portrayed by the game world, and so must have an alternate feedback system.

#36 hymerman   Members   -  Reputation: 221

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:30 AM

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Original post by Jiia
I think a lot of people are confused about the topic. Or maybe only I am. I thought we were talking about hiding the actual internal logic of the game. Display bars, percentages, or worded descriptions are no different than numbers in this respect. They are all conveying the same information in different forms through non-realistic methods. I think the argument is that the player doesn't need to be given interface information regarding the statistic at all. Instead, that we should design the game so that the game world itself provides all of the feedback that's needed. My argument is that some things, a lot of things, cannot be fed back to the player this way.


heh, no, i think we made that the topic. an interesting one though it is (and the reason i began posting in these forums!), it's not what the original post was about :)

Quote:
Original post by Jiia
It's about the fact that a human person could pull the clip out and count them. Or just judge by the weight of the gun. These things cannot be portrayed by the game world, and so must have an alternate feedback system.


yup, very true. perhaps that was a bad example for me to use, then, but you understand what i'm trying to say, surely? the player doesn't need to be told things they can figure out themselves from the game world. they should only be told things that you'd only know if you actually were the character. of course, this again should be flexible- if something is inherently more difficult to do in the game world than real life due to limitations in the interface between game and player, there should also be allowances made, like in the gun example we're using.

symphonic, you seem to be coming up with some very, very interesting gameplay situations, have you ever made a game? if so, i'd be rather interested to see it! this is exactly the sort of game i've been planning for a long time, unfortunately i've never had the time or skill to do so. hopefully completing this goddamn degree i'm doing will solve both my problems :)

speaking of degrees, i'd best get to sleep. got another exam tomorrow (8th out of 11) :(

#37 superpig   Staff Emeritus   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:40 AM

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Original post by makeshiftwings
It's always weird when people write about wanting to hide numbers in an RPG from the player. RPGs are very popular mainly because they have the numbers in them; that is what makes them RPGs. Sure, you can claim your own fancy idea of what a "true RPG" is, but generally, the game magazines and fans consider an RPG to be a game with stats that you can control in it.


Then it'll probably come as no surprise to you that the past two or three times I've tried playing RPGs (Baldur's Gate II and Might and Magic VII, IIRC), I hated it. [smile]

Quote:
I don't want to increase my strength from "sort of strong" to "sort of a little stronger than sort of strong", and have the tooltip tell me "being sort of strong means maybe you can lift things that are sort of heavy, sometimes". I would see it as being purposely vague just to artificially introduce needless complexity as a fake gameplay element to stop players from knowing how to play well. Kindof like the concept of "security through obscurity" in application development.
If I were designing that game, I wouldn't want to display your 'strength stat' anywhere at all, in numerical form, verbal form, or otherwise. I would want you to get a feeling for what you can and can not lift through experimentation and experience - feedback will of course be very much required, through grunting/straining noises, animation and artwork, plus some mechanics (such as dropping the thing after a few seconds if it's too heavy).

And I would qualify any game that isn't twitch gameplay as being about 'security through obscurity.' Games, at their hearts, are systems, and if you can learn the system, you can find a way to beat it. That's what the gaming process is all about, for me - learning the system to the point that you master it (and then, after you've mastered it, the game can up the ante, giving you new facets of the system to explore). Presenting the system upfront takes much of that process of discovery and learning away from the player. (Again, this might just be me - perhaps you dislike exploring the system, and prefer being given all the information upfront so you can spend your time moving it from state A to state B like juggling a jelly).

I'd like the player to find out how fast they can run by running to that house over there and seeing how long it takes them. To find out how fit they are by seeing how heavily their character is breathing at the end of it. Tiredness could be represented by discolouring the screen a little (the more tired you are, the more greyscale it goes) as well as unbalancing the sound mix (make random sounds suddenly loud for a second), slowing reactions/movement, and having NPCs say things like "Man, you're looking really out of it." Health might need to be a copout, at least in a first person game - have the border of the screen a colour somewhere between red and green that tells you how healthy you are.

#38 nefthy   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:43 AM

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Why don't games like that exist? they're bloody hard to make.


Ok a agree with you its a chalenge and its a lot harder than just spawning (semi-)random monsters that drop of (semi-)random tresure. But I wouldn't say they are bloody hard to make. The techniquess used to make pen'n'paper RPG's chalenging are simple (it still takes a master to make a realy outstanding story). I could go into some detail here if there is interest.

#39 Spoonbender   Members   -  Reputation: 1254

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:48 AM

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Original post by hymerman
the way i see it, is that in a FIRST PERSON game, everything should be done in the first person-

Yep, we can agree to that. Problem is it isn't possible.

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i've thought this for a long time, and have always wondered why games like Morrowind still try to tell you how good at doing things you are, when you're directly controlling the character.

Simple. Because you're not directly controlling the character. You're pushing buttons on a keyboard. You have no idea how much effort it takes your character to swing that giant broadsword, because to you, it's just a click on a mouse button. You can't feel whether or not he's strong enough to do it easily. You can't feel when you get hit, or how serious the hit was, so that information has to be provided through numbers.
You can't judge your maximum run speed, because you can't actually feel your legs, only the W and S keys that you use to run forwards and backwards with. And they don't give you much feedback if you try to sprint too far.
Yes, the camera might be placed conveniently at roughly the eyes position, but that doesn't mean you're directly controlling the character. Creating an illusion that you are is fine, but actually relying on it as a game designer is a horrible idea.

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if the actual person playing the game is perceptive, they'll notice things more. if they're unobservant, then tough luck. you don't need to implement some hidden statistic that determines how bright things are depending on their observational skills, that's something you'd do in a third person game.

Except that then suddenly everything relies on player skill, not character skill. Thats why some people dislike FPS games. They don't have the reflexes to rely on player skills, but prefer instead a game where they can tell their character what to do, and he'll do it according to *his* skills. Thats how Morrowind works.

And furthermore, this would make your starting character just as powerful as an endgame one. Where's the sense of progression then? How do you create a storyline around a person who doesn't evolve?

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that way it actually represents the players skills in first person. no arbitrary statistic to tell the player how good they are at something.

Yeah, but is that always a good thing? Is realism always good? How far should you take it? Should we just accept that older people can never become good at your games, because they don't have the reflexes? Should we just accept that children can never play a mage character, because they might not have the required wisdom in real life?

People tend to play RPG's because they want a game that's all about a character with a set of character skills, rather than your real life strength, reflexes, patience or anything else.

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and may i just point out, 'percentage bars' are no better than numbers- i don't think you're looking deep enough into the issue if you think you can solve it using bars instead of numbers :)

True. But neither are you. ;)
If you look deep enough into the issue, you'll see that it can't be solved just by removing the information from the game either, or simply by removing character skills. It's a complex issue, and it depends 100% on what you're trying to achieve with your game. Sure, if you want it to be all about the player's skills, then go ahead and remove all stats from the game. But then you also kill replayability, because all your characters will have identical skills (since they just rely on your own skills. An example would be Half-Life. You can't make a "different character" there, and try to solve the game in another way. Compare this to Fallout, which I've finished countless times with radically different characters, and had great fun with every time). Balancing goes out the window too, because you have no way to tailor the game to the players skills, because when you make the game, you don't *know* the players skills. So a crappy player will get slaughtered by the first monster you throw at him, while an experienced player will mow through the entire game, and will get bored to tears with the early part which offers no challenge whatsoever.

#40 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:48 AM

One problem with this is that games aren't very realistic to begin with. Making things vaguer doesn't make them more realistic, it just makes them more frustrating.

Here's what I'm getting at: In real life there's much less variance but much more resolution in each stat. Sure, some people have more HP than others, but it doesn't make too much difference when there's a gun in their face. And it doesn't even really matter what sort of gun. I'll need a change of pants whether it's an assault rifle or some six-shooter from the old west. I'm pretty weak. You're probably stronger than me. You could beat me at arm wrestling. But, as far as game stats go, you're not that much stronger than me. We'd probably be within a point of each other. What if I found someone who was strong enough to beat you at arm wrestling. Does that mean he's stronger? Maybe. But what if you can bench more than he can? By the way, which is going to cause more damage when it hits you: a scimitar or a sabre? A dagger or a knife?

Really, you're trying to make getting my ass kicked by rabbits seem more realistic by making it harder to judge just how much stronger they are. (Maybe they were white rabbits)

The other point, which has sort of been made, is that in real life I have much more to go on. If you pick up a knife, you can see how sharp the blade is, feel how tight the handle is, feel the weight in your hand. The game gives me numbers, or combines it all into one number, to tell me this. You're trying to replace a useful abstraction with a poor approximation of the real thing.




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