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Project: Alter Ego - Leveling/Stat Gain Mechanic


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#1 SinisterPride   Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:05 PM

This is my second post/share on Project: Alter Ego. Thankfully this concept/mechanic is alot simpler so I won't be flamed for the length tongue.png

 

§• ɸ§

 

In this post I'll be covering my proposal for a stat gain system which I've dubbed The "Growth" System (or just Growth). It was largely inspired by common sources as FFC (Fable & Elder Scrolls) but has one more notable contributor which I would like to bring attention to.

 

§• ɸ§

 

This last contributor is a Indie/Hobbyist developed game with humble beginings which is still alive and kicking today. Although I don't play it very much nowadays I still have a large of amount of admiration, respect and interest in the main concepts executed within this game. The name of that game is Eternal Lands.

 

You can read about it here - http://el-wiki.net/

 

If you're interested in playing it/exposing yourself to what I believe are some great concepts you can download and play for free here - http://www.eternal-lands.com/

 

§• ɸ§

 

The "Growth" System

 

The Second key feature is my idea on a leveling/stat gain system which I've dubbed Growth. The Growth system is the core of the Mastery system and vice versa.

 

(Refer to my upcoming post on the "Mastery" system to see exactly what I mean.) 

 

Basically, your ego develops his base stats according to what he does instead of the traditional assignment of points to specific stats. In other words you have to use what you want to develop just as you would in person.

 

For example: 

 

- Wielding a sword and shield will bolster your Strength (your physical power and ability to lift and wield larger weapons and wear heavier armor).

 

-All physically taxing activities will slowly build your Stamina (how quickly you fatigue).

 

-Using daggers will increase your Agility (how fast you attack and your overall movement speed) and slightly boost your Dexterity (your overall control of your body, accuracy and nimbleness).

 

-A wielder of a bow would gain Dexterity primarily with some Agility.

 

-Just the same a Weaver (aka caster) would gain Will (your "spiritual stamina" and the equivalent to mana in A.E.) after unleashing a spell. Weavers would also gain Wisdom (your overall understanding. this would affect the potency of cast in the long run and eventually help further your proficiency with the energies you're wielding. Other games use the name Intelligence for their equivalent) while gathering and molding energy.

 

§• ɸ§

 

Aside from all of those active ways of increasing specific stats, I've thought of a few ways (and am still in the process of applying more) that you could passively gain a specific stat.

 

For instance:

 

Wearing heavy metal armor would passively increase your Strength and cause you to fatigue easier which would push your Stamina to develop faster than it normally would.

 

All the crafting related ways of gaining stats can also be considered a passive stat gaining method.

 

(Refer to my upcoming "Crafting/Profession system" post to understand in full)

 

§• ɸ§

 

One of the last Growth related ideas I'm still developing is a way of gaining permanent Health. The means of gaining would revolve around a sort of Scarring/Callous system. By Scarring/Callous I mean you'd have to take damage and recover from it to gain some permanent health.

 

In order to avoid classes such as Weaver or Rogue types from becoming too durable I plan on adding a simple deterrent mechanic. The lighter the armor class the higher the chance of being critically hit which would drive the lighter classes away from trying to take too many hits or build too much health comfortably. Other means of control will be applied to this system although this coupled with the Hybrid Checks/Balances I mentioned in my first post should suffice for now.

 

§• ɸ§

 

Once again, I would like to thank any of you reading this ahead of time for taking your time to read what I’ve written as well as for any feedback that may come along with it which is much appreciated.

 
§• ɸ§
 
Alfred L. aka SinisterPride
 
§• ɸ§

 

First post - Project: Alter Ego - An introduction


Edited by SinisterPride, 28 January 2013 - 11:18 AM.


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#2 Strewya   Members   -  Reputation: 1151

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:03 AM

just a thought here, gaining stats just by wearing stuff opens you up for exploits such as "i'll just equip this sword and shield and go afk for 2 days, and when i come back i'll have a large amount of stats gained", or something my friend did in Skyrim, "i'll go to a low level dungeon, find some weak monster that has lower damage than my regeneration, go afk and gain huge amounts of permanent health".

You need to be really carefull with passive stat gains because players *will* find a way to exploit that system. If the stats are gained on use, then you need to clearly define what that use is so players can't do the 'use' while afk.

For instance, walking isn't a valid 'use' as it can also be easily exploited (think walking into a wall or walking in circles, which can be done using some smart keyboard/mouse macros). Casting a spell alone also isn't a valid 'use' because players will cast spells into empty space/walls in some safe environment and gain stats easily without any risk.


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#3 WavyVirus   Members   -  Reputation: 735

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

This kind of 'use it to improve it' skill system appeals to me. As Strewya has mentioned, the biggest challenge in designing such a system is in preventing players from gaming/grinding it. Psychologically, players often feel compelled to follow the course of action which they believe will most strengthen their character. This can be true even when the 'optimal' approach seriously detracts from a player's enjoyment of the game.

Ideally players would play the game according to their tastes, and your system would allow their character to naturally grow into the role and become appropriately specialised. In reality they may be driven to laborious, repetitive activity (spamming fireballs at walls, for example) if they realise that it is the most efficient way to develop their stats.

So, to echo Strewya, I suggest that you need to control this tendency. Think very carefully about:

- which actions contribute to experience (e.g. perhaps not simply casting a spell, but something more involved which is difficult for the player to contrive, like killing 2 enemies of the appropriate elemental type with the corresponding elemental AOE spell)

- limiting the rate of experience gain (by a hard limit, or choosing events which are necessarily infrequent as triggers for experience gain)

- other clever ways of encouraging the player to play in a 'natural' way, rather than constantly optimising their character growth

#4 Got_Rhythm   Members   -  Reputation: 239

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:36 AM

"Walking into a wall using a smart keyboard/mouse macros"

I used to just put a heavy marble on the W key...

#5 SinisterPride   Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:18 PM

Thank you for being the first few to respond. It gets the ball rolling wink.png 
 
§• ɸ§
 
Very valid points, points that I was aware of while working on the more technical aspects of the design theory/concept.
 
What you mentioned is somewhat displayed in Elder scrolls IV: Oblivion. The "Athleticism" and "Stealth" skills could be largely exploited with similar methods as you mentioned.
 
I have a few propositions in the form of checks and balances to avoid those methods of exploits:
 
- All passive stat gains have varying conditions which must be met for them to activate.
- On top of these varying conditions, passive stat gain is in terms of decimal gain. In other words you gain FAR less passive expierience/stat from the passive methods than you do from the active ones.
 
There was one last thing I thought out but its on the more technical side and most players wouldn't see it. Its a "anti-macro" code built into the game. Essentially it works on the principle of algorithm detection. The code will constantly and passively monitor command inputs and will catch patterns when they repeat. This code posed a programming hazard because after a long period of recording the information has to be dumped or else the load is too much for the engine to process. I figured I could set a timer (its set for about 24 minutes or an ingame day) to dump the recorded commands and start monitoring all over again. This means a player (if they found out about the 24 min aspect of the code) would have to record a full 24 minutes worth of actions into a macro. If the code detects anything fishy, all stat gain (both passive and active) halt until the end of the 24 minute cycle. That means if people even try to grind in a cheesy exploitive way they get the boot lol
 
§• ɸ§
 
The Callous and Scarring system was alot less confidently proposed as you may have seen. This is because as you said there are alot of rammifications and possible exploits when it comes to something along the lines of health. Especially when healing effects are taken into account.
 
These were my propositions to implement the C&S mechanic while counteracting possible exploits:
 
There are only two forms of healing within the game
 
Although there is no dying in A.E. (its explained in the story/lore) you don't want to know about the "near death mechanics and penalties" they're harsh. Theres also no "loading to a previously safe state" to avoid dealing with recovery time either because an auto save mechanic is implemented for every 10% of health lost.
 
Health regeneration in the common and traditional sense of gaming isn't a default mechanic in the world of A.E.
 
The forms of healing are as follows:
 
First aid
Is time affected; you have to give a wound time to heal after properly dressing/tending to it. The game time to real world time ratio will be something along the lines of an hour in game equals a minute in real life. This should give you a sense of what a week of recovery would feel like if theres 24 minutes per game day. Extreme wounds can heal within moderate amounts of passive gameplay (in game week or two for a cauterized or stitched wound to show improvement) as long as you don't exert yourself and stay away from combat.
 
Can you say passively forced way of suggesting exploration of other features? laugh.png It could cause some less patient people to shy away from the game but its my punishment for recklessness/attempting to exploit tongue.png 
 
This is the strongest deterent to exploiting the C&S system I could come up with because people will choose to be more cautious of how much damage they take in order to avoid such long periods of down time. Fiddling with crafts and such is fun but I myself wouldn't want to be forced to only play that way for the next hour due to being reckless. The other choice would be afking but who really wants to keep doing that because theyre failing at not taking damage? happy.png
 
 
Magical
This comes in the form of a high level self cast technique. If you've read the weaver section in my first post on A.E. this will be easier to understand. 
 
Magic induced healing comes in a few forms which encompass some low level and higher end techniques. 
 
Lower end techniques include: 
 
Magical Cauterization: You basically burn yourself to close a wound. Essentially you hurt yourself to keep yourself from reaching the near death state.
 
Earthen Suture: Dirt bandade lol.. Its temporary so the effect breaks before any real recovery time occurs. The penalty here occurs when people realize they can cast it a few times and try to exploit it while not dressing their wound properly. Infection occurs and the rate your health was dropping from the wound increases. An antibiotics (antidote) as well as having to deal with tending to the wound now need to be dealt with.
 
§• ɸ§
 
[spoiler alert] - I havent posted details about this advanced aspect of weaving. Theres a high end brach of weaving that allows for hybrid/combined use of the elements. I wont go into detail here but it is about to be exposed.
 
§• ɸ§
 
Higher end Techniques include:
 
Druids' Rejuvination: This is an advanced spell which takes a moderate amount of mastery in both Earth Weaving and Water Weaving. Aside from having mastery in both elements you would need to discover the spell (my upcoming post on skills/spells will explain this). The effect is a clean clay suture which closes the wound for as long as required. To limit use I employed a will drain mechanic while it is active. This only applys to the regeneration aspect of the spell. the suture works just as well as a bandage or cauterization and would stay in effect after the spell is no longer active.
 
This hasn't been stated anywhere yet but, after you run out of will, you begin using health to fuel your spells.
 
It also activates Health Regeneration (which isnt a constant/default mechanic in A.E. as I mentioned) up to 33% of your maximum health. Druids rejuvination is the ultimate healing spell. Due to its will draining mechanic as well as the slow rate of will recovery by default in A.E. the use of it is limited.
 
Dragons' Heart: This is another advanced spell which takes moderate mastery of both Fire Weaving and Water Weaving. It is easier to attain but has a drawback built into it. The effect is cauterizing all of your wounds from the inside out which closes the wounds entirely while bringing you down to 5% Health. In other words you don't wanna do this on the run or mid fight. As in Druids' Rejuvination, you gain Health Regeneration up to 20% of your maximum health. It doesn't take a constant amount of will to use but the effect in place to keep it from being exploited is that your will drops down to 5% as well when your health does.
 
 
§• ɸ§
 
I hope this was sufficient to answer your questions smile.png 
 
Again, thank you for being the first few to post, I really appreciate it biggrin.png
 
§• ɸ§
 
Sin

Edited by SinisterPride, 28 January 2013 - 11:20 AM.


#6 Strewya   Members   -  Reputation: 1151

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:46 AM

There was one last thing I thought out but its on the more technical side and most players wouldn't see it. Its a "anti-macro" code built into the game. Essentially it works on the principle of algorithm detection. The code will constantly and passively monitor command inputs and will catch patterns when they repeat. This code posed a programming hazard because after a long period of recording the information has to be dumped or else the load is too much for the engine to process. I figured I could set a timer (its set for about 24 minutes or an ingame day) to dump the recorded commands and start monitoring all over again. This means a player (if they found out about the 24 min aspect of the code) would have to record a full 24 minutes worth of actions into a macro. If the code detects anything fishy, all stat gain (both passive and active) halt until the end of the 24 minute cycle. That means if people even try to grind in a cheesy exploitive way they get the boot lol

This will actually punish legit players as well. When they find something that works for them, and they start manually repeating those actions because they dont have access to/dont know how to make macros, but find those actions are easy to repeat often for moderate gains, your script will see that as a repeating action, mistake it for a macro and deny the player any gains for their efforts, which to them will seem for no apparent reason (as it's hidden from them). And those repeating actions even might be a perfectly legit playstyle. I doubt you can ever predict all the actions every player will ever perform in your game, and build code to prevent exploits, but not actual player performed repeating actions, in a consistent and smart way. If you're trying to frustrate players, go right ahead :)

As for your health/healing systems, you're basically punishing players with long wait times between combat actions because they 'might' use exploits. I'm assuming here that a sizeable part of your game is combat itself (assumption based on your introduction post), and having to wait a long time to continue playing that part of game because you're too beaten from the last fight is the wrong approach, and will turn players away from the game. Even legit players who are just not that good at fighting are forced to wait over 2.5 hours before their next combat encounter. And you said it yourself:

The other choice would be afking but who really wants to keep doing that because theyre failing at not taking damage?

People will rather play a fun game, than a game that punishes them for a seemingly normal (albeit unskillfull) play style. And judging by your proposal for combat in the introduction post, combat controls seem really complex (emphasis on 'seem'), which would only make the problem bigger, and because of that people will most likely either avoid combat altogether, or quit your game out of frustration/boredom.

I do believe that without a prototype, your systems are too undefined and open for interpretation, which is why i'm giving you both legit players and an exploiting players perspective.


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#7 Milcho   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1171

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:04 AM

What you mentioned is somewhat displayed in Elder scrolls IV: Oblivion. The "Athleticism" and "Stealth" skills could be largely exploited with similar methods as you mentioned.

Yes, and while reading your first post in this thread, I thought how I once trained my sneaking by walking against a wall while I was AFK (there was a sweet spot behind one of the guards in Imperial City. 

 

However, Oblivion is entirely a single player game - where such exploits are generally not considered a big deal. I'm not 100% sure but from some of your descriptions it sounded like you may be doing a multiplayer game (correct me if I'm wrong) and any sort of exploits are looked down upon very harshly in multiplayer games. Even games like Borderlands (off the top of my head), which are not massively multiplayer, but rather co-op multiplayer, there's still considerable effort to eliminate such exploits, from both the majority of the community and the developers.



#8 SinisterPride   Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:38 AM

Man, what is it with people and having no tact in their wording?

 

@Strewya Your words are a bit aggressive/confrontational. I know you most likely didn't mean any offense and there was none taken. But someone could easily get offended, especially when you're assuming you know something about their work for a fact but you only have a basic understanding. I can take the heat regardless, jus pointing it out.

 

When they find something that works for them, and they start manually repeating those actions because they dont have access to/dont know how to make macros, but find those actions are easy to repeat often for moderate gains, your script will see that as a repeating action, mistake it for a macro and deny the player any gains for their efforts, which to them will seem for no apparent reason (as it's hidden from them).

 

You're over simplifying my concept by assuming you know the extent of the anti macro code. I explained it in simple terms and left out as much fluff as possible cuz not everybody wants to hear the technical side of things. There are plenty of checks and balances/measures put in place to make sure it doesn't punish proper players. I won't go into details cuz I honestly don't like having to reiterate technical aspects when they are misunderstood (don't mind doing so with concept/design stuff tho). If and when I get to a physical development point and this codes theory is implemented, I plan on doing extensive Q&A/testing on this specific aspect to make sure there are no unintended effects/bugs.

 

 

If you're trying to frustrate players, go right ahead

 

I'll try to keep an eye on it/open mind while working/testing on the scripting/theory for the code, thanks for your feedback.

 

As for your health/healing systems, you're basically punishing players with long wait times between combat actions because they 'might' use exploits.

 

having to wait a long time to continue playing that part of game because you're too beaten from the last fight is the wrong approach, and will turn players away from the game.

 

My stand on this is as follows:

 

In life, if you weren't confident in your ability to do something (like fight someone) you naturally wouldn't undertake that task right? If you did, you'd implore other means which give you an advantage (better armor or more stand off-ish gear like a gun [ranged weapons in A.E.]).


When you think of taking damage and it being expressed through a single form (hp bar) your question would automatically be valid.

 

The health display in A.E. Isn't a traditional "Health bar". In order to keep the UI/HUD as clean as possible I thought of ways to display health and other status conditions through the characters appearance/performance. I call this the "realistic status mechanic" (working name) and while I feel it is very under developed/designed at the moment, it seems to have potential. Basically if you're bleeding, you will see that its not stopping/you're leaving a trail. If your badly bruised/sprained your character will move slower. If you have minor cuts/bruises you'd have a chance to flinch/stagger when getting hit or attacking.

 

Minors cuts/scratches/bruises would only take a day (24 minutes) or two (48 minutes) to show improvement and like 4 days or w.e. to fully heal/not show on you're character or cause flinching/staggering. That's like less than 30 mins of gameplay avoiding EXTENSIVE (not all) combat/trying not to take more damage.

 

Reason I emphasis "extensive combat" is because irl, I can still fight with bruises, just wouldn't wanna get hit or I'd probably stagger/flinch lol.. I've gone into sparring matches/fights while being bruised and I know for a fact that's what its like.

 

Aside from your characters appearance, their condition is laid out in a more technical sense within the pause screen/menus. Your health consist of an injury rating and nutritional status (hunger [effects your stamina] and thirst [affects will regen which I'll get to later] which both alter your characters  performance.

 

Something I hadn't mentioned earlier in my healing post is that a character can rest essentially fast forwarding time. Sleep isn't required (explained in lore/story) but is used to fast forward time.

 

While resting, properly dressed and tended wounds would recover the way they would within the same amount of regular time. Essentially you could heal instantly. The only problem is negative effects would happen instantly too. If a wound wasn't cleaned before being dressed you'd have an infection right after "resting"/fast forwarding. Also choosing to rest in an unsafe place garners negative results. Being attacked mid-rest (you'll wake up) and pick pocketed are among those negative results.

 

People will rather play a fun game, than a game that punishes them for a seemingly normal (albeit unskillfull) play style.

 

If you were going into a situation where proper tools/equipment were required (baking a cake> oven mitts) you wouldn't attempt it otherwise right?

 

With that thought in mind, would you go into a gun fight without a gun or bulletproof vest/body armor?

 

I wouldn't jump into a situation IRL if my acceptable state after said situation would be half-dead/in critical condition.

 

In A.E. I want the players to use realistic judgment according to how  confident they fell about their own skills as well as their characters capabilities.. If I knew I could walk into a dungeon irl cuz my gear would protect me against the zombies inside and I was confident I had the fighting skills to take them on I would charge in there xD.. I wouldn't expect to need instant recovery aside from resting and catching my breath.. You wouldn't charge into a situation, or stick around for one where you were gonna barely make it out alive would you?

 

Forgot to address this:

 

perhaps not simply casting a spell, but something more involved which is difficult for the player to contrive

 

casting a spells isnt simple for both the FFC user and the default player either. Cast time plays a big role ia weaving. Increasing your speed with the FFC would still cause it to be hard. 

 

Theres more, but I'm nodding off.. I'll add to the edit if anything (still havent finished but ill get to it in another post if anything, found other questions which need answering)

 

Sin §• ɸ§


Edited by SinisterPride, 28 January 2013 - 11:27 AM.


#9 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 963

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:37 AM

The "learn by doing" mechanic is a very common one that often implemented in (older?) RPGs. In my humble opinion, it often doesn't quite work out the way we imagined it would.

The key weakness of the system is that the optimal behavior is to "grind" (repeating actions over and over again). It feels unnatural and contrived: instead of going through an adventure and "leveling up" along the way like intended, players hole up in a corner and grind actions until they are maxed out.

In my humble opinion, it is not nice to punish players for a behavior ("grind") that the system/mechanic encourages.

You're over simplifying my concept by assuming you know the extent of the anti macro code. I explained it in simple terms and left out as much fluff as possible cuz not everybody wants to hear the technical side of things. There are plenty of checks and balances/measures put in place to make sure it doesn't punish proper players.

I think the responsibility is on you to fully explain your concept/implementation.

To come up with an algorithm that can effectively "anti-macro" while avoiding proper players might not be as easy as you think it is. Perhaps you can post a sketch (or pseudo-code version) of your algorithm somewhere and link us to it.

Edited by Legendre, 27 January 2013 - 06:37 AM.


#10 Milcho   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1171

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:54 AM

The "learn by doing" mechanic is a very common one that often implemented in (older?) RPGs. In my humble opinion, it often doesn't quite work out the way we imagined it would.

The key weakness of the system is that the optimal behavior is to "grind" (repeating actions over and over again). It feels unnatural and contrived: instead of going through an adventure and "leveling up" along the way like intended, players hole up in a corner and grind actions until they are maxed out.

 

I'm not sure if its exactly what you're referring to, but learn-by-doing was implemented as recently as Skyrim - where continuously using a weapon or a skill made you become better at it.

There are players out there who did grind to improve their skill, but that doesn't matter in a single-player game (from all I've read, I'm still not entirely sure what Sinister is planning - single- or multi-player). It may be far more important and exploitable in a multiplayer game. But at least in a single player game like Skyrim, I haven't seen any major complaints about their weapon/skill leveling system.

 

But on that note, I was wondering - grinding happens, in part at least because the players can see their skill level with some weapon and are eager to get the little skill bar to slowly climb higher.

What if using a skill improved your ability at it, but there was no explicit indicator to it - e.g. no skill level number or progress bar? Perhaps some sort of other subtle visual element during combat animation could change depending on skill (i.e. at lower levels the animation for swinging a sword would take longer, and the player would visually stumble forward, as though unused to the weight of the sword). Of course this is going to require a lot of work... but it might be worth testing to see if it could lead to less grindy behavior (that one word shows up again: prototype)



#11 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 963

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:06 AM

I'm not sure if its exactly what you're referring to, but learn-by-doing was implemented as recently as Skyrim - where continuously using a weapon or a skill made you become better at it.
There are players out there who did grind to improve their skill, but that doesn't matter in a single-player game (from all I've read, I'm still not entirely sure what Sinister is planning - single- or multi-player). It may be far more important and exploitable in a multiplayer game. But at least in a single player game like Skyrim, I haven't seen any major complaints about their weapon/skill leveling system.

Good point.

I supposed I was influenced too much by my personal abhorrence to having to grind in singleplayer. I feel its unrealistic and tiring that the optimal behavior is to set aside, grind, max out, then carry on with actual player. I really hated it in The Elder Scrolls : Daggerfall where one strategy is to rent a room at the inn to cast spells over and over for months until you maxed.

#12 WavyVirus   Members   -  Reputation: 735

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:27 AM

perhaps not simply casting a spell, but something more involved which is difficult for the player to contrive



casting a spells isnt simple for both the FFC user and the default player either. Cast time plays a big role ia weaving. Increasing your speed with the FFC would still cause it to be hard.

 

I wasn't really referring to the simplicity of casting a spell, but rather suggesting that perhaps events one level removed from the basic act of casting could make better experience triggers.

 

There are several factors which might influence the "grindability" of a system which rewards experience directly for casting. Maybe you could comment on the following:

  • Time/difficulty of casting. The weaving system may not be simple or easy, but how long does it
    realistically take to cast a spell? I assume we are talking about seconds, rather than minutes, if the spells are to be used during combat? Perhaps if your magic system were more akin to those historical charms/curses/protection spells involving lots of preparation ("bury an unfertilized egg at a crossroads during a full moon, wait for 30 days, dig it up while reciting this spell"...) then it would make sense to award experience directly for the act of casting. If spells can be cast in a matter of seconds, the other factors become more important:
  • Where/when can the player cast? Does the player need to be in combat in order to cast and gain experience? If so, are there a limited number of enemies around? Would it still be possible for a player to find a safe area and repeatedly weave a spell to gain experience? Are you ok with this? (I suppose it may be more realistic - mages probably spend long, lonely hours practicing - but is it behavior you want to encourage?). You may have covered this, but is there some scarce mana-like resource which would force the player to choose carefully which spells they cast and when?
  • How much experience does a player gain for a successful cast? I contend that spells would need to take a very long time to cast / offer very little EXP reward before players would be completely discouraged from grinding them, and instead use them where appropriate. Can a player cast the same spell repeatedly and still get the same experience gain each time? What about a cooldown period (or would this encourage a weird meta-game where the player casts all of their spells as soon as the cooldowns run out to maximize EXP gain, as time spent with a spell out of cooldown is essentially wasted EXP)?

 

The alternative I suggest you consider is to award experience by detecting somewhat more involved events. These might correspond to milestones in the career of a warrior/mage, such as:

  • The first kill
  • The first kill with a particular spell/weapon
  • The first kill without taking any damage
  • Killing an enemy by using an elemental spell combined with something in the environment (e.g. electrifying an enemy in a pool of water)
  • Incapacitating an enemy without killing them
  • Recovering from potentially fatal wounds
  • Saving the life of another character through healing

The idea is that these events are much less grindable as they are either one-time achievements or require situations which the player will not readily be able to set up for themselves. The player will naturally (even inevitably) find themselves in situations which allow them to achieve these skill milestones from time-to-time.



#13 Strewya   Members   -  Reputation: 1151

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:16 AM

@Strewya Your words are a bit aggressive/confrontational. I know you most likely didn't mean any offense and there was none taken. But someone could easily get offended, especially when you're assuming you know something about their work for a fact but you only have a basic understanding. I can take the heat regardless, jus pointing it out.

Sorry if they came across that way, i was trying to be as much to the point as possible. The only people who would be offended by offering a different perspective and direct constructive criticism are the ones who can't take it.
 

You're over simplifying my concept by assuming you know the extent of the anti macro code. I explained it in simple terms and left out as much fluff as possible cuz not everybody wants to hear the technical side of things. There are plenty of checks and balances/measures put in place to make sure it doesn't punish proper players. I won't go into details cuz I honestly don't like having to reiterate technical aspects when they are misunderstood (don't mind doing so with concept/design stuff tho). If and when I get to a physical development point and this codes theory is implemented, I plan on doing extensive Q&A/testing on this specific aspect to make sure there are no unintended effects/bugs.

Ofcourse I'm assuming, you haven't given any info on the core of the "anti-macro" code, which is the actual detection process, only info on how you'd purge unneccessary info. If you provide more information on how you're planing on detecting these repeating actions without mistaking players for macros or macros for players, maybe people can give you more advice on it and more accurate predictions.

Designing things is all fine and dandy, but it often ignores things such as complexity, language barriers, your own knowledge limits, the effort required to get it working as intended (which is most often more than expected, for instance i thought just yesterday that i'd need half an hour to do a small script for fixing some subtitles for a tv show, ended with 2+ hours until i got it working) and whether it's worth that effort.

As for your comment that not everybody likes to hear about the technical aspects, i agree. However, most people on this forum like to *see* the technical aspects (those who don't would just skip that section). That's why your technical aspects are misunderstood, and if you'd post some (pseudo)code, the misunderstanding would go away.
 

Reason I emphasis "extensive combat" is because irl, I can still fight with bruises, just wouldn't wanna get hit or I'd probably stagger/flinch lol.. I've gone into sparring matches/fights while being bruised and I know for a fact that's what its like.

Have you ever been in a fight with a twisted ankle? A broken arm? Have you ever been in a sword fight where the opponent slashed you across the arm or chest? You have said numerous times that you train in martial arts, but have you ever fought an actual fight where it's not in a controlled fashion (dojos, trainings and such), and where the opponent is trying to seriously injure you and maybe even kill you, perchance with a sword or a gun?

If you have, then you probably know what i'm gonna write in my next paragraph, so feel free to ignore it.

Some time ago, in a thread i don't really remember the title of, miss sunandshadow wrote something in the lines of: "in real life, when the human body suffers injuries, it tends to perform worse as time goes on". Getting slashed across your chest/arm with a sword tends to make your arm either useless or really bad to do combat actions with, depending on the severity of the injury. Getting shot at with a gun will either outright kill you, make you unable to do anything due to the pain, die soon afterwards or severly impact your ability to move/continue fighting, also depending on where you got shot. Slight bruises are magnitudes less of a problem than bleeding to death during a fight is.

This is one of the reasons the majority of games tend to abstract the health system into a single health bar, without limiting your characters performance. If your system doesn't limit character performance due to injuries, then it's not realistic, so you probably shouldn't call it that. If your system *does* limit character performance due to injuries, then as soon as your character makes a mistake during a sword fight, he's going to die. If he manages to survive the fight and beats his opponent in spite of his serious injuries (adrenaline rush and such), then he might not be able to think straight and clean his wounds after bleeding out so much. If he does, then your system is not realistic, so you probably shouldn't call it that biggrin.png You get the point.

Also, if you're really going to make it as realistic as in my examples, then your game will severly punish players who have not mastered your control scheme or if their opponent got a lucky hit (having any sort of chance/RNG system here would be a very bad idea imho).

The fast forward mechanic is a good solution to not having to wait all that time to heal back up, and a nice touch, but it would fall short if the combat+health system is too realistic.
 

If you were going into a situation where proper tools/equipment were required (baking a cake> oven mitts) you wouldn't attempt it otherwise right?
 
With that thought in mind, would you go into a gun fight without a gun or bulletproof vest/body armor?
 
I wouldn't jump into a situation IRL if my acceptable state after said situation would be half-dead/in critical condition.
 
In A.E. I want the players to use realistic judgment according to how confident they feel about their own skills as well as their characters capabilities.. If I knew I could walk into a dungeon irl cuz my gear would protect me against the zombies inside and I was confident I had the fighting skills to take them on I would charge in there xD.. I wouldn't expect to need instant recovery aside from resting and catching my breath.. You wouldn't charge into a situation, or stick around for one where you were gonna barely make it out alive would you?

I agree, i wouldn't ever do that irl even if i had the required equipment. I don't have the constitution for that, nor the training, and neither does more than 70% of the worlds population (number straight out of my ass, but it's a good assumption tongue.png). The risk is too high. Games are here to provide a no-risk experience. However, that experience needs to be rewarding, otherwise players will, after a few deaths, move on to a game which is more rewarding. Unless your game is in the roguelike genre, where death is part of the fun... But imho that is really hard to pull off.

Based solely on the info you've given so far, my assumption is players will probably die after their first few fights, unless they're fights with wooden swords. But those can hurt too, even break arms if used right.
 

casting a spells isnt simple for both the FFC user and the default player either. Cast time plays a big role ia weaving. Increasing your speed with the FFC would still cause it to be hard.

If casting a spell is hard, then the results should be worth the effort, otherwise noone would cast them. Something to have in mind wink.png

devstropo.blogspot.com - Random stuff about my gamedev hobby


#14 SinisterPride   Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:06 AM

First off, I'd like to apologize (once again) to Sir Legendre. I don't like holding grudges nor do I feel you meant any disrespect (in restrospect) by WHAT you were saying even if HOW you said it came off a bit funky. I hope there are no hard feelings.

________

 

@Milcho/Legendre: The "learn by doing" systems HAVE improved but yes, their implementations often lead to "grinding" behaviors that I don't want to particularly encourage and which I wish to thoroughly adress/innovate. The concept is so natural yet it is never properly done.

 

I think the responsibility is on you to fully explain your concept/implementation.

 

Agreed but I'm kinda worried about gettinh flamed for the length of my post which has been brought up more than once now unsure.png It affects how detailed I get about things at times. I think I stick to topics quite well but I can't help the length sometimes especially when I respond to multiple people sleep.png

___________

 

@Milcho/Legendre: To clarify, the game is intended to be largely single player but I do want to add multiplayer aspects (this is the sort of thing I'll consider but can easily cut out due to being realistic about implementation).

 

On grinding, the anti-macro code, and effective display/gain of expierience in skills:

 

Milcho hit the nail on the head about what I aim to do about displaying advancement in skill when he came to a few conclussions. In most situations the speed and nimbleness/dexterity (or lack there of) shown while carrying out a technique will be one of the indicators that show advancement/mastery and skill of said technique. This increased speed of exectution applies to all skills/techniques (melee, ranged [dexterous types] and spells) but the way I thought of it another method or two would have to be applied to spells if I were to stay consistant. 

 

Spells gain additional animations as you become more masterful of them as well as damage and range/projectile speed (where it applies). A fireball may start off as a slow simple orb of fire without much flare/flash to it. Eventually it becomes a heat seeking, flaming mass of molten fiery goodness xD

 

I will answer some of the questions posed by WavyVirus and explain more about how expierience is tracked in my next concept post (the mastery/discipline system).

 

However, he brought up some good suggestions/questions which I'd like to address:

 

The weaving system may not be simple or easy, but how long does it
realistically take to cast a spell?

 

Simple spells would only take (estimation/example) .5-2 seconds to cast. Manual input would be the .5 example while "auto casting" would prop up a cast bar in a traditional sense marking the amount of time till completion of the spell. Casting speed increases with mastery of a spell (lets say 2.5 seconds for a fireball would end up at 1.5) in the "auto cast" method. The speed of a cast can take longer than intended in the FFC version but it is only limited by your comfort and familiarity with a spells motion. To balance casting speed of advanced mastery in a spell for the FFC versions I planned on implementing a "charge" mechanic to account for the strength/projectile distance of a spell.

 

The first kill
The first kill with a particular spell/weapon
The first kill without taking any damage
Killing an enemy by using an elemental spell combined with something in the environment (e.g. electrifying an enemy in a pool of water)
Incapacitating an enemy without killing them
Recovering from potentially fatal wounds
Saving the life of another character through healing

 

All great (amazing actually) suggestions which I will definitely take into account as bonus exp and/or achievements within game.

 

Thanks for that laugh.png 

__________

 

@Strewya I'll post a little more on what I'm proposing with the anti-macro code in my combat thread while answering some of Legendres' questions towards how I plan on trying to keep track of motions to implement it as well as generally bring about the mechanics in the combat system.

 

Now for your questions/comments on how realistic things would be:

 

I said "as realistic as possible while still keeping the game fun". Applying the effects of post adrenaline rush, disorientation due to substantial loss of blood and nerve shock from extreme pain is a bit extreme :-\ That would count as "too realistic" and subsequently take away from the fun factor as you said.

 
I actually have been in "do or die" situations before which I rather not bring up in detail. I've been lucky enough to never have been vitally/critically stabbed, gashed deep enough to effect muscle function or broken anything. I've sprained things/have "popped"/shifted joints (which were properly set; wouldn't wish that on anyone lol) or dealt with a "bruised bone". Suffice to say, I've never sustained an injury that caused permanent damage but I do know how your body reacts while it's in shock and the declining state in which blood loss or slowly processing the extent of an injury (cooling off) can cause.
 

I'll note your mentions and be sure to come up with a better working name. Maybe "Anatomical health/condition display" ?

 

Also, good point when you said:

 

If casting a spell is hard, then the results should be worth the effort, otherwise noone would cast them. Something to have in mind wink.png

 

I mentioned it in my combat post under weaving.

 

The complexity and vulnerability of the mechanic is meant to act as a means to account for the enormous potential damage weavers can cause.

 

Woot for the nukers! biggrin.png 

 

Once again, I hope this answered you're current questions. Those which weren't answered hopefully will be on other threads soon enough. Thank you all for your contributions/feedback/input.

 

Sin §• ɸ◦§


Edited by SinisterPride, 28 January 2013 - 09:21 AM.


#15 thade   Members   -  Reputation: 1652

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:21 AM

Insofar as exploit detection and mitigation in games, that's hardly something one would get flamed for. If you throw up an algorithm and people start nuking it for fallacies and weak points, that's not flame...that's assistance. It's the kind of assistance you want. :)

 

My educational background is in software hardening and digital forensics. (My career actually landed me very far from that stuff...in NLP of all things. Life is funny that way.) Anyway, there are two books that I think you may find helpful if you're interested in the topic of exploits: Exploiting Software and Exploiting Online Games, both by Hoglund and McGraw. The latter one actually tackles the specific issue you face: macros and bot detection. Long-story short: it's a non-trivial problem that at least requires a devoted team and probably would do well outsourced. (Remember PunkBuster?)

 

Were I you, I would not even consider building anti-cheat stuff into the core of the code at first. It's always good to build code with hardening in mind but, really, you only have so many resources (time, money, etc.) and building a game is more fun than building a cheat detector. Build your game, man. Design, Build, Optimize, Harden, Q.A. In that order. <3


I was previously serratemplar; a name I forfeited to share a name with an angry rank-bearing monkey.

http://thadeshammer.wordpress.com/


#16 SinisterPride   Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:43 AM

Thank you for the sources of exposure biggrin.png I'll be sure to look into them as well as try to limit my focus on the "anti-macro code".


Edited by SinisterPride, 28 January 2013 - 09:43 AM.


#17 SinisterPride   Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:29 PM

This is to finish answering a very important question posed by WavyVirus that went unaswered and I felt didn't fit/belong in my most recent thread about skills/spells and their development.

 

 

You may have covered this, but is there some scarce mana-like resource which would force the player to choose carefully which spells they cast and when?

 
Yes, I covered it partially but didn't state in detail how it related to limiting which spells they cast and when. The resource is called Will. Its' regeneration is affected by a few things. One of them is the health condition which I mentioned earilier in this post, Thirst. When you're character has been in combat for a while (even if he hasn't used magic much or at all) it affects their thirst which directly affects their will regeneration. This can be countered by drinking water mid fight or using certain Water Weaving techniques which drain some of your will but add additional will recovery. 
 
The way I proposed to limit/promote effective spell use is simple. Will regen will be ALOT lower during combat. Outside of combat it will regenerate at a decent pace which is still pretty low but will promote training while still posing a challenge. 
 
Aside from will recovering during resting (fast forwarding time) I wanted to implement a mechanic which is the equivalent to meditating. This would play out as a sort of minigame which focuses on timing and concentrating. It would be centered around things which would imitate focusing the mind. The main mechanics in the minigame would be things like landing a shifting bar on a marker, pressing a button at the end of a circle reaching an inner ring. Basically things that require timing and reflex. Doing so correctly would allow you to regenerate your will at a vastly improved rate per successful portion of the minigame. During the minigame your will regen will be higher as well. This will promote training/passive combat by allowing the person to start meditating and afk for a minute or two if they dont particularly enjoy or cant be bothered by the minigame.
 
Hope that helped further my point/clarify things happy.png 

Edited by SinisterPride, 30 January 2013 - 02:29 AM.


#18 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 666

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:43 PM

A normal mechanism in the real world is that strenuous activity bring increased capacity and normal difficulty activity sustains the current ability ('normal' relative to the current ability).

 

SO not just any activity leads to growth, but exceptional activity.

 

I recall in Ultima Online withe their 100 point skill system  (versus stats) that you only went up when you fought with swordskill against an opponent exceding your own level in that (or equivalent) skill.     Defensive skill would go up when player was subjected to attacks at a higher level skill.

 

There also was as part of the mechanism that as you got closer to the higherst value (100) it took more and more activity to get an increment (0.1 each) to your skill.

 

Unfortunately UO was NOT able to do that with all of the skills and there still was grinding that could be done cheaply.

 

Some qualifiers to using the skill might also be made as in 'attacks' having to have a real target and not a passive wall

 

Having negative (failure) 'accidents' that are usually possible when using skill at a difficult task might be a way to dissuade players from grinding.

 

Another mechanism used on some systems is a daily advancement increment cap (so to spread out the advancement and limit grind exploits)


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#19 SinisterPride   Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:21 AM

@Sir WodinOneEye: You still haven't said anything that hasn't A: made me think you're not some sort of genius xD or B: made me think that you just like hearing reading your own text.

 

Each time you've commented I've either felt strongly about what you said or have had a nice chunk to consider with my work. Thanks again, those suggestions/sources of exposure/correlations between my ideas and your expieriences are pretty good ones.

 

I'm not sure what you meant by:

A normal mechanism in the real world is that strenuous activity bring increased capacity and normal difficulty activity sustains the current ability ('normal' relative to the current ability).

 

Did you mean it as an opening to explaining how you suggest other methods of capping and allowing development should occur within my system? Good mentions regardless


Edited by SinisterPride, 30 January 2013 - 10:33 AM.


#20 thade   Members   -  Reputation: 1652

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:42 AM

A normal mechanism in the real world is that strenuous activity bring increased capacity and normal difficulty activity sustains the current ability ('normal' relative to the current ability).
 
SO not just any activity leads to growth, but exceptional activity.
 
I recall in Ultima Online withe their 100 point skill system  (versus stats) that you only went up when you fought with swordskill against an opponent exceding your own level in that (or equivalent) skill.     Defensive skill would go up when player was subjected to attacks at a higher level skill.

 
I find concept very intriguing and satisfying: the idea that you need to fight something bigger and badder than you to gain power/strength. However, it's not as true to life as it appears. First, skill with a sword is hardly a thing that can be compared like points on a single function. A master swordsman may learn something new fighting an inferior opponent that utilizes a wildly different style or makes a unique mistake. A side-issue is that it precludes character development and role play...consider the scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon where Jen attacks Li Mu Bai and he takes the opportunity to instruct her: you learn a great deal about a topic when you teach it.
 
Still, it's a very cool idea and its an interesting approach to preventing grinding on low level creatures...though just diminishing XP rewards on lower level mobs accomplishes this as well, and is the usual route taken.

I was previously serratemplar; a name I forfeited to share a name with an angry rank-bearing monkey.

http://thadeshammer.wordpress.com/





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