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Game that tackles suspension of disbelief vs challenge.


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#1 overactor   Members   -  Reputation: 198

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 04:56 AM

Hi all,

 

I'll be entirely honest, I joined this forum a few hours ago with making this thread as a sole reason. I have however read and made some post and will try my best to make this thread comprehensible and up to standard.

 

So, I recently had an interesting idea for a game. In this 2.5D puzzle/action platformer, you play as several characters stuck in one body. You can switch between the characters who each have their own strengths and weaknesses to help you overcome the obstacles you'll face along the way. At this point you might very well be thinking: "Sounds an awful lot like Trine.". And I'd have to agree with you, which is why I'll now get to the part that tells you why it's not like Trine.

 

The whole game is designed around the concept of permanent consequences for the characters. This means that if you jump or fall off a ledge that is a bit too high, the character you were playing with, might very well break his leg and spend the rest of the game with a limp. Or maybe he'll even simply die and you'll have to go on without him. The game auto saves over your only save file and without cheating, there is no way to undo your mistakes. The reason for this is because I wanted to have an extremely high penalty for mistakes without having to cause frustration or having to stop the game and break immersion.

 

I believe this has several positive effects:

The player has to be extremely careful and thoughtful when approaching an obstacle.

A wider range of feelings is accessible through gameplay (and not story).

The punishment for mistakes is neatly wrapped in within the world of the game and feels consistent with the rules of that world.

Your characters actually feel fragile and therefor more human.

 

The rest of the game is designed to amplify this effect. The characters all have their unique traits that make navigating the world easier and even make some content reachable that you could reach without them. (A very interesting and boring example could be a ledge that is too high to jump over for every character but one.). At a bunch of key point in the game, the way you handle certain obstacles will procedurally form friendships or hardships between your characters. Throughout the game you uncover a back story and each character offers a unique view on the events.

 

The back story as I currently see it works like this: The characters stuck in this body are actually several personalities of a person with dissociative identity disorder. The player will discover this rather quickly in the game as will the characters. The person these personalities belong to had a disinterested father who he desperately wanted to make proud. At some point the father left his mother without ever saying goodbye to her or their son. The son took this very hard and was sent to a psychiatrist who taught him techniques to shut out the pain. This resulted in a split personality.

From then on, the boy started creating new personalities for increasingly trivial and specific obstacles he faced in his life. He was however not consciously aware of doing this and at some point in his adult life, he noticed he seemed to black out sometimes and felt like he missed some parts of his life. Another visit to the psychiatrist reveals the many personalities. The therapist has the man relive the events that caused the creation of these personalities and tries to show his subconscious that these personalities are useless when it comes to overcoming obstacles.

 

This is what the player plays through, a physical manifestation of the memories of this man, with the added obstacles the therapist throws in to challenge the personalities.

 

So that's what I have so far. There are other things I've thought out but these are the ones I'd like feedback on.

I really like the core mechanic and would like to hear about other people's take on it and if anyone thinks it might be effective at all.

As for the back story, I'm not entirely sold on it but I believe it makes sense considering the core mechanics, it explains some weird aspects of the gameplay and neatly ties up all elements of the game into a consistent and sensible package. It is however rather cliche and has the overly typical twist.

 

Any thoughts?


"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood."

"What mood is that?"

"Last-minute panic."


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#2 Azaral   Members   -  Reputation: 463

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 08:45 AM

One thing you would need to be careful of is making sure the player isn't made to face an obstacle he can't pass because the character he needed to do it is dead or too badly injured.

You gave the example of an obstacle only one person can jump over. Well, what if that one person died in the first level of the game or he has a broken leg and can't jump as high anymore? The player would be stuck and they might not even realize it. They will get frustrated as they search for an alternative. They will then curse and become angry at the fact that they have to start over, and they probably won't do it because they will probably never play your game again or they will after a long time.

 

If something happens to a character that will prevent them from doing a required essential task in the future, the game needs to tell the player this so that they don't get to that point. Or, every obstacle needs alternatives. You could have the 'best' way past something which would be the easiest and quickest way, and alternatives that would be obvious, but also longer or more challenging. Then you could have other alternatives that are hard to discover or realize, but are even better than the 'best' way.

If you are going to have an obstacle that requires x in the future, then when the player loses x, they need to lose right then and there.



#3 overactor   Members   -  Reputation: 198

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 09:15 AM

One thing you would need to be careful of is making sure the player isn't made to face an obstacle he can't pass because the character he needed to do it is dead or too badly injured.

You gave the example of an obstacle only one person can jump over. Well, what if that one person died in the first level of the game or he has a broken leg and can't jump as high anymore? The player would be stuck and they might not even realize it. They will get frustrated as they search for an alternative. They will then curse and become angry at the fact that they have to start over, and they probably won't do it because they will probably never play your game again or they will after a long time.

 

If something happens to a character that will prevent them from doing a required essential task in the future, the game needs to tell the player this so that they don't get to that point. Or, every obstacle needs alternatives. You could have the 'best' way past something which would be the easiest and quickest way, and alternatives that would be obvious, but also longer or more challenging. Then you could have other alternatives that are hard to discover or realize, but are even better than the 'best' way.

If you are going to have an obstacle that requires x in the future, then when the player loses x, they need to lose right then and there.

 

That was definitely what I was going for, what I meant was that there will be some bonus content that you can only get to with certain characters. But for the most part the game can be navigated without any of the specific traits of the characters. And alternatives routes will be available in many instances.

 

Thanks for your reply.


"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood."

"What mood is that?"

"Last-minute panic."


#4 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2769

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:43 PM

I'm just not sure about this concept.

 

You mention that the game can be won without any special traits if that is the normal path does that mean having  the abilities is the equivalent of playing on easy?  Most arcade and platform games expect you to die over and over until you make it through a level with luck and skill.  But you seem to be trying to get the player to play the whole game through perfectly and  punishing them if they don't.  So either no abilities is the ultra hard path or the game is easiest enough that  you don't need them at all.

 

Also it sounds like from the back story that you actually want the player to fail challenges as they play either that or overcome them without abilities.  In which case I would imagine that you would start with lots of abilities and as you get further you have less and less?

 

It might make a fun art game if it was short enough.  Maybe with each level tell a small life story with a branching path. For instance level 2 might be about your running a race if you win you go on to win a collage scholarship but  if you miss key jumps then then you end up breaking your leg destroying your athletic dreams.  

 

What if the personalities/abilities represent the character's dreams or potential?  You begun full of potential and as you play through the character's key life events how those levels play out changes the outcome of the character's life. You could even have a few dead ends where the player can no longer over come the obstacles in a level.

Will they find love? Fame and Fortune? Or end up alone and destitute?

 

Again it would have to be short since you want the player to play through multiple times. 



#5 overactor   Members   -  Reputation: 198

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 09:15 AM

I see where you are going with your take, but It's not exactly where I want to go with the game. You do however bring up some good points, so I'll explain some more about my design and background story choices and how I see them working together. And if you feel like it you can give your further opinion after that.

 

When a character dies, it falls to the floor and your next character will be standing exactly where your old one died. This way dying can actually get you through an obstacle. Once you are all out of obstacles, you are left with this lowest common denominator of all characters that, when it dies, has an exact copy ready for you right at the spot where you died. You can see how this would make it significantly easier to get through the game. It is also quite dull however and that is my intended very high death penalty.

However, the difficulty will be at a level that projects that someone who doesn't rush and thinks properly about what he's doing, will get through the game with about half of his characters left in the end. The levels will thus not be very hard at all, but because of the high penalty for mistakes, the player will be forced to think things through and act cautiously anyway. Additionally, there will be bonus content you will not be able to get to without certain characters.

 

I can see that you would think that from the back story, you would think that I want the player to side with the person the personalities belong to and the psychiatrist. This is however not the case, you play as the personalities and they certainly don't want to die, which is what happens if the psychiatrist succeeds in what he's doing. It is however open for interpretation that what the psychiatrist is doing is even helpful. This is supported by the initial disorder being therapist induced.

 

For the moment I see the game as a 2-3 hour single player with rather limited replay value. You can go back to see if you missed some things concerning the back story but I suspect the gameplay will get a bit less engaging on a second play through. I'm not aiming for a game with infinite replayability though, I just want to deliver a few hours of intense, interesting and engaging gameplay.

 

If it is of any interest to you, the price tag I have in mind for the game is about 5 dollar.


"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood."

"What mood is that?"

"Last-minute panic."


#6 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2769

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:45 PM

Perhaps if you better described the obstacles and abilities perhaps a mock level design done in paint. that shows the routes and challenges   

 

When I think platform game obstacles I think pitfalls, spike traps, jumping challenges, swinging, buttons and doors. But you mention all the obstacles can be overcome with planning, does that mean its not going to be the kind of game where 1 bad jump on the last levels kills my favorite character?

 

It would seem to need careful balancing to ensure that the game is challenging enough to be fun but some how also lets you win without any special abilities.  If you used the common platform ability of double jump for instance how will you ensure I can't double jump over most things easily beating the game since you also want the game to be playable even if I lose double jump?  Will there be points that I can't pass if I've died too many times?

 

You also talk about limited replay value, and that the game would be less engaging the second time round, but  also hidden content only certain characters can access and from the sounds of story tightly tied to the game play.  I would have thought something like this would have multiple endings and paths to the end sort of like the old castlevania games

 

 

The concept gives me ideas for a small platform game that I might look into doing down the road.  But I'm picturing something more artistic and abstract where the world is made of colored obstacles and they vanish when you lose that ability.  Such as red platforms that if you fall and break your leg vanish along with your dreams of being an athlete. But I envision the whole thing only have 10 to 20 minute play time.



#7 overactor   Members   -  Reputation: 198

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:13 PM

You're absolutely right about the level design, and it is something I will get into soon. It will need to be very carefully thought out.

You might lose a character with a bad jump by the way, but it'd have to be a very bad jump.

I'm also thinking of incorporating enemies in a way to make the puzzles more threatening without relying too much on luck or skill.

 

One thing I could do is that a certain character will get you through obstacles without having to face certain enemies.

As a very simple example there could be a ledge that only one character can jump over and a box you can drag over to the ledge standing behind a monster.

If you have the high jumping character, you can jump straight onto the ledge/platform. Otherwise you'll have to kill the monster to get the box. But maybe there's a trapdoor that can be activated once you get past the monster, so if you have the stealth character, you can pass the monster (since the stealth character doesn't body block) and activate the trap door. This offers several levels of difficulty (or risk) to overcome the same obstacle.

 

I like the idea of several endings, but with the back story and setting I see now, it works better if the back story is fixed. I'll definitely think it over.

There will be different endings in the sense that your characters will all develop different relationships with each other on different playthroughs. This wasn't added for increased replay value however, but to make the characters feel more real and round, which of course supports the effect of the permanent consequences mechanic.

 

I love that I inspired some ideas in you, one of the main reason I want to make this game is because I want to put some thoughts on game design out there in the form of a finished game and maybe inspire people to incorporate some of the things I want to do in games of their own. Your take on it definitely sounds very interesting and if you ever want to talk about it, I'll be glad to listen and offer feedback.

 

In any case, thanks for your replies, you've made me think about my design and pointed out some possible pitfalls I'll definitely keep in mind when developing this game.


"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood."

"What mood is that?"

"Last-minute panic."


#8 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 9193

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:56 PM

I really don't have much to contribute to this thread, save perhaps to reference the game '400 years' as a potential source of influence.

Good luck.



#9 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1463

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 03:44 PM

You could have the original personality learn the skills from the dead characters through the help of the psychiater, the penalty would be that he lost part of his memory and a lower score at the end of the game. The ending could look different as well



#10 overactor   Members   -  Reputation: 198

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 06:36 AM

You could have the original personality learn the skills from the dead characters through the help of the psychiater, the penalty would be that he lost part of his memory and a lower score at the end of the game. The ending could look different as well

 

The problem is that I'd then be effectively rewarding the player for making mistakes. It makes sense from a story point of view but diminishes the gameplay. I'm aware that it's not perfect but I value the gameplay over the story.

If anyone else sees a more elegant solution, I'm all ears. Though I do like the idea that you are not entirely the good guy in the story, but still have some valid reasons to claim that what you are doing is defendable.

 

I really don't have much to contribute to this thread, save perhaps to reference the game '400 years' as a potential source of influence.

Good luck.

 

Well, thanks for your reply anyway, I checked out 400 years. And while it looked rather cool and sparked some ideas for other games in me, how exactly would it serve as a reference for me?

 

 

 

Thanks for all of your input so far, I'm currently making more specific game design/mechanics choices and will likely post some possible puzzles in thread at some point in the future. Meanwhile I'm still open for any feedback and willing to throw things around if anyone persuades me to change something.

So far I've definitely been forced to seriously think about some aspects and make some adjustments to make them work better. Thanks a bunch for that.


Edited by overactor, 03 May 2013 - 11:36 AM.

"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood."

"What mood is that?"

"Last-minute panic."


#11 Treslapin   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 07:53 AM

I really like the idea of permanent consequences, but this will be hell to design and test. :)

 

I agree with everyone here that the level design will have to be really thought out. 

 

For your own sanity, I would start with only 2-4 characters!

 

Players will need to be familiarised with the enemies and bad things in the game so they don't feel cheated when encoutering such a thing. When a player encounters another "type" of character he can play (say a wizard that can shoot magic) he will need a safe space to play around with him so he doesn't get killed right away. The creator of PvZ has a really good video up about immersive tutorials which I think you will need in this game a lot! http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1015327/How-I-Got-My-Mom

 

We're talking a lot about negative consequences - what about positive ones? For example a player eats something and that turns him blue for the rest of the game. 

 

I would love to see more about this game. Pace, view point? Sounds exciting. Good luck! 


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Portfolio: http://www.lapinsh.com/

 

PM me if you need art or design and are serious about completing your project.

 

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#12 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1463

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:12 AM

The problem is that I'd then be effectively rewarding the player for making mistakes

 

no you wouldn't, but you wouldn't be punishing them neither(gameplay-wise at least)
though you could make the main-personality slower in performing those actions, for example.(or jump just a little less far then the jump-personality)

 

to realy see what works and what doesn't you should start making the game(leveldesign) though, so you can tinker around with the ideas and see how they work out.
(aka i suspect you re gonna have to implement most ideas to a certain degree, just not sure to which degree)



#13 overactor   Members   -  Reputation: 198

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:33 AM

I really like the idea of permanent consequences, but this will be hell to design and test. smile.png

 

I agree with everyone here that the level design will have to be really thought out. 

 

For your own sanity, I would start with only 2-4 characters!

 

Players will need to be familiarised with the enemies and bad things in the game so they don't feel cheated when encoutering such a thing. When a player encounters another "type" of character he can play (say a wizard that can shoot magic) he will need a safe space to play around with him so he doesn't get killed right away. The creator of PvZ has a really good video up about immersive tutorials which I think you will need in this game a lot! http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1015327/How-I-Got-My-Mom

 

We're talking a lot about negative consequences - what about positive ones? For example a player eats something and that turns him blue for the rest of the game. 

 

I would love to see more about this game. Pace, view point? Sounds exciting. Good luck! 

 

Thanks so much for your interest. I'll definitely have a look at that video today, but I can't right now as I'm at work where I can't have noise for obvious reasons.
I'm generally thinking of having the first chunk of gamneplay being rather low risk and offer a variety of puzzles where you can experiment with and learn about your characters.

Maybe I'll even make sure you will have used every single character to overcome an obstacle for sure before you even encounter something lethal. I was also thinking that teh characters would cue you in about how they could help you overcome obstacles.

You could for example encounter a very deep drop and one character would get frightened at it claiming you can't survive falling that deep. Then  another character would respond by saying that he could easily survive that without a scratch. As he looks like he can take a hit (design reflects abilities), that should be enough to convince the player.

 

As for positive consequences, I'm hoping the unraveling of the backstory and encountering new puzzles will be enough to drive the player forward, but it could indeed be fun to encounter things that change the characters in some way, I'll certainly think about a way of implementing it, because it sounds like fun and very rewarding.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by pace and as for viewpoint, I see it as a 2.5D sidescroller for now.

When I have öore things decided or ready, I'll definitely revisit this thread and share it with you guys.

 

no you wouldn't, but you wouldn't be punishing them neither(gameplay-wise at least)
though you could make the main-personality slower in performing those actions, for example.(or jump just a little less far then the jump-personality)

 

to realy see what works and what doesn't you should start making the game(leveldesign) though, so you can tinker around with the ideas and see how they work out.
(aka i suspect you re gonna have to implement most ideas to a certain degree, just not sure to which degree)

 

I'm assuming that having the characters merging would feel like a success to the player. But you are right, from a gameplay perspective it is neutral and having the powers reduced would indeed be a punishment. However, when you get many powers in one character, it becomes a reward again. Since a character that can run faster and fight better is more useful than the two seperately. I'm currently not sure if I want the main character to be present before you lose all of your characters, I'm leaning to no.

I see that thsi is a bit of an issue with the design and only play testing can really serve as a final verdict here I think. Again thank you for your input, highlighting what some possible pitfalls can be and even providing me with appealing alternatives, this forum has been incredibly helpful so far.

 

If possible I'd like to ask anyone with an opinion on this particular issue to share it with me, to see what the concensus on it is...


Edited by overactor, 29 April 2013 - 08:39 AM.

"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood."

"What mood is that?"

"Last-minute panic."


#14 JustinS   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:27 PM

I agree with the other posters. While I like the idea of long-term consequences in a game, it simply doesn't work from a gameplay perspective in any game with a significant puzzle element. It might sound like a nice idea, with each character providing you extra options on puzzles and losing them forcing you to use the default means, but the player will usually figure out the default method first because they are the most familiar with the default traits. Further, once a character is gone they won't be looking to use them to solve puzzles anymore and once they are thinking without them (which is really easy if they die early) they won't feel the loss anymore. In fact, it might be easiest for them to just kill off all but one character so they don't get used to any of the others and they'll be less distracted through the game. The only hope it has is being a plot device, and what it'll amount to then (unless all the characters are really likeable and easy to keep alive) is a large section of the plot the player will miss because one or more of their characters is dead.


No man is an island,

Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee.

 

-John Donne


#15 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1463

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:38 PM

hmm, thus far i assumed you could just switch between characters at will(maybe after waiting for 2 sec or so)

is the player supposed to play out an entire level with just one character or something ?



#16 overactor   Members   -  Reputation: 198

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:57 PM

I agree with the other posters. While I like the idea of long-term consequences in a game, it simply doesn't work from a gameplay perspective in any game with a significant puzzle element. It might sound like a nice idea, with each character providing you extra options on puzzles and losing them forcing you to use the default means, but the player will usually figure out the default method first because they are the most familiar with the default traits. Further, once a character is gone they won't be looking to use them to solve puzzles anymore and once they are thinking without them (which is really easy if they die early) they won't feel the loss anymore. In fact, it might be easiest for them to just kill off all but one character so they don't get used to any of the others and they'll be less distracted through the game. The only hope it has is being a plot device, and what it'll amount to then (unless all the characters are really likeable and easy to keep alive) is a large section of the plot the player will miss because one or more of their characters is dead.

 

I have to respectfully disagree with you there, As the default way will usually be a lot more risky than the more complicated ways to solve a puzzle.

Would you rather figure out you can reach a rope, cut it and kill a bunch of enemies that look pretty vile or just face those enemies in a fight, knowing that if you die, you lose a character. I'm not saying it's easy, but I think with the right intro level and overall level design, I can get the player into an anxious mood that makes them always stop and consider the situation.

The back story element, I think, is designed in such a way that it is enough of an incentive for the player to really want to keep his characters, but still fun enough when you lose a few. Every character adds less meat to the story than the next one, because some of their perspectives overlap. Same goes for puzzle possibilities. This means that losing your first character is likely not a very big deal.(relatively)

 

hmm, thus far i assumed you could just switch between characters at will(maybe after waiting for 2 sec or so)

is the player supposed to play out an entire level with just one character or something ?

 

No, you assumed right. What I meant is that in the intro level, I might include obstacles that only one of the characters can possibly overcome. This way you are forced to use that character. If I make you face nothing lethal before facing one or more obstacles for each character the player has, I can teach the player how to use the characters in a safe environment.


"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood."

"What mood is that?"

"Last-minute panic."


#17 overactor   Members   -  Reputation: 198

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:57 AM

I've been thinking about some of the concerns you guys raised about the concept and hurdles for the level design, and came up with a possible solution.

 

What If the levels' content is based on the characters the player has left?

This means that the game would lay out the obstacles faced in the game semi-randomly a few steps ahead of the players. I'd throw in the random factor to make sure that the player still feels theb yeight of his previous mistakes throughout the entire game. But now he will get to use the characters he has left more often and the puzzles can be more geared towards certain characters. Every obstacle can still be overcome with every character, but this way I can make the default way a lot harder.

 

This also fits into the back story as the therapist would adapt the challenges he throws at the personalities based on which are left. Furthermore, it would seriously ad to the replay value, as each playthrough could be vastly different from the last one.

 

Obviously, there are some technical difficulties (especially since I'd prefer the game world to be possible to navigate without loading screens) to overcome and this means more content to design and create, but I feel like it could provide a significant improvement for the game.

 

Does anyone have any feedback on this idea?


Edited by overactor, 02 May 2013 - 08:58 AM.

"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood."

"What mood is that?"

"Last-minute panic."


#18 JustinS   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 07:56 AM

What If the levels' content is based on the characters the player has left?

This means that the game would lay out the obstacles faced in the game semi-randomly a few steps ahead of the players. I'd throw in the random factor to make sure that the player still feels theb yeight of his previous mistakes throughout the entire game. But now he will get to use the characters he has left more often and the puzzles can be more geared towards certain characters. Every obstacle can still be overcome with every character, but this way I can make the default way a lot harder.

 

This also fits into the back story as the therapist would adapt the challenges he throws at the personalities based on which are left. Furthermore, it would seriously ad to the replay value, as each playthrough could be vastly different from the last one.

 

Obviously, there are some technical difficulties (especially since I'd prefer the game world to be possible to navigate without loading screens) to overcome and this means more content to design and create, but I feel like it could provide a significant improvement for the game.

 

Does anyone have any feedback on this idea?

The big problem is it means you have to do each and every level multiple times. And it's more than "Alright, I have 5 characters so I need to do each level five times." The issue is that there are a lot of different combinations, so even with just five variables you'd be looking at (I think) 25 possibilities. With 6, (I think) 36 possibilities. And so on. Do you really want to do each level dozens of times over? Because I can assure you nobody else on the team will.

 

Beyond this, it's going to encourage some players to kill off all their characters to make the game harder, which is another problem. It'll also result in some characters being killed to avoid certain level designs, and certain level designs never being seen because a player doesn't like a character and kills them.


No man is an island,

Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee.

 

-John Donne


#19 overactor   Members   -  Reputation: 198

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 11:33 AM

he big problem is it means you have to do each and every level multiple times. And it's more than "Alright, I have 5 characters so I need to do each level five times." The issue is that there are a lot of different combinations, so even with just five variables you'd be looking at (I think) 25 possibilities. With 6, (I think) 36 possibilities. And so on. Do you really want to do each level dozens of times over? Because I can assure you nobody else on the team will.

 

Beyond this, it's going to encourage some players to kill off all their characters to make the game harder, which is another problem. It'll also result in some characters being killed to avoid certain level designs, and certain level designs never being seen because a player doesn't like a character and kills them.

 

I think I may have worded myself a bit poorly. I didn't mean that I wanted to design every level for every possible combination of characters that could be left (which is 32 for 5 characters and 64 for 6 by the way). What I meant is that I design a whole bunch of modular obstacles and assign some values to them representing how easily certain character combinations can get across them. Then I'd use those values to procuderally generate the game world as the player goes along. My estimate is that it would end up being about 2 to 3 times more work than just designing a static, linear game world.

 

It's interesting that you mention that this might encourage players to kill off characters to make the levels harder, I hadn't thought about it like that yet. I'm hoping that the player would be too scared and too attached to his characters to kill them off for a more challenging game. Don't forget that this would mean that he actively makes game content inaccessible for himself.

 

Thanks for your reply in any case, food for thought. :]


"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood."

"What mood is that?"

"Last-minute panic."


#20 JustinS   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 11:38 AM

he big problem is it means you have to do each and every level multiple times. And it's more than "Alright, I have 5 characters so I need to do each level five times." The issue is that there are a lot of different combinations, so even with just five variables you'd be looking at (I think) 25 possibilities. With 6, (I think) 36 possibilities. And so on. Do you really want to do each level dozens of times over? Because I can assure you nobody else on the team will.

 

Beyond this, it's going to encourage some players to kill off all their characters to make the game harder, which is another problem. It'll also result in some characters being killed to avoid certain level designs, and certain level designs never being seen because a player doesn't like a character and kills them.

 

I think I may have worded myself a bit poorly. I didn't mean that I wanted to design every level for every possible combination of characters that could be left (which is 32 for 5 characters and 64 for 6 by the way). What I meant is that I design a whole bunch of modular obstacles and assign some values to them representing how easily certain character combinations can get across them. Then I'd use those values to procuderally generate the game world as the player goes along. My estimate is that it would end up being about 2 to 3 times more work than just designing a static, linear game world.

That's fine. (And I didn't actually do the math, anyway.) It's still a lot of extra effort and the rest of the team will take a lot of convincing to get them do to so much extra work.

It's interesting that you mention that this might encourage players to kill off characters to make the levels harder, I hadn't thought about it like that yet. I'm hoping that the player would be too scared and too attached to his characters to kill them off for a more challenging game. Don't forget that this would mean that he actively makes game content inaccessible for himself.

 

Thanks for your reply in any case, food for thought. :]

Well, that would be assuming they're intimidated by the game's difficulty (a lot of players aren't) any they like all your characters (which is highly unlikely) enough to keep them around. Not only that, that'd be assuming they like the mechanics attached to each of them. There are some players, for instance, who HATE stealth-based gameplay. (Bunch of gung ho morons, if you ask me.) They'd kill off a stealth-based character on principle just to avoid sections designed for stealth, even if they like that character.


No man is an island,

Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee.

 

-John Donne





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