I wrote an article a while back (see above) which had a suggestion to get one going.
Worked for me, hopefully it can work for you too.
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Posted by Orymus3 on 17 August 2014 - 10:04 PM
Molotov cocktails and a glock? That's what I'd bring.
If you want to theme it better, dip your silver bullets in holy water and etch crosses in them.
If medieval setting, I'd bring a sword - cold steel or damascus steel, probably a scimitar with a long silver parrying dagger as well - with a couple leather pouches packed full of gunpowder with long but quick-burning fuses for remote detonation. Bonus points if I get a few tubes filled with greek fire I can blow into people's faces.
Funny. That's a very pragmatic yet exclusively belligerent approach to 'hunting'. I figure that, if the threat is known and movement is minimal, that'd make sense, but I envisioned a much different outlook. I have a feeling my character has been journeying without a home for a while and hunts whatever he hears about. Part of his skillset is to improvise with whatever he has, and I'm assuming the backpack is filled with great artifacts of some kind.
I'd also bring a bible, and some "holy water" (read: strong brandy as a painkiller and antiseptic).
Actually sounds great. Bible can serve many uses, but brandy is by far the most interesting 'tool' to bring. It has many uses, including acting as fuel if necessary.
In movies, the 'bright guy' always invents a contraption from whatever is present in the room and I always feel there's too much luck involved. A good all-purpose tool can really create-your-own-luck. Brandy's great!
It might be helpful to brainstorm by sections.
First and foremost, thanks. The thought process here is very interesting.
2 through 6 (inclusively) are the ones I'm very interested in. Basically anything with some gameplay attached to it. The most versatile the best.
Your questions have been great and helped me tremendously assess this already, but feel free to chime in with any suggestion example if you wish as well.
Posted by Orymus3 on 17 August 2014 - 05:26 PM
I'm currently toying with a playable character that has a background in with/demon hunting and slaying.
I'm wondering what gameplay 'tool' he should have at his disposal that is both fun and on-theme.
So far, I've worked along the lines of figuring out what he's likely to hunt, and bring a tool that somehow works for that, but I find out that the hunter is not likely to know what he's hunting for so that he should have some versatile tools with him so as to avoid overburden.
Versatile tools I've figured so far:
- Silver dagger / stake
- Holy Water flask
- Torch (light source, can be throw for distant light source, can burn nearby enemies susceptible to burning (such as a troll for example))
I'm falling short of anything exciting this far.
Posted by Orymus3 on 14 August 2014 - 06:47 AM
You also have to watch out for layoffs, ive been laid off 4 times in the last 5 years, it happens all the time in the game industry for multiple reasons(not enough money, downsizing, end of project)
That's some serious bad luck you've got there?
I've worked on teams ranging from 5-500 and as various programmer and designer positions. The hours vary honestly. I've worked 9-5, 9-7 and 8-6. Crunch can mean anything from 10 hours a day for a week to 80 hours a week for months. Things can get really depressing honestly.
I absolutely second that. Personally, I've seen 80-90h/w for 6 months straight. I've made it clear when I came to my new employer that this would never happen again (they can get either from me though, either 6 months of crunch time, or a single week of 80-90h).
Smaller company - Higher pay most likely and you get the chance to broaden your skills( you will get a lot of opportunities to pickup new task and takeover new responsibilities as well as climb the ladder)
Higher chances of layoffs though. I used a small company as a stepping stone. We had people laid off monthly at best...
I would recommend making games as an indie as well. In fact, I feel a significant portion of the people in the industry that are in because of their passion end up leaving bigger businesses because of irreconcilable differences and start their own indie business later down the road.
That being said, you'll probably need industry experience at some point, if only to compare your way of doing things with the industry standards and see where you might err, and where they might.
Posted by Orymus3 on 14 August 2014 - 06:42 AM
That being said...
Lore in a CCG is important in that it eases player understanding of (sometimes very complex) game mechanics.
There was a very good article on MTG online once where they explained the importance of lore by picking abstract playtest cards and replace the keywords with 'ability name 1' etc.
Reading the cards was complex and tedious. It made little sense, and the reader wasn't really sure his understanding was correct because of the lack of retro action.
Adding a card name that was fitting, an image (thus defining the action or creature it was), and changing the ability name into something more evocative quickly made the reading that much simpler simply because players had some expectations regarding this type of creature, etc.
For example, no one is surprised to see a regeneration effect on a troll, and possibly an immunity to death unless burned by fire. Though these 2-3 sub-abilities could amount to a lot of text, there's no denying that most people have a preconceived notion of what a troll is and this can be leveraged to simplify mechanics in-game.
Likewise, a Fire Elemental dealing recurring damage in the form of burn damage is much easier to understand when presented as such (as opposed to an abstract creature dealing recurring damage).
This applies to various scenarios indeed and I'm only just pointing the tip of the iceberg here: how lore can help you lessen the learning curve for your players.
Now, as Navyman pointed out, I might have completely missed the point of this thread, but hopefully not.
Posted by Orymus3 on 13 August 2014 - 09:12 AM
I've read somewhere, your posts say otherwise, that there's money in game development. I figured that it may be a good move and maybe I'd be able to combine my passion for games with a career - a job I'd be happy with for once.
There's money for seniors, but it has the lowest entry salaries I've seen.
When I transitioned to this industry I basically lost half my paycheck, and I was a junior at what I did before, so it tells you how bad the drop can be.
6 years later, I'm still recovering from the loss and am almost at the level I was originally...
I'm probably not the right guy to say 'there's money in video games' to ;)
Posted by Orymus3 on 13 August 2014 - 07:12 AM
Did you actually need the music?
My point being, sometimes you get an offer that makes you mind bend twist and turn, but the true answer is: it wasn't part of my plan and the only reason I'm considering now is because I've got an offer.
I tend to turn down most if not all such offers and get back to them if I have a project (any) that actually requires their services...
Posted by Orymus3 on 13 August 2014 - 07:10 AM
I've been employed in the Architecture field for over 5 years now. I can not say that I like my job and the pay is garbage.
Hey that's what I think of the gaming industry
I've learned that the only reason for anyone to get into this industry is if you HONESTLY love the work because in the end that may be the only inccentive to stay.
What can I typically expect for pay, atmosphere, hours, etc?
As a rookie, I'm going to assume you have no previous experience and will land as a QA (it's quite possible you'll end up elsewhere, especially given your architecture experience which is sometimes relevant to some extent of AAA level design). Salary will be minimal, athmosphere depends on the place you work for, and generally, hours will be squeezed away from you like you can't possibly imagine.
The only person that I know that made it out of the architecture field into game development said he was actually better off in Architecture. But that's a very small sample.
I've a kid so working round the clock may not be ideal.
Join the club. I've got 2. Up to recently, I was just about never around. Not all positions are directly vulnerable to crunch time, but I'm in the management field, so I'm generally the one to bleed first. You may have a different experience depending on the studio, of course.
What advice can you give me if I were to seek a job in the industry?
Make sure that this is what you really want. I don't think of this industry as 'forgiving' or a good place to 'spend the time'. For the most part, experience earned in the field can't be used elsewhere as most jobs are either more creative or have a more scientific approach. Game development is right in the middle imho, and this makes our particular skillset unique. Very few people manage to transition out of game development seamlessly (aside from developers of course).
Are there any niche jobs that'd help my career along?
QA. It's a good job to land. It's not the only way in, but personally, I feel like its the best way to learn as much as possible about the industry from a position that shows you nearly everything from the get go. Get involved and you might just step up. That's what I did, initially.
I live in Ontario, Canada - What's the industry like here?
I'm not fully familiar with Ontario's current situation, but I believe there was a Zynga studio there for a while (not sure if it is still around). A number of skilled developers worked for Zynga there. There's also Ubisoft Toronto. I think the head is still Jade Raymond (originally the designer for Assassin's Creed I). I've also heard of SnowedIn Studios on a number of occasions.
You can probably find out more on the game dev map.
Any advice for schooling in my location?
Depends the job you want to land in the videogame industry. What would you like to do?
Posted by Orymus3 on 12 August 2014 - 08:34 PM
What also makes Mage Wars interesting is that you have your full deck of cards to access each turn. Instead of drawing like in magic you choose two cards from your deck to have in your hand that turn and uncast cards are returned to deck at end of turn. There are also summoning points which let you play additional cards. But there is no random drawing or hoping to get that one card you need at the right time.
I toyed with that idea as well. Ultimately however, I felt I would end up reusing always the same 'cards'. Maybe I need to play Mage Wars, my neighbor offered to show me.
In that each point of attack power = 1 die so a zombie with 2 attack would roll two dice and the attack die has hits, misses, and critical. Some attacks can also add status tokens.
I use a similar system, although I boast using a simple D6 to handle everything. I think its a clever system, quite accessible too.
Posted by Orymus3 on 12 August 2014 - 07:17 PM
Maybe, Bubblicious attacks reduce the protectiveness of metal based armors by 25% except when worn by air elemental creatures on Thursdays in which case it becomes 35%. Wooden or other plant based creatures are immune to all attacks of this type. Otherwise, standard rules for attack power and efficacy apply.
As crazy as you make it sound, I had an embryo of a mechanic similar to this (except that it was caring for whether the target was flying, in which case it was an auto-miss).
I think this has potential because it shifts the question elsewhere. Yet, they wouldn't be new damage types, rather, new abilities, and, for the most part, they should be able to handle new content.
That being said, there's always the issue of what if I need a new damage type because the combat system gets old and needs a bit more depth (otherwise there would be no need for new units, etc.)
I think it depends on how you use your types/keywords. If you do it in such a way that Attack Type: Fire will only do extra/less damage against a unit if the target has either Vulnerability: Fire or Resistance: Fire, you essentially close the loop. If you suddenly add Attack Type: Electricity, yes, it won't really do anything, but it also won't be overpowered. It will be more work, in that if you add that attack type, you need to add the corresponding Resistance/Vulnerabilities. Though honestly, in a video game, it shouldn't be that hard to update that kind of a system and add/remove keywords. It's not like a card game where you have to reprint cards and end up with multiple versions floating around.
Interesting. Essentially, I would replace the resistances with % instead of integers. By default, everything would be 100% unless otherwise specified.
My only concern is that it is also present under boardgame form, in which case I'd be asking players to make calculations on the fly. For 50% and 200%, assuming I define whether to round up or down, it should be manageable, but what about 75%? That might put quite a strain on the players. That's why I initially went for integer armor points (and simply subtract from damage).
Though honestly, in a video game, it shouldn't be that hard to update that kind of a system and add/remove keywords.
The PC version wouldn't have this issue, but it will also be a boardgame, hence why I'm worried about persistence of data here. Arguably, publishing to 1st parties publishers (Sony and Microsoft for example) could have similar issues unless I plan on hosting an external xml file and force the player to connect to that server on game boot to update data in real time.
You can add new effects later on such as maybe you add a new creature toxic zombie that does 1 Physical and on a 5+ adds 1 poison token to the target. Or a Corruption zombie that does 2 physical damage and on 4+ add 1 weakness to the target.
Poison and Weakness could be completely new to the zombie horde expansion. With their own mechanics but they don't break any of the existing rules and mechanics. They still inflict one of the three damage types, and zombies might have the undead status which makes them immune to mental damage. They introduce new ways of playing and mechanics but the game as core still stands.
Scary how my game works exactly like that... and I mean EXACTLY ;)
Currently, some attacks have such abilities bound to them. For example, if you attack, and you actually deal at least 1 damage, you get to roll. On a 5+ (some abilities trigger on a 4+), the 'thing' happens (stunning, poison, etc.)
I felt this system was one way to keep combat interesting even if actual damage became redundant, but I'm just not sure that's enough to insure I don't need other damage types later down the road.
M:tG still does this, btw, and it is - still - part of the powercurve/powercreep;
*destroy target creature
*destroy can't be regenerated
*remove creature from the game
*creature can't be targeted
*"choose" creature target player controls that player sacrifices it
*ban target card from the draft (yes they implemented cards that have use during the draft xD )
I'm glad you brought this up actually. During the inception of this design, I was somewhat influenced by MTG. I isolated issues I felt the game had.
Though the game presents itself as a 'creature game' its really more a wizards game and one should not get fooled by the amount of critters you can spawn.
I don't want that. I don't want it so much that it is actually the very reason I've stopped playing MTG several years ago. I love the mechanics, the flavor, the theme, etc. I just hate how expandable creatures have grown. So much so that you can table a 11/1 trample monster (even indestructible) for 11 mana and still meet your doom for 2 or 3 mana (as an instant!).
Surely, they've made a conscious decision to make it more about the wizards and less about the player (indeed its more about how much life the wizard has left, and less about the resources he controls), but shunning 20-25% of your card pool seems like a poor design decision. Tournaments (not limited ones) basically play (most of the time) without creatures because they are too vulnerable.
My design is a lot more about creatures. I decided not to stick to abilities that made them too expandable.
The creation of 'destroy' effects led to power creep (resulting in regeneration, although present in Alpha)
Destroy can't be regenerated was answered by Indestructible
Exile (remove from the game) was met by Hexproof (prevents target)
and ultimately mass removal spells of any kind akin to Wrath of God.
This is a natural progression one gets to use to 'get away' with it, but this is pretty much what I'm trying to circumvent.
Ah, it wasn't clear to me from the original post that this was a card game. I thought the MtG reference was general design discussion. Okay, my feeling is that the idea of old cards having no resistance to new attack types is terrible. It would indeed nerf old cards. Perhaps the new decks would have rules for calculating resistance for old cards, e.g. "bubble resistance = (magic resistance + water resistance)/2". Or you could combine cards, e.g. give your old paladin bubble armour from the new deck. Or the new attack types cause the same old kinds of damage, but with added effects, for example a bubble attack causes water damage + magic damage + can't attack or defend for one round.
Actually, it is not a card game. But it is very similar. The Boardgame version has cards, and the digital version wants to feel like a board game. It, however, has a more tactical dimension (miniatures for the boardgame, and actual units for the digital version).
Calculating resistance for old cards sounds like a cheap solution. This is something FantasyFlightGames did when they released Descent: Journeys in the Dark 2.0
Since the rules changed dramatically and they already had a lot of content from the 1st edition, they created a conversion kit which essentially provided each character with a new character sheet. The idea is that they allowed you to play with your favorite hero, but they drastically altered its behavior (so much so that it was no longer your favorite hero).
If I'm to tap into collectors, I'd rather not give them something unfinished that will require erratum. As a collector, I wouldn't invest in a game that does this.
for example a bubble attack causes water damage + magic damage + can't attack or defend for one round.
I think that's the closest I can think of to a solution.
Thanks all for the feedback. although I haven't come with a better solution, I'm starting to make my peace that sticking to the systems and mechanics I've already placed (6 rigid types + abilities created with each expansion) is acceptable.
(Flash Forward 20 years, when my game has a million followers, they get to point fingers and say that I've ruined their favorite game, but then, I'll be happy to have million of followers!)
Posted by Orymus3 on 12 August 2014 - 09:44 AM
None of the expansions add new colours but they all have a distinct theme and introduce new mechanics.
This is true, because they use law-breaking abilities that re-employ the same underlying mechanics.
For example, death touch simply turns a source of damage into a lethal source of damage.
However, a mana symbol is a constant decided from inception.
So you can add new abilities
Yes, I can create new abilities on the fly because they exploit existing systems without requiring these systems to change.
and damage types
No, I cannot create new damage types because they exploit a system but define new guidelines for pre-existing content.
For example, if I create a new damage type, say 'bubblelicious', any previously existing unit would therefore have a '0' armor value against bubblelicious by default, making any new critter with the 'bubblelicious' damage type essentially deals 'all of its damage' to any unit created before it.
This is giving newer units too much of an advantage over previously generated content.
In Magic: The Gathering, they call this the power curve. In any collectible game, breaking the power curve essentially tells your long-time players to get lost. This results in bad PR/Marketing and is prone to kill your game.
As Mark Rosewater pointed out in the 2000s, the Champions of Kamigawa block (which received poor response from player, but might very well have saved Magic altogether) was built essentially as a response to the creeping power curve. Up to that point, each set introduced cards that would simply annihilate any previous set too easily (think the original Mirrodin or Urza blocks). Champions of Kamigawa was created weak on purpose (save for the unfortunate Jitte) both to support limited play all the while slowing down the power creep, giving players the impression that their powerful cards bought last year had a lasting appeal (instead of being overtaken within 6 months).
Because my system relies on very few hitpoints and a lot of armor (you could say I'm enforcing rock-paper-scissor in a way), I can't afford to have this form of power curve.
As a result, unless I can devise a system that accommodates new damage types without breaking the curve, I can't have new damage types in the future, and this is a door I'm trying not to close.
Posted by Orymus3 on 12 August 2014 - 07:38 AM
I will answer in a philosophical way. You don't want your design to be flexible Even if you can, you want to impose restrictions on yourself. Flexibility is bad, veeery bad. Even evil I would say
I agree, most of the time. I'm referring to a very pragmatic type of flexibility. One that could see use very soon, and not just a 'I can't shake this feeling that I might need this'.
So what's the goal/use ?
Some rock-paper-scissor effect to increase/decrease damage ?
Pretty much. I'm currently using 6 different types of attacks (3 physical, 3 magical). Each of them have a 'comfortable' set of purpose. One of the physical attack types is mostly used for ranged attacks, so whenever I make a ranged unit that uses a different attribute instead, or whenever I use a melee unit that uses the ranged attack type, I'm essentially breaking the mold a bit, on purpose, to give a unit some usefulness beyond just being 'stronger'.
Additionally, some effects may trigger based on the type of damage that hits a unit (burning for example), but these are generally described as a standalone ability. Still, it helps to have a damage type that is on-theme (but I could have gone without it).
in M:tG they just make sure they make plenty of usefull cards for every color.
It is a bit more complex than that. Basically, they have a color wheel that determines what color an effect should be. In addition, they have a few 'splashes' which are effects that fall between 2 or more colors. Over time, they have shaped the color wheel into a sturdy construct where everything is defined. If they were to add a new color, it would not have a personality, nor any effect per se. More importantly though, it wouldn't have enough cards to compete with the others and wouldn't be drawn at the back of their cards (one of the many issues when dealing with physical components).
My issue is similar in that the damage types will have a dedicated field (especially its corresponding armor values), and I can't start fitting 7 icons on newer units if I had 6 icons before.
When there are too many damage types or elements they just become meaningless.
I agree. I feel that 6 different types is actually a lot, but I can't help thinking I'll need another one in the near future which I can't possibly guess currently. Much like MTG here, it was impossible for Richard Garfield not to know that not all of the world could be explained within 5 colors (or that, perhaps, it was mechanically relevant, but broke its own theme).
One possibility is to have a system under the system. For example don't literally have fire resistance, ice resistance etc, have lower-level attributes such as reactivity, stable heat range, hardness, flexibility, etc. Then damage types can be created as a combination of the lower-level damage types.
I understand. If it was a PC-only game, I would've gone that way, despite how complex a system that could be. However, given the physical components, I can't afford to have this many stats.
However as others have said, sometimes keeping it simple is best because the player can understand the system better. If the system goes too far against the player's expectations, then the player will think it's broken or too difficult.
Back to square 1: make the design decision and it will bite you in the ass later.
That's what I've been doing for the longest time, but I feel there's a 'better way' that I'm missing here...
Posted by Orymus3 on 11 August 2014 - 08:54 AM
One way to advertise an alpha game and get funds in return without coming across as selling an unfinished product is crowd funding (I assume you are familiar with Kickstarter?).
The problem is that crowd funding typically requires you to either have a stellar concept, or actual funds to do marketing (I realize that marketing an early alpha for the purpose of crowd funding sounds a bit silly, but its actually how a lot of people are getting their $ 25k - $ 49M (see Star Citizen if you don't believe this number).
Of course, one might argue that because this is now mainstream, its unlikely one would get much visibility from that...
Posted by Orymus3 on 11 August 2014 - 08:43 AM
I don't know about recruiters per se, but whenever I have a candidate in an interview that went the extra mile to put together a full interactive demo just to showcase his actual skillset (and he didn't have a team but didn't stop at that), I will expect he goes the extra mile when he has a job too, so that's a +1 for me right there.
Some of the best folks I've met in the industry are men of many talents. One of them namely attended the 'Challenge Pixel' competition on his own (if you are unfamiliar with that game jam, its premice is essentially to build a team and make a game in 48hours, so its no small feat for a one-man-army to deliver anything on-theme).
I say go with it, but be clear about the job you're applying for, or be clear about what skills you intend on pursuing.
Some studios sometimes hire 'jacks-of-all-trades' to handle prototypes and whatnot, so they can have one guy that does a bit of everything to put a prototype together before kicking in production.
Best of luck.
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