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Zummy

Member Since 15 Feb 2011
Offline Last Active Jan 17 2013 04:56 PM

Topics I've Started

[MMORPG] A new method of presenting the player a new kind of quest.

23 December 2012 - 04:12 AM

I was recently inspired by Guild Wars 2 to rethink how to implement common ideas of the mmo genre in new ways.  So what I started was to analyze the genre, strip it down to the basics and then design based of taking the basics to a more polished and eventual game level.

 

So to begin, I'll lay down the framework with what I have decided to be the two driving actions a player can do in an mmo.

 

Category one is combat. An mmorpg's core gameplay could arguably be about putting yourself in a situation where you (and possibly others) need to attack other things (monsters, or people) in various categories and settings. This is the typical grind, and this is also the "end-game" raiding. Also, this includes player vs player content. Needless to say, most players will spend a good portion of their time doing something about combat.

 

The other category of actions a player can do is simply non-combat. The reason why I grouped everything else in here is because in practical applications, every goal of a non-combat driven action is to feed the combat experience. Trading, crafting, selling, buying all provide extra levels, skills, or items for players to bash other things. Also questing and traveling are used to find new areas and new things to fight.  There are very few opportunities in the mmo-genre, in my experience, that offers non-combat actions that are entirely peaceful (ideas like gambling, mini-games and that sort of thing).

 

Now the game has to be able to guide the player to combat and non-combat opportunities, otherwise the game becomes a very expensive chat room. This has historically been done with quests. You talk to a person, most of the time its the one with a " ! " above their head, or a similar kind of marking, He then lays out a simple mix of combat and non-combat goals and tells you where to do them. Afterward you get a reward and you're off on your merry way. 

 

Now, with the advent of Guild Wars 2, there is a gradual curiosity building where people are starting to disregard the historical way of questing and try something new. In Guild Wars 2's case, the NPC is eliminated, and you just show up to an area and when you do, a brick comes hurling at your face with a list of objectives that can be done in that area. You do the objectives, fill the bar, grab your reward and leave.

 

From what I can tell, both of these presents the same core problems I feel are the cause for a lot of the complaints about the mmo-genre.

Problem 1. It's too transparent. You know what you have to do, how to do it, and where to do it at. This kills all kind of creative thinking, quest text reading, socializing and exploration. All of these are arguably what makes the genre so immersive and social.

 

Problem 2. It's predictable. After your first hub of WoW, you already know the pace of the rest of the leveling experience. Talk to everyone with an " ! ", leave the immediate area to the surrounding map, kill things and collect things until the bar is filled and return for rewards. In Guild Wars 2, it's also pretty predictable, even more so. What I do like though, is that it offers more incentive for exploration, since you have to find your hearts and events instead of being guided to them.

 

So now lets talk about my opinion on some solutions.

 

First off, remove all signs of an NPC wanting to give you a quest. No NPC should have a " ! ", because the ones that don't are generally ignored and then the town starts to feel like a ghosttown after all the quests are done.  In order to figure out if an NPC wants help with something, it should be obvious (or not so much) by reading his actual Dialog. For example, talking to a farmer could say "Boy, I wish I had a better tool to do this job with." Should be inclination enough that if you give him a tool, he could reward you. I also want to note here, that a quest journal should NOT be updated after talking to him. If a quest journal were to exist, it would be filled out by the player. For example, if the player finishes talking to a merchant and she heralds about a shiny gem she heard about near the west coast of New Terra, the player may choose to manually input in a journal (Kind of like a sticky note) "Merchant wants a gem, west coast New Terra" or something, so s/he can remember the details without having to talk to the NPC again.  Also since the NPC is generally not an omniscient, omnipresent being, their descriptions can be a little more vague than actually needed. So you may find a few gems, and trading them to the merchant she could say "oh it wasn't like this, it was more xxx" That way a player has to make the decision "well you think it could be like this? Do you think 15 would be enough?" 

 

Secondly, make the distances to complete a quest varied. This would encourage exploration. You don't know whether or not a quest would take you near or far, or if you should keep talking to more townsfolk to find more things to do. This would also encourage socialization. "Hey, I came this far to try and find X for so and so, or to kill Y for Z. I figured out he's too hard solo, can anyone help out?" Or by asking players "Hey is there anything I can do around here?"

 

Then when you're out exploring or killing things, anywhere can have something of value and any drop *could* be a quest item to someone, so in my mind, that encourages players to try looking for new things, go off the roads between cities, talk to NPCs and other players.

 

It would facilitate adding in Story lines, arcs and more "epic" feeling quests, where the player ends up traveling more, looking for more rare and harder to find things, forging alliances with players and reading NPC text which would promote an overall bond towards certain NPCs (which is dependent on how well the writers are and story depth is, but it facilitates it nonetheless).

 

I believe it would make a more "livable" world, where the NPCs are more colorful and humorous, the players are more engaging, and the story and lore are more built-in and the quests actually feel like quests and not intermittent rewards.

 

The only major problem I'd have with this system, I think, is that it is hard to implement with character levels, and the like. However, if I look for alternative ways of character advancement and derail myself from a level system, I could see this being a method of story telling and quest giving in a sandbox styled game where skills and alliances matter more than equipment and levels.

 

Thoughts? Agree/Disagree with any of my processes? Questions? Suggestions? Anything in *your* mind on how you would design a system?


Ambiguity: a good or bad thing?

05 August 2012 - 05:11 AM

How do you guys personally feel of a type of story that explains a lot of the core things that appear in the game, but neglect to tell you whether or not you're the good or bad guy, or leave it open to speculation on whether or not what you're doing is beneficial or detrimental to yourself, others, or the world around you?

Would you consider a plot line where the conclusion is open to interpretation and your actions could have two polar-opposite justifications and implications a plot that can become a success?

Or do you feel that a successful plot eliminates most, or all, ambiguity?

What are your personal thoughts on it?
Has there been a game that you remember with a good plot line that happened to be ambiguous?

[Idea] Fighting game+platforming+card deck. Looking for feedback

05 August 2012 - 03:12 AM

I would just like to say, before we start this thread, that this is only an idea. I'm treating this as a way to get outside information on this idea I've been toying with for a while. That being said, I would still like feedback as if you would play this game, and some suggestions on practical limitations (such as coding engines, bandwith, technical things, etc.), because while this is an idea, I would still like for it to be a feasible idea.

Okay, let's get started with the system, then I'll put my questions after.


What I was thinking:
Building a multiplayer game based off of two things:
1. Phased side scrolling 2D fighting system.
2. A card deck system.

Basically, a player would engage a fight which would phase the player into a 2D side scrolling battle system, like street fighter. So you have a health bar, a guard gauge, and a special meter. You would have basic attacks, the ability to jump, and guard, like a standard fighting game. Basic attacks would build your special meter. Now what I would like to introduce is the card system.

The card system would be similar to a trading card game (think magic the gathering). You would have a few archetypes (MtG: colors) with special effects. There would be a lot of cards to choose from, but you're only limited to a certain amount in a deck.

During each fight, you will have a hand of randomly drawn cards out of your chosen deck, and each card would have a specific amount of meter required to activate.

The core of the gameplay is building decks, analyzing card strengths/weaknesses, thinking about card amounts and probability of draw, card synergies and all of that, on top of fighting game mechanics (guarding, reading opponents, etc.)

You would start a match with your selected hand, and every XX seconds you could draw a card if you don't have a full hand, and you play until you can defeat your opponent.

There would also be something like a shuffle command where you can put your current hand back into the deck and reshuffle and redraw. The penalty of course would be using meter to do so, and playing without specials while your cards shuffle.

Of course, also like MtG, there will be certain restrictions on how to assemble a deck, just to keep things fair, a little more easy to predict (if vs another player) and to keep strategies evolving and to keep new players not as overwhelmed.

The multiplayer aspect:
Since this is a multiplayer game, I should at least lay down a bit of ideas in this thread about the multiplayer aspect (especially since I have a few questions I'd like to ask regarding this as well).

It would be online, where you log in with an account into a lobby. Instead of there being maps, or a persistent world, like any mmorpg, it would be more like a strategy game or fps game. You can add players to a friends list to invite to matches, or you can search through a browser of sorts. There is also a chatroom so you can be social and whatnot. Even a tab for auctions to trade cards and manage your collection and edit your deck. There would be no persistent character level ups and stats, but ranks. So people can view your profile and see your loadouts, your stats and stuff like that. I don't want players to play to level, to gain stats or skill points and win because they're higher level. The deciding factor should be how well they build and utilize their decks within a fight, as well as their general fighting game sense.

To actually play the game, you and a few other friends could select a campaign and ready check and load into the specific campaign.

Each campaign is a collection of battles (think like an arcade mode for a fighting game) of increasing difficulty. Each stage of the campaign would have an objective, which will usually be killing a boss, or group of creatures.

An important thing to note, since it is multiplayer, and I want it to feel like you're in a world and not just fighting constantly, the maps on which you play on would be kind of big (think side scroller metroidvania style) and have gaps to jump, ledges to platform, traps to avoid and the occasional puzzle/time challenge, all with monsters to fight through. This would help a little with the clutter of having a few friends tag along, and also add a bit more fun into the game.

Completing a campaign would be like finishing a dungeon, or completing a raid. Every two to three stages of a campaign would have a hard boss and the last stage would have an incredibly hard boss, and each boss kill grants a few coin and some cards to trade and boost yourself with, as well as buy cosmetic items to make yourself cool.

Other game modes:
There would be other things to, like:
Boss rush. This would be akin to VS mode in most fighting games. Just you and a computer NPC monster on a restricted (normal fighting game sized) area to fight, first to 3 rounds win.
Player vs Player, self explanatory, you load out with your deck vs someone elses on a standard fighting games sized map and fight. 3 rounds to win.
Team vs Team, like player vs player, but on a bigger map and with 3~5 players fighting against 3~5 players simultaneously.
Training mode: allows the player to set enemy behavior, view skill lists, test decks in a controlled environment. Also allows for easy card substitutions and forced draws so you can test specific cards.

Question:
What do you guys think of this? Would you play it, why/why not? Do you think having multiple players would be too much clutter? Would you think adding multiple players adds depth to make it more exciting, or should you just stick to one player? Do you foresee any major problems that could prevent a game of this style being playable? Do you have any concerns? Could you see a game like this able to become a competitive type game, like on MLG, or on other circuits with a good spectator mode?

Any questions for me, or for the game?

I'm sorry I rambled a little. Being concise is really not something I do well. I could explain things a bit more, if you need me to, but I think I got the gist of the entire game across. Thank you for taking the time to read all of this. I hope you all enjoyed my idea, and I hope to hear some nice collaboration between the community on the finer points of this system I've been developing.

A different perspective on the racing genre.

26 November 2011 - 12:50 PM

I'm a big fan of racing in general. I like the thrill of beating the clock, watching my back from someone trying to pass, the anxiety of pushing myself to the limits of trying to pass someone and all of that.
It's a really fun experience. However, there aren't many racing games and not very many non-traditional racing games for that matter. I have been thinking of a concept, and I'd just like to jot down a few of my ideas here, and gather some opinions and thoughts about racing games from you all as well. Feel free to contribute any kind of information or opinion as long as it regards the racing genre!

No cars.

While it is still racing, there are plenty of other ways to race. By foot, board, bike, etc. There are already plenty of car racing games anyway. This also helps reinforce my next two points quite well.

No track.
How about a designated start point and a common location for an end point that is located on the other side of a map? This develops a hint of strategy because you have to find a good route from point A to point B. With a clever enough map design, there could be several routes, each with pro's and con's. For example, in an urban area, streets could have traffic that you have to race around. You could also jump building to building, but you'd have to spend a little extra time climbing or descending stairs/fire escapes/etc. But at least you don't have to worry about traffic.

Combat. Oh glorious combat.
Now this is where it gets even more tricky. Not only do you have to be aware of where other people are, you have to be aware of what they can do to hurt you and set you back. Couple this with a destructible environment and you can close off routes, knock people off of narrow passages, shift time, hamstring someone, etc. This could also be a nice test of reflex if there are such things as reflects and speed boosts.

Instead of customizable cars and car models, have unique player progression and spell choice.
This would introduce a concept of a metagame. You can only have a fixed number of slots to bring abilities that alter the map and players. It's up to you to pick between and mix and match to find something that suits your playstyle and strategy, as well as counter what your opponents bring. This would make sure that the same maps can be played multiple ways and keep the small rotation of available races to be unique most every time.

So what does this all give you?
Quite simply, a fast paced, off-the-rails racer with many intense moments and tons of depth for strategy, player development, teamplay, customizability, and fun.
This would develop into a game where you have to think about what you need to do while you're racing, before you're racing, while you're racing, and even afterward as well.

What I would like to hear from YOU!

What do you think about what I said? Should I elaborate on something in specific? Would you like to hear more? What are your thoughts on the genre currently, and what ideas do you have for the genre. I'd love to hear from everyone, so post a reply!

Racing!

19 July 2011 - 06:49 AM

Yes, I am here to spark a discussion about the racing genre. I'd like to ask a couple things:
What do you think is among the best racing games, in terms of overall execution?
What do you think is the best feature of the racing genre as a whole? The one thing unique to racing games that seal the deal for you.
As a genre, what do you think is holding it back? What's the next biggest hurdle?

You know, I really do have a love/hate relationship with the whole racing scene. I love the competition and the tension you get when you're trying to pass someone or you see someone approaching up behind you. I like the sort of dual competition between the other players for first, as well as yourself for the lowest time. The overall feel is pretty great. Though, I just seem to find the genre pretty stale lately... Cars racing around in a city setting. Cars racing around on a track. It seems like the only difference really is the physics and the amount of customizing. I dunno. What I think would make a new racing game stand out is a proper implementation of the Z axis. Racing up-down-left-right-forward-backward. I think that just sticking to a flat ground track is starting to become stale. Have there been any titles that are more 3D in that respect?

Anyway, I was thinking of a concept just as a collection of ideas to see exactly how far I can bend this genre and still keep it satisfying and inherently "Race-y". The purpose of this concept is to explore new ideas within the genre and see what works and why. Feel free to dissect and comment on this as much as you please.

First thing's first. No vehicles. Your character is a sentient being closely resembling humans, except you can climb/run/jump higher/faster/longer/quicker. The racing is done on foot.

Now, I don't have a lore/story planned out or anything so everything isn't going to be named or descriptive or anything of that nature. This is purely a mechanics-gameplay experiment and should be judged only on that.

Okay, so now fast forward to the part right before a race. You're on a section of map. Let's just say you're in the bottom left hand corner, and whatever you're racing to obtain is in the top right. Story doesn't matter at the moment. This is a get from point A to point B.
Instead of having a continuous loop of track to run around, or a winding hallway with turns, it's an open ended map. If it's an urban area, you'll have buildings/roads/bridges/maybe a river. If you're in a jungle, you'll get cliffs/waterfalls/tree canopies, and the likes. The trick is to plan and think of what would be the way you'd want to choose to go.

Let's go back to the example of the urban city. Say you'd choose to stay low and follow the roads. It could serve you well, however, if there's a large structure in the way you'd have to go around it or spend time trying to climb it. You could opt to climb a building and jump rooftop to rooftop. That might work, too. To make things interesting there are certain powerups you can slot to your character before each race. For instance, you could have explosives to topple a building. Now the person that chose tso take a high road and jump from house to house doesn't have a houe close enough to continue jumping at a good pace, causing him to re evaluate his course and give you some breathing space. For revenge, the person from the roofs makes a fissure on the ground, blocking a choke point. Since you decided to stay low, you now have to resort to an alleyway or some other means of crossing.

So not only do you have an open ended map to traverse, you now have the potential to alter it, creating a bit of strategy. Certain powerups can also grant your character brief periods of extra speed, or maybe a second jump.

I've even considered adding in map dangers. For instance, the forest levels may have animals that will try and slow you down. Or the city may have certain construction zones and traffic jams. I'd like to make it feel like you're in a living world, you're not isolated when you're racing. Even though you're chasing/being chased you also have to worry about the world itself.

Player positions could be kept track of how many total m or km they are away from the specific location they are racing to.

Anyway that's the gist of it.
Open ended map
Multiple paths
Powerups
Map alterations mid-game
Map obstacles

I think this solves my major concerns about the genre as I believe it adds a bit more depth and it opens up racing to a different perspective. If anything, a breathe of fresh air and not gasoline.

Comment and discuss below! I'd love to hear what you guys think about the genre as a whole as well as my thrown-together-game-concept. Include your own ideas too if you want. I would enjoy listening to what other players haved designed when it comes to racing.
Thanks~

~Zummy.

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