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ShawnCowles

Member Since 20 Feb 2011
Offline Last Active Oct 11 2012 09:02 AM

#4965513 Amusing Apps

Posted by ShawnCowles on 02 August 2012 - 07:07 AM

Not sure how difficult this would be, but an app that lets the user play Risk (or something similar) using their surroundings as the board.
You could use google maps to find nearby cities (use those as territories) and major roads (those link the territories)


#4962929 Are open pvp + full loot SANDBOX mmorpg's still possible?

Posted by ShawnCowles on 25 July 2012 - 07:38 AM

I really don't understand why everyone can't play in a game like this... everyone has their role in a game like this.


As Samoth and SimonForsman mentioned above, it's not really fun for the victims. Why should I play on a PVP minecraft server if I just want to build a castle? I could build the same castle on a PVE server and not have to worry about some "wolf" coming around and flooding it with magma or murdering me while I build a wall. There's no benefit for me to expose myself like that.

I have a proposed solution:
Assume a space trading / combat game.

There are centers of NPC (or player) faction power with starbases, fleets, etc.
These centers are separated by lawless space.
The non-combatant players in this scenario would be traders, making profit by moving goods between starbases. There is a little profit in moving goods around secured space, but more profit for moving through lawless space.
The "wolves" can freely move around lawless space, but due to killing merchants they are hostile to the NPC factions and cannot enter their space without risking attack.

This is something of a combination of SimonForsman and Caldenfor's ideas, and could probably be adapted to other settings without too much trouble. I think it's as close as you could get to your idea while maintaining a fun environment for everyone involved.


#4958379 Alternative minecraft

Posted by ShawnCowles on 12 July 2012 - 06:47 AM

This may be a bit far removed, but awhile back (during the Minecraft-is-really-popular phase) I had an idea for my own version of a voxel building game.

Instead of traditional flat world the world would consist of chunks of rock floating in the air. The player would be able to jump or fly from chunk mining, etc. Eventually the player would gather enough materials to be able to build a "helm". Placing this on one of the rock chunks would give the player control of it, letting them fly it around as their own personal fortress. Further structures could be built to add walls automatic defenses, spotlights, etc.

If you went down the world would get darker, with more frequent floating rocks and monsters. Going up the world would get lighter with fewer monsters.

I liked the idea but eventually gave up. I didn't want to be seen as a minecraft clone.


#4954315 User retention: 22%. Why is it so low?

Posted by ShawnCowles on 30 June 2012 - 08:08 AM

I just started playing it and a couple things came to mind:
(I'm using Chrome in Win7)

The movement could be more responsive. Feels like a half-second delay between me pressing the button and my little wizard moving. Sometimes it feels like the game misses my inputs entirely. (this is with using the arrow keys to move)

Some sort of animation would be nice during battle, instead of just the characters moving back and forth. Since my character is a caster maybe a little fire bolt, or at least a swinging staff icon. The way the roc's flying attack works is good. I can really see that it flew over to claw the little rat's face off.

The characters are a bit small on the navigation screen as well. I'm not entirely sure who is who. If I could mouseover them to see their names, that would be nice.

After the tutorial duel I had to stumble upon the way out of the castle, better placement or indicating would help. The way I found was along the southwest side, near stairs seemingly heading up, but the entrance appears to be on the southeast side.

A quest log would also be a nice addition.

Climbing on top of people to talk to them is a bit awkward. What if, instead, you talked to people by trying to move into their square, and started conversation instead of moving.

The compass is kind of hard to see, I didn't even notice it until my wizard mentioned that I had one to an NPC. The colors could be bolder for it.

As a side note, when I left the map section outside of the castle and encountered that miner, it seemed like I just mugged him for his ore. He could have had kids to feed, you know. Maybe you could add some lines of dialog indicating that he's a bandit. Like "This ore belongs to the Brownhill Bandits, back off!"

Nothing indicates that there's a menu hiding in the upper left. And the map being a window over the town, that I can just close seems a bit odd to me. Likewise that I can just click the city gates to put me back in he forest again. Also the menu pops out behind the map window.

When I equip an item to my main hand, the main hand slot just gets highlighted. I'm not sure if this dagger is equipped or if the game hasn't gotten around to it. My stats don't change, so I think it's just not getting equipped.

I like the idea of having a village, it's a nice touch that I haven't seen before.

The actionable buildings in town aren't apparent until you go hunting with the mouse. Maybe an old-style signboard out front of them to show that they're special buildings, or names next to them, or subtle highlighting around them when not selected. Something to help them stand out.

Word bubbles from conversation stick around a little too long, in my opinion. I can see that if you had 7+ people in a zone the screen could easily become cluttered with them. I did eventually notice that you can click on them to make them go away, auto hiding would be handy though.

Also the zone map only takes up some of the available screen space, I'd estimate as much as 40% wasted screen area. A larger character/tile size combined with a scrolling map would fix that.

The squares around the player showing where you can and can't move is nice. Toggling that for the entire map might be handy, but that's just a little thing to me.


That's all that came to mind during my time playing this morning. I don't mean to be overly critical. I think the game has promise and am looking forward to seeing it progress.


#4954298 Crafting System [ What is ideal ]

Posted by ShawnCowles on 30 June 2012 - 06:54 AM

I haven't seen this "in the wild" but an idea I thought up and developed a little bit uses a component model.
For example, say you want to make a sword, you know it takes 1 handle, 1 leather wrappings, and one medium blade. Thats all the recipie specifies, you could use any leather, wood, or metal for the parts, and each material could give a different effect. Each component could also be made with an additive that would also add an effect.

Continuing the sword example
Handle
Make the handle from Ironwood, to give the sword more durability,

Wrappings
Just normal cow hide, no special effect.

Blade
Forge the blade from Skysteel, which makes it lighter and attack more quickly.
Quench the blade in Dragon's Oil, which will add fire damage to it's attacks.


With a few dozen base materials and additives you could have thousands of unique weapons as a result. And the player's skill while making components (and assembling the finished product) would also contribute to the effectiveness of the weapon. A system like this would really add some depth to crafting, I think.


You could also make crafting more fun by turning it into a skill based minigame. Take forging a blade, you could have X times to reheat the blade, and while the blade is cooling you have to quickly hammer out impurities. Sort of like whack-a-mole. The better you do, the higher quality the resulting blade is.


#4933274 Why don't Game Designers get respected in indy teams?

Posted by ShawnCowles on 20 April 2012 - 10:32 AM


snip


So basically you had a concept only of a game that sounds good but you don't know for sure since you don't have a complete GDD.
That was the first mistake.. This is the same thing as creating a game without a game designer.. An idea is just an idea.. you have to make a GDD too.

But lets pretend that you had a great GDD.
Then you run into problems coding the game.. but it's not the game designers fault.
It's the programmers fault.. And the game designer gets punished for it?
The programmer should have made a code design and chosen the correct engine that can create the GDD.

It sure sounds like you had a lot of trouble though in that project... you had to redo huge parts of the game several times and the game isn't anything what your idea was.
Doesn't that ring a bell?
Don't you see now how amazing it is having a game designer on your team?
All that trouble wouldn't ever have appeared if there was a good designer with a good GDD from the start.. and ofcourse a good programmer as well.


What I was attempting to illustrate was that a good designer should realize that change is inevitable. For example the Newtonian combat seemed really fun on paper. It didn't turn out that way so it had to be changed.

As for the veiled personal attack, I consider it a point of pride that the game could be changed so rapidly to suite the changing design. It is a sign of a well engineered system.

EDIT: Decided to not feed the flame war by removing veiled personal attack of my own.


#4933260 Why don't Game Designers get respected in indy teams?

Posted by ShawnCowles on 20 April 2012 - 09:56 AM

...

If you don't like the game design.. Find another game designer who has something of your interest.
You could become a game designer yourself.. but I haven't seen any programmers who are good game designers.
Programmers have a bad habit of just going with the flow since they can code instantly whatever ideas pop into their head.
And they only make mediocre GDD's because of this.. if they make one at all.


I think you're too hung up on the importance of a GDD. If you'd studied software development you would know about agile development methods, a fairly new way of structuring development. An emphasis is made on evolving requirements and producing code that can be quickly modified as a result. Unit tests and good (software) design patterns are used to help ensure code quality and maintainability.

Agile methods typically dispose of the monolithic design document, as they are often outdated by changes during development. The substitute used varies between specific methods, but typically a looser collection of requirements are used that can be easily rearranged and modified.

I frankly don't care if a game designer can write a GDD. I care if they can effectively organize and communicate an idea using whatever medium is best suited to the task at hand.


I can give a personal example of evolving design from my own project. (a 2D space trading game for context)

When I started I wrote out 5 or so pages of design, not comprehensive but enough to communicate the idea. I then started work. A few weeks in I hit a roadblock. My design called for large systems where the player could fly freely around. This didn't work (the engine I was using couldn't handle the large images for planets, and they took too long to procedurally generate).

So I changed the design, split off the navigation and battle into separate parts. This gave my an opportunity to try Newtonian physics in combat, since it wouldn't complicate the navigation.

A few weeks later I had Newtonian combat. Turns out, it wasn't very fun, and I spent a lot of time writing helpers for the player (leading targets, missile tracking, etc) to make the game playable.

So I redesigned it to a more stylized combat. Ships now flew about like it was the 18th century and broadsides were all the rage. This turned out to be quite fun, but a little limiting. The player only controlled one ship and sometimes you could get swarmed by enemies if your AI team-mates abandoned you.

So I redesigned it. When I'm done with the current prototype the player will control his entire fleet directly. Essentially a 2D space RTS with ships pretending it's the 1700s. Hopefully it will be fun, if it isn't I'll redesign it again.


I'm not claiming to be a great designer, just showing that unforeseen roadblocks (the technical issue, or combat not being fun) can force a redesign, and you shouldn't be afraid of it. Embrace it as a chance to experiment and learn.

(sorry if that rambled a little off topic)


#4933237 Why don't Game Designers get respected in indy teams?

Posted by ShawnCowles on 20 April 2012 - 09:18 AM


If I had to guess, glhf, the reason that game designers don't get respected in indy teams is because of people like you. Dictatorial game designers who think that everyone should follow their lead without questioning have no place in a team, be it indy or AAA.


Jbadams says the word troll and all the trolls come running to this thread making completely unconstructive replies on this threads subject.

So mr shawn whats your reasoning for not agreeing with me?
I have already given a logical reason why dictatorial game designers are best and no one has counter argued it yet.


Well I'm not trolling for starters, I'm offering blunt criticism.

And my logical reason is simple, and already stated previously: Motivation

I'm working on my own project because I have creative input in it. The project is my brainchild and I'm emotionally invested in seeing it succeed.

Now lets say that I'm working for you on an independent project. You have total creative control and I'm just a code monkey. Why am I going to do any work for you? You could pay me, but then my motivation is entirely monetary. I don't care if the game soars or burns, as long as I get paid while it happens. You could try giving me outcome based incentives like a promotion or share of the profits if the game does well, but I'm going to weigh the potential benefits against the year+ of getting bossed around.

A good indy team should be a team not a dictatorship.


#4933220 Why don't Game Designers get respected in indy teams?

Posted by ShawnCowles on 20 April 2012 - 08:36 AM

If I had to guess, glhf, the reason that game designers don't get respected in indy teams is because of people like you. Dictatorial game designers who think that everyone should follow their lead without questioning have no place in a team, be it indy or AAA.


#4897253 Generating Dynamic Content

Posted by ShawnCowles on 25 December 2011 - 06:33 AM

that is immersion not game play.


Immersion and gameplay are interrelated. If I'm immersed in a game I'm usually having a good time. Giving your players an enjoyable experience is the whole point of the game, so it should be the focus of the gameplay design. If I'm not interested and emotionally invested in your game all the fancy rift spawning in the world isn't going to keep me playing.

Luckless has a good point as well, a clever player could take advantage of MOB interactions. Say I want to get through a forest filled with Deadly Deadly Spiders and I see a group of goblins heading toward the same forest. I could sneak behind the goblins, letting them kill (and be killed by) the Deadly Deadly Spiders getting me through the forest unscathed.

EDIT: I'm not trying to say that your idea is bad, just that you shouldn't dismiss MOB interactions so quickly.


#4897053 Generating Dynamic Content

Posted by ShawnCowles on 24 December 2011 - 06:47 AM

I disagree with the statement that monster's killing each other isn't useful to game play. The player being able to see creatures interacting among themselves does a great deal to give the impression of a living world. If I see two types of monsters fighting each other then I can infer that they do it while I'm not looking. If they're just standing around I get the impression that nothing happens in the world unless I'm involved.

In Oblivion you would occasionally see a wolf chasing a deer, from a player's point of view that makes sense and helps reinforce immersion. Seeing a wolf just standing idly next to a deer would show that the world isn't alive and break any sort of immersion you had managed to create.

Even in WoW wolves will occasionally attack the rabbits hopping around the woods.


#4877152 FPS-RPG hybrids and enemy health indicators

Posted by ShawnCowles on 26 October 2011 - 06:25 AM

In the Monster Hunter games the health of the big monsters isn't indicated at all, but they do give clues. A weakened monster will enrage more often, and an almost dead monster will limp when it moves.

Although implementing a similar system in an FPS or RPG would be a lot more work than a health bar or numerical display I think it would pay off well. Show opponents staggering from blows, limping from crippled limbs and losing strength in a natural way.


#4872802 Market (supply and demand)

Posted by ShawnCowles on 15 October 2011 - 05:52 AM

...there is no track keeping on availability of goods, just the price.


Economics is driven by scarcity I don't think there's really much way to prevent people gaming the system if there isn't a limited supply of goods.

The best implementation I've seen without scarcity was Age of Empires II, an RTS. In AoE2 anyone who built the market building could buy and sell stone, gold, and lumber. Every time a commodity was bought the price when up, every time a commodity was sold the price went down. All players had the same prices and they were updated instantaneously.

Tracking commodities wise, I think the best implementation I've seen is an auction-house style free market where players set their own prices, succeeding or failing based on demand.
Over the past week I've been watching the market for a particular pet on WoW, and seen it's price rise up to 50 gold, then plummet to 27 when more suppliers entered the market. That's exactly what basic economics says should happen, and given enough time the market will stabilize to the "ideal" price.


#4795306 Help polish my Game Design

Posted by ShawnCowles on 06 April 2011 - 08:08 PM

This is where helpful comments would go if you had a better title.


#4786992 A way to model a very large solar scale map

Posted by ShawnCowles on 17 March 2011 - 07:51 AM

How do you know the speed of light? Did you read in in the standard school textbook the lyin pigs kill you if you don't memorize, that is the same for all? They do not say how that got that number in those books or in the lies they reference.


I hate it when scientists hold a gun to my head until I memorize universal constants.





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