Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Norman Barrows

Member Since 04 Apr 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 05:27 AM

#5312537 CAVEMAN: pet interactions

Posted by on 25 September 2016 - 01:13 PM

the game: Caveman 3.0 - a Paleo-world simulation


its time to implement pet interactions


one of the animal types in the game is the wild dog. some wild dogs can be domesticated and become pets.


where i'm at right now:

at the moment, there are only a few interactions available when you select one of your pets, things like rename, check health, and staunch wounds.

while you must feed a dog to tame them, once you tame them they are assumed to feed themselves. the game uses relations with the dog while taming, but doesn't use them after they are tamed. pets can be issued combat orders like any other follower (goto, wait, follow, target, attack, flee, etc).  


i'd like to add interactions like, pet, feed, play with, etc that affect relations, and also make relations go down over time. if relations drop too low, the pet may run away.


possible interactions i've come up with so far:



play with



change appearance (textures)

check health

staunch wounds (the game's combat system includes bleedout and staunching of wounds)

teach trick: fetch, roll over, play dead, point, hold the snack on your nose until i say its ok to eat it? (that's SO mean!) <g>.

do trick - select trick from menu

chase off (abandon / dismiss)

kill - actually, the combat engine provides this option automatically

praise?  used when does trick correctly, or other actions worthy of praise?

scold?  used when they fail a trick, or disobey, etc?

should they have freewill and possibly be disobedient?  (i just started a skyrim game with 14 followers from 3 different mods. the character is an assassin. i can do anything i want. they'll slay city guards all day for me. but if i steal a horse, they leave my service).


so what actions should i include ?


should i not have different actions that are basically the same effect?, like scratch vs pet? they smack of "not meaningful dialog choices".


how in-depth should i make all this? i mean you could get into where the dog likes to be scratched (ears, chest, belly, on the back just forward of the tail - each dog has their favorites).


are there any pet interactions that might be turned into mini-games?


in general i'd like to discuss how pet relations and interactions should work in the game.  does using the standard "relations variable" method seem adequate?  and running away is an appropriate possible outcome? what interactions should the player be capable of?  should they be allowed to perform harmful, hurtful, or cruel actions?  


should i model more than just pet relations? mood? food? water? disease? make them a full band member you can control directly? a FPS where your a dog! <g>

#5312523 let the player be a badguy?

Posted by on 25 September 2016 - 11:58 AM

the game: Caveman 3.0 FPSRPG / person sim hybrid, open world sandbox survival simulation. stone age setting. emphasis on realism. (would paleo-world sim suffice?).


while adding features to the game, i've tried to follow the rule that the player should be able to do anything that NPCs can do.


the game has periodic random thief encounters, similar to the spawn point triggered thief encounters in skyrim - "gimme all your stuff - or else!". should the player be able to say "gimme all your stuff or else!" to NPCs? IE rob them?  the reply would depend on the strength of the player's and NPC's parties. anything from laughing in your face to "here - take everything - just please don't kill me!", followed by a transfer of items. unlike skyrim, a thief will only try to rob you if relative party strength is not against them. so one stupid guy on the road doesn't try to shake down you, your 3 followers, your warhorse, and your wardog. gangs of thieves are planned for Caveman.


the game also includes raiding by hostile bands, and the ability to form alliances with friendly bands for mutual aid in raiding hostiles.  i was thinking about having bands with different goals, like survival, conquest, etc. part of that was to include "kings" who would go around with many warriors demanding tribute from other bands (IE a means of taxation). so "let the player demand tribute" got on the todo list, and wasn't removed when goals for bands didn't make the final cut (not really realistic).  should the player's party be able to demand tribute from another band?   this would work basically the same as the thief encounter, but it would be a "talk to band at shelter" dialog option, not a "talk to caveman" dialog option. relative party strength would determine the response. the number of items transferred would be larger: something like all of the band's trade inventory.

#5312521 the dreaded "escort" quest

Posted by on 25 September 2016 - 10:51 AM

how about a "deliver message" (or whatever) type quest, and they give you a couple of warriors (temporary followers) as bodyguards, and you get quest encounters with double (or at least higher than usual) number appearing. would that be ok? that _would_ make it a quest - as opposed to a player initiated action.

#5312487 the dreaded "escort" quest

Posted by on 25 September 2016 - 06:49 AM

Or maybe it's a "Kill " quest, but the specific enemy is way above your level, so it turns that boss-fight into a "survive the boss for enough time for to kill the boss", which is an interesting twist on regular boss-fights


i'm currently experimenting with that gameplay style in skyrim. low level charater (< 10th level), 14 followers, and legendary difficulty. i lead my "army" into balttle, then try to stay out of the way. just two arrows from a regular bandit will kill me. and here i am with lightning bolts and all kinds of other stuff flying around during combat. my followers may be set to essential, but i'm not!  <g>.


i guess the only thing that pops out at me is that, unless the player has a quest to "get to the other side", getting to the other side would simply be a gameplay option, but not a quest. the player could simply hire warriors (mercs / henchmen / men-at-arms) to protect them. no quest required. well, at least you could in a game where you can hire warriors (like Caveman). obviously, in a mission driven game like COD, every mission is a quest, and "extra help" is typically assigned on a per mission basis. you can't hire your own soldier-of-fortune to help you out on the battlefield, they way you can hire a follower in skyrim (i assume. its been a while since i played a COD title, i need to catch up).

#5312301 Leveling up through mini-quests?

Posted by on 24 September 2016 - 06:43 AM

Servant has a good point.


the first thing you have to do is decide what kinds of experience points you'll have in the game, and what they represent experience in. D&D started with exp representing experience in combat as a certain class of character.


nowadays it seems folks forget its supposed to model something, and just use it in whatever manner, sometimes awarding "experience points" for all kinds of things, from follower kills, to location discovery, to quest completion. whats this supposed to represent? experience in playing the game?


experience points are not a game mechanic like jumping or powerups in a side scroller. they are a way of modeling something in a simulation. an often abused way.

#5312300 Leveling up through mini-quests?

Posted by on 24 September 2016 - 06:28 AM

Then again, this almost entirely removes one of the perennial benefits of levels.  [snip]  


excellent insights there.


when addressing the question "what to do when you're high level", i came to the conclusion that the player needs a goal at all times, either supplied by the game, or one the player has set for themselves. it can be as simple as "lets see whats over the next hill...  hmm... yet another hill."   or as complex as "slay the dark lord while simultaneously balancing the national budget".  traditional ways of gaining experience provide this constant goal (i have a progress bar to fill !). quests would not do this unless they were one long quest line, with each quest automatically assigned upon completion of the previous. similar to the main and faction quest lines in skyrim.

#5312120 Leveling up through mini-quests?

Posted by on 23 September 2016 - 08:53 AM

The problem that I have with these mini-quests is that someone has to generate them


that problem is endemic to all hand generated content. procedurally generated content and user created content seem to be the only answers.


and they will inevitably get boring (there's only so and so many things you can give as quest).


that problem is endemic to all hard coded content, and even procedurally generated content which lacks sufficient variety. procedurally generated content with sufficient variety is one possible solution. another is to design the game so tasks/quests are not repeated often enough to get old. make them one time only, or a limited number of times, or design them so they won't get used too often (IE they are of limited benefit), something like that. or just throw up a message and say "if you want more - buy the DLC or next version!". and then make a bunch of DLC, and a new version. <g>.


at the end of the day, any offline game can only have a fixed amount of content. once its used up, its used up. time for a new game.


unless you can come up with a good script formula for writing quests, it may be too much work to use quests as the primary means of leveling up. they may have to be relegated to a bonus way to level up, with some more traditional / automatic / less developer labor intensive means of leveling as the basis for the game.


right now i've finished 26 quest gens for caveman, and still have another 29 on the todo list. each requires about a screen worth of init_quest code, and 2-5 screens of run_quest code (depending on the number of stages in that quest type).  almost every new quest requires me to write some function to check for some new condition never checked for before in the game. that's typically another screen or two of code. code is also required to display map markers and journal entries based on quest stage. although this could be handles with generic routines and a database. but its just about as fast (maybe faster?) to add the code as it is to add the data as to where to draw markers and what text to display at each stage of the quest. by now i've got it down to about 3 hours to write, test, debug, and finish one quest gen. and it doesn't look like i can do it any faster.

#5312110 After being an indie game developer I begin to doubt myself

Posted by on 23 September 2016 - 08:12 AM

1.  grossing $3K per year per warm body is not exactly making a living. its pretty obvious you guys need to get some sort of jobs to support yourselves while you get the company up and running, and perhaps fund the company as well.  reducing your living expenses will free up funds from the jobs for use by the company. all profits from the company will need to be plowed right back into the company.  not until the company can pay for everything (gear, marketing, telecom expenses, office furniture and supplies, etc) and still have a bunch left over for you two (say at least $20K each per year or whatever you need to live on) - only then should you quit your day jobs.


2. market research: how much do the best selling games of this type make?  maybe just one of this type of game won't get the returns you seek. you may need a dozen titles to get what you want. or maybe these games just don't cut it at all as a way to make a living and you'll need to do some other type of game that sells better.  also, can you match the quality of the best selling games of this type? if you can't, you have no product at all. 2nd place is 1st loser.


3. assuming there's evidence that these games can get you the desired returns, its all about marketing, marketing, marketing. and then some more marketing.

#5311985 13 Y/O That Is Interested In Learning How To Make Video Games

Posted by on 22 September 2016 - 04:21 PM

its a never ending journey. i've been building games for fun since 1981, and building them to sell since 1989.  whether you do it for fun or profit, its one of the coolest things on the planet. enjoy!

#5311771 what makes a quest epic?

Posted by on 21 September 2016 - 07:29 AM

looking over the responses...


a great story:    a quest can be non-epic and still have a great story. so a great story alone isn't enough.


power level: (epic-ness?)  everything is on a grand scale. summoned gods doing battle vs servant with dagger.   this could be a contender.


big / long / hard:   big must mean power level / epic-ness, not length.   these also seem to be contenders.


immersion, story (again), ambiance, music:   games can have all these things and no quests whatsoever - epic or otherwise. so these don't seem to be core components of epic quests, just nice to have.


shine out (uniqueness): it would seem possible to have two similar quests that are both epic, so uniqueness doesn't seem to be a requirement.


high odds. long duration: once again these seem to be common in "epic" quests.


multiple pathways, learning, gaining skills, the unexpected (IE plot twists), an emotional payoff, and a satisfying epilogue are all possible in non-epic quests. so none of those makes a quest "epic". once again they are just "nice to have".


once you strip out the bits that don't necessarily make a quest epic your left with:


grand scale, long time, and high difficulty.


do classic epics pass this test?


are the following epics grand scale, long time, and/or high difficulty?




lord of the rings

the hobbit

the illiad

the oddesy

the golden fleece

the twelve labors of hercules

any other examples?


can anyone name a classic epic that doesn't have at least one of: grand scale, long time, or high difficulty?


can anyone name a non-epic quest that has one or more of these?

#5311423 Automated Space Combat (4X)

Posted by on 19 September 2016 - 09:08 AM

always use the simplest possible simulation model that yields sufficiently correct results.


at the simplest level, each type of unit has one stat: combat strength.

to resolve one turn of combat, you add up the total strength of both sides, add some randomness, and that determines losses for each side, which are then applied at random to different ships.


so you add up the strength of both sides, figure out the odds, roll a die, and consult the combat table, which expresses losses as a percentage of total fleet strength most likely.


so if your fleet has total strength of 100, and 30% losses, you eliminate 30 strength points worth of ships at random.


with correctly balanced values for unit strength, something as simple as this could work.  the unit strength would take into account all capabilities of the ship: weapons, armor, speed, maneuverability, special weapons, crew training, etc.


this would be a combat system similar to those seen in table top wargames games like blitkrieg and thrid reich by avalon hill. 

#5311406 How Do You Go About Your Game Design?

Posted by on 19 September 2016 - 08:15 AM

i start with an idea of something that ,might make a cool game. such as a game where you can:


"make a stone knife and take on a sabertooth"

"be the captain of a starship"

"fly a space fighter"

"be a character in a fantasy RPG world"

"be a pirate"


then i determine what mechanics will be required to model the game world in question.


the design doc is typically a one page list of basic game features. the list of basic features leads to a "todo" list - which then drives the entire project. put it on the "todo" list - do it, move it to the "done" list. then on to the next feature.


i typically shy away from story based games - preferring open world simulation and emergent behavior from combos of basic game mechanics.  forcing the player to follow a storyline places artificial barriers around them in what could otherwise be an open world simulation. but its ok to place a storyline over a open world simulation. if they stray off the storyline they don't hit any artificial barriers, because the whole world is modeled, not just the bits related to the story.

#5311395 what makes a quest epic?

Posted by on 19 September 2016 - 07:25 AM

what makes a quest epic?


in my mind, high challenge makes it epic.  and that basically translates to epic combat. say at best somewhere around 50-50 odds of winning. long time or long distances involved seem to also make it more epic, but don't seem to be sufficient in and of themselves to make things epic.


so what in your mind makes for an epic quest?



#5311288 should i have both epic AND mundane quests?

Posted by on 18 September 2016 - 06:35 AM

Waterlimon has brought up a good point.


what do you consider to be an epic quest?


it seems different folks have different opinions on just what makes a quest epic.


perhaps with a sample of various people's definition of an epic quest we can find elements that are common to most/all people.


to me, extremely challenging combat seems essential. or perhaps extremely challenging theft in lieu of combat.  long time and long distance also seem to have weight, but don't seem to be sufficient by themselves.

#5311286 should i have both epic AND mundane quests?

Posted by on 18 September 2016 - 06:24 AM

Epicness is relative to the expectations of the player. If all your quests are epic, none are.   As mentioned, the focus needs to be on quality of quests. How epic they feel, is just a knob to increase the perceived quality of experience without actually changing the complexity of the content (youre just using bigger numbers and words and so on).


you know, we've never really defined what we mean by epic.


to me big words and numbers aren't epic. to me, in a game, high difficulty = epic. IE tough boss battles.  IE  epic battles.  other things can contribute to a quest being epic: long time to complete, long distance to travel. at least these are the things that seem to make me think "epic".


quest battles are designed so you have at best maybe a 50% chance of winning, and at worst, perhaps a low as 40% chance to win - regardless of party strength. so they will always be tough battles - epic battles (by my definition).


what do others consider "epic"?


one man's "epic" may be another man's "mundane".  to me it all seems to hinge on the challenge presented. IE how hard is it to succeed.


so even "collect 10 skeever tails" can be a challenge, if you're 1st level, and you must collect them from a cave where you encounter 30-50 at once. while this may be trivial for a hercules type, it would be epic for your average citizen / 1st level noob.


Consider the storytellers of rimworld.


In caveman you can also adjust both difficulty (difficulty in RImworld) and encounter chances (storyteller AI in Rimworld). so i think i've got that covered. this allows the player to make the world both as difficult, and as busy as they want.