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Norman Barrows

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

#5310662 should i have both epic AND mundane quests?

Posted by on 13 September 2016 - 07:17 PM

If possible you should have the non-epic quests earlier in the game and the epic quests later in the game.  I think it's good to have both though.





there really is no "earlier" vs "later" in the game, unless you measure it by number of days alive, or total skill exp, etc. there's no over-arching storyline where mundane tasks might appear early on (like tote shields for the companions in skyrim) with more epic undertakings later on in the story.


both quest and random encounters are scaled to party strength, the difference being that quests range from a single 1st level opponent on up, while random encounters have a minimum of one and a max of num_appearing for that animal type. but you might still encounter a single 10th level animal while at 1st level (so to speak).  so random encounters may be imbalanced with a weak party vs a single strong animal (sabertooth! time to run!), or they may be imbalanced between a strong party and a small/weak herd (rhim gazelle! time to hunt!). quest encounters are carefully scaled to always provide as close as possible to, and no better than, 50-50 odds in favor of the player's party.


almost all quests are "random encounters" that can occur at the shelters of friendly bands: "the cavemen here tell you of a great treasure... go for the treasure? yes, no.", that kind of thing.


i was thinking that mundane tasks/jobs might make sense from both gameplay and immersion standpoints. its more stuff you can do that might have occurred in the real world. and given the random encounter driven design of the game, from bushwhackers to sabertooths to catching a cold to montezuma's revenge from drinking dirty water, even a mundane fedex or escort mission might turn into quite the little adventure.


it could potentially almost double the number of quest types possible, such as escort quests with and without a special quest encounter. tasks/jobs for those who want them, and epic challenges for those who seek that. between the quest and random wilderness encounter scaling for party strength, both jobs and quests would be appropriately challenging. about the only challenge in implementing it would be determining the proper reduced reward for jobs vs quests. maybe start at 1/2 quest treasure levels and adjust as necessary.

#5310523 Included library calls function from main.cpp

Posted by on 12 September 2016 - 07:55 PM

you seem to have you filenames backwards.

#5310522 should i kill paarthurnax?

Posted by on 12 September 2016 - 07:46 PM

should i kill paarthurnax?


i'm at that point with one of my charcters in skyrim. maybe the fourth or fifth time now. maybe sixth.


for some reason, this is the only real moral dilemma that really hits me in the game. 


which leads to a number of questions:


does it affect you that way? or do you just min-max it? from gameplay point of view its basically "the ability change what word you mediate on" vs "followers with blades armor" and "esbern's dragon slaying prayer buff" as far as i'm aware.  


a quick google returns a number of hits related to the "paarthurnax dilemma" - as its apparently referred to (i have yet to peruse them all).


what about it is so vexing for some (like me) ?   based on the in-game evidence presented, pretty much every fiber of my being says its wrong to kill paarthurnax. i've probably let him live 4 out of 5 times so far. but the quest line seems to be written such that you're supposed to kill him to complete the "Blades faction" quest line (and become head of the blades faction).


assuming many people find it as challenging question as i do, what about it make its a challenging question? and can we reproduce that in other games somehow?  for some reason the moral dilemma presented is somehow setup just right to touch me on an emotional level. most games don't mess with me like this! <g>.  is it that you have to choose between friends? and even worse - kill one to keep the other?


aside from discussion of this interesting design topic, i'd also like to do a bit of an informal poll as to whether this particular character of mine should do the deed or not.


her name is Electia Atrillius. she's a fine daughter of Cyrodiil, grand daughter of the legendary Imperial General Atrillius (made up backstory). she was my playtest character for the imperial faction quest line when i was evaluating skyrim (my game Caveman is inspired by The Elder Scrolls and The SIMs). She's an Imperial Legate (retired), having completed the Imperials quest line. She's 35th level, Fighter stone, dual wield sword and dagger, heavy armor. both xbow and bow. legendary 1x on enchantment. one handed and heavy armor skills in the 80's. law and order type. loyal imperial subject, but also worshiper of talos (hey - he founded the empire!). one the one hand, she could be the leader of the blades. on the other hand, she could gain a number of dragon allies, such as paarthurnax, the dragon you can call with a shout, and the dragon from dawnguard. what would the the in-character role playing move for her to make? do the deed or not? she can always buy / find / enchant / smith gear better than blades gear. I use UFO and follower mods, so she could create her own blades type faction if she wanted. but she's more of a loner type. no follower, one horse, no house, maybe 20K gold. but the girl rips though stuff like i've never seen. she went though the Alduin end quest alone without using healing potions!  that dual flurry standing power attack is unbelievable!. granted, she did get pinned down by a couple drauger death lords and a dragon priest just before entering soverngard, but i only died a few times. in the end the xbow (double enchanted of course!) got her out.

so - would she do the deed? i'll not kill him for a while to see what folks think. being an imperial and all, i'm thinking maybe so. its just one dragon, and she'd be leader of the blades, a natural place for the dragon born grand daughter of a famous Imperial General, and a Legate of the Empire, the one who declined the honor of taking Ulfric's head (she let Tullius do that deed). what do you think?

#5309167 the dreaded "escort" quest

Posted by on 02 September 2016 - 07:55 AM

The most important questionis : do you really need escort missions?


only storyline based quests / quest lines need them - and only when the story includes escorting someone.


i'm just trying to get "requisite variety" in the types of quest generators in the game.  and "escort" is a plausible type of quest / mission. all quests are voluntary and optional on the part of the player, and can be abandoned at any time for any reason by the player.


a number of other quests (such as rescue pet) include "escort" stages (such as escort pet back to owner).

#5309163 Microscopic Evolution Game

Posted by on 02 September 2016 - 07:32 AM

>> E.) What are some examples or suggestions for how progress could work in this kind of game?



if you mean player progress, while they are evolving, the other microbes are as well. and progress is measured by how well they do vs the latest competitor. if they make good choices, they will dominate. if they make poor choices, they will fall further behind the competition (from an evolutionary point of view) and eventually die out (get eaten).


pacing will be very important. evolution takes a LONG time. you'll need to accelerate time somehow. also, evolution is driven by random mutations that just happen to be favorable. in this case i guess the player would be choosing the mutations, and hoping they turned out to be favorable.

#5309161 Microscopic Evolution Game

Posted by on 02 September 2016 - 07:19 AM

A.) This is probably the most important question. As a single amateur game developer am I in way in over my head?    



graphics complexity aside - no. you are not over your head. but you'll need to figure out the rules of how things work first, and write them down, before you start to do any coding or artwork at all. you have to know what to write and what to draw before you can write or draw. depending on how realistic you want to get and how much you know about microbes, this may require a bit of research time. EDIT - from your later replies, it appears you already figured this out. <g>.


>> B.) What are some restrictions I can set for myself to keep this game simple enough for an indie developer such as myself?  


graphics complexity. also - start with just a basic set of rules with just a few mechanisms, like mouth, flagella, etc.


>> C.) There will need to be some kind of mechanic to monitor how successful the players species is or weather it's going extinct which I'm not sure about yet. Any suggestions?  


if its gong to be in a game world (a water drop on a microscope slide) with other critters (NPC microbes), let survival of the fittest decide. if the player dies out, they aren't doing so well... <g>.


>> D.) Are people even interested in this kind of game or am I a serious minority?  


it could be cool it - could be ultra niche. i think the more realistic it is, the more niche it will be. but somewhat silly, humorous, and cartoon-ey and pretty basic and simple could be the next angry birds. you never can tell.


>> E.) What are some examples or suggestions for how progress could work in this kind of game? I'm really still experimenting with the concept.   F.) Any tips or suggestions would be nice.


1. research microbes.

2. work out rules of game, write them down.

3. select dev tools (language, engine, compiler, art tools etc).

4. rapid prototype. 100-200 hours total labor max (equivalent of 3-5 weeks full time). used free DL'd assets for place holders. do not spend more than 100-200 hours prototyping! do not create any artwork AT ALL ! (yet).

5. decide if the project is viable.

6. if so, design the full code base, artwork, etc.

7. implement code, create / acquire assets.

8. testing / tweaking / polishing

9. release.

#5309155 Implementing stats in an RPG - layer based approach

Posted by on 02 September 2016 - 06:56 AM

keep it as simple as possible.


i personally use functions that simply return adjusted_str(),  adjusted_dex(),   armor_rating() etc.


the functions calculate the current value of the adjusted stat based on the core stat and any modifiers.

#5309149 What's more addictive: Endless gameplay or make progress one level at a t...

Posted by on 02 September 2016 - 06:19 AM

its a matter of personal taste.




I was thinking of introducing one enemy type each level, and cycle the level type


you can have you cake and eat it too!


make it level based. when you run out of levels and units, switch over to "endless mode" 




So in that sense, an endless game may require less work to implement.




i did a realtime wargame called "Armies of Steel".   if you turned on one #define in the source code, it created "Combat Zone", a realtime arcade wargame with levels. Each level introduced new unit types or terrain types. The game had 20 levels. When you got to level 20. you were playing the most basic scenario in Armies of Steel.


some games (like pinball) are more suited to "high score" type play. many are not.  


on the other hand, SIMTrek / SIMSpace (a star trek flight sim) is actually a "high score" game - complete as many missions as possible without failing 3 mission total (3 strikes you're out - reassigned to shore duty).  there high score doesn't get dull because its a strategic game of energy management inside a 3d flight sim in a living open gameworld.


" high score" is a simple kind of goal. if the game is kind of simple as well, it will get old quick.


also, best possible high score is a single unchanging goal that the player approaches asymptotically but never quite reaches.  


the fact that its just a single unchanging goal might be why it gets old fast. one you've got the hang of the game, you don't make much progress on improving your top score.


the randomness in pinball may be why it works well there. no matter how good you are, luck can still mean the difference between a gutter ball and 1,000,000 points. so you never know if the next quarter you drop will be the best game of your life. sort of like playing slots: "just -  one - more -pull !.

#5309144 Need a very simple collision detection for walls. ( 3d )

Posted by on 02 September 2016 - 05:52 AM

do you have an underlying map that tells you where to draw walls? or is it just a list of triangles / quads/ renderables?


almost every game i've done used an internal map (usually a 2d array) to represent the game world. it said where to draw the graphics and was also used for collision checks.


in my current project, not everything is a map. many of the maps are implemented as sparse matrices (IE a list), not 2d arrays. terrain chunks are just ordered lists of renderables.  what i do is generate a 2d collision map at some desired resolution, and use that for collision checks.


it often turns out one data structure (such as 2d arrays) is best for fast collision checks, but some other type of data structure (such as renderables list - oct-tree, etc) is better for fast graphics.


so you keep two copies of the info, one in each type of data structure, and use the best data structure for the job at hand.  data oriented design.  how the data is used determines the best data structure for each task that uses the data. odds are different tasks (like rendering and collision checks) may have different "best" data structures (such as an ordered list of  renderables for terrain chunks, and 2d collision maps).


while it may be less efficient from a memory use point of view, its WAY more efficient from a clock cycle use point of view.

#5308851 the dreaded "escort" quest

Posted by on 31 August 2016 - 08:09 AM

Think about giving NPCs items that you can only get from killing them

i'm not sure if plain jane NPC's can have "high quality" items (akin to magic items) in their inventory or not, i'd have to check. no reason why someone might not have an unusually nice spear or something. i know high quality items can be part of quest treasures and rewards. but i think they are also available somewhere else (IE by some other means), i'd have to check. its tough to keep a game this big all in your head at once.




Think about NPCs that hire you to kill the person you are escorting. Think about bandits ambushing you, and offering to pay you to let them kill your VIP. And then think of the consequences when the relatives of that person find out what occurred.


all very good plot twists. i'm finding that the possible plot twists are almost endless. i don't think any of the 30-40-50? quest generators planner so far is based around a plot twist. they're all more of less straightforward quests so far. once the various possible types of straightforward quests are well covered, i may go back and make "twisted sister" versions of them. that way you never know if it a straight or twisted quest.  ; )


last night i finished up a first cut at both the sacred animals and the escort quest. both are straightforward, but they work.  using regular badguys did the trick for the sacred animals quest, although the herd is still just a random animal encounter that might kill both hunters and player alike. making the NPC a follower made the escort quest pretty trivial to code up.

#5308846 the dreaded "escort" quest

Posted by on 31 August 2016 - 07:56 AM

Suggestion: Make whoever you are escorting be competent.


i made them a temporary follower - with full blown follower capabilities,  AI, dialog options, and orders. about the only thing you can't do is tab over to them and control them yourself, like you can with a band member. and you can't take their stuff. you can only take back stuff you've given them. the game tracks ownership of items - NPC ID number , or -1 for "belongs to player's band".



don't worry, i added an explicit call to exchange_items_with_follower(a); for all possible end quest scenarios except follower dead. in that case you can loot the body and take both your stuff and theirs. otherwise you can only take back items you gave them, not items they own.

#5308844 the dreaded "escort" quest

Posted by on 31 August 2016 - 07:43 AM

Could the destination be another person or group that will take over from some agreed upon landmark?


ah - a substitute destination! a clever work-around!   actually, the destination doesn't HAVE to be another band's camp, that just seemed like a logical destination. it could just be some point in the world, which happens to be at a camp if there's one in range, and simply somewhere at random if there isn't. lose the specific references to the camp in the text, and you would not need two different sets of text depending on the destination type (camp or rendezvous point).

#5308843 the dreaded "escort" quest

Posted by on 31 August 2016 - 07:37 AM

there's no reason why you could not simply encounter an NPC who is going from A to B at some point between A and B and get "hired" to escort them.


that would be an additional way to trigger the quest...


right now, almost all "quest encounters" only occur at the shelters of friendly bands, and take the general form of "the cavemen here tell you about..."


the "aid ally" and "build hut" quests are triggered when you get an ally encounter at your shelter - either a call for aid, or an invitation to join their village.


as i recall there are a few quests planned that will be "random wilderness encounters"  that could happen at any time. and i know that "quest encounters at any time, not just at friendly shelters"  is on the todo list already.

#5308715 the dreaded "escort" quest

Posted by on 30 August 2016 - 01:06 PM

and now i have a new problem - 


what if there is no friendly shelter within 100 miles to escort the NPC to?  (procedurally generated world. 2500x2500 miles. 60,000 caves - avg 25% friendly, 5000 rock shelters - avg 25% friendly, and 18,000 huts - avg 90% friendly).


just kick it up to 200 miles? or 500?  what if that ends up across the ocean or something?


if nothing within 100 miles, don't assign the quest at all, and their quest encounter is "no quest encounter"?

#5308664 the dreaded "escort" quest

Posted by on 30 August 2016 - 07:47 AM

i.e. are there new experiences that you can have with this temporary tag-along player that will mix up your existing gameplay and add flavor?


well, its another spear at your back. if they have special skills (warrior, trader etc), you can learn from them. and of course its a "mule" to carry treasure back from the dungeon. IE the usual advantages you get from an additional party member. being able to learn skills is about the only special thing. but in skyrim you can get members of the companions as followers, and thus have a follower who can train you.


as i said, the reward is the prime motivator. a temporary follower is nice, but the reward is the real benefit to the player. and the quest rewards are quite generous. i seem to have found that happy spot where the treasure is quite big, but not monty haul. makes quest treasures in skyrim and fallout look like a joke. i save whiterun from a dragon and you give me an axe not even worth 1000 gold?