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Member Since 12 Dec 2012
Offline Last Active Jan 16 2013 10:16 PM

Topics I've Started

Can AI Rival Online Players?

16 January 2013 - 03:50 PM

This is a common thought of mine.


 I play a game every so often called Mount&Blade:Warband. There is a mod called "Persistent World" in which you are thrown into an MMO sandbox-type world and you're essentially left with the standard fare choices to make. You can collect, craft, be a doctor, knight, whatever. Upon death you lose everything (though you do respawn) and are asked to roleplay being a new character. While I am not a fan of roleplaying, I agree to keep up the atmosphere.


 The mod is fun, you have bandits, ransoms, duels, wars - it's all very "Persistent". But it had me thinking. This game would be reasonably more fun with absolutely no latency and a more surefire way to ensure that all players keep to some basic rules. At this point I was back to thinking about AI again, if it could match what an online player contributes and still has the same unpredictability.



 What games have excellent AI? Do you think singleplayer can give the same multiplayer experience? If anyone plays the popular competitive multiplayer games (TF2, Halo, etc..) I'd love to hear your thoughts also.

Character Creation

12 January 2013 - 04:52 PM

 I really dislike being pigeonholed into playing a predetermined list of characters. I think it's lame and a step back in gaming. It's simply personal preference, I know a lot of people like linear stories and all of that, I don't. The first time I started feeling satisfied with character creation was SWG. Before then, I hadn't seen anything like it; the sliders, the deformation of characters, such a range of possibility! Really cool, really fun. However, this stopped being rare and I started disliking how "meta" it felt. Sculpting your character is cool, certainly, though I think it can be improved. This is, of course, meaning improvements with adhering to immersion.

 With that said, let's speculate on how the formula can be improved. Do YOU feel like it could be better? What would you want in your game? Does immersion start when gameplay begins or when you advance from the start menu?


My Tentative Idea Thread

14 December 2012 - 09:07 AM

A few of the posters in my thread "unfocused discussion" have encouraged me to go forward and post an Idea thread. While it's an uncomfortable thing for me to do, you all have been great thus far and very open; I'd like to return the favor. Mind you, I do not hold value in these ideas, I just wanted to discuss the prevalent ones in my mind. If my idea is somewhat similar to yours, talk about it! I have no issue with a thread becoming derailed and if this thread spawns another's question, go for it. We're all here to learn. So let's get started:

Oh, I'm going to use placeholder titles, to make response a lot easier.

"Rock Game"

The back story with this game will be Christianity influenced(I am not religious by any stretch, but am consistently intrigued by Theology) and while it will not be so close to call it Christianity themed, I'd like for it to be easy to see the derivatives. An intro to the setting would be, perhaps, to the world as whole. A few still shots of a busy city, with many people, loud yelling and clamoring. Zooming out, from clouds, galaxy, and innevitably the entire universe, whiteness. A whisp of electricity that is vaguely hand shaped opens, then closes. Zooming back into space, to a collection of meteors that are floating among the void, you see them ignite into fire and speed off into a direction. This direction, of course, is Earth; where the doomsday gang is hurtling. At impact, after the explosion, there is a molten planet which was once ours - now filled with lava and bare rock. Infinitely quiet, a stark contrast to how it was seconds before. I want this to be quickly, to bring home the fidelity of these creatures.

A scene switch back to the far reaches of the universe, where the Hand entity was, there's a man. Sorrow filled, shaking his head. He turns mournfully, giving the being a glance and then quickly vanishing leaving behind the same type of electricity. A view from the ground up on Earth, amongst the molten rock he appears in an explosion of lightning. With a quick and smooth outward gesture, the landscape begins to change. The lava evaropates, the sun brightens onto the land, and below ground rocks are tightening. This pressure and the cooling action of the removed lava creates a multitude of gems, which are now shaking at full speed and slowly rising. Around the god-like man these rock beings quickly rise - each have a crystal embedded within their palm. Standing around him, he looks up. Some dialogue will come forth at this point, I don't know what, but an explanation of unjust punishment for acting how they were programmed and that they are now purely soul - that the deities will leave them to an immortal life without intervention. This is when the game would start.

Again, this is simply outline, there are probably plot holes and a lack of accurate descriptions but that'd most likely resolve if I even move forward with this.

The game itself would be magic based as the unobstructed soul would allow for wordly manipulation. Communication rudimentary, but some remnance of basic wording because the soul had still been through civilized life and remembers it's past. I was thinking that the rock beings would quickly separate into their own groups, each pursuing a different ideal of how to proceed in this new world. This is where the combat takes place. Dependent on your group, you will amass a certain type of spell craft (I'm thinking based on the elements, while cliche I think the idea of one controlling fire or water or air OR earth entirely cool. NERD ALERT! Posted Image). Instead of spell creation I would like to allow spell manipulation.

To draw a comparison, I'd say it'd be like chess. You have pieces that have defined movements, but their purposes are endless. I think it's fine to predefine spells and I don't think that is the issue with spell systems. I think the issue is the lack of weight. If you're creating the typical fireball, you are doing an amazing feat. I want the fireball to have WEIGHT, to act like a hurling ball of fire and to react like a fireball. Here's an example:

You have at your disposal the manipulation of fire. Determined by some user input, you can alter how the fire will be executed. Maybe a long click will allow a spray, or one click followed by holding the right mouse button directly after will create a fireball and the duration you hold increases size. Spraying towards the ground might allow you to quickly move out of the way acting like a jetpack since it's pressurized. This is basic but I like the idea of a contextual type of spell cast. That when these things are released you FEEL the power. I want combat to be slow and dliberate, these are hulking creatures that cannot move quickly. I don't want a lot of spells being thrown back and forth, I want each spell to be large and have a multitude of options to counter or redirect it. I am not sure how damage would be governed, I'd love to do a high lethality system with a fun destruction-physics animation, but I'm not sure.

As an aside, the earth spells would only work on inanimate earth, these beings are the blblical golem and more clay like than boulder like.

Art style would most likely be matte colors among earthy tones. Kind of that grounded but extraordinary religious feeling you get in old paintings.

That is the basis for the above idea, which... I kind of feel embarrassed for even typing. I had to force myself through that. The other idea I had has been in my mind since childhood but again, not completely developed. Though with a bit more knowledge of the industry I can make a more educated detail of the idea than what just sounded cool.

"Hunter Game"

A game set in the early ages amongst the werewolves and vampires and all other badies we've heard about. I want these creatures to be rare and for you to be the hunter. Living among a few towns that would be entirely made up, you'd spend a lot of your time sparring different forms of combat with others or managing a business or keeping an hear/eye on local talk; Or all of the above!. The talk would be text based as I'd want it to be completely randomized ala Gnomoria/Dwarf Fortress. These would either lead to inconclusive or conclusive beasts that you would in turn, hunt. The preparation would, again, be slow. Amassing the weapons, the text on said creature, more villager topics, and the like SHOULD be difficult work. I'd like the combat to be a bastardization of Jedi Academy and Mount and Blade. Meaning, the ability to block but also have controlled directional attacks. I prefer the movement based directionals in JA to the Mount and Blade mouse directionals, but I'm unsure. I would not opposed to having one universal block button.

I want fights to last for a long time, where there is a lot of build up. More over, I want each situation to be different. This could work by setting up a variety of assets for the environments then using a tracking system similar to "The Hunter" ( a hunting game) in which the target has a randomized path that leaves behind "footprint" assets that indicate direction. Upon successfully finding the enemy (let's assume vampire) you will be attacked and you can block, use other equipment, grappling, and ultimately come out on top or die. I'd like for the fighting to make it clear that if you lost, it was your fault. So maybe you hit him with holy water, direct him to a church amongst the cross, or just combat him.

I'm torn on the after-death condition. I think respawns trivialize and undermine the whole process. I could do permadeath, I know a wealth of players that would enjoy such a system. But, the day to day tasks MUST be equally as fun if that is used, the hunting being a treat. I think a variety of what you CAN do and keeping the tasks tangent with the hunting skills is important to sustain interest. That being a business owner you will be greeted with a "tycoon" like sim, a detective you get to utilize the random text system to find crimes, a hoodlum you get to rob and break into homes, etc...

The game should stand up as if there were no creatures.

Well, that's it. I hope myself and others learn from the results of this thread. Thanks for reading!

An Unfocused Discussion

12 December 2012 - 07:12 AM

You guys ready for a conceptual and inconclusive discussion? Come on down!

Before I start, let me introduce myself. My name is JD, I'm new to game design - I'm twenty. Let's get on with it Posted Image!

Ideas. Ideas are fun, we all have them. I'm not surprised that GameDev is full of people that are just kicking around ideas; I am surprised ,however, over the constructive criticism and general helpful attitude. Kudos to you, gamedev community! While I'm not going to share my personal ideas, I think a much more growing experience would be had from pontificating over concepts and references. The things to discuss are sporadically presented, they are not coherent within each other except the fact they have to do with game design. I think a lot of people will disagree with this way of presenting a thread but I'd like to experiment and see if a conducive conversation (alliteration!) results.

Here are the topics, pick whatever you want and give your thought:

"Elements" within gaming

This is prevalent. I don't think I need to tell ANYONE about the utilization of Fire,Earth,Air, and Water within video games. But why? Is it because someone adapted this idea successfully ( I know this definition of elements has been around for hundreds of ages, but I'm talking about it's use in video games) and from here on it has created unlimited nostalgia? Think about it - it is very strange we have held this idea for so long. what is so appealing about this? I am, too, drawn to it and can't explain why. I'd love to hear insight on this.

Sparse Multiplayer

The only example I can think of right now is Dark Souls and it doesn't QUITE fit the definition entirely. In the utilization of online components that are used in tandem WITH singeplayer, how does someone create a complete experience without making the game have a "segmented" vibe. Darksouls use of anonymity was brilliant and the small dose of player interaction within your singeplayer feels very organic. However, the game can fall apart during PvP, though I have a feeling that is largely due to connectivity. How would another game do this successfully with a more interactive community that allowed conversation with others in game?

Condition not Damage

Hit points have been in the industry for who knows how long. A measurable form of health is/was a great idea. With this system becoming increasingly cliche, how would a game developer combat(haha pun) this? Can a new process be implemented where speed, momentum, and trauma be simulated to check for death that isn't over complicated and CPU intensive? I know of games that don't have health bars, but I haven't known of one that has the above included. Is there a game that does this already?

Performance and It's Effects

I see a lot of let's play videos that have less than optimal framerate. These players, however, still enjoy the game. How optimized must a game be and how necessary is it for it's success? Are these players just making the best out of a bad situation or are they having just as much enjoyment as other players who can run it with 60+ FPS?

That's all for now, enjoy! Thanks for lookin' :).

ps - No spell checker? I'm becoming increasingly surprised with the amount of forums that ignore this feature. Kind of silly, if you ask me.