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overactor

Member Since 20 Apr 2013
Offline Last Active Feb 09 2014 12:56 AM

#5061098 What's the true worth of an initial game idea?

Posted by overactor on 11 May 2013 - 10:22 AM

You're exactly right, someone with enthusiasm suggests how they think things should be and someone worn down by the industry talks beside the question by stating how things are.

 

Unfortunately, even with all the enthusiasm in the world, the lack of experience basically means your idea of 'how things should be' may not very well rooted in reality.

 

Let's suppose though, for the sake of argument, you're right. Idea Guys are a downtrodden and under-appreciated font of creativity, and games developers should make better use of them.

 

How do you propose we harness their untapped potential? Should studios start hiring Idea Guys? What are you actually proposing here?

 

How about this, you move from huge projects being the standard to medium sized projects. You give the game designer an even bigger say and have him work form an idea he came up with himself or is extremely passionate about. The problem of course is, who in their right mind would finance that over some sequel or rehashed game that is a guaranteed moneymaker? It might turn out to be a flop, it will definitely not appeal to as large an audience as AAA games do, but the end product will have a hell of a lot more integrity.




#5061029 What's the true worth of an initial game idea?

Posted by overactor on 11 May 2013 - 04:53 AM

I do agree with your views on the stereotypical idea guy. An idea on its own isn't worth much and an idea guy without a skill set definitely isn't worth anything. Especially if his ideas aren't even good.

But i still hold my view that possessing a skill set does not make an artist, it is necessary, but not essential.

 

I'll try to clarify what I meant using your strawman argument concerning Rembrandt and the guy who had the idea to paint Jesus calming a storm.

I said the designer is the painter and that he needs to have a great initial idea and a vision to be a great artist. In this case, the initial idea came from someone else. Does this mean that the other guy is the real artist and Rembrandt merely the technical implementor? Maybe. It all depends on why he thought his idea was a good one. Does he understand how it will translate into a painting and what message it can convey to the consumer? Then yes, he can be considered an artist. And if he somehow translated that to Rembrandt and Rembrandt merely tweeked it a bit using his technical knowledge about painting, then Rembrandt should not be considered the artist. However, if that guy just thought it would look cool and Rembrandt saw how it could work out and be a great piece of art. Then Rembrandt is the artist and the other person simply sparked some great idea in his mind.

 

There are many people with great technical skill, not very many of them can be considered great artists though.

Bad design and great implementation leads to good entertainment, good design and bad entertainment leads to bad art.

I'll take good entertainment over bad art any day, but that doesn't change that striving for art in stead of entertainment has some value to it.




#5061021 What's the true worth of an initial game idea?

Posted by overactor on 11 May 2013 - 04:00 AM

Before reading this post, I'd like you to keep in mind that this is my personal opinion and that I am not presenting it as absolute truth, but rather putting it out there and asking for opinions on the matter.

 

There seems to be a lot of hate directed towards the 'idea guy' in the gaming community.

He adds little to the project in terms of both work and end result. The quality of a game comes down to execution, iteration and polish.

That is at least, if you'll believe the popular opinion on the matter.

I tend to disagree though, and I'd like to explain my views by tying this question into another one: "Can video games be art?"

 

At first glance, there seems to be very little preventing video games from being an art form. Much like film, it mixes several media to create a new one. Many of the processes required to make a game a reality are considered an art form.
An argument you encounter often is that interactivity, exactly what makes a medium a game, is what keeps it from being a piece of art. People have done a better job than I possibly could explaining why this argument is faulty, so I won't go into that. Where they tend to go wrong though, in my opinion, is when they try to identify the real reason why some people have troubles recognizing games as an art form. Apparently, they are too new as a medium. For one thing, this means that they have a bit of growing to do. Additionally, people who didn't grow up with it, don't fully understand the medium. I don't necessarily disagree with this, but I'd like to point out a very real problem that I think is hindering games.

 

The lack of appreciation and even depreciation of the 'idea guy'.

What I think is absolutely essential for art, is that the creator has something they want to share with the world. They have a vision for what they want their piece do art to become and make decisions when creating it based on that vision. Not based on what the money thinks it should be, not based on what will go down well with the audience and not even (primarily) based on what will make for the 'better' piece of art.

It's true that everyone in the gaming business, including the janitor, has ideas for games, but let me ask you this question: Does everyone have good game ideas?

 

Now, I'm not saying that the 'idea guy' should be held on a pedestal and that his contribution to the game, the initial idea, is the only thing that counts. It is still very true that, if the only thing he has to add is the initial idea, he is of not much worth. After all, what worth is a great idea for a painting if you can't paint? And that's what makes an artist, the essential skill set necessary to create his art and the initial idea.

 

This just leaves one more question, when it comes to making games, who is the painter? Well, that would be the game designer. Because as people have argued before me, game designing is a skill set and I will say more even, it is the only one truly essential to the quality of games.

So where do the other people involved in making a game fit into this metaphor? If the game designer is the painter, the 3d modeler, animator or 2d artist might be the manufacturer of the paint. And the programmers can be the one who made the canvas the painter is using. They are all admirable professions, without them, no painting could be made, and it is pretty awesome if the painter does some of these things himself, but that's not what makes a great artist, it's the technical skill and knowledge as a painter and more importantly, the initial idea and vision.




#5060130 You spawn in a forest, in your backpack you have a...

Posted by overactor on 07 May 2013 - 03:54 PM

This might not be what you are going for, but this reminds me of battle royale and a battle royale game would be beyond awesome.




#5058628 Game that tackles suspension of disbelief vs challenge.

Posted by overactor on 02 May 2013 - 08:57 AM

I've been thinking about some of the concerns you guys raised about the concept and hurdles for the level design, and came up with a possible solution.

 

What If the levels' content is based on the characters the player has left?

This means that the game would lay out the obstacles faced in the game semi-randomly a few steps ahead of the players. I'd throw in the random factor to make sure that the player still feels theb yeight of his previous mistakes throughout the entire game. But now he will get to use the characters he has left more often and the puzzles can be more geared towards certain characters. Every obstacle can still be overcome with every character, but this way I can make the default way a lot harder.

 

This also fits into the back story as the therapist would adapt the challenges he throws at the personalities based on which are left. Furthermore, it would seriously ad to the replay value, as each playthrough could be vastly different from the last one.

 

Obviously, there are some technical difficulties (especially since I'd prefer the game world to be possible to navigate without loading screens) to overcome and this means more content to design and create, but I feel like it could provide a significant improvement for the game.

 

Does anyone have any feedback on this idea?




#5057833 "Research" System in 4X Games

Posted by overactor on 29 April 2013 - 12:23 PM

This is definitely interesting. I must say, I'm not all that bothered by issue number one but it'd definitely be a pleasant change of pace to have it be a bit different.

I especially like that you would have to do this at each base separately  In a sense, total war games already have this sort of system though and I think it works well if implemented in a way you suggest.

 

You might want to consider merging the two systems in one, you could require the player to research certain technologies before they can even build them in teh way you suggested, but have a bunch of technologies ready at the start of the game.

It could be easier (faster and cheaper) to research technology if someone else has already discovered it.




#5057277 Leveling and Questing in Endless Space

Posted by overactor on 27 April 2013 - 09:57 AM

This sounds really cool but I don't think I can do it like this. The first problem would be that of the map itself. I'm using fairly simple random seed generation to load a 2d map of several dozen stars per sector, 3x3 sectors at a time. Each sector has to process events, move AI entities and abstractly resolve AI-AI interactions. You can see at some point that would become untenable regardless of the system.

 

I do like the idea of you becoming greater and greater in power but one thing the wilderness/civilization division would hide is the problem I've seen in games like Freelancer where you have to cross through regions filled with unworthy, lower level enemies. I know you need some of this in order to have a point of reference to feel you've improved, but I'm hoping a +5/-5 or so level range in terms of class differentials per region will do this.

 

I feel like it could work, You could work in explicit levels, your ship's engine and other equipment determines which level you can access.

Each level consists of an endless amount of sectors and each level X sector contains n² level X-1 sectors, where n would be the order of magnitudes you allow.

When you are in a certain sector, what you need to generate is the neighboring sectors of the same level, the sector that is one level higher this sector is located in and the lower level sectors the current one contains.

 

To generate a level 1 sector which I guess would be a local group of stars in a galaxy, you would need to fetch some information from the level 2 sector it is located in, such as star density and civilization density. At level 2 these things would be trivial and close to unobservable, the things you travel between are bigger clusters of stars where advanced civilizations are located. Level 2 sectors fetch information regarding the density of star clusters form the level 3 sectors they are located in. You can see how this goes on. Basically, each level sector generates what is truly relevant for a person traveling at that level, the level lower is basically white noise but just important enough to be generated as well, but unimportant enough that it doesn't affect the higher level. The higher level sector your sector is in determines the parameters by which yours is created. Not that a level 1 sector can contain a level 2,3 or even 10 society, but the chances become exponentially smaller with each higher level. Similarly, a level 10 sector will likely contain millions of level 1 civilizations, but their influence on the level 10 sector is negligible.

 

I believe this could solve both of your problems, you don't have to travel between ridiculously big low level areas, as each level X sector will contain the same amount of level X civilizations. And map generation and AI-AI interactions, if a bit more complex is still doable. At least that's what I think, maybe I'm just underestimating how heavily this would weigh.

 

I'll conclude with sa (simplified) example of how map generation could work at the beginning of the game.

 

Start game:

 

Generate 1 level 10 (presumed highest level) sector:

  • Lay out structure of vains of superclusters. (generate supercluster density map)
  • Place level 10 civilizations.
  • Work out AI-AI interactions of level 10 civilizations.
  • Generate level 9 civilizations density map, based on supercluster density and proximity of level 10 civilizations.
  • Pick level 9 sector player will be located in.

Generate this level 9 sector:

  • Use supercluster density map to place superclusters.
  • Place level 9 civilizations using civlization density map.
  • Work out AI-AI interactions of level 9 civilizations towards each other and possible attitude towards close level 10 civilizations.
  • Generate level 8 civilizations density map, based on superclusters and proximity of level 9 and 10 civilizations.
  • Pick level 8 sector player will be located in.

 

Generate this level 8 sector:

  • Lay out structure of vains of clusters in superclusters. (generate cluster density map)
  • Place level 8 civilizations using civilization density map.
  • Work out AI-AI interactions of level 8 civilizations towards each other and possible attitude towards close level 9 and 10 civilizations.
  • Generate level 7 civilizations density map, based on cluster density and proximity of level 8, 9 and 10 civilizations.
  • Pick level 7 sector player will be located in.

I think you can see how this would go on. In the beginning, you need to generate a linear series of sectors and form then on, whenever you travel to a new sector, you need to generate all directly underlying sectors and all neighboring sectors of the same level.




#5056614 Leveling and Questing in Endless Space

Posted by overactor on 25 April 2013 - 04:42 AM

It seems like you have a lot of technical challenges to overcome, but I guess you know that fully well, so I won't address those.

 

From your post I seem to understand that you'll start in a region of space where systems of class 1 up till 5-10 are available and if you want higher systems, you'll have to venture out past a wilderness to a new region? If so, I see why you would do that, but it feels a bit off. Another option would be that when you start, your travel is relatively limited and you can't really get past your own solar system at first. When you upgrade your systems, your capabilities increase exponentially and so does your possible travel distance.

 

People who used to be on your level now seem more like ants and ships that were like gods to you before are now your peers. Since the area you can now explore is exponentially larger than it was before, you'll have roughly the same amount of peers within your reach as you did before, you can size up like this an unlimited amount of times if you think up what the universe looks like at larger scales. Though maybe you want an end game at some point, a travel speed that can't be broken. (Above the speed of light I suggest), at that point you would keep upgrading your ship but with diminishing returns.

 

As for quests, there are many things to be done in space, you can drill for resources, return a captive, kill someone for political or personal reasons, negotiate a peace between two factions, scout a planet for life, return an escaped prisoner. It would be interesting if you could jump to a lower level for a quest and for instance kill an entire faction on your own and see how their opponents worship you as gods. Or maybe you want to meddle with the people one tier above you and see if you can take one of them on to free your people from their oppression.

 

I think two games worth looking at (and I'm sure you have already) are spore (the space phase for obvious reasons and the cell phase to see how exponentially increasing in size can work) and mount and blade (they offer rather interesting, if limited procedural questing).

Anyway, if you really have the capabilities and resources to make this, it sounds pretty cool, if you're just fantasizing, it still sounds pretty cool.

Good luck




#5056562 Planet Colony - Resources & Commodities?

Posted by overactor on 24 April 2013 - 11:19 PM

I would think you could include a lot more raw materials, iron, gold, space crystals, etc. Depending on the raw materials available, different planets would be better at manufacturing different things. You could also expand manufactured goods exponentially, from nail clippers to space liners.

 

He wouldn't want to make it too convoluted/complicated though.

 

You might include Deuterium, which is used for nuclear fusion and either mined from the earth or from the sea.

It would generally be interesting to have the planet you are on largely determine what you can mine.

 

 

Something else you could include is that you could build colonies on other planets in your star system, and moon of those planets and mine for more materials there.

 

Would there be a war element to the game? 




#5055733 Adding content in a story-driven game

Posted by overactor on 22 April 2013 - 07:01 AM

mostly have to agree with sunandshadow here, story driven games will always have limited replay value but I guess an unlimited gamemode is a possibility.

What you could do is make an introduction level for each new puzzle mechanic and when your game randomly selects a level, it could check if your player has encountered all of the mechanics in there yet, if he hasn't, you can first have him play the introduction levels to those mechanics.




#5055225 Game that tackles suspension of disbelief vs challenge.

Posted by overactor on 20 April 2013 - 09:15 AM

One thing you would need to be careful of is making sure the player isn't made to face an obstacle he can't pass because the character he needed to do it is dead or too badly injured.

You gave the example of an obstacle only one person can jump over. Well, what if that one person died in the first level of the game or he has a broken leg and can't jump as high anymore? The player would be stuck and they might not even realize it. They will get frustrated as they search for an alternative. They will then curse and become angry at the fact that they have to start over, and they probably won't do it because they will probably never play your game again or they will after a long time.

 

If something happens to a character that will prevent them from doing a required essential task in the future, the game needs to tell the player this so that they don't get to that point. Or, every obstacle needs alternatives. You could have the 'best' way past something which would be the easiest and quickest way, and alternatives that would be obvious, but also longer or more challenging. Then you could have other alternatives that are hard to discover or realize, but are even better than the 'best' way.

If you are going to have an obstacle that requires x in the future, then when the player loses x, they need to lose right then and there.

 

That was definitely what I was going for, what I meant was that there will be some bonus content that you can only get to with certain characters. But for the most part the game can be navigated without any of the specific traits of the characters. And alternatives routes will be available in many instances.

 

Thanks for your reply.




#5055184 Game that tackles suspension of disbelief vs challenge.

Posted by overactor on 20 April 2013 - 04:56 AM

Hi all,

 

I'll be entirely honest, I joined this forum a few hours ago with making this thread as a sole reason. I have however read and made some post and will try my best to make this thread comprehensible and up to standard.

 

So, I recently had an interesting idea for a game. In this 2.5D puzzle/action platformer, you play as several characters stuck in one body. You can switch between the characters who each have their own strengths and weaknesses to help you overcome the obstacles you'll face along the way. At this point you might very well be thinking: "Sounds an awful lot like Trine.". And I'd have to agree with you, which is why I'll now get to the part that tells you why it's not like Trine.

 

The whole game is designed around the concept of permanent consequences for the characters. This means that if you jump or fall off a ledge that is a bit too high, the character you were playing with, might very well break his leg and spend the rest of the game with a limp. Or maybe he'll even simply die and you'll have to go on without him. The game auto saves over your only save file and without cheating, there is no way to undo your mistakes. The reason for this is because I wanted to have an extremely high penalty for mistakes without having to cause frustration or having to stop the game and break immersion.

 

I believe this has several positive effects:

The player has to be extremely careful and thoughtful when approaching an obstacle.

A wider range of feelings is accessible through gameplay (and not story).

The punishment for mistakes is neatly wrapped in within the world of the game and feels consistent with the rules of that world.

Your characters actually feel fragile and therefor more human.

 

The rest of the game is designed to amplify this effect. The characters all have their unique traits that make navigating the world easier and even make some content reachable that you could reach without them. (A very interesting and boring example could be a ledge that is too high to jump over for every character but one.). At a bunch of key point in the game, the way you handle certain obstacles will procedurally form friendships or hardships between your characters. Throughout the game you uncover a back story and each character offers a unique view on the events.

 

The back story as I currently see it works like this: The characters stuck in this body are actually several personalities of a person with dissociative identity disorder. The player will discover this rather quickly in the game as will the characters. The person these personalities belong to had a disinterested father who he desperately wanted to make proud. At some point the father left his mother without ever saying goodbye to her or their son. The son took this very hard and was sent to a psychiatrist who taught him techniques to shut out the pain. This resulted in a split personality.

From then on, the boy started creating new personalities for increasingly trivial and specific obstacles he faced in his life. He was however not consciously aware of doing this and at some point in his adult life, he noticed he seemed to black out sometimes and felt like he missed some parts of his life. Another visit to the psychiatrist reveals the many personalities. The therapist has the man relive the events that caused the creation of these personalities and tries to show his subconscious that these personalities are useless when it comes to overcoming obstacles.

 

This is what the player plays through, a physical manifestation of the memories of this man, with the added obstacles the therapist throws in to challenge the personalities.

 

So that's what I have so far. There are other things I've thought out but these are the ones I'd like feedback on.

I really like the core mechanic and would like to hear about other people's take on it and if anyone thinks it might be effective at all.

As for the back story, I'm not entirely sold on it but I believe it makes sense considering the core mechanics, it explains some weird aspects of the gameplay and neatly ties up all elements of the game into a consistent and sensible package. It is however rather cliche and has the overly typical twist.

 

Any thoughts?




#5055170 Armour and penetration system for multiple genres. Feedback welcome.

Posted by overactor on 20 April 2013 - 03:01 AM

Wow, this is quite a lot to take in and I must say, it seems promising on first read.

I have a few remarks:

 

For energy and chemical damage types, penetration subtracts from DR by ten times value. So a penetration of 2 mean DR is 20 points lower, and a penetration of 0.5 means DR is 5 points lower. This cannot reduce DR below 0.

What's your thought process here and why does the effect of penetration on DR differ so much depending on the type of damage?

 

 

Have you thought about factoring in the angel of penetration, with projectile damage, this is a huge factor.

The sine of the angle of penetration could be a multiplier for the penetration and for kinetic damage it would also be a multiplier of the concussion damage.

I'm not sure if you have anything in place to calculate whether an attacking bounces off the armor, but it could be very interesting to see a powerful attack bounce off a set of armor with high DD and hit another target.

The calculations here should be rather simple, you do a check of the P multiplied by the sine of the angel of the P against the DD. If it bounces, you calculate the concussion and the new direction and KE of the projectile.

 

It seems that the system you have in place now doesn't allow for dinging as the PF is always a positive number.

 

 

In any case, this is very interesting and a few examples would be nice.




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