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Member Since 05 Aug 2013
Offline Last Active Jan 23 2015 11:45 AM

#5152682 Dialog Mechanics

Posted by on 10 May 2014 - 09:07 AM

In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the player is given a choice of 3 or 4 1-word emotions (eg annoyed, detached, curious) or tactics (eg intimidate, placate, absolve), though these are actually (except in persuasion mode) a 1-to-1 abstraction of a traditional dialogue tree. Is this like what you're proposing?

#5149668 Magic advancement system

Posted by on 26 April 2014 - 10:55 AM

The background to the system is that the mage could 'draw' energy from the surrounding environment, and channel that to cast the spell.

So what exactly are you thinking of? I can interpret this sentence in a couple ways: The player could simply have an automatically regenerating mana pool. Or they could have a 'draw energy' ability that keeps them from attacking/using weaker spells (or possibly even moving) in order to charge enough to use a more potent spell. (The player would just charge their energy to max every time before going into combat, so you might want to limit its use, maybe keeping them from holding on to energy for too long.)


Perhaps different types of spell would use different types of energy and so the player would have to pick which spells they want to be able to use (they might have a cap on total energy). Perhaps different areas would have different energy concentrations, adding a tactical depth through maneuvering. Or certain areas could be drained of energy, either just because they have a limited amount, or by using a specialized 'drain energy' spell (that would of course be less efficient than 'draw energy', if it exists, but could deprive an enemy mage of power).


That kind of switched from interpretation to brainstorming half-way through, didn't it.

#5135902 What makes a game fun

Posted by on 02 March 2014 - 02:15 PM

Before I decide to play a game, I see a lot of screenshots, gameplay videos, trailers, concept art -- in other words, the graphics. If the game doesn't look good, that can turn me off of playing it.


But once I get immersed, the graphics go away. The sprites/polygons become people, buildings, streets, what have you. Unless the art suddenly changes style or something doesn't jive with the color scheme or the graphics glitch out or some important item blends in with the background, I don't even notice.

#5131590 Game Story vs World Design

Posted by on 15 February 2014 - 12:53 PM

Have you heard about the GNS framework? It seems as though you're trying to choose between Narrativism and Simulationism.

#5131589 Twists on the Generic FPS genre

Posted by on 15 February 2014 - 12:43 PM

You could play around with the gameplay balance, and try to find something fun that you haven't seen before. To list some of the dimensions of this balance, there are range, mobility, firepower, armor, and verticality. You can adjust each of these across the entire game, but also individually for a team or class.

#5118619 Achieving photorealistic game models/assets

Posted by on 21 December 2013 - 02:35 PM

I'm a 2d artist, not 3d, but making a character look realistic takes a lot of anatomy. You need to know how large the character's bones are, where their muscles connect, how bulky the muscles are (in different positions), which veins are visible on the surface, etc. Then you need to know the textures of the skin (which in addition to texturing and diffuse and specular reflectivity requires subsurface scattering to look right in most lighting), the eye (the way that the eye's lens refracts light hitting the iris is important), hair (I assume that making polygons look like strands and locks is extremely hard, since it's hardly ever done well, even with the rigid, short styles modellers use to keep from dealing with hair physics), nails, and other tissues. That's without putting the body in motion, or even making it look right in an environment.

#5116581 Alchemy System, what would make alchemy fun?

Posted by on 12 December 2013 - 05:02 PM

It might be exciting to have intermediate steps, each one creating a potion which is useful on its own, but even more useful in a later/final form, like the steps of the Magnum Opus. Of course, if one had to go through multiple steps to get the final product every time one needed more, it could easily become tedious. So, there should be some way of automating the steps once one has done it once (like fast travel).


Or a potion might need to be mixed at the same time it's used, so creating a higher level potion would be impracticable in a fight, unless one has cover. Then, I don't know that this is supposed to be that kind of game. But this kind of mechanic may still be applicable outside of combat.

#5115199 Looking for people to review my game

Posted by on 07 December 2013 - 02:44 PM

I realize you don't have much leeway in terms of gameplay. I also realize that this game was made, not to design a game from the ground up, but simply to bring a game program to completion. I don't have access to your source code, and this isn't in the Game Programming section, so I can't say anything useful about your programming, except that it never crashed for me, and I haven't run into any bugs. It uses more CPU and RAM resources than I would have expected -- nothing critical, but more that I expected. What I can critique is just the presentation.

The one actual flaw in the gameplay itself is a lack of cat's-game detection. When I come to a point where neither player can win, I don't want to have to put X's and O's down pointlessly, I want the game to automatically count a draw, and start over.

The controls of the game are a bit awkward. Esc is the natural choice for a pause button, not Backspace. Esc quits the game, yes, but this is a windowed app -- I can use the X to quit. It's also not entirely clear that Backspace returns to the main menu from the information menu.

But beyond specific keybindings, there is the greater issue that the use of mouse and keyboard doesn't gel. To see my point, note that everything in the game is done with the keyboard -- the cursor doesn't even show up on screen when it's over the game window. The info menu says nothing about the mouse being used. Then I press Enter to begin the game, and find I can't do anything with whatever keys I press. The game has suddenly switched to being mouse-only.

This is trivial to fix, as long as you're willing to add clickable buttons to the main menu. Then mouse control becomes integral to the game, with a few hotkeys that I can easily find listed in the info menu.

What the game really needs is feedback. Win a game and *POP* the board is reset instantly, the only recognition that anything even happened being the incrementing score counter at the bottom. What you need is for the interface to be juicy: To start with, play a sound effect and a short animation. If you draw a strike through the board, that's good. If you draw a tally in the win column for X or O, even better. The point is that the player feels like something is happening whenever they perform the smallest action (say, putting the cursor over an empty square) and something bigger elicits a bigger response from the game. Sound effects are much more important than music for exactly this reason.

#5104246 Problems a space emperor needs to face

Posted by on 24 October 2013 - 08:48 PM

Your galaxy is about to collide with its nearest neighbor, and you have to prepare. Of course, this happens over the course of millions of years, so you either have to be immortal or you do the Civilization thing of having the leader represent a whole dynasty.


Also, if you're going to portray it realistically, very few systems will be directly affected (eg from star collisions), but you'll have to deal with a bunch of new stars (and maybe some alien species). In addition, the alignments of stars will be changing, which could play havoc with interstellar trade (though that also happens over millions of years, or at least thousands).

#5102237 Simple attribute/combat system for RPG

Posted by on 17 October 2013 - 03:27 PM

Level up grants only HP and MP and damage... Attributes are earned in dungeons (by touching magic crystals).


So, how do you want the gains from leveling up to compare to increasing Con, Int, and Str?


Also, how will the dungeons and crystals thing work out? I can think of two main alternatives:

  1. At the end of each dungeon are several crystals for different attributes. The player can only choose one.
  2. Each dungeon is oriented toward particular professions. Hidden within are crystals, which are most helpful only to those professions.

Which professions do you intend to include, and what kinds of (dis)advantages would they have?


Will accuracy affect the chance of hitting with any weapon, or is it just for ranged characters?

#5098762 Mechanic for internal struggle of an empire (strategy)

Posted by on 04 October 2013 - 10:16 AM

I've been following the topics about the game you're making, but I'm still not sure -- other than the empire that the player is supposed to rule, are there other countries? And if so, how powerful are they?


But my general advice is to consider what you expect your fictional emperor to do/have to do with their time. You know, set taxes, send troops collect taxes, squander taxes on pointless luxuries -- that sort of thing.


A map is... probably mandatory, since the player is supposed to rule massive amounts of territory, and the best way to prove it to them is just to show them a map. Instead of controlling troops though, you could just have them give orders to their generals, and if they've given the military enough funding, the right research, and good recruitment campaigns (or just conscript all of the poor people, like a real emperor), the general will come back in a few months to a few years with good or bad news. Maybe with some messages in between just to keep them up to date. And if the player is really, really lucky, the general won't start a coup. Actually, maybe you could keep a smaller, elite army under your own personal control just in case the real army tries something (like the SS in Nazi Germany... if I remember my history, that is).

#5096699 Space empire - how it works?

Posted by on 25 September 2013 - 10:26 AM

In basicly all 4X games it's a single race


Though, the reason these games (I'm mostly thinking Master of Orion, here) equate race and empire is because there are other empires in the game, and race (i.e. appearance and abilities) is an easy way of distinguishing them.


I'll invoke the Rule of Personification Conservation to describe this. (That's a link to TV Tropes, by the way, so don't click on it if you're not free for the rest of the day.) The rule suggests that if a character isn't human, there should be a good reason for it. There are still a couple of non-reasons that work -- you could add in a few token aliens, just to make your galaxy seem bigger and less human-centric, or you could purposely reject this trope, and add alien races willy-nilly.


But supposing that you want to follow the rule, here are a few options that spring to mind:

  • One species per empire - each faction of the game is composed of one race. Normally, each faction will gain certain perks based on their race's biology and culture. This also tends to make certain races natural allies, and others natural enemies. Personally, I despise this trope, but it is the most common way of doing things.
  • Certain factions are multi-racial - Some factions are composed of multiple races, possibly to demonstrate their tolerance for other species and points of view. If not, it's probably because the faction works by one of the paradigms I list below.

I get the impression that the player of your game isn't supposed to be ruling one empire among several (a la Master of Orion, Civilization, Alpha Centauri, etc.), but is trying to manage a single, monolithic empire, whose only enemies lie within its borders. In that case, the rule applies a bit differently; here are some examples:


  • Xenofiction - you remove humans from the game, wholesale, or just push them off to the side because you want to make a point of the fact that your characters don't act like humans. If you don't think that humans would form a galaxy-spanning absolute monarchy like you want, you could just make them aliens, and claim that that's the way their brains are wired up (as I said in my earlier post).
  • One species per province - different regions of the galaxy are populated by different species. In this case, the player will associate each race with its particular needs. So for example, if the space-elves and space-dwarfs hate each other, the player will have to get them to cooperate, and make sure that neither one feels that the other is getting a better deal.
  • One species per function - different species are traditionally given different types of work, based on what (popular belief thinks) they are best suited to. Parallels can be drawn to traditional gender roles or to a caste system. If you need to highlight a character's rebellious nature, you could show them doing a job that isn't traditional for their species.
  • Master and slave races - certain species -- especially robots -- get the short end of the stick, and are (almost) always seen in servitude or doing menial labor. Naturally, the master race will believe that this arrangement is actually "one species per function", and that the slave race is more suited to slavery, while the master race is suited towards leadership. The key difference between this one and the last one is that the master race is clearly better off. If you have a race of priests, a race of politicians, a race of warriors, and a race of artists, which one has the higher status? But if you have one race that runs things and another that does them, it's a bit more obvious.

#5096423 Space empire - how it works?

Posted by on 24 September 2013 - 10:04 AM

They own the economy and manipulate it so they are always the winner. They establish racial boundaries and force their views and religion onto everyone.

Depending on how you interpret the first sentence, isn't this the essence of fascism?


Through some variation of romantic nationalism, every race is declared entitled to their respective home-system. The remaining stars are dealt out "fairly" by the Human Master Race (or maybe they're space-elves or whatever).


In sci-fi that takes place on an interstellar scale, the concepts of a home-system and homeworld are near-universal, so there probably won't be any claims to territories that aren't in the immediate vicinity of a star. However, depending on how FTL works, space-lanes or stargates might be claimed by someone. Perhaps by the Human Master Race, in order to consolidate imperial infrastructure, or by the races that have traditionally used them. In the latter case, expect the ruling party to call eminent domain.


On the other hand, there are occasionally two races that claim the same system as their home. If humans are one of them, the other is often from Mars, and is usually the first alien species they contact. If not, the two races are likely from the same planet, and have a symbiotic relationship (keep in mind there are 3 forms of symbiosis). It is also common for there to be at least one artificial race, whether robot, clone, or uplifted animal. (Though this probably goes without saying, their creators almost always consider them as property.) Regardless, the two races either fiercely hate each other or rabidly protect each other. Both of these are easily manipulated.




Who's to say the Emperor has to be the same person or even a single person? What if it was a group of people who ruled the empire and they spoke through the emperor who they control?

Like how in Equilibrium, Father has been dead for years, but his successors pretend to be him (for reasons that aren't clear to me). Or 1984, where the Inner Party speaks through Big Brother, in order to seem like they have a more coherent voice than they really do. Or in That Hideous Strength where NICE pretends to be run by a disembodied head, because no one would be stupid enough to join them if they knew they were really a Satanic cult. Or The Wizard of Oz where Oz pretends to be a giant flaming head so people will take him seriously. I should stop here, or this list isn't going to end anytime soon.


Also, I believe this link is relevant (keep in mind, the comments tend to be the most important part of this blog): High Kings and Galactic Emperors.

#5095252 Help With Expanding On An Idea

Posted by on 19 September 2013 - 02:35 PM

I suggest that you find the single most important action you want your players to perform, and make it into the simplest game you can, as quickly as possible. It doesn't have to be realistic or fun, as long as it's playable. Then add elements to the game, and tweak the rules one at a time until you have a playable game that resembles what you wanted to make to start with.


If you're worried it's too realistic/not realistic enough, ask someone to play it (with you, if you don't have AI yet).

#5093390 Space empire - how it works?

Posted by on 11 September 2013 - 03:54 PM

If you're looking for a situation where absolute monarchy is (arguably) a better government than democracy, I can think of two possibilities:

  • Everyone must agree: There is some immediate threat, (war, plague, supernova) which the citizens are willing to give up their liberty to stop. That is, like the dictators of Rome. Of course, Julius Caesar was the only one not to give up power afterwards (and he was assassinated in short order), so if you don't want your empire to go away in a few years, the threat has to be constant (or at least, everyone has to think it is).
  • Benevolent dictator: The emperor knows what the people want and is willing to give it to them. Why would this happen? Maybe they're more compassionate than most emperors. Maybe they want to be remembered fondly by future generations. Maybe the reason why so many absolute monarchies crumble is because the rulers just have no idea what they're doing. Maybe they're an AI, robot, or cyborg who was specifically built to rule. Whatever the case, the ruler isn't simply a power-hungry tyrant, and isn't an incompetent, obsessed with having larger monuments than everyone else.

If you aren't looking for an empire that's better to live in than a democracy, but you still need it to be stable, you could simply make the emperor more powerful than their subjects. They could be a super-powerful alien or have an intensely loyal (or mind-controlled) army. Perhaps the emperor lives in another dimension where they can hurt you but you can't hurt them or they are a hive mind made up of all the ships of the starfleet. For example, cyberpunk fiction tends to depict a future where the powers that be have technology so much more advanced than the common person that there's no hope of overthrowing them. Cosmic horror, on the other hand, has aliens so old and powerful that human weapons are lucky if they even cause flesh wounds, and their followers see them more as gods than kings.


Of course, if your space empire isn't populated by humans, you could come up with all sorts of psychological reasons why they would choose to form an absolute monarchy.