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Member Since 03 Oct 2001
Offline Last Active Nov 08 2013 10:39 PM

#5100067 Wasting potential, and seeking cloning

Posted by multiplang on 09 October 2013 - 09:41 PM

I'm not really talking about commercial failures, or something that one might deem an aggregate failure via metacritic. You don't have to ship failures.


The best kind of failure is just a prototype, a thing where minimal art assets were committed, minimum peripheral effort, before identifying a bad idea. "Bad" is obviously subjective but for me it's anything in the category of "this isn't that fun after all...".


On the flip side the best moments in game design for me are the "holy shit" moments of being suddenly invigorated and excited by some combination of elements that are just super fun to play with.


Even then, depending on how you define failure, there's no way to create guarantees of "success" (also depending how you define that). This is especially true in the realm of commercial-failure, where you can create a highly polished, excellent game with an excellent critical reception, and sales could still be abysmal.


Even cloning a successful Final Fantasy game, if your art doesn't match up to what the original game studio produced using thousands of hours of top-sourced professional industry talent, you're at a disadvantage in the inevitable comparison.


Like probably most typical game designers I'm afraid of failure too, but I create for the fun/love of it. I think personally my obsession with tinkering and building things would always outweigh those negatives.


I think you could probably modify your thread title (if that can be done?) or at least your OP to be more like "ways to avoid failure during game design/development" as a more concise way to get that advice.


It's a huge subject. A much bigger subject than whether to be original or to heavily appropriate.

#5100047 Wasting potential, and seeking cloning

Posted by multiplang on 09 October 2013 - 08:17 PM

I'm not really sure what (or if) you're asking here... So I'll just throw in my off the cuff reaction to your thoughts and you can make of that what you will.


So, firstly; why do you make games?


I ask, because your approach to game design and game development should ultimately stem from what you personally want to bring to the table. If your primary motivation for getting into this line of work is a simple passion for game design, then I'd say get your sloppy and unprofessional games done in all their non-glory and use them as probably the best possible way to learn and grow as a game designer.


If on the other hand you're more of an entrepreneurial person with a primary interest in business growth - straight up cloning is one way to accomplish that faster. I do have a moral problem with cloning, in that a game seeking only to replicate (as opposed to build upon or improve) is likely to be, by design, a redundant object. (* this is also a generalisation with hundreds of exceptions).


I think (hope?) you probably meant "appropriation" moreso than "cloning", which is quite different. Say you wanted to bring back the core experience of FFVI in all the ways you feel you can identify as being mechanically excellent in design, an then use that foundation to tell a different story and maybe also throw some new things into the mix, then I think that'd be fine, and even quite normal.


Or a similar example: lets say you wanted to do an FPS. Nobody expects you to come up with entirely new inventions there. You're entering an established genre that ideally leverages years of collective design knowledge.


To directly answer your final line:

If you're at a novice level now, then it's virtually impossible to "waste" a project, as long as you learn from it. I don't really think you can go from novice to expert by copying alone.


I'm quite sure you'll find that most game design experts are at the level they're at because they have en enormous history of incredibly useful failures behind them.

#5099438 Thoughts on implementing four damage types in an action-strategy game

Posted by multiplang on 07 October 2013 - 06:56 PM

I'm prototyping an action/strategy game with four damage types, and before going further I thought I'd look for some input on how people would react to such a design. By contrast, many similar games have simply a singular measure of "damage", or some cases dual damage types (e.g. physical/magical).


Four types, in my mind, represents some nice opportunities to create interesting strategic situations, which I can hopefully explain here.


The gameplay:

Mixes Tower Defense & RTS - you have a squad of three moveable "hero" units on the battlefield (before a mission they can be equipped with custom guns and armour), that form the most vital aspect of passing each level.


Rather than just having plain damage, and some amount of armour leading to "plain damage resistance", I've opted to have:

  • physical DMG (bullets / ballistic)
  • energy DMG (sci-fi type weapons - pulse cannon, phaser rifle etc)
  • fire DMG (grenades, missiles, rockets, napalm)
  • chemical DMG (special weapons, acid, toxic, etc)

The above listed types are not augmenters or additional effects - these are THE damage applied - one of the above depending on the weapon (also considering weapons with more than one type).


Additionally, each hero and enemy has one or more resistances to the above DMG types ranging from 0 (not resistant) to 100 (immunity), depending on equipped armour and innate class traits. Heroes and enemies can have any combination of multiple resistances.


Some reasons for this design:

With a lot diversity in what various enemy units can be resistant to (and what they inflict), the constantly changing strategic importance of different weapons and hero classes can maintain a kind of depth that keeps the player adapting, and (hopefully) engaged.


One reason for four types specifically, is that with a squad of three, levels can (theoretically) be designed that no amount of over-levelling or extreme supergear can simply breeze through. In an extreme example, a level could be created with at least one enemy per dmg type that's invulnerable to all but one type of weapon, meaning the player might annihilate 75% of the level easily but still need to resourceful and use good tactics against the remaining element.


My concerns:

FIrst and foremost, four damage types is a difficult thing to depict in the game's UI/menus in a way that won't confuse some people. I feel at risk of creating a system that others won't understand, and depth is only depth if it's actually understood.


Second, and this is something I'd love to hear feedback on; is this design too far outside genre norms? I'm not looking to break any genre rules just for the hell of it. I'm designing a system that I think I'd love to play myself, but there's no sense alienating others. One example of a game with this type of dmg system is Ni No Kuni (iirc, familiars have varying dmg types and inflict that type only). On the flip-side, I think of Borderlands - which has "damage", in a basic sense, and then ADDITIONAL dmg, e.g. fire, as an augmenter.




I think that about sums up where I'm at. I'd love to hear thoughts from others on this. And if there are any other reference examples (particularly in games that were successful and well known), they would make a really useful case study for me.


Hope all of that made sense.

#5084309 Where to begin programming games

Posted by multiplang on 08 August 2013 - 10:07 PM

Your question is analogous to saying: I have all this lego, what do I need to do in order to build a "thing"?


It's unanswerable abstractly.


When starting to a build game, you can't do anything before you decide on some starting points:

  • what's the experience of the game?
  • how is the world viewed?
  • does it have a character, and if so how would that character be controlled?

All of those things would drastically change your fundamental building blocks, and only then would you go about thinking about the architecture of your game code (if you were so inclined). Personally, I think it's more productive while prototyping a game idea to just throw functionally down in any crude way to see if it's actually fun. Often it isn't.


Once you're onto something, good code architecture is important for maintainability and extendability depending on the scope and purpose of the project. For example I try to maintain very good structure for any large project (longer than say - one month of dev), but I generally don't bother at all on a Global Game Jam entry.


If on the other hand (interpreting your first post slightly differently), you're just talking about the best way to have an update loop, global engine constants, etc.. Then I guess it is just a matter of reading a few good articles.

#4989453 What Are a Game Designer Job Requirements?

Posted by multiplang on 12 October 2012 - 07:14 AM

I don't know what the industry norms are here (I would say there probably aren't any), because every studio has its own internal structure, and the lines often blur when it comes to the who and how of game design processes.

When you say you want to be a game designer, what exactly do you want to do - day to day - in your professional role? If the answer is that you see yourself providing top-level creative direction to a dedicated technical team, then there's likely a very long road ahead. Forget any kind of magic bullet approach. You have to do the nitty gritty, and essentially build demonstrably EXCELLENT games.

So build some games. While you're at it you'll get to find out whether you're actually good at game design.

Out of curiosity, what do you mean by having the right potential?

#4843827 Making Twitter good for something...

Posted by multiplang on 02 August 2011 - 05:30 PM

I recently started using twitter, not because I think people might be interested to know my mood every twenty minutes, or what position my cat is sleeping in right now, but because there is some genuinely interesting content hidden away in there.

In particular, it's become one of my preferred methods to skim tech and industry news.

I also recently followed Carmack and found that almost every post was kind of an interesting (if brief and impersonal) window into the daily workings/ponderings of another person building games. It immediately made me wonder who else out there I could follow that also post mainly this kind of dev stuff. For me, it's the perfect way to kill five minutes after work waiting for a train.

So does anyone have any recommendations?

If you don't use twitter or know first hand who has quality posts, maybe you could suggest some other well known people in the industry doing good stuff at the moment? the Twitter accounts of studios themselves are more news-based - pretty much geared for franchise fans, and that's fair enough too. I'm looking more for individual people posting their idle thoughts and learnings about all things game-tech related.