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Iron Chef Carnage

Member Since 06 Dec 2002
Offline Last Active Sep 14 2016 05:44 PM

#5173248 map borders in an open world game

Posted by on 12 August 2014 - 07:47 PM

Arma maps sometimes use water, but others have endless procedural wastelands beyond the edge of the map.  It's pretty obvious where the line is, since ground clutter like trees and bushes cut off, and all roads end, but nothing prevents you from driving or flying forever, and fights between aircraft often range far beyond the map boundaries.  I can remember a few times when I'd win a dogfight, but run out of fuel and have to ditch my plane 20km or more outside the map, which made for some awkward conversations with the rescue chopper crew.  "Where exactly are you down again?"


Basically, the terrain is endless, but incredibly boring, so people stick within the gamespace.

#5163940 How to make ww2 naval combat fun?

Posted by on 30 June 2014 - 04:07 PM

How about turret rotation speed as a factor, so you can sail circles around an enemy boat so fast that his guns can't catch up to you?


Truth be told, it sounds pretty fun right now.  I don't know how the controls work, but if you're making it feel like an arcade game, could you have things like speed boosts in there?  What about "critical hits", due to either weapon type or a RNG proc, for hits that ignite the enemy's magazine or damage engines or weapons?


Naval warfare is often crazy long-range, so a distance fight might include some dodging or different mechanics to make it just as interesting as a close-up fight.


Can we cross the T?

#5163845 RPG: Level System or Fixed Point?

Posted by on 30 June 2014 - 09:42 AM

"The Grind" as a pure time sink can be a very tedious element in a game, especially when the game itself is simple.  Rudimentary mechanics make the game feel flat and transparent.  If I, as a player, can see the strings and understand that a boss's DPS can only be withstood with the stat boost that only comes from reaching level 17, then the twenty minutes of grinding to get that level-up is like a punishment for me.  If I want to take a chance on a new strategy that requires me to up my swordsmanship to 13 and my magical resistance to 38% and my agility to "catlike", then I can spend those same twenty minutes training and feel like it's a good thing, something I'm doing so I can do a sweet backflip through a fireball and stab the boss in the scrotum, rather than just getting my green bar to grow longer than the red bar.  I know where to find cookie clicker, thanks.


Unlocking skills, abilities or stat boosts at key points in the game can be good, since it gives the developer some more control over the game's pace and prevents players from getting stupidly powerful early on with the help of a rubber band and a six-pack of PBR, but it can start to feel contrived, and undermine the sense of achievement from earlier gains.  I'm a big fan of Metroid-style character development.  When I get the hookshot in a Zelda game, I know that I'm getting a lot with it:  Mobility, combat maneuvers, item retrieval and--most of all--access to whole new regions that were off-limits to me before.

#5162702 Cool Gun Ideas!?

Posted by on 24 June 2014 - 09:45 PM

I like a gun that sticks enemies to walls, like a spear gun.  Fire works on zombies in an amusing way.

#5160586 My MMORPG ideas

Posted by on 14 June 2014 - 10:13 PM

Looks like a long shot.  If you're going to build a game as complex as this, from the ground up, you'll need a lot of tools and experience.


From what I see here, the most interesting element you describe is the PvP matches.  If you could nail down the balance and mechanics needed to make that game mode work, and to make it stand out from similar games, you'd really be onto something.

#5159531 Alternatives for a 1-up icon?

Posted by on 10 June 2014 - 10:14 AM

Holy Grail?

#5151487 Magic advancement system

Posted by on 04 May 2014 - 04:06 PM

Having played Magicka, I'm worried about input mechanics for a spell-heavy action RPG.  If you're making the casting as deep as this thread seems to indicate, then you might frustrate players when they are called upon to whip up an appropriate magical maneuver in the time they usually use to swing a sword.  In Magicka, that usually leads to either long periods of kiting while deciding on a spell, or players just ignoring 90% of the possibilities and jamming out endless streams of identical spells, only changing their formula when they meet a hard counter for their primary weapon.


You didn't ask for input system advice, but I'm going to throw something out there:  How about letting players pre-fabricate certain spells that they use frequently, and keep them on a "hot bar" or something, to be used like Duke Nukem uses different weapons?  Instead of manually constructing and casting their spells, they could bottle them up and use them at will.


Going a little deeper down that rabbit hole, could you tie aptitude into that system as well?  Make a distinction between "memorized" spells and "improvised" spells.  In addition to being more convenient for the player to cast, a memorized spell might get a reduced cast time or mana cost, but the character's level puts a hard cap on the strength and complexity of spells that can be memorized.  An improvised spell is clumsier to cast, takes longer, can be messed up by player error and costs the full amount, but it can be customized for the circumstances and you can make bigger, beefier spells this way than any spell you could have memorized.


So give them three or five or ten spell "slots" to store their usual go-to spells in, and then give them the tools to whip up something creative, at their peril.

#5151324 Call for opinions: handling player death in a tutorial

Posted by on 03 May 2014 - 08:39 PM

A flight simulator is a lot like a roguelike, though, in that you don't lose much when you die again and again and again in the early part of the game.  They're designed to teach you skills, and then give you scenarios in which to apply those skills, and then give you challenges to attempt with those skills.  Bizarrely, I think that flight sims and Minecraft fit together pretty well.  The first few times you play, you are terrible and you feel terrible and you do terribly, but once you reach a certain level of competence, the gameplay itself becomes almost trivial, and instead of getting a high score or leveling up your avatar, you're reading on wikipedia about Immelmann turnss or high-efficiency farm layouts and engaging the content on a whole new level.


Flight sim "tutorials" often take the form of either 700-page manuals (remember manuals?) or instructional videos (often supplanted in the modern day by YouTube Let's Plays)  These are often challenging to players, though.  I spent more time on the Dwarf Fortrees Wiki than I did in Dwarf Fortress for the first for months I played that game, and even now it's in my bookmarks toolbar, despite the hundreds of hours I've logged in that game.  If your seamless open-world experience needs an integrated tutorial, I have three recommendations:


First, consider scenarios.  Kerbal Space Program is a good example of this.  If I want to learn how to land on a moon with no atmosphere, I have two options.  I can spend an hour or two building a rocket that might get me there in a lander that might work, and I can try to guess when it's appropriate to quicksave, and I can throw myself against the task for two days until I figure out how it can be done, or else I can fire up a pre-made landing scenario that's 100% guaranteed to have a capable craft in an acceptable trajectory, and throw myself against that for about twenty minutes until I learn the mechanics.  Including little mini-games like that with your game that will let players conjure a situation and deal with it will be much easier for them than requiring them to risk their whole in-game career in each of the unlikely circumstances where that skill is crucial.


Second, consider after-action reports.  When the player dies or loses or otherwise fails, let the game assess what, exactly, wrecked them.  Then, offer guidance based on that.  You could have a few sentences explaining how fatigue works and why that caused them to lose consciousness and freeze to death in the woods, or you can tell them about how to build a fire, or you can even point them toward the handy training scenario that teaches the methods for avoiding that fate.


Third, consider loading screen messages.  More than once, my quality of play and enjoyment of a game has been boosted when a loading screen included a tip like, "Hold Right Control and press M to toggle your minimap between topographic and strategic modes."  Trickling little nuggets of wisdom into the player's experience of the game will do the work of manual perusal and trial and error, and offer a stream of "A-ha!" moments to your users.  Arma 2 uses quotes from Dslyecxi's excellent Tactics, Techniques and Procedures guide on its loading screens, and they are helpful to rookies and veterans alike.

#5150837 Call for opinions: handling player death in a tutorial

Posted by on 01 May 2014 - 07:31 PM

What's the tutorial like?  If it's just a level that's structured to gradually introduce mechanics, then failure/death conditions can be the same as any other level.  If it's some kind of dedicated, "complete this level to get your videogaming certificate and get access to the rest of the product," then you can have it be a VR chamber or a flashback or a semi-interactive vignette and either lock out inappropriate actions or have a "checkpoint" every three seconds that'll back you up with a slap on the wrist when you fail.

#5150670 Magic advancement system

Posted by on 30 April 2014 - 07:47 PM

I'm still not sure how to approach the acquisition of new spells though. Should it be learned from an older mage, or could it be accidently discovered in the wild? If the mage encounters a Fire Elemental, then they have access to a 'Fire' spell from then on after exposure to such a strong amount of this type of magic.
I like that idea.  Give the player a chance of identifying and reverse-engineering magical effects that they observe or experience, so they can either read about it in a book, be told about it by a teacher or learn about it through direct exposure.  You could even include a sort of "pure research" mechanic, where they'll spontaneously discover or invent new magical effects by witnessing or performing effects near them in the magical tech tree.

#5150495 Magic advancement system

Posted by on 30 April 2014 - 12:38 AM

Two thoughts:


First, how about having each "word" in your magical language be an improvable skill?  Have a vast matrix of abilities and let the player level them up organically through experience.  I've often thought about this kind of "education" system, so I'm going to expound a little on an old idea of mine:  Say you're casting a projected lightning bolt at a training dummy.  The success of the spell would depend on your expertise in three fields:  Lightning, Projected Magic, Training Dummies.  Also, you would gain some practical knowledge of all three things by performing the spell, allowing you to level up as you "practice".  That way, your magical performance is something like a language, where each spell is a sentence and you're leveling up your nouns and verbs to get bigger and better results, and expanding your vocabulary by encountering new kinds of magical elements and effects, as well as by learning about the sorts of things you'll be casting them on.  A party's main healer might have high levels in restorative magic, projected effects and human targets, but not have much skill at healing the knight's horse (Damnit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a veterinarian!").


Second, how about a split between theoretical and practical experience?  There was an old fighting game about samurai called Kengo, and in it you boosted your fighting skills with two kinds of activity:  You would train on your own and you would spar with other people.  Stats like strength and agility had an actual value and a potential value.  Sparring would raise your actual skill, but it could only go as high as the potential you had put into it with your solo training exercises.  So if you want to boost your strength, you have to spend a few hours a day out doing exercises with a weighted sword to build the muscle.  At the same time, just pumping iron wouldn't make you a stronger swordsman.  You had to get in the ring and face opponents in order to integrate your training's benefits into your combat skill.


So let your wizards nerd it up in the library and in the lab, but don't let them finish reading a book and conjure a demon from the netherworld.  Make them study to build the skeleton of their knowledge, then flesh it out with real-world experience.

#5150490 Depth-VR , A new Virtual-Reality device needs your suggestion!

Posted by on 30 April 2014 - 12:15 AM

I've been interested in this idea since I first saw Johnny Lee's video about it seven years ago, although I'm guessing it wasn't new then.  Like Hodgman, I'm curious about your hardware.  Is it a head tracker?  Can it do what TrackIR does?  Can TrackIR do what your hardware does?


In terms of applications, I'm guessing that the usefulness in gaming is limited.  Most 3D games include camera controls, and games that can benefit from six-axis head tracking (mainly flight simulators, in my experience) already support the head-tracking solutions currently on the market.  Will your product be better?  Will it be cheaper?  Will it be easier for developers to work with?  Will it be easier for customers to use?

#5148247 Jetpack idea...

Posted by on 19 April 2014 - 05:31 PM

Only works when you're in proximity to an object that you can grab and climb on?  Sounds more like a grappling hook than a jetpack to me, but no matter how you dress it up that can be a fun gameplay element, adding mobility to the player and opening up the map.  I say give it a shot.

#5148043 Is the Eve Online style time based leveling up system good or bad?

Posted by on 18 April 2014 - 08:15 PM

I played a lot of EvE Online, but I came in about three years into it, so I spent a year or more being woefully underqualified in terms of skillpoints, and then I was more or less mainstream.  The level cap (five levels per skill, offering diminishing returns) means that I can be 80% effective in under half the time it takes to be 100% skilled up, so that's not really an obstacle to competence, except that the better equipment and skills have some level 5 pre-requisites, so you wind up with a big hump to get over if you want to be able to leverage the most cost-effective gear.  EvE has a lot going on, and you can spend fifty times the money to get a fancy module or ship that replicates performance without the skill requirement, but if you're in a long-term fight, the guys who can gear up with high-skill items will have a huge economic advantage over the guys who have to shell out for the semi-magical, ultra-rare items that let them compete.  It's class warfare some of the time.


I didn't mind the time system, though.  I really liked being able to disconnect my play from my XP.  In most games, I feel like I'm not "doing it right" if I'm doing something that isn't leveling up my guy in the most efficient possible way.  In EvE, I could be out in a weak ship, exploring or experimenting with builds or telling my mates jokes about physically impossible genitals, and I'd be accruing points just as fast as I would be if I was running mission after mission or grinding on mobs or doing forty-minute round-trip courier jobs.  That allowed the players' culture to grow and develop in a way that you don't see in other games, and the high-level human interaction in EvE remains second to none.


The accessibility worked against the game in some ways, though.  The biggest and toughest guys in EvE are often the guys who have eight accounts.  They have a one-man armada that can include "classes" like Miner and Hauler and Trader and Pirate and Commander, so they'll grind for fat stacks of cash on five of their accounts, running a perfectly organized business with no risk of betrayal or corporate theft or lack of participation, because all those alternate characters have the same play schedule and mentality.  Then, they siphon the funds into the wallet of their alter-ego, who is a merciless griefer with nothing to lose.  He uses all his time to train PvP combat skills and never spends a moment learning how to do an honest days' work, so he's the baddest, meanest, toughest hombre to travel the stars.  With his alt patrons, he's a pressure valve, providing the player with the catharsis of battle and murder and robbery, and even if he is billions of imaginary dollars in the red on his operations, the carebear alts are always there to earn it back with clean living and savvy trading.


So you get these meta-characters, one-man empires who aren't bound by the rules of ethics or commerce or political affiliation, and they're living in a world where a one-character player has to learn a few trading skills and a few mining skills and a few hauling skills and a few leadership skills and then build his combat prowess in such a way that it's good for both earning money fighting NPCs and defending himself from other players. He makes friends with people from other time zones who can, when it's convenient for them, bolster the weaker parts of his operations, and he depends on them. When that jack of all trades meets the high-speed, low-drag assassin, the conclusion is foregone.

#5145422 Leveraging multiple monitors

Posted by on 08 April 2014 - 11:18 AM

I've been looking at simulated cockpits lately, for flight simulators, and one of the configurations that seems appealing is the use of four screens--one a touch screen--to enable the player to use the wide angle while having direct input on the control panels of the simulated craft.  That might be a little farther out there than what you're planning on, though.


How about using the second screen as a persistent display of something the player will routinely be bringing up on their screen?  Hodgman mentioned Supreme Commander's ability to have two points of focus on the game, but how about the Resident Evil inventory or the GTA map screen or the Arma GPS?  These are things that compete with the game for screen real estate at all times, when they really shouldn't have to.  Putting them up on a separate monitor would streamline gameplay considerably.