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Iron Chef Carnage

Member Since 06 Dec 2002
Offline Last Active Sep 13 2014 07:04 PM

#5145131 Pay To Cheat AKA Amazing Unicorns

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 07 April 2014 - 12:34 PM

What if you included exploits or cheats into the game that required premium content to access?  For instance, say you could cheat up a critical hit that does infinite damage, but in order for it to work, you have to be wearing a $5 suit of vanity armor, carrying a rare $5 sword with a $3 enchantment on it and use a $2 consumable at town to "charge" the effect for a single use.

 

You get $15 bucks from everyone who even wants to try to cheat, with a $2 "refill" charge for each subsequent time they use it.  Leak the "exploit" to GameFAQs after a patch, then pretend you don't know about it.




#5144002 RPG + Guns - Shooter

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 02 April 2014 - 08:14 PM

Menu-based RPGs often include features that crudely simulate conditions in melee combat.  Events like dodging, blocking, counterattacking etc. all have a rough analog in swordfights or fistfights where posture and momentum and reactions have an effect on the outcome of an encounter.  Gunfights work differently, since nobody parries or dodges a bullet, and firing a rifle doesn't throw you off-balance enough to make a riposte more effective against you.  Instead, elements like stance, focus, situational awareness, fields of fire, zones of cover, rate of fire and the ever-dramatic pause to reload would factor into the equation for success.

 

There are games that do a good job of presenting gunfights in a turn-based RPG, like Silent Storm, but their melee systems are generally pretty basic by comparison and all the best ones use spatial relationships as part of the game space.  A concealed sniper taking a turn to zero in and control his breathing before taking a shot on a distant target is like a mage channeling mana or a spearman taking a rooted defense stance, so the mechanics aren't foreign, they're just different.  Quick-draw moves, target transitions, hip-fire versus aimed fire, all of this can be worked into a successful shooting RPG system.

 

Some trouble might arise when you blend the shooting and the stabbing together, since melee characters and firearm characters will essentially be playing by different rules.  Knife to a gunfight and all that.  There's the old 21-foot rule, which states that the average knife-wielding assailant can cover seven yards of distance and stab you in the neck faster than you can draw a pistol and shoot him.  It's a point of focus for police trainers when suspect interview comes up, and it's why you see the police on Cops cuffing dudes "for our safety, sir" even though the "suspect" is just a random elderly hobo who may or may not have shown his pecker to a passing motorist.  Nobody wants to get stabbed, and it's way easier to stab a cop than it is to hire and train one, so rules get made.

 

So you can achieve balance that way, especially if you have the creative power to make guns cumbersome or have them preclude certain armor types.  You could make gunslingers invincible badasses until their ammo runs out, so they can mow down knights and wizards for a turn or two, then while they're shoving new cartridges into their revolver some barbarian strolls over and shoves their revolver down their throat.  Guns could be terribly slow, so your musketeers can lay down somewhat respectable fire, one shot every three turns or so, until the enemy closes on them, and then you either fix bayonets or reach for your rapier, because it's all hand-to-hand from here on out.




#5143807 4D Games...

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 01 April 2014 - 07:27 PM

One way to cheat might be to present the player with nebulous "future" scenarios, then let them play a "past" scenario with a finite number of possible outcomes, then flash forward again and reveal the mystery with the nebulous clue as a fixed jumping-off point.

 

For example, you find a few blood stains and a human finger at a crime scene.  You take samples, ship them off to the lab with the finger, and are treated to a flashback to the crime in progress, where you can, through your actions, influence who loses that finger and who bleeds in the various locations.  No matter what, the blood stains and the finger are going to get there, but when the scene ends and you go back to the present, the lab will return different results for each player based on what they did in the flashback.  Maybe it's your blood, maybe it's your finger, the player doesn't really get a good look at his character's hand during the initial investigation.  Sew that up into the story and let the system do a sort of "cold reading" routine on the player, giving them enough information at the outset that they feel impressed by the reveal.

 

It probably wouldn't hold up across multiple plays through, since the seams and wires will start to show up with repetition, but it could make for a good initial experience.




#5141177 4D Games...

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 22 March 2014 - 02:19 AM

It would have to be constrained somewhat, since the players will themselves be limited to a single timestream (here in the really real world) while playing the game. Changes would have to be scripted, or else limited in their scope.

 

4D time-jumping works well in books and movies because you can give audiences that "A-ha!" moment where they discover the true cause of something.  You can present the result of an event, then show the event itself later on in a flashback and it will always fit together correctly.  It's not so easy in a non-linear videogame where the player's decisions and actions cause variations in the world and narrative.  You can't collect evidence from a crime scene and then flash back and play through the crime unless the whole thing is on rails.




#5130036 Twists on the Generic FPS genre

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 09 February 2014 - 02:12 AM

The only way the modern-military setting really impacts play, in my experience, is by the restriction and proliferation of feasible props.  You can't have CTF without the "flag" being a suitcase nuke and you can't have king of the hill without there being an IED there to "defuse" and you can't have a map that doesn't look like a war-torn cityscape.  At the same time, you can't have a weapon called "assault rifle", because you have to have the FNH F2000 and the M4 and the M16 and the SCAR-L and the SCAR-H and the Mk12 SPR and the AK-74 and the AK-47 and the M14 EBR and the H&K G36 and the H&K G36K and the H&K G36C and the H&K MP5/10/7 with all the optional picatinny rail accessories until the whole thing looks like a gun show and then some nerd goes online and says, "dood if u slap the m249 cover shut with the double link off-center taht shit wil jam 4 sure" and your credibility goes out the window and the ghost of Tom Clancy haunts you all the way to the poorhouse.

 

The seasoning overpowers the ingredients, basically.  It's so bound up in thematic dogma that the design and even the basic rules are enslaved to the setting and props.  Billions of dollars have been made, of course, so it can undeniably be a successful strategy.  As far as videogames go, however, I tend to prefer less realistic settings like Halo or Unreal or Quake or Half-Life or Turok, since you can have an armory consisting of "Assault Rifle", "Sniper Rifle", "Rocket Launcher", "Pistol" and "Shotgun" and then throw in a Cerebral Bore or a Gravity Gun or a Needler.  You don't need a full orchestra with five different types of flute in it to play something I can dance to.

 

But to answer your question, I'd say that the character progression, unlocks and overall grind associated with many successful games is the culprit here.  Battlefield 2 was the first time I found myself thinking, "Well, I guess I'd better play another few matches and focus of a skill or role that I don't particularly enjoy so that I can finally get that medal/gun/ribbon for my profile."  Now that's everything.  You get guys in Gears of War throwing their whole team under the bus so they can get enough chainsaw kills to ring some imaginary bell.  GTA V has custom finishes for guns, and the first one--the very first of eight or more--becomes available (for purchase, no less) after you score 100 player kills with that weapon.  Do you see guys running around in deathmatches with their favorite pistol trying to get a shiny gold paintjob on it at the expense of their mates?  Yes, you do.  Do you see guys driving around in freeplay machinegunning total strangers in order to get the blue SAW?  Yes, you do.  Would these people behave that way if there was no in-game objective toward which sociopathy is the most direct path?  Maybe a few would, but I doubt that these guys, by and large, would hobble themselves if they weren't promised some kind of ear-scratching by the game designers.

 

But that's a crutch for weak or scanty content, isn't it?  Sure, the game is drab and unimaginative, but if you do it blindfolded and with one hand tied behind your back, you get a hilarious pot leaf to put on your profile icon!  And you can share that to Facebook so all your friends can see how awesome you are!

 

Am I rambling?  Yeah.

 

In a nutshell, there are two main things making all shooters feel the same, two big trends.  The first is the setting, because soldiers are hip and if you can make someone feel like they're a Force Recon Marine or a Navy SEAL, they'll write you a check.  The second is the format, and the granularity of unlocks and endless rankings are conducive to the setting, since you don't have to come up with 85 imaginary medals when there's a big list of them right here in the real world, and you don't have to dream up dozens of pretend guns when you can just take pictures of actual gear and accessories and turn it into a dress-up game for commandos.  Having that huge library of content allows you to trickle it out like some kind of satisfaction ration, which I have decided to call a satisfration, compelling players to replay and compete endlessly to earn your shiny, digital love.

 

Anyway, keep it fresh by thinking critically about how games are supposed to make people feel.  People will always respond to incremental rewards, which is why slot machines and heroin and paychecks will never really go out of style, but a game that knows its a game should have a crisp interface, intelligible rules and a rewarding pace.




#5124029 an fps rpg

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 15 January 2014 - 07:59 PM

Picking stuff up instantaneously removes the tactical consideration, so grabbing a dead enemy's superior weapon is a no-brainer, and you can loot a room and get out without losing any time.  If the inventory system requires an animation to cycle or even just has a progress bar for picking stuff up, you have to think twice, and it could lead to frantic, "Grab only what you need" moments that wouldn't otherwise be possible.

 

With regard to buildings and teamwork, have you tried Rust?  It's not finished yet, but it already has some strong features.  The crafting system takes time, requires resources and can require tools and workbenches and such as well.  The building construction system is a resource-heavy snap-together interface that allows you to make some pretty imaginative structures over time.

 

I've always been a big fan of primary and secondary inventories, where a "toolbelt" of items is readily available, but a pack on your back trades accessibility for capacity.  I like that you seem to be going that way.  Here's a thought:  What if it's easier to put stuff in your buddy's backpack than your own?  If I'm out hiking, and want my binoculars from my pack, I'm less likely to take the thing off and root around in it and more likely to say, "Hey, man, grab my binocs out of the middle pouch for me, would you?"  It might even become convenient to have your partner carry the ammo for your gun, so you can refill your vest pouches from his pack instead of stopping to dig around in yours.




#5119420 Designing a Skill Tree for a Sci-Fi space game

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 26 December 2013 - 09:43 PM

Well, it looks like you have your work cut out for you.  You say your skills will define your class in an organic way, so it would make sense to have the trees arranged in such a way that they define an archetype.

 

Say you want a "Fight Pilot" type character, you'd care less about fuel efficiency and turret tracking and more about forward-firing weapon systems, maneuverability and targeting.  Could you offer synergy between the skill categories, so that your aptitude for more maneuverable ships would offer a bonus to the effectiveness of cannons that are aimed by maneuvering the ship, or would you just let the player's superior ability impart that bonus in the practical sense?

 

Without knowing what the individual skills are, I can't give much specific feedback on their organization, but this is a fun topic to think about, and I wish you luck with your design.




#5119151 Designing a Skill Tree for a Sci-Fi space game

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 25 December 2013 - 01:48 AM

Make sure your skills and character progression are enslaved to your gameplay.  Catalog the mechanics of the core game and build skills that impact that.  As a long-time Eve player, I tend to think of spaceship skills as passive skills, leaving the selection of active abilities in the realm of ship loadout.  Let's take a look at your skill tree ideas:

 

Piloting:  This one's pretty easy, and can be paralleled to the Eve Spaceship Command and Navigation skill sets.  A library of skill boosts would be appropriate here.  Maneuverability, acceleration, top speed, inertial dampening, fuel efficiency, whatever influences your ability to fly the ship effectively will fit here.  Ship-specific skills can deepen and expand the library, so you can have a skill that boosts top speed, then have another skill that further boosts top speed in fighters, allowing players to spend points both for general aptitude and for specialization.

 

Combat:  Think about your forward-firing weapons.  Do they have aim assist?  Do they have a random spread?  Give the player skills to improve rapid-fire accuracy or rate of fire or chances for critical hits or cooldown on special weapons.  Player skill will let them point the ship at a target and pull the trigger, character skill will load the dice in their favor when the RNG takes a hand.  Guided weapon systems like missiles and torpedoes could similarly be boosted in performance by the relevant skills, allowing a player to get really good at targeting and electronic warfare in a general sense, and then get extra good with masers and mass drivers as they level up and specialize.

 

Engineering:  I'm thinking of this primarily as a defensive function, combining Eve's Engineering and Mechanic categories.  Various stats like HP and HP regeneration and resistances could all be bundled up here.  If your game features a mana/capacitor stat, that could fit here nicely.

 

Other:  I don't like the idea of having a "Miscellaneous" category in a skill page.  It seems clumsy and unpolished.  If it doesn't fit into a category that's worth pursuing and building upon, then it's probably not worth having a skill for it.  What would go here?  Cargo capacity?  Fuel Capacity?  Communication range?  Equipment hard point overrides?  Funny hats?  Shoehorn it into one of the other trees or move it to another system.  Novelty effects could be equipped, maybe in an unobtrusive "utility slot" that can't be used for weapon or shield components.  Boosts to non-core systems could be low-cost, optional branches in one of your three main trees.  Don't let your players know that you have a "kitchen sink" category for shit you couldn't fit in or do without.  That's weak.




#5116801 Alchemy System, what would make alchemy fun?

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 13 December 2013 - 08:15 PM

Some thoughts:

 

Intelligibility:  Don't make the player memorize recipes off of GameFAQs to make the potions they want.  Instead, let them learn The properties of different reagents and processes, so they can think their way through making a potion, then tinker with the method to tweak performance in a more opaque way.

 

Physical vs. Chemical changes:  Let the interaction of the ingredients yield a "flavor" of effect, and then the preparation of the end product determine the nature of the effect.  A fire potion is a simple recipe, but the same ingredients can be mixed in different concentrations to get a different effect.  A heavily diluted potion could be drinkable and raise your body temperature, a lightly diluted potion could be a molotov cocktail, a concentrated potion would be ore like napalm and a totally dry mix would work like gunpowder.  Same works for other effects, and mixtures that have more than one property.  So I could make a flask of goop that contains dry fire and wet poison and it explodes on contact and spatters the area with venom, or I make a mix of thin fire and dry health that'll immediately cure status ailments and give me a five-minute resistance to cold environments.

 

Equipment requirements:  What should require a lab, and what can be whipped up in the field?  What role should character skill play in the success or failure of an experiment?  Is it practical to carry around a bunch of test tubes with you?

 

Player skill and time-critical processes:  Maybe some tasks would have a fun little minigame for how long to leave it on the heat or how vigorously to stir it or whatever, and there would be a "sweet spot", akin to swing strength in a golf game, so you can whip up a decent mix fairly easily, or you can try to paint the line and run the risk of burnign it or blowing it up or otherwise wasting your reagents and hurting the end product.

 

Risk and precautions:  I saw a documentary about early 20th-century chemists working with extreme low temperatures, and the glass equipment would routinely shatter.  Half the researchers in the group photo had eye patches on.  Take off your +4 Helm of Telepathy and put on your +2 Goggles of Lab Safety, man.




#5113992 Rush 2 - Looking for Feedback

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 03 December 2013 - 05:09 AM

I like it very much.  The arena and the controls combine into a sort of action puzzle.  EarthBanana:  I know the Ghostbusters have their rules, but man, you gotta cross the streams.

 

Even in this short demo, I saw a lot of variety in the fights.  Sometimes you're just testing your mettle, whipping the targeting reticle around the screen to plow through hostile targets.  Sometimes you're maneuvering around threats like in a bullet hell shooter.  Sometimes it's an obstacle course.  Sometimes you're using the turret positions and your game piece to make patterns that solve problems.  You have time pressure when the red zones expand and a short HP bar and some enemies are shielded but the weapons always feel powerful and every time I lose I'm sure it's my fault and I could do better.

 

I really like what you have going on.  Add in a leaderboard and some fancy graphics and maybe a couple different turret types and I'd pay real dollars to play this game.




#5113985 Reaction fire problem (turnbased tactical game)

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 03 December 2013 - 04:12 AM

I'd go with tunnel vision.  The old Full Spectrum Warrior game had a system where you could tell a guy to watch a certain direction and he'd be very effective in a narrowly focused cone.  Just as powerful as active engagement, but not as versatile.

 

Restrict RF to a direction that the player chooses at the end of the turn.  Good for watching a corner or vector for incoming threats, but not a win solution for the enemy's entire turn.  Make the player do their work on their turn, but let them hedge their bets when the enemy has the initiative.




#5112887 Converting dice rolling mechanic into digital games

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 28 November 2013 - 08:41 PM

How fancy are you willing to make it?  Say the example is a player archer firing at an NPC soldier.  In a tabletop game the player would roll dice for the attack and the DM would roll dice for the defense and the result would be determined by some simple math.  A computer could do a thousand RNG iterations in the time it would take your D10s to stop rolling, so you can flesh out the process and present the results to the player in a very clean way.  For instance, give the archer five different "dice rolls" for the attack:  Stance, Focus, Grip, Aim and Release.  Show weak or fail results as shaky footing or a clumsy draw or a flinch when the arrow is loosed.  Strong results would be similarly displayed, and a perfect or critical hit might have a special visible effect, like a close-up of the archer's steely eye as he zeroes in on his target, or a special sound effect when the bow is drawn, or a different colored trail that tracks the arrow's path.  Think of cinematic events like the ones in Sniper Elite or Max Payne, or the special execution moves in Skyrim when certain conditions are met.

 

You don't have to present the player with all the numbers, just use them to give the player an idea of why they succeeded or failed. Let them say, "Aw, man, my hand slipped as I nocked that shot," or, "Dang, it hit his breastplate at a weird angle and deflected," the way tabletop players say, "A three?  A frickin' three?"  So a guy who would usually be bitching about how there are definitely eight ones on his particular icosahedron can instead whine about how everyone he goes up against is some kind of matrix agent that slides between bullets and cannot feel love.

 

Edit:  An added bonus to this might be that a low-level character will seem clumsy and sloppy and unsure of himself, while a more advanced and powerful character will convey his superior training and experience through the way he moves and the results he gets.  A fight between two unskilled grunts will look like a schoolyard brawl, a duel between elites will be fast and powerful, and an elite versus four grunts will look like something out of a Bruce Lee movie, as he overpowers them in dice rolls and style simultaneously, but if he botches a roll at the same moment that a grunt lands a crit, it'll actually look like he lost his balance just as the rookie landed a competent blow.




#5109364 Being Relevant in a MMO

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 14 November 2013 - 11:01 PM

it seems to me that the current MMO model is pretty successful.  Maybe you should frame this discussion less as a way to "fix" MMOs and more as a different type of multiplayer game from MMOs.

 

For instance, I'm a big fan of the Arma "Wasteland" game mode, where a server with a population from a handful of players up to 80 or more, organized into factions and teams, will present them with both persistent content and emergent "Missions" that can be cleared or failed only once per server.  There are cars and rifles and "base parts" (walls, ramps, bunkers, gun emplacement) that can be collected and placed.  Some players spend all their time playing house and building fortresses out of sandbags and planks, then hoarding crates of guns and hoping someone flies past their anti-aircraft battery so they can shoot at them.  The missions are usually item-based, like a disbled tank spawning in a field with a platoon of NPC soldiers defending it.  When it drops in, everyone gets a notification and a marker is placed on the map.  Sometimes it's a race to collect the goods, other times it can be a real battle, with different teams duking it out to see who can hold the field long enough to repair the tank and drive it away before they get killed or someone hits the tank with a bazooka.

 

Good times, and somewhat in line with what you discuss here.  I'll log on, recognize a few names from previous sessions, get together with my allies and watch out for my enemies while we compete and cooperate with strangers to get loot or k/d ratios or a really awesome base set up.  It could be ten minutes, it could be two hours, but it's almost always fun, even though the content is finite and you eventually see it all, doing the same mission with different friends and enemies, perhaps in a different location or with different starting conditions, provides endless challenge and reward.

 

I'm sure there are other examples of that sort of play, but it's the first one that came to my mind.

 

The thing is, in order for players to feel like they did something nobody else did, everyone else on the server has to be denied the opportunity to do that.  Wasteland does this through competition, so if someone else gets that chopper in the air, it's because you failed to stop them and take it for yourself.  In a PvE game, wouldn't that Lich Cave burn a lot of butts when a gang of heroes gallops to the entrance just as my mates and I are trotting away with a full set of Lich Bone Armor tucked in our saddlebags?  Wasted trip, wasted prep, wasted buffs.  They call us some mean names and go back to camping the bulletin board waiting for another Lich to populate.

 

Couldn't you do it like PayDay 2?  There's no shortage of jobs to do, you just get your crew out there and do them.  You want a bank heist?  Wait twelve seconds and you'll get one.  You want a bank heist with bold in the vault and maximum police resistance?  Wait three or four minutes or just make a custom mission for a small fee and hope you can clear enough lucre to recoup your investment.  You don't bump into random bank thieves at the safe house, but that's fine by me, because I don't want to get the feeling that D.C. is chock-a-block full of hardened burglars with racist nicknames.

 

I'm saying the satisfaction of being an elite and significant individual/team can be had rather easily in a non-MMO setting.  You get it in Diablo, you get it in Gears of War, you get it in a thousand games with co-operative play that don't feature massive populations and central hubs where fifty guys are walking around in the same Eternal Wrath Pauldrons that you earned by slaying a living demon in the heart of a volcano, asking if you want to trade a stack of sasquatch hairs for two full sets of Johnny Knoxville's teeth.




#5106612 has anyone here released a game that got no attention and make you depressed...

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 03 November 2013 - 12:44 AM

Is attention the goal, or is the game?  Is a diamond that languishes in the earth worth more or less than a diamond that is mined out and put in a boutique?




#5104858 non combat ships

Posted by Iron Chef Carnage on 27 October 2013 - 02:58 PM

I like the idea of idle (not currently making warships, anyway) shipyards being useful as a source of revenue, with limitations.  How about a contract system, where civilian NPC organizations put in "orders" that you can fulfill.  You spend some of your resources and devote a shipyard to completing a production order on a tanker or a liner or a science ship or something, and in exchange, instead of getting the ship, you get a reward in the form of currency or resources or what-have-you.

 

I don't know much about your specific game, of course, but if there's an economic element where you can buy and sell assets, you could fit this system into the game with minimal shoehorning.  Just have a marketplace where buy and sell orders can be found, a la Eve Online or the X series, and when your yards are idle and you don't have a pressing need for warships, you could browse the list and see that somebody wants a freighter.  Sell a spare ship to fill the order, or build one if your production capacity can accommodate it.  You could use your spy satellite factory to make circuit boards for smart phones or something, instead of furloughing everyone and shutting them down.

 

It would make more sense if your player's faction was a megacorporation, rather than a government.  As Luckless mentioned, it's more common for a civilian company to take government production contracts than for a state-run department to moonlight in the private sector.






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