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Member Since 23 Apr 2000
Offline Last Active Today, 06:33 AM

#5297765 Anyone here interested in real time strategy games and game design theory?

Posted by sunandshadow on 23 June 2016 - 06:59 PM

Children have much much higher tolerance for repetition than teenagers and adults.  Your brain actually changes as you age - and it doesn't change just once, but at least three significant changes at different ages.  People over 20 (well, it varies by a few years between individuals) have an increasingly difficult time finding anything that is unfamiliar enough to trigger that learning-pleasure that children get from lots of things.

#5297019 Finding the "Fun Factor" in a tycoon game

Posted by sunandshadow on 17 June 2016 - 03:12 PM

I always thought the fun-factor of a tycoon game was that you are supposed to be experimenting, plus there's a different kind of fun in the upgrades you buy with the money you make, and then some games have a third kind because the gameplay has a speed and dexterity element to it, and then customer reactions are also fun.

#5295709 creating good quests for games

Posted by sunandshadow on 08 June 2016 - 06:57 PM

Quests are designed to motivate the player to do the gameplay your game already has, so if you have a list somewhere of gameplay types in your game, that's a good place to generate quests from.  Like if you can fish in the game, you can have a quest to catch X fish, or Y type of fish, or Z size of fish, or craft a pole/lure/bait...  It's also good to have the same quest type repeated at increasing levels of difficulty as the player's skill at playing the game improves.

#5295706 Data Games

Posted by sunandshadow on 08 June 2016 - 06:47 PM

Have you googled "augmented reality game" yet?  That's an easy place to start.  There's lists of top 5 AR games of X year, and let's play videos on youtube, lots of easy resources.

#5295662 RPG combat maths

Posted by sunandshadow on 08 June 2016 - 01:08 PM

How much choice do you want the player to have?  In some systems a node does only one exact thing, but in other systems a node gives a player a choice between 2 or 3 options.  Also have you made a list of all your options yet?  It's important to know things like whether the player can separately increase their resistance to or affinity for each particular elements.  No point having physical damage resistance if nothing deals physical damage, but what about resistance to status ailments?  Is HP something that's increased through this upgrade grid or does it increase in some separate way?  And how does MP work, is there one MP gauge that is spent for all types of magic, or something like FF8 where there are separate reservoirs of each element of magic?

#5295661 What to do with extra ideas?

Posted by sunandshadow on 08 June 2016 - 01:02 PM

Yes, definitely write them down.  They are useful as brainstorming sparkers as well as future material.


Also, if you want to develop an idea more, the design forum has a sidebar on the right with helpful links about getting started at game design.

#5293837 Bricking up the exit: Denying completion of the Hero's Journey

Posted by sunandshadow on 27 May 2016 - 12:26 PM

I'm not a huge fan of the hero's journey, but if you want to substitute the idea of the rags-to-riches bildungsroman, I'm a big fan of that in RPGs and MMOs.  For a single-player RPG, I think the satisfying ending is to give the player a lot of praise/recognition/affection from NPCs and bonuses for completing various collections or achievements.  Then, though the linear/exploratory gameplay is over, leave the player with a minigame or two that they may want to come back and toy with every few weeks, at least until the sequel of your game comes out.  Minigame examples would include chocobo racing and other golden saucer games like snowboarding in FF7, Vasebreaker endless and I, Zombie endless in Plants vs. Zombies 1, really any good solitaire or match 3 game or a sim-game like Fish Tycoon/Plant Tycoon would work.  But I'm also a big fan of time loop single player RPGs where the end of any playthrough is a good stopping point but you try to provide the player with enough rewards for them to complete at least a 2nd playthrough, and earn a better or at least different ending.

#5293820 RPG-style character development mechanics

Posted by sunandshadow on 27 May 2016 - 10:45 AM

Since you're looking at Final Fantasy anyway, let's talk about Materia! ^_^  The materia system used in FF7 arguably fits into neither of your categories, because the player chooses which ability trees to evolve but cannot lock themselves out of branches.  (Well, I guess you could miss a unique materia at an area you can't go back to or never find in the first place, but you could compensate for that by making all materia available through some kind of prize system or shop near the end of the game, or by a gazette system such as in Vagrant Story which lets a player check whether they have obtained all treasure in an area before leaving.)  It's entirely possible for a player to master at least one of every materia before ending the game, and the process of combining mastered materia into huge materia allows you to equip the majority of that skillset onto one character if you want to.  The materia system has one major downside - the fact that specific materia are difficult to tie to the development of specific characters or the story as a whole.  In FFCC the materia system is slightly different - instead of experience going onto whichever materia are equipped, it goes into a pool which is your main crafting resource, the energy used to combine loot (both low level materia and items) into higher level materia.  Perhaps more importantly, the fact the FFCC has only one playable character reduces the problem of tying materia development to character development - all materia are the playable character's personal materia, and all are obtained as gifts to him, by his combat efforts, and/or by his shopping with his money.


Now for something completely different, let's look at Vagrant Story and BoF Dragon Quarter.  Both of these are games where the skills you learn and the order you learn them in are more or less linear, but they are also both New Game Plus games, where the player is expected to complete the game at least twice to unlock all areas and learn all skills.  I don't think that either Vagrant Story or Dragon Quarter has any new skills in the areas unlocked after the first playthrough, sadly - that would have been interesting.  But the main point is that, for both of these games, the game may control when you first get each skill but the player has a lot of control over leveling up the skills.  In Dragon Quarter you level up skills by using them and their effectiveness as well as your capacity to use them multiple times are both affected by the gear you equip.  There is also one area where you can choose which boss to fight, and each gives a different skill as a reward.  I didn't actually like the way this was done - they should have either done it several times throughout the game, so there were several new skills to get on the second play through, or given the player a way to repeat that area within a playthrough to get a second skill, or something.  In Vagrant Story some skills are unlocked as a drop from monsters after you get the first level of that skill in the predetermined, plot-related way; gaining a second copy of a skill, whether as a drop or by going through the game a second time, levels up that skill (excluding the puzzle-related skills which don't have higher level versions).  Vagrant Story also has a single playable character like FFCC, so again it's a situation where one character is supposed to learn everything by the end of the game.  Dragon Quarter instead locks skills and some gear to each character, and controls who is in your party at any time, which gets a bit frustrating on the 2nd play through.


Also, about random battles to raise stats, Final Fantasy 8 had monster difficulty be relative to the player, so FF8 did not really allow the player to grind for stats.  There are also many RPGs, from ChronoTrigger to Zelda: Twilight Princess to Skyrim, which have a much smaller % of random battles and a much higher percentage of placed opponents that stay dead once the player kills them off, unless the player leaves the area.

#5290512 Most important principles of game design?

Posted by sunandshadow on 06 May 2016 - 11:01 PM


The actual problem you have, the X of the X Y problem, is: "What do your students need to learn to be able to design a game?"

You however are asking Y: "What can you, with the least time spent on research or teaching, teach that has something to do with game design?"

Being in a hurry is very detrimental to all of teaching, learning, and especially designing.

#5290487 Most important principles of game design?

Posted by sunandshadow on 06 May 2016 - 04:35 PM

It sounds from your responses that there are no hard and fast basic principles. I am reading Fullerton's book and she goes over things like conflict, objectives, procedures and rules. There is a lot and I don't want to waste time with things that won't carry over into digital. Someone who teaches table top game design said they find the two most important concepts to be conflict and iterative design. But what about all the other stuff that makes up a game? 

Clear example of The X Y Problem here.


#5290392 Most important principles of game design?

Posted by sunandshadow on 06 May 2016 - 04:10 AM

In my experience the most crippling problem young designers face is when they don't know how to research, analyze examples, document their ideas, keep that documentation organized and updated, and use brainstorming techniques to fill holes and increase originality and thematic unity among their ideas.  I see this as step 1, while game design fundamentals, like you are asking about, is probably step 3.  Though, I suppose the analysis part would be hard to do without having a vocabulary of design principles to describe the examples with...


Step 2 would be a general discussion of entertainment - why and how humans enjoy entertainment, why we are motivated to create it, how it contributes to culture, how games combine several other mediums like story, art, sound, and interactivity.

#5289678 Soulbound Items in MMORPGs

Posted by sunandshadow on 01 May 2016 - 11:22 PM

Honestly, I think the smartest thing to do is make most items soulbound on drop, and have cash shop items (fairly cheap) that remove this restriction. I've seen that pretty commonly with recent games.


Then you might end up with an auction house that's empty of lower level items.

#5289677 Soulbound Items in MMORPGs

Posted by sunandshadow on 01 May 2016 - 11:21 PM


This leads me in a follow up question I got when thinking about a unique item drop mechanic, where an item has a low drop chance and only drops once. Should an item like that be soulbound and making it impossible for other any other player to get it, or should it be in your opinion, a tradeable item, resulting in a high auction price, if the player decides to sell it?



Personally I dislike random rare drops; I favor fixed drops like, the 10th time a particular avatar participates in killing a particular boss, that avatar gets the boss's rare drop.  If 2 or 3 characters are all on their 10th time, they all get one.  But whether that drop should be salable totally depends on your game structure, as I was mentioning in your previous post.  Is your game a trinity-based themepark where you want all players to spend the majority of their time repeatedly running dungeons?


Unique items are something I don't use at all in my designs, because I think they are pointless, but if you're going to have them I don't see any reason to make them non-salable.  In fact auctions of a particularly rare item like that can turn into interesting community events.

#5289642 Soulbound Items in MMORPGs

Posted by sunandshadow on 01 May 2016 - 05:38 PM

Item binding is the most widely-known way of preventing players from trading items, but not the only one; people tend to overlook the simpler expedient of making items impossible to list in the auction house or trade directly to another player.  The best reason for ensuring that items can only be used by a single player is to prevent players from cheating themselves or each other out of gameplay.  Pet breeding is my favorite example; if you want players to have fun spending time capturing and breeding pets, you need to make sure the market isn't flooded with bred pets being sold more cheaply than the player could breed their own.  With gear, the idea is that if the gear were salable then it would remove the motive for players to run dungeons, especially beyond the first run.  In a system where dungeons don't scale to 1 or 2 player groups but instead require at least a full trinity of tank-healer-dps, everyone would have more difficulty getting a group to run a dungeon with them if there weren't a whole set of unique gear dropped by the boss.  Other types of drops, like mounts or vanity pets can also be bind-on-pickup drops that provide this kind of motivation, or the unique drop could instead be an expensive crafting mate that was used to craft the desired gear, but gear tiers work as a pacing device if the set of gear from one dungeon or region is actually necessary to survive the next dungeon or region.  If you need a whole dungeon party with most or all of the first gear set in order to survive the second dungeon/region, that's a fairly strong encouragement for a group to repeatedly run the first dungeon/region until everyone gets some gear.  And the economics of MMO design are largely about getting players to spend the most time on the least content, which results in players spending money on either subscriptions or cash shop currency with which to speed themselves up one way or another.

#5287533 What is the concept of "Unifying Color"

Posted by sunandshadow on 18 April 2016 - 02:50 PM

Well, in the context of Unity I really have no idea.  If we were talking about fashion design, it would be a color that's used in many small areas on most or all articles of clothing that make up an outfit; like you could have a red and white jacket with gold buttons, blue pants with gold piping, and white sneakers with gold laces, and gold would be the unifying color.


I guess in some cases if you are using colored lighting, the color of the lighting could be a unifying color?  For possibly related terms, I've heard of color palettes having a "central color" - that's defined mainly in the negative, by the fact that all colors that clash with the central color are forbidden from the palette.  The flesh tone of the main character would be an obvious candidate for a central color.  And another thing I've heard of is a "key color" or "identifying color" - that's the one which is rotated or substituted to visually distinguish between different factions, settings, or monster variants.