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Member Since 05 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 11:18 AM

Topics I've Started

Driving the story forward in a free-roaming world

01 October 2013 - 07:18 AM

Hello, I'm thinking of ways to drive a story forward in a free-roaming world. I want the player to feel like he can freely explore the world but I also want to impose some kind of pressure/limit so the player doesn't get completely sidetracked and the pacing of the story gets killed. Another reason is to prevent the player from getting over-powered and ruining the progression-curve. 


Examples on how games drive the story forward:


The Elder Scrolls - It's entirely up to the player to progress the game by doing the "story quests". Personally I got so sidetracked by side-quests (the infamous draugr quests) that I got bored before moving on to the main story quests.


Mass Effect  - Similar to The Elder Scrolls, however each story-quests opens up the amount of side-quests available. The side-quests also tend to tie into the main story and has an impact on how the story progresses.


Persona 4 - This game has an interesting way of driving the story forward. You have a limit of the amount of things you can do each day and if you haven't done the story-missions before a certain date, you lose the game. You can plan ahead and be selective about what side-quests to do, before moving on to the story-mission. 


What kind do you prefer? Any games you think does this well? Any other ideas on how to drive the story forward in a open world-type game?


Mixing first and third person narrative

15 March 2013 - 11:00 AM

Hello, I've written a script for my game where the player's avatar is referred to in third-person throughout the story. Here is an example, the main character's name is Eli:


Eli is sweating heavily and his heart is racing.



Please stop!



Shut up!


The voice came from his side. Eli begins to tear up. He pulls his shackles and starts to pound his back against the wall of the carriage.


The dialogue and actions are presented to the player in plain text. The problem comes when the player is asked to make a choice for Eli. These choices are written in first-person perspective. For example, later in the same scene Eli is asked who he is and the player is given the choice:


1. Identify yourself

2. Conceal your identity


Now I'm not quite sure what to do about this. Mixing the narrative modes does not seem like a good thing to do. Do I need to rewrite the script into a first-person or second-person narrative?



Global Player Ranking

11 May 2012 - 11:39 PM

So I'm thinking about how to best design a global player ranking system. Lets assume you get a score 1-100 for for individual levels in you play in the game (e.g. a racing game where the score is based on the track time). How do you create a global player ranking - i.e. a ranking of the overall skill of the player? I'm not really aiming for the score to 100% accurately represent the skill of the player but rather have a ranking system that is enjoyable for the player (that may involve being accurate).

If for example a player gets the score 50 on one level and 75 on another. A few ideas to calculate the player score:

Add the scores for each individual level played. So the player score becomes 125 in this example. It encourages playing more levels but gives no incentive for the player to improve existing scores. The score does in no way reflect the skill of the player.

Take the average score. Total score / levels played = 62,5. Rewards the player for improving existing scores but gives no incentive to play new levels. It also gives poor indication of the current skill of the player as it becomes harder to improve the score the more games you play (I find lots of games makes this mistake when ranking players).

ELO-type ranking where you gain/lose points based on the difficulty of the level played and your current rank. You get a player score that very accurately shows the current skill of the player. The system punishes bad plays which makes it less enjoyable in my experience - you get defensive about your score and there is no rewards for trying/experimenting with new plays. Puts a lot of pressure on the player to perform well in every game - discourages casual play.

A few things I think are important:
  • I want the the player feel like he is progressing i.e. I want the score to go up as the player plays levels (and not ever go down).
  • There should be an incentive for the player to improve the score on existing levels - raising the score from 50 to 100 on a level should be rewarded more than playing another level and getting a 50 score.
  • The ranking system should encourage the player to get better at playing - that involves incentivising playing more and making efforts to improve techniques/strategy in order to get higher scores on individual levels.

Any ideas of how to implement such ranking system? Anyone know of any games that does something similar and does it well?


WPF and SlimDX (DirectX 11) interop

27 March 2012 - 07:19 AM

Hello, posted this on StackOverflow (http://stackoverflow...ectx-11-interop) but figured that this might be a better forum to post my question. Here it is:

 I've managed to integrate SlimDX and DirectX 11 graphics in a WPF application by using D3DImage and shared textures. However, but I'm getting some really poor performance (20 FPS) when rendering simple scenes (e.g. GameOfLife in the SlimDX samples) at high resolution (2560x1440). I've tried doing some performance profiling of my render method and it looks like most of the time is spent on locking the D3DImage when invalidating the backbuffer.

_d3dImage.Lock(); // <- this call takes 78,5 % of the time when rendering the frame
_d3dImage.AddDirtyRect(new Int32Rect(0, 0, _d3dImage.PixelWidth, _d3dImage.PixelHeight));

A lot of time is spent flushing the device after drawing:
_device.ImmediateContext.Flush(); // <- 20,6% of the time when rendering the frame

Anyone know the problem and how to optimize this? Can you expect to get descent performance when integrating WPF and SlimDX?
I've used the same rendering code and initialization as in the SlimDX WPF interop sample (for DirectX 10), just modified it so it uses DirectX 11 instead. Seeing as it spends much time waiting for the D3DImage to get unlocked, it seems to me that WPF is keeping it locked alot for some reason (I'm not updating any WPF controls). Any Ideas?


Incorrect assumptions about freedom of choice in games

14 February 2009 - 12:34 AM

Hello I recommend watching this TED talk: Why are we happy? Why aren't we happy?, before responding to this post. In the lecture Dan Gilbert talks about happiness and that people in general have incorrect assumptions about happiness. We tend to overestimate the long-term impact good/bad events will have on our happiness (impact bias). This is not that relevant to games as we often are interested in rewarding the players in the short-term. Another much more relevant point (in regard to games) is that if you make a choice that you are stuck with you actually mentally adjust so that you are more happy with the decision. If you have the option to change your choice you are less happy with the choice you make. Most game designers tend to think that choice makes players happy the ability to change your mind and change the choice you are making makes players happy. Actual experiments show the opposite is true. Some game concepts tries to maximize the choices the player have and gives the player the option to change his choice. Many games allow the player to save the game at any point, which means the player can change his choice by reloading previous saved game. Since the primary purpose of most games is to entertain players and make them happy I think this is something every game designer need to consider. What do you think? Is there any other areas these incorrect assumptions impact the game design? How do we change the design of the game based on this? [Edited by - Opwiz on February 14, 2009 8:11:01 AM]