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Member Since 26 Jun 2000
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:11 PM

#5188030 Percentage Health (100%) vs. Numbered Health (100/100)? Which ones better?

Posted by Wavinator on 19 October 2014 - 02:17 PM

I'd recommend showing the x/y value but making it an options toggle for advanced players only because the less hardcore the game, the more numbers appear to be aesthetically off-putting.

#5186823 Golden era of the RPG

Posted by Wavinator on 13 October 2014 - 10:27 PM

There is nothing "cerebral" in grinding until you find the weapon with the highest number.


Certainly, I'd agree with you if grinding until you find the weapon with the highest number was what previous RPGs were all about. 



Dice rolls are the least cerebral thing there is, you depend on the numbers of your sword and pure dumb luck.



In simpler RPGs I can see this, as it would suggest that there would be no parallel strategies with trade-offs. The best you could maybe expect is the thrill of gambling. In more complex RPGs, the cerebral part comes from the typically slower, deliberative consideration of the risks (to assets, resources, or of outright failure) of different approaches.


These same pathways can technically exist in a more actualized RPG, but typically don't because actualizing gameplay is significantly more resource intensive for developers, so you get less choices, and the choices you do get tend not to have much depth.


I'd take muscle memory over those any day


I would too if that were the only choice! :D


What you get is to do what before you just pretended to be doing. 


But can you really ever get away from pretending? If, say, for combat you prefer hit boxes and ray casting timed to your mouse or controller input, you're typically still rolling dice to some degree unless it's a purely deterministic simulation--which most action RPGs aren't. And since no RPG AIs that I know of implement a simulation of human vision, randomization is typically used in everything from aiming to awareness of the player.


Complexity isn't always a good thing. And dice roll mechanics, albeit complex if you want to make them complex, are as shallow as there can be.


I agree complexity isn't always good, and simulation and randomization can always be done poorly. But the actualized approach has delivered a deluge of facile, depthless gameplay dominated by combat and cinematics-- slider puzzles and button mashing interspersed with battles and poorly acted cut-scenes, basically.


The grind so many hate is a logical outgrowth of all of this. An abstract game can afford to depict myriad interactions-- gambling, negotiation, seduction, troubleshooting, hacking, pickpocketing, surgery, etc. An actualized game tends to attract an audience that demands all these things be spelled out, with the result that everything but traditional interactions (mainly combat) simply have to be cut.

#5186784 Neutral planets

Posted by Wavinator on 13 October 2014 - 05:54 PM

If you don't want the planets taken (or only rarely taken) you could tweak your universe's cannon and have some sort of all powerful protector, ala the Monolith in the 2001 universe, that smites those that harm the protected planets. It might explain why the protected planets have remained unoccupied so long, as well.

#5186781 Golden era of the RPG

Posted by Wavinator on 13 October 2014 - 05:09 PM

Nowadays, you can spare resources on all sorts of aspects. Lockpicking can be implemented as a minigame instead of a dice roll, hiting an opponent might be determined by simply letting the player use the weapon and try to attack a fast opponent with it. If an opponent is supposed to be hard to pin down, don't just increase its "dexterity" and call it a day, tweak the AI, make it dodge the player's attacks.


I realize that sensibilities have to change with the times but I find the direction you suggest really, really sad-- even as an action gamer. What it embodies is a shift from abstraction to actualization, and with it comes a drastic narrowing of gameplay. Maybe some would argue that this is focus, but as with the shift from written to spoken dialogue, what you actually get is a loss of choices and strategies. The saddest part about this is that RPGs, like strategy games, have been thought as somewhat more cerebral games, but this shift toward actualization drags the genre out of that realm into one where complexity tends to be trumped by repetition, muscle memory and superior reaction time.

#5179752 Designing the Overworld

Posted by Wavinator on 11 September 2014 - 09:49 PM

For one, do you think that the fade would reduce the break in immersion, given that in either case I'd presumably want to show a UI by which to give the player the option to either travel on or stay in the vicinity?


I had thought that the letterboxing would help with the immersion issue, and imagine actually fading in of the map as the player continued moving forward in order to sort of create consent to travel without having to ask. Another approach would be to have the player automatically take out a map and bring it up to the view as the player moved into the transition boundary.


But I wouldn't overthink immersion. Even minecraft is reported to be immersive. The brain's good at suspending disbelief when it wants to.

#5177591 Mechanics for space game

Posted by Wavinator on 01 September 2014 - 11:54 PM

Animals are challenging to make gameplay out of in a scifi game if you go the traditional routes. Fantasy has the luxury of magic, making even a rat potentially highly interactive (could talk, could be a charm, could be a pet that can steal keys, etc.). The more advance your game's tech, the more you're dealing with a situation akin to trying to find how to make ants matter to a god. 


When you can't find a  way to add gameplay in situations like this I've learned that it's important to look at what you're giving away for free. For instance, I think the beaming is maybe killing your idea. It cuts out tons of potential gameplay because it gives away the reward for free and makes coming up with interactivity hard because there's no gradation or variance to achieving victory.  It would be like putting autokill and invulnerability in a shooter-- of course there'd be no gameplay! biggrin.png Part of the fun is risking different strategies with different tradeoffs, which a giveaway eliminates.


Unless it's vital for the theme I'd switch to a lower technology that takes more steps to utilize. Can you add collectors (grays or robots or whatever) that can be risked? If players have to land their saucer and send out some kind of gatherer that's more vulnerable, the alien animals stop being ants to a god. This opens strategies like crafting and placing bait, traps that capture without killing, hunting and capturing / netting, stealth and (if you want) even combat.


I see nothing wrong with your original "noah's ark" sort of idea so long as you don't make it too easy to achieve. You could have survival pressures with keeping beasts alive (food, air, disease), capture risks without the automagic beam, and you could build around an entrepreneurial element if players were capturing for a variety of reasons: Zoos, private collectors, shady animal fighting rings, universities, or amoral research labs. 


If you wanted to keep your colony idea, you could build up to this being an ultimate achievement, or you could break it up. What if the galaxy was civilized or you were going into a new galaxy on behalf of benefactors? They might contract you to garden part of a planet, like populating a continent with different beasts for different themes (safari, research, agriculture, etc.) In this context you'd be colonizing multiple worlds, and the worlds could get more and more extreme and challenging as the clients got richer and richer.


If you added NPC competitors (even in abstract) you could open up dirty tricks gameplay. Maybe competitors could introduce anything from pests to xenomorph terrors, or you could do the same, all in a bid to make a world one way or another for some unseen, powerful alien client. You could even make it tougher by adding a kind of Federation / Space UN that forbids you from using the kind of technology that would again make it too easy-- like genetic plagues and the like.


Basically I think it comes down to salvaging your original idea by limiting what the player can do, adding detail and making the universe more alive.



#5177119 map borders in an open world game

Posted by Wavinator on 30 August 2014 - 03:45 PM


You could also tie some vital resource to a central location and make it diminish the farther the player gets from it: For instance, a mana stone that causes the player's spells to be weaker the farther they are away from it, or a microwave emitter that gives vehicles and gear less and less power beyond some range boundary.


Interesting idea. That'd actually be an effective way of making the game more difficult the farther you travel outward, without unnaturally making monsters more powerful.



I like it because it potentially feels less like the designer is trying to punish you (for instance with a wall of million hit point Titans that you do one HP damage to) and the reason for the difficulty has is explicable and natural. You could extend it in a few different ways. For instance:

- If the recharge time of something is critical, it gets slower and slower the further you go from the central hub

- Same for anything that naturally regenerates, like health or ammunition (or the amount regenerated per cycle drops)

- A side game of risk and bravado could emerge, with players gambling how long they've survived in "the outlands." Could be especially challenging if loss is more permanent the farther you go (gear is harder to retrieve, or there's permadeath beyond a boundary).

#5177117 Little Combat Layout Question

Posted by Wavinator on 30 August 2014 - 03:30 PM

I honestly don't think it's important so long as you're clear and consistent. I've heard the left/right thing in a number of contexts. For instance, a company logo with a directionality or arrow should never point left or down, as that supposedly symbolizes going backwards. Honestly, I think it's nonsense (you could have a mining company with an arrow pointing down, or a surplus company suggesting lower prices).


Although there are conventions you have to respect with each genre, I don't think this one matters. With the party on the left and the enemies on the right you could just as well make a solid argument that the visual style presents the heroes as progressing forward toward the end goal of the game. For gameplay I think this could be very motivating, just as if the progression were downward and you encountered say bigger and bigger gems or more and more darkness-- both would create a motivating mood (greed or foreboding, for example).

#5174347 map borders in an open world game

Posted by Wavinator on 17 August 2014 - 08:15 PM

You could also tie some vital resource to a central location and make it diminish the farther the player gets from it: For instance, a mana stone that causes the player's spells to be weaker the farther they are away from it, or a microwave emitter that gives vehicles and gear less and less power beyond some range boundary.


You could also wrap the world if it's magical or supernatural, so that leaving east returns you to the west side of the map ala old 2d games.

#5170255 Survive together but only one can win

Posted by Wavinator on 30 July 2014 - 02:20 AM

I wish I had something mind blowing to add to this idea other than that I really, really like it. Failing that, a couple of random thoughts:


1) Assassin playing dead: There needs to be some natural way of playing from beyond the grave for this to work, otherwise all players automatically know who the assassin is-- the player who keeps playing after the huge rock falls on them! It might work to have some kind of rule that allows players to reenter the game if they've been killed (as a monster or some other force), which might allow someone playing the assassin to successfully play while "dead."


2) I think the game would be stronger the more you can either have actions or strategies that look similar but are ultimately different. If, for instance, you're the explorer and you're constantly widening the radius of the known map area when nobody else ever seems to have a legitimate reason to do this then it'll be pretty obvious who you are. But if all characters somehow benefit by doing something the explorer does it'll make it harder to peg who the explorer is.


3) One thing that might help secret actions and the idea of players playing cards against each other would be if along with your foraging idea you classified event cards by color. Each player would have a chit denoting their current color. Players could add helpful or harmful cards to the event deck which corresponded to a color (trap against white, sanity affect against blue, etc.). Some events, however, would cause two or more players to swap colors, adding a bit of randomization and possibly throwing a monkey wrench in the plans of players as they try to cooperate with or contend with other opponents.

#5167089 Respect for the player. Forgetting violence fetishism. Exploration. Notgame?

Posted by Wavinator on 16 July 2014 - 12:41 AM

Although I'm a space game diehard and especially a fan of anything that eschews the "warporn" that seems to make up the vast majority of space games, I'm having trouble giving feedback. Your idea is quite amorphous. I like the newly born universe and potentially strange pockets of physics as well as the idea of player persistence. I think such a grand setting may struggle with having a grand purpose. Open-ended exploration games can be beautiful  in their initial freedom then deadly boring once you exhaust the creative possibilities. With such a positive focus, what about casting the player in the role of curator / protector of this universe, maybe something like the Monolith from Arthur C. Clarke's 2001? Maybe you're some sort of evolved consciousness exploring this universe from another one, and being so far beyond your biological sensibilities you only gain by engineering space-time, uplifting life and discovering the nature of the new universe (which could be inhabited by volition at a fundamental level).


Just to further elaborate, you could take the angle expressed by some cosmologists that the universe is inimical to life. Radiation, vacuum, cosmic debris, shifts in the state of matter itself all might be said to constantly threaten life, and life through war, ignorance and stupidity threatens itself. You could make a potentially very poetic game out of being a force of good in such a setting, as the player can't be everywhere and can't save everything, which maybe adds an element of strategy. Depending on how hard you want to make the science, your choices could span millennia, and your actions would shape the universe over epochal time.


Even if that's not the direction you want to go it's an interesting idea. I just hope you veer away from some of the cosmic physics puzzle games as just minecraft with stars in a meaningless cosmos devoid of life would be disappointing.

#5167086 Fleets with personality & no micromanagement (4X)

Posted by Wavinator on 16 July 2014 - 12:10 AM

I'm wondering if at this level of abstraction you shouldn't have flotillas which are dealing with sectors (or subsectors), composed of fleets with distinct costs and abilities (fast attack, bombard, support, etc.) and ditch ships altogether. That way there's no straining to prohibit ship shuffling because there are no ships to shuffle, just fleets and flotillas. You can if you wish then make it as simple as sectors having resources which can build / support fleets, which can then be positioned strategically on nodes within a sector (borders or chokepoints if you have things like jump-lanes) with the overall makeup supporting moving flotillas around.

#5155594 What do you expect from a stealth game?

Posted by Wavinator on 24 May 2014 - 12:34 AM

One thing I look for is role enforcement. If I can kill my way through the game and achieve the same results, why do the work of stealthing?


EDIT: actually traghera said it better. I don't think it's wise to try to please action and stealth fans in the same game.

#5082935 Body parts

Posted by Wavinator on 04 August 2013 - 02:57 AM

I can see this game having as its character a superhero zombie! I can definitely see limbs being used as levers. Maybe if you fill your stomach with gas it could float, and you could attach an eye and intestines to make a gruesome sort of spy kite or really gross bomb. Or maybe you could jump on it and have it cushion a fall or bounce you up to another level.

#5082071 Object Focused or Action Focused?

Posted by Wavinator on 31 July 2013 - 05:16 PM

Assuming a game has a large number of objects and actions an avatar can perform, which do you think is clearer to the player, a design built around choosing objects and performing actions granted by them or choosing actions and selecting objects to realize the action?


For example, consider planting a listening device: If there were a range of devices to choose from, it might make more sense to have a "Bug" or "Surveillance" action with the ability to choose the right bug to plant. But if there was only one type of bug but several ways to plant it, it might make more sense to select the listening device and then choose which action you wanted to perform. But if there is both?


Another (more out there) example: Let's say you have a city and can do things at an abstract level in different locations within the city. Maybe you can burgle or vandalize, or help the needy or guard locations. Which makes more sense, to have a range of actions you choose and then locations to perform them (with each block sort of acting like an object), or to maybe make each location context sensitive, showing the available actions maybe when you click on it?