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Servant of the Lord

Member Since 24 Sep 2005
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:54 PM

#5297056 Finding the "Fun Factor" in a tycoon game

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 17 June 2016 - 07:17 PM

Off the top of my head, here's some real-life choices of business significance that I recall, involving hardware and (a little) software:

 

  • Apple uses high quality pieces in some situations, and low quality pieces in other situations, depending on its targeted market.
  • Microsoft and IBM went with making hardware a commodity - Microsoft won, and IBM lost, and Intel road that wave to incredible heights.
  • Netscape was trying to make web browsers a commodity (to sell server hardware) until they got confused, lacked cohesive plans, and got kicked in the butt by Microsoft's bundling.
  • AOL wanted to make services cheap to sell monthly internet subscriptions, faced revolt from indie game developers, wisely ignored the revolt, merged with Time Warner, didn't know what the heck they were doing, and were then trying to make make services cheap and sell services, and make internet subscriptions cheap and sell internet subscriptions, lacking clear goals.
  • Cray Supercomputers crashed and burned when they flipped and flopped in whether to use commodity pieces and embrace microprocessing, or whether to double-down on custom super-computer designs, taking one of computing's best minds with it when it went down.
  • A decade later, Apple made the same mistake, investing huge sums of money into the Lisa computer which was over-featured for the hardware of that day, and thus overpriced, and was also competing against its cheaper and better products (Like the Mac) that rival teams within its own company made.
  • Microsoft and Sony pushed different competing disc mediums using their console install base. Sony was more gutsy, and pulled off a major victory - Microsoft now pays about $3 bucks per Xbone sold to the Bluray committee. But due to uncontrollable consumer trends, Sony hasn't benefited from it as much as they had hoped. It was a brilliant tactic, but almost a pyrrhic victory due to the winds of chance or the wims of consumers.
  • And Microsoft's not too annoyed about Bluray licensing fees, because Microsoft makes more money off of 3rd party Android phones then it does off of its own Windows Phones - billions of dollars from patents. This is despite Microsoft being the best placed company to take advantage of mobile and IoTs, but because of internal fiefdom fighting among Microsoft's royalty executives, Microsoft kills its ideas with greatest potential purely because the manager lost a politics war with another manager.
  • At the same time, Microsoft's greatest successes have come because of tiny groups that fought internal Microsoft-wars and forced their visions into reality, such as the Beastie Boys of Microsoft, who forced DirectX into existence by lying to Bill Gates, caused major public-relations problems for Disney, and laid the foundation for the Xbox, but also accidentally contributed to Microsoft's anti-trust lawsuit by trying to strong-arm Apple executives?
  • Oh, and did I mention those Beastie Boys directly contributed to id Software's Doom, and indirectly helped kickstart Valve Software? Or that one of the Beastie Boys tried to manipulate the stock market using insider Microsoft knowledge (and lost buttloads of money but was never caught), and that same guy created Google Maps and sold it to Google, using secret undocumented Internet Explorer features that he implemented in Internet Explorer before leaving Microsoft?
  • And the Xbox itself was spearheaded by an unpopular game designer who's previous game product for another company was a well-publicized disaster?
  • Apple switched from PowerPC to x86 because PowerPC failed to grow in processing power as fast as Apple (and IBM and Samsung, iirc) had hoped.
  • Intel failed to take into account smartphone and tablet success, and now is playing second-fiddle to ARM in that market, failed to bring 64 bit computing in time, and was forced to adopt their rival's, AMD's, designs after it gained more market share?
  • And who created their major rival AMD anyway? Wasn't it Intel themselves that chose that tiny AMD company to win a contract with IBM, and then watched in horror as AMD grew faster and larger than Intel had planned, cutting deals to manufacture Intel's processors for companies that Intel would've got the contracts for?
  • Dell pioneered the made-to-order PC customization market, and rode that to success... but then failed to adapt quickly enough to economy of sales, so was undercut in prices on the consumer end, and failed in the customer-service department towards big businesses and so was one-up'd by HP in that market. Now Dell has taken itself back to being privately owned, in the hope of being able to more reflexively respond to future trends (having also missed the mobile game, due to their).
  • IBM successfully transitioned from hardware to consulting and researching, and reaped big. Hewlett-Pacqard (HP) recently tried to do the same, but lacked the guts to go all-in when their stockholders questioned them on it.

 

And this is to say nothing of Siemens, Oracle, AT&T, Texas Instruments, DEC, Pixar (did you know they made and sold computers? And were ran by Steve Jobs who incrementally took the entire company over, piece by piece) and dozens of other companies, with rich histories, and amazing choices that sent them from the gutter to the peaks to the gutters again.

 

A hundred business choices (or failing to realize a choice was even required) toss dozens of multi-billion dollar businesses up and down in this nearly trillion-dollar industry (software + hardware combined). To quote a famous Intel founder and CEO, "Only the paranoid survive". History is stranger, and sometimes more entertaining, than fiction, and there is so much interesting history here, but if you don't know the history, you are hobbling your own creativity and constraining your vision. If you want to pursue a tycoon game with this theme, I'd recommend doing serious reading on the more exciting and enjoyable stories of the computer industry.




#5297050 Problem on referencing a vector of derived class

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 17 June 2016 - 06:23 PM

Fair enough - I get the benefit of generic code, but there's always a balance between concrete and generic, and I don't want to go too generic unless there is a real reason to.

It makes more sense if you have many different component types, I guess.

 

For Update(), I mentioned earlier why I wouldn't want a uniform interface.

For file or network Serialize()ing, I don't want to serialize every component type - some are likely run-time only. I suppose they could have stub virtual functions.

 

Even Clone(), while a good example, likely has some variables you don't want to clone perfectly, though there's no harm in Clone()ing and then editing the result.

 

Basically, how many times do you need to treat every group of components identically? If three or more, then it's worth having a generic interface to me. But I can't think of any that I'd actually use in my code. Clone() is a good example, and gets a 'maybe'. Perhaps my mind is just pulling a blank here.

 

Can you think of any other convincing cases that require genericity?




#5297028 Finding the "Fun Factor" in a tycoon game

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 17 June 2016 - 03:40 PM

^^^ ...and also, there's a creative output factor to it. In many tycoon games, you have some freedom in how you lay out and design your area. Pretty much the only computer game my mom has ever played was Roller Coaster Tycoon - and she did it more for laying out gardens, paths, decor, and so on. I personally enjoyed Rollercoaster Tycoon, Sim City 3000, and Minecraft (which isn't a tycoon game), for the creativity aspect. In RT and SC3000, there was also the "be financially successful" aspect, and in Minecraft it was instead paired with the "survive the dangers and explore" aspects.

 

So, adding SunAndShadow's observations in, we have the following gameplay aspects:

 

 - Freedom to experiment

 - Freedom of exploration.

 - Freedom to create (artistically shaping and decorating your environment).

 

 - The challenge of reaching financial stability / avoiding bankrupcy.

 - The challenge of survival.

 - The challenge of accomplishing explicit goals.

 - Reflex-based action challenges.

 

 - The pleasure of saving up for an upgrade you want and then buying it.

 - The pleasure of seeing progress (towards goals or your upgrade/equipment progress or your city growth).

 - The pleasure of humor (can be risky, because humor that's not enjoyable can turn you off a game, and appreciation of different types of humor can be somewhat subjective unless it's very high quality).

 

Freedom (within reason) is pleasurable and overcoming challenges is pleasurable. Being able to notice difference between before and after progress occurs also is satisfying.

 

In both Sim City (financial stability) and Minecraft (survival), once I reached the point where I was "established" and the challenge became a formality instead of a real challenge, the game became boring so I destroyed and reset the world to start again.




#5297006 Problem on referencing a vector of derived class

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 17 June 2016 - 01:35 PM

Then when you need to retrieve them:

std::vector<Transform> &transforms = theWorld.GetComponents<Transform>();
// Add some transforms:
transforms.push_back({ 1.0f, 2.0f, 3.0f });
transforms.push_back({ 1.0f, 2.0f, 3.0f });

 
Why is that better than:

std::vector<Transform> &transforms = theWorld.transforms;
// Add some transforms:
transforms.push_back({ 1.0f, 2.0f, 3.0f });
transforms.push_back({ 1.0f, 2.0f, 3.0f });

.

So far in my reading about ECS architectures, I haven't heard a good reason why the systems should share a common base-class; and on the other hand, there's some good reasons why systems shouldn't have a common base. The cons seem to outweigh the pros here.

 

[Edit:] Ah, you're talking about separating the components out of the systems. That's an interesting idea. I still don't get the benefit of the component mapper rather than just "theWorld.transformComponents", or "world.components.transforms" though. How does it benefit me, as a programmer?




#5296973 Problem on referencing a vector of derived class

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 17 June 2016 - 10:20 AM

return (std::vector<Type*>&)_bases[typeid(Type)]; // Seems like I'm able to cast it here...

 

While this "will work" it's dangerous code.

 

You are doing the equivalent of a reinterpret_cast<> from a float to a std::string, basically telling the compiler's type-safety mechanisms to go take a hike because we know better than it. Let me repeat that: You are telling the compiler that it should turn a blind eye to the very thing it is meant to protect you from doing.  :mellow:

 

Do you understand C++-style casts? You should try to get in the habit of using these casts instead of C-style casts.

The reason is, C++-style casts force you to explicitly type out exactly what behavior you want, whereas C-style casts try every type of cast until one happens to compile.

static_cast<>      //The most common and safest cast.
dynamic_cast<>     //The cast you were actually wanting (Base* to Derived*).
const_cast<>       //Usually a sign that your architecture is bad.
reinterpret_cast<> //The most dangerous kind of cast - this is what you were actually doing.

If you have a template class, like template<typename Type> MyClass, and you instantiatize two seperate versions: MyClass<int> and MyClass<float>, these are two entirely different (and unrelated) types. Though superficially they look and behave the same, they are as unrelated as float and std::string are.

std::vector<Base*> baseVector;
std::vector<Derived*> &derivedVector = (std::vector<Derived*>&)baseVector;

This does not cast every Base pointer to a Derived pointer, it casts the entire vector from one C++ variable type to an unrelated C++ variable type.

 

It "just so happens" that the complex memory layout and behavior of both of those vectors is hyper likely to be identical, so it happenstancely works, but it's the same kind of happensestance as wiring up your house lights backwards and they still happen to work despite the electricity flowing in the wrong direction.  :P

 

As a programmer, you already know that something 'working' is not the only criteria we use for gauging whether a solution is acceptable.  :wink:

 

As others have already pointed out, you don't need to store your components in the same map anyway, so I don't need to repeat the 'correct' solution; I just wanted to make sure you understood what was going on with that dangerous hidden reinterpret cast.

 

(Also, when you do need maps (which in this case, you don't), std::unordered_map is faster than std::map and should be your default map choice. You pay extra lookup costs for std::map, because std::map remains ordered when iterating over, which more often then not, you don't actually need the ordering. Also, personally, I prefer maps of vectors to multimaps in most situations - I think you were right to choose an map of vectors, provided the map was unordered)




#5296968 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 17 June 2016 - 09:47 AM

Design your levels in a way that they're made of smaller subsections, and getting into the next subsection will also present you with a quick way back to the surface. 

 

If you make the sections too small, it removes challenge and risk/reward choices. Being deep in a dungeon without a safety eject switch is enjoyable to some gamers, so we have to balance challenge with convenience, depending on the nature of the game.

 

Most of what else you said, I agree with.

 

Some games auto-convert useless items into gold, or, make game loot virtually non-existent, with money coming from "monster skins" or something similar. Loot, inventory, and currency is definitely something that I need to put more thought into, in-general.




#5296817 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 16 June 2016 - 08:26 AM

so, is there a way to make a RPG that can provide shortcuts for those that want to use them, without ruining immersion for those who don't?  that seems to be the real question. 

 

Designing the levels better, so there are natural shortcuts (one-way or two-way that gets unlocked) as part of the terrain.

Pros: It's natural, and explorers enjoy it. It's quick, so every gamer likes it. It doesn't force it on the player, so he can use that new exit to continue exploring the dungeon even deeper.

Cons: It's still not instant. Players may not have reached the shortcut yet, so they still have to double-back - but this distance can be reduced depending on clever placement of the shortcuts.

 

Dungeon shortcuts can even permit you to make larger dungeons (while still having them really content-dense). Imagine a cavern system that's really really huge (with unique visuals and enemies depending on where you are in the dungeon) - players can journey into it, open up a shortcut at the end of one section of the cavern, return later and continue journeying deeper, open up additional shortcuts deeper and deeper into the cavern; and if the cavern has multiple branching routes, then they can be progressing down one route and then try the other routes by jumping to different locations in the cave using the shortcuts.

 

Some examples of dungeon shortcuts can be jumping over a tiny ledge that you can't jump back up (or jumping down a hole to an earlier floor), lowering down a rope or ladder that you can now use up and down whenever, accidentally triggering a small landslide that forms a new ramp, knocking over a pillar-ramp, unlocking a door from one end, blowing up a wall from one side, a large defeated boss falling over sideways breaking a wall or falling off a small ledge and forming a corpse-ramp, ceiling collapsing and the debris forming crude steps, etc... Or shortcuts can be always accessible (where it doesn't mess up your event triggers) but just hidden.

 

And by making more content-dense areas in-general, you're already reducing walking distances even without shortcuts.

 

One way of making content-dense and many-shortcutted areas is to go in the more Deus Ex direction and make every area have multiple ways to get through it. The areas then naturally feel more dense, have more choice, and you don't have to walk as far. Though I have more of a feeling of missing stuff, if I'm constantly choosing between multiple paths.

 

I wonder what a good rule-of-thumb for walking distances is: Maximum of 2 minutes of non-combat walking and max of 5 encounters, to get back to the nearest hub/safe-place? It'd have to be tweaked per game, ofcourse, and walk speed would obviously affect that, but if you can figure that "acceptable limit" for your game, then you can weave that into your area designs.

 

For me as an explorer player, portal-type gateways are also fine in-world methods of quick-travel, but I know some people who dislike portals as "attempts to shoehorn sci-fi teleportation into fantasy worlds", so theming is important there so it seamlessly fits in the world's theme.




#5296711 Help me decide - shadow under hood/cowl or not?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 15 June 2016 - 01:52 PM

With the shadow, but it shouldn't be 100% black. I normally make my shadows 45% opaque, with a very slightly purple color. With your art style, though, I'd suggest starting at 60% transparency and tweaking from there until it looks right. You might also want to have the eyes shine out of the shadows just slightly brighter than the rest of the face.




#5296425 SDL+Qt for a devoloping a game engine

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 13 June 2016 - 09:48 PM

Qt can be used to make tools as part of your game's editor.

 

You can even embed SFML or SDL screens into Qt's stuff.

 

I have several suggestions that'll make your life easier:

  • Don't use Qt in any of your game's released code.
  • Don't use Qt for any in-game UI stuff - don't use Qt to draw over your SDL embedded screen, not even in the editor. Put widgets alongside, not drawn over.
  • Share as much code as possible between the editor and the game.
  • Don't generate code and compile it. Instead, just generate files that the game loads.
  • Design the editor for a specific game you are trying to make. Don't design 'generic' engines.



#5296265 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 12 June 2016 - 08:13 PM

>> Or Indiana Jones can roll under the door right before it shuts. (Exhilarating) <-- This is the kind of experience I want to cultivate.   I want the player to barely make it. Not be able to magically fly to safety whenever the going gets tough.   Part of my design thinking is trying to come up with ways that makes it so the player does succeed, but with the rapturous delight of almost not succeeding. I think Director AI can help with this.    Beating a boss is fine. Beating a tough boss is better. Beating a tough boss with your final strike, knowing that the boss is about to kill you? That is euphoria.

 

or you code it so comes down to the wire, but then the player discovers that combat is rigged. you can't kill them until you're almost dead, and likewise for them - or they may not be able to actually kill you at all.

 

you can setup "close calls", and let them play out - for better or for worse. but it seems that "rigging" close calls doesn't really work if you look too closely. "you may fool some of the people all of the time, but..."

 

one way to do it might be to setup multiple close calls, say 3. if the player fails the first, they can try the second, if that fails, the third. if that fails, it resets the first so thy can try it again, and so on. eventually they get out with a close call. but that may play out as being "contrived".

 

I see several ways that can help cheat those moments in the player's favor, without making the player feel tricked:

 

A) For enemies (random encounter or walking towards the player from elsewhere in the dungeon) that are approaching the player, but that he hasn't encountered yet, the Director AI can tweak the number of enemies, their stats, and their individual AI and group-tactic AI, to keep the player on their toes but also have ebbs and flows of difficulty, so the player has easy kills, breathing space, and also sequences of tough challenges that makes the player think, 'I won't make it out of here alive'. The goal of the Director AI is to make the player feel outnumbered and overwhelmed, but make those overwhelming moments be exactly the ones the player survives but just barely.

 

B) The Director AI can also cheat player accuracy and enemy accuracy, player critical hits and enemy critical hits. The Director AI can also 'fudge' numbers one way or another (so a powerful attack that would've done 57 dmg and kill the player's remaining 54 health, only does 51 dmg, giving the player 3 health remaining). It doesn't outright cheat, but the Director AI can be the player's "luck" that fudges things in dire circumstances.

 

C) When the player is low on health, the numbers automatically get fudged. This can be explicit and known. When players are under 10% HP, their agility is multiplied by 1.5 and their critical hit chance increases. Maybe their speed and acrobatics increase as well. This can be explained explicitly and themed as "adrenaline" in-game. Also, it can be a known feature of the game that an enemy's strike can't bring you to 0% health unless you were already under 5% HP, unless the enemy's strike was so powerful it would've done more than 15% of your max HP.

(And to give a weak player some escape leeway when encountering a powerful enemy for the first time, no strike can deal more than 60% of the player's HP in one hit, and if the player's HP is over 25%, no strike can bring him to 0%).




#5296027 What licence allows for artists to transfer their IP to me?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 10 June 2016 - 05:24 PM

I'm leaning more now to just letting my artists reserve the right to pull out their content at any time, and hopefully to foster enough trust that they won't feel they need to do that. As the game approaches a kickstarter/release though, I will form an official company and get contracts done so everyone gets payment.

 

If "at any time" means after you've already released the game, or right before you release your game, that permits them to hold critical content hostage when you don't have enough time to replace it.




#5295876 Why didn't somebody tell me?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 09 June 2016 - 04:28 PM

Something I've known for a long time and thought everyone knew:

 

When using Chrome, you can press Ctrl-Shift-T to reopen tabs you've just closed.

 

That works even after the computer has been powered down! (Chrome writes the previous state to disk)

 

Every so often, Chrome completely loses my tabs instead of saving them when closed (due to power outage or a mistake on my part where I have more than one Chrome window open). Ctrl+Shift+T has resurrected them many times - whole groups of tabs.




#5295859 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 09 June 2016 - 02:47 PM

Many of us don't want the sort of streamlined experience you're talking about. If I'm deep in the dungeon then being able to find my way out safely is part of gameplay. I might choose the wrong path and walk into an unexplored bit and get ambushed. I might have to make a difficult decision between pressing on or turning back, and maybe between ditching some loot in order to be able to continue. Those choices are part of the game.

 

Count me in your boat also. Though I agree with the OP that walking out of an entirely empty dungeon is boring, for me the solution isn't to teleport the player out of the dungeon, but to make the dungeon exit lead back to the world in general, or to make the way back interesting.

 

Perhaps one 'inspiration' as a designer would be to try and make the way out of a dungeon be even more enjoyable than the way in. If your entrance route got caved in, now you have to locate a different exit entirely out of this cave network, resulting in you finally seeing the light of day emerging out onto some incredible mountain-side vista...

 

Or a mini-boss you beat earlier gathered some friends and is waiting to jump you on your way out...

 

Some of this may be hard to design, because if the player designs (and if death doesn't mean 'reload your save'), then you get the unexpected player coming back into the dungeon and encounter the 'going out of the dungeon' encounters, but this can be dealt with by more flexible game design (less dependency on scripted events, and more dependency on emergent behavior of entities - which is, IMO, another important focus of gameplay).

 

One thing I dislike about the 'teleport out of the dungeon', is that some games force that teleportation on you after beating a boss, but as a player, maybe there were side-routes I hadn't finished exploring yet.

 

But in general, I agree that getting through dangerous environments (both in and back out) is were alot of gameplay pleasure can be found. One of my earliest moments of immense pleasure as a gamer was playing Quest 64 and making it through Cull Hazard Cave (and later, Blue Cave, and the Mine shaft, and Boil Hole). This experience is so enjoyable, I've beaten Quest 64 around ten times (no exaggeration), and as far as I can reflect, every play-through I've had the same pleasurable experience breaking out through dungeon to the world on the other side.

 

This is partly why I enjoy dungeons as more of a "tunnel" mindset then a "tomb" mindset. Coming through to the world on the other side has always been a pleasure to me, in many games (Mt. Moon in Pokemon Red/Blue, and many JRPGs have these).

One of the coolest things, though it doesn't make too much sense, is having a full village or town at the dungeon's exit. The sudden rush of exhilaration at going from "Am I even going to survive?" to food, items, inns, saver, peaceful energetic music, new and pleasant visuals, multiple more open paths to explore (your choice of) new areas of the world.

 

This "tunnel-dungeon" is actually something I feel open world games could benefit more from.

 

 

 

I might have to make a difficult decision between pressing on or turning back [...]. Those choices are part of the game.

 

This ^^^ is a major part of gaming for me.

 

Toeing my way into Cull Hazard, making past the cliff area, turning back resting again, re-entering and making it to another visual landmark before turning back again, finally pressing all the way in always uneasy about whether I'll actually survive, but finally travelling so deep into it that there's no use turning back now... then it becomes a gamble of, do I waste my items or not, so I can travel another ten minutes before death?

Taking the risk, using an item or two, pressing on, health and mana whittled down to almost nothing, deeper than I've ever been, no exit in sight, no chance of making it now, any minute I'll die... now it's just a matter of pressing on to map out the dungeon in my mind for my next attempt, because any step here I'm going to get beaten, but... Wait - what's that light? That's not... no? Yes? It's sunlight pouring through an exit... is it really the exit? Or just leading to another part of the dungeon? It must be the exit... Oh crap, another enemy, I hope it's not a... dang it, another freakin' dragon. Run run run run, dodge his fireballs. The light, almost there... almost there... yes! I'm finally through! What's that noise? I'm in a village, and there's the inn right in front of me!

The village's background music is practically singing to me. No; it's practically singing for me. I've survived.

 

The exhilaration of survival is major to me. The pleasure of exploration is fantastic. Games that combine the two together are immensely important to me.

 

What's really cool is that when games do survival well, it actually reinforces the exploration (at least to me). I can re-enjoy the pleasure of exploring areas I've already explored on previous play-throughs, and re-appreciate the world, if there's that element of risk in my choices, that thrill of danger  in my actions and the pleasure of surviving, of making it to the next safe place.

 

One random thought is: having bosses at the end of dungeons doesn't make much sense in this mindset, because dying between beating a boss and saving is miserable and feels punitive. Instead, I'd like bosses guarding the entrances of dungeons (or perhaps only partway into them), and guarding treasures in side-branches of dungeons (where players can bypass them by choice until their next excursion into the dungeon). I'd have to give it some thought, but I think this might be a more enjoyable (for my play-style) way of designing dungeons, regardless of whether it's a tomb-type or tunnel-type dungeon.

 

Counter-intuitively, while I'm in favor of condensing game worlds to reducing unnecessary time in getting from A to B, I'm also in favor of making dungeons long enough (but still content-dense) to give players a feeling of hopeless and dread that they aren't going to make it through it alive until, suddenly, they do - with the sun shining and the birds chirping. I don't want dungeons stretched out and watered down, but I want them to be challenges of long-term survival as enemies gradually wear me down.

I also don't want dungeons to have cheap insta-death tricks (like balancing on narrow poles over vats of lava - unless that's a core mechanic of the game), and don't want dungeons to be maze-like to intentionally confuse and disorient. It's not fun (for me) to explore mazes that are designed to make each hallway look the same. But having long dungeons of unique visuals, with skippable side-branches guarded by guard-dogs that I can return to later, I think would probably be my preference.




#5295856 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 09 June 2016 - 02:11 PM

 

I think it's just a different experience. Some people genuinely enjoy wandering around and taking in
the world.


Richard Bartle called those players "Explorers." His study on player types is very important for game
designers. It's vital that game designers understand the mentality of the players of their games. His
four archetypal player types aren't all there are today, since we have new game genres and platforms,
thus new player types. But a designer needs to fully grok his audience.

Edit: "fully grok" is redundant and repetitive; apologies.

To entirely fully grok the complete wholeness of Richard Bartle's player archtypes, he broke it down further into three axis instead of two, giving eight archtypes.
 
Original four vs current eight:
 
a9df2127de.png d50c778d9b.jpg

Though, the way the archtypes are used, it's not so much "Player Bob is an Explorer", but rather, "Player Bob is mostly an Explorer, but he's also a Socializer, Achiever, etc..."

 

(Also important for the OP to keep in mind: This is one lens through which to view players, but just as game design should be looked at through many lenses, player behavior should also be examined through different lenses)
 

i've recently been noticing ways that video games, such as RPGs and shooters can be disrespectful of the player's time when compared to tabletop RPGs.
 
a quick example: leaving the dungeon cause you can't carry any more loot.....
skyrim: manually walk all the way back using continuous move. you can use console cheats to accelerate time. 
in skyrim, there are no periodic random encounters, so where's my "leave the dungeon" button?  i mean WTF? has nobody ever thought of this?
and exploring...
continuous move, jog or ride a slow horse across the world in real time - and wait until you run into something.

 
I think this is more a consequence of game players thinking they want humougous worlds, without actually understanding their desires, and game developers making huge worlds because they also lack understanding or because it's a good market point.
 
Many players (and designers :rolleyes:) are wrongly focused on the square footage of the world.
 
Question: "What has a larger world, Farcry 6: Episode Q, Elder Scrolls 7, Grand Theft Auto 4, or real life earth?"
Answer: "None of those worlds are large enough to prevent me from hunting you down with a battle axe for asking such a dumb question."
 
Adding quick-travel is a band-aid for bad level-design, IMO - at least, some of the time; I think it's overused to dig a game out-of a hole of its own making.
 
Personally, I think the importance should be put on how well the world/level design is, and how content-dense it is. There's a balance between too dense and too spread out, and I think many modern games are very much on the too-spread-out side of things.
 
If you look at, say, Dark Souls, that's much more a step in the right direction.
If you ever played it, the Halflife 2 mod called "MINERVA: Metastasis" also does things well (especially on the surface areas).


Minerva's environments are built as actual environments (with correctly proportioned structures and areas) with gameplay worked in later. This creates a more open design, in which players may, in places, navigate in multiple ways. Later locations can be seen in earlier stages of the game (along corridors or through windows for example). Map design is the mod's hallmark. [...] Foster follows his own design ideals – that of compact, well designed maps. Although the levels seem huge, as play unfolds, they are in fact very small - wrapping around to use the least space possible. This creates a sense of realism.
Instead of relying on horizontally-sprawling, immense maps that stress the engine's area-capabilities to its max, Minerva maps are incredibly small. This is because of Foster's ground-breaking idea to utilize every possible area to its maximum potential, and instead of expanding horizontally, he expands vertically.

 
I don't think gameplay should be 'worked in later', but rather that level-design influences gameplay influences level-design, cyclically. But anyways, the point is that MINERVA does a good job of making the world content-dense, which actually makes the world feel larger than it actually is, without the unnecessary walking. Another thing that both MINERVA and Dark Souls do, is because the world is so dense and doubles-back on itself, it's easy for the level designers to add doors that become short-cuts between areas, minimizing the requirement for quick-travel except for the more extreme situations.
 
Another game that comes to mind, though not as fully "dense", is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. If you look at the map, many parts of the castle connects to other parts of the castle, making travel easier. SotN did require more walking than was necessary, so my ideal is even more dense than that particular game did, but it does better than most open world games do.
 
Castlevania and Dark Souls both have quick-travel between savers, so they aren't devoid of quick-travel - and I actually think between-save quicktravels; as specific teleporters/portals in-world as thematically more pleasing to me than generic quick-travel from a menu. I personally like quick-travel to be minimized, not eliminated (preferably minimized through use of in-world shortcuts, unlocked, discovered, or whatever). Basically, I (counter-intuitively) want to have to walk to a portal.

I also liked that Dark Souls only unlocked between-save quicktravel later on in the game. For me, part of the enjoyment is travelling between checkpoints, as there is risk involved. As soon as that risk becomes unrisky, because the enemies become too weak (relative to your skill as a player, or your in-game stats), then quick-travel (or preferably, shortcuts) should be unlocked.

 

A few ways to unlock shortcuts is:

 - Locked doors via keys (Can be themed. bomb = key, cracked wall = door)

 - Locked doors that can be unlocked from the other side (can be themed, like a pillar falling over and breaking a wall to create a shortcut 'unlocking' it).

 - Locked doors/ramps/elevators via switches that raise/lower them.

 - Player abilities (via 'learning', 'magic', or items). By giving the player new abilities like jumping higher, climbing walls, walking across water, making magic bridges, or using grappling hooks, the world could have 'always had' those shortcuts, but the player's limited move-set just prevented him from leveraging the shortcuts earlier.




#5295718 Pixel Art and Screen Resolutions

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 08 June 2016 - 10:40 PM

I heard some people say that you should scale to a power of two, but I don't see why it can't just be a multiple, since that will preserve the pixels as well.


They (or you) are confusing two different ideas. Textures are usually powers of two - mostly for historical reasons, where power-of-two sizes were either required or, later, necessary for speed reasons.
If you are scaling up or down textures, and your texture was already a power-of-two, you'd scale to the next power of two (which would also be a multiple of the texture size).

If you image isn't power of two, then scaling to a power of two would distort the aspect ratio, as you point out.




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