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Who to make you feel that your character is stronger without using stats?

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Well, in RPGs, your character evolves, of course, and I was thinking of alternatives way to make you feel that evelution without using stats. This topic is a bit the next step of last topic on RPGs stats. I''m thinking about animated fx like auras and stuff around your player. I know that some of you will say to change the model to make him look stronger but that''s alot of work!;-) -Monk http://newgatetech.topcities.com/

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i don''t understand why so many people are against using stats in a CRPG, especially since large amounts of numerical details are what computer are good at (and are one of the only parts of a "role-playing game" that they can handle efficiently)... but i suppose "hiding" the stats would make the game more non-hardcore-player-friendly...
it would be tedious making multiple "buffer" models for each character to show he is stronger, but a bigger problems is, how do you show that the wizard player is wiser? or that the thief is sneakier, or the bard is even more charming? models themselves won''t do it.
i personally thing the aura idea is contrived and would seem out of place, unless auras were written into the game''s story from the beginning.
perhaps since you are trying to hide the stats altogether, instead of making the characters seem stronger or whatever, you could instead give the player no indication at all about their strengths and weaknesses; but, when faced with a challenge that takes the stat into account, then give them a good idea of how (or if) they can handle it (i.e. when a giant troll suddenly jumps out in front of him, the fighter whose stats indicate that he will definitely be crushed pathetically might jump in fear, while the badass strong fighter would laugh haughtily and straighten his shoulders). or, if they try to do something (such as move a rock or something), roll the dice and see if they can do it based on stats; either way, give them a good idea of how easy it was (if they succeed) or how close they were (if they fail). i can imagine that now, trying to make the guy push this huge boulder out of the way of some door, and getting a message that says "you are far too weak to move this boulder" or maybe "you could not move the boulder, but you feel that you were close; perhaps you should get a friend to help?"

i dunno, just my 2 cents...

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Argh, I used to have a great article on why numerical displays in CRPGs are possibly one of the things holding them back.
I remember one example from it I will paraphrase and spice up:
Say you''re this new wet-behind-the-ears kid, who after you have accepted a quest to save the land, your father gives you his magic sword. You slay some wolves with it along your travels, and then suddenly one day you are ambushed by a group of orcs. They are far too strong for you, but you fight valiently, and manage to slay a few of them. As they close in on you, they form a circle trapping you in the middle, and their leader enters from one end, challenging you to a dual for fun. You know there is no way you can defeat him but you try, and as you cry to the gods for help and the adrenaline in your veins surge for what is most likely to be your last blow before death...a surge of flame runs from the hilt up the length of the blade and flares brightly. The orcs jump back and as you slash their leader, he falls, his armor on fire and his wounds screaming in flaming pain. As the orcs look to each other for assurance and then flee as you strike down their leader, sword still aflame. When the danger is passed, the flames on your blade die down but the heat they have caused has let be shown a mysterious inscription on the blade: "Orc Bane" is written in elvish runes.

Now. What made the sword fun? The fact that it was suddenly shown to have very magical and very powerful properties. Not that when your father gave it to you, he said, "Here son, this is a sword called Orc Bane that has been passed down in the family for centuries. It is a flaming sword and does 1d8 damage normally, 2d6 damage + 1d8 magical fire damage against orcs. Have fun."
The mystery of not knowing how powerful an item is or is not is a very large thing that can be used in games to heighten the suspense and interaction.
The Lord of the Rings wouldn''t be the same if everyone knew from the start that Bilbo''s little magic ring was indeed "The One Ring". In fact, through out Tolkien''s universe, mystery abides in all magical objects, and this is the fantasy world the majority of our RPG''s are based on. Orcrist and Glamdring are partner swords, but it never says what they do or how. Sting for that instance either. Or why The One Ring has different effects for different people. Sauron uses it for great power, but even wearing it, Bilbo and Frodo just turn invisible, not almighty. It wouldn''t be the same if everything was laid flat in numerical terms in front of you. Numerics add min/maxing to the equation.
Play a game of NetHack or Angband or ADoM some time. And you''ll start to realize why you should always check if that Silver Ring you picked up is a Blessed Ring of Strength, or a Cursed Ring of Teleport.

-Ryan "Run_The_Shadows"
-Run_The_Shadows@excite.com
-The Navidson Record! The best film you''ll never see!

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I agree. Ultimately, the computer is going to use some form of stat or even a fixed number to calculate how many hits and enemy will take, so why bother to abstract the numbers away from the player, especially since there are many gamers, like me, who much rather being able to see finite stats in the first place.

The only exception I can think of that stats didn''t bother me was the Legend of Zelda games, but those games were always more focused on adventure and puzzle solving than fighting and becoming stronger anyway.

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Run_The_Shadows: you have a good point, but ultimately it boils down to special "hidden attributes" of the objects (swords and the ring in your example), and part of the gameplay would then be to determine these effects. even in nethack, once you positively identify your ring, it comes up on the screen as "Blessed Ring of Strength" or "Cursed Ring of Teleport".
this is a neat feature in games that implement it, but i was talking about the characters stats and whatnot.
personally i like to see that my intelligence and agility went up a point each, and my axe skill is three points higher after practicing for a while. without numbers to express these stats to the player, they would have no idea about whether they even stand a chance against some challenge, or if they are very close and should try again hoping for better luck this time. that is why i suggested the psuedo-subjective (psuedo because you''d have to work out which numbers gave which response) messages about the ease or difficulty of doing anything in the game; it would hide the stats that essentially must be there to have an CRPG.

Taiyou: as far as i can tell, the only "stats" in zelda were your heart containers and the level of the sword you had (1 - 3 i think).

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strength: don''t do anything, it will be apparent in battles. or make him looks larger
agility: make him move faster.
intelligence: make him more intelligent. that is, low intelligence, dumb AI, high intelligence, smart AI.
personality: make him behave when communicating with npc.


My compiler generates one error message: "does not compile."

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Well thanks to all, I pretty like the «to weak to push» method for strenght, and other stuff like that. And it's true that it spoils a bit to see all the stats. But as I see, stats are important but I will try not to put them in numbers, because you can't say, I am 32791 strong!?! I will rather use words like:12 year old nerd up to titan, (just an exeple ;-))

Well thank you all for youre ideas

[edited by - NGT Monk on December 2, 2002 6:11:29 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Run_The_Shadows
The mystery of not knowing how powerful an item is or is not is a very large thing that can be used in games to heighten the suspense and interaction.

But wait: aren''t you mixing two concepts here? Your example was not more fun because of the lack of numerical data - it was more fun because that data was not immediately available. In a CRPG setting, I would not have been any less impressed with the orc-firey-death scene if it gave me the dice rolls and bonuses after the event. I agree that hiding some information is a good thing, but that this concept does not require removing numerical feedback from the game.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff ]

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My own ideas (even though I''m not opposed to numerical stats and/or levels at all):

Titles: from Peasant, through Squire, Warrior, Knight, Lord, etc. Or simple adjectives after the name such as ''the Craven'', ''the Meek'', ''the Mediocre'', ''the Fearless'', ''the Demonslayer'', etc.

Events: in a heavily quest-based game, it can be nice just to see a long list of all the character''s achievements. Someone with a 3 page list of all the notable things they''ve done is obviously more ''advanced'' than someone with few or none.

In-game items: in the real world, martial artists can receive coloured belts to denote their level of skill. Perhaps have the characters go to a trainer and receive something similar that denotes their ability, as appraised by the trainer. This is also nice as it adds a little mystery to the system: you never know exactly how good you are until you can get back to a trainer to be tested.

Reputation: this could be similar to a title, which reflects how good the populace consider the character to be. It might be made obvious through NPC reactions in conversation.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff ]

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Well, changing the model\sprite of the character probably has the biggest impact. Most PC rpgs (console RPGs tend to have characters that look the same no matter what they''re wearing due to the stylized anime look) now a days have characters that look differently depending on what kind of equipment they''re wearing. Project ego takes this further, deforming the character (larger\smaller muscles, different skin tones\tanning, scars, etc.) based on his stats. It is more work to do, but it''s not difficult to do it in a limited way. Changing a character''s skin or sprite a little can have a big impact, and changing the weapon a character is holding is pretty trivial (and pretty much expected nowadays.) You could even do it zelda style and just change the character''s color scheme as he becomes more powerful.

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