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NGT Monk

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

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No time to read the whole thread this time but I wanted to post my comments regarding the original post.

I personally would like to hide MORE (but by no means all) of the stats and numbers that I feel plague the CRPG genre. A few previous threads have mentioned the idea of using an Zelda: Ocarina in Time type interface -- more arcade-ish and most importantly, giving the player direct control over the character. I really like this idea. Considering the Zelda comparison, as the character gets stronger and more experienced, it should perhaps gain additional combat moves that look (and are) more powerful.

For instance, the real reason increased strength affects a character''s attack is because there is more force behind the blow. So let weak characters have weak and wimpy-looking attacks, and let stronger character have animations that are more forceful, throwing themselves into the attack, knocking the enemy back more or having the enemy really look like they''re taking a heavier blow.

In other words, don''t TELL the player his character is stronger with numbers -- SHOW it, in the way the character fights and the visual results of the enemy''s reaction animation.


Brian Lacy
Smoking Monkey Studios

Comments? Questions? Curious?
brian@smoking-monkey.org

"I create. Therefore I am."

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I support irbian 100% !

I''ve even began to plan to introduce some kind of fuzziness in my Animation System, with lower fuzziness as you progress.

Basically when you''re a beginner fighter, your attacks are inacurrate and somewhat jerky, but when you''re a master your attacks follow the perfect path...

It''s a computer game, and the main feedback is the screen, SHOWING the character skills is the best way to keep the player immersed and make him feel his character is getting better.

Also a note on interface : make it as small as possible !

And don''t forget the gold rule : everything the player do needs to be designed to require the less mouse move and clicks possible. Especially those used the most.

Some games out there are just painfull when it comes to inventory for example.

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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I agree with you. Because in Diablo ii, you can''t fell that your''e charcter is storng without looking at the stats! Like you see someone approaching and the only way to judge his level is by looking at his levels! An it sux to always look at numbers! But to put some fuzziness in animations is I think a very good way but how do you work that? At each 15 levels change the ennemy reaction? At each 2 levels change your attack animation? For each weapons? I know I exagerate but it''s still complex.

-Monk

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I''m writing a two-dimensional RPG, but I''m at a loss when it comes to making character equipment show on the screen. I''m going to try a sort of advanced paper-doll approach, but it''s going to be ultra-tedious unless all of my characters are exactly the same height and width. I don''t wanna use anime-style drawings!

Personally, I think that displaying equipment would be good enough. A character wearing shiny, glowing Plate Mail +5 and carrying a steel shield is definitely going to look better than a guy in splint mail with a wooden shield.

Characters who don''t wear overt equipment, like martial artists and wizards, would be well-served by the color-coding. A white-robed character with a white belt (lvl.3) confronting a white-robed character with a black belt (lvl.17) gives us a good visual indication of who will win the battle.

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I think information hiding could be a good thing done well. Two notes of caution though:

Firstly, if a player has to try-it-and-see to discover what compromises are best in choosing equipment, etc, then you have to reduce the difficulty of challenges affected by those compromise choices because you can''t expect players to make the right choices automatically, and you risk making players play more conservatively with regard to items - sticking to the longsword they''ve been using for a while and know works (and suspect is +2) rather than switching to the Platinum Uber-Sword of Doom (borrowed from the twinking thread). This makes handing out prizes harder, particularly if you want to avoid the problem below. Also, if the player never tries using his orcbane sword against orcs, then the whole effort of hiding the fact it is orcbane so the player can discover it is wasted - to subvert Run_The_Shadows'' example yet further: having received your father''s magic sword and run into a few wolves, you divert from your course to discover whether the wolves are a part of a larger threat. In doing so, you evade the party of Orcs in ambush, and play for quite a while without ever encountering any more Orcs (in the original game, Orcs are supposed to have heard about your encounter with their brethren and steer well clear of you whenever possible). After a while, you manage to acquire a new magical sword from an enemy NPC. After trying it out in a few fights, you decide it''s superior to your father''s sword (being +1 rather than +0). A little while later, you back-track wondering why the plot seems not to be making much sense, and run into the Orc ambush. Several of the Orcs have regeneration abilities, so without the flaming ability of Orcbane, you have no chance (any damage from sources other than fire or acid will be regenerated faster than you can hack the other Orcs to pieces)...

Secondly, if done clumsily, eg by replacing each numerical value with a flavourful name, a fair proportion of players will just generate their own look-up tables for them and translate back into numbers, and then complain about the extra effort they have to put in. Similarly, with prize items, a player will tend to assume that items gained from tough fights/quests are higher power than their current gear. If you let them do this, then, again, the players will play in much the same way as before, pretty much defeating the object. For example, having defeated the Ultimate Villain, the player comes across a sword in the Treasure Beyond Counting. He immediately shrugs, picks his weakest current weapon, and swaps it for what he strongly suspects is the Platinum Uber-Sword of Doom.

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