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More alternative EXP systems?

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First, an apology to everyone for inadvertently transgressing by directly resurrecting the previous thread on this topic. I was directed to the thread from an outside link, and never thought to check the dates on previous posts. For those who didn't follow the previous thread (or don't want to have to reread it), the discussion was about possible alternatives to the traditional "murder-based" experience system where characters get abstract experience points from killing monsters and whenever enough points accumulate, all the character's skills improve. Ideas seemed to divide into three types: those that kept the basic abstract experience points, but tried to award exp for actions other than kills; those that advocated only improving skills used rather than having arbitrary choice of skills to improve; and finally those that just suggested a feature that could be added to either system. Experience related: A system where exp gained for actions varies by character class and action type (warriors gain lots for fighting, little for lock-picking, rogues vice versa). primarily story-based exp exp handed out based on assessment by other party members exp for reaching checkpoints (like in Deus Ex) skill advancement by putting exp into linking base skills to generate new skills General/mixed: Skill values being hidden from the player, and having to be deduced by trying to use the skill. higher exp awarded for failed actions than successes genocide discouragement by increasing maintenance costs with level. suggestion that failure-based exp/skill improvement follows real life more closely than success based awards. genocide discouragement by only awarding exp for actions with significant risk of failure diminishing returns on repetition of tasks (large amounts of logging overhead) Skill related: A system where learning on each skill can be switched on and off, with gained experience divided by the number of skills being trained, and only relevant skills to the action performed actually gaining. Potential abuse pointed out: switch skills learning on/off as you use them so only the skills that gain exp are on at any given time. skill atrophy through disuse skill improvement with any use (succeed or fail) but only if success/failure threshhold falls close enough to current skill level skill improvement system entirely hidden from player so character seemingly adapts automatically to player's play style Call of Cthulhu system - potential to increase a skill comes with significant success (using it when it affects character survival/success rather than in training). Actual improvement requires a skill check with failure causing improvement. Finally, my errant post suggested a system where every skill has a current base skill level, which is the average check result, and a randomness level, that sets the range of the random element in a skill check - for example, with a base skill of 5 and randomness level of 2, the skill check would produce an unmodified result from 3 to 7 (5 plus or minus up to 2). The player can choose one of two states for the skill to be in - in the first, which represents the character experimenting with different ways of using the skill, ignores the randomness level, instead using the default (maximum) randomness level for that skill. Any successful skill check causes the base skill to change by some fixed proportion of the random result (say half for the sake of illustration, probably rather lower in practice) so, for example, if the skill above (base 5, randomness 2) were in this mode, and the default randomness level were 5, then a check which succeeded with an unmodified result of 9 (random number of +4) then the base skill would increase (to 7) If, however a check then succeeded with an unmodified result of 3 (new base skill of 7 and random number of -4) then the base skill would decrease (back to 5). In the second mode, representing a consistent approach, the base skill level of a skill is fixed, all checks using the skill get a fixed bonus (say +2 for my example) and any use of the skill, whether success or failure, reduces the randomness level for that skill by a fixed amount (say 1 for my example). So the unlucky player in my example above, having decided to change mode for the skill before using it on some really easy checks and losing all his progress, now tries to use his skill again, getting a result in the range 3 to 7, and the randomness level decreases to 1 whether his result was a success or failure. On his next use of the skill, the result would be between 4 and 6, and his randomness with the skill would reduce to 0. Until he changes back to the experimental mode, all skill checks with this skill will give a result of 5. Some quick (pre-emptive) comments on my system: having the base skill decrease sometimes when in experimental mode represents learning bad habits. From a game-balance perspective, it discourages genocide and non-combat equivalents by making them (on average) totally non-productive in terms of raising base skill. In practice, you'd probably want to introduce a downwards drift by subtracting a small amount of the new base skill value after each success (otherwise the player, by bashing goblins for long enough, would sooner or later get his combat skill to max out). Alternatively, keep the actual skill level hidden so the player has no idea when to stop goblin-bashing. If you actually read my previous posting of this system, I gave experimenting a fixed penalty rather than conservatism a fixed bonus. I thought this might make the explanation a little clearer, there's no other difference. When switching between conservative and experimental modes, you may want to increase the randomness factor slightly (or over time while in experimental mode). Also, you may want to stop it decreasing before it hits zero to preserve some randomness. The decrease in randomness level from failed checks could be different from that for successes, and in whichever way your biases run. I suspect emphasising failure is probably more realistic in conservative mode since since you are attempting to hone an existing technique. Critical success/failure in conservative mode (if you have them) should probably result in no/double change in randomness level - a perfect result teaches you nothing about consistency, while fumbling highlights your mistakes. In any serious implementation, you probably want to take advantage of the computer's ability to handle large numbers or floats - having an initial base skill of, say, 10 out of 255 and randomness level of 100 with fixed decrease of 1 and bonus of +5 to checks in conservative mode and change of (5% of random number)-1 in experimental mode sounds plausible. Worth playtesting to get right. Might want to consider a modification where the bonus for conservative mode starts at 0 and increases gradually to a set value whilst being conservative to reflect slight improvement due to honing of known technique(s) in addition to the reduced randomness. Anyway, any other comments on alternative means of character improvement (ie not the standard hack-and-slash for experience points) are welcome. [edit] put in link to older thread - my skills having improved over the past few months [/edit] [edited by - rmsgrey on March 30, 2003 3:28:13 AM]

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I''m a follower of the "stat and skill improvement with practice" camp. But I also think that advancement should be organized in a different way than it is now. Specifically, I think that the player should not have to spend play time advancing his character, nor do I think that stat and skill improvement should be unbounded. Here''s how I''d like to do things.

During gameplay, the player goes about accomplishing tasks, exploring, interacting with other characters, and generally just playing the game. While in gameplay, he earns NO EXPERIENCE. Shock, shock! He doesn''t need it though; the challenges he faces can be overcome in many ways, and his character is almost guaranteed to be competent enough to use at least one of them. If a problem can''t be solved at his current level of ability and skill, that''s OK; he doesn''t need to solve it right now because there are many other things to do.

However, as the character goes about his business, as the PC observes other characters using skills at a rank greater than his own, he is learning from observation. If he''s never seen the skill before, he now has the ability to learn it through imitation. Furthermore, he may make contact with characters willing to teach him new skills and techniques.

Now, it''s the end of a gameplay cycle. The current adventures are over, and it''s time for the PC to get back to his routine. After all, "adventures" are breaks from the routine, or they wouldn''t be very adventurous would they? But the routine isn''t as fun as gameplay, so we the designer don''t make the player actually play it out. Instead, we present the player with a list of options for his character''s offtime actions. This list is based on the opportunities the player has uncovered during gameplay. He can work at jobs to earn money and improve job-related skills. He can train with tutors to learn their skills at an accelerated rate (but at a monetary price). He can study books or manuals he''s found, to try to learn things on his own. If he has the skills to make things, he can spend his time making them.

All this takes a fair timespan in game (in fact, it takes until the next opportunity for adventure), but for the player the process is a matter of a few minutes. Then the next gameplay cycle begins, and the player can now use his newly improved skills to try and tackle new challenges or old ones he couldn''t previously handle.

A side note: In terms of how success and failure is handled, the ideal for me would be a complete simulation of character actions rather than an abstract success/failure model. But barring that, I rather like the Silhouette System''s method for handling skill checks. When you make a "success roll", your skill is the number of d6 you roll. You choose the highest of those rolls, and add your relevant statistic for your final check number. In this way, high skill improves your average roll but high stats improve your maximum roll. Good skill means more consistent results and fewer screwups, but only natural talent lets you pull off really astounding feats.

-STC

---------------------------------------------------
-SpittingTrashcan

You can''t have "civilization" without "civil".

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How about we make skills grow in adaptation cycle. What we do is assign each skill a basic success rate, and then record an adaptation meter which acts as a percentage of success added on. To visualize this, lets say we''re enabled in SKILLJ, be it someting incandescent or swiping someone''s shoes. SKILLJ has basic 25% success rate, leaving 75% up for grabs. Each time the player uses the skill, the meter is increase by a number selected at random inclusively between 1 and n where n is derived elsewhere, by skill, by arbitration, whatever. What we then do is modify the effective success rate as so:

Success = BaseSuccess + ( (100-BaseSuccess) * AdaptationRate / 100 ) * (Enemy''s percentage ability to dodge / 100)

What we have now is a way for players to become more adept at a particular skill based on usage, without having the player stumble around in the dark for an hour.

I don''t know if this already suggested in another form or not, but my logic is something simple for the player to work on. If you want to introduce attrition, then you could have another random degree used for subtraction, say a 10% chance -1 if you don''t use a skill that battle.

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OK, since the original thread here has been re-necroed by someone else, I thought I''d *bump* this one directly since it''s a little easier to catch the main points of the old one from.

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Skill by practice is the best way to go about things, IMHO.

It has a nice effect, that being that it doesn''t directly require murder (increases in combat skills are more due to the use of the skills rather than the kill itself), so implementing proper fleeing/surrender systems are possible.

I don''t have so much of a problem with characters going after weaker monsters for experience...BUT there should be the chance that the player can still die.

In other words, a level 1 goblin SHOULD have a chance (however miniscule) of killing that level 50 hero. And a horde of 50 level 1 goblins should represent approximately the same challenge as a single level 50 monster.

Most RPGs don''t represent this...in DnD, when you''re level 20, no level 1 monster can hit you, much less kill you. In console RPGs, where levelling is encouraged, its a low risk practice with nearly no attrition.

Attrition is a big part of the challenge of those 50 goblins.

Sure, the hero can easily dispose of them as individuals, but over time, he starts to accumulate wounds...his movements begin to slow and he starts to tire. There should be a real danger from prolongued battle that blurs the line between low and high levels.

Its not EXP itself, or the fact that murdering creatures generates a reward, but rather that most XP hunts involve no risk, and low level creatures become meaningless.

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ElAntonous has a good idea I think ... and I would like to temper it with another ...

Most players of RPGS are power players, meaning there are not really role players, but people who enjoy succeeding, being better than others, and impressing others and themselves (through neat feets they acomplish) ... they would rather play an AD&D character with stats 18, 16, 15, 17, 14, 17 then one like 12, 17, 11, 14, 7, 15.

Even still though ... they still get sickened of the sheer tedium of having to slaughter hundreds of meaningless, automatic NPCs to make levels once they have a few ...

So what to do ... what I propose, is that people do implement some sort of system where the danger increases noticably as you become outclassed and outnumbered ... so that you can walk safely alone and not paying much attention as a level 30 fighter, AS LONG AS, there is no powerfull (high level) or organized (large numbers) group set against you. I don''t mind that a goblin individually has no chance to kill a half health, half stamina, half everything level 30 fighter ... but if he can just do SOMETHING to reduce him ... then eventually it would matter.

One thing I''ve never seen used in RPGs is zones of control. Some games have stamina, some games have backstabing, some games do not allow retreat, or have fast monsters. But where are the games that make is harder to get away from 10 weak enemies who surround you, than just 1 who is in your path (you know, the ability for them to close, swipe, or sprint at you, while you dodge the one ...). Where are the games that allow running speed to flucuate, so that enemies may gain on you while you flee, or fall behind (but not ever falling farther behind) ... where is an element of morale or determination, that allows someone fighting for his life to run just a few moments longer ...

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It all comes down to one fact. In order to improve a character in a stat based game, you must spend time doing repetitious tasks. If you could do it without time waste, then you could max your character instantly. If the tasks were not repetitious then you would be able to advance the character too quickly (non-reptitious tasks are limited in number).

Its all a matter of making those tasks that the player must repeat, interesting. Ultima Online, for example.. failed in this. Instead of killing hundreds of monsters, I spend hours chopping wood, or building armor. In concept, its great. But in reality, it sucks. Killing mobs is more exciting, random and a more interesting repetition.

Hiding stats from players is an even worse idea. Many, if not most, players enjoy "maxing" their characters. If you remove this possibility then you remove a large majority of the fun from games for many players. This is even more relevant in MMORPG type games, where statistics are all there are to differentiate thousands of characters (Yah, like I really care if my character has a small goatee, and somebody else''s has a medium goatee).

Hence- my opinion. Alternative XP/ character development is relatively impossible to implement in a manner which is fun for the player at least for now.

In real life there is motivation to be lazy (its fun). In a game, if you are lazy you''re left staring at a static image.. so there is no motivation for laziness. This causes the problem that "alternative xp" tries to eliminate: Half of the game''s players are nearly identical....

I''ve always been under the impression that instead of trying to get rid of battle as the main advancement, people should try to CHANGE battle. Developing a system of battle with elements that are similiar to the NES game Mike Tyson''s Punch Out, would be ideal. For any who don''t know, you are presented with a target. This target has specific weaknesses, and specific strengths. The target attacks using a pattern, and within this pattern there are moments of vulnerability, where the attacker (player) can damage the target, and rarely other times.

Monsters/mobs would conform to this. It becomes impossible to simply kill hundreds of mob''s nonstop, since it becomes largely a matter of skill which will give a different differentiating factor between players, other than time. There are some people who can play "Punch Out" all the way through without taking any damage, and there are others who can play for months and never beat the game.

Of course this is an entirely new concept, and would take massive tweaking.. not to mention determining how different classes would interact with the same target, or multiple player characters attacking a single target, etc... but I think its the direction that games will head towards..

Another problem is simply feasability. A system such as that would require calculation of responses with millisecond delays completely changing the result. In the scenario of an MMORPG, this is unacceptable due to lag... and allowing mobs/monsters to compensate for player''s lag by "freezing" themselves, is obvious invitation for exploitation... so there seems to be no solution, at least for now..

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quote:
Original post by haro
Monsters/mobs would conform to this. It becomes impossible to simply kill hundreds of mob''s nonstop, since it becomes largely a matter of skill which will give a different differentiating factor between players, other than time. There are some people who can play "Punch Out" all the way through without taking any damage, and there are others who can play for months and never beat the game.
I have to agree with this. and I believe, Zelda implemented this system (the bosses). Monsters must be beaten in certain ways, not just the brute hack and slash technique.

I think damage and armor system need attentions also. For example, in the case of 1 lvl50 character vs 50 lvl1 goblins, these goblins barely do any damage, maybe because the lvl50 guy''s armor was too thick. And the damage dealt by the character overwhelms the goblins HP. If any of you have played Dragonlance (an old tactical RPG game for Amiga/DOS), I think they implemented this very well. Even if your characters are lvl20 with 150HP, you still find some troubles fighting a horde of minotaurs whose HP is only 70 points, because the damage you dealt has a very little difference than the damage dealt by the minotaurs. In some cases, minotaurs may inflict more damage than you do. Even if you fight some pretty low level thugs, they still do damage, although not much but can still be considered threats.

The worse XP/skill system I have seen is in AC2 (couldn''t resist to mention it, I hate it, completely stats based, very little skill involved). In PvP, a lvl35 character fights a lvl50 character. the lvl50 guy deals 500 damage, but the lvl35 guy deals only (at most) 100 damage, that''s a HUGE difference (not to mention that the chance of hitting the lvl50 guy is about 1:5). With two strikes, the lvl50 wins with full HP.


Current project: 2D in Direct3D engine.
% completed: ~35%
Status: Active.

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quote:
Original post by alnite
The worse XP/skill system I have seen is in AC2 (couldn''t resist to mention it, I hate it, completely stats based, very little skill involved). In PvP, a lvl35 character fights a lvl50 character. the lvl50 guy deals 500 damage, but the lvl35 guy deals only (at most) 100 damage, that''s a HUGE difference (not to mention that the chance of hitting the lvl50 guy is about 1:5). With two strikes, the lvl50 wins with full HP.


Current project: 2D in Direct3D engine.
% completed: ~35%
Status: Active.



But, another little problem arises without giving very large gains for levels. Where''s the motivation to level? If a level 35 can potentially do just about as much damage as a level 50 (With some luck), then why gain the extra 15 levels? In MMORPG''s 15 levels can mean dozens, if not hundreds, of hours playing time... And with clients having less motivation to play, then the average subscription time would likely decrease substantially.

Too bad a system where skills and stats are earned could never work. Ie- to learn a certain spell, you had to explore an ancient cave, read the glyphs from the wall, and from then on you could cast the spell..

Sounds nice, but in reality just turns into a boring journey for every person who makes a spell caster. They load up their spell-list faq, load up their maps, and waste hours running through caves each level to get their spells... No way to really make it any fun...

Then there''s always the idea of "the more people using a certain spell/skill, the more difficult it is for new people to learn that skill." but that turned out to be one of the worst mistakes ultima online made, imo. It just creates a boring atmosphere since there is no chance for advancement to the very top.

I think a very interesing idea (though, somewhat of a different genre) would be a tradewars meets medievial era type game. The game is dynamically created. Each player that joins the game is alloted a piece of land and a hut to begin with. You then have the ability to develop your hut over time, into a castle. Spread out your lands, connect your lands with roads for quick travel, protect your lands with everything from walls, to archers, to proximity mines (not chemically detonated/operated, magically detonated/operated!). Of course the idea is to extend your empire, forge alliances, and eventually take over the world. When the world was taken over, or a total of 80% of the land voted for a restart, the game would begin again (you gain more votes, the more land you control, so if one person managed to control 80% of the world, he could force armageddon if he wanted). Your provinces and buildings would develop using real life time (with the ability for queuing a list of operations to be done), but you could develop yourself and your armies in real time.

For example, there would be wilderness in the game. The wilderness would have to be cleared before you could settle that land (or you could leave it as wilderness, and use it as cover for an attack against another province on the other side of the wilderness). There could be caves/dungeons which would require entire armies to conquer, and when conquered you could gain relics for your "avatar", or advances for your entire civilization (ie- all advances now require 10% less time). These relics/advances could be traded to other nations for anything from land to soldiers to other relics...

Ooo.. I get excited just talking about it, but I''m rambling and its 4am here.

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A few quick ideas (feel free to develop them further)

Mini-games for skill improvement - rather than just clicking "make armour" and waiting 5 minutes while a progress bar fills in, instead play the "armour making mini-game"

Item based improvement - rather than having to perform set repetitious tasks to enhance a given skill, instead perform any task you feel like, and get a skill enhancement item at the end - which can be traded for the skill you wish you had but don''t want to bother training in...

Quest-based improvement - rather than improving for every random act of genocide, make it so that you only improve when you do something plot related

And, as an aside, my rule of thumb as a DM for AD&D 2nd edition (though I''m sure it could be generalised) is that each level higher doubles the number of opponents of a given level in an encounter of appropriate difficulty. Which means that a mob of Kobold (roughly level 0.5) want to outnumber 1st level PCs about 3:2, 2nd level 3:1, 3rd level 6:1, etc. Of course, this still doesn''t provide a fair fight - the PCs should win handily, but take noticeable damage. Half a dozen or so of these encounters should leave the PCs in serious need of R&R. So for a level 20 character, you''d be looking at about a million goblins to offer an interesting fight... though, at the rate of one goblin killed every second, you''re looking at about 11 days of constant combat to wade through them all...

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quote:
Original post by haro
But, another little problem arises without giving very large gains for levels. Where''s the motivation to level? If a level 35 can potentially do just about as much damage as a level 50 (With some luck), then why gain the extra 15 levels? In MMORPG''s 15 levels can mean dozens, if not hundreds, of hours playing time... And with clients having less motivation to play, then the average subscription time would likely decrease substantially.
I agree, but in AC2, the difference is too big. Even 5-8 people of lvl35 still can''t beat a single lvl50 character. And this goes back to what ElAntonius pointed out, quality vs quantity. Should they be equal or not? Why would a single guy can massacre a whole group of others who are less skilled than him? Where are the threats? Where are the dangers? Where leveling up must give some rewards, it still must not eliminate potential threats.


Current project: 2D in Direct3D engine.
% completed: ~35%
Status: Active.

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I think an interesting idea would be to key all occurences related to a particular player to a random number generator whose seed depends on the players name. That way, you could implement a system where you have to earn skills and it won't be the same for everybody. You coudl either make the spell found depend on the RNG or even have it control if there is a spell there. In order to prevent new players being unable to obtain skills, you could have instruction manuals for sell in shops for basic skills.

If you implement this, you shouldn't just use it for spellcasters. Fighters might discover new special attacks, new techniques (I like the 'magic fighting' style where fighters can basically learn 'spells' too, like a stunning strike, a way to recover stamina faster under certain conditions, that kind of thing), etc. A rogue might learn stances that help them ballance better and thus move faster, or how to better read body language to trick the NPCs into doing them favors or something like that.

I think you should also include the ability to learn from practice (learn as in improve skills you already have, so if a mage uses fireball effectively in combat the damage might go up 0.1%, or the amount a fight's 'phantom blade' illusion decreases his opponents chance to pary goes up 0.3%, etc), and the ability to learn from other players (there should be some way for a PC/NPC to teach a PC a skill, and then the learning player can practice with the teacher and learn more quickly).

[edited by - Extrarius on March 31, 2003 6:42:48 PM]

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I''ve two comments:

Be realistic which means, make it believable. Work on magic and all so it can be explained, after wizards are supposed to understand it and so should the player, everything should be well integrated. Every single skill MUST be usefull.

When it comes to a fight, the truth is that each weapon is made to severly wound or kill, so if you hit someone with a sword and the guy don''t die, either you scratched him, or the game system sucks.
Because someone with a sword IS deadly, no matter how well he can use it, every single weapon is made to kill, not just to make some scratchs, that''s why we make weapons, to kill.
A weapon that doesn''t kill is forgotten and another is made.
That doesn''t mean that a sword master is likely to die against someone using a sword for the first time, not at all. The sword master will most likely dodge the attack or parry it.
Another inexperienced fighter will have a hard time dodging or parrying.

And if the sword master is hit, he might lessen the wound (that''s what you learn in martial arts, to accompany the move to lessen the damage), but he will still get hurt, and can even die.

Just my two cents, cause I''m sick of the Dnd 20th level are godlikes because of their hitpoints. (and also lack of fatigue makes the undeads lost the edge... they are very hard to fight with fatigue and only then you understand how it would be in a real fight.)

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

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well, for anyone who''s ever been a dungeon master very much, you should also know that ANY system which requires players to play through the boring stuff they don''t like is just silly ... a game is meant to be FUN ... and that''s all there is to it ... so it''s not our job to make realistic xp systems, it''s our job to make interesting and acceptable xp systems ... when necessary at all.

For one, MMO games must be seen to be fair, which prevents them from allowing a player to just "roll" a new level 20 character (for there is really no reason this shouldn''t be allowed in ANY single player RPG game) - but that means, people sit down and make a new Fighter ... play for 5 weeks, and have a level ??? character ... then they decide they''d really like a cool wizard .. so they start over, play with power leveling or some such .. and 3 weeks later are back up to level ??? (and can then can ALMOSt play with their old group of friends again) ... and what do they do if they LIKED the interesting challenges of the level 7-10 areas ... how can they repeat those areas until they are tired of them ... they can''t ... cause the game doesn''t let them give up levels either

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haro:

That dymanic world, grow your castle thing... wow, you read my mind the only problem I''ve had in thinking about it is... how would you level? I''m hoping that Planetside will be like this (to some degree) Actually, I think PS will be awesome if they pull it off. REAL SKILL in an MMO game, finally. Supposedly no lag either. We''ll see.

For me, the ultimate MMO game would be mostly FPS based, but with RPG elements. It would be like haro described. You would be able to maintain a village, or even open your own store and craft things that could be sold there (even if you''re not online; you could hire an NPC to sell for you) The focus would be combat. Sword and other melee combat would be third person, and would have combos. You would have to learn how to execute these combos, and would take some skill. Archers would use the first person, holding down the mouse a certain length to fire an arrow (if you hold it too long to fire far, your "hand" would shake) Casters could potentially use a DDR style system, in which spell potency would be determined by how "accurate" you were with the Dance dance revolution style interface. Some spells, defensive in nature, would be "quick cast" to avoid repetitiveness.

Combat would be KvK (kingdom v kingdom), and you would participate in combat against PCs of other kingdoms in an effort to control the resources of the world. Anyone play C&C Renegade? A lot like that, but on a much larger scale (and with RPG elements). Like AC2, there would be various sites you could go to to mine minerals, to craft things, and players would want to protect these for their kingdom.

Okay, I''m way off topic now, hehe. Doesn''t hurt to dream though

PEon

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Moving discussion from old thread.

quote:
"For instance: ...and every time you killed a certain kind of opponant..."

Isn''t that just another Exp-For-Murder system?

Yes, but he wants alternatives to the standard system; in other words, the D&D/FF one.

quote:
I''d love to see a system like this, designed from the ground up, without using a SINGLE D&D CLICHE. I challenge all game developers for the rest of history to be original when making games... are you up to it?

Yup, although there are plenty of things from D&D that I''ll be reusing in most game, ''cause I like them. But I''ve been wondering whether I was up to it, myself, so here goes...

By the way, this is a system that I designed for the game I''ll be making a few years from now, whenever I finally finish my current project. There''s little that''s terribly radical about it, but I don''t think I''ve ever seen a system like this actually implemented.

For starters, characters have no basic attributes (Stregnth, Dexterity, Intelligence, etc.). This is because I simply don''t want them in this game. They don''t really fit the system.

Instead, characters have a LOT of skills. Every single individual time you swing that sword (be it a success or failure), pick that lock, cast that spell, or flee from combat (much to the disappointment of some of you action/realism fans, this one will be an advanced turn-based RPG; sorry!), the skill associated with that action (and there''s a skill associated with EVERY conceivable action, even social interaction!) will be increased using the formula skillLevel*=(1+(x/10)).

In the equation above, x=1 if you have a 75% chance of succeeding at striking your targer, persuading the nobleman, etc.. If your skill level gives a higher rate of success, x is lowered to a minimum of .1 at 100% success, while if your skill level gives a lower level of success, x is raised to a maximum of 3 at a 25% rate of success or lower. Some skills require certain minimum skill levels in other skills to begin learning, and while one-half of all spells (healing and damaging spells are all together; none of this cleric/wizard business) are learned automatically once one''s Magic is high enough, the other half must be bought or found. I''ll discuss magic in a minute.

Your characters get 100 HP, but these HP do not rise, ever, except possibly slightly, and only with the aid of certain rare magical items. In addition, your character''s armor have HP, and these are more of a real determining factor in character durability.

Finally, your character has DP (dodge points), and these are the heart of the defense system. DP go up with usage, although the rate at which they rise is somewhat lower than that at which other skills rise. A "starting" character gets 10 DP, and DP regenerate at a rate of one point per turn. Your maximum and current DP are also affected by your current HP: if your HP are 50% of their maximum, the said starting character has only 5 maximum DP.

I shall explain. When a character is attacked, they must choose whether and how to dodge. There are three modes of dodging, with one keyboard/joystick key assigned to each one. You can attempt a normal dodge, a serious dodge, or an all-out dodge. When you are attacked, you must tap the appropriate dodge button as you are about to be struck to avoid the attack. If you time it just right, the dodge is more effective. Your DP are what keep you alive, so you want to be careful to move characters far away from the actual melee when their DP start to get low.

I''m making the specifics up as I go along, so it may need some tuning, but here''s a summary of how it works for people who don''t wear armor*(see footnote, far below):

No dodge : You don''t even try to dodge, or (most likely) are too wounded to. Attacks against you always hit, except in the case of mental influencing effects, which are resisted based on your Will skill.

Normal dodge : A reasonable attempt to get out of the way when struck at. 1 DP, penalty to attack''s accuracy rating (system is close to D&D base attack bonus or THAC0 in that it''s not percentage based and is slightly randomized, less so as levels rise; just multiply the numbers in the d20 system by 5 and make the randomization 1-100, and you''ve got it) equal to maximum DP. If you time it just right, the penalty to foe''s accuracy is 1.5 times max DP, and if you time it absolutely perfectly, the penalty to foe''s accuracy is 3 times max DP.

Serious dodge : You put some effort into it; leaping back quickly or jumping over the attack are both examples of a serious dodge. 2 DP, penalty to assailant''s attack equal to 1.5 times your maximum DP. Good timing: 2x max DP, perfect: 3x max DP.

All-out dodge : You leap away from the attack, twisting madly to avoid it. Nobody can keep up this sort of thing for very along, especially not while attacking, too. Your AP (action points) take a minor penalty whenever you do this, and it costs 5 DP. In exchange, your foe''s accuracy is penalized by 4x your maximum DP. Good timing: 6x your maximum DP, Perfect timing: Only 3 DP spent, 12x your maximum DP.

Good? Personally, I like it, although the exact figures may need some re-balancing. You will, of course, be able to make weak, moderate, and strong attacks with your weapon or fists, which will cost varying amounts of AP. as per ChronoCross or Xenogears.

Damage will not, of course, rise exponentially with level growth, although DP and attack accuracy will.

How about it? A battle of attrition, in which you pit your best dodges against your foes'' best attacks. Sound good?

Right, almost forgot the magic system. Magic is element-based on the eight elements, which are Fire-Good, Fire-Evil, Air-Good, Air-Evil, Water-Good, Water-Evil, Earth-Good, and Earth-Evil. Spells use one element or a combination of two or more (some of the strongest spells combine all eight). There are about 800 spells. Really. No, I don''t have them designed yet, but I''m confident in my methods and besides, I may be able to work up a real design team if anyone around here is impressed with Pentaverse once it''s done.

Magic is divided into ten levels. To cast magic of a certain level, you must have MP equal to ten times that spell''s level. All characters start with 10 MP. Spells cost MP equal to their spell level squared. MP regenerate up to 50% of maximum at a rate of 10% of MP per minute, and regenerate further at a slower rate, which is greatly speeded by good rest.

Another quirk: if you have current MP greater than or equal to 50 times a spell''s level, then you can cast it for free. Really!

When casting a spell, you must choose to focus on a certain aspect of that spell (power, range, casting time, AP cost), and the skill associated with that aspect will rise, as will your maximum MP, which, like DP, don''t rise on quite the same scale as other skills.

Good enough for everyone? My current RPG project uses a reworked murder system with a few D&D "cliches" (Personally, I think it''s incredibly well done, especially for a first game), so I didn''t post it here, but if anyone wants to see that, too, I''d love to describe it.

(* Those who do wear armor apply a constant penalty to their opponents'' attack accuracy, which is based on the armor''s level of cover and the Armor Use skill of the person wearing it. In addition, the heavier the armor you''re wearing, the less DP you get. A character wearing the heaviest armor, full plate, has his maximum DP reduced by half while he wears it. The very lightest armor reduces DP by 10%. When it really comes down to it, the type of armor (or whether you wear armor at all) is really a stylistic/gameplay choice in this game, since the game will most likely be balanced so that all defense styles are nearly equally effective.

Oh yeah, and if you equip a shield, it reduces enemy accuracy, too, and both the armor defense value and the shield defense value "stack." Almost forgot.)

"Ph''nglui mglw''nafh Cthulhu R''lyeh wgah''nagl fhtagn!" - mad cultist, in passing

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Assumptions
The skills of a character is catagorized and there is no fixed classification as ranger or warrior. When the character "gain EXP", the measurement of each skill increases according to how and what the character fought and what weapon used. The measurement of each skill determines how effectively the character can use the weapons and spells. A low level melee may equip a high level weapon, but he WILL cut himself and swing very slowly; An archer with low agility takes longer time to load and will miss trying to adapt to high level bows and arrows; and an beginner mage may not understand the spell or take a long time to concentrate. (For mages there is a quadratic delay if the spell you try to cast is of higher level, in addition to mana requirement.) Aside from granting access to weapons and spells, the skill levels of a character determines the storyline that will unfold.

The EXP System
The first concept is level difference (LD). LD is calculated by the combination of the levels of each monsters engaging in the group minus the level of the character.
LD = (Avg(Level_i)+(NumMonsters-1)*Sum(Grouping_i))-CharLv
Where Grouping_i is the Grouping constant of the Monster i. Ranged units have a higher grouping constant than melee units.
If LD is negative (you are of higher level than the monsters) then you don't get exp for the skill you used, otherwise, the skill points you get is proportional to LD, and is based on the following battle statistics:
AtkFreq - Increases Agility based on duration between each hit. Awards melee fighters who jump into groups of enemy and do doublecuts and triplecuts. Increases Agility for archers for fast drawing.
DmgDealtPerHit - For melee and ranged, DDPH increases strength; for combat magic, Concentration. Damage of overkilling is excluded.
HitRatio - Increases Accuracy for archers and combat mage.
CrtHitRatio - Increases intelligence based on critical hits per total number of hits. This corresponds to choosing the correct type of arrow, correct timing of slash, and correct type of magic that the monsters like. (Critical hits don't happen by chance. For archer, shooting at the throat of a monster is a instant kill; for melee, Critical hit happen when enemy is fleeing, dodging or jumping; for mage against high level monsters, it refers to a combo of magic such as freeze and then chain lightning)

Overall, the system intents to promote intense action for all types of character. If you, as a player is good, then you will level faster and reach high levels that other players simply couldn't achieve, since a large part of experience gained reflects the actual gaming skill of the player.

[edited by - Estok on April 1, 2003 4:40:13 AM]

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quote:
Original post by DuranStrife
Magic is element-based on the eight elements, which are Fire-Good, Fire-Evil, Air-Good, Air-Evil, Water-Good, Water-Evil, Earth-Good, and Earth-Evil.


This is probably just my mathematical training kicking in, but why not do the spell system based on combining 6 elements: earth, air, fire, water, good, evil? Apart from anything else, I''m sure there are neutral applications of, eg, fire magic (''light fire'' springs to mind) some of which are surely more fundamental than the morality specific uses - if you insist on having fire-good/evil as primitives, presumably morality neutral spells would be Fire_Good-Fire_Evil spells... Just seems a little untidy is all.

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quote:
Original post by rmsgrey
This is probably just my mathematical training kicking in, but why not do the spell system based on combining 6 elements: earth, air, fire, water, good, evil?
I agree. But I still don''t know why we should make fire good/evil whatnot. Fire, Water, Air, and Earth are elements, I think they should be neutral at all case. They are what they are, not necessarily to be good or evil. If used by an evil monster, they become evil automatically.


Current project: 2D in Direct3D engine.
% completed: ~35%
Status: Active.

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quote:
This is probably just my mathematical training kicking in, but why not do the spell system based on combining 6 elements: earth, air, fire, water, good, evil? Apart from anything else, I''m sure there are neutral applications of, eg, fire magic (''light fire'' springs to mind) some of which are surely more fundamental than the morality specific uses - if you insist on having fire-good/evil as primitives, presumably morality neutral spells would be Fire_Good-Fire_Evil spells... Just seems a little untidy is all.


I''m sorry, but I messed up describing my system slightly. What I meant was not "good" and "evil," but "offensive" and "non-offensive." All four elements are split into attack-like/dehancing abilities and healing/enhancing spells.

I forgot to mention that there are six skills for spells: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, "Dark," and "Light." (I''m really not sure how to describe these; it''s more like yin and yang than conventional good and evil, actually. And many spells are, for example DarkFire/LightFire combo spells.) Anyhow, these go up with casting, in addition to your MP going up.

"Ph''nglui mglw''nafh Cthulhu R''lyeh wgah''nagl fhtagn!" - mad cultist, in passing

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Skill system thoughts:

Atrophy: Very bad. With the time scale (usually 6/1, 6 in-game hours for every RL hour, or a game day every 4 RL hours), it''s still unreasonable to start having atrophy as quickly as it usually starts. The only reason that I see to allow skill atrophy is because you have a skill cap. Without a skill cap, there is little (or no) reason to have skill atrophy. Yes, skills will slowly atrophy, but how much will they atrophy? Are you saying that someone who hasn''t really used Algebra in a year or two will have forgotten how to do it? I can still do algebra and I haven''t taken any math classes in over a dozen years. I may be an exception in that I can do probabilities and statistics in my head and never took a probabilities and statistics class.

Either way, Atrophy in games happens too fast and there isn''t any compensation for already having gotten a better level of ability within a particular skill. I''ve already attained a 125 in 1h slashing, but it''s atrophied down to 80, how is it compensated that I already have attained 125? Unless you give the player a double rate (or more realistically higher rate) of progress until they hit at least 90% of their previous skill level, you''re just punishing the player for not perpetually using the same skills over and over again.

Exp higher for failing:

What the heck are you thinking? I covered this in the other thread. Regardless to say, rewarding someone MORE for failing will end up with not a murder based system, but a SUICIDE based system. People will only actually succeed when they have something to gain by winning, such as phat lewt. My friend is sitting here telling me that if we kill each-other over and over we''ll be uber inside of a week. Go attack Vox over and over and over until you''re uber. Wow, that taunt didn''t work, I guess I got better because I don''t know what does work with that guy? Duh...

Success teaches you one method that does work. Failure teaches you one method that doesn''t work. Since there are many more ways that don''t work than do work, you can theoretically fail forever and never get any better at succeeding, since you have no reference point. Learning more from failure implies that you already have a great amount of experience from which to work from and an even greater number of formerly successful methods which to go through. That''s a dangerous assumption.

I don''t think that killing should be the only way that you reward people. As a matter of fact, I think that there should be different implications for killing and not killing an enemy, but if you beat them down to almost dead and let them go as opposed to beating them to death, there should be no difference in the exp or skill gains that you get. The humans should like you more for killing the Orc and the Orcs should like you less. That doesn''t mean that a ''green weenie'' orc should jump you just to commit seppuku on your sword, but he should definitely go get his 120 buddies and drag you down like a deer running from a bunch of wolves, or maybe a shark getting whupped on by a school of dolphins.

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I agree, getting worse in skills you don''t use shouldn''t be part of a game. People don''t forget that fast. Of course, they don''t learn as fast as characters in RPGs do either, but at least it''s fun to get better. It isn''t fun to get worse. And after all, people DO learn faster than they forget (otherwise everyone who didn''t constantly train everything he knows every day, would get more and more stupid.)


About getting XP for both failure and success:
I agree that "Success teaches you one method that does work. Failure teaches you one method that doesn''t work. ".

I do think that it''s a good idea to give XP for both cases though. In my system, you get a number of Training Points (Which are basically XP in each skill) in a skill when you use it. The amount of TPs you get is equal to 1/(the probability of success) if you succeed, and similiarly 1/(the probability of failure) if you fail. There is a max amount of TPs you can get for each try, and you need to get over a value (I think 1.5) to get TPs at all.

This way, if you succeed with something you had a 95% chance of succeeding, you won''t get any TPs because you didn''t learn anything new. On the other hand, if you fail, you''ll get a lot of TPs because you just realized something you had completely missed out on! Similiarly, if you succeed with something that you really have no idea on how to solve (5% chance or so) then you also learn a lot.



"Kaka e gott" - Me

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