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Balancing NUmber Systems

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Hey: When writing code and trying to balance number systems for fighting or experience gain do any of you ever write secondary scripts for this? You know, something like a VB script that can be written quickly and would allow for things like a scroll box for selecting character level and another for class or race which would allow the program to compute the basic stats for a player and would then calculate a base amount of damage etc? Essentially testing out your battle system way before it actually goes into code? Just curious because I see too many RPGs (mostly MMO) that have to constantly update (nerf) things in the game because some stuff is way more powerful than it should be. Seems like there could be a way to automate at least a little bit of this balancing. A script that would have some min and max boundaries for how much damage/healing/stat effects that items, spells or moves would have. Then simulate combat between two or more characters and decide if one is weaker than the other. Just a thought. Webby

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Well, the issue on MMORPGs- IMHO- is that, no matter how well you think you may have tested your game system, when you''ve got thousands of resourceful players, one of them is going to figure out a way to combine abilities that you didn''t. Blizzard, for example, also constantly releases patches for its'' games, for much the same reason- nothing replaces playtesting for these purposes.

As for balancing formulas, yes, it''s probably a good idea to test them like that, but once again- nothing takes the place of lots of playtesting and beta testing when it comes to fine-tuning them.

- HC

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The idea wasn''t to get out of playtesting in any way. It was just a curious question of whether people write programs similar to what I described outside of the actual game code or if they simply code the game like it''s designed and then worry about testing later when you can actually play the game.

I was simply thinking of a quick graphicsless interface that would allow simulated battles as they would theoretically go into the game. Seems like such an approach would eliminate a lot of bugs from ever stepping foot in the actual source code.

Anything to keep the final product as clear and easy to maintain will give great rewards.

Thanks
Webby

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It would be interesting to use genetic algorithms to ''evolve'' the optimal player with X levels/skill points/whatever and let it run for a few thousand generations to see what the end result would be. Once it finds several good characters, you could import them into the real game and see if they took advantage of a combination you didn''t think of.

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