Jump to content
  • Advertisement

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

rmsgrey

Make Games Challenging!

This topic is 5648 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Inspired directly by a comment in the save/load thread, but something that''s been touched on more than once in other threads: the problem of making the game easier for bad players without encouraging deliberately ''bad'' play. And the problem of rewarding good play without creating a situation where bad players get even more bogged down, while good players just break away. But, hang on a moment, do we really want the game to be so watered down that a lobotomised blonde hamster can win it on the first attempt? What happened to the grand old tradition of games like the Colossal Caves text adventure (one of the first computer games)? Games where an expert can sit down and play through in an hour or two, but many people have spent months and years wandering around trying to solve some of the puzzles. Or the classic scrolling shooters where just surviving the early levels is something to boast about (as you upgrade to the point where just pressing fire once produces a light show that makes November 5th (July 4th for US citizens) look like a damp squib). What happened to the idea that computer games should be challenging and fun rather than just a way to kill a few hours on an "interactive movie"? Must titles like NetHack where completion is harder than figuring out how to get MSWord not to reformat your text be less common than commercial games that run out of the box without downloading patches? [note] I''ve deliberately taken a slightly exaggerated stance on this issue in the hopes of provoking more heated discussion (though not to the extent of flames). With that in mind, and half an eye on the moderators, feel free to respond in kind. [/note]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
In my opinion, the best way to solve the problem is the good old Difficulty Level choice when you start playing.

Soldier of Fortune did it in an interesting way: you could determine how many enemies you would face, their AI (I htink), their health, and their skill. Something like that.. Oh, and the amount of saves / level.

Anything more than that shouldn''t be needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wouldn''t have a problem with games that are way too hard if the player just goes charging in, and has to find a way to make it easier for himself - either by finding other ways around or scouting and taking out emplacements first.

What''s frustrating is if the only way you can find out something is too hard is by rushing in and getting slaughtered and having to reload. I think the player deserves the opportunity to see something and respond to it - you know, like the guys in the action movies do?

This could apply to strategy or first person shooters. And would be especially fun in multiplayer. I''m sure with a lot of human only players, with equal numbers on each side, many scenarios like these are played out. Single player games need to have situations that are carefully constructed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I do think it''s a good idea to have game difficulty be different for different players, because being stuck is just no fun.

A way to do this, however, is not to change the difficulty of a given area, but rather give the player the choice of going into one of multiple areas, some of which are known to be harder than others. Of course, the harder an area is, the greater the rewards for completing it. This way players will automatically moderate the difficulty themselves to the level that is most fun for them.

Atlas
Spiral Graphics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Atlas
A way to do this, however, is not to change the difficulty of a given area, but rather give the player the choice of going into one of multiple areas, some of which are known to be harder than others.


I think this and difficulty setting are both good and not hard to implement. For the ActionRPG that I am designing, I am think about allowing the player to choose an AI character to go with them in a single player scenario. The AI is around the same level as you are, but won''t steal your xp of kills, who acts as a complementary to your skills. So if you are ranged type of person you can choose a tank as company. I am thinking that if you are a good player (the Game Master can easily tell but your Level/Playtime) the AI laughs at you if you request it to go with you, and in that case, the AI will steal kills and xp and retaliates if you attack it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I personally find having the difficulty in the levels gradually increase is really effective, as long as the first level is idiot-easy.

Think of Super Mario 3 as an example, the first level was incredibly easy, while the last levels were damn hard. It''s difficulty levels gradually increased as worlds passed by, keeping people interested into what was next.



- Rob Loach
Current Project: Upgrade to .NET and DirectX 9
Percent Complete: X%

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Design and tweak your gameplay in a way it can be both easy and hard, depending on the players'' actions, and allow the skilled player to play the game "in the hardest way" if he so desires to.

As example, two games from Treasure: Ikaruga (arcade, Dreamcast, Gamecube) and Guardian Heroes (Saturn).

Ikaruga is an infamous shooter by being damn hard, requiring tight reflexes, strategy and cold blood to be beaten with perfection. Most people can''t get past half of level 3 in the first plays (the game comes with a limited set of continues).
But, as long as you play, the game will increase the avaliable continues every hour played, until it eventually offers unimited continues. So even a monkey can "beat" the game then. All he needs to do is press START when prompted to continue.

But you feel no good in doing so, since the game is not about watching the ending (none, whatsoever): it''s about play performance. It''s about going through the levels without dying, and killing enemies in chain combos, impressing anyone who happens to be watching.

The chain system works when you kill enemies in a certain order: (killing 3 enemies of the same color in a row, then more 3, then more 3... anything else will break the chain. And doing a chain can boost your score to insane levels.

So, a skilled player will want to try to not be hit, and kill all enemies in a chain. Even if he doesn''t need to do so to beat the game.


Guardian Heroes is a mix of beat-em-up and RPG. You gain experience and can level up your characters, but the game plays like a sidescrolling Marvel Vs. Capcom, where you face dozens of enemies at once, using a nice variety of moves and spells to take them down. During the whole game, you have an Undead Warrior by your side. It''s AI controlled, and you can issue him some basic orders (like follow me, stay here, go beserk). The Undead Warrior is invincible: it won''t die. So a cheap user can set it to beserk, duck in a corner, and wait the area to be clear.

But a hardcore player will see no fun in doing so, because you''ll not get any XP this way. The hardcore player will tell the undead to go passive, and will slash the enemies himself, to get as much XP as possible.

Also the whole gameplay and control scheme is nicely laid out, so fighting the enemies is darn fun, so most people often keep the Undead Warrior as a backup to enjoy the madness.


So, in those two games you can play in a "easy" style (beat the game easily, no rewards) and play in a "hard" style (takes skills, but lotsa rewards), and it depends nearly interely on how the player plays the game, not in a setting before starting the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The perfect game would have no difficulty settings. It would start out fairly easy and increase in difficulty with time or percentage of the game/level that''s completed. It would also be smart enough to scale back down if the player can''t advance after a certain amount of time or multiple reloads of a save point (if it has save points). Increasing the difficulty of a game isn''t hard, it''s the decreasing off it just enough to allow the player to complete a portion of it with a bit of luck that''s missing from games today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I''m pretty sure Max Payne did something like this. I think the number of painkillers in the game varied depending on your skill, so a lousy player would find loads of them everywhere, while a really good player would wonder why he never got any of them...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Waverider
What''s frustrating is if the only way you can find out something is too hard is by rushing in and getting slaughtered and having to reload. I think the player deserves the opportunity to see something and respond to it - you know, like the guys in the action movies do?


My take on it is if the player is brash enough to go charging into any situation guns blazing, if he dies repeatedly, it''s his own fault. I don''t know as I''d make that approach impossible to do, but it shouldn''t be easy. I mean come on... how many games can you think of where it''s you against one opponent and that''s it. (neglect puzzle games and other games where there are only 2 players and you couldn''t possibly go in guns blazing please)

The fact is that in the vast vast vast majority of all games, the player is outnumbered. I would expect that as a game designer, it''s my job to make him/her remember that fact, repeatedly if necessary. I would feel very little pity for someone who loads up a game like Delta Force and his mission is to take out an enemy camp. If he wants to go into the camp guns blazing, that''s his perrogative. But the fact that he''s outnumbered 20-1 and one shot, you''re dead should really be a factor in his decision making process. If it''s not, then the player seems to have other problems he really should be addressing.

FYI: Yes, I do that a lot, but it''s mainly for the challenge factor more than anything else. If I die, at least I can''t say I didn''t expect it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!