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do i have too many character attributes?

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my character attribute system, which is still being hammered out, has at least 18 attributes relating to character performance. is this too many? so far i''ve got three main attributes -- strength, intelligence, will -- and another five attributes separating the main pairs of strength & intelligence, intelligence & will, and will & strength. a list, starting and ending with strength is as follows: strength > dexteterity >> ability >>> coordination >> perception > awareness intelligence > insight >> competence >>> charisma >> temperence > faith will > spirit >> fortitude >>>endurance >>immunity >fitness strength an important note to make is that each of these attributes has its own purpose, regardless of it''s similarity with another attribute. awareness and perception, for instance: awareness judges how aware you are of your surroundings, and would help you to spot enemies either hidden or in the distance; perception judges how well you respond to your surroundings, and would help you to better deal with those hidden and far off enemies. there are other examples, but i won''t get into them here. i also have two additional sets of attributes, one which accounts for a character''s energy levels, and one which accounts for morality. these will be displayed under a separate tab. so is this too much? the interface, as i picture it, is very streamlined, and only the most vital attributes will be displayed on screen; things like body temperature, current energy level, etc. it will also be fairly customizable, so that displays can be added and removed as needed. and there is nothing in my plans so specific as to say, you need this exact level of a certain attribute or higher to perform a certain action. any character can perform an action, or try to perform it, before that action''s recommended attribute levels are met, but it may be less effective or difficult to complete at lower levels. thus there isn''t a big need to micromanage stats. any comments/suggestions?

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Perception and Awareness are the same thing - for response you would want to have reaction or reflex.

a lot under will doesn''t belong there. Overcoming diesease isn''t mental it''s physical and belongs under strength - immunity, endurance, and fitness all belong under strength.

Charisma is usually sectioned off by itself but seeing as it has to do with the mind, I guess you can keep them together. Temperance however is a factor of will.

Coordination, Perception/Awareness, and dexterity have nothing to do with physical strength. They are actually skill/mental attributes.

I guess all my criticism is debatable but the question is why do you need all these statistics in the first place?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Personal, I think it''s a matter of how well all the information is presented, how organized on screen & how much they effect the game play.

Also the game itself has alot to do with it, a FPS game I would say cut few more. If it''s a RTS/RPG (which is my guess based on the names), I don''t see a problem with alot. But I would sit down and figure out how you increase/gain and how they interact with the other parts of the game to see if they are worth the time for the player to work at them and your time to program them.

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yeah, it''s all semantics. and immunity isn''t really under will, it''s between will and strength, or more specifically, between endurance and fitness, two things with which it shares a common relationship. and yeah, i was thinking about replacing perception with reflex, or maybe instinct.

likewise perception and awareness are not so much under strength as between coordination and intelligence. and dexterity is in the wrong place up there. it should be after ability.

the reason for all of these attributes is to allow flexability between different players and different characters. if there are only four or five attributes, then you can only increase your ability in those four or five areas. they also allow for different gameplay experiences; a character that is injured in battle must rely on the attributes stretching from strength to faith in order to survive long enough to recieve medical attention or recuperate on his own.

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hmm, well percepetion and awareness are the samething, and some of your stats belong in other cartagories such as faith should be under will.

Also you could make some stats to be derived stats instead of base stats.

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To problem with too many attributes is figuring out enough algorythms to use them all. I mean, it''s all fine and dandy to say "Stat Check" and have this boulder have a -7 STR, -2 WILL, whatever. Where you get into trouble is placing really annoying and arbitrary limits on a situation. When designing a level, you have to realize that theres a minimum expectation on the player in order for him/her to get through the level, and that minimum is set to the hardest challenge in the level. If you have a locked door, and it''s the bottleneck of the level, and you need a minimum 12 lockpicking skill, then the whole level has a minimum 12 lockpicking expectation on. Thats just one scenario, now imaging having to consider 18 variables when designing a level.

Ideally, you should try to have the least amount of Character Stats as possible, and then calculate the characters skills from that base, and then award them bonuses to the skills. That way you have much less variables to consider when designing a level, and the player has much less things to worry about.

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..the energy attributes are still being hammered out to this degree. energy attributes determine the ability of the player to use other attributes at any given time. characters have an energyMax and an energyNow. this ratio gives a character his or her energy density. when the energy density falls below about 50% the player becomes unconscious. when it falls below 1% the player is dead. energy density is represented by transparency.

also, the density can be either positive or negative, which depends on the levels of the moral attributes. the positivity, negativity or nuetrality or a character is represented by the brightness of the energy. white represents light and life, black represents darkness and death. a mid-tone conveys neutrality.

the morality system is based on an opposition of the seven deadly sins and the seven contrary virtues.

pride/humility
avarice/charity
envy/love
wrath/justice
lust/acumen
gluttony/sacrifice
sloth/zeal

any given action assigns points to certain categories. only one attribute in each pair maybe have a positive value at any given time. the value of one side is inversely proportional to the value of the other.

too much? a much too much?




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inmate...

i don''t want to make a game like the one you are describing. it may be that there''s a door that you want to go into, and you may need a lockpicking skill of 12. but if you don''t have it, that doesn''t mean that you couldn''t get through some other way. break it down, use a weapon, use magic...go find a locksmith.

and i have decided that i do not want a game that is controlled by a very specific plot line. there are events that happen, wars and the like, but you choose your own level of involvement. so really, you don''t really have to pick that lock. there are a 1001 other things to do.


and yeah, some of these are derived attributes and some of them are basic. thats why i arranged them like i did. faith is close to will, which is close to spirit which is close to fortitude which is close to endurance, and so on. i haven''t figured out the intracacies yet, though.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
My opinion: kill 2/3 of your stats. Keep the main stats and the mid-points. Complicated is bad.

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I''m at a mixed feeling towards this.
I''ve seen games with many many attributes. But simplicity is good too. Maybe if you group them together into common attribs. And also award attributes together. So take strength fitness and endurance and power (strength being the group name)... if you increase in fitness 2 points... you get 1 point for the rest.

But basically you can have many many attributes. But defintely make it easy to understand. if you have them placed all around the display in no order, people will get confused. But if you group them together and have it just so simple that you look at it and understand almst immediately... then that''s what you want.

Deus Ex is one game that had different methods to finishing the level. There was the brute force method, the hackers method, spy, bla bla bla. It allowed you to tailor yourself to the needs youw ant. Morrowind also allowed for that too.

YOu have to ask yourself, what is your target audience... is it someone who likes 100''s of stats to look at and manage or is it someone who can''t handle too much. Once you pick the audience it might be easier to meet their needs

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OK, two points I think.
First you are talking about a computer game here, not a paper game. What this means is that it doesnt matter how many attributes you are ACTUALLY using, what matter is how you show it to the players. Maybe you dont have to show the subtle attributes to the player but only the main one (Strength, Intelligence and Will). In any case it doesnt matter how many attributes there are since it''s the computer that''s gonna have to deal with all the calculation... unlike a pen n paper RPG.

Second point is that I have seen various stats system in my RPG experience. I am a fervent anti DnD man, but even them got something right.

MAybe I can show you one or two systems of attributes I know of ?
The World Of Darkness system has 9 attributes, completed by a host of specific abilities. To resolve an action, you combine a main attribute with an ability and roll.
There are 3 categories of attributes (and abilities) : Physical, Mental and Social.
My own understanding is that there is generally one active skill, one passive skill, and one ... miscellaneous.
For instance :
Physical > Strength (active), Stamina (passive), Dexterity (?)
Social > Charisma , Appearance, Manipulation (yes, it''s a bit fuzzy there, I agree)
Mental > Perception, Wits, Intelligence.
Abilities are separated in Talents, Skills, and Knowledges (it''s not a clear cut Physical/Social/Mental separation here).

Another system I remember is called Simulacres.
In it you have 4 main main attributes (called Composants) and 4 secondary atttributes called Means (as in, a mean to an end).
Body, Soul, Mind and Instincts are the 4 main composant of a character, and can be expressed through the 4 means : Action, Perception, Resistance and Desire (possibly Willpower, I am translating from French here).
Again you combine base elements to create even more attrbutes, 16 here. And you can refine those with a Realm, an indication that your character has a particualr liking for a sphere of influence. Realms are the Mineral, Vegetal, Animal, Human, and Mechanical.
And then you can still add to that specific abilities...
So if you want to tackle a particularly difficult MAths problem, you could roll Mind + Action + Mechanical (because Maths are conceptual tools) + Maths
Or you could try and resist the temptation to fall asleep by rolling Body + Resist + Human
To hit someone with a sword ? Body + Action + Mechanical + Sword
Gee, there is even a set of attributes called Energies that can be used to add a specific "shade" to your action. There was Might, Precision and Speed. The trick is that the Energies where in limited supply, so you could use your Might for a particularly powerful strike at your opponent. Or you could do a Mind + Action + Human + Etiquette + Precision if you were trying to land a particularly vicious blow in an political debate...

Gee... and there are more systems out there, Chaosium system (used in Chtulhu, Stormbringer and Hawkmoon), GURPS system (used in Fallout), Rolemaster, Glorantha...
All of them ahve much more than the 6 or so attributes that you will find in most computer Roleplaying games.
WHY ? I still have no idea, when you think about all the data a computer CAN handle, it seems surprising that we dont give it a chance.


Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

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It could go either way. Having a great many attributes is fine as long as they each have a well-defined, easily understandable, role.

Don''t listen to the naysayers, i.e. "less is more" and all that bull. The principle is sound, but it''s not to be applied like so many think.

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Alright, I''ll consent that this is a computer RPG, and we could have literally hundreds of stats and that''d be no problem because the processor would run the numbers for you.

The problem is the player''s involvement in the Stat boosting process, and the apparent effect his work has. Theres no mention in this thread anywhere how the player will go about setting these stats, or improving them for that matter. Because we have 18 stats listed, I''m assuiming that full responsibility for these stats is left on the player, I.E. if they spend all day fighting, they''ll get some strength and stuff, but lose intelligence. If you tie the stats together, then we get some wave effect, that STR+2, AGI+1, INT-2, CHARISMA-1. With 18 stats, this type of thing would be happening a lot, AND would be going on with out the player''s direct knowledge of it. (Even in RPGs with 3 stats, a change here and there in stats occur with out reference point, I.E. you get 2 STR points, sure, but what does it do? Double damage, or just add 2 points of damage, or 1 point of damage and randomly a second point?).

Taking in the supposition that you''d avoid Stat decay, that my last argument is bunk. To that I''d say Okay, 18, sure... Break them down into sub categories and organize them on the UI so the player knows what they''re used for.

As a suggestion, I''d suggest that you could expanding the list if you specialized it. Thats what I was talking about with Character Skills, lockpicking. A better example is your Immunity stat. Rather then just blanket immunity, how about Immunity-To-Poison, Immunity-To-Plauge, Immunity-To-Light... That last one is if you had a Vampire classification. Once you specialized the stat, then the player knows exactly what the stat does, and can manage it. "Oh, I''m underground, I can remove my +3 Sunglasses."

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Well, like Inmate said, no number of variables is too many for a machine to crunch, but your lists do seem a little convoluted. I agree with many of the previous suggestions, and I think you should reconsider the list entirely. It isn''t the quantity of the attributes, it''s their organization. You could easily have scores if individual stats, if they were thoroughly thought out.

Look for a model. The other gaming systems are always a good starting point, or you could go someplace else. The Greek philosophers had a list of virtues, ranging from spiritual virtues like piety to social virtues like munificence and justice to physical virtues (gymnasticae) like strength and agility.

There are dozens of ways to describe and name the things that make a person who they are. You need to come up with one that''s comprehensive and elegant. No mean feat, but that''s why people tend to use the same system everyone else uses. If you''re going to innovate, you''re going to have to work at it. Good luck, and let us see what you come up with.

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well the entire concept goes pretty deep, so there are alot of ways that a player can increase in any specific attribute, at least in theory. but generally, physical attributes are influenced by physical activity, mental attributes are influenced by problem solving efficiency, social and spiritual attributes are influened by a general character assessment which interprets a character''s actions and behavior.

i''m still working on the equations, although i have an ideal leveling system in mind. like in most other rpgs actions give experience in a category that i''m referring to as points. for any given attribute there are 1000 points in a level, and a maximum of around 1000 levels, although it is important to me that a player be able to "beat" the game anywhere from about level 80 on up. the higher levels require more effort and offer more reward but the game would not suffer if they are not attained.

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quote:
Original post by Inmate2993
I'm assuiming that full responsibility for these stats is left on the player, I.E. if they spend all day fighting, they'll get some strength and stuff, but lose intelligence.


well, not necessarily. if they spend all day mindlessly hacking away then yes, intelligence may be lost. in most rpgs this is unavoidable, but i'm designing this game so that players can choose which exact actions -- or, in the case of fighting, moves -- they can perform. a player that dispatches of enemies more efficiently will most likely gain intelligence.

one thing i want to mention is that loss of ability is part of the game design. in a normal rpg you have health that can be lost and regained, with a maximum value that only rises, and a current value that varies. my design calls for this to apply to most if not all character attributes. one goal of mine is to create an injury system as an extension of the combat system; if a player is seriously injured, then his strength would be diminished. likewise, if a character takes a blow to the head with a club, there will most likely be some type of cognative failure.

----------------------------------------------

another question...kinda related..

what about food? would it be a burden to have some type of nutrition requirement? i don't want players micromanaging their character's lives, but i want this game to be fairly detailed. if a player goes a long time without food his performance would suffer, energy and strength levels will go down slowly. but if rations could be purchased in a market, stored in inventory, and consumed automatically, this could be avoided. there could even be a diet setting which determines how much food a player consumes and how quickly he consumes it. a balance of consumption and action influences the player's muscle to fat weight ratio, which is a factor in determining strength. consumption + action adds to muscle, consumption + inaction adds to fat.

thoughts?





[edited by - syn_apse on October 12, 2003 5:09:04 AM]

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