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boolean

Alternatives to dying

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boolean    1829
I had a thought today as I was writing a design docco that if the player died at a certain point in the story I am up to, it would kinda detract from the game to have a big ''game over'' message appear, only to have the player load the game and play that bit again. So what I am asking is: What alternatives to the player dying is there? What other ways of punishing them are there apart from a game over screen? What I am *NOT* asking is a better system for save games. There has already been discussion on this, and I am not asking to cover this again. One game that comes to mind is ''shadowman'' or something like that. When you die you must fight your way out of a mini hell type level before you can continue in the game.

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frostburn    380
In Star Wars: KOTOR there was a box you were supposed to bring to a Hutt, but you could also open it yourself. What happened then was that your mind was sucked into the box (and you ended up in a completely white world with only some rocks and an alien) and you had to win a riddle contest with the alien to get out. An adaptation of this might be an idea.

It would be boring if this happens all the time, so:

Sometimes the enemies leaves you for dead. Maybe they even loot your "body" so you lose a lot of stuff (make it possible to get revenge and your stuff back).

You get knocked unconcious and dragged into a dungeon or a prison or something and you have to get out.

You die and go to hell. If you've read "Elminster in Hell" by Ed Greenwood you'll know what I'm talking about. It's set in the Forgotten Realms, and Hell is another plane/dimension so it's possible to go there/return but you get distracted from the quest and have to fight your way back or maybe make a deal with a demon or something.

You die and is buried and wake up as an undead and can continue the game as an undead.

Take the Planescape:Torment approach and make the main character an "immortal". He dies and is sent to the morgue. Wakes up without a memory and goes out again. Get killed and wake in the mourge. Retains his memory this time and goes out again. Is killed and sent to the morgue etc.

Give the player ample warning before battles and a way to chicken out before he dies.

Do not design situations where the player is unlikely to survive. As an example: The roof collapses if he enters a building. At the very least give the player enough warning to know that this is an extremely unsafe area. And don't do it at all if it's a place where he must go to complete the game.

Give the character a teleportation spell or something that he can use to get out of an impossible situation.

Create NPCs that suddenly appear if the player needs help (this sounds stupid even to me, but I'll mention it anyway).

The best alternative to death is that the character always survives.

Heh, I suddenly got a great idea: The character is surrounded by a lot of enemies and is almost out of life. Then suddenly one of the orcs lashes out and stabs him in the heart.
Cut.
The character bolts out of bed screaming. He calms down. It was just a bad dream!
How: Autosave everytime the character sleeps and have it ready for such an occasion. He might have to replay quite a bit though, so it's not a perfect way to do it. Would be funny though .


[edited by - frostburn on March 27, 2004 8:48:35 AM]

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boolean    1829
quote:
Original post by frostburn
Heh, I suddenly got a great idea: The character is surrounded by a lot of enemies and is almost out of life. Then suddenly one of the orcs lashes out and stabs him in the heart.
Cut.
The character bolts out of bed screaming. He calms down. It was just a bad dream!
How: Autosave everytime the character sleeps and have it ready for such an occasion. He might have to replay quite a bit though, so it''s not a perfect way to do it. Would be funny though .


[edited by - frostburn on March 27, 2004 8:48:35 AM]


LOL! I love it! I just had a memory of the game ''Sacrafice'' where the whole game is a story being told in past tense, so you cant really die. If you do lose a mission, the game goes to the load screen and the main character goes ''no wait, that isnt what happend. Let me start again''.

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GroZZleR    820
You could do it UO style, where when a player was killed they became a ghost. You then proceeded to find a healer (either in the wilderness, in a healer shop in town, a fellow player or at special shrines).

I really liked that system for an MMORPG, not sure how it''d work for singleplayer.

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TechnoGoth    2937
hmm, lets see, generally these have to be story specific.

1)Deal with the devil - The player is given the option to be brought back to life inexchange for performing a service back in the land of the living.

2)Lazurus bowl - A unique item the player can find that can either be used to restore the back to life once, or provided some sidequest bonus.

3)Rebirth - the player comes back to life as a new class, ie they where a knight and come back as vampire.

4)Resurectted - When ever the player dies they are restored to life back at the nearest temple.

5)Non lethal combat - Battles arn''t to death instead you fight till one side is too crippled to continue.

6) Divine providence - something always happens at the last second to save your life.

7)Game Over? - You could take a page out the old tv villins book, and always come back after your supposed death, because of some convaluted reason.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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yaroslavd    150
I just thought of this, but it sounds pretty good.

How about after you "die," you turn into a vampire. The vampire is stronger, but if it dies, you are actually dead ("GAME OVER") and have to load the game. So the player can play it safe as a human, or purposely "die" and live dangerously as a vampire. Of course there''d be some potion to bring the vampire back to life.

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Merle    122
In Darklands, it was very rare that a character died. Because of the way the combat system was designed, you were much more likely to fall unconscious (and be ignored by attackers).

If everyone in your party fell unconscious, you would be looted and left to fend for yourself -- tricky when you''re grievously wounded and have no goods. Of course, the same was true of your enemies -- you rarely killed human opponents, just looted them and left them. Demonic opponents were another matter.

It worked pretty well. There was no way you could ever get your looted equipment back (other than buying anew), so it was a harsh outcome. But it played well in the context of that game.

You *could* still die. There were two attributes, strength and endurance. Endurance wounds ("fatigue" or "bleeding") were much more frequent, but healed overnight, while strength wounds (structural damage) healed very slowly. If strength went below zero -- as happened sometimes if you were knocked unconscious too many fights in a row without healing inbetween -- that character would die, permanently. In the very rare case of fighting a way too powerful foe, everyone might die, giving the equivalent of the "game over" screen.

But Darklands was an RPG. That model may not make sense for other types of games.

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dwmitch    143
What's wrong with the Dragon Warrior method? The king revives you (or the equivilant in your world) but takes half your gold (or all of it if you're cursed).

What didn't make sense, though, is how the soldiers could go into the Dragonlord's throne room to get your body back without getting killed.

[edited by - dwmitch on March 27, 2004 9:42:05 PM]

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Dobbs    164
I liked Ultima 7''s approach, where you simply don''t die permanently. If your main character died you just woke up in a nearby town, told that you had been rescued by a passing group. No huge inconvenience, but still something of a setback. And if other NPCs in your group died you could take them back to the king for healing so again no big loss, but hauling the weight of a body and all its equipment around was usually enough of a pain in the ass that I wanted to avoid it.

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Kertap    122
I played a text adventure once where you died near the start of the game. You were given the option of restarting, reverting to a save or quiting as was usual for the game type (it used a system called tads and this was a standard thing). Anyway when you restarted (it was the start after all so no save and no real desire to quit) and you went to the area where you died, the description of the location said that your dead body was there on the ground this freaked me out bigtime. I ended up dying aaround six times in that game.

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Damocles    133
It all depends on the story itself as to what your alternatives are. For example, I was once working on a story where the main character was caught in a time loop - whenever the player died, the time loop would reset and all the people he had talked to and events he had set in motion would be undone. The idea being the player had to use these loops to test different methods of play and find the solution to what was causing the loops and thus escape.

As no-one here knows what your story is about, any suggestions we make will be wild guess style suggestions and chances are will have ver little bearing on your story. As you can see, the majority of the options listed have all been fantasy based - what if your story is cyberpunk?

So we could do with more background before we could really suggest some useful alternatives.

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Infinisearch    2964
I forgot the name of the movie but it had denzel washington and the husband from rosannane as two cops. The bad guy was a demon/spirit that basically could possess anyone. When his host body died, he could only possess someone within a certain range, if no one was in that range then he would die. It would change your gameplay dynamic somewhat but interesting (and easy) concept to implement.

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theNestruo    138
quote:
Original post by Infinisearch
I forgot the name of the movie but it had denzel washington and the husband from rosannane as two cops. The bad guy was a demon/spirit that basically could possess anyone. When his host body died, he could only possess someone within a certain range, if no one was in that range then he would die. It would change your gameplay dynamic somewhat but interesting (and easy) concept to implement.

Maybe "Fallen" ?

There is a PlayStation game where the main character is telling the story you''re playing, so if he dies, he says "No, that couldn''t happen that way..." and then the game is restored in the previous screen/ room/ checkpoint/ saved game/ whatever. Here, its name is "A Sangre Fría"; but I don''t know the original title (sorry!). That could be a good idea.

theNestruo

Syntax error in 2410
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X_Breaker    122
Incidently, the whole, "No wait, that didn''t happen. Let me start again..." thing was also used in the latest Prince of Persia. I like it... the prince narrates the game as you play it.

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In a sci-fi game, you could have nanomachines that rebuild your body (this would also explain regenerating health). Or if you play as a robot, you could be rebuilt after you die.

--------------------------------------
I am the master of stories.....
If only I could just write them down...

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