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What's your opinion on "golf-swing" bars?

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I call it that because that''s where I first saw it, and we don''t have formal names for game elements in this biz yet. I''m talking about a bar which has a carat or icon either on top or super-imposed on it. The bar is divided into different colors. The carat or icon moves at a certain pace and the user has to click when it is in a certain color in order to get a certain result. Aside from golf games, I''ve seen this used in both Project Eden and Gladius as a minigame. In Project Eden, when you tried to repair hardware you got a bar that was mostly blue with, with a certain area that was red. The carat moved from left to right, and you had to click when it was in the red. The size of the red area changed depending on the difficulty. In Gladius, it''s a bit more detailed. Different character classes have different attacks. There are different areas corresponding to different character skill types. There is usually a large yellow area, representing a normal attack, a tiny red area, representing a critical, and then a blue area, representing a fumbled attack. There may be multiple sets of these three groups, one after the other, to represent combos, and in this case you''re required to hit different buttons. The strength and speed of character you use determines how fast the carat moves. I can see alot of different uses for this kind of system because it adds a bit of action and choice to otherwise mundane gameplay. Rather than just standing in one place and clicking to pick a lock or heal or create an item, you could easily throw together a nice looking "golf-swing" bar. You could slow or speed up the carat and widen or shrink the "hot spot" area to change the challenge. You could even have different sets of bars for more complex tasks running at the same time, so that you have to get not just one carat but maybe two or three in the right place. I''m just brainstorming, btw. No real application yet. What do you think? -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership...

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That''s an interesting idea, it might be more exciting than waiting for a little lock-pick progress bar or something. Did you ever play System Shock 2? I thought its hacking system was really well done. I don''t remember exactly how it works, but I think you would have kind of a grid/circuit that you needed to complete. Depending on your skill and the difficulty of the hacking job you are doing, there is more of a chance you will fail. I think it was mostly just probability, but there is a little strategy involved. I don''t know, maybe someone else remembers more. It was fun, just enough to keep you involved.

I suppose to some degree whether or not you want to do this depends on the style of game. If you want a slower-paced game like System Shock 2, it makes a lot of sense. Trying it in Serious Sam or something would just be out of place.

Interesting idea, I think it can definitely add to the gameplay. Well, there are my thoughts.


My 3D Pirate Game is in need of a better name, want to help?

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That''s a great idea, especially multiple bars for a lock-picking mini-challenge. In lock-picking, IIRC, you must line up the tumbler pins, so the bars could be symbolic of manouvering the lock-pick into a specific position at a specific time. In fact, the whole golf swing bar could come out with a whole game of its own, for example, circular swing carats, multiple swing carats, "safe-cracking" style carats going round a circular torus with numbers around the outside, the possibilities are endless! I don''t know how much appeal an entire game devoted to it would be though...

Stay Clausal,

Red Sodium

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quote:
Original post by red_sodium
That''s a great idea, especially multiple bars for a lock-picking mini-challenge. In lock-picking, IIRC, you must line up the tumbler pins, so the bars could be symbolic of manouvering the lock-pick into a specific position at a specific time. In fact, the whole golf swing bar could come out with a whole game of its own, for example, circular swing carats, multiple swing carats, "safe-cracking" style carats going round a circular torus with numbers around the outside, the possibilities are endless!



That''s EXACTLY what I had in mind! The graphics for the carat and the bar, and their shape, could reflect the action. You can have bars with multiple sections representing multiple results (for safe cracking, for instance, it could be everything from "try again" to "you cracked the pressure sensitive glass on the mechanism and have triggered an alarm.")

Any time you want to cater to different gaming groups (fast or slow), you could change the carat speed and hotspot size, as well.

quote:

I don''t know how much appeal an entire game devoted to it would be though...


No, I''d keep this in a game like Morrowind, where skill use and improvement are pretty boring just by themselves. I think something like this could best enhance a game rather than replace it.

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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Mr Grinch
Did you ever play System Shock 2? I thought its hacking system was really well done. I don''t remember exactly how it works, but I think you would have kind of a grid/circuit that you needed to complete. Depending on your skill and the difficulty of the hacking job you are doing, there is more of a chance you will fail. I think it was mostly just probability, but there is a little strategy involved. I don''t know, maybe someone else remembers more. It was fun, just enough to keep you involved.



I remember this. I thought it was interesting but needed alot of work. Though there was some strategy with the nodes, there was no challenge to activating a node. They were more like light switches, and it didn''t even have the strategy of, say, a simple game like mine-sweeper. For me, it was just trial and error, with no hint as to how you should strategically proceed.

quote:

I suppose to some degree whether or not you want to do this depends on the style of game. If you want a slower-paced game like System Shock 2, it makes a lot of sense. Trying it in Serious Sam or something would just be out of place.


If it''s a straight shooter and that''s the only goal, I agree. But you could put this into a faster paced game that had stealth or lulls in the action. If you had the choice of sneaking past guards and hacking a keypad or blasting your way in, this could be cool.

Also, this could work in a full-on action game if it were multiplayer. Imagine a rogue class who has to be defended while he''s playing this minigame to pick a lock. Imagine you''re trying to escape a chamber of doom flooded with monsters while all of this is going on! "You got that lock picked yet?! Hurry up, we''re surrounded!!!"


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If you think about it, games already implement things like this.

A look at that weird ancient-stone-city level (the one with the bats) in Crash Bandicoot (PS1) shows us that there are 3 stone walls that slide in and out, and you have to figure out the pattern and wait till they all move in at the same time. I''m sure there are lots more examples.

Stay Clausal,

Red Sodium

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I think that you could have mini-games where depending on how well you do + some minor amount of luck, you get different results. ie. it takes longer to pick the lock overall.

I''m not sure about golf-bar mini games, but there are probably some other mini-games that could be done.. such as Simon with a digital lock, the better you do. just make sure to disguise the mini0game in the right graphics.

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Not just this, but many different minigames could be used as "manual override" on skill tests. Plotting a sub-space trajectory could be a sliding-piece puzzle, pumping an energay conduit to seal the emergency hull plates could be a button-mashing exercise, and defeating a hacker who was trying to break into your systems could be a dance-dance-revolution kind of stimulous/response system. All of these mini-games are scalable for difficulty, and there are plenty of other little challenges out there.

It's really a question of how you want to use it. If you can manually take over for any character in the event of a skill test, then you should not really be able to do too much better than they can. But letting the player step in for the captain when he's doing something might serve the dual purpose of letting the player take a more active role in what his avatar does and giving the Captain a sort of supernatural inspiration, making him capable of succeeding when he really shouldn't be able to. If you go that route, then it should be possible to do far better in the human-powered method than the character could do on his own. The player would be like the Captain's muse, giving him secret insight and guiding his hand in times of trouble.

Of course, if somebody really sucks at those damn golf swing meters, this feature should be optional. Just let them boost their characters to get the job done.

An even friendlier system would be to have the character try it at the same time the player does, and the better result is used. That might be too forgiving, though.

EDIT: Heck, you could probably classify driving as a mini-game in this same vein. You can send your friendlies out to drive, or you can take the wheel yourself, with all the power and responsibility that it entails.

[edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on April 22, 2004 5:23:02 PM]

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I think they can be fun. I had planned to use two golf swing bars for a chakra control training in a martial arts game I was working on. There was a bar with a white line in the center and then green, red, yellow colors the farther in either direction you got from the center. The idea was to press the button when the power marker was closest to the white line, within a certain time limit. If they got it at white it was a perfect and took a step, if it was in green a success and took a step. yellow was a miss and they got to try again with only half the time, red was a miss and they fell. The speed the marker moved depended on their chakra control stat. There was also going to be a level two training where the postion of perfect mark changed after each attemp.

But there are lots of uses for bars in mini games and rpgs where stats can be used to determine values.

For instance you have to pick a lock. without trigger the mission impossible style audio detector. So the lock has 3 tumblers each tumbler has a corrisponding keyboard button or better yet analog button. Pressing that button causes the tumbler to rotate generating noise and you have to listen for the click sound and release the key at that point. You can attempt as many of the three you want at one time. The more you try the more noise is generated but faster you may finish and more lock picking points you get. You could buy better more soposticated equipment that has light that light up when the lock should be released. That better your locking picking skill the better you can control the speed the tumbler turns and more audioable the click is, tumbler could even turn slower the closer you are to right spot.

All in all I think that mini games for based on stats and for training can defeatly make rpgs better. My main requirements is to be able to skip them if I choose there is nothing worse then being stuck in a game because I can't beat a mini game that has nothing to do with the rest of the game. Yes Mafia I'm talking to you!

-----------------------------------------------------
"Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own."
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave


[edited by - TechnoGoth on April 22, 2004 5:49:24 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Not just this, but many different minigames could be used as "manual override" on skill tests. Plotting a sub-space trajectory could be a sliding-piece puzzle, pumping an energay conduit to seal the emergency hull plates could be a button-mashing exercise, and defeating a hacker who was trying to break into your systems could be a dance-dance-revolution kind of stimulous/response system. All of these mini-games are scalable for difficulty, and there are plenty of other little challenges out there.


Yes, these are great! I thought that for jumping into and out of systems you could have a spinning ball going down a gravity well. The farther it spun down, the more energy it would cost.

You could also have a balance beam system for thieves and tight-rope walkers where you have to keep a carat near the center of a bar or you fall. The size of the central safe area would be determined by the amount of wind and your skill in balancing.

quote:

But letting the player step in for the captain when he''s doing something might serve the dual purpose of letting the player take a more active role in what his avatar does and giving the Captain a sort of supernatural inspiration, making him capable of succeeding when he really shouldn''t be able to.



This is EXACTLY what I had in mind. I''m not letting players take over for their hirelings in order to enforce the need to hire good people, give the player a good reason to identify with their own character, and allow the player to split up their party across many worlds without technical and gameplay headaches.

quote:

If you go that route, then it should be possible to do far better in the human-powered method than the character could do on his own. The player would be like the Captain''s muse, giving him secret insight and guiding his hand in times of trouble.


I''m thinking that the gameplay should be somewhat still tied to the character''s skills, as in they define the difficulty of the mini-game, but that overall, you''re right. It does allow a more action-oriented gamer to do better than a non-action oriented gamer at the earlier levels, though.

quote:

Of course, if somebody really sucks at those damn golf swing meters, this feature should be optional.


I''m seeing a bunch of options in the game''s menu that can be checked or unchecked. Unchecking them just does a skill or stat test behind the scenes.

quote:

An even friendlier system would be to have the character try it at the same time the player does, and the better result is used. That might be too forgiving, though.



Hah! Maybe in "EASY" mode?

quote:

EDIT: Heck, you could probably classify driving as a mini-game in this same vein. You can send your friendlies out to drive, or you can take the wheel yourself, with all the power and responsibility that it entails.



Yes, this could work. I have to figure out how much fun there is to be had with driving. If there isn''t enough, or if the gameplay doesn''t work with everything else, then maybe it should go to a mini-game.



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quote:
Original post by red_sodium
If you think about it, games already implement things like this.

A look at that weird ancient-stone-city level (the one with the bats) in Crash Bandicoot (PS1) shows us that there are 3 stone walls that slide in and out, and you have to figure out the pattern and wait till they all move in at the same time. I''m sure there are lots more examples.



Is this a real-time challenge? I think that''s what makes the golf-swing meter so interesting is that it''s a timed challenge. Usually, when the carat gets to the end of the bar, something you don''t want to happen happens.



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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
I think that you could have mini-games where depending on how well you do + some minor amount of luck, you get different results. ie. it takes longer to pick the lock overall.



Yes, or you bend the lockpick, changing its effectiveness, or you make a loud noise, alerting guards. You can complicate it as much as you need to, and put it all in an easy to program and easy to understand interface.

quote:

such as Simon with a digital lock, the better you do. just make sure to disguise the mini0game in the right graphics.


Right, you either need to disguise it or make it so much a part of the interface that it doesn''t need to be hidden because it''s expected.



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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
I think they can be fun. I had planned to use two golf swing bars for a chakra control training in a martial arts game I was working on. There was a bar with a white line in the center and then green, red, yellow colors the farther in either direction you got from the center. The idea was to press the button when the power marker was closest to the white line, within a certain time limit. If they got it at white it was a perfect and took a step, if it was in green a success and took a step. yellow was a miss and they got to try again with only half the time, red was a miss and they fell. The speed the marker moved depended on their chakra control stat. There was also going to be a level two training where the postion of perfect mark changed after each attemp.



This sounds very cool, and it gives choice to something that would otherwise be a done deal (either you make it or you don''t). What I like is that you may feel more in control of the rolls. It''s like the beauty of table-top games, where you can put some spin or "luck" on the dice before you roll.

quote:
That better your locking picking skill the better you can control the speed the tumbler turns and more audioable the click is, tumbler could even turn slower the closer you are to right spot.


This I think you always need to do to prevent the game from becoming just an arcade game. When you tie the function of the mini-game to the character''s skills, rather than the player''s skills, you help to emphasize the role they''re playing.

quote:

All in all I think that mini games for based on stats and for training can defeatly make rpgs better. My main requirements is to be able to skip them if I choose there is nothing worse then being stuck in a game because I can''t beat a mini game that has nothing to do with the rest of the game.


Absolutely agreed 100%


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I have long considered this a good, enjoyable alternative for most rpgs, in situations that a player''s timing during an attack can determine a "critical hit" or during defense, determining "guard."

It is a good system, and would alleviate some of the "push button syndrome" that most RPGs fall prey to. If the player''s timing is required, it will force the player to pay attention to the game, instead of just mindlessly tapping the A button until his foe is dead.

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Be sure that you avoid making these overrides into "brain teasers". Dress them up so that they actually look like the sort of task you''re performing. You might have to invent mini-games for things like rerouting power conduits or plotting intersteller trajectories. You might even want a mini-game rather than a twitch system to control things like shooting missiles at other ships.

With all these manual overrides and different activities, will it be possible to play this game with just the main character, without a crew at all? The player could do all the skill tests, and probably keep a cargo shuttle running, ar man a fighter, and handle things like nabbing bounty heads or salvaging wreckage all by himself. FOr what it''s worth, I think that would be an incredible range of gameplay, letting the player be a one-man enterprise or operating a small (or large) corporation.

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Be sure that you avoid making these overrides into "brain teasers".



Yes, the puzzles that will exist in the game will arise out of changes in the relationships of environmental componeents (such as, "this conduit''s leaking radiation, how do I get past?")

To work, the mini-games will have to generally require the same skills, so that once the player masters one, they will be familiar how the others work. I''d hate for them to have to pull out the manual for each one, especially if there were alot.

quote:

You might even want a mini-game rather than a twitch system to control things like shooting missiles at other ships.


You might be right, although there''s nothing as satisfying as firing your own weapons and blasting that pesky enemy to dust. However, as ships become larger and more complex, combat needs to become more manageable. So this might work for larger ships even if I didn''t do it for the smaller, "piloted" ones.

quote:

With all these manual overrides and different activities, will it be possible to play this game with just the main character, without a crew at all? The player could do all the skill tests, and probably keep a cargo shuttle running, ar man a fighter, and handle things like nabbing bounty heads or salvaging wreckage all by himself.


Yes, that''s a central part of the plan. You grow only as big as you want to. You stay one-man by using automation (AI & bots) or ancient artifacts (to eventually give a fighter the strength of a battleship). You want to play the entire game as one character, ala Fallout, that''s fine by me. You just won''t get the benefit of hireling contacts, engineering miracles and special projects-- but then you won''t have to deal with Johnson going insane or Davies and Rho duking it out in the reactor room.

quote:

FOr what it''s worth, I think that would be an incredible range of gameplay, letting the player be a one-man enterprise or operating a small (or large) corporation.


I see you starting the game with a battered old one-seat surplus shuttle and 20k refugee''s stipend. You can buy cargo and/or a light weapon and start playing, a couple of probes for an immediate RTS feel, or put down your shuttle and your cash on a leased freighter that needs both a crew and to turn a profit to make the payments.

If the crew dynamics and interior maps work out the way I want, you can also simply cash everything in and buy a shop or building of some sort, which will simply duplicate the many forms of ship-based gameplay without extra dev work (it''s a ship that doesn''t move, essentially). Then you can run Quark''s Diner & Fine Smuggled Weapons if you so please.



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