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Wavinator

Implications of destructable environments

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Imagine that you can have a firefight aboard a starship. You can destroy walls, bulkheads, equipment and vital machinery. Or imagine you can dig through walls, blow up bridges or create openings in the sides of buildings. What are the gameplay implications for this kind of behavior, and what do you need to ensure the player has a good time doing all of this. (I'm not speaking about the hardware implications... that's for another forum). A couple of things occur to me right off the bat: Getting Trapped The player could dig themselves into a hole, or blow up enough machinery onboard their ship that they're dead in the water, unable to even call for help. Should the game prevent this from happening? Should it automatically detect this situation and end the game? Should it always offer an "instant teleport" that allows them to recall to a safe location (an indestructable lifepod for ships, and an "emergency transporter" for getting stuck on the ground). If the game offers you a way to always repair, should the repair be free, kind of like the default weapon provided in most FPS games incase you run out of ammo? Also, should the AI ever play dirty and trap the player? It would be intelligent behavior to blow up a bridge the player needs to escape some catastrophe, or to sabotage their air filtration systems. Even if players can repair the damage, there's no way to determine in advance that they can still survive the situation (engine repair, for instance, when you're near an impending supernova). Level Limits Objects in space naturally have a level limit (their hull). But what about things on the ground? Should there be, as in Red Faction, walls you can dig through and walls you can't? Even if you could provide the player with endless terrain to dig through, as a game designer aren't you obligated to stop them from doing that which is pointless (given that they don't know in advance)? I'd say you are, and that impassible areas, as much as those of us who love open-ended games hate them, are a necessity. They stop players from getting into areas they're not ready for, and they keep the player roughly on track. Is there a more elegant way of handing such limits as being able to dig through or penetrate walls? Do you see any more gameplay issues implicit in destructable environments? Have any solutions or comments to what I raised above? Again, this is just theoretical. Even when we have the technology to do all of this with ease, we may not have the game design know how. -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership... [edited by - wavinator on April 22, 2004 5:24:28 PM]

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I think this might work well when combined with your idea for a customizable ship. If you do the interio of a ship or building like you do the houses in "The Sims", then you can just have a tiled system for construction, and modify things like that.

For instance, you have your "interior wall" object, your "engineering console" object and your "automatic door" object. During a boarding action or mutiny, if these things get whecked with hammers or laser fire, then maybe they''ll just turn into "destroyed interior wall" (which you can walk through), "damaged engineering console" (47% of the skill bonus it usually gives), and "broken automatic door" (which doesn''t open automatically, and has to be destroyed if you want to get in/out).

I actually envision this as being like the fences and buildings you make in Command & Conquer: they''re structures, but they''re destructable. If you want, you can rebuild them, but that takes time and resources. In your case, maybe certain advanced objects can''t be rebuilt by members of your crew, and you''ll have to get to a port to have them worked on.

With this system, the interior of your ship can be totally destructable. You can use a cutting torch to get through bulkheads and doors, you can smash equipment, compromise airlocks, cut power conduits, and burn the American flag. Applied to buildings, the same is true.

\When you get to things like actually blowing a big chunk off of a ship or demolishing a building, you''re in a different situation. I think it should be possible to totally destroy a spacecraft, but should it be possible to blow a big hole in the hull, eliminating three compartments and the crew in there? I think it could be done. Going back to the "The Sims" example, you can just replace those areas with "vaccuum" objects when the hull fails.

It''s a complex matter, and will take some real doing, but I think you can make it work.

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I think this might work well when combined with your idea for a customizable ship. If you do the interio of a ship or building like you do the houses in "The Sims", then you can just have a tiled system for construction, and modify things like that.



Yes, I like this idea. One of the foreseeable problems, though, is that as the level increases or the tiles become smaller, memory is wasted and rendering time will increase (rather than dealing with 5 faces for a seperate floor that''s a cube, for example, you''re dealing with 5 x the number of floor tiles).

quote:

For instance, you have your "interior wall" object, your "engineering console" object and your "automatic door" object. During a boarding action or mutiny, if these things get whecked with hammers or laser fire, then maybe they''ll just turn into "destroyed interior wall" (which you can walk through), "damaged engineering console" (47% of the skill bonus it usually gives), and "broken automatic door" (which doesn''t open automatically, and has to be destroyed if you want to get in/out).


The really fun thing about this is that it can create on-the-fly puzzles and challenges to deal with. You could have to cut through a bulkhead to rescue a crew member, or subvert enemy turrets by blasting out a wall into another section.

quote:

I actually envision this as being like the fences and buildings you make in Command & Conquer: they''re structures, but they''re destructable. If you want, you can rebuild them, but that takes time and resources. In your case, maybe certain advanced objects can''t be rebuilt by members of your crew, and you''ll have to get to a port to have them worked on.


Right. Do you think ANY of these types of structures should be vital ones? For instance, should your communications and life support gear be indestructable? Or lifepods be indestructable?

Part of me says no, as it makes it a more gritty game. But the moment a player finds themselves in a situation where their ship is leaking oxygen, no surviving crew have the skills to repair, and they''re dead in space without the ability to send a distress call, they''ll be forced to restore and lose all progress. I''m torn between making this the player''s responsibility to carry redundant systems (emergency beacons, repair supplies, toolboxes in every section, cross-trained crew) and giving players a silver bullet just in case they get in over their heads.

quote:

With this system, the interior of your ship can be totally destructable. You can use a cutting torch to get through bulkheads and doors, you can smash equipment, compromise airlocks, cut power conduits, and burn the American flag. Applied to buildings, the same is true.


Buildings pose a particularly ugly problem. If you can cut away the outter wall of a building on the 10th floor, you then should be able to see the surrounding city-scape. If you don''t mind playing at 3 frames per second, that is. I''m inclined for this reason to make outter walls indestructable, even though that doesn''t make much sense.

Of course, I could replace the vista with a symbolic tile, like Fallout''s red-tinged "exit zones." You wouldn''t be able to see outside, but entering the area would trigger a load & transition to the outside world. (It still doesn''t solve the vista problem, but might help with object management).

quote:

When you get to things like actually blowing a big chunk off of a ship or demolishing a building, you''re in a different situation. I think it should be possible to totally destroy a spacecraft, but should it be possible to blow a big hole in the hull, eliminating three compartments and the crew in there? I think it could be done. Going back to the "The Sims" example, you can just replace those areas with "vaccuum" objects when the hull fails.


Yes, this seems very possible, though more than anything else would create the "getting trapped" issues I mentioned above. If you put the lifepod, spare parts, transponder and your chief engineer in the sections that get tagged, you are so out of luck!

quote:

It''s a complex matter, and will take some real doing, but I think you can make it work.


Half of this is in the planning!



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Yes this is an age old problem, how much rope can you give the player before they hang themselves.

First off how much warning does the player get? If they destroy their oxgen generators and engines in fire fight will they be told then there that nearest oxgen source is 5 days journey but they only have supplies for 2 days? If so what alternatives can you offer them? If ask my officers for suggestions will I get things like sceince officer says if we reduce the number of active crew members by half we can make it. or my engineer says he maybe be able to canabilize enough spare parts to make an emergany replacement but its going take 36 hours to make.

Diggin underground isn''t a major problem you can simply make minerals to tough to dig through with the current equipment or lava flows that prevent further exploration in that direction.

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

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
First off how much warning does the player get? If they destroy their oxgen generators and engines in fire fight will they be told then there that nearest oxgen source is 5 days journey but they only have supplies for 2 days? If so what alternatives can you offer them? If ask my officers for suggestions will I get things like sceince officer says if we reduce the number of active crew members by half we can make it. or my engineer says he maybe be able to canabilize enough spare parts to make an emergany replacement but its going take 36 hours to make.



Firstly, the player would get some kind of automatic alert from the game interface so that they don''t just drop dead. The alert would include the problem and the time they have to fix it. For instance, if they''re leaking air they''d have the total amount, the rate of leakage, and the time until all air is gone.

The standard way of fixing things is to have skilled personnel use repair tools and material to take care of the problem. In some cases they can perform engineering miracles which allow them to temporarily bend the rules, say fixing something for a limited time with half the resources.

But what if the section holding their resources gets blasted? What if their crew are lost? What if they didn''t invest in their people and got into a jam? I have to decide on a cutoff point where the player is just out of luck.

I''m in a bit of a bind with an open-ended game in that unless I build a permanent, umbrella safety valve into the gameplay itself (like the teleport home spells in Diablo or Morrowind), I can''t anticipate that the player will get out alive from all situations that I allow them to get into.

quote:

Diggin underground isn''t a major problem you can simply make minerals to tough to dig through with the current equipment or lava flows that prevent further exploration in that direction.



Yeah, I guess this could work. Also, constant caveins and collapses might work, too.



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Is there a more elegant way of handing such limits as being able to dig through or penetrate walls?
Yes. You make the limits social rather than physical. You can''t leave the planet because there''s nobody to take you off (and space is peaceful...something like the Spacer''s Guild from Dune). You can''t enter a country because they''re at war with all their neighbors and will shoot foreigners on sight.

Aboard a ship, I see no reason not to give players all the rope they need to hang themselves and anyone else they care to hang.

As far as encouraging robust designs, just make these things happen often (there''s a vital component in practically every room, especially ones invaders are inclined to contest), and then the player will learn to build in redundant components.

quote:
Even if players can repair the damage, there''s no way to determine in advance that they can still survive the situation
Don''t make impending supernovae, then. These are intended to be as freeform as possible, so supernovae, which happen, as we all know, only at dramatic times, would be out of place in such a freeform game.

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My opinion would be that everything that you mentioned, even crucial things like lifesupports sytems should be molestable, this makes for use of more tactics when boarding a ship, or saving a crew member like you said. But maybe make an option that you can exactly adjust what things can and what things can''t for an adjustable difficulty level ?

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quote:
I''d say you are, and that impassible areas, as much as those of us who love open-ended games hate them, are a necessity. They stop players from getting into areas they''re not ready for, and they keep the player roughly on track.



Impassible areas at level limits are largely a necessity. Beyond that, impassible areas are a result of lack of level/story design. I did enjoy Red Faction, but I was not all that impressed with it''s destroyable terrain because, for the most part, it was strictly limited to specific areas where it was useful. Having an indestructible environment is indeed unrealistic, but having an environment where only certain areas are destructible and there''s no apparent logic between what is and isn''t destructible is even more unrealistic. I can blow a whole in this wall here, but I can''t do so ten feet down this same wall?

Let players hang themselves. Consequences. Powerful weapons are used sparingly in real life because the damage is mostly uncontrollable. We don''t fire rockets and toss grenades into buildings we are trying to regain control of cause we want those buildings intact. We don''t fire rockets in our space ships because if we compromise the hull and decompress the ship, we''re all dead. Rockets, grenades, high explosives are all very potent weapons. The consequences of using those weapons should be every bit as potent.

I think we need to break games into two categories. The action/entertainment games where everyone just runs around shooting and dodging and don''t want to deal with consequences, but just frag the hell out of everything that moves. This game doesn''t need destructible terrain, or doesn''t need to be concerned with the realistic aspects of having destructible terrain, so put in all the restrictions you need to maintain the ''fun'' gameplay.

The immersive and realistic strategy/tactics type of games where every action has a reaction, every choice a consequence. This kind of game, destructible terrain needs to be taken to it''s realistic limits. Safeguards? The only safeguard should be the players common sense and desire for self preservation. Cave in the only exit out of the room slowly filling with toxic gas because you were too absent-minded to NOT use your rocket launcher and you die, and next time through you''re a bit more cautious with your potent weapons.

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mmm, deformable terrain...

I suppose I am thinking not on track with the specific examples you have given. Looking more at fighting games, or "god" games, It is always great to know that you can throw your opponent through a wall or make a crater in the ground. Depending on scale, I like the mech assault technique. non essential buildings (i.e. ones that can''t be entered) would show external damage in the form of craters and such, until an integrety variable is compromised and the building collapses. But, that may not necessarily apply to what you were wondering.

I have not played Red Faction, but that does make sense. The player should be able to destroy walls internally of structures, but only certain walls of external ones.

And about underground, I would assume (again in "god" games) that if a player can dig himself in the ground, he should be able to summonthe strength to emerge again. This could be done with some sort of "attack" where the player flys straight up until they have cleared all vertical obstacles. it depends on what type of game tho.

Well, thats al I can think of right now. happy programming

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In the average game, lets take Far Cry, it''s a nifty feature and fun to say "ooh, look, the terrain changed!".

But if implemented properly, and I emphasize ''properly'' - the ability to destroy anything in the game world, albeit with consequences, would turn the average shooter into a thinking man''s action game.

Simply tag any critical items or world objects as such, and should they be destroyed, end the game on the spot(or if you''re some sort of crazy super-designer, offer a secondary but much harder solution that relies less upon discretion). Instead of busting into a room and simply going crazy with a machine gun on all those zombies, you''d have to take the time to choose your targets and fire in controlled bursts. Instead of throwing grenades and rockets around like there is no tomorrow, you''d have to be careful not to drop a ceiling on your head. It''s an added element of danger, in a genre where the word is being redefined simply as ''more bigger tougher enemies''.

All-in-all, I''d see the ability to cut your own throat so easily the sort of feature that hardcore, skill-loving gamers would absolutely enjoy - but the average Counterstrike fanboy would write 10-page long rants about the shittiness of. Risky, yes. But worth it if you can tap into the right market.

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I like the idea of destructible objects and terrain in a game. It adds a sense of consequences to your actions. But there also have to be limits to this.


Important objects or people-
Basically, you can destroy (or kill) anything in the Game environment but some things will be vitally important for the mission. If they get destroyed then either the mission parameters will change (You destroy a fuel cell for one of the ships systems so you have to get a spare or start the emergency backup system). Or the mission will fail.


In game defenses-
Another option would be to put defenses around most of the vital parts of the ship so they don''t get destroyed as easily. Like in the event of an attack, the engine and life support systems get enveloped in force fields so you would have to REALLY try to destroy them. Or there could be automated defense systems that suppress weapons in critical areas (neither you or your enemies can use phases in the engine room but can still use a lead pipe as a club or a screwdriver to open an air-vent)

Also, instead of having a metal hull, use a powerful force field. The hull itself can''t be destroyed but the rooms inside are made of solid material (So the ship won''t be damaged by micro-meteors or some weapons but if the field generators get knocked out there will still be the inner hulls inside).

Also, if you attack people and destroy property randomly, the police could come after you to detain you (in a game environment, they could just fine you for damages and let you go).


In game physics-
If this is on a planet then there should be some way to keep the player from simply digging a hole from here straight into the enemies fortress (imagine: Instead of waging war against the armies of darkness and saving kingdoms, you dig a 40 mile tunnel from your hometown right into the main bosses cellar and pour poison into his wine), this could simply be a matter of the tunnel collapsing, the rock being too hard or the presence or poisonous gas.

Also, If the player tries to reach a "restricted" area. The enemy AI could hear the explosions or tremors they cause and come to investigate. Then they could either ambush them or set up a few machine guns on the exit side of the hole.


Cleanup-
In a sci-fi setting there could be numerous ways to handle this. The ship could have some sort of auto-repair function (either by simply "teleporting" damaged parts away and replacing them via a ship wide system or having a squad of inexpensive repair bots constantly picking up rubble, repairing the ship, carrying away wounded crew, etc).

Protecting the player-
Letting the player literally dig through walls to escape enemies is a great idea. Though there could also be some extra safeguards at their disposal
1. Give them a phone so they can call for help if needed. Then they would have to wait for a friend or some authority figure to pull them out of the hole, get them to a hospital, sell them extra ammo, or whatever.

2. The player can buy equipment like a parachute to protect from falls from tall buildings, buy a gas mask, On the ship, they could wear a hi-tech suit to protect them from the vacuum of space and perhaps an auto-piloted jet pack to return them to the ship and signal for a pickup.

3. How about something like a Borg Cube? The ship would have a force field that prevents air from leaking outside, every system would have multiple generators so that even if you blow up large portions of the ship there will likely be more to keep things running while things are getting patched up.

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I think the player should be responsible for building in redundancies or fotifying critical areas of the ship. Maybe give them an escape pod as a silver bullet for when TSHTF, but don''t make it indestructable. It should be possible for a single mutineer or saboteur to cripple a ship if he manages to take the propulsion or life support systems offline.

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Again, thanks for the feedback all. It really helps to hear people''s opinion on what they''d like to see and what level of responsibility they feel they can take.

I like the idea that players would be responsible for the situations they get themselves into and the exact configuration of their ship. This furthers the sense that "you''re your own individual" in the game, looking out for yourself and operating only with the safety net you give yourself.

But I also want to be sensitive to newcomers, especially those who might get in over their heads in an open ended realm. I think a happy medium would be a difficulty setting, whereby on easy, essential systems would be impossible to destroy. So on easy the reactor, comm gear and lifepod would be "encased in a fused energy shell which absorbes damage" or whatever. It would sort of be like the little black boxes on airliners, and would exist only on Easy.

For Medium and Hard difficulty settings, you''re on your own. If you get a hull breach that destroys your comms and life support, and you didn''t stock the repair resources or take the skills / hire the crew to use them, you simply die.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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I think if you don''t give them a silver bullet you introduce a new problem. Either players will just be constantly saving in case they make a mistake or you won''t allow that and they''ll kill themselves by accident or somebody will kill them and they won''t understand what happened and then they''ll be frustrated. It obviously depends on your setup, but it is a real issue. Will the game be playable and fun, not just cool? Personally, I think it would be cool but I don''t know how much it would generally add to the game, because anything that actually has a significant effect on the environment is just destroying it, which is just silly on a space ship, especially if it''s your own. Even it a building, if you can run around with grades and a rocket launcher that actually destroy the building, you either turn it into a puzzle game because the player constantly has to analyze every more, or a slug fest where all the player does is destroy everything like in Rampage. I guess I''m just saying you have to be really careful, but it would only have a benefit in very specific situations, I think.

tj963

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Just because the environment is destructable does not mean that the player will necessarily want to destroy it. It could take a lot of resources to destroy it.

For isntance, in "UFO: enemy unknown", nearly all parts of the environment were destructable. It was however, difficult to carry enough explosives to render the entire play area into a smoking crater.

Also they thoughfully made the player''s plane indestructable so you can''t get stranded in a random location

It certainly proved interesting. In some scenarios it was desirable to just blow everything up, but it had a lot of drawbacks, i.e. civillian / friendly casualties and destroying salvageable items.

But it made the game very fun, if you got really annoyed with the aliens it was always possbile to throw a load of blaster bombs in and totally trash the place

Mark

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quote:
Original post by tj963
I think if you don''t give them a silver bullet you introduce a new problem. Either players will just be constantly saving in case they make a mistake or you won''t allow that and they''ll kill themselves by accident or somebody will kill them and they won''t understand what happened and then they''ll be frustrated.
tj963 makes a good point. This game will need a very gentle learning curve. I''ve been following your design process and seeing some of the "innards" of the idea, and I''m not sure I''d be able to play this game effectively. At any given time you''ve got angry crew members, incompetent crew members, hurt or dead crew members, failing equipments, broken equipment, awkward navigation issues, challenging repair and maintenance tasks, God-knows-how-many different kinds of aliens, legal trouble, Seigers, psionic mind control, rogue AI hackers, human hackers, alien hackers, mutineers, overhead, profit margins, navigating/flying/driving/walking/talking NPCs, and a deadline for this shipment of medical supplies that you have to meet while fighting off pirates with one laser turret manned by Jimmy the new guy. Damn, that''s a lot of game.

Maybe the tutorial session could take the form of an internship or tour of duty as a first mate. The NPC captain would always know how to handle the scripted events, but he''d let you take a crack at it first. The mission would get you some easy money, but not as much as you might have made on your own, so you don''t miss out by skipping it.

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quote:
Original post by tj963
Even it a building, if you can run around with grades and a rocket launcher that actually destroy the building, you either turn it into a puzzle game because the player constantly has to analyze every more, or a slug fest where all the player does is destroy everything like in Rampage. I guess I''m just saying you have to be really careful, but it would only have a benefit in very specific situations, I think.



About the puzzle game aspect: Is this a bad aspect for an RPG with RTS combat? In RPGs and RTS games we''re constantly looking at the terrain and seeing how we can use it to our advantage, if nothing more than closing a door to a cell and firing through the bars (in Diablo, to kill the Butcher ) to looking for the next chokepoint. In RTS games, if you set aside all the technical problems for a moment (with AI & terrain analysis), don''t you want a game map that''s strategically rich, and one which you can influence.

The specific situations I can see apply to these cases: Boarding an enemy ship, repelling boarders, infiltrating a base, escaping from imprisonment, many kinds of rescue missions and dealing with environmental puzzles that arise from disasters, be you on a ship, base or in ancient ruins.

But you''re right, not having a silver bullet if you fail in any of these cases is a big deal. However, with the way games have been designed over the last 10 years, I am often at a loss as to what level of responsibility players can assume. Most games have become linear mission-based affairs where we trade control of our actions for security in knowing that the game world will only challenge us a certain way.

Since I''m a big fan of strategy games, especially games like Civilization, I don''t mind getting in over my head. I might put 10-20 hours into a game only to find that I''m a backward nation with spears amidst jetfighters. I take the loss and start over, but RPG players may not be so forgiving if the same thing happens to them.

I think after the Easy level, as long as I make it clear to the player what situations cause dangers like this, I can put them in control of managing those situations and give them the items and whatnot to do so.


--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by markr
Just because the environment is destructable does not mean that the player will necessarily want to destroy it. It could take a lot of resources to destroy it.

For isntance, in "UFO: enemy unknown", nearly all parts of the environment were destructable. It was however, difficult to carry enough explosives to render the entire play area into a smoking crater.



Very good point. When players and enemy AI are moving through environments, two things will act against wanton destruction: Uncontrollable side-effects, such as building collapse or hull decompression; and the reason why you came there in the first place. If you''re boarding a ship to rescue prisoners, you can torch the mainframes and blast holes through interior panels all you like, so long as you don''t breech the brig or engine room.

quote:

Also they thoughfully made the player''s plane indestructable so you can''t get stranded in a random location



And they could have made it destructable if you could call in replacements, and do things to make it difficult for the enemy to destroy it in the first place (such as touch & go deployment, or guns on the plane, or combat air patrol, whatever).

quote:

But it made the game very fun, if you got really annoyed with the aliens it was always possbile to throw a load of blaster bombs in and totally trash the place



How many times have you wanted to blast through a door after looking throughout the level for the d*mn key?!

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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
This game will need a very gentle learning curve. I''ve been following your design process and seeing some of the "innards" of the idea, and I''m not sure I''d be able to play this game effectively.



I definitely agree that this kind of game would need a very good tutorial and a way to get into the game simply. What I''m ideally going for is the RPG equivalent of a Civilization or Alpha Centauri. In those games, you start out simply, then grow into complexity. I have no intention of hitting you with everything at once. I''ve given up on too many complex games because they''ve demanded that I master the manual before I take even a single spin around the block (Battlecruiser, anyone?)

quote:

At any given time you''ve got angry crew members, incompetent crew members, hurt or dead crew members, failing equipments, broken equipment, awkward navigation issues, challenging repair and maintenance tasks, God-knows-how-many different kinds of aliens, legal trouble, Seigers, psionic mind control, rogue AI hackers, human hackers, alien hackers, mutineers, overhead, profit margins, navigating/flying/driving/walking/talking NPCs, and a deadline for this shipment of medical supplies that you have to meet while fighting off pirates with one laser turret manned by Jimmy the new guy. Damn, that''s a lot of game.



If it''s any consolation, by the time you see all of this, you''re cruising toward godliness. Keep in mind that you can load up on the complexity if and only if it''s in managable phases. X-Com on the drawing board looked like squad combat, destructable terrain, fighter interdiction versus UFOs, item management, stat management, multiple base building, multiple base defense, national popularity management, financial management, research, trade in black market goods, item creation, story development, and management of an invisible supercharacter named Harvey. And don''t even get me started on Master of Magic...

Everything is in the execution. If all of those elements had hit the player at once, the game would have been a blip on our collective radar. But because they got the mix right there are players who still fire up X-Com YEARS after its heyday.

I''m not saying that I know I''m making the next X-Com or Civilization. What I''m saying is that such games are becoming more and more rare, and I see new gamers coming through knowing nothing more than the mission-based rope-a-dope. "Go here. Kill this. Good boy, here''s a cookie."

I may be adding too much, but I''m trying to keep things very focused (for an open-ended game) under one governing paradigm that allows you to start out small and end up big. I think players will not only be able to handle it but enjoy if the complexity is phased in, and only to the degree that the player chooses.

quote:

Maybe the tutorial session could take the form of an internship or tour of duty as a first mate. The NPC captain would always know how to handle the scripted events, but he''d let you take a crack at it first. The mission would get you some easy money, but not as much as you might have made on your own, so you don''t miss out by skipping it.


This is my thoughts exactly, with the tutorial casting you as the son of a merchant. You start out just managing your character, get used to interacting with the crew, then try out the various minigames at consoles. Your dad teaches you about what is what. You get set piece scripted encounters that introduce you to combat, stealth and trade, ultimately culminating in you dealing with a mutiny aboard the ship.

Be ye not afraid! I''m a gamer too, and I wouldn''t want a ton of unmanagable factors dumped on me anymore than you!


--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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If it's any consolation, by the time you see all of this, you're cruising toward godliness. Keep in mind that you can load up on the complexity if and only if it's in managable phases. X-Com on the drawing board looked like squad combat, destructable terrain, fighter interdiction versus UFOs, item management, stat management, multiple base building, multiple base defense, national popularity management, financial management, research, trade in black market goods, item creation, story development, and management of an invisible supercharacter named Harvey. And don't even get me started on Master of Magic...



Did I miss something in that game, I dont remember any Harvey. Or is that suppose to be a joke?

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, drown a man in the water and the fish will eat for a week!

[edited by - cmptrgear on April 25, 2004 12:07:51 AM]

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Original post by cmptrgear
Did I miss something in that game, I dont remember any Harvey. Or is that suppose to be a joke?



Dude! You never saw Harvey?! He was standing right there!!!! I think he also made an appearance in Fallout, and I could swear I saw him in Halo, hiding under the Warthog. He''s everywhere!





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Just waiting for the mothership...

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If buildings work out well, I think that straight-up demolition missions would be sweet. Blast in, plant fission charges at key structural points, and get the crap out of there before the timer ticks down. Good way to strike a blow against Rogue AIs, and I think the Xinxau would be just the semi-animate planetoids for the job.

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
If buildings work out well, I think that straight-up demolition missions would be sweet. Blast in, plant fission charges at key structural points, and get the crap out of there before the timer ticks down. Good way to strike a blow against Rogue AIs, and I think the Xinxau would be just the semi-animate planetoids for the job.


Yeah, and let''s not forget the possibility of calling down a strike from orbit! Just a comms call away, assuming that you have orbital superiority, of course. (Now, if the enemy has it, it just gets ugly).

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Just waiting for the mothership...

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