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TechnoGoth

Is luck a strategy?

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I've been toying with the idea of making my strategy game entirly deterministic and so I thought I would throw the idea to wolves and see what kind of feed back the idea got. Essentially each time you start a new game a new seed would be generated which would be used to determine all the procedurally generated content as well as how all events resolve without player intervention. I would also reduce or remove much the chance from all aspects of the game. This means several thing the main one being that a player with knowledge of what obstacles are between them and a goal could determine if they will succeed or not given their current resources before they even attempt the challenge. What do people think about this? Do you prefer to trust in your planning skills and the winds of fate or would you rather be able to visualize the out come well in advance? In many ways it comes down to a simple analogy, which is better poker or chess?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Have you heard the term "Any Given Sunday"? Or to drop it down to one word "Underdog"?

The idea that at any given time, the person without the resources, skill and/or talent can triumph is what drives the human race forward! Probability might be painfully low, but it is hardly ever zero (i.e. the chances of me living forever is zero, the chances of me changing the gaming industry forever are darn close to zero, but at least is possible).

Removing (or reducing) that from the game removes the fun.

Now, you did mention that you will provide enough information so a person could determine if they should attempt a challenge, this is good. Just be sure that this is decoupled from their actual success (it can effect the probability, but not an absolute sense of success or failure).

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Chess is deterministic only in so far as the skills of the opponents relative to each other. Chess always starts off evenly. Situations where loss cannot be avoided occur when one player simply outplays the other. It can also occur when one player makes a mistake that they normally wouldn't make; such as the situation where a player makes a move, takes his hand off the piece, and immediately exclaims, "Oh crap! I didn't want to do that!"

If you ignore the psychological aspects of chess and poker, then both are deterministic based upon the pure skill level and judgement of the players involved.

Maybe I misunderstood your idea but it sounds like you want to make a game that may or may not stack the "deck" against the player. It's no fun if an experienced player starts the game, gets a bad seed, and realizes it's impossible to win. His only viable strategic option then is to close the game, and perhaps never open it again.

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Quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
This means several thing the main one being that a player with knowledge of what obstacles are between them and a goal could determine if they will succeed or not given their current resources before they even attempt the challenge.


Player: "It's a long shot, but it's my only chance: I'm going to swing across the chasm while shooting in both directions at the bad guys, then leapfrog over that pillar just before it collapses."

Game: "No, that won't work. Screw off."

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Sneftel, your example doesn´t work because your player input doesn´t fit the challenge. If you think abstract, like chess, it will work...

You don´t *need* a random element in a game to make it fun, not even if the odds are against the player. The player only needs to know that there *is* at least one way to solve the puzzle. The degree of difficulty doesn´t really matter.

Especially in a strategy game this can work, but I don´t think that you can do entirely without some sort of opponent. If you do have someone / thing working against you with the same set of means and methods then it´s only a matter of finding the right tools and giving enough, but not too many options.

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Well, I dunno about you but since you ask for opinions...
I am not entirely sure I understand you right, but from what you say it sounds like you could end up in situations where you just can't go any further.
Now, are we talking about one of those stupid MahJong games where you realise that the pile of tiles just can't be cleared because of the way it was generated ?

Because if that's the style of dead end you are on about (i.e. the kind that could be prevented with a good generation algorithm), then it's a big No no, IMO.

If you mean, something like Chess where the player could just end up in a Check Mate, sure. That's cool. That's pure strategy. I think it's rather rewarding for the player because they should realise that if they improve their skill enough, there won't be some random element that will come and still beat them.

Of course, the thesis of the lazy ass who couldn't be bothered becoming good, and would rather know that, yeah, if they get lucky enough, even _they_ can win; is also valid. Really it depends what you want to reward from your players...
(I differentiate that from the underdogs, BTW. The underdogs at least try hard to get better, which is why they deserve that one in a million chance to win)

I think dragging people upwards is rather more, I dunno, morally right, than rewarding laziness. Call me old fashioned. [grin]

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Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
Player: "It's a long shot, but it's my only chance: I'm going to swing across the chasm while shooting in both directions at the bad guys, then leapfrog over that pillar just before it collapses."

Game: "No, that won't work. Screw off."


LOL [grin] Yeah, if I were the DM, and if the player came up with something completely far fetched, but something that I just wouldn't have imagine they would dare try, I would give him that one in a million chance.
Possibly because I read too much Terry Pratchett [lol]

Also because getting away with something so outrageous would stay with them for the rest of their adventuring life... (Ah, I still remember when my character took on a Greater Daemon of Tzeench on his own. Ah the memories [rolleyes])

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Have you ever played Yahtzee?

While Yahtzee may appear to be a game of pure luck, it is really a risk management strategy game. Clever choices of when and what to reroll, and where to assign your scores can make the difference between winning and losing.

Of course, the element of luck is ever present, but it's hard for even a lucky player to win if he is weak on the strategy side.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Yeah... Everybody knows that million to one chances succeed nine times out of ten... But no one ever heard someone say "He's got one chance out of seventy three thousands and six hundres ninety-two, but it still might work..."

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Seeding from the start of the game and continueing to use the deterministic approach just forces the play into a degree of loss. For example, lets say I try to attack that Ogre, and the seeds indicate that I'm going to lose. When I reload and try again, I'll lose again. Whats effectively happening is that a game where I'm supposed to manage risk and strategize my way to victory has set up deliberate blocks to prevent me from winning. To make matters worse, if I beat up a rabbit before the ogre, the next pseudorandom number in sequence might assure me victory, so I don't even have a deterministic structure to depend on.

I think what you should rather do is eliminate random from the actual gameplay, for example: An Ogre always beats a peasent, but a Knight beats an ogre. However, you can "Shuffle The Deck" at the top of the game, I.E. use random numbers to generate which enemy AI strategies will be put into play, that way the players focus is now figuring out what the AI is thinking and RTSing the hell out of it.

edit: me am no gud spelring mastar.

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