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Ketchaval

the woods are dark.

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Interesting question? There are dark woods filled with evil spirits and monsters, how do you make the player NOT want to go there? My thoughts are to make it actively dangerous to the player character, and not in a save/reload way. You don't want the player just going in there. How about a.) there are no rewards in there. b) The spirits in there are able to DRAIN away your posessions or even EXPERIENCE points. (even if only on a temporary basis). c.) have it mess with you and chuck you out, you think you are going into the forest but suddenly find yourself coming out of it. I think what I'm trying to get at is ways of stopping the player breaking all of the mysteries of a game and think that there is more to the game than they can see in the game.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
As you can't let players die for real upon entering it, I don't think you can stop them... Besides, would your players like such a forest? I don't think so... it will just get them frustrated.

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Is there any particular reason they cant or shouldnt go in asside from trying to preserve a feeling of mystery?

IMHO that would just strike me as a point of annoyance. To have somewhere I cant go in a game but then im the type of player that must beat everything, find everything, max everything ect.

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Any game which has a way for something to take your possessions is frustrating.

Best method - make the enemies high level, make the forest very dark and evil looking with strange sounds coming from it, NPC warnings.

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NPCs warning... all the more tempting to go in.

In my opinion, if you have areas that aren't meant for players to go in, don't put them there. There is no point to spending time making an area but not wanting players to go in there. Players will just get frustrated and that will affect their entire game experience, in addition to repelling them from that forest.

Useless areas are also frustrating in my experience, for example a ledge that looks like you could just barely get to it. Players could spend hours trying to get there, and when they finally do they discover that it's just an empty ledge? Same with your forest here.

If you don't want players to go in until they reach a higher level, a gate guard of some sort should solve that easily.

Cheers!

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Quote:
Original post by fyhuang
If you don't want players to go in until they reach a higher level, a gate guard of some sort should solve that easily.


Diablo II had people "guarding" certain areas, when you attempted to pass they would say something like "you are not powerful enough to enter here" or some-such. You could still go through, but generally you would just get your ass kicked (unless you had some uber-skills and knew how to make the enemy AI do stupid things).

I concur that if you don't want people in an area, don't make it - just have a representation of it, possibly behind a wall - though that would annoy the hell outta me.

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Since the woods are filled with evil spirits, make the player fear evil spirits.

For example, make it that all the spirit type enemies that he fights are a pain in the ass to deal with. I remember this game, where ghouls would drain my MaxHp 1 point at a time, for a not so long time. I would get to next town, and still lack the 3-5 points that it would be able to take from me. Then next town and still lacking. But around the time I get to the third town, I got my points back(and no, it wasn't because of a level up.. the behavior of these temporaly taken points was explained in the documentation).

But the thing is, after that I got so afraid of ghouls that everytime I saw more than 1 ghoul I ran away from them. I would only go into ghoul-infested woods if I had to.

Note that of all the 5 spiritual types of monsters there, the ghoul was the only one who took away points, but usually where normal ghosts were, some ghouls would be too.. so I ran away from ghost, too, just in case a ghoul or too doesn't appears in the middle of a fight I wouldn't be able to scape from.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
You could pull a Doom 3/EarthBound and make the forest too dark to navigate through. Not being able to see anything usually dissuades exploration.

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Make it a "magic forest" where you can go forward forever but never get there, while going one square back (or as many as you went forward) take you back.

Any why not just instantly kill the player upon entering ;)? Perhaps slowing the player down progressively while applying various temporary negative status ailments before that.

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I guess I just don't understand the point of making such a place. Will it eventually be accessible? Is there anything at all worthwhile inside? Is it an obstacle to be overcome, or is it just a feature of the world?

I think that an area where you'll NEVER be able to go would be rather novel in terms of video games.

There's always a point in your character's development where you become The Most Powerful Being in the Universe(tm). Diablo II is an excellent example of this: What sort of person are you that you can stroll through Hell, slaying the hordes of demons that dwell there? Ancient beasts that have dwelt in the abyss since the dawn of time fall like grass before you, and monsters so mighty that the angels themselves cannot best them are transfixed upon your blade. Holy crap, that's insane.

I would like to see a dark forest where you cannot go, and if you do, you're freaking boned, no matter what. Making it so dark you cannot see would be nice, but you could bring light with you, perhaps. Add a howling wind that extinguishes torches, a dark miasma that neutralizes magical light sources, and some kind of crazy labyrinthine terrain that would stymie adventurers that manage to build SureFires. Then fill it with monsters that weapons cannot touch, traps that magic cannot detect, and enchantments that cannot be countered. Heck, build in a jealous deity, so that the lucky few who manage by some miracle to survive for more than a minute or so in there get a solid smiting.

I think that a world in which every feature and location can be categorized as "experience farm" or "marketplace" has a sense of artificiality. This dark forest idea could be a big step toward more impressive worlds in video games.

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The only result would be that the player would never see most of the area, which equals a lot of wasted time in making the area. Also, there isn't any point - not fun, no goal, no chance.

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Interesting question. Too many games arbritrarily block you from going somewhere. What they need to do is actually give you a real reason to choose not to go somewhere. E.g., the prospect of entering those woods is a bad one. Instead, I'm going to go somewhere else. I could go into the woods if I wanted to, but I'd probably die.

That's alot more plausible than: "YOU NEED TO LEVEL UP NOOB!"

Too much arbritrary limitation in games. It displays a lack of complex thinking in game design.

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I like this idea, but i don't think the player should be "boned no matter what", more like being traped in an enclosed space with a CyberDemon, near totally boned, but you still have a chance (with some godly intervention or supreme skill/tactical thinking) of actually making it around. I remember when playing KOTOR on Kashiik (or whatever the wookie homeworlds called) that the wookies were afraid of this one crazy old man who lived on the forest floor where only bands of wookie hunting parties would dare to go for short times. ;D

Messed up labryinth/shifting terrain, monsters that are immune to specific types of weapons, damaging status effects, go for it. Cuz when the players seen everything in the game and become uber, he's going to be looking with longing into that forest for a challenge.

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Quote:
Original post by NytehauqToo much arbritrary limitation in games. It displays a lack of complex thinking in game design.


*cough* arbritrary limitations are what fuels game mechanics, and thus the game design itself. Here in the real world there is no logical reason for players to dribble the basketball when chargeing down the court. But its a game rule all the same, ment to slow the players charge enough that opposing teams can mount a defense, in effect its only there to help balance the gameplay of basketball

If the location in question were included in a game, and no matter how god like the player becomes he/she can never venture into the woods without quickly dieing...well the net effect is exactly the same as placeing a barrior there. Its then just a dressed up inpassable wall that wastes development time and energy, just an illusion of complexity nothing more.

Now if at some point the player will have gathered enough skill to venture through the woods. Then its little more then the equivalent to a locked door, only the "key" is procured differently...again just another illusion of complexity. Of course the major difference is in how the player learns when/ and how this "door" becomes unlocked (guards telling the player to stay away, frequent experimental charges into the woods to see how far one can get, etc) basicly boils down to communicateing game state information, nothing to do with the game mechanics and/or complexity of game design.






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A few suggestions:

- Upon entering the dark woods, evil is unleashed into the world. Spirits and monsters terrorize small villages and roam the countryside. The player would be intimidated then because not only would there be invincible enemies inside these woods, but they'd venture out to the overworld as well if you decided to go in; basically creating more of a worldly threat that the player would not want to have to deal with.

- Disregarding the advice of NPCs who warn you not to enter can influence a reputation with them. Vendors who are afraid and superstitious of the area might raise their prices or even refuse sale to such a defiant and foolish adventurer. Inns might become afraid to allow you to stay in their establishment because they believe you have become tainted with the area's evil.

- Unpleasant experience within could sour the player to the area. Using tricks of gameplay to make things very difficult has been used in several games I can think of: Metal Gear with the psychic boss, turning off the display and making you switch controller slots; Donkey Kong with the 'poisonous' level that confused the monkeys by flipping their controls (down is up, left is right). This kind of effect could eventually be dispelled so that venturing in became a simple matter when you wanted the player to finally be able to.

- The evil within the forest is so great that it diminishes your health every moment you are in there. Venture too long or too deep and you'll die, which of course has its own negative consequences (loss of exp, durability, money, etc.)

- There is no phat lewt ;)

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Put something scary in there. Seriously. Something big and nasty and unrelenting that will hunt the player down and do what big scary things do. No need to fill it with nasty things and instant death, or make it any different from other forsts. A single protector that senses the moment a trespasser sets foot in its domain, and does not stop until that trespasser is dealt with. If eventually you want the player to have access to the forest, you can give it the crucial item or piece of information needed to get past it, or have the creature's removal by high-powered NPC's as a plot point.

Make it common knowledge that such a creature prowls the woods, and that none who enter ever leave. And if they disregard these warnings, which they will, scare the crap out of them. Start with corpses, horribly mangled, but still recognizable. Then come the sounds, of something big, and coming fast. Give the players a chance to rethink their life choices and make a dash for the edge of the forest. And then, if they still choose to remain, kill them quickly and decisively, so that there's little doubt that further attempts will yield the same result.

Yes, some players will see that as a challenge and will spend countless hours trying to find a way to kill the creature. Too bad for them - as long as you've made it clear that it cannot be done, it's not your fault if they ignore you.

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You don't have to map the whole area. Just map it about ten feet in, and the player will be gibbed by then anyhow. No need to design castles and tunnels and towns that nobody will see. It might even be a good way to suck up map space until you get around to putting it in an expansion or something.

You play through the game, never going into the Big Dark Woods, and then the expansion comes out, which is entitled "Into the Big Dark Woods", and contains the map and some trite plot event that lets you get in there.

Nobody minds not being able to get to the bottom of a lava pit, or not being able to reach the sprite-based background mountains, or not being able to climb trees. The only difference with the Evil Forest is that there's something intelligent in there that's defeating you every time you try to get in. Every time you walk around the forest you're bowing to that superior force. Psychologically, that gets RPG'ers collective goat.

Once I've killed Diablo, and beaten Kefka, and destroyed the One Ring, players reason, I should be able to stare down any monster in the game. What god might live in those woods that I can't stab to death with by +7 PUSD? What arrogant ghost thinks it can stand against my level 8 grapple mastery? Can there be a horde of skeletons so mighty that they won't be pulverized under the weight of my maxxed-out meteor strike? Surely not.

Strange to think that a player who objects when dragon's breath does more than 10% damage to them will accept a death-by-magma without batting an eye. At least in Metroid it took a few seconds to melt.

The point is that an inaccessible forest can't be inaccessible because there are NPCs in there that can beat you. If there are vines over the entrance, then axe-wielding barbarians will read the "There are too many vines blocking the entrance" message, shrug, and go use that axe to kill large bugs, the way it was meant to be used. Players are totally okay following rules about what zones are closed, but when they are in a fight, it should be possible to win with sheer weight of experience points and some good gear. If you make a boundary look like a fight, it's "cheap".

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Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
From Iron Chef's first post in this thread
I think that a world in which every feature and location can be categorized as "experience farm" or "marketplace" has a sense of artificiality. This dark forest idea could be a big step toward more impressive worlds in video games.


...
[b] Second Post [/b[
Every time you walk around the forest you're bowing to that superior force. Psychologically, that gets RPG'ers collective goat.

Once I've killed Diablo, and beaten Kefka, and destroyed the One Ring, players reason, I should be able to stare down any monster in the game. What god might live in those woods that I can't stab to death with by +7 PUSD?
Strange to think that a player who objects when dragon's breath does more than 10% damage to them will accept a death-by-magma without batting an eye. At least in Metroid it took a few seconds to melt.

The point is that an inaccessible forest can't be inaccessible because there are NPCs in there that can beat you.

If you make a boundary look like a fight, it's "cheap".


The first post highlights the idea that I'd like to see put into games, ie. the psychological aspect of there is something big bad and unbeatable. The problem is that this isn't going to sit very easily with many players, they will bang their head against a wall until it cracks (and in this case it would be the head that cracks first).

What I'd like to see is a way of implementing this idea of magic and mystery in a way that doesn't frustrate the player in a irritating way. So maybe the question has nothing to do with -geographical boundaries in games. But a way of implementing the the "known unknown".


Side note 1. the point about winning by experience points mainly refers to RPGs where you can infinitely level up (unlike games with a smaller range of stats). If this were a stealth-type game such as Siren then it would be a different question. But players would still keep trying to beat the system every time they thought of a new approach.

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Make the forest have a posion plauge so when your characters go in there they are slowly losing hitpoints. Similar to in Zelda Orcaina of Time, if you went into the valcano without the 'fire suit' you would burniate.

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