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Wavinator

Same gameplay, different reasons, cheap?

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If you have multiple environments where you effectively do the same thing (in general) but for different reasons, would you consider yourself cheated? When you have a strong form of gameplay that you're going to build your game on, is it better to keep the context (the meaning and reason why you're doing things) basically the same, or is it satisfying to have multiple contexts even though the gameplay doesn't change.
For example: Let's say that you're a trader. You start by walking to locations on foot with a backpack. Then you upgrade to Fan electric powered truck that can hold more goods. Maybe after that, you get derigible (pardon, I'm sort of making this up as I go). At each stage, when you're going from point A to B to trade your stuff, there'll be threats to deal with, with some routes harder or easier. The gameplay for the threats will always be strategically varied, so that's not the issue. The issue is the reason why the threats exist. Is it better to keep the reason the same on the grounds that changing the reason invites players to wish for something more (because things changed); or do players welcome a change in the context, even though the gameplay is essentially the same (defend myself from attacks so I can trade).
Here's two concrete examples: Same gameplay, same reason everywhere: You start off in a land overrun by mechanical constructs. As you progress and trade in different lands, the type of constructs change, but its always constructs. The whole storyline revolves around them. Same gameplay, different reasons everywhere: You start in land A with the constructs. When you get to land B, it's tribesman. In land C, it's a bunch of paranoid xenophobes. Different context, but you're still playing "defend my caravan." The storyline is thus more lose to match the variety of different encounters.

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I think that as long as the reason for the hostile party being there is explained adequately, then it makes very little difference to the player if it is continually the same faction attacking them or varying factions. The variance in encounters though can lead to spin-off storylines if needed to break it up a little, but can also pull the player out of the immersion, something that I think the developer/s needs to consider closely before deciding.

Throwing in "You have entered area 12, this time it's Killer Fish", "You have entered area 329, now Giant Robotic Crazed Penguins" just doesn't cut it if it doesn't explain to me why the enemies are changing.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Agreed, if I'm defending myself, and I'm defending myself in the same way, then it doesn't matter what I'm defending myself from.

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If you do not try to give players the illusion that gameplay is radically different in the various environments, they will not feel robbed. In fact, having multiple reasons will help keep the game fresh. It's important for the threats not to behave exactly the same ("Oh crud, the rebels didn't attack with exploding potato chips in the last town!") Games like Raiden or Diablo are considered great, and they used the "same gameplay, different reasons/enemies everywhere".

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Quote:
Original post by Gehazi
If you do not try to give players the illusion that gameplay is radically different in the various environments, they will not feel robbed. In fact, having multiple reasons will help keep the game fresh. It's important for the threats not to behave exactly the same ("Oh crud, the rebels didn't attack with exploding potato chips in the last town!") Games like Raiden or Diablo are considered great, and they used the "same gameplay, different reasons/enemies everywhere".


I'm not sure if Diablo is a great example sorry. As it was always 'the same faction' of bad guys, and all based on the story. (I can't comment on Raiden sorry as I'm not overly familiar with it). I think Diablo falls under the "Same gameplay, same reasons/enemies everywhere" rule to be honest. The enemy units themselves might be slightly different in appearance/stats but essentally they are an extension of the "main bad guy". The game obviously has to have different specific enemies or it would get stale way too quickly. (ie. Malice)

I assumed Wavinator was talking more about completely unrelated groups you had to guard against with no link whatsoever?

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Well, if the whole purpose of the game solely revolves around me trading and defending my caravan, do i want to see the exact same tree fly by my window for the billionth time? Or would i like a little variety and have maybe a cactus? or a pine tree?

Even if you have only killer robots, it helps to differentiate types of robots to help keep things interesting. Variety is the spice of life afterall. Star Control 2 may be a good example. There are more than a dozen alien races spattered across the map, there all pretty much the same, home planets, ships etc. But each race's visual appearance and personality is unique, making it a pleasure to explore the nooks and crannies of the universe and encounter new shiny planets, races, etc. while going around and gathering minerals for my mini-fleet/caravan.

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It depends on how believable the world is. I remember an NES side-scrolling shooter where level one is fly squid, level two is flying books, level three is birds, level four is spaceships, level five is flying cars, level six is flying trees, and it goes on like that. It never bothered me.

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I think it'd make it feel very disjoint. Like backpack is level 1, truck is level 2, derigible is level 3, etc. Sidescrollers for the NES got away with it because they were already split into levels like that. So, it depends. Are you trying to make one cohesive world? Then it's a bad idea. If you're trying for more of a "How do you establish trade when problem X exists?", then I think it'd work. It would feel like reading "Foundation" or "I, Robot" by Asimov: a series of short stories about doing the same thing under different conditions.

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