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Now that I have your attention, Lets assume your not nigh near indestructible in fact you are rather weak. In fact most of the bonuses you get only allow you to take on more difficult challenges few if any make those challenges easier. Is the challenge enough to motivate you to keep playing? Does charging into a warehouse filled with zombies to retrieve a package knowing that it almost certain death and that your only rewards if you succeed will be money and a reputation increase, which in turn may allow you to move on to infiltrating military bases reward enough? Incidentally death in this case would only cost you time and money. So in effect you could be risking a large sum of money to gain a smaller sum.

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I don't like that sort of gameplay, because it leads to abyssmal success rates and repetitive play. It comes down to memorizing the location of every enemy and gun turret, and then going through again and again until you have a perfect run. It's not that much fun.

What's worse is that you do this for hours, even days, and have a 3% success rate (having "died" 97 times to beat three levels) and your reputation goes up. "Look at that guy," people say, "He's the one who took on all three crime syndicates and won without any super powers at all!" When in fact a thousand monkeys with a thousand joysticks could have accomplished the same feat. It's hollow.

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There is no spoon...

I'd say it's definately a motivating factor to be able to say you've beaten a game that's challenging in the way you've described, and I'm sure a lot of people would be willing to give such a game a shot for bragging rights; If the game is actually very difficult, then it actually means something to be able to say you've finished it.

However, as ICC mentioned this can lead to horrible rates of failure, repetative gameplay, and a whole world of frustration for players. A lot of people will probably never finish such a game, and will probably dissuede others from purchasing a copy.

So, the question is whether or not you can somehow make a game with a high risk of failure (and a character who isn't overwhelmingly powerful) and still avoid this frustration and repetition. Perhaps if death is worked into the gameplay in some way rather than simply forcing you to try again?

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Now that I have your attention

You've got my attention... Damn that title... [wink]

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I don't like that sort of gameplay, because it leads to abyssmal success rates and repetitive play. It comes down to memorizing the location of every enemy and gun turret, and then going through again and again until you have a perfect run. It's not that much fun.


Agreed. It worked in the "good old days", when you had arcade games which basically repeated the same level, but faster and faster, because each level didn't take too long. If you died, you didn't waste too much time.

I think that's the problem. What you're making sounds like each mission could take a while. No one in their right minds want to lose hours of their time because an insane game designer wants to kill them.
If you want to make a game like this, and yes, it can work and has worked before, then you need to ensure that when the player dies (which will happen often. Very often), they don't have to repeat the last 4 hours of play. A couple of minutes are ok, but not much more than that.

Other than that, how is the money thing supposed to work? You lose money when dying, but gain money for completing a mission.
What if you run out of money? Game over?

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I think this is actually not a bad idea, in the sense that you can have impossible missions. Wait, and hear me out first.

The mission would only be impossible should you try to face every enemy head on. Should you come up with an alternative, going with the OPs example of the zombie infested warehouse, like bringing cows outside of the warehouse and luring the zombies out with the cows. Then the warehouse wouldn't be so much of a problem.

--Ter'Lenth

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I don't like that sort of gameplay, because it leads to abyssmal success rates and repetitive play. It comes down to memorizing the location of every enemy and gun turret, and then going through again and again until you have a perfect run. It's not that much fun.

What's worse is that you do this for hours, even days, and have a 3% success rate (having "died" 97 times to beat three levels) and your reputation goes up. "Look at that guy," people say, "He's the one who took on all three crime syndicates and won without any super powers at all!" When in fact a thousand monkeys with a thousand joysticks could have accomplished the same feat. It's hollow.


What part don't you like? The fact that it is easy to loose if you confront things head on? Or the fact that in those games indirect engagement is limited? What if you can learn the position of every enemy, security measure before or during a mission?

Generely most mission will be one shot deals, so if you are you loose then you have failed that mission. But they are all procedurally generated and non are required. The exception is with mission that have a fixed target such as infiltrating the base of operations for a cyber criminal you will have a number of attempts at it before the criminal relocates.

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Original post by Kazgoroth
There is no spoon...

I'd say it's definately a motivating factor to be able to say you've beaten a game that's challenging in the way you've described, and I'm sure a lot of people would be willing to give such a game a shot for bragging rights; If the game is actually very difficult, then it actually means something to be able to say you've finished it.

However, as ICC mentioned this can lead to horrible rates of failure, repetative gameplay, and a whole world of frustration for players. A lot of people will probably never finish such a game, and will probably dissuede others from purchasing a copy.

So, the question is whether or not you can somehow make a game with a high risk of failure (and a character who isn't overwhelmingly powerful) and still avoid this frustration and repetition. Perhaps if death is worked into the gameplay in some way rather than simply forcing you to try again?


Perhaps the question I should ask is how do you make things challenging but not frustating? You can loose very easily in a direct confrontation but attempting the mission still has to be fun and rewardings enough so that you don't delete the game after you've failed a third time in a row. Is there away to achieve this without relying on an adaptive algorthim to alter the mission diffiuclty behind the scenes?

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Original post by Spoonbender
Agreed. It worked in the "good old days", when you had arcade games which basically repeated the same level, but faster and faster, because each level didn't take too long. If you died, you didn't waste too much time.

I think that's the problem. What you're making sounds like each mission could take a while. No one in their right minds want to lose hours of their time because an insane game designer wants to kill them.
If you want to make a game like this, and yes, it can work and has worked before, then you need to ensure that when the player dies (which will happen often. Very often), they don't have to repeat the last 4 hours of play. A couple of minutes are ok, but not much more than that.

Other than that, how is the money thing supposed to work? You lose money when dying, but gain money for completing a mission.
What if you run out of money? Game over?


Well basically you don't go on these dangerous missions yourself you send a remote drone instead. Drones cost money to build, equip and maintain. The equipment you give a drone determines what it can and can not do on a mission. So if a drone is destroyed during a mission you have no choice but to build a new one. So one of my concerns is that players might get a little upset if they just invested a million credits into building the most advanced drone money can buy, only to have it destroyed on a mission where the reward is only 10,000 credits.

As to how long a mission can take well I'm not sure I do think they will take maybe 5 to 30 minutes? I'll have to play test and find out.

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Original post by Terlenth
I think this is actually not a bad idea, in the sense that you can have impossible missions. Wait, and hear me out first.

The mission would only be impossible should you try to face every enemy head on. Should you come up with an alternative, going with the OPs example of the zombie infested warehouse, like bringing cows outside of the warehouse and luring the zombies out with the cows. Then the warehouse wouldn't be so much of a problem.

--Ter'Lenth


That is sort of the plan to have to player use environment, avoidence, and tool strategies to complet missions rather then confrontation. Although I could probably still allow you to attach a mini gun to your drone and let you gun down innocent zombies left right and center but I'll decide that later. For now you have short range stun gun as your only weapon.

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Original post by TechnoGoth
Well basically you don't go on these dangerous missions yourself you send a remote drone instead. Drones cost money to build, equip and maintain. The equipment you give a drone determines what it can and can not do on a mission. So if a drone is destroyed during a mission you have no choice but to build a new one. So one of my concerns is that players might get a little upset if they just invested a million credits into building the most advanced drone money can buy, only to have it destroyed on a mission where the reward is only 10,000 credits.

As to how long a mission can take well I'm not sure I do think they will take maybe 5 to 30 minutes? I'll have to play test and find out.


I think you misrepresented your game in your first post. The first post made it sound like you were supposed to charge into the zombie warehouse. Then, the game would suck. The only strategy is to run in, expecting to die, but learn where the first couple zombies are. Then, you run in, kill those zombies, learn where the next couple are, die. Then, you run in, kill the first zombies, kill the second zombies, find where more zombies are, die. Then, you run in, get killed by the first zombies, die, uninstall game. Like those old Contra games.

Now, you're saying that the intention isn't to run right in, but to be sneaky. Here, you don't want to be seen. Here, you get maps and guard schedules. Here, you get all the things you would need to properly stealth your way to success. Now it sounds more stealth, less shooter.

As for the losing a drone thing. I have three thoughts, and I think the three together are better than one alone:
1) That's the risk. A more expensive, more gadgets drone probably has a better chance of succeeding, but is a more costly failure.
2) Make drones cheaper. Make it so they are fairly expendable, but you wouldn't want to lose many of them.
3) Don't let the player make the ultimate drone. Make him make trade offs. You can only install so many gadgets. This, with the previous one, means that you may need a significant investment because you may need to send more than one drone in to complete the mission.

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Original post by TechnoGoth
Quote:
Original post by Terlenth
I think this is actually not a bad idea, in the sense that you can have impossible missions. Wait, and hear me out first.

The mission would only be impossible should you try to face every enemy head on. Should you come up with an alternative, going with the OPs example of the zombie infested warehouse, like bringing cows outside of the warehouse and luring the zombies out with the cows. Then the warehouse wouldn't be so much of a problem.

--Ter'Lenth


That is sort of the plan to have to player use environment, avoidence, and tool strategies to complet missions rather then confrontation. Although I could probably still allow you to attach a mini gun to your drone and let you gun down innocent zombies left right and center but I'll decide that later. For now you have short range stun gun as your only weapon.


I agree with the previous poster that what you're saying now doesn't match up with your first post. Your first one you said that each mission is "almost certain death", as if you expect the player to die a bunch of times before he can complete it. If instead, what you actually mean is stealth-based play instead of FPS-based play, then sure, the Thief series does it very well. But Thief is not a game where each mission is "almost certain death"; it's only almost certain death if you choose to fight the guards head-on.

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Heh, the Tick.

Extreme challenge gameplay is rewarding in of itself only if the player can reach a complete understanding and play it as though the controller is transparent and a part of his hand.

What I mean basically, is that you have to look to games like Devil May Cry, or Metal Gear Solid, where despite having the circumstances stacked against you, it is possible to be such a good player that you never get touched once.

This also means that the game has to have a learning slope thats easy enough that when these extreme challenges show up, the player has already reached this heightened awareness. So, yes its possible, but no, not immediately. If you need other good examples, think the original Super Mario Brothers, where the game spends the first level or two implicitly training you into how to play. Then go look at those speed runs availiable on the interweb where they play the game perfectly through.

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I also do not care for this design.

Because these sort of 'challenges' are never really solved by clever players, or tactical mojo. They're solved by cheating. Okay, okay, not -really- cheating. They're more often solved by exploiting the enemy AI. Firing from just beyond their range... knowing exactly their patrol patterns without seeing them... running by them because they're too stupid to follow properly... sniping them one by one, because they're too stupid to see their buddy shot... leading them into lava....

You know, not really playing the game, but exploiting game design flaws, software design flaws or AI that will always be far too dumb to cover all the bases. I don't think that behavior is something that should be promoted. In online games especially, seeing players rewarded for such cheap play is demoralizing during a time people are looking for entertainment.

[sorry, one of my pet peeves]

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Well said.

When you are faced with what should be an unbeatable challenge, and you face it scores of times, you can't help but metagame. On 00 difficulty in Goldeneye, I took advantage of the fact that enemy bullets couldn't cross gaps or railings, and neither could their eyesight. Thus, I could walk out on a catwalk, line up one headshot, fine-tune my aim for a second, and then fire two consecutive perfect killshots. The remaining enemies would turn, fire ineffectively at my position, and then charge through a hail of my bullets until they came around the invisible corner that restricted them. That's not James Bond fighting terrorists; that's me cheating at a video game.

I don't want to sound like I think every video game hero should be invincible. Just not being bulletproof doesn't necessarily make a game hard. One shot could kill you in Contra, and I wasn't the only guy on my bock who could beat the game without dying.

If you can make a game where there's always a maneuver that will avoid the inevitable defeat, then it becomes a puzzle game, like the earlier Splinter Cell games. If somebody saw you in the first Splinter Cell, you were hosed. Your gun was useless unless you scored a prefect headshot, which could only be achieved with considerable preparation. Your melee attack was laughable, and a single untrained guard could take at least half of your health if he spotted you. There was always one chink in their pattern, or one shadow, or one exposed vent that was the solution. It was a puzzle game.

Don't confuse a puzzle game like that, or Full Spectrum Warrior, with a "difficult" action game. In an action game, the precision and tactical appropriateness of your actions determine the outcome. Viewtiful Joe is an example of a balls-tough action game. You have to react to a dozen stimuli and keep ahead of a screen full of enemies. If you have to know a secret, or do one special thing to "beat" an area, it's just a puzzle, like decoding a combination lock.

The warehouse is full of zombies. You run in. The eat you.

The warehouse is full of zombies. You sneak in, one eats you. Restart.
The warehouse is full of zombies, you sneak in and chop off the one's head. Quicksave.
You climb a ladder. The zombies see and eat you. Quickload.
You throw a rock to break a window. The zombies look at the window. You climb the ladder, the zombie at the top eats you. Quickload.
You throw the rock, you watch through the floor until the zombie goes away. You climb the ladder and chop off his head. Quicksave.

And on and on and on and on and on. It's crappy game design. If it's a procedurally generated warehouse, with randomly placed zombies, then it becomes a super-tough action game. I go in there with my machete and fight the zombies. Maybe I try to use the environment a little. If I get bit, I'm toast.

To try to be a little supportive, I think that with extraordinary level design and a marvelous control scheme, such a game could be made practical. Look at Resident Evil 4 for the GameCube. The village scene in particular. You don't feel super-powerful, especially when the chainsaw dude shows up, but you can use windows, doors, ladders and an array of weapons to put up a good fight. If you made a game that was a series of situations like that one, I'd play it over and over again. Heck, that's just what Capcom did with the Mercenaries mini-game, and it owned. I'd pay ten bucks for a disc that just had a dozen Mercenaries levels on it, and maybe four or five characters to use.

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Original post by TechnoGoth
Well basically you don't go on these dangerous missions yourself you send a remote drone instead. Drones cost money to build, equip and maintain. The equipment you give a drone determines what it can and can not do on a mission. So if a drone is destroyed during a mission you have no choice but to build a new one. So one of my concerns is that players might get a little upset if they just invested a million credits into building the most advanced drone money can buy, only to have it destroyed on a mission where the reward is only 10,000 credits.

As to how long a mission can take well I'm not sure I do think they will take maybe 5 to 30 minutes? I'll have to play test and find out.


(Okay, I'm going to start sounding like a broken record with this question:) What is the aesthetic you're trying to achieve?

You've got a zombie filled warehouse, which is cool in concept. Then you have a notion of nasty odds, and maybe either a hell's bells flat out run & gun strategy or sneaking around. But during the experience, are you trying to convey a reward for planning, or superior aiming, or perfect memorization, or what?

To clarify, by aesthetic I mean that when I finish playing through a level, I'm supposed to have experienced what? (heart pounding suspense maybe? vindication and triumph because of your superior skills of anticipation? horror and doom enough that joining the French Foreign legion is preferable?[wink])

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I want the player to experience pulse pound adrenaline and excitement, as well as a sense of achievement. There more I read peoples replies the more I wonder if it is possible to combine action and planning, by forcing players to think on their feet. Take the example of the zombie filled warehouse. What if the player has only 60 seconds to get in and out? How does that effect their decision making process? Is it still an infiltration game?

It seems that the biggest problem with most games like this is that a single mistake means game over, forcing the player to save and load until they get it perfect. How can we get around this?

There more I think about the more I want to scrap my original idea entirely.

Now I have a new take on the idea entirely. What about have combining action and planning into an action scene? What I mean is this:

You are constantly moving towards the target and action choices appear on the screen as you go. The player has to make split second decision of which action to choose. For instance you enter the warehouse there is zombie facing away from you between two rows of crates, 4 options appear on screen forward, left, right, and fire. You have a split second to choose.

In this way I can still keep the action and infiltration idea for the game but turn the in mission aspect into a series of quick decision thus reducing the mistake frustration factor.


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Personally, I've always liked the design where the 'decision' part of the game was done before the mission. Picking loadouts, team members, drop points, time of incursion...

By the way, thinking about this made me realise what you want is X-Com. It follows all of the requirements you've set really, and is many people's favorite game of all time. It maintains the 'much risk for little reward' the 'one mistake is death' and cool warehouses filled with zombies while being totally fun.

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You might be looking for turn-based gameplay. If you want the tactics, the desperation, and the sense of achievement, I again advise you to take a close look at the Mercenaries mini-game in Resident Evil 4.

You have the choices you describe, but without the overt selection process. You have to choose whether to stand and fight, to go out a window, to climb a ladder, or to use a precious grenade. You can make a hundred such decisions every minute, but still be working toward a simple objective, like "reach the high ground and grab that health powerup". If you get cut off, you have to quickly formulate a Plan B. There's a timer running all the time, which you can increase by grabbing icons, but that's a double-edged sword. You want to have enough time to earn the high score, but every second you stay in the game after that is another chance to die and lose everything. It's brilliant and addictive, although the learning curve starts out a little steep.

Honestly, if you haven't played this game before, rent a GameCube and a copy of it. Heck, you can probably buy a GC for $50 now. The game's coming out for PS2 soon, so that might make it more accessible to you.

The important thing, in my mind, is for the maps to be more like arenas than levels. If there's a clear start and finish, and one real path through, then you can't improvise. You should be able to rework your strategy all the time. Try plowing through, but then try to lead them into a corner and give them the slip, and then try to lure them into traps, and then hide out and heal a little, and finally just make a break for it. That's flexible combat.

And change the name of this thread. I always forget what it's about, so I click on it and wind up typing a big old post in here.

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