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The (nearly) endless evolution of the gun (RPG-like)

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Wavinator    2017
What would it mean to you if gunfighting in a game could vary all the way from Quake to CounterStrike, based on plot/world choices you make? At the most basic level, whether a game that has gunplay plays like Quake or like CounterStrike is a matter of stats. Graphics aside, your running speed, ability to resist damage, time to reload, etc. define the style of game. If, for example, you define a high weapon damage to player hit point ratio and small magazine size, set a long aiming delay and reduce player speed and you'll edge closer to a tactical shooter. So how would you react to an item creation feature in an open-ended RPG-like game that changed combat based on a player influenced tech tree? I imagine it would work something like this:
1) The world would be filled with different nations and regions of varying tech, dangers and rewards. Within each, average NPCs would vary within a narrow range based on factors about their nation (how war torn, how much government suppression, etc.) Special NPCs who are part of in-game factions would vary by how rich the faction was. (This would give you a chance to choose your preferred challenge level, based on where you were going and who you were up against.) 2) Over time (maybe once per every 10 - 20 hours of play?), all tech would evolve, increasingly obsoleting existing items. (This would exist both for the cool factor of new challenges and to give you a constant money sink.) 3) You could evolve arms and armor and stealth and targeting items using a character-creation style point system. Points would go to buying traits, changing stats, adding modes (making one item into two) and compensating for vulnerabilities (like overheat/jam chances). 4) You could test items before deploying them by buying and upgrading labs to include a "danger room" with equippable robots (this would exist to help you practice with new items and try out new strategies) 5) Gameplay balance would be an issue, but you could always sidestep world states that were boring or too challenging (I've talked about these frequently, but they include ways to skip time and make the world evolve and the lack of death and quickload) 6) Weapon form factors would vary based on a library of (eventually recycling) special effects and maybe some kind of procedural generation of skins and effects Thoughts? Anything to add to make this better? Anything I'm completely missing?

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Tesseract    285
How about taking into account real-world environmental damage? Like you can have the BFG[n-1], but firing it will seriously increase the ambient radiation of an area. Or unloading on someone with a lightning gun will short out any nearby non-hardened electronics. Or maybe one of those rockets you fired was a dud, but it exploded a week later when a civilian drove over it in his car. This would be more of an issue in persistent-world games, where the consequences of your actions outlive any given session of play.

I don't know if this is entirely on-topic, but it was the first thing that came to mind.

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someboddy    100
So as you play throu the game, the weapons get better, the armor allows you to take more hits, technology helps you run faster ect.?

If I figured it out right, the game slowly turns from Counter Strike and Rainbow Six to Quake and Unreal?

If I want a fast paced shooter, I don't want to play throu half a game that is a tactical shooter just to get my fast paced shooter. And if I want a tactical shooter, I want it to remain a tactical shooter. I don't want my game to slowly turn into another type of experiance.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think your idea is generally bad, but I think you need to be VERY carefull developing it. I have nothing against variety in gameplay styles in the same game. However, if you put a Unreal character against Counter Strike character(not players, but the actual characters, with their guns and armors), the guy from Unreal will win. This is an extreme situation, but it shows that in balance between stealth and power, power will win. I know what you think - Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow. But the mercenaries there didn't realy had power - one shot from a spy and their armor freeses.

Overall, I think the main problem in your Idea is that you try to combine tactical and faced paced gameplay in the same game, and not by finding the golden road. Arms and armor evolution is fine, but don't try to mix those two types of gameplay - it never works. In most games that try to do that, the player treats one type of missions(usualy the stealth missions) as annoying, and interupting in the way of the other type.

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Trapper Zoid    1370
I'm fairly sure that Wavinator is not trying to build FPS-style combat into his game; he was just using Counter-strike vs. Unreal as an example of different weapon tech. From following his questions, I think he's going for a 4X/RPG hybrid with tactical combat (probably squad based, but I'm not that certain on that point [smile]). From that perspective, since there's a big strategy element, having disparate levels of weapon technology is fine (it works in Civilization and the 4X games). Of course, I could be wrong (there's a lot of details about Wavinator's grand ideas about his epic game that I still haven't wrapped my head around yet [wink]).

I'll post some random thoughts I have on your idea (sorry if they're a little bit scattered; I'm just brainstorming here).

Wavinator: are you planning on having tech research as a element within the game? In most 4X games, the player allocated a percentage of their production towards the generation of new technology. I don't know how much control you give the player on the rule of a nation, but this is a standard element of strategy in those types of games.

Do you have any research facilities in your design? Ages ago I was dreaming of ideas for a 4X/spacefighter sim hybrid game, and one of the elements in the random mission generator was missions based around research space stations. These missions were based around either infiltrating the station to steal new technology, destroying the station to stop research, defending against infiltration/destruction attempts, or just acting as guard duty around the base.

You mention that nations will have different technology levels. Looking at the real world, while there are different levels of tech between nations the difference isn't that great. If we use the United States as the benchmark, I'd say that nearly every nation would have military tech that was more advanced that the U.S. in the 50s. As long as two nations have reasonable contact with each other, the technology to make a new weapon will quickly be distributed across the border. The exception is if a nation makes a big effort to make a new tech secret (I guess a real world example would be nuclear weapon technology), which would cost extra resources in a 4X game. And of course, if two nations don't have any contact then their tech levels will develop independently, but as your game is set in the future I'm not sure if that will be an issue (it is still an issue in most 4X games, but I don't know if the universe will start off unexplored or not).

As for individual NPCs, the amount of tech they have should be directly proportional to the amount of money they have (you've already noted that; I agree).

Will there be any cost of training with new weapons? Often it takes a while to learn how to use a new weapon to maximum effectiveness. You mention training for the PC, but will the NPCs also have to learn how to use new weapons?

Also in the real world the development of new weapons is sometimes based on trying to combat a specific tactic, such as tanks to counter trench warfare. Could you incorporate that into your design?

As for gameplay balance, if new technology is slowly learnt by everyone eventually the system would balance itself out automatically that way.

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