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Death Trivia

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I have long debated what should happen in my game when a character dies. Most games have game over and you back to where you last saved and loose any items but those in the bank. But in these games you can have fun 'torturing' the game character by killing him next to the save spot. Then a sad piece of music plays as the screen fades out and the character falls(only to awaken about 3 seconds later on the save spot). Some games you start the level over again or loose a life. My favorite example of horrible death is Mario. He hits the little bird/mushroom(not sure what it is) and the screen pauses for half a second before he flies 6 feet in the air upside down and falls off the screen. Not very realistic and even worse is if he's big somehow that same bird mushroom thing can crush him(into small mario) as though it were a boulder falling on him. When I make a game I never want anyone dying on purpose multiple time to see the animation, nor do I want something that looks ridiculious. So I brainstormed. I first thought of the most extreme thing, the game uninstalling or locking somehow to prevent further play(way too harsh). Then I thought why not have it so the game locks for an hour. Once that hour is up you can come back and play again. This would work for internet games but people can just set their computer clocks ahead an hour at home. Also a problem is what do people do with that hour. So then I had this neat idea that you also get the option to prove yourself worthy and answer trivia to come back to life before the hour is up. I thought this was a neat idea and am going to likely implement it into my game. I'm wondering what others think of this?

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Why do you want to discourage experimentation?

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Uhm...I don't personally know anyone who kills their character just to see the death animation. It's just easier to allow the player to try again, and if they want to mess around and see how many bird/mushrooms they can bounce off of before they fall, more power to 'em, I think.

Games are supposed to be fun, and while additional challenge and sometimes penalties can be fun, I don't believe your suggestion is at all. Experiment with it if you'd like but it would be more frustrating than anything.

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So what percentage of players would be outraged by being locked out of the game for an hour, when it was the game's own fault for killing them, and never play again?

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Frankly, I don't think that this is a good idea.

Firstly, since I like answering trivia, I'd probably kill off my character just to get to answer questions, so I think that completely defeats the purpose you are intending for that feature [smile].

Secondly, why are you wanting to prevent your players from killing off their character? All I can see happening is that players will quit playing your game completely from frustration if you lock them out.

To me, this is somewhat similar to the frequent debates on whether saving should ever be limited in games, except while I can see some merit to the limited saving argument I can't think of any gameplay related reason for introducing a lock-out based on character death except for punishing players. Am I missing something here? How will this feature improve your game?

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This (the one hour ban) sounds like a horrible, frustrating experience you are setting up. Good luck getting anyone to play the game.

I'm not trying to make this a personal attack so don't take it that way, but this has got to be the number one worst 'feature' I've ever heard proposed for a game.

The 'trivia' option is fine, I can think of a few games where you become a ghost and must escape from a dead realm somehow to get back to your game (NoX I think, but I can't quite recall) I wouldn't call it a great idea, but it's feasible wheras the one hour lock-out adds nothing but frustration.

I assume you are looking for 'consequence' for dying. I think that's fine, the problem is when the consequence involves frustration. You don't want your game to be frustrating at all, that's not the point of games. You want to keep your players interested by always having something for them to do. That something can really be anything, but it should be interesting. A one hour lock-out is essentially a horrible idea because it breaks the possibility of continuous play.

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I've had this idea and think its a good one. Often when I play games, dying is not really as big a deal as it should be (highly fatal and tragic).

The idea I had was a game where if your careful you can manage to complete it. But if you die, thats it. Never again.

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What exactly is the reasoning behing punishing the player, or preventing him from playing?

Why does it make your game better?

As a game designer, your goal is not to fight the player at every opportunity, it is to make a game people want to play.

So, how does "lock people out from the game for an hour if they die", or even "force the player to answer pointless questions" translate into "a game people want to play"?

I think you need to grow up, and realize who you're making the game for. Is it for a sadistic game designer to chuckle over? Is it to educate people on what's realistic and what isn't?
Or is it to make something worth playing?

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Quote:
Original post by Genjix
I've had this idea and think its a good one. Often when I play games, dying is not really as big a deal as it should be (highly fatal and tragic).

The idea I had was a game where if your careful you can manage to complete it. But if you die, thats it. Never again.

I don't think you understand. As designers, we don't WANT players to be careful. Careful is boring. It's what gamers do the other 22 hours of the day. Careful is no experimentation, as little exploration as possible, hoarding items, extreme timidity in advancing along paths, rigidly following the strategy guide. Careful is the result of players being forced to adopt the persona of a coward, instead of a hero.

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Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
I don't think you understand. As designers, we don't WANT players to be careful. Careful is boring. It's what gamers do the other 22 hours of the day. Careful is no experimentation, as little exploration as possible, hoarding items, extreme timidity in advancing along paths, rigidly following the strategy guide. Careful is the result of players being forced to adopt the persona of a coward, instead of a hero.


I wonder, would it be possible to give a player more leeway the more daring they are? Give the careful player zero margin for error while giving more slack to the action hero. Something like racing games that lag back a bit to keep it interesting even if you suck, but in reverse, in a way.

Also, and I'm afraid this'll be rather unpopular with the hardcore crowd, I'd like to see fewer missable items/interactions. These, too, lead to the rigid following of strategy guides.

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Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
It's what gamers do the other 22 hours of the day.


10 hours in my case...


In Face of Mankind, if you die you have to wait until you are cloned. This takes... well, I don't know how it takes. I just created another account after the first 15 minutes. I won't wait an hour if I die in your game, and I doubt any other gamer will.

BTW: Face of Mankind is a PvP only MMORPG.

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i dont feel like reading everyones common response to this, but im assuming on agreeing with everyone else when i say an hour lockout is the worst idea ive ever heard. nothing would make me uninstall a game quicker than that feature.

however, your head is in the right position as for creativitiy. you should gear your thoughts into the ideas placed in games like Fable or Knights of the Old Republic where depending on what you do, you turn 'dark' or 'evil'. maybe if you die too much, you will turn into more of a spirit/ghost rather than being a person. and the gameplay would differ depending on what you leaned more towards.

goodluck!

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Quote:
Original post by tont
nothing would make me uninstall a game quicker than that feature.


He can add an hour uninstall delay when you die.

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Original post by someboddy

He can add an hour uninstall delay when you die.


he can really be a jerk and make it so it reinstalls itself for an hour too :P

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Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
I don't think you understand. As designers, we don't WANT players to be careful. Careful is boring. It's what gamers do the other 22 hours of the day. Careful is no experimentation, as little exploration as possible, hoarding items, extreme timidity in advancing along paths, rigidly following the strategy guide. Careful is the result of players being forced to adopt the persona of a coward, instead of a hero.


Not always.

How about Nethack? 30 years old, in active development, and still very popular.

Staying alive means you need to be careful to avoid monsters you aren't prepared for as you explore, don't play on Friday the 13th unless you have some luckstones, hoard a bunch of objects in your blessed bag of holding, and otherwise keep yourself alive since you can only die once (unless you have an amulet giving a one-time protection against death).

The player doesn't just waltz into Medusa's lair without taking some precations, doesn't attack a demon like Orcas without making sure they are sure they're basically invincible, and doesn't kill aligned priests just for fun.

Actually winning the game requres you to adopt the persona of a cowardly hero.

Unless you just turn on eXplore mode so death isn't permanent. But then you'll never make the high score file. :-)

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Quote:
Original post by frob
How about Nethack? 30 years old, in active development, and still very popular.

Still very popular.....with Nethack players. I'm not saying there's no niche for this stuff out there. But as a generalized method of increasing psychological involvement, it sucks.

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Hmm, ... I'm remembering playing Tomb Raider, saving, and jumping of the cliff
on purpose - but that game was made exactly for that. You heard her cry (IIRC
there were different kinds of cry, dependent on the height), and heard her bones
break ... what a nasty sound. So perhaps you can do something like that when
the character dies ... make it no big thing, but make it also not a boring
thing.

I also remember some game (was it Bard's Tale or an early Sierra Adventure) which
had cynic comments from the storyteller or an npc about the death that happened
...

If there is some gimmick like this in the game I think gamers can tolerate
side effects of the death, such as jumping back to the save point, or beginning
of the level.

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Quote:
Original post by azoundria
Ok. Bad Idea. Sorry. Please Close Topic.


Don't be too disheartened. Sometimes even the worst ideas can be turned into better ones with a bit more thought.

While I agree with the general consensus that excessively punishing player failure is a bad idea, and locking the player out for a period of time is just nasty, it's possible that the quiz idea could have some merit.

One example would be in an edutainment type game. If you die, you're faced with a short quiz on a relevant subject in order to continue. Otherwise you have to start from square one, or at least a bit further back.

Taking this basic idea a little further, perhaps the quiz could be used to educate the player a bit more about the actual game. Pose them a question about the game mechanics. Something that would be in the manual somewhere. Not only would this enable them to learn more about the game (and help them avoid dying in future) but it could also double as an old-school type of copy protection, as players without the printed manual would have a much harder time answering these questions.

I'm still not entirely convinced that either of these are particularly great ideas, but perhaps there are other ways this basic concept could be used in a game without being completely horrible.

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One game I stumbled on recently is called UnReal World. It's basically a survival sim that throws you in midieval Finland (or some such) forcing you to survive in the wilderness.

Characters die. Alot. And there's no resurection or save points.

What makes it work for URW is that there aren't any unnecesary hoops to jump through, and each game is on a new map, and hence a new playing experience.

If you want the player to avoid death, you definately have to make it bad. Actual character destruction does this just fine.

But then you have to design your game with the knowledge that players will be dying. Alot. And it still needs to be fun for them to start over the umpteenth hundred time.

Most games have intros at the beginning of the game for example. This would be horrible for an idea like this. Likewise starting the game at the same place every time wouldn't work.

Likewise, you'd have to carefully design the game to be extremely fun at the beginning, which tends to not be the case. Generally the mid game is where the fun usually climaxes (for me at least).

It's all doable, you just have to think it through thoroughly.

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Quote:
One example would be in an edutainment type game. If you die, you're faced with a short quiz on a relevant subject in order to continue. Otherwise you have to start from square one, or at least a bit further back.

Taking this basic idea a little further, perhaps the quiz could be used to educate the player a bit more about the actual game. Pose them a question about the game mechanics. Something that would be in the manual somewhere. Not only would this enable them to learn more about the game (and help them avoid dying in future) but it could also double as an old-school type of copy protection, as players without the printed manual would have a much harder time answering these questions.


This is pretty much my plan now.

I never really wanted the lockout idea. Its just something if someone is decidedly against a test as an alternative.

My game is online so theres no uninstalling or reinstalling if you hate my idea. You can just go somewhere else for an hour or answer the questions.

My plan was to have a death world of 5 levels:
Easiest Questions
Easy Questions
Medium Questions
Hard Questions
Hardest Questions.

Every time you die you start on easiest. The first death you only have to answer that one right and you get out. The second you have to do it and an easy question. The third you have to do it an da medium question. You get the idea...

If you fail a question you go down a level and if you fail easiest Im not sure if it should be another easy question or game over permanently.

I would like to clarify this is a text adventure and traditionally they have tons of deadends in them.

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That has exactly the same drawbacks as your old idea, except with an element of russian roulette thrown in. Players would be afraid to experiment, because they'd have the prospect of an unknown trivia question hanging over their heads. Worse, it actually ENCOURAGES players to go away for an hour rather than risk losing a level.

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Ok after some thought I decided only 3 levels and to make the questions rather easy. The point of the questions:

-To discourage death and make you think more before you die.

-To help filter out non-human players.

-To get the player to know more about the game.

The game is text-based so its not like with other games where you have to make decisions quickly. You have plenty of time to think and plan to avoid death.

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Quote:
Original post by azoundria
-To help filter out non-human players.


You're expecting a lot of those, are you?



Actually, this entire threa is symptomatic of the 'Designer Vs The Player' line of thinking. You're NOT competing with the player, you're providing a product for him. Much like a McDonalds employee insisting that you have to drop and do 50 pushups before he'll give you the burger, it's just not a good idea.


Allan

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