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Cold_Flame

Complex combat rules

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Oh yes, this is based off a previous topic, but the idea is quite different. I was reading ADnD 2ed rules book, when it struck me: why do designers still stick to simple rules for combat, primarily RPG combat? Why do weapon damage attributes like 1d4 or 3-12 or, even worse, simply "12" still exist? Back in the PnP days it was impossible to compute something more complicated by hand. But hey, nowadays computer RPGs have become quite common :), computers are sure better then humans at computing :), and combat rules are all the same. Take weapon's damage, check ToHit, subtract from TargetHP... it's primitive. Which leads to players caring only about their numbers, not actual gameplay. Why not make a complicated and hard-to-figure combat system? Hide all numbers and stuff from the players. A weapon has a fuzzy description of its abilities. Like "this sword looks good. too bad you're a mage, so you don't even know how to handle it". And give in-game hints like, "your sword may be good at hacking up orcs, but don't count on it if you encounter a Stone Golem". Make players figure out what weapon is better in practice, not just by looking at its numbers. I suppose it will make any game much more immersive.

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Players need to make strategic decisions or else they feel like they're watching a movie. To make strategic decisions, players need proper information/feedback. Getting into a few fights just to see how a weapon works isn't fun, it's a waste of time.

[edit: less... caustic]

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There are plenty of games with more complex systems in place, and plenty that hide a large amount of the data from the player, but its not nearly as common as exposing the numbers, and doing so in a simple to understand fashion, because a player wants to be able to assess the value of something quickly. If two things are called 'good', thats very vague, and maybe the difference will only show up after many, MANY uses. But if something is a 243 attack and something else has a 244 attack, the difference is discrete, and obvious. By the way, you'll find more complicated combat related equation sets in general in situations where it would become computationally expensive to do it the 'old fashion way'. Picture a team of game entities that each have a machine gun that fires 100K bullets a second :P.. Rediculous indeed, but even if scaled down, the problem still exists, and complicated statistical equations enter onto the scene to see what is the probability, given the circumstances, that X[i] damage will be done to each entity in the area of fire, seperately for each i [if a bullet passes one target, maybe it hits one behind]. Many players want to be able to quantify the effect they have on the game world, and telling them something is 'pretty good', just isn't sufficient to those who are trying to construct a character with specific traits. Information gets lost easily in vagueness, like 'pretty good', and information takes on a certain vagueness if it is derived from overly complex equations [not lost to the computer, but to the player]. So the simple data is shown to the player, each of the 100K bullets does 1-4 damage, with a chance to hit that starts at 20% and decreases the longer it is fired. The dirty and nasty equations are behind the scenes, to derive the data without having to trace a path for every bullet.

The simple equations aren't meant to make things easier on the developers, or the computer, but to make things more accessable by the player. Tell a player that the chance to hit what is being shot at is ((E^(accuracy) * dexterity + E^(target evasion))/(E^(3(target evasion * ( range / max weapon range)))), and [s]he is going to just revert to shooting the weapon with crossed fingers, instead of even attempting to wade through the equation to find out what attribute benefits more than others. Not much a point in making a customizable character creation system if you have no idea what your added attributes even effect


But the thought of having to 'try out' every weapon that hits the ground in a dungeon crawler like either of the diablos, is downright funny. Such a vague system will only really be applicable to games that have a smaller and more restricted range of possible items

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Getting into a few fights just to see how a weapon works isn't fun, it's a waste of time.

Sure they don't have to. They will base their knowledge on rumors gained whether in-game, from the game manual, from game-related websites, from other players, or whatever. The big thing is to keep actual data from the public, as this will kill the system.

And then you can't tell for sure that a two-handed sword makes most damage, you can only know that it *probably* makes most damage, and that's a big difference. Combat becomes more dangerous and, actually, more strategic too.
"Strategic" means less based on numbers, more on using your mind.

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For turn based games I think youd want simple rules and open known info so the players can plan and think what to do. For fast real time games you can have hidden info and complex rules - it doesnt make much difference as the players go through it as hack-and-slash.

the simple "12dam" weapons can be very very complex games (mostly turn-based), for example see Tactics-Arena. These simple rules help you play strategically, plan your steps in advance.

Games can have simple rules and turn into hack-and-slash (mostly real time games) for example Diablo.


There was a mud I played (arctic-mud) where the equations and info were partly hidden from the players damage was conveyed by texts such as obliterated/.../bruised and not numbers. The result was that I had no idea if the next lightning bolt had a chance of killing the monster or not. Im not sure if its better or worst, its just different.

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If you know that your two handed sword does 1d12, and their shortsword does 2d3, you already know that you'll probably do more damage. The only way to prevent raw data being published is to run it as an mmorpg, and even then some enterprising person will run tests with a buddy to see just what the numbers are to a high certainty.

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I think a big reason why 'simple' combat equations are so common is because they are simple. They're easy, and since they are easy to work with, they're easier to prove they work and balance.

I have a few more tests to run on a few of the systems I'm working on before I pick one to run with, but simple does seem to be better even if I could spare the computer power to use something 100 times as complex.

as for hiding the numbers, if you include enough small random elements in the equations, it should make things hard enough for people to find, even if they are testing them. If you use an action based skill gain on a varible slide (meaning each time you swing your sword, you gain a little more skill with it, not much just a little, and each time it is a little different) it would make it next to impossible if you hid those small changes.

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I agree with you that the combat system could go furthure, but I don't think hiding data from players is the way to do it. Eventually that could become annoying and possibly frustrating. Take a common MMO where you raid, some sword drops, you might not want to spend your dkp on it, but it could be an upgrade. But you don't know.

More, the combat system itself, the way damage is delt/mitigated/recieved etc. is what needs to be more complex. I have a few ideas on this, but really nothing worth posting.

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Original post by Cold_Flame
I was reading ADnD 2ed rules book, when it struck me:
why do designers still stick to simple rules for combat, primarily RPG combat? Why do weapon damage attributes like 1d4 or 3-12 or, even worse, simply "12" still exist? Back in the PnP days it was impossible to compute something more complicated by hand.

Because you're looking in the D&D ruleset.
Try looking at RPG's that aren't based on these rules. Fallout comes to mind, although it's far from the only one to have a different, more complex ruleset.

Quote:
Why not make a complicated and hard-to-figure combat system? Hide all numbers and stuff from the players. A weapon has a fuzzy description of its abilities. Like "this sword looks good. too bad you're a mage, so you don't even know how to handle it".

And give in-game hints like, "your sword may be good at hacking up orcs, but don't count on it if you encounter a Stone Golem".

You're mixing up two issues now. Whether or not the combat system should be as ridiculously simplistic as D&D has nothing to do with whether or not all hard data should be hidden from the player.

As far as the latter goes, what would be gained by it? Why would it feel better for the player?
What you're forgetting is that the player needs feedback to know whether he's on the right track. In the real world, well, you'd easily be able to see if your sword just bounced off a monster type. In a game, you can't. *That* is why you're usually allowed to see all the numbers. Otherwise, you're blind. And it doesn't become more realistic or immersive that way. Just frustrating.

Lets take your example. Ok, I now know my sword is "good" against orcs, and sucks against stone golems. But what if I find another sword that's good against orcs? How do I know which one is better? I can't feel which one is sharpest or has the best balance, because it's only a game, and I can't run a finger along the blade, or wave the sword around a bit to get a feel for it. I only have what the game tells me.
Next problem crops up when I run into a steel golem. Is my sword good or bad against those? How would I know. Sure, I could think "It sucks against stone golems, so it'd probably make sense for it to suck against steel golems as well". That logic would work in the real world, but in a game, it depends on the designer having thought along the same lines. The designer *might* have thought "Well, steel is pretty hard too, so an orc-slaying sword would probably suck here as well", or he *might* have thought "Well, it's not orc or stone golem, so I'll just make it do normal damage against everything else". Or he might have come up with some reason why it'd be extremely powerful against steel golems, and thought it was so logical that the player would be able to guess it too.

It's a game. The only feedback the player gets is what is displayed on the screen (Ok, there's audio too, but that isn't usually used to provide info on the combat system).
So the player has to rely on 1) what he can see graphically (Scars, blood, monsters being knocked back when you hit them), and 2) what you explicitly tell him (For example "Sword: Damage 7-9", or "You hit orc in the groin for 32 damage"). This information is not unrealistic, and it doesn't ruin immersion. It's quite realistic that you get some kind of feedback on how much effect your attack just had, or that you're able to compare two weapons and figure out which one is better.

Taking away that ability is not "realistic", and it's not "immersive". It's just blinding the player.

Basically, if you find a sword, what do you know about it? Do you usually get a voice telling you things like "this may be good at hacking up orcs, but don't count on it if you encounter a Stone Golem", when you pick something up in the real world? Or do you just look at the thing, and try to estimate some "stats" yourself? (I can see that this kitchen knife is big and heavy. And I can feel it's sharper than that kitchen knife over there. That means it does more damage. For convenience, let's say the other knife did 2-4 damage, then it wouldn't be far off to say this one does 3-7" - And yeah, of course you dont go around giving things actual numbers when you pick them up, but that's because you dont need to. In a game, there's no other way to compare.)

Of course, I'm not saying the player should always be able to see *every* number or calculation. You might very well be better off hiding 90% of it. I'm just pointing out that hiding information does not in itself make a game more immersive. It's vital that the player is able to get enough information to *know* what he's doing, and make sensible, informed decisions. Whether it's done by numbers and stats, or amazing next-gen graphics or a simple health bar, the player needs feedback on what he's doing, and how well he's doing.

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What you could do, is let the player assess the stats of an item in their inventory more accutely than they can an item that they don't have [kind of like identifying an item]. Call it 'a long sword' before they get near to it, and when they do, it becomes 'a long sword' with attack power 34, attack rating 22, blah blah. Also, you can give out info about the things the player can reasonably examine, but withhold that which [s]he cannot, like monster stats and ability lists :P Does the orc have 100 hitpoints? who knows, but your attack just did 17% damage to him, roughly, as thats how much his life bar dropped [if you show them a life bar at all, perhaps the sign that the orc is near death is that it'll start running away]. PLENTY of games have done that, and it's usually pretty effective [honestly i would go as far as to say a majority of games have done this, by quite a large margin]. Last time i made a server-based game, this is how i did creature hp updating, i transmitted a value describing how much life the creature had remaining.. as a percent of total life, and didn't tell how much damage was done, or how much life the creature currently has. The original reason behind it was to allow me to have enemy stats vary, and for a player not to be able to just tell by looking at the monster that they just chose the meanest one out of the group to face off with. The same system was extended to pvp, for the purpose of a deturant [among other systems deturing, such as attacking someone in a non-pvp area meant doing so at a reduced version of stats, attacking at about 75% capacity], hoping that pk's will be more prone to second-guessing their actions if they cannot assure themselves victory previous to starting the fight.

Then again, i included certain observation based skills that allow you to better decide a specific creatures stats, like knowledge of anatomy, or racial familiarity, that would give the player a more precise description [and allow extra damage or tactical bonuses, so its not completely overlooked :P]

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When it comes down to hiding statistics or not, Im a big fan of the "WYSIWYG" approach. This issue is the same than letting the players see the level of enemies or /con them. /con was necessary when in MUDS or when there was about 10 monster models in the game (early EQ...). In the same way, statistics are only necessary if the player cannot get a good look at the items. Nowadays, you should be able to assess the statistics of a weapon by the looks of them. A player should be able to tell which weapon does more damage simply by visually comparing them.

I am also against the endless variations of similar items in some RPGs, which more than often are only there to hide the fact that those games lack in gameplay and creatitivy. Weapons makes such a little difference anyway.

Would a complicated, hard to figure computation systems to determine hit and damage really improve the player experience? I would rather have a creative way of handling fights than a complex, behind the scene dice roll. Hiding the numbers is, in my opinion, necessary to improve immersion, but it is useless if not coupled with an believable impression of the effects of your acts.

Shadow of the colossus might be a good example. There is no numbers in the whole game. But you get more. Altough it is there to re-assure the casual player, you dont need to look at the health bar of the colossus to know if and how badly you hurt it. Not only do you get a spray of black blood, but you can see, hear, and almost feel the pain and anger you cause him with a strong stab.

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Original post by Cold_Flame
Oh yes, this is based off a previous topic, but the idea is quite different.

I was reading ADnD 2ed rules book, when it struck me:
why do designers still stick to simple rules for combat, primarily RPG combat? Why do weapon damage attributes like 1d4 or 3-12 or, even worse, simply "12" still exist? Back in the PnP days it was impossible to compute something more complicated by hand.

But hey, nowadays computer RPGs have become quite common :), computers are sure better then humans at computing :), and combat rules are all the same. Take weapon's damage, check ToHit, subtract from TargetHP... it's primitive. Which leads to players caring only about their numbers, not actual gameplay.

Why not make a complicated and hard-to-figure combat system? Hide all numbers and stuff from the players. A weapon has a fuzzy description of its abilities. Like "this sword looks good. too bad you're a mage, so you don't even know how to handle it".

And give in-game hints like, "your sword may be good at hacking up orcs, but don't count on it if you encounter a Stone Golem".

Make players figure out what weapon is better in practice, not just by looking at its numbers.

I suppose it will make any game much more immersive.


I guess maybe you mean hiding the formula, instead of the stats. Stats can be used for reference and comparision.



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Original post by Iftah
For turn based games I think youd want simple rules and open known info so the players can plan and think what to do. For fast real time games you can have hidden info and complex rules - it doesnt make much difference as the players go through it as hack-and-slash.


I am thinking the opposite, in a real-time combat system. Your reflex actually limits how much you can figure out what's going on. As a result, simple rules may help players to make quick decisions.

In a turn-based game, it's all tactical and the rules can be made complicated for strategies to be applied.

In my game, it takes around half an hour to discuss what tactics should be applied and how to cooperate with other before we fight a boss.
Mob AI is truly complicated. And it's truly excitimg to fight such a boss, even repeatedly, just to see how your tactics' getting improved and the winning chances going higher and higher, from being defeated within 5minutes to winning 9outof10 fights (while some other players are talking about how they were defeated 18 times without a single win :P).

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I have thought about the hidden damage system a bit, particularly how it might work in a game like Oblivion. Cold_flame's idea of gathering rumours about particular weapons in-game sounds pretty good too, but I suppose this would all only work in an extremely immersive game, or at least a game where the designer's main aim is immersion. Stats and numbers seem, to me at least, to completely destroy the atmosphere of a game. I'm just thinking of diablo 2, which has been thoroughly played to death, the more experienced players have picked the game system to bits, having gained encyclopedic knowledge of every decent item and skill in the game. I suppose that sort of thing works for an MMO, but for a fuller experience, such as the afforementioned Oblivion, it could be nice to have a greater sense of mystery. Another thought that occurred to me was that if item stats were to be well concealed from the player, items should not differ as greatly in power as a regular RPG, so perhaps a game incorporating this idea would need to focus on skills, magic, etc more than items.

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One advantage of displaying numbers is the ability to give players smaller carrots.

Given a reasonable level of damage variance in the combat math, players have no hope of telling from their use the difference between 100 DPS weapons and 105 DPS weapons.

But, if one weapon was "20" damage while the other was "21" damage, players could easily tell that the 21 damage weapon was better. People with 20 damage weapons can choose to work for the better weapon.

So now we have a carrot (fight the monster for a 21 damage weapon!) that has a smaller impact on gameplay (5% increase in damage).

If no stats where displayed, players couldn't notice any difference between the 20 and 21 damage weapon without spending hours parsing the two items.

In order to provide an equal carrot, the upgrade would have to be larger -- large enough to notice without doing statistics.

On the other hand, it would be interesting if players could compare different weapons, but they couldn't generate an absolute value for any weapon. Based off of character skill, the character could compare the two swords and tell the player "the 21 damage sword is sharper than the 20 damage sword", without ever telling the player what the damage of each weapon is.

Going a bit deeper, the character could have "knowledge of opponents" and "knowledge of weapons" skills, and the player would be able to ask the character "From your experience, would sword A do more damage than sword B against opponent B? On average, over the last month, would sword A have done better than sword B?"

So, you could tell "this sword is more lethal against orcs than that axe" and "this sword is more lethal against stone golemns than that axe", but if your character had never fought against iron golemns (or studied them) you couldn't tell which would be better against them.

In addition, all of those qualitative judgements by your character would be based on your character's choice of combat styles. Someone who used different styles might disagree with your assessment of the axe and sword... :)

Players would still generate out-of-game databases that determine some raw stats for every weapon. But it would be fuzzier.

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Original post by Telastyn
Players need to make strategic decisions or else they feel like they're watching a movie. To make strategic decisions, players need proper information/feedback. Getting into a few fights just to see how a weapon works isn't fun, it's a waste of time.

[edit: less... caustic]


I dunno...I don't need to know that my assault rifle in Halo does x damage per shot to be able to shoot that guy with it. I think he hits it right on the head - numerical and statistical accuracy is a leftover from PnP games and continues because it's easy to have the simple system as opposed to more realist combat.

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Why are discrete statistics perceived as BAD?

Players dont like REALISTIC systems. Your choices are:

A. Discrete system with stats that you hide from the players...at which point they will reverse engineer it
1. take noobie weapon versus 1 person
2. see how many swings till you kill them
3. repeat with other weapons until you find weakest
4. Rate each weapon's damage as "noobie weapon swing = 1 damage"
5. Repeat.

B. Introduce truly random effects, outcomes, and effectiveness. Nothing like spending 12 months to build a character and die accidentally to a newbie who misclicked, DOUBLE CRIT HEADSHOT! In a game which is episodic deathmatch like Quake this is ok. If you wanna make a deathmatch rpg....well go ahead and try.

Players abandon B IMMEDIATELY and figure out A eventually. In my experience.

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Original post by Spoonbender

Quote:
Why not make a complicated and hard-to-figure combat system? Hide all numbers and stuff from the players. A weapon has a fuzzy description of its abilities. Like "this sword looks good. too bad you're a mage, so you don't even know how to handle it".

And give in-game hints like, "your sword may be good at hacking up orcs, but don't count on it if you encounter a Stone Golem".

You're mixing up two issues now. Whether or not the combat system should be as ridiculously simplistic as D&D has nothing to do with whether or not all hard data should be hidden from the player.

As far as the latter goes, what would be gained by it? Why would it feel better for the player?
What you're forgetting is that the player needs feedback to know whether he's on the right track. In the real world, well, you'd easily be able to see if your sword just bounced off a monster type. In a game, you can't.


Once again, I know of a game called Halo where you can see that your bullets bounce off. You should change "can't" to "don't normally get to." This is about breaking out of the mold anyway.

Quote:

*That* is why you're usually allowed to see all the numbers. Otherwise, you're blind. And it doesn't become more realistic or immersive that way. Just frustrating.


You're only blind if your simulation is inaccurate. Simple rules exist so developers don't have to make more immersive and accurate simulations, complex rulesets don't arbritrarily make you "blind."

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Lets take your example. Ok, I now know my sword is "good" against orcs, and sucks against stone golems. But what if I find another sword that's good against orcs? How do I know which one is better? I can't feel which one is sharpest or has the best balance, because it's only a game, and I can't run a finger along the blade, or wave the sword around a bit to get a feel for it. I only have what the game tells me.


Well, if orcs run in fear when you wield it or you seem to instantly chop them in half, you'll know. Reffering to Halo for the third time, you figure out that human projectile weapons do more against the flood than plasma weapons do very quickly - they die alot faster when you shoot them in the face with the shotgun. They falter, stumble, and explode. Plasma weapons just kind of burn the surface with an unsatisfying sound.

Quote:

Next problem crops up when I run into a steel golem. Is my sword good or bad against those? How would I know. Sure, I could think "It sucks against stone golems, so it'd probably make sense for it to suck against steel golems as well". That logic would work in the real world, but in a game, it depends on the designer having thought along the same lines. The designer *might* have thought "Well, steel is pretty hard too, so an orc-slaying sword would probably suck here as well", or he *might* have thought "Well, it's not orc or stone golem, so I'll just make it do normal damage against everything else". Or he might have come up with some reason why it'd be extremely powerful against steel golems, and thought it was so logical that the player would be able to guess it too.


You can't fault more accurate simulations for a designer's lack of foresight. I mean, would you blame accurate physics if you played a game where people fell into the sky? The designer should've known that his players would expect things to fall to the ground.

Quote:

It's a game. The only feedback the player gets is what is displayed on the screen (Ok, there's audio too, but that isn't usually used to provide info on the combat system).
So the player has to rely on 1) what he can see graphically (Scars, blood, monsters being knocked back when you hit them), and 2) what you explicitly tell him (For example "Sword: Damage 7-9", or "You hit orc in the groin for 32 damage"). This information is not unrealistic, and it doesn't ruin immersion. It's quite realistic that you get some kind of feedback on how much effect your attack just had, or that you're able to compare two weapons and figure out which one is better.

Taking away that ability is not "realistic", and it's not "immersive". It's just blinding the player.


Halo reference number four: Rockets blow up tanks. It's easy to see. Two shots, it's dead. Three to four on legendary, depending on your accuracy. All you have is sight and sound. It's completely possible to give the player the information they seek without explicitly pasting "7-9 dam." And it does break immersion. It reminds you that your enemy only dies when their health value reaches zero. You're trying to make them thing that when you hit the guy with the sword, he is injured and his vital systems fail, and then he dies. Numbers everywhere are a copout in most of these situations. The problem isn't really the number though, it's the fact that the numbers are as deep as the simulation goes. A sword with a higher damage rating would obviously be better than one with a lower rating. But it should only be an abstraction and measurement of the sword's estimated power. What most games do is have the damage range directly tie into the damage dealt, which directly subtracts from "health." We all know that even with a sharp sword you can hit someone and do no damage to them, or hit them and fatally wound them. In reality, this sword could be a 9/10 and it could behave as poorly as the 1/10 item for all of the reasons that make reality immersive. Now, I'm not talking about limiting item progression, I'm saying that numbers are bad when the simulation is shallow. You could have a gun fighting game that processes all of the physics for bullet interaction and other wonderful stuff, and you could have one where bullets just do "damage." Which do you think would be better? The detailed one could be simplified, the simple one couldn't be made more detailed on the fly. At the very least, having a more robust simulation gives you much more oppurtunity and ability than a simple one that can be accounted for easily by the numbers.

Quote:

Basically, if you find a sword, what do you know about it? Do you usually get a voice telling you things like "this may be good at hacking up orcs, but don't count on it if you encounter a Stone Golem", when you pick something up in the real world? Or do you just look at the thing, and try to estimate some "stats" yourself? (I can see that this kitchen knife is big and heavy. And I can feel it's sharper than that kitchen knife over there. That means it does more damage. For convenience, let's say the other knife did 2-4 damage, then it wouldn't be far off to say this one does 3-7" - And yeah, of course you dont go around giving things actual numbers when you pick them up, but that's because you dont need to. In a game, there's no other way to compare.)


There are other ways of comparison. I can tell that this big axe that my character is straining to carry is heavy, but by the fact that it's dull and named "Dull axe" I can tell that it likely isn't very good. When I hit enemies with it and it does little, it will make sense to me. Try playing Fable. It's useless to try and prove what absolutely "cannot" be done.

Quote:

Of course, I'm not saying the player should always be able to see *every* number or calculation. You might very well be better off hiding 90% of it. I'm just pointing out that hiding information does not in itself make a game more immersive. It's vital that the player is able to get enough information to *know* what he's doing, and make sensible, informed decisions. Whether it's done by numbers and stats, or amazing next-gen graphics or a simple health bar, the player needs feedback on what he's doing, and how well he's doing.

[/quote]

Exactly. Numbers aren't the only way of showing stats, and they are far from the best. Nuances are what really matter.

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Except for emergencies, I wouldn't use a sword in combat without extensive training in its use. I would know exactly what kind of things it can be used to attack, how to use it to attack most effectively, and how much damage it would do. I would be trained at evaluating swords I find laying around to determine how best to use them. It is simply unreasonable to suppose that a character trained as an adventurer would not be able to estimate, to a high degree of accuracy, how effective the tools of his trade are.

What RPGs leave out are the hours of training a real adventurer would go through each day to keep himself in top form. During those hours, he would easily figure out the basic properties of any equipment he'd acquired the previous day.

A realistic set of combat rules wouldn't hide numbers forever. They'd just hide numbers when the player couldn't realistically have measured them. e.g. You pick up a sword. The game gives you a vague estimate of its powers. Later on you set up camp and rest. In the morning, it is assumed you spent some time experimenting with the sword, and you now have a better idea of how much damage you can do with it. Of course, your estimate will still not be perfect, and you probably won't have been able to detect esoteric features of the sword, such as it having an attack bonus against undead.

Rumours about a weapon's effectiveness are silly, except for one-of-a-kind epic weapons. For a generic longsword, it's inconceivable you wouldn't be able to get some hard facts. Can you imagine going to a gun store and asking the clerk what caliber bullet the AA9628 SOCOM II fires, to be told that "I've heard rumours that it fires 5.56mm NATO rounds"? (It actually fires 7.62mm rounds.) I think that very unlikely.

The issue here is suspension of disbelief. I'm going to find it very hard to believe that nobody will know how much damage my sword does. To draw another analogy, it's like prohibiting the character from jumping over a 1 foot fence on the basis that if he could fly the game would be ruined. Sure, the character shouldn't be able to fly, but it's terribly unrealistic to say he couldn't mount a 1 foot high fence. Similarly, a character may not know at a glance that this longsword is an enchanted dwarven blade which does 12 points of slashing damage, 4 points of ice damage and double damage to people called Steve on the third Thursday of the month, but he'd be able to tell if it would shatter when he tried to behead an iron golem.

And note that even being a mage shouldn't stop you being able to estimate the value of a weapon. A mage might not have the training to use it efficiently, but it seems like adventurers mainly make a living from selling loot, so every adventurer would need to be able to tell the difference between a flimsy copper swordsword and a superkeen adamantium longsword.

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Original post by Nytehauq
Reffering to Halo for the third time, you figure out that human projectile weapons do more against the flood than plasma weapons do very quickly - they die alot faster when you shoot them in the face with the shotgun. They falter, stumble, and explode. Plasma weapons just kind of burn the surface with an unsatisfying sound.

This is a very special situation. You're facing a previously unknown foe with no time to wait for the guys at HQ to come back with their carefully researched reports. In more conventional circumstances, you'll have access to concrete data rather than circumstantial evidence and rumours. In reality wouldn't you expect the other humans fighting the flood to tell you about it over the radio? It shouldn't be something you have to find out for yourself.
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Halo reference number four: Rockets blow up tanks. It's easy to see.

You don't need Halo for that. Rockets blow up tanks because that's what rockets are for. It's inconceivable that the Master Chief wouldn't already know that rockets blow up tanks. No real military force would leave it up to experimentation to figure this out.

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Original post by Cold_Flame
Oh yes, this is based off a previous topic, but the idea is quite different.
I was reading ADnD 2ed rules book, when it struck me:
why do designers still stick to simple rules for combat, primarily RPG combat? Why do weapon damage attributes like 1d4 or 3-12 or, even worse, simply "12" still exist? Back in the PnP days it was impossible to compute something more complicated by hand.
But hey, nowadays computer RPGs have become quite common :), computers are sure better then humans at computing :), and combat rules are all the same. Take weapon's damage, check ToHit, subtract from TargetHP... it's primitive. Which leads to players caring only about their numbers, not actual gameplay.


Combination of several "primitive" random distributions, doesn't always equal simple random distribution.
And look at ADnD 3.5 edition, they repaired quite a bit, and broke a lot more.

In fact PnP did a quite nice job to explain negative numbers in just "a few" lines of text, and alow to use complex distributions by a just a ten or more large detailed, but very readable, tables. In fact numbers are rather important they alow better understanding on whats going on.

BTW if player will not want to roleplay, or do anything else that playing with numbers, hiding the numbers will not force him to stop it.

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Original post by Nathan Baum
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Original post by Nytehauq
Reffering to Halo for the third time, you figure out that human projectile weapons do more against the flood than plasma weapons do very quickly - they die alot faster when you shoot them in the face with the shotgun. They falter, stumble, and explode. Plasma weapons just kind of burn the surface with an unsatisfying sound.

This is a very special situation. You're facing a previously unknown foe with no time to wait for the guys at HQ to come back with their carefully researched reports. In more conventional circumstances, you'll have access to concrete data rather than circumstantial evidence and rumours. In reality wouldn't you expect the other humans fighting the flood to tell you about it over the radio? It shouldn't be something you have to find out for yourself.


In the context of the game, this is irrelevant. They don't tell you that Plasma is more effective against shields or that human weapons are more effective against the flood, regardless of what they "know." From a gameplay standpoint, the only thing that matters is that the realities and dynamics of the situation are never explicitly enumerated but are still easily and readily apparent to the player.

Quote:

Quote:

Halo reference number four: Rockets blow up tanks. It's easy to see.

You don't need Halo for that. Rockets blow up tanks because that's what rockets are for. It's inconceivable that the Master Chief wouldn't already know that rockets blow up tanks. No real military force would leave it up to experimentation to figure this out.


In this context, it's the number of rockets it takes to blow up a tank in Halo that becomes intuitive and learned to the player. Rockets don't have some special power against tanks - you can blow up the tank with small arms fire on lower difficulties. However, the player intuitively learns the techniques for dealing with tanks without ever seeing things like how much damage is done to what area - all of the player feedback is given without numerical representations of combat data.

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Original post by Talroth
Nytehauq, that is nice, but Halo had what? less than 10 weapons? Most RPGs have about that many TYPES.


Most RPG's have two types: Ranged and Melee. Those dynamics are comparable to the differences between the 10 weapons in Halo. Furthermore, most RPG's (if not ALL) lack to combat resolution that Halo posseses. Player action matters less and outcomes are determined more by character statistics than interaction. In World of Warcraft, for instance, you have Wands, Crossbows, Polearms, Axes, Swords, Maces, Daggers, Staves, Shields, Bows, and Guns. There are only two dynamics here: melee and non-melee. These dynamics do not even matter for most classes. In fact, the differences barely affect the player experience. In reality, there are spells and physical attacks. Nowhere near the combat resolution of Halo.

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Someone will figure out the numbers, post them online, and everyone will use them. I wouldn't worry about immersion... people clearly become immersed in games today, and the systems are very simple (primitive isn't the right word, because old things aren't necessarily bad).

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