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Timus

Paper Scissors Rock Combat

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I am a huge fan of choosing my battles, in almost every RPG game I play the first class I choose will be the assasin or rogue, whichever can go invisible. However, even in games where you can choose your battles there never seems to be much reason to. This is why I decided that in my game, their will be a tic-tac-toe combat system (with a little more depth). The system will include a modified version of the Five Elements in Chinese Philosophy. The elements themselves are offensive, and an animal that symbolises the element will act as a defensive counterpart. Nature, Fire, Earth, Iron and Water and their counterparts are. Nature: DOTVD (Defence of The Viridian Dragon) Fire: DOTVB (Defence of The Vermillion Bird) Earth: DOTAS (Defence of The Auburn Serpent) Iron: DOTGT (Defence of The Gray Tortoise) Water: DOTTT (Defence of The Turqoise Shark) Nature overcomes Earth Fire overcomes Iron Earth overcomes Water Iron overcomes Nature The player doesn't have to choose the Viridian Dragon for defence if he chose nature for offence, but the Viridian Dragon will still act as a Nature based defence. In a lot of games you do have counters, strengths and resistances, however it seems hardly any developers are willing make these resistances and strengths game changing variables. I'm thinking that if you are up against a defence that counters your offence, instead of simply defending against the bulk of your damage it will completely reflect it, giving it the potential to hurt yourself (I say potential because players can jump and dodge missiles and what have you). On the otherhand, if your offence counters the opponents defence then your move will absorb the defence, thus penetrating it and thus having a damage bonus because it absorbed the defence and used it against the opponent. As you can imagine, facing someone with opposing elements will be a near impossible battle. Though to me this sounds rivetting, and ads to the gameplay I can't help but think: "Will other people want to play a game based on luck of the draw (to simplify it)?" Thoughts, opinions? [Edited by - Timus on October 4, 2006 1:39:32 AM]

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Are you thinking Scossors/Paper/Rock rather than tic tac toe? Another name for tic tac toe os noughts and crosses. You have a 3 by 3 grid and take turns in placing a Nought (zero) or a cross (an "X") in one of the grid squares in an aim to get 3 in a row.

Scosor/Paper/Rock on the other hand has a system where if one player plays Rock the will beat a player that plays Scissors, but be beaten by the player who plays Paper, etc (Scissors beats Paper beats Rock beats Scissors).

From you description it seems you mean Scissors/Paper/Rock.

Actually you can do a lot to the basic S/P/R system to make it less of a random draw. The easiest thing to do is to add a cost associated with each choice. So Scissors might cost 5 points to play and Rock might cost 4 points and Paper might cost 3 points (or such).

Another way it to not make it an absolute win or loss on a single decision. So each win would take 10 points form your opponenten but even a lost would take 3 points from them. If the players then had 100 points and the first to reach 0 looses.

Combineing these makes the game more interesting as you have a cost in playing that will reduce your points and if you loose you will be left with even less points, and to top it off playing a Scissors now costs half of what a loss would cause you. The choice to play a particular decisoion is no longer so simple and much more interesting.

S/P/R is not just limited to 3 option either. You can eaqsily make it for any odd number of choices (even numbers can also be used, but they don't have the natural balance that odd numbers have - but they can still be balanced, it just takes more effort). With greater numbers than 3 you have rapidly increasing amounts of complexity.

Another option is to have it multi-layerd. You might have an initial layer of a S/P/R system which determins the winner or looser of a bout, but then have a second layer that determines the amount the winner won by

My most complex one of these I designed was a 4 layer system (with the costs and differeent winning amounts too). The first layer was a 5 way system, the next layer was a 3 way system and the next two layers were both 5 way systems - the reason I didn't go further wasa that it was just a purely theoretical excersize to see if I could balance such a system and that it was far too complex for most (if not all) players to grasp, to them it was just the same as random choice (but it was fun to attempt to balance).

As a general rule for complexity, don't exceed 7 choices for the player. Most Humans can process 7 (+ or - 2) things in their working memory. If you exceed this then they can not hold it all in their minds and they won't be able to develop a reasonable strategy. Also just trying to do so will mentally exhaust them and they wont be able to enjoy what you have made.

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Where I come from we close a tight fist and say "Tic Tac Toe" then reveal whether we chose paper scissors or rock.

Even though I have hear of people refer to it as Paper Scissors Rock, I never knew I, and my co-workers and peers, had been calling it a wrong name :P.

All cultural differences aside, I think you're over-analysing, though I apreciate your input I already have a combat system in mind. My question was: Would people like it if there were some battles they couldn't win, and some they could easily based on a tic-tac toe system.

The problem with having three elementents is this: The chances of encountering a fair battle are 1:3 against.

Quote:
As a general rule for complexity, don't exceed 7 choices for the player. Most Humans can process 7 (+ or - 2) things in their working memory. If you exceed this then they can not hold it all in their minds and they won't be able to develop a reasonable strategy. Also just trying to do so will mentally exhaust them and they wont be able to enjoy what you have made.


The way my game is going to play I could have thousands of choices and not have it be to complex, this is because when the player is creating their character they choose their defensive capabilities and offensive capablities, all they need to know is what specific offense counters their defense, and what defence counters their offence.

Oh, and it's short-term-memory... working memory is a whole different psychological theory (Visuo spatial sketchpad, articulatory control system... all that rot) not that it matters, I just never miss an oppurtunity to be a smart alec.

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{quote]Where I come from we close a tight fist and say "Tic Tac Toe" then reveal whether we chose paper scissors or rock.[/qoute]
Yeh, I have also heard it called Ro-Sham-Bo too. Different cultures and different names. So long as we know what we are talking about I don't realy care what it is called.

I was just clearing up amy posible misunderstandings as I do know of a game called tic-tac-toe which is very different. But scince that cleard up, it fine.

Quote:
My question was: Would people like it if there were some battles they couldn't win, and some they could easily based on a tic-tac toe system.

If it was purely random, then I don't think they would. By having a system that doesn't give the player meaningful decisions, it will turn players off. They are there to play a game, not watch the computer play its self.

If you give the player meaningful choices, then you will start to make it fun for the player.

Meaningful choices are ones where the player have to make a decision where it effects the outcome. Also decision where there is no absolute best choice are good to add into the system. These are not just choice where the player can not know the consiquences of their actions as these would just be a gamble, but they should be difficult choices.

An example of a difficult choice crops up a lot of time in Chess. If an opponent moves one of their pieces so that it could capture 2 or more of you pieces, you have a difficult choice. What ever you choose, one of your pieces will be captured, but you have the choice of which one.

Question: Did you forget to mention what water overcomes or does water not overcome anyhting? To fit it into a S/P/R system I would say that water overcomes Fire.

Also you could make the system more interesting like this:
Nature beats Earth adn Water
Fire beats Iron and Nature
Earth beats Water and Fire
Iron beats Earth and Nature
Water beats Iron and Fire

The amount one beats another (or the the results of that victory) do not have to be the same for each. So Water might counter Fire attacks and defences, but only weaken Iron defences (it rusts them :) ).

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Original post by Edtharan
Yeh, I have also heard it called Ro-Sham-Bo too.


Where I live, Ro-Sham-Bo is a game VERY different from Rock-Paper-Scissors and Tic-tac-toe...much, MUCH more brutal...

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Original post by Happy_Reaper
Where I live, Ro-Sham-Bo is a game VERY different from Rock-Paper-Scissors and Tic-tac-toe...much, MUCH more brutal...

Would that be Southpark, Colorado (shockwave)?

As far as your combat design, I don't really have much to add. But there should be some resources out there. Here's a couple I found that might be useful:
Gamedev RPS article (some discussion in forum link at bottom of article too)
Sirlin.net article
Something similar to yours (PDF)
That was just a quick search though, so there's probably more (and better) out there.

In trying to find some links that might be useful, I found some other interesting RPS things. Including the World Rock-Paper-Scissors Society.

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This sounds a lot like the Magic The Gathering mana system. What Edtharan said made it more so. But it would work in a game. each element has two "enemies" and two "allies". THey could have different effects on each other. Allies could offer additional support and enemies could have different negitive effects.

As to the fun factor, randomizing it is not fun. Now if the battles played like rock/paper/scissors, then it would be more fun. So in battle you chose an attack and a defence and the enemy did the same. Then damage is calculated and you continue until one of you loses.

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I think the five-tiered spell categorization is a good start and very important. You must establish an elegant, cohesive system by-which intuitive and strategic decisions can be made. That is the first, most important aspect of building a good game mechanic.

The second (as my sig has said for years now) is this: Carefully and sparingly, pick certain situations wherein the mechanic goes to heck. Pick rare occasions where Water can cut through Earth (because water erosion is, after all, the biggest natural force for change in a geological sense). Figure out other weird, wonky ways to throw a wrench into your beautiful machine: That makes players feel powerful.

I strongly encourage unforseen chunky-bits that shut one aspect of your 5-element system down temporarily or things that grossly exaggerate aspects of one spell category's strengths --- the kinds of things that make the players, after having grown accustomed to the "X beats Y beats Z beats X," say: "What the sod is this madness?!" Because it's fun.

You must choose those situations tactfully and wisely, though. That takes some skill.

For example, in the card game Uno, the basic mechanic is: Each player takes turns placing a card on the table that matches the number or color of the top card in the discard pile. However, to mess with the system, there are Skip, Reverse, Draw X and wild cards -- just so you don't grow too comfortable in your traditions of "play passes to the left" and "color is yellow" 'n' such. Only, in your game, you could make it niftier -- with a more powerful visceral effect.

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I'm not convinced.

First of all, the reason designers shy away from hard counters is that it makes gameplay less interesting. Suppose for instance, you're playing an rts in which unit A is a perfectly hard counter to unit B - that is, unit A is completely invulnerable to Bs attacks and can destroy it easily.

If your force of 20 unit Bs bumps into your opponent's force of 20 unit As, its a no-brainer that you're going to lose. You should always run away because no matter what you do, you can't win that fight.

Now if A is only softer counter to B - that is, it will nearly always beat it but can still take damage in the process, then it no longer becomes trivial. You have to decide whether A is a hard enough counter for the difference in numbers to make a difference, whether your own skill at the game can tip the balance further in your favour, etc. In short, the decision as to whether to flee or fight becomes interesting.

Another reason why I'm not convinced - and this is perhaps more relevant to your idea - is that Rock Paper Scissors just isn't a very interesting game. At the end of the day, it's just a silly guessing game. Even more so against a computer - at least with a human opponent you can try and trick them.

While RPS balancing might be reasonable as a starting point, you need to add a fair bit more complexity to make things interesting. Incidentally, you might be interested in checking out this card game, which your post reminded me of. It's a fairly simple card based fighting game, but reasonably entertaining. Each 'stance' in this game is particularly strong/vulnerable against one other stance, in an RPS-like fashion, but there are other benefits and weaknesses to each of the stances which make your choice of stance more than just a trivial guessing game, but a somewhat strategic decision.

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Original post by Sandman
First of all, the reason designers shy away from hard counters is that it makes gameplay less interesting. Suppose for instance, you're playing an rts in which unit A is a perfectly hard counter to unit B - that is, unit A is completely invulnerable to Bs attacks and can destroy it easily.


Fudge-factor in both directions is always important. This is often implemented in the form of probabilities of success rather than striaght-up X beats Y. Saying "X has 30% advantage over Y" allows for some play and helps alleviate the harshness of an otherwise sterile game.

The example of Poker shows how we can take a very simplistic "X beats Y" system (where an individual hand can, without fail, beat another one) and implement dynamics of the gameplay that make it interesting to the players. When it's not entirely a question of who has the highest card but also a question of "Are you willing to pay to see if he _DOES_ have the best hand?" more options unfold. Pitching the proper wrenches into an otherwise boring machine can make it work.

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