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Wavinator

Are there no bad players?

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There''s a proverb that says, "There are no bad students, only bad teachers." I wonder if there is a game design parallel? "There are no bad players, only bad designs." If a player keeps failing at a challenge you''ve set for them, does that mean the challenge is bad? Or does that mean the player is bad at the game? Macho pugilists (the kind you find competing in Quake III & Unreal Tournament) will probably tell you that it''s the player. But I have my doubts. If the designer''s obligation to the player is to entertain them, and they''r not being entertained, then it falls squarely on the shoulder''s of the design, right? This bit of philosophical pondering comes from playing more Fallout 2 and the gazillion times that I''ve cheated fate by saving and restoring. Not to min-max, but just to survive. In an open ended game like Fallout, where you can travel anywhere on the map, it made me think that the many times I''ve stumbled into the midst of an impossible squad of near-invincible enemies was a design flaw. Not a preference, or a player mistake, but something that the game itself does wrong. ''Course, it''s not so simple: By their very definition, you''re SUPPOSED to be able to LOSE a game. So maybe it is the player''s fault? -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership...

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Look at it this way :

You have people that suck at a game, people that are good at a game, and people that excel at a game.

Perhaps it''s a matter of designing for the demographical average, where the most people will find it just right, and be ''good'' at it.

Save, of course, for arcade games, where everyone is supposed to suck, and therefore keep plowing the coins in.

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OK. following on from what has been said, howzaboutthis?

''There are no bad games, just bad game critics.''

Lets face it everyones pet rave is someone elses pet rant.

Bloody ''ell, thats another one!



D.V.

--------------------------
Carpe Diem

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
but just to survive. In an open ended game like Fallout, where you can travel anywhere on the map, it made me think that the many times I''ve stumbled into the midst of an impossible squad of near-invincible enemies was a design flaw. Not a preference, or a player mistake, but something that the game itself does wrong.

''Course, it''s not so simple: By their very definition, you''re SUPPOSED to be able to LOSE a game. So maybe it is the player''s fault?


In the context of Fallout 2, I believe this to be a design flaw. For several reasons,

1. It uses squads of very dangerous enemies to keep you from getting near to the ending taking a course through the rest of the game. [Ie. You have to explore in a semi-linear fashion]

-> A. I think that instead of resorting to this tactic it should either have blocked off the ending point via impassable landmasses (cliffs etc) as seen in Final Fantasy 7.. etc.

-> B. Allowed you to see that it was a dangerous area [corpses, blast craters, reports of it being a no man''s land, etc.], and given you the opportunity to turn back.

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I dont see your point. They arent dumping super-strong enemies to keep you from getting somewhere. They are just supposed to be there!!!

Just think of it... At the start of the game, you are a tribal with just a spear. Okay. Easy. Thing is, this requires wits. You *know* you arent the best fighter out there, since your first encounter with a few ants was a bit... painfull... Now, you are supposed to move out into a world full of gun-toting criminals and para-military groups. Still with me?

The Fallout principle is simple. Each kind of enemy has his own strenghts troughout the game. You are supposed to pick your enemies wisely. Heading towards a camp *full* of iron-clan military dudes with plasma rifles, isnt considered a smart move... Compare it to the real world. Once you enter a secret US military base, you will get shot. They arent gonna check on you, see you are unarmed and weak, and then discard their weapons to be a fair challenge to you??????

Now, let''s turn it to your kind of game... I assume you want the enemies to be balanced to the skills of your character.

Okay, then lets head towards Navarro. It is the secret hideout of the Enclave, the strongest group in this part of the US. YOu, armed with your VaultSuit, PiPBoy, and Sharpened spear, walk towards it. The Enclave has man patrols out there, to guard their base. They got plasma rifles and all. Now they end up, fining a silly tribal, about to discover their base...

"Allright troups! There is a tribal! Are you all ready?"
"Yes sir..."
"I cant hear you!!!"
"YES SIR!!!"
"Good! Prepare yourselfs!"
The whole groups trows aways their guns, and ditch their armours. Then they tie their hands to their backs...
"Okay! Let''s get him!!! Raaaah!!!!"

Stupid tribal barely defeats the Soldiers, and is now going to murder the entire Enclave with his knife, because he was stupid anough to break his spear...

Fun game!!!

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I''m going to disagree with the parallel proverb. Teachers, students, and gamers can adapt themselves to the situation their in. A student can try to learn something a different way. A teacher can recognise a student isn''t responding and change teaching techniques. A gamer can try a different approach to a problem. A game''s design cannot recognise that a player isn''t doing well and should change itself. If I''m playing a game with a little kid or something, yeah I can change the rules so that the kid has a fighting chance or something. But I don''t think this is necissarilly something that should be done in an RPG. Why any RPG would have a difficulty setting is beyond me.

(This Fallout stuff is never going to end is it?)

I would say that in Fallout the design flaw isn''t so much running into impossible squads. The flaw is that they shoot you down without first telling you to F* off. Then when you don''t they should open fire and then you reload. Also, if I''m not mistaken (and this isn''t particularly obvious) the Outdoorsman skill was supposed to protect you from encounters to some degree. If it was high enough, you are alerted of an encounter and get to choose to engage. I think it also was supposed to affect character starting position to allow for easier retreat. Now this may not be obvious and the name of the skill may be inapropriate, but the implimentation is there.


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I was very impressed with the concept of HOW and WHY pencil dungeon master run Roleplaying games work.

What are RPGs?

They are a form of group entertainment.. VERY FLEXIBLE in CONTENT. Using many elements to entertain the "players".

The dungeon keeper will adjust the entertainment factors [humour, descriptive characterisation, near misses in combat,etc.]

and to fit the audience:

The situations encountered are matched to the players, if there is danger they WILL GET FAIR WARNING of this and be able to plan accordingly whether this means that they run away [sensible?] or decide to procede [and maybe meet more than they bargained for]

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quote:
Original post by Ronin_54

I dont see your point. They arent dumping super-strong enemies to keep you from getting somewhere. They are just supposed to be there!!!


I think Ketcheval''s point is still a very good one, though. Games are not supposed to be reality. They are best when plausible (to the extent that they model the real world somehow). So the question of whether or not they''re supposed to be there is moot. Is it fun to die & restore repeatedly?

quote:

The Fallout principle is simple. Each kind of enemy has his own strenghts troughout the game. You are supposed to pick your enemies wisely.



Aha!!! But the game does not let you do this, and this is where it is flawed. The system of random encounters ensures that YOUR ENEMIES PICK YOU! Not the other way around. Often you''re dropped right in the middle of a pack of superior enemies, and it''s die & restore time.

Yes, later in the game you do sometimes get the ability to bypass random encounters. But that''s much later!

quote:

Heading towards a camp *full* of iron-clan military dudes with plasma rifles, isnt considered a smart move... Compare it to the real world. Once you enter a secret US military base, you will get shot.


The issue here is fair warning. Outside the example military base, you''d see signs and have to scale a barbed wire fence. Doesn''t work that way in Fallout. (And if you entered the grounds of a military base, likely as not you''d be escorted off grounds or arrested... now if you inside, rifling through documents, then you''d be fair game)


quote:

Stupid tribal barely defeats the Soldiers, and is now going to murder the entire Enclave with his knife, because he was stupid anough to break his spear...

Fun game!!!


Here''s the crux of my question: WHAT makes the player stupid? Fallout''s UNCOVERED, UNEXPLORED does not give you nearly enough information to make an intelligent decision. Now, if the player fully KNEW that death in a given encounter of location was possible, AND blithely went in and died, then I''d say that was a foolhardy player.

But in Fallout, it''s just save, restore, rinse, repeat.



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by kseh
A game''s design cannot recognise that a player isn''t doing well and should change itself.



GODS, by the BitMap Brothers, did that, and I think that game is about 8 years old now. It''s not impossible, nor even that difficult, to take SOME notice of the player''s skill, and adjust the difficulty or flow of the game accordingly.


People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Mad Keith the V.

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This reminds me of some virtual Game Master idea I''ve heard around Goblin ( copyright Madkeith )
I do think that this is one of the solution to the "bad player" problem. If the game adapt itself to the player, it means more fun.
Besides, you can adapt to the play-style of the player, does he wants more combat and blood or does he prefer social interaction with sensible NPCs...
Last but not least, you can have some plot elements happen when they will be most dramatic...
Hard to design I think, but worth it...

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