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Game Theory and Patterns

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I've had a few ideas for games that I've been thinking about for the last several months. It wouldn't fall into the class of "RPG" but there are several elements that I would like to borrow from the genre. I've been searching through almost every game theory or game design book I can find and haven't been able to find what I'm looking for. Basically I would like to study some popular patterns on "leveling up", and several other similar things such as a hit point system and probability. I am wanting to learn what people do when it comes to calculating how much experience a player receives, and determining the chances of a successful attack in something like a turn based RPG. I'd also be interested in any resource dealing with testing. Not the programming but how one would test a mentioned system like this to look for holes and places where it might be too easy / hard. I have several years in programming experience so what I am really looking for is just a high level study on the said topics. I would appreciate any advice on developing a system like this, or just any resources or books that would be helpful.

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I am interested in what you're looking for as well. I've recently tried to find some information on game patterns, but no luck.

If you aren't familiar with general design patterns, it's a good idea to grab a book on design patterns and learn those. Often times it becomes clear what in your game would benefit from the various patterns, especially if you have some experience in programming.

As for general design patterns, I'd recommend Head First Design Patterns, and I've not read the Gang of Four patterns book (published 1995), but it's very popular.

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Erm, programmatic design patterns will likely be significantly different from game (rule) design.

As for game rule design, I'd imagine texts on general statistics and economics would help. The holes in the math/rules will become fairly obvious with some min/max fiddling.

Also link.

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I've still been searching for a while and have found some fairly good resources on probability.

3 of them from gamasutra.com:

http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20061018/sigman_01.shtml
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1732/statistically_speaking_its_.php
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3502/plundering_the_seas_of_probability.php

I think those should get me started. I've seen several theories on gaining experience leveling mechanics but nothing that really works. I'm thinking it may be a trial an error thing, so after reading the articles on probability, I think I'm just going to start playing with numbers to see how it all comes together.

If anyone can share some experience with things like this in the meantime, it would be greatly appreciated.

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I've been writing a book on this subject off and on over the past couple of years entitled "Design Patterns of Successful Role-Playing Games". It is primarily a guide to tabletop RPG design, but I believe it is largely applicable to computer RPG design as well. You can grab it from my website at legendaryquest.com. (Go to the Download page and scroll down to the bottom.)

What's available on the site is currently is an older draft. I've done quite a bit of work since making the initial draft available, but there's a good deal of material in the current .pdf that you may find useful.

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