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Barbarians and Minotaurs

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Barbarians and Minotaurs The idea of this game project is to create a moderately small game that can be developed at low cost with a small team. I do have a question... I have 2 thoughts on the detentions of the game. One is to make it a 3D Action RPG, made as closely in graphics and Action to the Guild Wars game. Yet not even close to the size or perhaps the fluid functionality of the game. But similar. Or create a 2D game using Hand Drawn graphics and set it up as a Side Scrolling game, but much like the more advanced old school games where there is some depth to walk not just forward and backward, but up and down. If someone could give me some input on weather with my challenge of creating a modest size game as simple as possible I would appreciate it. Thanks

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Creative input

Again my challenge is to make a simple game that can be created with few people.

But I am asking not just for what is easier but what would be a better idea

The idea of the game so far is a Fantasy game that would play lick Unreal Tournament. Basically a Death Match game of one Team vs the other Team.

The first team is the Barbarians
The second team is the Minotaurs

I have 2 idea's on how characters would be created. It would A.) only class based, where weapons, armor and skill are determined by the class they choose.

Barbarian classes (Work in progress, no more then 4 or 5)
Warrior
Stalker
Wolf Rider
Shaman

Minotaur classes
Knight
Wizard
Forrester
Priest

Each class would have one model, equaling 8 - 10 models)

Or

It will be B.) skill based game system where characters choose the model that suits them
Their would be three different character models for the Barbarian Race, and three Different models for the Minotaur race. Each model would have four different Armor types to accompany the model.

Model would be

Muscular
Average
Lanky

Armor would be
Plate
Chain
Leather
Robes

Which means there would be 12 models for each race, making 24 models for the entire game.
(Perhaps the sequel can be more advanced)

It is a creative question I ask, and a technical question, which do you think would be better in the aspect of making it a good game, but making it more accomplishable. I've been in so many game projects that fail because small teams with very small or no budgets try to do games that are meant for large teams with large and huge budgets.

[Edited by - Penta Oasis on July 29, 2008 6:09:11 PM]

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It sounds like an interesting idea. It sounds like the game Savage (now fairly old, but they are making Savage 2 IIRC - oh and Savage was a good game).

You tend to be focusing on the look of the game, which is a necessary step, but you also have to think what the players will be doing in the game.

So here is a couple of Questions to think about:

1: What task(s) will the players be doing the most in the game?

In an FPS, player will usually be shooting guns. In an RPG players will (supposedly) be playing a role (but usually just end up fighting monsters).

What is the main task that players in your game will be doing?

2: How many players on a Team?

You have stated that it is a Team vs Team game, but how many players on each team? This is important as it will direct you towards the number of Roles in each team. You have stated around 4 roles on each team, so that means that you will expect at least 4 players on each team (8 players total) as a minimum to play the game (but you would expect that to be between double to triple for a decent game).

This also means that you network code will have to be able to handle this many players easily. Although network code is getting easier to do (there are a few middle ware solutions), doing it from scratch will be quite an effort (and as you said you only have a small team and a small budget).

3: What balances and Synergies do you expect between the roles?

Balances are extremely important in a Player vs Player game (more so the PvE, but you still need them in PvE). If one role is better than the others, then nobody will want to play one of the under powered roles (if they want to win the match). If nobody is playing that role, then all the effort you put into developing them will be completely wasted.

Also, an unbalanced game, even though they have the option to just choose the better role, will make players dislike your game. It is an irrational response, but players will feel like they paid (or if it is free that they wasted their time and download limit) for stuff they aren't using. So the game can be still very good if you restrict yourself to the overpowered role, but player will still feel bad because they will feel ripped off.

In competitive play (and most multiplayer play is competitive), a certain type of balance is important because it will give players strategies that they can use to win. This kind of balance uses synergies. Synergies are ways that the different roles interact that enhance each other.

For instance, if you have a role that is capable of taking lots of damage but is not good at dealing damage (a tank role), maybe because they wear heavy armour so most other roles can run away, then by itself it is not a well balanced role. However, if you then have a weak but high DPS role (a class cannon - usually a wizard), then these two classes are better together than either by themselves.

The Tank can absorb attacks made against the Glass Cannon, and the Glass Cannon can then counter-attack.

However, if you made a tank role that could also deal lots of damage, then this would be over powered. Why would one take a glass cannon when one could have a steel cannon?

Ways of achieving this are through intransitive relationships (like Rock/Paper/Scissors there is always a way to beat one, but that can itself be beaten and so forth). Intransitive relationships are good because it automatically creates balance and synergies between the roles.

4: What are the goals?

In each game you have to determine who is the winner and who is the looser. This means that you have to work out how you are going to determine this. Will it be the team that has all their team members killed? Will it be an accumulation of points. Or will there be some sort of goal condition within the level (eg capturing the flag, destroying the HQ, etc).

This is important, as certain goals can create feedback loops that means a small advantage early on will lead to a massive advantage as the game progresses, even if nothing else changes.

You are able to work out if these loops exist by looking at the goals and the method to achieve them. If working towards the goal helps future efforts at working towards the goal, then that will create the problematic feedback loops.

These kinds of feedback loops are called Positive feedback,loops, not because they give a positive effect on the game or that they encourage people, but because they enhance the power of the loop.

In games these are bad because it makes small advantages early in the game lead to a runaway effect where it becomes harder for the team that is behind to catch up. Small advantages quickly lead to an insurmountable lead.

You can balance a Positive feedback with a negative feedback. These are feedback loops that suppress runaway effects (and hence why you can use them to balance the positive feedback loops). The problem is that if there the negative feedback loops are too strong, it can be impossible for a team to actually win. With too powerful negative feedback loops, it becomes harder for a team to get far enough a head to claim victory.

Getting the positive and Negative feedback loops to balance each other out properly, but when you do, it will make for a very interesting and exciting game. One thing to aim for with the balance is that in the early game the Negative feedback loops should dominate, then in the mid game they could be roughly even, and in the end game, the positive feedback should have a marginal dominance.

This creates a situation where early on, any differences between the teams are evened out. So even a team that has some kind of disadvantage (like a player drop out, or just not enough players on their team) can use this time to re-establish an equality between the teams.

Then in the mid game teams can attempt to create a position for themselves for the end game. Because the balance between the positive and negative feedback loops is roughly equal at this point (although you might have the negative a little stronger than the positive so as to make the teams have to put in an effort), it means that a team can get an advantage and hold onto it, but it will take a bit of effort and a team that has fallen behind still has a chance. At this stage of the game, which team is in the lead should vary often (and this will help build tension towards the end game).

Finally, in the end game, you want a quick victory to the team that has the advantage. This means that the positive feedback loops need to dominate. But don't have them dominate too strongly as you want to allow a team that is behind to still have a chance and maybe make a dramatic and well executed play to be able to win.

Ok there are some questions and some things to think about. I hope that they help.

Remember, if you create a good design, actually coding the game will be a lot easier. It might sound like answering these questions and achieving them is too complex for what you are wanting to do. However, it will be more complex to try and create answers on the fly, halfway through coding it when the programmers have tried to create a solution that subsequently doesn't work (or doesn't work as good as you would like).

If you fail to plan, then you are planing to fail....

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Thank you so much for the reply. I am actually keeping this game on back burner. even though its a small game its a little large for me right now, as I am doing it by myself but the analysis of the game you made is deffinetly helpful for when I do work on the game.

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