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Combine skills & action

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This may have been done before, but I was thinking of a way to combine skills typically found in CRPGs and action. I was thinking the higher your skill-level, you get benefits that make your action physically earier to control. For instance, if you have an archery skill, if you're better at that skill the game will help you aim or put crosshairs on the screen. I can't think of good examples, but basically the better the skill level the more the game will help you with some sort of visual queue to make the skill performed easier. Also, I'm thinking that low skill won't make it harder for you to perform actions, but more that a higher skill will make it earier. But I guess it wouldn't have to be that way.

...A CRPG in development...
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself. Edited by - nazrix on June 24, 2001 7:32:45 AM

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I think skills SHOULD be used like this.

Let''s take one of the basic skills: run.

At starting skill 0, each character can toggle his run-mode on or off and run at a certain (not too fast) speed.

When the skill goes up, so does the running speed, that''s clear.

But more than that, the player should not only become faster, he should also become better. He should be able to perform more actions while running. Just as an example, at running skill 0, the player will not be able to draw his sword while running, but at skill 10, he can perhaps draw a shield from his back in midrun.

Archery skill:
Indeed, a higher skill level should have effects on the action that the player has to control himself, not just on the numbers that the computer calculates to see if you hit or not.

Higher skill in archery could lead to:
better aim
further reach
faster draw
better zoom option

It''s always been my opinion that these should all be treated individually. By that I mean, that archery skill 10 should not just make all these individual sub skills also level 10. Instead, it should somewhat randomly compute which sub skills the character will improve most on.

That way, you get more unique characters, and not every player will use the same tactic while shooting arrows. The player with superfast draw but not so good aim will just shoot off arrow after arrow after arrow, maybe hitting once every 10 shots. The player with superb aim, but slow draw will concentrate on his shot, making sure that he hits. Even if it takes him as long as the first player to shoot ten arrows for him to shoot just one. As long as he''ll hit.

I think the overall skill should be available for all (sword, shield, bow, run, etc) but the sub skills should vary from character to character.

And each sub skill should be made into its own little action game. It should be fun for the player to draw his arrows, aim for the target, follow the target, increase the strenght, zoom in a little more for focus... and then let fly the arrow.

Not just ''hit key to target nearest monster'', ''hit SHOOT key''.

Once you design an action game for each and every skill and sub skill, you can then set a minimum and maximum level that you want players to be able to play with... and then assign skilllevels to those. 0 is the minimum, 100 the maximum.

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If your gameplay changed as your skill rose, wouldn''t this make the game too easy as you advanced? A perfect example of this was the FPS shooter Requiem, where you play a gun-totting angel with magick spells. There was very cool spell in the game that progressed in strength which let you slow time. The more you put into it, the more you could slow down everything in the game.

The problem was that this altered gameplay. The fun firefights became a lot less fun because I could essentially cheat. Sure, the power helped me take out some serious boss monsters. But by progressing, it altered gameplay in what was probably an unexpectedly emergent way.

Having said that, though, I do like Silvermyst''s approach. Not much I can add, it''s very good. Rising skill opens the door to new gameplay, rather than rising skill that makes existing gameplay easier.

Just waiting for the mothership...

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Guest Anonymous Poster
ive always felt that skill increases are best left to experience point systems, where the player chooses how to spend the points after completion of a quest or whatever. seems like a lot of unnecessary coding that could be better used elsewhere. im most interested in seeing new freakin skills for shooters. why is it the most inherently realistic games -3d shooters- have none of the possibilities of reality? why cant i climb those buildings/swim in that sea/forge my own sword/hack that computer/dig a hole/build a lean-to? with a few exceptions like deus ex, shooters are TIRED.

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I always feel that whatever game I play, any powers I gain are NECESSARY to complete the game. In other words, it''s not a blessing to find that magic sword, it''s your duty, because without it, you sure ain''t gonna beat that dragon.

I think it''s just something that comes with the Player vs Environment type of game. That''s why in all my game ideas I try to find ways of eliminating the Environment part and replacing it with another player.

If one player finds ways to gain enormous power and beats up every AI enemy in sight... waste of designing effort.

If two players find ways to gain enormous power and start beating eachother up... voila, exactly what you wanted to achieve as a designer.

Now you can come up with skill systems so complicated that it''ll make your head spin. Go ahead, come up with 1000s of skills and powers and let your players use every single one of them. You don''t have to worry about finding methods to create challenges for them (if you play current MMORPGs you know what I mean: designers constantly have to write patches to make monsters tougher as players gain power) because in an all player environment they will balance eachother out.
(btw I believe in permanent death as a viable feature. I think that permanent death is THE ultimate balancing tool. Ever played Magic: The Gathering? Ever had that ultimate deck that nobody could beat? Ever found that two weeks later all other players had a deck that could easily beat your Uber-deck?)

I think I''m just addicted to skills. But not the way they''re being used in current games. Right now, they''re just numbers, pure statistics.

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