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Software Project for developing game analysis tool

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Hi guys, I’m a student working on a final project and I was wanting to create a tool that will serve two primary purposes. One would be to help game designers balance their characters, leveling system, and item balancing. The other purpose would be to analyze current games that are already created to help you create the best character build (trying to find the OP characters/build). I would have a general tool in which the user would input the attributes available, starting attributes, rate of increase (for static variables), weapons available, skills, ect. Ths program would then generate in a spread sheet over any given number of levels the character stats, or max possible stats for any given field. I would also want to incorporate stats like damage, and rate of attack, but this would require the algorithm used by the game to generate this stat. This should give a person a quick glance at finding items or combos that could break the game. I am wanting this program to work for certain board games (runebound, talismand, ect) and certain video games (DoTa, D2, ect). I have just a few questions. Is there any program similar to this program that I purposed? As a game designer would you find this tool useful? As a person who plays game would you find this tool useful? What features would you have to have to make this tool useful? I know this is a broad question, but what areas should I focus on that would make or break this program? I am in the research stages now, but I’m moving quickly into the design phase I can post more information if it is needed or in a couple weeks or so I could lay down the basic design/features of the program so you can get a better picture of the idea. Any help or feedback will be appreciated.

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This would be interesting if you could do it. I'm a little confused how you could calculate some of the more complex builds without knowing how they're used in the game, unless you're assuming that things like attack damage or strength are always optimal (discounting status effects, for example).

One thing I think would be very useful in terms of balance is if you could calculate things like drop rates in relation to X hours of game time or Y levels of growth. It would be nice to look at just how likely certain things are to happen and be able to compare the extremes of different character builds modified with equipment over a given amount of time. This might let you fine tune something like rarity or item value.

As a player I don't think I'd use something like this because I'm more explorer than achiever/power-gamer. But for design I think I'd definitely find it useful.

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It would be rad if you could make it work.

One significant challenge is that many modern games rarely release the actual stats for their games. Like how many CON = 1HP or what damage bonuses various talents actually give you. Everything is typically worded generically like "gives a slight boost to critical probability". Other games don't even release a list of talents and stats that you open up later in the game. For instance in Dragon Age: Origins, the skills for the class specializations weren't published; you had to wait till people unlocked them and posted them to a wiki. Even WoW doesn't post a lot of the actual stats for their talents; the community eventually figures out the damage formulas and such but only after pretty rigorous trial-and-error testing.

Because of this it'd be of marginal use in reality. It would be a nice thing to have around as a base toolset to create a character builder but it'd have to be so generic that it would be useful only to the math or CS literate: different games have radically different damage or armor or whatever formulas for which you'd have to provide an interface

-me

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Thanks for your responses I have continued my research and I plan on continuing down this path, but I would like to ask you guys a couple more questions.

First @ Stroppy Katamari, I have started to research and look at various numeric optimizers, and numerical software, but most are either a fancier spread sheet with more graphing options, or console based style programs. Have you used any of these programs and does one inparticular come to mind? I plan on providing a clear interface through a windows desktop application in which the user inputs data regarding game information. The idea is the program provide a clear means of inputting and generating the data. Then the program will utilize a spread sheet/graphing tools, but it should be much simpler to use and geared only towards items that people care about for games.

@palidine, your right many stats aren't released for game, but many gamers figure them out as they go along. You could wait until that data is released, or this program might not work for you. The focus would be for people actually wanting to create a game, or for certain games (board and online PvP games) in which all of this information is known. One item that comes to mind is DoTA. All the information needed to create and map out the characters is provided as well as going through equipment stats. Now a game like DoTA has been played alot and has had a lot of play testing so the tool wouldn't be to help balance it out, but perhaps provide a new player the information on choosing the hero/equipment he wants.

@Wavinator

Your right there are many calculations which would be hard to do/provide. In RPGS -status affects, and armour is one such example, but a characters attack, or damage should be enough for you to look at. As long as each character stat doesn't include armour or status affects it shouldn't matter as much because 50 >75 and both would need to subtract armour and status affects. The difference here would be if you add elemental weakness or magic damage. The thought of random drops rates is interesting and one I have thought about for some time. I would love to try and incorporate such a feature I will just have to see how it goes. I am taking this idea though for hopefully another aspect. For example in many fantasy board games you have a market deck in which many market cards exists. I hope to have an odds of certain market cards showing up (the random element) and while running through say a million games how often do certain cards exist and still show the characters stats w/equipment. I understand that many people are like you and love to explore the maps, I on the other hand want to get through the story (RPG's) or I want to win the game (FPS, boardgames, PVP games). My competitive play is one reason I want to create such a tool.

I am writing up my initial information I found in research and I hope to start trying to capture both requirements and basic design of the program this weekend. I will post up such information as it comes and I would appreciate any feedback or comments you guys have.

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Ten years back when I was taking digital measurement classes, we had a student version of some software called LabView. It's still around but I dont imagine in any practical form for most people to use. It provided a GUI to impliment systems using wave generators, functions, and switches and a few different methods to output the results including graphs and on/off indicators. The idea was that it was supposed to simulate electronic circuits but I remember trying to use the thing to calculate stats for characters and I liked being able to tweek the numbers and see the effects.

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