Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Wavinator

When "All's Well" Isn't

This topic is 2984 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Usually when a player attains complete mastery over the forces and fortunes a game can subject him/her to, it's a very bad thing. Even if it's not officially game over, becoming so powerful that nothing can offer a challenge or so stable that no event is beyond control is typically a straight ticket to boredom. The only exception I've ever seen is based either on human competition or a time limit. The former offers the possibility that, with a wide enough player base, someone will always arise to offer a challenge. The latter is often built around fragility, challenging players to simply keep some sort of volatility or randomness under control (e.g., Tower Defense or managing speed and jumps in Canabalt). Because this last is often stressful, though, it can only scale so much before players become exhausted. Alternatives like simulation either need to offer a crushing level of complexity to constantly challenge or sidestep the problem entirely because they're basically toys. Are there any other mechanics / ideas that actually work with stability but allow a game to remain a game? What, for example, would make it okay to be a stable empire; or the greatest warrior in the world; or the richest company? The only thing I've been able to come up with is a mechanic like growth paired with forced changes in forms of gameplay. Maybe it's possible, for instance, to be the greatest military empire, but you have to sacrifice economics or research and so always risk falling behind; or maybe you can resist all forms of fire but never at the same time all forms of ice and lightning. Or maybe forced waves of fragility / instability (like being cursed or experiencing an economy ruining event) cause regression and the need for releveling / regrowth. Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Late game challenges are hard to create.
Player knows perfectly the rules of game,
and has optimized his resources to make him self immortal.

So how to create challenge?
Change rules or analyse player and create perfect nemesis?

case 1. (Changes of rules)
Player owns 10.0 ^ 10 credits, simply change money to some other form,
and player loses all his money.
(revolution in nation and nations old currency loses it`s value)

Player has best guns, simply introduce new tech to game, witch modifyes
old swords to light sabres capable of creating constant barrier field that stops
bullets in midair. (after this tech, next new tech is laser rifles, after that, dimension twisting swords, after that disruptor guns, after that
temporal twisting swords, etc... idea is that sword and gun swap place as best
weapon)

Player loses his permanent upgrade(s) (attributes/skills/perks/stats/level).
Prayers body is mortaly wouded, and his counsesnes is tranferred to new body.
The new body forses new play style to player (cybortg body vs. flesh&blood).

case 2. (Summon perfect nemesis)
Game keeps track of witch ememies can do most harm to player, and crossbreads
and mutates them to create more powerful enemies.

Or game makes some background simulations with AI clone of player, and tries
to find best nemesis.

/Tyrian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Build in a decay factor. That is, something that will kill the player if they're ever in a safe state unless they're actively going after some sort of progress.

A roguelike's biggest example would be food. You could, theoretically, grind endlessly in Nethack on a relatively safe level till you're too powerful to ever really die, except you can't ACTUALLY do that because you'd starve.

Another example is that I would've loved to have seen some minor life-sim elements in... I don't know, the TES games. Maybe force the player to need to eat every so often or pay taxes based on their level/income. I don't think that would've fixed some other glaring design issues and it could've gotten annoying real easy, but whatever.

Quote:
What, for example, would make it okay to be a stable empire; or the greatest warrior in the world; or the richest company?


A shift in what you're doing. Let's go with the empire example. At the start of the game, you're playing as a small country that's not, by any means, a world power. Once you work up to the world power state, you could theoretically run up the clock or take on anyone and win without much effort -- except now you have to worry about all these internal concerns you never had to worry about before, so if you try to expand indefinitely you lose stability and start to crumble because you're neglecting internal policy.

Hardly any 4x games actually do that, mind, which is why the genre sort of bugs me in its current state. Paradox is the only company that's really consistently put out SimEmpire type games, and they have a big issue with producing buggy code.

Alternatively you could ALWAYS focus on internal affairs and non-competition.

2x Alternatively 2x just find the point where the game gets too easy from the player getting too powerful and cut it off an hour before that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well I think if a game has predetermined goals for the player and the player, does in fact, complete those goals and the game continues, that the rest of the game should become their sandbox.

However, if the goal is to 'become the best fighter' (example), a simple challenge based system would suffice. Where other players and super-powered NPCs can come and challenge you to get to the top.
Think Afro Samurai, with the headbands. Number 2 can challenge Number 1, etc.

This way, achieving and then holding the title is much harder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cpt Mothballs mentioned sandboxes. It seems to me that if a player sets their own goals, then it's never "game over" - you mentioned levels which imposed a time limit, which reminds me of people who try to finish platformers or shooters in the minimum time, or play through an RPG without level grinding or with the minimum number of kills, and so on... Player-created content can add to this. For example, I used to play the city-building game Caesar 3. There were a couple of dozen campaign levels and a similar number of sandbox-like scenarios, but the player community really revolved (and still does) around self-imposed challenges and player-created maps. For example, there was a limit on the number of building and character sprites that the game could display, so players tried to see how large a population they could sustain, or how many of the top-level houses, within those restrictions. Other obstacles were intentionally placed by the maps' creators, and included limiting the resources that could be produced or imported, or the taxes that could be raised. Testing your skills to try to build "the best" city according to your own criteria - the game itself provided several separate ratings - within the restrictions imposed by the level you'd chosen to play, could be a lot of fun even though it was a single-player game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some games have little to offer after the player has mastered them. That is completely fine, not a "very bad thing". The designer generally should have the good sense to throw in end credits at that point, and the player should find another game.

If a game is to stay interesting, it has to have enough complexity, either strategic (Go), action (Donpachi) or a mix of both (Starcraft). You can always do better at these games. "Time limits" and "human competition" don't describe the issue. The basic options seem to be learning to beat progressively better opponents (who may also be AIs not humans), reaching higher performance in a way defined by the game designer (generally referred to as "scoring"), reaching higher performance in a measurement of your choosing (e.g. speedrunning), or playing for completion while handicapping yourself with constraints such as "no saving the game".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If for some reason you reach a block that limits you from making the game more difficult or keeping the player interested, you could always include a "mission editor" of sorts.

With an editor, you could have a online community creating new levels for others' and in return giving the players more replay value and you more content to offer new players for free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The player's power is a result of other influences. For example:

- Player is forced to make a sacrifice. Perhaps they must give up something which is part of their 'power' that they gained from an outside source, earlier in the game, in order to accomplish a goal, or protect another goal. Now they must sacrifice that power to accomplish a different goal.

- Those / that which made the player powerful, turn against the player. Maybe due to perceived corruption of that power or abuse of it, weakining the player as a result.

Or, as mentioned above, the landscape of the game changes drastically, reducing the power of the player. IMO, best done mid-game with good story-telling and the player has time to regain power before endgame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In Half-Life 2, the last level of the game abruptly becomes very, very easy. Your gravity gun is upgraded, giving it the ability to fling dudes at other dudes. It's difficult to describe or defend how primal this experience is. Even though it's easy, it isn't boring, because it's cathartic. A lot of other games have similar "look how badass you've become" segments. Sands of Time, for instance, strips away the dagger of time near the end, forcing you to do your acrobatics without a net; the added danger is exhilirating, but so is the realization of how good you, the player, have gotten at doing things right the first time, even with a net. Call of Duty 4's coda (after the credits) has you mowing down terrorists with surprisingly little concern for your own well-being. So I think in a game's last act, complete mastery of this sort is actually a good thing.

In contrast, the last third of KOTOR 2, for me, consisted of: walk into a room with about twenty sith whatevers, stasis field everyone (light side FTW!), force lighting everyone a few times (charisma FTW!), and watch them die in eerie unison. And the last third of Oblivion consisted of walking up to a dude and whacking him a few times with an enchanted glass claymore (!?) and then he dies. These game-breaking mechanics just go on too long. But if it were only the last battle or two? Sure!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!