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Khaiy

Character Death, Etc.

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To give the above poll context:

The game I'm designing is a single player RPG with a large cast of characters and a flexible plot. One of the things that I'm considering doing is making it possible for characters who can join your party to die, "permanently". I put the quotation marks in because there are a couple of caveats, which may impact your feelings. My main goal in this approach is to get away from a video game trope where death is frequent and meaningless.

First, characters would be in a near-death state for a while, if their HP is reduced enough. In this state, all normal healing spells and items would be enough to help the character, although it would take quite a bit of investment (in terms of items or mana) to get a character back to normal from near-death. If attacked while near death, the character can die, and the character will also die if left in a near-death state for long enough.

Second, a recently killed character can be revived, the conceit for this being that when the soul hasn't travelled far from the body it can be placed back into it (via a consumable item, a la phoenix down). If I include permanent death, then there would be a set time period during which this would still work. If the player doesn't replace the soul within that time period, the player will not be able to do so at all.

Third, one of the job classes that characters can assume is a necromancer. A sufficiently skilled necromancer can re-animate the body (keeping the physical skills of the character, but not the magical ones, and a re-animated corpse wouldn't be a "character" anymore, just a controllable unit in battle), and/or recall the character's soul (keeps the magical skills of the character, but not the physical ones. Can still be a "character", although with some alterations). Additionally, if good enough the necromancer can place a soul (of a recalled character, or a different soul) into a body (either the deceased character's, or a different one). If a character's soul is placed into the character's re-animated body, that character is effectively revived from death fully. However, things can go wrong with these practices, which may not be immediately obvious to the player.

Finally, there are a lot of characters that you can recruit. So if a powerful character dies, you will be able to recruit another character to replace him or her. You would miss out on story events for the dead character, but your ability to progress through the game won't be ruined.

Characters can die while in your active party, or while sent away by the player on a mission. In either case, I want the death to have some impact for the player, and not be "Oh no, Barret's dead again, hand me my bag...". So revival items would be expensive and rare. The player can certainly seek out a necromancer, but they will be difficult to find (the practice is frowned on in the game world), and extremely expensive to use for this purpose. If the player or a member of the player's party is a good enough necromancer, the only cost would be time and materials (plus the effect on the revived character- death isn't a picnic).

Does a life and death model like I've outlined sound like it could be a compelling aspect of a game? Or is it too annoying/potentially devastating?

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In Final Fantasy Tactics your character could die.
In FFT advance they could only die when a judge wasn't present or something. You had to be a bit more cautious to keep all your characters.
Those were Tactics games though. They are based on strategy so it wasn't that demanding to try and keep all your characters alive.
Also, Fire emblem. Lots of games have mortality

Just think about what type of game you're making. If it's a "Final Fantasy" where you play your characters for 40 hours and they coudl easily die 30 times if you let it happen, or if you're playing a slow moving strategy game where you can see it coming and avoid it.

If you have a "flexible plot" then it would be a cool factor to consider which characters die. If you mean you're going to have multiple endings, then killing off a character is obviously going to change the ending. Also, thats the type of game you'd play through more than once, so if you really get screwed over by a character getting killed, restarting is always an option.

It's definitely a good idea though.

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If i remember correctly the first two Fallouts have perma death for party members. It wasn't too bad but would get annoying if they happened to position themselves badly and die by accident.

That’s the only thing that can really annoy me when it comes to character death. If they die through no real fault of my own or at least what i feel isn't my fault. If it was going to be perma death i would advise allowing a lot of control over the other party members, Dragon age did it relatively well to be honest - Could customize what actions they do and always pop into direct control if you real need to.

As Beathelas said a slower based game would generally be better suited than a fast paced game.

What’s the saving system going to be like? If it’s a save point system then it would be harder to reset the game if a character dies. If it was a save anywhere system then its a case of just loading up the last save if some one dies, that also leads to frustration with auto saves and the like. The player would feel they had to reload a save if a character died and if the saves whereto far apparent they'd, say if they forgot to save the game, it would be as if they had to play through old content.

Its a good idea, it would just mean the rest of the game play would need to be moulded around it and generally be more forgiving than one where they didn't die.

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There is one game that really annoyed me that I didn't like. I would play the character go through some or part of the levels and die. The save point would be just out of reach or near by and then when your dead, your dead no do overs. Game over and you start all the way back to the beginning. I mean what point does the game designers think that this was a great idea for the player to restart back at the beginning and learning everything over again just to be furious to start all over again.

Granted that I have passed the some what difficult parts of the game and save but then starting all over again is such a waste of a players time and effort.

Another thing that really ticks me off is when you have to sit through the multiple choices of when a player wants to quit a game or level and the games says "Would you like to quit the game?" You click yes. The computer screen comes back on and then says " Your about to leave the level. Would you like to save?" You click yes. The computer screen comes back on and says " Do you want to level the level? And you yell at the screen and say and click "YES!" For crying out loud howe many times do the players need to be told to quit the progress of the game or save?

Oh and another thing that ticks me off. When you restart a level after dying, do we really need to watch the intro of the instructions of the level again. over and over and over again? I would like to die, and skip the introduction of the routine of storyline or instructions and play the game already.

So all in all. I would say if its for the plot of the game so be it. But please have me re healed and play the game like normal. Play and die , play and move on to the next level. lol

Okay thats what I wanted to say about these game designers all this time. But hey. Some games are just worth playing over and over and some games meh. It all depends on how the game has been structured for game time and replay value.

Sorry It was a rant but I am cool down now. And I will get down from the soap box. and Step away from it for now.

Just my 5 cents worth. Lol.

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If your character die you load the previously saved game and try again. It is completely irrelevant if there is permanent death or not.

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Thanks for the replies!

...



Um... what? I'm not talking about the player character dying-- obviously that's a game ender. It's a question of what kinds of consequences death has for party member characters. The game doesn't end if they die, no matter what. It's a matter of impacting the story so that the deaths matter, if they happen. My question is whether or not you would accept a game with that mechanic. Would a death of a party member that's not easily fixable (i.e. phoenix down) turn you off of that game regardless of implementation? Or might you be OK with it?

I'll make any introductions skippable though, and it'll be easy to quit.


If your character die you load the previously saved game and try again. It is completely irrelevant if there is permanent death or not.


So you would not accept the death of a party member, even with the above considerations? What if the saving structure made reloading just to prevent the death impractical?

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If your character die you load the previously saved game and try again. It is completely irrelevant if there is permanent death or not.

One of my favorite games of all times, the Angband series, does not allow arbitrary saving and loading. You can save at any time, but that is more of academic reasons, for example to prevent progress to be lost if the game crash or whatever. Saving is also done as soon as your character receives the killing blow, so once you're dead, the game is saved, and there's no previous game to load anymore. The only way to cheat that is to backup the save file and restore it if you die.

So no, you just don't load a previous game and go on again if the game is designed for permadeath to begin with. I like the way death works in the Angband series, since as long as you don't cheat you have to be really careful how you play, and the game have to be properly designed for it. Just sticking permadeath onto some arbitrary modern FPS just won't work.

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What if the saving structure made reloading just to prevent the death impractical?[/quote]How? Can you do it without annoying the player? I never seen any system like that, and honestly I don't see how it could be even theorethically possible.


One of my favorite games of all times, the Angband series
It's roguelike. Loading a saved game in a roguelike is considered a heavy cheat. That's completely different type of gamer. You can't expect a normal person to think in terms of savescumming being evil.

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What if the saving structure made reloading just to prevent the death impractical?
How? Can you do it without annoying the player? I never seen any system like that, and honestly I don't see how it could be even theorethically possible.
[/quote]
You appear to be familiar with the games I talked about. If you don't find that process of reloading games annoying, then you aren't very easily annoyed, to be honest. All it takes to make reloading annoying is to not provide a way to do it within the game.

[quote name='Brother Bob' timestamp='1299958548' post='4784934']
One of my favorite games of all times, the Angband series
It's roguelike. Loading a saved game in a roguelike is considered a heavy cheat. That's completely different type of gamer. You can't expect a normal person to think in terms of savescumming being evil.
[/quote]
It clearly shows that in a game designed for it, it works. Not all games can be practically designed in such a way.

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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1299963333' post='4784968']
What if the saving structure made reloading just to prevent the death impractical?
How? Can you do it without annoying the player? I never seen any system like that, and honestly I don't see how it could be even theorethically possible.
[/quote]
You appear to be familiar with the games I talked about. If you don't find that process of reloading games annoying, then you aren't very easily annoyed, to be honest. All it takes to make reloading annoying is to not provide a way to do it within the game.
[/quote]Nothing is more annoying that one of your characters being dead. Of course everyone would exit the game, reaload it and start again. If not, you are becoming permanently weaker and will probably lose the game later (after hourts of additional play).

It is an imperative to keep all party members alive. As long as you want to win the game.

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