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Konidias

Gear/Clothing how much separation?

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When playing a game where a character can swap out clothing/gear, how many pieces is a reasonable amount? What amount do you prefer?

For example, some games have every item broken up into it's own category. (hat, shirt, gloves, boots, etc) but other games have only a few categories (head, body) and some just have "outfits" (the entire outfit for a character)

Would you enjoy a game where you could only swap the entire outfit of a character to change their look visually? Would you want more customization than that? How much?

I ask this because I want to work out a reasonable compromise between what players want and the amount of resources spent. I also want to know what is preferred in general.

Do you tend to enjoy a game where you have to collect a bunch of different pieces of gear to complete the set? Would you prefer it was all just a single piece that came as a set? Do you think that too much customization can be bad for the aesthetic of the game? (players putting totally random or mismatching outfits together that look visually unappealing)

If given these choices which would you prefer:

A - Outfit
B - Head, Body
C - Head, Torso, Legs
D - Head, Torso, Hands, Legs, Feet
E - Head, Torso, Left Hand, Right Hand, Legs, Left Foot, Right Foot
F - Some combination of the above or a variation

If you chose F, please explain what you'd like to see.

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I always dislike games where you have slots for pretty much every piece of equipment, but only the body armor piece affects whole characters look. My favourite is probably D alternative, with each of those slots affecting the look when it comes to mmorpgs. However I also find my self often being greatful for being able to only wear one glove/shoulder piece, because I think assymetric armor looks quite cool on characters. How about option D with ability to disable graphics of either right or left piece?

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Koni,

For my characters, i would choose any variation that allows for more customization than just 5 pieces. My ideal;

Helm/Hat, Face-ware if applicable (Sunglasses, Bandana, etc if applicable), Shoulders, Chest Shirt, Chest Armor, Gauntlets/Bracers, Rings (if applicable) Leggings, Boots, Cloak/Cape(if you really wanna look kewl)

But true build aside, it may not be about what the players exactly want. From what Ive encountered, its not only about the item or item set itself but where and how the player got it. In Vanilla WoW, it was about going through intense raids to get that tiered set. In Fallout New Vegas, for me, it was about going though all those NCR quests to get that awesome black ranger armor (a simple one piece garb). Overall it may not matter what kind of build to choose as long as there is purpose and accomplishment (as well as unique skills and abilities) stored within that armor, no matter how it looks (unless its just plain fugly). Plus with the more customization per character, it allows the players to individualize their characters and truly feel a connection to said character. As for your peeve about the mismatched pieces, you could always impose a dye coloration system (like out of guild wars), further enforcing individuality. Kind of like, "Well i have the same armor set as that other guy but mine is red, his is blue." Its simple but it can mean a lot to a player. It all depends on what kind of game you're trying to make. If it's a single player game, maybe not so much. In a multi-player universe like an MMO, its absolutely necessary.

What kind of game are you trying to make btw?

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It's always heavily dependent on the type of game I'm playing and what effect the equipment has on gameplay, but in general, you can't make something too customizable for my taste. I like as many pieces of gear to be swapped out as possible, and I prefer that these changes be noticeable. On the other hand, I don't like asymmetrical armor, so having options for different sides of the body wouldn't impress me any further.

I like the appearance of individual pieces of gear to be customizable too, if possible. Recoloring it, scaling, attaching and removing doodads, all of those are things I like in games.

There are risks associated with this, of course. If this is an MMO, then players are completely free to make themselves look hideous (which shouldn't matter, but people will find things to complain about). I've seen a number of jokes on how ugly some WoW armor combinations are, for example. If it's a single player game it shouldn't matter, though.

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It depends on the game really. In a fully fleshed out RPG I would expect at least leggings, chest, arms, head, hands, feet and perhaps even neck for armor pieces. Then you can have clothes that go on top of or underneath said armor in a chest, legs, hands, face, neck, feet, head. Then you have all of the possible jewelry options as well as some other special item slots.

I wouldn't really play many games where I have one pre-built outfit with no way to alter it beyond changing to another pre-built outfit. DC Universe had a system in place that allowed you to have basic gear aesthetics that you could carry over even after acquiring new gear so you could keep a general look about you.

I prefer an RPG where the ingredients used to craft determine the outcome of color rather than a dye system, outside of commonly dye capable things such as cloth/etc.

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It might be nice to have lots of slots and items that take up multiple slots. I know it's annoying at lower levels that you have to find 20 items to have a complete set, but during late game it's nice to be able to customize your character to be the ideal character you want.

Maybe make items stackable. Like a body piece that looks fine on it's own, but then make the player able to stack shoulders/greaves/whatever on individually

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My personal preference as a player would be the more complex, highly customisable approach - something like your E option.

Morrowind had a fairly cool system where not only did you have quite a few different pieces, clothing and armour were considered separate layers - you could wear some clothing underneath armour, and some items, like robes, on top of everything.

However - the more complicated it gets, the harder it becomes to design all these parts to fit together and animate together without a certain amount of graphical clipping going on. Personally, I would tolerate a bit of clipping if the basic system was good, but other people's willingness to overlook graphical issues in favour of increased flexibility may vary.

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Thanks for the comments so far. It's helping me a great deal. :)

It seems like most are leaning toward having a lot of customization... Which is understandable, because I guess you can never have too much of that. It lets players create more unique looks. I'm planning to have stats that can be attached to gear (like enchants, basically) so that you can wear whatever you want and also get the stats you want. However, I think having too many pieces of gear would create issues:

1. it means people have to collect a lot more gear just to stay competitive... and new players need to collect like a dozen or more pieces of gear just to fully equip their character (and then add stats to all of that gear) Though some people enjoy collecting stuff so maybe that's a plus?

2. the more gear, the more work it takes to develop/create it and make sure there isn't any bad clipping issues. It also means more graphics to display on screen. If each character is comprised of 20 layers, and you get 20 people on screen, you're now cramming 400 graphics on the screen.

I guess the first problem can be solved by not having all gear allow stats applied to them. But that might get confusing when players have to figure out what type of gear can actually get enchanted, or whatever.

[quote name='H.Hallowfell' timestamp='1312480088' post='4844589']
What kind of game are you trying to make btw?
[/quote]

I'm making an online turn-based tactics rpg... in a style similar to Final Fantasy Tactics.. so the player will have a team of characters they need to gear up... Which I guess is why I'm torn about adding too much customization... Since dressing 5-6 characters takes a lot more work when there's 20 items of clothing per character. I think FFT solved this by just having characters maintain the same class look and the clothing was just invisible stat boosts... But I might be mistaken, I don't remember exactly what they did.

I guess I should have included the type of game this is for... since it might effect people's opinions. So yeah, you're dressing maybe half a dozen characters in this game. Would you still want a lot of customization? :P

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[quote name='Konidias' timestamp='1312494910' post='4844729']
Thanks for the comments so far. It's helping me a great deal. :)

It seems like most are leaning toward having a lot of customization... Which is understandable, because I guess you can never have too much of that. It lets players create more unique looks. I'm planning to have stats that can be attached to gear (like enchants, basically) so that you can wear whatever you want and also get the stats you want. However, I think having too many pieces of gear would create issues:

1. it means people have to collect a lot more gear just to stay competitive... and new players need to collect like a dozen or more pieces of gear just to fully equip their character (and then add stats to all of that gear) Though some people enjoy collecting stuff so maybe that's a plus?

2. the more gear, the more work it takes to develop/create it and make sure there isn't any bad clipping issues. It also means more graphics to display on screen. If each character is comprised of 20 layers, and you get 20 people on screen, you're now cramming 400 graphics on the screen.

I guess the first problem can be solved by not having all gear allow stats applied to them. But that might get confusing when players have to figure out what type of gear can actually get enchanted, or whatever.

[quote name='H.Hallowfell' timestamp='1312480088' post='4844589']
What kind of game are you trying to make btw?
[/quote]

I'm making an online turn-based tactics rpg... in a style similar to Final Fantasy Tactics.. so the player will have a team of characters they need to gear up... Which I guess is why I'm torn about adding too much customization... Since dressing 5-6 characters takes a lot more work when there's 20 items of clothing per character. I think FFT solved this by just having characters maintain the same class look and the clothing was just invisible stat boosts... But I might be mistaken, I don't remember exactly what they did.

I guess I should have included the type of game this is for... since it might effect people's opinions. So yeah, you're dressing maybe half a dozen characters in this game. Would you still want a lot of customization? :P
[/quote]

Well I would hate for the characters to never change their look, but a game like that I wouldn't believe you need as much as say a single character in depth RPG. With 5-6 characters I wouldn't expect them to have more than ten items maximum per character.

To narrow it down to a FF type game you could have 1-2 weapon slots, for 2hand/sword and board/dual melee/etc, chest, legs, hands, feet, head, and then the accessory slots. So that is 5 armor slots, up to 2 weapon slots, and then as many accessory slots as you would need to provide the level of customization you seek along with the necessary space to equip to survive. I wouldn't go with more than say three accessory slots, but there is a lot of design work to figure out what works best all around.

You could go as simple as 1) Armor 1-2) Weapon, 1-X) Accessories.

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F-[color=#1C2837][size=2]Head, Torso, Left arm, Right arm, Legs, Feet, Cape, Hands
and have items that only covers one hand or the other[/size][/color]

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So far I think I'm going with:

Hat
Shirt
Pants
Shoes
Gloves
Coat (over other shirt, for jackets, vests, robes, or armor over clothing)
Item equipped in Right hand
Item equipped in Left hand
Cape
Face Accessory (eyewear, masks, etc)

So 10 slots total... I guess that's a good even number. I'll also have glove items that can be worn as a single glove, or at least a way to hide one glove.

I didn't like the idea of having a left hand and right hand slot because then you need to collect two glove items just to wear two gloves... Which seems like too much work just to wear a matching pair of gloves. :)

edit: I'm also considering what Caldenfor mentioned, and just having the 5 main slots be used for stats. But I think I'll figure that out through some testing and just seeing what works.

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I like the minigame of finding/crafting/buying an outfit based on what I want my character to do, but too often the gear becomes the character. It becomes irresponsible to wear certain equipment, regardless of your own wishes, because the bonuses or properties lead to a "best set" situation. Conan beats faces on a regular basis while wearing a loincloth and wielding a length of chain, because he's rad. I always run into trouble in Fallout and Elder Scrolls games because I really want to play the game dressed in the kind of clothing that a person would wear if they were going to be walking thousands of miles and conversing with strangers most of the time, but the game railroads me into wearing a gold-engraved glowing robot suit down to the corner store, since I have to always be on the lookout for monsters and brigands and headhunters that will travel for days or ignore their own needs in order to take a crack at me.

You mentioned Final Fantasy Tactics, and my favorite part of that game is in the beginning, before your team consists exclusively of unique, historically significant heroes. I like having a team of cookie-cutter dudes, wearing standard-issue gear, and I consider the assignation of a rare sword or fancy armor to be a privilege conferred upon distinguished members of the team. Especially when I have a whole squad or platoon to manage, I don't want to spend hours of gameplay time playing dress-up with my dolls.

So go ahead and include lots of equipment slots, but don't require too much micromanagement there. Let the little guys wear their work clothes, and only make me go into that menu when I want to deploy some sort of wearable force multiplier to the battlefield.

As an aside, I'd put Dwarf Fortress at the top of the list for convoluted gear and clothing, since it factors everything from your cape to your helmet to your underpants into damage calculations, but it also features a military management system that allows you to set rules like, "All axedwarves in the third squad will wear steel chainmail, the best metal helmet they can find, a blue cape and bronze gauntlets except for the squad leader, who gets this artifact iron breastplate with the picture of cheese on it," which removes much of the tedium of dragging gear into slots without restricting my ability to customize my little dudes.

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