Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Cronnix

Death-less punishment mechanic?

This topic is 2557 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

Hey all! I am currently designing a 3D point and click puzzle/exploration game. To describe the main objective and gameplay im simplified way; you play as a biomechanical organism and you have "beacons" which you have to powerup with "energy" you collect around the gameworld. There is roaming AI, which aggro you if you get to close and are in their line of sight. The whole game is taking place on one island with seamless levels. The game is supposed to feature calm yet slightly alerting atmosphere.

Now to the issue I have stumbled upon, namely punishment for failing to avoid the above named AI (and possibly for falling from to high ground too). I feel that death of your character as punishment method does not fit the games gameplay and atmosphere, yet would like to see some sort of punishment when you let the AI catch you. AI is supposed to be something terrifying you would want to avoid at all costs, but how does one achieve such effect without death?

It could be done with checkpoints, that you don't directly die, but for some logical reason getting send back to a point of restoration. You could also lose the energy you have collected ala Sonic and his rings style, but that too feels like an annoyance rather then a terrifying effect.

Does anyone have any interesting suggestions on different punishment mechanics which intrigued you before and which could fit the above described settings, or any links toa articles discussing such mechanics? :) It would be interesting to explore the alternatives of a death mechanic which is more then a minor setback to latest checkpoint (dark souls comes to mind).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
AI: Unauthorized presence detected.
Unit X49281 identified.
Station of origin A3276 confirmed.
Returning unit to station of origin.

And the player (X49281) would be able to 'hack' restoration points to mark it as the place to return to if he's ever captured or otherwise found incapacitated. Perhaps include confiscation of contraband items when captured.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not sure what the exact style of the player/monster but, the AI monster could "eat" you and either spit-launch you back to an earlier place/checkpoint, or move around and poop you out elsewhere (adds some comedy) :)

Or, he could knock you off/push you around/make your life hard unless you do something like use energy somehow to distract it/send it scurrying off (so basically you have to sacrifice energy for some peace and quiet.)

Hope that helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mechanical ships or characters are often stripped of upgrades as a punishment for being captured or shot. Being returned to a starting point is a similar method of making them lose progress. Or they could be drained of energy and have to wait for an NPC 'medic' or black market trader to charge them up, which might be accompanied by a lecture or a fee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AI: Unauthorized presence detected.
Unit X49281 identified.
Station of origin A3276 confirmed.
Returning unit to station of origin.

And the player (X49281) would be able to 'hack' restoration points to mark it as the place to return to if he's ever captured or otherwise found incapacitated. Perhaps include confiscation of contraband items when captured.


Interesting spin. Not quite terrifying, but would solve that question of avoiding the death it self. I imagined the AI less intelligent, but it could be changed ofcourse. Although, it only would achieve that player has to spend few minutes extra walking back to same place, possible picking up lost energy. Then again, considering how few mechanics we have in the game maybe I am asking for too much? =P



Not sure what the exact style of the player/monster but, the AI monster could "eat" you and either spit-launch you back to an earlier place/checkpoint, or move around and poop you out elsewhere (adds some comedy) :)

Or, he could knock you off/push you around/make your life hard unless you do something like use energy somehow to distract it/send it scurrying off (so basically you have to sacrifice energy for some peace and quiet.)

Hope that helps.


Cool that you suggested the energy sacrifice mechanic! It is something we are considering to add some form of micromanagement to the game, in terms of either powering up the beacons faster, or getting rid of the AI for the instance.


Mechanical ships or characters are often stripped of upgrades as a punishment for being captured or shot. Being returned to a starting point is a similar method of making them lose progress. Or they could be drained of energy and have to wait for an NPC 'medic' or black market trader to charge them up, which might be accompanied by a lecture or a fee.


Hm, some form of upgrades for easier navigation/movement could be introduced, thou since the games main objective is not action/AI fighting, returning to starting point would only result in some extra time to get back which is done relatively easy. There is also none else on the island except for the player and AI monsters to charge you up.. but that too could be changed.

Thanks for all the replies!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is also none else on the island except for the player and AI monsters to charge you up.. but that too could be changed.

One of the AI monsters went rogue and is willing to help for a fee? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Since the player character is biomechanical, why not make the checkpoints garbage stations in which the roaming AI sends the character back to in a humorous way?{perhaps in a garbage bag or for an extra effect, turned into a cube like what happens with recycled metal in which the character must fix itself from?}

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How about making the player's life more and more difficult?


In some games, certain enemies or pick-ups cause the player's input to be interpreted backwards -- that is, you press the key to move left, but your character goes right. This can be quite confusing briefly after the change, and then causes another brief confusion and lack of control when the effect is turned off again.

You could apply random effects to the character to make accomplishing your goal more difficult -- perhaps you get squashed, making movement slower and more awkward. You could be thrown to another random location so that you have to spend time figuring out where you are and may have to alter your intended goal. You could be marked with a scent that attracts many more AI to your location.

How about if you simply lose some/all of your collected energy, but energy taken from you by an AI agent is gone forever, and there is only a finite amount on the island -- if you lose too much it becomes impossible to accomplish your goal.


Just a few ideas, hope something there helps! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The only way to make the player anxious even when they have gotten used to the game is to threaten them with a concrete loss. And the only concrete loss you have to offer in run-of-the-mill game is consuming the player's time. (I'd actually like to see a modern network game where you pay for failures with real money, exactly like you insert credits on physical arcade cabinets. This would offer interesting design possibilities distinct from existing arcade games because there would be no limitations on game length.)

Furthermore, the only loss that threatens the player is that which they can prevent. Consequently a loss that has already happened isn't threatening the player anymore. If you want the player's losses to be small on average but make them anxious to avoid goofing up, I suggest that right after they goof up you threaten them with a large setback and let them frantically (but reliably) work to reduce it to a small one, like Sonic's rings which can be picked back up after a crash. A more extreme example of this is Steel Battalion, which allows you to perform a last-second eject to save your mech pilot from permanent death. Demon's Souls is different in that the offered damage mitigation is not a short process and very much not guaranteed.

Score is another, kind of orthogonal way to punish the player. The beauty of it is that score losses do not affect the player who is strictly playing for survival/completion. When a player playing for score recognizes they have accumulated too much punishment to reach a high score, it's a game over of sorts. They might keep playing to practice the endgame or just for the heck of it, but there is a fair chance they'll just restart for a new "run".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
After some consideration I think a return to start point in some non-lethal way (the level is not that big that running will get annoying) and the loss of collected energy which is essential for completing the game would result in a decent mechanic. And as Stroppy suggested, a score of how much energy you collected in total could be a nice bonus! Thanks everyone for the inputsmile.gif

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.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!