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Third-person action RPG roguelike

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So, now that I lost my bartending job, I'm back to game design! (And eating ramen noodles with my cats while my daughters are at their mother's house, but that's not the point.) So, here's a game concept that's very fresh, here to be presented (with the help of Crown Royal, also not the point, just remember I am not 100% coherent right now but I AM trying). And with each section, I actually have a question I would like answered within the context of that section. So, here's what I've got so far, and all my questions about them.

 

Roguelike with a survival twist:

The game is a roguelike... Kinda. It's not a true roguelike, mind you, it's in 3d and real-time with no permadeath option, but it's still a procedurally generated RPG. However, the game is also a survival game, and as such you have needs and will do a lot of crafting. Healing is extremely limited, and the environment is dangerous enough to make all these facts so far a problem. Damage is to be avoided at all costs, enemies are strong enough to be a serious threat to you one on one (if you fuck up), and the environment itself is a hazard you need to contend with. New players are not expected to make it far into the game, and instead are expected to get a mocking achievement for doing something incredibly stupid within the first few minutes of play. (Such as "F1=F2=GM1M2/R2" for finding out the hard way that the game does, indeed, have falling damage.)

 

The game is not, however, a full survival game. There are goals besides "don't die", and much of the game functions like an action-RPG, with questlines and character progression taking a major emphasis in the game's design. It also isn't 100% procedurally generated, there are large pre-built cells that appear in the game at random (when certain conditions are met). These include unique NPCs and questlines, hand-crafted encounters and scripted interactions like any other game. And what's more, there will be quite a few in the game, as the game comes with a cell creator that lets you make your own custom areas with custom NPCs and questlines as you please, and allows you to upload them to the community where they will be included in other people's games automatically. (Measures will be taken to reduce the prevalence of unbalanced cells, by having the game rate the difficulty and available resources in a cell automatically and adjust the chance of it appearing accordingly.) That said, the survival and roguelike elements are still in play, despite the game playing like an action-RPG most of the time and it's quite easy to get ganked on the way due to bad decision making.

 

Death is extremely harsh in this game. It causes you to lose all items, pass a lot of time (damaging some items, destroying most consumables), lose all unspent experience and progress the hidden "hollowing" meter (basically an insanity meter) by quite a bit. This means death is to be avoided at all costs, and you should be trying to avoid unnecessary risks. If you see half a dozen NPCs coming at you and are thinking "I can take 'em", you deserve what happens next. (When the BEST case scenario is they just beat the crap out of you, you really shouldn't be getting involved.)

 

Question: What, do you think, is the best way to convince players that there's no shame in avoiding a fight?

 

Controls:

I'm going to keep this short. This is a third-person, action RPG with lock on. You played Dark Souls? Yeah, like that. The controls work pretty much exactly like Dark Souls, with a few exceptions that are hardly worth mentioning. (Press R1+R2 to block with right weapon and L1+L2 to block with left weapon, and blocking is timed like DS parrying. Otherwise, pretty much identical.) That's more or less how the game functions on the immediate surface.

 

Move sets are very much the same for weapons. R1/L1 to swing, R2/L2 to thrust. Tap to light attack (you should be doing this most of the time), hold briefly to medium attack, hold all the way to strong attack. Press the left thumbstick (I'll figure out mouse and keyboard later... with your help, I play action RPGs with a controller) to aim, and the longer you aim between attacks the faster (this is the only benefit) the final attack is. This can technically leave you frame-positive on attacks, but is mostly there to reduce the time the enemy has to react to your attacks and make it harder to time dodges and parries. There are two defenses that are active. These are evasion and guards. 

 

Basically, evade by tapping B (I said I was cloning souls controls, and I meant it) and you will quick-step in a given direction (rolling is ridiculous), and a small part of your anim (starting after the start-up phase, right when you start moving) will have I-frames, a percentage of the total anim (which lasts 1.2s with a speed multiplier of 1, but everybody will have more than that, see "stats") equal to the stated score (10-20 for typical characters) rounded to the nearest frame. The dodge anim has a set start-up phase, step phase and recovery phase equal to 1/6, 1/2 and 1/3 of the total anim, respectively. The first Evasion*2% are invincible, though the animation also allows you to physically move outside the range of an attack and evade through that. To that end, evasion also increases the distance of your dodge by 1% per point without increasing your travel time. This makes it (slightly) easier to just get out of the way. Your overall speed multiplier (1+0.05*AGL) is important here as it speeds up all animations, so a high agility character has a shorter start-up to respond to faster attacks and dodges faster. (Most characters have an agility of 10-20, and with it an evasion of 10-20, so a 0.8-0.6s dodge with 5-7 I-frames. Obviously, a shorter animation with more I-frames is better, so pump agility and dodge better.)

 

Guard by tapping L1+L2 or R1+R2 (this determines whether you guard left or right handed). Left handed guards work on attacks from the front and left, right handed guards work on attacks from the front and right. Guards have a base anim time of 0.6s with a speed multiplier of 1, so twice as fast as evades. The frames are also after 1/6 of the animation (set-up time), and the percentage of the anim that counts is equal to your guard score. Your overall speed multiplier also speeds this anim, allowing blocks to be spammed much harder. Guard does not render you invincible, but it does redirect damage to your arms where it causes less health and poise damage (already worth it, though arms are more easily crippled so don't try to block weapons bare-handed) and adds DR from any implements you are using (some more than others), tanking weaker attacks and complimenting gauntlets nicely. Shields do not provide extra DR, but add to your guard score (up to 20) to make this much easier, especially for low-skill fighters. Heavy shields and blades provide the most DR, medium shields and hatched weapons are in the middle, light shields and polearms provide the least, but all are significant.

 

I don't have a full button set yet for controller, and don't know what to do for mouse and keyboard. So that's the question for this section. Do you guys know about what to do for mouse and keyboard for a game with this kind of gameplay?

 

NPC interactions:

I want NPC interactions to be as realistic and engaging as possible in a procedural game. So, here's the points I have so far.

 

1. NPCs are all individuals... Sorta.

Even procedurally generated NPCs have a personality type (Myers-Briggs) an assortment of random personality traits that make them different from eachother (IE: Some NPCs are bigots and will hate you for your species/subspecies/sex/age/traits, while some other NPCs are reclusive and will avoid all other NPCs and the player as much as possible), a set of biases on top of that (for determining their actions) that are randomly generated but permanent to an NPC once assigned (IE, some NPCs will be more or less aggressive than others with that personality type), alter behaviour from in-game experiences (IE: An NPC that has lost a fist fight with the player will be either more submissive or more aggressive in future interactions with them), and all of this is filtered through a reputation system with groups (making their responses either more positive or negative based on your reputation) and a random number generator for best results. As a result, NPCs feel more individual and more like actual people, though this also means sometimes NPCs will act completely crazy and make no sense... Also like real people. (You know, I once had a lady punch me in the face because I told her I was actually looking at her crucifix, not her tits. I also once had a coworker refuse to ever talk to me again after I said "Well honestly, I've never seen the original [Star Trek] series, I mean I was born in '85.". People are fucking weird.)

 

2. NPCs are like real people... Sorta.

NPCs also interact in a more realistic manner with the player than in other games, and the same goes for interactions with eachother. This means they will often harass, bully and bluster, and if you pull a knife and start stabbing YOU are the bad guy because being a prick does not warrant a death sentence. It also means that a lot of them will only take so much of your shit before you catch some hands, and it also means we need a less-lethal fight system in the game to accommodate for the fact that most players will be cruising for a bruising and eventually will get it.

 

3. NPCs want stuff... Sometimes.

NPCs all have a particular circumstance where they will have something they want on a regular basis. For one example, some NPCs have the "alcoholic" trait, and late at night (after the bars are all set to close down) will wander around the cell where the bar is and approach any player or NPC with alcohol on their person and beg them for some. This is exploitable, as they will offer much more than you could normally get for selling said alcohol, and it's easy to just patrol any cell where there's a bar and make money selling drunks more alcohol after the bars are closed. (Not proud to admit that I know this from experience, but I had a daughter to feed so... Yeah, that works in real life.)

 

4. NPCs will rock your shit. No qualifier needed.

NPCs also can fight, and very well. In terms of power, there is NO difference between an NPC and a player of the same stats, and their stats are usually a bit higher than yours when you first start out (and quite a bit lower later on, but still). They need to have good combat AI, varied attack patterns and a solid less-lethal combat system so that nobody has to die just because an NPC felt the need to correct the player's behaviour. The game vastly oversimplifies the matter, but basically as long as there are no weapons involved (excluding certain weapons designated as less-lethal), fights are less-lethal. However, if weapons are used in the fight, even unarmed attacks begin doing normal damage and can kill people quite happily. That means no, even if you're fighting somebody twice your size, you can't pull a knife.

 

The exact effect here is simple. All damage gets downgraded so that no hits are life-threatening. Regular attacks deal health damage and drain poise, so they knock off a little health and can stagger, knock down or knock out, but you could soak up a dozen punches and not only will it not be life threatening, it'll heal in less than a month. Crits deal body damage and can cause basic infections, but that's only bringing them up to what would be normal hits in regular combat. Crits in regular combat would, at this point, be causing massive bleeding (for blunt attacks like punches, this is internal bleeding) and either sepsis or necrosis depending on the damage type, so clearly in this variant combat is more forgiving and it's much less likely anybody is going to die. NPCs may stop attacking (depending on personality and random chance) after dealing a set amount of damage (cancelled if the other party keeps fighting), and there is a chance for both parties to stop (dependent on each of them and chance) upon staggers, knockdowns and each of the two stages of knockouts, each with increasing chance to end the fight immediately. (By the end, the base chance is 100% for both parties with the full minute knockout.)

 

You CAN kill people in less-lethal fights, there's a reason they aren't called "non-lethal", but it's difficult and you have to actually try. Basically, this requires continuing to beat somebody who is already down, which means working around the bystanders who are likely intervening the moment they're sure the other party is going to stay down (and often well before). Beating an NPC who is already down so badly that they are killed from the cumulative effects of the bruises and fractures you're inflicting is extremely unlikely to be an accident, and you will be seen as a murderer if you do so. Especially since intervening NPCs, if them calling off the fight is ignored, will start throwing punches of their own and will have to be dealt with to be able to keep beating on anybody. This isn't something anybody should be able to honestly say was an accident. I will not put in any circumstances in which NPCs will treat it as anything other than murder. End of story.

 

Question time: Has anybody used Myers-Briggs before? Got any advice?

 

Realistic damage:

Damage has three grades here. These are "critical", "shallow" and "minor". Minor damage just knocks off health (and poise, but all health loss affects that). Shallow damage deals damage to body parts and can easily cripple, it also causes basic infections that are rarely fatal but can sap health over the span of several days, making them an extra inconvenience (that is treatable) to the player. Critical damage causes bleeding (if kinetic) or direct vitality damage (energy damage), as well as either sepsis or necrosis (upgraded infections dependent on damage type), and easily kills targets. You deal critical damage if your final damage is over 1/2 of your total damage, regular if 1/2 or lower, minor if 1/4 or lower.

 

Poise is important to this game's combat. Poise is a stat based on your character's resolve score (one of your attributes, provides 1/2 its value in poise amongst other effects), and when it is exceeded you stagger. If you take twice it, you are knocked down. If you take four times, you are knocked out for 6s, and if you take eight times, you are knocked down for 60s. This works exactly the same way for NPCs. Poise is affected by all health damage, and is only affected by health damage and direct poise damage.  This means that even minor-damage attacks can stagger, knock down and knock out. This means that if you can deal a lot of damage in a short period, you can potentially render an enemy helpless and get an opportunity to deal more damage, even if your attacks are only dealing minor damage. Poise regens quickly, recovering to full every six seconds regardless of how badly drained it is.

 

Body damage is also important. Your attacks can hit any body part, and when they do they damage it and deals a location-dependent amount of health damage. Hits to the arms result in the easiest cripples but only deal 1/4 health damage, hits to the head are less likely to cripple as it has second most integrity next to the torso but it deals 4x health damage, torso shots are unlikely to cripple but it's the easiest target and deals 1x health damage, so on.

 

Now on to bleed. When critically hit by a kinetic weapon, you begin bleeding. External bleeding (slash, pierce and puncture crits) causes health damage every six seconds, depleting poise and quickly burning through health to strike vitality once the victim is unconscious. External bleeding skips health and goes direct to vitality, but only hits once every sixty seconds, though by skipping health it does not cause poise damage. Notably, external bleeding is easier to treat than internal bleeding, and severe internal bleeding is often an unstoppable death sentence if severe enough. (Being stabbed is doubleplusungood as a result, since it causes both.)

 

If you're confused about health and vitality, basically health works as it does in any other game. However, when you run out of health you lose consciousness instead of dying, and further damage goes to vitality. When you run out of vitality, you die. Additionally, once at 1/2 health you no longer regen stamina, and once at 1/2 vitality you no longer regen health. (Note that these were already realistically super slow. See "healing is hard", below.) Note that you can have full or near-full health and still run out of vitality and die.

 

Armour works:

Very simple, armour works. Armour provides DR (double if the armour type is strong against a given damage type), and has optional hard plating that absorbs a set amount of incoming damage after DR. You have two armour layers, able to mix and match armour types, and three armour weights that provide different amounts of DR with different integrity (different plate weights provide drastically different amounts of plate points). Armour is also locational. A breastplate will NOT protect you against a headshot, and greaves will not protect against arm shots either. There is a lot of customization potential here, have at it, just remember that the penalty for weight is serious. (It reduces movement speed, evasion and stamina regen.) I don't have firm numbers here yet, currently making a decision on the matter.

 

Question for this section: Best way to communicate local protection and body damage to the player? I see a damage chart like that of mecha games in my mind's eye, what do you think?

 

Healing is hard:

Healing is very, very slow in this game. There is no healing magic, no advanced medicine, nothing. You are relying on primitive surgery, medicine, food and natural regeneration. 

 

Primitive surgery is used to remove certain status effects (like infection), and to speed up natural regen, but doesn't actually heal. Medicine reduces or prevents certain status effects (like infection) and speeds up natural regen. Food just speeds natural regen. For the most part, you're waiting to heal on your own. Have you ever been injured in real life? Well, it's about that slow. Good luck.

 

By default, stamina recovers every minute, morale every hour, health every day, vitality every week and integrity every month. Resting for these full periods (you CANNOT rest more than one day in-game, so vitality and integrity are not affected by resting) will give a bonus to your heal rates. All food, medicine and surgery also just adds bonuses to natural regen, so that's easy to manage as well. It's worth noting that these listed increments represent an amount of healing equal to 1/2 constitution plus bonuses, not your full values. (IE: A medium creature with 10 constitution will have 100 health and heal 5 per day, so it will take 20 days with no bonuses and much less with bonuses to fully restore health.)

 

Further, crippling is an issue. Not only does body damage heal the slowest of all forms of damage, but a crippled body part (parts are crippled when they reach 0 integrity or lower) is disabled (for being at or below 0) and prevented from regenerating on its own so only bonuses to regen can help it. If a body part is maimed even worse (-100%) it is severed and cannot be healed at all. Yes, in-game you can have an arm chopped off and it'll stay off forever. A crippled (or severed) arm cannot be used, a crippled (or severed) leg means being stuck on the ground and moving half as fast, two crippled (or severed) legs means half as fast of movement as you could make with only one in such a state. Having your torso crippled (or severed) is identical to having both your legs crippled (or severed), having your head crippled means being rendered comatose, with decapitation being an instant death. Since these are so hard (and often impossible) to repair, this can often be quite nearly a permanent effect. As the game autosaves constantly and without your consent, yes, you may indeed be permanently stuck as a cripple for the rest of the save and have to work like that.

 

As healing is very hard, you need to avoid damage much more than in other games, as quickly replenishing what has been lost is simply not possible. The same also applies to your enemies, thankfully. Still, if you fuck up and get crippled, that is a problem that can be game-ending and simply isn't going away any time soon. I am absolutely serious when I tell you to avoid damage at all costs.

 

Question: I actually don't have one for this section.

 

Stats:

I will not be going into great detail here. You have strength (damage, movement speed, guard), agility (attack, evasion, overall speed, reflex defence), constitution (health, stamina, disease/curse resistance, regeneration), perception (detection, aiming attack speed), charisma (disposition, reputation, persuasion, bartering) and resolve (poise, morale damage resistance, morale regeneration) as your six attributes. These can be buffed a single point at a time up to twice their base value for your character at the cost of 2500xp/point.

 

There are talents (perks) as well that add additional passives and special abilities, these costs 5000xp. Lastly, skill ranks are far-reaching, transferable and massive bonuses to particular actions (such as the accuracy of ranged weapons, or the bleeding stopped by first aid), that cost a massive 10,000xp/rank and max out with 4 ranks invested.

 

Notably, you will start with 0-100,000xp depending on your age. The younger age groups start with less, but notably earn more experience in-game. You invest all of this immediately in-game, but normally you need to do a full day rest for each purchase done with XP. This means, yes, it takes time to invest the XP you earn. XP is also only earned through quests (including minor, generic radiant quests), nothing else counts, so grinding mobs is not a thing that happens.

 

Question for this section: I don't intend to list a relative power level based on experience investment, because I feel it is a vast oversimplification. Should I list one anyway, vast oversimplification or no?

 

Character creation:

There are five available species to play, and the first thing you do is pick one. These are goblins, hobgoblins, orcs, fae and spinners. Yes, I realize that those are not usually playable species, this is an entirely intentional choice. There are humans in this setting, there are halflings, elves, gnomes and dwarves, you just can't play them. I am intentionally forcing you to pick species normally south of neutral, and I am making a point doing so. I hope you understand without me having to spell it out.

 

Goblins are the original goblinoids, mutated halflings, with solid natural damage reduction and bonus stamina to allow for long stretches of action as long as you don't screw up and take a high-damage hit that your damage reduction (a point value, I remind you) isn't good against. Goblins are small, unfortunately, so despite their seemingly impressive abilities, high stamina and small hitboxes they are very fragile. As a goblin, you cannot tank damage for shit and fucking up will be the death of you very easily, so this is NOT for people who can't work a 3d action-RPG. If you haven't played one of these before, try a larger size.

 

Hobgoblins are mutated humans, with less damage reduction but larger size making them much tougher close up. This is likely the easiest to play, so please play this if you are so new to action-RPGs that you couldn't get through the original Fable.

 

Orcs are similar size to hobgoblins, but they completely lack the DR and extra stamina, instead having 5 bonus resistance to energy damage, including curses. If you intend to ever be on the surface during daylight hours, CHOOSE THIS SPECIES NOW.  They will resist 5 curse per application, that means they will only take curse damage 3/5 hours when nude, and with apparel will take less. It is NOT hard to reach to 10 curse resist required to make it so only curse storms (which deal MASSIVE curse damage on a regular basis and normally send even daywalkers scrambling for the tunnels... I'll explain how this make sense under "setting" later) can actually curse the character.

 

Fae are a tiny species with no special defenses, but despite their tiny size and extreme fragility, they have one special ability: They can fly. Falling damage is meaningless to a fae as they glide gently to the ground and never take damage, and they can fly short distances at a high stamina cost. However, their wings are vulnerable and crippling them will weaken their flight, allowing them to take damage and slowing flight speed. That said, despite being the most fragile in actual combat, non-idiotic players can make quite a bit of use of their tiny size and flight capabilities.

 

Spinners are a small species of aberrations with the upper half of their body being a gnome and the lower half being a spider the size of a dog. They have a fair bit of DR and ER on their spider half and have a poisonous bite, and in exchange for a LOT of stamina, they can produce webbing to use as rope, allowing them to rappel down cliff faces and keep the string for later use. This species is mostly good for exploration, not combat, but it is VERY good for exploration so keep it in mind if you aren't the fighting type.

 

Past this, pick a sex and age. This will determine base stats, and your appearance. You cannot play an older character (and obviously cannot be an infant) in this game, so this is just six combinations of age and sex.

 

Third, allot your experience. That means taking talents (5000xp), increasing attributes (2500xp) and advancing skills (10000xp) with the 0, 50,000 or 100,000 experience you will have dependent on your age.]

 

Fourth, customize aesthetics like skin, hair and eye colour, hair style and the like.

 

Now, start the game. (You will not have any items or equipment when you start, for the record, which is why you don't get any options for such here.)

 

Question: I had one, but I forgot. Lemme get to that at some later date.

 

Setting:

This game is set in "Limbo". (Which is a lot of the reason I don't have a title.) Limbo is a supposed "afterlife", sometimes described as an "after-afterlife", one step before you simply stop existing. That said, the afterlife in this game's universe is a complete sham, so really it's just a planet with bizarre inhabitants. It's inhabitants are "spirits", which are actually physical beings that are copies of living beings that have since died, or of said copies, or copies of... You get the idea. They remember all the past versions of "them", and unfortunately this presents an obvious issue with memory, as mortal minds do not have enough storage space for eternity. This means the characters have memory issues and rapidly lose theirs minds and break down over the decades as time goes on. (This affects the player with a hidden "hollowing" meter, causing mindfucky events to occur as time goes on, higher hollowing causing it more often, though it's always uncommon. Have fun wondering if things are bugs, features, or figments of your imagination.)

 

Limbo is a planet with a vast series of tunnels throughout its crust. The planet has five distinctive zones, (each 1km deeper than the last), a north and south (each of which actually has a city there, go ahead and make the trip), a 20-hour day and a cursed sun that streams death down to the surface.

 

Question for this segment: Opinions, please, on how much information needs to be immediately available to the player. More than listed here? Less? How much in either case? Taking all opinions, here. I can write an entire encyclopedia and make it fully available from day 1, or I can make it unlock one entry at a time, or simply not write it.

 

Wait, what about the sun?:

You are forced-ish to remain underground during daytime in this game. Basically, the sunlight on this planet deals "curse" damage. Being on the surface will make you sick. The actual symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever and immune suppression. In-game, this means you suffer a loss of fortitude (the stat that resists diseases), and once if runs out you gain less from food, water and sleep, until eventually they don't work at all. It is long-lasting and will quickly kill you by preventing recovery of these depleting needs meters.

 

Question for this segment: This condition isn't something you'd immediately feel. How best should I communicate "GO BACK THE SUN IS KILLING YOU." to the player, without actually spelling out that they need to go back inside because the sun is killing them?

 

So, why am I here again?:

You are here for one of two reasons. Most likely, you're losing your mind to time and got sent here so you can keep existing but the nicer "afterlives" don't have to acknowledge your existence or the inevitability of their people becoming like you. If that isn't it, your "god"'s (the "gods" divinity is debatable and most are KIA or MIA) servants sent you here because they didn't want to deal with you. Either way, you are now an unperson, in a land full of unpersons, losing your mind slowly in a world full of other people suffering the same fate. Eventually, in this game, you will reach a point where you're so far gone that the game is unplayable and you are forced to end it. The goal is to avoid this for as long as possible. That is, your goal is to survive and not go insane, the same as anybody else on this planet.Good luck. You'll need it.

 

Question: This is an early concept, in its infancy. What general feedback do you have, as to how to further develop said concept until it is actually a viable choice to start a project with?

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This project is quite large. You should simplify, but just for the fun of speculative game design.
 

Question: What, do you think, is the best way to convince players that there's no shame in avoiding a fight?

Maybe some items can give benefits when running, like boots that give a speed boost when moving any from enemies.
 

Question for this section: Best way to communicate local protection and body damage to the player? I see a damage chart like that of mecha games in my mind's eye, what do you think?

Maybe the character can shout. "My {{body part}}!" and pick from the list of cliche damage indicators, such as flashing, on just the {{body part}} whenever their {{body part}} gets hit
 

Question for this section: I don't intend to list a relative power level based on experience investment, because I feel it is a vast oversimplification. Should I list one anyway, vast oversimplification or no?

Read this: https://gamebalanceconcepts.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/level-1-intro-to-game-balance/
 

Question for this segment: This condition isn't something you'd immediately feel. How best should I communicate "GO BACK THE SUN IS KILLING YOU." to the player, without actually spelling out that they need to go back inside because the sun is killing them?

Maybe sunlight could be a different color such as green and you can play a ringing sound and the player could start to breath heavy with some sort of visual effect like blurring the edges of the screen whenever they are in the sun.
 

The actual symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever and immune suppression.

Just made me laugh trying to visualize how you communicate diarrhea to a player. Like, maybe your armor could develop pants stains after drawn out flatulent sounds.  :P 
 

Question: This is an early concept, in its infancy. What general feedback do you have, as to how to further develop said concept until it is actually a viable choice to start a project with?

This seems like a game with a huge scope. Perhaps if you were a game studio you could take on this project. Have you heard of the open source game Pixel Dungeon? https://github.com/watabou/pixel-dungeon You could take that game and try out some of your ideas by modifying that existing project. Just keep in mind if you actually branch a game off from pixel dungeon, the license may prevent you from selling the game since it is open source. Although that is okay if you just use your branch as a testing ground for some of your ideas. You will have to make your idea smaller if you plan on finishing it. Much much smaller.

Edited by HappyCoder

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This project is quite large. You should simplify, but just for the fun of speculative game design.

I know. I work in a funny order, so I always have to simplify.

Maybe some items can give benefits when running, like boots that give a speed boost when moving any from enemies.

Given that there's no usable magic, I can't do that. Talent, however, could have that effect.

Maybe the character can shout. "My {{body part}}!" and pick from the list of cliche damage indicators, such as flashing, on just the {{body part}} whenever their {{body part}} gets hit

On second thought, this is a stupid question in a third person game. Players can see their characters.

Read this: https://gamebalanceconcepts.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/level-1-intro-to-game-balance/

I will when I get home.

EDIT:
This isn't really relevant to my question. My question was just whether I should list an equivalent to experience level (IE: "Total Invested Experience") on your character information screen, since the game does not have actual experience levels.

Maybe sunlight could be a different color such as green and you can play a ringing sound and the player could start to breath heavy with some sort of visual effect like blurring the edges of the screen whenever they are in the sun.

The star is blue, blue sunlight makes sense. Giving it high glare and blur might help.

Just made me laugh trying to visualize how you communicate diarrhea to a player. Like, maybe your armor could develop pants stains after drawn out flatulent sounds. :P

No, not communicating symptoms beyond the status screen and inability to feed/hydrate/sleep effectively. I mean, nobody else communicates these symptoms, if they even know what the actual symptoms are, which they don't. (This "curse" is actually radiation poisoning. You are getting bombarded with x-rays.)

This seems like a game with a huge scope. Perhaps if you were a game studio you could take on this project. Have you heard of the open source game Pixel Dungeon? https://github.com/watabou/pixel-dungeon You could take that game and try out some of your ideas by modifying that existing project. Just keep in mind if you actually branch a game off from pixel dungeon, the license may prevent you from selling the game since it is open source. Although that is okay if you just use your branch as a testing ground for some of your ideas. You will have to make your idea smaller if you plan on finishing it. Much much smaller.

I know I need to simplify.

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1. What, do you think, is the best way to convince players that there's no shame in avoiding a fight?
2.a. Has anybody used Myers-Briggs before?
2.b. Got any advice?
3. Best way to communicate local protection and body damage to the player? I see a damage chart like
that of mecha games in my mind's eye, what do you think?
4. I don't intend to list a relative power level based on experience investment, because I feel it is a
vast oversimplification. Should I list one anyway, vast oversimplification or no?
5. I had one, but I forgot. Lemme get to that at some later date.
6. Opinions, please, on how much information needs to be immediately available to the player. More than
listed here? Less? How much in either case? Taking all opinions, here. I can write an entire
encyclopedia and make it fully available from day 1, or I can make it unlock one entry at a time, or
simply not write it.
7. This condition isn't something you'd immediately feel. How best should I communicate "GO BACK THE
SUN IS KILLING YOU." to the player, without actually spelling out that they need to go back inside
because the sun is killing them?
8. This is an early concept, in its infancy. What general feedback do you have, as to how to further
develop said concept until it is actually a viable choice to start a project with?


1. Granted that there are lots of ways to do that. You could have made this more palatable for us if you
had listed some that you think are good (and some that you think are not good, and why). Why not
just tell the player, "there's no shame in avoiding a fight"? You could do that in onscreen text or via a
narrator's voice or a buddy who accompanies you throughout the game, or...

2.a. Yes. Why do you ask? (I don't see the applicability of the question to the foregoing section.)
2.b. Ask more focused questions, and lay off the booze.

3. The damage chart seems fine. What is the problem with that option?

5. See part 2 of 2.b. above.

7. Why not just say "go back. The sun is killing you"?

8. See part 2 of 2.b. above, and write it. Ask for others' opinions when you are torn between what you
think are perfectly valid options for a particular problem.

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Question: What, do you think, is the best way to convince players that there's no shame in avoiding a fight?  

 

make them unwinnable. eventually they'll get the idea they will need to bypass them.  but making them very hard but winnable is even better - more gameplay options.

 

I see a damage chart like that of mecha games in my mind's eye,

 

that's how its typically handled. some sort of silhouette with colors/bars/numbers for each section. perhaps light blue for shields vs red for damage, that kind of thing. you can just list it by section (R leg, L leg, etc). it all depends on how fancy you want to get.

 

I don't intend to list a relative power level based on experience investment, because I feel it is a vast oversimplification. Should I list one anyway, vast oversimplification or no?

 

still debating that one myself for Caveman 3.0. at the moment, bonuses are no longer displayed, just amount of exp in each skill.  while its a matter of player preference for hard stats and numbers and bonuses and such vs more touchy-feely things like descriptions, i'm thinking that a move away from numbers will lead to more immersive gameplay experiences in games.  

 

Opinions, please, on how much information needs to be immediately available to the player. More than listed here? Less? How much in either case? Taking all opinions, here. I can write an entire encyclopedia and make it fully available from day 1, or I can make it unlock one entry at a time, or simply not write it.

 

whether a game is storyline based or otherwise, its always a waste to write more story than you'll need. figure out what you need, and write that. if you need more later, you can always change the plan.

 

This condition isn't something you'd immediately feel. How best should I communicate "GO BACK THE SUN IS KILLING YOU." to the player, without actually spelling out that they need to go back inside because the sun is killing them?

 

might have NPCs warn them, or warning signs, like in fallout.

 

What general feedback do you have, as to how to further develop said concept until it is actually a viable choice to start a project with?

 

sounds pretty cool, i'd grab unity/unreal/etc and start prototyping.

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make them unwinnable. eventually they'll get the idea they will need to bypass them.  but making them very hard but winnable is even better - more gameplay options.


I refuse to make them unwinnable or artificially difficult. They're already a huge risk, I just want to communicate to the players that whatever they're getting from a fight usually isn't worth the risk.
 

that's how its typically handled. some sort of silhouette with colors/bars/numbers for each section. perhaps light blue for shields vs red for damage, that kind of thing. you can just list it by section (R leg, L leg, etc). it all depends on how fancy you want to get.


There are no shields. This setting is just a little short on bronze age.
 

still debating that one myself for Caveman 3.0. at the moment, bonuses are no longer displayed, just amount of exp in each skill.  while its a matter of player preference for hard stats and numbers and bonuses and such vs more touchy-feely things like descriptions, i'm thinking that a move away from numbers will lead to more immersive gameplay experiences in games.


I just meant "Should I list all total experience invested?" I mean it as a replacement for levels, because there are no levels in this game.
 

whether a game is storyline based or otherwise, its always a waste to write more story than you'll need.


FROM wants to speak to you. Also, Bethesda. And a few indie devs, too.

figure out what you need, and write that. if you need more later, you can always change the plan.


The debate is how much to present to the player. I guess I'll just use the dialogue and descriptions strategy, it works well enough for Souls.
 

might have NPCs warn them, or warning signs, like in fallout.


The former is doable the first time. The latter, not so much.
 

sounds pretty cool, i'd grab unity/unreal/etc and start prototyping.


I have no artists right now. This will take time.

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Okay, so as I've said I work in a weird order, and always have to simplify my concepts. So, without further ado, here's three potential simplifications to the game. 

 

1. Make the game 2d.

I am very hesitant to actually do this one, and I hope that's understandable, but this one is almost certainly going to happen whether I like it or not. Making it 2d simplifies the art side of things, makes it easier to procedurally generate and allows me to start prototyping much faster. It'll be quicker, cheaper and easier and if it's a sidescroller it won't hurt the final product THAT much as the verticality of the game will be preserved. I have my doubts about the game's stealth mechanics when it's brought down to 2d, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

 

2. Scrap the encyclopedia.

This is one simplification that probably WON'T be happening. Basically, I cut down on the writing part of the job if I skip the encyclopedia entries for the pre-built areas, enemies and so forth. That doesn't mean I can't pack a lot of lore into dialogue and item descriptions, however.

 

3. Simplify enemy AI.

This speaks for itself. If I reduce enemy AI, I make things a lot easier. This isn't something I want to do, but may be forced to.

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Extremely focused question:
Do you players will pick up on yellow, orange and red damage numbers having different meanings, even when the number presented is the same aside from its colour? In particular, do you think they will intuit that a red number is more serious than an orange number that is more serious than a yellow number, even if the numbers are all, for example, 4?

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Extremely focused question:
Do you players will pick up on yellow, orange and red damage numbers having different meanings, even when the number presented is the same aside from its colour? In particular, do you think they will intuit that a red number is more serious than an orange number that is more serious than a yellow number, even if the numbers are all, for example, 4?


Personally, I have been conditioned by previous games to think that the colors would mean different damage types, but I do not believe that I would make the connection that one 4 is any better/worse than another 4. For example, I've played games where, say, Fire damage was red, poison was green, etc... But for me the better/worse condition of a number would depend entirely on the value of the number itself rather than the color.

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Personally, I have been conditioned by previous games to think that the colors would mean different damage types, but I do not believe that I would make the connection that one 4 is any better/worse than another 4. For example, I've played games where, say, Fire damage was red, poison was green, etc... But for me the better/worse condition of a number would depend entirely on the value of the number itself rather than the color.

 

 

Well then, how do you suggest I communicate this? I'll elaborate on the exact differences between the yellow, orange and red numbers.

 

Obviously, no damage numbers means the attack did no damage and you may as well be attacking them with harsh language.

 

Yellow means you dealt minor damage. Minor damage is inflicted when you deal 25% or less of your maximum damage, only draining enemy health and poise. In other words, this is a bruise. These hits are not going to maim or kill any target, it would take a ridiculous amount of pounding to whittle down their health this way and even then you'd need to beat through their vitality to actually kill them (as depleting health only renders them unconscious). The best thing to do with this damage is stun an enemy to make an opening to either change damage types, hit harder to try and break through their DR, strike a less armoured part of the target, or run. (Or just keep pounding, I guess. You should do more damage to them while they're on the ground, hopefully that'll pass the 25% mark.)

 

Orange means you dealt shallow damage. Shallow damage is inflicted when you deal 50% or less, but more than 25% damage. These hits are much nastier, causing body damage to allow them to maim opponents and inflicting infections that slow recovery and can (if severe enough) whittle down health over the span of several days. (Clearly, the issue of infection is mostly important when you're the one taking damage.) This is flesh wounds and closed fractures. Hits like this can maim enemies, disabling the maimed parts of the target and massively slowing regeneration. (That latter issue is also mostly important when it happens to you. You are basically forced to go through the rest of the game as a cripple if this happens. Thankfully, it takes a fair bit of damage to cripple.)

 

Red means you dealt vital damage. Vital damage is the default, inflicted whenever you deal above 50% damage. This is deadly, inflicting some form of bleeding depending on damage type (assuming we're talking kinetic damage). This will be either external bleeding (as inflicted by slash, pierce and puncture attacks) or internal bleeding (as dealt by bludgeon, pierce and puncture attacks). External bleeding lasts a very long time and quickly drains the target's health (then vitality, when health runs out), and internal bleeding lasts just as long, slowly draining the target's vitality and being immune to most treatments. It also causes nastier infections dependent on the damage type. This is ruptured organs and severed blood vessels. This is the damage you should be aiming to inflict, as it not only can maim enemies, the bleeding will easily kill them. You should also avoid it at all costs, as even if you stop the bleeding it can cost you a lot of health and/or vitality in a hurry before you have the opportunity, if you can even stop it completely.

 

It's very important that players understand the difference quickly. I would rather they not be pounding on an enemy for minor damage and be confused as to why they just won't die, and I'd also rather they not take vital damage and then be wandering around after the fight wondering why their health keeps doing down and what all those red particles falling from their character mean. It'd be even worse if they get crippled and don't understand why their arm is just hanging uselessly at their side, but I'm pretty sure they can at least figure that part out. (Though they should also be able to figure bleeding out pretty quick, I should hope.)

Edited by JustinS

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