Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

krez

[not the usual] stats in RPG [flamewar]

Recommended Posts

krez    443
i have seen this come up on various posts here, but mostly that was people flaming each other (oops did i do that?). i am working on my RPG (just like everyone else who isn''t programming a 3D engine or a FPS), and i want to know what would make more people happier: (1) numerical stats for stuff (strength/intelligence, HP/MP, SwordFighting skill, et cetera) so the player can closely track everything. also, numerical experience. (2) hidden numerical stats. there have to be numbers here, you know, otherwise there is no way to change/improve the characters. but, a LOT of people have complained that there are too many numbers and/or numbers don''t accurately reflect reality and/or some players are lame and only care about high numbers and it ruins the game. so, as a compromise, the characters get say a life bar which is always say, 100 pixels wide, and it shows a "percent of health" rather than a "HP/MaxHP" thing. thus, when he gets chopped up he never finds out how many HP damage was done, but the player just sees him lose half his life bar (a weak character might lose 50% life, while a "tank warrior" type might barely notice). yes, it still uses numbers for all you dissenters, but at least it tries to make it less a number-crunching game. (3) give the player a choice. i like the hidden numbers idea (as you probably can tell by the length of that choice above), but i am afraid that it might scare off hardcore RPGers. whatchu think? --- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zole    122
My two cents: I like hidden stats idea. Of course, if you''re doing that, you have to present the information in some other way, and since this is uncharted territory (mostly) you''ll have to put a lot of work into refining that. (Example: when a character''s hit points are below 50%, try to make them look more tired/injured in the character animation, rather than just having them kneel when they hit 10%.) Some advantages if you pull it off:

- I''d say it''ll not only be more fun, but more inviting to people who aren''t "hardcore RPGers". People who play RPGs like working a job are used to the idea that a character''s health is presented as a number; functional members of society [joking] are going to be a bit put off by that.

- When I''m playing an RPG, I''m always hesitant to use healing items until it''s absolutely necessary, so my characters end up dying because they had 40 HP and the enemy hit them for 41. If all you get is a bar, the player ends up thinking of their characters as "injured" or "healthy". This allows the player to think about the game rather than the stats. See also DOOM, which gives you a percentage, but you can also see how you''re doing from the face at the bottom of the screen, a much clearer indicator.

- Does anyone actually look at the stats (besides HP) in Final Fantasy? In particular, I haven''t played attention to experience since the original Dragon Warrior, when your level actually had an impact on the gameplay. When it comes to game mechanics, less is more.

- Zelda didn''t use numbers to express health and I think it has one of the more intuitive health displays of any RPG. (Side note: I used to define quest games with numerical stats as "RPGs" and other quest games as "adventure". I think I was missing the point.)

In short, I say go for it. It might be harder to do well, but you''re up for a challenge, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
krez    443
quote:
Original post by Zole
My two cents: I like hidden stats idea. Of course, if you''re doing that, you have to present the information in some other way, and since this is uncharted territory (mostly) you''ll have to put a lot of work into refining that. (Example: when a character''s hit points are below 50%, try to make them look more tired/injured in the character animation, rather than just having them kneel when they hit 10%.)

well, there''s always that old "life bar turns red" gag... but yah, assuming my artist doesn''t shrivel up and die i''d have various "status" versions of the characters.
quote:
When I''m playing an RPG, I''m always hesitant to use healing items until it''s absolutely necessary, so my characters end up dying because they had 40 HP and the enemy hit them for 41. If all you get is a bar, the player ends up thinking of their characters as "injured" or "healthy". This allows the player to think about the game rather than the stats. See also DOOM, which gives you a percentage, but you can also see how you''re doing from the face at the bottom of the screen, a much clearer indicator.

yah i hate it when that happens i''m not sure about the "life bar" thing, it was just a generalization of the hidden-numbers idea... poisoned, stoned, hungry, sleeping (side note: strange that i should pick those "conditions" in that order) would be displayed with either icons somewhere, or a "zzz" bubble, or a green face, etc... obviously some things are going to be hard to take the numbers out of (intelligence bar? nah!), but hopefully i will figure it out.
quote:
Does anyone actually look at the stats (besides HP) in Final Fantasy? In particular, I haven''t played attention to experience since the original Dragon Warrior, when your level actually had an impact on the gameplay. When it comes to game mechanics, less is more.

i have spent way too much time re-equipping and comparing stats in some games (not because i enjoy it, but rather because that was the only way to know how strong a weapon/armor was). i''d rather have the shopkeep say, "i see you have a long sword, and you look pretty strong. you''d be better off with this two-handed sword." than have to look in the docs or worse yet (gasp) check a stat screen after saving and buying the prospective new weapon. it would seem more realistic (that whole "suspension of disbelief thing"), and more fun.
quote:
Zelda didn''t use numbers to express health and I think it has one of the more intuitive health displays of any RPG.

getting your hearts back by visiting a fairy is soooo much better than drinking a "heal 50HP potion".

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Resident Evil is pretty good about displaying health. You have an EKG which is either green, yellow or red, and on top of that the more hurt you are the more you limp around. You are never quite sure how much more damage you can take. IE you can''t just say "Zombies do 10 damage max and I have 12 HP so might as well save my herb..." It adds a lot to the suspense because you are never sure exactly when you can bite it.

In terms of other stats, I agree with the other poster that most people don''t look at them too much anyway. Things like "strength" and "agility"...who cares? Higher is better than lower but other than that...

One thing you would want to do though is make sure people can equip items and such properly, which means things like armor need some sort of hint about effectiveness. You don''t want the person to have to equip something and try it a few times just to figure out if it is better than they already have. Same with healing items and such. You don''t need numbers but you need something, different descriptions or colors or general ratings or some naming scheme.

Like you could have potion, potion+, and potion++, each one healing more than the last. What you want to avoid is having a bunch of healing items with different names and it isn''t clear which is better/worse. Same with armor and weapons. If I have a "broadsword" and I get a "longsword" it would be nice to have some idea of which one is better at what.

JM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
krez    443
quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Resident Evil is pretty good about displaying health. You have an EKG which is either green, yellow or red, and on top of that the more hurt you are the more you limp around. You are never quite sure how much more damage you can take. IE you can''t just say "Zombies do 10 damage max and I have 12 HP so might as well save my herb..." It adds a lot to the suspense because you are never sure exactly when you can bite it.

that''d be interesting... i like it, but i think i''d want to give a bit more of a scale. any other opinions on this?
quote:
One thing you would want to do though is make sure people can equip items and such properly, which means things like armor need some sort of hint about effectiveness. You don''t want the person to have to equip something and try it a few times just to figure out if it is better than they already have. Same with healing items and such. You don''t need numbers but you need something, different descriptions or colors or general ratings or some naming scheme.

well, my [unrefined] plans for this are as follows:
weapons and armor are made of various materials, and have other properties (sword, axe, vest, full-plate, et cetera). so, generally, leather < bronze < steel < silver or something along those lines. rather than having "magic armor of +25 defense", any special (magic) weapons and armor are going to be the same strength (defense/damage/whatever) as the [high-end] regular weapons and armor, but have special effects (fire damage, extra dexterity, extra defense against fire attacks). that way, the big bad expensive armor won''t make characters into tanks, and also the choice of which one to use is based on what effects you want, not on which has a higher number (different armor/weapons are better for different situations). i was planning on making the names reflect all this though, as well as having NPCs around that know about all this stuff (like that old ex-soldier who''s hobby is getting drunk and hanging out in front of the swordsmith''s shop).
quote:
Like you could have potion, potion+, and potion++, each one healing more than the last. What you want to avoid is having a bunch of healing items with different names and it isn''t clear which is better/worse. Same with armor and weapons. If I have a "broadsword" and I get a "longsword" it would be nice to have some idea of which one is better at what.

i had [what i think is an original] idea about potions too; it''s kinda sorta related so i might as well ramble on...
color-coded potions have been around as long as RPGs have, but i though up a twist on this. when a potion is made (whether by a character, or by the "supplier" or the potion shop guy) it is given a potency number (say, 0 - 255). this is represented by the shade of the potion. so, a red potion (um, a heal potion... why the hell not?) that is well made will be a bright red color, and restore a lot of HP. if it is poorly made (say, 128 potency) it will be dull red/gray, and only restore a small amount. only a fool would drink a potion with less than 50% potency; shops generally have 75% or higher potency potions, and of course like fine wine (only magical) the good ones cost more.
as far as swords go (just for an example of how weapons are handled), a broad sword and a long sword made of the same material would have the same base damage number, but have slight differences in what techniques/moves can be used, and range, and whatnot (so again, it depends on the situation as well as the character''s skills).

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zole    122
quote:
"Original post by Anonymous Poster
You are never quite sure how much more damage you can take. IE you can't just say "Zombies do 10 damage max and I have 12 HP so might as well save my herb..." It adds a lot to the suspense because you are never sure exactly when you can bite it."

that'd be interesting... i like it, but i think i'd want to give a bit more of a scale. any other opinions on this?


Not sure what you mean by scale, but how about this - when a character's health starts falling below 75% or so, have their chance-to-hit and damage fall off on a curve (so they'd be hitting at close to full efficiency at 70% and 50%, but missing most of the time at 10%). Let's say you've got a fighter who never misses, but he takes a few swipes from your boss creature and suddenly he can't land a hit. This gives you another incentive to keep your characters in full health, too. In addition, at 90% health maybe he's got 4-5 different fancy moves (attack animations) but by 25% he's down to just a simple stab. Just brainstorming.

quote:
as far as swords go (just for an example of how weapons are handled), a broad sword and a long sword made of the same material would have the same base damage number, but have slight differences in what techniques/moves can be used, and range, and whatnot (so again, it depends on the situation as well as the character's skills).


This is a good line of thought. I think battle-heavy RPGs should pay more attention to the skills of the sword-wielder and less to the sword. For example: at the start of the game a fighter is equally (un)skilled at all types of swords, but you gain skill with the type of weapon you use. (Sounds simple, but I don't know of many mainstream RPGs that implement something like this.) At the beginning of the game you get a little bit of customization as you decide what kind of weapon you want to try, but you can always switch and start again. But you've probably already thought of that.

quote:
i was planning on making the names reflect all this though, as well as having NPCs around that know about all this stuff (like that old ex-soldier who's hobby is getting drunk and hanging out in front of the swordsmith's shop).


Sounds good. I like the idea of armor as an element of the game that's worth a decision. My memories of Final Fantasy involve going to a new town, finding (surprise!) better weapons and armor, and upgrading (since I'd inevitably have enough money). That's not a meaningful choice. Giving armor extra effects throws some actual gameplay into that. I'd suggest that they be more diverse than resistence to fire attacks and such, because that's a little too pragmatic - if you're going into the Lava Cave to fight the Fire Elemental, of course you're going to want fire-resistent armor; otherwise, you're just sort of guessing. I'm not coming up with any ideas to make it more interesting than that, though, so maybe I should shut up.

Anyway, krez, these are all good ideas, keep brainstorming.

Edited by - Zole on January 3, 2002 12:18:02 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dwarf with Axe    277
The RPG that I wrote years ago used the models..

When the player begins to take damage, his character model (the one that he plays) begins becoming bloodier and slower. Pretty soon, he is limping, the skin is bloody, and he can barely fight...

Or hell, do something like wolfestein/doom/etc.. Display your character with a beat up face as you take damage. =)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Zole

Sounds good. I like the idea of armor as an element of the game that''s worth a decision. My memories of Final Fantasy involve going to a new town, finding (surprise!) better weapons and armor, and upgrading (since I''d inevitably have enough money). That''s not a meaningful choice. Giving armor extra effects throws some actual gameplay into that


(I am the same AP as above)

I agree that upgrading weapons and armor is usually a formality. You have the money, you buy the stuff. It is essentially levelling up but based on game progress rather than time spent.

However, to do something different will depend a lot on the combat. In real life there are reasons to wear leather, plate or chain mail, one isn''t always strictly better than the other. The question is if you can translate that into your game. If armor just has one stat called "defense" obviously you can''t do much with it.

I really agree that these choices should be non-trivial and cater to things like play style. Maybe one type of armor generally protects better but also makes you slower in combat, or another has more room (pockets or weighs less or whatever) to carry stuff in. Or maybe things actually cost enough so that you have to decide what is worth upgrading and what is worth compromisng on. Do you minorly upgrade both weapons and armor or upgrade your armor quite a bit and switch to a cheaper blade to make up the difference? Maybe the best armor will depend on what skills you currently have...

IMO one of the most important things to do in a game is give people non-trivial choices - especially in games where things like play control and action aren''t a real factor. When you think about a menu-driven leisurely paced game like an RPG making choices is really the *only* thing you do.

I remember playing Front Mission for the SNES. (Japanese game) You could upgrade your mechs, and certain upgrades were better in certain areas. One set of legs would protect less but let you move one space further, while another would let you carry more weight but had poor range. Unfortunatly there was always a most expensive brand that combined the best of each, so the choice ended up being trivial unless for some reason you were short on cash...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
I don''t know what format you are producing this game in but if you are using some kind of 3d perspective then how about this

I really like the potion idea, how about rather than using colour shades use opacity, so that a powerful health potion would be bright thick red (like your blood) whereas a weak potion would be quite transparent and looks watery and diluted so the gamer knows it is weak. Possibly you could make them similar prices so that the gamer has to examine each potion to see its potency befor buying, rather than saying selling 6 x Potion1, 2 x Potion2, etc. So the gamer would have to make a choice of which potion to buy not simply on price.

One of the best combat systems I have come across is in Severance: Blade of darkness. I really liked then energy bar idea so that you char can''t just go swinging his weapon about like a crazed madman until the enemy is dead. Also it had excellent damage shown on the actual characters, slashes, blood stains, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
krez    443
quote:
Original post by Zole
Not sure what you mean by scale,

i just mean more than "hurt, ok and great". maybe like "dying, mauled, hurt, ok, great" or something, i dunno...
quote:
but how about this - when a character's health starts falling below 75% or so, have their chance-to-hit and damage fall off on a curve (so they'd be hitting at close to full efficiency at 70% and 50%, but missing most of the time at 10%). Let's say you've got a fighter who never misses, but he takes a few swipes from your boss creature and suddenly he can't land a hit. This gives you another incentive to keep your characters in full health, too. In addition, at 90% health maybe he's got 4-5 different fancy moves (attack animations) but by 25% he's down to just a simple stab. Just brainstorming.

ooh, that sounds neat...
quote:
Sounds good. I like the idea of armor as an element of the game that's worth a decision. My memories of Final Fantasy involve going to a new town, finding (surprise!) better weapons and armor, and upgrading (since I'd inevitably have enough money). That's not a meaningful choice. Giving armor extra effects throws some actual gameplay into that.

that's the way i see it (not that i didn't just love spending twice as much for the next armor, for a +2 defense). this would help both realism and gameplay.
quote:
I'd suggest that they be more diverse than resistence to fire attacks and such, because that's a little too pragmatic - if you're going into the Lava Cave to fight the Fire Elemental, of course you're going to want fire-resistent armor; otherwise, you're just sort of guessing. I'm not coming up with any ideas to make it more interesting than that, though, so maybe I should shut up.

oh, i know... that was just a quickly-thought-up example to get my point across...

AP: oh, no... i'm not going 3D yet... although hopefully (and this is a big hopefully) i will make the engine modular enough that i can easily plop a different interface (read: 3D) on it without changing anything internal. then, the sequel...

quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
However, to do something different will depend a lot on the combat. In real life there are reasons to wear leather, plate or chain mail, one isn't always strictly better than the other. The question is if you can translate that into your game. If armor just has one stat called "defense" obviously you can't do much with it.

true... but this isn't a problem with me; my problem is that i like to make things too complex. for example, i was originally going to have non-magical/non-special weapons and armor able to rust or get dull (both of which can be fixed, for a price), or actually break in pieces (when attacking/being attacked by a much stronger item (i.e. a steel bastard sword would snap a copper shortsword right in half)). but this would take time and resources, and i realized that it would make the game suck if you had to carry an extra sword (or two if away from town for a while), and still have to sharpen it even if it doesn't outright break.
sorry about that ramble.
but back to what you said, heavy armors would slow you down; leather makes less (or no) noise. right now my [prospective] armor class has like 10 properties (mass, material, encumberance(dexterity reduction, not the AD&D type), stab-protection, slash-protection, blunt-protection, et cetera). chain mail is good against slashing (sword fight) attacks but if you are hit with a giant hammer/club or shot with an arrow you are screwed.
quote:
I really agree that these choices should be non-trivial and cater to things like play style.

imagine that... shopping in an RPG that isn't just "what costs most, because that has the best stat."
quote:
IMO one of the most important things to do in a game is give people non-trivial choices - especially in games where things like play control and action aren't a real factor. When you think about a menu-driven leisurely paced game like an RPG making choices is really the *only* thing you do.

i hope to make every choice non-trivial. no matter what type of character is built, i want them to be able to work through the game however they see fit. if someone wants to get a big sword and kill everything until he is a tank, let him; but i'm tired of that so i want to throw in plenty of other options (if all goes well with the design, a thief character should be able to go through the game with only a handful of battles, as it would be silly for a thief character (even the "hero" one) to slug it out when he can be sly instead).

EDIT: changed "shit with the array" to "shot with an arrow"...

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

Edited by - krez on January 4, 2002 12:21:41 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites