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About solinear

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  1. solinear

    Paper Scissors Rock Combat

    You're oversimplifying to an extent that was not intended, is irrelevant and when you start including enough things, you end up with a rock/paper/scissors type scenario, but what happens when your scissors are made out of adamantium and you're talking about a pummous rock? That's what I'm talking about. The scissors will beat the rock and the paper and the rock is SOL. You'd have to find a rock made out of impervium or unobtanium ;) Something will always beat something else, it's the nature of how things are developed, ballistae are designed to knock down walls, not take out mobile units. But it's never as simple as rock, paper, scissors. You also missed the point where the footmen didn't gain an additional weakness (other than increased cost and potential marching distance in a day), they simply gained another strength. But you're trying to prove a point to someone who's went through most of the arguments and decided on his own path already. I also didn't state that I don't think that rock/paper/scissors scenarios and/or systems weren't valid, just that, as a designer, I prefer to spend my time fleshing out a more complex system with more variables than "Did you pick the rock, the paper or the scissors?", even if you make it 5 different units (or 4 or 5 or 9 different unit types).
  2. solinear

    Paper Scissors Rock Combat

    That would be one option, I wasn't necessarily thinking of it just as "Equip them with spears instead of sword and shield", more like that or "Equip them with spears in addition to a sword and shield". You end up with reducing their endurance (speed, whatever) and increasing their cost, but can gain flexibility. In the same token, you can have a really intense, quick fire spell that is made to set things on fire and do that whole "fireball thing", which won't have a significant impact on a water/ice based critter because the change would be too small and not enough of an extreme to have a significant imbact, or have a long-term spell that's not nearly so hot that will damage water-based creatures (making them boil) and ice critters (melting them), whatever. If you drop the temperature even more, but spread it out even more, you can make your enemy's troops exhaust more quickly to gain advantage in large scale battles. You might not do that "flash bang" damage, but the impact might be even more noticable when your enemy starts exhausting and making mistakes. Of course, this spell might have the opposite effect on a fire-based critter (or even critters from hot climates or with cold blood), envigorating them. Just because you've got a big fire-based spell doesn't mean that it's going to have an automatic + or - against water/ice critters. How the spell works has as much (if not more) impact on them. The fireball-type spell might do very little damage to an ice critter, but the long-term spell made to exhaust enemy troops would probably be fatal before too long. However, that fireball spell would probably have a significant impact on foliage (plant critters) and living things that are more succeptible to small changes in temperature. You increase the outer layer of these critters by 100 degrees and they have melted skin, damaged eyes and are in serious pain. Do that to a water critter and it's just a warm water critter now, some water evaporated, but the temperature change probably dispersed quickly throughout the critter and didn't do much of anything. I like things a little more complex and getting towards the 'realistic' end of things. I think it makes things more interesting and requires more thought (strategy) for the players.
  3. I guess I usually think of it like this: Easy - you just want to go through the game and get the story. Normal - This is how the game was 'intended' to be played. Hard - You've played it once on normal and while you enjoyed it, you want something more challenging... or you play games more than 20 hours a week and find most 'hard' levels to be pretty easy, even the first time around. Very Hard - You need to get out of your mom's basement, at the age of 27 you really should have a job (other than pizza delivery) or a girlfriend (no, watching La Blue Girl for the 19th time this week doesn't count).
  4. solinear

    Modern elements in fantasy game.

    I liked the way that Dune (the movie) and Star Wars dealt with it. There were reasons for the technology and reasons to use the 'low-tech' stuff. Also, magic is one of those things where technology might not necessarily work that great against critters based of magic. Magic shields can easily protect against small bullets. Magic and technology are one of those subjects where they just don't work well together. It is pretty difficult to justify using a sword when your opponent is shooting you 35 times before you get within the 5 feet that it would be necessary to use that sword, most of them being critical hits, which might incapacitate you. I know people want to have them in the same world, but it is almost never implemented well and trying to explain it is definitely the wrong way to go and usually just ends up with the problem worse than it was before you tried to explain it. The best routes that I've seen are generally the 'Final Fantasy' route, where you've got both and it's just a matter of which one is best for the character. My advice? Keep the magic where it belongs and keep the guns where they belong. Kinda like what happened with the Samurai - they got pretty obsolete when someone with 12 minutes instruction could easily kill a man who trained for his entire life. Skip the realism, just make the game fun and the mechanics will work themselves out.
  5. solinear

    Paper Scissors Rock Combat

    I dislike the whole rock/paper/scissors systems in games. Don't get me wrong, they have a basis in reality. Mounted troops generally beat (on a 1-1 basis) foot troops, bow troops have the advantage of first strike, but when engaged in melee, fall quickly, pike troops generally beat mounted troops. This is because everything was designed with a purpose in mind, usually a single purpose and other considerations are secondary. That being said though, I still dislike them being universally. I prefer things being a bit more granular. Infantry might have the advantage of being inexpensive, but if you equip (and train) them with more weapons, then they can be better against other types of targets. Everything is a variable - infantry when equipped with proper shields can largely nullify archers. Arm them with pikes and spears and they can get the 'initial strike' in against the horsemen, weakening the mounted troops before the actual engagement. I think that when considering combat, while simple is easiest, it's not the best, as long as you're not spending 4 months designing the system. Everything has strengths and while water is really strong against fire, make something 3000 degrees and that water is just so much vapor at the end of the day. So while most water-based spells would be very strong against fire-based creatures and fire might not be very strong against the water-based creatures, make that fire hot enough and it will be a completely different story. I guess I should say that everything has a context and everything should have some form of benefit against all other forms, whether it's equipping your infantry with a particular type of equipment, casting a particular spell from a class of spells or whatever.
  6. I think we're all forgetting that there are items which aren't quite so random, such as betting on a sports event (basketball, football, cricket, etc...). While they have some random factors, the ability to gamble and win on these activities is based upon knowledge of the sport and education. Most other gambling activities (including cards, to a certain extent) are dependent upon largely random chance. The huge difference between the two is that when you're playing games, you're trying to achieve a goal, defeat an opponent, overcome an obstacle, etc.... Gambling, you're doing it for the adrenaline rush, that chance that you're going to win this time. I play games a lot, it's a challenge of skill. I never gamble because it's random chance and I can guarantee that 95% of the people who gamble lose money eventually and while those who win are usually very, very good, they also know that there is a decent chance that they're going to lose today. Those that don't are probably cheating in some way. The basic differences though is that gambling is really about the money, gaming is about winning. Of course, the two commonly overlap, so there are a lot of similarities also.
  7. solinear

    Magic systems that are fun - Suggestions?

    I usually think of magic in a few terms. 1) Source. Is this magic generated from inside or simply channeled through the person? Is it part of the world at large or coming from some supernatural being? 2) Type. What can it affect? This can be part of the first, or independent. What it affects, is it because of training or because of it's nature? 3) What affects it? I think that this is what you are mostly talking about. I usually think in terms of reagents, focus items, the environment (geography, weather and the like) and the character's current state. All of these items work together. If you have mana that comes from the earth, a lodestone as a reagent, a staff from a great tree as a focus and you are in a great forest, you will channel different things more easily than if you are in the mountains using the same items. I think that the greatest problem with the magic systems in most RPGs is that they limit magic. Indeed, most games consider magic users (and unfortunately, almost every class of character) to be little more than another way of dealing damage. The unfortunate part of many RPGs today is that many of the options that were available in the older games (the Bard's Tale series comes to mind) which made magic users both damage dealers, but also utilities which were necessary in order to complete quests and games. It comes from this strange belief that nobody is indispensible (other than the tank/healer combination...), no abilities are completely necessary.
  8. solinear

    All fantasy RPG's and alignment

    There are several problems with MMOGs, some of them are unavoidable, others are a matter of design. There are simple design changes that can handle part of the problem, actions are easy to define as good or evil, things people say are much more difficult. Example: Paladin (or otherwise 'good-aligned' character) kills the priest or avatar of a good deity, this is easily quantifiable as an evil act. The same Paladin talks sh*t to someone, it's impossible to really say that it's an evil (or even not good) act. Unfortunately, there is usually very little of the latter in most MMOGs, not to mention that there is usually as little for an evil person to do against good forces, so there is also very little for the good to do against the forces of good. More than half of the time, good and evil both go against forces of evil that are aligned against them. The last annoying thing though, is that games like WoW, while there is plenty that you can consider evil in the environment, there is just as little that you can clearly define as evil in the player environment and it's just as difficult to determine which side the 'evil' is on. The Warlock on the 'good' side is really no more good than the warlock on the 'evil' side and they're commonly no more evil than each-other either. It's unfortunate that in most games, if there are 2 sides, they are invariably separated into 'good' and 'evil', regardless of whether either side is really good or evil or just various shades in between.
  9. solinear

    Where are the player created/run worlds?

    Reality is that gamers don't want to police themselves. There are too many people who realize that there aren't any real repurcussions for doing the wrong thing. In UO it ended up with almost as many people doing the bad things as were trying to stop them, commonly more. Also, the in-game repurcussions aren't "Your character is dead or otherwise permanently out of the picture", it's "go back to your start point". Just not enough reason to not do the wrong thing in MMOGs... other than the fact that nobody wants to play games where griefing has little or no penalty.
  10. There's a good reason why it's 'always' levels: Because that's what we all understand. Level 5 > level 3. KISS, baby. The easier you make a system to learn initially, the better the chance that the players will give your more than a 10 minute evaluation. Other systems? There are plenty of them out there. Personally I like a skill based system with training options/requirements for advancement. The Dread Pirate Roberts (Wesley) didn't get to become a great swordsman by just fighting or just training, he did both with everyone he could. Neither did Inigo. You can only go so far with the basics. After that, you have to tap into the knowledge and experience of others. Then you can adapt your styles to include theirs and become much better. So you learn the basics (go bash critter on head), then after you've done that for a while, you want to find out how to kill the critter without ruining the pelt with 500 wounds. So you go learn better how to kill them. Then someone hires you to go hunt down some bandits, so you run out and kill them, but get beat up pretty bad in the process. You learned from your mistakes, but you don't want to get beat up like that again, so you go and train some more, how to fight defensively and wait for the opening to appear. Now you're getting pretty good at swordsplay, so you can fight pretty well... you go out and pull a couple of escort jobs with merchants and have some good fights, but your opponents are no slouches either, so you now go out and learn some new styles of fighting which helps you do better from horseback. Now you're one mean mofo. So now you go out and get yourself a job as a guard for an ambassador. You do a couple of duels along the way for honor or just practice, but you find that the styles that you've learned aren't very good against the weapon that the enemy uses or the styles that they're using, so you hunt down some more masters who can teach you how to defeat those styles. You started out as a punk who was lucky to kill a boar and now you take down those boars weekly as something to do for recreation. You're on your way to becoming one of the best swordsmen around and you did it by using what you learned and learning more when you needed to. The same can be said for a magician, rogue-type or any other adventuring class of individual, or even merchants, miners, blacksmiths, jewelers, spy, ambassador, etc... Some people are content to gain a certain level of achievement and go on with their lives, but when playing an RPG, you want to be the exceptional one. So you're going to train up whenever you can and learn when to use what skills you've learned. Some things to remember too. Everything isn't just one skill, it's several. When you're out there swinging your cutlass using the 'dance with the waves' style, you're using an offensive skill with a cutlass, using the 'dance with the waves' style. So you will be developing your offensive skill, your piercing and slashing skill (Cutlass is both) your piercing swords skill, your cutlass specialty and your 'dance with the waves' style with the cutlass. Your base skills may not go up at a very high rate, compared to the style (which you're not as familiar with), but they are all related and should be considered when using a skill. [Edited by - solinear on July 9, 2006 3:39:31 PM]
  11. I guess it really matters on how you plan on the game working at the political level. If it's a city-state system, then having your own military and military industry makes perfect sense. However, a military industrial complex is very expensive and only worth it for governments (20 Million people or countries that have significant natural resources). Not to mention that now you have to worry about figuring out how to pay thousands of soldiers (not an insignificant task). I'm seeing a few problems with your system design though. Closed economic system. In the real world, nothing exists in a vacuum. Trade is the basis of economic growth (though not the sole basis for it, like the US government thinks it is). Trade going both directions isn't a bad thing, since if you spend $100,000 elsewhere and they spend $100,000 on stuff from you, you both benefit to the tune of $100,000. Spending money is a good thing, 10 people have an income of $1000 every 2 weeks and they spend all of it every 2 weeks, figure 10% is eaten up in taxes (more, but we're being lazy here), so they spend their $9,000 (10k minus taxes) in 2 weeks. Now that's $9,000 in the economy and since the cost of most every product is labor (manufacturing, etc...), figure that $8,500 goes to employees. Now they spend their money in 2 weeks again and after the 10% taxes, $7,750 goes out into the economy again. We'll say $7,000 of that goes to labor wages. Those people spend their money ($6,300 after taxes) and so on and so forth. After just a month and a half, that first $10,000 has turned into over $25,000 in economy. Many people have spent money that got them necessities such as housing and food and luxuries, like widescreen HD TVs. Your people are happy and you've received taxes to pay the city's bills. The nice thing about taxes is that they go right back into the system, just like everything else. The only money that actually leaves the system is money that is 'saved' (well, much of this goes back in through bank loans, but that gets back into the system at a much slower rate than the 2 week cycle). If those same 10 people had just saved their money, that $10,000 would have turned into $9,000 worth of savings, instead of $25,000 worth of gross civic product. Money doesn't get spent and people lose their jobs because nobody's buying anything and you start to go "Wow, now I understand why Japan went through a 10-15 year economic slump when all their citizens were saving loads of money", but that's another discussion. It's difficult to provide *everything* that your citizens need. Food, plastics, metals, etc... Without a high level of natural resources in your city-state, it slowly gets more and more difficult to grow your city and develop everything that you need. Thus, again, the need for trade. You need to build your city so that it is providing something that is needed elsewhere. Intellectual property, manufacturing (meaning that it's close to natural resources of some kind), import/export (near an ocean or large lake or preferrably both), vacation spot (should be a clean and safe city, not to mention having a single or multiple 'spots of interest') or even possibly being something like a military town, where your city tries to negotiate for a military base to be placed there. This gives you a guaranteed income, but it's a relatively low average income (at least in first world nations). Something else to remember: All vaguely major cities are built on some body of water, whether it's an ocean, lake or river. Chicago, New York, London, Paris... with a very few exceptions, major cities were started a hundred or more years ago, when overland transit was definitely *not* the fastest way to go, so rivers were the basis of locomotion. Some 'newer' cities, that have only recently started developing (in the grand scheme of things) are out there, such as Denver, but when you look at the suburban development in these areas compared to the suburban development in cities that are older and are built on bodies of water, it's difficult to really compare Denver's 'sprawl' to older cities' sprawl. Even Detroit, which is a decrepit city (compared to other major cities) has a rather extensive sprawl, with millions upon millions of people living within 30 miles of the downtown area. The real debate is how large of a city you want to target with your city game. are you looking at cities around the 100-250k population mark or cities in the 1+ million population mark? Eventually at either level you'll start running into the limits of the city size on the path of development. However, mattering on the growth of the surrounding area, you will eventually end up with a city that is dependent upon the suburbs for population and needs to start growing up, replacing older, short buildings with newer, taller buildings. Just look at New York and Chicago, where they commonly are replacing 2-3 story buildings with 25-50+ story buildings. A good portion of the 'population' of Chicago actually resides outside of the city. So now we get to worry about how we get rid of these older buildings that are now defunct, parking within the city (or possibly finding an alternative to people driving). Many things become a balance. Mass Transit has to be built above the need and driving in the city will always be preferable to riding a bus/train, so your transit system needs to maintain a capacity above what is being used. Your roads system still needs to be maintained though, as a good portion of the working population of your city will still be driving themselves (or carpooling). Just to be honest though, it sounds like you want a game more like Civilization but with more of a city building element to it. It would be interesting to see how a game like that would go over, I always have problems with Civilization because there aren't any large civilizations that last anywhere near as long as the game lasts, the longest being the Roman Empire, which lasted varying amounts of time, mattering on what you consider to be the actual Roman Empire. Some people think it lasted 1500 years, others think of it lasting longer or shorter. I do like the idea though. Kind of like the sports games, you can get really granular and control the players, you can just call the plays and let the players do their thing (kind of like Civ), or you can play it in more of a dynasty role and just handle the money. It would be interesting to see how a game like that would work out. Let people control the level of granularity that they have for cities and the time scale. I think that's enough for now... I'll check your game out sometime soon to see what else I can think of. Wow, I know too much useless crap. [Edited by - solinear on July 9, 2006 10:53:26 AM]
  12. I definitely agree about the 'next' button. Clicking on back (or using the backspace button) every time you want to go read the next chapter is a pain in the hiney and definitely is counter productive to allowing someone to go back and review items previously read.
  13. solinear

    why no fat characters?

    It would be interesting to have characters with the build of John Rhys Davies (sp?) while not being a Dwarf. It would be interesting to have different types of armor, for the tall, muscular characters and the shorter, more stout ones. So you end up having to have armor tailored for the character or possibly not being able to wear armor because it just won't fit your character. To some extent, it would just be an annoyance, but in other ways, it would add a lot of flavor to the game.
  14. solinear

    Epic Enemies do not equal Epic Fat Loot

    The biggest problem with 'uber loot' is when the loot *far* surpasses the loot that you would otherwise get from the non-uber mobs. Example: Long sword from Gnoll_12: Damage: 12 Speed: 30 Strength: +5 Dexterity: +3 Long sword from Uber_Gnoll_01: Damage: 18 Speed: 22 Strength: +12 Dexterity: +16 This example is an example of excessive uber-ness. This is what happens in EQ post-Vellious for the mostpart. Items would give you a good bonus on 1-5 stats, but once you hit Luclin, it became the game of "Let's stick the highest everything on the same item, so it's a no-brainer what piece to wear". No reason to carry around "resist gear" and "tanking gear" and so forth, your best gear is the best for everything. The key to making uber gear not completely imbalance your game is to make the best for different roles all be different pieces. The best protecting against physical damage shouldn't be the best against magic and it shouldn't be the pieces that give you the biggest bonus to your health. Make the ubers go after 3 to 5 different pieces, each good for a different situation. Even then, I'd recommend making each piece only moderately better than it's predecessor and not necessarily in every way. As with everything, balance and moderation is a key and making sure that there is a good reason to have that moderation. Some games are good at it, others horribly mess it up (10 raiders can stomp all over 20-30 non-raiders in WoW and the game is not even 18 months old yet). Balancing uber critters and loot against non-uber ones is a difficult task. Doing it without creating a huge disparity between the haves and the have nots is hard to do while maintaining a viable risk/reward ratio. Sometimes the sense of accomplishment is enough, but commonly it's not.
  15. The biggest problem with D&D is that it's a system built around playing a few times a month for a couple of years before 'capping out'. You spend half of your time fighting and spending an hour engaging in a fight that takes all of 10-15 minutes in an MMOG. An MMOG is built around spending 10-15 hours per week and taking 12-18 months to 'cap out', 1-3 if you powerlevel (2 weeks if it's WoW). If they maintain all of the mechanics of D&D in their MMO, then everyone will be level 20 (the cap last I knew) in a month and a half. The game is built around a completely different play environment. Fights will happen very frequently and quickly, when compared to an MMOG. Just imagine the Baldur's Gate series, the amount of time that it took you to get up to the high-level game in actual play time. The system really isn't well designed for an MMO playstyle. I wouldn't mind trying it out, but I'm definitely leaning toward thinking it's going to be about as successful as an MMOG as NWN was. IMO, the d20 system gave D&D a nice revitalization, but overall it's ruined the genre. It won't be any better in the MMO arena.
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