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  1. Unit Variation in RTS

    Quote:Original post by LorenzoGatti As a player, I would find random variations annoying: tactics that work or fail with some specific units would have different outcomes with other units of the same type. Variations would actively invalidate any experience the player accumulates, degrading the game: instead of applying reliable qualitative and quantitative rules, the player could only gamble on the stats of friendly and enemy units, without much skill. You improvise. You adapt. You overcome. Slightly perturbed abilities could increase the strategic depth to the game much the same way random maps do. In random maps, you don't have the luxury to build the optimal base. You have to adapt to the environment. With perturbed abilities you would have to choose your tactics according to what kind of troops you have. This would force players to think of new tactics instead of always using the same ones. Of course, this would require more work from the designers as well. In addition to the possible tools for sorting your troops according to their skills the game should be balanced so that with any combination of abilities you would still have feasible tactics to choose from.
  2. What IS the RPG to you?

    Quote:Original post by Nytehauq [on "keyboard agility"] With "keyboard agility" I mean the player's skill at using the controllers — your examples describe precisely what I mean. I don't really mean it to necessarily have negative connotations. However, I have to disagree that all rpgs with combat should strive to focus on "keyboard agility" as opposed to, say, statistical models in combat. The important thing is the difference between player-oriented and character-oriented gameplay. In player-oriented gameplay it is the player's skills that count. You could say that player-oriented gameplay enforces the rule "the player is the character" in a sense. When the player becomes better, the character becomes better. However, the character's skills are limited by the player's own limitations. However, in my opinion, rpgs should be about the freedom of choice — you should be able to do something that is beyond your (as in you the player, not you the character) abilities. Someone with bad "keyboard agility" despite years of practicing can never play roles that require a lot of skill. Or say you had good "keyboard agility" and you wanted to play a pure-mage character. Someone who has devoted his life for study of magic is not likely to be skilled with a sword. However, in a desperate situation when momentarily deprived of his magic the mage could still try to fight with a sword as a last resort. If character skill is based on player's "keyboard agility" alone, and "keyboard agility" was assumed to be good, the mage suddendly masters the intricacies of sword fighting. The mage wasn't supposed to be able to do that; I'd say it's quite out-of-character. How do you prevent this? By imposing penalties to the damage? This is against the maxim "if I stab this zombie in the eye, HE DIES. Period". By creating artificial rules such as "a mage cannot use a sword"? Even worse, I'd say. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to attack the idea of player-oriented gameplay, but I simply do not see how you could overcome these problems. I might even go as far as to say that player-oriented gameplay makes roleplaying more difficult — in the sense that staying in-character will not be so simple. Feel free to prove me wrong, though. In character-oriented gameplay it is the character's skills that count — the statistical model, or the stats, as people like to say. Character-oriented gameplay enforces the rule "the player is not the character"; it separates the players and the pawns to different levels of abstraction. I know that if you take this to the limit, you will end up with Progress Quest, but that's usually not the case. With character-oriented gameplay the player's "keyboard agility" starts to have less meaning and the game becomes more like a game of strategy, tactics, and cunning. It is still a game requiring player skills, but those skills will be different. It will be a game about choices rather than "keyboard agility". The randomness of the combat represents the character's skill — if you get less damage than average it means the character merely slashed a minor wound to the leg, for instance. A critical hit means he punctured a lung. The player skills come from knowing what equipment, tactics, special moves, or the like to use and when. And if you indeed do have a Superior Crossbow of Smiting and 550 weapon skill, you (as in you the character) would know what to do with the crossbow. After all, the skill does somehow represent the character's aptitude with weapons. Your exemplary situation does not really sit well with the character-oriented mentality. Utlimately, it's really a matter of opinion. I like the character-oriented approach, you like the player-oriented approach. I think there is enough room for both of us in this universe... [smile]
  3. What IS the RPG to you?

    Quote:Original post by Edtharan Not all RPGs need to be either turn based or realtime. Each has their strengths and their weaknesses. I prefer the realtime games on computer as they as good at provieding that realtime feedback, but that is the only reason. I do enjoy some turn based CRPGs as well. You could also make an RPG without having to have a definite turnbased system or a definite real time system as applied to the whole of the game. You could also have a some sort of hybrid system such as the one used in Neverwinter Nights. The NWN combat system is essentially turn-based, but the turns are played in real-time, which gives it a more action-packed feel. Quote:Original post by Nytehauq However, this isn't to say that a realtime game cannot have strategy and tactics. In my opinion, the oppurtunity to mesh real time gameplay with strategy and tactics has been ignored by most real time titles. Most RTS game derivate into endless tank rushes, but this isn't a symptom of the fact that the titles are real time. War, after all, occurs in real time regardless of our simulations. The intricacies of strategy are oft ignored and overlooked by games. I mean, until recently, it was a defacto standard in RTS games that your units couldn't fire off of cliffs. The limitations in place in the actual titles seem to contribute more to the lack of strategy in real time games compared to their turn based counterparts. Really, if you had a real time game with the strategic quality of many turn based titles, it would be akin to playing a turn based game where each player can play simultaneously, but with more detail than the average boardgame style turn based strategy or pen and paper RPG. I'm all for recreating this strategy aspect with twitch gameplay. I think we can have our cake and eat it too ;P I wasn't really saying you can't have any strategic gameplay in a real-time game. I was rather talking about emphasis — in real-time gameplay you need to be a lot quicker, and that tends to shift the emphasis from strategy to action. I do enjoy real-time games, but from time to time I want just strategy and none of the hassle of typical real-time games. In a turn-based game I have all the time in the world in order to remember that Greater Slugde Monsters can be killed with nothing less than the Janitorial Mop of Cleansing, but in a real-time game I'll be half-dead by the time I recollect that fact and because my "keyboard agility" leaves much to be desired I probably accidentally press the wrong hotkey and quaff a potion of antidote instead of healing and die from the next blow by my foes. A stupid example, perhaps, but should exemplify that decisions in a real-time game can require good reflexes and a keen mind, and sometimes I just don't want to worry about those aspects. Making a real-time game that would only focus on strategy would be difficult, and probably not what you had in mind. Quote:Actually, I was reffering to a simulation in which the damage of attacks and abilities as well as chances to hit and miss were not randomly calculated - deterministic. In my ideal system, to play a rogue, you wouldn't require any more physical dexterity than the next player (though it might help), your abilities would simply not rely on randomization. While you might have to aim better to get critical hits, the proccess of "aiming" wouldn't be of the sort that rewarded players extraneously for their skills, although it would be skill based. However, concurently, even if you have to aim your attacks, your damage and abilities would still be enhanced by obtaining superior armor, for instance. There can still be a statistical model, but I'd prefer to take the roulette factor out of games and leave hit/miss to the player. It'd be like playing a console fighting game online (sans-lag). So you mean that the damage done is computed directly with a formula which has things such as the basic damage of the wielded weapon, character skill, a small modifier by the player's accuracy, and what have you, as parameters? This would essentially be much like the status quo of most random combat systems, but without the stochastic component, so I'll agree that it can still be as character-oriented as you want; it'd be much like a simplified version of the stochastic combat system, in a sense. Still, I'm not sure the "problem" with the hit-and-miss aspect is solved. If you base the hit-and-miss aspect of combat on player skill alone, the character will be as good in combat as the player. This is not necessarily nice, because if you want to play a character whose skills in combat do not reflect your "keyboard agility", you will be somewhat out-of-character. Or have I missed something? Quote:Hmmm...take for instance the console game Devil May Cry. It features a robust combat system, modeling the interactions you will normally take with enemies. E.g., stab, uppercut, throw lightning bolts etc. However, if the designers so chose, you could have a similar non-violent interaction schema - most just settle for menus. In my opinion, having real time combat doesn't have to kill roleplay. The problem I see is that games only half model the simulation: in a text based game you can imagine everything that's going on because it isn't presented to you. In a vivid 3D game, you don't get to imagine, but in most games you also don't get to interact. Developers seem to have forgotten that when taking away the player's freedom of imagination and adding in a more robust reality you must also upgrade the player's interface to that reality - while they develop decent ways for you to hack and slash in your environment, they don't give you any ways to talk, bargain, haggle, and interact with NPC's who, when simulated, lack AI of any sort in many cases and at best make poor attempts to be as vivid as the "NPC's" of your imagination. This isn't a limitation as much as an explored corridor in development. Again, I agree that real-time combat doesn't necessarily kill roleplaying, but rather the attack-on-sight-and-fight-to-the-death mentality of all adversaries. The kind of interactivity and detail you are describing is important — and at least for me, much more important than graphical quality or story. Quote:I agree. However, I think that players will actually like the deterministic system better. As is, I know alot of people that are fed up with the dice rolling in online games and not having any interactive impact on things like "chance to crit" and "chance to miss." IMHO, getting closer to the real world version of things will only alleviate these problems for the people that have them. As per usual, however, this doesn't mean that current MMO's are obsolete - creativity and "fun" are subjective, I just hope to bring a generally more fun and enjoyable prototype to the table - though I hope more people with enjoy it, I won't claim that people will "enjoy it more." ;P I'm sure some players will enjoy a more player-oriented experience, even though I'm partial to a more character-oriented approach. I'm really not against your ideas, and I'd really like to see some of them more often in games, such as the procedural, dynamic content, customizability, and increased focus on the background issues (e.g. history and cultures). I just wanted to give my opinions as to why I thought your claim of "turn-based gameplay and die rolling being merely a result of technological limitations" a bit unjustified.
  4. What IS the RPG to you?

    Quote:Original post by Nytehauq The genre is dominated by old archetypes like turn based gameplay, [...] it's like developers have forgotten that most of these "features" were really technological limitations at the time. I realize you are describing your vision of the ultimate rpg, but I still wish to comment on this one. Even though the quoted text does not necessarily imply that turn-based gameplay is merely a technological limitation, I for one would certainly disagree with such a claim — and certainly turn-based gameplay is not inferior (nor superior for that matter) to real-time gameplay, which was sort of implied in the general tone of the post. With real-time gameplay the game becomes a game of reflexes and player agility as you need to respond to game situations in real time. Turn-based gameplay has more emphasis on tactics and strategy as you don't (necessarily) have to make your decisions in a haste. Real-time is more player-oriented, turn-based more character-oriented. Quote:- Speaking of combat, it's real time and deterministic. If I stab this zombie in the eye, HE DIES. Period. I don't have to roll a die to find out that I ruptured his brain and he can't function. Combat is not random. [...] It's foolish to continue to abstract such portions of combat when the tech required to do so is present and your gameplay would benefit from causal combat. It's also counterintuitive to the player to exist in a beautifully detailed world but have their sword swings automated or dealing random amounts of damage. It's another case of "invisible wall" syndrome. This is yet another example of the differences between player-oriented and character-oriented games. The real-time, deterministic combat you describe clearly makes the whole combat system player-oriented — that is, the combat skill is based entirely on the skills of the player. If you wanted to play the role of, say, a nimble thief, you'd have to be quite agile yourself, or at least have enough reflexes and skill to master the intricacies of keyboard and mouse controls. Not all of us are keyboard gods. On the other hand, if you wanted to play the role of a clumsy character, you'd need to restrain yourself in combat, just to stay in-character. The only way to keep the game character-oriented is to model the character somehow. While the statistical models used in games can be ludicrous at worst, using a statistical model is practical for such a purpose. Clearly you prefer a more player-oriented approach, and there is nothing wrong with that per se, but it does set some restrictions on what you really can role-play. Not because of the technicalities, but because you the player will not necessarily be able to do everything you wanted to or what was in-character. While turn-based gameplay and a statistical model for a character may diminish the hecticness of the action (personally I can get my adrenaline flowing even from playing good ol' zangband with its ascii representation) and the hands-on feel, it does allow more tactical thinking and the ability to perform beyond your real, mortal abilities. Again, I'm not trying to criticize your dream game — hopefully you will find (or make) such a game some day. I am merely saying that all that turn-basedness and die rolling (*) is there for a good reason and not just because designers didn't "know better" or because computers aren't powerful enough. Obviously, you will end up with something between a purely player-oriented system (which would probably be closer to some form of LARP) and a purely character-oriented system (say, Progress Quest [grin]), but games near both extremes are valuable. (*) On a side note, even though you don't need the concept of dice when dealing with randomness in a computer game, I'd suppose it is an easier concept for casual players to understand than, say, to have everything based on the noncentral chi-squared distribution. All that said, I would be interested to at least try out an rpg with a combat system like in Die by the Sword... [grin]
  5. What IS the RPG to you?

    Provisionally I'll have to agree with JBourrie and hunterb: people will probably never agree on what role playing is (because it can really mean anything you want) and basically you can roleplay in any game. However, there are still games that are called "role playing games", and even though that name is vague (and in some cases even a bit of a misnomer), I don't think it will be so easy to persuade people not to use it. Therefore, "role playing" doesn't always correlate with a "role playing game", just as "laughter" doesn't correlate with "manslaughter". Besides, game design shouldn't really begin with the idea "I'm gonna make an RPG!". The classification of a game should only begin after the game is made. Sure, deciding on some general guidelines is not a bad idea (e.g. deciding on whether to make the game player-oriented or character-oriented or how much will there be character development or whatever), but these decisions should be based on the vision of the designer; the elements of the game should be originally added because they contribute to the game, not because they are commonly associated with the infamous combination of the letters R, P, and G. The only good reason to start with the stereotype of a RPG is to make a RPG satire. For the sake of discussion, I'll make an observation. The concepts of gameplay and story have been juxtaposed for comparison of their relevance in role playing in this thread several times, and unsurprisingly enough, the opinions are divided. In a sense, you could identify two different kind of ways to roleplay here: role playing the gameplay or role playing the story (cheesy terminology, but I'll use it anyway for the remainder of the post). When I say you roleplay the gameplay I mean that you have an idea of a character and you try to play according to that idea. If that idea includes the personality trait that the character never uses any weapons, you won't, even though the game didn't force that decision. In essence, you enforce that character personality using self-discipline whenever the game mechanics aren't enough. However, the game should somehow be able to recognize the role you are trying to play (in order to respond in an coherent manner) and this would require an in-game character development mechanic of some sort, which would imply concepts possibly including, but not limited to stats, skills, character classes, equipment, or alignment (these are just examples). At best, this kind of role playing is much like exploration; you don't play to win as such, but to somehow examine the game world from the unique perspective of the role you have chosen to play. Having a convoluted, fixed, pre-written plot can really hinder this kind of role playing (*), but an emergent story can greatly enhance the experience. With an emergent story I mean that the story of the game is defined by the player's decisions in the game and the decisions' consequences rather than what has been written in the script; obviously this requires more complex game world dynamics than just a combat system. As for the ultimate storyline, that's where the player's imagination comes in, to fill in the blanks... (*) If the game forces me to save the world, cure the plague, and kill the big bad chaotic evil dude — again — before the end of the game, what choices have I made? Not really much, considering that saving worlds, curing plagues and killing big bad chaotic evil dudes are rather epic accomplishments that make all other activities pale in comparison. Role playing the story, on the other hand, would mean that you just want to know what will happen in the pre-written plot; that is, you play to win. I don't really have much to say about this, as I don't personally consider this the kind of "role playing" I enjoy particularly. Not that I wouldn't enjoy a good story; I just prefer to read a book or watch a movie if I'm in the mood for a story. These are the extremes. Most people probably like something in between; a bit of gameplay role playing and a bit of story role playing. The important thing to note here is that some RPGs are good for the former and some RPGs for the latter. Games with a lot of replayability and emergent gameplay, such as many roguelikes, are good for gameplay role playing. Games that railroad you along a good story are good for story role playing. And obviously this is not the end-all of role playing. There are more elements in role playing than this, but the juxtaposition of gameplay and story seemed to be a main theme of the thread. Don't simply include a story in your game because "you must have a story in an RPG", but rather consider whether you want to tell your story to the players or to rather give them an environment in which they can "tell" their own stories. Now, personally I've heard too many messianic stories of lawful good amnesiacs curing plagues in RPG form already, so I want to start telling my own stories for a change.
  6. Realism vs immersion

    This thread seems to mix two different comparisons. One comparison is between realism and immersion and the other between realism and abstraction (or immersion and abstraction). Realism and immersion have been compared in this thread enough already, and I have to agree that realism is not an important thing as such for immersion, but what is important is consistency, especially with regard to being consistent with the player's expectations. Realism won't necessarily hurt immersion either. On consistency, I will simply include a quote: Quote:Oscar Wilde Man can believe the impossible, but can never believe the improbable. Magic, supermen, and invaders from Mars are impossible; that won't mean I will not be immersed in a world which has them. The lack of consistency creates an atmosphere of improbability, and that will harm my immersion. For example, in most RTS games the game itself is rather abstract (usually one unit really depicts a whole number of individuals), but the representation is rather concrete (the unit is displayed as a "realistically" animated human figure). For me, this makes the game less immersive, because what I see is not consistent of what I would expect from the system by my observation of the rather concrete representation. Anyway, the original poster juxtaposed a single health measure to several locational health measures. Neither are particularly realistic, but they have different levels of abstraction, so the comparsion is really about abstraction and realism/immersion. Immersion and abstraction don't need to interfere with each other. Tetris can be immersive and it's abstract. Unreal is much less abstract, but can be immersive too. As for abstraction and realism, I am more than mildly annoyed by the proposed idea that abstractness and realism are somehow opposite concepts. I claim that abstraction will not necessarily lead into non-realism. Imagine that I was to make a game about running about in forests picking berries (MMOBPG, [grin]). Because the number of berries in the bushes the player encounters has a profound effect on the gameplay, I want to make it realistic. What should I do? Of course, I could start observing forests and plant life in general and spend all my free time studying about plant biology and the growth of berries. Then I would create a simulation of a forest (using genetic algorithms or what have you for the evolution of the plants etc.) and really make that simulation as good as possible. The end result would be realistic, as it is based on the real world and to an outside observer it would behave like the real world. It wouldn't be perfect, however, because any such model would still be a simplification. Then imagine I wouldn't do the simulation, but would rather use all that time for running about in forests, counting berries in any bushes I encounter and build up a huge database of berry growth in the local forests. I could then use this data to build a statistical model that would be used in the game to populate the bushes with appropriate number of berries. Again, the end result would be realistic, as it is based on the real world, and it would seem to be like the real world. Again, it would not be perfect, as it is a simplification. The latter model is easier to control, as there will probably be less parameters to set, and it would be considerably faster. It is also a lot more abstract. Still I wouldn't say it was any less realistic than the former model; realistic in the sense that it is both based on the system it tries to model and also seems like that system to an outside observer. I'm not saying that checkers or any other similar game would be realistic, necessarily. If you think checkers is realistic, feel free to tell me what real world system checkers models and convince me that it models it well. Still, just because not all abstract systems are not realistic it does not follow that no abstract system is realistic. Even the most concrete games are abstractions to begin with, anyway. You don't (usually) start by modeling atoms and just letting the game world emerge from this.
  7. If the game is plot-oriented, I prefer easy, as long as it isn't too boring. If the game is gameplay-oriented, I prefer difficult, as long as it isn't too frustrating. As for difficulty of puzzles vs. combat, I would almost say that in a plot-oriented game I prefer difficult puzzles to difficult combat (as long as the puzzles are rationally solvable, the other replies sum this up rather well), but in a gameplay-oriented game it would depend on the gameplay. What I do hate are puzzles in the shape of combat, i.e. the only way to win the boss fight I have to run about pulling switches in a certain order, firing at the boss creature with a specific weapon at specific intervals and what have you. Making bosses (or any enemies, for that matter) more "difficult" by giving them half an hour worth of health is not my idea of making the game more fun. And a reminder: if there is a locked door with a bunch of odd switches, a slot for inserting tetris-block-shaped blocks and a plaque with strange markings, and I happen to be carrying a grenade launcher, I don't see a puzzle. I see a smoking hole where there once were a locked door with a bunch of switches etc. (at least after pulling the trigger). This is to say that in a game world that is supposed to have at least a bit of credibility, there shouldn't be just the One Certified Way to solve the puzzle. Personally I'd prefer if you could choose the difficulty of the game based on your style of gameplay, dynamically. In some roguelikes, for instance, the game difficulty is usually tied to the dungeon depth you are at. As the game generates a new dungeon level each time you go up or down the stairs, you can practically stay at the same difficulty as long as you want (and because of character development this will make the game gradually easier, encouraging you to move forward, but allowing munchkiny gameplay if that is what you want). Of course, the best rewards are at the more difficult levels. This means that depending on my mood I can either play it safe and descent slowly into the dungeon (keeping the game relatively easy) or alternatively plunge straight into the more difficult levels (ironman-style, always going deeper if possible etc.), having possibly a shorter, yet more action-packed game session. The best thing about this solution is that instead of simply choosing the difficulty once and just sticking with it, you can first play it ironman-style, plunging into the depths and risking your neck, but after finding some great equipment you can slow down and play it more safe; or if you start to get bored you can go down a couple of levels. Of course, this kind of system doesn't necessarily work well in a plot-oriented game.
  8. Non-descriptive items

    "Giving no stats", as far as I can interpret it, can mean two things: really not giving stats (i.e. giving items no properties at all — after all, even fuzzy or stochastic stats are still stats) or not displaying the stats. If you'll really have no stats, all (say) swords are equal. If this is what you want, fine, but I wouldn't consider it more interesting than to have different kind of swords, no matter how imaginatively you named them. If you don't want to display stats — at all — the only way to determine which (say) sword is the best is by trying them out, one by one, against each type of enemy, and relying on intuition when determining if the sword is good. The worst-case scenario would include having to try out a whole lot of very bad swords, spending hours and hours just to find even an average one. That's just another kind of grind. And if the community will be able to figure out the stats eventually, it will ultimately mean that people will just look up the stats on the net and get it over with. You might as save them the trouble. However, if you want to do this, at least give some sort of description of the item so that you'll have an idea whether the item is worth your attention. Giving descriptions like "this sword looks very fragile" or "this sword looks ancient, yet as good as new, and has emeralds on its hilt" won't really give a lot of information about the sword as such, but will help people to guess whether the sword is worth their time. Of course such information could give the wrong impression, but it's better than just only having really utterly non-descriptive names. Besides, a good game is like a spreadsheet. Indeed, I am quite keen on saying that. (The links are to similar threads you might find interesting, however, I did link them to my replies instead of the original post in order to induce a bit of a bias in there... [rolleyes]) Don't get me wrong, though. I do agree that calling a sword "sword, copper (634/123/253)" is not really immersive, but you could still allow the player to see the stats at his whim. As for making the items better as the player becomes more familiar with them, I think it is a great idea gameplay-wise, as it encourages people to keep their old equipment and choose new equipment based on style rather than stats.
  9. Whats more appealing?

    The description "space action/combat game" is a bit vague, but here are some random thoughts: If the game is mainly arcade gameplay-oriented fun (i.e. little if any story, gameplay is more important than suspension of disbelief), I'd say that giving the full arsenal of choices from the start would be nice. If you fear that this will make starting players shudder from the amount of choices, allow the players to make the choice whether they want to unlock the equipment or not (basically have different game modes, such as "free mode" where there are no restrictions, "arcade mode" where you have to unlock the equipment and "career mode" where you have to earn money for buying the equipment, repairs etc). If, on the other hand, the game is to have plot-based (as in a pre-written plot) progression, the restriction "You can't use this yet." will make the players ask "Why not?". If you feel you want such restrictions, have an in-game reason for them (the suggested money scheme sounds plausible).
  10. The key observation, from my point of view: consistency and balance are the most important aspects, but other than that it depends on the game and the kind of immersion you want. The problem is that immersion can mean a whole lot of things for different people, and to each his own. Unfortunately the GameDev Dictionary does not define immersion, so we can't use that as a frame of reference. Online dictionaries with their vague explanations for the word aren't of much use either, as the word immersion does indeed represent a vague, general concept. Because of this, it will be practically impossible to give The One Correct Answer to the question. In addition, there can be many kinds of immersion. In a story-based RPG the immersion can come from the story or possibly from the character development. In a TBS the immersion comes from, say, the gameplay and strategies. It's a rather different experience. While it is true that a blatant failure to adhere to the realism of a single aspect in a game that is realistic in other ways can kill the feel of immersion (depending on what ever semantics you impose on the word), realism per se does not necessarily imply immersion, nor vice versa. After all, more often than not the real world is quite a lot more boring than a surreal fictional world portrayed in an interactive way. While the real world is "immersive" in a sense (again, the vagueness of the concept is problematic here), it's probably not the kind of immersion you want; adding a myriad myriads of details in the game will make it more "immersive", but in the similar way Excel is immersive. And Excel is boring (at least, I believe this is the general consensus, but YMMV). This is not to say that less details is better — what you need is balance. Anyway, realism is not always necessary. What is necessary (at least, what I consider necessary) is a sense of consistency. If you want realism, don't suddendly make the world surreal in the middle of the game (at least without a plausible explanation). Basically, in most RTS games the concepts and gameplay are fundamentally abstract and/or symbolical, yet represented in a "realistic" manner. This, in a sense, is inconsistent, and as such is a major reason why I personally might lose the sense of immersion in the middle of the game in RTSs (maybe RTSs aren't so easy to make immersive after all?). Personally I find the utterly abstractly represented TBSs (the original Civilization with its non-animated blocky graphics, for instance) quite immersive, but obviously not in the same sense I would find, say, a story-based RPG immersive. Do note that having a consistent sense of abstraction in the game doesn't mean that you couldn't focus on some single aspects. You could still simplify some parts, but the overall consistency and balance should be considered. On a side note, a high level of abstraction does not necessarily imply a lack of realism and vice versa. There is no reason why the use of a generic "unit" is less realistic than modeling individual units. That said, any given level of abstraction is not inherently more immersive than another one. In addition, in an attempt to contrast John Kowawsky's post that makes some very shudderingly strict statements, I'd say that real-time gameplay is not inherently more immersive than turn based, and neither is 1st person as opposed to any other point of view (let alone "obviously much more immersive", I see nothing obvious about that). Of course there are instances where they can be, but the sense of finality in John Kowawsky's post is indeed fearsome. I'd even say that all other aspects equal, for the "god's point of view" (I mean the point of view used in RTSs and many RPGs, it's not strictly 3rd person, as the latter can mean other points of view as well), the true isometric projection (or some other parallel projection; not the fake isometric projection they use nowadays) is overwhelmingly superior for the purposes of immersion than any perspective projection. I find it more immersive becuse firstly, it's traditional in a sense, and secondly, I find the perspective projection simply distracting in the point of view in question). But that's just probably me. Summa summarum: as always, the experience of immersion depends on the player and will not be achieved unless the player is willing to be immersed.
  11. Use of colors in games

    Also remember that not only can you have different colours of materials, but for lighting as well. As Rockytastic pointed out, lighting is important for setting up the mood as well. I've been considering a more heedful use of colours as well, however, from a different point of view; I have not paid attention to the "meaning" of separate colours as such, but rather the balance of the whole picture. For instance, a picture with low saturation and lightness and high contrast can cause a particularly gloomy feeling (after all, the low-light vision of the human eye is mainly grayscale, thus the low saturation). Gradually changing from "normal" view to low-contrast, low-saturation view can cause a feeling of deterioration. Suddenly jumping from high-saturation colours to grayscale or vice versa (or indeed any such drastic change in the colour dynamics) can mean a violent change in the player's character's perception of the world. Similarly, changing the hue of the whole view slightly can have great effects. Colour schemes can be used not only to represent different aspects of the game world, but also the perception of the world by the character. For instance, in an especially violent battle, the slightest tint to red can have a nice, subtle effect. On a side note, it would be great to have the player's view of the world adapt into darkness as in the real world, i.e. when the player character enters a dark area, it will be difficult to see, but after a while the picture is made gradually brighter (yet with low saturation). IIRC, something like this was used in LucasArts' Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, but I don't remember seeing it in later games. It could be a great strategic element in sneaking games and such, and a nice detail in any game. You should remember the balance at all times. Making the night very strongly (high-saturated) blue looks horrible and very non-night-like, well, to me anyway. Making the whole game in pastel colours can give it a washed-out feel. Still, I personally don't like such conspicuous attempts at symbolism such as "white is the symbol of purity". Colours are a personal experience, after all. Note as well that the more common connotations regarding colours are culture-specific as well (here are some utterly random links in case you're interested: 1 2 3 4 5; I do realize this is somewhat of a "I read it on the internets so it must be true" -approach, but these articles (and especially the differing interpretations) demonstrate that there isn't really any "proper" symbolism behind colours). This said, the clever use of colours sometimes seems underestimated in games.
  12. Paying to save your game

    Note: while I use the word quicksave here, I refer to any kind of saving that you can use for avoiding harm in the game. I do not mean saving for taking a break. Another note: I know some of this has been stated already, but I want to reiterate it for emphasis. As Trapper Zoid has already implied several times, quicksaves are all about balancing. Because quicksaves are usually very easy to abuse, they can wreak havoc on balancing issues. If you assume that all players will use quicksave, you will end up balancing the game so that only those who really use the quicksave or are some sort of agility and reflex gods will ultimately enjoy the game. For those who don't like to use the quicksave you just killed the game experience. The penalties for not quicksaving (i.e. penalties for the situations induced by the mistakes of the player, e.g. character death) are usually harsh. If, on the other hand, you assume that players will rarely (if at all) use the quicksave, you will probably let the player make more mistakes without as much penalties or at least give early warning signs to the player before putting them in grave danger. In this case those who are used to using quicksave will probably find the game way too easy. If you don't implement the quicksave, those who like to use it will probably not play the game. Quicksaves are not an in-game feature, ie. they don't have an in-game reason to exist. If you provide an in-game mechanism to "save" you should have a very good in-game explanation for it, and you shouldn't call it saving. Also, since it's in-game, you should not see any sort of "save game screen" as such but rather something similar to any other in-game action. If you do this, you can go crazy with any restrictions or penalties on the mechanism; after all, it's not really saving any more, it's simply an in-game safety net. Again, quicksaves are all about balancing. They are not a way to tweak the game difficulty. Personally I find the use of quicksaves lame (because they are not in-game and their use breaks the immersion for me), but, being the munchkin that I am, I do often (depending on my mood) prefer to play games on the easy setting. Forcing me to use quicksaves in order to have fun, straightforward, easy gameplay is like encouraging me to use the hex editor to give me infinite money in the game or something like that. After all, if I'm going to do something I consider low to begin with (i.e. using quicksaves), why not go all the way? In fact, game saving is certainly not something you can just throw in a game. If you want to both allow quicksaves and still make the game playable without quicksave, you basically have to create two different modes and balance them separately — for all difficulty settings. The whole gameplay has to be designed so that it will work with saving or not saving, so this is not a simple task. For instance, roguelike games are usually designed so that quitting equals saving and character death removes the save (i.e. true permadeath). Personally I find these games really great, because they are designed around that concept and it works well. You can't rely on the safety net or try ye olde "save, then try to pick a pocket, on failure load and repeat until success" ploy. And unrestricetd, non-penalizing autosave on quit is a must in any case. Basically you could delete these autosaves on load, as their sole purpose is to allow taking breaks. Of course, there will always be those who make copies of their savefiles before loading, but that's just plain cheating (I realize that stating this might seem like a flamebait, but that's just my opinion) and in a sense is beyond the should-I-allow-this--discussion taking place here. Quote:Original post by Kest I don't care about the save system. I'm trying to amplify the game. Have you played a serious game with perma-death? Have you felt the sweat? Have you ever been in a game situation where you were literally afraid of the monsters? If so, you know why I want to limit saving. If not, I urge you to experience it. Personally I think you can't really make a true horror game with saves and without permadeath. If you have the safety net (i.e. saves and respawns), there is little reason to feel the horror as you can always go back to the previous save. Permadeath can create a great atmosphere. Quote:If you're playing to see an ending, you're not the type of gamer I'm aiming for. It's more about the personal experience than the story. This just keeps sounding better and better. [smile]
  13. You bunch of LOSERS!

    Quote:Original post by John Kowawsky Quote:All generalizations (including the one I'm stating right now) are false. You said a paradox here :P if your false, all generalizations are true. If all generalizations are true, yours is either true. I think you fail at confusing generalization with totality. Generalizations refer to most of the cases, not all of it. It's not really a paradox. The statement is simply false. The logical negation of the sentence "all generalizations are false" is "there is at least one generalization which is not false", which does not mean that the generalization in question itself specifically was true. It could be any other. And in colloquial language people usually call sentences of the form "all X have property Y" generalizations. If I wanted to be more accurate, I would've said along the lines "all universally quantified statements are false". In fact, I would have preferred it that way, and only barely resisted using it, but I wanted to keep it closer to the original. And sorry for my somewhat off-topic ramble (but on the other hand it's on-topic, because the topic is "You bunch of LOSERS!" and this kind of off-topic rambling make me look like a real loser, aye?).
  14. You bunch of LOSERS!

    Quote:Original post by Anonymous Poster As long as the gameplay centers around competition/combat, the player will always want to win. [...] But ultimately the player needs to win the game. All generalizations (including the one I'm stating right now) are false. I hate winning just as much as I hate losing. Note that that doesn't necessarily mean that I hate losing per se. However, winning and losing both imply that the game has come to its end. In that sense, winning is equivalent to losing. And usually I don't care about the actual differences between the two. If the game ends, I seize to have fun. The thrill of winning is rather short-lived. I'd almost say that I like losing much more than winning. At least you don't get the overly cliché "you are the redeemer of the people and everybody is so happy that you had to use a slegde hammer to get the smiles off their faces" ending. In fact, if you're going to emphasize winning (ie. showing a plethora of cinematic sequences, putting the player's name into the hall of fame etc.), you should do so for losing as well (the hall of fame is not necessarily appropriate here, but how about a hall of shame? [grin]). I know it's usually much more difficult to determine how and why the player lost (in an in-game sense) rather than won (as usually winning is equivalent of "doing what the designer had in mind", which is annoying to begin with in any "realistic" game) and thus play the appropriate cinematics, but if I get such "rewards" for losing the game, I'll have more reasons to experiment in the game and not worrying about the munchkiny minimaxing all the time. But still, ending the game is something I usually consider simply annoying. I don't care if I am the ultimate redeemer and bringer of peace, I want to keep playing. In fact, I see the whole concept of having winning the whole purpose of the game like having dying as the purpose of life (with some sort of arbitrary restriction, like dying after curing a real life plague or killing a real life very bad dude [grin]). Now, I know there are games which still allow you to play after "winning" (e.g. Fallout 2, Morrowind), but this thread seems to be about winning and losing as final states of the game, and even in the aforementioned games, the fact that you have won has little effect on the game world (I spent all those hours to actually do what the designer wanted me to and all I got was this stupid cinematic sequence). Basically the game just lets you tie up loose ends. Quote:If you want to have a game that doesn't center so uch on winning or losing, then creating something where the players can create their own content or do more non-combat or non-competitive activities is a good idea. ...for instance, make the world stochastic (note the deliberate avoidance of the word random, which apparently has some very perilous connotations [rolleyes]) and emphasize issues such as exploration. Or simply forget about winning and losing and focus on good gameplay. Let the player set his own challenges.
  15. RPG Ideas

    Here are some random maniacal ramblings: 2) Character classes are somewhat great, since they make it easier to balance the game (and also prevent every character becoming some "ultimate" character type with all the skills etc.), give guidance to the player (the player will not be overwhelmed with a bazillion options to choose from) etc. That said, I do dislike the restrictions of character classes when they are implemented poorly (i.e. usually). You can make similar restrictions using some sort of in-game mechanics (e.g. the player has the option to join guilds and "class-restricted skills" are taught only in guilds, for instance), but without the artificial "a wizard may not use a sword" restrictions (of course, the guild of wizards might prohibit the use of blades, but that is an in-game issue (you still could use a sword, but might be thrown out of the guild) rather than a hard-coded one). 3) This is really a confusing question. After all, the action is basically a part of the story (story as in what happens to the player during the game, not as in what is the pre-written plot of the game). If you mean whether the story should be emphasized by some sort of traditional story-telling means (and probably in the form of a pre-written plot and a lot of scripted cinematic sequences and such) as opposed to just having the story as background action (i.e. the game doesn't shove any kind of cinematics in your face and doesn't stop to tell you the story directly and that sort of thing), I'd prefer the latter. I find an emergent, dynamic story overwhelmingly superior to the way too common "pre-scripted, messianic, epic story about saving the whole universe and then some". With emergent I mean that the story is not pre-written as a whole, but rather the story forms itself as the player explores the world. Note that just throwing a bunch of pre-written or random quests won't do the trick; some sort of gestalt needs to emerge in the player's mind. The world needs to be very dynamic for this to work, and the consequences of the player's actions should be considered. I didn't really answer the question; well, I did, but it's not that obvious. The original question seemed to be something along the lines "do you want to focus on the story or the action", and my answer is something along the lines "the action should be the story". I don't mean that the game should be just combat, but rather that you shouldn't have separate "game modes" or "mentalities" for the combat parts and the non-combat parts. 5) Random maps. It pains me to see game after game having only one infrastructurally static world, since for someone who likes exploring the game world and trying to find atrifacts etc (rather than following religious fanatics who, regardless of how many other characters I have already played through the main quest, still think I'm the messiah and have to cure the plague and kill the very evil dude and save the world and all that stuff), there is little replayability in such a game. Quote:Original post by Kekko 5) I'd like to see a fighting system where you fought with (almost) only your mouse. I'd like to see a fighting system in a Diabloesque game where you could fight using only the keyboard or could at least configure every aspect of the mouse usage (e.g. using different buttons for moving and attacking). Since the mouse is not all that accurate (considering that in a hectic battle you don't have the luxury of taking your time to precisely give the commands), just pointing and grunting (i.e. clicking, i.e. using the same button for every possible action) makes the computer second-guess what I really want to do, usually doing the wrong thing (e.g. when playing a mage character and trying to use the horrible control system to cast a spell, I miss by one pixel and the computer decides "oh, he wants to walk in the middle of the monsters"; usually a painful death for the character and a lot of swear words will follow. No thanks for that mouse suggestion). But it's really a matter of preference.