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About dink

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  1. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by dink However, if your game is not story-driven, but just a sandbox type game like "The Sims", then you can have random events as long as they aren't unpreventable or irrepairable. If you couldn't quickload, what would be the difference between a random event that's a setback and a story event that's a setback? I think this was answered fairly well in the original post of mine. Basically, in a story-driven game, the random event would be an intrusion on a well-crafted story where detriments are part of the story-telling. It makes sense to the storyteller to have Han's Millenium Falcon break down at certain times during the story, but it does NOT make sense for it to break down at other points. Basically, random events should not exist in story driven games where (hopefully) you have a skilled enough story-teller to keep the player in enough danger that they are constantly entertained without having to add in random events.
  2. Well, here is my problem with random events: In story-driven games they feel arbitrary and do not have the full impact of scripted events, and in NON-story-driven games they are okay if they are not so impactful as to throw a wrench into someone's carefully laid plans. People don't mind dealing with a hiccup or two, but having a carefully planned attack strategy ruined by some hodge-podge roll of the numbers behind the scenes is not fun at all. For instance in regards to story driven games, the Millenium Falcon sometimes wouldn't get to lightspeed and needed repairs in the Star Wars films, but that was okay because we got to see an incredible seen where they park the ship inside the throat of a monster living inside of an asteroid. The story was moved along by the space drive not working. . . not impeded by it. What if the space drive had not worked when Han was returning to help out Luke at the end of the original Star Wars? Well, the Empire would have won and, you know, Game Over. . . maybe the behind the scenes roll on the Millenium Falcon won't screw you after you load up from your last save game. . . however, your just as likely to say "Screw this. That's so stupid." What if you were reading a Stephen King novel with 6 different "Encounter Books". He decided that because he wants the experience to be dynamic to each reader, he asks that readers roll dice every few chapters to see which book they will read an encounter from. Once they are done reading the encounter, they can return to the regular story. That is the problem. Random events are not PLANNED into the storyline. Events should be impactful and meaningful if your game is at all story based. However, if your game is not story-driven, but just a sandbox type game like "The Sims", then you can have random events as long as they aren't unpreventable or irrepairable. For instance, if I had a Sim who had 10 in the cooking skill and was cooking on the best stove with a fire alarm in the room right next to the fire extinguisher, I'd be pretty pissed if the stove exploded into flames and my Sims were all burned to death. It wouldn't make since for that to happen with the skill being so high and so many preventative measures being stacked up. However, let's say I have a Sim who only has 2 in cooking and he is using a terrible stove without a fire alarm in the entire house and the only fire extinguisher being by the grill in the backyard. Well, I wouldn't mind the random fire at ALL in this case, but I'd want the ability to control my Sim long enough to get him to grab the fire extinguisher and put out the fire or to call the fireman in the event that the extinguisher is too far away. So basically, DON'T do them at ALL in story-driven games, and make them repairable and preventable in sandbox games.
  3. dink

    fun tutorial mode

    Okay, you have presented a number of ideas without any context. This makes it really hard to give feedback on them. As with so many ideas, their execution is often more important to their worth than the idea itself. For instance, Pac-Man sounds like a terrible idea. . . okay, so you play a yellow dot with a mouth animation that goes around a maze eating dots while running away from ghosts except when you eat a special power up dot that lets you eat the ghosts. Sounds horrible when you write it out, but if Pac-Man were released today it would still be a very fun game. First Introduce yourself. Do you make games? Are you a coder/artist/writer? Then tell us your game idea as succintly as possible, but with enough information that we know what your talking about when you ask about how to make your game. Is this an RPG, TBS, or FPS game or some hybrid? Tell us about the gameplay. What is the setting (in brief - just enough details so we can put our minds around it. . . anime sci-fi, realistic fantasy, gritty space-station, etc.) When I boil your question down to a pretty basic form, I get this question: Would it be cool to have branching pathways in the story-telling portion of my game? The answer to that is almost always "yes". Branching pathways allow players to feel like they have more control over the outcome of the game. Players really like this, but it comes with costs. The most notable is development time. If you have branching story arcs, then they will require a great deal more time to develop and create. If your game is relatively low budget, and has good content creation tools, this can be a real easy way to expand the scope of your game without a great deal of additional engineering or art assets being needed. Simply have your level and content designers work on making more content and levels. Of course, you'll have to pay for different "endings" and "big events" which can mean a larger budget for these bits of art and/or voice-acting too. Another bad thing about branching storylines is that they can also "require" the player to replay elements of a game in order to see all of the game's content. Some players just won't pick up a game after they've beaten it and/or they will resent it if your title is good enough to become a marketable intellectual property and the ending THEY chose is not extended into the sequel. All of these problems have solutions though. This is just to give you an idea of what kinds of problems you might run into with branching storylines.
  4. Depends on what you are making. If it is a pet project, make what you want, but it if you want it to be commercially successful or want a good demo to get a job at a gaming company, then I'd suggest focusing on a solid singleplayer game with co-op elements that are networked. People just don't hunch around a computer screen anymore. It isn't comfortable, and we can always go play a console game where we each get our own controllers.
  5. dink

    A Challenge For You All

    Okay, I'll bite (because I had this idea before anyway). However, it is a hybrid rather than a true "new" genre. Life simulation/strategy/RPG You play the son or daughter of a murdered Lord, and are too young to inherit. Your Uncle takes over your father's lands and jokingly grants you a pig farm on the outskirts of his lands near a hostile border as your only lands. The player must build up these lands by adventuring to build up a name that will bring in settlers. You must construct the village intelligently and grow it into a large holding. Gameplay includes RPG combat on the outskirts of town (or defense of the town), construction of town, and interactions with all of the people who move into your town, as well as mini-games for all of the town industries. It is Harvest Moon with RPG combat and village building.
  6. I started a post mordem on Black and White 2 and all God games, but then I realized that I was making a hash of it. :) This is a great question, but the answer needs to be an article rather than a ham-fisted forum post. However, so I'm not simply unhelpful. I'll give you the basic thesis that I won't bother to support with examples (although it pains me) and suggestions (pains me even more). The hardest part of making a "God" game is placing limitations on the player who is a "God" so that it is a game with risk and reward. The second hardest part is placing limitations on the scale of your game and still delivering enough power to the player that they feel like they are actually playing a God. Balancing these three dimensions (limitations and rules for the player, limitations on the scale of the game's feature sets, and making the player feel powerful "like a God") is the crux of the problem, and Black and White 2 is one answer among many possible answers with parts that are fulfilling and fun and others that are less so. The creature is really a "stand-out" feature of the B&W series and could really get it's own article about allowing players to "train" AI and how soft or hard the interface should be. I think people who liked the creature in the original B&W do not like the B&W 2 creature because you can tell what you are training the creature to do in the sequel. However, many other people were frustrated with the creature in the original B&W because their attempts to train the creature often met with bad results due to not having good control over the training do the soft UI.
  7. A bit off the thrust of the topic, but my problem with random events is that they can easily reveal the "man behind the curtain" if they occur repeatedly. However, if you are going to use them: Generally, if these are things like you have mentioned, I like to give players a way to turn them "off". Don't like having to patch your engine together, then purchase a spare engine or a containment field or don't overstrain the engines, etc. Also, if you put the player in a bad situation as the result of a random event, it can get in the way of better content that is carefully planned to put the player at risk without making the challenge overwhelming or heavy-handed. Okay, so you've just saved the princess from the Death Star. . . now is probably not the time to have an engine failure. Personally, I think "random" events are generally much better when they are't random at all. Randomizing is cheap content. . . it can work well for indy content or budget software, but it isn't going to send people out to spend $50 on a title.
  8. Your risk with this system is removing the element of skill and replacing it with luck or probability. With absorbing damage, you can allow people to get hit a bit without making it insta-death. With your system they still get those occassional hits when their skill or memorization of the game are not up to par but instead of taking slight damage, they have a chance of getting killed, injured, or escaping completely unscathed. It's up to you, but I'd be frustrated if I got to the end of a level and a low level critter got a lucky shot and killed me.
  9. dink

    Dynamic (random) mission generator

    robert4818 - I think I did speak to your original post, and went into great detail about some of the reasons why pre-scripted quests are inferior to custom content, even for short play sessions. Ideally, players should be able to get online and beat a custom quest within an hour or at least make progression on one of the steps within the quest. For the many reasons I gave (repetitive objectives, random scripting is bad, less fine control given for debugging, etc.), I'd scrap the entire random mission generator and concentrate on making high quality tools for my level designers that allow them to choose from a larger variety of quest types than those you originally mentioned. Give them the tools to create a ton of variety and to write custom script for every mission. If you are going to be so old fashioned as to use text boxes to tell your story then at least make it a good one. :) If my post seemed so dismissive that you assumed I missed the point, then I apologize. You think a custom mission generator would be helpful for giving people with short gameplay sessions something to do. I think this leads them towards doing comparitively boring and less interesting content in your game and would hurt retention. You will get player complaints that a) they used the mission generator and out-leveled good custom content and that b) the dev team uses the custom mission generator as a cure-all for holes in the content (places where there is not enough content to level while doing fun things). Feel free to ignore my "DOOOOM!!!" post. Others have given you good ideas on how to make it work. Good luck.
  10. dink

    Has anyone tried out Facade?

    I downloaded mine via Gamespot.
  11. dink

    Monster Genocide

    Quote:Original post by The Shadow Nose But then, one of the real jerk players could become an Eco-Mage of monkeys and breed an army of killer spear weilding monkeys and use them to pester other players. How is this person a jerk? That seems like a valid way to play the game. . . except for the pestering other players. Having a legion of spear-weilding monkeys seems like a fun gameplay dynamic.
  12. dink

    Has anyone tried out Facade?

    both the text parser and the design structure. They often didn't understand things properly and additionally it was on rails. You really should "play" it yourself as it defies in-depth description.
  13. dink

    TBS Game Question

    Okay, I build a military colony and set it to AI control. I can choose the units it should build if I micromanage or I can choose to let the AI choose the units. How is this different (in regards to micromanagement) from having all purpose colonies where I can make the choice of what is built or allow the AI to choose? The obvious answer is that it limits the choices that the AI can make. . . It hardwires them in fact by not allowing other units to be built in that area. So this is more of a strategy element than a micromanagement one. If you choose to do this, look at how it effects strategy and game balance. Personally, I would go with doing this by setting the AI's "personality" instead of hardwiring the town to only produce certain unit types as one of the things I like is the changing nature of my towns in TBS games. What used to be a military outpost grows (in time) to be a major scientific research base, or the center of resource production, etc.
  14. Wavinator - I read your reply and I'm off to work soon, but I just wanted to say that considering the bigger picture you manifested when I asked about goals, I wouldn't make this all that involved, unless you are conquering the world through gardening. ;) A task suited perhaps only to Martha Stewart. If this is indeed the case, then I'm a bit lost as how you get from a strategic puzzler about gardening to a world domination sim with a philosophical primary objective escapes me. I'm quite certain it could be done, but any responses I could make would be dependent on that undisclosed connection.
  15. dink

    Dynamic (random) mission generator

    I don't like dynamic missions. Ultimately, you are generally doing the same things. In the oringal posters idea, these are the the basic things you can do: Interacting with NPCs or objects Deliver and return Kill X Protect X Live through an attack You can combine these, put them in steps, instance dynamic dungeons, and code for occassional surprises, but ultimately the player is doing the same tasks over and over. . . just in different order. If you don't script things then you have to use scripted presets for the mission descriptions. While you can pull from different strings and mix this up a bit, the mixing up makes it hard to create characterization, and other posters have already indicated many of the continuity issues and othe problems with dynamic mission generators. Also, I think the way you make better content is to increase the types of missions and mission goals. For instance, instead of just Deliver X, Kill X, and the Protect X with a chance of getting a surprise Interact with an NPC objective, there should be NEW objectives that are not currently done. Here are some ideas for using in instanced missions: 1. Find the exit and escape in time while avoiding falling debris and beating opponents quickly to get past them. 2. Frequent boss fights with single-player boss fight elements. Find their weakness and exploit it. 3. Puzzle content - both logic puzzles that can be beaten by cheaters that use the net and dynamic puzzles that require skill like in Puzzle Pirates. 4. Other race against the clock objectives. 5. Special mode missions that change up gameplay. Examples: In CoH: a. A mission where there are super-power dampening fields that must be sniped with the "special power" rocket-launcher you get from a contact at the front of the mission. b. A mission that removes all travel powers and adds exploration elements by forcing players to learn the correct route of teleportation devices in the mission to get to the boss. In World of Warcraft: a. A dungeon that prevents healing except through the use of special items given to every player. b. A dungeon in which all players are turned "undead" and must use their new temporary powers to fight out. Use dynamic stuff in your level designer's tools, but don't omit the human element by making everything dynamic. Level designers should be able to do everything you have suggested by making choices to make a mission do any of those things, but I think you ned a human element to make the content associated with them intriguing. Finally, I hate dynamic mission generators because they are more difficult to debug. Instead of going to Mission X, you have to fiddle with your generator. You might have to do this anyway if your missions contain dynamic elements, but this gives the devs more fine control as you can adjust two sytems instead of just the one really big one.
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