Edtharan

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About Edtharan

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  1. Card games can be much more complex than you might at first think and can requier a lot of programing. When learning a new system or component I use the 1 month project. In thus you sen 1 month developing a project, and at the end of the month you abandon the project. Thus accomplishes several things: First, it stops you from adding in too many complicating factors and so helps you to focus on what you are trying to learn. Second, because you are going to abandon the project (and I do mean abandon as the idea is not to try and make a completed project) you don't have to try and make it pollished and releasable, and it also helos to atip you seeing thus as a pet project and becoming too emotionally invoved in completing it, which again would distract you from what you are trying to learn. And finally, the short time frame helps you to keep the scope of what you are learning to small, easily acievable goals. If you haven't done much (or any) programing before I would recomentld starting with the basics (move things on screen, collision detection and reacting to player to input). It is good advice to not use the project you really want to do to learn. Learning is hard and you will make mistakes and stuff things up royally (when learning, these are good things, but not when you are trying to make something you want to release). Pong is a really good project that covers these concepts. It is simple and a good place to learn the basics of game programming.
  2. Don't try and balance the abilities, but instead balance the strategies. In this, "Strategies" means the combination of abilities and player choices that the player thinks will lead them to victory. Most developers try to balance the abilities (or attributes) of a system. However, even in a system where all these are perfectly balanced, there can exist unbalanced strategies. take for example a strategy game where every single unit is perfectly balanced. If the players pit units against units then the game is perfectly balanced and the player who use the right units against the right enemy units will win. However, a player instead decides not to engage the enemy units and instead does a "tank rush" and attacked the enemy base. This strategy beats the enemy each time if the enemy ties to engage unit on unit. This is not a balanced game even though the units are perfectly balanced. It is because the strategies are unbalanced that the game is unbalanced. The problem is that strategies are emergent. That is the developers don't pre determine the strategies used in the game, but that they are created in how the player chooses to use the elements of the game. This makes it almost impossible to balance the strategies of a game.
  3. Skills

    Game economies are tricky. It is easy to trivialise the role of players as you try to avoid massive inflation or collapse. If you want a player driven economy, the best way is to avoid having item drops and instead have the raw materials from from enemies )or be able to be collected near by). Then allow the players the ability to craft any and all items in the game. What you also want to do is to have the quality of the items dependent on the character's skill and choices of the player. This could be though higher or lower quality materials for crafting and even allowing the player to change the stats of the items (within limits) by trading one stat for another. As an example: A player wants to make a sword. They can gather iron ore and smelt that into steel. But the quality (or perhaps amount) of iron ore is based on their gathering skill and the quality of the steel is based on their smelting skill. The quality of the steel and the characters forging(sword) skill then sets the base value of the stats of sword. Lastly, given these base values, the character has the option to tweak the sword stats a bit. So they might drop the damage value to increase the attack rate, or they might drop the durability to increase the damage. Or any such modifications. This could also be extended to the gathering of raw materials. The player can set their gathering for speed, amount or for quality, thus giving the players more control over the end results. You could then allow players to combine skills to make the more powerful items. And, if the skills needed for certain items could not be learned by a single character this will encourage players to co-operate to forge the more powerful items. Using these ideas, you can encourage social interactions (players working together), and you can develop a better player economy. Also, by having the player's skills and choices affect the stats of items, this give players who make good choices and put in the time to develop their skills more valuable to the community, but by having lower quality items easer to get (as more people will have lower skills), they cater for new characters.
  4. The big mistake that Rogue likes do is greatly increase the power of the character as they level up. For example: At level 1 the character might have 100 HP and have a +10 bonus to hit. Then at level 2 they have 200 HP and a +15 to hit (maybe with gear and such). If, instead you gave the character smaller increases in skill, then the gameplay would be about player skill rather than how big the stats were. Another idea is to not increase the character stats at all, but instead have the player able to trade one stat for another and the higher the level the more total stat points they could trade. As an example: If the player had 3 Stats: Strength, Reflex and Health. If they all start at 100 at first level, then for every level the player can transfer 2 points from one stat to another. S0 at level 2 the player might have: Str: 98 Ref: 101 Heal: 101 At level 10 they might have: Str 80 Ref: 115 Heal: 105 This way the characters start of as a generalist, but can become more specialised as they level up and, as the stats are traded, the character will always have some weakness that keeps even low level monsters a threat. Gear, of course, could still give a total increase to stats (in the example above there total was 300 points, but with gear that might increase to 400 or even more). This way gear is still important and does make the character stronger, but if you apply the first idea to the gear (ie: don't give massive increases), then you can keep the whole stat problem in checks and thus allow your gameplay to reflect the player skill/choices/strategy better.
  5. MMORPG in the hand of the player

    [quote name='dr Jack' timestamp='1302791463' post='4798406'][b] [/b]I agree, the structure of story this needs to have some linearity. And it's full of NPC characters fully controlled by the "pre-created story". The evolution in the story can differentiate. Creating multiple options for a character can spend much resources, and it needs very much more resource to implement different pre-created storylines for more than one "persona". [/quote] Done right, it should require less resources in the long run. This design concept is not about creating lots of different paths the player can follow, but allowing the player to create their own path. If you think of a fight in another type of game (Say FPS). During the fight the player has set goals (stay alive and kill their opponent). This is the "Story". However, how they do this is not set. They might use a sniper rifle and stalk their opponent in a game of cat and mouse (whole movies are made around this "story"), or they might use stealth to get in close and finish them off with a knife, or they might grab the shield belt and the chain gun and mow them down. But, even within this there is still things going on. How their opponent reacts, how bot use the terrain, the near misses, the surprise moves the sudden reversals as one gets a lucky shot in (or fouls up an easy shot). In even an FPS fight there is a story in the microcosm of events. In fact, this is a perfect example of Agency. The players might have a set beginning and end, and even the basic story is pre-set, but the players have Agency over their character's actions and this allows them to create a narrative as they try to achieve their goals (and even on a failed goal there is still a story - although it might be seen as a tragedy). [quote name='dr Jack' timestamp='1302791463' post='4798406'] This can add options. Having any objective (like "territory conquer") can be differentiated by giving player different challenges to gain it. An objective that can be achieved in different ways. The player has to decide not only which one suits more to his persona, but which one is more easy for him. [/quote] It is not so much about the number of options or the variety, but it is about having the player's choice of option re-interact with future situations and options. [quote name='dr Jack' timestamp='1302791463' post='4798406'] I think that giving the player some type of objective can entice him to develop his character's persona. That's why I think well-deisgned objectives can enrich a game. I read something about the "agency", also for P&P Rpg. Is there any article, book or other material where I can read some more about the "agency"? [/quote] I can't recall any one source where I picked up the term Agency. But a lot of it comes from Artificial Intelligence where the autonomous entities in a system are called Agents. It is because these "Agents" interact within the system and the system interacts with them in complex ways that the Agents express this intelligence. So I suppose the first step to understanding and designing Agency based systems is to treat the user and the AI Agents on equal footing. The thing is, Agency is used widely in games, it just is not used much in cRPGs. IT is about giving the player the ability to [i]act[/i] in the game, not just [i]react[/i]. It is giving the player the ability to say, how they reach the goal, not telling the player they must do it "this way" or "that way". [quote name='dr Jack' timestamp='1302791463' post='4798406'] Let's see if I understand this. You mean something like the moral alignment of Planescape Torment? Where action of the player define a part of the character (as I said the alignment). [/quote] That is an example of a very simplistic form of what I am talking about. However, it sort of fails as the paths the player takes through the story (the narrative) are still pre-set. So although they have the beginnings of Agency, it is actually an illusion of Agency. If they had the NPC able to asses the player and make choices as to how they react based on various inputs, then this would make the game more Agency based. [quote name='dr Jack' timestamp='1302791463' post='4798406'] Alas I am not sure to understand this one. You mean that NPC relates with the PC in a different way (like the merchants in some MMORPG who sell things only if you have good reputation with a faction)? [/quote] Sort of, but again this just stops short of what I was talking about. Again, this comes from AI Agents. In an AI Agent, the agents must be able to communicate between themselves in various ways. In AI Agents systems, if an Agent can know everything about the world at any time and can act on that in any way, then they cease to become an Agent and the system is no longer an Agent based system. By limiting what any Agent can know at any time, and restricting their ability to act on the information they have, then each entity gains individuality. As each entity is an individual, then the actions of that individual will reflect its history and it can develop. Story is about how a character grows and develops because of the events that unfold. Every story is a journey. If you force a player to follow a particular way through a story, then they loose their connection to this experience of development. Most cRPGs substitute this experience of development with the increasing of variables (level and stats). This again is just a false illusionary substitute for story and narrative. Ironically, it is the cRPGs that that seem to be doing this the most, and it is in the other genera that more success is being achieved in giving players this control over their character's story. [quote name='dr Jack' timestamp='1302791463' post='4798406'] If you mean Art of Game Design, I read it. And I like it very much. Alas, in my country, I can't find anywhere the cards! [/quote] No, not Art of Game Design (good book though - you could probably get it from an online book store). This was a document written specifically about his game "Balance of Power". Here is a link: [url="http://www.erasmatazz.com/page78/page146/page147/BalanceOfPower.html"]http://www.erasmatazz.com/page78/page146/page147/BalanceOfPower.html[/url] [quote name='dr Jack' timestamp='1302791463' post='4798406'] I'm not so sure about this. I agree that WoW is full of lame quests. They're not only boring, you also know that if you win or if you fail nothing will change in the world (yeah, ok you gain some items and xp, but it doesn't have any important impact on the world story). One other thing is also the Setting itself, WoW (and also Ultima Online) were created on a setting with a deep story background. But sticking to objectives and challenges WoW gives the players at least one interesting objective: wars and conflict between faction. This type of objective is not a story itself, but it's a story creator objective. I'm searching for them, to see if they are implementable, and to check if they add fun for a MMORPG. [/quote] I agree, WoW is a game with very little Agency in it. Even the fights are pretty much set pieces where you need to have the prescribed sequence to complete them (there is some variety, but not much - then again, just having variety is not the same as Agency). See most of the work went into creating a back story that most players won't both with most of the time. In these cases, the designers had a lot of Agency in the story, but then never gave the players that same Agency. It seems as if the designers specifically wanted players to not have much in the way of Agency (I am not against games that don't have Agency, I just think that giving more Agency to players in RPGs is a way to create significant innovation in the genera). Another way to understand Agency is to look at games that don't have much (or any for that matter). The point and click adventure games (Such as the Monkey Island series or the New Back to the Future series, and such - by the way loved both of these game series). These style of games have the least amount of agency in them. The player must complete puzzles in a certain way to progress, if they don't complete them in the way prescribed by the designers, then they fail to progress until they do. And then, the story progresses in a completely prescribed manner as well with no variation or option (and yet they can still be fun). Games with little or no agency feel like the designers are dictating the story to you, that you are just watching the story unfold. Games with player agency (even if it is just an illusionary sense of it) feel like you are making the story up as you go along, you might know the start and the destination, but you control how you get there.
  6. MMORPG in the hand of the player

    I like to use the term "To give the players [i]Agency[/i] of their story". The first step is to abandon the traditional cRPG style. This style was taken from the mechanics of pen and paper RPGs, but it also left what made them [i]Role[/i] playing games. In games like D&D, the role the player takes on is similar to the Ancient Greek Mythological Heroes. This limits the range of roles somewhat, but there is still a large scope for the variety of roles. In this sense, "Role" is not the same as the game mechanic of "Class". It is actually more closer to the meaning of "Persona". So in terms of PnP RPGs I might have the class of Wizard, but this just states how I go about dealing with the world, but the "Role" is the personality of the character and the choices I have them make (and the rationale of why that choice was taken). The problem with current cRPGs is that they use decision trees to map out every possible choice you can make in the game, and then they write into those the rational you are supposed to apply to why you made that choice. Giving the player Agency is giving them back the power to make their own choices and have their own rationale for them. This can sometime lead to the player having less options at any one time (but not always). The way it is done is to give the player a full set of actions, even ones unrelated to the current situation at all times. You might have a choice and then sub-choices that lead directly from that, but once that sub-choice set has been dealt with, the player is brought right back up to the full set of choices as soon as possible. As an example: I am a Knight and lord of an estate in a fantasy medieval RPG. At the top level I have the ability to choose any of the basic actions, however, I choose to send in spies to a rival knight's estate to make the peasants revolt (in game mechanics, I build a spy unit, move it to the target territory and give it the order "sow descent"). However, at the top level I could have also decided to march my army into their territory and attack, challenge them to a due, or even visit different knight's manor house and conduct a trade negotiation. Now, this allows me to create a persona for my character. If I want them to be sneaky, I'll send the spy. If I want to be militaristic I can send the army, If I want to make the issue a personal one and defeat them in an honourable fashion, I'll challenge them to the duel. Or, If I am not interested in battle I'll go conduct the trade negotiation. However, the reason I do these things might be different depending on how I want my character's persona to be. I might choose the spy method, not because I am sneaky, but because I can't defeat them in any other way (they have a bigger army and they are better at swordplay then my character). Also, I might choose the trade negotiation because it builds the alliance between me and the 3rd knight and together we can defeat my (our) enemy. So each choice can have many different reasons you would choose it. Giving the player Agency is giving them the power to form that rationale behind a choice and making the choice to reflect their character's persona. There are games that have been doing this for a long time, right back into the 1980's they were being made, so doing this is not so much dependent on complex computer algorithms and processing capacity, but in how you approach the design of the game. There are two things that seem important for this to occur: Memory and Communication. The game must have a memory of the past actions of the player. This can be a complex system where it remembers specific events, or it could just be a single variable that stores a value that is changed by the choices made. The other is Communication, which means that entities in the game must be able to communicate with each other about their attitude to your character. Again, this can be a complex system that tries to model real world information spread through populations, or it can be a simple variable with each NPC that gets updated each time multiple NPCs are in the same area. Some games that do this are: "Balance of Power" and "Sword of the Samurai". Both of these are older games, and both had developers that worked on them that have gone on to become quite famous designers (so even just for the history of game development they are worth a look at). Chris Crawford, the designer of Balance of Power, has even written a book on how the game was designed (IIRC it is available as a free e-book).
  7. Modding gives you experience?

    Having some familiarity with programming is important for designing. Just coming up with an idea and telling someone about it is not design. Design involves much more than that. If you think of Design as the driving force that gets an idea implemented, it is a better mind set to be in. Pretty much anyone can come up with an idea. And most people can have a good go at describing the idea in a way that it can be implemented by other developers. It is the Designer that takes these basic ideas and gets them to a point where they get implemented. Of course, as part of a design team, you are not expected to do all the bits yourself (that is why it is a team), but you should be at least able to do them to some degree (if not an expert, at least know what is involved). Also, as a lone designer (say as part of a small modding team, or as a single person developer), you will actually have to do all the design work yourself. This means you need to learn some programming, even if it just basic scripting to allow you to modify the stats of a game character. At some point, no matter the size of the team or skill of the other developers, you will want something implemented in a certain way. This will entail you describing the system in a way the programmers can work with (psudocode) or doing it yourself (scripting). Since Design is getting your ideas implemented, then getting involved with a modding community is exactly the experience you need to be a designer. Just coming up with ideas and writing them down does not make you a designer (or half the world would be game designers).
  8. Looking for a RPG rule set

    I have a basic RPG system that I made that I don't really care if anyone uses (I consider it as public domain). I call it Heroix. The basic system composes of 3 stat types: - Abilities - Powers - Skills The Abilities are: Muscle Body Agility Mind Each ability has a value from 1 to 5 (1 being the worst and 5 being the best). All Abilities start at 3, but during character creation, players can move points from 1 Ability to an other on a 1 for 1 basis (the number of changes are up to you, but I had 3 changes to start with and then the player can move 1 point each level). Powers are like Abilities, however their is no set powers (other than what you as the designer wants), and powers tend to suffer damage and receive healing much more than abilities. Like Abilities, Powers range from 1 to 5 (a power at 0 essentially does not exist for the character). Powers are usually treated like an Ability, but they cna be used as a reserve of points for certain actions a character might want to occasionally do. Skills are not set (the original PnP design just had the players create their own skill names). They range from 1 to 5 (a skill at 0 does not effect anything about the character and so can be though of as not existing for the character although technically it could just as easily). All skills start at 0. When a character does something, they make a check. This is done by rolling an Ability or Power and adding the most appropriate Skill value. The die rolled for an Ability is dependent on the value of the Ability or Power. Every action that had a chance of failure entailed a check, either against a set amount (Rating) or as a contested check rolled against another character's (or enemy's) check value. A value of 1 = 1D4 2 = 1D6 3 = 1D8 4 = 1D10 5 = 1D12 So the die value is essentially (2 * value) + 2. The main variety of the system comes from the Powers and the Skills. Typically Powers are treated like Abilities, but because they are not required for normal actions, they are optional. However, because Powers can act in other ways too, it gives them more flexibility than just Abilities have. As an example: Your character might have a Power called "Manna". Each time the character cases a spell, it take a point of manna to do so (actually, because the numbers are so low, I used a system where the player could attempt to resist this damage to their manna so that each spell did not necessarily drain a point, but there was instead a chance that it could happen). When they rest, they can recover their manna. In terms of game mechanics, Manna is "Damaged" each time it is used, and resting heals it. Skills are the other way to make the system flexible. Essentially, any action the character can do can be represented as a skill. If the skill is at 0, the character can still attempt the action, but they might not be very good at it. Equipment acted much the same as skills do, with the equipment adding a value to the die roll of an action, however, items could give both bonuses and penalties which means the value you add varied from -5 to +5. Experience was handled with the player getting 1 point each session. They could spend points to level up an Ability, Power or Skill, but to do so would cost a number of XP equal to the current level +1 of the Ability, Power or Skill was at. So to raise a level 3 Ability to level 4 would cost 4 experience points. To raise it to level 5 would cost another 5 points (Which means to raise a skill from level 0 to level 5 would take 15 points (which would be 15 sessions of play). Each time they did this it would be considered levelling up (and so they could move an Ability point from one Ability to another at the same time if they wanted). Because Each skill constituted an action that could be taken, players were free to make up the skills they wanted to as action (although there were some default actions that could be done). The idea was to make a general role-play system that can be easily customised to fit any genera that I wanted. However, as a computer game, you would probably have a set of actions and powers to suit your own world, and not let the players make up their own. You could also have certain actions only available if a player has at least 1 point in the Skill for it. This would allow you to have Magic Spells that the character can learn as these "actions" would be essentially hidden from the player and character until they learnt them (and if they don't know about them they can't just put a point into them -so to learn them they might need to seek out a teacher to learn the spell when they have an experience point ready to spend). The system also allows character to either become a Jack of All trades or a Specialist, or somewhere in between. It is class less, but you will likely get players developing build that they consider effective for certain roles. The other idea you could use with it is to increase the numbers (as players like big numbers [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif[/img]). If you multiplied every number by 1000 and allowed the player to have stats and such at any number (So an Ability of 2545 would be allowed), then the system still works as is with little change. This way player can tweak their characters in a more fine grained way. It is not a complete system, but it is the skeleton of a flexible system that can be easily changed to suit any genera you need and can be adapted with out much of a problem into a computer game.
  9. Have a look at "Global Agenda". This is a FPS MMO where players can play as individual troops that fight over maps like in any other FPS, but it also has an Agency vs Agency mode where you create or join an agency and try to take over a larger map strategically, however, the locations that are fought over in the AvA are the maps that the PvP players fight on and how each team does feeds back into AvA.
  10. 4X Tactical Command

    In the 3D of space, line of sight is easier to get. If a ship is blocking your line of sight, then rising a few degrees will clear it (just as going to the side would). So ships have more options for manoeuvring to gain line of sight to the target. However, "line of sight" or something similar comes into play when you allow ships to deliberately intercept attacks from enemies. This way ships designed to either destroy incoming ordinance (eg: interceptor fighters) or be able to take the damage (shield ships) can act as screens for the armed ships. Basically there is a cone (that depends on the capabilities of the defence ship), extending from the weapon that if a defence type ship is in, it can potentially block that attack. This is effectively like having a ship "hide" behind another or block line of sight to the intended target.
  11. More Realistic MMO style game

    [quote name='aersixb9' timestamp='1300035978' post='4785250'] I was thinking about how the AI respawns in mmos, and also how the equipment never matches what they're wearing. One problem is scale. The populations of mobs are too small to reproduce in anything resembling a 'realistic' way, [/quote] In medieval societies (which most fantasy is based on), there really wasn't much of the population that engaged in military type activity. Unlike today, virtually everybody had to grow (to some degree) their own food. As a general number (it varied form place to place and from time period as well), it would take about 9 people to grow enough for 10 people. This means that around 10% of the population was not involved in food production. However, out of this 10%, not all of them would be in military service. So think of this in terms of Mobs. The creatures you see represent significantly less than 10% of the population (probably around 0.5% to 1% of the population for a war like population). So for every creature you fight, there would be between 100 to 200 more creatures somewhere (of course this does not apply for undead [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/cool.gif[/img] ). Also most soldiers where never professional soldiers, but average peasants that were drafted or serfs that were required to serve in the army, or just the average citizen trying to defend their homes. In terms of dungeon mobs, where the mobs have made their home there, you might see close to 20% of the population able to fight (50% female, 30% elderly or children which leaves 20% capable of fighting). As you also would usually want your best fighters in in defensive locations (to better defend them and also to protect your assets) then the tougher creatures will be near the home town/fort/nest/etc of the mob. But, if they were making attacks, the stronger fighters will more likely lead the attack as it would give the attack the best chance to succeed. Now, knowing all that, we can work out a system for simulating monster populations. If we assume that any mobs not part of the Monster Nest represent around 1% (at best) of the total monster population, then this gives us an estimation of the total population of the monsters (which we can use to determine the total strength of that particular Monster Nest for other parts of the simulation). Mobs encountered in the Nest itself will be a combination of the strongest (Boss types) and a quickly assembled draft of combatants equal to about 19% of the population. The other 80% are non combatants and can be thought (or even shown) to just run for cover and try to get away form combat. If the nest is defeated, these can be thought to scatter and regroup where they can as a new population (and then work out the 20% of combatants from that - more on that later) So at most, a complete destruction of a monster nest should not kill more than around 20% of the population. If we break the world up into regions (essentially a site like a cave/ruin/etc and the area around it), and each region can sustain a certain number of monsters then we can allow each region to host a particular monster type. Over time this population will increase (breeding form the 80% of non-combatants). If the region can't sustain the population, then some of them will try to attack an adjacent region and defeat the monsters that live there. If they succeed, then the monsters push the existing monsters our and start a new colony (say 10% of the population). If they fail, then the survivor (if any) return back to the nest and the diminished population might be sustainable (if not more raids will occur). If a population is pushed out of their location, then they will be thought of as a homeless population and will not be allowed to breed, however they can still be allowed to make raids and attempt to conquer a new home (they will still follow the 80/20 rule of 20% of the current population as combatants but they can have the 20% as attackers rather than the 1% of an established population). Thus we can have a natural flow of monster populations and habitats in the world. It takes a fair amount of effort for a nest to be wiped out by an invading monster population (excluding the effects of adventurers [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif[/img]), and as this occurs, the ownership of the land will switch back and forth between the various attackers and defenders of a region. Now, you can do some things to make it more interesting: One is to have several ecological niches in each region (including some that are created by certain monster types, eg predator prey types) and allow interactions between them. Then each monster species can be designed to fill that niche (or niches). For example: Just say you have a Browser type monster (one that can gather their own food from the environment - eg eats animals or raids nearby farms), then you could have a Predator type that attacks other animals and monsters for their food. Then you could have a scavenger type that lives off the waste of the others (eg: eats the corpses of other animals - or an exotic one that eats treasure). So the more monsters that are around, the more predator type monsters can exist (if they wipe out the other monsters, they won't have any food and as the region can't sustain them their population will fall - either through starvation, migration or death in raids). Another idea is to have special monsters that can only live in one area. These would be the really big and dangerous monsters like dragons, trolls and such. These would only have 1 or two monsters allowed per region. They would also have the ability to depopulate an area over time (forcing them to keep attacking and moving on to nearby areas to survive). They would act as normal monsters (having a nest) but as they are single monsters they wouldn't have the population effect of the 80/20 rule. Also when they successfully raided and defeated the monsters in another area, they would move into that without leaving any population behind (or only occasionally doing so). This way you can have your big monsters remain rare and still have them exist as a dynamic element in the world. Using a system like this can lead to an interesting world with dynamic monster locations and populations. Players will have to search for the Dragon's lair and there will be effects on the world's ecosystem as both players and monsters raid each other.
  12. Its not just a game... Its art!

    The word that I use when I think of games and art has been used several times in this thread already: Craft. But what does "Craft" mean? Well dictionary.com has this (the stress is theirs): "[color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=4][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]an[/size][/font][/color] [/size][/font][/color][url="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/art"]art[/url][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2], [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]trade,[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]or[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]occupation[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]requiring[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]special[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]skill,[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]especially [/size][/font][/color][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]manual[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]skill:[/size][/font][/color] [/size][/font][/color][color=#333333][font=Georgia, Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2][i][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]the[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]craft[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]of[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]a[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]mason."[/size][/font][/color][/size][/font][/color][/i][/size][/font][/color][/size][/font][/color] So Craft is a certain type of art, or at least has an aspect of Art in it. I think this describes games quite well. They can contain art, or even be art, but they aren't [i]necessarily[/i], [i]explicitly[/i] art. Think of a table. Basically a table is just 4 legs supporting a flat, horizontal surface. But, there is a craft to designing tables. You can, using skill, turn them from the basic utilitarian object into a work of art. Such as it is with game. A game can be the basic "[i]utilitarian object"[/i] where you play for fun (being the utility of a game is to have fun playing it). Or it can be something that has, through the skill of the designer turned it into an object that goes beyond the raw utility. Which, if you also look at dictionary.com is part of the definition of "Art": "[color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=4][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]the[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]quality,[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]production,[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]expression,[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]or[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]realm,[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]according[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]to [/size][/font][/color][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]aesthetic[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]principles,[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]of[/size][/font][/color] [/size][/font][/color][url="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/what"]what[/url][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]is[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]beautiful,[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]appealing,[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]or[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]of [/size][/font][/color][color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]more[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]than[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]ordinary[/size][/font][/color] [color=#333333][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]significance."[/size][/font][/color][/size][/font][/color][/size][/font][/color] The important phrase there is: "of more than ordinary significance". So just as a table can be made to have "more than ordinary significance" through the skill of the craftspersons, so too can a game gain more than ordinary significance if the designers which to do so and apply their skills to do so. It is also why the issue seems confused. Because games can both be and not be art (because they are a craft) one can point to examples of either and make claims for either. It is the same as a table. Mu kitchen table is really just the basic utilitarian table and I don't think anyone would consider it artistic. However, I have seen tables that are amazing works of art, to the point where you would not use them as a table because of their artistic merit (you wouldn't want to damage it) and they effectively loose their utility as a table and become pure art. But this same spectrum also exists for games. There are games that are almost pure art, there are also games that are pure utilitarian for fun, and then there are the games that range as a continuum between these. So I think the best way to think of games is not pure art or pure utilitarian, but as a spectrum between them and this is the real of Craft.
  13. Programming/Scripting themed game

    The thing that RoboShips had was a visual scripting language where you could drag and drop various functions onto a workspace and then drag linking lines between them to control program flow. This makes it easy to design a script and modify a script, and you really don't need to memorise a complex syntax for the language. This lowers the entry barrier for new players and widens the market (a small bit, but every bit counts). If done well, this kind of scripting system can make your game much easier to play, so players spend less type trying to figure out what part of the syntax is wrong and more time actually getting their script to work how they want.
  14. Programming/Scripting themed game

    Have a look at RoboShips. It is one of these programming games, but it uses a visual, flow chart style of programming where you don't really need to know how to program.
  15. Online MMORTS guidlines and help

    [quote name='Dorphern' timestamp='1299862608' post='4784448'] So say, if I choose to put food into the game, it will make a soft limit, in the way that you have to use time (building farms) to generate more food for your warriors? And then having the price for farms go up as you level them up, it would cost more and more to keep a bigger army. But, because it's an online rts it also takes more and more of the players time the bigger his army and empire grow, so that is a kind og soft limit as well you could say? [/quote] This is the hardest thing to do with feedback loops: Identify the loop. What you have done is seen Farms -> Food -> Soldiers. As soldiers need food and farms produce food then the more soldiers there are the less food their is (but, as the soldiers don't produce food, there is no loop). However, this is not a loop. This is just a linear system. The loop is the Farms -> Food -> Farmers -> Farms loop. Farms -> Food -> Farmers -> Farms is a positive feedback loop. The more farms you have the more population you can have and the more farmers you can have. So building farms feedback into having more farms. However, anything you build that uses food and is not a farmer reduces the rate this feedback loop operates, but it doesn't eliminate it (or turn it into a negative feedback). Time is a bad resource to try and suppress. This is because each time you do this, you are dictating what a player has to do. You are taking away from the player the ability to make decisions. For a player to develop a strategy or choose tactics, they [i]need[/i] to be able to make decisions. This is an essential part if you want the player to be able to develop [i]their own[/i] strategy rather than just implement [i]your [/i]strategy. HEre is a suggested feedback loop: Population Needs houses. Houses take space. Population needs Food. Food is produced on Farms. Farms take up space. The loop is: Population -> Space -> Food -> Population So, increase the food and you can have more population, but with the increase in population you need more houses and that takes up space, this leaves less space for more food production. If other buildings then take up space, this makes the resource of "space" the limiting factor in population size. However, if you allow the player to gain space from conquering other players, then this creates a new positive feedback loop: Victory -> Space -> Food -> Soldiers -> Victory. The more victories you have the more space you have and thus you end up with a larger army and this makes it easier for you to have more victories and get more space. End result = Positive Feedback.