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Posted 24 February 2012 - 06:06 PM
Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:46 AM
Even though I'm working on a project that has nothing to do with games, I figured this is still a good place to ask an advice about one game design issue I'm having.
I'm just wodering what approach you guys (especially experienced "big" games programmers) use when balancing a game with hundreds of variables. For example, games like Civilization, Heroes, Starcraft, etc, etc, have different units with different stats, and the question is, how are all these variables calculated to make them "balanced". Do you guys "handwrite" all the math formulas and such how those variables interact with each other and mathematically solve the values? Or is it an intensive testing for different options? Are there any software to help you with that?
I'm making a software that has tons of variables that interact with each other and figured I would ask about your experiences before I simple add semi-random values to them and start playing around trying to find the best match.
Posted 28 February 2012 - 05:29 AM
Posted 28 February 2012 - 09:28 AM
Posted 28 February 2012 - 03:32 PM
On the contrary, it means you actually understand what kind of gameplay you're offering. If you can't prove that your game is balanced, then your game is most likely not balanced.
Honestly, if you can balance your game using math then it usually means your game sux.
The formula that takes into account all the possible choices that can be made by a player will. And there's a finite number of those choices in any game. If there are more choices you can make that will lead you to win with a siege tank against 10 zerglings rather than the other way around, then the probability of your win is higher when you pit a siege tank against 10 zerglings. Simple as that. The only problem is how much computing you need to do to actually compute all the possible choices and find out the probability of a win when playing a certain race on a certain map.
like 10 fast and cheap zerglings vs 1 siege tank that needs to setup - no math formula will tell you which is better
Posted 28 February 2012 - 03:56 PM
And that is infinite, in the general case. I somewhat doubt its feasible even to compute every possible permutation of the simpler '10 zerglings vs siege tank' - you have a massive number of terrain/elevation/building-placement/formation permutations to account for.
The only problem is how much computing you need to do to actually compute all the possible choices and find out the probability of a win when playing a certain race on a certain map.
Posted 28 February 2012 - 11:43 PM
Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:30 AM
...Plus the initial density of the zerglings, the number of groups they're split into, frequency and placement differences between group moves, the upgrades both unit types have, which units are targeted by the tank, whether adding a single supplementary unit has a noticeable effect, what the effects of different unit combinations are on the effectiveness of each individual unit type, for each possible visibility/spotting situation, each choke-point possibility and building-layout choice, with and without different levels of unit micromanagement to minimise splash damage, whether a dropship is present, accounting for the expected amount of 'micro time' the player should have available based on their macro-duties at different points in a match... and then the actions that led up to this situation - what's the effectiveness of the billion other situations that both players could've been in at this point in the match instead of a 10-zergling-vs-1-tank battle?
Given a siege tank has range 7 (8 on high ground), plus we need room to manoeuvre the zerglings, we are going to need to simulate a 32x32 grid, each cell of which can occur in one of 3 elevations and one of 16 obstruction directions. Add to that the initial position of the tank and the 10 zerglings, and then simulate all of their possible actions...
Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:55 AM
Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:39 AM
Well, the state space of StarCraft is clearly much larger than for Chess: Chess has exactly 64 squares, exactly 32 pieces, and an upper bound of 5898 plies in a game.
Although I'm not too sure about starcraft being harder than chess.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:07 AM
Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:54 AM
Unfortunately, as the program simulating all possible strategies for balance, you can't tell in advance *which* moves are counterproductive.
Because what matters is not how many possible moves your opponent can make given a certain state of the game, but rather how many winning moves she can make. With starcraft, you're not as limited in movement and attacks as you are in chess, but most of the moves you can make would be obviously counterproductive.
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