Game Design - the collective approach.

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Game Design - the collective approach.

Postby Robin S » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:24 am UTC

Just an idea I had the other day for a game which really focuses on strategy rather than tactics (I realize this could reduce the audience size, perhaps drastically). Basically, each player starts with a single type of unit (probably the same type for all players). For any two types of unit A and B, there is a rate at which A kills B and a rate at which B kills A. Obviously, these two rates are dependent on the numbers of units A and B in the armies of each player, but there is a constant value from which the rates are calculated. Each player is constantly supplied with resources to spend on his or her army, perhaps at a constant rate, perhaps an exponential rate or perhaps a rate depending on the size of their army (in other words, the number of resources provided depends on how successful you have been so far in surviving attacks from other players). A player basically designs their own units by choosing what "kill rates" a new type of unit will have when faced with any of the existing units owned by other players - the drawback is that the computer decides how many resources each type of unit costs based on its kill rates for currently-existing units. A strategic point would be that while you can produce a unit which is extremely powerful against the units currently owned by other players, another player could then produce a unit which specifically targets your "uberunit" and which would be far cheaper to make.

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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby evilbeanfiend » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:31 am UTC

sounds a bit like the unit design part of alpha centuri. as described it sounds a little to minamalist, it think a best strategy wouldn't be too hard to find, or at least a nash equilibrium
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby Robin S » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:38 am UTC

I know it's minimalist - that's why the idea appealed to me in the first place, as being something which could even be made into a tabletop game without much difficulty - but I hoped the unit cost system would remove the possibility of a simple Nash equilibrium. Feel free to try to find one, though; I'll happily try to improve the concept.
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby thisisdavid » Mon Oct 15, 2007 3:40 am UTC

if you can move strategy games past the concept of rock paper scissors, i'll buy your game
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby <insert witty name> » Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:42 pm UTC

The minimalistic approach appeals to me.

However, I see one problem: Let's say, Player A designs unit X. One minute later, Player B designs unit Y. How will it be determined, how much damage X will do to Y? (A didn't know that Y existed when he designed X)

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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby Robin S » Sat Oct 20, 2007 10:43 pm UTC

I wrote:A player basically designs their own units by choosing what "kill rates" a new type of unit will have when faced with any of the existing units owned by other players
I meant that the player would choose both the rates at which their new unit killed existing units, and the rates at which existing units killed their new unit. Sorry for not being clear about that.
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby malarkie » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:56 am UTC

It sounds interesting, but I think that there would be no flow to the battles. Like you take so much ground or however progress is defined, but player 2 brings in the counter-unit and takes it all back and so forth.
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby Robin S » Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:49 am UTC

The point is that it is not as simple as making "the" counter-unit. The more effective your new unit is, and the more of the enemy's units it can counter, the more it will cost to produce and the less individual units you will be able to make.
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby Amnesiasoft » Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:26 am UTC

This also sounds a little bit like Impossible Creatures. You'd need to be extremely careful on how much power you gave people over what they can create, because Impossible Creatures had this slight problem that it was way too easy to rush out Whalerines, the most powerful unit you could possibly build. But their design may have actually been superior to yours just because they limited you to building an army before the game actually starts, after that, no more changes. Though I guess which system is better would be a matter of opinion. Some would see yours as "too easy" and lacking any need to carefully plan what you were doing whereas the system in Impossible creatures forces you to carefully plan and balance your army, but doesn't give players as much flexability when it comes to responding to the units an enemy has in his army.

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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby malarkie » Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:37 am UTC

I just reread the OP, you're right.

Would it be possible to make a unit that is equally good against all types?
If not, then I want to play right now.
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby Robin S » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:58 am UTC

Technically it would be possible to make a unit which was equally effective against all existing units, but such a unit would either be very weak against all of them or be ridiculously expensive, and would furthermore have the disadvantage that a single unit could be built by the enemy designed specifically to target the "jack of all trades, master of none" unit - and such a counter-unit would be far cheaper, because it would only be designed to counter a single unit type.
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby Maseiken » Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:29 am UTC

Amnesiasoft wrote:This also sounds a little bit like Impossible Creatures. You'd need to be extremely careful on how much power you gave people over what they can create, because Impossible Creatures had this slight problem that it was way too easy to rush out Whalerines...

If a Whalerine is what I think it is, then that game is the best game ever.
The only better game would be an action RPG, where you play as a Whalerine.
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby Robin S » Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:06 am UTC

Incidentally, this thread is now the top Google result for "whalerine".
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby Maseiken » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:44 am UTC

sweet.
EDIT:Ooh, and that's the thing that I said!
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby Vaniver » Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:49 pm UTC

The problem that I see is that you're not playing the opponent, you're playing a formula.

If the formula is perfect at equalizing units, then everyone will have exactly the same strength, and battles will be decided entirely by luck. If the formula is flawed at equalizing units, then one's strength will be determined by one's ability to break the formula, and battles will be decided by a very peculiar form of "strategy" (or, everyone will be forced to use the same broken unit).
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby OmenPigeon » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:52 pm UTC

In addition to the mechanics problems other people have brought up, there's some fairly substantial design issues that you need to address.

If your game is meant to played in real time, and I feel like thats your intention, and you'd like each player to end up creating a number of different units in the course of a single match, then by the end unit creation is going to become absurdly complex.

The sixteenth unit made in a game (I don't think this is unreasonable -- three or four units apiece for three or four players) will have to have damage values assigned for both attacking and defending fifteen other units, for a total of thirty variables.

To be viable in an RTS setting unit creation is going to have to be accomplished in, at most, a few seconds. How do you propose being able to set the values of thirty independent (continuous, no less) variables in a few seconds? This is a non-trivial interface design issue, and implementing it poorly will make your game completely unplayable.

A giant bank of thirty sliding bars is simply going to drive players insane, not to mention needing a ton of clicks to work. Manually typing in numbers isn't a great solution for the same reasons.

Also: how do you name units? No one's going to want to type in six different non-trivial unit names every game, it takes way too long. But if you just have a computer name them all PlayerOneUnitAlpha or something, how are players supposed to keep track of them?

I feel like what you're proposing might be more interesting as a way to model RTS games rather than a game itself.
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby BoomFrog » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:15 am UTC

OmenPigeon wrote:In addition to the mechanics problems other people have brought up, there's some fairly substantial design issues that you need to address.

If your game is meant to played in real time, and I feel like thats your intention, and you'd like each player to end up creating a number of different units in the course of a single match, then by the end unit creation is going to become absurdly complex.

The sixteenth unit made in a game (I don't think this is unreasonable -- three or four units apiece for three or four players) will have to have damage values assigned for both attacking and defending fifteen other units, for a total of thirty variables.

To be viable in an RTS setting unit creation is going to have to be accomplished in, at most, a few seconds. How do you propose being able to set the values of thirty independent (continuous, no less) variables in a few seconds? This is a non-trivial interface design issue, and implementing it poorly will make your game completely unplayable.

A giant bank of thirty sliding bars is simply going to drive players insane, not to mention needing a ton of clicks to work. Manually typing in numbers isn't a great solution for the same reasons.

Also: how do you name units? No one's going to want to type in six different non-trivial unit names every game, it takes way too long. But if you just have a computer name them all PlayerOneUnitAlpha or something, how are players supposed to keep track of them?

I feel like what you're proposing might be more interesting as a way to model RTS games rather than a game itself.


What if you simplified it a little. Like make three choices instead of a continuum (High/medium/low.) and five attack types and five corresponding defense types. So you could make the Ubermen high attack and defense in every category, but I can kill him easily with a swarm of no defense/one attack high dudes.

Archery / Shield
Sword / Armor
Magic / Blessing
Mace / Mobility
Ambush / Perception

It's not rock paper scissors. Each attack has it's own defense. Although it'd probably fall into some rock paper scissors equilibrium of design types actually... : /

P. S. Continuum is hard to spell... : /

Edit: well someone could make a no defense guy and then he's equally hard to kill for anyone so he'd probably be too effecient, so maybe require at least one medium defense and one high defense, and make defense significantly cheaper then attack types of course.
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby Prole » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:38 am UTC

Minimalist games rock

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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby no-genius » Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:50 am UTC

Sounds a bit like the unit promotions in Civ IV. About the 16th unit thing: every unit except the most recent one is obsolete, so assign it the same A/D for all obsolete units?

But I think I would rather play Civ, myself.
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Re: Strategy game concept

Postby bagelfairy » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:13 pm UTC

Sounds kinda like Populous: The Beginning. There were warriors, firewarriors, priests, spies, and "blank" braves who built houses to make more braves or training stations to make other places. There was also one regenerative Shaman. You could anyone (except the Shaman) into anything but you couldn't turn people into braves. It was a pretty fun games.
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Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby wing » Tue May 27, 2008 10:04 am UTC

Update: Magic system is discussed in detail later on in the thread - viewtopic.php?p=685064#p685064

I'm developing a simplified RPG system for use in a PC/Console SNES-style singleplayer RPG I'm brewing up. I've got the system mostly fleshed out in my head (driven by the world that surrounds it) and it makes sense to me. As I get things documented out and crudely mathematically hitched together, I'm wondering if it's all actually as cool as it seems to me.

I'd like to ask the local population of tabletoppers and console RPG players for comment about the system as I develop it, because I'm just one gamer with some ideas I've never seen before (which I've probably stolen from various tabletops without even knowing it - there is nothing original in tabletop gaming)

For starters, let me explain the system a bit.

You have your base stats - They do more or less what they do in every game, evar.
Strength. - How hard you can hit shit.
Dexterity. - How well you move on the small scale
Speed. - How well you move on the large scale
Constitution. - How hard you can get hit.
Wisdom. - How good you are at Doing the Right Thing. In combat, this translates to more effective spells.
Charisma. - This is actually a little different. Here, it affects mostly social actions in the storyline, and in combat, deals primarily with your casting time. It doesnt actually cause any extra effectiveness.
Intelligence. - How much crap you know. In combat, this translates to more effective spells.

These feed, in various combinations, specific combat formulas pertaining to individual weapon types and magic being used by and against a character. However, these formulas are also modified by four other stats, representing the character's emotional state.

These emo stats, for player characters, are extremely fluid. They can change within battle as various things happen to the character and its party members. They can be modified by what other characters are in the party. They can be modified by... Well, prettymuch anything.

They are:
Courage - How willing the character is to take risks. This figures into certain in-combat events (such as covering a wounded ally), boosts both melee and magic attack strength, and slightly decreases physical and magic defense.
Confidence - How sure the character is that they're doing the right thing in general, and that the battle is going their way. This also generally increases the more battles a character is involved in.
Anger - How PO'd the character is. In general, or at the enemies they are facing. Many characters will have certain things that trigger their anger to boost.
Romance - This is a tricky one. Each character has its own criteria for this one. This stat boosts all combat stats. Most NPCs will be zero'd out here, except a few possible bosses. The thought process is that a character will try harder in a fight where they're not just in it to save their own ass.

Lets give an example in a combat context:
Lets say we have a party with 2 members. These two are romantically involved. They get a boost to romance from that (because they don't want to leave the other alone). They're in the party together - they get another boost to romance from that (because they want to protect the other). And then some monster hits one of them. The wounded party member loses a bit of confidence, and gains some anger. The other party member gets a boost to anger. The enemy hits again, and KO's the wounded party member. The surviving party member's confidence will drop (because he's down a party member), and anger will go WAY up (because he's down a significant other).

The surviving party member revives his girlfriend - his confidence goes back up (because he's got a full team again) and anger stays exactly the same. The newly revived party member then scores a critical hit on the monster, and gains some confidence from that.

Hopefully that gives you a pretty good idea of how those stats work. Courage is mostly fixed, and grows over time.

I've also toyed with the idea of, if Anger gets maxed out, sending the character into a Beserk-style status effect, where the player loses control and the character runs on autopilot, randomly attacking and casting and doing enhanced damage. Or maybe instead of acting randomly, the character has one specific thing programmed for them to do - sort of like a limit break. Maybe your L99 caster automatically casts Apocalypse or something. Maybe Bruce Willis tears his shirt and critical hits every enemy in the battle with a sniper rifle. Something over the top like that.

Additionally, I'm doing away with the concept of black vs. white magic - every magical character is, if you want to grind hard enough, capable of learning every spell. Characters will first learn spells appropriate to the storyline and to their own personality, though.

And for now, let me point out a few things about the physical combat system. It is the predominant system of combat for the first half of the game.

Initially, players will primarily use firearms. These weapons have FIXED power caps (depending on the specific weapon's characteristics). They will consume ammunition (which is inexpensive and easy to obtain in mass quantities). They ignore the user's STR stat, DEX is the only thing that brings it closer to the cap. Low dex means shots will be less effective. Perfect dex means you crit every time. Wisdom may also actually end up playing into the effectiveness of firearms. Different firearms will be effective against different types of targets (this is accomplished by keeping track of a caliber and a velocity for each weapon - basically penetration and stopping power. For example, a high velocity round will be key on machines, but if you're fighting people, a larger caliber might be useful) - but will NOT be elemental.

Also available to players will be various melee weapons. These work like they've always worked. As players level and gain STR, especially as they reach "state of the art" in terms of firearms at approximately midgame, melee weapons will eclipse firearms in effectiveness - this is when the characters start running up against the point that I like to call "demigod gap". Melee weapons may be elemental, and often will be in early game to get the player to remember that they're there.

Each individual weapon will have a dex and speed penalty associated with it while equipped. These penalties will gradually decrease with each battle the weapon is worn into combat. This decreased penalty will apply to every weapon of the same type. Therefore, if a character sticks to carrying rifles throughout the whole game, they will eventually reach a point where, even though they aren't using it, they may as well bring it along - because each weapon worn also count as armor (after all, you're strapping more metal to your body). This will be the ONLY heavy metallic armor in the game.

Players will be capable of having up to 2 firearms equipped at once (either 2 pistols, which will be used simultaneously or 1 longgun and 1 pistol, which may be used individually (this allows for two different types of ammunition). The same applies for melee weapons. Two small melee weapons, such as daggers, may be used, or one longsword. The longsword and rifle are not mutually exclusive - pistols and small melee weapons are (but they may be mixed, so you can have 1 sword, 1 dagger, 1 pistol, and 1 rifle). Graphically speaking, this is accomplished by putting the daggers and pistols in thigh holsters, strapping the longgun onto the front of the chest (ref: US army), and throwing the longsword into a traditional scabbard.

This level of "Weapon overkill" initially sounds like a really horrible idea, but I think it's really a brilliant twist - it puts a bit of strategy into the second quarter of the game when players are typically just selling everything that isn't the best. Early game, it's useless because the characters won't have enough dex and spd to be able to handle it without getting slaughtered, but in the second quarter as they begin facing a multitude of differing elementals, they get to be prepared, and won't take nearly as bad a hit.

Armor consists of four classes:
Heavy metal - Equipped weapons covering parts of your body (equippable to weapon slots). Projectiles hitting these are 100% defeated. Melee hitting these is partially absorbed.
Ceramic - Heavy plates designed to absorb projectiles, covering parts of your body (equippable to chest and back). Pretty big dex-hit here. Projectiles below a certain caliber and velocity set by the armor spec are 100% defeated. Other projectiles are absorbed a given ratio depending on how far above spec the projectile is.
Kinetic - Kevlar-like material. Equipped as jackets covering upper body, pants covering lower body. Projectiles hitting these are defeated 100% if below a certain (very low) caliber and velocity as set by the armor's specs. Projectiles below a (much higher) caliber and velocity set by the armor's specs are partially absorbed. Projectiles above that rating are unaffected. Melee is unaffected. No stat effect.
Penetration - Similar to kevlar, but has 30% chance of completely defeating small melee slashing and stabbing weapons such as daggers. No stat effect.

All four armor classes may be worn in parallel. Each given blow will only strike a certain PART of the body, however, and enemies with high INT, DEX and WIS will have higher chances of hitting the extremities.On body parts covered by several layers of armor (the chest, for instance), effects will stack. Blows hitting an area with heavy metal armor attached will have only a certain chance of actually being effected (modified by the size of the weapon - if I have an M2HB strapped to my chest, it'll be a lot higher than with an MP5).

Now, about armor and magic... Characters wearing multiple layers of armor are buffed against ice elemental. Never entirely, though. Fire elemental damage is made worse by the presence of kinetic or penetration armor (because they're fancy synthetics and melt and burn kind of like polyester). Water elemental is unaffected by armor, as is earth. Non-elemental spells are unaffected unless they are projectile spells.

Helmets are useless and do not appear in this game.

So how DO you defend against magic? For this, I have to give up a bit of info about the world - virtually 100% of the human population is genetically predisposed to magic. Nobody uses it outwardly for social reasons, but this predisposition allows certain magical items and relics to interact with you. This is how drinking a potion heals you (if you're one of the unlucky SOBs who isn't predisposed, drinking a potion is liable to make you sick) and such, and also allows equippable things like rings and amulets to give you some serious buff power. You get slots for two rings and 1 slot for an amulet.


I think that mostly covers everything I wanted to bring up for now... Let me know what you guys think. Remember, this is being played on a PC or HDTV so we have plenty of screen real estate to display boring facts and figures on menu screens. At this point, I'm still very much open to constructive criticism (but this will NOT be reduced to just another D&D or Final Fantasy system clone. We're taking both of those and extending it into something cooler).

Oh, one last thing. In the spirit of Final Fantasy games, which often have optional "Great Hunts" in them where you get your ass kicked by mindbogglingly powerful creatures that only insane completionists will ever try... How about a Level 999 Conan? ... with that exact animation (a less stolen background, though) and that exact music track.

[[As an aside, I'm also looking for musicians to knock together an original score (including a couple of metal bands to do a few boss themes) and graphic artists (don't worry, the graphics may be SNES style - 2d only, but we're targeting AT LEAST 720p resolutions with full color depth). Could also use a second concept artist. All just for fun and the love of the genre, don't have a budget for this...]]
Last edited by wing on Wed May 28, 2008 12:03 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby Gelsamel » Tue May 27, 2008 10:40 am UTC

tl;dr

I only read the 2 sets of stats you posted because this is way tl. However unless something changes it later on in the post my first comment will be you're making it WAY to complex then it needs to be. You don't need 10 stats to define how good your character is at things. It'll just make things hard.
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby wing » Tue May 27, 2008 10:57 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:tl;dr

I only read the 2 sets of stats you posted because this is way tl. However unless something changes it later on in the post my first comment will be you're making it WAY to complex then it needs to be. You don't need 10 stats to define how good your character is at things. It'll just make things hard.

For user purposes, the base stats are actually aggregated into your typical ATK/DEF/MATK/MDEF stats and some weapon-specific psuedostats for simplified management (unless you're a micromanaging tweaker who spends their life in the menu system), though the base stats are always the ones used in the underlying math. The multitude of underlying stats is, unfortunately, required to get the really granular effects to work logically.
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby Aethernox » Tue May 27, 2008 11:00 am UTC

Wow.

Really, wow.

Not sure how I should reply to all of that, so I'll take small sections at a time, sorted by impulse.

However, these formulas are also modified by four other stats, representing the character's emotional state.

These emo stats, for player characters, are extremely fluid. They can change within battle as various things happen to the character and its party members. They can be modified by what other characters are in the party. They can be modified by... Well, prettymuch anything.

They are:
Courage - How willing the character is to take risks. This figures into certain in-combat events (such as covering a wounded ally), boosts both melee and magic attack strength, and slightly decreases physical and magic defense.
Confidence - How sure the character is that they're doing the right thing in general, and that the battle is going their way. This also generally increases the more battles a character is involved in.
Anger - How PO'd the character is. In general, or at the enemies they are facing. Many characters will have certain things that trigger their anger to boost.
Romance - This is a tricky one. Each character has its own criteria for this one. This stat boosts all combat stats. Most NPCs will be zero'd out here, except a few possible bosses. The thought process is that a character will try harder in a fight where they're not just in it to save their own ass.


I'm quite divided on this; I like the idea, but, seriously, that'd be horrible to implement.


... Perfect dex means you crit every time.


Sounds exploitable. So, tell me, will this is be balanced? If so, explain. Either:
a) dexterity(and other attributes) are hard to come by after character creation. < possibly acceptable.
b) firearms will suck late game, regardless of crits. < bad.
c) firearms will rape continually, thanks to abundant crits. < bad.
d) other unmentioned option(s)

Next:
You have almost a dozen attributes that control how effective the character is in battle, but there are a total of four weapon types?
I don't like that, at all.

Finally, please give more information on attacking with magic.

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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby existential_elevator » Tue May 27, 2008 11:23 am UTC

Aethernox wrote:Wow.

Really, wow.


What he said.

I'm more worried about Romance / Anger. If I was playing this in pen and paper, I would expect these to be talents/traits/skills to be added optionally rather than a running linear part of every character. It seems that the kind of things you want to do with Romance / Anger can probably fall under charisma and wit.

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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby wing » Tue May 27, 2008 11:36 am UTC

Aethernox wrote:I'm quite divided on this; I like the idea, but, seriously, that'd be horrible to implement.

Considering the pre-fab characters, not really. Just have to run through and set the appropriate triggers. The tough part is communicating to the user WHY all these things are happening without filling the screen with all kinds of progress bars or counters.
... Perfect dex means you crit every time.


Sounds exploitable. So, tell me, will this is be balanced? If so, explain. Either:
a) dexterity(and other attributes) are hard to come by after character creation. < possibly acceptable.
b) firearms will suck late game, regardless of crits. < bad.
c) firearms will rape continually, thanks to abundant crits. < bad.
d) other unmentioned option(s)

A combination of A and B. You'll be dealing with some EXTREMELY potent extraplanar beings - human technology doesn't stand much of a chance. Also, all the characters are prefab (and begin with ridiculously poor stats) and gain stats at pre-set rates on pre-set levels (plus item buffs and such). The goal is to have the game beatable at roughly half the max level, and thus, unless a player is trying REALLY REALLY REALLY hard (the only way they can do that is to grind all the way up through levels or find some ridiculously exploitable equipment combo that should hopefully not exist), they're not going to be anywhere in the vicinity of max on any of the base stats. It'd really be just as easy to just make that mechanic not true, but there are individuals out there, who, for whatever reason, will play an RPG until they've totally broken it and they have a max level, max-stat party immediately outside the first town - and then they'll run through the rest of the story without ever having to heal.


Next:
You have almost a dozen attributes that control how effective the character is in battle, but there are a total of four weapon types?
I don't like that, at all.

I don't have weapons entirely put together yet - I had a feeling I needed moar. Probably some ranged weapons that aren't strength-agnostic, and some blunt-force melee,.

Finally, please give more information on attacking with magic.

When it's done. Should be later today, after I've slept. Still have some major mechanical gaps there.
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby wing » Tue May 27, 2008 11:54 am UTC

existential_elevator wrote:I'm more worried about Romance / Anger. If I was playing this in pen and paper, I would expect these to be talents/traits/skills to be added optionally rather than a running linear part of every character. It seems that the kind of things you want to do with Romance / Anger can probably fall under charisma and wit.

They're really just ways of extending the character's personality outside the dialogue into combat (I personally never liked how I'd be sitting there, reading through some dramatic scene, and then end up fighting some rats or something, and all the drama would just switch off suddenly - and then, after the battle, drama comes back on. The way I have it balanced in the maths right now really minimizes the value of these altogether - your base attack and defense powers are only going to be modified by about 2, max. These stats mostly exist to control dialogue and story forks based upon battle outcome (different shades of winning, obviously, since if you lost, game over.) - it's not outside the realm of possibility to just blackbox those particular stats so the player can't see them since they're so inconsequential and potentially very confusing.
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby Endless Mike » Tue May 27, 2008 2:00 pm UTC

Keep in mind, large sprites take MASSIVE amounts of VRAM to run. It's why you rarely see them anymore.

To show the emotional states, you may consider being a little cartoony and have the characters' faces turn red for anger, change facial expressions for confidence, and so on. You could make Anger work something like the Samurai Shodown fighters, where it maxes out, and you go into a state of increased power but no defense, with the ability to make one or more special attacks. At the same time, I think only have special effects for ONE emotional state is a strange design choice. Things like full Romance could cause a character to constantly cover the other (which could be detrimental), or autoheal them, or something.

I don't think helmets are useless at all.

Neat idea, hope it works out.

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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 27, 2008 7:44 pm UTC

Str/Dex/Con/Spe/Wis/Int/Cha is a bad idea, unless you're somehow going to make them all equally valuable. I would suggest just tossing them for the end stats like ATK and DEF.

I like the emo stats. I think that you should have them be the 'limit break' mechanic as you hinted at maybe doing. That's actually an interesting way to balance charisma- it could increase romance gains of the person attracted to you.

Having one style eclipse another style midgame has always seemed like poor game design to me. Why make the high-dex char decline in usefulness over time? Why make the player have to decide if they want to develop future powerhouses or have easier battles now, especially if the player doesn't know that all their awesome marksmen are going to become worthless halfway through the game and they won't be able to finish without essentially starting over?
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby segmentation fault » Tue May 27, 2008 8:11 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:tl;dr


this is usually a sign that your RPG system is sound.

:)
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby wing » Tue May 27, 2008 9:10 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Having one style eclipse another style midgame has always seemed like poor game design to me. Why make the high-dex char decline in usefulness over time? Why make the player have to decide if they want to develop future powerhouses or have easier battles now, especially if the player doesn't know that all their awesome marksmen are going to become worthless halfway through the game and they won't be able to finish without essentially starting over?
Mostly driven by storyline, but I think I have four methods of un-breaking this.

-- In early game, I make dex-boosting items difficult to find naturally and pricey in stores (if they're going to grind up through the levels they're going to gain all the stats they need in late game anyway)
-- In late game, I make those items have high resale value so players can easily convert equipment to support different fighting styles.
-- Boost the weight applied to dex in the combat equations, making the stat EVEN MORE RIDICULOUS (Bad idea)
-- Figure out some plausible way that dexterity figures into magic.

Endless Mike wrote:Keep in mind, large sprites take MASSIVE amounts of VRAM to run. It's why you rarely see them anymore.


It shouldn't be TOO bad. Arcitecturally speaking, I won't be using gigantic spritesheets for that very reason. Instead of leveraging size and preloading everything, we'll just load the appropriate sets of graphics at scene change - where it absolutely won't be noticed (modern graphics hardware should be plenty fast to do it on the fly, but scene changes are plentiful and a fraction of a second to swap around some parts in RAM shouldn't be an issue) A typical battle scene should consist of (everything uncompressed):
~5MB backdrop
~20 animation states per player character (100 total @ 39KB each) - 3.8MB
~5 animation states per monster character (Max 70 total @ 80KB each) - 5.4MB
(The problem here comes if we try to load reasonably-sized bitmap spell effects. Either load them on the fly (while the character is casting, to prevent stops), or do something fancy with rendered graphics)
Total: 14.2MB

A typical town/dungeon scene should consist of
~5MB backdrop (optional)
~100 tile states @ .39MB each - 39MB (100 tile states is generously huge, this depends on how ambitious the level artist is)
~20 animation states per player character (Max 600 total @ 39KB each) - 22MB
~5 animation states per NPC (Max 50 total @ 39KB each) - 1.9MB
Total: 67.9MB

The xbox has 512mb (though that's a shared pool between graphics and everything else) so that's not a problem. 64mb cards (and theoretically even less) should work because the town/dungeon scenes aren't getting pushed through any complex rendering. Plus, the damned dev kit is likely to do something silly to make the Windows version require DirectX 9c - which nearly ensures 128mb+ of VRAM (and support for compressed textures in VRAM!)

segmentation fault wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:tl;dr


this is usually a sign that your RPG system is sound.

:)
Indeed.
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby Endless Mike » Tue May 27, 2008 9:35 pm UTC

How big small will your sprites be on a 720p target screen size that they'll only take 39kb per frame? A quick MS Paint stick figure in a size that wouldn't be tiny on a high resolution display with a few blotches of color saved as a 24 bit bitmap comes to 848kb. (I realize this isn't the most scientific or accurate measurement, but I figure it's a good estimation.)

If you want some reference, Capcom has expressed difficulty in fitting the SSF2T:HDR sprites into the VRAM on the 360. They have a lot more than 20 frames of animation per character, but I imagine a fight consisting of 5 party members (I like this, by the way - 3 is not enough, 4 is good, 5 is better) and many monsters will require a lot. For PC gaming, I think even 512 MB is really overshooting the average hardware. It may be a good idea to see what Valve's found, since they tend to get a good sampling of hardware.

Also, I hope you've figured a way to NOT have random battles since that's one trope of console RPGs that should have died with the SNES.

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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby wing » Tue May 27, 2008 11:08 pm UTC

Endless Mike wrote:Texture sizing stuff


... I was obviously dividing something wrong when I did those calculations. Thanks for the sanity check - I just came up with 150K or so for a theoretical player sprite (200x200 pixels, 32 bits per pixel) . I guess I *DO* have some interesting problems to solve on the graphical end - sounds like a job for compressed textures. But that's a problem for later.

Also, I hope you've figured a way to NOT have random battles since that's one trope of console RPGs that should have died with the SNES.


Yes. Story-driven combat. Most combat will take place within the context of the story. Kind of like Chrono Trigger's combat model.

On the world map, you have the option of turning on "hunt mode", which will activate random encounters with the local fauna and you can grind that way if you want - the goal is to have the game difficult, but beatable without grinding.

There will still be a few highly spaced random encounters with legitimate enemies, but they are the result of enemy forces tracking your party, not just random creatures deciding you look like a good lunch. These encounters will be lucrative, level appropriate and infrequent. You can still travel mostly unmolested. Turns out that your enemies in this game haven't read the Evil Overlord lists and don't know any better than to send you level appropriate encounters instead of sending their strongest troops to crush you before you become a threat.


The magic system is coming shortly.
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby wing » Wed May 28, 2008 12:01 am UTC

Excerpt from my planning wiki on the magic system:

Magic System

Concept

Almost the entire population is genetically predisposed towards being able to use arcane magic. However, women are the ones primarily actually capable. The average power level is very, very weak - if they were able to cast a fire spell, it couldn't even light a match. A few individuals (roughly 1 in 20), however, possess higher power levels by nature - it's not genetic, but apparently just random chance. These are your stereotypical first level spellcasters Fire 1, or magic missile, or some basic healing spell, or whatever. In the world's modern societies, these people are at best shunned, at worst, treated as terrorists. In the less advanced societies, they are killed as witches. In the primitive societies, which are now exceedingly rare, they are revered as gods.

As such, nobody anywhere you'd want to be actually USES their magic, for fear of being discovered (the same applies in primitive societies, where the reigning "god" tends to kill any other capable magic users). Religion is mostly defunct in the advanced nations. In actuality, there are a number of disinterested Gods who, from time to time, will lend their power to a particular magic user for a particular purpose as summons.

Regular magic is not researched, it is learned spontaneously from some sort of genetic memory as the spellcaster's skill level increases. Summons are never learned, they are given.

Advancement
A caster becomes more powerful by gaining levels through practice and observation. For our purposes, we will emulate this by learning spells as the character's level increases. However, a character must rest before actually LEARNING the spell - they are delivered in their sleep. This is accomplished by using a tent, staying in an inn, the sleep status effect, or saving the game. The rest effect will also be triggered at specific storyline points where sleep would logically be involved.

Elements
Fire
Ice
Air
Earth
Water
Non-Elemental

Spell Families
For most given things you can do with a spell, there are degrees to how you can do it. In other games, these are done as "Fire 1, Fire 2, Fire 3" or "Fire, Fira, Firaga"

Here, we will use four spell levels and the following nomenclature, again using the Fire spell example:
Level 1: Fire
Level 2: Firi
Level 3: Firin
Level 4: Inferno

That is, the first 3 levels are named after the root name. The fourth level is not, and an order of magnitude more powerful.

See: Spell Families


Individual Spells
These spells do not belong to a family and only have one variant.
See: Individual Spells

Epic Spells
These include all Level 4 spells in Spell Families, and certain individual spells. These are incredibly powerful

They can only be learned after certain points in the story.

See: Epic Spells



Magic Mechanics

Mana
Every character has a level-specific amount of mana available. Every spell costs a number of Mana Points (See: Mana). In general, more powerful spells cost more MP.

Epic Spellcasting
Epic spells will consume 100% of a spellcaster's available mana and will deliver an effect in proportion to the amount of mana it consumes. Each spell defines its own damage equation, which also factors in INT and WIS.

Epic spells can also be shared between two or more spellcasters, utilizing all of their mana pools. In this case, all spellcasters must be ready to begin their turn, and casting time is divided by the number of participants.

The appropriate mental image here is a full party of 5, all at max level, all with full mana, all casting the biggest, baddest epic spell in the game and doing MILLIONS in damage to the enemy... Who doesn't die. Cue insane completionists scrambling to restore all their mana and try again...

See: Epic Spells

General spellcasting
Spells cost a specific amount of MP. Each spell defines its own damage equation, which factors in INT and WIS.

Casting Time
Casting time is determined by a spell-specific formula, but in general, spells with high mana consumption take longer, and higher charisma scores speed the process up.

Elemental Damage
Certain spells belong to certain elemental families, such as fire. Enemy types weak to an element will, in general, be dealt increased damage when a spell of that element family is used.

If an enemy is not specifically weak to the element cast upon them, damage will be done as if it were a non-elemental spell of equal potency.

Elemental Immunities
Certain enemies may be immune to a given element. When a spell of that element is cast upon them, there will be no effect.

Elemental Magic vs. Elemental Enemies
Enemies belonging to one of the elemental families will be weak to that element's opposite.

Fire<=>Ice
Air<=>Earth

Spells of the same element as the enemy will be absorbed as HP, resulting in negative damage.

Status Effect Spells
Certain spells will apply a status effect to their target. Casting the same spell upon the target will remove the status effect (with some exceptions).

See: Status Effects

Healing spells
Healing spells are implemented as non-elemental spells with negative damage.
Healing spells may also clear status effects (but will not inflict that status effect). Healing spell equations will weight WIS significantly higher than INT in the "damage count"

Accuracy
Every spell will have a specific probability of "fizzling", defined in the spell definition.

Multi-targeting
Many spells (though not all) will be castable on the entire enemy party, rather than a specific enemy.

The spell will be calculated as follows:
Each enemy will receive 80% of the damage they would if the spell had been cast on them individually.
Mana usage will be multiplied by the number of targets, and then reduced to 80% of that value.


Restoring Mana
Mana restores gradually - high INT and CHR scores will speed the process up. Mana may also be restored by resting, or by using Consumable Items.
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby Amnesiasoft » Wed May 28, 2008 12:22 am UTC

This scheming of yours wouldn't have anything to do with the RPG Starter Kit for XNA, would it? :P

Also, your epic ice spell needs to be Ice 9.

Of the parts I've actually read (mainly the magic part), the system seems ok. The only thing is, I see you're doing levelled enemies, I'm not sure that's a great idea, everyone saw how well that went over with Oblivion.

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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby wing » Wed May 28, 2008 12:43 am UTC

Amnesiasoft wrote:This scheming of yours wouldn't have anything to do with the RPG Starter Kit for XNA, would it? :P

... it didn't. But it very well might shortly.

Also, your epic ice spell needs to be Ice 9.

YES! How do I say MORE YES?

Of the parts I've actually read (mainly the magic part), the system seems ok. The only thing is, I see you're doing levelled enemies, I'm not sure that's a great idea, everyone saw how well that went over with Oblivion.

Most enemies won't be leveled. Just the random "search party" encounters.
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby Amnesiasoft » Wed May 28, 2008 1:10 am UTC

wing wrote:Most enemies won't be leveled. Just the random "search party" encounters.

Ah, in that case, sounds good.

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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby wing » Wed May 28, 2008 4:35 am UTC

Place name: Eastasia Y/N?
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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby Gelsamel » Wed May 28, 2008 12:57 pm UTC

....East... Asia?
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

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Re: Developing an RPG System - Critique my Basic Concepts

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Wed May 28, 2008 1:02 pm UTC

We've always been at war with it.
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