Read my game design blog.

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Re: Read my game design blog.

Post by Quirinus on Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:37 pm

Borgin wrote:I've always considered Median to be genius, if not a little... uninformative. The whole "Not your average mod" line always tickled my dad-joke-bone.

And Mean Mode, oh god don't even get me started, the mathematician puns!

lol, never thought of Mean Mode name in that way, that's pretty funny when you combine it with Median.  Laughing 

Btw, you Americans gotta relax about the "not-a-word" thing. xD
Especially if it's a name, then it doesn't have to be correct or mean anything, it just has to sound cool.

I'll read though your blog entries soon, these kind of things always interest me... gotta finish writing some stuff first though... it's taking forever and it's booooring. Sad

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Re: Read my game design blog.

Post by Borgin on Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:48 pm

I'm just making fun of Marco, I am older than him, after all! Haha.

When Laz first approached me about Median Mean Mode, the mathematician in my laughed (I'm a physics major, unfortunately, so that sort of stuff is always in the front of my brain). I thought it was brilliant.

Nobody else got the joke. Except Xypherous but fuck that guy because now he makes more money than me! Very Happy

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Re: Read my game design blog.

Post by Quirinus on Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:08 am

I'm finishing Physics soon, I guess that's why I find it funny too haha
and I love puns and word-plays

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Re: Read my game design blog.

Post by Brother Laz on Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:19 am

I found the setting thing interesting. The RPG genre has many immersion breaking cliches. I don't know if I'm the only one, but I find most RPGs utterly unimmersive as a direct result.

Example: Hit points and the whole idea of repeatedly hitting each other with battleaxes. Buffs, which tend to buff anything that happens to be a game stat and nothing else (TES and their fortify buffs are a common offender: how do you use restoration magic to buff someone's skill at conjuration? Lemme send positive energy your way so you suddenly know how to summon demons!). Spellbooks that fall apart when you read them once. The ability to cast elaborate spells in two seconds.

The unrealism of the game mechanics then loops back into the game world, where NPCs do develop spells to throw people into supernovas because it is the only way to kill an adventurer with 5000 hit points. This then leads to the concept of healers, and before you know it the entire game world is bent around your mechanics. A minor but funny example is TES and its three character archetypes: Warrior, Mage, Thief - a blatant game mechanic that has actually been implemented in the lore in the form of the three main starsigns. Better hope you're not a farmer or merchant in this world.

It is very hard to become immersed when the game works like this.

Mass Effect is pretty much the only game that attempts to avoid this. Instead of silly regenerating health, you have actual shields. Weapons have the appropriate power level as well: shooting someone in a power suit takes a clip to down him, or several clips if they have shields, but that is to be expected. Biotics are perhaps the only magic system I've seen that is actually realistic, as in when you want to weaponise gravity manipulation you'd end up with a spell list much like this (except for the stupid little black hole) whereas many fantasy settings have spells to "call down a giant shower of ice blocks" but not to perform the comparatively much easier feat of "making the enemy keel over dead".* Etc.

So when you want an immersive ARPG where the mechanics themselves are not unrealistic, soft sci-fi is pretty much the way to go because any setting between cavemen and the modern age has instakills. The modern age is pretty much the worst possible setting because no amount of heroism will save you from a homeless man's pipebomb. You could go with high fantasy, but then you end up with a MTG-like super high magic world where everyone has magic barriers.

Now you know where the brain dump setting comes from (aside from spaceships being easy to model).



* Your level 1 Magic Missiles are a bunch of homing force bolts. Okay, maybe you have to conjure them in front of you. Let's try this again in melee range and see if you can telefrag an opponent with them. WHY CAN'T YOU DO THAT. Hell, pretty much any effect that can be performed at a distance can be used to instakill people with, but it never happens.

I'm rambling.
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Re: Read my game design blog.

Post by archon256 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:52 am

You could probably achieve a similar effect by building your setting entirely around necromancy. All the player characters are undead, minor injuries result in reduced performance due to slashed tendons, broken bones, etc. major injuries result in loss of limbs and/or eyesight, "lethal damage" requires you to be resurrected using rare artifacts.

Of course that's a lot more difficult to code (and visualize) than the usual HP concept, plus I think the whole 'everyone is undead' would put off a lot of players.
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Re: Read my game design blog.

Post by MarcoNecroX on Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:22 am

Borgin wrote:Nobody else got the joke. Except Xypherous but fuck that guy because now he makes more money than me! Very Happy

Hmmm. Am I the only one who learned what Mean/median/mode is in high-school?  Mr Green 

Also, MXL sounds nice, MMM sounds nice, MXLU sounds fucking retaraded  Hitting a Wall Sick Puke 

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Re: Read my game design blog.

Post by Borgin on Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:04 am

Brother Laz wrote:I found the setting thing interesting. The RPG genre has many immersion breaking cliches. I don't know if I'm the only one, but I find most RPGs utterly unimmersive as a direct result.
That's the problem! While most RPGs have been going the route of completely unhinging the story from the gameplay/mechanics, I think the opposite route needs to be taken- either wrapping the gameplay around the story, or the other way around, so that everything is cohesive and actually makes sense. While it may be very difficult to create an enjoyable RPG in which combat and story go hand-in-hand, it seems far more rewarding.

I think "magic", as it is typically seen in RPGs, should be completely done away with for many of the reasons you've described- why shoot fireballs from your hands when you can just create the fireball right inside their head??? I-I-I-I-INSTAKILLLLLLL!. I'll agree that sci-fi makes things much more "realistic", but then again, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"- so really, what's the point besides appealing to our sense of logic?

For example, I could explain my character's magic by saying I have a short-range microwave laser that emits short bursts of ultra-high-frequency radiation inside some sort of plasma sheath- with such a high energy that it literally combusts the plasma around it and looks like a fireball. The laser absorbs ambient energy and expended heat energy from the atmosphere and the human body and as such both fatigues my character slightly and requires a cooldown period before it can be used again.

I could explain the exact same fireball by saying "that bitch can shoot fireballs cuz magic".

So it comes down to what is a tough choice, as a designer- do players care about why my characters can shoot fireballs (and do they need to care?)? Do things need logical explanations? Should Occam's Razor apply to my explanation of game mechanics within the story?

Right now I'm quite torn between two overarching settings- a steampunk one, in which I can logically explain away "magic" abilities, or one that lampshades everything (obviously the entire game will be tongue-in-cheek, then). There is a part of me that loves high fantasy, but as a mid-20's physics educator, it's really difficult for me to just ignore so many nonsensical plot devices and gameplay mechanics, especially when the two directly clash (seriously, Aerith dying in FFVII still angers me to no end!).

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Re: Read my game design blog.

Post by zerger on Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:50 am

Realized yesterday I forgot to install half of the DLC bought in the bundle Smile
If you also have some links to website containing free ressources from RPG maker, I am interested (then, the challenge is to have a uniform/coherent design)

About immersion, most important thing is "Is it compatible to the gameplay?"

what I like in J-RPG is they never gave a fuck to immersion Very Happy! I remember the "bible of JRPG" which was describing all those stupid and incoherent things you always found in a JRPG, like the world always saved by young hero who still need his mother to do the laundry...
At least, when you start a JRPG, you know it is a true fantasy world with a lot of WTF things, but it is a implicit rule that everybody agrees while playing. And that permit the gameplay to offer a lot of possibilities like fighting endless waves of monsters just after leaving a town. JRPG are more about implicit and explicit rules, it is maybe the kind of games which offers the less liberties to the players, but it is strangely well done

At the opposite, Immersive RPG like Skyrim is a total fail for me because the games wants to offer a coherent world with is absolutely not compatible with the gameplay!
Exploring very old ruins never visited by people which is just a the exit of a village -> WTF
Torch in monster's den -> WTF
Picking things in opened houses and having  the items marked as "stealed" -> WTF
Eating two fried chickens between 2 sword's strikes -> WTF
So the game would have been much better without those strange details? No ! Because the game would have been boring or unplayable. The main issue is the design of the game: a gameplay incompatible to the content

On my side, I am working of a kind of grindy mix between Zy-El and Dragon Quest. You pay to fight waves of monsters (you have to select carefully the level of the monsters), ton of content and collectibles, skills design which always make you want to get the next skill because current ones are useless (If you played DQ, you know what I mean Smile)

Next project would be a kind of Hordes.fr-JRPG. You must explore and fight in ruined cities to get ressources and improve your base before every night zombies attack
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Re: Read my game design blog.

Post by Brother Laz on Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:44 pm

Borgin wrote:
Brother Laz wrote:I found the setting thing interesting. The RPG genre has many immersion breaking cliches. I don't know if I'm the only one, but I find most RPGs utterly unimmersive as a direct result.
That's the problem! While most RPGs have been going the route of completely unhinging the story from the gameplay/mechanics, I think the opposite route needs to be taken- either wrapping the gameplay around the story, or the other way around, so that everything is cohesive and actually makes sense. While it may be very difficult to create an enjoyable RPG in which combat and story go hand-in-hand, it seems far more rewarding.

I think "magic", as it is typically seen in RPGs, should be completely done away with for many of the reasons you've described- why shoot fireballs from your hands when you can just create the fireball right inside their head??? I-I-I-I-INSTAKILLLLLLL!. I'll agree that sci-fi makes things much more "realistic", but then again, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"- so really, what's the point besides appealing to our sense of logic?

Removing magic might make it worse, because then you have no choice but to implement real life combat and all of its instakills (you could implement the health bar as a stamina bar I guess, and you parry every hit unless you're too tired in which case you get hit and die. Doesn't solve the backstab problem though), plus people may not want to play it because their power fantasy is missing.

You might want to look into the "intent to destroy" trope that is invoked to make magical shields immune to (usually ranged and automated) mass destruction weaponry but vulnerable to personal attacks like swords and magic. It's actually not a bad trope because it seems like a quirk magic could easily have and it solves the problem that anything you can defeat in hand to hand combat is easier to defeat with a helicopter with hellfire missiles. Dune has a technological variant in its kinetic shields that absorb fast moving bullets but not slow moving fists - a neat idea but not one I'd recommend pilfering because it won't stop the shockwave from an explosion.

I just thought of another way to give all of your knights and vikings energy shields. A mythal. Some sort of wide area permanent spell that affects an area around your Dark Forest of Adventure. As for why, maybe it was meant to buff humans against a non-human threat and it does indeed not affect space dragons from Pluto but it does affect both sides in a human conflict. It's a bit farfetched but it could work in a small scale setting, like a single cursed dungeon that has a spell on it or when subway workers dig too deep and drill into the Underdark.

Or finally perhaps the enemy faction is supernatural and therefore has shields, but your side stole it or some of them deserted. Only works for a one-off conflict though and preferably there should be a reason to stop using those ezmode spells after the conflict is over, perhaps because they are corruptive or demonic or what have you.

 Very Happy 
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Re: Read my game design blog.

Post by archon256 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:51 pm

Borgin wrote:
I think "magic", as it is typically seen in RPGs, should be completely done away with for many of the reasons you've described- why shoot fireballs from your hands when you can just create the fireball right inside their head??? I-I-I-I-INSTAKILLLLLLL!.
That's actually easily explained away - fireball is a skill that can only produce a ball of fire in front of your hands that then flies outward. Nobody knows why it can't be generated anywhere, but it's still been passed down through generations of sorcerers as a useful weapon. Oh, and it can only generate the fireball in open air, so you can't lay your hands on an enemy and generate the fireball inside them.

Fireball having limitations like that doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me. If you could create the fireball right inside the head of an enemy, could you do it to one that's a mile away? How about 10 miles? Or on the other side of the world? If those sound like they'd be beyond the maximum range, it doesn't seem unreasonable that the real range is only a few inches from your outstretched hands.

Edit:
Some sort of wide area permanent spell that affects an area around your Dark Forest of Adventure
That's actually the concept behind Spell-cards in the Touhou series of games. The idea is that the Touhou games are set in a fantasyland setting called Gensokyo (lit. Land of Illusion) whose various denizens have godlike powers that could threaten the peaceful existence of everyone else who lives there. So in the Mutually Assured Destruction kinda scenario that they're in they decide to institute spell-card duels to solve problems. The idea is that each character has a set number of wide-area projectile spells (that can be dodged) that they can use that are played one after the other, and the character that dodges everything wins. The magic of spell cards turns their lethal magic into a non-lethal form and protects both combatants.
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