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Development => Mechanics => Topic started by: zenbitz on February 11, 2009, 07:28:39 AM



Title: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on February 11, 2009, 07:28:39 AM
Hmm.... should we have it.  I find save/load in games to be... I dunno... a bit cheesy.  I could always play them ironman, but what I hate even more than cheesy is WASTING TIME doing boring stuff over again in a game.

That said, I was reading the blog of one Vincent Baker, I guy I know from way back (he married a high school friend of my wife) and now is a big time indy (?!?!?) RPG (pnp only) theorist and designer.

The quote, from one of his game:

Quote
Also, occasionally, your character will get killed. The conflict resolution rules will keep it from being pointless or arbitrary: it'll happen only when you've chosen to stake your character's life on something. Staking your character's life means risking it, is all.

There is some hardcore design brilliance right there.  I don't know what to DO with it... but Ponder.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: mvBarracuda on February 11, 2009, 10:26:06 AM
Is there any cRPG that features permadeath in this form? We could consider adding it as an optional playmode (doesn't sound too hard to implement) but I wouldn't limit the game by just supporting this single mode. How much would supporting permadeath influence our gameplay decisions? Would we avoid having deadly traps as in Realms of Arkania as it can be challenging but sometimes frustrating but would be just totally frustrating if you play in permadeath mode?


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Nalanod on February 11, 2009, 02:32:55 PM
While it is a fun idea, I don't think it makes much sense to force upon players.  You don't even "need" an ironman mode -- just start a new character if the one you are playing is killed.



Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Lamoot on February 11, 2009, 05:25:04 PM
Imo:

-Permadeath should be a separate option for masochists
-No problem with ambushes, as long as there is a way to escape (what if you get 3 ambushes in a row? Ah well, that's the life of an ironman)
-avoid terminal traps/situations that are forced upon the player with no previous warning


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on February 11, 2009, 08:50:02 PM
There is an (old) rpgcodex thread on this:
http://rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=690861

Most cRPGs don't have permadeath, but rather are just save/load fests.  You have to save or store a game, because it's probably not playable in one session.  Also, crashes can occur.    The thread above mentions some games where instead of dying when you lose a combat, you got to jail or whatever.

I think, maybe with some stretch - you could work this into a PARPG.   This goes back to the quote I posted.

What about a game where:
1) Weapons are realistic (i.e., you are a sad panda if you get hacked with an axe, and very sad if shot with a .44 magnum)
2) It's easy to flee from combat - and the game might give you hints if you are "in over your head"
3) The PC is (just talking background story here) lucky/blessed/extremely resistant to death - I mean, you survived the fucking APOCALYPSE.  Note this does not mean you win every fight, just the contrary...
4) You code the game to make it so, when the player loses a fight, he ends up either captured, rescued, or "left for dead" (stripped!) - but not actually DEAD - most of the time.
5) I think despite 2-4... Permadeath would have to be _possible_ (with a restart), just unlikely.
6) ONE autosave slot that fires after every major event and/or every 3 minutes.

The goal would for the player to realize when his character was really risking death... and have the option of gambling it.  In "Design Patterns of Successful RPGs"  it mentions that all "Hit point" games are really gambling... you are gambling hit points that you will win a fight and the "goodies" (experience points, loot).   

A side issue (perhaps as big as the combat one) is what about non combat quest decisions... sometimes making these irreversable can make the game no fun.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: qubodup on February 11, 2009, 09:20:59 PM
My opinion on this: permanent death (as in: when you die, you have to start over again and can't reload) is for Nethack players and other masochists. And I am no masochist.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on February 11, 2009, 10:11:52 PM
My opinion on this: permanent death (as in: when you die, you have to start over again and can't reload) is for Nethack players and other masochists. And I am no masochist.

Humor me for a moment... what if it was really, really hard to die.  Like you basically had to commit suicide.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: qubodup on February 11, 2009, 10:48:14 PM
Humor me for a moment... what if it was really, really hard to die.  Like you basically had to commit suicide.
This aspect is super cool about Planescape: Torment. :)


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: egalor on February 12, 2009, 03:01:12 PM
Gents,

Judging by quite extensive computer gaming experience (20+ years) I am absolutely sure that there is no better way to ruin a perfect game by disallowing save games at a time the player needs it. Otherwise the player is forced to replay thousand times the same parts of the game -- which doesn't make the game funnier at all.

Of course, we could easily implement the "ironman" mode, but purely for those who know what they are asking for. However, the game features should be fully presented in the normal mode as well.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: mvBarracuda on February 12, 2009, 03:10:24 PM
Yep, iron man mode sounds like a nice plus for the ones who want a new challenge after already playing through the game but it should not be mandatory.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on February 12, 2009, 06:45:26 PM
Here is a compromise:  Try to develop a fun, playable game that is psuedo-ironman (no load/save)... BUT keep the functionality in the software (we will need it for dev work anyway).  If game is too hard or tedious to play ironman - we let people save/load.

Or maybe just put in a game penalty (time?) for save/loading... make it a choice with consequences?


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: mvBarracuda on February 12, 2009, 07:14:49 PM
Realms of Arkania 1 featured save penalty in case in you saved outside of temples. Temples could be only found in cities and that really sucked. So while roaming around some outside dungeons you lost 1 hour of your time because you didn't want to save due the save penalty and died in some obscure trap. We can add an iron man mode but it should be entirely optional. The game should be fun in the end.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: egalor on February 12, 2009, 10:45:39 PM
...And I didn't consider that to be fair, although the game was great! :) I think we should allow saves without any penalties (apart from the "saveless" modes), but I suggest we restrict it to any time except combat.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on February 12, 2009, 11:36:09 PM
Realms of Arkania 1 featured save penalty in case in you saved outside of temples. Temples could be only found in cities and that really sucked. So while roaming around some outside dungeons you lost 1 hour of your time because you didn't want to save due the save penalty and died in some obscure trap. We can add an iron man mode but it should be entirely optional. The game should be fun in the end.

What was the save penalty?  You mean you lost 1 hour of _player_ time... that would  be horrible.  Sounds like save penalty was too harsh.
If done properly... it would be like paying a doctor to heal you up.  Sure, you hate to spend your hard-earned cash and booty this way... but otherwise you suffer the consequences of running around wounded.



Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Lamoot on February 13, 2009, 02:32:22 PM
Quote
but I suggest we restrict it to any time except combat.

Good idea. To expand this:

  • It should not be possible to save a game during combat.
  • You should be able to go to the main menu and quit the game during combat
  • You should be able to load a game during combat
  • Autosave should not work during combat?

This is to prevent the players from saving and loading the game before each turn in combat to always get that perfect critical hit. But this shouldn't prevent the players interacting with the game itself (what if you have to close the game quickly, it would be annoying to have to play the combat until the end or to use ctrl+alt+del)


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on February 13, 2009, 07:11:07 PM
I don't see how your combat/save plan works.

Why can't I just fire a shot, quit the game, re-load - same as save/loading to get a critical hit.
Or else, if the game doesn't autosave when you quit - then you have to redo the combat anyway.

There is another way to do this - keep the randomness in combat small (but not zero)   No waiting for the critical hit.   There isn't one, or at least not one that makes a substantial difference in the outcome of the battle. 

Here is a "typical" cRPG situation:
a) PC is a bad ass, but can be badly wounded or killed by opponents.
b) PC takes on more than he could reasonably handle - for example, he pisses off a large, well armed town
c) PC is more than a match for any _single_ opponent, but cannot win this battle vs. 20 dudes
d) Player is stubborn, does the following:
Kill 1 bad guy taking minimum damage (might take a few tries).  Save.  Kill 2nd bad guy taking minimum damage (might take a few tries). Save.  Repeat 18 times until town guard is annihalted.  Collect XP, loot bodies. 

If you are fighting 20 dudes with shotguns, you are fighting 20 dudes with shot guns.  And you are in a world of hurt.  No matter HOW many times you restart that combat, you are going to lose.  (for math people, lets say PC can beat any given dude 75% of the time - furthermore we will be nice and not give the bad guys a "gang up bonus", so we are OVERESTIMATING the PCs chances.  PC can beat 20 guys (0.75)^20th power,  = .003.  So if you want to refight the combat 315 times, you be my guest.   

Maybe  I would much rather give the player easy "flee" options that have them resort to what is basically cheating.  Basically, save/loading is like re-rolling dice in a table top game.  Would you play with someone who did that?





Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: egalor on February 14, 2009, 12:01:12 AM
But it's not a tabletop game :) After all, it is up to the player to decide whether he would want to save/load. And moreover, save/load feature could help avoid the replay of entire portions of the game (which is not always fun).

Therefore, my personal preference would be to keep the save/load feature.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on February 14, 2009, 01:27:31 AM
Therefore, my personal preference would be to keep the save/load feature.

In combat, too? 


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: egalor on February 14, 2009, 03:51:54 PM
No, save/load should be restricted to all but combat and maybe dialogue situations.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on February 14, 2009, 05:53:14 PM
I guess the summary from a practical standpoint is that we will consider save/load mechanisms a necessary feature of the engine - with the caveat that availabilty can depend on game state.

- theoretical dependencies:
a) location in world
b) in combat
c) in dialogue
d) some yet to be defined state or subsystem (resting/sleep?)



Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: qubodup on February 14, 2009, 05:54:21 PM
Why not in combat? if the sucker wants to re-load 100 times to kill that powerarmor guy at lvl1, let him  :-\


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Lamoot on February 14, 2009, 08:23:42 PM
I find this kind of lame, makes combat effort seem trivial. I see a good game as one that doesn't let the players abuse the system this way.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: qubodup on February 14, 2009, 09:30:31 PM
So after saying "it is!" and "is not!" a lot on IRC, Me, Hory, Nihathrael and Lamoot kind of stopped arguing when someone said "let's allow an iron man mode where saving isn't allowed in battle" :)


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Lamoot on February 15, 2009, 11:05:31 AM
Hmmm, I never agreed on anything, I just went to finish that reply I forgot about :)

I'm not particularly against such a solution (ironman mode), but I'd like an opinion from other members on this as well.

If Ironman mode prevents you to save during the combat, then
The Depleted-uranium man mode is where you have permadeath?


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: mvBarracuda on February 16, 2009, 08:30:04 AM
How about agreeing that there should be support for different difficulty modes and that further details need to be yet decided?

EDIT: concerning saving in combat: AFAIR some games disallowed it as it caused some issues. It seems that saving and properly loading the combat state can be tricky. If you've activated plastic explosives in Fallout, saved after that and tried to load the game, it crashed and there was no real way to fix it besides loading an older savegame.

Therefore it would be useful to have feedback from programmers what the special issues associated to properly loading and saving combat states are.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Kukkakaali on February 25, 2009, 01:22:25 PM
 I think that an good solution would be like in Jagged Alliance 2, where you get worse loot if you save / load multiple times.
For an exampl much you have "cheated".

Otherwise permanent death is not very player friendly, since you cant know if they will get themselfs killed against someone with an rocketlaucher or something
stupid as that, theres just basicly too much that the players cant predict on that a permanent death would be an good solution. (like in nethack you can most of the times
save yourself by just not doing something stupid that you normaly do and die)



Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on February 25, 2009, 08:56:04 PM
I think that an good solution would be like in Jagged Alliance 2, where you get worse loot if you save / load multiple times.
For an exampl much you have "cheated".

I like this idea.  Very tricky in a non-linear game.  Well, I guess the reward penalty could apply to all active quests or something...



Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: icelus on March 09, 2009, 02:16:57 AM
So I've been really taken with Zenbitz's idea of a grimly realistic, nihilistic permadeath game. The old games were much more mysterious (by old I mean 80s, early 90s) because not everyone completed them, not everyone got to see everything. A big part of that was permadeath.

I didn't really pay attention to this before, but I just had a spirited discussion on IRC about permadeath, so i thought I'd post a summary of the reasons I think we _should_ consider it, along with the main points against made in IRC just now.

For:

- permadeath makes the game much more exciting. Sure it's annoying when you die, but die a few times and suddenly your character's life is valuable (in fact, valuable in proportion to how far into the game you are). So unlike most games where you hit a sort of safe hump in the middle where you're pretty much good enough to do as you wish, permadeath games have a constant tension about survival. In certain situations you'll get a real adrenaline rush.

- permadeath fundamentally changes your tactics. You can't be lazy and just charge in. You have to weigh up situations, decide whether it's really worth taking people on. Things are dangerous. This is a hard thing to understand if you've only played modern games where its expected that a nine year old can get there in the end.

- emphasises the game aspect over the story aspect, by making the game more of a simulation and less of a story you're reading. I've heard it said it deprives you of a story ending, but all it really does is deprive you of a disney cutscene ending. The story was a more realistic story where your guy doesn't make it. There are plenty of novels like this.

Against:

- will turn off a significant fraction of people, as evidenced by the comments here already. Many people will give up before they reach the mindset where they're excited and nervous because they've never got this far and they're desperately trying to handle the situation.

- makes it harder to finish the game. Some parts may take a long time to be seen. Early content will be replayed more (it's actually worth structuring permadeath games as an inverted tree rather than a normal tree - so there's more and more paths through the content at the start, narrowing down as you get further in to the parts that are rarely seen).

- "spoils" the story by making you see it over and over again, rather than playing it through like a movie. The converse is that not having permadeath "spoils" the game by letting you take silly unrealistic options and having it "all work out".

Against having both modes:

Things like permadeath only work if you have to work with them. I've had a hard time making this point, so consider a wizard mode, where your rolls are always fudged so you cannot die (always get a critical success as needed). Would you be against a third mode, wizard mode? If you're against consider the following things:
- it gives the optimum story experience (because you experience the story as it was written, without any replay at all caused by savegames) just like a novel.
- it still contains all the puzzles and problems, and you still have to actually kill people in combat.
- it isn't "cheating" - cheating is going beyond what the game offers, save reload is "cheating" if the game is permadeath; if the game offers a "narrative" mode say, then it isn't cheating to use it.

The only resource a player invests in a game is time. Permadeath gives a huge time penalty for dying, save/reload gives a small penalty and wizard mode gives none. It's a continuum from one to the next.

Most likely your objection is based on the idea that it devalues the save/reload mode, because you could see the story without even struggling with savegames to keep you honest. It takes away the need to wrestle with the game to see the plot. But this is exactly the same reason why having a permadeath and a save/reload option is a bad idea. Because why struggle with real death if you can just back it up.

The most common objection to permadeath is based on the limitations of existing games e.g.

- permadeath games like roguelikes frequently feature totally random unfair deaths ("The block hits your head! You die!"; "The door topples inwards. You aren't nimble enough to get out of the way! You die"). There's no reason this is a feature of permadeath, it's just stupid game design. The world is not this perilous: you should have to really make some mistakes to die, not just be unlucky a couple of times.

- existing save/reload games frequently feature scenarios that are just dumb, and that you couldn't hope to overcome in permadeath (e.g. walk in the room, all the doors lock, now fight the boss). This is a function of them knowing you've got a save game. We obviously wouldn't do these things either. Limited surprises, not "suddenly a giant alien drops from the sky and you need to fight it with that gun you should've bought an hour ago".


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: eleazzaar on March 09, 2009, 04:10:24 AM
So I've been really taken with Zenbitz's idea of a grimly realistic, nihilistic permadeath game....

...The world is not this perilous: you should have to really make some mistakes to die, not just be unlucky a couple of times.

The problem is that if you have permadeath, but make it really hard to die, it is functionally not radically different from a game where it is easy to die but recovery is a quick save/load away.  I.E. the feeling of "real" fear for your life comes because:
1) death is "permanent"
2) death is probable especially when unexpected.

The suspense and grittiness gets washed out if the player realizes that life/death situations are easy to avoid.


The other problem that Icelus alludes to, is the fact that nearly all permadeath games are of a very specific type, with other aspects:
* totally unfair random death
* ascii graphics
* rules that can only be discovered the hard way

... that make it hard to evaluate permadeath in isolation, since we've only experienced it in one specific type of scenario.  Personally i've invested a good number of hours into rogue-likes, and never got past the point that they were confusing, annoying, and frustrating.



P.S. i agree that saving should probably be disabled during combat.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: icelus on March 09, 2009, 01:41:27 PM
The problem is that if you have permadeath, but make it really hard to die, it is functionally not radically different from a game where it is easy to die but recovery is a quick save/load away.

It's not really the same though. If its easy to die but easy to reload, then you make slow, constant progress toward the end of the game. There are regular short-time period setbacks, but all that really happens is your rate of progress in the same game is slowed. Now if it's hard to die, but death is permanent, you probably make faster progress toward the end of the game, but if you push things too far, you have to start over.

I.E. the feeling of "real" fear for your life comes because:
1) death is "permanent"
2) death is probable especially when unexpected.

The suspense and grittiness gets washed out if the player realizes that life/death situations are easy to avoid.

Death is permanent means you have to be careful, you can't just try things out over and over again. You make a choice and it has real consequences. So long as you make sensible choices, you shouldn't have to take too many risks. But you'll probably end up taking _some_ risks anyway - really want to raid that gas station? (referenced in another thread) The difference in permadeath is that's a real choice. And if you're far into the game, you'll be really nervous about taking it on.

If it was just easy to die with regular save reload, you'd always try to storm the gas station a few times. If you died, you'd remember it was there (now having full tactical knowledge of what's likely involved) and come back later with better weapons/kit. So there is a real difference.

The other problem that Icelus alludes to, is the fact that nearly all permadeath games are of a very specific type, with other aspects:
* totally unfair random death
* ascii graphics
* rules that can only be discovered the hard way

... that make it hard to evaluate permadeath in isolation, since we've only experienced it in one specific type of scenario.  Personally i've invested a good number of hours into rogue-likes, and never got past the point that they were confusing, annoying, and frustrating.

So maybe I can offer another example that I find much more convincing as an argument for permadeath than roguelikes: MUDs with permadeath or serious consequences for dying. In these games you had a choice about heading into dangerous situations, and you could usually run before you were in too deep if you stumbled in by accident. But once you were there, you were playing for keeps. Even withdrawing from a situation when you'd pushed in too far could be difficult; you had to weigh how much likelier you were to fight your way back out than push through to the end. Holing up in safe areas, making safe areas, hiding, using rare restoratives and kit in relatively minor situations that got out of hand; these are all things no-one would bother to do without serious repercussions for dying. It pushes your gameplay to another level, because its _worth_ taking it seriously!




Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: mvBarracuda on March 09, 2009, 02:34:14 PM
Hmm I really loved critical hits (and failures) in Fallout. Might be pretty frustrating to be critically hit in permadeath mode :-/


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: DK on March 09, 2009, 07:34:41 PM
how about a compromise? No permadeath but no manual saves.

Autosaves every 5 mins in rolling slots.. the number depending on the difficulty level you are playing on. This way when you die you only have to play through 5 mins to get to the same pont. If we make the game have major consequences for actions performed more than 5/10/15 etc.. mins ago then the player may find themselves in an unwinnable situation and so have to go back to the beginning and start a new character.  On the death of the character we should have the opton presented to "retire" them as in Civ series. This would save a score and information in an hall of fame, perhaps on the net, then delete all the autosaves. Should borrow from consoles perhaps allow only a set number of games simultaeneously, so that the player has to really think how to get the most of any individual run through.

We should also have the possibility for the pc to get seriously nerfed in the course of the game so if they make bad decisions then though theoretically possible for them to finish, it's just going to get harder and harder.. of course nerfing can be annoying but perhaps make some form or another of it practically unavoidable to go and find a cure for said nerfing, would be a quest in itself.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: tie on March 09, 2009, 08:07:29 PM
Quote
Things like permadeath only work if you have to work with them. I've had a hard time making this point, so consider a wizard mode, where your rolls are always fudged so you cannot die (always get a critical success as needed). Would you be against a third mode, wizard mode?

I don't really agree here. As I understand, your point is that if you have Normal mode, no one will ever play in Permadeath mode. However, I've personally played Diablo 2 in normal mode first, and then switched to Hardcore (Permadeath) for the added challenge.

As for the Wizard mode - if there are enough people that would enjoy this mode over the rest, why not add it to the game? It is a game after all, and it's primary purpose is to entertain. We should not forecefully impose just one mode of entertainment, if a substantial part of the players would want another one.

As you pointed out Permadeath/Normal/Wizard are just levels in the difficulty spectrum, generally the same thing as Hard/Normal/Easy in most games, just more extreme. Do you think all players just go with the Easy in games? I don't thihk so. So, adding a less difficult mode does not automatically mean that everyone would go with it.

I'm all for Permadeath mode, but as a choice, and not as a restriction.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: psyho on March 10, 2009, 03:06:21 PM
I think there is a more pragmatic reason for not forcing permadeath in the game. If the parmadeath mode forces you to think more about the decisions you make in the game, like taking/skipping quests and locations, wouldn't that hurt the game experience if we have a limited number of quests/locations? Let's face it: we may never have a world of the same size as commercial games like Fallout, etc. so wouldn't it make sense to make it easier for people to experience what we have?

I'm all for having a painfully realistic mode in the game, but as an opt-in feature, not something that you are forced into. Same goes to the easy/sandbox mode - I'm sure that some people like that kind of gameplay.

My question is: should it be possible to switch between modes in-game? Like: I'm playing most of the time in the normal mode, and switch to hardcore if I find a particular quest too easy, and maybe to the sandbox mode if I find that I'm stuck?


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: eleazzaar on March 10, 2009, 06:45:36 PM
The aspect that hasn't yet been considered is what is necessary to actually make the game.

To for testing and troubleshooting we'll need to be able to save/load the game.

An invincible mode (refered to as "wizard mode" here) would also be a very useful tool for someone who wants to test something out quickly without putting effort into fighting.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Jeoshua on March 10, 2009, 07:11:38 PM
I'm completely in support of all three modes of gaming (except Wizard mode, which is best left as an "undocumented" cheat).

If it were up to me, I'd have the Ironman/Permadeath option be accessable as the highest notch of the difficulty bar (ie, the "Nightmare" mode).  In it, everything should be as hard as possible, harder than the hard mode.  There would be only one save slot available per person, and the autosave should be your only option.  When you die, that save is removed from the system (deleted!).  Also, if you start a game in ironman mode, there is no changing difficulty levels halfway through in order to save, unlike in more "normal" modes, where you should be able to change difficulty at will.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on March 11, 2009, 08:53:00 PM
Hmmm... some debate on this topic.

I pretty much have come full circle on permadeath.... it's just so hard to make deadly combat work with permadeath.
I did have the original idea to just Deus Ex Machina the PC all over the place (i.,e most of the time when you "die" you don't really die, you get captured, or Obi Wan scares away the Tuskan Raiders and takes you in)

As El points out - we need SOME form of save/load for debugging.  It can always be disabled, etc.    We also need at least autosave in case of power outage, cat on the keyboard, etc.

So that being said - we can design the game we like, and have all options and defaults available or not on "release".


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Jeoshua on March 12, 2009, 01:07:18 AM
Might I add that making Ironman the ONLY option is, of course, bad.  Not only from a game testing standpoint but also a fan-based standpoint.  If it's in there, the player should be deciding whether he is an Ironman type of guy.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Gaspard on March 12, 2009, 01:36:45 AM
wouldn't it be easy enough programming-wise to let you to choose to save in only certain safe-spots like in Fallout Tactics (there it was in BOS bunkers).
You'd check the option on the Character Creation screen or in the Options menu with the game Difficulty setting, it could be an integrated part of the Very Crazy Difficult template.

It's not pure Permadeath, but it makes you more cautious none-the-less


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on March 14, 2009, 12:31:34 AM
So, icelus has swayed me the other way again in IRC logs
http://www.unknown-horizons.org/parpglogs/?action=view&chan=parpg&date=2009-03-09

i
Quote
celus>you haven't deprived them of an ending
icelus>you deprived them of a disney ending

icelus>why not just have a wizard mode where you can kill anything with a lightning bolt

A key point is that most rogue-likes which cause "permadeath hate" have too much random death.  So we need to be very careful about killing PC.  I have previous posts in this thread re: Deus Ex Machina's to "transport" you to a different part of the game.  So it's it's a "setback" like having to reload the game - but one in which you have less control as a player.


I cannot fight the tide of having something "alternate" to permadeath, but we can
a) make it the default - call "reload" mode "Disney Mode" you have to select. 
b) design the game to be "most suited" to playing in permadeath mode (i.e, Disney mode would be too easy - maybe even as easy as Wizard/god mode.
c) Taunt the player for wimping out if they chose Disney mode.

- as a "nicer" way of doing this
d) use the number of PC deaths as a score.  As in "you finished the game, but took you: 34894 deaths, Your rank: Amateur"


I do think this will require, at a minimum, the ability to save your character's DESIGN so you don't have to redo that particular process.   It might be a reasonable compromise to have "episodic" permadeth (assuming we go with the elezzar plan), so that once you complete an episode, the game is saved.

The bottom line is (again) is that we can change this if we have to, but might as well TRY to make a   


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Gaspard on March 14, 2009, 12:44:51 AM
hey Zenbitz is it possible that your post was not finished ?

/edit/ bleh


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: domik on March 14, 2009, 12:13:16 PM
I understand that some people would like that option but what about saving/loading game while exiting. If we design that game so you need 100h of playing to finish it you won't have game opened all time. One of the option is automatically saving it in exit and loading on continue.

But to do this we need profiles.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on March 15, 2009, 02:21:32 AM
Quote
The bottom line is (again) is that we can change this if we have to, but might as well TRY to make a   

Hmmm... uh...

"try to make a game that is fun in permadeath mode, we can always take it out later"

I guess that's what I was going to say


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: freepower on April 27, 2009, 12:37:01 AM
I must say, the idea of permadeath in paRPG gives me shivers of excitement.

After years of grim, nasty enviroments where a wrong word to a shifty character could mean a knife in the back, where every long trek was a calculated risk... and then wham, simple as reloading a save to wipe the consequences.

I think that permadeath and an inverted story tree as described by ZB would actually be a distinctive choice in todays gaming enviroment, highly replayable and entertaining.

Is it that hard to add a degree of procedural generation to the early game based on class/stat/background story choices? That would be excellent even in a nonPD situation.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: mvBarracuda on April 27, 2009, 01:15:44 PM
I think some variation created by random encounters sounds like a good idea indeed. At least it worked pretty well for me in Fallout and Arcanum though we'll need to take game balancing into account as well. There might be players who will try to abuse random encounters for powergaming purposes though the proposed game design (time limit, just few experience points gained through combat) seems to address that pretty well.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Captain Obvious on April 27, 2009, 04:56:10 PM
What is exactly the trouble with game saving exactly ?

 if a player want to play hardcore with permadeath, he just had to not save the game, no ?


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: mvBarracuda on April 27, 2009, 05:29:19 PM
Offering a permadeath mode as _optional_ choice sounds useful to me. Of course you could stick to permadeath rules yourself but as we plan to include a hardcore mode anyway, why not integrate permadeath into it instead of leaving it to player to not cheat. If players want to save, they could simply play the game in normal mode. Or we even leave permadeath as an option that can be turned on or off at the beginning of the game.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Deschain on June 12, 2009, 11:31:17 AM
optional, a planescape death mode (with some skill or experience loss, for the shock :P )
and a permadeath mode, but in different channel/server


look if you made a big progress with your permadeath character and a undead comes and kill you
and nobody at an advanced stage will turn to permadeath if is a optional mode to use any time...


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Dave Matney on June 12, 2009, 04:22:11 PM
Offering a permadeath mode as _optional_ choice sounds useful to me. Of course you could stick to permadeath rules yourself but as we plan to include a hardcore mode anyway, why not integrate permadeath into it instead of leaving it to player to not cheat. If players want to save, they could simply play the game in normal mode. Or we even leave permadeath as an option that can be turned on or off at the beginning of the game.

On top of that, it should be set to insta-kill you if you cheat, like Hexen did if you tried to use any Doom cheats.

Player: Crap, I'm running out of room in my backpack... *typing* davelikestocheat...  WTF?!


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: meinmartini on June 12, 2009, 04:30:27 PM
Offering a permadeath mode as _optional_ choice sounds useful to me. Of course you could stick to permadeath rules yourself but as we plan to include a hardcore mode anyway, why not integrate permadeath into it instead of leaving it to player to not cheat. If players want to save, they could simply play the game in normal mode. Or we even leave permadeath as an option that can be turned on or off at the beginning of the game.
Enable a warning message for gamers who want to enable it. If they want to enable Permadeath, they are unable to disable it once the game begins.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: maximinus on June 12, 2009, 05:03:27 PM
If we want PARPG to be a decent size then we have to allow saving just to let the player sleep, surely? Or are you guys really hardcore?  ;D


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: Dave Matney on June 12, 2009, 05:39:58 PM
I have the only existing cheat code, as well as the easiest difficulty level, named after me, so that shows how hardcore I am. :p


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: zenbitz on June 12, 2009, 10:48:52 PM
If we want PARPG to be a decent size then we have to allow saving just to let the player sleep, surely? Or are you guys really hardcore?  ;D

Yes, this is where "no save" kinda breaks down.  I guess the standard mod (kinda old school Ultima?) is to only allow saving at defined locations and/or times.  Like when you are safely snuggled in your bedroll in your igloo.  Or at the local inn.

The problem with THIS is that that if you have to fart around moving for 20 minutes (REAL TIME) to get back to the place where you got bushwhacked, and have to do this over and over... no one likes that.   It's tricky, because I'd like to say "DUDE YOU ARE PLAYING THE GAME WRONG IF YOU KEEP GETTING KILLED CARELESSLY", I also don't think there should be a right way or wrong way to play, and i know that many, many people (myself included) will play a game "Doom Style" (Wolf3d style?) where you just keep trying to blast your way through the same situation over and over until you crack it.  I mean, even if the "easy" way is to use some stealth/non combat skill around the obstical, it might take me a good 20 tries before I consider other options.

The only "true" way around this is (I think) to Deus Ex Machina the player around instead of killing him, but this would get silly if you did this every time.... so I guess we have to just have "standard" save any-time slots and give an option at game start to disable save in combat and/or save when awake (so you have to find a safe place to sleep to save). 

You can't have NO save, what if your 'puter crashes? (Due to some *other* app, of course!)


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: tZee on June 16, 2009, 01:33:38 PM
Some notes on the programming side:

-Abusing load/reload in fight to get critical hits: Can be avoided. Random numbers do not exist on computers. They are pseudo random generated from a seed (you usually take the unix timestamp). If we save the seed at the beginning of the combat and the number of times the random function has been called we can restore the exact "random state" and the hit will always be (non)critical, no matter how many times you reload.
-Only autosave: As long as there is a save file you will be able to reload as you like. My workaround for such games was simple: copy&paste the autosave file and when you die/fail replace it with the copy, start the game and bingo! There is my desired game state.

Wizard mode: Might spoil the fun.. Like walkthroughs spoil your Adventure games etc.
Permadeath mode: Not "cheat free" applicable if the game is supposed to last longer than a few hours. (People have real lifes and need to sleep, as mentioned above. :D) And because we are not going to run a hosted multiplayer part, like closed BNet, there is no way to prevent the "workaround" i mentioned above. But I like the idea of counting the number of deaths (and giving a little penalty on death) and publishing them as a highscore.
I guess there could be a real harcore optional mode which disables saving and you have to finish the game in one go and depending how far you get you rank in a highscore. (The real harcore people will leave the game running till they finish, like they will leave their linux machines running for 3 years straight and then brag about it. :D)


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: mvBarracuda on June 16, 2009, 02:36:51 PM
AFAICT the idea of a hardcore mode is not to disallow saving in general but you can only save when you exit the game; actually saving is forced when exiting the game. So there would be just one save slot that gets overwritten once you save again. This way you don't have to play the whole game non stop but can continue later but once you've died the savegame slot gets overwritten so you can't try again by simply loading.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: tZee on June 16, 2009, 03:08:55 PM
Well, then stop the game when you think it's getting dangerous and copy&paste the savegame, then continue.  :P


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: mvBarracuda on June 16, 2009, 06:40:44 PM
There are always ways to cheat for the user :-) If they want to cheat, they'll do it. The permadeath mode is for the serious users who appreciate the challenge. Actually you can play a lot of RPGs in permadeath mode without the native support of this option by the game itself. But we can make things more comfortable by actually automating the steps that the user would normally manually do: just save in one slot, just save when you actually exit the game, delete the last saved game once you died, etc.

Btw.: in permadeath mode there should be the autosaves on a regular basis just in case the game crashes for whatever reason there may be. Nothing more frustrating than playing in permadeath mode and your game crashed in an odd situation and you actually play for a couple of hours and all progress is lost.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: maximinus on June 16, 2009, 06:55:39 PM
Perhaps another mechanic might work:

During the course of the game, the player in PERMADEATH gets 'saves' given when he completes certain quests. He can save wherever he wants and use up a 'save' in the process. The random number generator is seeded at the start of the game, so the player gets the same game, thus reloading to get a better 'roll' is much less reduced.

Of course, you could still game it slightly but you have to choose where to 'save your saves'. Also we could restrict how often these saves are given out, but this can be playtested. We could also give out the saves on mainline stories, limiting the number of side quests possible maybe.


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: shevegen on June 27, 2009, 01:47:16 AM
Optional seems reasonable. Choice is never wrong, and the last proposal by maximinus is a hybrid system which could appeal to some players too (where they save between completing difficult parts, but if they later die, they dont have to start from 0% but perhaps only from 40%)


Title: Re: PERMADEATH
Post by: NineOfHearts on July 09, 2009, 06:08:20 PM
Gents,

Judging by quite extensive computer gaming experience (20+ years) I am absolutely sure that there is no better way to ruin a perfect game by disallowing save games at a time the player needs it. Otherwise the player is forced to replay thousand times the same parts of the game -- which doesn't make the game funnier at all.

Of course, we could easily implement the "ironman" mode, but purely for those who know what they are asking for. However, the game features should be fully presented in the normal mode as well.


My thoughts exactly.