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Author Topic: PERMADEATH  (Read 27167 times)
zenbitz
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« 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.
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #1 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?
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Nalanod
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« Reply #2 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.

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Lamoot
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« Reply #3 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
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zenbitz
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« Reply #4 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.
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qubodup
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« Reply #5 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.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #6 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.
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qubodup
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« Reply #7 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. Smiley
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egalor
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« Reply #8 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.
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #9 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.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #10 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?
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #11 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.
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egalor
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2009, 10:45:39 PM »

...And I didn't consider that to be fair, although the game was great! Smiley 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.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #13 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.

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Lamoot
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« Reply #14 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)
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