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Author Topic: PERMADEATH  (Read 42563 times)
zenbitz
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« Reply #15 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?



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egalor
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2009, 12:01:12 AM »

But it's not a tabletop game Smiley 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.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2009, 01:27:31 AM »

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

In combat, too? 
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egalor
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« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2009, 03:51:54 PM »

No, save/load should be restricted to all but combat and maybe dialogue situations.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #19 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?)

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qubodup
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« Reply #20 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  Undecided
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Lamoot
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« Reply #21 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.
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qubodup
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« Reply #22 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" Smiley
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Lamoot
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« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2009, 11:05:31 AM »

Hmmm, I never agreed on anything, I just went to finish that reply I forgot about Smiley

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?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 11:08:52 AM by Lamoot » Logged
mvBarracuda
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« Reply #24 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.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 08:33:50 AM by mvBarracuda » Logged
Kukkakaali
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« Reply #25 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)

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zenbitz
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« Reply #26 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...

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icelus
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« Reply #27 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".
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #28 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.
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icelus
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« Reply #29 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!


« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 01:43:05 PM by icelus » Logged
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