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Author Topic: Equipment and Stuff  (Read 15041 times)
zenbitz
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« on: February 13, 2009, 08:26:34 AM »

Truly, a critical part of the post apocalypse world.  Here are some of my thoughts on the subject.

General:  Repair state, or Utility of the item is always going to be a question.  Range from 0 "borked" to 5 in pristine condition.  Hmm... maybe "Mint/Fine/Very Good/Good/Poor/Broken".  "Unrepairable" might be a different code (-1?) or maybe just not really an "item" (but see raw materials).  We could also have a quality rating - indicating how good the item was Mint condition, but perhaps this is just complexity for no reason.

Hand Weapons:  Variety is the spice of life... but there is not really much significant difference between them in terms of how much damage they do.   There is a range difference between a spear, sword, and knife and I would like to incorporate that.   3 general types of hand weapons:
Improvised (like chairs, bottles, rocks)
Modern Tools (like machetes, fire axes, combat knives)
"Medieval" fabrications (swords, spears, pole axes) - both pre- and post-ruin (if we are far enough out)

Guns: As mentioned previously  - ammo should be a scarce resource.
Black Powder guns - These would be post-ruin artifacts mostly.  Very slow to reload, not that effective.  Loud and smelly though!

Armor - I would like to do a "piece wise" armor system with ca. 30 hit locations  (artists now hate me).  Armor should work pretty well against hand weapons, not so much against guns.

Well, more later...
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Lamoot
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2009, 02:48:39 PM »

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Armor - I would like to do a "piece wise" armor system with ca. 30 hit locations  (artists now hate me).  Armor should work pretty well against hand weapons, not so much against guns.

Armour can be made from multiple parts (boots, helmet, body) but not everything would be shown on the player sprite, only in the character screen. Its probably too complicated to show every item change on the player sprite if we have 2d graphics.

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General:  Repair state, or Utility of the item is always going to be a question.

How would this enhance the gameplay? This seems more like a chore than a fun game mechanic.

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Guns: As mentioned previously  - ammo should be a scarce resource.
Original ammo should be a scarce resource, while home made bullets would be more common. I figure the art of making gunpowder wouldn't be lost, but the bullets wouldn't be as effective. This would let you use guns more often in the game, but usually they wouldn't be as deadly and thus unbalanced.

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Hand Weapons:  Variety is the spice of life... but there is not really much significant difference between them in terms of how much damage they do.   There is a range difference between a spear, sword, and knife and I would like to incorporate that.   3 general types of hand weapons:
Improvised (like chairs, bottles, rocks)
Modern Tools (like machetes, fire axes, combat knives)
"Medieval" fabrications (swords, spears, pole axes) - both pre- and post-ruin (if we are far enough out)
I'd put all of these and unarmed combat under the same category called "close combat". There are so many ways to fragment this type of combat I feel the skills associated with this would be too many and would loose significance. I'm not saying we should dumb things down, but to make smart optimizations. If we present the player with too many choices, which are rather similar it's going to be hard for tehm to make a proper pick.



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qubodup
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2009, 09:38:08 PM »

I suggest that all items shall be indestructible always.

I have not yet encountered a game which features destroyable items, where this part of the game was not annoying.

PS: The equipment system should be as simple as possible, Armor and two hands should be best.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 09:40:11 PM by qubodup » Logged
zenbitz
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2009, 09:54:46 PM »

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I'd put all of these and unarmed combat under the same category called "close combat". There are so many ways to fragment this type of combat I feel the skills associated with this would be too many and would loose significance. I'm not saying we should dumb things down, but to make smart optimizations. If we present the player with too many choices, which are rather similar it's going to be hard for tehm to make a proper pick.

Hmmm... We are just talking about "items" here.  Not skills.  It's clear to me that a nicely made broadsword is more useful than a wood hachet is more useful than a broken beer bottle.  The could all use the same skill "one handed hack/bash".

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General:  Repair state, or Utility of the item is always going to be a question.
How would this enhance the gameplay? This seems more like a chore than a fun game mechanic.

Utility or repair state is not the same as "destructable".  It just might mean that a rusty old pistol might misfire more often (and have worse accuracy) than one you nicked off of a mercenary with OCD.   Is "one shot" repair too tedious - assuming stuff doesn't break.   Like you find a broken ... I dunno... bicycle and you have to repair it or bring it to someone to fix?   Obviously, a "sharp pebble check" every 2 minutes while riding = flat tire would be sucky.

It seems to me that "one time repair" is no worse than any kind of "crafting" (but maybe the difference is that one is almost always optional... while if your primary weapon breaks you are out of luck?)




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egalor
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2009, 11:57:00 PM »

One thought considering durability of items. Remembering Witchaven, Diablo, The Elder Scrolls, FO3 and other games -- the durability model was very irritating to say the least (I usually used mods to tweak that feature). Somehow it didn't seem convincing at all! Still, I can feel this might a very good thing to implement (if done properly), but it might deserve a separate thread to do so.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2009, 06:03:47 PM »

Seems as good a thread as any, this will have to get reorg'd onto the wiki anyway:

What about these games "item decay" specifically made it no fun?
Would it make sense to have a "toggle" (like difficulty or "ironman") where people could play with decayable items/repair on?

I am going to start a thread on rpgcodex about this (if I cannot necro one)
Ah, found one: http://www.rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=5200  only 3 years old, maybe time for a revisit?
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qubodup
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2009, 06:32:16 PM »

Can someone name a game which had item 'durabilities' as a feature and where this aspect is fun?

I'll name the games known to me which have this feature and where that feature is not fun.

  • Diablo 2
  • Jagged Alliance 2
  • TES: Morrowind
  • System Shock 2
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Lamoot
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2009, 06:33:10 PM »

In Morrowind it was a chore and rather annoying. It didn't feel like an integrated part of the gameplay but something that prevented me to run around the island with no worries. This could be partially contributed to the way the game handled repairing. You had to have tools and go through the very bad inventory to combine the tools and the equipment item to repair. It didn't really provide any gameplay value.

Heh, there was even this weapon in an expansion that required loads of strength to wield (only possible to get through enchantments and potions). You could only swing it once, because due to the enormous strength of your character the force was so big, the repair meter went straight to 0.

I can't find any examples where repairing was fun though.

The only fun way to break items is to make them expendable, for example in a room full of chairs, you wouldn't bother with the broken chair, but simply grab a new one and continue the fight.

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Ah, found one: http://www.rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=5200  only 3 years old, maybe time for a revisit?

Let's see what the cream de la cream of rpg ranters have to say about it.

P.S.:The link is from 2004 and Vince was already working on age of decadence? That's like 4-5 years.. brrr...

P.P.S.: What kind of equipement would you want to repair anyway? Guns only need to be cleaned.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 06:46:09 PM by Lamoot » Logged
zenbitz
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2009, 12:36:07 AM »

What I really meant had nothing to do with stuff breaking when you use it.  I agree, it is quite difficult to imagine this having any fun value in a game whatsoever.  Maybe... some rare critical misses... but really this is only fun when it happens to the other guys.

What I meant was, when you dig some old rusty thing out of the ruins - is it as good as something you bought at the "Swedish Apocalypse Corner Store"?

This can be extended a bit- maybe you find some cool stuff, but you need to repair it to make it functional, and your repair skill/tools/materials matter.     

To do this, I guess you you would rate all items with max quality and current quality.  You could repair an item (or take it to a shop) to increase current quality up to max.   They would never degrade.
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qubodup
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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2009, 01:55:02 AM »

but really this is only fun when it happens to the other guys.
I think we have to remember this phrase when talking about mechanics from now on. I'd love to hear enemies swear about critical misses etc. Smiley

What I meant was, when you dig some old rusty thing out of the ruins - is it as good as something you bought at the "Swedish Apocalypse Corner Store"?
Fair enough, this sounds very thrilling, so how about this: when finding items of the kind you just mentioned, text will appear, describing how the object is pretty rust and that you clean it up to make it usable once more.

But even starting a dialog where you can [clean weapon] would be wasteful, because there really is only the option [clean weapon] and there is no sense in not doing it, so why even press this dialog option.

By using such 'pop-ups' you can bring a portion of atmosphere to the people who like that, while others will ignore the text and won't be interrupted in their "i dont' care for atmosphere *that* much" playing.

The repair/mechanical skill in F1/2 was something very precious, because all the cool individual items [EDIT: not items, I mean water pump engines and generators] profited form you using it. Teaching the player to automatically use the skill on each and every thing he finds and sees will make it something boring.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 11:29:54 AM by qubodup » Logged
Lamoot
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2009, 10:57:52 AM »

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What I meant was, when you dig some old rusty thing out of the ruins - is it as good as something you bought at the "Swedish Apocalypse Corner Store"?

This can be extended a bit- maybe you find some cool stuff, but you need to repair it to make it functional, and your repair skill/tools/materials matter.     

To do this, I guess you you would rate all items with max quality and current quality.  You could repair an item (or take it to a shop) to increase current quality up to max.   They would never degrade.

This is much better yes. If we decide to implement this, I have no objections. In addition, skills like repair (and medical skill = repair humans) could play a role in quests and when interacting with NPCs. In a post-apoc world, such skills would be very valued.

It would also be rather handy as a way to enable/prevent the player to progress along a certain path through the story.

Can't repair the ice-sail? Too bad, you'll have to walk.
Can't repair the broken blast doors? Too bad, no fallout shelter exploring for you.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 11:02:35 AM by Lamoot » Logged
qubodup
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2009, 11:44:23 AM »

It would also be rather handy as a way to enable/prevent the player to progress along a certain path through the story.
You mean that a repair skill is a good thing to force the player to backtrack?

Backtracking is usually an annoying thing. I think there was only one part in F2, where the player most likely had to backtrack: the toxic caves north of Klamath.

About the sail example: do you intend the vehicle to be only usable by mechanic-lovers? Or are you saying that any player class should invest in mechanical skill?

PS: Backtracking means "visit a location you visited before". This term gets used by authors of Let's Plays sometimes.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 12:35:48 PM by qubodup » Logged
Lamoot
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2009, 12:52:46 PM »

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You mean that a repair skill is a good thing to force the player to backtrack?

Not all things and areas in the game should be accessible to all players in the same way at the same moment of game progress. Backtracking can be annoying, but it's up to the game designers to prevent it from being annoying.

Very few paths through the game would be essential, for most you should always have an alternative. Your character's skills and specialisation would define which alternatives are easier, harder or impossible.

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About the sail example: do you intend the vehicle to be only usable by mechanic-lovers? Or are you saying that any player class should invest in mechanical skill?

No, the vehicle could be used by anyone (perhaps after you finish a quest that teaches you how to handle it?). The example was more along these lines:

In the game world there are ice-sails your character knows how to use (but are not in your possession). Then one day you find a broken, abandoned ice-sail. If you have a good enough repair skill you can repair it and it's yours from now on. However, if you don't have a repair skill, then you can't really use it and it remains an unfulfilled potential.

So a player who invested in repair rather than in combat gets a bonus this way, a bonus he doesn't have in other game situations i.e. combat. This is the basic principle of meaningful skills that impact the way you play the game.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 12:56:31 PM by Lamoot » Logged
zenbitz
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2009, 10:34:55 PM »

Another mechanism to to have specific NPCs who have useful "ice-sailing" skills, or even "repair ice sails".  So, if player is missing the skills, he may find instead an NPC to join up and help him.
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2009, 10:01:10 AM »

I think broken weapons as consequence of critical misses can be fun. Such a system was featured in ROA and although it was annoying from time to time, it was fun on the other side as well as it made the game more challenging.

Possible other consequences of critical misses:
* You drop the weapon.
* The weapon gets jammed and you need to unjam it. Could take some action points and eat up ammo.
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