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Author Topic: 1 turn = 1 sec? I see real character growth issues here...  (Read 18198 times)
d3rail3d
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« on: August 12, 2009, 04:15:16 PM »

I was reading over the game mechanics in the wiki and saw this definition in the combat section. If I may, I think this will run you into some problems concerning growth (one of the most important elements in any RPG, imho). Basically it's like giving the first contestant a 10 out of 10. The next contestant can't score higher, even if they are better. There is also mention of AP(Action Points). I think your answer lies here. At least for ease of game mechanics (I'm no programmer, so can't comment on the code aspect)

By requiring the player to use AP (or Time Units, or whatever) to preform all actions, you can easily regulate what they can do per turn. If the base rate of regaining this resource is 1 AP per 3-5 seconds. (Of course play testing will really help to find the right regeneration rate). You link the players AP regen rate growth to their stamina. For instance, for every 10 stamina (or endurance, or what ever) the player may knock a second off of the standard AP regen rate. 10 is a number pulled out of the air, because you guys may go with the Fallout method of players base stats maxing at 10, in this case every 3 - 5 could knock off a second for the regen tick. Alternatively, if you set 1 turn at 3-5 seconds, you could base how many AP the player regens pers turn. 2, 3, 4, whatever.

Another means of regulating player actions is to have stat based reductions for how many AP points it takes to perform actions. This could be a bit more flexible because there are a lot of stats and conditions that could add or decrease the amount of AP such as speed, agility, dexterity, character skill level in the desired action, encumbrance, gear bonuses, etc. But generally you want the bonuses and penalties to be percentages or decimals. For instance, moving a certain distance may have a base requirement of 10 AP. Every 3 points of speed might reduce the base AP cost of a movement action by .25 (or so) A player with 3-5 Speed would use about 8 AP, where as a character with 10 Speed would only spend about 3 AP. These numbers wouldn't have to be constant either. Speed may apply to something that has little to do with movement, but it only provides a .10 bonus (or so). Of course, you could simplify your life by wrapping Speed, Agility and Dexterity in one package called Physical Prowess.

Combining the rate of AP regeneration with the reducing the AP cost of actions, you have a flexible system to create a wide perception of growth. Basically, you create a system where the player could have the slow chubby guy that gets winded easily after a relatively short distance or the track star (or soldier) that can run a mile in a few minutes (my fastest 2 mile run in the Army was 11 mins, and that was probably slow compared to someone who trains daily for distance running), and you really should give players the option to be either. I think this way you can create believable and noticeable differences without fear of creating a Superman and wrecking your game balance.

I guess 1 turn = 1 sec could work, but I generally think it hurts the players satisfaction of character growth if he has to grow 10 levels just to see a tick of improvement. MMO's do that to keep players paying them that monthly fee (or to maintain traffic for advertising dollars), but it is really a cheap way to extend the game play clock. People play fun games for years without the hefty, artificial growth penalties...
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zenbitz
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2009, 05:34:38 PM »

I am not sure I am following your objection... are you saying that if EVERYONE gets 1 action/turn there won't be enough of a "distinction" between a good combat character and a bad one?  Or an inexperienced one and an experienced one?

The difficulty is simply that it doesn't make sense to allow a player/character to sequence >~2 actions (move/attack say) before others get to act/react. 

Lets take the AP example.  An average person has 5 AP.  An average combat action of some sort takes 4 APs.  So an average person can do 1 thing/turn, and have 1 "left over" AP.   I guess they could save it up and get to act twice every 5th turn or something, or like Fallout have it be a dodge/defense bonus.

Now the average person improves and gains an extra AP.   He can still only do 1 thing, just has more "left over" APs.    Now eventually, he gets to 8 AP, but now he can act _twice_ per turn... this makes him literally twice as good as an average guy.  It's very unbalancing... and I am not really into making a game where you become a devastating slayer of men. (there are lots of games like that)

I suppose saving the left over APs works...   if 8 APs = 2 actions/turn (none left over)
7 APs would be like:
Turn1 2 3 4 5
APs710 9 8 7
actions1 2 2 2 1
left over AP3 2 1 0 3

That might work OK... although APs are still way too valuable.   Plus now we have to balance the AP cost of every action...  not sure it's worth it.
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d3rail3d
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2009, 09:29:09 PM »

I guess I meant more along the lines of  the standard turn = to 1 sec. Any type of growth beyond that has people doing multiple actions in one second which is seems very unlikely. I mean, raising a gun and shooting probably takes more than a second, so now your dealing with some one taking a turn to raise his gun, then another to shoot...Sounds a bit bulky, but you've been working on this longer than I, so I'm just throwing my opinion out there. One question for this is how you would handle fatigue, or if that would even be a factor. If you burn all your AP every turn, how many turns till it starts to affect the character?

I was more suggesting a turn (or tick) equal more than 1 sec, and players will regain AP at a certain rate per tick. Seemed like it would open up more flexibility later on when you start finalizing exactly what players can do for what AP. But, yes, it would tack on some time in play test to balance. Though I would figure you guys are going to have to do that anyway just to balance all the actions out.

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zenbitz
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2009, 10:31:19 PM »

Well, if your gun is out, and it's an automatic loader, how many times can you squeeze the trigger?  Probably at least 3.   So there are some actions that are faster than 1 sec.

I think the time scale is fine.  I mean does it really matter if it's 0.8s or 1.3s?    I just think action points in general don't add anything except the possibliity to make very fine distinctions in how long things take (for example, swinging a big slow weapon vs. quick fast one).

The whole point is that there WON'T be character growth allowing 2 actions/second.    People don't generally get "faster" anyway, except in some tasks like bow shooting where a trained person is much faster than an untrained one.
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d3rail3d
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2009, 11:05:31 PM »

I gotcha. Like I said, you guys have been thinking about this way longer than before I poked my head in.

One question though, how will a level 15 character look compared to a level 1 character? Or is it really just accuracy that improves and equipment?

The heart of my original post was just a concern for noticeable character growth. I don't agree with people not getting "faster" though. A trained boxer is going to wear out someone that just wandered out the street into the ring. He will throw more punches a second and more accurately than the average guy. Aside from speed, he'll also be able to last longer in the ring before he starts to get winded and generally suck. The boxer isn't a god, just trained and better. Look at Tyson back in the day. He could get 3 punches in a second and put power behind them enough to knock someone out.

In an RPG, I'd like to feel my Joe Schmo will grow to be something remarkable in someway; else why are we following his journeys? I understand wanting to not over complicate things, but we shouldn't make every player mediocre for the sake of simplicity either.
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Suzi
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2009, 08:22:41 AM »

Good points d3rail3d, my current design doc for a realistic combat system goes in the same direction, here`s a snippet:

APs are dependent on:
a)Character skills:
More APs means you can make more shots per turn(you shoot faster).
The firing frequenzy is heavily dependend on the gun itself, you can`t fire a gun faster then
it is technically possible. Another reason is that a skilled shooter is someone who shoots fast
and precisely. Skill boils down to this definition: gun skill = accuracy + time it took to fire
off that shot. Both have the same gun, same ideal conditions: A character (A) might be very
accurate but if hes slow, he can`t compete with against a character (B) who is slightly less
accurate but fires far more shots per round and kills him, thusly B is more skilled in combat.
So from a realistic standpoint APs are dependent on the individual gun skill based on the
experience with the weapon type(here weapon category), so better weapon type skill = more APs for
that weapon type but because of technical limitations mentioned earlier each weaponcategory(to
simplify) has MAX AP, meaning there is a certain point where more skill won`t  make you shoot faster.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2009, 08:26:54 AM by Suzi » Logged
d3rail3d
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2009, 12:34:48 PM »

That's about right. I suppose even if it is just gear, you can have character growth. I think back last year when I was playing through Dead Space. Every bit of growth came from upgrading your weapons and armor. You character himself never gets any physically  better than when you start the game. Having the max AP for a particular weapon, or action, gives the dev a way to cap the players growth, while at the same time giving the player that sense of improvement for his work through the course of the game.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2009, 08:37:55 PM »

I gotcha. Like I said, you guys have been thinking about this way longer than before I poked my head in.

One question though, how will a level 15 character look compared to a level 1 character? Or is it really just accuracy that improves and equipment?

No levels.

Quote
The heart of my original post was just a concern for noticeable character growth. I don't agree with people not getting "faster" though. A trained boxer is going to wear out someone that just wandered out the street into the ring. He will throw more punches a second and more accurately than the average guy.

But a trained boxer basically spends HIS ENTIRE LIFE training to box.   Let's say a game of PARPG lasts 2 "character" years (this is arbitrary... could be 2 months, or 10 years), but it seems reasonable.  How much of those 2 years is that character spending training, for example, his combat skills?  How much better than an average schmoe would he be?  And remember, if that's how you want to spend your 2 years surviving (by hunting and slaying), you are probably not going to start as an average schmoe, you are going to start as kind of a bad ass to begin with.

Quote
In an RPG, I'd like to feel my Joe Schmo will grow to be something remarkable in someway; else why are we following his journeys? I understand wanting to not over complicate things, but we shouldn't make every player mediocre for the sake of simplicity either.

I actually find this aspect of cRPGs to be uncompelling and cliche.    In a "realistic" world, there are no Lvl 14 black dragons or death claws.  Just hard men.   And I don't care what kind of training you have, you are not going to go all Schwartzenegger on a room full of bad dudes armed to the teeth.   There are plenty of games where you can transform from misfit to action hero in the course of 30 hours of play time.  I would like to make something a little different.

I would rather have characters be Mad Max than The Terminator.  Max is tough, but he's not superhuman.
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d3rail3d
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2009, 09:12:44 PM »

No I see your point, Zenbitz. I definitely missed the part about there being no levels in this game. That makes all the difference I think. Like I said to Suzi, even equipment growth satisfies the character growth aspect of the rpg.
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Suzi
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2009, 07:17:04 AM »

So there was already a deciscion made that there won`t be levels? Somehow i doubt that.
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2009, 07:32:50 AM »

Zenbitz prolly has not lined that out at the wiki yet but we've been talking about leveling up vs. not leveling up since the very beginning of the project, about half a year ago. And it was already Zenbitz' position back then to not go down the classical leveling up route. I'm personally fine with the decision; he's the only active game mechanics designer at this point so we have to simply give him room to make actual decisions in the field. We'll end up tweaking the gameplay once everything is put into the game anyway.

Right now we simply flesh out things on paper and we'll have to see how it works out in the game later and apply changes where necessary.
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Suzi
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2009, 07:48:34 AM »

Ok i understand if somebody says "hey let`s make no levels" but there needs to be a concept, design documents etc. You can`t just make a decision without having written down ideas how to handle that. Levels are a foolproof concept because almost all RPGs have them, so untill there is no actual concept(maybe there is) calling it decision is wrong.
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2009, 07:55:25 AM »

I'm sure Zenbitz will flesh out this mechanic sooner or later. There might be already something at the mechanics section of the wiki, but I don't have the time to look things up right now. But Zenbitz will surely spot this thread and reply to it over the course of the weekend.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2009, 07:45:37 PM »

while this doesn't explicitly state "no levels" it implies it.   Actually, I just edited to say "no levels".

Earlier documents and forum posts of mine have made it clear that I have a STRONG disdain for levels.

There are dozens of PnP RPGs that do not have a concept of "level".  Would you like a complete list or just the major ones.

You are welcome to submit your own proposals on game mechanics.
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Suzi
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2009, 08:22:52 PM »

Fine then tell me why you are strongly against levels.

No list needed, just tell me how it works. What about experience points? How to handle character progression? Can characters improve their skill or do they stay the same?
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