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Author Topic: How the game will play aka META mechanics  (Read 13389 times)
eleazzaar
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2009, 12:29:52 AM »

For instance a theft/assasination quest shouldn't be offered to a PC with a strong reputation as a do-gooder, who had no stealth skills.  Similarly there's no reason we have to make an idiot PC able to solve a delicate diplomatic or science side quest.
I agree with this, but would be happy to supply subtle "hints" to the player that he's missing something.  Or double-end them, so if he's a do gooder - have the local constabulary get him to infiltrate the thief plot.

Yeah there are creative ways like that to enable different PCs to complete quests they normally couldn't.  But if nearly every quest has a way for any type of PC to complete it it start to feel really forced, at least in my experience.


It also tend to cut down on the replay value of a different character type if you have access all the same quests.  Or to look at it another way it devalues the player's character design choices if it doesn't really effect the quests and missions the PC can accomplish.


In other words, as the PC progresses, he should not only grow more powerful, but he should become a more specific type of character....

I pretty much agree with all of the above... but I am not even sure the PC really gets much more powerful.  This is actually why balance can be such a problem in an open ended game.    Maybe we should focus on keeping the PC within relative human norms, but become more flexible (more skills, etc.).

I don't mean to imply that the PC should develop god-like powers.  But there's a huge range within human norms if you compare (for instance) the effectiveness of someone who has never fired a gun to a trained master marksman.

The value of becoming more flexible probably depends on what sort of party system we have, but specializing in everything (or a subgroup of everything) is a specific choice too.


The only thing above I have trouble with is "Primary Attributes can be improved to some degree".   If you make it easy to do so and give the player a choice - he will almost always improve an attribute that helps a bunch of skills or tasks.  It's just more "cost effective" in XP or character points.  So, you have make it very expensive or take away the choice option, or make it only in certain circumstances.    Now, I am not saying they _can't_ be improved... but we have to be very carful to keep things bounded.

Sure that one can be tricky to balance, but IMHO it's an important one.

I'm assuming here that the growth of stats/ and skills is on some sort of curve, so that improving a high stat/skill requires a lot more points/effort than a low one.
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Jeoshua
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« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2009, 05:14:05 PM »

I totally agree with the "curve" idea.  But it should be difficult on both ends.  IE it's hard to pick up a new skill that you're totally inept in, but also difficult to master any skill.  I touched on this in another thread.  If it's a skill-based system, and you get better by using your skills, then you should learn more by succeeding when your skill is low, and learn more by failing when your skill is high.  That way, the curve naturally happens, as low-skill people don't succeed very often, and high-skill people don't fail very often.

As far as stat improvements, I'd say that there definitely need to be ways to improve stats, and equally there need to be ways that your stats can fall or be damaged.  However, it should not be a constant thing where you get to improve stats every level, or else everyone would become superman towards the end game... and I think that really takes away from the expected gritty feeling of a post-apoc game.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2009, 08:28:56 PM »

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I don't mean to imply that the PC should develop god-like powers.  But there's a huge range within human norms if you compare (for instance) the effectiveness of someone who has never fired a gun to a trained master marksman.

And yet, a 9 year-old kid with a .357 magnum  can easily kill the trained master marksman... if the circumstances are correct.

And think about what "trained master marksman"  means - literally - in the game.    How do you become one?  Well, you pretty much devote a large portion of your life for 5 years to get good.  Is the game going to last 5 years?   It would probably have to last 50 years, because who the hell is going to spend more than 10% of their game training to be a Marksman?  And by "training" I do not mean "shooting shit". 

So, 9 year-olds aside - if you start the game with a mediocre gun skill - I don't see how you get to "trained master marksman" during the game.  However, that means that the majority of the tasks/quests do not require this level of skill (although it would obviously be useful for some of them).

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zenbitz
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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2009, 08:30:05 PM »

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I'm assuming here that the growth of stats/ and skills is on some sort of curve, so that improving a high stat/skill requires a lot more points/effort than a low one.

Yeah, sure this is standard.  Even fallout had this (implemented poorly).
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2009, 11:56:29 PM »

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I don't mean to imply that the PC should develop god-like powers.  But there's a huge range within human norms if you compare (for instance) the effectiveness of someone who has never fired a gun to a trained master marksman.

And yet, a 9 year-old kid with a .357 magnum  can easily kill the trained master marksman... if the circumstances are correct.

Sure that's where "perception" or some sort of sensory stat/skill comes in.  With guns there's a big advantage to spotting your enemy first, especially if you can get in range and fire before he is on his guard.  This sort of mechanic would make more sense in random wilderness combat than in close-range town combat.

A "quick draw" skill or "danger sense" might also be very useful in a game where guns approach their actual deadliness.  And of course Kevlar.


It would probably have to last 50 years, because who the hell is going to spend more than 10% of their game training to be a Marksman?

10% of the PC's time does not equal 10% of the player's time.  But still....


And think about what "trained master marksman"  means - literally - in the game.    How do you become one?  Well, you pretty much devote a large portion of your life for 5 years to get good.  Is the game going to last 5 years?   It would probably have to last 50 years, because who the hell is going to spend more than 10% of their game training to be a Marksman?  And by "training" I do not mean "shooting shit". 

So, 9 year-olds aside - if you start the game with a mediocre gun skill - I don't see how you get to "trained master marksman" during the game.  However, that means that the majority of the tasks/quests do not require this level of skill (although it would obviously be useful for some of them).

I really think there are other consideration that should weigh heavier than precisely how long it really takes to become a "master marksman".  We've agreed the PC should not be able to attain "god-like" power.  But preventing him from becoming as skilled as a normal human expert in something seems just wrong.  A major draw to cRPGs is advancement, the sense of becoming better.
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Lamoot
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« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2009, 10:43:44 AM »

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A major draw to cRPGs is advancement, the sense of becoming better.

Advancement, or the lack of it?

Advancement itself is the primary and the strongest fix a game gives to the players, advacement in character stats, story progress, item collection etc. I'm not advocating the worst kind of advacement = grinding, but advancement is very much needed for an interesting cRPG, for any computer game even.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2009, 11:25:10 AM »

I mean if training is 'fun' to the player, then it might be a major point of the game, for all I care.

In Arcanum you could become an Expert, and eventually a Master at some skills (depends on your stats and what choices you make while advancing your character) by getting the training from the NPC Masters in said skills. Of course in Arcanum the training was instantaneous and the first levels of training you got just by paying for it, but the latter stages if you wanted to become Master usually involved doing some quests, which were pretty interesting or fun enough.

Training courses at the hands of skill 'masters' and independent 'training' after reaching a certain point in advancement in a chosen skill could be cool. You could be apprentice of sorts or just do something for the master for him/her to teach you something over a period of time.

'He gives you some pointers' - your skill gets a slight boost. Then the master tells you to come back at a point after working on your skill (through practicing it, reading about it) and when a certain threshold of practice is done you'd return to the master who'd 'Check you out and point out your mistakes' - you get another slight skill boost.
This could go on forever or to a certain point if you've reached the masters own skill level or he just stops giving you pointers anymore.

This way time would pass and character could, while 'training', continue advancing the main plot to later return to the skill master to 'get pointers'
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