Saturday, July 31, 2010

Guild Wars 2 : Will the levels/game run out 3/4ths in?

Guild wars 2 has a bit of a different leveling format, apparently.

The thing was, I was kind of put off in guild wars 1 by getting to top level before the story ended. Indeed, I stopped playing - not out of rage, just lack of draw.

Before that point you could go out and pretty much do anything, including followng the story, and you got XP, which meant more power, or atleast some edge. It was a reward mechanism.

Then that got taken away entirely UNLESS I went out and hunted specific elite skills and things - ie, I couldn't do what I pretty much wanted and be rewarded.

So I had PVE fights which IIRC, didn't feel like I did much toward the outcome, and no reward for doing them except to see more of the story which...isn't game. I'll read a book if I don't want any game with my story.

So will they run out of levels, or more specifically, the ability to do pretty much what you want and keep getting rewarded? Will I top level about a three quarters and then only specific activities will garner me anything and doing whatever will result in nothing much in game terms?

Levels aren't exactly a great mechanic to begin with - what's the point if you go from +1 to +2 to attack if the monsters go from +1 armour to +2 armour at the same time? Not alot. But even with a shaky reward mechanic, if it runs out, jeez...

Friday, July 30, 2010

To Z or not to Z

Almost there with the zombie patrol game! I'm just wondering if I'll pass on having weapons in it (or pass for now and maybe do it latter, with a fair chance of never). What do you think? Essentially with what I have in mind everyone who works their way through all the weapons will end up with the same one at the end. I could do that differently, but I definately don't want to for this project.

What do you think? Zombie fighting weapons? A must have? 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Browser games - more accessability

When I look at browser games, what I'd like to see is an offline demonstration of play - so I don't have to sign up to see what it's like, I can just, like, crazily enough, play. No typing in my e-mail, no trying to make out capture images and waiting for e-mails to click on the activation link in them. Just play.

The funny thing is not only that, but so many browser games have the most plain, non descriptive front end - can't really tell anything about the game from it? Does that work for the vast bulk of people - some kinda mystery that draws them in? Just puts me off.

Anyway, I'm coming up with an offline version of my new group zombie hunting add on to my Driftwurld browser game. I think it'll be fun - just have to decide whether to release it soon and then the online version latter, or wait alot longer and release both at the same time?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Developing: Zombie to the grindstone

Few, you get your PHP code to a certain size and it's STILL not done.

I've got it to the point where you can, on my offline version, fight a zombie along with a couple of other players. Faked players for now AND even in the full version it's just pulling their name and stats from the database, not a syncronous play.

Indeed that's one of the extra things to do. That I don't really wanna.

But yeah, I get to the point where the game is pretty much fun as a game and I strictly don't have any reason to make fun funner since it's already fun. Yet the extra stuff like pullling other players in, showing a highscore, accumulating favour points and possibly the big one, gathering zombie crafting gear...well, I guess I kind of envisioned because that seems to be the online game template of success. But honestly, while it does add some more fun - my game is already a kind of fun. It'd feel like making a chocolate cake - then sweating alot to whisk milk into cream to pile onto the chocolate cake - it seems a bit much AND alot more work, now I'm at this point.

I'd like to get it out there - I intended to put an offline version on my site first. I may put a barebones version on first. Though it was supposed to be a teaser for registering, so it'll be a teaser for nothing. I dunno.

Anyway, here's a link to my game, incidentally (standard plug)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

'You can't out-WOW WOW' - a fallacy?

I've heard this one before and I've even subscribed to it for awhile. But I'm thinking it's rubbish now.

For the simple fact that WOW (world of warcraft) 'out-wowed' other mmorpgs. It took components from all of them and 'out-wowed' or more technically apt 'out-mmorpg-ed' them.

But even there I don't think its subscription numbers are due to 'out-mmorpg-ing' other prior mmorpgs.

It just had a wicked hot advertising campaign! An advertising campaign that quite possibly started well before the idea of seriously making a mmorpg even occured to anyone at blizzard.

The warcraft RTS games - it's all advertising for wow. Years in advance. Every single session of play, millions of them - promoting that warcraft brand.

Then every single other company goes 'HAI I WANTS MONEY LIKE THAT 2!' and makes a mmorpg. They even make, arguably, better games/mmorpgs than wow. But they don't do as well.

They just lack years of indoctrination...sorry, I mean propaganda...sorry, I mean advertising!

The guys who made torchlight, they put it out as a single player, with plans for some sort of big multiplayer in future years...they've got the idea!

Literally years of advertising before the product even exists. Advertising that people paid to aquire - an advertising campaign that profited in itself, let alone in terms of the eventual product sales/subscriptions. Think about it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Failure is not enough

Failure itself is punishment enough
I read this phrase recently. Try out this thought experiment - your walking a character through a forrest when a goblin runs out starts hitting you, your HP score rapidly going down! It gets to the bottom and...resets to full! The goblin keeps hitting and it keeps going down and...reseting. Up, down, up, down.

Is failure to avoid this is punishment enough?

No, not really. It's a complete non moment - the health just slides down, then leaps up, slides down, leaps up. It's just a red bar bouncing. A non moment. Nothing.

It's not even failure, let alone a failure that's a punishment in itself. It's a non moment. Nothing.

Okay, lets take a common model - your HP go down to zero, then they are put up to full, but your 50 feet back from where you were, at a prior checkpoint (From what I've heard Bioshock did this - indeed on I heard people talk about the 'strategy' of whittling down enemies by hitting them once before dying, then coming back again and again...masterstroke 'strategy' that). And let me stress, all enemies are dead between you and the point you died, they don't come back when you die.

Still pretty much a non moment AND it's essentially the world of warcraft ghost walk.

Failure to notice the goblin or the fireball coming at you is not anything, in itself. Let alone enough of something.

The only model that really works with challenge first, and has been used in a billion shoot 'em ups, is that when you die, all enemies return - you can only get as far as you can survive.

Now maybe we could dumb down the enemies till they move like molasses. That just lowers the skill. But mmorpgs, like wow don't do that, except perhaps in the peripheral - ie, if you take long enough to get back to where you died, the monsters have respawned. Though if you can beat the ones around your body, then you haven't lost progress - and thus entering back into 'non moment' territory again.

Actually that's an interesting point - once you start fighting those monsters, your putting effort into playing a non challenge game. If there's ever a way of turning someone from X and having them start doing Y, it's to make it look like they are doing X, but really they are putting effort into Y. Once someone puts enough effort in, they are lothe to stop doing it - indeed, they are conditioned to do that thing, even if it's Y and they actually intended X to begin with. It's how you train dogs - you give them a little treat for doing something, they do it for the treat, but latter on they just do it, sans treat - doesn't make sense, really.

So no only is failure not enough in itself, it can actually twist the player from what they intended, to something else (and hey, if you say 'no, I'd resist that', well you can only resist what your aware of)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Guild Wars 2 : Death and other inconveniences

Quoting from the healing and death page of guild wars 2,
Players who have recently been downed several times will take longer to revive each time. If no one revives you, you can spend a small amount of gold to come back at a waypoint. It's as simple as that, and why not? Why should we debuff you, take away experience, or make you run around for five minutes as a ghost instead of letting you actually play the game? We couldn't think of a reason. Well, we did actually think of a reason--it just wasn't a good one. Death penalties make death in-game a more tense experience. It just isn't fun. We want to get you back into the action (fun) as quickly as possible. Defeat is the penalty; we don't have to penalize you a second time.
Now the interesting thing about this compared to a board game like chess, or a quake live match, is if you lose/are killed, well, you just lose. That's the end of the game. While the idea (perhaps not very good idea) of a mmorpg has you...well, still there - the games still going.

Really death in a mmorpg is perhaps more like being hit by a single bullet in quake live. Or perhaps a rocket!

And yet it still involves hurt that matters in the bigger picture.

I'm not sure a lack of a death penalty works out, as dying doesn't matter in terms of the bigger picture. It'd be like whether you dodged all the rockets or got hit by every single one in a first person shooter doesn't matter in terms of the bigger pictures. So instead of 'ROCKETS!!!!1!' it becomes 'Oh, rockets...whatever'. And it's correct - it is indeed just a matter of whatever because it wont affect a thing.

Now I'm inclined to agree on the whole ghost thing, as you can't lose at it except to get literally lost and waste alot of time. That is boring.

And a debuff? It's a death spiral - it's like if your hit in a FPS, you become slower and so get hit even more. So I somewhat agree there.

But after going past those options, they seem to have gone to the extreme and have no penalty at all! Unless you count that small gold fee they mention.

Not to mention the whole 'tense <> fun' thing - plenty of people lose matches of FPS each day - the tension of whether you lose is part of that.

Now what I imagine they'll have is that you die, come back and you waddle up to where you were before in a mission or 'quest' and keep going. Why bother having death at all in that case, since your just going to waste time running back from a waypoint (same as the whole ghost thing) or someone raises you on the spot and...big deal, it wouldn't have mattered if you die. The whole 'downed and last ditch dramatic attempt to live' isn't dramatic at all, because it doesn't mean much except for potentially a ghost run.

I don't think this works out at all. But I'll grant it's what alot of other games roughly do already (that's not to say that it works in those games either).

It just seems to generate the illusion of danger/danger of losing. Really when you look at it, defeat isn't a penalty at all - it just has the illusion of being so.

But in reality all they are coding is an inconvenience, as much as the ghost walk.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brink head : Didn't they see what the logo looks like?

I was watching the promo videos for brink, the first person shooter for slightly parkour people.

See that logo above?

Now in the first video,  they seem to have started thinking that the fun sport of trying to beat someone in a video game actually makes a story. They have a guy killing a guy who is killed by a guy who, in a twist only Nostrodamus could have forseen, is killed by a guy.

But then I realise what I always thought about the logo - it's all about who's got the biggest dick. The logo looks like the head of a dick! It does! And the movie is all about who's got the biggest one in the end - who's the guy at the end to kill but not then get killed by another completely random guy - he must have the biggest wang! And so instead of being a completely vapid story, it essentially does tie to something - the biggest dick head. As pictured in the logo is the head of a penis.

I'm serious - when I saw that logo that video went from utterly vapid story to the most thinest, most tenuous primordial conflict, yet the one that all too readily gets taken hugely seriously.

Sometimes you gotta read between the lines for there to be anything worth reading at all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Driftwurld : Brawl now!

Yes! Basic PVP brawling is now implimented in my Driftwurld browser game!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's always comes down to a tavern fight!

PVP in browser games seems very popular, so I've been looking into making a brawler add on to the Driftwurld browser  game I'm making! The screen shot from above is from my work in progress so far! It's a very simple game so far (I'm not really focusing on PVP) of stat vs stat, with gear coming in latter. Anyway, that Fred and Wilma, always into yaba daba domestics....wait, that sounds really wrong!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Leveled up, Leveled Even

On his blog, Tesh is talking about level playing field PVP. It reminded me of my own idea for it, from awhile back, to have seperate 'even' and 'whatever gear you've collect' matches, from each other. And not allow people to constantly play in only one of the types:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Driftwurld : Highscores

I've implimented a high score system in my browser game, Driftwurld! I think it works!? It updates once per half hour. I'll be posting a rough tutorial with the code for a high score table in awhile.

It also has a system where it only shows the first two letters of names not checked out yet. I really quite hate it when games go to all the effort of having nice graphics and depictions, only to let players have crappy names (ie, not a jot of connection to the fiction, or any fiction for that matter) and display them everywhere. I'm checking them manually in the DB at the moment.

I'm wondering whether to make it that when you log in it takes you to the high scores then you click to homebase, so as to emphasise high scores, or just keep high scores as a button on the homebase screen?

Also implimented the ability to gain these scores (power factor) by only three per hour, so far (ie you play for five minutes, get the points, but then it'll be an hour before you can do so again). You get one point at the end of each paragraph of the story completed.

Latter I'll add a lords system that uses the power factor to determine who is promoted to one of the limited number of lord positions for a month!