Thursday, July 26, 2012

Level up! Player gets +1 to gets +1 armour...

Came away from another blog where the statement " And because they care about combat, my players want new powers, which come with new levels"

Now do you think powers just obfuscate the hamster wheel effect, so it doesn't seem like you gain powers only for it to be countered by new monster powers? Or do power granting systems really give you +1.2 or +1.5 when they also give the monsters +1 armour, so to speak?

And say they don't and leveling up just equalises itself - how do you have a conversation with someone who can't see that and see's it as just the players gaining new powers? Do you end up just seeming to talk some moon language to them?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fight Cycle: Persistant Browser Battle Game

I wrote this in a non contiguous 7 days or so. Though really how long did it take to learn everything up to it? A lifetime? Anyway, I wrote it so as to write something I could just finish, instead of another started and aborted beginning of a grand project never completed. And even as it's relatively simple it still pushed at my abilities, in order to finish it. That was another reason to write a simpler one - man's gotta know his (current) limitations.

It's a cute little battler - I like that you can win it and get your name on the front page during the next 14 day cycle, as well as recorded in it's history (really aught to add some code to pull names from the history and show them on the front page as well, at some point).

Yeah, I was working on a scalper game (and still am), but was moved to finish something real quick, before taking on another big project.

Anyway, give in to your urge to lord over others and leave long lasting wounds on their PC's! That's how I wrote it and I play it too (user name: Blake)!

PS: Yet again I post this on another forum and then think shouldn't that have gone to my blog first!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rifts: Post game musings

I think I completely forgot to use psychic blasts in the last game of Rifts I ran. And it's kind of important for scares and danger! Mostly, I think, because they happen on a 18-20 natural roll of the dice, so they kind of slip off the radar. I was playing Serious Sam 2 recently and I often forget I have grenades, or serious bombs. Or a cannon.

So I'm going to have it that groups who have the psychic blast ability, one of them has it prepped to fire on their first attack, no matter the roll. The rest continue to fire them on 18-20. As before, they can only fire one each.

Also, as is expected, bio-manipulation: paralysis will be nerfed. I'm thinking one target only and to use it on another target you have to remove it from the first target (as a free action on your attack. You can do something else with the attack, like shoot, for example), if that target is still alive.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Searching nooks and crannies for loot

If you've ever played fallout 3, you've probably done alot of nosing around, searching various spots and places for loot. Really this originates in table top play - so how do we return it to there without writing up every little thing?

Well, here's a couple of charts. The first gives a general idea of where to look. You might actually want to roll on it a few times to produce some dead ends that have no loot, then combine all that's there into one description (which makes it harder to search than if you read out each spot to search in an itemised fashion).
1. Large, Thick Trunked Tree
2. Steeply Sloping Ground
3. Thorns
4. Shady Trees
5. Trickling Creek
6. Black Stump
7. Strata (this is strata!)
8. Boulders

The next step is determining the sub locations one could search. You need atleast two rolls, or even more (the more there are, the harder it gets). Then from one of the results, decide that is where some loot is hidden/some loot was lost there/some loot was left behind there after a battle. The players challenge is to figure out which option is the most likely to be hiding something of worth. And here's the thing that breaks this into gamist rather than simulationist gaming - if there's some loot in the tall grass, but they look under the pile of branches, well that's it, they've missed their chance. Even if they then say they look in the tall grass, they've missed the loot (feel free to tell them the stakes and that they got one try and missed the mark - indeed, you may need to!)

1. Tall grass
2. Pile of branches
3. Hollow in a tree/log
4. Old rabbit hole
5. Leaf litter
6. Old log
7. Rusted out car body
8. Rocks

And that should fill the locations of your world with places to poke and pry for a little bit of something good!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thoughts for game designers: Thrilling combat - what is your game about?

What is combat about, in your game?

Is it just aiming to be a simulation of combat in real life? Well in real life it's kind of a hack fest until one drops - the reason that's exciting, or even just plain frightening, is perma death.

If combat in your game is about 'wanting to win' more than it's about simulation, then what do you win from combat? Basically it's an easy formula - the more you stand to win, the bigger the excitement.

The formula continues that the longer it takes to get there (ie, were waiting for hit points to go down), the more the excitement is reduced. I'd really recommend having a chance on each attack of one shotting the other warrior. Because instead of going "oh, I did 5 damage...and he's got 95 to go...well, what's the point of watching in the next few seconds to a minute? Nothings going to happen" they watch in anticipation because at any point one guy could be dropped instantly.

But again, the excitement is a multiplier of the potential reward.

Which is generally an issue to online game designers, because they want to spread out rewards over a long period of time. Sadly, even in big name mmorpg, the designers seem to have gone 'Oh, just in case someone grinds for eight hours each day, we'll make all the rewards really, really damn small'. Which sucks and is lame design. At the very least you could simply have someone have X number of chances per day of a big reward, thus the grinder does not break the reward spread AND you don't have to make the rewards pathetic - they can be substantial.

Anyway, for a long time I concentrated on how to make combat options that were exciting. But after a long time I came to the conclusion it was like flogging a dead horse. All the combat options in the world doesn't make combat exciting if the reward is pathetic.


I originally posted this over at indie resource in reply to another poster. But it warrants it's own post here, as well.