Casino mini-game idea

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Roots
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Casino mini-game idea

Post by Roots » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:24 am

At my new job I get together with a group of co-workers for lunch most days of the week and we play a card game called Judgement. I really like the game because it focuses a lot less on luck and more on strategy. I like it so much, that I've been strongly considering writing a program and a few AI personalities that can play the game reasonably well. But I've been deterred by the fact that doing so would distract from my time to write code from Allacrost.


And then I had what I think was a great idea. I can do this little project on the side (by myself), and then add it in Allacrost at some point as a mini-game. Possibly as one of a series of mini-games in a casino like environment (typically found in many RPGs). And I could have the different AI personalities participate in games with the player, and the player of course could bid the drunes they earned in the game to try and win big.


After thinking about this, I realized that a lot of RPG casinos meet one of the following criteria:

A) They are entirely luck based, making it mostly not worth your time (ie you can't get better and win more money)

B) The casino earnings typically don't carry outside of the casino (you have to use separate tokens to buy overpriced casino prizes or whatever)

C) The casino games are too hard so its usually a waste of time and money for most players


So to avoid these effects, I'm thinking of a casino with the following traits:

1) Most games will be skill-based, not luck based. The player can get better, and win big if they practice a decent amount

2) There are appropriate skill/payout gradients. Ie, you can play at a "novice" table for the Judgement card game and probably win, but you can't win very much. After enough practice, maybe the player decides to try the intermediate or advanced tables, which offer higher earnings upon winning.

3) Like a real life casino, you can take your earnings out with you.

4) Perhaps if the player starts winning too much, the casino goons approach the player and brings him before the manager. The upset manager tells the player to "do the smart thing: cash in, leave, and don't come back for a very long time". At that point we can allow the player to select a response: cash in, challenge casino boss, strike a deal, etc. It would make casinos a little more shall we say, interesting this way? :devil:



Anyway those are my thoughts. Of course we can add tons of other games to it; whatever people's favorite card, dice, or luck games may be. :)
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Steu
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Post by Steu » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:30 am

I think it's a great idea, i liked the card games they had in the FF series (at least the ones that weren't totally luck-based)
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Post by ChopperDave » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:35 am

I vote for a Golden Saucer.

As long as we take the time to develop a fully-featured battle arena (something every RPG should have), I'm happy.
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Post by Jetryl » Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:52 am

Jolly good. :approve:
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Post by Jonan » Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:36 pm

It's a really good idea as long as the game isn't to hard to learn. People are very lazy and don't like reading 2 or 3 pages to learn how to play a game :D
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Post by Gallivan » Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:31 pm

Steu wrote:I think it's a great idea, i liked the card games they had in the FF series (at least the ones that weren't totally luck-based)


The one with the monsters with 4 numbers on them? (FF7 I think?) I loved playing that game, but I would always lose my cards. :D The neat thing about that was you could go up to most anyone, and they'd play you - they'd have their own deck and their own style.
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Post by ChopperDave » Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:54 pm

The one with the monsters with 4 numbers on them? (FF7 I think?)


FF8, and man I hated it. Probably because it was the only minigame in that stupid game.
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Post by Steu » Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:11 pm

Both FF8 and FF9 had card mini-games, I liked the one in 8 better though.
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Post by Jetryl » Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:12 pm

Wacky idea:

1] Have mage-type characters primarily use magic cards instead of magic scrolls. There's fairly good precedent in mythology for this (think of tarot cards, or think of Miroku (in Inuyasha) tossing around sutras.

2] Mages are assumed to be able to produce these cards themselves. It's a specialty skill for some mages, and I'm assuming the player character mages probably should only be able to make only some of them; furthermore, it's assumed that most mages are only good at making a few kinds (except for the few magicians who specialize in the craft), leading to an incentive for the following:

3] Have them have an accepted custom/culture of challenging each other to -games- involving these cards. Games in which the object is to win (some of) your opponent's cards - usually the ones you're not good at making yourself.


It's like magic the gathering, except you can actually, like, -use- the cards. And they're actually magic cards. :heh:
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Post by Auris » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:50 pm

I remember the Arcomage mini-card game from might and magic where you could play against different characters in different towns with different decs/strategies/victory conditions and if you won all your matches you solved some kind of (side)quest. It was so much fun it was released later as a stand-alone game. So definitely a yes for mini-(card)-games, esp. the ones based on strategy instead of pure luck :approve:
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Post by Viliam » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:46 pm

To prevent players gaining too much, after some wins they could be forced to play at higher difficulty level. For example after my wins are more than my loses + 20, I am not allowed to play at the "beginners table". But in another casino I would start with zero fame again.

Or maybe there could be limit on number of plays per day. Or per story chapter.


(I think some limit is necessary, if players can win useful things in minigames. Otherwise playing the minigame could become THE way to win the game.)
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Re: Casino mini-game idea

Post by Winter Knight » Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:01 am

Roots wrote:B) The casino earnings typically don't carry outside of the casino (you have to use separate tokens to buy overpriced casino prizes or whatever)


There's a good reason for this. It's called the "reset" strategy. Pretty much every video game with gambling has it. You gamble some money/coins, and if you win, you save the game. If you lose, you press "reset", or re-load your game. In some games, you can effectively get a lot of money in a short period of time with this strategy.

So, developers have come up with ways to combat this strategy. One, is to have casino coins, and not let these coins be sold for cash. This way, any strategies the player discovers won't change the game too much. Another is to limit the amount of gold, or casino coins that can be gambled at a time. This drastically slows the player's winnings, usually to the same speed as other methods of grinding.

I don't really like grinding anyway.

On another note, I think that having many games in the casino is a good idea. I bet we could come up with dozens, and I see little reason not to implement all of them. Card games, monster fights, monster races, battle arena, slot machines.
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Re: Casino mini-game idea

Post by Jetryl » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:02 pm

Alternate idea:

If the player is winning too much in the casino, have the same thing happen to them in-game that happens in a real-world casino if you start winning too much money: A couple of bouncers show you the door.
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Re: Casino mini-game idea

Post by Gallivan » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:02 pm

As far as strategy mini-games are concerned I don't think there should be a limit. A comparison can be made to grinding these mini-games with grinding low level monsters in an area. It's just player time spent elsewhere; so long as they are working towards a goal we shouldn't introduce barriers.

Luck on the other hand, as Winter Knight brought up, is harder to balance because the player can simply save-reset. In grinding low level monsters if you cannot kill the monster no amount of save-resetting will help you.

For all the pure luck games why not just run down the chance of winning with each play, independent of the save status? (Is that possible?)

So a slot machine might pay out at 75% for the first play, but only 45% of the time for the 31st play.
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Re: Casino mini-game idea

Post by Roots » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:27 pm

Quick response to some recent posts in here:

1) If the player wants to grind, let them grind. What we have to be careful about is to make sure that there is no -required- grinding (ie, you have to win something in the casino to move on with the main plot, or win equipment good enough to get past the next area)

2) Reiterating myself, I feel our casino games should focus more on games where the player has more control. All games have some luck, sure, but games that are purely luck (ie slot machine or roulette table) I think we should avoid. If there is a card game that the player can gradually get better and better at (and hence naturally increase their winning percentages from practice), then I as a player would be much more inclined to keep playing that than other pure-luck games. Getting better at something is always fun :)

3) Reporting win percentages, etc. in those pure luck type of games is a good idea.

4) If the player decides to "bet and reset", then that's there decision and there is nothing we can do about it. As long as we make the mini-games balanced and fun, I don't think that there will be much of that going on though (I hope).

5) I somewhat agree, and somewhat disagree that you can not take cash earnings out of the casino. Maybe you have to go buy tokens (and we can artificially limit the number of tokens that the player can buy from the front desk if needed), but I still think that you should be able to cash in your earnings. :shrug:
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Re: Casino mini-game idea

Post by Rain » Fri May 23, 2008 4:30 am

Good idea! Reminds me a bit of the concept of Forfeit Island from Lufia 2.

Roots wrote:4) Perhaps if the player starts winning too much, the casino goons approach the player and brings him before the manager. The upset manager tells the player to "do the smart thing: cash in, leave, and don't come back for a very long time". At that point we can allow the player to select a response: cash in, challenge casino boss, strike a deal, etc. It would make casinos a little more shall we say, interesting this way? :devil:


Maybe we should start drawing a Joe Pesci (complete with baseball bat) sprite. :heh: "Do I amuse you?"
'When Zeon lost his powers, he fell to Earth, and created a giant crator where he hit. His moan destroyed the mountains and the crater was buried by the debris.'

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