An interesting quote...

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An interesting quote...

Postby visage » Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:55 am

Here is an interesting quote I found from the Morrowwind: Oblivion thread at gamedev.net.

"Monster Leveling- At first, I loved this as it kept the main story inline with player level... but now I loathe it.

The world is 'huge' in size, and knowing that every hill, dungeon, and square inch of the "wild" is all exactly inline strength wise with you, takes a huge chunk of exploration motivation out. There's no "land that few return from" (that mean it), or area's that only the highly skilled adventurers can go. Unless the player 'leveled wrong' by putting level up points in crap stats or having combat skills unleveled, challenge never 'changes'-- up or down."

Interesting...very interesting. Thoughts on this comment based on our system?

Personally, I have yet to make my mind up. I was convinced of our own system, but I tend to waddle the line. I just roll with it.
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Postby Roots » Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:27 am

I've never played Morrowwind, but I certainly agree with what you said. Of course it's no fun keeping the challenge level the same throughout the game! Then the player has no motivation to grow their characters.


But I don't think Allacrost is walking down this same path. Our approach is more "fuzzy" I would say. What I mean by that is you don't always know whether you're going to encounter a group of really strong or really weak monsters. it just depends. But on a Guassian average, you'll meet enemies that are around the same XP level as you are.

But in our case, XP level does not equal degree of difficulty. There should always be types of enemies that are always perpetually difficult adversaries. It just depends on how we design those enemies.


I think as long as we're careful, we'll avoid the pitfalls that games like Morrowwind and FFVIII had with this approach. After all, we are not doing this the same as it's been done before (of course someone might have done this before, but I haven't played their game yet ;)). And if we get into the game and find out that things aren't working quite as well as they should, we can always change it. That's the beauty of our release model and the fact that we're open source. :)
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Postby Burnsaber » Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:06 am

I simply hate it. In FVIII, nothing could have taken the immersion more than the end-game lv 20000 mosquitos that hit for 1000 damage. It like instantly reminded you that you are playing a game and that the world is just a pre-made playfield for you.

Also the stronger RND monsters made world super-unrealistic. A common town guard can stand around ~200hp and strike 30-40 damage (in FVIII). If the monsters right outside the town hit for 1000 damage can withstand 10000 damage, how can the town not be overrun by monsters?

I like gaussian curve idea. When you meet opponents stronger than you, you'll have to flee. This "humilation" gives motivation to level up more (if i had been more higher leveled, i could have beaten that monster!"). Also, when you meet low-powered opponents, it makes you feel good about having leveled up ("I killed those goblins with a mere glance! Gwahahaaa!"). But i beg of you, no level 1200 goblins/mosquitos or other nonsense.. Pretty please?

I think a more realistic approach for having low-powered opponents to be more tough is have them come in numbers. Especially with the stacking status-system, a horde of giant scorpions that "spam" minor poisons on one character could be dangereous even on higher levels.
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Postby turin » Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:55 am

Well, obviously the only "realistic" solution would be to not allow you to level past what a normal (or even extremely talented) human could "level to" (i.e. train up theirs skills to). But who wants that? :angel:

(Personally, I think games would be more fun if you didn't always become a demi-god before you reached the end of the game, but... )
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Postby Zorbfish » Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:21 am

Also on the other side of the coin its kindof annoying that enemies never get stronger. You get the flight of stairs effect in RPGs where enemies only get stronger as the story unfolds.

Personally I'd be happy with either one, I don't play RPGs expecting a perfect "realistic" or "logical" experience. If I cross a bridge on the overworld map the monster level increases from 5 to 10. So what? If it's fun I can play it for hours and not even realize it.
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Postby Roots » Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:51 am

Zorbfish wrote:Also on the other side of the coin its kindof annoying that enemies never get stronger. You get the flight of stairs effect in RPGs where enemies only get stronger as the story unfolds.


Exactly. A game that has no challenge after the player gets to a certain level sucks. :disapprove: IMO, the player should always be challenged to some extent.

Zorbfish wrote:Personally I'd be happy with either one, I don't play RPGs expecting a perfect "realistic" or "logical" experience. If I cross a bridge on the overworld map the monster level increases from 5 to 10. So what? If it's fun I can play it for hours and not even realize it.


Excellent point. I think that's what several people have been pushing with Allacrost (whether they know it or not). There are some that try to make the game more and more realistic. I say to hell with that. We should be making the game fun, and realism should take a back seat to that. Wether we end up making a highly realistic RPG or a highly fantasy RPG, so be it as long as the game is fun. :D



On a side note, maybe we should add something in the wiki about "questions to ask yourself before considering suggesting a feature to Allacrost", and add things like "Will it make the game more fun? Will it make the game less tedious/micro-managed? Will it be more work than its worth? ETc." I know we have some fundamental principles of Allacrost's design that have been around as long as Allacrost has been around, but I always forget where to find those principles. :heh:
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Postby Ranger M » Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:44 am

with the appearence of strong monesters and games getting too easy near the end, you should have a look at how it is done in fable.

the monsters tend to get harder the higher level that you are, although even some of the weaker ones can really annoy you (I hate hob wisards) and the monsters that you meet tend to change too (you almost never meet wasps near the end, but to begin with the damn things are everywhere). But also the game surprises you just when you think that you are becoming a god, think when the minions first appear, they were much more challenging than any other monster that you had previously met (apart form golems, but they were slow, and appeared one at a time). Then (in the expansion, lost chapters) the summoners are even harder (after you start getting that god feeling again), keeping you on our toes.

*reads paragraph*

*relises that it is a jumbled mess*

Ok, basically, when the player will start getting a god like feeling, introduce something new and more challenging (with hidden surprises, like blowing up when it dies) to keep them interested, and make them think more.
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Postby wayfarer » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:44 pm

Well Challenging the player is a good thing but sometimes I enjoyed it to step back a passed level to compare how I improved. "Ha this guy killed me almost twice but now I kill three of them, damned I'm good".
Well part of the problem might be that I'm a player who grazes every single dungeon twice until I have really killed everything and found every cold coin in orther to get a further small edge for the next challenge.
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Postby Burnsaber » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:19 pm

turin wrote:Well, obviously the only "realistic" solution would be to not allow you to level past what a normal (or even extremely talented) human could "level to" (i.e. train up theirs skills to). But who wants that? :angel:

(Personally, I think games would be more fun if you didn't always become a demi-god before you reached the end of the game, but... )


[RANT]
I'm not one of those "everything has to be realistic-freaks", but the game world must be at least somewhat possible. Like i said, these "unrealistic" things take away immersion and the focus from the plot. Those Lv 100 mosquitos in FFVIII could have been carrying around big sings that say;

"We only exist that you may feel somewhat challenged. We have no other part expect to be slayed by you. We are numereneous and powerful enough to conquer the whole world, but we don't."

It really makes you feel.. cheated. You have this cool and epic plot, but who cares about it when game reminds you every 2 minute that it's just game and you're only on a big play-field custom-made for you.

It's the same thing as if there was a novel that would say after every line "but it didn't really matter as the characters only are writer's creation that have been given the right lines to entertain you".

[/RANT]
Last edited by Burnsaber on Fri Mar 31, 2006 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ranger M » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:27 pm

Burnsaber wrote:I'm not one of those "everything has to be realistic-freaks", but the game world must be at least somewhat possible. Like i said, these "unrealistic" things take away immersion and the focus from the plot. Those Lv 100 mosquitos in FFVIII could have been carrying around big sings that say


The solution, the town guards/other good guys are only a bit less powerful than the monsters, but have the advantage of being behind those nice fortifications.

Also the monsters fight each other.


ps, do you ever fight the guards? How will you know how powerful they are (except maybe that they get/don't get slaughtered every now and then by the occasional invading monster hoard.
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Postby Jetryl » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:23 am

I get the feeling, from what you're yabbering about, that Allacrost has somewhat of a "story-on-a-rail," that is, a rather linear design.

One of my favorite things about this old game I played, called "Exile" (later remade with a much better engine as "Avernum"), was that you were free to go (almost) anywhere. There were some access points that were granted by the storyline advancing, and some major ones that were granted by getting items (like a boat, or the "Orb of Thralni" which allowed limited flight), but you were generally free to:

encounter monsters and dungeons of massively different difficulty levels. You could go where you pleased, but you had to gauge your opponents, and with some luck could get yourself in absolutely horrible situations. Which was tense, and exciting.


The game also had one other major point that you guys seem to be completely oblivious to (no thanks to a failing point of FF's design):
Instead of random encounters, they had wandering monsters. This was not a semantic difference; the difference was that instead of appearing out of nowhere and fighting you, you could see them coming, and had some idea of what they were. This meant that you could also run away from them, across the map, and had a wider scope of interaction with them.

Also, sometimes they were friendly; sometimes they turned out not to be a pack of bandits, but instead a patrol from the nearby city, or even merchants, whom you could trade with.
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Postby gorzuate » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:39 am

Jetryl wrote:The game also had one other major point that you guys seem to be completely oblivious to (no thanks to a failing point of FF's design):
Instead of random encounters, they had wandering monsters. This was not a semantic difference; the difference was that instead of appearing out of nowhere and fighting you, you could see them coming, and had some idea of what they were. This meant that you could also run away from them, across the map, and had a wider scope of interaction with them.

Also, sometimes they were friendly; sometimes they turned out not to be a pack of bandits, but instead a patrol from the nearby city, or even merchants, whom you could trade with.


Yes, yes! Random encounters... doo bee doo bee doo... here I am walking along on the world map with nothing in site when BAM! all of a sudden I'm engaged in an epic battle of life and death with enemies seemingly appearing out of thin air! Whoa! Now there's a cool trick!!

Honestly, it's like WTF?! I like to see my enemies coming. If my character is on the map, and I can see it walking around, and I can see NPCs on the map, I should be able to see enemies too. But whatever. That's not going to be happening with Allacrost so it's best not to dwell on it.
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Postby Roots » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:51 am

We can always remove random encounters later and replace it with something like Jetryl said (I would like to, actually). But that's an exuberant amount of work (both art and code), so I don't want to even think about pursuing this option until we have a massive art team and not as many coding tasks to do as we have right now. :)
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Postby Burnsaber » Fri Mar 31, 2006 8:01 am

Ranger M wrote:The solution, the town guards/other good guys are only a bit less powerful than the monsters, but have the advantage of being behind those nice fortifications.

Also the monsters fight each other.

ps, do you ever fight the guards? How will you know how powerful they are (except maybe that they get/don't get slaughtered every now and then by the occasional invading monster hoard.


In FVIII, you fought the guards all the time. And they're all wussies.

I don't mind the "our fortifications protect us"- explanation, but in that case the commoners life would be much more sinister. You're basically trapped in our town. If you go outside the town fortifications, a lv100 mosquito will kill you. How can the towns harvest food, if the outskirts are full of unbeatable monsters? The FF solutins to these impossibilites is that the commoners act as if these problems didn't exist..

I have no problem with a world that is filled with monsters wandering around the countryside. But it must be sinister world (i mean a world filled with man-eating monsters can't be happy one). Where are all the children that went playing outside the town limits and got killed? Sad stories of travellers that got slain by these monsters? Widows whose husbands got killed while defending the town? Merchants travelling with a legion of soliders to survive the trips? Battle-hardened farmers, who defend their crops with pride?

In FF's these RND monsters only exist for you, the whole rest of the freaking world doesn't know/ care that their world is filled with powerfull man-eating monsters!

And, IMO it bugs me.

[Rant over]
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Postby Ranger M » Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:41 am

then again, unless the monster invasion has been going on for a long time, then everybody could be hiding out in the towns and cities, I mean, monsters arrive one afternoon, so what did the guards do.

"Everybody, we are being attacked by hoards of nameless monsters, gather all of you food (who cares about belongings, they won't stop you starving) and run to the safety of the city."

then you get a sort of siege stuation (que a couple of quests/missions when you have to help some people make it to the safety of the walls, or guard the wall against a massive assult) untill the hero sorts out that problem/natural imbalance/uber evil monster which is causing all of these lv 100 mosquitoes to appear (well, not them, but whatever the allacrost version is)
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Postby Zorbfish » Fri Mar 31, 2006 8:01 pm

Jetryl wrote:...


That was a bit harsh. :) I've played quite a mixture of the two and ultimately it comes down to how much control the player wants to have. They're are a lot of players (usually casual) who throw their arms up in the air and scream holy hell if they're given any iota of freedom.

There's no way to satisfy both groups with one game. A more linear game is a good goal to shoot and probably the best way to go considering its the team's first game anyway.
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Postby Burnsaber » Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:22 am

Roots wrote:We can always remove random encounters later and replace it with something like Jetryl said (I would like to, actually). But that's an exuberant amount of work (both art and code), so I don't want to even think about pursuing this option until we have a massive art team and not as many coding tasks to do as we have right now. :)


There is nothing wrong with having random encounters. The game world just must have a logical explanation for these monsters and the game world must react to these monsters.

The first rule in all RPG's is that NPC's must follow the same rules as the PC's in order to have a good game world (desingners of FF's seem to have forgotten this). If the PC's encounter RND monsters while travelling, so do the NPC's. Maybe there is a huge armed caravan that travels beetween town A and B in each month. Travellers can partake in these caravans to travel safely. You only need a bit of imagination and some extra dialogue to explain the game desing in the game world.

IMO the FF's seem to forget the first two letters of the word "RPG". It's pretty hard to try to roleplay in a world that is logically impossible.
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Postby Roots » Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:08 pm

[quote="Burnsaber"]There is nothing wrong with having random encounters. The game world just must have a logical explanation for these monsters and the game world must react to these monsters.

You'll be happy that I already take this into account in the story. :) Monsters/beasts do have an affect on NPCs.
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Postby Burnsaber » Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:06 pm

Roots wrote:
You'll be happy that I already take this into account in the story. :) Monsters/beasts do have an affect on NPCs.


*does a happy chicken dance*
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Postby eleazar » Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:45 pm

Roots wrote:IMO, the player should always be challenged to some extent.
It's boring fighting enemys that are vastly inferior, and it's unimmersive to have those weak enemies mysteriously level to match your progress.

There's the option of random encounters resulting the the monsters fleeing for their lives if your team's power is sufficiently greater. Though i admit, this would make more sense in Jetryl's scenario of being able to see the enemy coming. I think it would be satisfying if a formerly tough enemy eventually would not attack you or would only attack in large numbers. And it saves time for challenging/interesting battles.


At Wesnoth you'll frequently see "WINR" i.e. "Wesnoth is not Realistic". "Realism" is almost never a good goal for a game, yet many people on FOSS game sites believe that realism=fun. They haven't noticed that much of what makes a game fun, are purposeful departures from realism. A small group single handedly slaying thousands of enemys? Not realistic. Save and reload? Definitely not realistic. But these things help make many games fun.

However, a somewhat related concept, "Plausability" is good for games. "Plausable" things are easy for the player to believe— within the context of the game. And players find it much easier to believe things that make the game more fun, less tedious.

I've never played an RPG where the NPCs had all the same rules as the PCs. I think such a game could be fun, but it's definitely not a requirement for a fun or plausable RPG. People are usually very willing to believe that they are special. However it's generally better if the players "specialness" has some sort of in-game explanation, as in KotOR.

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