Death

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Death

Postby Loodwig » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:37 am

Just had a thought when talking about swap cards, and I'm not sure if you guys have talked about it or not. But I was thinking about the old dilemma of "what happens when you loose the fight?"

Now, a good rpg has tough battles... where loosing is common. In fact, a good game of any genre does this (friggin gryphon boss from DMC). But the old dilemma is "what happens if you die..."

Usually it's "game over" but that means you have to reload, and try the fight again. Or you go back to your most recent save spot, go through that stupid long cut scene again, down the really long elevator shaft, and then you enter the tough battle. UGH

Or, you can go the other route, of allowing a save while fighting, which leads to a very neat hack where you just reload if the enemy... well... hits you.

It's the equivalency of save states...

I would only think a "you lost... try again" feature would solve this, but not allow "saving" during combat just to prevent abuse. What do you guys think?
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Postby Roots » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:49 am

Actually, we have already discussed this (somewhere, I can't find where at the moment). IIRC, we agreed that "yeah, death sucks". And we also agreed that saving ability needs to be done carefully. I hate how almost every RPG puts a save point right before the boss so you almost always know when one is coming up. It also removes any sense of "danger" that the player has as well, because they can just restart a few steps away from that last save point and try again. In the early early days, I wanted to have only one save point in a normal-sized dungeon somewhere in the middle, but we realized that this is also not convenient for the player (ie, something might come up and they don't have 20 minutes to find a save spot).


Again this is all from memory so I may be wrong here, but I think what we decided on the issues of death and saving were:

1) If the player loses a battle, they have a (limited? unlimited?) number of times that they can re-try the battle. In other words, the battle resets and the player can fight again. (Great for not having to fight your way back to a boss from the last save point after losing to said boss).

2) Everytime a player restarts a battle, they lose some percentage of XP and money that they would have normally gained from that battle.

3) The player can save his/her game while on a map almost anywhere and at anytime, including right before a boss. The catch is, if the player saves in the heart of a dungeon, quits, and then comes back to the game later, they restart the game from the nearest town/community and have to make their way back through the dungeon.


Personally I really like these 3 features a lot. I think they strike a good balance in everything.





Also just to throw an interesting thought into the mix though: lets say I have 6 characters in my party (only of which 4 can be in a battle at any given time). If all 4 of them die, is it automatic game over/restart (as in most games), or can the other 2 reserve characters automatically jump in and fight? It makes a lot more sense in terms of a "realistic" perspective, but it would also make it much harder for the players to lose battles this way (and yes, sometimes I think the player should lose. Winning 100% of the time isn't as fun as a challenge to survive) :huh:
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Postby Loodwig » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:27 am

wow, those are really good thought out ideas (I've pondered them on my own game with no avail, so I'm glad you've come up with some good solutions).

I was thinking of a contrived scenario from my game.

There's a part where you fight 5 bosses in a row with no random battles between. Each boss fight is TOUGH, though some are vastly more difficult than others.

Now, I could allow you to save after each fight, but that opens up 2 problems

suppose I'm a dumbass, and I keep 1 save file, and right before the really nasty fight, I reduced my party to near death, and now it's hopeless for me to finish this fight. The solution that presents itself is to start each fight with full health and what not... but that means endurance boss fights (which make sense plot wise) don't happen... which kinda blows.

So my thought on how I'd do this would be to make a sort of "autosave" where you could redo the boss fight, redo part of the dungeon, or go back to the last point in the game where you had a choice whether or not to enter the dungeon or not. This presents another advantage, in that you sometimes get "trapped" in really hard dungeons, and end up having to restart the whole game (which REALLY sucks in an RPG) because your levels are so low, you cannot escape.

I recall this happening in shining force II when I was in nasty fights that I had nearly gotten through, saved during the fight, and suddenly... I have no egress... oh crap. Solution required me to kill my main character, but that was... well... annoying. But at least I could do that and not just GAME OVER.

So then there's the "time paradox" plot device, where if you die in a dungeon and cannot survive the "retry", that the game sort of rewinds as if you're playing some steve jackson game and someone draws that "It Never Happened" card. This has obvious plot disadvantages, particularly with event triggers (oh wait, did I save before or after I talked to grandpa smurf?), but the alternative is a really cheap way of saying "if you can't beat this game, don't worry... we'll make it easier for you."

I'm not sure there is a good solution to this, and I think what you guys have in mind is already a good idea. But I'm a bit curious on your take not just for Allacrost and maybe my game, but for games in general. The ultimate long term goal is to make better games and enhance the field, yes?
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Postby Jetryl » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:42 am

One of the best "Olde Mac Games™", a title called Dark Castle, and its sequel, had some interesting save systems.

• In Dark Castle, there was no saving. :devil:
Granted, the game wasn't too long, but it was still a bitch to get through.

• In Beyond Dark Castle, there was one room, where, by pulling levers, you could save the game. You could only save in this one place. Food for thought, at least.

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Postby Rain » Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:35 pm

Roots wrote:3) The player can save his/her game while on a map almost anywhere and at anytime, including right before a boss. The catch is, if the player saves in the heart of a dungeon, quits, and then comes back to the game later, they restart the game from the nearest town/community and have to make their way back through the dungeon.



Hmmm...while I like the other ideas for losing a battle, this one has the potential to be a bit too hardcore. Think if a player makes the mistake of playing Allacrost for a very long period of time, making it to the very end of the game and spending countless hours getting there only to find out that they can't proceed and they can't go back because they are stuck in the middle of a dungeon and cannot get out because they aren't strong enough... That sucks, to put it bluntly. I have played games where that has happened before and the sheer annoyance and aggravation of this factor made me never want to play the game again. Just a thought. :D

Solution! Devise a spell such as EXIT or WARP that sends you out of the dungeon...also it might be a good idea to make a spell that allows you to transport to towns you have already travelled in the case that such a scenario takes place as mentioned above. (ie the warp feature from Lufia 2)

Edit: oops Joe already raised these questions~!
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Postby Roots » Tue Jul 04, 2006 6:16 pm

Rain wrote:Hmmm...while I like the other ideas for losing a battle, this one has the potential to be a bit too hardcore. Think if a player makes the mistake of playing Allacrost for a very long period of time, making it to the very end of the game and spending countless hours getting there only to find out that they can't proceed and they can't go back because they are stuck in the middle of a dungeon and cannot get out because they aren't strong enough... That sucks, to put it bluntly. I have played games where that has happened before and the sheer annoyance and aggravation of this factor made me never want to play the game again. Just a thought. :D


As long as they can save though, they can exit the dungeon and would be trasported back to the last "safe" location that they visited (ie, a town). If the player plays for countless hours without saving, that's their own damn fault. :p

Although this did bring up another thought. Maybe we should only allow the player to save a finite number of times (say, 3) when in a dungeon? That way they are forced to ration their saves and can't abuse the system by saving after every single battle. Although they would still be able to exploit saves as a "warp back to town and heal" if they fight a really tough battle and know that they won't survive the next. So another idea may be to penalize the player if they save in a dungeon and quit the game, rather than if they save in a town and quit the game. :shrug:


Rain wrote:Solution! Devise a spell such as EXIT or WARP that sends you out of the dungeon...also it might be a good idea to make a spell that allows you to transport to towns you have already travelled in the case that such a scenario takes place as mentioned above. (ie the warp feature from Lufia 2)


meh, I was never a fan of the "warp/exit" spell concept. I just think that way is cheap. :(
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Postby Loodwig » Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:35 am

I'd have to say exit is a bit cheap... but warp was just too fun (unless you have some other means of getting to a place quickly). I think of phantasy star IV, which had an exit spell that, albeit allowed you to escape a dungeon after fighting a hard boss, and the boss would still be dead, therefore allowing you to take on the bosses one at a time (somewhat cheap). But PS4 also had a warp spell, which could only warp to towns you could access now (e.g. on the same planet, etc). which just made walking across the world much less... necessary (and frankly, much less tedious).

I guess there's cheap and there's tedious, and we'll have to strike a balance. Walking through a dungeon again isn't the most frustrating thing in the world. Going through a long cutscene again IS.
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Postby Roots » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:26 am

Perhaps what we can do in place of warp spells is have maybe like a traveling caravan that you could hitch a ride along with, or a ship that could take you to any port you like (both for a fee, of course :devil: ). That way you don't have to walk alllllll around the world all the time. We could even allow the caravan to directly take you to the next unvisited location in the game if the player likes, although they would miss out on the XP gained from traveling there themselves, and any treasure that they may find along the way. :angel:
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Postby Burnsaber » Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:05 pm

In Wild Arms 3 (i know i bring this game up a lot, but hey, it's innovative), there was these "save coins". By using one save coin you could;

1) Save the Game (in any non-battle situation)
2) Retry a battle you lost

These "save coins" were given quite often (i always had like 9-12 of them and you could win them from RND encounters). The good thing about this is that it gives the "save anytime" feel, but you can't do the "i save after every battle" abuse.
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Postby Roots » Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:17 pm

Burnsaber wrote:In Wild Arms 3 (i know i bring this game up a lot, but hey, it's innovative), there was these "save coins". By using one save coin you could;

1) Save the Game (in any non-battle situation)
2) Retry a battle you lost

These "save coins" were given quite often (i always had like 9-12 of them and you could win them from RND encounters). The good thing about this is that it gives the "save anytime" feel, but you can't do the "i save after every battle" abuse.


I actually like that idea a lot. :D Thanks for sharing it with us. :approve:

If we do something like that, then the following questions have to be asked:

- how does the player earn save coins?
- should we set a low upper-limit of save coins (ie, you can't get 99/100 of them like other items)?
- if you get a save coin in one map, can it still be used on another?
- how easy/hard is it for the player to earn a save coin?
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Postby Loodwig » Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:49 pm

Save coins worry me a bit, given the above questions.



how does the player earn save coins?

They can't just be earned in random encounters. Consider the following, albeit foolish, scenario:
A player, so in love with the story, has been running form every encounter, excepting boss fights. Not only are the bosses becoming too hard to handle for the most part, but the enemies are as well. Now, the player cannot get their hands on a save coin, and they're out of them. Can't fight enemies, can't escape... time to restart the game (or delete it and hate it?). Because of this, we must allow save coins to be available at other locations.

Try and give it some story significance, like the coin summons the time god, who will revert the world to this given location in time, for a price (the save coin).
should we set a low upper-limit of save coins (ie, you can't get 99/100 of them like other items)?

I think so. Maybe 3 or 4 max, or some sort of percentage of level (like 1 for every 10 levels +3 )
if you get a save coin in one map, can it still be used on another?

I think so, yes. Saving the game is not just a means of battle strategy, but is also a way to quit and play again (the common sense approach). Tamper with common sense, and often the game will become "not worth it" especially if it takes more than 2 hours to beat.
how easy/hard is it for the player to earn a save coin?

I think they should be expensive, but somewhat easy to find at first. Later on, make them just as expensive, but much harder to find. That way, people will be encouraged to forage for them at first, and buy them later.
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Postby Burnsaber » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:57 pm

I know this goes without saying, but i'll say it anyways (to prevent possible confusion). In Wild Arms 3 you were able to save in towns without using one save coin.

I feel that the game should be on the genereous side, when it comes to the (possible) save coins. People don't always have time to sit infront of the computer for hours in order to save some save coins. In my opinion, if you save two times per dungeon(thsi of course depends on the lenght of the dungeons, but i'm assumpting something like 2-2,5 hours), you should still have some to spare (like ~4) for those "Gotta go! Must save" - moments and "Man! this boss is tough!" - moments.
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Postby gorzuate » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:18 am

If we go with save coins, and they are earned in battle, we could make it so that the greater the damage the player receives, the harder it would be to earn a coin, and vice versa. This still would make it pretty easy to earn a coin though (I think); I guess that's where the upper limit comes in. Or perhaps the player would earn a coin only in perfect battles, i.e. no health lost at all.
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Postby Roots » Sun Sep 03, 2006 3:45 am

I'm still adamant that we should do a Legend of Zelda type system for save points, instead of forcing the player to "earn" their saves. The way it works is so.


1. The player can save the game from any location on any map that they wish to do so

2. When the player loads their saved game, they don't start out from the point where they saved, but rather the last "save point" that they stopped at.

(A save point is pretty much every town, plus a few "mid-way" points in dungeons).


That, coupled with the "retry" feature when the player looses the battle is a wonderful balance of everything I feel. I strongly :disapprove: of save coins, or "ink ribbons" if you know about Resident Evil.
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Postby visage » Sun Sep 03, 2006 5:06 am

I always liked the legend of zelda save system because as you reached new places, you could start your game from any of them. as well, since the world was so small, it didn't really matter where you started from -- you could get all places pretty quickly.

in a world like HoA, however, which could be fairly large, a system like this would be harder to implement. But since most RPGs have you going into a town before going into a dungeon, I would have the game automatically save whenever a player enters/leaves a town (or on specific save locations in town). Then, the player doesn't have to worry about saves unless they really want to.

Then again, this doesn't really allow the player to buy/try/reset. So perhaps whenever a player entered a town, it saved in another location. So there were two save files -- the "game last save" and the "player last save."

The game last save would be on town enter / leave. Player last save would be whenever the player last saved. They could start from either.

Thoughts?
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Postby EmreBFG » Sun Sep 03, 2006 5:16 am

Roots wrote:... or "ink ribbons" if you know about Resident Evil.


Hah, that was always "fun."

I think this save idea is really great, but we have to be careful about autosaving in the middle of a dungeon (I'm not sure if this has been discussed previously). We don't want the game to autosave in the middle of a dungeon which the player can't get out of (due to lack of levels, ran out of tents/potions, etc) and is thus stuck in the game and has to restart the game.

There is also a potential issue with visage's idea. Let's say a player saves after he defeats a dungeon, and exits. He then has the choice of starting where he saved or at the start of the dungeon. What if there is an event the should occur on the player's trip back out of the dungeon and he skips it? (I realize when you defeats dungeons in most games you are transported out, but this isn't limited to just dungeons). We'd have to consider that.

I'm a bit tired again tonight so hopefully this is coherent :heh:
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Postby Roots » Sun Sep 03, 2006 5:49 am

Of course we will take that precaution. :) Although I'm not sure if we need to be so pedantic as to allow the player to return to town in case they "ran out of potions" or what not (isn't that their own damn fault? :heh: ). We can take care of the details when we do the actual implementation, but for now I wanted us all to agree on the general overview of our save system.


As far as visage's idea, yeah I agree on it in general. We have to be careful that when the player saves, they know where they are going to re-appear if they save the game in that spot. I'm not sure if we should "auto-save" the game for them though (ie, they didn't save in the last town, but turned the game off when they were in a dungeon: do we restart from the town that they didn't save in, or the last place that the player explicitly saved the game?). Again, more details for implementation.


But are we on agreement on the three general points of this save system?


1. The player can save the game from any location on any map that they wish to do so

2. When the player loads their saved game, they don't start out from the point where they saved, but rather the last "save point" that they stopped at.

3. If a player loses a battle, they can "retry" it a number of times

4. The rewards in XP, drunes (money), etc. are significantly cut depending on how many times the player had to retry the battle to win it.
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Postby Burnsaber » Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:59 pm

Roots wrote:4. The rewards in XP, drunes (money), etc. are significantly cut depending on how many times the player had to retry the battle to win it.


This might pose a problem. I see that someone might enter a.. (crap, i don't how to say this in english) Witch's Circle, so to speak, if he looses enough battles (or has to retry a boss battle many times, cutting loot to near 0) . You lose a battle and lose some rewards and the loss of important rewards forces you to retry the next battle losing rewards, which causes you to lose the next battle.. etc.
The player might not even notice this before entering a battle which he cannot win.

I think that you should be careful with the loss of rewards. When i think about it, the game could consantly remind the player of these possible losses. Even if the actual loss of rewards is something like 1%, the knowledge of having your "loot" cut might be enough to make the palyer seriously avoid losing.
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Postby Roots » Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:08 pm

I acknowledge your concern, but don't see it as a significant one. If the player is stupid enough to keep losing battles but pressing onward regardless, that's their own damn fault. We might as well say "Hey, we need to be careful about letting the player run away from battles, because if they keep running away, eventually they are going to get too weak to win any battles". I don't feel a necessity to protect ridiculously impatient players that do not understand the impact of retrying or retreating from battles, its not like our target age demographic is children under 6 years old. :shrug:
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Postby Burnsaber » Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:05 pm

Roots wrote:I acknowledge your concern, but don't see it as a significant one. If the player is stupid enough to keep losing battles but pressing onward regardless, that's their own damn fault. We might as well say "Hey, we need to be careful about letting the player run away from battles, because if they keep running away, eventually they are going to get too weak to win any battles". I don't feel a necessity to protect ridiculously impatient players that do not understand the impact of retrying or retreating from battles, its not like our target age demographic is children under 6 years old. :shrug:


Oh, I should have been more clearer. The penalty seems to be a bit-behind-the-scenes kind of thing. If I retry a battle once and get 100 gold, how could I know that I should have got 150 gold? The game shouldn't give a illusion that evreything is fine when it actually isn't. Maybe the "loot" screen could have text like "gold cut by X% for Y retries" or something like that.
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