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Messages - Bells

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Design / Re: Adaptive Difficulty
« on: November 11, 2014, 10:56:55 AM »
A very enlightening post Vanguard, I've actually been thinking of simply having specific areas or routes which I suppose you could call 'gauntlets'. The routes themselves will be challenging, intense strategy areas where there is great risk but also great rewards. Perhaps these could only be unlocked by completing special feats, for example obtaining a kill streak of monsters with level x or higher without losing any hp, etc. I like the idea of collecting some kind of item or 'token' which unlocks a special ending or even further challenge areas, special NPCs, gear, abilities etc. This might be a nice way to add some dynamism and replayability to the static areas I'm featuring in my game.

I hadn't actually heard of Shmups but the system is really interesting, will definitely have to study that a bit later and see whether the mechanics will trigger a streak of inspiration in me.

Design / Re: Adaptive Difficulty
« on: November 10, 2014, 06:17:32 PM »

I was pretty much going through the same thought process this afternoon but you summed it up far better than I could have. It did cross my mind whether or not you could actually build a game based on 'cheating' or exploiting those kind of mechanics...

This would depend on what language you may wish to port it to afterwards. For example, if you wanted eventually to port the game to C++, then you'd probably be better off starting off in C++ and cross compiling it with something like Crossbrigde ( Or if you wanted eventually to port the game to .NET for example, you might want to consider looking into Silverlight and XNA etc.

Actually porting the game from one language to another is an incredibly difficult and tedious task and trust me I've done it! There are always niggly bugs which haunt you and in essence what you end up doing is rewriting the entire game from scratch, porting the game one function at a time (at least in my experience and assuming the languages are radically different).

Having said all that though, I take it you are working with an existing codebase which has been programmed in flash/actionscript (with the flash API) and are wanting to use the codebase in a language you are more familiar with, let's say C++ for example.

Porting over the APIs can be difficult since there is no guarantee of there being an equivalent API function in your target language, my approach has always been to simply build these APIs as functions in the main program and have the function call an equivalent API/s and reformat the output so as you don't need to mess too much with the structure of the function that called it. That saves a lot of time but can also be hard work and would be considered rather inelegant by some people's standards.

I'm sure someone more experienced may have a better solution, but ultimately it will depend on what your level of programming knowledge is (in both the source and target language), how much time you have to port the code, the differences between the languages etc. This is all of course, assuming you are targeting the same platform, if you're porting cross platform or wanting to write cross-platform code then you need to take into account these differences, especially if you are porting a high level relatively platform neutral language like flash into something low level such as C.

As Rickton says, Haxe is a good choice (cross platform), has a syntax which should feel familiar to flash coders and with the OpenFL library you may find it much easier to port those actionscript APIs without too much of a headache.

Design / Adaptive Difficulty
« on: November 10, 2014, 02:33:32 PM »
One of the things I've always found frustrating about roguelikes (or some roguelikes at least), is how difficult it can be for a beginner to make progress in the game. It takes a large amount of trial and error to get to know which monsters you can attack safely without losing too much health, how long to spend on a dungeon before descending so as you don't run out of food or miss any important items you need later etc.

For some people this is part of the fun and indeed I find it quite satisfying to spend a few days casually playing and learning the basic mechanics of a game and seeing my increasing progress, but having begun designing a roguelike myself with a heavy focus on intelligent and adaptive AI, I'm wondering whether the concept of adaptive difficulty would play well in a roguelike setting or not.

For those that aren't familiar, adaptive difficulty usually works by assigning the player a score based on how many times they die during a set amount of time. So for example, if you die lots throughout the entire game, you will end up with a low score, whereas if you die over and over on a particularly difficult part of a level but are fine through most of the game, you will still have a higher score (and thus a more challenging game).

Obviously, with permadeath, the score would be calculated not on how many times you die but instead on hp. So for example, if you lose a large amount of hp every time you go into combat you will end up with a lower score, than someone who is more skillful in combat and loses fewer hp (speaking theoretically here, an actual technical implementation would be more complicated I imagine).

Anyway, what I'm getting at is the overarching goal of reducing player frustration. So let's say a player isn't very good, we reduce the health of some of the more powerful monsters or spawn fewer of them to make combat 'lighter', the AI is less likely to use powerful attacks, or it neglects to take certain factors into consideration when deciding which action is 'optimal', so for example, the smart AI might notice a door and a corridor (slightly further away) which it can escape to and choose the corridor because that is the most familiar path (anything could be on the other side of the door), whereas the less intelligent AI might choose the door, only to find that it's locked, giving the player more time to attack, more chances to attack.

Just some ideas that have been floating around in my mind anyway, thought I would share them as I'm interested to hear peoples thoughts on this. In reality, I think it would be difficult to implement and I'm thinking that if I did include it as an option in the game, it would be limited to boss battles or strategic fights which can be controlled and balanced at different difficulty levels, with the appropriate difficulty level being selected based on the players 'score'. Although they would still have the option of 'taunting' the monster which would anger it and increase the difficulty level (good for players who'd done the fight before but wanted more of a challenge the second time around).

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