Author Topic: Game Balancing  (Read 6967 times)

dephbokks

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Game Balancing
« on: May 19, 2011, 11:31:57 AM »
Okay, I am finishing up my first pass on my rl project. I hope to offer a public release tomorrow or sometime this weekend.

But I am having trouble with balancing. How are rl's balanced effectively? For example, my go to rl is dcss, but I've only gotten two characters to level 27 and got me some runes or whatever they're called. So in my opinion, I'd be bad at balancing that game since I am not a good enough player to have beaten the game.

So in my rl, since I am the only player thus far, I use my own strategy/ability to balance, but perhaps someone who excels at playing rl's my balancing would be inadequate. I guess that's where player feedback would come in, but anyone have any tips or words of advice?

I am thinking I will balance the game for me to beat it and then up the difficulty some. I dunno. Any thoughts?

Darren Grey

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Re: Game Balancing
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2011, 12:44:07 PM »
My main advice would be don't start off too hard, since no one will properly play it then.  Too easy can be off-putting too of course, especially in this genre, but for a first release I'd say too easy is better than too hard to let people see the content in your game.

Designing it to be fun for yourself to play is probably the most guaranteed way of getting it balanced well to start with.  Others will find abuses and so on, but these can be dealt with in time.  Maybe run it privately past a friend or two for some immediate feedback first.

Ultimately I think any roguelike should allow very high success rates with 100% careful play, and the deaths should come from player mistakes (which are inevitable).

dephbokks

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Re: Game Balancing
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 02:49:46 PM »
Hi, Darren. Thanks for the response. Good post as usual.

Maybe run it privately past a friend or two for some immediate feedback first.
The only people that I know that program or play roguelikes are on the internet. I showed my project to some people and they look at it cock-eyed like wtf is that. My girlfriend would prolly turn lesbian if she knew I was programming a roguelike. Roguelikes are not aphrodisiacs it seems.

I think I will just bite the bullet and unleash this crazy game soon.

Designing it to be fun for yourself to play is probably the most guaranteed way of getting it balanced well to start with.
That's sort of what I thought too. It is crazy how tweaking one parameter can throw off the balance since things are all interconnected. In my early efforts of balancing I'd go from getting destroyed on level 3 of the dungeon to tweaking some things and then being invincible by level 3. Well, it has been a good learning experience thus far.

Ultimately I think any roguelike should allow very high success rates with 100% careful play, and the deaths should come from player mistakes (which are inevitable).
I kinda like this interpretation too. Since rl's use a random number generator it is a good battle to try and force a probabilistic situation into a quasi-deterministic one with balanced and strategic play. I can say that good game design is paramount to effect this outcome and who knows how close I came to that.

I have been working on this like mad lately trying to get it out the door and balancing feels like tweaking the coefficients of insane differential equations trying to catch the jackpot of stable behavior.

Darren Grey

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Re: Game Balancing
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2011, 03:31:15 PM »
The only people that I know that program or play roguelikes are on the internet. I showed my project to some people and they look at it cock-eyed like wtf is that. My girlfriend would prolly turn lesbian if she knew I was programming a roguelike. Roguelikes are not aphrodisiacs it seems.

Heh, I'm in a similar position. Luckily my girlfriend knows so little about computers that she has no idea of just how geeky my hobby is...

I say just release and balance be damned. If you want immediate feedback try #rgrd.

NON

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Re: Game Balancing
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2011, 12:59:21 PM »
I've been thinking about doing some sort of arena test. You could set up something like a 8x1 corridor space with the player on one end and one monster on the other end. Then have some commands for inserting new monster, resurrecting the player, give yourself different items and abilities.

This would be most useful if it was all automated though. Perhaps you could set it up so that ALL combinations of equipment and abilities that the player could have by the time he met the monster are tested (and tested many times for each). Then you let it run for all monsters/equipment/abilities-combinations and gather data when you're not using that computer. This way you could detect spikes in difficulty. Adjust by setting the difficult monsters depth deeper, or spawn more powerful equipment earlier.

I showed my project to some people and they look at it cock-eyed like wtf is that.
God I love Roguelikes sometimes ;D
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AgingMinotaur

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Re: Game Balancing
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2011, 09:16:50 PM »
For a reasonably complex Roguelike, I think it's safe to assume that the developer is a highly skilled player. S/he knows most secrets and tricks, understands the rules, has access to monster stats etc. Even if you haven't ascended in Nethack, you should probably still be able to win your own game.

I've been thinking about doing some sort of arena test. You could set up something like a 8x1 corridor space with the player on one end and one monster on the other end.
This doesn't seem to account for stuff like inventory management, strategy, or tactical space. I don't think that would work so well, unless we're talking about a bot that actually plays the game.

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NON

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Re: Game Balancing
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 05:54:36 AM »
I've been thinking about doing some sort of arena test. You could set up something like a 8x1 corridor space with the player on one end and one monster on the other end.
This doesn't seem to account for stuff like inventory management, strategy, or tactical space.
Yeah it would mostly be for balancing the monsters strengths relative to each other.
Happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes.