Author Topic: Game Flow Idea + Question  (Read 10362 times)

guest509

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Game Flow Idea + Question
« on: March 24, 2012, 06:49:38 PM »
  I like how the *bands have a kind of starting base you set out from. Diablo does this as well. So the game flow is go out, slay, come back and reequip, repeat.

  I was wondering if there are any games that turn the "town" area into a sort of separate mode. The town being a menu screen along the lines of Megaman. Each area you can visit is a short dungeon. So game flow wise the town sits atop several short form dungeons instead of atop one long one.

  I think that'd be an interesting mechanic is all. Megaman does it and I was wondering if any others do it.

  Even a town with multiple dungeon entrances, but non modal, would be interesting.

Legend

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 03:09:37 AM »
Wizardry springs to mind as far as having a "Home base" type of thing you constantly have to return to.

Mordor as well. It might be just a little more roguelike than Wizardry.

yam655

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 05:47:40 AM »

I can't say I've seen one where the city was a menu. There are a lot of them where cities are as boring as a menu -- but few where they actually cut to the chase.

As for multiple dungeons, there are a lot of those out there right now. In most cases when there are multiple dungeons they also have multiple cities. You may have multiple dungeon/quest entrances within the same city, and you can have dungeon/quest entrances outside of cities, so there's no particular need for overlap. At this point this is a fairly common feature among the larger games. ADOM has it. ToME3 and ToME4 both have it. (ToME3 is even a *band-type game.)

So... city-as-menu: I've never seen it. Multiple dungeons: Fairly common (and can be done well, even).

Having never played Megaman, I can't even relate to how such short town-dungeons would work.

If I'm not mistaken, even grand old Omega (which predates Angband) had multiple dungeons and multiple cities. (I know it had multiple cities, and I'm fairly confident it had multiple dungeons, as well.) Though my understanding of Omega was that it had end-scenarios which didn't require any dungeon work at all -- you could spend your entire time in the big city. I was never that good at it, though...

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Steven

Snargleplax

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 09:44:00 AM »
City-as-menu is actually something I'm doing in my current project; I'd never seen it done, and took my inspiration from the old BBS door game LORD (Legend of the Red Dragon).  I wrote a blog post about it with a couple screenshots, but it's quite basic at this point (focusing for now on proving out the main technical bet of the project).

I'm undecided on whether I'll keep it this way in the final game, but it sure has advantages.  It can be a lot easier to implement things quickly in a menu system, when you're just trying things out.  And as a player, I always found it annoying to have to walk around the same town in the same way over and over just to resupply.  There's no risk in town, hence it's not very interesting to walk around, so you might as well just give the players a button that puts them where they want to be (in a shop interface or whatever).

Multiple dungeons (which certainly occur in many RLs, though often via an overland map or the like) are also certainly on my slate, and here I find the abstractness of a menu system to be an advantage.  The player can learn of a new location to travel to, and you can add it to the menu, without needing to explain away something like a new location on a map that wasn't there before.  Some of my preferences here have to do with my particular goals for narrative experience in the game; your parameters will no doubt be different, but for me this is definitely a direction I'd like to see explored in more RLs.

Krice

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 05:42:18 AM »
City-as-menu is actually something I'm doing in my current project; I'd never seen it done

I remember that Spelunky has that kind of idiotic thing.

guest509

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2012, 05:02:54 PM »
@Snargle. That sounds cool man. Did you ever play Megaman? Basically you get to pick which boss you go after in the menu screen. Beat them all and you can have a go at the last boss.

Snargleplax

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 05:26:02 AM »
Oh sure, I played Megaman.  Interesting feature of that game is that although you're given freedom of choice, there is a "correct" order to beat the bosses in, so that you can use the best weapon against each boss.  That probably wouldn't be considered a good feature in a modern RL; highly spoilable, and if you don't get spoiled you'll do a lot of retracing your steps as you figure it out.

I think gluing physical environments together with menus provides a lot of design flexibility.  It's similar to the software engineering principle of alternating hard and soft layers.  A menu is a soft layer because it's easy to fiddle with and change around, compared to a full environment you can walk around in and everything.  That full environment, requiring a much greater investment of specificity, is a hard layer by comparison.  That's where the meat is, of course, so it's not like you can do without it, but it pays to see where you can skip the investment because the payoff is too little and you can trade off for other advantages.

kraflab

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 07:17:39 AM »
I think it's important to think of what level of interactivity you want in the town.  If you are going to allow the player to try to steal items from merchants for example, that process would seem a lot less compelling in a menu form where you click the steal button.  If the player is able to recruit party members, it might be more interesting to see them walking around.  The question is whether or not the act of exploring/interacting with the town is fun and interesting, or if it would be better to make the process fast, cut and dry in a menu.  From my experience, walking around the town can be a very fun part of a game, especially if it is well designed and random enough to keep me entertained.

With respect to megaman, I don't think you could really call it a town.  It's just a level-select menu.  On that note, if the player has the freedom to go to a variety of dungeons you also have the difficulty of figuring out how to make the order not matter but still keep the player challenged and interested.  Megaman does this by letting the player increase more in terms of versatility than in terms of level (at least in the ones I've played).  There is also a level of player "skill" that increases during play, as you become better able to respond to situations.  I think these are very difficult ideas to apply to a roguelike, which is generally more about strategy/leveling than reaction timing.  But it certainly is doable.

Snargleplax

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2012, 07:53:35 AM »
I think it's important to think of what level of interactivity you want in the town.  If you are going to allow the player to try to steal items from merchants for example, that process would seem a lot less compelling in a menu form where you click the steal button.  If the player is able to recruit party members, it might be more interesting to see them walking around.  The question is whether or not the act of exploring/interacting with the town is fun and interesting, or if it would be better to make the process fast, cut and dry in a menu.  From my experience, walking around the town can be a very fun part of a game, especially if it is well designed and random enough to keep me entertained.

One way to go would be to embed mini-environments into the town, so you can walk around inside the tavern or whatever but you still get there via menu.  The advantage here being that you can add new locations the player finds out about without having to fit (or have previously planned) a physical location for it into a map.  One more level of alternation between hard and soft (and you could undoubtedly get into a menu inside the tavern, so there's another).

guest509

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2012, 08:27:37 PM »
  Well what I was thinking was not to follow the action based design of Megaman nor the idea that some bosses are very weak vs other bosses' weapons.

  I was more thinking that choosing the different dungeons to attack from a main menu style screen might make for a cool game flow. You would know a little about what each dungeon featured so could gear up for the dive appropriately. You could only take limited gear, so the choice of what to take is one of the interesting decisions to make.

  Grinding levels would not fit into that scheme well. Having many dungeons would mean there wouldn't be one linear difficulty curve. Character advancement would be mainly through finding gear. After several plays you'd know what gear would be best to in order to go after specific dungeon types. But the dungeon types would change each game.

  Just spit balling here...trying to think of a cool idea for my next project. Taking a little time away from my endless playtesting of Cardlike v2.0

kraflab

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2012, 05:21:34 AM »
I think limiting the amount of gear you can carry is a too-often overlooked piece of game strategy.  I think an excellent example is guild wars.  You reach max level very early in the game.  The challenge comes from choosing which skills to bring to battle (you are only allowed 8 at any one time).  Gear also maxed out very early on, so this choice was the main factor in performance.  That type of limiting (coupled with a large variety of choices) almost always leads to really fun and interesting build synergies (an example would be bringing a move that sends out a barrage of arrows and also bringing a magic ability that causes your arrows to splinter apart after they hit an enemy).  Imagine how much longer a game can hold your interest if along with each class there are a ton of different realizations of that class.  Of course, this is with skills, but you can easily extend the idea to meaningful equipment/items.

One thing I would say is to try not to get stuck in a "this is the ice dungeon, this is the fire dungeon, etc" situation (not that there is anything fundamentally wrong with that).  The dungeons would be much more interesting if you had to react to the monster AI, rather than just some kind of stat requirement.  You don't want players to feel like all the dungeons are merely different flavors of one another (much like how having a large variety of damage types is boring if nothing distinguishes one from another).

Z

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2012, 02:58:46 PM »
I think limiting the amount of gear you can carry is a too-often overlooked piece of game strategy.

Even more often we see roguelikes which limit the gear in a way which is illogical (as in Moria variants),  restricts the range of usable strategies (if you have items that are marginally useful or useful only in a very special situations, and a limited inventory, then nobody would carry them, so you could ignore them as well), or leads to boring gameplay (stashing).

Pueo

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2012, 03:24:16 PM »
Even more often we see roguelikes which limit the gear in a way which is illogical (as in Moria variants),  restricts the range of usable strategies (if you have items that are marginally useful or useful only in a very special situations, and a limited inventory, then nobody would carry them, so you could ignore them as well), or leads to boring gameplay (stashing).

What do you think the most logical gear limiter is? Inventory space? Burdened/Unburdened? Something else?
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guest509

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2012, 06:04:33 PM »
What do you think the most logical gear limiter is? Inventory space? Burdened/Unburdened? Something else?

  It is very dependent on what you are going for in your game really. For example here I am envisioning short but varied dungeons accessible from a central menu-like screen. One's 'bank' or 'stash' of gear can be quite extensive. Made up of lots of things the player has found in the other dungeons. The carry capacity going into and through a dungeon would be limited to, say, 9 carry slots and 4 wield/wear slots (armor, accessory, main hand, off hand).

  This works because it provides an interesting decision on what to bring to the dungeon. It also provides an interesting decision about how much to bring. You want to save room to bring stuff back. And dropping things in the dungeon is unsatisfactory, they'd be lost forever.

  So it all depends really. In some games, like Nethack, it seems people end up piling up huge stashes some where in the dungeon. Might as well just let them carry all of that stuff. In the system I'm kicking around in my head the stash is at 'home base', accessible for whatever quest or dungeon you'd like to embark upon.

  There'd also be a store you could sell stuff off or spend your coins in.


  @Kraflab - For building of the actual dungeons I was thinking they'd be themed around the boss of the dungeon. So yes there might be a Great Yeti boss, his dungeon architecture would be 'cave', his tile set would be 'ice' and the creatures found in the dungeon would be ice/snow type baddies. One would decide whether or not to take the dungeon on based on other alternative dungeons/quests and what gear the player had. Note the player can always buy some appropriate gear with their coins, but purchased gear would end up being a bit mundane compared to the artifacts and 'epics' that might be found in a dungeon.

  The trick would be, of course, to make challenging AI and dungeons. That would be a major focus. It would be important to make sure that even the perfect gear build (tons of cold resist or whatever) would not make the dungeon mundane. A focus on hard bosses I think would make this a manageable task.

  Again this is all talk. I'm looking at implementing some of it into my card-like.

Z

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Re: Game Flow Idea + Question
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2012, 07:50:14 PM »
What do you think the most logical gear limiter is? Inventory space? Burdened/Unburdened? Something else?

I think many games add inventory restrictions for no good reason, simply because this is a tradition.

For example, Dungeons of Dredmor.

If you have a single inventory slot left, you can carry 999 eggs or 999 lutefisks or 999 pieces of cheese of the same kind, but not two things of different type. That's what I call illogical. Anything which avoids things like that is logical (I think there is no "most logical", simply avoid this and you are OK).

Not only this is illogical, but it reduces the depth of the game. There are some things which you would not carry, because it is better to carry something else instead. This turns otherwise possibly useful items into junk, and causes the "too much junk" problem.

Also the game almost does not try to do anything to prevent the player to go back and pick up his old gear. Why not just let the player pick up everything? There would be no loss of strategic depth (since they can return anyway) and no incentive to do boring things like stashing and retrieving items from stashes.

Even though DoomRL has a quite similar system, it is much better. You are simply not allowed to return to the previous level, which avoids the stash problems. Medikits take the whole inventory slot and cannot be stacked IIRC, and the amount of ammo you can carry in one slot depends on the ammo type, which gives it more realism (you still can carry 10 rockets but not 10 ammo of different types, but there is no reason why you would want to do that anyway). These make the inventory system seem to actually make sense, even though still not optimal IMO (if I have a chaingun as my main weapon, it is usually better to carry two additional chaingun ammo packs instead of a shotgun + ammo for it, I think this restricts my choices more than would be reasonable).

I also like the system in my own Hydra Slayer. Consumables have unlimited carrying capacity, so every single one of them counts, even the weaker ones. However, there is a severely limited carrying capacity for weapons, and you really need to think about the composition of your weapon set to be successful. You can also choose to play as a "troll", which reverses this: almost unlimited carrying capacity for weapons, but none for consumables.