Author Topic: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives  (Read 78589 times)

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2013, 07:58:40 PM »
I generally agree with akeley re: forcing the player not to linger. In my old RL Squirm, I solved the problem quite simply by not having monsters and other stuff respawn in levels, and abandoning experience points, instead letting the player level up whenever he entered a new stair (unless there was a monster chasing him). So you could choose to explore a level (but might lose more resources than you gain) or to dive, leaving behind potential treasures and dangers alike. Of course, every game should get the pacing that fits it, and a dreadful adversary that comes into play after a certain amount of time can be quite effective, and scary even. I remember the crab in "Gribbly's Day Out" for C64 – that was one horrifying son of a crustacean.

Regarding various RL-likes … Spelunky keeps on shining bright, and I'm sure the same kind of procedure could be applied to other game genres. I'd love to see for instance a well done sidescroller (whether jump'n'run, shooter, beat'emup, or something else) with RL elements. Or (speaking of C64 games) maybe something akin to Pitall II, with an explorable map that goes left/right and up/down – I guess that would play kind of like Spelunky, actually.

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Vanguard

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2013, 09:40:21 PM »
Well, arcade designers had one thing in mind with this design - to get rid of you, so the next chummer can stuff some more coins into the slot.

That's a little unfair.  Obviously arcade game designers have a financial incentive to kill their players off as quickly as possible, but there are still arcade developers who have designed their games to be mastered and beaten, and those games are some of the best in the medium.

Resource management systems are a great way to add to a game's depth.  Anti-lingering mechanics make time itself a precious resource.  Suddenly every decision carries more weight.  Will you fight that enemy, or run past them?  Will you take the dangerous, aggressive approach, or a slower, safer method?

How about this one: do I walk into this hazard-free room and collect the treasure inside?  Normally that wouldn't be a question, but anti-lingering mechanics mean you even have to think about situations like that.

They have a huge amount of potential for increasing depth, tension, and excitement.  They might not work in every game, but they certainly have value.  Don't write them off.

akeley

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2013, 07:21:18 PM »
From what I remember, most (if not all) arcade games could be mastered. "Beaten" is a bit different because some were quite short stage-wise and would just loop endlessly getting more difficult...so in theory you could go on forever until fainting or kill screen occurred. But this has nowt to do with the hurryup! mechanic and I wasn`t implying that. In fact, the reason I said "fair play" to it is because (apart form the $ angle) it was also necessary to get rid of those annoying-as-hell players who`d delay finishing a stage just to piss off all the other kids waiting for their turn. The timer on your hi-score table initials input had similar purpose.

As for this particular mechanic`s implementation in non-arcade games, well, I personally hate it - but that`s just me, and like with most of my posts it has a big flashing (though invisible) "IMO" hovering there. There`s just something about timers in games that sets my brain in "panic!" mode and I don`t really enjoy the experience. Similar as to why I avoid non-pausable RTS games, though some look very interesting. Just can`t do it - but if that`s anyone else`s cup of tea, all the best.

But if we consider a well-implemented a-l mechanic like the starvation angle, then I`m all up for it. Problem is, if it`s as brilliant and multi-faceted as in Linley`s DC (only RL I can say I have some sort of in-depth experience with) who can say if it was really meant as an anti-linger mechanic, and not "just" another game mechanic? (though maybe getting a bit meta here :)

guest509

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2013, 01:08:06 AM »
While it's possible the hunger mechanic was included by Liney because of genre expectations, I'd like to think it's an important mechanic driving you downward and onward.

I know in the original Rogue it sure does play a central role.

I think a more interesting question is if it's needed or not. I know some people will want to explore every nook and cranny, while others want to power dive. A game that allows both strategies would be interesting.

EDIT: How about this. The game releases a new higher level enemy not by level, but by number of turns. So if you spend your time dinking around level 1 for forever, eventually a dragon will show up. Like this:

100 Turns - Release rank 2 baddy.
500 Turns - Release rank 3 baddy...
1000 Turns - Rank 4 released, etc...

So if you want to spend your time getting all the loots in one level and fighting monsters, you can, but maybe you want to dive and see if you can find even better loots. A fairly 'level' leveling system, or even just something arcade-like with power ups only, would probably be needed for something like that.

Quendus

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2013, 11:50:45 AM »
While it's possible the hunger mechanic was included by Liney because of genre expectations, I'd like to think it's an important mechanic driving you downward and onward.

I know in the original Rogue it sure does play a central role.

I think a more interesting question is if it's needed or not. I know some people will want to explore every nook and cranny, while others want to power dive. A game that allows both strategies is interesting.
Fixed that for you ;)

miki151

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2013, 12:16:45 PM »
EDIT: How about this. The game releases a new higher level enemy not by level, but by number of turns. So if you spend your time dinking around level 1 for forever, eventually a dragon will show up. Like this:
Interesting. Would work good for open space games. Would need to think of a way for the player to power dive though.
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wire_hall_medic

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2013, 04:05:10 PM »
I don't usually enjoy hunger mechanics, because they often just wind up being an adventuring tax.  If food is something you can buy in town, then it's "did you enter the dungeon with a sufficiently large handicap on your inventory size?" (ADOM, Shiren)  If it's something you only find in the dungeon, it becomes "were you lucky enough not to lose because of the vagaries of the loot generator?" (Brogue)  Either way, there's no reward for interacting with the hunger mechanic, just preventing a penalty.

The idea of spawning monsters when a clock runs down is a lot more attractive, or just a straight fuel meter (which refills at scripted points; ie every level, or every x levels).

guest509

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2013, 04:55:32 AM »
Terraria has an interesting flow. It's one big open world where sometimes the bosses will show up when the player does certain things. The player is basically in control of when to summon the plot advancing encounters.

In a straight dive RL you can summon the boss after a certain number of turns have passed, ignoring the level really. So you can spend more turns on a level if you think it's worth it, but you hope you're right or when the boss shows you will be under powered. So the decisions is to waste time powering up on the lower levels and risk being underpowered, or dive for the more powerful gear but risk being overwhelmed by mundane monsters because you didn't spend the time powering up earlier.

IDEAS ARE FUN!

Vanguard

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2013, 02:23:43 PM »
The ghost in Spelunky is basically the same concept.

I consider Spelunky's ghost to be a failure, because even though it's invincible and kills in one hit, it's really slow and easy to avoid.  In most stages you can create situations where the ghost can be avoided indefinitely if you want to take your time and collect everything.  And not only does it fail to limit the time you can spend in a stage, it also makes playing for a high score unnecessarily tedious, because slowly leading the ghost around every level yields more points than quickly collecting everything and moving on.

With that said, I do think that timer systems that spawn hazards or superpowered enemies are inherently more interesting than hard time limits and hunger systems.

A good time limiting system exists to make every other decision more interesting.  Monsters like the Bubble Bobble ghost are cool because not only do they fill that same role, they also function as interesting encounters in their own right.  If your time limit has less remaining time than you'd need to reach the exit, you sigh and restart.  Your adventure goes out with a whimper.  Getting hunted down and killed by the cyberlich at least makes for an exciting conclusion.  Plus, it adds just a little bit of uncertainty with one more chance to show your skills so that you try your best until the very end.

Terraria has an interesting flow.

Terraria has serious problems if you're trying to play it as anything other than a "build stuff and get loot" game.  If you're trying to avoid death, like, if you're playing in hardcore mode or whatever, then the most practical choice is always to hold off on summoning boss enemies until you're strong enough that they can't realistically win against you.  A well-designed game should should always ensure that the "right" decisions aren't the most boring ones, and Terraria pretty much fails at that.  If time was somehow made a more valuable resource, all of these systems could be made to work pretty well.

If you aren't playing on hardcore mode and don't care about dying, then it doesn't really matter what you do.  Summon a boss 10x stronger than you are and kill it through attrition if you want.

guest509

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2013, 03:44:22 AM »
Terraria has major issues, yes. It's NOT a hardcore mode game at all, like Diablo III. Permadeath does not work, it's a loot quest and pinata monster game. Dope drip. Time is rewarded, not skillz.

Gr3yling

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2013, 02:15:11 AM »
EDIT: How about this. The game releases a new higher level enemy not by level, but by number of turns. So if you spend your time dinking around level 1 for forever, eventually a dragon will show up. Like this:

100 Turns - Release rank 2 baddy.
500 Turns - Release rank 3 baddy...
1000 Turns - Rank 4 released, etc...

I can see how that idea has definite advantages.  And it would add a sense of tension and urgency.  But I think the bigger question here is this:  If the PC wants to hang around level 1 for a thousand turns scumming/grinding, isn't the bigger problem that they aren't being given anything more interesting or rewarding to do for that time?  I'm a proponent of the idea that if you want the player not to do something, you can give them a better alternative, rather than punishing them for it.  And I realize "punishment" is probably too strong of a word to use to describe your idea, but you get the idea.

Also, in response to the ideas about story and procedural generation: When I think of "story", I tend to conceptualize it differently than most of you guys.  "Story" to mean would mean the chance to learn more about the history/cosmology of the game world through books or NPC conversation, stuff that would be completely skip-able for a given play though.  That might better be called "background", but I think it is still a legitimate way to set the tone of the game and convey information to the player.

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2013, 07:50:59 AM »
If the PC wants to hang around level 1 for a thousand turns scumming/grinding, isn't the bigger problem that they aren't being given anything more interesting or rewarding to do for that time?

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think it's fine for game designers to use rewards and punishments to indirectly force players to do things that are fun and avoid things that aren't fun.  I'm not saying game designers should use every power at their disposal to eliminate the player's freedom or anything.  I just mean that if there's some tedious but beneficial activity, like farming herbs for hours, your game will ultimately be better if you take that option away by spawning the cyberlich or whatever.

I'm a proponent of the idea that if you want the player not to do something, you can give them a better alternative, rather than punishing them for it.  And I realize "punishment" is probably too strong of a word to use to describe your idea, but you get the idea.

Imo the use of negative emotions in game design is really underrated.  Not just in "story" games or "art" games, but "game" games.  Tension and fear and those sorts of things aren't inherently pleasant, but they can enhance a game's overall experience by orders of magnitude.

Roguelike players should have an easy time understanding this.  Permadeath is frustrating.  It's discouraging.  But the looming threat of death and the memory of your countless defeats makes your victory infinitely more satisfying.

One of the worst things about mainstream gaming is that developers desperately want to prevent players from feeling any negative emotions, and in doing so, they miss out on valuable opportunities.

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2013, 10:17:45 AM »
I'm a proponent of the idea that if you want the player not to do something, you can give them a better alternative, rather than punishing them for it.  And I realize "punishment" is probably too strong of a word to use to describe your idea, but you get the idea.
Words of wisdom!

Imo the use of negative emotions in game design is really underrated.  Not just in "story" games or "art" games, but "game" games.  Tension and fear and those sorts of things aren't inherently pleasant, but they can enhance a game's overall experience by orders of magnitude.
And this. However, I don't know if I love the idea of using negative emotions to force the player's hand. Granted that emotions like fear can enhance the experience of a game (to which I whole-heartedly agree), conveying these emotions shouldn't be used as "punishment" for playing in the wrong way, but rather an integral part of the game, no? I'd much rather spawn the cyberlich at random intervals no matter what the player is doing, as long as I can make that spawn an interesting challenge or a gripping game experience.

To avoid stuff like grinding, I much prefer trying to make a system that doesn't really reward that kind of play. Taking herbs as an example, maybe they stop spawning after a short amount of time, or only respawn after some meaningful "story time" has passed. For instance, the game could measure time in missions undertaken rather than turns passed. So once you've harvested your garden, you have to go on another adventure before it's harvest season again. For another example, jelly farming gets uninteresting as a grinding technique if the jellies don't carry treasure, and if killing them doesn't award xp (either after a certain threshold, or altogether), etc.

In an open ended game, as many RLs tend to be, I don't like putting arbitrary constraints on the player, but the game should also not reward boring play. If there's the possibility of building houses to some end, for instance, it should be pretty straightforward to build one and get the in-game advantage of storage space, or whatever. However, if some players like to spend hours building elaborate architectures, I don't see any reason they shouldn't be allowed to do so, as long as this long-winded process doesn't give an unreasonable advantage.

As always,
Minotauros
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akeley

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2013, 07:58:43 PM »
To avoid stuff like grinding, I much prefer trying to make a system that doesn't really reward that kind of play. Taking herbs as an example, maybe they stop spawning after a short amount of time, or only respawn after some meaningful "story time" has passed.

I agree, but these measures are already being put in place in most modern titles. This is why I said in the other thread that the whole issue is being "demonised" - as in, a little bit overblown. AAA games suffer from lots of maladies but plenty of their designers aren`t entirely stupid, they just have to juggle multiple angles - like pressure from biz suits and consideration for various gaming trends- to better or worse effect.

These measures can be also employed in RLs that use exploitable systems, as we said earlier. Just limit the monster spawns, the XP amount, whatever. I don`t like the cyberlich idea because it`s instantly recognizable as dev`s finger prodding me to get a move on, and that sucks, breaking my roleplaying drive. Not only that, it limits the explorer in me, and this is the style I like to employ most, even if it`s only roaming some empty halls or it`ll make me starve if not careful. It sort of shrinks the playing area. But, if there was a logical reason for that spawn and it was well developed , that`s another story.

I agree that mainstream games became terrified of anything remotely "negative", which is why the difficulty - meaning dying and puzzles in general - are being neutered left, right and center. Leading to a paradox that was the great hoo-ha about Demon`s Souls - honestly, it took me some time to realize what it`s all about. So, yeah, it`s a difficult game...and? Oh, okay, it is AD 2009.

But as AM says, it`s probably a different angle than using it as a punishment for players actions. And in most RLs tension is omnipresent since one wrong move can mean curtains, so I`m not sure we need additional, more artificial, stress inducers.

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Roguelike Gameflow - Alternatives
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2013, 11:35:57 PM »
I agree, but these measures are already being put in place in most modern titles. This is why I said in the other thread that the whole issue is being "demonised" - as in, a little bit overblown. AAA games suffer from lots of maladies but plenty of their designers aren`t entirely stupid, they just have to juggle multiple angles - like pressure from biz suits and consideration for various gaming trends- to better or worse effect.
That makes sense, and it's certainly a privilege in some ways to belong to a genre that needn't consider much more than what is deemed appropriate by the developer(s). Maybe I should be less concerned with "streamlined" interfaces and the rest of that crap. Admittedly, I don't much follow the commercial scene. I mostly just play RLs and follow some discussion of what's going on in the indie scene in general. Sadly, most non-RL games I think look interesting, are either Windows only (Papers, please), or outclass my graphics card (Limbo) or screen resolution (Crypt Worlds). Meh :P

As always,
Minotauros
This matir, as laborintus, Dedalus hous, hath many halkes and hurnes ... wyndynges and wrynkelynges.