Author Topic: Leveling/Experience  (Read 21075 times)

Vanguard

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2013, 01:08:06 AM »
What about the leveling system in Deus Ex?  I've only played the first one, so I don't know how the sequels handle it, but basically you get experience points for finding secrets, completing missions, etc.  None of the sources of experience are repeatable, so there isn't much in the way of grinding.

Progression by Achievement

I like it!  A system like this would demand more care and attention on the developer's part to ensure everything is fair, sufficiently challenging, balanced, not tedious, etc. but it could be pretty cool.

What would a developer need to do to ensure characters don't all turn out the same?  Mutually exclusive achievements?  Not that it's an unforgivable flaw if they do turn out similar.

King Ink

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2013, 06:20:34 PM »
sounds like a lot of work.

Gr3yling

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2013, 09:18:45 PM »
There's no way those magic dart are a better use of your time and resources than another shot of summon ice beast or whatever, but you have to do it anyway.  It doesn't take skill.  You don't have to think about it.  It isn't more "realistic."  It adds nothing of value to the game.  It's just a big waste of time for no reason.

Well, I think that maybe this is where trainers come in.  The player can spend money, which he can acquire through the use of any skills he likes, to boost a completely different skill.   I would argue that while this method of skill advancement is far from being completely realistic, it may be a least somewhat more realistic than the system that crawl now uses.  And that it what makes such as system attractive to me.

Someone already alluded to this, I think, but if the player thinks the most entertaining and useful way to allocate their time is to mindlessly perform repeated actions, it may be that there are other problems with the game's design besides the way skills are advanced.  Ideally, players should be able to advance their skills through repeated use while also participating in the story or doing something that feels meaningful and in character. 

And let me be clear, it sounds like crawl came up with a very creative and highly functional solution to the issues that we are dealing with here.  I just like games that, at least in part, allow skills to advance through their repeated use.

Gr3yling

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #33 on: October 15, 2013, 09:31:29 PM »
The downside to all this is that it's a rediculously overcomplicated system that would require the player to become familiar with a range of different potion recipes and where to find the ingredients for them before they can really use it properly.  It would also make balancing the game much more difficult.  Still, it could lead to some interesting strategic decisions and might not be an entirely terrible system with a little refinement.

I actually like this idea because it involves setting priorities and making mutually exclusive decisions about how your character develops.  I think that creating your character should be a process that continues through the entire game, not just one that takes place at the beginning of a play-through.

So, I like the idea of being able to choose from several rewards when completing a quest, or being able to choose from multiple perks each level up.  However, I think that once you choose such a perk on leveling up, you shouldn't ever be able to go back and chose the alternative (at least for that character).  This is different from most perk systems where you can always come back at a later level and pick up the perk you didn't choose before.

Level grinding was mentioned earlier, and I think someone mentioned that it was a situation where there was no cost or risk involved (other than the time that you as a player puts in).  One way to add cost/risk that is to impose a time limit on the game as a whole.  So, if you wanted to spend the limited amount of time that you had grinding, you could, but you would be foregoing other opportunities to develop your character in the process.

Paul Jeffries

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2013, 10:46:11 PM »
What would a developer need to do to ensure characters don't all turn out the same?  Mutually exclusive achievements?  Not that it's an unforgivable flaw if they do turn out similar.

That's a very good question.  You could perhaps do something like grouping the achievements into 'level 1', 'level 2' etc. groups and then say that you can only get one from each group.  That feels a little artificial, though.  It might be possible to do it in more subtle ways through the design of the achievements and make it so that different achievements would be very difficult to get at the same time because they require different equipment loadouts or special conducts and so on, but it would be quite difficult and probably would take a hell of a lot of playtesting to get the balance right.

You have reminded me of a related but slightly different idea I had during the same brainstoring session which does address that issue:

Progression by Level Performance: At the end of every level (of the dungeon) you automatically get a chance to upgrade and have to choose one upgrade option from a list, however the kinds of upgrades that are available depend on what you managed to achieve during the level you just played.  Some basic upgrade options are always available (for example {+3SPD, +3STR, +3MAG, +3HP}), but some become unlocked only if you have met certain goals while completing the level.  If you finish the level in under 100 turns, you unlock the {+15SPD} option.  Use only melee attacks to make the {+10STR, +5HP} upgrade available.  Find every item on the level for the chance to increase your inventory space.  Complete the level without killing anything for a stealth boost.  These bonus unlocks will usually be slightly more powerful than the 'base' options (making it worthwhile to meet the targets) but also more highly specialised (meaning that it won't always be a good idea to take them since it will leave you vulnerable in other areas).  Mix in some special character skill perks along with the stat increases for added spiciness.  Character progression will tend to reflect your play style, but it also gives you some interesting strategic decisions on what to specialise in and when.

Hmmm... now that I think about it this might be a good system to use for the Rogue's Eye sequel/remake I'm planning on doing at some point.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2013, 11:00:20 PM by Paul Jeffries »

Vanguard

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2013, 06:56:05 AM »
Progression by Level Performance

That's another cool idea.  It'd be even better if the "special" perks could only be taken once each so the player has a different self-imposed challenge to adhere to for each area.  It'd make for really varied play.

zasvid

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #36 on: October 18, 2013, 02:29:16 PM »
Someone already alluded to this, I think, but if the player thinks the most entertaining and useful way to allocate their time is to mindlessly perform repeated actions, it may be that there are other problems with the game's design besides the way skills are advanced.  Ideally, players should be able to advance their skills through repeated use while also participating in the story or doing something that feels meaningful and in character. 

And let me be clear, it sounds like crawl came up with a very creative and highly functional solution to the issues that we are dealing with here.  I just like games that, at least in part, allow skills to advance through their repeated use.

Pen-and-paper Burning Wheel RPG has a system that could serve as inspiration for roguelike developers. Basically, skills advance by repeated use, but it only counts if there's a significant chance of failure and you risk negative consequences on failure. Of course, adjudicating this is harder in a cRPG....

King Ink

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #37 on: October 18, 2013, 02:34:23 PM »
Pen-and-paper Burning Wheel RPG has a system that could serve as inspiration for roguelike developers. Basically, skills advance by repeated use, but it only counts if there's a significant chance of failure and you risk negative consequences on failure. Of course, adjudicating this is harder in a cRPG....

this is exactly what I am saying with my you advance when you fail at a skill scheme.

Gr3yling

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #38 on: October 18, 2013, 08:21:10 PM »
Pen-and-paper Burning Wheel RPG has a system that could serve as inspiration for roguelike developers. Basically, skills advance by repeated use, but it only counts if there's a significant chance of failure and you risk negative consequences on failure. Of course, adjudicating this is harder in a cRPG....

this is exactly what I am saying with my you advance when you fail at a skill scheme.

And I think that is a great idea.  ADOM has a somewhat similar system with the way it handles weapon skills and experience gained from defeating monsters.  The experience gained from beating a particular monster decreases the more of it you kill. 

I think that in an ideal world,  as the PC became better at performing any particular action on any particular type of in game actor or object, you would see an inverse relationship between their success at performing an action under those specific conditions and the experience gained by doing so. 

You can make systems where skills advance through use that work and are relatively difficult to exploit.  It takes some creativity, but it is possible.

Kevin Granade

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #39 on: October 25, 2013, 09:43:11 PM »
For a fairly different perspective, I'm considering embracing grinding in DDA, but also removing the boredom.
As a survival game, DDA is to a large extent driven by its food/water/fatigue clocks, and quite a lot of progression is gated by item acquisition.
The current skill advancement system is a throttled usage-based system, where performing actions that use a particular skill practices them, accumulating progress toward the next skill level, and decreasing focus.  Focus is a stat influenced by your morale, which is improved by things like eating good food and reading entertaining books.  If you get depressed at your condition, you can't focus on learning things.  It works fairly well, if you want things to progress organically it works fairly well, but it is subject to grinding, to the point that literally the best way to learn to drive is to get drunk and high and do doughnuts in a field.  The driving skill is a fairly bad example, because it's so single-purpose, and it hasn't been worked on as extensively as most skills.

I'm considering expanding this system by adding intentional "practice" actions, that consume time and possibly various components in return for advancing related skills.  So instead of setting up an archery target and manually shooting it and retrieving your arrows a hundred times, that's wrapped in a single activity that expends some amount of arrows (for breakage) and (in game) time, reducing player tedium.  The goal is to have the resources necessary to invest the practice time, much like buying training in some RPGs.

There's still a role of using your skills "in anger" though.  Practice increases your ability to perform skill tasks proficiently, but it might fail at providing *insight* about skill use.  Actually going out and fighting real enemies periodically unlocks inspirations about new techniques to use, new practice actions to perform, etc. so it sets up a cycle where you expend time and energy improving proficiency (possibly hitting a cap of the practice action), alternating with actually going out and using the skill, which will set the stage for further learning.  Also the game tends to strongly encourage alternating jaunts into danger and down time to recuperate already.

Gr3yling

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Re: Leveling/Experience
« Reply #40 on: October 26, 2013, 03:15:33 AM »
I'm considering expanding this system by adding intentional "practice" actions, that consume time and possibly various components in return for advancing related skills.  So instead of setting up an archery target and manually shooting it and retrieving your arrows a hundred times, that's wrapped in a single activity that expends some amount of arrows (for breakage) and (in game) time, reducing player tedium.  The goal is to have the resources necessary to invest the practice time, much like buying training in some RPGs.

I support that idea.  We are actually talking about automating repetitive or otherwise trivial actions in another thread right now, so you might find that one interesting or have some insights about its subject that you could share.