Author Topic: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death  (Read 86143 times)

Vanguard

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2014, 04:34:36 AM »
Making consecutive strikes is not a matter of inherent bowling difficulty any more, but complex external factors, like variations in air density and moisture, variation in bowler's physical and mental condition, and such. It's a complex random factor, it does not define bowling difficulty, it defines relative probability.

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Yes, the difference between world-class bowlers who have played perfect games and small children who can score a strike occasionally isn't a difference of skill.  Everyone who has ever scored a single strike in their lives is equally good at bowling, and differences in performance after that point can be explained by complex random factors such as air density and moisture.

mushroom patch

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2014, 04:50:33 AM »
Making consecutive strikes is not a matter of inherent bowling difficulty any more, but complex external factors, like variations in air density and moisture, variation in bowler's physical and mental condition, and such. It's a complex random factor, it does not define bowling difficulty, it defines relative probability.

Haahaahahahaha get a load of this guy!

Yes, the difference between world-class bowlers who have played perfect games and small children who can score a strike occasionally isn't a difference of skill.  Everyone who has ever scored a single strike in their lives is equally good at bowling, and differences in performance after that point can be explained by complex random factors such as air density and moisture.

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LazyCat

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2014, 04:51:38 AM »
Haahaahahahaha get a load of this guy!

Yes, the difference between world-class bowlers who have played perfect games and small children who can score a strike occasionally isn't a difference of skill.  Everyone who has ever scored a single strike in their lives is equally good at bowling, and differences in performance after that point can be explained by complex random factors such as air density and moisture.

You failed to understand. You are now talking about skill and not directly replaying to anything I said. Game difficulty and personal skill are two different things.

mushroom patch

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2014, 05:00:31 AM »

You failed to understand. You are now talking about skill and not directly replaying to anything I said. Game difficulty and personal skill are two different things.


People are not failing to understand the claims you make in your posts. Stop saying that.

Jaxian

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2014, 05:20:14 AM »
The permadeath thread got me thinking about other ways to provide meaningful consequences for death besides simply ending the game.

One of the game ideas I have (who knows if I'll ever end up making it) is a roguelike where your only method of character improvement (aside from equipment upgrades) is mutation. Mutations to make you stronger, let you shoot lasers out your eyes, grow extra arms to hold extra weapons, etc.
When you die, you would come back to life at a nearby cloning facility, but the technology is imperfect, so when you come back you'd end up with a bad mutation. The bad mutations could possibly be cured, or maybe the game could eventually end if your bad mutations just get so out of hand you're nothing but a blob or something, but I think it'd be more interesting than just simple "You die, game over."

I've seen some games where when you die, you go to some kind of underworld and have to get back out, either by fighting your way out, or solving puzzles, or whatever.

What are some other possibilites? And are there any games (roguelike or not) that do things like that?

I don't believe that a player needs to fear deep consequences of failure in order to enjoy playing a game.  While some players may thrive on that fear, quite a few successful games incorporate saving and checkpoints.  With saving, players can be presented with a series of very difficult challenges and feel accomplished at each stage of progress.  I would question claims that none of those games are fun.

But for a roguelike, if you remove death then your game is changed so that the player doesn't need to replay any of it.  For a roguelike, this is a problem.  Instead of hand-crafting and perfecting a single playthrough of the game, a roguelike attempts to make multiple plays of the same content interesting using randomly-generated content.  If players complete the game without replaying any of it and have no incentive to replay it, then why even make a roguelike? Why not just build each level by hand?  Any alternative to permanent death should address this, and should also focus on making failure feel less punishing to the player (which I'm guessing is the reason you're considering alternatives in the first place).

I don't have a flawless answer, but here's two random ideas.  Maybe something here will get ideas flowing for you:

1) The simplest way to avoid death is to not create a game where you can die.  If player death is not a feature of the game, then every action in the game can be permanent, and the player can continue to play until the game is finished.  Vanguard suggested something along these lines when he said, "your character survives but the town he was supposed to defend gets destroyed."  That comment might mean that the game plays like any other roguelike, except when you "die" you get a red mark on your final grade.  Or it could describe a gameplay mechanic in which controlling or preserving towns progresses the player toward success in some way.

This concept is similar to restarting a level when you die.  You don't lose all your progress, but you fail to progress toward victory.  The difference is only in permanence.  The town the player was meant to defend is now burning embers on the map, or maybe it's an enemy-controlled fort.  In this example, the player might then be forced to find a new town to serve his purpose, encouraging exploration of more randomly-generated content without requiring a restart from the very beginning of the game.

2) There is a children's game called Telephone.  In this game the first player whispers a phrase into the ear of the second, who whispers the phrase into the ear of the third, and so on.  The last player hears the whisper and announces the phrase.  Invariably people will mishear the phrase and whisper something wrong to the next person, and by the end, the phrase is completely different.  What makes this game interesting is that failure creates fun.  If everyone always succeeded, and the last player always repeated the phrase exactly as it started, then the game would be terrible.  Instead of punishing those who fail, the game's enjoyment comes from seeing how the players' actions caused the outcome.

This principle might lead us down countless paths of roguelike design.  How can player failures create fun in the game?  Many existing roguelikes allow the death of a player to affect the player's next playthrough.  But what more can we do?  What if failing resulted in your character's items being randomly switched around?  Or what if failing altered the player's path through the world itself?  We might imagine a game whose path to victory appears straightforward, but upon failure that path is closed, and the player is redirected through corridors that they never knew existed.

I've occasionally thought about a game which uses some of these ideas.  In this game, the player would control a diety-like character who moves throughout a randomly-generated world, attempting to accomplish a randomly-generated goal.  The player would have no fear of death, but their actions would affect the various NPCs throughout the world.  When the player's goal is finally accomplished or failed, the final state of the various NPCs could be inspected to see how your actions have affected the populace.  I don't know whether this vague idea could become a fun game, but I will like give it a shot at some point.

Anyhow, maybe I've been rambling about nonsense, but maybe something I wrote here will give you an idea.

Vanguard

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2014, 05:34:32 AM »
I don't believe that a player needs to fear deep consequences of failure in order to enjoy playing a game.  While some players may thrive on that fear, quite a few successful games incorporate saving and checkpoints.  With saving, players can be presented with a series of very difficult challenges and feel accomplished at each stage of progress.  I would question claims that none of those games are fun.

Fun is subjective, but if your goal is to make challenging game then you can't let your player save at will.  Checkpoints work, permadeath works better, but both are inherently punishing to some degree.

rust

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2014, 06:14:46 AM »
Tension is maybe better for you, not everyone. And you are likely in minority there, people prefer to relax.

Majority is stupid. If you want a game that aims at the biggest possible audience, then go play Candy Crush or Farmville.

Jaxian

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2014, 06:26:22 AM »
Fun is subjective, but if your goal is to make challenging game then you can't let your player save at will.  Checkpoints work, permadeath works better, but both are inherently punishing to some degree.

Fun may be a bit subjective, but there are certain things that most people find fun, and things that most don't.  Accomplishing a challenge can be fun, but so too can immersing oneself in a game's story, or building a character to see how well it performs, or exploring a world, or setting things in motion to see what happens.

And a challenging task isn't always fun.  It depends on the specifics.  This is what LazyCat is trying to say, but bowling is a bad example because you could spend your entire life bowling without truly mastering it.  The same can't be said of most turn-based tactical roguelikes.  If I play a permadeath roguelike many times, I actually might figure out all I need to know about early game tactics.  Even knowing the tactics, when I replay the game again I could still get careless and die.  You could say that makes the game more challenging.  But that challenge is just tedious.  It's not fun.  The fun part is learning the tactics of each individual fight, and implementing permadeath doesn't add to that part of the challenge.

Permadeath has its benefits.  It can allow the player to experience the wide array of randomly-generated content that a roguelike provides.  It can also create a sense of importance surrounding each move the player makes, and it can turn what would have been an easy game into an accomplishment to complete.  But sometimes, especially for games without random content, the tedium that comes with permadeath isn't worth those benefits.  In a game where you solve puzzles, it probably makes sense to allow saving at any point.  In a game with static content, well-placed checkpoints often make sense, and in a game with randomly-generated content, perma-death often makes sense.  But these are only guidelines, not necessarily the only way to create your game.  This thread is a good exercise to see if we can come up with new ideas that work in randomly-generated games.

LazyCat

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2014, 07:46:41 AM »
This thread is a good exercise to see if we can come up with new ideas that work in randomly-generated games.

Randomness doesn't really justify wasting of time. I already invested five hours building my character, I want to see how far it can go.  A roguelike should aim to be enjoyable role playing game, not torturing simulator of tedium and repetition.

Insisting on permadeath is quite pointless really, it's not like these people would actually refuse to play a game just because it has checkpoints or option to save. It's just emotional reaction, but they don't really mind. We could simply ignore them.

LazyCat

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2014, 08:14:42 AM »
Majority is stupid. If you want a game that aims at the biggest possible audience, then go play Candy Crush or Farmville.

It really goes like this: if you want no more than 100 people to ever play your game, then go ahead and make classic roguelike. And if you want no more than 10 people to ever complete your game, then go ahead and also enforce permadeath. The dilemma is primarily for developers, people don't really care, they simply will not bother.

rust

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2014, 09:42:59 AM »
It really goes like this: if you want no more than 100 people to ever play your game, then go ahead and make classic roguelike. And if you want no more than 10 people to ever complete your game, then go ahead and also enforce permadeath. The dilemma is primarily for developers, people don't really care, they simply will not bother.

Why should I bother about player base? If I'd charge money for a game, then it would be my priority to make it as accessible and straightforward as possible, but this is hardly a problem as most roguelikes are free. Also, I'd rather have 100 people playing my game regularly than 10000 people to complete it once and never come back, which would be the case in a game without permadeath.

Rickton

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2014, 11:59:06 AM »
This thread is a good exercise to see if we can come up with new ideas that work in randomly-generated games.
If the point of permadeath is getting players to go through new randomly-generated levels each time, what about restarting the "level" when you die, but it's randomly generated again, so you're not playing the exact same level. That also prevents the player from just endlessly trying the same situation until they luck into a solution, or scoping out the level before they die to know where the tough monsters are or the good loot is.
That seems like it could work as an "easy" mode that still lets some of the strengths of the roguelike shine through without being too frustrating, or without making it too easy.
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Endorya

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2014, 12:03:56 PM »
Fun is subjective, but if your goal is to make challenging game then you can't let your player save at will.  Checkpoints work, permadeath works better, but both are inherently punishing to some degree.

Fun may be a bit subjective, but there are certain things that most people find fun, and things that most don't.  Accomplishing a challenge can be fun, but so too can immersing oneself in a game's story, or building a character to see how well it performs, or exploring a world, or setting things in motion to see what happens.

And a challenging task isn't always fun.  It depends on the specifics.  This is what LazyCat is trying to say, but bowling is a bad example because you could spend your entire life bowling without truly mastering it.  The same can't be said of most turn-based tactical roguelikes.  If I play a permadeath roguelike many times, I actually might figure out all I need to know about early game tactics.  Even knowing the tactics, when I replay the game again I could still get careless and die.  You could say that makes the game more challenging.  But that challenge is just tedious.  It's not fun.  The fun part is learning the tactics of each individual fight, and implementing permadeath doesn't add to that part of the challenge.

Permadeath has its benefits.  It can allow the player to experience the wide array of randomly-generated content that a roguelike provides.  It can also create a sense of importance surrounding each move the player makes, and it can turn what would have been an easy game into an accomplishment to complete.  But sometimes, especially for games without random content, the tedium that comes with permadeath isn't worth those benefits.  In a game where you solve puzzles, it probably makes sense to allow saving at any point.  In a game with static content, well-placed checkpoints often make sense, and in a game with randomly-generated content, perma-death often makes sense.  But these are only guidelines, not necessarily the only way to create your game.  This thread is a good exercise to see if we can come up with new ideas that work in randomly-generated games.

Fully agreed. I actually have changed my view a little bit on permadeth being bound with full randomized content. Though I don't appreciate this combination I think I understand why it feels appealing for some people.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 01:17:22 PM by Endorya »
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Jaxian

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2014, 01:34:06 PM »
Randomness doesn't really justify wasting of time. I already invested five hours building my character, I want to see how far it can go.  A roguelike should aim to be enjoyable role playing game, not torturing simulator of tedium and repetition.

I don't believe that roguelikes should be lumped into the category of role playing games.  There is something great about random content generation a regular RPG cannot provide.  Where an RPG unfolds a pre-defined story to the player, a roguelike puts the player into a world where anything can happen.  Though permadeath can cause tedious re-playing of the same levels, it doesn't always.  The goal of a roguelike is to create enough variation that replaying parts doesn't feel tedious at all, that maybe the player is even thinking about the next run before the current one is complete.  But it is the job of designers to figure out where their game falls and to ask themselves which mechanics make sense for their game.

Jaxian

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Re: Permanent consequences for failure that aren't death
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2014, 01:51:37 PM »
If the point of permadeath is getting players to go through new randomly-generated levels each time, what about restarting the "level" when you die, but it's randomly generated again, so you're not playing the exact same level. That also prevents the player from just endlessly trying the same situation until they luck into a solution, or scoping out the level before they die to know where the tough monsters are or the good loot is.
That seems like it could work as an "easy" mode that still lets some of the strengths of the roguelike shine through without being too frustrating, or without making it too easy.

Sure, this would be a more roguelike version of checkpoints.  However, there would be less repetition of the levels compared to permadeath, meaning less chance to experience the game's random content.  Compared to a standard roguelike, maybe this solution would make sense for a game that has less to learn from repeated playthroughs, and either doesn't have as much random content or is long enough that the breadth of the content can be experienced through completing the game once.  There are many roguelikes that would be made extremely easy by allowing for restarting at the beginning of a level.  But instead of thinking of this as an "easy mode," I would try to make completing a level difficult so that the game presents a reasonable challenge (assuming you're creating a game where overcoming challenges is important to the fun).  It may also be important to verify that a level is never randomly super easy compared to the norm.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 01:55:35 PM by Jaxian »