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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    17

    Alternative take on game mechanics

    So watching class 4 and how it ran around in circles set me thinking.

    Designing the stats and then fitting a game around them is going about it the wrong way. We need a game first and then find the stats (if any) to make it work.

    So a couple of questions first:
    - What do we want combat to play like? A traditional target-damage-pause system (WoW et al), pseudo turn based combat (MUD style), FPS with twitch aiming, something new?
    - How much emphasis will be on single combat vs group combat?
    - Crafting will be? Get resrouces, click done, or something more puzzle based? Do crafted items have quality or are they all the same?
    - Will there be social skills (I know some of us have to fake that ), perhaps related to factions. PvP social skills?

    Once we have some of THESE answers I think it would be easier to get some workable simulations that might involve some stats

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    So here is some of my ideas for answering the questions above.

    Instead of making combat a single person click fest, lets take the lesson from WoW and skip straight to the fun part of group combat (PvE and instances). You are assigned skills based on your role in the current combat group and what "quest" they are doing. You get experience per "instance". This would allow us to balance things in a much more granular way (per quest/instance).
    Combat proceeds in the traditional target-damage-pause way but the the skills associated with the role you picked in the group. Experience gained improves cool down times and damage dealt. Outside the group the experience counts towards unlocking further group activities.
    This system places less emphasis on personal equipment, which may or may not be a good thing. One way to work this would be to allow personal equipment to dictate which roles you can pick. If you dont have a war hammer you dont get to pick the role of the basher. You get to pick your load out appropriate for the role or you are given some basic equipment that is adequate but not the best, for the duration.

    PvP single combat could be arena based or based on a duel system where combatants get to choose their weapons at the start, again using "instanced experience" and making balance easier.

    As for crafting, I prefer something less grindy than "find X of Y, clidk and you have a Z". Ingredients with either attributes or qualities that need to be combined in specific ways that allows some creative overlap or substitutions sound more interesting. For example, to make a dagger you need a blade, some wood and some leather. The blade can be any blade and determines a large part or the final quality. Which wood you use and which leather allows for some quality boosts and ability modifications. (dragon leather feels different when holding it than say cow leather)

    Social skills opens up some interesting areas. Instead of simply making some one like me more, how about skills that make some one like some one else less (PvP). How about something with more depth than "you are in good standing with faction X". Something along the lines of "We heard from X (who we trust) that you have done Y (quest) and we like that, We will tell others of this too" You might have lied to X about doing Y however.. or some one else might have told X that you did Y. How about some mechanism where certain things you would want to keep secret (other than simple "stealing is bad") A bit more of a hierarchical social network might be fun, especially if there are multiple people trying to manipulate it at the same time (think corporations and the relationships between them and the way they gossip)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
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    100
    Right now, the only one of these I can really say I have a strong opinion on would be the targeting system. Personally I don't really like the WoW targeting system (even though I have played for 6 years) or the similar system that is used in most MMO's. Were you select your target, and as long as you have the proper amount of hit rating, you just don't miss him. Personally, I would prefer to have something more FPS like, such as the system that was used in Tabula Rasa while it was around (RIP <3). I find it sort of silly, too see you shooting a Arrow at a creature, and if it moves, instead of you missing. It curves on a 90 degree arc, and somehow still hits the creature you were aiming for?

    While obviously, some small amount of assistance would be needed, perhaps based on some stat similar to hit rating to make sure you don't miss every single shot.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Brisbane, Australia
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    The problem with twitch style mechanics in a MMO is lag really effects the ability to hit anything. If we are having huge open worlds this would become even more prevalent, let alone large number raids.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2007
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    It really depends on how it is coded, and of course server loads and calculations. I will do some research and see if I can find out how they did it for Tabula Rasa and Planet Side, as this is how they both worked. Of course, I know with TR the game had a fair amount of built-in help to hit creatures and aiming correction.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    In space
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeepFreezZA
    We need a game first and then...
    Okay. Define "game" for me first, at least from your perspective, so I know where you're coming from, exactly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Ely, UK
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    There is a difference between game mechanics and gameplay elements, the kinds of things you are suggesting all fall under the purview of gameplay elements. I do however see your point in wanting to drive the mechanics via their intended use; this is indeed desirable, yet it can be a rather foolish approach (very much in the way the high levels of player choice and customizability, you want to let your players make any choice they want, but if you let them have entirely free reign they may create a situation where they make continuing impossible).

    The purpose of developing from a mechanics up is that you create a list of things you can do, and a list of things you can very much not do to work from. Its doesn't matter how cool a gameplay element might be, if it can't be done then its not going to happen. I'm not saying that doing the reverse and working from the top down would require an system to complex to code, however it would probably need to be built with some many exceptions, rules etc that it would be very difficult to code and for the player to understand. I am aware that the system I devised is quite complex and, at the moment, lacking in detail. However this is what we need. We don't need to know all the equations, just the basic maths of the situation. I feel it would save time and effort with almost no repercussions on the gaming experience.

    My intention from the start of the mechanics discussion was to outline a basic framework in which characters would exist, how that framework is used is very much up for interpretation and is, frankly, all in the presentation.

    TLDR; It's easier to make stuff when you know what tools your working with.


    - What do we want combat to play like? A traditional target-damage-pause system (WoW et al), pseudo turn based combat (MUD style), FPS with twitch aiming, something new?
    - How much emphasis will be on single combat vs group combat?
    Twitch aiming is right out. Lag is a real issue in this case but not the main reason I disprove of it. There are plenty of FPS games that exist in a pseudo MMO state. CoD:MW2 and TF2 are a persistent world away from it. I also feel that people don't play an MMO for the twitch aiming experience (not saying it wouldn't be popular however).

    - Crafting will be? Get resrouces, click done, or something more puzzle based? Do crafted items have quality or are they all the same?
    This has no real effect on a game mechanics, at least at this point.

    - Will there be social skills (I know some of us have to fake that ), perhaps related to factions. PvP social skills?
    I would have to give a loud and resounding no here. (sorry for the following rant, I despise the concept of social skills in RPGs)

    Let me explain that one a bit. This is an MMO, an MMORPG none the less. From the RPG side I can see a point to social skills and abilities in some cases, they can be useful in cases where players can't come to an agreement via roleplaying or with characters who posses special mind bending abilities, e.g. Vampires in World of Darkness. The need for social skills in computer based RPGs has grown as you can't get into massive roplaying arguments with your computer, it has only the responses its programmed with. They are a necessary evil to create a realistic world for the player. A MMORPG removes the need for these to a point, you have the human element back again.

    The closest thing to social skills for me would be, as you say, factions. NPCs should respond to you dependent on how much they like or dislike you. However these are world enchasing effects and not abilities effecting how the character acts IN MECHANICS. Special mind bending abilities effects can be done by quite simple changes to the mechanics system.

    I know that came over very negative however I do see your point and agree with you theoretically, in fact I often go about starting a new tabletop RPG in a similar way. Having an idea of what game elements I want to have and selecting from an array of systems the one that best fits. My point here however is that with something as complex as a computer game you require a bespoke system complex enough to be allow for game elements while being simple enough to produce, and in the case of an MMO, for the players to understand and predict.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    17
    Quote Originally Posted by Zak View Post
    Okay. Define "game" for me first, at least from your perspective, so I know where you're coming from, exactly.
    I am a Sid-Meierian in this regard. A game largely consists of a series of interesting choices with interesting and significant consequences.
    In the context of the discussion it means what the player DOES to affect the world. How she affects the world state shared with the other users.
    The current approach is to define the world state and how it is simulated first and then we will figure out how the user interacts with it. This is of course a valid approach and probably simplifies how the world is simulated, but I think we might miss some opportunities for innovation

  9. #9
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    Jun 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by NATO_chrisjm View Post
    There is a difference between game mechanics and gameplay elements, the kinds of things you are suggesting all fall under the purview of gameplay elements.
    Ok, just to make sure I have the terminology right
    Game Mechanics are how we simulate the world state (including players and current actions)
    Gameplay Elements are how the user interacts with this simulation. What she sees on the screen and where the clicking happens.

    but if you let them have entirely free reign they may create a situation where they make continuing impossible).
    I agree completely. Users are sneaky that way My argument is not to give them infinite choice, but that we should use the way we want players to interact with the world to guide how we ultimately build that simulation.
    Point in case. NO FPS (with which I totally agree btw) If we wanted FPS interaction we would have to build the simulation differently. The design choices for our simulation excludes some game play choices.

    Its doesn't matter how cool a gameplay element might be, if it can't be done then its not going to happen.
    True, we can want an infinite number of skills or the ability to create real chemical reactions but that is simply not going to happen HOWEVER... if we wanted those things for valid game play reasons (the experience we want the player to have) we might find a simulation to fake it.
    Again it might be useful to think of what we want the player to experience and find a simulation for it that is viable.

    We don't need to know all the equations, just the basic maths of the situation. I feel it would save time and effort with almost no repercussions on the gaming experience.
    I am not so sure about the lack of repercussions.
    Example: The devised system assumes that stats are inherent to the player. What about a system where stats are inherent in the equipment instead, or the situation/quest? We choose to have player stats because it fits what we want the player to experience....
    The system as discussed has some implied choices for how the player interacts with the world. I just think it would be useful to make those implied choices explicit


    I would have to give a loud and resounding no here. (sorry for the following rant, I despise the concept of social skills in RPGs)
    Social skills between players in a game are an abomination. It makes NO sense whatsoever. Even in pen and paper RPGs it simply spoils the fun to tell some one "you are now happy".

    The closest thing to social skills for me would be, as you say, factions.
    My point here is that it might be interesting to expand on the idea of simple factions. Make it a "hearts and minds" battle field.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
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    Reading things like this threads gives me the idea that the 3dbuzz MMO gameplay mechanics concepts are already there or maybe NATO it's defending his ideas knife-in-teeth.

    What ever this is right or not, the gameplay discussion is getting a little messy for me. It looks like a perpetual brainstorming but I don't know if there's someone dividing good ideas from bad ideas, or maybe is not public yet.

    The thing is when I post an Idea or something I'm not sure if I'm in the right track or in a whole different ballpark.

    BTW, there's also like two sides in this discussion, the hardcore MMORPG who wants something along with the MMOs standards (like you need a stat system, and a level table, and point and clic mechanic, etc) and the NO MMORPG club (president: Nelson) who wants something quite different of the WoWish MMORPGs. Maybe this is something good for the brainstorming sessions but like a heard in the last meeting both bands are not getting any close to each other not even trying to consider at least one idea of the other. Its like a deaf discussion.

    Sorry if I'm completly wrong, but those are my sensations, I'm new to 3dbuzz but I'm already a big fan of this class and everyone in here, so I could be saying just nonsenses.

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