Apr 8th 2011 3:56PM @Threecubed
So what you're saying is, that because the developers of these games have such a long and storied history of cannabalizism and incest, it should be tolerated for a minute longer?
Bioware and Blizzard are held apart - for some reason.
If we're going to treat some developers with distinction, SHOULDN'T THEY HAVE TO EARN IT?!
Bioware can do better than this. We should demand they aspire to MORE than just the same. We're certainly paying for more - and we're heaping more praise on them than others.
ME2 and DA2 were garbage compared to their predecessors - but the corporate logo blinds critics and the fanboys can't be convinced otherwise.
Gotta wake up.
Apr 8th 2011 1:04PM Way to go Bioware, stealing from World of Warcraft.
I know it's an MMO, and similarities will be the nature of the beast. But this is so apparently a rip-off from the elephant in the room - I mean what the crap.
My first thought on seeing the screencap: World of Warcraft IN SPACE.
What the crap Bioware, you guys used to be cool.
Mar 29th 2011 6:12PM I look at that Focus 4-door hatch, and my first thought was, "Oh hey, the Porsche Panamera's replacement... cool."
Then I saw it was a Ford. And I'm not certain how I feel about the striking resemblance.
Jan 22nd 2011 8:15AM World of Warcraft.
There are so many small, cheap gimmies that the dev's could have given the players, that cost the developers nothing, that they just haven't given.
Things like Warlock Green Fire, or a viable black caster cloak, or new dances, or any of a dozen small cosmetic changes. If they made the LOTRO feature of separating gear stats from gear appearance, there'd be cheers.
If they allowed players to rearrange the characters listed on the login screen, we'd be happier. If they did away with stupid respec costs, we'd be happier.
5,000 gold for Cold Weather Flying? Seriously? Why do players have to pay these stupid /timeplayed taxes? MAKE A BETTER GAME AND STOP PESTERING US!
Nov 19th 2010 11:22PM It isn't about a good car, then.
It isn't about Motor Trend compromising their journalistic integrity for politics.
It's about the idea.
I see. Let me know then when MT gets back to work and recommends a car worth buying, and not a car that will save Government Motors. If Toyota is on the brink of bankruptcy, will MT make the new Camry COTY just to prop them up too?
Nov 19th 2010 11:13PM Rush is accusing MT of making the Volt the COTY not because it's the best car, but because it's the best idea of a car.
The car itself is garbage. A $20,000 upgrade of a Chevy Cruze later, you get bragging rights that your car is better than a Prius (a real badge of honor).
This is the same issue that embroiled the Nobel Prize committee and President Obama - giving him the Peace Award just as he was getting started. The prize wasn't to award Obama because he'd done anything worth lauding - the award was a call to action.
This MT COTY award is a call to bring attention to the Volt - "Hey! This might be the next big thing 10 years from now!" The car isn't special. The idea is special. I think Rush is dead-on in that respect.
Nov 18th 2010 4:32PM The most important thing for me regarding Transformers is that when they're in Robot Mode, they retain the classic boxy look.
This Michael Bay nonsense with exposed circuits and techno bits is just plain sloppy construction. It's the same design philosophy that dictates female characters wear a chainmail bikini.
You know, I'm ready for a game that's sufficiently entertaining so that it doesn't have to dangle something shiny in front of me like a child.
Aug 20th 2010 2:21AM I disagree with many of the points made. Once a developer sits down with a pen and sheet of paper to brainstorm the enormity of the task ahead of them, and begins asking these questions out loud (with possibly a small audience to help you work it out), then it becomes clear the process of solving those problems is both intuitive and simple, just laborious.
I am creating my own tabletop RPG game. I'm the DM, and my group and I decided that since 4th ed sucks and 3.5 is bloated with supplementary material, it was time to start anew.
So let's narrow this mini conversation down to the points you brought up in your article: world design and the mobs/npc's that populate it. You asked some pretty simple questions. Answering them is also simple, once you understand the fundamentals that the game mechanics are based around.
How long should it take to level? However long it takes for the player to accomplish the goals that give them the resource (experience) needed TO level. How does the player gain experience? By killing mobs and completing quests. These are the only two ways to gain experience because game designers are lazy and don't want to take the time to do anything more than this - such as role-playing or interacting with characters - god forbid.
We'll use the staple 3.5 ed metric, that any given level should take about 15 combat encounters between levels. 15 is a completely arbitrary number, but so is whatever number the developers of whatever game decided for their game. For our game, 15 "encounters" will be actual mobs the player must kill. But these mobs must be of equal level, with +0.5% exp awarded to more difficult mobs and -0.5% awarded to easier mobs, per level difference (respectively).
The quest exp is extra, and basically ignored for the purposes of the calculation. The quest exp will just be extra padding that doesn't accomplish anything meaningful (meaning it's added on after the mob-exp is artificially lowered) because this is an MMO and by definition, a time-sink. The player must be "trained" to stay on the rails, and the game will punish the player by simply grinding.
So if a mob of the appropriate (equal to the player) level is worth (for example) 100 exp, then it should follow that 100x15 = 1500 exp to level. A mob of +1 level (which should be slightly more difficult to kill) would offer 105 exp. An easier mob (-1 level) would offer 95 exp.
To keep the player onto the rails of this mockery we laughingly call an RPG, we'll assign a player a quest. "Kill 10 rats." I'd like to point out, that even in the Cataclysm "Tall Tale" quest chain that's on the youtubes, you STILL have to kill 5 Rock Elementals. I'm ready for games to stop using these pointless kill X number of Y quests.
The Rats in particular will have their exp reduced to 50% of it's normal value and the lost difference will be made up in the quest exp reward. 10 Rats equals 2/3 of a level's worth of encounters. But the 1000 exp is reduced to 500 exp, and the quest will reward 500 exp too. The player still gets all their exp, but is being trained to stay on the rails of the game.
All the numbers fall into place as you begin answering your own questions. How fast should the mob attack? What types of spells or abilities should they have? Well, once again, it all depends on how lazy the developer is. I'm sure we've all seen our fill of mobs that are minding their own business, the player gets the first hit on them, then they stupidly trudge over and try to hit the player/ Really original and thrilling. Basically, the developer programmed the above coding one time, and then copy-pasted that same coding for however mobs they needed to fill the world with... filler. What is it, 99% of any given game's mobs are identical in every meaningful aspect? The only difference is art and numbers (health, attack speed, damage, damage reduction, etc).
Let's talk about health, attack speed, damage, and damage reduction! You decide that one class the player can play will attack very quickly, but for low damage. Another class will attack slowly, but for major damage. You have to be cognizant that both player's "miss" chance will be the same, unless you, the programmer, do something artificial to ensure the speedy class hits less. You similarly have to be aware that if the slow class misses, that miss is much more devastating to their dps than if the speedy class misses. Having high DR is less useful against the slow-attacking class, because the damage will be so high. But high DR will be better against the speedy class, because the attacks are for less damage and the DR will be working all the more often. So you first decide the gap in the spread, how different should the two classes be, then you design mobs with identical stats for those two classes to fight, you roll dice = to however many encounters you feel good about, and adjust accordingly. Then, after you've decided that it's ok for the player to be OP but not the mob, you make a spreadsheet showing every possible attack speed/damage combination that is appropriate to your rubric, you generate however many mobs based on that rubric you need for your world (having copies is ok), and then send a request to the art department for however many models you need.
Let's talk about players trying to min/max! If you're the speedy class, would you try to make yourself MORE speedy, or try to boost your damage (because you're already SO speedy)? Well, you've already done all the work on the mobs, figuring out what's appropriate for them (a mob of equal level shouldn't require more than 3 rounds of combat to defeat and shouldn't cost any "use-item" resources, my arbitrary rule) so then you just make those same decisions to determine the following:
How can a player increase his class's power? Talents, gear, buffs, use-items, etc.
To what extent are you going to allow your players to increase their character's power?
With those two questions answered, you make a decision as to how you're going to let your players enhance their characters power and then make a new spreadsheet, showing (yes, again) every possible combination, including a "wish list" of every possible buff a player can use to enhance their character. This is really, actually, very fundamental.
When developers (cough, GHOSTCRAWLER) complain they lost control of how powerful their game's players became, it's complete garbage. A developer has complete control of the game, and everything in the game. What with all the lawsuits Blizzard is fighting to protect the integrity of their game, I'd rather they let the pirates do their thing and just IMPROVE the game.
Seraphina, how can you proclaim that you're finally satisfied with any sort of RPG game you've made when you say the questions you've posed are hard? The only thing that's hard about them is doing the work of solving them. If you thought for 15 seconds what it takes to solve them, the problems, like any knot, unravel with time.
I imagine you're your group's DM, like I am mine. Maybe we DMs, by virtue of the circumstances we place ourselves in, think differently. I only struggle with inventing names, but even with that handicap, I found baby-name websites and printed out a list of 5,000 names from various cultures. When the party meets someone new, I just scan one of my lists and boom, instant named character.
The point of this little anecdote is that even with perceived handicaps, there are ways to work around them, clever solutions that are only waiting to be thought up.
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No, it is easy to make a game that is fun. Even the act of creating the game is not hard, just laborious. It's a lot of spreadsheets and calculations, letting the numbers work themselves out. Most of the job of making the game "fun" is proper presentation and confidence in the project.
BAD developers focus more on substance than style. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it is true. A video game is not a Dickens novel, it isn't a path to find inner meaning, it is a tool for fun. Just make it look good, sound good, and play easy, and it's done.
Answer me this, oh wise ones: what role playing sessions were your favorite - the ones where the game stopped while a player researched some minute detail in a source book, to make sure he was grappling the dragon properly, or the one where combat was loose and fast (make all combat rules the same, this isn't true in real life, but neither are dragons) and the story got on with itself?
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STILL TL, DR
It is easy to make a fun game. Developers stupidly over-work themselves, needlessly. Tetris is a simple game. Tetris is fun. Keep it simple, stupid.
Aug 1st 2010 11:22PM Well, that last comment was supposed to be sarcastic. I'm certain the developers at CCP aren't any more lazy than I am.
But that's the thing you see - if you're going to go through the trouble of making a game, you want to do it right. You don't want the game world littered with all your false-starts and half-projects. It looks sloppy. That's what I'm saying.