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Author Topic: Turning it up...  (Read 6843 times)

MaiZure

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Turning it up...
« on: March 02, 2008, 23:56 »

Hey all,

Long time Doom RL player and forum lost soul, Id like to throw some ideas out there.

This is actually more of collaborative idea list that me and a few other guys threw together. I wanted to shy away from the kitchen sink approach because everyone here has already suggested 1000 good ideas for uniques or challenge modes. This is more focused on fundamentals of why this game is great and how we can turn it up a notch (hopefully!)

The best feature of DoomRL (other than the fact thatits DOOM and its RogueLike ;) ) is the persistence. Meaning the more you play, the more your efforts carry over in to the next game, and the more you get out of itthe game is not a one shot deal. Im sure everyone here has been through the just one more gameone more rank at 3AM syndrome. The unlockables that came out a year ago were a great way to go. The best features will reinforce the idea: The more you play, the more you should want to play.

So lets get down to it
Gamers love performance metrics/measurements. Pick just about any game in any genre and its the performance metrics that people love to improve and show off. In DoomRL we love our frags, we love our ranks, we love the challenge modes we unlock, and we love the Post-Mortems (like all RL games). Gamers are statisticians in their own world!
Lets add a few dimensions of stats to DoomRL and from there we can add a host of new features (if practical). The goal here should tie the statistics back to the idea of a persistent game profile. We should want to improve them!

Some ideas include:

*Uniques/Artifacts discovered Each game already tracks the artifacts discovered in that game. Make this a profile variable for use in a future possible feature discussed below.

*Consecutive Kills A counter for each game that tracks the number of kills you have made without taking damage. Basically a badass metric that will complement a BFG user ;). When you take damage, the counter resets, but the highest number it ever reaches is saved and there should be a profile maximum.

*Weapon usage Track the weapons fired/used to determine favorite weapon at the end of every game. Make profile variables to determine how many times each weapon is tagged as a favorite across the careers of all our Doom marines.

*Level Upgrades Track which upgrades the player chooses at each level. For instance, my profile know how many times Ive chosen Eagle Eye. An example of a feature based on these stats is below.

*Levels Completed Simple variable to track how many levels the player has finished. Some gameplay enhancements can be based off of the number of levels the player has survived in total. This would probably not be directly reported to the player in any stats screen, but it would be reserved for longevity rewards.


Once we have all these metrics, we can translate them in to meaningful game enhancements beyond simply throwing the stats back to the player. Here are a few of the simple ideas:

*Add a new page to the profile of the character that lists the Uniques/Artifacts that they have discovered over their many lifetimes of marines. If they havent discovered any, then have a big list of ----Not Discovered---- spaces on that page. I know if I saw a big list of stuff I havent done yet, I would definitely keep playing until that list is filled out! Perhaps you could bring up the stats of each item IF you have discovered them as well

*To take the above idea furtherIf the game tracks that a player has discovered a particular unique many times (say 5) , then this artifact can be guaranteed to spawn in Hells Armory This would give the armory a more comprehensive purpose as well. Any player that has discovered the minigun 5 times is probably on his 600th game anyway and is reaching for the highest ranks/skill levels. This can help close the gap for advanced players who feel that the game gets ridiculously impossible to advance at a point.

*Medal system. If we have performance statistics, then medals are a good way to reward people who push the limits. Seriously, if someone score 30 consecutive kills as mentioned above, they should get a medal. A medal case can be another interesting screen in the player profile and would definitely be something we could share with others on the forum. Longevity medals can tie in with the levels completed statistic mentioned above. I know you guys can probably think of MANY different circumstances that deserve a medal (beating cybie in consecutive games, getting 100% kills, etc). Obviously Save-scumming will be an issue here.

*Favorites. Were now tracking favorite weapons and favorite level upgrades, so lets put this to use. Lets say a person has been tagged as having shotguns favorited 50 times over his career. At this point it would make sense that this marine should start with a benefit to using shotguns (say a faster reload or fire rate). This person is probably already an advanced rank and is trying to get to the top. Likewise anyone who has picked TaN as a level upgrade say 500 times (over 150 full games), should probably start the game with TaN level 1 from now on. There should be minimum standards to prevent someone from just leveling once and dying to pump up these stats.



Some of these ideas may put the game balance in question, especially when were talking permanent upgrades to new games. It seems like a good idea to reward players who continue to play over and over again. A lot of my friends out here confirm that the game bogs down or progression gets so slow that they stop playing until the new version comes outand even then they cant access new features because they cant seem to unlock them without resorting to save-scumming.

The whole idea here guys is to strengthen the ties between each individual game played to the game as a whole, much like when the rank/skill system was introduced. The more you play, the more you should be rewarded.

These are only a small list of the ideas but this post is getting waaay to long so please share your thoughts!

Cheers!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2008, 00:30 by MaiZure »
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tinyrodent

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2008, 05:48 »

I like some of these ideas. For me the game has started to lose its appeal because the remaining items to unlock are too difficult. If I could get a little boost from uniques in the armory, or starting traits, maybe it would not feel as though I had hit a wall.
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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2008, 08:51 »

Great suggestions!! As the game is @ version 0.9.8.9 already, I think they would be great development-finishers =)
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MaiZure

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2008, 10:16 »

I like some of these ideas. For me the game has started to lose its appeal because the remaining items to unlock are too difficult. If I could get a little boost from uniques in the armory, or starting traits, maybe it would not feel as though I had hit a wall.

That's definitely part of the idea! Building in the capability to add these and similar features in the future should the players or the author want to have a quick balance tweak. Capture these and other similar stats can definitely amplify the game experience without throwing in every single idea out there (NetHack circa 2003, anyone?)

Great suggestions!! As the game is @ version 0.9.8.9 already, I think they would be great development-finishers =)

Absolutely. These kinds of changes are best made in the closing stages of development - after the core elements are already in place.

These are just examples for everyone to think about. What other kinds of things can we track, and how can they lead to meaningful gameplay enhancements?
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Mr_Dead

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2008, 10:27 »

I like the ideas, but i'd like to point out two things,

Unique in Hell's Armory-No.  For one, its already a good place to visit, for the mods, armor, and ammo.  If done right you can also take very little or no damage to self in the process.  For two, not only would it definatly not take 600 games 'perhaps as few as 50' to find a particular unique 5 times, if it was a powerful one, it'd make it so that just to win all you'd have to do was reach Hell's Armory.

Favorites-Good idea, if it was only a slight improvement, but starting with extra traits is essentially the same as starting at a higher level, definatly causing a balance issue.
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MaiZure

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2008, 10:37 »

Unique in Hell's Armory-No.  For one, its already a good place to visit, for the mods, armor, and ammo.  If done right you can also take very little or no damage to self in the process.  For two, not only would it definatly not take 600 games 'perhaps as few as 50' to find a particular unique 5 times, if it was a powerful one, it'd make it so that just to win all you'd have to do was reach Hell's Armory.

Favorites-Good idea, if it was only a slight improvement, but starting with extra traits is essentially the same as starting at a higher level, definatly causing a balance issue.

Good points - These ideas are certainly balance changes targeted to advanced playerd who have paid their dues with many games. The end ideas, such as the number of games or the actual improvements, are up for debate. How many games should people be required to play to see these benefits? As tinyrodent pointed out, and through my own experience among my friends, people start hitting a wall at some point where the challenge becomes...a challenge. Now we don't want to create ways around the challenges, but we want to make sure that people keep trying! The more they try the more they should take away. It's a difficult task to balance

Ultimately these ideas are just a placeholder for everyone here at the forum to come up with new stat and enhancement ideas along these lines rather than coming up with more challenge modes. I wouldn't recommend just throwing those ideas up there with some serious research in how it affects gameplay balance.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2008, 10:48 by MaiZure »
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tisiphone

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2008, 15:57 »

I like most of the ideas, especially the medal one. It would be quite fun to have a couple joke medals like cannon-fodder where X of your games havent got past level 2 and so on.

The thing I dont like though is the Hells Armory for the same reason as mentioned before and Favourites idea.  One problem I see with favourites is that if a player goes for the same stats over and over again and then gets killed he should be encouraged to change his stats. And even if it works for the player you should still be encouraged to mix things up once in a while. Being able to play through the game in more then one way is, in my eyes, a very good way to prolong the replay factor of the any game. Secondly, Im not sure how good it is an idea to give a player that is in theory very experienced an extra, guarantied, in-game bonus. Just doesnt seem logical that someone who has played as many as say 600 games needs a leg up over a player that hasnt...

As an alternative idea I would prefer are: after X games you would get a special special level where you could get a unique reward not available to other players or you got a special monster generated with a special reward for people who played X games.
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Kornel Kisielewicz

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2008, 02:15 »

I generally like this idea, but I'd need more fleshed out ideas, because balance here IS an issue. I was a great fan of all the "general" medal things.
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MaiZure

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2008, 02:37 »

I generally like this idea, but I'd need more fleshed out ideas, because balance here IS an issue. I was a great fan of all the "general" medal things.

Sounds like it's open season to start throw in ideas along these lines and refining them.

Lists of possible medals should be easy for everyone to come up with. I'll post some over the next few days.
The other items that challenge the balance are do-able...if we tread lightly.

More to come!
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Dawgas

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2008, 13:37 »

Something like uniques in hell's armory could be a good thing - but it should be randomish: no crappy uniques like FUCKING BUTCHER'S CLEAVER STOP FUCKING SHOWING UP GODDAMN FUCK FUCK FUCK FUUUUUUCK
also

Medal ideas:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Also, how about a BLADE difficulty, that would be fun... and by fun I mean FUCK YOU KORNEL WHY IS THIS SO HARD YET WHY DOES THIS FEEL SO GOOD
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Malek Deneith

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2008, 15:35 »

Stop whinning - Butcher's Cleaver isn't THAT bad... I actually killed Arachs with it once while playing Ao100 to conserve ammo.
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Dawgas

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2008, 16:48 »

It's a melee weapon - yes it is

My whining is quite justified.
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MaiZure

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Re: Turning it up...
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2008, 14:33 »

Thanks the feedback so far. Theres definitely a lot of issues with balance change ideas so I wanted take a step back and get more info on it before I throw out some solid solutions.

The opinion of the group I play DoomRL with is that the balance is almost perfect. An experienced player will always be challenged to defeat Cybie. Plus theres so many different styles and techniques to win. Awesome job on that, Kornel & company!

The other side of the coin is the balance outside of a single game of DoomRL. The addition of the skill/rank system gives a game tons of replayability everyone keeps playing games to up those ranks and unlock more challenges, etc. Unfortunately, the balance outside of a single game seems to break down somewhere around the Cacodemon Captain or Major level (no scumming). There is a point where players just pack it in and say Ill just wait for the next version. Now, were mostly casual Doomers and not hardcore players. I know most of the people on this forum are probably the other way around so I ask you: Do you actually consider this a problem?

***Stop reading here if you think this isnt problem and just give this a nay!

The skill/rank system is obviously not a core element of the game, since it didnt even exist in the early versions. It is just a support for the actual game of defeating the demons of hell. So it doesnt necessarily NEED to be changed. Actually, its probably a good teaser for the hardcore players to keep chipping away at the next ranks.

The casual players who have already beaten Cybie once or twice generally stop playing because each successive game gives them less return on getting to the next rank. It takes more games to get the promotion results people want. These guys usually show up here on the forum and say WHAT THE FUCK! ITS TOO HARD!and they disappear forever, or until the next version comes out. So this stuff lead to my original post at the top here with some suggestions. Some of them are informational-only incentives to keep playing. Others affect balances changes of the already perfect game for those who have reached this point.

So to jump to the end hereIf the answer to the question up top is Yes, then there are really six ways to approach it.

1.   Reduce the requirements for all those ranks above a certain point (Boring!)
2.   Add more milestones in between the existing ranks for players to aim for.
3.   Increase the reward of the higher ranks (Are there any real rewards anyway?)
4.   Push the gameplay balance in favor of players after a certain point (This allows them to get more out of a single game and play more games faster).
5.   Inverse of #4 Reduce the balance in favor of the monsters (huh? ;) )
6.   Ban me from the forum to stop these huge posts!

My original balance-altering suggestions fell in to category 4, because most people are willing to keep trying harder to earn concessions. I mean the whole idea here is to keep em coming back. I believe that balance can be shifted towards the player after theyve put In serious time. It can be done without breaking the game!

So lets hear more from the hardcore DoomRLers, and the devs on if theyre willing to hear some actual concrete ideas instead of generalizations, chatter, analysis, and theories ;).
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