DOUBLE TOPIC DEBATE: 1.TEAM PROJECTS? & 2. CUSTOM BATTLE SYSTEM IDEA

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So I had double the topics, instead of making two seperate ones back to back, I figured I'd just squeeze them together in this one. For opinions, criticism or debate.

My first topic is team projects.. I've been working with Rpgmaker 2k and 2k3 for like.. 5 or 6 years now and (sadly) don't have much to show for it aside from some good memories and some cheesy scrapped projects that never got to see the light of day and countless CBS ideas, some even coded until I lost interest. My problem seems to be that I refuse to settle for using the DBS (although I do find that most indie rpg creators actually make it work and fun, I do enjoy playing it, but I can't seem to find a way to make it work for me or my projects that leaves me satisfied with where I'm going with it.) so I aim for CBS, CMS and custom sprites and chipsets, music and so on. However, by the time I get so far into one angle of the project, the rest becomes overwhelming and I lose my motivation. I love programming battle systems and challenging myself and trying to come up with creative and new ideas on storylines/characters or systems in general, But I usually overload myself with graphics and new ideas I want to apply and I end up empty-handed. I just can't seem to settle for anything. Thats not to say I'll never finish anything, or that I completely lack motivation, but RPG's seem to plague me because my mind wants something bigger than I myself, alone, can do. Usually.

ANYWAY, I've read on most rpg maker boards that team projects usually fail from the start for whatever reasons. What is it that dooms said projects? I'm curious, cause in my opinion I think these would actually work out better because you could have various people working on different aspects of the RPG, soneone good at spriting working on battle sprites and animations ONLY, a mapper working on chipset graphics and/or mapping itself, a programmer working on the battle system and menu, etc. I would enjoy working on a part of a team, I think. The only thing that would make it risky is if as a graphic artist or composer or whatever role, if you did a lot of the work and the main programmer backed out or cancelled the game, leaving you with all of this hard work you had put in for it to not even see any real in-game time. Which does make it kind of unsettling to think about, but I still think a group project has more of a chance being finished than a solely made RPG (RPG's especially. Though for those who HAVE made and completed an rpgmaker rpg game by themselves, hat's off to you. Much respect for the work put in.) Anyways, Opinions? Anyone interested in this sort of thing?

Second off- A CBS idea that I'm really interested in programming (or trying to ^_^) but I wanted some opinions and criticism/ideas (always helps the motivation by getting your idea's heard. =])

The battle system features a 3 person party, turn based (order is based on Agility stat, compared to enemies as well.) Instead of standard commands in battle, you have up to 10 equippable slots per character to equip new actions/abilities/commands. There is also no general "Attack", but rather different versions of it (like a swordsman would have Slash, Slice, Impale, etc. each doing different amounts of damage.)

The player gets to use up to 3 commands during a turn for that character, creating a "String". All moves and abilities use up Stamina Points, of which each character has a max of 10. At the beginning of a characters turn, he or she recovers 3sp. So if you use a string that uses up 5 of your 10sp, you will get 3 of it back the next turn, leaving you with 8 to work with.

There are different kinds of commands, moves like break (might be called something else in the game, but yeah.) would shatter the defense of the enemy, allowing any extra hit following it to deal more damage. So you would want to use it first, so that the following two hits of the string will deal more damage.

Magic would work by "prepping" for higher level spells. By casting the same spell in a row, it will gradually get stronger each time. However, if you break the chain, it will lose its strength. Example: String of 3 commands = Fire, Fire, Fire. It will actually be casted and used as Fire, Fira and finally Firaga. But if you used your commands like this: Fire, Slash, Fire, Then it would just be played like that, since Slash broke the chain of Fire spells.

So if the player wanted a character to be a strong Black mage, they would have to equip the right spells they want them to use (like for the example above, in order to use Firaga, you would have to equip 3 basic fire spells out of your 10 battle command slots.)

More moves could be learned to combo with eachother as well, like as the same example; (once learned) Fire, Fire, Slash, would combo together to become Fire, Fira, Flame Slash (or something of that nature. lol) etc.

And finally, each command will have (or the player can add to) stat bonuses. Like adding a "break" (as explained above) effect to a normal move like Slash, or adding poison, etc. Or a stat bonus that will store the current string, allowing the second character to play off of it. Like, character 1 uses Slash (with break), Slash, Fire, (and that fire command store's the current string) then character 2 uses Fire, Fire, Ice. So it ends up being a 6-hit string, dealing massive damage. It would chain up like; Slash/Break (breaking the enemy defense for all following moves in this single string), Fire, Fira, Firaga, Firaga, Ice.

There are more ideas and things to add/flesh out, but thats the bulk what it would work with.

<_< Annnyway, whew.. That was a lot to type. If you read through all of that, I thank you for your time. :) Thanks for giving this a read, and for anyone who replies.
So I had double the topics, instead of making two seperate ones back to back, I figured I'd just squeeze them together in this one. For opinions, criticism or debate.


wait why
I like your custom battle system idea.

This thread is actually a triple debate topic:
1. Team Projects
2. Custom Battle System
3. Whether or not you should have multiple debate topics :P
You'll find the topic will really quickly swing to one of those three points(or a different point) and then never really change.

Team projects are a lot of work and your battle system could be interesting.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Team projects fail for the same reason solo projects fail: the developer loses interest. However with a team project the chances of this are increased with each team member. If even one person quits, the project fails. You can try to replace them, but it almost never works; one person quitting will cause other members of the team to lose motivation, causing a domino effect.

So it's simple math. If you have a 50% of abandoning a solo project before it's finished, then with two people that's a 75% chance that someone will abandon it. With three people it's an 87.5% chance that the project gets scrapped. You might think that each person's individual chance of quitting is lower in a group project because they don't have to do the parts they dislike, but that's not actually the case. I mean, it's true they don't have to do the parts they dislike, but they're more likely to be the kind of person who would quit a project when they got demotivated - that's often why they want to join a team project in the first place. As evidence, I submit the OP. So it balances out, more or less, to usually being not much better chances per person, and thus worse chances overall.

I'll comment on the battle system later, I guess. This post is pretty long.
Darken - Oringinally I didn't have a 'whole' lot to say about the team project part, so I felt it wasn't enough to merit a topic by itself. Then I got to typing and was like, well.. I guess I have more to say about it than I thought lol.. I was just curious to everyone's view on team projects vs solo projects.

That makes a lot of sense.. I never really thought of it like that, but I completely see your point LockeZ. >_>

LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
I'll note that if your team consists of two or three people who have known each-other for a long time before they started making the game, the chance of the project succeeding increases tremendously, because you feel like way more of a douchebag for letting your friends down.

Also, it helps if you actually have opposing pet peeves of which parts of game design you strongly dislike. I've been working on a project with a friend - it's really his project. The things he loves most are doing game mechanics and difficulty balancing, and the things he hates most are cut scenes and graphics. Meanwhile the things I love most are doing cut scenes and boss fights, while the things I hate most are graphics and scripting. I've helped make him a few maps, and amused myself by tossing cut scenes into them, but he thinks FF1 has too much dialogue and story, so who knows whether the scenes'll actually make it into the final version. Sadly, due to our mutual disdain for graphics in general, the game keeps stalling. It needs more maps, and probably more skill animations, and neither of us is making them.
A less negative way of phrasing the above is that you should have different strengths. But at the same time, you need to have a common goal.
well, I think one of the main reasons why project fails is the lack of communication and that you should always have backup plans. For example, let's say you have :

1.) the team developer (you)
2.) programmer
3.) artist
4.) composer
5.) writer

let's just say this is how it is for a basic thing. As the team developer, I think you need to be a Jack of All Trades. People hate working under a guy who doesn't even know a thing about the engine they're working or not even attempting to. What I mean by this is that you could at least:

a.) make/edit pixels or make the artist do a simple style enough that even you can do.
b.) can program decently enough to standalone on your own and make the programmer comment on his works so you won't have a hard time looking over it.
c.) can compose/know royalty free music sites and have backups for that
d.) Can actually write your own even if it's not the best out there or make the base stories and just discuss it with the writer to add in more ideas.
e.) you should also be self-motivated and keep your team motivated. Nobody wants to work as only asset makers.
f.) keep them involved with your project, leaving them out makes them feel like they're just your tools.
g.) don't be a perfectionist, nothing annoys an artist more than making them change little by little pixels that isn't that noticeable at all.
h.) Don't ever disregard your team members' feelings, I saw this happen a lot of times even to myself that I swore that I will never ever help this person again or even if I do, I always have this "I look down on you" attitude. Some examples include replacing them without saying, changing their work without permission and so on and so forth.
i.) last but not the least, at least say, "THANK YOU" and give credit. Makes us feel special and rewarded at least.

I've been involved with a lot of team projects and these seems to be the number one problems that I encountered. I'll comment on your battle system idea later =v=)b
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Solid89:
Regarding the battle system, I really like that method of handling stamina. Assuming it refills after each battle, one caveat is that you need to make sure all battles last long enough that stamina matters - it shouldn't be something that only matters for a handful of boss battles, it should be a major component of combat. This means your non-boss battles will probably be 6-8 rounds or longer. This means you probably want to have far fewer non-boss battles per dungeon than a game where every battle takes only 1-3 rounds.

If you're not recovering stamina after every battle, disregard the above, I guess.

You may want to consider an idea used in the SaGa Frontier series, where energy works very similar to how you describe, except there are two types, physical energy and magical energy, and different skills use different ones - so even if your warrior is at 0 physical energy, he can still use a magic skill if he spent one of his skill slots on it. Not saying this is better or worse than the simpler method, but it is an option. You might even use it for just one special character.



author=Pokemaniac
A less negative way of phrasing the above is that you should have different strengths.

No, that's not the same thing at all. That was my whole point. We do have different strengths. But we have one of the same weaknesses. And that is the problem. There are parts of game design I really enjoy and there are parts I don't mind. In both of those cases, I'll do it. Whether I really enjoy it or not will affect the quality of that part of the game, but it won't affect whether I finish it. However, there are parts of game design I can't stand doing. Those are the parts that make me quit working on the game. This seems almost tautologically true.

If you want your game to be the best quality, get team members who have different strengths. If you want your game to have the best chance of getting finished, get team members who have different weaknesses.
author=LockeZ
If you're not recovering stamina after every battle, disregard the above, I guess.

Actually, he has to make it so that you recover stamina after every battle. Since you recover stamina every round, not refilling it after every battle just leads to the good old "leave one enemy alive and then defend" strategy (also see almost every VX game that allows you to recover SP by defending.)

Anyway, another caveat is that this system puts more pressure on making battles actually fun. Since the characters execute three actions per turn, it will take more time to resolve a turn. Forming different strings has to be meaningful. If it's as simple as "fire weakness = input fire + fire + fire," you may as well save the player some time and just give them one action to input firaga into.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Yeah, I'm not crazy about fire+fire+fire. I actually feel like it should work the opposite way - fire should get weaker with each time you use it in the same round. If it's already the best element, it doesn't need another reason to be stacked - it needs a reason to not be stacked, so that the player has a more interesting choice to make. This also works well with giving each element a different side-effect.

So, say, the first Fire spell might deal 150% damage to a fire-weak enemy, and randomly inflict burn. After using it once, do you use it a second time for 125% damage and a reduced chance to inflict burn, which is probably already inflicted by that point anyway and thus redundant? Or do you follow it up with Ice for a slowing effect or Bio for a poison effect, which only deal 100% damage? For that second hit, I can see it going either way - there are situations where any of the above would be useful. For the third attack, where Fire probably only does 110% damage or so, the dynamics of the choice change again, generally making 3x Fire only really good if the enemy is close to death or can't be inflicted with any more ailments.

I'm definitely all for pros and cons when choosing abilities in combat, not just when choosing which ones to equip. From the way you described the goals of your stamina system, it sounds like you probably are too. If so, something like this might end up much closer to what you find fun.
While I don't use a stamina system, Necropolis' battle system doesn't have an "Attack" command and you combo together three moves to unleash a finisher attack. I don't have a defense-reducing attack, but I have similar effects. Rend causes bleed, Lacerate does bonus damage against enemies that are bleeding--shit like that. I also only have a single character instead of a party because I felt like managing combo points on multiple members is a headache.
That sounds like it has the potential to be an interesting battle system. I think you could extend on it by having elemental magic alter not just other spells of the same element but interact with other elements too. Maybe have ice cast immediately after fire turn into water. Of course, that may depend on how many base elements you want to have.
Thanks for the feedback and suggestions! :]

Stamina would most definitely always start at max (unless a special condition caused it not to, like a story-related reason or a possible post-battle status effect.)

I really like that idea though from SaGa Frontier, I never actually got to try any of those games. Using two forms of energy, kind of like MP and SP. This would add more strategy IMO because you would have to find a good set of moves to utilize both and not always rely on one or the other. Thanks for the suggestion. ^_^

Using this idea of a command system though, It wouldn't (at least in my mind) simply be finding the weakness and exploiting it as in Fire+Fire+Fire, but using different strings to break an enemy down defensively and hurt them. My idea though is that you gain commands as you do equipment or such, like in game you could find a Fire command and equip it to one slot to one character. So finding and using 3 fire slots on one character would call for a reward in battle, as in being able to cast Firaga. It kind of makes the player think too like, Do I really want to use 3 of 10 command slots just to cast Firaga on an enemy? Or should I try to work with 2 fire slots and use Fira, leaving that extra empty slot for another command? I would also want it where different strings actually work, instead of being like you can't beat a certain boss just because the player didn't grind to obtain 3 Fire slots (for example) on one character to cast the best fire spell. I'm hopeing it would give the player a feel of customization to where they could find a command setup and battle style that works for them and helps them beat enemies and bosses effectively.

Between three characters, the player has 30 slots. Using three slots for Fire is not that much. Granted, if the Fire, Fira, Flame Slash combo does comparable damage with the Firaga combo, the player may go with that one instead since it yields more flexibility.

Anyway, your system does not naturally lead to more strategy. It's up to you making it so that it does.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
I suppose it requires trying out the idea to really find out if the combo moves are too powerful. It depends how many other moves are actually useful. You could easily need to use 4-6 of the skill slots per player just for healing and status effects, which would make the remaining skill slots more valuable.

If it works fine with the Firaga idea, then keep, it; if it becomes too easy to do and becomes the best choice almost every time you have to attack, keep my suggested solution in mind.
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