LOCKEZ'S PROFILE

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.
5958
The Unofficial Squaresoft MUD is a free online game based on the worlds and combat systems of your favorite Squaresoft games. UOSSMUD includes job trees from FFT and FF5, advanced classes from multiple other Square games, and worlds based extremely accurately upon Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and Final Fantasies 5, 6, and 7. Travel through the original worlds and experience events that mirror those of the original games in an online, multiplayer format.

If a large, highly customized MUD, now over 10 years old and still being expanded, with a job system and worlds based on some of the most popular console RPGs seems interesting to you, feel free to log on and check it out. Visit uossmud.sandwich.net for information about logging on.
Born Under the Rain
Why does the jackal run from the rain?

Search

Randomizers

How many of you know what a randomizer mod is? It's a version of a video game - usually a mod or a romhack of an older game - where a bunch of the content is shuffled at random. For example, the Final Fantasy 1 Randomizer shuffles the contents of all the game's treasure chests, the spells that are available at each spell level, the inventory of every shop in the game, and the status effects used by enemies. The Legend of Zelda Randomizer creates random new dungeon layouts with random rooms and random enemies, shuffles item locations, and also shuffles the locations of dungeon entrances with shops, old men, and other random caves.

Different games choose different things to randomize, but the basic idea is the same - create replay value by creating a different experience every time, and create a fresh experience by making sure the player doesn't quite know what to do despite their familiarity with the game. In many cases this will get people who enjoyed the game to play it one or two more times, because it'll feel like playing the game for the first time again. In a few cases this can get certain types of players to play the game over and over.

There's usually a pretty low focus on being a "good" game every time. For example a lot of the time in the Legend of Zelda Randomizer you can find the Triforce piece in the first room of a dungeon, and the boss will only drop the compass, which does nothing but tell you the boss location. Players seem pretty forgiving of this sort of thing since they realize it's not how the game was meant to be played. So it's much less effort than making, say, a roguelike.

About three months ago I made a randomizer for one of my own games, the Unofficial Squaresoft MUD. I'm wondering how many other people have made, or considered making, randomizers for their own games. Why or why not? Is this something that indie games should try to do more? Is it something you'd be interested in as a player?

Also, from a technical standpoint, I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with doing this in RPG Maker, or any clever ideas of how to go about doing so.

[Mafia!] Write one paragraph of erotic fanfiction about the person you're lynching - Predictably Cancelled

BASIC RULES IN EFFECT:

1. Do not share any PMs from the moderator. Your private messages must be kept secret. You may describe what was in them, but directly quoting any portion of them will result in mod-kill.

2. The game is divided into day phases of (at least) 48 hours and night phases of 24 hours. Some day phases may be longer. There will be no talking on the main thread during night phase, except for the person who cast the hammer vote, who is allowed to write and post erotic fanfiction. Members sharing private chats may talk in their private chat at any time.

3. No talking to other players about the game outside of Mafia, and NO PMING! You can PM me, but that's it. Obviously, the no PM rule is on the honor system but if I find out, there will be consequences.

4. Each day, players discuss who is most likely to be mafia and vote for one person to be voted off of the game. Voting follows standard rules. Votes are to be presented in the thread, using the following format: #Lynch lockez. If you for any reason you change your mind, use the following tag: #Cancel A lynch is successful when more than half of the players vote for the same person, or when the day period ends. If there is a tie when the day ends, no lynch will occur.

5. Each night, scum will tell me who they want to kill, and other players will use their powers and items. Scum will have their own private chatroom to discuss who to kill.

6. You must post daily. If you're not talking, you're not playing the game. If you're not playing the game, then why are you here?

7. No editing posts. Only the moderator may edit his posts, and he can also edit you right into the grave if you break this rule too many times. However, double-posting is allowed in this topic.

8. No dead posting. If you're dead, you're dead.


ADDITIONAL RULES:

1. Any player making a HAMMER VOTE must write a minimum of one paragraph of erotic fanfiction about the person being lynched having some form of sexual relations with one or more fictional characters. A hammer vote is the final killing vote that causes a person to be lynched by majority vote. This fanfiction can be posted after the hammer vote, any time before the end of the night phase. The erotic fanfiction can be extremely bad. Quality is not enforced or expected. In fact, the stupider it is, the better.

2. You waive your rights to decency. By joining this game, you agree to allow someone in this thread to write a story about you getting raped to death by Scooby Doo. If you don't want that to happen, either don't join this game, or make sure you survive to the end.



To join the game, respond in the thread and say you're willing to join.

Once we get enough people, I will be sending out PMs to each player describing their role and their powers, and then we will get started.



Players
Zeuzio
Kloe
Hexatona
Jeroen_Sol(?)

Awful haikus

One haiku per post
Nothing else, only sick slams
Regret afterwards

Exploration as a challenge

I can't think of two games that approach exploration more differently than Skyrim and Final Fantasy 13, but the exploration in these two games shares a common problem. That problem is that it isn't a challenge.

FF13, like most JRPGs, challenges the player as they explore, stopping them every few two screens or so to fight a battle before continuing, but the exploration itself is given to them as a freebie. The only way to do it is the way it's intended to be done. Skyrim, like most open world games, gives the player a lot of options in how they explore, but all of those options are the right ones, and there are no obstacles in your way to overcome. There's nothing that stops you from going anywhere you want, immediately, except for the amount of time you have to spend walking.

Then you have games like The Witcher 3 that have both problems. There are lots of options, but no matter what you're trying to find, you have it marked on your map, and you even have a dotted line to follow to get there. You super duper cannot fail.

Although these games all have reasons for doing what they do, what I'm interested in is the idea of exploration as a challenge. One that has a success and failure state. Or, perhaps, varying degrees of success and failure based on how well the player explores. And I'm hoping for something more interesting than "you walked left instead of right at this fork, so you missed a treasure chest." Something that gets the player to actually investigate the world and pay attention to it, instead of just passing through it, and rewards them for doing so.

I'm also hoping, desperately, to prevent the failure state from feeling like "I can't find the next part of the game. I want to play it, but I can't find it." That's often what Castlevania games feel like when you're failing at the exploration. I want there to be a compromise that doesn't end up like that. That's the problem that waypoints on minimaps were invented to prevent; I'm just looking for a different way.

The examples that pop into my head immediately are all outdoor secrets in Zelda games. But not every game can have fifteen different tools to interact with the environment in all sorts of different ways. Most of us are limited to one "interact" button and maybe also an "attack" button. Somehow that feels a lot less like it's rewarding the player for noticing something, and more like it's just rewarding them for pressing A in front of every object.

Making game overs engaging

I'm thinking about ideas for making game overs into something more than "try the same thing again." Something that adds to the excitement and fun, instead of just postponing it. Something that prevents frustration, but not by skipping the challenge or making the player feel awful; something that's still satisfying.

I don't think punishing the player more for their death, by itself, accomplishes this; Everquest and Dragon Quest and FF11 all take away gold or EXP, and many games have equipment repairs you have to pay for. This adds stakes to surviving, making death feel less shallow, but doesn't do anything positive for the game AFTER the player dies.

Roguelikes are built around this concept but I'm wondering how it could be done in a JRPG or WRPG with a traditional story campaign.

Dark Souls succeeds, kinda, at least better than most games. It creates a new objective each time the player dies: go get all your EXP that's in a dangerous spot. That's cool. It's like another game mode! That's fun, it's engaging! Doesn't happen when the player dies to a boss though, which sucks.

Rogue Legacy takes a totally different approach that also works. The player can only level up when they die. I wonder how well this would work in a non-roguelike. The goal of trying to get as far as possible without dying would feel like a challenge brought on by the player's pride instead of by the pressure of punishment when they fail. And leveling up is already interesting in most games - you choose stat point allocations and skill upgrades and talent trees and so forth - so deaths would feel interesting and engaging as long as the player gained enough EXP to do something. Again, though, this works poorly in boss fights, unless the player has to redo the whole dungeon each time. If they just refight the boss and die again, they earn no EXP.

More ideas! Give me more!

Drawback mechanics in single player games

For the purposes of this discussion, I'm defining a drawback mechanic as any mechanic that costs MORE than just the opportunity cost of being able to do a different action instead. So, for example, a skill that costs MP or a recipe that costs ingredients would not count as a drawback mechanic. Using up your turn also doesn't count. Because these are all expected costs of most other alternatives too. It also has to be something the player chooses to do, or to risk, rather than something the enemy does.

A simple drawback would be lowering defense, or costing you your next turn, or costing HP. A more complex one might be... losing access to your item command if the skill isn't successful.

In a multiplayer game the opponent can take advantage of drawbacks to get a big, satisfying victory. They create situations for which the enemy has a right and wrong response. But in single player games the enemy doesn't need to be having fun, so many types of drawbacks are really unsatifying. Especially, IMO, those that leave the player in a status quo type situation when they work out for the player, not really "resolving" anything in the battle.

What kinds of drawbacks do y'all enjoy in single player games, or what situations do you think they create good, satisfying tension in? When do you hate them? We can make more engaging games if we handle them right, or make really un-fun battles if we don't.

Describe the best boss you've designed

One of my favorite bosses that I've designed is Grahf, for my Squaresoft crossover game. I've posted this in another topic before, but I wanted to hear other people describe what they think are the best bosses they've designed.

So that's what this topic is: Describe the best boss you've designed, gameplay-wise. You don't necessarily have to give as much detail as I'm about to, but I personally really enjoy the details and would love to see them if you feel like it. The goal here is to give other people inspiration to make more cool boss fights. So here's my example, Grahf.

My goal was to create a boss that felt like it was directly using Xenogears mechanics without being anywhere near as boring as actual bosses in Xenogears. I mean, all Grahf actually did in Xenogears was deal damage, deal more damage, and occasionally dispel you with Black Hole. All he did when he was in his gear was damage and damage and damage.

What I did was use Xenogears's deathblow system to give the player a way to predict how much damage would be dealt. I also used that game's fuel system. Both of these systems were player-only in the original game, but here they're used for the enemy. Then I had Grahf get in and out of his gear (the Xenogears word for "giant battle robot") based on it being disabled or out of fuel.

Keep in mind that a combat round in this game is only a couple seconds, so the amount of time that effects and timers last might sound kind of long if you're thinking in terms of VX Ace combat rounds.

Phase 1: Alpha Weltall
- Alpha Weltall has a limit of 3000 fuel.
- Booster increases both the damage and fuel cost of Alpha Weltall's skills by 10% until the end of the battle. Stacks with itself infinitely. Not used under normal circumstances.
- Building Strike, a basic strike which also increases Alpha Weltall's attack level by one, up to a maximum of three. This allows for stronger deathblows. 30 fuel.
- Raigeki, a level 1 deathblow. Mid power. 50 fuel. Lowers attack level by one.
- Hazen, a level 2 deathblow. High power. 90 fuel. Lowers attack level by one.
- Ryubu, a level 3 deathblow. Extreme power. 140 fuel. Lowers attack level by one.

Alpha Weltall's attack level starts at zero. It increases every time the boss uses Building Strike and decreases every time it uses a deathblow. Each deathblow requires a certain attack level.

When Alpha Weltall has an attack level of 0, it will always use Building Strike. When it has an attack level of 3, it will always use a deathblow. When it has an attack level of 1 or 2, it has a 50/50 chance of using either Building Strike or a deathblow.

The amount of fuel remaining is shown every time it uses a skill, as is its attack level.

Alpha Weltall is not immune to any status effects except poison and demi. However, on any round when it cannot act, it will use Booster instead. This lets players trade a temporary reprieve for additional danger later.

If Alpha Weltall cannot act for four rounds in a row, Grahf will emerge, becoming targetable. He will also emerge if Alpha Weltall runs out of fuel. Alpha Weltall's attack level is reset if Grahf emerges. This starts phase 2.

If Alpha Weltall is killed while Grahf is inside, Grahf emerges permanently. However, Alpha Weltall can take vastly more damage than Grahf. So unless you are extremely high level, the goal is typically to either disable Alpha Weltall or survive until it runs out of fuel, then use all your burst damage on Grahf.

Phase 2: Grahf
- Raijin does low physical damage to one target.
- Super Guided Shot strikes two targets for high magical damage. Unreflectable.
- Black Hole, AOE dispel, chance to be resisted based on each target's willpower. 30 round cooldown, which means this will only get used once per emerge.
- Refreshment, which Grahf casts on Alpha Weltall if it is affected by any status ailment. This is a ticking buff that heals all ailments every 3 rounds, and lasts 18 rounds. Refreshment is a basic white magic skill that the player is already very familiar with by this point in the game - it has nothing to do with Xenogears but is an interesting way to mitigate the usefulness of powerful status effects like Paralyze and Mini in this fight, which some player classes are capable of inflicting for 20 rounds or longer.
- Recharge, which refills 1000 fuel to Alpha Weltall. Only used if Alpha Weltall is missing at least 1000 fuel.

Grahf emerges from Alpha Weltall from time to time, using hand-to-hand combat. While Grahf is fighting, Alpha Weltall performs no actions or melee attacks, not even Booster, since no one is piloting it. It can still be damaged, however. Grahf's attacks are strong, on par with Alpha Weltall's level 2 and 3 deathblows.

Grahf himself is immune to all ailments.

After 10 rounds, Grahf will re-enter Alpha Weltall, returning to Phase 1 and becoming untargettable again, unless Alpha Weltall is dead.

Letting players catch up after changing builds

Here's a game design topic I've been struggling with. To what degree is it good to let players change their characters' builds?

The most troublesome situations to many people are the methods of customizing your character that are extremely difficult to change or undo later. For example, in my game UOSSMUD, and in many other games out there such as Dark Souls or Dragon Age, every time you get a level up you get a choice of where to put your new stat points. Because each level is more expensive than the last, this means that if you put ten levels' worth of points into strength, and then you change plans and start putting points into agility instead because you want to make a thief instead of a warrior, then no matter how high level you get, you'll always know that your next level up would only take half as long if you hadn't wasted those ten levels on strength early on. This makes it very hard to catch up if you change stat builds.

In contrast, other methods of customization might be set up in such a way that it's very easy to catch up. In my game, and in many other games like basically any JRPG, if you switch classes or characters, you'll gain EXP or AP very fast. This is because each class or specialization or character has its own levels, which start over from 1 when you change. So when you go from being a level 20 monk to a level 1 knight, the first level of knight only costs 200 AP, even though getting level 21 in monk would cost 30000 AP. A similar thing happens if you switch from using level 30 Tifa to level 15 Barret. However, after changing classes/characters, you're still capable of fighting strong enemies that give high amounts of EXP or AP. This makes it easy to catch up if you change classes or characters.

Then of course there are things you can just freely swap around at any time once you get them, like equipment in most RPGs, or skills in Diablo 3. The only long-term choice the player might have is what order in which to obtain the different options. Most older games have very little of this, while many modern games almost exclusively have this type of customization.

Obviously all of these can be done well or poorly; I guess the more interesting question is when and why it's best to each of them. My thoughts are that the kind that's hard to undo makes sure that the player's choices actually matter and that they feel like their characters or teams are a unique expression of their planning and play style, not just the same as every other player. It also creates replay value, because if they play the game again with a different build, they'll have very different options available. Meanwhile, the kind that's easy to undo makes sure that if players make bad decisions, or want to try something else, or need a different strategy to beat certain dungeons or bosses, they still have plenty of options and don't feel completely locked in. Having specializations that are each to change also lets the designer create builds that actually have different capabilities, instead of having to make sure every single class and specialization has a stun, an interrupt, a healing spell of similar power, a defensive buff on a 20 second cooldown, a fire-elemental attack, a lightning-elemental attack, and so forth, because certain bosses require those skills.

Managing a wiki for your game

One of my games (the online multiplayer one) has a wiki. It's had a wiki for several years - before that, some clans of users individually made websites with information that they kept up to date themselves, until eventually they didn't any more.

Most of these users eventually joined the game's staff, and we didn't really want them posting raw data right out of the game's code - players collecting and sharing information is one thing but the game developers doing it on an official platform is another. Similarly, we pretty much stay out of the wiki's business, except for administrative issues.

Every once in a while one of us adds some partial information about some new content just because it helps advertise the new content, but we make sure that players are still the ones who have to gather and insert the details. For example, if a new high level superboss is added that can drop 8 pieces of equipment, we might create a page for the superboss describing how to find it and what level is recommended to fight it, but not give any data about the rewards except maybe the item names, or give any data about the boss's stats and immunities. Or if we change the effects of all the elemental rods in the game, we might delete the old wrong effects in the wiki, but just change them to question marks instead of adding the new ones. This sort of thing seems to help new players a lot while still giving the old ones stuff to hunt for.

However there are only just barely enough people out there who actually enjoy gathering data on stuff in the game and putting it in the wiki. Out-of-date information is still common, and there are hundreds of blank pages. People tend to come up with an idea like "I'm going to make it so every dungeons's wiki page has a list of what status effects are inflicted in that zone," and then they'll get 20% of the way done with adding that info, and quit forever.

I don't know if anyone has advice on how to run a game's wiki (or how not to) but I'd love to hear it. What I'm doing is only just barely working.

Final Fantasy Mafia (Game Over)

OK. This mafia game is now happening for real.

Due to the fact that over two months have passed since the initial signup period, I'm going to need anyone who signed up before and still wants to play to re-confirm that you still want to play.

I am also opening the game up to anyone else who wants to sign up.

However, the primary gimmick of this game was tricking people into publically picking Final Fantasy roles for something else and then using those choices for a mafia game instead. While it's obviously not possible to keep the same exact gimmick for new players, I'd at least like to keep the more basic aspect of "You can choose what you get but not really."

So, for new players who didn't sign up the first time, I need two things:
1) You can pick a job or class, but not a specific ability. One ability from that job or class will be chosen for you.
2) I also want new players to choose an item from the list in the original post. But you won't actually get the item you choose. But I want you to choose anyway.


RULES:

Each game consists of several town aligned citizens and a small group of scum aligned mafia killers. The players must catch and lynch the killers in order to win. This game follows rules which are modified from the typical mafia.

BASIC RULES IN EFFECT:

1. Do not share any PMs from the moderator. Your private messages must be kept secret. You may describe what was in them, but directly quoting any portion of them will result in mod-kill.

2. The game is divided into day phases of 48 hours and night phases of 24 hours. There will be no talking on the main thread during night phase. Members sharing private chats may talk at any time.

3. No talking to other players about the game outside of Mafia, and NO PMING! You can PM me, but that's it. Obviously, the no PM rule is on the honor system but if I find out, there will be consequences.

4. Each day, players discuss who is most likely to be mafia and vote for one person to be voted off of the game. Voting follows standard rules. Votes are to be presented in the thread, using the following format: #Lynch lockez. If you for any reason you change your mind, use the following tag: #Cancel A lynch is successful when more than half of the players vote for the same person, or when the 48 hour day period ends. If there is a tie when the day ends, multiple people will be lynched.

5. Each night, scum will tell me who they want to kill, and other players will use their powers and items. Scum will have their own private chatroom to discuss who to kill.

6. You must post daily. If you're not talking, you're not playing the game. If you're not playing the game, then why are you here?

7. No editing posts. Only the moderator may edit his posts, and he can also edit you right into the grave if you break this rule too many times. However, double-posting is allowed in this topic.

8. No dead posting. If you're dead, you're dead.

ADDITIONAL RULES:

1. Kinda-Public Roles. Every player has a power, which were chosen before the game started. Most powers can be used once per night phase. Although you all know the names of each-others' powers, you don't know what they actually do. You can only try to guess.

2. Items. Similarly, every player starts with an item. Most items can be used only once and then are used up. Although you all know the names of each-others' items, you don't know what they actually do.

3. Experience Points. If someone is lynched during the day phase, and you were one of the people who votes for them, you gain 1 experience point. At 2 EXP you reach level 2, and at 5 EXP you reach level 3. Each additional level grants you another ability, which will not be publicly posted. It is to your benefit to join the bandwagon!



Once we get enough people, I will be sending out PMs to each player describing their role and their powers, and then we will get started.

For posterity, here is the original post I used to trick people into joining this, thinking it was a Final Fantasy themed tabledtop RPG:

Several years back I did a Final Fantasy forum RPG using modified Roll To Dodge rules. Then Dudesoft took it over for a while and changed the rules to a different system. It involved travelling through a merged Final Fantasy world where players travelled through the Narshe Caves and found Vincent Valentine losing control of his powers at the end of them.

The game last time had people creating characters by picking Final Fantasy abilities that Dudesoft and I then translated into tabletop RPG rules. For example Yellow Magic picked Draw as his starting skill, this let him absorb a single-use spell from an enemy that he could save to use later, and the spell depended on the enemy. Avee picked Bare Hands which caused his unarmed attacks to have the same hit bonus as weapon attacks.

And now I'm doing something again that's gonna be sort of similar! Yay! Simpler rules this time though.

This game will be very fast-paced and short compared to most tabletop forum games, and I don't expect it to last more than a couple weeks at the longest. Don't think of it as a long-term commitment, jusy be willing to log on a couple times per day while it's running.

The game system is extremely simple. You have no stats and no skill modifiers and no bonuses and no talent trees and no classes and no equipment and no crafting system. You don't even have HP. Pretty much the only RPG thing you have is experience points, which let you level up and gain more abilities by killing things. I'll explain the rules in a little more depth once we have players signed up and the game is about to start.

I would really like it if a ton of people joined. We had fourteen people the first time, which was the busiest forum RPG we've ever had, and I loved it. That eventually became too much for me to handle, but this time the game will be very short so it'll be fine!




To sign up right now all I need from you is one ability and one item you'll start with.


ABILITIES
When you join you can pick one usable spell or ability from any Final Fantasy game. Your character will have that ability. I will do my best to approximate the effects of that ability in this game's gameplay; it may not be as powerful as it was in the original game. Please try to pick actions, rather than passive abilities, due to the simple and statistics-free nature of the gameplay. You will be able to use your ability once per day.

ITEMS
You can pick one starting item from the following list:

Potion
Ether
Phoenix Down
Buster Sword
Gunblade
Auto Crossbow
Crystal Shield
Clothes Made Entirely Out of Belts
Wanted Poster Identifying Yourself As Captain Basch Von Ronsenberg (Don't Listen To Ondore's Lies)
Smoke Bomb
Plot-Relevant Pendant
Moogle Charm
Suspicious Package, Addressed To The Village Of Mist
Interceptor the Dog
Al Bhed Primer XIV
Collector's Catalogue
12 Hour Looping Video Of Tidus's Laugh
Tissue



Original players who cancelled:
Ilan14 - Quick Attack / Wanted Poster
Jeroen_Sol - Mug / Interceptor
Avee - Dispatch / Gunblade
Unity - White Magic / Plot-Relevant Pendant
Seiromem - Slots / Tidus Video




Players
Pianotm - Summon / Suspicious Package, Addressed To The Village Of Mist
Liberty - Protect / Crystal Shield
Dudesoft - Rage / Al Bhed Primer XIV
Kloe - Heal / Tissue
XoeIsCooI - Rend Shield / Smoke Bomb
CAVE_DOG_IS_BACK - X-Dress / Buster Sword

Psy_wombats - Drain / Ether
Blobofgoo - Spirit Link / Collector's Catalogue
InfectionFiles - Polka Polka / Clothes Made Entirely Out of Belts
Ratty524 - Hide / Auto Crossbow
Gourd_Clae - Reflect??? / Interceptor the Dog
SZandex - Row / 12 Hour Looping Video Of Tidus's Laugh