LOUISCYPHRE'S PROFILE

I am also called Rasalhage these days.
Essence Enforcer
An Enforcer's duty is to protect the city and the people. But what, exactly, does that mean?

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What gameplay does Accuracy and Evasion provide?

This is something I haven't given a lot of thought of until recently. It's easier to dodge the question and just scrap evasion as a mechanic, but what can be gained from including it in your game?

Rambling:
To take the idea from the top, accuracy and evasion in RPGs has its roots in tabletop wargames like Chainmail, where players would roll dice to determine the success or failure of an attack performed by their units. In the context of personal gaming, randomness is looked upon less disapprovingly--sometimes even favorably--by the player in question, as the results "belong" more to the player who rolled the die. Often, there's a sense of ownership for a player over their strong or poor die rolls. Randomness was a positive gameplay element for two kinds of tabletop gamers. For the realism purist, randomness reflected the uncertainty of combat and created legitimate tension in the scenario at hand. For the stats analyst, actions whose outcomes were random presented a dilemma of risk and reward to the player.

Conversely, the reaction to RNG in many video gaming circles is largely negative. Players assign ownership of the die rolls to the game itself, insisting that the game is "cheating" when a character goes down to a critical hit, or when their attack fails arbitrarily. This has prompted many games to adopt various forms of "smart RNG," such as succeeding a 50%-effective action every other attempt as opposed to actually randomizing success, or simply adjusting the success rate until the player eventually succeeds. However, in the context of video games, well-done and clearly explained RNG can give the player that same powerful feeling of tension and risk found in tabletop randomness. It is unfun for all of a player's actions to fail randomly, but giving the player both accurate and inaccurate actions with appropriately powered rewards can create compelling decisions to make.

The point:
This brings me to the idea that accuracy and evasion, as a mechanic, has some level of inherent legitimacy in gaming. The phrase "risk versus reward" is mentioned at least once a week on this board alone! But what meaningful gameplay can we actually derive from accuracy?

There's no shortage of games where the mechanic is handled poorly. One the one hand, games biased towards evasion are frustrating by nature. Games on this side of the line may have some chance for any action to fail, regardless of circumstances. They might simply offer no counterplay to high-evasion enemies other than "try to attack it again." The success rates of certain (or many!) skills might simply be abysmal, leading to their disuse. Perhaps worse, enemies might be so inaccurate that the player is never in danger!

On the other side of the line exists games that are biased towards accuracy. For our purposes, games that don't have accuracy stats in the first place don't count. The most typical form of overt bias towards accuracy is an "accuracy cap"--a phenomenon where it's possible to eliminate the chance of missing by having enough accuracy. The issue with this is that every point of accuracy beyond this magic number is wasted; only accuracy up to that last magic point (the "cap") ever matters. This occurs in many MMOs, where gearing your character revolves around bringing your Accuracy as low as possible (to raise other combat stats) without dropping below the "accuracy floor."

These opposite game flaws both stem from the same mistake: Applying the same accuracy rules to every action. If everything has a miss chance, your game is annoying. If nothing has a miss chance, your game offers no risk/reward gameplay (outside of opportunity cost, which is a much higher level concept than this post is tackling).

But what gameplay benefits can we derive from treating skills differently? If I have Skill A which is a normal-damage 100% accurate attack, and Skill B is 50% accurate but deals double damage, I'm going to use Skill A to guarantee I kill the enemy in however many turns, since the average damage is the same. Better to kill an enemy in two hits for sure, than to maybe kill them in one swing, or three, or ten.

How can we encourage meaningful interaction with inaccurate skills? No matter what, their unreliability is a huge turnoff for many players. Making ways to skip accuracy checks (such as sleep preventing evasion) is one way, but that's kind of cheating because it reduces the skill's use case to "use this on sleeping enemies." The skill may as well be locked when sleep hasn't been applied. If accuracy and evasion exist in a game, the game needs to incentivize players to use both accurate and inaccurate actions. Perhaps Flamethrower deals 95 damage with 100% accuracy, but you can do 110 damage with the 85% accurate Fire Blast. If your enemies have 100 HP, you can kill those enemies a turn sooner fairly reliably with Fire Blast, and finish the stragglers with Flamethrower.

Other games may convert excess accuracy beyond the accuracy cap into some other combat stat, such as critical hit rate or a damage increase. That's only the tip of the iceberg, though. What are some other ways to squeeze gameplay out of this oft-ignored mechanic?

RGSS3 Arrays - Last element is propagating through the entire array.

1) This is the relevant RGSS method.
2) This is the test map I'm using, as exported by the Tiled editor.
3) This image is how the test map appears in Tiled.
4) This image is how the test map appears in-game. Note how the concrete tile covers the entire map.

***

I'm having an issue. Up until now, my SRPG project has been using a manually-written array for its tile data, and everything has been functioning splendidly.

However, what I'd much prefer to do is use maps directly from text. My tile editor, Tiled, has an export-to-text function (see link 2 above) from which I can pull my arrays. By converting them into an array format and feeding the data into my engine, I can make my maps externally-editable and save myself heaps of trouble when it comes to creating maps for my game.

Everything has tested out to be functioning correctly. The text is loaded properly, the lines are split into string arrays properly, and the string arrays are converted to integers properly. I know conclusively that I can get the data from the text into my engine. However, when I try to put that data into my global arrays, things go awry.

For some reason, the engine is setting every bottom-level array equal to the last line of the text file's array. Previous lines' data is being overwritten. This occurs a second time when setting the @map array to tiles from the temporary array--the last tile overwrites all the others. This results in the last tile (link 3) covering the entire battlefield, because every tile becomes tile 10 in my tileset.

What would cause this array mistake?

Ask for more info if you need it.

Gameplay Dialogue

totally made this just so I could say I made the 1,000th thread

An oft-overlooked method of communicating character to the player, "gameplay dialogue" is something many RM games should consider to enhance atmosphere and show off their cast.

For our purposes, gameplay dialogue refers to any text or phrase spoken by a character outside of cutscenes, without taking control from a player. If you have text box pop up when you speak with a merchant, that's a (very brief) cutscene. If you have a window in your shopping screen where your characters say things about how excited they are to be getting new equipment, that's gameplay dialogue.

In the video above, various phrases are spouted as combat one-liners. Combat's an excellent time for gameplay dialogue--everything from witty puns to solemn pleas for forgiveness lend personality to your cast. Battle gets adrenaline pumping for both your player and your characters, and dialogue spoken mid-battle should reflect that!

As stated before, pausing the action for anything beyond a brief moment (to show a close-up portrait with the one-liner, for example) defeats the point of gameplay dialogue. Interrupting the player isn't something to be done without reason. Punctuating the player's powerful spell with a heated word or two makes the player feel confident and strong; but interrupting that same spell with a conversation makes the player feel simply bored.

So, beyond these points, how can gameplay dialogue be best used to spice a cast? It's most commonly seen in battles, especially in RPGs, but there are often many other ways to go about it--your party will banter with one another, unprompted, in Bioware games like Dragon Age, for example. Out-of-combat applications, however, can be even more important. Characters might comment on establishments you pass, on faces in the crowd, on each other, or on the next task facing them. How do you plan on using gameplay dialogue?

Come play LoL with us!

Seriously. Craze and I are getting really tired of terrible, terrible instalock Teemos and Vis and Talons. We're just tired of instalock random users, really.

I'm MssrLouisCyphre on League. We play lots of 3v3.
Craze is Crazetex.
KingArthur is Dalewyn.

I'll add whoever's interested in adding lots of RMN users to their friends list to this post.

It's Mewtwo's birthday. He is older than some of our users.



Share with me. How does this make us feel?

Set a gamedev goal for today.

Exactly as the topic says. Post that what you intend to get done on your game, if anything, during your current session of work. When you're ready to leave us for the day (or night or whatever), post here again stating whether or not you managed to meet the milestone you set.

Not that you're obligated to meet your goal if you post here. Shit happens, and things like work, family, sex, or any number of other distractions could take priority over your game time. No one's in any position to judge.

***

I'll start. I'm going to make my skill slots functional in the sense that the interface to equip and unequip skills functions properly. If I get that done, I'll probably bite the bullet and start filling in database tabs.

edit: spelling

Task Length (Not Playtime Length)

A couple of disclaimers:
  • Discuss this as players, or as both players and developers, not just developers.
  • None of this "Not to advertise, but in MY GAME <feature feature feature>" malarkey. You know for yourself if I mean you or not. We're discussing an aspect of games, not plugging our own.


***

For the purpose of this thread, the term "session" is defined as "The typical amount of time it takes to accomplish progress of relevance in a game, such as clear a dungeon or level." The typical "power session" or extended period of play would then, logically, just be several of these in a row. When playing for a long period, the point when you have your bathroom or snack break would typically coincide with a lull between sessions.

***

Something that I've given thought to lately is the stretch of time a player might play a game. Typically, there's a set interval where you can expect to have done something notable, like fought a boss or seen a cutscene. This can be generalized as "about an hour or so," and called the session length of the game.

Take, as an example, Link's Awakening. A typical session breaks down to clearing part of a dungeon (marked by unlocking one of the dungeon's warps to the entrance), or by completing one of the tasks that occur between dungeons. Typically, one session takes "about an hour or so." Knowing a dungeon has two or three warps, and that there are eight such dungeons and seven such between-dungeon tasks, you can assume Link's Awakening takes "about twenty-five hours or so" to complete.

So, simply put, a session in a game is the rubric on which it can be expected that the player take a break. To use another example, SMT: Strange Journey takes place nearly exclusively in its dungeons, and a typical playthrough takes around 80 to 100 hours. Given that the game does not have eighty to one-hundred dungeons, then it can be assumed that Strange Journey's dungeons are not used to measure its session length. So what is?

Save terminals. Strange Journey is designed to be an exhausting game (the merits of which are outside of the scope of this thread), and therefore sessions tend to be shorter, to accommodate the more frequent breaks the player will desire. Thus, a Strange Journey session is defined as "the time it takes to discover about one to three terminals and explore some dungeon." So, in most games, the session spacing serves the game design, and only rarely vice-versa.

Now, how does taking sessions into account factor into planning a game? Several ways—a session-conscious developer might divide their dungeons with save points in order to ease the player's worry, or make sure that players can expect a pattern in how tasks are broken up, or try to make an in-game day line up with a typical play session. A developer may intentionally deny the player session breaks in a particularly important sequence in order to ratchet up the player's tension. Simply being away of this factor gives the developer a plethora of powerful design tools that bear discussion and evaluation.

That's your cue, ladies and gentlemen. As players, how long do you like your sessions and how many such sessions do you normally sit down for? As a developer, what are some techniques that could be used to take advantage of the session phenomenon? (Remember: "It's possible to X / You could do X", not "I did X / In my game, players X")

Draw all over RMN!

Hi.

I've been gone for a while, I suppose.

I went in to hibernation to ponder games, fix up the house a bit, play TWEWY, and watch Human Target. Maybe I'll release something at some point.

Anyway, I am indeed alive; don't expect me back all at once, though.

a monster !_!

God, it's been too long since I made one of these threads.





Thoughts are nice but not required!

E: shit that's big

E2: Hide tags are busted; you DSL users will just have too deal with it.