prototype yes or no?

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jack1974
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prototype yes or no?

Post by jack1974 » Sat May 26, 2018 2:13 pm

Remember that I said I would do a public prototype to get some early feedback once I finished the new combat.
Well the new combat isn't done :mrgreen: however, even considering I won't have much time in the next months (Summer plus renovating works and other mega-timewasting things) I think I could have it next month.

My doubt is on what to do... I mean if I post the prototype, like the one I did for Queen Of Thieves, people would be able to try the skills on some random enemy combat before the game is out, not sure if could ruin the fun (leveling up, unlocking skills, etc) ? I guess it should be fine since nobody forces anyone to play the prototype, but... not sure.

In any case I'll probably restrict all skills to be only first few levels and just a few enemies (maybe just 2 types of enemy). We'll see :)

Troyen
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Re: prototype yes or no?

Post by Troyen » Sat May 26, 2018 11:04 pm

Maybe 4-5 enemies so we can try out the skills in different situations. Would help if the enemies had different types and weaknesses. Otherwise it'd be like designing all of SotW gameplay around wild wolves and skeletons. The small level cap is fine, it's more a combat prototype. Some demos start players at level 3 and only let them play to 4-5.

I don't know how many players purely play for the combat, or else there'd be more requests for infinite dungeons or something (I think only PSCD had a few people asking for that?). Most of the appeal is usually the story and characters, and the story doesn't need to be in the prototype.

Speaking for myself, combat tends to get stale in the actual game when you hit a point where you've unlocked a "good enough" skill set and strategy that can handle the majority of encounters. And then combat is pressing the same buttons for the same characters in the same order. For me, this seems to happen around the halfway or 66% mark, but I think it's more a sign of not enough variety in combat design (enemies susceptible to the same strats, predictable AI behavior, mostly "kill all enemies" combat goals, lots of random unthreatening "trash" fights blocking story progress) than in the mechanics of the combat system itself. I don't believe a prototype will influence that, it's more about mid and late-game pacing and battle variety, neither of which are expected in a prototype.

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Re: prototype yes or no?

Post by jack1974 » Sun May 27, 2018 6:55 am

OK I'll have more enemies then :)
Troyen wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 11:04 pm
I don't know how many players purely play for the combat, or else there'd be more requests for infinite dungeons or something (I think only PSCD had a few people asking for that?). Most of the appeal is usually the story and characters, and the story doesn't need to be in the prototype.
Most players play for the story. I just had someone post on Steam about how SOTW was my best game ever and was sad that the next RPGs weren't as big or good. Thing is, Cursed Lands sold twice SOTW on Steam launch week, and even now when it's super hard (SOTW was released back in 2015). So clearly what I did with Cursed Lands is what "most people want". Of course then depends on tastes :) But I believe 90% of my customers are interested in story/characters first, then also gameplay.
Troyen wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 11:04 pm
Speaking for myself, combat tends to get stale in the actual game when you hit a point where you've unlocked a "good enough" skill set and strategy that can handle the majority of encounters. And then combat is pressing the same buttons for the same characters in the same order.
Yes, though I think it's what happen in most of RPGs as well. When I played the various Dragon Age and other big RPG names, I always arrived to a point where I had a set of skills and a specific sequence to play each fight. Maybe in some cases it was slightly different (maybe because of enemy resistances) but in the end it was always like that. That's why I was thinking about a real-time combat, maybe to speed up the process (but in the end I won't do it since it's too complex).
If Anima had time to do the new framework things would be different since there would be real turn time, interrupt actions, etc but alas she didn't (even Loren 2 will probably use this same system).
But the only ways to change this would be to introduce some random variables, like a map (but of course I can't do this) or other gameplay elements which in the current system probably it's not possible. I'll make experiments as usual though!

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Re: prototype yes or no?

Post by Troyen » Sun May 27, 2018 8:55 pm

Yeah, I don't mean to single out your games. Looking back, there are a number of AAA games that I stopped halfway (like Skyrim, actually) because the combat got too easy and repetitive.

I think the most achievable way to have variety is to offer different combat objectives. PSCD did this pretty well (though there was still a long run of "kill all enemies" in the middle) and I think that's the game I played the longest without getting worn down. I especially enjoyed the missions where you got a hero unit or had to survive X rounds or do something different than the usual.

How much flexibility in the combat system do you have for PS2? Is it possible to have "defend this stationary defenseless objective from waves of enemies" or "hold out for X rounds" or "destroy this high-priority boss target" battle missions to break up the "slaughter everyone"? Or even when you do have a fight everything, if something can happen on turn 3 to change the initial setup and throw off the player's strategy, that might be interesting too. (My favorite fight in SotW was the Chalassa arena battle.)

Anyway. my main point was that you seemed worried a prototype would remove all the fun from the game, and I don't think that would be the case.

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jack1974
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Re: prototype yes or no?

Post by jack1974 » Sun May 27, 2018 9:30 pm

Troyen wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 8:55 pm
Yeah, I don't mean to single out your games. Looking back, there are a number of AAA games that I stopped halfway (like Skyrim, actually) because the combat got too easy and repetitive.
No worries :) Yes more or less all games based on rules become a bit repetitive after a while. Especially if the goal is to find a set of actions/skills to obtain the best possible results.
Adding random elements during fight is a good system, so I'll try to do that. For PSCD was different because that one was a card game, so each card had specific rules and a lot of rock/paper/scissor situations. For RPGs since you control less units you need to give them more skills, but on the other hand means there are more ways to find a solution and in the end removes the action/counter-action that is present in card games.
I really hope to do another card game like PSCD in future, mitigating the random factor a bit :)
Troyen wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 8:55 pm
Anyway. my main point was that you seemed worried a prototype would remove all the fun from the game, and I don't think that would be the case.
Yes you're right, even knowing all the skills, there's still a lot more in a RPG, battle situation, the overall story and in this case even plenty of non-combat skills, so I don't need to worry.

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