Friday, March 8, 2019

Metagame, stats.


First off, if I didn't respond to your comment, don't worry; I read all the comments, and consider those about mechanics.

Anyhow.

One of the biggest roadblocks in deciding on how the metagame will work is the conflict between the desire to make a Roguelite (permadeath, highly randomized, short play sessions), combined with the satisfaction of casual progression of Harvest Moon, and have H content which isn't overtly risky to experience.

My current plan is to have multiple concurrent runs that can go on at once, in the form of different worlds that are linked to each other.



Starting world
Essentially, you would begin the game in a fairly casual world. Not all the content of the game would be available here, and while it would be possible to be defeated, it would not be possible to "lose". H could be experienced casually. The farming element would probably also be more pronounced.

In this world, you would find seeds which could be planted to create "standard" worlds.

Standard world
Standard worlds would be randomized, and could contain most of the content of the game. Some elements would be luck based, and it would be possible to "lose" here. While these would be individual "runs" that could be won or lost, the purpose of them would be up to the player.

For example, if the player is currently doing a run in one world to "defeat the cave demon", they may create a new world with the sole intention of finding an item that will make it easier to defeat the cave demon, without risking the other "run". Some items could be transferred between runs, meaning that difficulty could be controlled somewhat if the player is having a hard time.

"Losing" would be possible, but would not come in the form of literal gameovers. Losing to the Cave Demon might severely limit the player's combat capabilities, or change them. So while it will have been "lost" as a run to defeat the cave demon, it can still be used to experience other content. Most enemies would probably not limit the players capabilities, and would simply set them back in resources. Getting to a point where you are at the mercy of the world's situation yet can't get the resources you need to get out of it would be the closest thing to a gameover, and at this point the player could either abandon the world, or do another run in the hopes that they will get resources to send over. (For example, losing to an enemy might curse you, and you're unable to undo the curse while cursed, yet another run may yield the anti curse item.)

Content you experience in standard worlds would be added to the starting world, albeit without the rewards. That way it can be experienced on a more casual level.

Special worlds
Other worlds could be one-off concepts. For example if I feel like doing a linear scenario, it might be done this way. Or, special worlds might be standard worlds with modifiers that change the overall nature of the run. For example one world might have the modifier of all female enemies, or the inability to use magic, but have stronger melee, etc.

There's also the possibility of making "active" worlds, that progress while you're away. Might lead to a type of gameplay that's more about "fixing today's problems" as opposed to actively playing. These runs might be used to set up farms that yield resources on a more consistent basis, but would become more about managing them with risk/reward, compared to the casual world which would only be low level items.


Stats



Some hud concepts I was messing with.

One of the things I've been thinking about is whether to use hearts or not.
The Binding of Isaac makes amazing use of hearts as a resource and risk/reward gameplay. However, the downside is that they don't scale with large amounts of health/ leveling up as well as a number represented by a bar.

One of the solutions I've considered is to have a sort of incremental health system using hearts.


Imagine that you have only one heart, and each heart can contain four quarters.
If you have 100 HP, and get hit by an attack that does 30 damage, it would round up to half a heart, and take away 50hp.

Essentially, there would be two stats. You're actual HP, and the number of hearts, which determines the increments of damage you can sustain. As stats, it would probably be something like HP/endurance.

This way, HP could level up, but you could still do resource management where some events cost you a heart container.

Of course, the main problem with this is that it's not exactly very intuitive for the player. 

Anyhow, that's all the rambling for now.

29 comments:

  1. Sounds silly to assume you haven't, but by any chance have you seen Mark Brown's video on roguelites and progression? It's a more updated video to one he did before where he talks about the balance between progressing in a roguelite game without actually just making the game straight up easier as you return to it unless the player themselves improve:

    https://youtu.be/G9FB5R4wVno

    I know you aren't looking at a straight up roguelite with this game but I still find the information applicable for something like this.
    For example perhaps the very thing that avoids you from resetting the game is having your character perform sexual acts for an enemy to get out of being killed/knocked out. But then the question asks, "well you'd just get out of it every time so where's the incentive to NOT do that?" and I'd say you already came up with part of the solution with the monster breeding idea.

    What if levelling up was something that actually went into the breeding system instead of vice-versa? The idea would be that the longer you survive or the more you level up your stats, the better your stats are at level 1 when you do a fresh start via breeding. The game wouldn't exactly get easier though, or at least there's a cap to it. Each gain is entirely separate from the previous attempts, meaning you can't keep stacking them until you become the most powerful character even at level 1.

    For example: The level 1 "daughter" of a level 10 player may be stronger than the level 4 "daughter" of a level 5 player. The "daughter" after that is a completely fresh slate that depends on the previous playthrough. What might also come into effect is strategically choosing a partner for "breeding".
    For example maybe if you breed with a monster, you get the stat boosts based on your progression as mentioned. However, if you feel pretty good about how far you've gotten in a run and safely make your way to a settlement with all your current equipment, perhaps you can choose to then "retire" this character and have the next character inherit everything they ended with MINUS any stat boosts a monster would have given them. The reason you'd do this instead of simply continuing on may be to reset the map layouts with "time progression" as an excuse. Of course you'd only keep equipment, not items so it wouldn't be exactly like continuing anyway and needless to say that obviously implies the protag breeded with another human instead.

    Okay, confession is that I'm obviously spitballing ideas here so it probably sounds like a mess without actually looking into the finer details but I hope it's something to think about if you haven't already. And if by some weird chance you haven't seen the video linked then definitely check it out for a refresher and maybe some better ideas.

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    1. Just to clarify, I like what you've come up with already. It gives me vibes of starting in a place rather familiar and heading out into the literally unknown. Especially worlds that may progress without you would certainly lead to some interesting and potentially risky situations. I'm picturing a friendly village suddenly turned into a bandit camp that you could no longer rest at safely.

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    2. To be honest, I generally don't watch much stuff on game design.

      I've considered the idea of making level ups have a cap, and require restarting. Or having the starting stats slowly increase as you reach higher levels. Not sure yet though. I'm also not sure if I'll go with the concept of playing as offspring given that alternate worlds and the concept of no true gameovers.

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  2. The wooden backdrop behind some of those huds may clash a bit with different settings, at least when I'm playing a game, a vibrant, light colored hud kind of takes away from a dark cave or dungeon setting. I always liked how Kingdom hearts games have the dynamic where the command menu changes backgrounds based on location and special form changes.

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    1. Actually having a different hud around the health bar change depending on the armor equipped could be cool, and you could give it the same spark effect transition when the armor breaks

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    2. Haven't played KH, so never considered alternate health bars based on area. Considered changing it based on season, though, if those end up in the game eventually.

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  3. Whilst I can't really add anything to what this post talks about, I do have a question; Ya played Slay The Spire? Got me thinking about it from reading the post, and it's a pretty fun game.

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    1. Nope, never played it. To be honest I don't really play too many indie games these days.

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  4. Regarding being defeated by enemies causing some lasting effects, I did have one idea inspired by Parasite in City. In that game, if you got raped by a fly and didn't break out of its grapple, it would cum in your character and over the next few minutes gameplay would go as normal except your character would double over every so often, and eventually she'd end up birthing another fly, which becomes a regular enemy like the one that raped her. Perhaps something like that could be a short-lasting effect of losing to/being grappled by some certain enemy, with the player being vulnerable to attacks during/after the birth.

    At any rate, I'm super looking forward to how this game turns out.

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    1. Different enemies would have different effects, ranging from stat affecting curses, to pregnancy, to flat out being stuck in an area, without extreme help from other worlds. Most changes from enemies would either end, or fit into a normal gameplay loop though.

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  5. I like the idea of defeats that don't necessarily result in game-overs. Kenshi is a game that does a lot of this, where it's easy to get near death but hard to actually die. If your character gets defeated by bandits for example, they'll loot him before leaving him unconscious, at which point roaming slavers might "save" him. You can even lose limbs and buy prosthetic limbs to replace them.
    There are also some H-games that do this. In RyonaRPG, if your character is defeated, you'll often be given the option to switch to another character instead of getting a game-over. Then you can fight your way back to where you lost your old character and rescue her from imprisonment; or she might end up on the slave market in which case you'll have to buy her. Once you recover her, she might have piercings and extra sexual experience, but you'll be able to play her again. Maidensnow Eve and Princess Sacrifice are some other games that also let you continue playing after being defeated.
    There's a lot of fun things you can do with this idea.

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    1. Main thing is, I eventually want it to feel like the player's situation can shift drastically without losing.

      I think it will be a while before that's fully realized though, given how many elements working together you need to make things unpredictable/dynamic.

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  6. So what's up with you having to move again?

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    1. Long story short, I was renting via sublet and the landlord signed a lease with someone else rather than give me priority despite already living here.

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  7. So I know the original idea for this game was for it to be something that was released in a base form and then would receive frequent updates until it was completed. That was when it was a patreon game though so I'm wondering if that's still the case or if you'll just release the whole game once it's done

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    1. The goal of this game is to release weekly updates as a free game, basically. Whether that involves Patreon, I'll decide later I think.

      I'll be releasing something playable for it relatively soon though, even when it's just basic gameplay with one enemy.

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  8. personally i liked what you talked about in a earlier update, that you might play as the child of the hero & the character you lost to.

    so changing the skin colour to the monsters pallet and give them one extra ability would be fun, it would also "encourage" losing to all the different monsters but don't know how you feel about that.

    also don't know if you've done something that have made the pallets harder to switch either, i just found the idea fun and it works quite well with jumping into different worlds to save them.

    ps: should have read the comment at the top before i wrote this i see, anyhow, whatever you go with i enjoy your art style and simply just reading your updates.

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    1. Well, with my current concept for the game, there will still be plenty of other ways to start the game as something based on specific monsters. I've had some new ideas even since this blog post.

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  9. You are literally one of the only developers of adult content right now that is this transparent and low maintenance by leagues. I have had to contemplate supporting patreons and the like due to creators just fucking bouncing 6 months in. I hope everything works out in all your projects, not only game wise but outside of the computer, it shows integrity and care and although Idk you personally, I think you are dope for it

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    1. Well, I'll accept that compliment once I've released more stuff..

      Steam certainly took a lot of weight off my shoulders though, financially. I'm lucky to be in a position where I can work on games full time, and where the health issues I have can be dealt with comfortably, where in a normal job it would make my life very difficult.

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  10. Will there be any digging mechanics a la terraria and starbound? At the very least a temporary failsafe for when the random world generator is new and a tad buggy would probably be nice

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    1. I don't currently plan on adding minecraft/terraria style digging. The world won't have nearly as much of a random layout the way terraria does.

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  11. Hey Kyrieru, I was wondering if you ever plan on making more tutorials in the future, even just youtube vids of you working on sprites are entertaining and insightful for those of us who hope to finally get into learning pixel art.

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    1. I might at some point. Especially once I start doing weekly updates for the ongoing game.

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  12. Not sure if you're looking for opinions/preferences on the HUD, but for the MP meter I preferred the basic blue bar the most. For the portrait, I kinda liked the ones where it shows a bit of her shoulder. I circled them both here: https://i.imgur.com/ZHkFqcS.png

    When the MP meter is tiny it can be more difficult to see it. It's also imprecise if there's a slant at the start or end. I've seen both styles in games before, and they always irritate me.

    For the life meter I am probably fine with whatever you decide. The hearts do sound like a good idea but I have a small criticism about what you were talking about. If you use hearts that are worth 100 HP, then why have damage types that would deal anything other than 25, 50, 75, etc..? If the concern is damage reduction, then my suggestion is a simple flat formula that reduces the damage by 25 per better armor upgrade, with the minimum amount of damage being 25. Actually, with this in mind, there is very much no need for such large numbers. IMO it's better to stick with the smaller numbers and thus each heart would be 4 HP. The higher the numbers, the more complicated it gets. I would also suggest maxing out damage at 8, and maxing out damage reduction at 4. Just my 2 cents though. I'm sure whatever you decide on will still be fun. :)

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    1. The reason things could deal other numbers is because the game would have leveling up. If the player can have STR from 1-100, weapon attack from 1-999, and enemies can have Def from 1-100, damage would vary wildly depending on the stats of both entities.

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  13. "active world" would works well for the Hub/Village/House area. There are lots of small things that could bring life to the world and encourage both to take a break and to come back to the game after awhile.

    Shop "special offers" (rare items) could be randomised every 12h or so,
    and/or stocks of consumables can be limited and refresh every hour. Potions would not be so easy to come by with the refresh mechanic, so you still have to plan and challenge yourself unless you play casually (or craft with materials from runs).

    Crops (for cooking "healing items"?) need time to grow, which could be bypassed by spending ingame days (making runs) but still reward players for coming back by growing while they are absent.

    Training sessions you can set before closing the game can be good too. Every 15mins you lose some endurence (25HP? 1/4heart?) but gain points. Depending on how high your stat is you need more points to get +1MAXstat. When you reach minimal HP the session ends no matter if you're away for longer than that.

    Let's say you play it safe and always put your gold at the bank between runs. If you lose all your items and equipment, you can still hire NPC adventurers to get some ressources for you from worlds/biomes you already visited. Or you can start this business while still adventuring. Set that on a cooldown longer for more dangerous places and/or better loot chances. Maybe also allow a random "campfire" event if you adventure in the same world you sent them? That could be a good way to encourage players invest their gold in longer expeditions, since it gives a chance to get one free heal per run in said world/biome either for the time of expedition or trigger once per expedition.

    About the balance and definitive loses, house-bank-storage are the key trinity for simple management. It's up to the player to store their previous set of equipment or a duplicate of their current so they don't have to restart all over again when they have to change character.

    "static worlds" looks like non-fetch questlines and special dungeons. That would make important places stand out to not being randomised, and allow more details/challenges in their craft. Villages and PC house are not randomized, so it still make sense.

    Don't worry too much about roguelike/roguelite definitions because when a game become a big gambling machine in which runs success depends mostly of your loot and nothing is kept between runs, you're either addicted or stop playing.

    More tools help players shape the experience however they want.
    Said tools can be unlocked with gameplay (rescue random-encounter NPC (Merchant unlock shop?), expedition area only avaiable if you went there, craft only for lvl2+ house) to ensure a real sense of progression. More you play, more options to manage things outside of farming you get. Giving options to the player to come back safely and manage their loot so they can have easier restarts (or decide to ignore what is in their house to do a "full vanilla" run) can only be beneficial.

    Just add a "seed of trials" or something like that as regular world's boss (rare?) loot for the try-hard. "Trial worlds: Reset all MAXstats, equipment and inventory (only keeping birth skill/passive?) for the time of a run in the world/biome the boss defeated was in. Loot is kept in case of successful run, not the exp"

    Thinking about it, if anyone want to speedrun/challenge your game, they just have to give birth to a new adventurer with no birth passive (human village?) once they got all trial seeds and they're good to go with a vanilla, untrained character. The "it's not really roguelike if no full-restart" non-problem almost solves itself in ALL_trials%.

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    1. A couple things,

      I think generally super strong items probably won't be transferable. Things that are transferable will be quest items (like if you need 5 stones to summon a dragon), and lesser healing items. Transferring strong items is something you might need an item in the sending world to do. I think most normal worlds will generally be a clean start, and there will be a limit to how many support items you send from the peaceful world.

      I've thought about training. It would more or less come down to the nature of everything else, I'd say. Basically it needs a purpose. For example it's purpose might be lower risk/reward skill boosts, whereas fighting enemies yields more XP, but might end up costing more stamina if you take too many hits. Or, it might be temporary bonuses that cost SP. Could be be a mix.

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  14. I was wondering what the legendary Kyrieru was up to! This game is looking fantastic so far, and I can't wait to play this game more ways than there is to slice an apple like your previous entries.

    Around here, I'd say,"Keep doing God's work" but... Y'know.

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