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Danish indie game developer urging for your input!

Posted: 30 Apr 2015, 09:30
by Instawin
Hi guys,

We’re a Danish indie game developer working tirelessly to create our very first game.
In our team we hit a discussion point, which has now led to kind of a hypothesis we would like to test.
Therefore we were hoping to be able to get as much input from the outside world as possible – and that means you!

We’re creating a turn-based, tactical shooter with RPG-elements. It’s being created upon the passion for tabletop roleplaying games.
Part of this means there will be dice rolls defining outcomes. And through this of course an element of randomness.
To specify, the fundamental game is built on the premises that an attack is made by rolling a d100 (a dice resulting in a number between 1 and 100), then adding the characters skill bonus to the given attack, and modified by conditional modifiers (positive as well as negative). If the result is above 100, the attack is a success. However, the target can also make an opposed defense roll, which works the same way. If the defender rolls the highest result, the attack will be avoided. If not, the attack will connect.

And here comes the issue – How willingly would you accept the fact, that part of the game is resolved with an element of random chance (modified by skill bonuses, conditional bonuses, etc.)?

a) I accept it without hesitation, as I recognize it as a fundamental part of the tabletop gaming experience.

b) I’m willing to accept it, if I’m presented with all data available (skill bonuses, conditional modifiers, etc.) to asses my chances, only having the dice roll as the unknown variable. (Kinda like Xcom: Enemy unknown)

c) Same as “b”, but I also want to have a combat log, that shows me the dice rolls and calculations as well.

d) Same as “c”, but I would want to have the dice roll displayed as part of the graphical user interface, and maybe even have the opportunity to “roll” the dice myself (by clicking the mouse a couple of times, tapping my device a couple of times, shaking my device, etc.)

e) I cannot accept the fact, that a game is based more or less on random chance, as it skewers the tactical approach. I want the outcomes to be results of my careful planning, tactical sense and use of strategy (Like for instance Magic: The gathering, Hearthstone, etc.)

Please choose one of the above 5 statements, which fits your opinion the best. And feel free to submit a brief comment as well.

Re: Danish indie game developer urging for your input!

Posted: 30 Apr 2015, 09:59
by spa
E has questionable examples since there's tons of RNG in those games. Sure they don't have RNG in how the combat scenarios are determined but the games are very much determined by the cards you draw. Chess is the classic example of a game without RNG.

I would say that RNG is definitely acceptable and the amount of information displayed should be relative to the game experience. If its casual/mobile i would move towards not cluttering the player with information (a/b), if its a big PC game like pillars of eternity (which has a very similar system, but is real time) i would choose c/d.

There is a lot of positives with RNG that should be considered: it adds crazy situations you couldn't predict and keep the player on his/her toes since outcomes aren't predetermined. So having similar encounters in a row is much less stale. It can also play into a players skill since a good player knows his chances and can take advantage of RNG by better assessing a situation then a low skill player.

In the end it shouldn't matter what people think its about the kind of game you want to make :)

Re: Danish indie game developer urging for your input!

Posted: 30 Apr 2015, 13:26
by Instawin
Agreed Søren, it is... it is.
And pretty far along the way, that is also how we're percieving it. However, we wouldt hate to develop a game, that nobody would enjoy to play, due to inconsiderate implementation of mechanics that would only fuel frustration for the player.

Thus we're trying to gain insight into some of our crucial design ideas. The very pillars of which our game rests, in a phase where we would still be able to do something about it ;)

Re: Danish indie game developer urging for your input!

Posted: 03 May 2015, 11:54
by ThomasLund
Its always a trixy thing with RNG. One thing is, that (dice or not) you will have people screaming at you.

I've tried various different approaches to this over the time. From absolute numbers with total tactical logic (Frontline Tactics where unit X with gun Y gives Z damage) to 6-sided dice visible in the log (Space Hulk).

Frontline suffered a bit under the "no variation" part, while it really made it great to be able to logically and tactically calculate a few steps forward. In Space Hulk the d6 was given by the board game, but it totally suffered from exactly that too. Too little wiggling room in a d6 and the dice rolls slowed it down and felt not gamey enough for a lot of people.

I think there is a middle ground that I've never tried yet, but thats used in several games I like.

It uses a deterministic fixed number and has a random variation on top.

E.g. sniper unit gives 50 damage with a +-10 damage. So effective damage would be between 40 and 60.

This allows for random variation to not make it too boring - adding that RNG spice and praying to the dice gods. At the same time it makes certain that you can somewhat predict the outcome of a fight, enhancing the tactical aspect.

If you want yet another layer on top, you could say that a -10 is a critical fail and a +10 is a critical hit. Just to add that mechanics in.

So suddenly you have 3 knobs to turn with upgrades and RPG elements on the damage mechanics:
Base damage, damage spread and chance for crit

While still keeping it tactical, a little unknown random and the chance to give the FUCK YEAH feeling with a crit roll

Re: Danish indie game developer urging for your input!

Posted: 03 May 2015, 14:01
by Pegepinden
B) more or less.

Randomness is such a big part of many games, and it is okay if its balanced well and described to the player.
Actually it can be great! It gives the underdog the possibility of beating the overpower with a bit of luck and it gives these FUCK YEAH moments that Thomas mentioned.

What i feel is important is that i can guide my luck. A critical hit chance stat is something used in various games, which works great because it is based on luck but i can guide my luck by stacking the stat. So someone with 60% vs 40% will win most encounters, but there is still room for the guy with 40% to beat the other guy keeping some excitement in fights.

So yeah B)

Re: Danish indie game developer urging for your input!

Posted: 04 May 2015, 09:36
by Instawin
Hey guys,
Thanks for the input.
And Thomas - Thanks for the insight!

I've become aware of the fact, that my post haven't been as precise as I inteded.
The game we're currently making is aimed at having the major foucs on the PvP-part. And as of such, I'm getting the feeling (based on the replies from others foras as well), that we might need to get back to the drawing board to tweak the mechanics a bit.

The general notion seems to carry in the direction of - RNG is cool enough, if you have a save/load option - hence, primarily a single player experience (as I understand it). But if you are to compete against other players, the outcome from the use of abilities should be far more controlled and predictable, and have the individual player's tactics and strategy be the determining factor of either success or failure on the battlefield.

Re: Danish indie game developer urging for your input!

Posted: 04 May 2015, 10:17
by Zee
B) and what Trenox said.
I would like some information about my chances of success before I attack, but it should (by default) not be and overwhelming amount of numbers/data.