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freakytapir last won the day on November 23

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About freakytapir

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  1. At that point , how does the reset puzzle switch differ from a reload ? Same end, different paths. If an autsave/reload cycle can do the job , that is, for now, good enough. While I do realise your way is the theoretically right way, for now, my way is faster as a developer, therefore helping me build stuff faster. Once again , something sacrificed on the altar of progress. I am but one man, and priorities have to be made.
  2. exiting and re-entering does reset positions of events, but not self switches and so on. The dwarven example was from a tabletop game, not my Rpg maker game.
  3. Puzzles and Failing Something has been on my mind in the last couple of weeks, as I am laying down the basics for each of my dungeons. It was puzzles, and how they are implemented in RPG maker style engines. Short aside, this is the definition I am going to be using as a puzzle: an obstacle in a game that cannot be overcome through brute combat or manual dexterity. My biggest problem was with how much work they take if you want them to be Flexible, Resettable and Solvable Now for a little story time. I come from a heavy Tabletop RPG background, and have 18 years of experience as a Dungeon Master in D&D. My second favorite part ( apart from the actual face-to-face role playing) is handing my players a difficult puzzle and seeing them trying to solve it in a creative way. Now, could this be frustrating as all hell if your players are having one of their Duuuuuuuuh moments? Yes, but I solve this by having 2 things : 1. THE solution of the puzzle doesn't exist. Or more specifically, the puzzle doesn't have a definite solution. Now, this is exceedingly easy to do in a Tabletop game, where you are, as a DM, can actually hear them working it out, and when they actually start doing things that should work, I can say :"Sure, That works". I call it the room full of tools approach. Give them the obstacle and a lot of ways to interact with it. The player feels clever, their creativity feels rewarded, and I didn't have to sit there waiting untill they found my "one true answer." Now, while this is easy as pie in a tabletop RPG, this is by far the hardest to do in a digital RPG, as each possible solution has to be specifically put in the by the developer/deigner. But there is a middle of the road approach: While you can't have puzzles with no solutions, you can still implement the room full of tools approach (or the all ways lead to rome approach, whatever), and have multiple answers to your puzzle. My favourite puzzle to do this with is the push a block puzzle, or the scate along the ice into rocks puzzle, or the teleporter puzzle. Spatial puzzles, not dialogue puzzles is what I'm talking about here. I sprinkle the adequate blocks/teleporters around, and keep trying to solve it myself until I get A solution, and then start trimming the ones I did not use. If there are more possible solutions, great, but I am sure there is at least one. Cross the broad river is another one that works kind of well with this. Or as you might call it, the find 3 out of 5 keys approach. There are more interactables then are needed, with the spares either unlocking a bonus treasure, or some of them are locked behind additional obstacles. The key to make this the least bit workable is to have a lot of common events that do the things you want. I have a stockpile room, with a pile of interactable objects that just need 1 or 2 variables changed, and a boatload of common events. Now for the next Piece: 2. Allow the players to "Fail Forwards". This was especially relevant in tabletop, but our cRPG's can benefit from it too I believe. Imagine : the players are investigating a murder in a dwarven city, and they find Gunpowder on the crimescene. Instead of thinking "Gunfactory" and them going to the Industrial district, they interpret it as cannons, and go and look in the Harbour district. Do I let them waste their time and present them with a roadblock ? Off course not, you give them a hard encounter with no treasure, have them find a note specifically indicating the Gun Factory, and maybe a tighter timeline for the rest of their mission. The heroes are trying to climb a wall, and they fail their skill check, do I let them plummet to their death ? Off course not, have some damage, and you attract a simple encounter. Don't let failure be a roadblock, but just another obstacle. Now this is again easy to do face-to-face, and harder to do in a computer RPG, but there are lessons that can be drawn from this. a. withold extra reward Once again the example of a block pushing puzzle. Maybe the solution is really easy to just pass the puzzle, but off to the side is a treasure chest, and getting that one will be way more difficult. Maybe if he usus only 3 out of 4 keys, he might still have one for the bonus room The player can advance anyway, even if he fails, but that treasure chest is there; shiny, shimmering, splendid. b. give hints if stuck Another aspect of this is getting the player back on the right track if he is wrong or stuck. I'm not saying solve the puzzle for him, but maybe have an interactable object start blinking after the player is just standing there with his finger up his nose for 2 minutes. Maybe give a hint, or give him the first step of the puzzle , maybe have the hint be delivered by a partymember who would see such things. c.penalties, not roadblocks. A final aspect of failing forwards is to have failing the puzzle to just apply a penalty to a later event. Concrete example: Somewhere a third through my game I have a 7 Sins Themed Demonic Dungeon, with each sin being represented by a different permanent status effect. There are seven Bosses, each removing one sin from the party, until only one is left, then there is a final boss battle. Depending how you do it, the final boss, or any boss in between really, can be a breeze, or an absolute (but still winnable) nightmare. So even if the player just does the bosses in a random order, he could still possibly defeat the dungeon, it would just be insanely hard. Now, on to a totally different topic: Resetability and Robustness. Sometimes a player fails a puzzle. He pushes a block into an inescapable corner, he drinks the poisons in the wrong order, ... Basically he screwed up and cannot continue. Now, how much do we need to plan for this ? While there are certainly ways to foolproof a puzzle, and we should do this to as many puzzles as we can, doing this to each and every one would, in my opinion, be enormously laborious. I have found a simple way around this, but most of you are not going to like it : The player is going to have to sometimes reload. When a player has to do this, I feel not the player, but the designer has failed, but limitations on the engine are what they are. Now to soften the low : Use autosave. Have the game save at the beginning and end of small local puzzles. Having to redo just the puzzle stings a lot less. It almost mimics the table top puzzle solving in that you can try and interact with the object to find the right solution, instead of being stuck if you fail. Ah! You say, what about your promised big puzzles ? Your 5 skills required dungeons ? Those are actually also solved by very careful use of when to autosave. Here the autosaves are at the beginning of the dungeon and at each convergence point; the choke point in the dungeon each of the possible paths has to take, where you put your minibosses, Story Cutscenes,... Because you know that if they made it that far, they are not halfway a broken puzzle. Of course I still allow manual saves, but the autosave is there to say : you're allowed to experiment and fuck up, we've got your back. Is this an enormous Hack ? Yes, Yes it is, but so are most things in RPG Maker Because resetting a "shove the block into the right hole" puzzle might be easy, a "push te rock into the river, so you can cross, then freeze the river under the block, so it floats off, and blocks the river further downstream slowing it down so you can make a bridge out of ice so that you can melt the block free and push it into some other river" might be slightly more difficult. One final thought : there is no reason to have random encounters during a precision puzzle, unless the puzzle deals damage on failure and thus the encounters are part of the puzzle design. So, what are your favourite kind of puzzles ? Push a block Teleporter/Sliding around Riddle/coded message Sequence of levers. Entire minigames (Mastermind, ...)
  4. Brainstorming about blogpost, taking suggestions

    1. Show previous comments  14 more
    2. PhoenixSoul



      Unlike Flubber, this stuff did not have a rebound at all. If one were to try to use it on the bottoms of one's shoe, as an example, it would squish, and dissipate (I smashed some of the mix with my palm and it only made a big mess).


      It only seemed to bounce if it touched another surface on its' own...but it lost a considerable amount of its' own mass in the process (likely due to the temperature of the lab itself).


      A slimegirl?

      That would require more than just alchemy...though I could probably make the slime itself (but NOT with the ingredients used to make the bouncy substance-that would just be chaos)...


      I remember using shellac, and hilo extract as the two main components of the substance, and a copious amount of gelatin for a base, but the gelatin did not maintain very well...

      I'd probably be better off using eluma oil in place of hilo extract, but getting that stuff would incur a rather high expense (since it is an import from the Yullen region far to the east of Asuria)...

    3. freakytapir


      A slime covered girl, or a girl made of slime ? And what's your budget, would you say a 100 -500 million $.


      That and an ethics commitee that can be bribed for the human experiments ?


      The actual process is pretty straightforward : find an animal that produces Mucin , isolate what gene is responsible for this, use reverse transcription PCR to change your mRNA into cDNA, plant that into a vector, add a tag that says this is meant for excretion, preface it with an inducable promotor, transfer it into a retrovirus, infect 10000 human embryos, use DNA screening in the following stage to select for the transformed babies. 

      In the transformed babies induce your promotor, and select for mucin production.


      Or, just make a mold of a girl and fill it with Jello

    4. PhoenixSoul


      An animal that produces mucin?

      The cockatrice would be a great source...


      The rest of the procedure involves technology I would not have access to (because it isn't there - we don't even have controlled electricity).

  5. The 500 % bonus damage would for a bomb like enemy. Yes fire does 500 % more damage, but if it doesn't kill him, he explodes and kills you. Or even better, a monster with a shifting weakness, altering each turn.
  6. Weaknesses and the False Player-Enemy Equivalence. Back for another round of my opinions in game making. I'll start with some theory before getting to the point , so please bear with me. The word for today is equality. More specifically in player character and monster design, and how they need not be designed the same. Somewhere there is an underlying feeling that the game we are playing should be fair, and that they should be playing by the same rules as us. But should they ? While nothing is as infuriating as a cheating AI, the player and the AI serve wildly different purposes. While certainly some of the AI cheating is there due to limits in technology, because an AI will almost never be as good at adapting as a human player except in some discrete systems. That doesn't really matter, because the player is there to win, but the AI is there to lose entertainingly. So to answer the question "Why does the AI/Enemies sometimes get to follow different rules than the player ?", the answer should be because it leads to better gameplay, or because of technological limits,and not for any other reason , because no-one likes a cheating AI, and yet, sometimes letting the AI cheat just a little leads to way better gameplay. The same can be said for how each sides game pieces are built or function. Every case of enemy-player inequality should have a solid reason. Why can the boss spam the high MP spells almost turn after turn , while I can't? (Because then that's the only thing you would do, heavily reducing your variety in gameplay.) Why are bosses immune to instant-kills ? (Preventing Anti-Climax and reducing RNG as a factor) Why does the boss get 2-3 turns ? (There are 4 of you and only 1 of him, so he still only gets 2-3 actions vs your 4) Why doesn't the enemy have to worry about building up TP ? (Because the game engine doesn't track enemy TP) Now all of this was a small snippet of my thoughts to explain my reasoning in the next bit. Let me make a bold and broad statement (that will probably be misinterpreted) : I do not believe in player character weaknesses. With weakness I mean a glaring defensive weakness , not an offensive one. I'm fine with the mage not doing physical damage, what I am not ok with is the same mage folding over like a wet paper towel to an attack that barely scratches the armoured fighter, or the fire mage dying to even a light ice spell. "But ..." I hear you think "why didn't you put the mage on the back row then ?" Because the back row is a hack, a cheap patch designed to hide an obvious design problem. In theory it sounds nice, put your mage on the back row, trading physical attack for defence. My problem with this, is the no-brainer deciscion this is. There is never any doubt the character should be in the last or front row, so why don't we just up the mages defence and get rid of this hack. (Warning, some numbers up ahead are exageration for effect, used to prove a point, please do not take them as absolute law) I'm fine with the mage taking 20 % more damage, given equal health pools, but usually the mage takes up to 40 % more damage, and has only 70 % of the fighters health pool, quickly making any hit that endangers the fighter an insta-kill for the mage. On the other hand, no player character should have complete (passive) immunity to a certain element (I am ok with skill usage granting temporary immunity), because then each encounter with that element is just a roulette to see who gets hit , or in the case of Good or cheating AI totally useless as the character will never be attacked with that element. Now, to be nicely controversial, I believe enemies should have glaring weaknesses and blanket immunities. Why? Because from the beginning the enemy and player are not on equal footing and are not playing the same game anyway. The enemy is there to provide 2-3 rounds of resistance and then fall over. It's loss rate should be 95-99 % (excepting boss battles). The other reason is choice and gameplay. Having your fire mage just die to Ice spells rarely creates interesting deciscions, outside of the binary "do I bring him or not?". Giving him an amulet of ice protection isn't a choice, but a must at that point. But deciding wether to use your fire mage to finish off one enemy, or do a big chunck of damage but not killing a second fire - weak enemy, that is a deciscion point. To use persona 3/4/5 as an example : Hitting the enemy in his weakness and chaining them up to eliminate a though encounter feels great, but getting surprise attacked and wiped before you even get a turn feels horrible and is one of the most controller smashing moments in an otherwise very good series of games. This also nicely touches on another problem with for example mass insta-kill spells. Say there is a spell that has a chance of killing an enemy 50 % of the time, and it targets all enemies. Is this spell fair in the hands of the player ? I believe yes ( at an appropriately high MP cost). Is it fair in the hands of an enemy ? Unless it is heavily telegraphed and able to be countered, no, I do not think so. Suppose you cast it against 4 monsters, there is a 1/8 chance of ending the encounter right here. If it works, fun , but nothing special. Now the same spell cast by an enemy you encounter regularly. Giving the party a 1/8 chance to just game over without counter-play is just nasty. To add on top of this, if a surprise attack by your encounter can defeat a fully healed party without ever giving them one turn, even if rarely , then maybe tone down the encounter slightly (or eliminate surprise attacks). In summary, what I am saing is : enemy weaknesses lead (or should do so anyway) to gameplay and choice, player weaknesses leads to random blowouts or nothing. Because players get way more affected by randomness than monsters. A monster is there for the one battle, the player is there for at least a 100, so the 1 % chance to be randomly buttfucked will eventually happen. Now how I'm doing it in my game: Players: Small weaknesses ( up to 20 % more damage) Medium Resistances (up to 50 % less damage) Many resistance granting spells and abilities, but no passive immunities. Enemies: Glaring weaknesses (up to 500 % more damage) Above and beyond immunity (Reflect , absorb, immune , ...) Reacting to certain elements with counterattacks, so the right choice isn't always the right choice. For example : Fire does 100% more damage, but gets you counterattacked. Having a weakness not necessarily be more damage, but inflict a debuff, having lightning inflict stun on turrets, fire inflicting enrage on beasts,... And on a final note : balance your (random) encounters not for the average , but the edge cases. What if the encounter turns into a total shitstorm (all enemies randomly select their strongest move and/or all enemies crit in a row), do the players have any chance? Even if it is only 5 % likely, because that 5 % will eventually come up.
  7. Small aside on that extra credits video, it was part of a multipart series about choice, where they indeed do investigate what makes a choice meaningful and so on... Maybe I just chose a wrong video to show you. There are consequences down the line for choosing one character over another : you played with that character for an hour, you got exp for that character that might otherwise have gone to the other character, some combats will be easier, some harder. When does a choice stop being meaningfull ? That is a question for smarter people than me to answer. Anyway, thanks for all the input on this aspect of my game, this has been the most commented on article/blogpost I've written. And as a last thing I'll say about this: I know my system doesn't look all that promising to you right now, but I believe it will perform way better in actual play than on paper. Which is why I'm trying to get my game to a playtestable state. Paper is cheap, results is what you want.
  8. Just to further explain , when I say "this character or skill is required", I will usually mean : find a way to deal with X obstacle. Maybe a fully explained example will show what I am going for : The dungeon info says the dungeon (Arctic Research station) has : Ice boulders, robotic guards, electronic doors, camera's, ice environmental damage and an underwater entrance tunnel. Meaning that you could take : 1. A fire Mage (melt ice and protect from environmental ice), a lightning mage (fry circuits of doors and camera's, bonus damage to robots) and the pilot (for a stolen sub), 2. But a team of Hacker (disable doors and robotic guards), Ice Mage (move Ice boulders, freeze camera's and protect from environmental damage), and Air Mage (Air Bubble for entrance tunnel) also works. 3. Mix it up, Fire, Air and Lightning is also a viable combination 4. Pilot(Entrance), Cyborg(Brute Force doors, push Ice Boulder), Healer (Environmental Damage) and Shadow mage(Camera's) also works. 5. Maybe after you've unlocked air power for the hacker, you can just leave the main air mage, or after the Air mage unlocks lightning, you can leave the hacker. 6. If you really looked for enemy intel in the last dungeon, you might have found the bonus one, that said there is an earth mover on site, so the pilot could deal with the boulders, meaning that if you can just heal through the environmental damage, a team of pilot and lightning mage might be enough. Certainly later on in the game, when many of the characters will start to have overlapping abilities, these requirements will feel a lot less like requirements. As I said, player perception is everything. It is indeed not fun to have a character shoved into your face, but if that character is the solution the player came to himself, does it really matter that he did not have a real choice ? Player choice
  9. As you say, the proof is in the testing. But before the testing is the build. All of my articles up to now are theory/opinion. And let's just say, I'm really good at fabricating a story out of nothing. Years (18+years) of real life D&D DM'ing has prepared me for this. My bullshit is next level. 5 players in a live environment, each waiting to be entertained has given me a mastercourse in bullshit. Anyway, I'm taking requests for my weekly Blog post, If you want, suggestions are welcome.
  10. I think we have slightly different visions in this. For me, the constant partyswitching is part of the gameplay, a feature, not a bug. It is worth it to make it work, because it is the central premise of the game : use new characters to unlock new dungeons. The story itself is mostly to be written around the premise. I'm going gameplay before story, so I don't expect to have a coherent story before each level is at least in beta. Might I get more players by doing it your way ? Probably, but that is not the game I want to make. Design to the common denominator, or design by comitee robs games of uniqueness. Because not every game is for everyone, but there should be a game for everyone. (*Gets down from soapbox*). But I do agree, in that if a feature needs a lot of support to make work, it might not be worth keeping, but in my game it is the central piece, so I'm willing to fight for it. Testing will reveal more, I believe. Again , not trying to attack you or anyone, just shining a light on why I do the things I do.
  11. While I certainly understand your misgivings, there are a couple of factors that I think help a lot in my game: 1. Yes there are 20 field skills, but they are all relevant combat skills too. The burn bushes spell is the same as the burn enemies spell, the hacking skill does damage to mechanic enemies, ... 2a. It's hard to have a conversation with a grappling hook. 2b. By requiring a certain character, I can guarantee the character will be present for certain cutscenes. And the journey of the characters is the important thing here. This is also why I limit party size. Kind of hard to have a deep conversation in a crowd of 20. 3. I plan on there not being a lot of retraversal of dungeons. Once it is finished, what reason is there to linger (except forgotten treasure)? Backtracking is also a thing I loathe, which is why I really like skyrim for giving us backdoor exits to dungeons. FF XII style teleporters or diablo like waypoints, that's my thing. 4. I plan on being reaaaaaaaly loud and obvious with the required characters for a dungeon , at least in testing, maybe even going as far as having a support character give a set of warning signs for a dungeon when you are making your party for it. (Warning: this obviously lava themed dungeon might contain puzzles necesitating ice/freeze spells). 5. First room princiciple : The first "room" or section of the dungeon will necessitate usage of all the skills necessary in the dungeon, so you won't be neck deep in the dungeon before you find out you missed something.
  12. Field Skills and the HM Mule Today I'm going to try a shorter piece, about field skills,their quirks and how I want to use them in my game. With field skills I mean things like the classical pokémon HM moves like surf, fly and cut, but also skills like lockpicking, or step by step regen. Basically these fall into 3 categories: Key skills : Cut, Strength, Whirlpool, ... Convenience Skills : Fly, Step by step Regen. Reward Skills : Lockpick treasure chests Today I want to mostly talk about the first category. Key skills are skills like surf, or cut. They are required to physically acces or complete areas. They might as well be replaced by a key somewhere in your inventory, or a boat item, yet at the same time they feel better. Maybe it is because it feels like the character is being awesome. The feeling of a character smashing a rock wall does conjure other images than the same character just turning a key in a door, while it is functionally the same. On the other hand, in games with a numbered amount of skills per character, they feel like a skill tax, leading to the HM mule : a character that is not actually part of the team, but just is there for his key skills. This is, I find a big design flaw in those type of games, as they constrict player choice for no good reason. I have made these type of skills a key point in my game, but with a slight difference: Each key field skill is at first unique to one character, and there is no limit to skills known. This seems like it solves the HM mule problem, but as my party size is a small 4 characters, chosen out of a possible 20, it is actually still the same, filling up one of your 4 party slots without your choice. This I have attempted to solve by: Keeping the dungeons short, under 30 minutes short, so you are never stuck with someone you dislike using for long, and by making character swapping as painless as possible. As there is no strictly better gear, there is no need for the equipment shuffle. Just toss the required character some gear he can use, and you are ready to go, no need to rob another character first. The balance is also more and more forgiving for a slight level difference, a gap that widens as the game continues. As the game progresses, eventually characters start learning other characters field skills, allowing you options, making the requirement sting less. Especially because eventually dungeons might require up to 10 required skills, necessitating that the player actually spends a little while puzzeling together a party. Because walking into the dungeon and realising you brought the wrong team, and making you walk back to the party select zone (or in pokémon, Bill's PC in the pokémon center), to go get that one character that can crush rocks is not something that I need in my game, I am being pretty explicit and forthright about my required skills for a dungeon, having the player find Enemy Intelligence on the next dungeon beforehand, to make it part of the puzzle the player can solve. It feels less like you are stuck with a character if he is there because he is part of a solution you thought of yourself, probably because it puts choice back in the hands of the player. Having an obstacle have multiple solutions. The poison gas rooms might be something for the Air mage, or the Poison-immune cyborg. The energy fields can be bypassed by either having the magic nullifying character, the electronics overloading one, or the hacker. Once again , player choice is preserved, while not negating the uniqueness of characters and the necessity to change up the party. Have them also be combat abilities. Things I am trying to do with this: As I said before, it allows me to make party composition a puzzle that needs to be resolved over and over again. I like optimisation , but not of the set-it-and-forget-it kind. Give each character his moment in the spotlight. If I make a dungeon aout a characters abilities, he remains in the players mind throughout the dungeon. Easier cutscenes in dungeons , as I have a pretty good idea of who out of the 20 characters will be there. Make complex dungeons that are actually fun and intuitive. Some examples of Field skills I am using: Air Bubble (Water Breathing, Smoke Screen, Survive Vacuum, reduce wind speed ...) Freeze (Create steppable ice, make ice boulders, ...) Absorb Magic/Energy (Bypass energy Barriers, destroy magic wards, ...) Shock (Overload electronics, stun guards, ...) Fire (burn bushes, melt Ice, ...) Move earth (Push Rocks, ...) Mind Control (Remove Guards, Have big beasts smash boulders, ...) Weather Control Radiation Immunity Hacking Give Light What are your thoughts on these types of moves, and are you using them in your game ?
  13. Hi !
  14. Contemplating the next subject of my Blog post/ Developpers Journal, Open to suggestions.

  15. Thanks man, really needed that. According to reddit (yes, I'm crossposting these on the rpg maker reddit group) I'm the antichrist for even suggesting I use random encounters. Everybody and their mom seems to have an idea to do it better, not realising that there is only so much time, and I 'd rather make combat engaging, than worry about the combat delivery method. Because no matter how you ended up in the combat, the actual fun should be in the combat.