Sunday, September 30, 2012

The 'Evil' option in games

What exactly is 'evil' supposed to be in a video game?

There's like this notion that it can just be a seperate 'evil' option that somehow differs from the other options.

But what does it come down to - inefficient actions?

Unless were talking about stupid 'evil', then it isn't inefficient.

In fact 'evil' could be running a research facility that finds cures for various cancers.

What would show up as 'evil' is when the individual shuts down the research, even though it was on the edge of a breakthrough, because even with the breakthrough it wasn't going to make the bottom line.

Except in games made today, the way they are made will mean if it fails the bottom line for the player character, then it fails the bottom line for the player. To not shut down the facility is playing the game stupidly.

The exact parralel between player character and player means 'evil' isn't, as doing anything else is playing the game stupidly.

Which essentially means the game designers would condone it - and they avoid that like the plague, so the games have you only on the up and up.

Then someone wants an 'evil option', so they put in kicking puppies. Because the designers don't want to incriminate themselves (incriminate in the sense of condoning bad things to any degree - I'm not getting legal).

Ala what was often discussed at the now closed forge, it could all do with less exact parralel between player character position and player position. So the player could be winning/gaining points by getting his character into a position where the cancer research is becoming unprofitable.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dice and Table Top Wargaming - The False Strategic?

I was watching some people play the table top war game 'Warmachine' the other day.

It made me wonder, do dice rolls simply have to be part of such a game? What exactly do they do?

Say instead you had randomly set up start conditions of some kind (but exposed - not like a shuffled deck, all the start conditions are clear from the, err, start). Then everything else simply has rules which are chess like (and tie into the random starting conditions).

One of the elements of this is that the scenarios are repeatable. You could play it all again, using the same start up as previously, and try different methods of approach.

Where as with dice - sure, people try some tactics. But are they interested in trying different methods of approach in how to try to win the scenario? Particularly when they can't  with a dice system (you just can't repeat the scenario at an intellectual level). Or do they just wanna get lucky with dice and win - classic gambler approach?

I'm not against a gambler approach, but generally only when its clear that's what your doing. Rather than it appearing to be some strategic game, but in the end you'll give up and just hope for high rolls (yet keep calling it a strategic game).

I mean really, you could have the most half assed strategy in the world, but if you kept rolling really well, you'd win. What does that say in regards as to whether strategy or gambling comes first? Not that I could see much strategy in the game I watched - they moved towards each other, shooting at first, then hitting when the got close.

Basically strategy is deprioritised - ostensibly strategy has first position in what is important in the game. But really it's in second or perhaps even third place.

I'm trying to think of a tag for that - what do you call it, in just a word or two, when a product is supposed to be about X first and foremost, but actually X comes second or third?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fight Cycle Design Diary: How to do loot distribution

Fight Cycle

Right now - well, I've never really designed a gear system/loot distribution system before so I'm figuring one. (note: I first posted this over at Fight Cycles indie-resource discussion thread)

I'm thinking I'll have some lists of item hand made (as in their data is hand typed!) by me, at a common, green, blue, purple sort of distribution. Each comes from a tier, which determines the level of skill required to wield the weapon/wear the armour. Basically in units of 100 - so you maybe need 0 skill, 100 skill, 200 skill, etc, to use a particular weapon or armour.

I'm thinking you have a loot roll that has a certain percentage for common, green, blue, purple (that latter ones having a lower chance) from your own tier. So if you are skill 255, then that loot roll is for tier 200 skill items.

You also have before tha an overall roll before that, where you have a small chance of getting lower tier items and an even smaller chance of getting an item from one tier above you.

That's my idea, anyway. I was stuck before because I thought that if it was a straight roll within your tier, then if I put in alot of common items, you'd have more chance of getting a common item - which seems a sucky result and not at all why I would be putting in more common items (I'd be doing it for variety, not to incrementally make you have to have common items more often).

Not sure if anyone is tracking this (perhaps X, who plays in Driftwurld as well, might be checking out this discussion thread), since I'm not ultra fast at implementing stuff (particularly stuff that I have no feel for whether its anything that thrills people), but I thought it'd be good to give an update.

I'm really hoping to overall finish this game. I might keep adding new touches/items as they come to me, for years to come. But for the overall structure, I'm really hoping to just finish this - it's proving harder than I thought, and that's when I chose what I thought was a more conservative design!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Serious Sam 3 - Quick Thoughts

Playing Serious Sam 3 recently and apart from technical issues trying to get it to run, it's an engaging game. I'm actually dying on a regular basis (after having gotten into the last half of the campaign). Which of course just takes you back to the nearest quick save - making it a puzzle shooter essentially. It's not really about massively good aiming skills with the mouse (like Quake live is). It's about figuring the right corner to hide in, the right weapon, or even right sequence of weapons to use. And about knowing when to run away!

Good to play a game which actually fights back against you/is cunning enough to kill you a few times.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

SS3: "Executable Signature Verification Failed" - Seriously?

Ah, it's like taking a time machine back to the late eighties. Furiously trying to figure some way to make a game work.

So far my investigations are this far:

In particular, number 3. In particular particular, #2 inside of 3. Certificates.

Use search to find sam3.exe, then right click on it and go to properties, then go to digital signature tab.

Yes, it appears certificates are the prob, as #2 even gives a link describing such.

And that link is so step by step and wonderfully simple, giving a link to download a certificate package

...and then...
Once downloaded install the certificate and install/import it to Trusted Root Certification Authorities store.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Songs you will never be

I recently was refered a link to

But most of all I started looking at this page.

But most of all I started looking specifically at this page.

I guess the terror of nihilism is that you realise you will never be this song.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Game design: Gear

Who makes all that gear that you just magically find laying about?

It's something that peeves me, like a world that does not fall bacause it's on the back of an elephant, how whole game economies rest on just 'fortuitously' finding all that gear out there (underneath the corpses of pesky monsters).

So what supports that elephant? Another elephant?

On the other hand, I get that this is the heroin of the game - you OSTENSIBLY put in no effort, and ooooh, have this chance of getting something for nothing.

All caps 'ostensibly', because it's not true. But that's another topic, given it's complexity.

So, I'm wondering how to circumnavigate my pet peeve, yet still delive 'OMG, I just found...'?

Never mind what gear system to use. I'm thinking some kind of rock, paper, scissors system where some gear cancels part of another gears bonuses. So for particular opponents you might want to change your gear configuration around.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

3, 2, 1, Death Contact!

I'm at that stage in game development where I just haven't put in damage to the player.

It just gets in the way of play testing. It's fairly rudimentry to add.

But - it's like your just imagining how it'd be like if you could actually take damage/die/lose in game. It's this hazy notion of what'd be like to play the game - which will indeed have nothing to really do with the game. It's kind of like drawing a big wafty cloud, but in the end play with be a hard square somewhere inside of it.

Actually, 'Death Contact' would be a good name for a game.