Thursday, February 28, 2013

DriftWurld Traders: Lot's of escape, no surrendering to 'Players always win fights'

I'm working on this game with the premise that the monsters are really tough and there's just no way you can afford the weaponry that can get through their toughness.

So it's a matter of when encountering them, running away to an escape point!

On top of this you can build up your armour over time. It's an armour that takes damage, but you can also repair it over time as well. So you're trying to have this bulk of armour.

And I'm surprised but I'm REALLY jiving on it!

In retrospect, with the traditional model you HAD to provide the players the capacity to BEAT the enemy. JUST to continue playing!

I mean, it's basically forced - the monsters often can run faster than you and there are no real rules for escape hatches, let alone them existing in dungeons, let alone the capacity to craft them.

Never mind that a supposedly random system of rolling a D20 multiple times essentially isn't random - it comes down to a hard average after awhile. Either your average is high enough to beat monsters, and obviously so (so you can predict the fights conclusions in advance) or it isn't and you'll never get to the end.

And when the odds are stacked with you, how is that really a fight rather than just plain old butchery?

Alot of times I tried to dress that butchery up to try and make it more than that by making it HARD - making complex challenge mechanics for players.

But even then - I'm sick of constant killing just to advance a game!

Of course, I was really just hooked around the notion of 'no escape, fight to the death!'

While in this game, I started coding it all around escape (not deliberately, sadly!). And it works so much better! You can get better at escaping (ie, gain more armour so as to be able survive longer whilst getting to an escape point). You don't have to be able to kill every enemy, just to keep playing. And I really like it! It's just so much less a stretch of suspension of disbelief! So much less a stretch of morality (ie, the idea you're a, but you pick on things you stack the odds against). So much less a contradiction of scaryness (oh, monsters are scary - yet you HAVE to have the ability to beat them, and once you beat them it shows you shouldn't have been scared. Therefore monsters aren't scary and none of this is terribly compelling)

I actually feel excited about this concept, rather than the sort of picking my way through the tropes of combat trying to find something exciting to get at. Here I'm already at something exciting to work with, and am looking forward to more exciting ways to implement it!

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