Sunday, March 24, 2013

The claimant/questioner judo flip

There's a lovely little move on the internet. You might be aware of the idea that the onus (always a fun word) is on the person who makes a claim to prove that claim, it's not on others to disprove the claim. Thus if someone claims some being called god exists, the onus is on them to prove that claim, there is no burden on others to disprove that claim.

But here's the judo flip - what if you simply shift the claim maker roles around.

"I am simply questioning your claim as to the existence of an absence of god!"

Ta da! Now you are the claim maker! JUDO! FLIP!

It's torturous english, of course, but hey!

My guess is simply a counter semantic karate move*, which is to say "Well, if all you're doing is making that claim, then you aren't claiming the existence of this being you call god - so there, neither of us are claiming that existence!"

The origin of this post was where I'd said a RPG lacked a complete procedure - but then that was flipped to not them claiming it does have a complete procedure, but merely questioning my 'claim' of the existance of an abscence in that procedure.

Gamers. The rationalisations need never end!

The prince of nothing series has a theme of watcher and watched that both underpins it's magic system and apparently everything else. Sometimes I think what would be more apt is simply a hot potato game of shifting claims back and forth - claimer and questioner, with no one admitting to the former role because JUDO! FLIP!

* I went from judo to karate - god this is inconsistent and bad!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

There is no 'negotiate' button

I see a blurb for the upcoming 'the last of us' game describes having to kill other opposing survivors 'even as they sometimes beg for their lives'.

Uh, why does the player have to do that?

Hey game devs who aren't reading my blog anyway, get ready for some difficult concepts that'd put you off reading further even if you weren't not reading already!

You're concept of mind is shallow. You can't imagine a player doing anything in your game that you wouldn't want to do. You want to kill all opponents so...that's what everyone else wants. Because your idea of everyone is pretty much a xerox of you.

No - why on earth do we have to kill them? Not only does this put a certain demographic off of buying games (have a look at Deus Ex and Batman Arkham Asylum/City - non lethal is either the option or the default), it's appaling at a story level, because you just can't let go of story - no punch them in the face and hold a gun over them till they zip tie themselves? Or till they roll over and knee against their spine you tie their hands?

Part of it is that it requires more code to have an enemy not just '0 hp=die'. Part of it is you think you're being edgy 'oh, these players with a bottomless hunger for murder - we'll show them - by really supply a bottomless supply of murder to them'. Oh grow up! The game 'Spec Ops - the line' did more to sour that bottomless hunger by being a mediocre shooter than in trying to gross it out by being super satisfying. It's like that simpsons epsiode where satan tortures homer by forcing him to eat endless donuts - uh, grow up, it's not any kind of torture.

This is like in farcry 2. The bad guys would actually go and help their friends, run out of cover, expose themselves to carry a friend to safety. But hell, could you negotiate with these dudes who clearly have some compassion and courage - no! It's like this broken artistic concept designers have, where they have promoted themselves to making a statement about morality - but they do so by taking the players capacity to make a moral statement away from the player (or to be exact, they never give the player a negotiation button).

I wouldn't mind if by random chance blunt force trauma eventually see's the non lethal take down target latter die of an anurism or something. Just sometimes, not every time (see: Grow up).

But you insult our intelligence by having brutal take downs and enemies who beg for their lives, WHEN IT IS YOU WHO ARE KILLING THESE DUDES, NOT THE PLAYER! You've set it up as nothing else being possible - actually the lesson against loving murder and violence - YOU need to learn the lesson first! Not the player, you! You're juvinile, trying to dictate a moral all you do is force someone else to commit what is your lust for video game murder!

Thanks for reading. I'm glad to have had this chance to ingratiate myself into the development industry!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Borderlands 2: Is the Assassin the weakest character - because it's skill based?

As opposed to the commando, who's turret is a computer aimed monster, the assassin seems to have a design brief to be as skill based as possible. You get a better zoom, but no auto aim. Maybe your hologram distraction explodes, but that's if you drop it near enemies. It's kinda like a polar opposite.

More satisfying gameplay - in single player. But I'm not sure what it's like to struggle while the commando drops a turret, throws a homing grenade and then sits behind a crate and lights a smoke.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rifts: Tying power increase to abstract exploration

I'm thinking of adding a particle beam underbarrel attachment.

The idea is that the device powers up over time as the user figures out ways of increasing it's power. As they explore the world ways of increasing its power come to them in dribs and drabs. The way this works is the device does 3D6 MD base damage, but has a percentage chance (starting at 50%) of doing an extra 2D6 damage. You roll during initiative - if you pass, it does the extra damage for the rest of the combat (until it's ammo runs out - it can do four shots a day. Costs 50 credits a shot). I'd go 1D6 extra damage, but I don't think 1D6 is terribly impressive.

Anyway, so now instead of having to put some kinda new weapons in every nook and cranny they explore, or somehow giving them a new weapon for figuring out stuff in the world, I can tell them that percentage increases by one or two points! Thus slowly making the weapon more powerful!

When it gets to 100%, it resets back to 1% and the weapons base damage increased by 1D6 (3D6 goes to 4D6).

Though this kinda means a step backwards in power as when the percentage is 90%+ they'd probably be getting the +2D6 extra damage, well, over 90% of the time. But when it upgrades, it's as if they go down by one die because at the start your going to have a very low percentage and rarely roll it.

Not sure what to do about that. As said, I could just make the bonus 1D6...but it doesn't seem alot. I'm certainly not having the base damage increase by 2D6!

I guess a mitigation (but not solution to that) is to not have it reset to 1% on upgrading, but to 50%. But I want this mechanic to stretch, giving about 2% every ten minutes of play. It'll cut back on that alot if I do that and it still doesn't really solve the problem.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Irritation: An inflammation of attitude commonly caused by the abrasive nature of good intentions.

A fun tweet feed here, with more gems like the above.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Borderlands 2: What if those whites actually did something?

Like imagine if over time your character 'charges up' a white gun in their inventory. Takes about a minute to charge one. Once charged, you can switch to it and it'll do blue style damage for one clip. Then it can't be charged up again for around 20 minutes.

Charged guns are accessed, say, by holding down the grenade button - it'll switch to the gun and when you reload or empty the clip, it'll go back to the weapon you were using before.

The thing is, then every gun you pick up you'd actually use!

Instead of them being pointless busy work trash items to sell.

Because that's what they are - pointless busy work.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

D&D 5E: Badguys just don't survive to do very much?

Between the golden grain inn and recently the temple of the lawbringer, really the badguys seem to drop so quickly they don't do anything much?

Perhaps monsters could regularly have a power like the possessed Sir Moonbrook did earlier in the module and on a natural 5+ or 10+ they do 1 or 2 damage even on a miss? Or even they can only do this once each - once they have applied this damage, they can't do so again that fight?

I don't really enjoy running absolute cake walks for the PC's. Why set up a combat roll when you have little to no chance of having any effect? Could just as much narrate that they won splendidly, over and over.

I originally posted this over at the D&D playtest forum.

Borderlands 2: What if one battle actually affected another one?

I think borderlands could really do with some long term effects of battle and your own finesse.

For example say that you can gain 10% more shield strength, shown in a slightly different colour on the shield bar. The way you gain it is it gives you a point after each battle, if you aren't too badly damaged in it. The more damage you take, the less likely you'll get the point. Once you have, say, 10 points, it gives you the 10%. You can collect up to say around 30 points in storage. Because if you take heavy damage you'll lose the extra 10% shields.

This means even a battle against just one guy matters, because it gets you points that keep you tougher. You'll treat that battle as important, even though it's just one guy, rather than just sort of kludging through it because he'll never kill you and so what.