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Evolving monsters? Pros & Cons.

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Deleted User, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. Deleted User

    Deleted User


    TLDR:I have a game and one aspect of it resolves around raising a tamagochi.
    - Do I give player a single tamagochi they will keep for the rest of the game, allowing them to modify its skills, clothes, and stats.
    - OR allow players to collect a few tamagochies which they can fuse together. In that case, how do I decide what skills the new tamagochi will get and ensure it's still balanced?

    Long version:
    OK so I'm making a game for mobile devices, and one aspect of the game involves raising a tamagotchi.
    However, I'm not sure which road I want to take.
    Regardless of which path I choose, one way players will be able to improve their monster's stats is by buying food or spell books (monsters can only learn a certain amount of spells).

    1) One Tamagotchi
    Players select from one of a few monster at the beginning of the game. This is the monster they will keep for the rest of the game.
    + Cheapest option (budget-wise)
    + Better animations
    + Can still customize monster through clothes, since they will all be the same shape
    + Can make simpler UI
    + Can create a room for the monster the player can customize (by buying TVs, etc.)
    +/- Players can learn spells by buying spell books
    - One monster means less play-value and monetization
    - Less interesting monster development

    2) Many Tamagotchis that can fuse together. Resulting fusion's strength depends on the levels of the fused monsters (might be weaker or stronger). Players can only keep a few monsters.
    + Fusion result will inherit some body parts and textures from each fused monster, resulting in very unique looking-monsters
    + Will inherit skills from each monster
    + Players will try to obtain certain monsters and fuse them a certain way to obtain desired traits, increasing play-value and monetization
    - More expensive
    - UI will most likely be a bit more complex
    - Not as good animations
    - Weaker fusion result might set back and annoy players.
    - Skill inheritance might annoy players if they leave their monster underpowered
    The big obstacle in this method is skill inheritance and levelling. I was also thinking of inheriting only 1 or 2 skills and leave the player to buy the rest, but then the player might not be able to buy the missing skills, since a monster needs a certain amount of skills to fight.

    3) Many monsters; no fusions. Players can keep a few monsters. New monsters start at level 1.
    +/- Players won't be able to use new tamagotchies unless they are sufficiently levelled up.

    4) Other (your idea)

    Another thing I'm unsure is how monsters will get their skills:
    1) I can give them each preset skills.
    + This will give each monster a different playstyle and make players want to obtain certain monsters.
    - Less customization.
    2) I give them 1 or 2 preset skills and let the player buy spellbooks to add new skills to their monster.
    + More customization.
    - Less interest in obtaining different monsters.
    - Unsure of how to make it so players always have a monster capable of being competitive.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2014
  2. Deon-Cadme


    Sep 10, 2013
    The problem I see is that you are trying to make up problems that doesn't exist. You could theoretically mix all the good ideas that you have listed above in a single game and make it work. This mix doesn't even have to have a negative impact on animations, graphics, ui or animations etc as well. You can also throw any monetization system that you want onto this but I just recommend that you pick your prefered choice before you start designing :)

    Quick Examples:
    • One monster means less play-value and monetization
      Pikacchu... a single mosnter is more personal and it is therefore easier to increase its value then if you had many.
    • Weaker fusion result might set back and annoy players
      Then simply remove the possibility of weaker results. Fusions now, always result with at least a minimum amount of improvement defined by you but has the possibility of resulting in super improvements as well.
    Even more importantly, will you only raise a monster, no mini-games? No interaction between monsters that your friend creates?

    There is at least in Sweden a pair of free tamagochi games for mobile that have already satisfied the market. Honestly, they are even crap in many ways but "better" tamagochi games cannot budge them from their thrones... asking for money doesn't help at all. The only way to fight such a market is to add something new to the game beyond raising the tamagochi itself.

    Simple Example of game:
    • Get one, get many, maybe buy them or maybe they arrive in booster packs like magic cards?
    • Feed the monster to make it grow
    • Fuse two or more monsters to create unique appearances, mix skills etc... you can pick anything and everything that makes a tamagochi unique in some ways and mix it here. Maybe mixing certain combinations can result in unique or rare results that do not appear normally?
    • Mini-games allow you to tune the settings in the tamagochi, alter its behavior, alter its stats, alter its growth speed, alter basically anything and even be a way of competing with it/them against a friends collection.
    • You can also consider adding more advanced game modes... ugh... just to copy something... What if you can join matches and take on the stats and appearance of your tamagochi during that time? He becomes your avatar in a S4 League match, CoD match or maybe they form an army in a RTS game... tower defense... you name it.
    • Customization, there is always a chance for other players to arrive with a combination identical to yours but... maybe it doesn't wear the same hat as yours.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  3. RJ-MacReady


    Jun 14, 2013
    Didn't read, too long... maybe shorten it to a couple of points and a question?
  4. Deleted User

    Deleted User


    @Deon Cadme Thanks for your in-depth answer.
    To answer your question, yes, there'll be other things to do. Raising your monster is just there to give players some breaks in-between the action, make them feel like their characters is unique, and make money on that side, since it will be F2P.
    - I guess Pikachu is more personal, but does everyone like Pikachu? By having more monsters, it increases the chances of a player liking and associating with that monster.
    - I guess you're right in that I don't have to make the fusion weaker, but what do I do with skills?
    Do I give the monsters random skills from each parent? How can I ensure that the monster will not be too unbalanced?
    That's really what I'm stuck on.

    @Misterselmo I have a game and one aspect of it resolves around raising a tamagochi.
    - Do I give player a single tamagochi they will keep for the rest of the game, allowing them to modify its skills, clothes, and stats.
    - OR allow players to collect a few tamagochies which they can fuse together. In that case, how do I decide what skills the new tamagochi will get and ensure it's still balanced?
  5. Deon-Cadme


    Sep 10, 2013
    @supremegrandruler - Pikachu was just an example, I am not "really" into these kinds so I had to pick the closest thing I knew. I bet that there is better characters out there to compare with. The point was just that constraining the player to less monsters gives him a better chance of bonding with them. Bonding of course require that he can appreciate his monster in some way from the start, you can either give him a selection of monsters (still a hit or miss situation as the player might fall into the cracks you didn't cover) or give him a monster customization system at the start of the game.

    "What do I do with skills?"

    A skill can be anything and it might not even be needed for your game at the end. Building systems is the fun part of game design ;) A skill could be "play football", "eyesight" or "throw fireballs" and they could even have values associated with them or maybe all your monsters can do everything equally good? Or maybe the result always depend on the players input? Maybe a mix of value and player input determines the result? Maybe the value is the difficulty?
    There are a ton of ways to turn this around because games are made out of values in the end.

    "Do I give the monsters random skills from each parent?"

    You can make it random, you can create a system that makes the selection or you can allow the player to pick :) Everything is viable solutions depending on how you design the rest of the game.
    A small tip is maybe to tie skills, attributes or whatever your monsters got with their appearance in some way so that players can estimate what type of monster it is with a glance.
    Another tip is that you lock the system to ensure that at least X% comes from each parent.

    "How can I ensure that the monster will not be too unbalanced?"

    Balancing is never a simple task in any game, a lions share of a game designers time is often spent on this specific task. It depends on how you build your game and what kind of values your monsters got so it is nothing I can answer for you.

    Balance is always shot to some degree if characters increase in strength, it pose a problem in MMO games during PvP but they often solve this by only allowing characters within a specific level range to fight each other ex lvl 1 - lvl 10, lvl 11 - lvl 20 or something like that. Other games use it as a mechanics to win like in strategy games, the player that has advanced the farthest in the tech tree often have a distinkt advantages... In Age of Empires, this allowed you to theoretically run over cavemen with knights. A good idea is to study other games and how they handle in-balance.

    The best way to ensure some balance is that you design a system that has some kind of balance without the monsters increasing in strength. It can be either symmetrical like in chess (except it isn't a perfect example, the queen and king is mirrored) and asymmetrical like in stone-paper-scissors or StarCraft. A good system often combines advantages, weaknesses and neutral ground.
    Deleted User likes this.
  6. RJ-MacReady


    Jun 14, 2013
    Like most people, I never played tomagotchi.
  7. Vehementwan


    Mar 3, 2014
    +100 for uselessness. If it's too long to read, don't reply. If you haven't played tomagotchi, then you've nothing to add, so don't.

    OP - good luck getting some ideas to help you. I personally believe the market is ripe for this. Good luck
  8. RJ-MacReady


    Jun 14, 2013
    From the forum rules, the ones you're supposed to read before posting:

    !!! WARNING !!!! -- If you're starting a new thread, make sure it's not spam in disguise. Posts like "I Need Help With The Design Of My New Game! Bubbles-And-The-Banana-Hat!" will be deleted, locked, or moved. The moderators are developers too, and would rather spend their time building games, than managing spam.

    Technically, this topic doesn't even belong here. Why are you lecturing me on how I should/shouldn't reply?

    Also... did you even offer to help OP?
  9. Deleted User

    Deleted User


    Well, misterselmo, my question is regarding game design and according to this sticky on top:
    "GOOD - "Which is a better design - arrow keys or mouse clicks?"
    And what I'm asking is which is better design, from a revenue and replay value perspective. It seems like it does belong here, but if not, where?

    Anyway, to get back on topic, a tamagotchi is like a monster that you nurse and feed to grow it stronger.

    In my game you raise a tamagotchi and then make it fight vs other players'.
    I think what I'll end up doing is players can hold up to 4 monsters and raise them. Each monster will come with 4 preset unchangeable skills and 2 skills that the player can change and choose. That's what I'm leaning towards.
  10. RJ-MacReady


    Jun 14, 2013
    It's like you're asking which game should I make my game more like digimon or Pokemon. Supposed to be about general game design. With everything that I know about game design and everything that I know about games I can't answer your question without resorting to my opinion.

    Are you working with anybody else on this project you should really ask them or go to a forum where they talk about Tamagotchi and stuff