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Making the Player Play Faster

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by YBtheS, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. YBtheS

    YBtheS

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    I am entering a video game design competition in which I must submit a game with a few requirements. The judges have 10 minutes to play and review the game. My team and I are making a military tactics game like Frozen Synapse or XCOM (although it will be real-time). I was concerned that with such a game, the judge may choose to play it slowly and carefully which may mean that he or she will not finish many levels before the 10 minutes is up. What are mechanics that I can use to force the player to keep playing at a reasonable speed? I've already thought of using a round timer which I'm not sure if I'll implement.
     
  2. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Mark Brown has a very good video on turn-timers and their alternatives that may offer up some good alternatives and ways to speed up gameplay to work in the time limit.

     
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  3. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner

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    Make it extremely obvious that going fast in some way benefits you. You could have a multiplier and cool down. Killing two enemies quickly increases your damage to 1.5x, three in a row gives you 2x...

    Make them sound awesome too. I play Halo a lot, there is very little more satisfying than hearing this: “double kill. Triple kill. Killtacular. Killing spree.”
     
  4. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    One mission. React to an ambush.

    After getting ambushed, player has to make a certain number of correct moves to keep the enemy from overwhelming and destroying him. Something like, if you don't kill the enemy machine gunner within a few moves, your guys will get killed too fast and you'll lose. Or, if you don't push out of the killzone within a few moves, the enemy will throw lots of grenades and you'll all die.

    This way you don't need any timer. After dying a couple times and seeing some text or dialogue that says "we've got to get out of the killzone!" or something liek that, player should pick up that they need to attack aggressively. Player can still sit there and think all they want before they move, but the urgency comes from needing to make something happen (i.e. kill a certain bad guy or reach a certain point) before a certain number of moves. So it might be, "get out of the killzone -- which is a certain amount of red tiles you begin in the center of -- and then get into hand grenade range and throw yours first." or "get out of killzone -- keeping a certain amount of your dudes firing for suppression -- and kill the enemy machine gunner ASAP. every move with the enemy machine gunner alive will kill two of your dudes, for example."

    So parameters you would need might be enemy accuracy and/or firerate effected by player teams firerate, players team firerate and accuracy effected individually by incoming fire, amount of grenades, who has them, how far they can get thrown, maybe machine gun has a certain cooldown period after so much firing, etc etc. Make sure there is some con to each pro that player can pick up on and learn to exploit within a couple times of failing. To keep it simple, I would base everything around getting past the machine gun and getting close enough to use grenades. Make everything else kind of unreliable so player has to figure out a way to make one trick work within 10 minutes. Think a really simplified version of Full Spectrum Warrior where flanking and getting close to use a grenade is the only way to win.

    If you got time for a second part, the second part can be "prepare for counterattack", so player can spend a few moves setting up defense positions and then repelling a second enemy wave.But I doubt that could be made to happen in 10 minutes.

    Just some random ideas -- hope they might help.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
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  5. YBtheS

    YBtheS

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    Oh cool. Two of the games mentioned were part of the inspiration for my game. I think I'll make the enemies become stronger in some way as time goes on and emphasize this graphically (like making them look more menacing).

    T-T-T-Triple kill. Thanks for the idea. I think I'll use it.

    Yah this goes along with my reply to the first quote. Making the enemies or a specific enemy stronger over time means that to win (or at least to win without a hard time) you'll need to be quick.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  6. SparrowsNest

    SparrowsNest

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    Big Halo fan, but UT2004's announcer was my favorite.
     
  7. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Don't.

    If slow and careful gameplay suits your game, then leave it. Just make sure the first couple of levels the judges hit are really good ones.

    Lost of levels is less important then good levels.
     
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  8. TenKHoursDev

    TenKHoursDev

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    HA! Nerd!

    Only kidding, :) we're all geeks here. I <3 halo as some of you know. I agree. Jeff stieitzer is incredible.

    I agree with Kiwasi. If you're gonna spend valuable time on extra levels the judges probably won't arrive at, why bother? Focus on quality not quantity.

    I never understood the ludum dare thing. Do one of the hardest things (game dev) as quick as you can, don't sleep or shower, eat and drink terribly, compete at the same time. XD
     
  9. SparrowsNest

    SparrowsNest

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    Not sleeping actually makes you way less productive, spends enough time sleeping and a resting every few hours to keep optimal efficiency.

    -Not saying it's not ridiculously hard making a game from scratch(including design) in 48/72 hours.
     
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  10. YBtheS

    YBtheS

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    This may be true but I meant like a judge staring at the screen for 3 minutes deciding whether to do something or not that is relatively unimportant because they are trying to play the game perfectly. I want to allow them to finish a level at whatever time suites them as long as they don't stress the small things.
     
  11. Habitablaba

    Habitablaba

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    10 minutes is not a lot of time to play a game. Unless the whole point you are trying to get across with your game is that the mechanics vary wildly between levels (like Mario Odyssey), perhaps one solid level is the better strategy here.

    If slow and methodical is the right (most fun) way to play your level, let the player do that. If the concern is that they are going to spend 10 minutes staring at the screen with analysis paralysis from trying to play the thing "perfectly" then don't give them many options to start with. Teach them your mechanic(s) in a safe, easy space, and give them the room to experiment.

    I worry that you are tossing away design choices simply to get the player through as much content as possible, and that feels like the wrong way to approach it to me.
     
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  12. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    It's ten minutes. What can you do in ten minutes? Very little.

    Present one single challenge that they will try and fail a few times, and ideally succeed against at just about 10 minutes. Ideally, right at the end when they win, feeling that high, they are going to be wishing they had more time and more gameplay to devour.

    Get the thing ready in 1/3rd of the time you have, and spend the rest of the time playtesting with as many people as you can to dial it in so that majority of the target audience is hitting the sweet spot of fun/challenge in 10 minutes.

    The game should be simple enough that you can easily code it and get the prototype running smoothly without stress. The rest of the time is polishing to ensure maximum fun and engagement. It is a game, not a tech demo, right?
     
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  13. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    One last piece of advice because I've said too much on this thread already, but if you are a real cutthroat mf'er you'll go so far as learning who you're specific judges are, what they like/dislike, and so on. Know your audience, you know? Attack them from every conceivable angle. This is war! Don't screw around.
     
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  14. YBtheS

    YBtheS

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    Ain't that the truth.
    What's the difference when it comes to time management?
    To be clear, I'm not trying to restrict the player from choosing their own playstyle that may vary in speed. Instead I don't want them to worry about whether their character that is behind cover should be placed 0.3 more units the right to give just enough room for him to aim at the enemy whilst also minimizing the surface area of the character that can be shot at. Maybe this worry is unwarranted and the judges won't do that.
    I thought of just having one harder level but one of the game requirenments is that it must be an RPG and thus have a story. I'm not sure if I could tell a good story through that method. That's an interesting thought though... telling a story through one level possibly where the story progresses as the player fails and learns more about how to go about the challenge through both trial and error and the hints that the story gives (jeez that's along sentence).
    They are anonymous I'm pretty sure but I'm anticipating random adults who may or may not actively play video games due to the kind of design challenge that this is.
     
  15. YBtheS

    YBtheS

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    Yes. Sorry, I forgot to read on after I replied to the first paragraph in that post and just moved on to the next post instead.
     
  16. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    A story in ten minutes? That seems crazy to me. But whatever.

    Did you ever play Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, though? Maybe something super simple like that is the way. Well, anyway, good luck!
     
  17. YBtheS

    YBtheS

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    Yup. Last year it was 5 minutes and a sports themed game. I have a feeling this is run by people who don't play games much... Anyways I've heard of it but I've never seen it. Il take a look.
    Thanks for the help!
     
  18. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    It's a three hour game. Definitely worth a play, if you don't mind something a tad melodramatic and artsy.
     
  19. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Ummm, what?

    If I asked for a RPG and you gave me a military tactics game, I would probably fail you for not completing the design brief. No matter how good your game was.

    That said, ten minutes for an RPG is strange. Ten minutes of game play often doesn't get you past the character selection screen.
     
  20. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    A 10 minute RPG isn't enough time to play the role of a butterfly.
     
  21. YBtheS

    YBtheS

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    Why can't an RPG be a military tactics game? Google and Wikipdedia just say that an RPG is fantasy world where the player assumes the role of a character. I'm not going for a traditional RPG if that's what you were thinking.
     
  22. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    Hence the name: Role-Playing Game. Military tactics isn't role-playing, it's tactics. Although many people play D&D as a tactics game. Dungeon, kill monsta', treasure, rinse and repeat.

    RPG traditionally is something more than just a role like "sniper", it assumes some social aspect as well, discussion, sometimes quests, character development, those kind of things. Like: "you're the Orc hero who secretly takes ballet lessons and write poems, when he's not cracking the enemies' heads"
     
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  23. SparrowsNest

    SparrowsNest

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    You could argue that every game has strategy/tactics, and every game has a role playing element to it.

    IE Command and Conquer is a "strategy" game but you assume the role of the general, World of Warcraft is a "RPG" but I dare you to argue there's no strategy there.
     
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  24. YBtheS

    YBtheS

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    We wanted to add the role stuff between levels. Conversational stuff I mean. Like a campaign in many games. Now whether this is considered and RPG is up for some debate. I doubt most people would consider something like Battlefield an RPG but it has a campaign. I'm not even sure this game is an RPG myself but let's just say that some of my group members are unfavorable and their may be nothing I can do to fix that. Anyways I have a feeling that the judges may not know the difference. But this is off topic to the thread so if you wanna make a new one on the topic of what is considered an RPG, go ahead.
     
  25. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    RPG has a tricky meaning, because its been plastered around in a lot of places.

    In traditional games, RPG refers to a game where a player takes on the role of a character. They make decisions as if they were that character. They create the story for that character as they play the game. This is your MUD, your D&D, and so on. In most of these games, the story is more important then the character.

    Video games kind of stole from the D&D tradition, and took the system of progression and called that an RPG. So often in computer game terminology, RPG is synonymous with character creation, experience/leveling, skill trees, equipment drops and the like.

    So either of those two elements could be passed off as RPGs. Games where the core is a dynamic player driven story are RPGs. Games where the core is an experience based leveling system are RPGs.
     
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  26. YBtheS

    YBtheS

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    My team's idea was to make this true.
     
  27. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    Well if you would have sold me the C&C as an "RPG"...
     
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  28. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    This post and every post agreeing with it makes me realise I'm probably one of the few people here who grew up near an arcade.
     
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